A Traveller's Narrative
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A TRAVELLER'S NARRATIVE
WRITTEN TO ILLUSTRATE
THE EPISODE OF THE BÁB




        [p. 1] Touching the individual known as the Báb and the true nature of this sect diverse tales are on the tongues and in the mouths of men, and various accounts are contained in the pages of Persian history and the leaves of European chronicles1. But because of the variety of their assertions and the diversity of their narratives not one is as worthy of confidence as it should be. Some have loosed their tongues in extreme censure and condemnation; some foreign chronicles have spoken in a commendatory strain; while a certain section have recorded what they themselves have heard without addressing themselves either to censure or approbation.

        1 See Note A at end.


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        [p. 2] Now since these various accounts are recorded in other pages, and since the setting forth thereof would lead to prolixity, therefore what relates to the history of this matter (sought out with the utmost diligence during the time of my travels in all parts of Persia, whether far or near, from those without and those within, from friends and strangers), and that whereon the disputants are agreed, shall be briefly set forth in writing, so that a summary of the facts of the case may be at the disposal of those who are athirst after the fountain of knowledge and who seek to become acquainted with all events.

        The Báb was a young merchant of the Pure Lineage1. He was born in the year one thousand two hundred and thirty-five [A. H.] on the first day of Muharram2, and when after a few years his father Seyyid Muhammad Rizá died, he was brought up in [p. 3.] Shíráz in the arms of his maternal uncle Mírzá Seyyid 'Alí3 the merchant. On attaining maturity he engaged in trade in Bushire, first in partnership with his maternal uncle and afterwards independently. On account of what was observed in him he was noted for godliness, devoutness, virtue, and piety, and was regarded in the sight of men as so characterized.

        1 i.e. a Seyyid, or descendant of the family of the Prophet.
        2 October 20th, 1819 A.D. Cf. B. ii, p. 993; and B. i, p. 517-511.
        3 See Note B at end.



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        In the year one thousand two hundred and sixty [A. H.], when he was in his twenty-fifth year1, certain signs became apparent in his conduct, behaviour, manners, and demeanour whereby it became evident in Shíráz that he had some conflict in his mind and some other flight beneath his wing. He began to speak and to declare the rank of Báb-hood. Now what he intended by the term Báb2 [Gate] was this, that he was the channel of grace from some great [p. 4.] Person still behind the veil of glory, who was the possessor of countless and boundless perfections, by whose will he moved, and to the bond of whose love he clung. And in the first book which he wrote in explanation of the Súra of Joseph3, he addressed himself in all passages to that Person unseen from whom he received help and grace, sought for aid in the arrangement of His preliminaries, and craved the sacrifice of life in the way of his love.

        Amongst others is this sentence: 'O Remnant of God4, I am wholly sacrificed to Thee; I am content

        1 Jamádí-ul-Úlá 5th, 1260 A.H. (May 23rd, 1844 A.D.), is the date given by the Báb himself in the Persian Beyán as that whereon his mission commenced. The texts referred to will be found quoted in Note C at end. Cf. also B. i, pp. 507-508.
        2 See Note D at end.
        3 Kur'an xii. See Gobineau, pp. 146-147; Rosen MSS. Arabes, pp. 179-191; B. ii, pp. 904-909.
        4 See Kazem-Beg ii, p. 486 and note.



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with curses in Thy way; I crave nought but to be slain in Thy love; and God the Supreme sufficeth as an Eternal Protection.'

        He likewise composed a number of works in explanation and elucidation of the verses of the [p. 5.] Kur'án, of sermons, and of prayers in Arabic; inciting and urging men to expect the appearance of that Person; and these books he named 'Inspired Pages' and 'Word of Conscience.' But on investigation it was discovered that he laid no claim to revelation from an angel.

        Now since he was noted amongst the people for lack of instruction and education, this circumstance appeared in the sight of men supernatural. Some men inclined to him, but the greater part manifested strong disapproval; whilst all the learned doctors and lawyers of repute who occupied chairs, altars, and pulpits were unanimously agreed on eradication and suppression, save some divines of the Sheykhí1 party who were anchorites and recluses, and who, agreeably to their tenets, were ever seeking for some great, incomparable, and trustworthy person, [p. 6.] whom they accounted, according to their own terminology, as the 'Fourth Support'2 and the central


        1 See Gobineau, pp. 30-32; Kazem-Beg, pp. 457-464; B. ii, pp. 884-885 and pp. 888-892; and Note E at end.
        2 See Note E at end.



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manifestation of the truths of the Perspicuous Religion1.

        Of this number Mullá Huseyn of Bushraweyh, Mírzá Ahmad of Azghand, Mullá Sádik 'Mukaddas' ['the Holy'], Sheykh Abú Turáb of Ashtahárd, Mullá Yúsuf of Ardabíl, Mullá Jalíl of Urúmiyya, Mullá Mahdí of Kand, Sheykh Sa'íd the Indian, Mullá 'Alí of Bistám, and the like of these came out unto him and spread themselves through all parts of Persia2.

        The Báb himself set out to perform the circumambulation of the House of God3. On his return, when the news of his arrival at Bushire reached Shíráz, there was much discussion, and a strange excitement and agitation became apparent in that city. [p. 7.] The great majority of the doctors set themselves to repudiate him, decreeing slaughter and destruction, and they induced Huseyn Khán Ajúdán-báshí, who was the governor of Fárs, to inflict a beating on the Báb's missionaries, that is on Mullá Sádik 'Mukaddas'; then, having burnt his moustaches and beard together with those of Mírzá Muhammad 'Alí of Bárfurúsh and Mullá 'Alí Akbar of Ardistán,

        1 i.e. the religion of Islám.
        2 For a further account of some of these persons see Note F at end.
        3 i.e. the pilgrimage to Mecca. See Kazem-Beg i, p. 344 and note; and also Note G at end.



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they put halters on all the three and led them round the streets and bazaars.

        Now since the doctors of Persia have no administrative capacity, they thought that violence and interference would cause extinction and silence and lead to suppression and oblivion; whereas interference in matters of conscience causes stability and firmness and attracts the attention of men's sight and souls; which fact has received experimental proof many times and often. So this punishment caused notoriety, [p. 8.] and most men fell to making enquiry.

        The governor of Fárs, acting according to that which the doctors deemed expedient, sent several horsemen1, caused the Báb to be brought before him, censured and blamed him in the presence of the doctors and scholars, and loosed his tongue in the demand for reparation. And when the Báb returned his censure and withstood him greatly, at a sign from the president they struck him a violent blow, insulting and contemning [sic] him, in such wise that his turban fell from his head and the mark of the blow was apparent on his face. At the conclusion of the meeting they decided to take counsel, and, on receiving bail and surety from His maternal uncle Hájí Seyyid 'Alí, sent him to his house forbidding him to hold intercourse with relations or strangers.

        1 See Note G at end, and Kazem-Beg i, pp. 346-348.


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        One day they summoned him to the mosque urging and constraining him to recant, but he discoursed from the pulpit in such wise as to silence and subdue those present and to stablish and [p. 9.] strengthen his followers. It was then supposed that he claimed to be the medium of grace from his Highness the Lord of the Age1 (upon him be peace); but afterwards it became known and evident that his meaning was the Gate-hood [Bábiyyat] of another city and the mediumship of the graces of another person whose qualities and attributes were contained in his books and treatises.

        At all events, as has been mentioned, by reason of the doctors' lack of experience and skill in administrative science, and the continual succession of their decisions, comment was rife; and their interference with the Báb cast a clamour throughout Persia, causing increased ardour in friends and the coming forward of the hesitating. For by reason of these occurrences men's interest increased, and in all parts of Persia some [of God's] servants inclined [p. 10.] toward him, until the matter acquired such importance that the late king Muhammad Sháh delegated a certain person named Seyyid Yahyá of Dáráb2, who was one of the best known of doctors and Seyyids as well as an object of veneration and con-

        1 See Kazem-Beg i, p. 345 and note.
        2 See Note H at end.



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fidence, giving him a horse and money for the journey so that he might proceed to Shíráz and personally investigate this matter.

        When the above-mentioned Seyyid arrived at Shíráz he interviewed the Báb three times. In the first and second conferences questioning and answering took place; in the third conference he requested a commentary on the Súra called Kawthar1, and when the Báb, without thought or reflection, wrote an elaborate commentary on the Kawthar in his presence, the above-mentioned Seyyid was charmed and enraptured with him, and straightway, without consideration for the future or anxiety about the results of this affection, hastened to Burújird to [p. 11.] his father Seyyid Ja'far, known as Kashfí, and acquainted him with the matter. And, although he was wise and prudent and was wont to have regard to the requirements of the time, he wrote without fear or care a detailed account of his observations to Mírzá Lutf 'Alí the chamberlain in order that the latter might submit it to the notice of the late king, while he himself journeyed to all parts of Persia, and in every town and station summoned the people from the pulpit-tops in such wise that other learned doctors decided that he must be mad, accounting it a sure case of bewitchment.

        1 Kur'án, cviii.


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        Now when the news of the decisions of the doctors and the outcry and clamour of the lawyers reached Zanján, Mullá Muhammad 'Alí the divine1, who was a man of mark possessed of penetrating speech, sent one of those on whom he could rely to Shíráz to [p. 12.] investigate this matter. This person, having acquainted himself with the details of these occurrences in such wise as was necessary and proper, returned with some [of the Báb's] writings. When the divine heard how matters were and had made himself acquainted with the writings, notwithstanding that he was a man expert in knowledge and noted for profound research, he went mad and became crazed as was predestined: he gathered up his books in the lecture-room saying, "The season of spring and wine has arrived," and uttered this sentence:- "Search for knowledge after reaching the known is culpable." Then from the summit of the pulpit he summoned and directed all his disciples [to embrace the doctrine], and wrote to the Báb his own declaration and confession.

        The Báb in his reply signified to him the obligation of congregational prayer.

        Although the doctors of Zanján arose with heart [p. 13.] and soul to exhort and admonish the people they could effect nothing. Finally they were compelled to

        1 Full accounts of this remarkable man will be found in Gobineau (pp. 233-252) and Kazem-Beg ii (pp. 198-224).


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go to Teherán and made their complaint before the late king Muhammad Sháh, requesting that Mullá Muhammad 'Alí might be summoned to Teherán. So the royal order went forth that he should appear.

        Now when he came to Teherán they brought him before a conclave of the doctors; but, so they relate, after many controversies and disputations naught was effected with him in that assembly. The late king therefore bestowed on him a staff and fifty túmáns1 for his expenses, and gave him permission to return.

        At all events, this news being disseminated through all parts and regions of Persia, and several proselytes [p. 14.] arriving in Fárs, the doctors perceived that the matter had acquired importance, that the power to deal with it had escaped from their hands, and that imprisonment, beating, tormenting, and contumely were fruitless. So they signified to the governor of Fárs, Huseyn Khán, "If thou desirest the extinction of this fire, or seekest a firm stopper for this rent and disruption, an immediate cure and decisive remedy is to kill the Báb. And the Báb has assembled a great host and meditates a rising."

        So Huseyn Khán ordered 'Abdu'l-Hamíd Khán the high constable to attack the house of the Báb's

        1 At the present time this would be equivalent to about £15, but at the time referred to it would be considerably more - probably more than £20.


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maternal uncle at midnight on all sides, and to bring him and all his followers hand-cuffed. But 'Abdu'l-hamíd Khán and his hosts found no one in the house save the Báb, his maternal uncle, and Seyyid Kázim of Zanján; and as it chanced that on that night the [p. 15.] sickness of the plague and the extreme heat of the weather had compelled Huseyn Khán to flee, he released the Báb on condition of his quitting the city1.

        On the morning after that night the Báb with Seyyid Kázim of Zanján set out from Shíráz for Isfahán. Before reaching Isfahán he wrote a letter to the Mu'tamadu 'd-Dawla, the governor of the province, requesting a lodging in some suitable place with the sanction of the government. The governor appointed the mansion of the Imám-Jum'a. There he abode forty days; and one day, agreeably to the request of the Imám, he wrote without reflection a commentary on [the Súra of] Wa'l-'Asr2 before the company. When this news reached the Mu'tamad he sought an interview with him and questioned him concerning the 'Special Mission.' At that same interview an answer proving the 'Special Mission' was written3.

        [p. 16.] The Mu'tamid then gave orders that all the doctors should assemble and dispute with him in one

        1 See Note I at end.
        2 Kur'án, ciii.
        3 See Note I at end.



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conclave, and that the discussion should be faithfully recorded without alteration by the instrumentality of his private secretary, in order that it might be sent to Teherán, and that whatever the royal edict and decree should ordain might be carried out.

        The doctors, however, considering this arrangement as a weakening of the Law, did not agree, but held a conclave and wrote, "If there be doubt in the matter there is need of assembly and discussion, but as this person's disagreement with the most luminous Law is clearer than the sun therefore the best possible thing is to put in practice the sentence of the Law."

        The Mu'tamad then desired to hold the assembled conference in his own presence so that the actual truth might be disclosed and hearts be at peace, but these learned doctors and honourable scholars, [p. 17.] unwilling to bring the Perspicuous Law into contempt, did not approve discussion and controversy with a young merchant, with the exception of that most erudite sage Áká Muhammad Mahdí, and that eminent Platonist Mírzá Hasan of Núr1. So the conference terminated in questionings on certain points relating to the science of fundamental dogma, and the elucidation and analysis of the doctrines of Mullá Sadrá2 So, as no conclusion was arrived at

        1 Múrché-Khúr is the second stage out from Isfahán on the north road, and is distant about 35 miles therefrom.
        2 For some account of this great philosopher see Gobineau, pp. 80-90, and Note K at end.



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by the governor from this conference, the severe sentence and harsh decision of the learned doctors was not carried out; but, anxious to abate the great anxiety quickly and prevent a public tumult effectually, he gave currency to a report that a decree had been issued ordering the Báb to be sent to Teherán in order that some decisive settlement might be arrived at, or that some courageous divine might be able to confute [him].

        [p. 18.] He accordingly sent him forth from Isfahán with a company of his own mounted body-guard; but when they reached Múrché-Khúr1 he gave secret orders for his return to Isfahán, where he afforded him a refuge and asylum in his own roofed private quarters2; and not a soul save the confidential and trusty dependents of the Mu'tamad knew aught of the Báb.

        A period of four months passed in this fashion, and the Mu'tamad passed away to the mercy of God. Gurgín Khán, the Mu'tamad's nephew, was aware of the Báb's being in the private apartments, and represented the matter to the Prime Minister. Hájí Mírzá Ákásí, that celebrated minister, issued a decisive

        1 See Note J at end.
        2 The building to which the Báb was thus transferred is called in the Táríkh-i-Jadíd 'the Royal Building of the Sun' (~~~). In the Persian Beyán (hid ii, ch. 16) the Báb alludes to his dwelling-place at Isfahán under the name of ~~~.



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command and gave instructions that they should send the Báb secretly in disguise under the escort of Nuseyrí1 horsemen to the capital.

        [p. 19.] When he reached Kinár-i-gird2 a fresh order came from the Prime Minister appointing the village of Kalín3 as an abode and dwelling-place. There he remained for a period of twenty days. After that, the Báb forwarded a letter to the Royal Presence craving audience to set forth the truth of his condition, expecting this to be a means for the attainment of great advantages. The Prime Minister did not admit this, and made representation to the Royal Presence:- "The royal cavalcade is on the point of starting, and to engage in such matters as the present

        1 The Nuseyrí religion is prevalent amongst many of the ílyát or wandering tribes of Persia. An interesting account of the secret doctrines and practices of this sect by one Suleymán Efendí al-Adhaní, who had withdrawn himself from it subsequently to his initiation, has been published at Beyrout under the title of [one line of Persian/Arabic script]. A very comprehensive account of this work by E. E. Salisbury may be found in the Journal of the American Oriental Society for 1866 (vol. viii, pp. 227-308). See also de Sacy's Exposé de la Religion des Druzes, vol. ii, pp. 559-586.
        2 A station on the old Isfahán road (now abandoned for one more towards the west) distant about 28 miles from Teherán.
        3 "Nom de la première station que rencontre le voyageur en allant de Rey Khowar." Barbier de Meynard, Dictionaire Géog. Hist. et Litt de la Perse (Paris, 1861).



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will conduce to the disruption of the kingdom. Neither is there any doubt that the most notable doctors of the capital also will behave after the fashion of the doctors of Isfahán, which thing will be the cause of a popular outbreak, or that, according to [p. 20.] the religion of the immaculate Imám, they will regard the blood of this Seyyid as of no account, yea, as more lawful than mother's milk. The imperial train is prepared for travel, neither is there hindrance or impediment in view. There is no doubt that the presence of the Báb will be the cause of the gravest trouble and the greatest mischief. Therefore, on the spur of the moment, the wisest plan is this:- to place this person in the Castle of Mákú during the period of absence of the royal train from the seat of the imperial throne, and to defer the obtaining of an audience to the time of return."

        Agreeably to this view a letter was issued addressed to the Báb in his Majesty's own writing, and, according to the traditional account of the tenour of this letter, the epitome thereof is this:-

        (After the titles). "Since the royal train is on [p. 21.] the verge of departure from Teherán, to meet in a befitting manner is impossible. Do you go to Mákú and there abide and rest for a while, engaged in praying for our victorious state; and we have arranged that under all circumstances they shall shew


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you attention and respect. When we return from travel we will summon you specially."

        After this they sent him off with several mounted guards (amongst them Muhammad Beg, the courier) to Tabríz and Mákú1.

        Besides this the followers of the Báb recount certain messages conveyed [from him] by the instrumentality of Muhammad Beg (amongst which was a promise to heal the foot of the late king, but on condition of an interview, and the suppression of the tyranny of the majority), and the Prime Minister's prevention of the conveyance of these letters to the Royal Presence. For he himself laid claim to be a spiritual guide and was prepared to perform [p. 22.] the functions of religious directorship. But others deny these accounts.

        At all events in the course of the journey he wrote a letter to the Prime Minister saying, "You summoned me from Isfahán to meet the doctors and for the attainment of a decisive settlement. What has happened now that this excellent intention has been changed for Mákú and Tabríz?"

        Although he remained forty days in the city of Tabríz the learned doctors did not condescend to approach him and did not deem it right to meet him. Then they sent him off to the Castle of Mákú, and for nine months lodged him in the inaccessible castle

        1 See Note L at end.


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which is situated on the summit of that lofty mountain. And 'Alí Khán of Mákú1, because of his excessive love for the family of the Prophet, paid him such attention as was possible, and gave permission [to some persons] to converse with him.

        [p. 23.] Now when the accomplished divines of Ázarbaiján perceived that in all the parts round about Tabríz it was as though the last day had come by reason of the excessive clamour, they requested the government to punish the [Báb's] followers, and to remove the Báb to the Castle of Chihrík. So they sent him to that castle and consigned him to the keeping of Yahyá Khán the Kurd[footnote 1].

        Glory be to God! Notwithstanding these decisions of great doctors and reverend lawyers, and severe punishments and reprimands - beatings, banishments, and imprisonments - on the part of governors, this sect was daily on the increase, and the discussion and disputation was such that in meetings and assemblies in all parts of Persia there was no conversation but on this topic. Great was the commotion which arose: the doctors of the Perspicuous Religion [p. 24.] were lamenting, the common folk clamorous and agitated, and the Friends rejoicing and applauding.

        But the Báb himself attached no importance to this uproar and tumult, and, alike on the road and in the castles of Mákú and Chihrík, evening and

        1 See Note L at end.


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morning, nay, day and night, in extremest rapture and amazement, he would restrict himself to repeating and meditating on the qualities and attributes of that absent-yet-present, regarded-and-regarding Person of his1. Thus he makes a mention of him whereof this is the purport:-

        "Though the ocean of woe rageth on every side, and the bolts of fate follow in quick succession, and the darkness of griefs and afflictions invade soul and body, yet is my heart brightened by the remembrance of Thy countenance and my soul is as a rose-garden from the perfume of Thy nature."

        In short, after he had remained for three months in the Castle of Chihrík, the eminent doctors of [p. 25.] Tabríz and scholars of Ázarbaiján wrote to Teherán and demanded a severe punishment in regard to the Báb for the intimidation and frightening of the people. When the Prime Minister Hájí Mírzá Ákásí beheld the ferment and clamour of the learned doctors in all districts of Persia, he perforce became their accomplice and ordered him to be brought from Chihrík to

        1 As I have pointed out in another place (B. ii, pp. 924-927), one of the most striking features of the Persian Beyán, composed by the Báb during his imprisonment at Mákú (which he repeatedly alludes to as 'the mountain of M'~~~), is the continual reference to 'Him whom God shall manifest' (~~~), whose precursor the Báb considered himself to be. The work translated by Gobineau (op. cit. p. 461 et seq.) under the title of Livre des Préceptes also affords ample evidence of this.


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Tabríz. In the course of his transit by Urúmiyya the governor of the district kásim Mírzá treated him with extraordinary deference, and a strange flocking together of high and low was apparent. These conducted themselves with the utmost respectfulness1.

        When the Báb reached Tabríz they brought him after some days before the government tribunal. Of the learned doctors the Nizámu 'l-'Ulamá, Mullá Muhammad Mámákání, Mírzá Ahmad the Imám-

        1 Dr Wright of the American Mission at Urúmiyya wrote a brief account of the Báb and his sect which was communicated by Mr Perkins to the German Oriental Society and published in their transactions for the year 1851. This account, dated March 31st, 1851, fully confirms the statement here made. After describing briefly the rise of the sect, the arrest of the Báb, his imprisonment at Mákú (... "a remote district six days' journey from Urúmiyya situated on the Turkish frontier"), his transference to Chihrík (... "near Salmás, only two days' journey from Urúmiyya"), and the conflicts between the Bábís and the orthodox party, especially in Mázandarán, he says:- "Die Sache wurde so ernsthaft, dass die Regierung den Befehl erliess, den Sectenstifter nach Tabrîz zu bringen und ihm die Bastonade zu geben, seine Schüler aber überall, wo man sie fände, aufzugreifen und mit Geld- und Körperstrafen zu belegen. Auf dem Wege nach Tabrîz wurde Bâb nach Orumia gebracht, wo ihn der Statthalter mit besonderer Aufmerksamkeit behandelte und viele Personen die Erlaubniss erhielten, ihn zu besuchen. Bei einer Gelegenheit war eine Menge Leute bei ihm, und wie der Statthalter nachher bemerkte, waren diese alle geheimnissvoll bewegt und brachen in Thränen aus." (Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, vol. v, pp. 384-385.)


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[p. 26.] Jum'a, Mírzá 'Alí Asghar the Sheykhu 'l-Islám, and several other divines were present1. They asked concerning the claims of the Báb. He advanced the claim of Mahdí-hood; whereon a mighty tumult arose. Eminent doctors in overwhelming might compassed him on all sides, and such was the onset of orthodoxy that it had been no great wonder if a mere youth had not withstood the mountain of Elburz. They demanded proof. Without hesitation he recited texts, saying, "This is the permanent and most mighty proof." They criticised his grammar. He adduced arguments from the Kur'án, setting forth therefrom instances of similar infractions of the rules of grammar. So the assembly broke up and the Báb returned to his own dwelling.

        The heaven-cradled Crown-Prince2 was at that [p. 27.] time governor of Ázarbaiján. He pronounced no sentence with regard to the Báb, nor did he desire to interfere with him. The doctors, however, considered it advisable at least to inflict a severe chastisement, and beating was decided on. But none of the corps of farráshes3 would agree to become the instruments of the infliction of this punishment. So Mírzá 'Alí Asghar the Sheykhu 'l-Islám, who was one of the

        1 See Note M at end.
        2siru'd-Dín, the present king of Persia.
        3 The farrásh (literally carpet-spreader) is the lictor of the East.



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noble Seyyids, brought him to his own house and applied the rods with his own hand. After this they sent the Báb back to Chihrík and subjected him to a strict confinement.

        Now when the news of this beating, chastisement, imprisonment, and rigour reached all parts of Persia, learned divines and esteemed lawyers who were possessed of power and influence girt up the loins of endeavour for the eradication and suppression of this sect, exerting their utmost efforts therefor. And [p. 28.] they wrote notice of their decision, to wit "that this person and his followers are in absolute error and are hurtful to Church and State." And since the governors in Persia enjoyed the fullest authority, in some provinces they followed this decision and united in uprooting and dispersing the Bábís. But the late King Muhammad Sháh1 acted with deliberation in this matter, reflecting, "This youth is of the Pure Lineage and of the family of him addressed with 'were it not for thee2 .' So long as no offen-

        1 For an admirable sketch of the characters of this monarch and his minister Hájí Mírzá Ákásí, see Gobineau, pp. 160-166. Concerning the latter see also Watson's History of Persia, p. 288.
        2 See note 1 at foot of p. 2. In a very well-known tradition God is said to have addressed the Prophet Muhammad as follows:- [half a line of Persian/Arabic script] 'Were it not for thee I had not created the heavens.' Hence "the family of him addressed with 'were it not for thee'" means simply the [footnote goes onto page 22] descendants of the Prophet, amongst whom the Báb, in his capacity of Seyyid, must be reckoned.



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sive actions which are incompatible with the public peace and well-being proceed from him, the government should not interfere with him." And whenever the learned doctors appealed to him from the surrounding districts, he either gave no answer, or else commanded them to act with deliberation.

