MY MEMORIES OF BAHA'U'LLAH
With a selection of his poems
By Ustad Muhammad-'Aliy-i Salmani, the Barber
Translated by Marzieh Gail
This etext is based on:
"My Memories of Bah'u'llh" by Ustad Muhammad-'Aliy-i Salmani, the Barber
Translated by Marzieh Gail
1982 edition, second printing
Copyright (c) 1982 by Kalimt Press
All rights reserved
Availability of this etext in no way modifies the copyright status of the above publication.
This etext is freely availible through anonymous internet file-sharing.
Selected Love Poems of Salmani...............111
Appendix 1: The Bath............................125
Appendix 2: The Howdah..........................127
Appendix 3: The Water Pipe......................129
Appendix 4: Andarun and Biruni..................131
Appendix 5: Persian Names.......................133
[Foreword by Amin Banani omitted]
My Memories of Baha'u'llah
by Ustad Muhammad-'Aliy-i Salmani
I come from Isfahan. My father's name was Muhammad-Ibrahim Isfahani. He was a weaver: an illiterate man, but a God-fearing and upright Shi'i who believed in the Twelve Imams. My mother's name was Maryam and she was from Isfahan, too. I was born the year Muhammad Shah came to the throne .
When I was about eight, my mother died. She was close to thirty years old when she had a stroke and bade this world farewell. After my mother died my father chose another wife. My mother had left four children, three boys and a girl. I was the oldest of the four.
There was no barber in our family, and when I was around nine my father sent me as an apprentice to a barber's shop. The master barber was named Ustad Isma'iil: he was a very pure and righteous man. Mornings I would accompany him to the public bath, and the rest of the day I would work around the shop. I left his shop when I was about ten, and I spent my days barbering and wandering about in the bazaar of printed cotton cloth, which at that time was one of Isfahan's best. I did not work in any particular shop.
It was not long after I left my master's shop that my father died of cholera. He had one son by his second wife, but one of my brothers had died too. My father left no worldly goods and so taking care of these children, as well as the second wife, was up to me. <p4>
There were a number of the Babis in Isfahan, and I was friends with some of them Among these, in our own part of the town, there were several who were extremely pure and devout -- such as Ustad Aqa Buzurg of Isfahan with his four sons, all of whom were Babis; and then there was a miller, also a Babi, who is famous as the Sifter of Wheat. Besides them, there were several others, friends of Aqa Buzurg. Some of these Babis equipped themselves, made their preparations, and went along to the Fort of Shaykh Tabarsi. I knew eight persons from among those who went to the fort.
I was about eleven when His Holiness the Primal Point [the Bab] came to Isfahan. I only heard rumours about it. All I know is that the Imam Jum'ih was a highly esteemed man, and that the Supreme Lord arrived at this person's house. In the beginning, there was not much of an uproar about it: the word went out that there was a siyyid named Mirza 'Ali-Muhammad who could handle his pen with amazing speed -- to such a degree that when he would take hold of a corner of the paper he would cover it so rapidly with script that when he got to the end of the page the first part of it was not yet dry.
[1 The chief mulla of the town; the leader of the Friday prayers.]
Anyway, I had just quit the shop of Ustad Isma'il when my father died. His death affected me more than I can say. Sick with cholera, he died with his head against my breast, and left this swiftly passing world.
Later on, my relatives decided to find me a wife. One of my kin, named Haji 'Abdu'l-Husayn 'Allaf, had a pretty daughter. One night he invited company of people to his <p5> house. At the close of the evening he said: "O my guests! My purpose in giving this party was to share with you a certain matter, and it is this: a number of people have sought my daughter's hand and asked most insistently to have her. But I have never said yes." He mentioned several of her suitors by name, who were there among the guests, and they themselves admitted that such was the case, and that he had refused them. Then Haji 'Abdu'l-Husayn said, "At this time, wholeheartedly and with great pleasure, I bestow my daughter upon Muhammad-Ali."
I was very much embarrassed, and I got up and left. Later, the others present said they would help out, but I told them "I am not worthy now. I have no assets."
Still and all, like it or not, they gave her to me for my bride. I was then seventeen years old. A while later a child was born to this young woman and me. And while all this was going on, I declared my faith and became a Babi.
The manner of my conversion was this: at the beginning of my life and youth, I kept my eyes and ears open, and I spent a good deal of time thinking about the ulama -- their words and their deeds. I absolutely hated them; for I could see that their sons were lewd and debauched, and that they themselves had no justice in them and did not practice what they made so much noise about.
Among these ulama was Haji Mulla Muhammad-Ja'far of Abadih, one of the common sort, and I knew of an abominable thing he had done. There was a young and beautiful woman whose husband had died. She had been victimized in some way, and had applied to this mulla to undo the wrong that that been done her and settle her case. She came in, bowed to him, and asked his help. <p6>
The mulla said to her, "You must make me your guardian."
The woman meekly replied, "Sir, I appoint you my guardian with full power to act."
At this, the gentleman told her, "Now that you are in my charge, betake yourself to the women's quarters in my house."
This unfortunate woman was extremely intelligent, however. She referred to her good reputation and then added: "I am ready. But first you must come to an evening's entertainment at my home. Afterwards, I can be your wedded wife." The mulla -- stupid fool -- went as invited, and the lady took the occasion to give him a sound thrashing and drove him out of the house. Next morning, the mulla sent word around that he was sick. But I knew the true story of it.
Well, I began to keep company with the learned, and also with poets like Mirza Humay-i-Sha'ir and others. There was a Babi, Mulla 'Ali, a good man, who had returned from Fort Tabarsi. That is, he had reached there when everything was over. He had been much persecuted on account of his Babi Faith. For example, he had a house, and his relatives took it away from him. Since we had been friends for some time, Mulla 'Ali came and lamented to me, saying, have no home."
I said, "Come to my house," and he accepted.
Every day, along in the afternoon, he would meet me in the bazaar and we would go home together. One day, when we were on our way, he said to me, "Aqa Muhammad-'Ali, I see you as a person who has no wickedness in him. There is something I would like to tell you." <p7>
"Go ahead," I told him.
He said, "I am a Babi."
I said, "So be it. I have nothing to do with a person's religion. I am your friend. Be whatever you like." Nothing more was said.
Some time later, I thought to myself that it might be good to find out from Mulla 'Ali what the aims of the Babis are, and what they say and do. One day as we went along I said to him, "Mulla 'Ali, a while back you told me yo were a Babi. Do you stand by that or not?"
He said, "I do."
I said, "I'll ask you just one question, and I want you to answer me with just one sentence."
"Ask," he told me.
"This siyyid who claims to be the Bab -- what does he teach about the question of the oneness of God?"
Mulla 'Ali thought for a while, and then replied, "He says that no one find a way into the realm of God: God is God, the creation is the creation."
As soon as I heard this I was deeply moved. Right there, I fell, and bowed my forehead to the ground, and I said, "This Being is the True One."
Well, little by little I investigated, until I truly become a Babi and began to associate with the others. Most of them, however, were not virtuous people, and they would do unacceptable things. One day -- it was the twenty- first day of the Ramadan fast -- I went to the home of Aqa Muhammad-Javad of Najafabad, a good Babi, loyal and true, a man on fire, but addicted to wine. That day Aqa Muhammad was filtering wine, and the smell was all over the place. The neighbors could smell it and that is how <p8> they found out what was going on. They broke into the house, arrested us, and took us off to the Government House to be jailed.
At that time in Isfahan, bread had become very expensive. The governor then was a prince of the blood, Khanlar Mirza Ihtishamu's-Sultanih. There were five of us in jail: (1) Muhammad-Javad, a good man, an old man who spent much of his time riding about the Ishfahan area -- he being a traveling teacher, (2) 'Abdu'l-Karim of Isfahan, who today is the basest of Covenant- breakers, (3) Muhammad-Sadiq, brother of 'Abdu'l-Karim, a Babi who was lukewarm in his faith, and weak, (4) Mulla 'Ali, my teacher, a man pure in heart, righteous in nature, and (5) I myself, Muhammad-'Ali Salmani, the Barber.
They kept us in prison about two months. Every day, when the citizens would come in to protest to the governor about the bread situation, they would also scream about us, shouting: "...and, kill these Babis! How long are you going to let them live?"
As for us in the prison, we consulted together and finally made this plan: first off, we would put Muhammad-Sadiq out from our midst, because he was not firm in the Faith. That is, we told the jailers: "You arrested this man by mistake." And after a while they let him go. Now there were four of us. Since, we thought, it would not be right for us to deny the charges, the best thing would be for us all to keep to one single statement. Aqa Muhammad-Jafad said, "The rest of you can put all the blame on me. In this way, I -- an old man -- will be killed, and you will go free."
We all refused. We told him, "No matter what happens, we are partners, and so we must remain." And so <p9> we agreed that all of us would abide by a single statement of our case.
A day came when the prince-governor summoned the four of us, together with a number of thieves. After he had sentenced each of these, he asked Aqa Muhammad-Javad, "Are you a Babi?"
He answered, "yes."
Then he asked Mulla 'Ali, "Are you a Babi, too?"
"Certainly," replied Mulla 'Ali.
He put the same question to 'Abdu'l-Karim and myself. Then he ordered: "Take them out to the Maydan-Shah [the great public square]. Kill Mulla 'Ali and Muhammad-Javad. Then slit the ears and noses of 'Abdu'l-Karim and Muhammad-'Ali and lead them around through the four bazaars."
When we reached the great square, the chief of police arrived there at the same time. He was truly a great person. His name was Muhammad-Sadiq, and he knew me. As soon as I laid eyes on him I said to him, "My lord, you are a young man too." That was all I said. He recognized me. And after hearing this, he started to follow us.
As we went along, Mulla 'Ali danced before the onlookers, and cried:
Drunken am I, O bliss! with lovers' wine,
And freed am I, O bliss! from separation's veil.
Found have I the treasure of "but God" --
Released am I, O bliss! from "no God's" spell.
[1 reference to the declaration: "There is no God but God," which is part of the Muslim confession of faith.] <p10>
'Aqa Muhammad-Javad said to Mulla 'Ali, "We could recite many such words as these, but we must have some consideration for the two others, lest their blood be needlessly spilled."
Mulla 'Ali fell silent and determined to say but little more.
Briefly, when we got to the place of execution the first thing they did was cut off the hands and feet of the thieves. During this time, Aqa Muhammad-Javad and Mulla 'Ali were speaking out and saying "O people! We have done nothing wrong. Our only crime is that we believe in a certain Being. A Siyyid has declared Himself to be the Qa'im, and we believe Him."
Then Muhammad-Javad lay down on the ground. Having first removed his hat, he placed it under his head, and he said, "Come, headsman, do what you wish." Mulla 'Ali did the same. The executioner first cut off the head of Muhammad-Javad, then of Mulla 'Ali.
When my turn came, the chief of police approached and said, "Executioner, cut only a little -- only enough to justify the word." He did as bidden, but he slit the nose and ears of 'Addu'l Karim deeply and severely. Then he walked the two of us around the city, and back to prison. That same night our kinfolk came and got us out of prison. I set about healing my ears and nose and recovered well.
I saw, however, that Isfahan was no place for me to live in. Whenever they would feel like arresting a Babi they would think of me first. So, I said to 'Abdu'l-Karim, "I am leaving Isfahan." I stuck to business, saved my money and made preparations. Meanwhile, the people (most of them) showed their hostility -- until finally I left. <p12>
MY DEPARTURE FROM ISFAHAN
During the days when I was still in Isfahan, one of my friends, -- who incidentally was not a Babi -- returned from Baghdad and Karbala and brought the poem that begins:
O Thou Who me this cup dost bear
From an eternal, secret place --
Draw back the veil from off Thy face.
He did not tell me the author of it, but I said, "The intent of the one who wrote this poem was not merely to compose a poem. He has some other aim in mind." At a later time I learned the author was Baha'u'llah.
In Isfahan there was a Mirza Sulayman-Quli of Tihran. He had come to the capital and had taught many. He was a man full of spirit and zeal, but I did not come in contact with him.
A certain siyyid also appeared on the scene -- an Indian.(2) He was blind. I did not meet him either, but everyone praised his mental faculties very highly; and he, likewise, taught the people. All this was in the time of the Blessed Beauty, Baha'u'llah. This siyyid went to Tihran, then to Burujird -- to Prince Uldurim Mirza, who made a martyr of him. Once whe in the presence of the Blessed Beauty, He said: "That siyyid had recognized us." He was widely known for his many skills and for his vast learning. <p13>
Also in Isfahan there was a Siyyid Isma'il of Ardistan, and he too eventually attained the presence of Baha'u'llah in Baghdad. When Baha'u'llah asked them to bring tea for the guest, he said, "Lord, do Thou beg them bring me the wine of the spirit." When he came forth from the holy presence, his condition had undergone a great change. Finally, on the road to Kazimayn, that is, outside Baghdad, in a place known as Qambar-'Ali, he seized a razor and virtually cut off his own head. After he was thus killed, Baha'u'llah said, "It was fitting that the siyyid should find himself in such a state." Then He added: Until now, no blood so pure as this hath been spilled into the earth."(3)
I set out from Isfahan with 'Abdu'l-Karim and a convoy of pilgrims to Karbala. With us were five Isfahanis that I had converted, and a certain Siyyid Hasan of Ardistan, who was an early Babi -- and these came along far as Baghdad and then we parted ways. <p15>
The year of my arrival in Baghdad was one year before the Blessed Beauty departed from the city [in 1863], and He had not yet made an explicit declaration of His Mission. He would say whatever the Manifestation of God would say, but in all He uttered there was no: "I am He!"
