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COLLECTIONProvisional translations
TITLETablet to The Times of London
AUTHOR 1 Bahá'u'lláh
CONTRIB 1Mehdi Wolf, ed.
TITLE_PARENTRevelation of Bahá'u'lláh, by Adib Taherzadeh
ABSTRACTShort tablet calling newspapers to investigate the Truth.
NOTES Translator not named, may be Taherzadeh.
TAGS* Bahá'u'lláh, Writings of; - Persecution; - Persecution, Deaths; Iran (documents); Lawh-i-Times (Tablet to the Times); London, England; Media; News; Newspapers; Opposition; Persecution, Iran; Press (media); Truthfulness; United Kingdom
Adib Taherzadeh's Introduction [1] [2]

      The seven martyrs[3] were executed less than a month after the imprisonment of 'Mullá-'Alí-Akbar and Hájí Amín[4] ..... Bahá'u'lláh wrote a Tablet in which He (p349) describes the two events. Because He addresses The Times of London in this Tablet, it is referred to as the 'Tablet to The Times'. In the opening paragraph Bahá'u'lláh states that the martyrdom of the seven and the imprisonment of the two have created the most joyous jubilation among the Concourse on High. He describes in glowing terms the festive mood among the inmates of the highest paradise as they rejoice and celebrate with exceeding gladness the victory of the triumphant martyrs over their adversaries. Neither the onslaught of the bloodthirsty tyrant nor the fury of the beastly oppressor had succeeded in dampening their faith and enthusiasm or extinguishing the fire of the love of their Lord within their hearts. Their steadfastness in the face of such brutal treatment had endowed the Faith with enormous potentialities.

      In this Tablet, Bahá'u'lláh describes the circumstances of the martyrdom of the seven in detail, and recounts the story of each. Of Múllá 'Alíy-i-Sabzavarí, one of the seven, Bahá'u'lláh says that this great man of God proclaimed the Cause of God at the very moment of martyrdom, and testified to its truth with his own life-blood. Just before he was beheaded, he cried aloud to the teeming multitudes who had assembled around him, these soul-stirring words: 'At the time of his martyrdom on the plane of Karbilá, Imám Husayn, the Prince of Martyrs, called out to those around him: "Is there any one capable of helping, to help me." And I say to you: Is there any one capable of beholding, to behold me!'[5] Bahá'u'lláh showers His praise and blessings upon him for these words.

      This Tablet is significant for its portrayal of the sufferings and persecutions which the people of Persia inflicted upon the believers.

Translation of the Tablet

      O 'Times', O thou endowed with the power of utterance! O dawning place of news! Spend an hour with the oppressed of Irán, and witness how the exemplars of justice and equity are sorely tried beneath the sword of tyrants. Infants have been deprived of milk, and women and children have fallen captive to the lawless. The blood of God's lovers hath dyed the earth red, and the sighs of His near ones have set the universe ablaze.

      O assemblage of rulers, ye are the manifestations of power and might, and the fountainheads of the glory, greatness and authority of God Himself. Gaze upon the plight of the wronged ones. O daysprings of justice, the fierce gales of rancour and hatred have extinguished the lamps of virtue and piety. At dawn, the gentle breeze of divine compassion hath wafted over charred and cast-out bodies, whispering these exalted words: 'Woe, woe unto you, O people of Irán! Ye have spilled the blood of your own friends and yet remain in ignorance of what ye have done. Should ye become aware of the deeds ye have perpetrated, ye would flee to the desert and bewail your crimes and tyranny.'

      O misguided ones, what sin have the little children committed? Hath anyone, in these days, had pity on the dependants of the oppressed? A report hath reached Us that the followers of the Spirit (Christ)--may the peace of God and His mercy be upon Him — secretly sent them provisions and befriended them out of utmost sympathy. We beseech God the Eternal Truth, to confirm all in accomplishing that which is pleasing to Him.

      O newspapers published throughout the cities and countries of the world! Have ye heard the groan of the downtrodden, and have their cries of anguish reached your ears? Or have these remained concealed? It is hoped that ye will investigate the truth of what hath occurred and vindicate it . . .

    [1] This introduction and the text translation of this section of the Lawh-i-Times (Tablet to the Times) is taken from Taherzadeh, Adib. The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. Vol. IV. "Mazrih and Bahji, 1877-1892" (Oxford, George Ronald, 1987), pp. 348-350. It was later reprinted in Bahá'í World Vol. 18 976-7. Date in A Basic Bahá'í Chronology 121. Formatting and notes added by Mehdi Wolf.

    [2] Má'idiy-i-Ásamání, vol. 4, pp. 129-30. The extract printed here has been authorized by the Universal House of Justice. [Taherzedeh's note]

    [3] Refers to the martyrdom of seven believers in Yazd on May 19th, 1891. Shoghi Effendi's description of this incident is as follows:

    In Yazd, at the instigation of the mujtahid of that city, and by order of the callous Mahmud Mirza, the Jalulu'l-Dawlih, the governor, a son of Zillu's-Sultán, seven were done to death in a single day in horrible circumstances. The first of these, a twenty-seven year old youth, 'Alí-Asghar, was strangled, his body delivered into the hands of some Jews who, forcing the dead man's six companions to come with them, dragged the corpse through the streets, surrounded by a mob of people and soldiers beating drums and blowing trumpets, after which, arriving near the Telegraph office, they beheaded the eighty-five year old Múllá Mihdí and dragged him in the same manner to another quarter of the city, where, in view of a great throng of onlookers, frenzied by the throbbing strains of the music, they executed Aqa 'Ali in like manner. Proceeding thence to the house of the local mujtahid, and carrying with them the four remaining companions, they cut the throat of Múllá 'Alíy-i-Sabzivarí, who had been addressing the crowd and glorying in his imminent martyrdom, hacked his body to pieces with a spade, while he was still alive, and pounded his skull to a pulp with stones. In another quarter, near the Mihriz gate, they slew Muhammad-Baqir, and afterwards, in the Maydan-i-Khán, as the music grew wilder and drowned the yells of the people, they beheaded the survivors who remained, two brothers in their early twenties, 'Alí-Asghar and Muhammad-Hasan. The stomach of the latter was ripped open and his heart and liver plucked out, after which his head was impaled on a spear, carried aloft, to the accompaniment of music, through the streets of the city, and suspended on a mulberry tree, and stoned by a great concourse of people. His body was cast before the door of his mother's house, into which women deliberately entered to dance and make merry. Even pieces of their flesh were carried away to be used as a medicament. Finally, the head of Muhammad-Hasan was attached to the lower part of his body and, together with those of the other martyrs, was borne to the outskirts of the city and so viciously pelted with stones that the skulls were broken, whereupon they compelled the Jews to carry the remains and throw them into a pit in the plain of Salsabil. A holiday was declared by the governor for the people, all the shops were closed by his order, the city was illuminated at night, and festivities proclaimed the consummation of one of the most barbarous acts perpetrated in modern times.
          (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, pp. 201-2)
    [4] Two early believers (the latter a Hand of the Cause) who were both arrested during this same period in 1891. Hájí Amín was sent to the prison of Qazvín, and Ibn-i-Abhar was consigned for four years in Tíhran, in which he bore the same chains as Bahá'u'lláh did, during the Latter's imprisonment in 1852. [Mehdi Wolf's note]

    [5] In the original Arabic the two sayings sound almost the same. The only difference between the two is that the letter 's' in Nasir (helper) is changed into 'z' In Nazir (beholder). [Taherzadeh's note]

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