        Notwithstanding this, between eminent doctors [p. 29.] and illustrious scholars and those learned persons who were followers of the Báb opposition, discussion, and strife did so increase that in some provinces they desired [to resort to] mutual imprecation; and for the governors of the provinces, too, a means of acquiring gain was produced, so that great tumult and disturbance arose. And since the malady of the gout had violently attacked the king's foot and occupied his world-ordering thought, the good judgment of the Chief Minister, the famous Háji Mírzá Ákásí1, became the pivot of the conduct of affairs, and his incapacity and lack of resource became apparent as the sun. For every hour he formed a new opinion and gave a new order: at one moment he would seek to support the decision of the doctors, accounting the eradication and suppression of the Bábís as necessary: at another time he would charge the [p. 30.] doctors with aggressiveness, regarding undue inter-

        1 See note 1 at foot of preceding page.


[page 23]

ference as contrary to justice: at another time he would become a mystic and say, 'All these voices are from the King1,' or repeat with his tongue, 'Moses is at war with Moses2,' or recite, 'This is nought but Thy

        1 The distich of which this is the first hemistich is a great favourite with the Súfís. It occurs in the first book of the Masnavi of Jalálu'd-Dín Rúmí in the 8th story (Story of the Harper). Different editions present considerable variants in the first hemistich, and in no one of the four which I have consulted does it stand as here quoted. In the Bombay edition of A. H. 1290 (p. 50, l. 20), the Teherán edition of A. H. 1299 known as 'Alá'ud-Dawla's (p. 51, l. 4), and a Constantinople edition of the first book published in A. H. 1288 (p. 77, l. 20) the entire couplet stands as follows:
    [one line of Persian/Arabic script]
    "Indeed that voice is really from the King
    Although [apparently] it is from the throat of 'Abdu 'lláh.
    "
The English reader may consult Redhouse's versified translation of Book i of the Masnaví, p. 141, first two lines.
        2 This quotation is also from the Masnaví [Teherán edition of 'Alá'ud-Dawla, p. 65, l. 27; Bombay edition, p. 63, l. 16]. The couplet stands in both as follows:-
                        [one line of Persian/Arabic script]
                        "When Colourlessness became the captive of colour
                       
A Moses is at war with a Moses."
        Redhouse's version will be found on p. 180 of his work above quoted, first two lines. A complete treatise on the mysticism of the Súfís might be written on this text, which is pretty fully discussed in Hájí Mullá Hádí's excellent commentary on the Masnaví (Teherán edition of A.H. 1285, p. 68 and also in a marginal note in 'Alá'ud-Dawla's Teherán edition (loc. cit.). In brief the meaning is this:- that strife and contest [footnote goes onto page 24] arise from the imprisonment of the One Absolute Undifferentiated Being ('Colourlessness') in the phantasmal appearances ('colours') of the World of Plurality. So Jámí says at the close of a very beautiful passage:- [Two lines of Persian/Arabic script] "All this tumult and strife in the world are from love of Him; It hath become known at this time that the source of the strife is One."



[page 24]

trial1.' In short this changeable minister, by reason of his mismanagement of important matters and failure to control and order the affairs of the community, so acted that disturbance and clamour arose from all quarters and directions: the most notable and influential of the doctors ordered the common folk to molest the followers of the Báb, and a general onslaught took place. More especially when the claim of Mahdí-hood2 reached the hearing of eminent divines and profound doctors they began to make lamentation and to cry and complain from their [p. 31.] pulpits, saying, "one of the essentials of religion and of the authentic traditions transmitted from the holy Imáms, nay, the chief basis of the foundations of the church of His Highness Ja'far3, is the Occultation

        1 Kur'án vii, 154.
        2 See note N at end, and p. 20.
        3 The Imám Ja'far-i-Sádik, as he is commonly called, was, according to the Shi'ite faith, the sixth of the twelve Imáms, [footnote goes onto page 25] and succeeded his father, the Imám Muhammad Bákir, who was the fifth Imám. Why the Shi'ites should speak of him as in some sort the founder of their church is explained thus in a work called ~~~ ("Tenets of the Shi'ites") published in Teherán:- "Since His Holiness [the Imám Ja'far] lived at the end of the Omayyad and the beginning of the 'Abbásid dynasty and these two families were in conflict with one another, he tranquilly engaged in expounding the ordinances of God; therefore do men refer the religion to him, since he gave currency to the true doctrines."



[page 25]

of the immaculate twelfth Imám (upon both of them be peace). What has happened to Jábulká1? Where has Jábulsá gone? What was the Minor Occultation? What has become of the Major Occultation? What are the sayings of Huseyn ibn Rúh, and what

        1 For the explanation of this and the subsequent points of Shi'ite belief alluded to in this passage see Note O at end. The general tenour of the argument here put in the mouths of the Shi'ite doctors is this:- "That certain prodigies and marvellous signs shall usher in the advent of the Imám Mahdí is an essential doctrine of our faith sufficiently confirmed and established by authentic traditions. If we believe this, then we must reject the Báb's claim to be the promised Mahdí, since these signs have not been witnessed: in which case it behoves us to inflict on him the severest punishment. If, on the other hand, we admit the Báb's claim, we thereby renounce our religion and become neither Sunnís nor Shí'as; unless, indeed, we take the view of the Bábís that these signs are to be understood metaphorically, that no literal fulfilment of them is to be looked for, and that to substantiate a claim to Mahdí-hood only two things are necessary - that the claimant should belong to the family of the Prophet, and that he should be able to produce revealed verses similar to those in the Kur'án." Concerning this view of the Bábís see B. ii, pp. 915-918.


[page 26]

the tradition of Ibn Mihriyár? What shall we make of the flight of the Guardians and the Helpers? How shall we deal with the conquest of the East and the West? Where is the Ass of Antichrist? When will the appearance of the Sofyán be? Where are the signs which are in the traditions of the Holy Family? Where is that whereon the Victorious Church is agreed? The matter is not outside one of two alternatives:- either we must repudiate the traditions of [p. 32.] the Holy Imáms, grow wearied of the Church of Ja'far, and account the clear indications of the Imám as disturbed dreams; or, in accordance with the primary and subsidiary doctrines of the Faith and the essential and explicit declarations of the most luminous Law, we must consider the repudiation, nay, the destruction of this person as our chief duty. If so be that we shut our eyes to these authentic traditions and obvious doctrines universally admitted, no remnant will endure of the fundamental basis of the Church of the immaculate Imám: we shall neither be Sunnites, nor shall we be of the prevalent sect1 to continue awaiting the promised Saint and believing in the begotten Mahdí. Otherwise we must regard as admissible the opening of the Gate of Saintship, and consider that He Who is to arise2 of the family of Muhammad possesses two signs:- the first condition,

        1 i.e. of the Shi'ite church dominant in Persia.
        2 i.e. the Imám-Mahdí. See Note O at end.



[page 27]

Holy Lineage; the second, [that he is divinely] fortified with brilliant verses. What can we do with these thousand-year-old beliefs of the delivered band of [p. 33.] the Shi'ites, or what shall we say concerning their profound doctors and pre-eminent divines? Were all these in error? Did they journey in the vale of transgression? What an evidently false assertion is this! By God, this is a thing to break the back! O people, extinguish this fire and forget these words! Alas! woe to our Faith, woe to our Law!"

        Thus did they make complaint in mosques and chapels, in pulpits and congregations.

        But the Bábí chiefs composed treatises against them, and set in order replies according to their own thought1. Were these to be discussed in detail it would conduce to prolixity, and our object is the statement of history, not of arguments for believing or rejecting; but of some of the replies the gist is this:- that they held the Proof as supreme, and the [p. 34.] evidence as outweighing traditions, considering the

        1 Amongst the controversial works of the Bábís may be mentioned especially the ~~~ (Seven Proofs) composed by the Báb himself about the year A.H. 1264-5 (A.D. 1848-49) during his imprisonment at Mákú, and the ~~~ (Assurance) composed by Behá'u'lláh in Baghdad in the year A.H. 1278 (A.D. 1861-62). For a brief abstract of the former see B. ii, pp. 912-918: for specimens of the latter carefully and judiciously selected see Rosen's MSS. Persans, pp. 32-51, and for some account of the work see B. ii, pp. 944-948.


[page 28]

former as the root and the latter as the branch, and saying, "If the branch agree not with the root it serves not as an argument and is unworthy of reliance; for the reported consequence has no right to oppose itself to the established principle, and cannot argue against it." Indeed in such cases they regarded interpretation as the truth of revelation and the essence of true exegesis1: thus, for instance, they interpreted the sovereignty of the Ká'im as a mystical sovereignty, and his conquests as conquests of the cities of hearts, adducing in support of this the meekness and defeat of the Chief of Martyrs2 (may the life of all being be a sacrifice for him). For he was the true manifestation of the blessed verse 'And verily our host shall overcome for them3,' yet, notwithstanding this, he quaffed the cup of martyrdom with perfect [p. 35.] meekness, and, at the very moment of uttermost defeat, triumphed over his enemies and became the most mighty of the troops of the Supreme Host. Similarly they regarded the numerous writings which, in spite of his lack of education, the Báb had composed, as due to the promptings of the Holy Spirit; extracted from books contrary sayings handed down by men of mark; adduced traditions apparently agreeing with their objects; and clung to the an-

        1 See Rosen's MSS. Persans, p. 36, and B. ii, pp. 915-916.
        2 Huseyn, son of 'Alí, the third Imám.
        3 Kur'án xxxvii, 173.



[page 29]

nouncements of certain notables of yore. They also considered the conversion of austere and recluse doctors and eminent votaries of the Perspicuous Religion [of Islám] as a valid proof1, deemed the steadfastness and constancy of the Báb a most mighty sign2, and related miracles and the like; which things, being altogether foreign to our purpose, we have [p. 36.] passed by with brevity, and will now proceed with our original topic.

        At the time of these events certain persons appeared amongst the Bábís who had a strange ascendancy and appearance in the eyes of this sect. Amongst these was Mírzá Muhammad 'Alí of Mázandarán, who was the disciple of the illustrious Seyyid (may God exalt his station) Hájí Seyyid Kázim of Rasht, and who was the associate and companion of the Báb in his pilgrimage journey. After a while certain manners and states issued from him such that all, acting with absolute confidence, considered obedience to him as an impregnable stronghold, so that even Mullá Huseyn of Bushraweyh, who was the leader of all and the arbiter appealed to alike by the noble and the humble of this sect, used to behave in his presence with great humility and with the self-abasement of a lowly servant3.

        1 See Rosen's MSS. Persans, p. 41.
        2 Ibid, p. 43.
        3 This statement is confirmed by the Táríkh-i-Jadíd.



[page 30]

        This personage set himself to exalt the word of [p. 37.] the Báb with the utmost steadfastness, and the Báb did full justice to speech in praising and glorifying him, accounting his uprising as an assistance from the Unseen. In delivery and style1 he was 'evident magic,' and in firmness and constancy superior to all. At length in the year [A.H.] 1265 at the sentence of the chief of lawyers the Sa'ídu 'l-'Ulamá the chief divine of Bárfurúsh, he yielded his head and surrendered his life amidst extremest clamour and outcry2.

        And amongst them was she who was entitled Kurratu 'l-'Ayn the daughter of Hájí Mullá Sálih., the sage of Kazvín, the erudite doctor. She, according to what is related, was skilled in diverse arts, amazed the understandings and thoughts of the most eminent masters by her eloquent dissertations on the exegesis and tradition of the Perspicuous Book3, and was a mighty sign in the doctrines of the glorious Sheykh of Ah4. At the Supreme Shrines5[p. 38.] she borrowed light on matters divine from the lamp

        1 Of the writings of Mullá Muhammad 'Alí (called ~~~ from the title - ~~~ - borne by their author amongst his co-religionists) six pieces occupying in all 39 pages are contained in a MS. in my possession.
        2 See Note P at end.
        3 The Kur'án.
        4 Sheykh Ahmad Ahsá'í the founder of the Sheykhí school of theology, concerning which see Note E at end.
        5 Kerbelá and Nejef.



[page 31]

of Kázim1, and freely sacrificed her life in the way of the Báb. She discussed and disputed with the doctors and sages, loosing her tongue to establish her doctrine. Such fame did she acquire that most people who were scholars or mystics sought to hear her speech and were eager to become acquainted with her powers of speculation and deduction. She had a brain full of tumultuous ideas, and thoughts vehement and restless. In many places she triumphed over the contentious, expounding the most subtle questions. When she was imprisoned in the house of [Mahmúd] the Kalántar of Teherán2, and the festivities and rejoicings of a wedding were going on, the wives of the city magnates who were present as guests were so charmed [p. 39.] with the beauty of her speech that, forgetting the festivities, they gathered round her, diverted by listening to her words from listening to the melodies, and rendered indifferent by witnessing her marvels to the contemplation of the pleasant and novel sights which are incidental to a wedding. In short in elocution she was the calamity of the age, and in ratiocination the trouble of the world. Of fear or timidity there was no trace in her heart, nor had the admonitions of the kindly-disposed any profit

        1 Hájí Seyyid Kázim of Resht, the pupil and successor of Sheykh Ahmad and the Teacher of the Báb. See Note E at end.
        2 See Gobineau, pp. 292-295; Kazem-Beg i, p. 522 and note, and ii, p. 249; and Eastwick's Diplomate's Residence in Persia, vol. i, p. 288-290.



[page 32]

or fruit for her. Although she was of [such as are] damsels [meet] for the bridal bower, yet she wrested pre-eminence from stalwart men, and continued to strain the feet of steadfastness until she yielded up her life at the sentence of the mighty doctors in Teherán. But were we to occupy ourselves with these details the matter would end in prolixity1.

        Well, Persia was in this critical state and the learned doctors perplexed and anxious, when the [p. 40.] late Prince Muhammad Sháh died2, and the throne of sovereignty was adorned with the person of the new monarch. Mírzá Takí Khán Amír-Nizám, who was Prime Minister and Chief Regent, seized in the grasp of his despotic power the reins of the affairs of the commonwealth, and urged the steed of his ambition into the arena of wilfulness and sole possession. This minister was a person devoid of experience and wanting in consideration for the consequences of actions; bloodthirsty and shameless; and swift and ready to shed blood3. Severity in

        1 For some further account of Kurratu'l-'Ayn see Note Q at end.
        2 September 4th, 1848. See Watson's History, p. 354.
        3 This is by no means the light in which Mírzá Takí Khán is regarded by most historians. See especially the encomiums bestowed on him by Watson (History of Persia from the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, &ct. p. 364 and p. 404). Compare also Lady Sheil's Diary, pp. 248-253. Yet his cruelty towards the Báb and his followers goes far to justify their opinion of him, and at least fully explains the fact that they [footnote goes onto page 33] regard the cruel fate which befel him at the hands of the king as a signal instance of Divine vengeance. See Gobineau, p. 253-254.



[page 33]

punishing he regarded as wise administration, and harshly entreating, distressing, intimidating, and frightening the people he considered as a fulcrum for the advancement of the monarchy. And as His Majesty the King was in the prime of youthful years [p. 41.] the minister fell into strange fancies and sounded the drum of absolutism in [the conduct of] affairs: on his own decisive resolution, without seeking permission from the Royal Presence or taking counsel with prudent statesmen, he issued orders to persecute the Bábís, imagining that by overweening force he could eradicate and suppress matters of this nature, and that harshness would bear good fruit; whereas [in fact] to interfere with matters of conscience is simply to give them greater currency and strength; the more you strive to extinguish the more will the flame be kindled, more especially in matters of faith and religion, which spread and acquire influence so soon as blood is shed, and strongly affect men's hearts. These things have been put to the proof, and the greatest proof is this very transaction. Thus [p. 42.] they relate that the possessions of a certain Bábí in Káshán were plundered, and his household scattered and dispersed. They stripped him naked and scourged him, defiled his beard, mounted him face backwards


[page 34]

on an ass, and paraded him through the streets and bazaars with the utmost cruelty, to the sound of drums, trumpets, guitars, and tambourines. A certain guebre1 who knew absolutely nought of the world or its denizens chanced to be seated apart in a corner of a caravansaray. When the clamour of the people rose high he hastened into the street, and, becoming cognizant of the offence and the offender, and the cause of his public disgrace and punishment in full detail, he fell to making search, and that very day entered the society of the Bábís, saying, "This very ill-usage and public humiliation is a proof of [p. 43.] truth and the very best of arguments. Had it not been thus it might have been that a thousand years would have passed ere one like me became informed."

        At all events the minister with the utmost arbitrariness, without receiving any instructions or asking permission, sent forth commands in all directions to punish and chastise the Bábís. Governors and magistrates sought a pretext for amassing wealth, and officials a means of [acquiring] profits; celebrated doctors from the summits of their pulpits incited men to make a general onslaught; the powers of the

        1 It is almost unnecessary to remark that the word guebre (more correctly gabr) is always used in a contemptuous if not in an offensive sense. It is never used by the Zoroastrians in speaking of themselves.


[page 35]

religious and the civil law linked hands and strove to eradicate and destroy this people.

        Now this people had not yet acquired such knowledge as was right and needful of the fundamental principles and hidden doctrines of the Báb's teachings, and did not recognise their duties. Their conceptions and ideas were after the former fashion, and [p. 44.] their conduct and behaviour in correspondence with ancient usage. The way of approach to the Báb was, moreover, closed, and the flame of trouble visibly blazing on every side. At the decree of the most celebrated of the doctors, the government, and indeed the common people, had, with irresistible power, inaugurated rapine and plunder on all sides, and were engaged in punishing and torturing, killing and despoiling, in order that they might quench this fire and wither these [poor] souls. In towns where these were but a limited number all of them with bound hands became food for the sword, while in cities where they were numerous they arose in self-defence agreeably to their former beliefs, since it was impossible for them to make enquiry as to their duty, and all doors were closed.

        [p. 45.] In Mázandarán amongst other places the people of the city of Bárfurúsh at the command of the chief of lawyers the Sa'ídu'l-'Ulamá made a general attack on Mullá Huseyn of Bushraweyh and his followers, and slew six or seven persons. They were busy compassing


[page 36]

the destruction of the rest also when Mullá Huseyn ordered the azán1 to be sounded and stretched forth his hand to the sword, whereupon all sought flight, and the nobles and lords coming before him with the utmost penitence and deference agreed that he should be permitted to depart. They further sent with them as a guard Khusraw of Kádí-kalá with horsemen and footmen, so that, according to the terms of the agreement, they might go forth safe and protected from the territory of Mázandarán. When they, being ignorant of the fords and paths, had emerged from the city, Khusraw dispersed his horsemen and footmen and set them in ambush in the [p. 46.] forest of Mázandarán, scattered and separated the Bábís in that forest on the road and off the road, and began to hunt them down singly. When the reports of muskets arose on every side the hidden secret became manifest, and several wanderers and other persons were suddenly slain with bullets. Mullá Huseyn ordered the azán1 to be sounded to assemble his scattered followers, while Mírzá Lutf-'Alí2 the secretary drew his dagger and ripped open Khusraw's vitals. Of Khusraw's host some were slain and others wandered distractedly over the field

        1 The call to prayer.
        2 According to the Táríkh-i-Jadíd it was a Bábí named Mírzá Muhammad Takí who, exasperated by Khusraw's insolences towards Mullá Huseyn slew the treacherous guide.



[page 37]

of battle. Mullá Huseyn quartered his host in a fort near the burial-place of Sheykh tabarsí1, and, being aware of the wishes of the community, relaxed [p. 47.] and interrupted the march. This detachment was subsequently further reinforced by Mírzá Muhammad 'Alí of Mázandarán with a number of other persons, so that the garrison of the fort numbered three hundred and thirteen souls. Of these, however, all were not capable of fighting, only one hundred and ten persons being prepared for war. Most of them were doctors or students whose companions had been during their whole life books and treatises; yet, in spite of the fact that they were unaccustomed to war or to the blows of shot and sword, four times were camps and armies arrayed against them and they were attacked and hemmed in with cannons, muskets, and bomb-shells, and on all four occasions they inflicted defeat, while the army was completely routed and dispersed2. On the occasion of the fourth defeat

        1 The tomb of Sheykh tabarsí - ever memorable for the gallant defence of the Bábís - is situated about fourteen miles SE. of Bárfurúsh and can only be reached by traversing swampy rice-fields and dense forests which in wet weather must be almost impassable. I visited the spot on September 26th 1888, and could perceive no trace of the strong ramparts described by the Musulmán historians and by Gobineau as having been erected by the Bábís.
        2 Kazem-Beg enumerates four sorties made by the Bábís, of which the first three were successful, although in the second Mullá Huseyn was killed. Kazem-Beg's second sortie there-[footnote goes onto page 38]fore corresponds to the fourth Bábí victory mentioned above. Considerable confusion exists as to the successive incidents of the siege, but after comparing the different accounts and especially that of the Táríkh-i-Jadíd I should suppose the four successes here alluded to to be as follows:- (1) Rout of some of the comrades of the deceased Khusraw who attacked the Bábís some three weeks after they had taken up their quarters at Sheykh tabarsí. (2) Repulse of a larger force of local volunteers and sack of Faráhil (Kazem-Beg i, p. 491-492; Gobineau, p. 197-199). (3) Surprise of Mahdí-Kulí Mírzá and rout of his troops with great loss (Kazem-Beg i, p. 495-499; Gobineau, p. 201-206). (4) The successful sortie wherein Mullá Huseyn's gallant career was brought to a close in the very hour of victory (Kazem-Beg i, p. 499-504; Gobineau, p. 210-215).



[page 38]

'Abbás-Kulí Khán of Láríján was captain of the forces and Prince Mahdí-Kulí Mírzá commander in the camp. [p. 48.] The Khán above mentioned used at nights to conceal and hide himself in disguise amongst the trees of the forest outside the camp, while during the day he was present in the encampment. The last battle took place at night and the army was routed. The Bábís fired the tents and huts, and night became bright as day. The foot of Mullá Huseyn's horse caught in a noose, for he was riding, the others being on foot. 'Abbás-Kulí Khán recognized him from the top of a tree afar off, and with his own hand discharged several bullets. At the third shot he threw him from his feet. He was borne by his followers to the fort, and there they buried him. Notwithstanding this event [the troops] could not


[page 39]

prevail by superior force. At length the Prince made a treaty and covenant, and sware by the Holy Imáms, confirming his oath by vows plighted on the [p. 49.]glorious Kur'án, to this effect: "You shall not be molested; return to your own places." Since their provisions had for some time been exhausted, so that even of the skins and bones of horses naught remained, and they had subsisted for several days on pure water, they agreed. When they arrived at the army food was prepared for them in a place outside the camp. They were engaged in eating, having laid aside their weapons and armour, when the soldiers fell on them on all sides and slew them all. Some have accounted this valour displayed by these people as a thing miraculous, but when a band of men are besieged in some place where all avenues and roads are stopped and all hope of deliverance is cut off they will assuredly defend themselves desperately [p. 50.] and display bravery and courage.

        In Zanján and Níríz likewise at the decree of erudite doctors and notable lawyers a bloodthirsty military force attacked and besieged. In Zanján the chief was Mullá Muhammad 'Alí the mujtahid, while in Níríz Seyyid Yahyá of Dáráb was the leader and arbiter1. At first they sought to bring about a

        1 For full accounts of the siege of Zanján see Gobineau, p. 233-254; Kazem-Beg ii, p. 196-224; and compare Watson, p. 387-392; Lady Sheil's Diary, p. 181. Kazem-Beg alone of [footnote goes onto page 40] these four authorities gives an account of the events at Níríz (ii, p. 224-239), but, as it appears to me, he deals very unjustly with the character of Seyyid Yahyá of Dáráb. This much at least is certain, that the Bábís still regard him as one of their saints, which at any rate shews that they entertain no doubts either of his sincerity or his loyalty. See Note H at end.


[page 40]

reconciliation, but, meeting with cruel ferocity, they reached the pitch of desperation; and, the overpowering force of the victorious troops having cut off every passage of flight, they unclosed their hands in resistance. But although they were very strong in battle and amazed the chiefs of the army by their steadfastness and endurance, the overwhelming military force closed the passage of flight and broke [p. 51.] their wings and feathers. After numerous battles they too at last yielded to covenants and compacts, oaths and promises, vows registered on the Kur'án, and the wonderful stratagems of the officers, and were all put to the edge of the sword.

        Were we to occupy ourselves in detail with the wars of Níríz and Zanján, or to set forth these events from beginning to end, this epitome would become a bulky volume. So, since this would be of no advantage to history, we have passed them over briefly.

        During the course of the events which took place at Zanján the Prime Minister devised a final and trenchant remedy. Without the royal command, without consulting with the ministers of the subject-


[page 41]

protecting court, he, acting with arbitrary disposition, fixed determination, and entirely on his own authority, issued commands to put the Báb to death. This [p. 52.] befel in brief as follows. The governor of Ázarbaiján, Prince hamzé Mírzá, was unwilling that the execution of this sentence should be at his hands1, and said to the brother of the Amír, Mírzá Hasan Khán, "This is a vile business and an easy one; anyone is capable and competent. I had imagined that His Excellency the Regent would commission me to make war on the Afghans or Uzbegs or appoint me to attack and invade the territory of Russia or Turkey." So Mírzá Hasan Khán wrote his excuse in detail to the Amír.

        Now the Seyyid Báb had disposed all his affairs before setting out from Chihrík towards Tabríz, had placed his writings and even his ring and pen-case in a specially prepared box, put the key of the box in an envelope, and sent it by means of Mullá Bákir, who was one of his first associates, to Mullá 'Abdu'l-[p. 53.]Karím of Kazvín2. This trust Mullá Bákir delivered

        1 According to Gobineau (p. 259 et seq.), however, hamzé Mírzá took the leading part in the examination and condemnation of the Báb.
        2 Mullá 'Abdu'l-Karím was also known amongst the Bábís by the name of Mírzá Ahmad-i-Kátib (the Scribe), inasmuch as he acted as amanuensis to the Báb and later to Mírzá Yahyá, Subh-i-Ezel. He was one of the twenty-eight victims put to death in August 1852 in Teherán, and fell by the hands [footnote goes onto page 42] of the artillerymen, apparently without having undergone previous torture which he had much feared and wherefrom he had prayed frequently to be delivered.



[page 42]

over to Mullá 'Abdu'l-Karím at Kum in presence of a numerous company. At the solicitations of those present he opened the lid of the box and said, "I am commanded to convey this trust to Behá'u'lláh: more than this ask not of me, for I cannot tell you." Importuned by the company, he produced a long epistle in blue, penned in the most graceful manner with the utmost delicacy and firmness in a beautiful minute shikasta hand, written in the shape of a man so closely that it would have been imagined that it was a single wash of ink on the paper1. When they had read this epistle [they perceived that] he had produced three hundred and sixty derivatives from the word Behá. Then Mullá 'Abdu'l-Karím con[p. 54.]veyed the trust to its destination.