Well, they went into His presence and announced that our group of travelers had arrived. With us there was also a man by the name of Mirza Sadiq, who was a member of the Freemasons' Lodge of Malkam Khan, and he claimed quite falsely to be a Babi. He too entered the holy presence when we did. We went in. Mirza Aqa Jan was there; Mirza Muhammad-Quli was there too.
[1 Sadiq means "truthful".]
At that very first sight, I lost my heart. I saw that in everything, Baha'u'llah was different from the others. But at the time, we believed only this much: that this Personage was the leader of the community. However, the majesty and power that I found in His sacred countenance convinced me that He was everything.
Mirza Sadiq, named "Truth-Teller" but a liar, was in His presence a lifeless thing and was soon permitted to leave. For us, they arranged a place where we could stay, in a caravanserai, and I stayed the with Aqa Da'i of <p16> Isfahan. There were three of us: myself, 'Abdu'l-Karim, and Aqa Da'i.
Mirza Sadiq entered the holy presence only that one time. After two three days, he left Baghdad, and I don't know what became of him. His purpose in coming to Baghdad was that, by infiltrating the Baha'i community, he might provide for his own livelihood. This plan of his led nowhere, and so he left.
It was the custom of the Blessed Beauty when He lived in Baghdad to partake of His morning tea in the andarun. He would then leave for the biruni. This biruni which He had was a single clean and tidy room, which had been put up by a builder, Ustad Isma'il Banna of Kashan. Ustad passed away in Akka.
[1 The domestic, or ladies' apartments; the living quarters, as opposed to the men's reception area, or biruni. See appendix 4,"Andarun and Biruni."]
And so, Baha'u'llah would come to this room. He would walk about and pace up and down and the friends would visit Him. Here in the biruni He would remain about half an hour or an hour. After that, He would proceed to a coffeehouse. There was in Baghdad a Siyyid Habib the Arab, who was the kad-khuda [borough-head] of Old Baghdad. This man had a coffeehouse which Baha'u'llah would frequent, and as a general thing this is where the people would come to be with Him. Aqa Najaf-'Ali and Aqa Muhammad-Ibrahim who were permanent servitors of Baha'u'llah, would also be present. Sometimes, I too would go along. <p17>
Here Baha'u'llah would partake of coffee every day, and the water pipe would be prepared for Him. This was His own pipe -- from Bihbihan -- and He would smoke a very little, and would converse with the people. His purpose in going to this coffeehouse was to spread the Faith. It was an excellent establishment. Siyyid Habib was not a believer, but he was a fine man -- and very unassuming. After an hour or an hour and a half, Baha'u'llah would leave here and return to His living quarters until afternoon. Then He would again set out for another visit to the coffeehouse and stay until sundown. After that, He would go back to His andarun, or sometimes to the biruni. There friends would usually remain together until two hours after sunset, and then go their separate ways. And sometimes Baha'u'llah would be present.
All the great of Baghdad, and the ulama, and the magistrates, would present themselves here at this coffee-house with extreme deference. Baha'u'llah, however, would never go to their homes. The inhabitants of Baghdad (that is, the Sunnis) would speak, one and all, of the utter perfection of Baha'u'llah. Many a time they would refer difficult questions to Him and request Him to solve them. With Namiq Pasha He did not associate.
[1 The governor of Baghdad]
One day, there in the presence of Baha'u'llah -- some of the believers from the village of Sultanabad were there -- the mulla-bashi said, "You being God, Uncle, why do You give us such a hard row to hoe?"... <p18>
[1 "Uncle" is used by villagers as a term of respect. The question here is a plea to understand the meaning of suffering.]
Next, I decided to find some way of serving Baha'u'llah, and with one or two other believers I went to the public bath, the one known as Hammam-i Latif. It was this bath that was frequented by the Blessed Beauty. Here was a Haji Bashir who on occasion would eat far too much opium. He was barber, and he would attend to Baha'u'llah. There was a also a certain 'Abdu'r-Rahman of Baghdad, who would shave heads. When I arrived at the bathhouse, friends told the Haji that I was a colleague of his and was an excellent bath attendant as well.
[1 See appendix 1, "The Bath."]
Haji Bashir asked me to work with him, and I accepted, on condition Baha'u'llah would permit this. He told me that he himself would go and obtain the permission, which he did. He said, "I would like to keep your attendant with me."
Baha'u'llah answered, "Very well," and Bashir returned with the news. But Haji Bashir was a good-for-nothing himself.
On the second day after that, the Blessed Beauty came to the bath alone. Before His arrival, Aqa Najaf-'Ali -- who was killed later in Tihran -- an Muhammad-Ibrahim of Nayriz, a good man, had brought soap, and dye for the hair, and then left. I prepared the Blessed Beauty's place, and awaited His arrival. There was a platform at the center of the bath, and He seated himself there.
Then 'Abdu'r-Rahman, the head-shaver, came in and proceeded to shave the back of Baha'u'llah's neck, and about the temples, in a style favored by the nobles of an earlier day, and then shaved under His chin. I stood there watching to see how he did the work, and I noted that <p19> Baha'u'llah was very particular. For example, He would repeatedly lift His hand to a place and say, "Shave here and shave here." And so, I watched to see how the shaving was done.
Water was then brought, and I soaped Baha'u'llah's hair two or three times -- the various soaps were from Aleppo -- and then He withdrew to the place where henna would be applied and the body rubbed with a rough bath mitt. I then brought Him His own bath towel, and once He was dry He stretched out so that I could apply henna to His beard, after which He seated Himself and I used the henna on His hair. He then lay down again (and I placed a pillow under His head) so that I could rub Him with the mitt -- and two or three times I kissed His feet. He rose again and seated Himself, and I took the mitt to the backs of His hands and arms. Very soon, He directed me to fetch the rinse water. I rinsed off the henna, added the dark dye, and finally soaped and rinsed Him off and He departed. I was in a state of utter bliss. The Master and the Branches and Aqay-i Kalim used to frequent the same bathhouse. I worked there two or three months and every ten days or less they would come in.'
[1 "The Master" refers to 'Abdu'l-Baha, the Most Great Branch. "The Branches is a reference to the other sons of Baha'u'llah: The Purest Branch (Mirza Mihdi), the Greater Branch (Mirza Muhammad-'Ali), and others. Aqay-i Kalim (also known as Mirza Musa) was one of the faithful brothers of Baha'u'llah.]
One day at the bath, Baha'u'llah said to me, "Tomorrow you are to be my guest at Vashshash. I went there as bidden, and that very day a Tablet was revealed called the Tablet of the Holy Mariner. <p20>
[1 A field on the outskirts of Baghdad known as the Mazra'iy-i Vashshash.]
One day word came from the bath that someone had treated an Isfahani by the name of Mulla Husayn (a servant of Aqay-i Kalim) badly. When Baha'u'llah arrived at the bath, the servant of Mirza Yahya, who was aggressor, was just putting on his clothes. Baha'u'llah spoke severely to him, asking why he had mistreated the man. The servant fell at Baha'u'llah's feet, and asked and received forgiveness. The next morning I was summoned to the House and was told to go out and find the victim and bring him back. I looked all over Baghdad for him, and prevailed on him to return with me, whereupon Baha'u'llah counseled and admonished him.
[1 Mirza Yahya (also known as Subh-i Azal, the Morning of Eternity) the half brother of Baha'u'llah who eventually rebelled against His authority. Azal, who became the Arch-Breaker of the Covenant of the Bab, had been nominated by the Bab as His successor, to "act solely as a figurehead pending the manifestation of the Promised One." (See God Passes By. pp. 28-29, 233.)]
Another time, when I was about to make use of the rubbing mitt, Baha'u'llah said, "Ustad Muhammad-'Ali, we have in mind to take a long journey. What do you say to that?"
I bowed. And that day went by.
Two days later, He said He was about to go to Government House. This terrified me. I went and fastened on a dagger, concealed a couple of pistols about me, and left for the seat of government to see what was happening. I went over the bridge and walked past the confectionary shop to Siyyid Husayn of Isfahan -- and there I saw <p21> Aqay-i Kalim. He called to me, and I asked him what was going on. He replied that Baha'u'llah had been summoned. Not much time passed before the Blessed Beauty returned, and we learned that orders had come from Istanbul to Baghdad, that Baha'u'llah should proceed to wherever He might desire, away from Baghdad; the choice was to be His, that is, within the Ottoman territory.
It became widely known that Haji Mirza Husayn Khan was behind proposal. He had said, "Because of the proximity of Baghdad to Persian soil, the Cause of Baha is constantly progressing."
[1 The Persian ambassador to Istanbul.]
Namiq Pasha had sent the following message to Baha'u'llah: "This decree has already been received here ten or twelve times, but I did not tell you of it, and my reply to it was: 'Baha'u'llah has lived in Baghdad twelve years,(6) and up to now no fault has ever been found in Him.'"
Baha'u'llah had said to the messenger, "Tell Namiq Pasha that I will not come to the Government House, but I will come to the mosque in its vicinity. I will meet there with whoever wishes to address me."
Baha'u'llah went to the mosque, and the deputy of Namiq Pasha appeared and said, "Namiq had desired to come to You himself, but he was ashamed to, and sent me in his place." He then recited the particulars of the decree.
The Beloved said, "I will go to Istanbul." And they approved.
Afterward, thinking of journey, Baha'u'llah said, "I will go alone." But the Household wept and insisted and begged. He finally agreed that they should accompany <p22> Him, and He named those who were to stay behind. One night Mirza Muhammad Quli came in and told me "He says that you must be among the ones who go with Him."
After some days, Baha'u'llah proceeded to a garden outside the city, and there His tent was pitched. This was the garden of Najib Pasha [later known as the Garden of Ridvan] and it was here in this garden that He openly declared His mission. That is, He spoke of the manifestation of the Exalted One, the Bab, saying that He was the Qa'im, that the Cause was His Cause -- and at the same time, with certain intimations, He also declared His own Mission. During the twelve days of His sojourn in that garden, every morning and every afternoon He would speak of the Bab's Cause and declare His own.(7) <p25>
THE JOURNEY TO ISTANBUL
Then came the last day. There was a Turk, a Sunni, who owned pack mules, and he took charge of our baggage. Some eight or nine howdahs were closed up.... The Master was on horseback, and it was he who undertook to watch over the animals. Mirza Muhammad-'Ali was also on horseback, as well as a number of other believers, besides several who came along on foot.
[1 See appendix 2, "The Howdah."]
I was the one in charge of supplies. That is, when anyone needed some article, I would give it to him and see to it that it was returned. A number of the friends accompanied us to the first few stopping places and then went back, for Baha'u'llah had said that anyone following along on this journey without permission would come to no good.
Some of us who were members of His retinue were these: myself, Muhammad-'Ali Khayyatbashi, the Tailor, of Kashan; Mirza Aqa (who had no permission and came to a bad end); Najaf-'Ali, who came through my interceding for him; Aqa Muhammad-'Ali, the Tobacconist, from Isfahan; 'Abdu'l-Ghaffar; Aqa Muhammad-Sadiq of Isfahan; Mirza Aqa Jan. And Aqay-Kalim; Mirza Muhammad-Quli; His Holiness the Master; Mirza Muhammad-'Ali; Siyyid Muhammad of Isfahan; Haji Mirza Ahmad of Kashan, who was the brother of Haji Mirza <p26> Jani and who, because of the quarrel which he had carried on in Baghdad with the kinfolk of Mirza Buzurg Khan-i Ilichi was in mortal danger, and if left behind would have perished. Also, there was Aqa Muhammad-'Ali Sabbagh, the Dyer, of Yazd; Aqa Muhammad-Hasan Musafir-Khanihi of Qum; and Aqa Husayn Ashchi, the Porridge Cook, who was a child and was accepted as an attendant around the house. And there was Ahmad, the son of Mirza Yahya.(8)
On the point of departure, Baha'u'llah had said, "Whoever accompanies us on this journey without permission shall come to no good." Nevertheless some of these individuals left with Him anyhow.
At every stopping place, for security along the road, we were given a mounted escort, five or six guards, who would come along with us. One night when we made camp, a package was missing from the tent of Baha'u'llah. Someone had stolen it and run off. We looked everywhere, but couldn't find it.