        Well, we must return to our original narrative. The Prime Minister issued a second order to his brother Mírzá Hasan Khán, the gist of which order was this:- "Obtain a formal and explicit sentence from the learned doctors of Tabríz who are the firm support of the Church of Ja'far (upon him be peace)

        1 An epistle of this sort written by the Báb I have seen. It was in the form of a pentacle, and most beautifully executed as above described. Cf. Kazem-Beg ii, p. 498. For a specimen of the 'derivatives' produced by the Báb from the word Behá see Note R at end.


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and the impregnable stronghold of the Shi'ite faith; summon the Christian regiment of Urúmiyya; suspend the Báb before all the people; and give orders for the regiment to fire a volley."

        Mírzá Hasan Khán summoned his chief of the farráshes, and gave him his instructions. They removed the Báb's turban and sash which were the signs of his Seyyid-hood, brought him with four of his followers1 to the barrack square of Tabríz, confined him in a cell, and appointed forty of the [p. 55.] Christian soldiers of Tabríz to guard him.

        Next day the chief of the farráshes delivered over the Báb and a young man named Áká Muhammad 'Alí who was of a noble family of Tabríz to Sám Khán, colonel of the Christian regiment of Urúmiyya, at the sentences of the learned divine Mullá Muhammad of Mámákán, of the second ecclesiastical authority Mírzá Bákir, and of the third ecclesiastical authority Mullá Murtazá-Kulí and others. An iron nail was hammered into the middle of the staircase of the very cell wherein they were imprisoned, and two ropes were hung down. By one rope the Báb was suspended and by the other rope Áká Muhammad 'Alí, both being firmly bound in such wise that the

        1 These four would seem to have been - (1) Áká Muhammad 'Alí of Tabríz; (2) Áká Seyyid Huseyn of Yezd, the Báb's amanuensis; (3) Áká Seyyid Hasan of Yezd, his brother; (4) Áká Seyyid Ahmad of Tabríz. See Note S at end.


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head of that young man was on the Báb's breast. The surrounding house-tops billowed with teeming crowds. A regiment of soldiers ranged itself in three files. The first file fired; then the second file, and [p. 56.] then the third file discharged volleys. From the fire of these volleys a mighty smoke was produced. When the smoke cleared away they saw that young man standing and the Báb seated by the side of his amanuensis Áká Seyyid Huseyn in the very cell from the staircase of which they had suspended them. To neither one of them had the slightest injury resulted.

        Sám Khán the Christian asked to be excused; the turn of service came to another regiment, and the chief of the farráshes withheld his hand. Áká Ján Beg of Khamsa, colonel of the body-guard, advanced; and they again bound the Báb together with that young man to the same nail. The Báb uttered certain words which those few who knew Persian understood1, while the rest heard but the sound of his voice.

        [p. 57.] The colonel of the regiment appeared in person: and it was before noon on the twenty-eighth of Sha'bán in the year [A.H.] one thousand two hundred

        1 The Ázarbaiján dialect of Turkish is the language generally spoken in Tabríz, and only persons who have either received some education or travelled in other parts of Persia understand Persian. Indeed Turkish prevails as far east as Kazvín, is widely spoken in Teherán, and is understood by many even as far south as Kum.


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and sixty-six1. Suddenly he gave orders to fire. At this volley the bullets produced such an effect that the breasts [of the victims] were riddled, and their limbs were completely dissected, except their faces, which were but little marred.

        Then they removed those two bodies from the square to the edge of the moat outside the city, and that night they remained by the edge of the moat. Next day the Russian consul came with an artist and took a picture of those two bodies in the posture wherein they had fallen at the edge of the moat.

        On the second night at midnight the Bábís carried away the two bodies.

        On the third day the people did not find the [p. 58.] bodies, and some supposed that the wild beasts had devoured them, so that the doctors proclaimed from the summits of their pulpits saying, "The holy body of the immaculate Imám and that of the true Shi'ite are preserved from the encroachments of beasts of prey and creeping things and wounds, but the body of this person have the wild beasts torn in pieces." But after the fullest investigation and enquiry it hath

        1 July 9th 1850. I have already pointed out (B. i, p. 512) that Kazem-Beg is in error in placing the Báb's death in 1849. As to the events contemporary with the Founder's martyrdom, the siege of Zanján was in progress, while the Níríz insurrection had just been quelled. Indeed Áká Seyyid Yahyá of Dáráb according to reliable tradition suffered martyrdom on the same day as the Báb.


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been proved that when the Báb had dispersed all his writings and personal properties and it had become clear and evident from various signs that these events would shortly take place1, therefore, on the second day of these events, Suleymán Khán2 the son of Yahyá Khán, one of the nobles of Ázarbaiján devoted to the Báb, arrived, and proceeded straightway to the house of the mayor of Tabríz. And since the mayor was an old friend, associate, and confidant of [p. 59.] his; since, moreover, he was of the mystic temperament and did not entertain aversion or dislike for any sect, Suleymán Khán divulged this secret to

        1 There is no doubt that, as Gobineau states (p. 258), the Báb fully expected to suffer martyrdom. He even issued instructions as to the disposal of his remains, which he desired should be placed near the shrine of Sháh 'Abdu'l-'Azím some five miles to the south of Teherán. "The place of Sháh 'Abdu'l-'Azím," he wrote, "is a good land, by reason of the proximity of Wahíd" (i.e. Subh-i-Ezel, whose name, Yahyá, is equivalent numerically to Wahíd, cf. B. ii, 997) "for keeping; and God is the Best of Keepers." The body, as here stated, was presently sent along with that of Áká Muhammad 'Alí, the Báb's fellow-sufferer, from Tabríz to Teherán. It was committed to the care of Áká Mahdí of Káshán, who deposited it in a little shrine called Imám-zádé-i-Ma'súm situated near the Imám-zádé-i-Hasan on the road from Teherán to Ribát.-Karím. Here it remained in charge of the custodian of the shrine (who was paid to keep watch over it) till about the year 1867, when it was removed elsewhere by command of Behá'u'lláh.
        2 Concerning Suleymán Khán's martyrdom in August 1852 at Teherán see Note T at end.



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him saying, "Tonight I, with several others, will endeavour by every means and artifice to rescue the body. Even though it be not possible, come what may we will make an attack, and either attain our object or pour out our lives freely in this way." "Such troubles," answered the mayor, "are in no wise necessary." He then sent one of his private servants named Hájí Alláh-yár, who, by whatever means and proceedings it was, obtained the body without trouble or difficulty and handed it over to Hájí Suleymán Khán. And when it was morning the sentinels, to excuse themselves, said that the wild beasts had devoured it. That night they sheltered [p. 60.] the body in the workshop of a Bábí of Mílán: next day they manufactured a box, placed it in the box, and left it as a trust. Afterwards, in accordance with instructions which arrived from Teherán, they sent it away from Ázarbaiján. And this transaction remained absolutely secret.

        Now in these years [A.H. one thousand two hundred and] sixty-six and sixty-seven throughout all Persia fire fell on the households of the Bábís, and each one of them, in whatever hamlet he might be, was, on the slightest suspicion arising, put to the sword. More than four thousand souls were slain1, and a great multitude of women and children,

        1 The most notable massacres during this period were at Zanján and Níríz. Concerning the martyrdom of the "Seven [footnote goes onto page 48] Martyrs" at Teherán (amongst whom was the Báb's maternal uncle Mírzá Seyyid 'Alí) which likewise took place at this time some information will be found in Note B at end.


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left without protector or helper, distracted and confounded, were trodden down and destroyed. And all these occurrences were brought about solely by the arbitrary decision and command of Mírzá Takí Khán, [p. 61.] who imagined that by the enactment of a crushing punishment this sect would be dispersed and disappear in such wise that all sign and knowledge of them would be cut off. Ere long had passed the contrary of his imagination appeared, and it became certain that [the Bábís] were increasing. The flame rose higher and the contagion became swifter: the affair waxed grave and the report thereof reached other climes. At first it was confined to Persia: later it spread to the rest of the world. Quaking and affliction resulted in constancy and stability, and grievous pains and punishment caused acceptance and attraction. The very events produced an impression; impression led to investigation; and investigation resulted in increase. Through the ill-considered policy of the Minister this edifice became fortified and strengthened, and these foundations firm and solid. Previously the matter used to be [p. 62.] regarded as commonplace: subsequently it acquired a grave importance in men's eyes. Many persons from all parts of the world set out for Persia, and


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began to seek with their whole hearts. For it hath been proved by experience in the world that in the case of such matters of conscience laceration causeth healing; censure produceth increased diligence; prohibition induceth eagerness; and intimidation createth avidity. The root is hidden in the very heart, while the branch is apparent and evident. When one branch is cut off other branches grow. Thus it is observed that when such matters occur in other countries they become extinct spontaneously through lack of attention and exiguity of interest. For up to the present moment of movements pertaining to religion many have appeared in the countries of [p. 63.] Europe, but, non-interference and absence of bigotry having deprived them of importance, in a little while they became effaced and dispelled.

        After this event there was wrought by a certain Bábí a great error and a grave presumption and crime, which has blackened the page of the history of this sect and given it an ill name throughout the civilized world. Of this event the marrow is this, that during the time when the Báb was residing in Ázarbaiján a youth, Sádik by name, became affected with the utmost devotion to the Báb, night and day was busy in serving him, and became bereft of thought and reason. Now when that which befel the Báb in Tabríz took place, this servant, actuated by his own fond fancies, fell into thoughts of seeking blood-


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revenge. And since he knew naught of the details of the events, the absolute autocracy of the Amír-Nizám, his unbridled power, and sole authority; nor [p. 64.] [was aware] that this sentence had been promulgated absolutely without the cognizance of the Royal Court, and that the Prime Minister had presumptuously issued the order on his own sole responsibility; since, on the contrary, he supposed that agreeably to ordinary custom and usage the attendants of the court had had a share in, and a knowledge of this sentence, therefore, [impelled] by folly, frenzy, and his evil star, nay, by sheer madness, he rose up from Tabríz and came straight to Teherán, one other person being his accomplice. Then, since the Royal Train had its abode in Shimrán, he thither directed his steps. God is our refuge! By him was wrought a deed so presumptuous that the tongue is unable to declare and the pen loath to describe it. Yet to God be praise and thankfulness that this madman had charged his pistol with shot, imagining this to be preferable and superior to all projectiles1.

        [p. 65.] Then all at once commotion arose, and this sect became of such ill repute that still, strive and struggle as they may to escape from the curse and disgrace

        1 Of the attempt on the Sháh's life a very graphic account is given by Gobineau (chapter xi). See also Watson's History of Persia, &c. pp. 407-410, Lady Sheil's Diary, pp. 273-282, and Note T at end.


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and dishonour of this deed, they are unable to do so. They will recount from the first manifestation of the Báb until the present time; but when the thread of the discourse reaches this event they are abashed and hang their heads in shame, repudiating the presumptuous actor and accounting him the destroyer of the edifice and the cause of shame to mankind.

        Now after the occurrence of this grave matter all of this sect were suspected. At first there was neither investigation nor enquiry1, but afterwards in mere justice it was decided that there should be investigation, enquiry, and examination. All who were known to be of this sect fell under suspicion. [p. 66.] Behá'u'lláh was passing the summer in the village of Afcha situated one stage from Teherán. When this news was spread abroad and punishment began, everyone who was able hid himself in some retreat or fled the country. Amongst these Mírzá Yah2, the brother of Behá'u'lláh, concealed himself, and, a bewildered fugitive, in the guise of a dervish, with kashkúl3 in hand, wandered in mountains and plains

        1 i.e. at first everyone who was suspected of belonging to the Bábí community was put to death without enquiring as to whether he had any share in the conspiracy against the king.
        2 See Gobineau, pp. 277-279, and Note W at end.
        3 A hollow receptacle of about the size and shape of a cocoa-nut, round the orifice of which two chains are attached at four points to serve as a handle. It is used by dervishes as an alms-basket.



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on the road to Resht. But Behá'u'lláh rode forth with perfect composure and calmness from Afcha, and came to Niyávarán, which was the abode of the Royal Train and the station of the imperial camp. Immediately on his arrival he was placed under arrest, and a whole regiment guarded him closely. [p. 67.] After several days of interrogation they sent him in chains and fetters from Shimrán to the gaol of Teherán. And this harshness and punishment was due to the immoderate importunity of Hájí 'Alí Khán, the hájibu'd-Dawla1, nor did there seem any hope of deliverance, until His Majesty the King, moved by his own kindly spirit, commanded circumspection, and ordered this occurrence to be investigated and examined particularly and generally by means of the ministers of the imperial court.

        Now when Behá'u'lláh was interrogated on this matter he answered in reply, "The event itself indicates the truth of the affair and testifies that this is the action of a thoughtless, unreasoning, and igno-

        1 Concerning this infamous monster who, amongst innumerable other wickednesses and cruelties, volunteered to carry out the sentence of death on his fallen benefactor, Mírzá Takí Khán, see Watson's History of Persia, &c. pp. 403-404. Dr Polak (Persien; das Land und seine Bewohner, Leipsic, 1865, vol. 1, p. 352) describes him as "ein Mann ohne Herz und auf Commando zu jeder Grausamkeit bereit," and then proceeds to enumerate the ghastly tortures which he devised for the Bábís.


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rant man. For no reasonable person would charge his pistol with shot when embarking on so grave an enterprise. At least he would so arrange and plan it that the deed should be orderly and systematic. [p. 68.] From the very nature of the event it is clear and evident as the sun that it is not the act of such as myself."

        So it was established and proven that the assassin had on his own responsibility engaged in this grievous action and monstrous deed with the idea and design of taking blood revenge for his Master, and that it concerned no one else1. And when the truth of the matter became evident the innocence of Behá'u'lláh from this suspicion was established in such wise that no doubt remained for anyone; the decision of the court declared his purity and freedom from this charge; and it became apparent and clear that what had been done with regard to him was due to the

        1 According to Gobineau (p. 280) three Bábís actually took part in the attempt on the Sháh's life and others were concerned in the plot. According to the Násikhu't-Tawáríkh, which gives the most circumstantial account of the occurrence, Mullá Sheykh 'Alí (called by the Bábís Jenáb-i-'Azím) first proposed the attempt, for the carrying out of which twelve persons volunteered. Of these twelve, however, there were but three - Sádikof Zanján (or Mílán), Mullá Fathu'lláh of Kum, and Mírzá Muhammad of Níríz - whose hearts did not fail them at the last. Of these three the first was killed on the spot, the other two put to death afterwards. See Note T at end.


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efforts of his foes and the hasty folly of the hájibu'd-Dawla. Therefore did the government of eternal [p. 69.] duration desire to restore certain properties and estates which had been confiscated, that thereby it might pacify him. But since the chief part of these was lost and only an inconsiderable portion was forthcoming, none came forward to claim them. Indeed Behá'u'lláh requested permission to withdraw to the Supreme Shrines [of Kerbelá and Nejef] and, after some months1, by the royal permission and with the leave of the Prime Minister, set out accompanied by one of the King's messengers for the Shrines.

        Let us return, however, to our original subject. Of the Báb's writings many remained in men's hands. Some of these were commentaries on, and interpretations of the verses of the Kur'án; some were prayers, homilies, and hints of [the true significance of certain] passages; others were exhortations, admonitions, dissertations on the different branches of the doctrine of the Divine Unity, demonstrations of the special prophetic mission of the Lord of existing things [Muhammad], and (as hath been understood) encouragements to amendment of character, severance from worldly states, [p. 70.] and dependence on the inspirations of God2. But

        1 According to Nabíl's chronological poem (B. ii, p. 983, 987) Behá'u'lláh was imprisoned in Teherán for four months.
        2 For an enumeration of the Báb's writings see Note U at end.



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the essence and purport of his compositions were the praises and descriptions of that Reality soon to appear which was his only object and aim, his darling, and his desire. For he regarded his own appearance as that of a harbinger of good tidings, and considered his own real nature merely as a means for the manifestation of the greater perfections of that One. And indeed he ceased not from celebrating him by night or day for a single instant, but used to signify to all his followers that they should expect his arising: in such wise that he declares in his writings, "I am a letter out of that most mighty book and a dew-drop from that limitless ocean, and, when he shall appear, my true nature, my mysteries, riddles, and intimations will become evident, and the embryo of this religion shall develop through the grades of its being and ascent, attain to the station of 'the [p. 71.] most comely of forms1,' and become adorned with the robe of 'blessed be God, the Best of Creators2.' And this event will disclose itself in the year [A.H. one thousand two hundred and] sixty-nine, which corresponds to the number of the year of 'after a while3,'

        1 Kur'án, xcv. 4.
        2 Kur'án, xxiii. 14. For texts from Beyán illustrating this passage, see Note V at end.         3
The year of 'a while' ~~~ is 68 (~~~ = 8, ~~~ = 10, ~~~ = 50), and the year of 'after a while' therefore corresponds to 69, which is the number after 68. It was not, however, till A.H. 1283 (A.D. 1866-67) that, according to Nabíl (B. ii. pp. 984, [footnote goes onto page 56] 988), Behá openly declared himself as 'He whom God shall manifest.']


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and 'thou shalt see the mountains which thou thinkest so solid passing away like the passing of the clouds1' shall be fulfilled." In short he so described Him that, in his own expression, He regarded approach to the divine bounty and attainment of the highest degrees of perfection in the worlds of humanity as dependent on love for him, and so inflamed was he with his flame that commemoration of him was the bright candle of his dark nights in the fortress of Mákú, and remembrance of him was the best of companions in the straits of the prison of Chihrík. Thereby he obtained spiritual enlargements; with his wine was he inebriated; and at remembrance of Him did He rejoice. All of his followers too were in [p. 72.] expectation of the appearance of these signs, and each one of his intimates was seeking after the fulfilment of these forecasts.

        Now from the beginning of the manifestation of the Báb there was in Teherán (which the Báb called the Holy Land) a youth of the family of one of the ministers and of noble lineage2, gifted in every way,

        1 Kur'án, xxvii. 90.
        2 Behá'u'lláh (Mírzá Huseyn 'Alí) and Subh-i-Ezel (Mírzá Yahyá) were both sons of Mírzá 'Abbás (better known as Mírzá Buzurg) but by different mothers. This is confirmed beyond all doubt by Subh-i-Ezel and others who have the best means of knowing, though Gobineau (p. 277) gives a different [footnote goes onto page 57] account. There was another brother called Músá, now deceased, one of whose sons is at present residing in Acre.



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and adorned with purity and nobility. Although he combined lofty lineage with high connection, and although his ancestors were men of note in Persia and universally sought after1, yet he was not of a race of doctors or a family of scholars. Now this youth was from his earliest adolescence celebrated amongst those of the ministerial class, both relatives and strangers, for single-mindedness, and was from childhood pointed out as remarkable for sagacity, and held in regard in the eyes of the wise. He did not, however, after the fashion of his ancestors, desire elevation to lofty ranks nor seek advancement to splendid but transient posi[p. 73.]tions. His extreme aptitude was nevertheless admitted by all, and his excessive acuteness and intelligence were universally avowed. In the eyes of the common folk he enjoyed a wonderful esteem, and in all gatherings and assemblies he had a marvellous speech and delivery. Notwithstanding lack of instruction and education2 such was the keenness of his penetration

        1 Lit. "the place where the camels' saddles are put down," i.e. people whose houses are frequented by guests and visitors. See Lane's Lexicon, Book I. Part III. p. 1053.
        2 Behá himself says in the earlier portion of his Epistle to the King of Persia not included in the extract therefrom given further on:- [two lines of Persian/Arabic script] "I have not studied the sciences which men have, neither have I entered [footnote goes onto page 58] the colleges: ask the city wherein I was that thou mayest be sure that I am not of those who lie."



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and the readiness of his apprehension that when during his youthful prime he appeared in assemblies where questions of divinity and points of metaphysic were being discussed, and, in presence of a great concourse of doctors and scholars loosed his tongue, all those present were amazed, accounting this as a sort of prodigy beyond the discernment natural to the human race. From his early years he was the hope of his kindred and the unique one of his family and race, nay, their refuge and shelter.

        However, in spite of these conditions and circum[p. 74.]stances, as he wore a kuláh1 on his head and locks flowing over his shoulder, no one imagined that he would become the source of such matters, or that the waves of his flood would reach the zenith of this firmament.

        When the question of the Báb was noised abroad signs of partiality appeared in him. At the first he apprized his relatives and connections, and the children and dependents of his own circle; subsequently he occupied his energies by day and night in

        1 The Persian lamb-skin hat worn by Government employés and civilians. The words ~~~ (hatted) and ~~~ (turbaned) are commonly used to distinguish the laity or civilian class from the clergy or learned class. The latter usually shave the head, while the former wear their hair in zulf descending below the level of the ears.


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inviting friends and strangers [to embrace the new faith]. He arose with mighty resolution, engaged with the utmost constancy in systematizing the principles and consolidating the ethical canons of that society in every way, and strove by all means to protect and guard these people.

        When he had [thus] established the foundations in Teherán he hastened to Mázandarán, where he [p. 75.] displayed in assemblies, meetings, conferences, inns, mosques, and colleges a mighty power of utterance and exposition. Whoever beheld his open brow or heard his vivid eulogies perceived him with the eye of actual vision to be a patent demonstration, a latent magnetic force, and a pervading influence. A great number both of rich and poor and of erudite doctors were attracted by his preaching and washed their hands of heart and life, being so enkindled that they laid down their lives under the sword dancing [with joy].

        Thus, amongst many instances, one day four learned and accomplished scholars of the divines of Núr were present in his company, and in such wise did he expound that all four were involuntarily constrained to entreat him to accept them for his service. For by dint of his eloquence, which was like 'evi[p. 76.]dent sorcery,' he satisfied these eminent doctors that they were in reality children engaged in the rudiments of study and the merest tyros, and that


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therefore they must read the alphabet from the beginning. Several protracted conferences were passed in expounding and elucidating the Point1 and the Alif of the Absolute, wherein the doctors present were astounded, and filled with amazement and astonishment at the seething and roaring of the ocean of his utterance. The report of this occurrence reached the hearing of far and near, and deep despondency fell on the adversaries. The regions of Núr were filled with excitement and commotion at these events, and the noise of this mischief and trouble smote the ears of the citizens of Bárfurúsh. The chief divine of Núr, Mullá Muhammad, was in Kishlák2. When

        1 The 'Point' [~~~], 'Point of Revelation' [~~~], and 'First Point' [~~~] were the titles assumed by the Báb during the latter part of his mission, and it is by one of these titles, or by the phrases ~~~ ('His Highness the Supreme'), ~~~ ('His Highness my Lord the Supreme'), that he is mentioned amongst the Bábís. (See Gobineau, p. 156.) The Alif, in the phraseology of the mystics, indicates the unmanifested Essence of God.
        2 Kishlák is a word of Turkish origin (from ~~~ winter) applied generally to the warmer low-lying districts where the winter is passed, the highlands where the summer is spent being called Yílák or Yílágh. It is also applied as a proper name to several places in the north of Persia. Kishlák of Núr is, as appears from the Sháh's Diary of his journey through Mázandarán, a district bordering on the coast, of which the chief town is Khurramábád. Núr itself is situated in the mountains.



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he heard of these occurrences he sent two of the most distinguished and profound of the doctors, who were [p. 77.] possessed of wondrous eloquence, effective oratorical talent, conclusiveness of argument, and brilliant powers of demonstration, to quench this fire, and to subdue and overcome this young man by force of argument, either reducing him to penitence, or causing him to despair of the successful issue of his projects. Glory be to God for His wondrous decrees! When those two doctors entered the presence of that young man, saw the waves of his utterance, and heard the force of his arguments, they unfolded like the rose and were stirred like the multitude, and, abandoning altar and chair, pulpit and preferment, wealth and luxury, and evening and morning congregations, they applied themselves to the furtherance of the objects of this person, even inviting the chief divine to tender his [p. 78.] allegiance. So when this young man with a faculty of speech like a rushing torrent set out for Ámul and Sárí he met with that experienced doctor and that illustrious divine in Kishlák of Núr. And the people assembled from all quarters awaiting the result. His accomplished reverence the divine, although he was of universally acknowledged excellence, and in science the most learned of his contemporaries, nevertheless decided to have recourse to augury as to [whether he should engage in] discussion and disputation. This did not prove favourable and he therefore excused


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himself, deferring [the discussion] until some other time. His incompetency and shortcoming thereby became known and suspected, and this caused the adherence, confirmation, and edification of many.

        In brief outline the narrative is this. For some while he wandered about in those districts. After the death of the late prince Muhammad Sháh he returned to Teherán, having in his mind [the intention of] corresponding and entering into relations [p. 79.] with the Báb. The medium of this correspondence was the celebrated Mullá 'Abdu'l-Karím of Kazvín1, who was the Báb's mainstay and trusted intimate. Now since a great celebrity had been attained for Behá'u'lláh in Teherán, and the hearts of men were disposed towards him, he, together with Mullá 'Abdu'l-Karím, considered it as expedient that, in face of the agitation amongst the doctors, the aggressiveness of the greater part of [the people of] Persia, and the irresistible power of the Amír-Nizám, whereby both the Báb and Behá'u'lláh were in great danger and liable to incur severe punishment, some measure should be adopted to direct the thoughts of men towards some absent person, by which means Behá'u'lláh would remain protected from the interference of all men. And since further, having regard to sundry considerations, they did not consider an outsider as suitable, they cast the lot of this

        1 See above, p. 41 and note.


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augury to the name of Behá'u'lláh's brother Mírzá Yah1.

        [p. 80.] By the assistance and instruction of Behá'u'lláh, therefore, they made him notorious and famous on the tongues of friends and foes, and wrote letters, ostensibly at his dictation, to the Báb. And since secret correspondences were in process the Báb highly approved of this scheme. So Mírzá Yahyá was concealed and hidden while mention of him was on the tongues and in the mouths of men. And this mighty plan was of wondrous efficacy, for Behá'u'lláh, though he was known and seen, remained safe and secure, and this veil was the cause that no one outside [the sect] fathomed the matter or fell into the idea of molestation, until Behá'u'lláh quitted Teherán at the permission of the King and was permitted to withdraw to the Supreme Shrines.

        When he reached Baghdad and the crescent moon of the month of Muharram of the year [A.H. one [p. 81.] thousand two hundred and] sixty-nine (which was termed in the books of the Báb "the year of 'after a while2'" and wherein he had promised the disclosure of the true nature of his religion and its mysteries) shone forth from the horizon of the world, this covert secret, as is related, became apparent amongst all within and without [the society]. Behá'u'lláh with mighty steadfastness became a target for the arrows

        1 See Note W at end.
        2 See note 3 at foot of p. 55.



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of all amongst mankind, while Mírzá Yahyá in disguise passed his time, now in the environs and vicinity of Baghdad engaged for better concealment in various trades, now in Baghdad itself in the garb of the Arabs.

        Now Behá'u'lláh so acted that the hearts of this sect were drawn towards him, while most of the inhabitants of 'Irák1 were reduced to silence and speechlessness, some being amazed and others an[p. 82.]gered. After remaining there for one year he withdrew his hand from all things, abandoned relatives and connections, and, without the knowledge of his followers, quitted 'Irák[footnote 1] alone and solitary, without companion, supporter, associate, or comrade. For nigh upon two years he dwelt in Turkish Kurdistán, generally in a place named Sarkalú, situated in the mountains, and far removed from human habitations. Sometimes on rare occasions he used to frequent Suleymániyyé. Ere long had elapsed the most eminent doctors of those regions got some inkling of his circumstances and conditions, and conversed with him on the solution of certain difficult questions connected with the most abstruse points of theology. Having witnessed on his part ample signs and satisfactory explanations they observed towards him the

        1 Here and in subsequent passages where 'Irák is mentioned 'Irák-i-'Arab (especially Baghdad) is intended, not Irák-i-'Ajam.


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utmost respectfulness and deference. In consequence [p. 83.] of this he acquired a great fame and wonderful reputation in those regions, and fragmentary accounts of him were circulated in all quarters and directions, to wit that a stranger, a Persian, had appeared in the district of Suleymániyyé (which hath been, from of old, the place whence the most expert doctors of the Sunnites have arisen), and that the people of that country had loosed their tongues in praise of him. From the rumour thus heard it was known that that person was none other than Behá'u'lláh. Several persons, therefore, hastened thither, and began to entreat and implore, and the urgent entreaty of all brought about his return.

        Now although this sect had not been affected with quaking or consternation at these grievous events, such as the slaughter of their chief and the rest, but did rather increase and multiply; still, since the Báb was but beginning to lay the founda[p. 84.]tions when he was slain, therefore was this community ignorant concerning its proper conduct, action, behaviour, and duty, their sole guiding principle being love for the Báb. This ignorance was the reason that in some parts disturbances occurred; for, experiencing violent molestation, they unclosed their hands in self-defence. But after his return Behá'u'lláh made such strenuous efforts in educating, teaching, training, regulating, and reconstructing this com-


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munity that in a short while all these troubles and mischiefs were quenched, and the utmost tranquillity and repose reigned in men's hearts; so that, according to what hath been heard, it became clear [p. 85.] and obvious even to statesmen that the fundamental intentions and ideas of this sect were things spiritual, and such as are connected with pure hearts; that their true and essential principles were to reform the morals and beautify the conduct of the human race, and that with things material they had absolutely no concern.

        When these principles, then, were established in the hearts of this sect they so acted in all lands that they became celebrated amongst statesmen for gentleness of spirit, steadfastness of heart, right intent, good deeds, and excellence of conduct. For this people are most well-disposed towards obedience and submissiveness, and, on receiving such instruction, they conformed their conduct and behaviour thereto. Formerly exception was taken to the words, deeds, de[p. 86.]meanour, morals, and conduct of this sect: now objection is made in Persia to their tenets and spiritual state. Now this is beyond the power of man, that he should be able by interference or objection to change the heart and conscience, or meddle with the convictions of any one. For in the realm of conscience nought but the ray of God's light can command, and on the throne of the heart none


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but the pervading power of the King of Kings should rule. Thus it is that one can arrest and suspend [the action of] every faculty except thought and reflection; for a man cannot even by his own volition withhold himself from reflection or thought, nor keep back his musings and imaginings.

        At all events the undeniable truth is this, that for nigh upon thirty-five years1 no action opposed [p. 87.] to the government or prejudicial to the nation has emanated from this sect or been witnessed [on their part], and that during this long period, notwithstanding the fact that their numbers and strength are double what they were formerly, no sound has arisen from any place, except that every now and then learned doctors and eminent scholars (really for the extension of this report through the world and the awakening of men) sentence some few to death. For such interference is not destruction but edification when thou regardest the truth, which will not thereby become quenched and forgotten, but rather stimulated and advertised.

        I will at least relate one short anecdote of what

        1 This passage clearly shews that our history was composed not more than four or five years ago, probably during the year 1886. For since the attempt on the Sháh's life in the month of Shawwál, A.H. 1268 (August 1852), the Bábís have taken no action hostile to the Persian government, and the month of Shawwál, A.H. 1303 (35 years from this date) began in July, 1886.


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actually took place. A certain person violently molested and grievously injured a certain Bábí. [p. 88.] The victim unclosed his hand in retaliation and arose to take vengeance, unsheathing his weapon against the aggressor. Becoming the object of the censure and reprimand of this sect, however, he took refuge in flight. When he reached Hamadán his character became known, and, as he was of the clerical class, the doctors vehemently pursued him, handed him over to the government, and ordered chastisement to be inflicted. By chance there fell out from the fold of his collar a document written by Behá'u'lláh, the subject of which was reproof of attempts at retaliation, censure and reprobation of the search after vengeance, and prohibition from following after lusts. Amongst other matters they found these expressions contained in it:- "Verily God is quit of the sedi[p. 89.]tious," and likewise:- "If ye be slain it is better for you than that ye should slay. And when ye are tormented have recourse to the controllers of affairs and the refuge of the people1; and if ye be neglected then entrust your affairs to the Jealous Lord. This is the mark of the sincere, and the characteristic of the

        1 i.e. "If you be wronged or persecuted, appeal for protection and redress to the legally constituted authorities; and if they will not help you, then be patient and put your trust in God, but do not attempt by force to obtain redress for yourselves."

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assured." When the governor became cognizant of this writing he addressed that person saying, "By the decree of that chief whom you yourself obey correction is necessary and punishment and chastisement obligatory." "If," replied that person, "you will carry out all his precepts I shall have the utmost pleasure in [submitting to] punishment and death." The governor smiled and let the man go.

        So Behá'u'lláh made the utmost efforts to educate [his people] and incite [them] to morality, the acquisition of the sciences and arts of all countries, kindly dealing with all the nations of the earth, desire for the welfare of all peoples, sociability, con[p. 90.]cord, obedience, submissiveness, instruction of [their] children, production of what is needful for the human race, and inauguration of true happiness for mankind; and he continually kept sending tracts of admonition to all parts, whereby a wonderful effect was produced. Some of these epistles have, after extreme search and enquiry, been examined, and some portions of them shall now be set down in writing1

        1 For some account of Behá's various writings see B. ii. pp. 942-981. A specimen of the ~~~ in the original may be found in Rosen's MSS. Persans, pp. 32-51, and a part of the ~~~ in his MSS. Arabes, pp. 191-212. Baron Rosen intends shortly to publish the whole of the ~~~ including the Epistles to the Kings (~~~), and he has been kind enough to send me the proof-sheets of this [footnote goes onto page 70] important work as they are printed off. Further information will be found in a subsequent foot-note.


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        All these epistles consisted of [exhortations to] purity of morals, encouragement to good conduct, reprobation of certain individuals, and complaints of the seditious. Amongst others this sentence was recorded:-
"My captivity is not my abasement: by my life, it is indeed a glory unto me! But the abasement is the ac[p. 91.]tion of my friends who connect themselves with us and follow the devil in their actions. Amongst them is he who taketh lust and turneth aside from what is commanded; and amongst them is he who followeth the truth in right guidance. As for those who commit sin and cling to the world they are assuredly not of the people of Behá."

        So again:-

        "Well is it with him who is adorned with the decoration of manners and morals: verily he is of those who help their Lord with clear perspicuous action."

        "He is God, exalted is His state, wisdom and utterance. The True One (glorious is His glory) for the shewing forth of the gems of ideals from the mine of man, hath, in every age, sent a trusted one. The primary foundation of the faith of God and the religion of God is this, that they should not make diverse sects and various paths the cause and reason of hatred. These principles and laws and firm sure roads


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appear from one dawning-place and shine from one dayspring, and these diversities were out of regard for [p. 92.] the requirements of the time, season, ages, and epochs. O unitarians, make firm the girdle of endeavour, that perchance religious strife and conflict may be removed from amongst the people of the world and be annulled. For love of God and His servants engage in this great and mighty matter. Religious hatred and rancour is a world-consuming fire, and the quenching thereof most arduous, unless the hand of Divine Might give men deliverance from this unfruitful calamity. Consider a war which happeneth between two states: both sides have foregone wealth and life: how many villages were beheld as though they were not! This precept is in the position of the light in the lamp of utterance."

        "O people of the world, ye are all the fruit of one tree and the leaves of one branch. Walk with perfect [p. 93.] charity, concord, affection, and agreement. I swear by the Sun of Truth, the light of agreement shall brighten and illumine the horizons. The all-knowing Truth hath been and is the witness to this saying. Endeavour to attain to this high supreme station which is the station of protection and preservation of mankind. This is the intent of the King of intentions, and this the hope of the Lord of hopes."

        "We trust that God will assist the kings of the earth to illuminate and adorn the earth with the


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refulgent light of the Sun of Justice. At one time we spoke in the language of the Law, at another time in the language of the Truth and the Way; and the ultimate object and remote aim was the shewing forth of this high supreme station. And God sufficeth for witness."

        [p. 94.]"O friends, consort with all the people of the world with joy and fragrance. If there be to you a word or essence whereof others than you are devoid, communicate it and shew it forth in the language of affection and kindness: if it be received and be effective the object is attained, and if not leave it to him, and with regard to him deal not harshly but pray1. The language of kindness is the lodestone of hearts and the food of the soul; it stands in the relation of ideas to words, and is as an horizon for the shining of the Sun of Wisdom and Knowledge."

        "If the unitarians had in the latter times acted according to the glorious Law [which came] after His Highness the Seal [of the Prophets2] (may the life of all beside him be his sacrifice!), and had clung to its skirt, the foundation of the fortress of religion

        1 i.e. "If you have a message or gospel wherein others are not partakers, then convey it to those about you in kind and gentle words. If they accept it you have gained your object; if not, leave it to ripen and bear fruit, and pray that it may do so, but on no account strive to force its acceptance on any one."
        2 Muhammad.



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would not have been shaken, and populous cities [p. 95.] would not have been ruined, but rather cities and villages would have acquired and been adorned with the decoration of peace and serenity."

        "Through the heedlessness and discordance of the favoured people and the smoke of wicked souls the Fair Nation is seen to be darkened and enfeebled. Had they acted [according to what they knew] they would not have been heedless of the light of the Sun of Justice."

        "This victim hath from earliest days until now been afflicted at the hands of the heedless. They exiled us without cause at one time to 'Irák1, at another time to Adrianople, and thence to Acre, which was a place of exile for murderers and robbers; neither is it known where and in what spot we shall take up our abode after this greatest prison-house. Knowledge is with God, the Lord of the Throne and of the dust and the Lord of the lofty seat. In whatever place we may be, and whatever befal us, the saints must gaze with perfect steadfastness and confi[p. 96.]dence towards the Supreme Horizon and occupy themselves in the reformation of the world and the education of the nations. What hath befallen and shall befal hath been and is an instrument and means for the furtherance of the Word of Unity. Take

        1 See note on p. 64.


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hold of the command of God and cling thereto: verily it hath been sent down from beside a wise Ordainer."

        "With perfect compassion and mercy have we guided and directed the people of the world to that whereby their souls shall be profited. I swear by the Sun of Truth which hath shone forth from the highest horizons of the world that the people of Behá had not and have not any aim save the prosperity and reformation of the world and the purifying of the nations. With all men they have been in sincerity and charity. Their outward [appearance] is one with their inward [heart], and their inward [heart] identical with their outward [appearance]. The truth [p. 97.] of the matter is not hidden or concealed, but plain and evident before [men's] faces. Their very deeds are the witness of this assertion. To-day let every one endowed with vision win his way from deeds and signs to the object of the people of Behá and from their speech and conduct gain knowledge of their intent. The waves of the ocean of divine mercy appear at the utmost height, and the showers of the clouds of His grace and favour descend every moment. During the days of sojourn in 'Irák1. this oppressed one sat down and consorted with all classes without veil or disguise. How many of the denizens of the

        1 See note on p. 64.


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horizons1 entered in enmity and went forth in sympathy! The door of grace was open before the faces of all. With rebellious and obedient did we outwardly converse after one fashion, that perchance the evil-doers might win their way to the ocean of boundless forgiveness. The splendours of the Name of the Concealer2 were in such wise manifested that [p. 98.] the evil-doer imagined that he was accounted of the good. No messenger was disappointed and no enquirer was turned back. The causes of the aversion and avoidance of men were certain of the doctors of Persia and the unseemly deeds of the ignorant. By [the term] 'doctors' in these passages are signified those persons who have withheld mankind from the shore of the Ocean of Unity; but as for the learned who practise [their knowledge] and the wise who act justly, they are as the spirit unto the body of the world. Well is it with that learned man whose head is adorned with the crown of justice, and whose body glorieth in the ornament of honesty. The Pen of Admonition

        1 i.e. The people of all lands.
        2 'The Concealer' (~~~)is one of the Names of God (see Redhouse's Most Comely Names, p. 38, No. 236), of which Names the Prophets are the mirrors or places of manifestation (~~~). In their actions the Divine Attributes whether 'beautiful' (~~~) or 'terrible' (~~~) are displayed. So Behá's concealment of his feelings is here described as a manifestation of the 'Name of the Concealer.'



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exhorteth the friends and enjoineth on them charity, pity, wisdom, and gentleness. The oppressed one1 is this day a prisoner; his allies are the hosts of good deeds and virtues; not ranks, and hosts, and guns, [p. 99.] and cannons. One holy action maketh the world of earth highest paradise.

        "O friends, help the oppressed one with well-pleasing virtues and good deeds! To-day let every soul desire to attain the highest station. He must not regard what is in him, but what is in God. It is not for him to regard what shall advantage himself, but that whereby the Word of God which must be obeyed shall be upraised. The heart must be sanctified from every form of selfishness and lust, for the weapons of the unitarians and the saints were and are the fear of God. That is the buckler which guardeth man from the arrows of hatred and abomination. Unceasingly hath the standard of piety been victorious, and accounted amongst the most puissant hosts of the world. Thereby do the saints subdue the [p. 100.] cities of [men's] hearts by the permission of God, the Lord of hosts. Darkness hath encompassed the earth: the lamp which giveth light was and is wisdom. The dictates thereof must be observed under all circumstances. And of wisdom is the regard of place and the utterance of discourse according to measure and

        1 Throughout his writings by the terms 'the oppressed one,' 'this oppressed one,' 'this servant,' &c., Behá intends himself.


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state. And of wisdom is decision; for man should not accept whatsoever anyone sayeth1.

        "Under all circumstances desire of the True One (glorious is His glory) that He will not deprive His servants of the sealed wine2 and the lights of the Name of the Self-subsistent.

        "O friends of God, verily the Pen of Sincerity enjoineth on you the greatest faithfulness. By the Life of God, its light is more evident than the light of the sun! In its light and its brightness and its radiance [p. 101.] every light is eclipsed. We desire of God that He will not withhold from His cities and lands the radiant effulgence of the Sun of Faithfulness. We have directed all in the nights and in the days to faithfulness, chastity, purity, and constancy; and have enjoined good deeds and well-pleasing qualities. In

        1 i.e. Of the dictates of wisdom one is this, that the believer should in speaking have regard to fitness of time and place and not with undiscriminating zeal lay bare his convictions to all persons or in all companies; and another is this, that he should be firmly established in his belief and not be 'tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine.'
        2 By the 'sealed wine' are meant the ordinances of God. Thus in the 'Most Holy Book' (~~~ rather than ~~~ by which name I formerly described it, B. ii. 972-981) it is written:- [two lines of Persian/Arabic script] "Do not consider that we have revealed unto you ordinances, but rather that we have opened the seal of the sealed wine with the fingers of might and power."



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the nights and in the days the shriek of the pen ariseth and the tongue speaketh, that against the sword the word may arise, and against fierceness patience, and in place of oppression submission, and at the time of martyrdom resignation. For thirty years and more, in all that hath befallen this oppressed community they have been patient, referring it to God. Every one endowed with justice and fairness hath testified and doth testify to that which hath been said. During this period this oppressed one was engaged in good exhortations and efficacious and sufficient admonitions, till it became [p. 102.] established and obvious before all that this victim had made himself a target for the arrows of calamity unto the shewing forth of the treasures deposited in [men's] souls. Strife and contest were and are seemly in the beasts of prey of the earth, [but] laudable actions are seemly in man.

        "Blessed is the Merciful One: Who created man: and taught him utterance. After all these troubles, neither are the ministers of state content, nor the doctors of the church. Not one soul was found to utter a word for God before the court of His Majesty the King (may God perpetuate his kingdom). There shall not befal us aught save that which God hath decreed unto us. They acted not kindly, nor was there any shortcoming in the display of evil. Justice became like the


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phoenix1, and faithfulness like the philosopher's stone: none spake for the right. It would seem [p. 103.] that justice had become hateful to men and cast forth from all lands like the people of God. Glory be to God! In the episode of the land of tá2 not one spoke for that which God had commanded. Having regard to the display of power and parade of service in the presence of the King (may God perpetuate his kingdom) they have called good evil and the reformer a sedition-monger. The like of these persons would depict the drop as an ocean, and the mote as a sun. They call the house at Kalín3 'the strong fortress,' and close their eyes to the perspicuous truth. They have attacked a number of reformers of the world with the charge

        1 The 'Anká (in Persian Símurgh), a mythical bird dwelling in the mountains of Káf, which bound the world according to the old Arabian cosmography. Hence anything very rare or hard to find or of which the name is heard but the form is not seen (~~~) is compared to it.
        2 'The land of tá' (~~~) means Teherán. So in the Kitáb-i-Akdas Khurásán is called ~~~ and Kirmán ~~~; while in the Persian Beyán we find mention of the land of Alif (Ázarbaiján), the land of 'Ayn ('Irák), the land of Fá (Fárs), and the land of Mím (Mázandarán). This use of the letters of the alphabet to designate places and people is very common amongst the Bábís. See the note on the colophon at the end of the book.
        3 Concerning Kalín (less correctly Kuleyn) see p. 14 supra and note 3 thereon.



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of seditiousness. As God liveth, these persons had and have no intent nor hope save the glory of the state and service to their nation! For God they spoke and for God they speak, and in the way of God do they journey.

        [p. 104.] "O friends, ask of Him who is the Desire of the denizens of earth that He will succour His Majesty the King (may God perpetuate his kingdom) so that all the dominions of Persia may by the light of the Sun of Justice become adorned with the decoration of tranquillity and security. According to statements made, he, at the promptings of his blessed nature, loosed those who were in bonds, and bestowed freedom on the captives. The representation of certain matters before the faces of [God's] servants is obligatory, and natural to the pious, so that the good may be aware and become cognizant [thereof]. Verily He inspireth whom He pleaseth with what He desireth, and He is the Powerful, the Ordainer, the Knowing, the Wise.

        "A word from that land hath reached the oppressed one which in truth was the cause of wonder. His Highness the Mu'tamadu 'd-Dawla, Farhád Mírzá1, said concerning the imprisoned one that whereof the [p. 105.] repetition is not pleasing. This victim consorted very little with him or the like of him. So far as is

        1 Farhád Mírzá was the uncle of the Sháh. He died in 1888.


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recollected on [only] two occasions did he visit Murgh-Mahalla in Shimírán1 where was the abode of the oppressed one. On the first occasion he came one day in the afternoon, and on the second one Friday morning, returning nigh unto sundown. He knows and is conscious that he should not speak contrary to the truth. If one enter his presence let him repeat these words before him on behalf of the oppressed one:- 'O Prince! I ask justice and fairness from your Highness concerning that which hath befallen this poor victim.' Well is it for that soul whom the doubts of the perverse withhold not from the display of justice, and deprive not of the [p. 106.] lights of the luminary of equity. O saints of God! at the end of our discourse we enjoin on you once again chastity, faithfulness, godliness, sincerity, and purity. Lay aside the evil and adopt the good. This is that whereunto ye are commanded in the Book of God, the Knowing, the Wise. Well is it with those who practise [this injunction]. At this moment the pen crieth out, saying, 'O saints of God, regard the horizon of uprightness, and be quit, severed, and free from what is beside this. There is no strength and no power save in God.'"

        1 Shimírán or Shimrán (sometimes used in the plural, Shimránát) is the name applied generally to the villages and mansions situated on the lower slopes descending from Elburz which serve as summer residences to the wealthier inhabitants of Teherán.


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        In short, formerly in all provinces in Persia accounts and stories concerning this sect diverse and discordant, yea, incompatible with the character of the human race and opposed to the divine endowment, passed on the tongues and in the mouths of men and obtained notoriety. But when their prin[p. 107.]ciples acquired fixity and stability and their conduct and behaviour were known and appreciated, the veil of doubt and suspicion fell, the true character of this sect became clear and evident, and it reached the degree of certainty that their principles were unlike men's fancies, and that their foundation differed from [the popular] opinion and estimate. In their conduct, action, morality, and demeanour was no place for objection; the objection in Persia is to certain of the ideas and tenets of this sect. And from the indications of various circumstances it hath been observed that the people have acquired belief and confidence in the trustworthiness, faithfulness, and godliness of this sect in all transactions.

        Let us return to our original topic. During the period of their sojourn in 'Irák these persons became notorious throughout the world. For exile resulted [p. 108.] in fame, in such wise that a great number of other parties sought alliance and union, and devised means of [acquiring] intimacy [with them]. But the chief of this sect, discovering the aims of each faction, acted with the utmost consistency, circumspection, and


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firmness. Reposing confidence in none, he applied himself as far as possible to the admonition of each, inciting and urging them to good resolutions and aims beneficial to the state and the nation. And this conduct and behaviour of the chief acquired notoriety in 'Irák.

        So likewise during the period of their sojourn in 'Irák certain functionaries of foreign governments were desirous of intimacy, and sought friendly relations [with them]; but the chief would not agree. [p. 109.] Amongst other strange haps was this, that in 'Irák certain of the Royal Family came to an understanding with these [foreign] governments, and, [induced] by promises and threats, conspired with them. But this sect unloosed their tongues in reproach and began to admonish them, saying, "What meanness is this, and what evident treason; that man should, for worldly advantages, personal profit, easy circumstances, or protection of life and property, cast himself into this great detriment and evident loss, and embark in a course of action which will conduce to the greatest abasement and involve the utmost infamy and disgrace both here and hereafter! One can support any baseness save treason to one's country, and every sin admits of pardon and forgiveness save [that of] dishonouring one's government and injuring one's nation." And they imagined that they were acting [p. 110.] patriotically, displaying sincerity and loyalty, and


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accounting sacred the duties of fidelity; which noble aim they regarded as a moral obligation. So rumours of this were spread abroad through 'Irák-i-'Arab, and such as wished well to their country loosed their tongues in uttering thanks, expressing approval and respect. And it was supposed that these events would be represented in the Royal Presence; but after a while it became known that certain of the Sheykhs at the Supreme Shrines1 who were in correspondence with the court, yea, even with the King, were in secret continually attributing to this sect strange affinities and relations, imagining that such attempts would conduce to favour at the Court and cause [p. 111.] advancement of [their] condition and rank. And since no one could speak freely on this matter at that court which is the pivot of justice, whilst just ministers aware [of the true state of the case] also regarded silence as their best policy, the 'Irák question, through these misrepresentations and rumours, assumed gravity in Teherán, and was enormously exaggerated. But the consuls-general, being cognizant of the truth, continued to act with moderation, until Mírzá Buzurg Khán of Kazvín2 became consul-

        1 Kerbelá and Nejef.
        2 According to Subh-i-Ezel's statement, Mírzá Buzurg Khán became incensed against the Bábís, partly because they would not consent to secure his goodwill by a bribe, partly because Behá'u'lláh took to wife the daughter of a merchant whom he wished to marry. At all events his enmity was such [footnote goes onto page 85] that he stove to incite the 'Ulamá of Baghdad to declare a jihád or religious war against the Bábís, and this, according to Subh-i-Ezel, they would have done, had not Námik Páshá, then governor of Baghdad, prevented them, saying, 'These are not rebels, and you shall not kill them'.



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general in Baghdad. Now since this person was wont to pass the greater portion of his time in a state of intoxication and was devoid of foresight, he became the accomplice and confederate of those Sheykhs in 'Irák, and girded up his loins stoutly to destroy and demolish. Such power of description and [p. 112.] [strength] of fingers as he possessed he employed in making representations and statements. Each day he secretly wrote a dispatch to Teherán, made vows and compacts with the Sheykhs, and sent diplomatic notes to His Excellency the Ambassador-in-chief 1 [at Constantinople]. But since these statements and depositions had no basis or foundation, they were all postponed and adjourned; until at length these Sheykhs convened a meeting to consult with the [Consul-] General, assembled a number of learned doctors and great divines in the [mosque of the] 'two Kázims'2 (upon them be peace), and, having come to

        1 Mírzá Huseyn Khán was at this time Persian ambassador at Constantinople.
        2 'The tombs of the 'two Kázims' (i.e. the seventh Imám, Músá Kázim, and the ninth Imám, Muhammad Takí) are situated about 3 miles N. of Baghdad, and constitute one of the principal places of pilgrimage of the Shi'ites. Around them has grown up a considerable town, chiefly inhabited by Persians, known as zimeyn.'