Most of the stopping places were along the Tigris, and most days the Master would go bathing in the river. At each encampment the crowds would come out to meet us and watch, for it was widely known that "the leader of the Babis" was on His way to Istanbul. And as a rule, when we neared the campsite the guards would ride on ahead and beat the drums so that the populace would congregate for their visit. As soon as they had gathered, Baha'u'llah would teach them the Faith.
In Baghdad, Mirza Yahya [Azal] would always stay in the house, and the rare occasions when he came out, <p27> he would arrange things so that no one was aware of it. When Baha'u'llah was about to leave the city, He told Azal: "Say where you would want to go. I will provide a servant for you, so you will be safe."
Azal had answered, "My Lord, wherever You go, I will go too." And he thought it prudent to add; "But send me on ahead. Let me go first, so that I will not be seen in your company."
An Arab, a person named Za'i, a shrewd man and a believer, was appointed to accompany Azal. And Za'i, along with Azal, left Baghdad ahead of the others, in such a way that nobody found out about it. All the way to Mosul, which is approximately ten stopping places from Baghdad, there was not a trace of Azal to be seen.
[1 Or named Zahir, according to God Passes By.]
In Mosul, we pitched the Blessed Beauty's tent along the Tigris. Here we noted that, hidden off in a corner to one side, there was a little tent with a raised flap, and that a minuscule individual with a long beard was living in it. Za'i was with this person. Purely by guessing, some realized that the tent-dweller had to be Azal.
Most of the people of Mosul flocked to Baha'u'llah, and He was loving and kind to them. In Mosul He attended the public bath, and I served Him. He remained three days in this city. As for Azal, not one of the believers really knew him. In Mosul, he came to Baha'u'llah to complain about Za'i. "He doesn't show me any respect," Azal said. "He's too independent. Too free and easy."
Za'i replied to the charge by saying to Baha'u'llah in Arabic: "Lord I beg You, keep this little fellow curtained <p28> off somewhere, and don't let him out. People might see him and lose their faith."
Well, Baha'u'llah gave Za'i some money, and he returned to Baghdad. There was a Kashi by the name of Baqir, and Baha'u'llah requested him to serve Mirza Yahya. Accordingly, Baqir went with Yahya, who never at any time traveled as one of our caravan.
To make a long story short, we left Mosul and after a number of days arrived at Kirkuk. (There were ten stopping places between Mosul and Kirkuk.) Along the way, we came to Mardin, a place on the slope of a high mountain where we were to stay overnight. That night, two mules were stolen from another caravan which was coming along with ours. The owner of the mules complained to Baha'u'llah, who told him: "I will stay on here until your animals are found." He then went into the town of Mardin and told them: "This man's animals must be found. I will remain in this place until they are." The mules turned up. Baha'u'llah remained three days in Mardin.
In Kirkuk, at an earlier date, there had been a dervish in honor of whom the Tablet called The Seven Valleys was revealed.(9) By the time we reached Kirkuk that dervish was dead, but he had a son named Shaykh-'Ali who present himself to Baha'u'llah with many expressions of devotion. In most places the people would come and would ask questions and receive answers. Some days later we arrived at Diyarbakir. (There were ten stopping places between Diyarbakir and Kirkuk.) At Diyarbakir, on the banks of the Tigris, we made camp in a garden, and here (as was usual) Baha'u'llah would not go into the city. <p29>
Everywhere, Mirza Yahya was shadowing us, and little by little some the believers recognized him, but I still did not. In Diyarbakir, it was arranged that the party should go by way of Samsun. Of the remaining stops along the way, there was Irbil, where He stayed one day, and following this, we reached Sivas and stopped on the bank of the Tigris. At this place we had to carry all our possessions over the river.
I went to the Master and said, "There's a lot of noise and bustle on that side of the river, and no one over there to take delivery of our things. If I may be permitted, I will cross over ahead of time and be there to receive our baggage." And the Master approved.
When I got into the boat, there was one other passenger sitting there. It was Azal, but I failed to recognize him. He said, "Where are you from?" (He would speak very roughly, and it was hateful to hear him.)
I said, "From Isfahan."
He said, "Why did you get in this boat? Who gave you permission?"
I said, "I am here by permission of a great Personage."
He said, "Now that you have come here without anyone's leave, what would you do if I gave you two or three blows with my club?" (He had a cudgel in his hand.)
I said, "If I were a mild-mannered person I would forgive you. But if I come to any harm from that club, I will take it away from you and give you such a thrashing that you will forget all about how brave you were."
This infuriated him. Anyhow, he said nothing more, and the boat reached the other side. I took delivery of our <p30> belongings and determined where to pitch the tent of Baha'u'llah, and He arrived. Baha'u'llah stayed here two days.
There was a Mir Muhammad of Kazirun who had two or three pack animals and this Mir Muhammad came along, too. He was a man in poor health, short in stature, and short on patience.
As I said, at most of the stopping places the Master would go bathing in the river. For example, at this particular place He told me that I, too, should get out of my clothes. I excused myself, saying, "I have a cold."
He said, "Very well, then..."
Mirza Aqa Jan...would also strip, on occasion, and sit off in a c somewhere and bathe....For this journey Azal had changed his name to Mirza 'Ali.
It was extremely cold in Sivas. There was scarcity here also, and one could find neither hay nor oats. The Master bought a wheat field and divided up the crop among the animals. Baha'u'llah attended the public bath and I served Him. After the bathing and the application of hair coloring and henna, we returned to camp.
On occasion, Mirza Yahya might enter the family quarters of Baha'u'llah, but in such a way as to be seen by no one. His dinner would be brought to him from the andarun. I was told that once when he had eaten tas-kabab [a meat dish] with onions, he said to those around him, "This is an excellent tas-kabab. I like the lemons in it." What he was doing was, he was...saying to the <p31> others, "I ate those onions by accident: I took them for lemons." Anyway, his evening meal was prepared in the andarun of Baha'u'llah, and they would always set aside an extra plate of it and give it to his wife to serve to him the next morning. Really, he ate more than enough for two. I had only recently learned who he was, and I knew him now.
[1 the Bab forbade onions; Baha'u'llah permitted them.]
Azal's wife quarreled with her traveling companion, who rode on the other side of her howdah, so they transferred her to the howdah of Mirza Muhammad Quli's wife, who changed places with her. I was in charge of the howdah of Azal's wife. Every morning I would observe that Baqir, Azal's servant, would come up, take that container of extra food from Azal's wife, and carry it to Azal, who would eat as he rode along on his horse. One day I was famished, and it so happened that when baqir came by for Azal's food, I wrested it away from him and began eating it myself. Azal saw all this from a distance. He rushed at me, attacking me from his horse, and I threw away the container of food and ran off. He was in a towering rage. And he lost face with everybody, most of all with me. I could see that he was of no account: greatness did not set well on him at all.
He was harsh too, and foul mouthed; very much of a miser, too. In Harput [Kharput], the Blessed Beauty sent for a little Isfahan gaz -- a sort of nougat -- which had been brought along, and divided it among all the travelers, sending three fine pieces to Azal. It happened that Azal <p32> had just eaten (this was in the afternoon), and he had decided to adopt a regimen for his health. There was an Ustad Muhammad-Baqir of Kashan -- brother of the champion, Pahlavan Rida, who died in the storehouse -- the jail -- of Nasiri'd-Din Shah. He was a good man, and he had another brother, Muhammad-Isma'il. Baqir and his brother were both tailors, but on this journey they were in charge of serving tea. Azal called out to Aqa Muhammad-Baqir and ordered him to "Take care of those nougats."
This man...wrapped the nougats in paper and put the package under his arm. I knew what he was doing, but I said nothing. Anyhow, because of the heat, the three large pieces of nougat stuck together and melted into a single lump. An hour later Ustad Baqir came to me and said, "Those nougats of His Holiness Azal are all stuck together. What shall I do?"
I told him, "His Eminence doesn't care about such things. Let's you and me and your brother divide this among us, and eat it up."
Another hour or so went by and then Azal sent for his nougats. Ustad Baqir presented himself, quaking in his shoes, and said, "Sir, the nougats all melted together and I was ashamed to offer them to you in that condition, so I and my brother and Ustad Muhammad-'Ali divided them up, and we ate them."
Azal was enraged and berated the man very harshly. "You are nothing but a traitor," he shouted. "You are all thieves! And you don't really believe in the Bab!" He kept on that way for quite a while, in one stopping place after another, muttering and grumbling, still mourning his nougats. <p34>
In Harput the Blessed Beauty proceeded to the public bath, and Azal went along, too. Baha'u'llah said to me, "Apply the henna for me, and then go and take care of Azal." I made use of the henna as bidden, and went over to Azal.
He told me, "Shave my boy's head." At this time his son was twelve or thirteen years old. I answered, "No. I will return to Baha'u'llah, and if He says to shave the boy's head, then I will shave it."
[1 It was the custom at the time for adult men to shave their heads bald.]
Azal was furious. I went and asked Baha'u'llah, and He said, "No. Do not shave the child's head." To make a long story short, I didn't. I finished attending to Azal, and left him.
Then the Purest Branch, Baha'u'llah's son, who was then fourteen or fifteen, came and and I forgot everything else. He was truly the brother of 'Abdu'l-Baha, extremely modest and self-effacing. Mirza Muhammad-'Ali there too, and Aqay-i Kalim, and Mirza Muhammad-Quli, and that Majdu'd-Din. The Purest Branch said to me, "This journey has taught us many things. For example, Azal believed that everyone would be subservient to him, and yet he now sees that such is not the case."
Finally, we got to Samsun. As we went along, two or three persons had charge of the animals and served as grooms -- that is, to the animals of the holy Household. One was Darvish Sidq-'Ali, known as Gul-i Mawla [the Master's Rose] and he is so named in a Tablet; one was Aqa Siyyid Husayn of Kashan. And the third was Haji Ibrahim, likewise of Kashan. At this place we reached the Black Sea. <p35>
There was a chief inspector who had come to Samsun on other business, and with great ceremony he entertained Baha'u'llah. Also, a Tablet was revealed here, called the Tablet of the Howdah.(10) Baha'u'llah remained too or three days in Samsun, until the ship arrived. Those in charge of the pack animals were dismissed here, with generous gifts of money, but the horses belonging to the Household were brought along. There was also a horse from the pasha of Baghdad, which he was sending to Istanbul, and this animal too was loaded on the ship. <p37>
We sailed along till we reached Istanbul, where our baggage was taken off, and I remained with the horses. Meanwhile, Baha'u'llah proceeded to the government guest house, which was in the charge of Shamsi Bey, and He settled in the upstairs apartments with the Household, while we had rooms below. On this lower floor there was one great room, an agreeable place, and every day the Master would come to this room. Siyyid Muhammad of Isfahan would also frequent this place, as would Haji Mirza Ahmad of Kashan, and Mirza Aqay-i Munir of the same city.
Azal was upstairs, in a separate apartment. He would come downstairs in the morning, however, return at lunchtime to have something to eat, and then come back down. Part of the time he was a downstairs person, and part of the time an upstairs person. He did this so that people would not guess that he was Azal, and would take him for a servant of the Blessed Beauty.
In the course of our journey, at a stop called Ma'dan-Nuqrih [the Silver Mine], Nabil-i Zarandi had come into the presence of Baha'u'llah, along with a man named Ahmad and another named Husayn, both of whom were <p38> Kashis. Nabil had gone on ahead, from Baghdad. Baha'u'llah had sent Muhammad-'Askar to bring him back, and in Baghdad had counseled him at great length, telling him that no one should accompany Baha'u'llah without leave. Nevertheless, this individual caught up with us at Ma'dan-Nuqrih. Here again, Baha'u'llah gave him the same advice. Well, Nabil came along with us anyhow and on to Istanbul. As for the two who were with him, Ahmad was dismissed and Husayn came to Istanbul with us, and then on to Edirne [Adrianople].
[1 Nabil-i Zarandi later became the author of the famous Baha'i chronicle, The Dawn-Breakers.]
One day, in the downstairs apartments, Siyyid Muhammad, the evil one of Isfahan, set Haji Mirza Ahmad and Mirza Aqa against each other quarreled, and even boxed each other's ears. Mirza Aqa Jan went and informed Baha'u'llah, returned, and admonished Mirza Aqa at length. The latter remained intractable, and a few days afterward he was dismissed. Later on he repented, and ultimately he died in Smyrna.
[1 Siyyid Muhammad of Isfahan is the "Antichrist of the Bah' Revelation," who tempted and manipulated Mirza Yahya to rebellion against Baha'u'llah.]
We remained about fifteen days at the inn in Istanbul, and then rented another place and moved there. It was a stately house. In Istanbul Baha'u'llah called on no one, and He told Aqay-i Kalim: "I will go nowhere. You go wherever you think best." And so, Aqay-i Kalim would visit the house of such leaders of state as he felt advisable. The Ottoman Government furnished our expenses in whatever amounts were suggested to them by Shamsi Bey.