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an unanimous agreement, wrote to the divines of Kerbelá the exalted and Nejef the most noble, convoking them all. They came, some knowing, others not knowing. Amongst the latter the illustrious and expert doctor, the noble and celebrated scholar, the [p. 113.] seal of seekers after truth, Sheykh Murtazá1, now departed and assoiled, who was the admitted chief of all, arrived without knowledge [of the matter in hand]. But, so soon as he was informed of their actual designs, he said, "I am not properly acquainted with the essential character of this sect, nor with the

        1 In the Epistle to the King of Persia (~~~) Sheykh Murtazá is especially exempted from the condemnation pronounced against the majority of the Shi'ite doctors, and held up as an example of a truly pious and God-fearing divine (see p. 129 infra). I was informed by Subh-i-Ezel that he not only refused to pronounce sentence against the Bábís or sanction a jihád against them, but that he also withheld the Sháh from persecuting the Sheykhís (concerning whom see Note E at end) saying, "May it not become like the affair of the Bábís!" The book called ~~~ (Stories of Divines), published at Teherán A.H. 1304, gives a brief account of Sheykh Murtazá, whose lectures, as it appears, the author of the work in question attended for a while. According to this account Sheykh Murtazá was a native of Shushtar, but spent the greater part of his life at Nejef, where, at the age of 80, he died and was buried. Neither the date of his birth nor that of his death is given. His works - not very numerous - are mentioned, and his remarkable piety and learning highly praised. Indeed it is stated that after Sheykh Muhammad Hasan he was the most eminent of all the Shi'ite doctors.


[page 87]

secret tenets and hidden theological doctrines of this community; neither have I hitherto witnessed or perceived in their demeanour or conduct anything at variance with the Perspicuous Book which would lead me to pronounce them infidels. Therefore hold me excused in this matter, and let him who regards it as his duty take action." Now the design of the Sheykhs and the Consul was a sudden and general attack, but, by reason of the non-compliance of the departed Sheykh, this scheme proved abortive, resulting, indeed, only in shame and disappointment. So that concourse of Sheykhs, doctors, and common [p. 114.] folk which had come from Kerbelá dispersed.

        Just at this time mischievous persons - [including] even certain dismissed ministers - endeavoured on all sides so to influence this sect that they might perchance alter their course and conduct. From every quarter lying messages and disquieting reports continually followed one another in uninterrupted and constant succession to the effect that the deliberate intention of the court of Persia was the eradication, suppression, annihilation, and destruction of this sect; that correspondence was continually being carried on with the local authorities; and that all [the Bábís] in 'Irák would shortly be delivered over with bound hands to Persia. But the Bábís passed the time in calmness and silence, without in any way altering their behaviour and conduct.


[page 88]

        So when Mírzá Buzurg Khán failed to effect and accomplish the designs of his heart by such actions also, he ill-advisedly fell to reflecting how he might [p. 115.] grieve and humiliate [the Bábís]. Every day he sought some pretext for offering insult, aroused some disturbance and tumult, and raised up the banner of mischief, until the matter came nigh to culminating in the sudden outbreak of a riot, the lapse of the reins of control from the hand, and the precipitation of [men's] hearts into disquietude and perturbation and [their] minds into anguish and agony.

        Now when [the Bábís] found themselves unable to treat this humour by any means (for, strive as they would, they were foiled and frustrated), and when they failed to find any remedy for this disorder or any fairness in this flower, they deliberated and hesitated for nine months, and at length a certain number of them, to stop further mischief, enrolled themselves as subjects of the Sublime Ottoman Government, that [thereby] they might assuage this tumult. By means [p. 116.] of this device the mischief was allayed, and the consul withdrew his hand from molesting them; but he notified this occurrence to the Royal Court in a manner at variance with the facts and contrary to the truth, and, together with the confederate Sheykhs, applied himself in every way to devices for distracting the senses [of the Bábís]. Finally, however, being


[page 89]

dismissed, and overwhelmed with disaster, he became penitent and sorry.

        Let us proceed with our original topic. For eleven years and somewhat over, Behá'u'lláh abode in 'Irák-i-'Arab. The behaviour and conduct of the sect were such that [his] fame and renown increased. For he was manifest and apparent amongst men, consorted and associated with all parties, and would converse familiarly with doctors and scholars concerning the solution of difficult theological questions and the verification of the true sense of abstruse [p. 117.] points of divinity. As is currently reported by persons of every class, he used to please all, whether inhabitants or visitors, by his kindly intercourse and courteous address; and this sort of demeanour and conduct on his part led them to suspect sorcery and account him an adept in the occult sciences.

        During this period Mírzá Yahyá remained concealed and hidden, continuing and abiding in his former conduct and behaviour, until, when the edict for the removal of Behá'u'lláh from Baghdad1 was issued by his Majesty the Ottoman monarch, Mírzá Yahyá would neither quit nor accompany [him]: at one time he meditated setting out for India, at another, settling in Turkistán2; but, being unable to

        1 It would seem that the departure of the Bábís from Baghdad took place during the summer of 1864.
        2 Perhaps Turkistán is here intended to signify, not the [footnote goes onto page 90] country properly so called, but merely the country of the Turks, in which case we should rather translate 'remaining in Turkey.'



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decide on either of these two plans, he finally, at his [p. 118.] own wish, set out before all in the garb of a dervish, in disguise and change of raiment, for Karkúk and Arbíl. Thence, by continuous advance, he reached Mosul, where, on the arrival of the main body, he took up his abode and station alongside their caravan1. And although throughout this journey the governors and officials observed the utmost consideration and respectfulness, while march and halt were alike dignified and honourable, nevertheless was he always concealed in change of raiment, and acted cautiously, on the idea that some act of aggression was likely to occur.

        In this fashion did they reach Constantinople, where they were appointed quarters in a guest-house on the part of the glorious Ottoman monarchy. And at first the utmost attention was paid to them in [p. 119.] every way. On the third day, because of the straitness of their quarters and the greatness of their

        1 Mírzá Yahyá, according to his own account, went from Baghdad to Karkúk in 8 days; thence to Mosul in 4 days; thence to Diyár Bekr in 20 days; thence to Kharpút in 7 or 8 days. From Kharpút he went to Sívás, thence to Samsún, and thence by sea to Constantinople. The whole journey from Baghdad to Constantinople, including halts, occupied between three and four months. By Nabíl also the duration of this exodus is stated as four months (B. ii. pp. 984, 987, v. 8).


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numbers, they migrated and moved to another house. Certain of the nobles came to see and converse with them, and these, as is related, behaved with moderation. Notwithstanding that many in their assemblies and gatherings continued to condemn and vilify them, saying, "This sect are a mischief to all the world and destructive of treaties and covenants; they are a source of trouble and baleful to all lands; they have kindled a fire and consumed the earth; and though they be outwardly fair-seeming yet are they deserving of every chastisement and punishment," yet still the Bábís continued to conduct themselves with patience, calmness, deliberation, and constancy, so that they did not, even in self-defence, importune [the occupants of] high places or frequent the houses of any of the magnates of that kingdom. Whomso[p. 120.]ever amongst the great he [Behá] interviewed on his own account, they met, and no word save of sciences and arts passed between them; until certain noblemen sought to guide him, and loosed their tongues in friendly counsel, saying, "To appeal, to state your case, and to demand justice is a measure demanded by custom." He replied in answer, "Pursuing the path of obedience to the King's command we have come to this country. Beyond this we neither had nor have any aim or desire that we should appeal and cause trouble. What is [now] hidden behind the veil of destiny will in the future become manifest.


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There neither has been nor is any necessity for supplication and importunity. If the enlightened-minded leaders [of your nation] be wise and diligent, they will certainly make enquiry, and acquaint themselves with the true state of the case; if not, then [p. 121.] [their] attainment of the truth is impracticable and impossible. Under these circumstances what need is there for importuning statesmen and supplicating ministers of the Court? We are free from every anxiety, and ready and prepared for the things predestined to us. 'Say, all is from God1' is a sound and sufficient argument, and 'If God toucheth thee with a hurt there is no dispeller thereof save Him2' is a healing medicine."

        After some months a royal edict was promulgated appointing Adrianople in the district of Roumelia as their place of abode and residence. To that city the Bábís, accompanied by [Turkish] officers, proceeded all together, and there they made their home and habitation. According to statements heard from sundry travellers and from certain great and learned men of that city, they behaved and conducted themselves there also in such wise that the inhabitants of the district and the government officials used to [p. 122.] eulogize them, and all used to show them respect and deference. In short, since Behá'u'lláh was wont

        1 Kur'án, iv, 80.
        2 Kur'án, vi, 17; x, 107.



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to hold intercourse with the doctors, scholars, magnates, and nobles, [thereby] obtaining fame and celebrity throughout Roumelia, the materials of comfort were gathered together, neither fear nor dread remained, they reposed on the couch of ease, and passed their time in quietude, when one Seyyid Muhammad1 by name, of Isfahán, one of the followers

        1 Hájí Seyyid Muhammad Isfahání was, together with his nephew Mírzá Rizá-Kulí, amongst the Ezelís (followers of Mírzá Yahyá, Subh-i-Ezel) killed at Acre by some of Behá's followers. (See B. i. p. 517). His death is evidently alluded to in a passage of the ~~~ addressed to Mírzá Yahyá which runs as follows:- [eleven lines of Persian/Arabic script] "Say, 'O Source of Perversion, cease closing thy eyes; then [footnote goes onto page 94] confess to the truth amongst mankind. By God, my tears have flowed over my cheeks for that I behold thee advancing toward thy lust and turning aside from him who created thee and fashioned thee. Remember the favour of thy master when we brought thee up during the nights and days for the service of the Religion. Fear God, and be of those who repent. Grant that thine affair is dubious unto men: is it dubious unto thyself? Fear God, then remember when thou didst stand before the Throne and write what we did propose to thee of the verses of God, the Protecting, the Powerful, the Mighty. Beware lest jealousy withhold thee from the shore of [the Divine] Unity: turn unto Him, and fear not because of thy deeds: verily He pardoneth whom He pleaseth by a favour on His part: there is no God but Him, the Forgiving, the Kind. Verily we do but advise thee for the sake of God; if thou advancest, it is for thyself; and if thou turnest aside, verily thy Lord needeth not thee, nor such as follow thee in evident error. God hath taken away him who led thee astray: return then unto Him humble, contrite, abased: verily He will put away from thee thy sins: verily thy Lord He is the Repenter, the Mighty, the Merciful.'"


[page 94]

[of the Báb], laid the foundations of intimacy and familiarity with Mirza Yahyá, and [thereby] became the cause of vexation and trouble. In other words, he commenced a secret intrigue and fell to tempting Mirza Yahyá, saying, "The fame of this sect hath risen high in the world, and their name hath become noble: neither dread nor danger remaineth, nor is there any fear or [need for] caution [p. 123.] before you. Cease, then, to follow, that thou mayest be followed by the world; and come out from amongst adherents, that thou mayest become celebrated


[page 95]

throughout the horizons." Mirza Yahyá, too, through lack of reflection and thought as to consequences, and want of experience, became enamoured of his words and befooled by his conduct. This one was [like] the sucking child, and that one became as the much-prized breast. At all events, how much soever some of the chiefs of the sect wrote admonitions and pointed out to him the path of discretion saying, "For many a year hast thou been nurtured in thy brother's arms and hast reposed on the pillow of ease and gladness; what thoughts are these which are the results of madness? Be not beguiled by this empty name,1 which, out of regard for certain con-

        1 The name alluded to is of course that of Ezel (the Eternal) bestowed on Mírzá Yahyá by the Báb. Gobineau (p. 277) calls him hazrat-i-Ezel ('l'Altesse Éternelle'), but his correct designation, that which he himself adopts, and that whereby he is everywhere known, , is Subh-i-Ezel ('the Morning of Eternity'). The epistles addressed to him by the Báb (of some of which copies are in my possession) invoke him either as 'Ismu'l-Ezel' ('Name of the Eternal') or 'Ismu'l-Wahíd' ('Name of the One') - for the latter and the reason of its employment, see B. ii. 996-997. According to his own statement he was the fourth in the Bábí hierarchy (~~~) of 19. The first was of course the Báb himself; next in rank was Mullá Muhammad 'Alí Bárfurúshí (Jenáb-i-Kuddús); then Mullá Huseyn of Bushraweyh (Jenáb-i-Bábu'l-Báb); then Mírzá Yahyá (Subh-i-Ezel). After the fall of Sheykh tabarsí and the death of the two 'Letters' who intervened between him and the Báb, he attained the second place in the hierarchy, and, on the Báb's death, became the recognized chief of the sect. The 'considerations' [footnote goes onto page 96] which, according to the somewhat different account of our historian, rendered the recognition 'expedient' will be seen on pp. 62-63 above.


[page 96]

siderations and as a matter of expediency, was bestowed [upon thee]; neither seek to be censured by the community. Thy rank and worth depend on a [p. 124.] word1, and thine exaltation and elevation were for a

        1 A passage in the ~~~ illustrates this expression. It runs as follows:- [eight lines of Persian/Arabic script] "Had they reflected, they would not on my second manifestation have been veiled from my Beauty by a Name amongst my Names. This is the state of these men and their rank and station! Cease to mention them and what flows from their pens and comes forth from their mouths. Although I commanded all my servants in all the tablets of the Beyán not to continue heedless of my subsequent manifestation or be veiled by the veils of Names and signs from the Lord of Attributes, consider now, not satisfied with being veiled, how many stones of doubt they cast without cessation or interruption at the tree of my hidden Glory! And even this did not suffice, till a [footnote goes onto page 97] Name amongst my Names, whom I created by a word, and on whom I bestowed life with a breath, arose in war against my Beauty." I have already pointed out in another place (B. ii. 949-953) the important position occupied by the epistle above cited, since it appears to be one of the earliest of Behá's writings wherein he distinctly claims to be a new 'manifestation' of the divinity, and it, more than any other writing which I have seen, throws light on that period of conflict and travail in the Bábí church which made so memorable the latter days of the Adrianople period and marked a new development in the short but eventful history of the new faith. When I wrote the passage above referred to, I believed that the only copy of this epistle in Europe was in my possession, but I have since learned from Baron Rosen that another copy is included in his own library at St Petersburg.


[page 97]

protection and a consideration," yet still, the more they admonished him, the less did it affect him; and how much soever they would direct him, he continued to account opposition as identical with advantage. Afterwards, too, the fire of greed and avarice was kindled, and although there was no sort of need, their circumstances being easy in the extreme, they fell to thinking of salary and stipend, and certain of the women dependent on Mirza Yahyá went to the [governor's] palace and craved assistance and charity. So when Behá'u'lláh beheld such conduct and behaviour on his part he dismissed and drove away both [him and Seyyid Muhammad] from himself.

        Then Seyyid Muhammad set out for Constantinople to get his stipend, and opened the door of suffering. According to the account given, this matter caused


[page 98]

[p. 125.] the greatest sorrow and brought about cessation of intercourse. In Constantinople, moreover, he presumptuously set afloat certain reports, asserting, amongst other things, that the notable personage who had come from 'Irák was Mírzá Yahyá. Sundry individuals, perceiving that herein was excellent material for mischief-making and a means for the promotion of mutiny, ostensibly supported and applauded him, and stimulated and incited him, saying, "You are really the chief support and acknowledged successor: act with authority, in order that grace and blessing may become apparent. The waveless sea hath no sound, and the cloud without thunder raineth no rain." By such speech, then, was that unfortunate man entrapped into his course of action, and led to utter vain words which caused the disturbance of [men's] thoughts. Little by little those who were [p. 126.] wont to incite and encourage began without exception to utter violent denunciations in every nook and corner, nay in the court itself, saying, "The Bábís say thus, and expound in this wise: [their] behaviour is such, and [their] speech so-and-so." Such mischief-making and plots caused matters to become misapprehended, and furthermore certain schemes got afloat which were regarded as necessary measures of self-protection; the expediency of banishing the Bábís came under consideration; and all of a sudden an order came, and Behá'u'lláh was removed from


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Roumelia; nor was it known for what purpose or whither they would bear him away1. Diverse ac-

        1 It is difficult amidst the conflicting statements of the two parties and the silence of disinterested historians to discover precisely what were the causes which led to the removal of the Bábís from Adrianople. Further investigation inclines me to abandon the view (B. i. p. 515) that overt acts of hostility between the two factions made it necessary to separate them, for Mírzá Yahyá appears to have been almost without supporters at Adrianople, so that, according to his own account, he and his little boy were compelled to go themselves to the market to buy their daily food. His version of the events which led the Turkish government to change their place of exile is this:- that two of the followers of Behá set out from Adrianople for Constantinople, ostensibly to sell horses, but really to carry controversial books. The Páshá of Adrianople, being apprized of their object, telegraphed to the first halting-place on the road which they had to traverse and caused them to be arrested. The followers of Behá, believing that Mírzá Yahyá had given information to the Páshá, retaliated by lodging information against Áká Ján Beg, one of Mírzá Yahyá's followers then in Constantinople - the same who was afterwards killed in Acre (B. i. 517) - who was at this time, though a Persian, serving in the Turkish artillery. Áká Ján Beg had in his possession certain Bábí books destined for Baghdad. Unable to find means for transporting them thither and apparently warned in some way of impending danger, he was contemplating the advisability of destroying them by burying them or throwing them into the sea when he was arrested. He appears to have been examined both by the Turkish authorities and the representatives of the Persian government in Constantinople, particularly by a certain Mírzá Ahmad then attached to the Persian legation. Áká Ján Beg - an honest straightforward man incapable of concealing the truth by falsehood - frankly admitted his connection with "the people at Adrianople," his belief in [footnote goes onto page 100] the Bábí doctrines, and the existence of certain of their books in his possession. These books were thereupon seized and laid before the Sheykhu 'l-Islám, who, it would seem, hesitated to pronounce sentence of heresy against their author, but desired to see him himself. However in this wish he was not gratified, for he was soon after dismissed, and the books passed into the hands of another Sheykhu 'l-Islám, who, after carefully examining them, declared that they did not contain actual heresy, although they had a very heretical look. Áká Ján Beg, however, was, in spite of his former good services to the Turkish government (he had, I believe, distinguished himself at the recapture of Damascus), dismissed the army and imprisoned for four and a half months. From this imprisonment he went forth with hair and beard whitened by premature old age an exile to Acre, there shortly to meet with a violent death. Whatever may be the respective values of these two accounts, they both point to this, that the detection of some fresh attempt at propagandism on the part of the Bábís impelled the Turkish government to change their place of exile once more.


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counts were current in [men's] mouths, and many exaggerations were heard [to the effect] that there was no hope of deliverance.

        Now all those persons who were with him with one accord entreated and insisted that they should [be permitted to] accompany him, and, how much soever the [p. 127.] government admonished and forbade them, it was fruitless. Finally one Hájí Ja'far1 by name was moved

        1 Hájí Muhammad Ja'far of Tabríz is twice referred to, though not by name, in my first paper on the Babís; first at p. 493, where he is simply mentioned as 'a Persian merchant belonging to the sect' to whom two Bábí missionaries were forbidden to speak during their voyage to Alexandria; and [footnote goes onto page 101] again at p. 516, where the episode here related is briefly mentioned. Space does not allow me to do more than refer to the first incident here. As regards the second it is, as I have already pointed out (B. ii. p. 962), alluded to in the Epistle from Behá known as ~~~. I here quote the passage in the original:- [three lines of Persian/Arabic script] "And one from amongst the Friends sacrificed himself for myself, and cut his throat with his own hand for the love of God. This is that [the like of] which we have not heard from former ages. This is that which God hath set apart for this dispensation as a shewing forth of His Power: verily He is the Powerful, the Mighty." It appears that the Turkish government at first intended to send only Behá and his family to Acre, and to give his followers passports and money to return to their homes, but the unforeseen determination of the Behá'ís not to be separated from their chief compelled it to change its plans.


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to lamentation, and with his own hand cut his throat. When the government beheld it thus, it gave permission to all of them to accompany him, conveyed them from Adrianople to the sea-shore1, and thence transported them to Acre2. Mirzá Yahyá they sent in like manner to Famagusta3.

        1 Gallipoli was the port whence they embarked. It seems that they were first taken direct to Alexandria, and there, without being permitted to land, transhipped into vessels bound for their respective places of exile.
        2 They arrived at Acre on August 31st, 1868 (see B. i. p. 526, and B. ii. pp. 984 and 988, v. 12).
        3 See Note W at end. An official document, dated De-[footnote goes onto page 102]cember 9th, 1884, from the Muhásebejí's (Accountant's) office in Cyprus, and embodying information relative to the Bábí exiles required by the Receiver General, states that the original fermán of banishment cannot be found, but that "from an unofficial copy of the fermán received at the time of banishment of these exiles it appears that the date of their banishment is 5th Rabí'ul- Ákhir, 1285 A.H. (26th July, 1868 A.D.)." According to other documents, the date of the arrival in the island of Subh-i-Ezel and those with him was August 20th.



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        During the latter days [passed] in Adrianople Behá'u'lláh composed a detailed epistle setting forth all matters clearly and minutely. He unfolded and expounded the main principles of the sect, and made clear and plain its ethics, manners, course, and mode of conduct: he treated certain political questions in detail, and adduced sundry proofs of his truthfulness: he declared the good intent, loyalty, and [p. 128.] sincerity of the sect, and wrote some fragments of prayers, some in Persian, but the greater part in Arabic. He then placed it in a packet and adorned its address with the royal name of His Majesty the King of Persia, and wrote [on it] that some person pure of heart and pure of life, dedicated to God, and prepared for martyr-sacrifice, must, with perfect resignation and willingness, convey this epistle into the presence of the King. A youth named Mírzá Badí'1, a native of Khurásán, took the epistle, and

        1 Cf. B. ii. pp. 956-957. I have not been able to learn the proper name of Mírzá Badi'. His father was named Hájí 'Abdu 'l-Majíd. After the martyrdom of his son he visited [footnote goes onto page 103] Acre, and on one occasion during his visit Behá addressed him in these strange words - [one line of Persian/Arabic script] "Make this lamp-split oil an offering for the Imámzádé," which, as I understand, are applied proverbially to one who offers up that which has become of little value to him, as the oil which has been upset from the lamp. Some time afterwards he suffered martyrdom in Khurásán, and it was this which Behá's words were believed to have shadowed forth. For by the death of his son in whom his hopes centred had Hájí 'Abdu 'l-Majíd's life lost its sweetness for him and become a thing of little worth, and this life thus marred did he offer up. Mírzá Badí' was not more than 20 or 21 years of age. He had left Acre after accomplishing his pilgrimage thither when news reached him of the letter to be carried to Teherán and of the conditions under which it must be taken. These were, that the bearer must refrain from speaking to or visiting any of his co-religionists during the whole journey, proceed directly and alone to Teherán, and give the letter himself into the hands of the king. The letter was written on one side of a large sheet of paper with the conditions incumbent on the bearer inscribed on the back. The text of these conditions, published by Rosen, will appear in vol. vi. of the Collections Scientifiques, &c., p. 192-193.


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hastened toward the presence of His Majesty the King. The Royal Train had its abode and station outside Teherán, so he took his stand alone on a rock in a place far off but opposite to the Royal Pavilion, [p. 129.] and awaited day and night the passing of the Royal escort or the attainment of admission into the Imperial Presence. Three days did he pass thus in a state of fasting and vigilance: an emaciated body and enfeebled spirit remained. On the fourth day the


[page 104]

Royal Personage was examining all quarters and directions with a telescope when suddenly his glance fell on this man who was seated in the most respectful attitude on a rock. It was inferred from the indications [perceived] that he must certainly have thanks [to offer], or some complaint or demand for redress and justice [to prefer]. [The King] commanded one of those in attendance at the court to enquire into the circumstances of this youth. On interrogation [it was found that] he carried a letter which he desired to convey with his own hand into the Royal Presence. On receiving permission to [p. 130.] approach, he cried out before the pavilion with a dignity, composure, and respectfulness surpassing description, and in a loud voice, "O King, I have come unto thee from Sheba with a weighty message1!" [The King] commanded to take the letter and arrest the bearer. His Majesty the King wished to act with deliberation and desired to discover the truth, but those who were present before him loosed their tongues in violent reprehension, saying, "This person has shewn great presumption and amazing audacity, for he hath without fear or dread brought the letter of him against whom all peoples are angered, of him who is banished to Bulgaria and Sclavonia, into the

        1 Cf. Kur'án, xxvii, 22, where, however, the words addressed to Solomon by the hoopoe differ slightly from those uttered by Mírzá Badí'.


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presence of the King. If so be that he do not instantly suffer a grievous punishment there will be an increase of this great presumption." So the ministers of the court signified [that he should suffer] punish[p. 131.]ment and ordered the torture. As the first torment they applied the chain and rack, saying, "Make known thy other friends that thou mayest be delivered from excruciating punishment, and make thy comrades captive that thou mayest escape from the torment of the chain and the keenness of the sword." But, torture, brand, and torment him as they might, they saw nought but steadfastness and silence, and found nought but dumb endurance [on his part]. So, when the torture gave no result, they [first] photographed him (the executioners on his left and on his right, and he sitting bound in fetters and chains beneath the sword with perfect meekness and composure), and then slew and destroyed him. This photograph I sent for, and found worthy of contemplation, for he was seated with wonderful humility and strange submissiveness, in utmost resignation.

        [p. 132.] Now when His Majesty the King had perused certain passages and become cognizant of the contents of the epistle, he was much affected at what had taken place and manifested regret, because his courtiers had acted hastily and put into execution a severe punishment. It is even related that he said thrice, "Doth any one punish [one who is but] the


[page 106]

channel of correspondence?" Then the Royal Command was issued that their Reverences the learned doctors and honourable and accomplished divines should write a reply to that epistle. But when the most expert doctors of the capital became aware of the contents of the letter they ordained:- "That this person, without regarding [the fact] that he is at variance with the Perspicuous Religion, is a meddler with custom and creed, and a troubler of kings and [p. 133.] emperors. Therefore to eradicate, subdue, repress, and repel [this sect] is one of the requirements of the Well-established Path1, and indeed the chief of obligations."

        This answer was not approved before the [Royal] Presence, for the contents of this epistle had no obvious discordance with the Law or with reason, and did not meddle with political or administrative matters, nor interfere with or attack the Throne of Sovereignty. They ought, therefore, to have discussed the real points at issue, and to have written clearly and explicitly such an answer as would have caused the disappearance of doubts and the solution of difficulties, and would have become a fulcrum for discussion to all.