In Istanbul, every day at noon Baha'u'llah would go to the Mosque of Sultan Muhammad and there recite the <p39> prayer in the manner of Islam, and He would chant communes as well. During this period, every seven or eight days, He would frequent the bathhouse, and on occasion I would be with Him. There was another mosque known as Khirqiy-i Sharif [the Mosque of the Prophets's Cloak], and He would visit there, too.
There in Istanbul people would come to visit, and Baha'u'llah would converse with them. Finally, word was brought that by government order He must leave for Edirne.
Azal was his usual self: to Shamsi Bey he had not made himself known as Baha'u'llah's brother, but had presented himself as a servant of the Darvish Mirza 'Ali Khan of Khurasan. Most days he would come to see Baha'u'llah, and one day, contrary to his custom, he brought in some news, saying: "There is talk that You will be obliged to leave for Edirne."
Then Shamsi Bey paid an official call and declared on behalf of the government: "You are ordered to Edirne."
Baha'u'llah categorically stated: "We refuse."
After Shamsi Bey had gone, Baha'u'llah came out and said to the friends "Be confident. Nothing bad will happen." Smiling, He added: "And anyway, what could be the harm of it if I should give them two or three of you no-goods to put to death?" And then He left.
Later, into the biruni came Azal and Siyyid Muhammad and Haji Mirza Ahmad of Kashan. They sat together, and Azal said, "If you want to cross a stream, which is better, that half your satchel should get wet, or all of it?" <p40>
"Obviously, half of it," was their answer.
Afterward we reported to Baha'u'llah what Azal had said. He replied: "I stand by my statement."
Mirza Safa of Khurasan came in, and said among other things: "By the government's edict, you must go to Edirne. None can refuse to obey the government's edict."
Baha'u'llah replied, "Mirza Safa, are you trying to frighten me with this government? Even if all the inhabitants of the world should come against me with drawn swords, I will still fear no man."(11)
Azal sent in word: "They will trample down our wives and children! They will put us all to death! We will go."
And Baha'u'llah answered: "It makes no difference if they kill us. As for our families, we can arrange things in such a way that they will not be held. What could be better for us than to be slain by them in the path of God?" Then very firmly He said, "We will not go."
However, Azal and Siyyid Muhammad and Haji Mirza Ahmad and his wife and children kept at it, constantly repeating: "We will go."
And people from the government came again, and still they received the identical reply from Baha'u'llah: "I stand by what I have already said. No matter that some others are saying we will go, no matter that they are consenting to depart, my answer is the same as before."
At a later time He commented: "That fellow [Azal] thwarted us. Otherwise the Faith would have been widely proclaimed -- and now this will not come to pass." And another time he said, "If, in Istanbul, Azal had allowed it to happen, there would have been a wonderful proclamation of the Cause of God. Had they killed us, this <p41> would have spread the Faith far and wide, and had they not killed us -- and they would not have -- this too would have widely proclaimed, it." He said this with great regret.
Finally, what with the others' insistence, entreaties, supplications, and tears, He bade them prepare for the departure to Edirne, Mirza Musa went wherever he thought best to bid people good-bye. They rented a number of ox-drawn carts. The Master rode on a horse. Mirza Yahya was on a donkey Nothing new happened along the way, except that Baha'u'llah would say: "Why did we come?"(12) <p42>
At last we reached Edirne, and Baha'u'llah chose to stop at a caravanserai. With Him from Constantinople had come a Turkish captain -- a yuz-bashi -- with a number of soldiers, and this captain made a request of Baha'u'llah. He said, "I wish to be promoted to major -- bin-bashi." He went back to Istanbul, and he was. An excellent man, and a grateful one too."(13)
[1 On December 12, 1863]
He rented a house for Baha'u'llah, another for the friends, and third for Mirza Musa. The house assigned to the friends had a stable room, and the horses were brought there. The house of Mirza Musa had a bathhouse and they fired it up -- for we had reached Edirne at that beginning of winter and it was bitterly cold. None of us, not even Baha'u'llah, had proper clothing, since we had come from an Arab country. It was so cold that all the town's springs were frozen over. The house of Baha'u'llah was near the takyih [lodge house] of the Mawlavi's.
[1 A sufi order of dervishes founded by Jalalu'd-Din Rumi in the thirteenth century -- the so-called dancing dervishes.]
As for the bathhouse: Azal would usually be sent there first. One day I went to the bath at Mirza Musa's. Now Azal was very hairy -- so much so that from the back of his head to his feet, he seemed to be one sweep of hair. After he was bathed I was attending to him when, at that moment, Baha'u'llah came in. Azal moved, and, out of <p43> respect, he placed his hands one upon the other and stood up. Baha'u'llah said, "His shoulders are bushy. You shave them." I came forward to shave them.
Azal covered his shoulders with both hands and said "Don't!"
Baha'u'llah said, "Let him have his way. It doesn't matter."
Baha'u'llah stayed in this house all winter. When the weather turned beautiful and we were on the threshold of spring, He came to the believers' lodging one day to express His consideration of us, and His loving care. That day, a bird was singing in our tree, and He commented: "Better get him something for his throat -- he isn't doing too well."
Well, in this house Siyyid Muhammad and Haji Ahmad of Kashan and I and the other friends were all living together, though we had our separate rooms. The upstairs was reserved for Siyyid Muhammad and Haji Ahmad, and I too lived upstairs with them. Every day the Master would come to us at noontime and leave around that time. One day he told us that the Blessed Beauty had directed us to find another lodging so that we could all be together. The friends searched high and low until they located a house opposite the Mosque of Sultan Salim. It was very spacious, and in all, outside and inside it required forty keys. The name of this residence was Bayt-i Amru'llah.
[1 The name can be translated as "House of God's Command" or "House of the Cause of God."] <p45>
In this house a Tablet was revealed and was sent to Mirza Yahya through Mirza Aqa Jan. This Tablet is known as the Tablet of the Summons to Azal, and it calls upon Azal to believe in Baha'u'llah. Seeing it, Azal repudiated the Tablet at once, and remarked to Mirza Aqa Jan, "He has even written it in Arabic."(14)
The house of Azal was a few steps away from that of Baha'u'llah, and Mirza Musa had a separate residence opposite. The other friends, the Branches and Mirza Muhammad-Quli, the Consort, and Baha'u'llah, Himself, and the rest of us, were all in the House of God's Command.
[1 That is, the sons of Baha'u'llah.]
[2 Baha'u'llah's wife, Asiyih Khanum, Navvab.]
Siyyid Muhammad and Haji Mirza Ahmad had a room to themselves. The Master would go to the andarun only to sleep. Usually he would have lunch and dinner with Siyyid Muhammad. Most of the time, Haji Mirza Ahmad would be present as well. <p46>
PLOTTINGS OF COVENANT-BREAKERS
Azal would come to the bath every week, that is, to the bathhouse in the House of God's Command. At this time no one had even an inkling of his being a violator, a breaker of the Covenant, but he had become somewhat lukewarm. When he visited the bath, he would carry on a conversation with me about this and that (this period was during the third year after our arrival in Edirne ), and, in his own way, he was trying to convert me, but I pretended not to understand what he was after.
Siyyid Muhammad and Haji Ahmad had only recently become acquainted with Azal and they took to one another. Every day Siyyid Muhammad would go to the Mosque of Sultan Salim where he was working on a book he called "A Summary of the Bayan." Haji Ahmad, Aqa Riday-i Qannad, the confectioner, and Aqa Mirza Mahmud would also copy out Tablets and send them about. The Master, too, would be writing most of the time.
In Istanbul was revealed the Tablet that begins:
All praise be to Thee,
O Thou Who art He that is He.
After a time, Siyyid Muhammad had taken himself to the takyih of the Mawlavis and told the leader: "I will come to you and instruct you in the Mathnavi of Rumi." <p47> Thus he had struck up an acquaintance with him, and little by little he had begun to converse with him in an unseemly way. He would read the Mathnavi all the time. Once he said to me, "What are these verses?" I quoted him back a few lines from Rumi, and he commented on them. Then he went to Mirza Musa and praised my intelligence. At this time Siyyid Muhammad was about sixty years old.
[1 A six-volume classical epic of mystic poems by Jalalu'd-Din Rumi.]
Once when the Master was present, I said: "That Nabil certainly has strange things to say. One night in Istanbul, when you, Siyyid Muhammad, were speaking, Nabil commented: 'That Siyyid Muhammad talks like an atheist.'"
The siyyid was very angry at this, but from fear of the Master, he could say nothing. Well, that night passed by, and in the morning when he was going to the Mawlavis to give his lesson, he said to me: 'Ustad Muhammad-'Ali you and I come from the same city, and wherever I go I sing your praises...(and so on and so on). Now what, what did you mean at the meeting last night? How was it that you said to me that I, according to Nabil, had said thus and so?'
"How should I know?" I shrugged.
He went on: 'You should have whispered all that in my ear."
I answered: "This place is not the thieves' court of Husayn the Kurd, where everybody does as he pleases."
[1 Husayn the Kurd was a legendary outlaw who become so powerful and brazen that he would hold court at night in the bazaar of Isfahan.]
Anyway, Siyyid Muhammad would go to that place and give lessons, and most days Mirza Musa would come to the apartment of Siyyid Muhammad an Master. Here he would smoke his water pipe and then take his leave. <p48>
One day when the Master was present, Siyyid Muhammad was carrying on a conversation with Haji Ahmad, and I was standing there. At that moment, in the street below, a cart went by. Siyyid Muhammad said, "His Holiness the Bab, the Remembrance of God, was like that cart: even as the next man, He came, He went."
Mirza Musa was indignant. "You shameless fellow!" he said. "Remember that this place is directly behind the house of Baha'u'llah." Angrily, he rose and left the room.
Siyyid Muhammad was in a rage. Later he betook himself to Mirza Musa, to plead his case with him, and said, "You made me lose face."
Mirza Musa became angry all over again.
Siyyid Muhammad complained to him: "Ustad Muhammad-'Ali has said thus and so about me."
Mirza Musa said, "This Muhammad-'Ali is the same man you used to praise so highly. How is it that you are against him now?" The matter was also reported to Baha'u'llah.
And so, after an interval of three or four days, Siyyid Muhammad went back to the same takyih of the Mawlavis, and he stayed there. As the saying goes, he was sulking. Two or three nights went by. There was a certain Ibrahim, a former steward of Baha'u'llah who later became a Covenant-breaker and still lives and now claims to be a firm believer. This Ibrahim was summoned by Mirza Aqa Jan and given money and a parcel of clothing to take to Siyyid Muhammad. Two days or so afterward, Siyyid Muhammad wrote a letter to the mother of the Greater Branch [Mirza Muhammad-'Ali] saying that he was in the takyih of the Mawlavis and so hungry that he <p49> was reduced to eating the leaves of the trees. This, although only three days before, money and clothing had been sent to him, in addition to which the Mawlavis paid his expenses.
The following day was the day when Baha'u'llah was accustomed to frequent the bath. I went there, and Azal came in first. Up to now, for quite a while, he had secretly, stealthily, been trying to make me his disciple. I applied his henna and he began talking to me. "Last night," he said, "I had a dream. I saw a person with a broom in his hand, and he was sweeping up all around me." He managed to convey the idea that it was Baha'u'llah who was plying the broom around him in the dream. And so, I understood that this worthless fellow wanted me to do something for him. But he said nothing more, and went away.
Then the Blessed Beauty entered the bath. There was a mirror fastened to the wall and I could see Him in the mirror. He said to me, "You are great and your image will not fit in a little mirror."
[1 Azal was known as one of the "Mirrors" of the Babi Revelation. See God Passes By, p. 114]
I pondered what Azal had said. I kept asking myself what his purpose was, telling me by indirection and in code that "Baha'u'llah was sweeping up all around me." It was clear, however, that he had some special plan with regard to me.
Furthermore, Haji Mirza Ahmad kept trying to convert <p50> me to Azal. I noticed in particular that over a period of several days he repeatedly tried most urgently to pull me his way. One day I told him: "Haji, you have been teaching people about the invisible Lord. Do you yourself believe in that Lord?"
He said, "Yes."
I said, "Down your throat with the Lord that you imagine!" And so we quarreled.
Haji Mirza Ahmad took the matter to Baha'u'llah and complained. "Ustad Muhammad," he said, "has denied the Invisible of the Invisibles."
On the following day, Mirza Aqa Jan came and sat down; we all gathered around and he read the Tablet of the Sermon on the Unity of God. He also read the Persian Tablet of Ahmad, revealed for Haji Mirza Ahmad. In Edirne, the Blessed Beauty was continually revealing Tablets.
[1 This is not the Arabic Tablet of the same name so widely known in the West.]