        Now of this epistle sundry passages shall be set forth in writing to conduce to a better understanding [of the matter] by all people. At the beginning of

        1 The religion of Islám. Cf. Kur'án, v, 52.


[page 107]

the epistle was a striking passage in the Arabic [p. 134.] language [treating] of questions of faith and assurance; the sacrifice of life in the way of the Beloved; the state of resignation and contentment; the multiplicity of misfortunes, calamities, hardships, and afflictions; and falling under suspicion of seditiousness through the machinations of foes; the establishment of his innocence in the presence of his Majesty the King; the repudiation of seditious persons and disavowal of the rebellious party; the conditions of sincere belief in the verses of the Kur'án; the needfulness of godly virtues, distinction from all other creatures in this transitory abode, obedience to the commandments, and avoidance of things prohibited; the evidence of divine support in the affair of the Báb; the inability of whosoever is upon the earth to withstand a heavenly thing; his own awakening at the divine afflux, and his falling thereby into unbounded [p. 135.] calamities; his acquisition of the divine gift, his participation in spiritual God-given grace, and his illumination with immediate knowledge without study; the excusableness of his [efforts for the] admonition of mankind, their direction toward the attainment of human perfections, and their enkindlement with the fire of divine love; encouragements to the directing of energy towards the attainment of a state greater than the degree of earthly sovereignty; eloquent prayers [written] in the utmost self-abasement, devo-


[page 108]

tion, and humility; and the like of this. Afterwards he discussed [other] matters in the Persian language. And the form of it is this1:

        "O God, this is a letter which I wish to send to the King; and Thou knowest that I have not desired

        1 This letter to the Sháh of Persia I discussed briefly in my second paper on the Bábís (pp. 954-960). Therein I expressed a doubt as to whether another letter, addressed in part to the King of Persia, which had been minutely described by Baron Rosen (MSS. Arabes, p. 191 et seq.), was to be attributed to Behá. I am now convinced, however, both by Baron Rosen's reasonings and my own further enquiries, that I was wrong. However we may account for the undoubted difference of tone between the two letters - a difference marked and striking - there is no doubt that both of them emanated from the pen of Behá. Baron Rosen is about to publish not only the letter to the King of Persia and the other 'Epistles to the Kings' but the whole of the ~~~ of which (though, as it would seem, originally written separately) they now form a part. To the publication of Baron Rosen's edition of these Epistles (which will appear in the sixth volume of the Collections Scientifiques de l'Institut des Langues Orientales of St. Petersburg) all interested in the elucidation of Bábí doctrine and history must look forward anxiously. Baron Rosen has kindly continued to forward to me the proof-sheets of his work as they are printed off, and, therefore, knowing as I do that in a short while a reliable text of this epistle will be available to students, I have not thought it necessary, as I might otherwise have done, to mention in my notes all the variants from the present text presented by another MS. which I obtained in Kirmán. The variants presented by the Kirmán MS. (henceforth denoted by K.) are numerous; in one page of 25 lines there are no less than 32. As a rule the readings of [footnote goes onto page 109] the present text are preferable, but not always; e.g. in several cases what is in K. a rhyming clause is altered here to one not rhyming. But it is the omissions of the present text that are most significant, inasmuch as they often consist of clauses which either give a greater force and precision to the passages wherein they occur, or else imply in a more unequivocal manner the position claimed by the writer. Such divergences between the two texts - whether it be a question of omission or alteration - will be noted at the foot of each page as they occur, but only in English. As regards the Arabic exordium (which in K. occupies 5 pages of the 17 filled by the whole epistle) a translation of it (based on the text of K.) will be found in Note X at end.


[page 109]

aught of him save the display of his justice to Thy people, and the shewing forth of his favours to the dwellers in Thy Kingdom. And verily, by my soul, I have not desired aught save what Thou hast desired, neither, by Thy Might, do I desire aught save what [p. 136.] Thou desirest. Perish that being which desireth of Thee aught save Thyself! And, by Thy Glory, Thy good pleasure is the limit of my hope, and Thy Will the extremity of my desire! Be merciful then, O God, to this poor [soul] who hath caught hold of the skirt of Thy richness, and to this humble [suppliant] who calleth on Thee, for Thou art indeed the Mighty, the Great. Help, O God, His Majesty the King to execute Thy laws amongst Thy servants and to shew forth Thy justice amidst Thy creatures, that he may rule over this sect as he ruleth over those who are beside them. Verily Thou art the Potent, the Mighty, the Wise.


[page 110]

        "Agreeably to the permission and consent of the King of the age, this servant turned from the place of the Royal Throne1 toward 'Irák-i-'Arab, and in that land abode twelve years. During the period of [his] sojourn [there] no description of his condition was [p. 137.] laid before the Royal Presence, neither did any representation go to foreign states. Relying upon God did he abide in that land, until a certain functionary2 came to 'Irák, who, on his arrival, fell to designing the affliction of a company of poor unfortunates. Every day, beguiled by certain of the doctors of Persia, he persecuted these servants; although nothing prejudicial to Church or State, or at variance with the principles and customs of their country-men had been observed in them. So this servant [was moved] by this reflection:- 'May it not be that by reason of the deeds of the transgressors some action at variance with the world-ordering counsel of the King should be engendered!' Therefore was an epitome [of the matter] addressed to Mírzá Sa'íd Khán3, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, that he might

        1 Teherán. Cf. p. 54 supra.
        2 Evidently Mírzá Buzurg Khán of Kazvín. See above, p. 84 et seq.
        3 It was at the hands of this minister and his myrmidons that Mullá Huseyn of Khurásán (who, with Áká Muhammad of Isfahán, had been entrusted with the conveyance of the Báb's remains from Tabríz to Teherán) met his death in August 1852. See Note T at end.



[page 111]

submit it to the [Royal] Presence, and that it might [p. 138.] be done according to that which the Royal command might promulgate. A long while elapsed, and no command was issued; until matters reached such a state that it was to be feared that sedition might suddenly break out and the blood of many be shed. Of necessity, for the protection of the servants of God, a certain number [of the Bábís] appealed to the governor of 'Irák1. If [the King] will consider what has happened with just regard, it will become clear in the mirror of his luminous heart that what occurred was [done] from considerations of expediency, and that there was apparently no resource save this. The Royal Personage can bear witness and testify to this, that in whatever land there were some few of this sect the fire of war and conflict was wont to be kindled by reason of the aggression of certain governors. But this transient one after his arrival [p. 139.] in 'Irák withheld all from sedition and strife; and the witness of this servant is his action, for all are aware and will testify that the multitude of this faction in

        1 i.e. the Turkish governor of Baghdad and 'Irák-i-'Arab, probably the same Námik Páshá mentioned in the third line of the foot-notes on p. 84. In this passage it is explained to the King that the Bábís were compelled to enrol themselves as subjects of the Ottoman Empire in order to escape the malice of the Persians, especially that of Mírzá Buzurg-Khán the Persian Consul at Baghdad.


[page 112]

Persia at that time1 was more than [it had been] before, yet, notwithstanding this, none transgressed his proper bounds nor assailed any one. It is nigh on fifteen years2 that all continue tranquil, looking unto God and relying on Him, and bear patiently what hath come upon them, casting it on God. And after the arrival of this servant in this city which is called Adrianople certain of this community enquired concerning the meaning of 'victory3.' Diverse answers were sent in reply, one of which answers will be submitted on this page, so that it may become clear [p. 140.] before the [Royal] Presence that this servant hath in view naught save peace and reform. And if some of the divine favours, which, without merit [on my part], have been graciously bestowed [on me], do not become evident and apparent, this much [at least] will be known, that [God], in [His] abounding grace and

        1 i.e. at the time Behá was in Baghdad (A.D. 1853-1864). K. reads here "that the multitude of this faction was more in 'Irák than in all [other] countries."
        2 Taking the attempt on the Sháh's life in August 1852 as the last act hostile to the Persian government for which the Bábís can be held in any way responsible, full 16 solar years must have elapsed between that date and the composition - or at any rate the completion - of this epistle, since allusion is made in it to the impending banishment to Acre, which did not occur till August 1868.
        3 K. reads "certain of the people of 'Irák and elsewhere asked concerning the meaning of the 'victory' which hath been revealed in the Books of God."



[page 113]

undeserved1 mercy, hath not deprived this oppressed one2 of the ornament of reason. The form of words which was set forth on the meaning of 'victory' is this:-

"'He is God, exalted is He.


        "'It hath been known that God (glorious is His mention) is sanctified from the world and what is therein, and that the meaning of "victory" is not this, that any one should fight or strive with any one. The Lord of He doeth what He will3 hath committed the kingdom of creation, both land and sea, into the [p. 141.] hand of kings, and they are the manifestations of the Divine Power according to the degrees of their rank: verily He is the Potent, the Sovereign4. But that which God (glorious is His mention) hath desired for Himself is the hearts of His servants, which are treasures of praise and love of the Lord and stores of divine knowledge and wisdom. The will of the Eternal King hath ever been to purify the hearts of [His] servants from the promptings of the world and what is therein, so that they may be prepared for illumination by the effulgences of the Lord of the Names and

        1 Lit. 'preceding mercy,' i.e. mercy not earned or deserved by previous good actions at the time it is bestowed.
        2 K. reads "the heart" instead of "this oppressed one."
        3 Kur'án, iii, 35; xxii, 19.
        4 K. substitutes here, "if they happen [to be] in the shadow of God, they are accounted of God; and if not, then verily thy Lord is knowing and informed."



[page 114]

Attributes. Therefore must no stranger find his way into the city of the heart, so that the Incomparable Friend may come unto His own place - that is, the effulgence of His Names and Attributes, not His Essence (exalted is He), for that Peerless King hath been and will be holy for everlasting above ascent or [p. 142.] descent1. Therefore to-day2 "victory" neither hath been nor will be opposition to any one, nor strife with any person; but rather what is well-pleasing is that the cities of [men's] hearts, which are under the dominion of the hosts of selfishness and lust, should be subdued by the sword of the Word, of Wisdom, and of Exhortation. Every one, then, who desireth "victory" must first subdue the city of his own heart with the sword of spiritual truth and of the Word,

        1 Behá here guards himself from the doctrines of ~~~, ~~~ and the like, held by certain heretical sects, viz. the belief that God can pass into man, or man become essentially one with God. Jámí very beautifully distinguishes the doctrine of annihilation in God from that of identification with God in the following verse:- [two lines of Persian/Arabic script]
                "So tread this path that duality may disappear,
                For if there be duality in the path, falsity will arise:
                Thou wilt not become He; but, if thou strivest,
                Thou wilt reach a place where thou-ness shall depart from thee."
        2 K. inserts "the meaning of."



[page 115]

and must protect it from remembering aught beside God: afterwards let him turn his regards towards the cities of [others'] hearts. This is what is intended by "victory:" sedition hath never been nor is pleasing to God, and that which certain ignorant persons formerly wrought was never approved. If ye be slain for His good pleasure verily it is better for you than [p. 143.] that ye should slay. To-day the friends of God must appear in such fashion amidst [God's] servants that by their actions they may lead all unto the pleasure of the Lord of Glory. I swear by the Sun of the Horizon of Holiness that the friends of God never have regarded nor will regard the earth or its transitory riches. God hath ever regarded the hearts of [His] servants, and this too is by reason of [His] most great favour, that perchance mortal souls may be cleansed and sanctified from earthly states and may attain unto everlasting places. But that Real King is in Himself sufficient unto Himself [and independent] of all: neither doth any advantage accrue to Him from the love of contingent1 beings, nor doth any hurt befal Him from their hatred. All earthly places appear through Him and unto Him return, and

        1 By 'continent' or 'possible' being is meant the material or phenomenal world, of which the being or not-being are alike possible and conceivable, as contrasted with 'Necessary Being' (God) of which the not-being is inconceivable and impossible.


[page 116]

[p. 144.] God singly and alone abideth in His own place which is holy above space and time, mention and utterance, sign, description, and definition, height and depth. And none knoweth this save Him and whosoever hath knowledge of the Book. There is no God but Him, the Mighty, the Bountiful.' Finis.

        "But good deeds depend on this1, that the Royal Person should himself look into that [matter] with just and gracious regard, and not be satisfied with the representations of certain persons unsupported by proof or evidence. We ask God to strengthen the King unto that which He willeth: and what He willeth should be the wish of the worlds.

        "Afterwards they summoned this servant to Constantinople. We reached that city along with a number of poor unfortunates, and after our arrival did [p. 145.] not hold intercourse with a single soul, for we had nought to say [unto them], and there was no wish save that it should be clearly demonstrated by proof to all that this servant had no thought of sedition and had never associated with the seditious. And, by Him in praise of whose spirit the tongues of all things speak,

        1 This sentence is rather ambiguous, and would at first sight appear to signify that the continuance of the Bábís' good conduct depends on their being treated with more justice and fairness than they have hitherto met with on the part of the Persian government. But I think the real meaning is rather that the attribution of good actions to the Sháh depends on his now acting justly.


[page 117]

to turn in any direction was difficult in consideration of certain circumstances; but these things were done for the protection of lives1. Verily my Lord knoweth what is in my soul, and verily He is witness unto what I say. The just king is the shadow of God in the earth; all should take refuge under the shadow of his justice and rest in the shade of his favour. This is not the place for personalities, or censures [directed] specially against some apart from others; for the shadow tells of him who casteth the shadow2. God (glorious is His mention) hath called Himself the [p. 146.] Lord of the worlds3 for that He hath nurtured and doth nurture all; exalted is His favour which hath preceded4 contingent beings and His mercy which hath preceded the worlds.

        "This is sufficiently clear, that, [whether] right or wrong according to the imagination of the people, this community have accepted as true and adopted the religion for which they are notorious, and that on this account they have foregone what they had, seeking after what is with God. And this same renunciation of life in the way of love for the Merciful

        1 Allusion is made to the action of the Bábís in enrolling themselves as Turkish subjects. See p. 88, supra.
        2 i.e. the action of subordinates reveals the temper of their masters.
        3 As, for example, in the first verse of the opening chapter of the Kur'án.
        4 See note 1 on p. 113, supra.



[page 118]

[God] is a faithful witness and an eloquent attest unto that whereunto they lay claim. Hath it [ever] been beheld that a reasonable man renounced his life without proof or evidence [of the truth of that for which he died]? And if it be said, 'This people are mad,' this [too] is very improbable, for it is not [a thing] confined to one or two persons, but rather [p. 147.] have a great multitude of every class, inebriated with the Kawthar1 of divine wisdom, hastened with heart and soul to the place of martyrdom in the way of the Friend. If these persons, who for God have foregone all save Him, and who have poured forth life and wealth in His way, can be belied, then by what proof and evidence shall the truth of that which others assert concerning that wherein they are2 be established in the presence of the King?

        "The late Hájí Seyyid Muhammad3 (may God

        1 Kawthar primarily signifies abundance, but it is also the name of a river in Paradise.
        2 That is, the religion which they profess.
        3 The event here alluded to occurred in the year A. H. 1241 (A.D. 1825). The Persians, exasperated by rumours of oppression and insult on the part of the Russians towards their Musulmán subjects, especially in the then recently ceded provinces of the Caucasus, were incited by the clergy headed by Áká (here called Hájí) Seyyid Muhammad of Isfahán to declare a jihád or holy war against their northern enemies, in which, though at first encouraged by some measures of success, they were eventually totally vanquished, the campaign ending in the capture of Tabríz by the Russians and the treaty of [footnote goes onto page 119] Turkmáncháy. See Watson's History of Persia, pp. 207-238. Watson, however, credits Áká Seyyid Muhammad with some degree of moderation, observing (p. 209) that "he seems to have retained some slight remnant of prudence, after that quality was no longer discernible in the conduct and language of his professional brethren."



[page 119]

exalt his station and overwhelm him in the depth of the ocean of His mercy and forgiveness), although he was of the most learned of the doctors of the age and the most pious and austere of his contemporaries, and although the splendour of his worth was of such a degree that the tongues of all creatures spoke in praise and eulogy of him and confidently asserted his asceticism and godliness, did nevertheless in the war [p. 148.] against the Russians forego much good and turn back after a little contest, although he himself had decreed a holy war, and had set out from his native country with conspicuous ensign in support of the Faith. O would that the covering might be withdrawn, and that what is hidden from [men's] eyes might appear!

        "But as to this sect, it is twenty years1 and more that they have been tormented by day and by night with the fierceness of the Royal anger, and that they have been cast each one into a [different] land by the blasts of the tempests of the King's wrath. How

        1 The first interference with the Báb and his followers took place in August 1845, so that if we suppose this letter to have been written near the end of the Adrianople period (which came to a close in August 1868) nearly 23 years of persecution had then been endured by the Bábís.


[page 120]

many children have been left fatherless! How many fathers have become childless! How many mothers have not dared, through fear and dread, to mourn over their slaughtered children1! Many [were] the servants [of God] who at eve were in the utmost [p. 149.] wealth and opulence, and at dawn were beheld in the extreme of poverty and abasement! There is no land but hath been dyed with their blood and no air whereunto their groanings have not arisen. And during these few years the arrows of affliction have rained down without intermission from the clouds of fate. Yet, notwithstanding all these visitations and afflictions, the fire of divine love is in such fashion kindled in their hearts that, were they all to be hewn in pieces, they would not forswear the love of the Beloved of

        1 This is no mere figure of speech. Ussher writes in his Journey from London to Persepolis (London 1865), p. 629, "It was enough to be suspected of Babeeism to be at once put to death, and many old feuds and injuries were avenged by denouncements and accusation of being tainted by the fatal doctrines. No time was lost between apprehension and execution. Death was the only punishment known; the headless bodies lay in the streets for days, the terrified relatives fearing to give them burial, and the dogs fought and growled over the corpses in the deserted thoroughfares. At last the European missions remonstrated, the reign of terror ceased, and although still proscribed and put to death without mercy whenever discovered, the Babees are supposed yet to reckon many seeming orthodox Moslems among their numbers, the southern parts of the country being thought to be the most tainted with the detested heresy."


[page 121]

all the dwellers upon earth; nay rather with their whole souls do they yearn and hope for what may befal [them] in the way of God.

        "O King! The gales of the mercy of the Merciful One have converted these servants and drawn them to the region of the [Divine] Unity - 'The witness of the faithful lover is in his sleeve'1 - but some of the doctors of Persia2 have troubled the [p. 150.] most luminous heart of the King of the age with regard to those who are admitted into the Sanctuary of the Merciful One and those who make for the Ka'ba of Wisdom. O would that the world-ordering judgement of the King might decide that this servant should meet those doctors3, and, in the presence of His Majesty the King, adduce arguments and proofs! This servant is ready, and hopeth of God that such a conference may be brought about, so that the truth of the matter may become evident and apparent before His Majesty the King. And afterwards the decision is in thy hand, and I am ready to confront the throne of thy sovereignty; then give judgment for me or against me. The Merciful Lord saith in the Furkán4, which is the enduring proof amidst the host

        1 i.e. the faithful lover carries his life in his hand, or, as the Persians say, in his sleeve.
        2 K. reads 'outward [or formal] doctors.'
        3 K. reads 'the doctors of the age.'
        4 i.e. the Kur'án, the supernatural eloquence of which is [footnote goes onto page 122] the 'permanent miracle' and 'enduring proof' of its divine origin.



[page 122]

of existences, 'Desire death, then, if ye be sincere1' He hath declared the desiring of death to be the [p. 151.] proof of sincerity; and it will be apparent in the mirror of the [King's] luminous mind which party it is that hath this day foregone life in the way of Him [who is] adored by the dwellers upon earth. Had the doctrinal books of this people, [composed] in proof of that wherein they are2, been written with the blood which has been shed in His way (exalted is He), books innumerable would assuredly have been apparent and visible amongst mankind.

        "How, then, can one repudiate this people, whose words and deeds are consistent, and accept those persons who neither have foregone nor will forego one atom of the consideration [which they enjoy] in the way of [God] the Sovereign?

        "Some of the doctors of Persia who have denounced this servant have never either met or seen him, nor [even] become cognizant of [his] intent: [p. 152.] nevertheless they said what they desired and do what they will. Every statement requires proof, and is not [established] merely by assertion or by outward gear of asceticism.

        "A translation of some passages from the con-

        1 Kur'án, ii, 88; lxii, 6.
        2[footnote 2; i.e. 'that which they believe.'



[page 123]

tents of the Hidden Book of Fátima1 (upon her be

        1 I was at first doubtful as to whether the passages here cited were really translated by Behá from some Arabic work bearing his name, or whether they were in truth extracts from a work of his own called 'Hidden Words' (~~~) whereof I had heard frequent mention amongst the Bábís. The following passage on p. 379 of Mr Merrick's translation of a work on Shi'ite theology called ~~~ seemed to bear on the question:- "After the Prophet's death Fátima was affected in spirit to a degree which none but God knew. Jebrá'íl was sent down daily to comfort her, and 'Alí wrote what the angel said, and this is the Book of Fátima which is now with the Imám Mahdí." On consulting Rieu's Catalogue of the Persian MSS. in the British Museum, I found mention (vol. ii, p. 829 b.) of a work entitled ~~~ composed by Mullá Muhsin-i-Feyz of Káshán, and described as consisting of "one hundred sayings of Imáms and Súfís in Arabic, with Persian commentary." I seized the first opportunity of examining this work, but a search of about two hours through its pages revealed nothing resembling the passages in the text before us. Finally I wrote to Acre, asking, amongst other questions, what might be the true nature of the work here alluded to. The following answer (which is authoritative) was returned:- [Translation] "Fifth Question. Concerning the mention of the matters in the Hidden Book of Fátima (upon her be the peace of God). The answer is this, that the sect of Persia, that is the Shi'ites, who regard themselves as pure, and the [rest of the] world (we take refuge with God!] as unclean, believe that after His Highness the Seal of the Prophets [Muhammad] Her Highness Fátima (upon her be the blessings of God) was occupied night and day in weeping, wailing, and lamenting over the fate of her illustrious father. Therefore was Jebrá'íl commanded by the Lord Most Glorious to commune, converse, and associate with Her Highness Fátima; and [footnote goes onto page 124] he used to speak words causing consolation and quietude of heart. These words were collected and named 'The Book of Fátima' (~~~). And they [i.e. the Shi'ites] believe that this Book is with His Highness the Ká'im [i.e. the Imám Mahdí] and shall appear in the days of his appearance. But of this Book nought is known save the name, and indeed it is a name without form and a title without reality. And His Highness the Existent [i.e. Behá'u'lláh] willed to make known the appearance of the Ká'im by intimation and implication; therefore was it mentioned in this manner for a wise reason which he had. And that which is mentioned under the name of the Book in the Epistle to His Majesty the King [of Persia] (may God assist him) is from the 'Hidden Words' ~~~ which was revealed before the Epistle to His Majesty the King. The 'Hidden Words' was revealed in the languages of eloquence (Arabic) and of light (Persian). It hath been commanded that some portion of it shall be written and sent specially for you, that you may become cognizant of the truth of the matter. At all events both the Persian and the Arabic thereof were revealed in this manifestation. As to the pronoun" [I had asked whether the pronoun in ~~~ referred to God, or to Gabriel, or to Fátima, i.e. whether its subject was masculine or feminine] "he says, 'It refers to the Hidden Unseen, from the heaven of whose Grace all verses are revealed.'"


[page 124]

the blessings of God) which are apposite to this place will [now] be submitted in the Persian language, in order that some things [now] concealed may be revealed before the [Royal] Presence. Those addressed in these utterances in the above-mentioned book (which is to-day known as 'Hidden Words') are those people who are outwardly notable for


[page 125]

science and piety, but who are inwardly subservient to their passions and lust. He says:-

        "O faithless ones! Why do ye outwardly claim to be shepherds, while inwardly ye have become the [p. 153.] wolves of my sheep? Your likeness is like unto the star before the morning1, which is apparently bright and luminous, but really causeth the misguidance and destruction of the caravans of my city and country.'

        "So likewise he saith -

        "O outwardly fair and inwardly faulty! Thy likeness is like unto clear bitter water, wherein outwardly the utmost sweetness and purity is beheld, but when it falleth into the assaying hands of the taste of the [Divine] Unity He doth not accept a single drop thereof. The radiance of the sun is on the earth and on the mirror alike; but regard the difference as from the guard-stars2 to the earth; nay, between them is a limitless distance.'

        1 There is a star which appears before the morning star and resembles it, and this the Persians call káraván-kush (the caravan-killer) or charvadár-kush (the muleteer-killer), because it entices the caravan to start from its halting-place in the belief that the dawn is at hand, and so causes it to lose its way and perish.
        2 Farkadán, the two Farkads, are two bright stars near the pole-star (( and ( of Ursa Minor). See Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon s.v. ~~~. In English they are properly called the "Guards" or "Guardians" - "'of the Spanish word guardare,' saith Hood, 'which is to beholde, because they are diligently [footnote goes onto page 126] to be looked unto, in regard of the singular use which they have in navigation.'" (Smyth and Chambers' Cycle of Celestial Objects, Oxford, 1881.



[page 126]

        "So likewise he saith:-

        "O child of the world! Many a morning hath the effulgence of my grace come unto thy place from the day-spring of the place-less, found thee on the [p. 154.] couch of ease busied with other things, and returned like the lightning of the spirit to the bright abode of glory. And I, desiring not thy shame, declared it not in the retreats of nearness to the hosts of holiness.'

        "So likewise he saith:-

        "O pretender to my friendship! In the morning the breeze of my grace passed by thee, and found thee sleeping on the bed of heedlessness, and wept over thy condition, and turned back.'

Finis.


        "In the presence of the King's justice, therefore, the statement of an adversary ought not to be accepted as sufficient. And in the Furkán, which distinguisheth between truth and falsehood, He says, 'O ye who believe, if there come unto you a sinner with a message, then discriminate, lest you fall upon a people in ignorance and on the morrow repent of [p. 155.] what ye have done1.' And it hath come down in holy

        1 Kur'án, XLIX, 6. Concerning the occasion of the revelation of this passage see the notes on it in Sale's and Palmer's translations of the Kur'án.