When the bath day arrived, Azal came in first. He washed his head and body and used the henna. I sat beside him to help. He began to talk, and to give me advice. He said: "There was at one time a Mirza Na'im who was the governor of Nayriz. He persecuted the believers, and killed them, and greatly harmed the Cause." Next, he began to extol the virtues of boldness and courage. He said that some are courageous by nature, and that when the moment came, they would prove themselves brave. Then he went back to the story of Mirza Na'im: he said that of all the Nayriz believers' children, one had survived -- a boy of eleven or twelve. One day Mirza Na'im went into the bat and this boy went there as well, and had <p51> brought along a knife with a handle made of horn. When the governor started to come up out of the water tank, the boy plunged the knife into his stomach and ripped it open. Mirza Na'im cried aloud. His servants ran in from outside and saw the knife in the boys's hand. They beat the boy within an inch of his life, and then went to see how their master was faring. Wounded as he was, the child got to his feet and once again drove his knife into Mirza Na'im.
Having said this, Azal started in again, praising the virtue of courage. "How fine a thing it is," he said, "for a man to be brave. Now see what they are doing to the Cause of God! Every one harming the Faith. Every one risen up against me! Even my own brother! And I, never allowed a moment's peace! Never a tranquil breath!"
He managed his tones in such a way as to say: "I, the appointee; I, the helpless victim -- and my brother (God forgive me for repeating this!) a tyrant, a usurper!"
"How wonderful is courage," he went on. "How much needed now, to save the Cause of God!"
Taken all together -- the tone of his voice, the story of Mirza Na'im, the praise of courage, the urging me onward -- all this meant only one thing: "Kill my brother!" That is, kill the Blessed Beauty.
When these words were uttered I was overcome by nausea, and sicker than I had ever been in my whole life. I felt as if the walls of he bath were falling in on me. I was unhinged. Not able to speak, I went away outside the bath, and sat down on a bench. And in my awful inward turmoil, I thought to myself, I will go back into the bath, and I will cut off his head. Then let whatever happens, happen. Then I thought: It would be easy enough to kill <p52> him. But suppose when I stood before the Blessed Beauty I should be condemned? Coming before Him in that condition? I went on, thinking it out: After murdering this fellow, if I should go and stand in the presence of Baha'u'llah, and if He should say to me, "Why did you kill him?" what answer could I give? It was this thought that stopped me.
Well, I reentered the bath, and violently angry, raging, I said to him, "Get up and get out. God send you to hell!"
"Pour water over me," he wailed as he approached me. I poured one container of water on him and, washed or not washed, in a panic, he went; and I have never laid eyes on him since, from that day to this.
I was in a terrible state and nothing could calm me down. It happened that the Blessed Beauty did not come to the bath that day, but Mirza Musa did, and I told him: "Today Azal made a bonfire of me," and I repeated what he had said.
Mirza Musa replied, "He has had such a plan for many years. Pay no attention to him. The fellow has always had this in mind." He counseled me, and left.
Well, I finished with the bath, and I closed it up, and went to see the Master, and said, "Today Azal said thus and so. I was in a fury and wanted to kill him. But in the end, I did nothing."
The Master replied, "You discovered this matter for yourself. Do not make any mention of it. Best that it should remain hidden."
Then I went and told the story to Mirza Aqa Jan, and asked him to report it to Baha'u'llah. He soon came back. Baha'u'llah had said to him: "Go and advise my devoted Usta Muhammad-'Ali to say nothing of this anywhere." <p53>
I went and gathered up all of Azal's letters and other writings, and that night I took them to the coffee room in Baha'u'llah's house and burned them all in the charcoal brazier. But first I showed them around to everyone, so they could see that they were the writings of Azal. There were seven or eight of the friends present, and they all strongly objected and said, "What have you done? Why this?"
I told them, "Until today, I have always worshipped the house of this Azal. Today, so far as I am concerned, he is less than a dog!"
Azal had three wives: one from Mazindaran, one from Tafrish, and one from Shiraz. Ahmad was born of this last. Mirza Nasru'llah and Rida-Quli of Tafrish, the brothers-in-law of Azal, along with the son of Mirza Naru'llah, thinking that there might be some material benefit to them here in this establishment, had come to Edirne; and they had managed, by prompting Azal's wife, to have him stop speaking with her and keep to himself. Their plan was that, after an interval of separation, they would marry off their sister to the Master. Meanwhile, Mirza Nasru'llah died. The sister remained -- and the son of Nasru'llah and Mirza Rida-Quli. But the Master did not wish to marry her.
[1 Azal married at least six wives, three of whom were left in Iran after he fled to Baghdad. The wives referred to here appear to be Ruqaiyyih, Badri-Jan (Badr-i Jihan), and Mulk-i Jihan respectively. See Baha'u'llah: the King of Glory pp. 278, 336-37; Traveller's Narrative, p.384.]
[2 That is, their own sister.] <p54>
THE BEGINNING OF TROUBLES
During this period Iran had been filling up with Tablets. The Tablets would reach Tihran through Mirza Haydar-'Ali, and they would then be sent on to Tabriz, to Javad-i Qazvini. From another direction, when Baha'u'llah was on the point of leaving Istanbul, He sent Nabil-i Zarandi to Khurasan, and Nabil did wonders there and raised an uproar.
[1 Haydar-'Ali later became the author of Bihjatu's Sudur [The Delight of Hearts].]
In Tabriz, through Javad-i Qazvini, a certain Siyyid Isma'il, who was much respected by the people of that city (this, as a consequence of a religious debate which he had with Javad which ended in hostility) was assassinated by two believers. One was Mustafa of Kashan, the other a man from Khurasan -- they being urged on by Javad. Those two, and Javad, were then arrested in Tabriz. Javad, using the funds of the Huququ'llah which had been collected and placed in his charge, and which belonged to Baha'u'llah, took out a thousand tumans and bought himself free. The other two were killed.
[1 Shaykh Ahmad of Khurasan. Cf. Memorials of the Faithful, p. 149; The Babi and Baha'i Religions, pp. 251-52; Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, pp. 237-38]
[2 The Right of God: the money offered to Baha'u'llah by the believers.]
[3 The gold tuman was equivalent to two U.S. dollars of that day.]
When Javad lived in Tabriz, there was a certain Haji 'Ali-Askar of Tabriz, a good man. He had a daughter, and he told Javad, "Please, you tell Baha'u'llah that I <p57> wish to send this daughter to Him as a wife for the Master." When Javad complied, the answer came that Javad himself should wed the girl. But it was just at this time that Javad fled from Tabriz. He arranged for an elderly lady from Qazvin to bring the daughter of Haji 'Ali-Askar to him later on. 'Ali-Askar arrived in Edirne before Javad. 'Ali-Askar had two daughters -- the one he gave to Javad, the other served in the holy Household and finally died in 'Akka. The Master still did not wish to marry.
Nabil-i Zarandi now arrived in Edirne after traveling in Iran with Mishkin-Qalam and Mirza 'Aliy-i Sayyah (who, in Mah-Ku, had entered the presence of the Bab and became a believer, and would, by any means possible, see to it that the Lord's Tablets reached their addresses). They came with two Kashis and certain Jamshid of Bukhara who had declared his faith in Kashan.
In several places Mirza 'Aliy-i Sayyah had announced: "I am on my way to Edirne to bring about a reconciliation between his Eminence Azal and the Blessed Beauty." Once he arrived and had paid his respects to Baha'u'llah, he understood what was going on and saw that Azal did not figure in the reckoning at all.
After a time [it was 1866] the Blessed Beauty moved with His Household to another house, and no one was permitted to visit Him there. He dismissed Haji Mirza Ahmad, who went to Baghdad, and He sent Muhammad-Sadiq away, and also Aqa Muhammad-Hasan and 'Abdu'l-Karim. At that time Shaykh Salman was there, <p58> and he was dismissed likewise. Baha'u'llah also decided to send the attendants -- myself, and Sidq-'Ali Darvish, who was the groom -- to Istanbul, to sell the horses.
[1 The house of Rida Bey.]
Mirza 'Aliy-i Sayyah and Mishkin-Qalam had become friends, and they thought that Mishkin-Qalam wrote a beautiful hand and could thus earn his daily bread, the two went to Istanbul to be scribes. Baha'u'llah, however, did not want them to go to Istanbul -- at least, such was my understanding of it.
Anyhow, the two journeyed there, and in that city went to Haji Mirza Husayn Khan, the Mushiru'd-Dawlih, who showed them great respect. For Mishkin-Qalam, he even purchased a handsome kashkul, since Mishkin-Qalam followed the dervish path.
[1 The ambassador to Istanbul.]
[2 The traditional begging bowl of a dervish.]
The ambassador made much of both of them, and he said to Mishkin, "You come, and in the presence of the other Persians, read an address praising the shah of Iran" And Mishkin did so. In short, Mushiru'd-Dawlih wished to promote the two of them. He arranged for Mishkin-Qalam to do the calligraphy on a book by Sa'di, and to be paid three hundred liras. Mishkin did write a small portion of this book. On occasion, when he called on the ambassador, Mishkin would speak of the Faith. Eventually, he began to exaggerate, saying how many of us there were, asking if the ambassador guessed that right in Istanbul there were thousands of us.
"You be careful," the ambassador told him. "I am trying to promote you." Well, in the end they arrested both of them and shut them up in jail.(16) <p59>
MY ARREST AND EXILE
As for me, with Sidq-'Ali Darvish and Aqa Muhammad-Baqir Mahallati, we brought along the horses to Istanbul. They stopped us at the city gate, and asked: "Who are you? Where do you come from?"
I asked them, "Why have you held us up?" They were going to let us go. But then, I inquired for Mishkin-Qalam.
The police said, "Come along. We will take you to him." We didn't know where they were taking us. Well, they led our animals away and conducted us to the sultan's prison and jailed us.
The next morning they came for us and took us before the governor of Istanbul, Husayn Husni Pasha. He asked, "Where are you coming from?"
We said, "From Edirne."
"What are you here for?"
"To deliver some horses for Mishkin-Qalam to sell." (I didn't know that Mishkin-Qalam was in jail himself.) That was all the questioning; they contented themselves with that, led us back down, and kept us there. Three or four days went by. We began to talk with our friendly jailers.
"Brothers," I said, "we have done nothing wrong. We are not thieves. What is your reason for arresting us?"
I thought to myself: Baha'u'llah must be under severe pressure in Edirne, and there must be disturbances in that <p60> city. It is certain that these people here are going to question us. We shall have to come up with a plan. (I had carried with me three packets of Writings and one travel notebook, and they had taken all of these away.)
"When being interrogated," I told the others, "we must do nothing which could bring harm to the Household of Baha'u'llah. For ourselves, no matter. Whatever will happen, will happen. But we must in no way harm the ones in Edirne." We all agreed to this.
The next morning -- the third and fourth of our imprisonment -- they led us again to the house of the governor. He sent for us to come in. They took us three upstairs to a large room and put each of us in a different corner of it. Aqa Muhammad-Baqir was the cleverest of us, and he was an old man. The governor summoned him to another room. I listened carefully to find out what they were saying.
"Where do you come from?"
"What is the reason for your visit?"
"There are three of us. These horses belong to Baha'u'llah, and He directed us to deliver them to Mishkin-Qalam, for him to sell."
The voice asked, "Do you know anything about these writings?"
"Then read something."
He started in, reading an Arabic prayer of some ten verses.
"Who owns these writings?"
"Ustad Muhammad-'Ali." (For I had told him, should they ask this question, to say they were mine.) <p61>
He was then asked, "Have you any kinship with Baha'u'llah?"
"No. I am one of His servants." Then the voice said, "Baha'u'llah has claimed to be the Mahdi. What do you say to that?"
"No! He has made no such claim!"
[1 Baha'is believe that the Bab was the Mahdi, the Promised One awaited by the Sunni Muslims (in addition to being the return of the Shi'ih Twelfth Imam). Baha'u'llah fulfils the Sunni prophecies concerning the Return of Christ.]
The voice said, "You do not understand. He certainly has."
"No, He has not."
Asked, "Should he make such a claim, what would you say?"
"Whatever He says is as He says. We hold Him for a speaker of truth. But He has made no such claim." They put him out and he came over to me.
Then they took Darvish. (Darvish was older than I.) They asked the same questions as before. They said, "He has claimed to be the Mahdi."
He said, "No! He has not." And then they go to, "What will you say if he does?' Darvish answered, "Because of love, whatsoever the Master doeth is true and right." They brought him out and summoned me.
When I went in, I saw that there was a group of Sunni preachers, and that the governor himself was the one asking the questions. He asked me, "Are these writings yours?"
I said, "Yes."
He said "Can you read and write?" <p62>
I said, "No."
He said, "Then what do you want them for?"
I said, "I had a friend who would copy these Writings. I paid him and he wrote this much for me."
Then he said, "Who composed these? Are they by the Bab?"
"I don't know."
Then came, "He has claimed to be the Mahdi. What do you say to that?"
I said, "I have been there for a very long time, and I have never once heard such a claim."
"Nevertheless he made that claim."
"No., " I said, "He has not."
He said, "Should he make the claim, what will you say?"
I answered -- for I wanted to put an end to it "This hand of yours, can it or can it not become an instrument of death?"
He said, "Certainly it can."
"Up to now," I went on, "it has caused no death. Can a sentence be passed upon it?"