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tradition, 'Credit not the calumniator.' The matter hath been misapprehended by certain doctors, neither have they seen this servant. But those persons who have met [him] testify that this servant hath not spoken contrary to that which God hath ordained in the Book, and recite this blessed verse:- He saith (exalted is He) 'Do ye disavow us for aught save that we believe in God, and what hath been sent down unto us, and what was sent down before1?'

        "O King of the age! The eyes of these wanderers turn and gaze in the direction of the mercy of the Merciful One, and assuredly to these afflictions shall the greatest mercy succeed, and after these most grievous hardships shall follow great ease. But [our] hope is this, that His Majesty the King will himself turn his attention to [these] matters, which [p. 156.] thing will be the cause of hope in [our] hearts2]. And this is unmixed good which hath been submitted, and God sufficeth for a witness.

        "Glory be to Thee, O God! O God, I bear witness that the heart of the King is between the fingers of Thy power: if Thou pleasest, turn it, O God, in the direction of mercy and kindliness: verily Thou art the Exalted, the Potent, the Beneficent: there is no God but Thee, the Mighty from whom help is sought.

        1 Kur'án, v, 64.
        2 K. reads ~~~ ("the cause of the good pleasure of the Belovéd") in place of ~~~.



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        "Concerning the qualifications of the doctors, he saith1:- 'But amongst the lawyers he who guardeth himself, observeth his religion, opposeth his lust, and obeyeth the command of his Lord - it is incumbent on the people to follow him...' unto the end. And if the King of the age will regard this utterance, which proceeded from the tongue of the recipient of divine inspiration, he will observe that those characterized [p. 157.] by the qualities transmitted in the afore-mentioned tradition are rarer than the philosopher's stone. Therefore the claim of every person pretending to science neither hath been nor is heard.

        "So likewise in describing the lawyers of the latter time he says:- 'The lawyers of that time are the most evil of lawyers under the shadow of heaven: from them cometh forth mischief, and unto them it returneth2.'

        "And if any person deny these traditions, the establishing thereof is [incumbent] on this servant; but since [our] object is brevity therefore the detail of the authorities3 hath not been submitted.

        "Those doctors who have indeed drunk of the

        1 The preposition appears to refer to the Prophet Muhammad.
        2 K. here adds, "So likewise he saith, 'when the standard of the Truth appeareth the people of the East and of the West curse it.'"
        3 i.e. the ~~~, or chain of narrators whereby a reliable tradition is substantiated, is omitted for lack of space.



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cup of renunciation never interfered with this servant, even as the late Sheykh Murtazá1 (may God exalt his station and cause him to dwell under the shadow of the domes of His grace) used to shew [us] affection during the days of [our] sojourn in 'Irák, [p. 158.] and used not to speak concerning this matter otherwise than God hath permitted. We ask God to help all [men] unto that which He loveth and approveth.

        "Now all people have shut their eyes to all [these] matters, and are bent on the persecution of this sect; so that should it be demanded of certain persons, who (after God's grace) rest in the shadow of the King's clemency and enjoy unbounded blessings, 'In return for the King's favour what service have ye wrought? Have ye by wise policy added any country to [his] countries? Or have ye applied yourselves to aught which would cause the comfort of the people, the prosperity of the kingdom, and the continuance of fair fame for the state?', they have no reply save this, that, falsely or truly, they designate a number of persons in the presence of the King by the name of [p. 159.] Bábís, and forthwith engage in slaughter and plunder; even as in Tabríz and elsewhere2 they sold certain

        1 See note 1 on p. 86 supra.
        2 K. reads "and Mansúriyya of Egypt." The only record I can find of any of the Bábís being sold into slavery is in the Táríkh-i-Jadíd, which, after describing the massacre of most of those who surrendered at Sheykh tabarsí, continues - "The remainder of the companions who were left alive they carried [footnote goes onto page 130] in fetters and chains to Bárfurúsh. Several they sold, such as Akhúnd-i-Mullá Muhammad Sádik of Khurásán, Áká Seyyid 'Azím the Turk, Hájí Nasír of Kazvín, and Mírzá Huseyn of Kum. And some they sent to Sárí, and there martyred them." But it is clear that these were sold into slavery: they may have been ransomed by their friends, as certainly happened in some cases. More recent instances are evidently alluded to here. Probably the Bábís sent to Khart.úm in the Soudan about the period when this letter was written, and afterwards released by General Gordon, were sold as slaves. (See B. i, pp. 493-495.)



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ones, and received much wealth; and this was never represented before the presence of the King. All these things have occurred because of this, that they have found these poor people without a helper. They have foregone matters of moment, and have fallen upon these poor unfortunates.

        "Many sects and diverse tribes rest tranquil in the shadow of the King, and of these sects one is this people. Were it not best that the lofty endeavour and magnanimity of those who surround the King should so be witnessed: that they should be scheming for all factions to come under the King's shadow, and that they should govern amidst all with justice? To put in force the ordinances of God is unmixed justice, [p. 160.] and with this all are satisfied; nay, the ordinances of God [ever] have been and will be the instrument and means for the protection of [His] creatures, as He saith (exalted is He) 'And in retaliation ye have


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life, O people of understanding1.' [But] it is far from the justice of His Majesty the King that, for the fault of one person, a number of persons should become the objects of the scourges of wrath. God (glorious is His mention) saith:- 'None shall bear the burden of another2.' And this is sufficiently evident, that in every community there have been and will be learned and ignorant, wise and foolish, sinful and pious. And to commit abominable actions is far from the wise man. For the wise man either seeketh the world or abandoneth it. If he abandoneth it, assuredly he will not regard aught save God, and, apart from this, the fear of God will withhold him from committing forbidden and culpable [p. 161.] actions. And if he seeketh the world, he will assuredly not commit deeds which will cause and induce the aversion of [God's] servants and produce horror in those who are in all lands; but rather will he practise such deeds as will cause the adhesion of mankind. So it hath been demonstrated that detestable actions have been and will be [wrought only] by ignorant persons3. We ask God to keep His servants from regarding aught but Him, and to

        1 Kur'án, ii. 175.
        2 Kur'án, vi. 164; xvii. 16; xxxv. 19; xxxix. 9; liii. 39.
        3 Compare the argument on pp. 52-53 wherewith Behá meets the charge brought against him of complicity in the attempted assassination of the Sháh.




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bring them near to Him: verily He is potent over all things.
        "Glory be to Thee, O God! O My God, Thou hearest my groaning, and seest my state and my distress and my affliction, and knowest what is in my soul. If my cry be sincerely for Thy sake, then draw thereby the hearts of Thy creatures unto the horizon of the heaven of Thy recognition, and turn the King unto the right hand of the throne of Thy Name the Merciful;
[p. 162.] then bestow on him, O my God, the blessing which hath descended from the heaven of Thy favour and the clouds of Thy mercy, that he may sever himself from that which he hath and turn toward the region of Thy bounties. O Lord, help him to support the oppressed amongst [Thy] servants1, and to raise up Thy Word amidst Thy people; then aid him with the hosts of the unseen and the seen, that he may subdue cities in Thy Name and rule over all who are upon the earth by Thy power and authority, O Thou in whose hand is the Kingdom of creation: and verily Thou art He who ruleth at the beginning and in the end: there is no God save Thee, the Potent, the Mighty, the Wise.

        "They have misrepresented matters before the presence of the King in such a way that if any ill deed proceed from any one of this sect they account it as [a part] of the religion of these servants. But,

        1 K. reads "to support Thy religion."


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by God, beside whom there is none other God, this [p. 163.] servant hath not sanctioned the committing of sins, much less that whereof the prohibition hath been explicitly revealed in the Book of God! God hath prohibited unto men the drinking of wine1, and the unlawfulness thereof hath been revealed and recorded in the Book of God2, and the doctors of the age (may God multiply the like of them) have unanimously

        1 The Muhammadans are in the habit of alleging against the Bábís (of whose tenets they are, with very rare exceptions, perfectly ignorant) sundry false and malicious charges calculated to discredit them in the eyes of the world, as, for instance, that they are communists; that they allow nine husbands to one woman; that they drink wine and are guilty of other unlawful practices. These statements have been repeated by many European writers deriving their information either directly or indirectly from Muhammadan sources, and especially from the Persian state chronicles called Násikhu't-Tawáríkh and Rawzatu's-Safá. Of these somewhat partial and one-sided records the former has the following passage:- "In every house where they [i.e. the Bábís] assembled they used to drink wine and commit other actions forbidden by the Law; and they used to order their women to come unveiled into the company of strangers, engage in quaffing goblets of wine, and give to drink to the men in the company." Anyone knowing what reliance can be placed on the statements of the work in question, when any motive for misrepresentation exists, will learn without astonishment that the Báb absolutely forbade the use of wine, opium, and even tobacco, and that the Bábís observe the obligations laid upon them at least as well as the Muhammadans. The prohibition of tobacco has, however, been withdrawn by Behá.
        2 Kur'án, v. 92.



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prohibited unto men this abominable action; yet withal do some commit it. Now the punishment of this action falls on these heedless persons, while those manifestations of the glory of sanctity [continue] holy and undefiled: unto their sanctity all Being, whether of the unseen or the seen, testifieth.

        "Yea, these servants [of God] regard God as 'doing what He pleaseth and ordering what He willeth1.' There is no retreat nor way of flight for any one save unto God, and no refuge nor asylum but in Him. And at no time hath the cavilling of men, whether learned or unlearned, been a thing to rely on, nor [p. 164.] will it be so2. The [very] prophets, who are the pearls of the Ocean of Unity and the recipients of Divine Revelation, have [ever] been the objects of men's aversion and cavilling; much more these

        1 Kur'án, ii. 254; iii. 35; xxii. 14, 19. K. inserts here:- "But they have considered the [further] appearances of the Manifestations of Unity in the World of dominion [i.e. the phenomenal world] as impossible; whereas if anyone regards this as impossible wherein does he differ from those people who regard the Hand of God as passive? If they regard God (glorious is His mention) as Sovereign, then all must accept a matter which appeareth from the Source of command of that King of Pre-existence."
        2 K. has this sentence differently as follows:- "That thing which is necessary is the production on the claimant's part of proof and demonstration of that which he says and that whereunto he lays claim: else at no time hath the cavilling of men" &c.



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servants. Even as He saith:- 'Every nation schemed against their apostle to catch him. And they contended with falsehood therewith to refute the truth1.' So likewise He saith, 'There came not unto them any apostle but they mocked at him2.' Consider the appearance of the Seal of the Prophets3, the King of the Elect (the soul of the worlds be his sacrifice); after the dawning of the Sun of Truth from the horizon of the hijáz what wrongs befel that Manifestation of the Might of the Lord of Glory at the hands of the people of error! So heedless were men that they were wont to consider the vexation of that holy one as one of the greatest of good works and as the means [p. 165.] of approaching God Most High. For in the first years the doctors of that age, whether Jews or Christians, turned aside from that Sun of the Highest Horizon; and, at the turning aside of those persons, all, whether humble or noble, girt up their loins to quench the radiance of that Light of the Horizon of Ideals. The names of all are recorded in books: amongst them were Wahb ibn Ráhib, Ka'b ibn Ashraf, Abdu'lláh [ibn] Ubayy4, and the like of these persons; till at

        1 Kur'án, xl. 5.
        2 Kur'án, xv. ll, xxxvi. 29.
        3 Muhammad.
        4 I can find no mention of Wahb ibn Ráhib. Perhaps Wahb ibn Yahudhá, one of the Jewish tribe of the Baní Kuraydha who strenuously opposed Muhammad and denied the Kur'án, is intended; or perhaps Wahb ibn Zayd of the [footnote goes onto page 136] same tribe, who said that he would believe if Muhammad would bring down a book from heaven, and whose name is mentioned as one of the "enemies amongst the Jews." Ka'b ibn Ashraf of the tribe of tayy went with forty Jews from Medína to Mecca and conspired with the arch-enemy of the Prophet, Abú Sofyán, to compass the death of Muhammad. He was subsequently slain by Muhammad ibn Maslama at the command of the Prophet. 'Abdu'lláh ibn Ubayy ibn Salúl of the tribe of 'Awf was called "the chief of hypocrites." [See Ibn Hishám's Life of Muhammad, ed. Wüstenfeld.



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length the matter reached such a point that they convened a meeting to take counsel as to the shedding of the most pure blood of that holy one, as God (glorious is His mention) hath declared:- 'And when those who misbelieved plotted against thee to confine thee, or slay thee, or drive thee out; and they plotted, and God plotted; and God is the best of plotters1.' So likewise He saith:- 'And if their aversion be grievous unto thee, then, if thou art able to seek out [p. 166.] a hole down into the earth, or a ladder up into the sky, that thou mayest shew them a sign - [do so]: but if God pleased He would assuredly bring them all to the true guidance: be not therefore one of the ignorant2.' By God, the hearts of those near [unto God] are scorched at the purport of these two blessed verses; but the like of these matters certainly transmitted [to us] are blotted out of sight, and [men] have not reflected, neither do reflect, what was the

        1 Kur'án, viii. 30.
        2 Kur'án, vi. 35.



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reason of the turning aside of [God's] servants at the appearance of the day-springs of divine lights.

        "So, too, before the Seal of the Prophets, consider Jesus the Son of Mary. After the appearance of that Manifestation of the Merciful One all the doctors charged that Quintessence of Faith with misbelief and rebelliousness; until at length, with the consent of Annas, who was the chief of the doctors of that age, and likewise Caiaphas1, who was the most learned of the judges, they wrought upon that Holy One that which the pen is ashamed and [p. 167.]unable to repeat. The earth with its amplitude was too strait for Him, until God took Him up into the heaven. But were a detailed account of the prophets to be submitted it is feared that weariness might result2.

        1 John xi. 49, 50; xviii. 13-28; Acts iv. 6-10.
        2 K. inserts a long passage here as follows:- "And the Jewish doctors especially hold that after Moses no plenipotentiary prophet possessed of a [new] Law shall come, [but that] one from amongst the children of David shall appear, who shall give currency to the Law of the Pentateuch, until, by his help, the ordinances of the Pentateuch shall become current and effective between the East and the West. So too the people of the Gospel regard it as impossible that after Jesus the Son of Mary any Founder of a new religion should shine forth from the day-spring of the Divine Will; and they seek a proof in this verse which is in the Gospel:- 'Verily it may be that the heaven and the earth should pass away, but the word of the Son of Man shall never pass away.' And they hold that what Jesus the Son of Mary hath said and commanded shall not [footnote goes onto page 138] suffer change, whereas He saith in one place in the Gospel, 'Verily I go and come [again]'; and in the Gospel of John likewise He giveth tidings of 'the Comforting Spirit which shall come after me'; while in the Gospel of Luke also certain signs are mentioned. But, because some of the doctors of that faith have propounded for each utterance an explanation after their own lusts, therefore have they remained veiled from the meaning intended."



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        "O would that thou mightest permit, O King, that we should send unto Thy Majesty that whereby eyes would be refreshed, souls tranquillized, and every just person assured that with him [i.e., Behá'u'lláh] is knowledge of the Book. Were it not for the turning aside of the ignorant and the wilful blindness of the doctors, verily I would utter a discourse whereat hearts would be glad and would fly unto the air from the murmur of whose winds is heard, 'There is no God but He.' But now, because the time admitteth it not, the tongue is withheld from utterance, and the vessel of declaration is sealed until God shall unclose it by His power: verily He is the Potent, the Powerful.

        [p. 168.] "Glory be to Thee, O God! O My God, I ask of Thee in Thy Name, whereby Thou hast subdued whomsoever is in the heavens and the earth, that Thou wilt keep the lamp of Thy religion with the glass of Thy power and Thy favours, so that the winds of denial pass not by it from the region of those who are heedless of the mysteries of Thy Sovereign Name: then increase


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its light by the oil of Thy wisdom: verily Thou art Potent over whomsoever is in Thy earth and Thy heaven.

        "O Lord, I ask of Thee by the Supreme Word, whereat whosoever is in the earth and the heaven feareth save him who taketh hold of the 'Most Firm Handle
1,' that Thou wilt not abandon me amongst Thy creatures: lift me up unto Thee, and make me to enter in under the shadow of Thy mercy, and give me to drink of the pure wine of Thy grace, that I may dwell under the canopy of Thy glory and the domes of Thy favours: verily Thou art powerful unto that Thou wishest, and verily Thou art the Protecting, the Self-Sufficing.

        [p. 169.] "O King! The lamps of justice are extinguished, and the fire of persecution is kindled on all sides, until that they have made my people captives2 unto Mosul 'the prominent'" (el-hadbá).]. This is not the first honour which hath been violated in the way of God. It behoveth every one to regard and recall what befell the kindred of the Prophet until that the people made them captives and brought them in unto Damascus the spacious; and amongst them was the Prince of Worshippers3, the Stay of the elect, the Sanctuary of the eager (the soul of all beside

        1 Kur'án, ii. 257; xxxi. 21.
        2 K. inserts here:- "from Zawrá [Baghdad
        3 i.e. Zeynu'l-'Ábidín, the fourth Imám, son of Imám Huseyn and Shahrbánú the daughter of Yezdigird. Being ill in his bed at the time of the massacre of Kerbelá his life was, [footnote goes onto page 140] after some deliberation, spared, and he was sent with the women taken captive to the court of Yezíd at Damascus, where the discussion here recorded is supposed to have taken place. (Cf. At.-tabarí's Annales, ed. de Goeje, secunda series, v. i. pp. 367, et seq.)



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him be his sacrifice). It was said unto them, 'Are ye seceders?' He said, 'No, by God, we are servants who have believed in God and in His signs, and through us the teeth of faith are disclosed in a smile, and the sign of the Merciful One shineth forth; through our mention spreadeth Al-Bathá1, and the darkness which intervened between earth and heaven is dispelled.' It was said, 'Have ye forbidden what [p. 170.] God hath sanctioned, or sanctioned what God hath forbidden?' He said, 'We were the first who followed the commandments of God: we are the source of command and its origin, and the first-fruits of all good and its consummation: we are the sign of the Eternal, and His commemoration amongst the nations.' It was said, 'Have ye abandoned the Kur'án?' He said, 'Through us did the Merciful One reveal it; and we are gales of the All-glorious amidst [His] creatures; we are streams which have arisen from the most mighty Ocean whereby God revived the earth after its death; from us His signs are diffused, His evidences are manifested, and His tokens appear; and with us are His mysteries and His secrets.' It was said, 'For what fault [then] were ye afflicted?'

        1 Mecca.


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He said, 'For the love of God and our severance from all beside Him.'

        "Verily we have not repeated his expressions (upon him be peace), but rather we have made manifest a spray from the Ocean of Life which was deposited in his words, that by it those who advance
[p. 171.] may live and be aware of what hath befallen the trusted ones of God on the part of an evil and most reprobate people. And to-day we see the people censuring those who acted unjustly of yore, while they oppress more vehemently than those oppressed, and know it not. By God, I do not desire sedition, but the purification of [God's] servants from all that withholdeth them from approach to God, the King of the Day of Invocation1.

        "I was asleep on my couch: the breaths of my Lord the Merciful passed over me and awakened me from sleep2: to this bear witness the denizens [of the realms] of His Power and His Kingdom, and the dwellers in the cities of His Glory, and Himself, the True. I am not impatient of calamities in His

        1 i.e. the Day of Judgement, "so called," says the Arabic-Turkish dictionary called Akhtarí Kabír, "because thereon the people of paradise and the people of hell shall call to one another." The expression occurs once in the Kur'án, ch. xl. v. 34.
        2 K. inserts:- "and commanded me to proclaim betwixt earth and heaven: this was not on my part but on His part, and to this..." &c.



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way, nor of afflictions for His love and at His good pleasure. God hath made affliction as a morning shower to this green pasture, and as a match for [p. 172.] His lamp whereby earth and heaven are illumined.

        "Shall that which any one hath of wealth endure unto him, or avail him to-morrow with him who holdeth his forelock
1? If any should look on those who sleep under slabs2 and keep company with the dust, can he distinguish the bones of the king's skull from the knuckles of the slave? No, by the King of Kings! Or doth he know governors from herdsmen, or discern the wealthy and the rich from him who was without shoes or carpet? By God, distinction is removed, save for him who fulfilled righteousness and judged uprightly. Where are the doctors, the scholars, the nobles? Where is the keenness of their glances, the sharpness of their sight, the subtlety of their thoughts, the soundness of their understandings? Where are their hidden treasures and their apparent gauds, their bejewelled thrones and their ample [p. 173.] couches? Alas! All have been laid waste, and the decree of God hath rendered them as scattered dust! Emptied is what they treasured up, and dissipated is what they collected, and dispersed is what they concealed: they have become [such that] thou

        1 See Kur'án, xcvi. 15, 16, and cxi. 2 passim.
        2 K. reads ~~~ "under marble."



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seest nought but their empty places, their gaping roofs, their uprooted beams, their new things waxed old. As for the discerning man, verily wealth will not divert him from regarding the end; and for the prudent man, riches will not withhold him from turning toward [God] the Rich, the Exalted. Where is he who held dominion over all whereon the sun arose, and who spent lavishly and sought after curious things in the world and what is therein created? Where is the lord of the swarthy squadron and the yellow standard? Where is he who ruled Zawrá1, and where he who wrought injustice in [Damascus] the spacious2? [p. 174.] Where are they at whose bounty treasures were afraid, at whose open-handedness and generosity the ocean was dismayed? Where is he whose arm was stretched forth in rebelliousness, whose heart turned away from the Merciful One? Where is he who used to make choice of pleasures and cull the fruits of desires? Where are the dames of the bridal chambers, and the possessors of beauty? Where are their waving branches and their spreading boughs, their lofty

        1 Baghdad. The name (or rather epithet) of Zawrá ("the crooked") is applied to no less than ten different places. (See Yákút's Mushtarik, ed. Wüstenfeld, p. 235.) But in this and similar places Baghdad, the capital of the perfidious 'Abbásids so detestable to every true Shi'ité[sic], is intended.
        2 Al-Feyhá ("the spacious") is an epithet designating Damascus. Mu'áwiya, Yezíd, and the Omeyyad caliphs generally are here alluded to.



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palaces and trellised gardens? Where is the smoothness of the expanses thereof and the softness of their breezes, the rippling of their waters and the murmur of their winds, the cooing of their doves and the rustling of their trees? Where are their laughing hearts and their smiling teeth? 1 Woe unto them! They have descended to the abyss and become companions to the pebbles; to-day no mention is heard of them nor any sound; nothing is known of them [p. 175.] nor any hint. Will the people dispute it while they behold it? Will they deny it when they know it? I know not in what valley they wander erringly: do they not see that they depart and return not? How long will they be famous in the low countries and in the high2, descend and ascend? 'Is not the time yet come to those who believe for their hearts to become humble for the remembrance of God3?' Well is it with that one who hath said or shall say, 'Yea, O Lord, the time is ripe and hath come,' and who severeth himself from all that is4. Alas! nought is reaped but what is sown, and nought is taken but what is laid up, save by the grace of God and His favour. Hath the earth conceived him whom the veils

        1 Or perhaps "their heaving bosoms [lit. "dilated lungs"] and their smiling mouths."
        2 Concerning the expression ~~~ see Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon, Bk. i. Pt. vi. p. 2306, column 3.
        3 Kur'án, lvii. 15.
        4 K. inserts "unto the King of beings."



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of glory prevent not from ascending into the Kingdom of His Lord, the Mighty, the Supreme? Have we any good works whereby defects shall be removed or which shall bring us near unto the Lord of causes? We ask God to deal with us according to His grace, not [p. 176.] His justice, and to make us of those who turn toward Him and sever themselves from all beside Him.

        "O King, I have seen in the way of God what no eye hath seen and no ear hath heard. Friends have disclaimed me; ways are straitened unto me; the pool of safety is dried up; the plain of ease is
[scorched] yellow1. How many calamities have descended, and how many will descend! I walk advancing toward the Mighty, the Bounteous, while

        1 I am uncertain as to this line, and incline to think (though both MSS. agree in the pointing of the first and the spelling of the second doubtful word) that we should read ~~~ in the first clause (which signifies shallow water or a pool, and agrees in sense with the verb ~~~ to dry up or sink into the ground), and ~~~ ('a flat, even plain, destitute of herbage and containing small pebbles') in the second. At any rate I can find no other meaning of ~~~ which would seem appropriate to the verb ~~~. However, Baron Rosen's text (Collections Scientifiques, etc., vol. vi. p. 213) agrees with the two MSS. in my possession, and a gloss therein appended to the passage before us explains ~~~ as meaning 'a pool of water' (~~~), and ~~~ as meaning 'garden' ~~~.


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behind me glides the serpent. My eyes rain down tears until my bed is drenched; but my sorrow is not for myself. By God, my head longeth for the spears for the love of its Lord, and I never pass by a tree but my heart addresseth it [saying], 'O would that thou wert cut down in my name and my body were crucified upon thee in the way of my Lord;' yea, because I see mankind going astray in their intoxication, and [p. 177.] they know it not: they have exalted their lusts, and put aside their God, as though they took the command of God for a mockery, a sport, and a plaything; and they think that they do well, and that they are harboured in the citadel of security. The matter is not as they suppose: to-morrow they shall see what they [now] deny.

        "We are about to shift from this most remote place of banishment1 unto the prison of Acre. And, according to what they say, it is assuredly the most desolate of the cities of the world, the most unsightly of them in appearance, the most detestable in climate, and the foulest in water; it is as though it were the metropolis of the owl; there is not heard from its regions aught save the sound of its hooting. And in it they intend to imprison the servant, and to

        1 Adrianople. In K. this sentence runs as follows:- "The lords of command and wealth are about to send us forth from this land, which is named Edirné [Adrianople], unto the city of Acre," etc.


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shut in our faces the doors of leniency and take away from us the good things of the life of the world during what remaineth of our days. By God, though weariness should weaken me, and hunger should destroy me, though my couch should be made of the hard rock and [p. 178.] my associates of the beasts of the desert, I will not blench, but will be patient, as the resolute and determined are patient, in the strength of God, the King of Pre-existence, the Creator of the nations; and under all circumstances I give thanks unto God. And we hope of His graciousness (exalted is He) the freedom of our necks from chains and shackles in this imprisonment: and that He will render [all men's] faces sincere toward Him, the Mighty, the Bounteous. Verily He answereth him who prayeth unto Him, and is near unto him who calleth on Him. And we ask Him to make this dark calamity a buckler for the body of His saints, and to protect them thereby from sharp swords and piercing blades. Through affliction hath His light shone and His praise been bright unceasingly: this hath been His method through past ages and bygone times.