Then I said, "He too, up to now, has made no such claim. Can a sentence be passed upon Him?"
This angered him, and he cried in Turkish, "Take him out! Take him out!"
I told him, "Sir, why did you bring us in, only to send us out? We answered your questions. No need to be angry with us."
Well, they took us downstairs, and right away to a bad prison where there were swindlers and thieves. Here were jailed seventeen or eighteen of us. I had a handsome belt <p63> and they took it. It was a horrible place. And we had to sleep right on the spot where we.... And the space was so narrow that there was only just room for each one to lie down.
[1 That is, there were no sanitary facilities.]
They sent Muhammad-Baqir to a different prison, Darvish to still another, and none of us knew where the others were. They had taken Muhammad-Baqir to the police officer's house, and he fell dangerously ill with dysentery. He was ordered to the prison for the sick, so they put him in there, in the infirmary. It happened that Mirza 'Ali and Mishkin-Qalam were in this very prison. When they saw Muhammad-Baqir, Mishkin-Qalam told the authorities: "You must transfer the others of our group to this prison." So they brought Darvish and me here, and we all got together with Mishkin-Qalam. He kept carrying on and complaining to them that unless he could do his calligraphy his head would never quiet down. "Bring me a pen case," he would say, "and let me write!" Finally, they brought him writing materials and he set to work.
They fed us lunch and supper in this prison, but the bedbugs were so active that sleep was impossible. Well, there we all were, in jail, with no news from anywhere. The head of the prison was not a bad individual, and he had an officer -- I believe his brother's son -- whom he brought to Mishkin-Qalam and Sayyah to take lessons. The boy would come every day and study for several hours.
After some days Aqa Bey, who was a police officer, came in and said, "Which one is Mishkin-Qalam? How much do you want for your nags?" <p64>
Mishkin-Qalam replied, "Those are thoroughbred horses, not nags. Each one of them is worth a hundred liras." When this fellow had gone, there was a Jewish visitor come to see an Englishman sentenced for making counterfeit banknotes. Mishkin-Qalam said to the visitor (who was free to come and go), "We have a number of horses, and we want someone to take them to the sultan as a gift on the Muslim Holy Day. And whatever gratuity the sultan shall offer will then be divided: we to take out the price of the horses, the remainder to be that person's."
The visitor left, and returned with a man whom he told to groom and decorate the horses. The man left, retrieved the animals from the government authorities, and named a suitable sum as their price, planning to offer them to the sultan on the Holy Day. He did forget one little detail, however; he neglected to see the Master of the Horses beforehand, to have him declare the horses acceptable. The day came, and the horses were led before the sultan. He looked them over and said to his Master of the Horses, "How are they?"
The latter replied, "They are no good." And the sultan refused them. Well, the fellow came back and said, "They were not approved." He wanted to collect the sum he had spent on the horses, but Mishkin-Qalam told him, "Go now. I will pay later."
In all, we spent two months in the prison. Jamshid, the servant of Mishkin-Qalam, was also a prisoner; and except for me and Muhammad-Baqir and Jamshid, they planned to send the other believers to Cyprus. That day <p65> the steamer did not leave, however, and they brought the prisoners back. The next day, they sent for them and also took along Muhammad-Baqir. 'Abdu'l-Ghaffar, who had been imprisoned with Mishkin-Qalam, they took away to Gallipoli, to send him on from there to 'Akka or Cyprus.
The following day they led Jamshid and me to Husayn Husni Pasha, the governor. Jamshid was a big tough man with enormous moustachios. The governor said, "These two you shall exile to Iran." So they conducted us to a ship along with a decree stating that we were Persian Babis, and at every stopping place along the way they read out this document. They took us to Trebizond, and here too, put us in jail. Later, they sent us off with two police guards toward Iran. From the next stopping place, there was a two-wheeled cart going to Erzurum, and in that city we were jailed sixteen days. Once off the ship, we always had to walk.
Being a prisoner under these conditions was such a torment that once, on a mountainside where he kept falling down, my companion Jamshid took a stick and beat his head with it. He was coming behind, I walking ahead, with the police ahead of me.
"Brother," I said to him, "what are you up to? Why this?"
He answered, "What did I ever do for God to treat me like this? Look at my fate! Look at what He has allotted me!"
I answered, "He has allotted you a pair of moustachios that are second to none on earth."
He burst out laughing: I had put some spirit into him.
After Erzurum, they led us to Iran. My companion had a heavy quilt -- it must have weighed ten or fifteen pounds, <p66> and I was carrying it. There were several other prisoners chained to us as well. The weather was bitterly cold, and all of us were chained together, going along single file. We all had to start out at the same moment, and sometimes we would all be plunged at the same moment into a stream. We were truly wretched on that journey.
After Erzurum, they took us to a place called Quzil-Dayzi. Here the Persian consul came and looked us over. Ottoman troops had been sent to the point, and it was said they wanted to go to war with Iran. Anyway, they led us up a mountain where there was a castle, all of white marble and marvelously carved. Here they took us to the governor of the place -- the castle was the seat of government, and it was something to see. They kept us in jail there for three or four days, then moved us on toward Iran.
The Persian consul saw us, and they brought us into Iran. The consul was a good-for-nothing individual, too.
Well, there we were at the frontier of Azerbaijan, at a place called Avajih. All the way from Erzurum, they had sent a Persian thief along with us, and he entered the country with us. At this spot, they transferred us to the charge of the son of 'Ali Khan of Mah-Ku. He too had drawn up troop and the Persian government had stationed him at the frontier so that he could defend it from the Ottoman Turks should war break out. Night came and they wanted to put me in jail. Finally, they put me down a dry well, though I kept shouting, "You are not going to throw me in a well! I am not the Prophet Joseph!"
[1 See Genesis 37: 22-24]
They pulled me up the next morning. <p69>
The only money I had in the world was one lira, which I had concealed. I now sold my hat and my shoes and bought a few Azerbaijani camel hair garments. They led us on, taking us toward Iran.
Briefly, we got to Avajih, and there was no caravanserai to be found, so they took us to the country seat of Khan Husayn Khan, where he lived with great pomp and circumstance. They presented him with the documents and the decree.
He let out a string of oaths, damning the soldiers of Mir 'Ali Khan, and -- See the hand of God! -- he took the papers and without so much as glancing at them, he tore them up and threw them away. I was happy to see those papers go, and myself not recognized. There was that thief with us, too.
'Aqa Jamshid was a pious man, frank and straightforward. But he could not control his tongue: he talked too much. I said to him, "'Aqa Jamshid, I have something to tell you. Please accept it. I beg of you, by the soul of the Bab, don't speak out. Let me do the talking."
"Very well", he said, "since you adjure me in this way, I will not open my mouth."
That fellow, the Khan, said to me, "Where do you come from?"
I said, "From Istanbul."
He said, "Why did you go there?"
I said, "I had heard that there was a lot of money to be made in Istanbul, and I went there to get a couple of coins to rub together. But when I got there, the son of the sultan of Russia arrived, and they had lit up all the avenues. We didn't know the ways of the country, having just arrived. After we had seen the sights and were on the <p70> way back to our lodgings, the police arrested us because we were going along without a lamp. They put us on a steamer and banished us to Iran.
Husayn Khan said, "He speaks the truth." He did not care for the
thief who was with us, but said, "I'll let you go too, for the sake of your
friends. So go. But you fellows, do not try Istanbul again."
"Sir," I said, "why would I go there again? What good did I see there, to
draw me back?"
He said, "You may now be dismissed."
I said, "Sir, I will not leave."
"Why won't you?" he asked.
"Because I am your guest. And I have nothing."
He told them, "Give him lunch."
Well, they gave us something to eat, and they also gave us a donkey for the trip. When we started off he said: "Wait. If you take that road, they will strip you naked. It is not safe." He then put us in the charge of two persons who would take us in safety to the next stopping place, and sent his own servant, mounted on horseback, along with us. And he said, "From here to Khuy, if you lose so much as a little of your belongings, you tell them I'll make them pay for it ten times over."
I asked him: "Sir, pardon this thief as well."
He replied, "Very well. Let him go too."
And so it came about that they conducted us to Khuy with all honor and respect, and in Khuy we were free. We went to the public bath; we ate bread and drank water; we said farewell to our companions. I told them: "I will not remain in Iran." My companion [Aqa Jamshid] went to Salmas and later on to the Holy Land, where he lived a long time, and died before the ascension of Baha'u'llah. <p71>
I went on to Tabriz and remained there one day. From there I went to Zanjan. When I reached Zanjan I heard that eighteen days before, they had martyred Siyyid Ashraf and Aba-Basir. I had many trials along the way and was in a miserable condition. Haji Aqay-i Isfahani was with me, on his way back form Baytu'llah [Akka?], and showed me great consideration. I was traveling on foot, wretchedly enough, and the caravan would not take me in, thinking I was a robber.
In Zanjan, through Haji Iman-i Zanjani, I went to the home of Ashraf and paid my respects to his mother. The mother of Ashraf was weeping her heart out. But not for her son: she was weeping for Aba-Basir. He used to come out of his house every day and teach the Faith until they killed him. It seemed to me that up to now, in all the earth, there had never been a woman so excellent as Ashraf's mother.
The way of Ashraf's martyrdom was this: He was working in his garden, when they came and took him away to the Government House, to the prison. Ashraf was an honourable man, and of good reputation, and the people were against having him put to death. The governor told them to take him before the Shaykhu'l-Islam. They did so, and the shaykh saw that Ashraf was openly declaring himself to be a follower of the Bab. He would have preferred to have him conceal it, so that his life could be spared. He summoned Ashraf's mother to the <p72> prison, and told her to counsel her son. She came to the prison, and spoke with him, and told him: "If you are killed in the pathway of Baha'u'llah, then you are my son. And if not, you are no son of mine."
[1 The chief cleric of the religious court appointed to each large city by the shah.]
They led him back to the Shaykhu'l-Islam, and the shaykh put his cloak around the young man to hide him and cried, "O people! Siyyid Ashraf denies that he is a Babi. He says, 'Let me be, and go about your business.'"
But Ashraf thrust his head out from the folds of the cloak, and he shouted, "No! I am a Baha'i! Do what you wish with me!" Meanwhile, they had arrested Aba-Basir as well, and by the governor's order they decapitated both of them in the public square.
I stayed about twelve days in the house of Ashraf's mother. I was running a fever. On the last day, at her urging, I enjoyed the hospitality of her bathhouse, and at midnight I said good-bye to her and went along with the caravan, sick and feverish as I was.
I reached Sultaniyyih, and I went from there to Qazvin. Here I called on Samandar, and my plan was to go on to Isfahan and from there to the Holy Land. Samandar had a brother named Shaykh Muhammad-'Ali, who would later die a tragic death from poison in Istanbul (17), and he too was in Qazvin at this time. I never saw such solicitous manners as he had, in all my life. I stayed here several days, and they gave me medicines and I was cured.
Meanwhile, Haji Abu'l-Hasan Amin arrived as I was about to leave. They said, "Wait. Go with Haji Amin." The Haji was just back from 'Akka, and we traveled together to Qum, from Qum to Kashan, and from Kashan to Ardistan. Here Haji Amin journeyed on toward Yazd, <p75> and I went to meet Mirza Fath-'Ali of Ardistan, an exceptional man, and one addressed by Baha'u'llah as Fath-i A'zam, Supreme Victory. On the march to Isatanbul, He also referred to him by this name, saying, "Fath-i A'zam is here with me on this journey," although he was then in Aridstan. Baha'u'llah meant, with Him in the world of the heart.
I went to him now and he offered me many courtesies. He took me to his home, although this was not his custom, and conversed with me at length. Then Haji Muhammad-Isma'il Dhabih arrived, and Fath-i A'zam said, "I shall not keep him at my house. You two, go tonight to the home of Mirza Haydar-'Ali, one of the believers." And there I went.
When Muhammad-Isma'il questioned me about his brother, I replied, "He is in a ruinous condition," which did not please him at all. The next morning, I was to leave for Isfahan. In Qazvin I had become a grandee: I rode now. And so I left.
[1 Mirza Ahmad of Kashan, who was at this time a Covenant-breaker.]
I went on to Isfahan and found that they had married my wife to another man by force, on the grounds of my being a follower of the Bab. And I could learn nothing about what had become of my children.
I asked myself: Where shall I go? Finally, I went to the home of 'Abdu's-Salih, one of the friends. He was in the Holy Land. He had a mother who, truly, was a second Umm-i Ashraf [Ashraf's mother] of Zanjan. I went there and my things were brought later. It was early in the morning, still dark. The husband of 'Abdu's-Salih's sister <p75> was a man named Muhammad-Kazim, who made clothing. By mistake, I tried the house next to theirs, and rapped on the door. When someone came, I said, "Tell Muhammad-Kazim to bring me my 'aba -- I am on my way back to the village."
The person said, "It's that house over there."
Over at the right house, I found Siyyid Takhtih-Kanah-si fast asleep. (Siyyid Mihdi has recently been given this nickname by the Master. His name prior to this was Ismu'llahu'l-Mihdi. He got up and asked how I was. I gave him particulars, but had no news from Edirne.
[1 This Siyyid Mihdiy-i Dahiji broke the Covenant after the passing of Baha'u'llah and became known as Takhtih-Kanah-si [Bedbug] because of stubborn personality. Ismu'llahu'l-Mihdi [The Name of God, the Guide]
a title which was conferred on the siyyid by Baha'u'llah. See The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, Vol. 2, pp. 272-75.]
The King of Martyrs found out about me. Two nights later, he invited me to his house, and Siyyid Mihdi also. I saw the King of Martyrs as he was goin to the house of the Imam-Jum'ih. He acted as the imam's agent and advisor, an every morning and evening he would go there. He himself was a merchant, affluent and highly esteemed, but the business affairs of the imam were also in his hands.
[1 Mirza Muhammad-Hasan of Isfahan. He and his brother, the Beloved of Martyrs, Mirza Muhammad-Husayn of Isfahan, were honored with these titles by Baha'u'llah after they were killed for the Faith in 1879, at
instigation of the Imam-Jum'ih of Isfahan. See Memorials of the Faithful pp. 173-74, 181-82; God Passes By, pp. 200-1; The Babi and Baha'i Religions, pp. 274-77.]
I met him on his way to the Imam-Jum'ih's house. There were ten or fifteen people with him. I greeted him, saying, "Salaam," and he returned my greeting. He wished to speak to me, but I bade him farewell and went on by. <p77> The people saw that he knew me, and so they showed me great respect.
I went to the house of the King of Martyrs. Several of the friends were there. They greeted me with courtesies and I sat down. It was not long before the King of Martyrs returned, and his brother, the Beloved of Martyrs, was with him, for they lived in the same house. I stayed there that night and they again received me in the morning, and I stayed through the day as well. Then I went to the home of 'Abdu's-Salih and there learned that he had left for 'Akka. I wished to be off at once, but they said, "Wait a little."
Two days later, the King of Martyrs told me, "You must go to Ardistan," and I complied. His reason for sending me there was this: in Ardistan some money would be given to me.
So I went there, stopped over three or four days, delivered a letter to Fath-'Ali, and transacted business for the King of Martyrs. As I understand it, they had arranged for the money involved to be given to me.
Well, I returned to Isfahan and went to the house of 'Abdu's-Salih. Again, the King of Martyrs asked for me, and he arranged for my journey, and bought some goods for me. <p78>
FROM ISFAHAN TO 'AKKA
These goods were small items which I could trade with everywhere. With these, and the money he gave me (some three or four tumans), I left. A group came along to escort me out of the city and get me past the gate. In all I had spent fifteen days in Isfahan. My wife was very anxious to see me, but I was afraid to see her, lest some evil might come of our meeting, and her husband would find out. I went to Kashan, then to Qum.
In Kashan, I saw the father of Ali-Kuli Khan who is now in America. (They are kinfolk of the late Aminu'd-Dawlih.(18)) He was an excellent man. I stayed a few nights in Kashan, went to Qum, and stayed with the Isfahanis who had traveled with me from Isfahan to Kashan. They were first-rate scoundrels, but I became friendly with them.
[1 Ali-Kuli Khan was sent to the United States by 'Abdu'l-Baha in 1901, as interpreter for the Baha'i philosopher, Mirza Abu'l-Fadl.]
I was travelling on foot, but in Qum I saw a fellow whose pack animals were carrying no loads, and I rented his animals and traveled with him. I did not get to Qazvin. This driver came from near Sultaniyyih. When I reached the outskirts, people said, "They are bringing Babis from Baghdad and conducting them to Tihran." These Babis proved to be Mulla Hasan and Qanitih, with her son by <p79> Azal, Nuru'llah. (Qanitih was Azal's wife...) One of the believers from Khurasan, 'Askar Sahib, was with them as well.
[1 Qanitih (also know as Maryam) was one of the wives of Azal left in Iran after his flight to Baghdad.]
I stayed at the house of the muleteer, and I did not see Qanitih. I went on to Hamadan and I suffered a lot along the way. In Hamadan, I stopped at a caravanserai and went about looking for a muleteer. I found one, rented a pack animal, and left for Savij-Bulaq. In all, I did not stay in Hamadan longer than four hours. In Savij-Bulaq there was a believer, but I did not get to see him. They had a merchants' caravanserai, and I went there to do a little business.
A servant came up and wanted to buy some of my wares; then he asked me to go along with him to the customs officer. There were some Isfahanis here who knew me, and they had reported to the customs officer that I had dutiable goods. I went to the officer and he asked me, "Where do you come from?"
I said, "Isfahan."
"Where are you headed for?"
"I'm going to Rawanduz, Turkish territory," I said.
He asked if I had anything to declare.
I said, "No, but I am ready to do whatever you wish." So I played along with him. He set out a chair for me and I sat down. After expressions of courtesy, he told his servant to bring my wares, and he returned them to me. I refused them, but he insisted I take them back. <p80>
After more courtesies, he said to me, "I am a customs officer, but I can turn my hand to anything. Tell me what you have in mind."
I said, "Truly, I have nothing in mind." I went to where my goods were spread out, and sat. The customs officer stood up and came over. He saw that I had nothing special. He sat down, talked to me, and left.
When the head of the caravanserai saw that the customs officer had treated me with respect, he did the same. Every day while I was in Savij-Bulaq, the customs officer would come to see me. Finally, one day I told him, "I want to leave for Rawanduz."
"Don't go," he said. "The road is not secure. They will strip you bare. I will send you there in such a way that you will be safe."
At this time, two or three mullas came up to buy some small items like scissors and pen cases. I treated them well, we got acquainted, and once in a while they would stop by. Then the muleteer came up and the customs man called him over and said, "When do you leave?"
"In two or three days," he answered.
"Very well," said the customs officer, "when you leave, you must take this man with you. I entrust him to you." The head of the caravanserai also recommended me to him.
I went and bought a good pack animal for eight tumans, got my affairs in order, and the muleteer wanted to take off. The customs officer put my hand in the muleteer's hand and took an oath: "If one hair of his head is missing, never show your face in this province again." And, as mentioned, the caravanserai man also commended me to the muleteer's care. I procured a passport, too. I <p82> bought a mat -- more like a good carpet -- and left with the muleteer.
There were several fellow travelers along with me. When we were setting out, the mullas who were my friends came and told me, "We are making the journey with you, but there is a problem. We have two or three rolls of cotton canvas and we would like to load them on your pack animal."
I said, "Fine. Bring them over." They were travelling on foot. They were all disciples of Shaykh 'Ubaydu'llah, who later rebelled against Nasiri'd-Din Shah, and they were treated with great respect along the way.
Well, we got to Rawanduz and I gave the preachers their rolls of canvas, and they went their way. Then an individual came to me with a message: Shaykh 'Ubaydu'llah was asking for me. So I called on him and found that one of the mullas had sung my praises, with the result that the shaykh offered me many courtesies. He sent and had my things and my pack animal brought, and told me that I must be his guest.
I said, "Your honor, it wouldn't work out. I have this mule -- I must stay somewhere by myself."
"Very good," he told me. He sent and found me a house and I stayed there. He sent for me several times and treated me with great courtesy. Shaykh 'Ubaydu'llah was a man so honored among the Kurds that they swore by the hem of his robe, and by his shoes.
After a while I said to him, "My honorable shaykh, I must go on to Mosul."
He said, "Bide your time. I have a muleteer who is now on the road between here and Mosul. He will be coming along, and you can travel to Mosul with him -- because the <p83> road is not safe." I waited several days and the muleteer arrived. The shaykh sent for me and entrusted me to the driver's care, telling him, "I want you to get this man to Mosul. And you will have to bring back a letter from him, approving of what you did." Repeatedly, he commended me to the muleteer's care.
I procured a little tobacco and some raisins to give to the muleteer. Wherever we went, the drivers would take me into the merchandise shelter and would get me whatever I wanted; and he showed me great respect.
Well, we reached Mosul, and before we arrived there, when we were on the bank of a river, they brought word from the city that they were commandeering everybody's animals for the army. The muleteers came to me for my letter of commendation. I said, "Let whosoever can write, write the letter." But none of them could read or write, either. I went down to the river, took a boat and crossed over to Mosul, and the muleteers went back home.
I betook myself to the house of Zaynu'l-Muqarribin, who lived in that city. I stayed a few days and questioned him about events in 'Akka. He told me, "It is forbidden to travel back and forth to 'Akka."
I said, "I am going anyhow, come what may."
I also learned of a certain Muhammad from Baghdad, one of the friends, who had been in Mosul, arriving before me, and had gone on ahead toward 'Akka. They told me to hurry, and I would catch up with him. Since he was an Arab, they would not make trouble for him when he entered 'Akka.
I left for Kirkuk, went from there to Diyarbakir, and from there to Aleppo, where I took a house. Here there was a believer, an old man who polished gems, and I <p85> visited him. I also found Muhammad [the Arab] in Aleppo. His father was a man of substance, but had disinherited him on account of his religion, so that he traveled on foot.
When I told the Aleppo believer that I wished to sell my pack animal, he offered to sell it for me. I agreed. He sold it for exactly the same eight tumans I had paid for it, although it was worth more.
From there, I rented a pack animal as far as the Mediterranean Sea, where I took a ship. By this time I had sold all my goods. In Beirut I stopped at a caravanserai that was known as "The Judge's Court."
That Muhammad was so quick tempered that there is no describing it. I had known a few quick-tempered people in my time -- such as Nabil-i Zarandi and Muhammad Mustafa of Baghdad, who were both thunderbolts -- and Muhammad was the same. In Beirut, I went out and bought something to eat, and brought it back. Muhammad the Hot-Tempered took one look at the food and started calling me names, crying, "You are nothing but a dog!"
I listened to him, and then I said, "Aqa Muhammad, you come here now and you eat this food. A person can be angry anytime. No hurry about that."
When I said, "You come here now and you eat," he burst out laughing. He came over and kissed me and said, "Very well, now tell me: what's up?"
I saw that he had imagined I had something against him, or that I wanted him to pay for my food. He apologized.
I had with me two or three parcels that I was to deliver <p86> to the Blessed Beauty; while in Beirut I got the idea of buying something or other to trade with as an excuse for going to 'Akka. So I bought a case full of things, various items, and got a boat ticket. When they held me up at customs, I told Muhammad, "Don't wait. Take the steamer." I finally got myself through customs and just at that moment a freighter was about to leave for 'Akka. <p87>
MY ARRIVAL AT 'AKKA
I left on the freighter, so my steamer ticket was wasted. Meanwhile, the steamer had accidentally carried Muhammad off to Jaffa. That night we were still out to sea when a steamer arrived at 'Akka from another direction, and I landed by means of a rowboat from that steamer. From the beginning of my exile until my arrival at 'Akka, one year had gone by. [It was 1869.]
I reached 'Akka by night, and went to the hospice, where I found Haji 'Abbas. He was an Arab from Baghdad, and became a Covenant-breaker in the end. Haji 'Abbas had been in Beirut, heading for 'Akka, and I had said to him, "Don't tell anyone in 'Akka that Ustad Muhammad-'Ali is coming."
I had with me about sixty letters from believers in Iran which they had, despite my protests, insisted on giving me to deliver. I had fastened them to my leg, because the authorities would search you.
Contrary to my request, Haji 'Abbas told the Master that I was coming, and the Master announced to the friends: "Ustad Muhammad-'Ali will arrive today." It so happened that I had on the very same clothes that I had worn in the old days at Edirne. I had taken my case out of the boat, and disembarked at the city gate, when I saw that a number of the friends had gathered there. I joined them, and my clothes looked like theirs, so the police <p89> did not take me for a new arrival -- otherwise, they would not have let me in.
A guard came up and said to the believers, "Get back into the city."
I said, "What about my things?"
"Take them and get back in," he said.
I went straight to the prison of the Blessed Beauty. He sent for me and I left my things in the barracks, climbed to the upper story, entered His presence, and fell at His feet. (This happened in the room that they called the room of Mirza Aqa Jan.)
Then He addressed me, saying: "Ustad Muhammad-'Ali, you have not missed anything -- you were spared having to see them bring us to 'Akka. Badi has been here and gone. We gave permission, and they brought him here. I saw him, and I put him in the room of Mirza Aqa Jan. We were together, he and I. We turned him into an orb of flame, and let him go.
[1 Aqa Buzurg of Khurasan, the young believer who delivered Baha'u'lla's Tablet to the shah of Iran and was martyred. See God Passes By, p. 199; Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, pp. 293-310.]
"We told him not to strike up a friendship with anyone, not to go to anyone's house, not to get to know anyone at all: only to deliver the Tablet to the shah.
"He went to the shah and sat on a rock in the hunting field and held the letter up high. He refused to give the letter up. He told them, 'I must put it in the shah's hand myself.' The shah summoned him; he went; he delivered the letter. The shah saw it was a letter of the Babis and told them to arrest him. The shah was in a fury. And no matter what they asked Badi', he only declared his Faith <p90> and said not a word about the friends. Finally, they killed him."