        "The people shall know what to-day they under-
[p. 179.]stand not when their steeds shall stumble, their beds be rolled up, their swords be blunted, and their footsteps slip. I know not how long they shall ride the steed of desire and wander erringly in the desert of heedlessness and error. Of glory shall any glory endure, or of


[page 148]

abasement any abasement? Or shall he endure who used to stay himself on high cushions, and who attained in splendour the utmost limit? No, by my Lord the Merciful! 'All that is thereon1 is transient, and there remaineth [only] the face of my Lord' the Mighty, the Beneficent. What buckler hath not the arrow of destruction smitten, or what pinion hath not the hand of fate plucked? From what fortress hath the messenger of death been kept back when he came? What throne hath not been broken, or what palace hath not been left desolate? Did men but know what pure wine2of the mercy of their Lord, the Mighty, the All-Knowing, was beneath the seal, they would certainly cast [p. 180.] aside reproach and seek to be satisfied by this servant; but now have they veiled me with the veil of darkness which they have woven with the hands of doubts and fancies. The White Hand3 shall cleave an opening to this sombre night4. On that day the servants [of God] shall say what those cavilling women said of yore5, that there may appear in the

        1 i.e. on the earth. See Kur'án, lv. 26, and cf. 27.
        2 See above, p. 77, note 2.
        3 Alluding to the miracle of Moses. See Kur'án, vii. 105; xxvi. 32; xx. 23; xxvii. 12; and xxviii. 32, especially the two last passages.
        4 K. inserts, "and God will open into His city a gate [hitherto] shut [or, a great gate]. On that day men shall enter in in crowds, and shall say what the cavilling women said," etc.
        5 Alluding to what was said by the women who had censured Potiphar's wife Zuleykhá for her love of Joseph when [footnote goes onto page 149] they afterwards beheld the latter:- "This one is none other than a gracious angel!" See Kur'án xii. especially v. 31-32.



[page 149]

end what began in the beginning. Do they desire to tarry when their foot is in the stirrup? Or do they see any return in their going? No, by the Lord of Lords, save in the Resurrection! On that day men shall arise from the tombs and shall be questioned concerning their riches. Happy that one whom burdens shall not oppress on that day whereon the mountains shall pass away and all shall appear for the questioning in the presence of God the Exalted! Verily He is severe in punishing.

        [p. 181.] "We ask God to sanctify the hearts of certain of the doctors from rancour and hatred that they may regard things with eyes which closure overcometh not; and to raise them unto a station where the world and the lordship thereof shall not turn them aside from looking toward the Supreme Horizon, and where [anxiety for] gaining a livelihood and [providing] household goods shall not divert them from [the thought of] that day whereon the mountains shall be made like carpets. Though they rejoice at that which hath befallen us of calamity, there shall come a day whereon they shall wail and weep. By my Lord, were I given the choice between the glory and opulence, the wealth and dignity, the ease and luxury wherein they are, and the distress and affliction wherein I am, I would certainly choose that wherein I am to-


[page 150]

day, and I would not now exchange one atom of these afflictions for all that hath been created in the kingdom of production! Were it not for afflictions in the way [p. 182.] of God my continuance would have no sweetness for me, nor would my life profit me. Let it not be hidden from the discerning and such as look towards the chiefest outlook that I, during the greater part of my days, was as a servant sitting beneath a sword suspended by a single hair who knoweth not when it shall descend upon Him, whether it shall descend instantly or after a while. And in all this we give thanks to God the Lord of the worlds, and we praise Him under all circumstances: verily He is a witness unto all things.

        "We ask God to extend His shadow
1, that the unitarians may haste thereto, and that the sincere may take shelter therein; and to bestow on [these] servants flowers from the garden of his grace and stars from the horizon of his favours; and to assist him in that which he liketh and approveth; and to help him unto that which shall bring him near to the Day-spring of His Most Comely Names, that he may not shut his eyes to the wrong which he seeth, but [p. 183.] may regard his subjects with the eye of favour and preserve them from violence2. And we ask Him

        1 By "the Shadow of God" is meant the King of Persia.
        2 K. inserts here:- "And we ask Him (exalted is He) to gather all together by the gulf of the Most Mighty Ocean where-[footnote goes onto page 151] of each drop crieth, 'Verily He is the giver of good tidings to the Worlds and the quickener of the worlds; and praise be to God the King of the Day of Judgement.'"



[page 151]

(exalted is He) to make thee a helper1 unto His religion and a regarder of His justice, that thou mayest rule over [His] servants as thou rulest over those of thy kindred, and mayest choose for them what thou wouldest choose for thyself. Verily He is the Potent, the Exalted, the Protecting, the Self-subsistent."


        Now since suitable occasion hath arisen it hath been considered appropriate that some of the precepts of Behá'u'lláh which are contained in tracts and epistles should also be inserted briefly in this treatise, so that the main principles and practice and [their] foundations and basis may become clear and apparent. And these texts have been copied from numerous tracts.

        Amongst them [is this]:- "Consort with [people of all] religions with spirituality and fragrance2...

        1 Perhaps there is an allusion here to the name of the Sháh of Persia - siru'd-Dín - 'the helper of religion' or 'defender of the faith,' and a prayer is uttered that he may indeed become that which his name implies.
        2 The words "that they may perceive in you the scent of the Merciful One" (~~~) proper to this passage are, whether intentionally or accidentally, omitted in the text, but they occur in all MSS. of the Kitáb-i-Akdas, from which this quotation is taken.



[page 152]

[p. 184.] Beware lest the zeal of ignorance possess you amongst mankind. All originated from God and returneth unto Him: verily He is the Source of creation and the Goal of the worlds."

        And amongst them [is this]:- "Ye are forbidden sedition and strife in the books and epistles; and herein I desire nought save your exaltation and elevation, whereunto beareth witness the heaven and its stars, the sun and its radiance, the trees and their leaves, the seas and their waves, and the earth and its treasures. We ask God to continue His saints and strengthen them unto that which befitteth them in this blessed, precious, and wondrous station, and we ask Him to assist those who surround me to act according to that whereunto they have been commanded on the part of the Supreme Pen."

        And amongst them [is this]:- "The fairest tree of knowledge is this sublime word:- 'Ye are all the fruit of one tree and the leaves of one branch.' Pride is not for him who loves his country, but for him who loves the [whole] world."

        [p. 185.] And amongst them [is this]: "Verily he who educateth his son, or one of the sons [of another], it is as though he educated one of my sons. Upon him be the splendour of God, and His grace, and His mercy which preceded the worlds1."

        1 This quotation is also from the Kitáb-i-Akdas.


[page 153]

        Amongst them [is this]:- "O people of Behá! Ye have been and are the dawnings of affection and the day-springs of divine grace: defile not the tongue with cursing or execration of any-one, and guard the eye from that which is not seemly. Shew forth that which ye have: if it be accepted, the object is attained; if not, interference is vain1: leave him to himself, [while] advancing toward God, the Protecting, the Self-subsistent. Be not a cause of grief, much less of strife and sedition. It is hoped that ye will be nurtured in the shade of the lote-tree of Divine Grace, and practise that which God desireth. [p. 186.] Ye are all leaves of one tree and drops of one sea."

        Amongst them [is this]:- "The faith of God and religion of God hath been revealed and manifested from the heaven of the Will of the King of Pre-existence only for the union and concord of the dwellers upon earth: make it not a cause of discord and dissension. The principal means and chief instrument for [bringing about] the appearance and irradiance of the luminary of concord is the religion of God and the Law of the Lord; while the growth of the world, the education of the nations, and the peace and comfort of those in all lands are through the divine ordinances and decrees. This is the principal means for this most great gift; it giveth

        1 Cf. p. 72 supra.


[page 154]

the cup of life, bestoweth everlasting life, and conferreth eternal blessedness. The chiefs of the earth, especially the exemplars of divine justice, must make strenuous efforts to guard this state and to upraise [p. 187.] and preserve it. So likewise that which is necessary is enquiry into the condition of the people, and cognizance of the deeds and circumstances of each one of the different classes. We desire of the exemplars of God's power, namely of kings and chiefs, that they will make endeavour: perchance discord may depart out of [their] midst, and the horizons may be illumined with the light of concord. All must hold to that which floweth from the Pen of Reminder, and practise it. God witnesseth and [all] the atoms of existences testify that we have mentioned that which will be the cause of the exaltation, elevation, education, preservation, and reformation of the dwellers upon earth. We desire of God that He will strengthen [His] servants. That which this oppressed one seeketh of all is justice and fairness: let them not be satisfied with listening; let them ponder on what hath become manifest from this oppressed one. I swear by the Sun of Revelation, which hath shone forth from the [p. 188.] horizon of the heaven of the Kingdom of the Merciful One, that, if any [other] expositor or speaker had been beheld, I would not have made myself an object for the malevolence and the calumnies of mankind." Finis.


[page 155]

        By these sentences a clue to the principles, ideas, line of conduct, behaviour, and intentions of this sect is placed in the hand; whereas if we seek to become acquainted with the truth of this matter through the accounts and stories which are in the mouths of men, the truth will be entirely concealed and hidden by reason of their manifold differences and contrariety. It is therefore best to discover the principles and objects of this sect from the contents of their teachings, tracts, and epistles. There is no authority nor are there any proofs or texts superior to these, for this is the foundation of foundations and the ultimate criterion. One cannot judge of the generality by the [p. 189.] speech or action of individuals, for diversity of states is one of the peculiarities and concomitants of the human race.

        At all events, in the beginning of the year one thousand two hundred and eighty-five [A.H.] they transferred Behá'u'lláh and all those persons who were with him from Adrianople to the prison of Acre, and Mírzá Yahyá to the fortress of Famagusta, and there they remained1. But in Persia after a while sundry persons who were discerning in matters, notable for wise policy, and aware and cognizant of the

        1 According to Nabíl's chronological poem, Behá'u'lláh and his companions left Adrianople on the 20th of Rabí' II. A.H. 1285 (August 10th, A.D. 1868) and reached Acre on the 12th of Jemádí I. (August 31st). See notes 2 and 3 on p. 101, and note W at end.


[page 156]

truth of the earlier and later events, made representation before the presence of His Majesty the King saying, "What has hitherto been reported, related, asserted, and alleged concerning this sect in the Royal Presence was either an exaggeration, or else [the speakers] fabricated statements with a view to [their [p. 190.] own] individual designs and the attainment of personal advantages. If so be that His Majesty the King will investigate matters in his own noble person, it is believed that it will become clear before his presence that this sect have no worldly object nor any concern with political matters. The fulcrum of their motion and rest and the pivot of their cast and conduct is restricted to spiritual things and confined to matters of conscience; it has nothing to do with the affairs of government nor any concern with the powers of the throne; its principles are the withdrawal of veils, the verification of signs, the education of souls, the reformation of characters, the purification of hearts, and illumination with the gleams of enlightenment. That which befits the kingly dignity [p. 191.] and beseems the world-ordering diadem is this, that all subjects of every class and creed should be the objects of bounty, and [should abide] in the utmost tranquillity and prosperity under the wide shadow of the King's justice. For the divine shadow1

        1 i.e. "the royal protection"; for a King is called "the shadow of God on the earth."] is the refuge


[page 157]

of all the dwellers upon earth and the asylum of all mankind; it is not limited to one party. In particular, the true nature and real doctrine of this sect have [now] become evident and well known: all their writings and tracts have repeatedly and frequently fallen into [our] hands, and are to be found preserved in the possession of the government. If they be perused, the actual truth and inward verity will become clear and apparent. These pages are entirely taken up with prohibitions of sedition, [recommendations of] upright conduct amongst mankind, obedience, submission, loyalty, conformity1, and [p. 192.] acquisition of laudable qualities, and encouragements to become endowed with praiseworthy accomplishments and characteristics. They have absolutely no reference to political questions, nor do they treat of that which could cause disturbance or sedition. Under these circumstances a just government can [find] no excuse, and possesses no pretext [for further persecuting this sect] except [a claim to the right of] interference in thought and conscience, which are the private possessions of the heart and soul. And, as regards this matter, there has [already] been much interference, and countless efforts have been made. What blood has been shed! What heads have been hung up! Thousands of persons have been slain;

        1 i.e. conformity to the royal commands, civil laws, and all such observances and customs as are harmless, even if useless.


[page 158]

thousands of women and children have become wanderers or captives; many are the buildings which have been ruined; and how many noble races and families have become headless and homeless! Yet nought has been effected and no advantage has been [p. 193.] gained; no remedy has been discovered for this ill, nor any easy salve for this wound. [To ensure] freedom of conscience and tranquillity of heart and soul is one of the duties and functions of government, and is in all ages the cause of progress in development and ascendency over other lands. Other civilized countries acquired not this pre-eminence, nor attained unto these high degrees of influence and power, till such time as they put away the strife of sects out of their midst, and dealt with all classes according to one standard. All are one people, one nation, one species, one kind. The common interest is complete equality; justice and equality amongst mankind are amongst the chief promoters of empire and the principal means to the extension of the skirt [p. 194.] of conquest. From whatever section of earth's denizens signs of contentiousness appear, prompt punishment is required by a just government; while any person who girds up the loins of endeavour and carries off the ball of priority is deserving of royal favours and worthy of splendid and princely gifts. Times are changed, and the need and fashion of the world are changed. Interference with creed and faith in every


[page 159]

country causes manifest detriment, while justice and equal dealing towards all peoples on the face of the earth are the means whereby progress is effected. It is right to exercise caution and care with regard to political factions, and to be fearful and apprehensive of materialist sects; for the subjects occupying the thoughts of the former are [designs of] interference in political matters and [desire of] ostentation, while [p. 195.] the actions and conduct of the latter are subversive of safety and tranquillity. But this sect are steadfast in their own path and firmly established in conduct and faith; they are pious, devoted, tenacious, and consistent in such sort that they freely lay down their lives, and, after their own way, seek to please God; they are strenuous in effort and earnest in endeavour; they are the essence of obedience and most patient in hardship and trouble; they sacrifice their existence and raise no complaint or cry; what they utter is in truth the secret longing of the heart, and what they seek and pursue is by the direction of a leader. It is therefore necessary to regard their principles and their chief, and not to make a trivial thing a pretext. Now since the conduct of the chief, the teachings of his epistles, and the purport of his writings are [p. 196.] apparent and well known, the line of action of this sect is plain and obvious as the sun. Of whatever was possible and practicable by way of discouragement, determent, eradication, intimidation, repre-


[page 160]

hension, slaughter, banishment, and stripes there was no lack, yet nothing was thereby effected. In other countries when they perceived severity and persecution in such instances to be identical with stimulation and incitement, and saw that paying no attention was more effectual, they abated the fire of revolution. Therefore did they universally proclaim the equal rights of all denominations, and sounded the liberty of all classes from east to west. This clamour and outcry, this uproar and conflagration, are the consequences of instigation, temptation, incitement, and provocation. For thirty years there has been no [p. 197.] rumour of disturbance or rebellion, nor any sign of sedition. Notwithstanding the duplication of adherents and the increase and multiplication of this body, through many admonitions and encouragements to virtue this sect are all in the utmost repose and stability: they have made obedience their distinctive trait, and in extreme submissiveness and subordination are the loyal subjects of the King. On what lawful grounds can the government further molest them, or permit them to be slighted? Besides this, interference with the consciences and beliefs of peoples, and persecution of diverse denominations of men is an obstacle to the expansion of the kingdom, an impediment to the conquest of other countries, an obstruction to multiplication of subjects, and contrary to the established principles of monarchy. In the time when


[page 161]

the mighty government of Persia did not interfere with [men's] consciences, diverse sects entered in and [p. 198.] abode beneath the banner of the great king, and [many] different peoples reposed and served under the shadow of that mighty government's protection. The extent of the empire increased from day to day; the greater portion of the continent of Asia was under the just rule of its administration; and the majority of the different religions and races were [represented] amongst the subjects of him who wore its crown. But when the custom of interference with the creeds of all sects arose, and the principle of enquiring into men's thoughts became the fashion and practice, the extensive dominions of the empire of Persia diminished, and many provinces and vast territories passed out of her hands, until it reached such a point that the great provinces of Túrán, Assyria, and Chaldaea were lost; until - what need of prolixity? - the greater part of the regions of Khurásán likewise passed out of the control of the government of Persia by reason of [p. 199.] the interference with matters of conscience and the fanaticism of its governors. For the cause of the Afghan independency and the revolt of the Turcoman tribes was in truth this thing, else were they at no time or period separate from Persia. In face of its evident harmfulness what necessity is there for persecuting the harmless? But if we desire to put in force the sentence [of the doctors of religion] no one will escape


[page 162]

fetters and chains and the keenness of the sword, for in Persia, apart from this sect, there exist diverse sects, such as the Mutasharri's, the Sheykhís, the Súfís, the Nuseyrís1, and others, each one of whom regards the other as infidels and accuses them of crime. Under these circumstances what need that the government should persecute this one or that one, [p. 200.] or disturb itself about the ideas and consciences of its subjects and people? All are the subjects of the king, and are under the shadow of the royal protection. Every one who hears and obeys should be undisturbed and unmolested, while every one who is rebellious and disobedient deserves punishment at the hands of his Majesty the King. Above all, the times are completely changed, while principles and institutions have undergone alteration. In all countries such actions hinder development and progress, and cause decline and deterioration. Of the violent agitation which has befallen the supports of Oriental government the chief cause and principal factor are in truth these laws and habits of interference; while that state the seat of whose dominion over the Atlantic and the Baltic is in the furthest regions of

        1 Concerning the Sheykhís see Note E at end. Concerning the Nuseyrís see note 1 on p.14. The Mutasharri's are those who conform to the Sharí'at or Sacred Law founded on the Kur'án and traditions, or, in other words, the orthodox party. The Súfís - those mystical pantheists of Persia - are too well known to need description.


[page 163]

the North has, by reason of equal dealing with its different subjects and the establishment of the uni-[p. 201.]form political rights of diverse nationalities, acquired extensive colonies in each of the five continents of the world. Where is this little island in the North Atlantic, and where the vast territory of the East Indies? Can such extension be obtained save by equal justice to all peoples and classes? At all events, by means of just laws, freedom of conscience, and uniform dealing and equity towards all nationalities and peoples, they have actually brought under their dominion nearly all of the inhabited quarter of the world, and by reason of these principles of freedom they have added day by day to the strength, power, and extent of their empire, while most of the peoples on the face of the earth celebrate the name of this state for its justice. As regards religious zeal and true piety, their touchstone and proof are firmness and steadfastness in noble qualities, [p. 202.] virtues, and perfections, which are the greatest blessings of the human race; but not interference with the belief of this one or that one, demolition of edifices, and cutting off of the human race. In the middle ages, whereof the beginning was the time of the fall of the Roman Empire, and the end the capture of Constantinople at the hands of [the followers of] Islám, fierce intolerance and molestation of far and near arose in [all] the countries of Europe


[page 164]

by reason of the paramount influence of religious leaders. The matter came to such a pass that the edifice of humanity seemed tottering to its fall, and the peace and comfort of chief and vassal, king and subject, became hidden behind the veil of annihilation. Night and day all parties were slaves to apprehension and disquietude: civilization was utterly destroyed: [p. 203.] the control and order of countries was neglected: the principles and essentials of the happiness of the human race were in abeyance: the supports of kingly authority were shaken: but the influence and power of the heads of religion and of the monks were in all parts complete. But when they removed these differences, persecution, and bigotries out of their midst, and proclaimed the equal rights of all subjects and the liberty of men's consciences, the lights of glory and power arose and shone from the horizons of that kingdom in such wise that those countries made progress in every direction; and whereas the mightiest monarchy of Europe had been servile to and abased before the smallest government of Asia, now the great states of Asia are unable to oppose the small states of Europe. These are effectual and sufficient proofs [p. 204.] that the conscience of man is sacred and to be respected; and that liberty thereof produces widening of ideas, amendment of morals, improvement of conduct, disclosure of the secrets of creation, and manifestation of the hidden verities of the contin-


[page 165]

gent1 world. Moreover, if interrogation of conscience, which is one of the private possessions of the heart and the soul, take place in this world, what further recompense remains for man in the court of divine justice at the day of general resurrection? Convictions and ideas are within the scope of the comprehension of the King of kings, not of kings; and soul and conscience are between the fingers of control of the Lord of hearts, not of [His] servants. So in the world of existence two persons unanimous in all grades [of thought] and all beliefs cannot be found. 'The ways unto God are as the number of the breaths of [His] creatures2' is a mysterious truth, and 'To every [people] We have appointed a [separate] rite3 is one of the subtleties of the Kur'án. If this vast [p. 205.] energy and precious time which have been expended in persecuting other religions, and whereby no sort of result or effect has been obtained, had been spent in strengthening the basis of the monarchy, fortifying the imperial throne, making prosperous the realms of the sovereign, and quickening the subjects of the king, ere now the royal dominions would have become prosperous, the seed-plot of the people would have

        1 On the meaning of 'contingent' being, see note 1 on p. 115.
        2 This is a very well-known and often quoted tradition.
        3 Kur'án xxii. 35. The verse is inaccurately quoted here. It should be ~~~ 'to every people,' etc.



[page 166]

been watered by the bounty of princely justice, and the splendour of the kingdom of Persia would be evident and apparent as the true dawn throughout the horizons of the world."

        These questions and considerations, at all events, certain persons have reported. But let us return to our original subject. The Royal Personage was pleased to investigate the hidden secret in his own noble person. According to the account transmitted, it became clear and obvious before the [Royal] [p. 206.] Presence that most of these suspicions arose from the intrigues of persons of influence who were continually engaged in fabricating matters behind the veil of fancy and casting suspicion upon the community, and who, to attain advantages for themselves and preserve their own positions, were wont to make motes appear as globes, and straws as mountains in the mirror of their imagination. For these suspicions there was absolutely no foundation or basis, nor had these assertions any proof or verisimilitude. What power and ability have the helpless people, or what boldness and strength have poor subjects that they should inflict injury or hurt on the sovereign might, or be able to oppose the military forces of the crown?

        From that time till now disturbance and sedition have been on the wane in Persia, and clamour and [p. 207.] strife have ceased; although [still] on rare occasions


[page 167]

certain of the official doctors do, for their own personal and private advantage, stir up the common folk, raise a hue and cry, and, by their importunity and pertinacity, molest one or two individuals of this sect, as happened ten or twelve years ago in Isfahán. For there were amongst the inhabitants of Isfahán two brothers, Seyyids of tabátabá, Seyyid Hasan and Seyyid Huseyn, celebrated in those parts for piety, trustworthiness, and nobility; men of wealth, engaged in commerce, behaving towards all men with perfect kindliness and courtesy. And to all outward appearance no one had observed in either of these two brothers any swerving from what was best, much less any conduct or behaviour which could deserve [p. 208.] torment or punishment; for, as is related, they were admitted by all [pre-eminent] in all praiseworthy and laudable qualities, while their deeds and actions were like exhortations and admonitions. These had transacted business with Mír Muhammad Huseyn the Imám-Jum'a of Isfahán; and when they came to make up their accounts it appeared that the sum of eighteen thousand tumáns1 was due to them. They [therefore] broke off [further] transactions, prepared a bond for this sum, and desired it to be sealed. This thing was grievous to the Imám-Jum'a, so that he came to the stage of anger and enmity. Finding

        1 About £5400.


[page 168]

himself in debt, and having no recourse but to pay, he raised clamour and outcry saying "These two brothers are Bábís and deserve severe punishment from the king." A crowd at once attacked their house, [p. 209.] plundered and pillaged all their goods, distressed and terrified their wives and children, and seized and despoiled all their possessions. Then, fearing that they might refer the punishment to the step of the king's throne and loose their tongues in demand of redress, he [i.e., the Imám-Jum'a] fell to thinking how to compass their death and destroy them. He therefore persuaded certain of the doctors to co-operate with him, and they pronounced sentence of death. Afterwards they arrested those two brothers, put them in chains, and brought them before the public assembly. Yet seek as they might to fix on them some accusation, find some fault, or discover some pretext, they were unable to do so. At length they said, "You must either renounce this faith, or else lay down your heads beneath the sword of [p. 210.] punishment." Although some of those present urged them saying, "Say merely 'We are not of this sect,' and it is sufficient, and will be the means of your deliverance and protection," they would by no means consent, but rather confirmed and declared it with eloquent speech and affecting utterance, so that the rage and violence of the Imám-Jum'a boiled over, and, not satisfied with killing and destroying them,


[page 169]

they inflicted sundry indignities on their bodies after death to mention which is not fitting, and of which the details are beyond the power of speech. Indeed in such wise was the blood of these two brothers shed that even the Christian priest of Julfá cried out, lamented, and wept on that day; and this event befel after such sort that every one wept over the [p. 211.] fate of those two brothers, for during the whole period of their life they had never distressed the feelings even of an ant, while by general report they had in the time of famine in Persia spent all their wealth in relieving the poor and distressed. Yet, notwithstanding this reputation, were they slain with such cruelty in the midst of the people!

        But now for a long while the justice of the King has prevented and withheld, and none dares attempt such grievous molestations1.

        1 Unfortunately in face of the martyrdom of Áká Mírzá Ashraf of Ábádé at Isfahán in or about October 1888, and the still more recent persecutions at Si-dih near Isfahán, this statement can no longer be taken as true. For some remarks on these persecutions, and some further account of the martyrdom of Seyyid Hasan and Seyyid Huseyn, with which our history concludes, see B. i. pp. 489-491, B. ii. pp. 998-999, and Note Y at end.


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There ceased from the writing of this its poor writer
the Letter Zá
on the night of Friday the 18th of
Jamádí-ul-Úlá

A.H. 13071.


        1 January 10th, A.D. 1890. Concerning "the letter Zá" (Zeynu'l-Mukarrabín), and the colophons wherewith MSS. written by his hand conclude, see Note Z at end.

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