Baha'u'llah added: "Truly this thing is to me like wine to the drinker." (After the martyrdom of Haji Muhammad-Rida, He also said once, but several times, "He shed his blood in the way that we desired." Again, He would say: "The blood of Badi', the blood of Haji Muhammad-Rida, was shed in accord with our good pleasure.") After telling me the story of Badi' in great detail, He then dismissed me. I went below and stayed in the barracks, and I wrapped up my money and gave it to Mirza Muhammad-Quli to present to Baha'u'llah. (I had also bought merchandise in Beirut in the amount of eight liras.)
[1 A prominent believer who was martyred in the bazaar of 'Ishqabad, Turkestan (Russian territory), by Muslim fanatics n 1889. See God Passes By, pp. 202-3; The Babi and Baha'i Religions, pp. 296-99.]
Mirza Mihdi of Kashan had a sister whom he wished to marry to Baha'u'llah, saying that she could live in the andarun and serve. The sister was in Baghdad when Baha'u'llah left that city, and He placed the girl in the household of her brother, and did not take her as His wife. Mirza Mihdi then wrote that he wished to come to 'Akka. He begged and begged to come, and finally he and his sister arrived in area....
Baha'u'llah then summoned me and said, "Ustad Muhammad-'Ali, you must go to the pasha, the governor of 'Akka, and tell him exactly what I am about to say."
Accordingly, I went to the pasha and told him, "I have come on ahead of a member of Baha'u'llah's Household, and for some days I have been a guest in the barracks. I <p92> am here without funds. My hope is that you will grant me permission to engage in trade."
The pasha replied, "That is good. Go and do business." I was overjoyed and reported back to Baha'u'llah that the pasha had granted me permission.
"Go rent a shop," Baha'u'llah then told me. "The reason for this is not that you should make money; the reason is that here, for the sake of God, a shop should be opened in His name." Finding a shop in 'Akka was never easy. However, it happened that just at that moment there was one to be had. I rented it, took my merchandise there, and set up business. Baha'u'llah told me to sell small, necessary items, for good merchandise of that kind was not to be found in that prison city.
Since good water was not available either, He also directed that on whatever day there were jars to be had, I should take them and bring in water from outside the city. In Edirne this matter of bringing water had also been entrusted to me. Every day thereafter, I would fetch water for the Household. Today, that water comes flowing into the city of 'Akka.
[1 For when the governor asked to do Him a service, Baha'u'llah suggested that he restore a long disused aqueduct. See God Passes By, p. 192.] <p93>
Going back to the time in Edirne: After those words Azal had spoken to me, he was to some degree unmasked and was cut off. Baha'u'llah had all the household goods, including candles, copper utensils, and rugs, gathered together and He sent Azal his share. Darvish Baqir was, in Edirne, dismissed, and Darvish Sidq-'Ali was directed to go to Azal's house every day and fetch whatever he asked. However, as soon as Azal was separated from the rest of us, and his "brotherhood" was ended, Darvish refused to go to his house. "After a thing like that," he said, "I cannot go there anymore."
A little time passed, and then Tablets were revealed by Baha'u'llah for all His companions. Among them was one for Mir Muhammad of Kazirun, who had come to Edirne from Samsun. In this Tablet Baha'u'llah dismissed Siyyid Muhammad. He gave the siyyid money for his expenses, and he went his way.
Mir Muhammad, when he read what was revealed in this Tablet, said: "He [Baha'u'llah] has shed his poison upon me." (There was a madness in Mir Muhammad.) This he said, and he went to Azal at the time of the separation and told him, "Our master, Baha'u'llah, now claims to be the embodiment of 'Mine is My dominion,' and announces that all must be subject to his command. Here is the tablet revealed for me. What have you to say?"
Azal replied, "His Holiness the Exalted One, the Bab, appointed me as His successor. The successor is myself." <p94>
"Don't confuse us," Mir Muhammad said. "You speak thus -- he makes a claim that is absolute. Go and sit down; settle the question between you."
"I am willing," Azal said. "I can vindicate my claim in any way he chooses."
Mir Muhammad went to the house of Baha'u'llah and told Mirza Aqa Jan, who went to Baha'u'llah and brought back this word: "I am willing. Let him designate a place and I will be present there. Let him appoint whomever he wishes for the arbiter, so that all will be made clear."
The friends had, at this time, rented the property of a grocer, and it was
in his house that Baha'u'llah was staying. This was a long way away from the
house of Azal. Mir Muhammad went back and reported to Azal: "You are to
designate a meeting place. He will come to that place, and there you will
Azal thought for a while and said, "The Mosque of Sultan Salim would be a good place. I will go there and we will say what we have to say." Mir Muhammad returned the message.
Baha'u'llah said, "Well and good. At what time will he come?"
Mir Muhammad went back again, asked Azal when he wished to be present, and was told: "Tomorrow, at high noon."
And Mir Muhammad brought back the word: "Tomorrow, at high noon."
Before noon the next day, Baha'u'llah stepped out of the andarun, and the revelation was upon Him. "No one shall accompany me." He said, and none did, except for Mir Muhammad. It was a long way to the mosque of <p95> Sultan Salim. Baha'u'llah went to that mosque, and there was no Azal to be seen. (Taking precautions, Azal was now being referred to by the name of Mirza 'Ali.) Baha'u'llah waited there about one hour. No Azal. Mir Muhammad went and told him, "Look here, fellow, you come!
And Azal said, "Go on back. I will be there." Back and forth went Mir Muhammad, two or three times. Still no Azal. And his falsity was exposed for all to see.
After two hours or more, Baha'u'llah returned by way of the bazaar,
revealing verses as He went. When he reached home His comment was: "The fellow
said he would appear. But there was no sign of him."
Mir Muhammad let it be know among the friends: "That man is nothing but a liar. He never showed his face." Permitted to leave, Mir Muhammad then departed for Istanbul.(19)
About two months after the event of the mosque, Azal's wife, who was from Shiraz and was the mother of Ahmad, went to the government authorities in Istanbul and complained, telling them: "Baha'u'llah abandoned us some time ago. He gives us no money for our expenses -- nothing. We have no food to eat. We are penniless."
"Go back," they told her. "We will see to it." After this an inspector came from the seat of government, said his say, and investigated. (Following the separation, Baha'u'llah would divide the funds that were allotted by the government, giving an adequate sum to Mirza Musa and Mirza Muhammad-Quli, giving a share to the friends. For example, He paid me five majidis every month. And <p96> after all the others were provided for, He and Azal would be left. He would keep a small amount for Himself, which would be in the hands of Mirza Aqa Jan, and the remainder -- a share larger than anyone's -- He would give to Azal.) The inspector examined the books and saw that the complaint was demonstrably a calumny and nothing more.(20)
After the separation Azal engaged a servant, and no one else was with him, except for Siyyid Muhammad, who, after sulking at the Mawlavis', had come over to Azal (and all those villainous doings were his doings). Not a soul would go to see him anymore -- except a certain Haji Ibrahim of Kashan, worked here as a groom, and who had accompanied us from Baghdad without permission. This Haji Ibrahim lived in the house of the believers.
Our expenses in that house were separate -- that is, we received our wages but made our own arrangements among ourselves. And this Ibrahim would come and go secretly to Azal and Siyyid Muhammad in such a way that we did not find out about it. These two had made an arrangement with Ibrahim to this effect: "We will send you to Iran," Siyyid Muhammad told him. "You will take them the letters written by His Holiness Azal, and I will append a statement as to all that has happened. Carry these to each and every province of Iran." And the stupid fellow was talked into going.
In the days when Sidq-'Ali Darvish would come and go to Azal and serve as his attendant, Azal had ordered a fur cloak from Iran and they had sent it to him. It was a handsome garment, and they brought it first to Baha'u'llah. "This is a good one," He said, and told Sidq-'Ali, <p97> "Give it to Azal." And Darvish did so. Meanwhile, the two had provided this Haji Ibrahim with some small amount of money and readied their plans: prepared the letters, given him the necessary instructions, and were on the point of sending him to Iran.
After His departure from the House of God's Command, the Blessed Beauty had given these fellows up, and left them to themselves. Following the separation, He had even shut his doors and clearly stated that none was to call on Him -- and no one was admitted. We were all abandoned, put out to pasture.
Before leaving the House of God's Command, Baha'u'llah, had permitted His servant Najaf-'Ali to go, and he went to Iran. So there now remained as attendants in the Blessed Beauty's house only Muhammad-Ibrahim of Zanjan and Mirza Aqa Jan -- no one else.
Once Siyyid Muhammad and Azal resumed speaking to each other, Siyyid Muhammad would, day after day, keep on with his diabolical suggestions, and would spend time in the shops of the Persians. The weeks passed, and Baha'u'llah directed that His doors be opened again, saying that whosoever wished could come to Him and whoever did not could stay away.
Outside the city of Edirne there is a great grove of trees, and here was once raised the palace of former kings: a vast and spacious area. I used to go there every day, close by the cemetery, and enjoy the beauty of it. I would go and walk there, and I would not meet any of the friends.
One day, deeply despondent, I went to the grove and <p99> stood at the foot of a tree -- a plane tree. Suddenly, I saw the Master, all alone on the other bank of the river, and crossing over to my side. The moment I caught sight of Him I hid myself in a fold of the tree trunk, thinking that He might not wish to speak with me, now that I was not received at the House. (With Mirza Aqa Jan as well, whenever He saw us in the bazaar, He would turn His face away.)
After a little time, the Master came up to my hiding place in the tree trunk. He said, "Ustad?"
I said, "Yes"
He said, "Come out. Let me see you."
I came out and began to shed tears. He consoled me, spoke to me in loving terms. I complained about being excluded.
"No," He told me. "Not so. You were reared in the sheltering shade of Baha'u'llah. Do not grieve." The frogs in the water were calling out. "Go," He said, "and above all things be true, be loyal. What people say is only like these sounds in the water."
He walked about a little, and then He left, and I went home by another way. To a degree I was comforted.
For about two months the Blessed Beauty shut His doors, and His purpose was that all those who were loyal should stand by Him, and all who wished to leave Him should go their way. Not one wavered, except only Haji Ibrahim -- upon him be whatever came upon him.
Then the doors of the House were flung open. The Blessed Beauty sent for us to come there in the afternoon. And that afternoon we gathered in a body at the House. <p100> He was there, in the biruni, and its door was open, and He Himself was seated by the samovar and poured out the tea. Such a thing never happened before or since, that He Himself would pour the tea. As for us, as soon as we laid eyes on that blessed Form, we cried.
He comforted us, saying, "Why do you weep? Here I am, beside you. Why these tears?" He told us to be seated. We sat. The samovar was there on the floor. With His own hands He made the tea, and one after the other, served by Mirza Aqa Jan, we drank. Later, Baha'u'llah rose and left for the andarun. And afterward He Himself rented a house for us, near to His own, and we believers settled there, and all was bliss.
This house had an upstairs and a downstairs to it, and a kitchen as well -- and large grounds. Little by little we planted things, and there was a well so that we could draw up water for our plants. The water was pure and sweet to the taste. The day after we settled in the house, we started our garden. We made some fine flower beds; they were something to see. Every day we drew up water for the garden, and we took great care of it.
'Abdu'l-Baha would associate continually with the local people. At one time He would bring the deputy governor here, or again the pasha of the city. We had a mat that was made of straw, and we would lay this on the ground and the Master would come and drink His tea, visit with us, and go.
There was a man named Husayn, whom Nabil-i Zarandi had brought with him, and in this house Husayn fell ill of anthrax. His entire body was ulcerated, and he died. In the house at this time there was only myself and Darvish. <p101>
The day that Husayn worsened he said, "Ustad Muhammad-'Ali, I want
to see our Masters (He meant 'Abdu'l-Baha, Mirza Muhammad-'Ali, the
Purest Branch, Mirza Badi'u'llah, and Mirza Diya'u'llah -- born
in Edirne. -- to see them, and then I will die."
[1 The sons of Baha'u'llah.]
"Mother," we told him -- joking with him, we used to call him mother -- "you old scoundrel, you are lying. You won't die at all." But he swore that if he could only set eyes on them, he would die. He was a good man, and nothing wrong was ever known of him.
I went to the House and reported to the Master: "Husayn is in poor condition. He is very ill, and this is what he says...." So they all went over to his bedside and visited him.
After they had taken their leave, I said to him, "Well, mother, you gave
us your word that you would die. Now, why don't you?"
He said, "There is just one more favor I want to ask of you. And then come, say your say, I will listen."
"Tell me," I said.
He said, "Go to Aqa Muhammad-Baqir at his coffee-house and bring me some tobacco, about one-sixth of a pound, the aromatic kind. I want to smoke my water pipe." I went, procured the tobacco, and brought it back. (Sometimes, in Edirne, they would smoke the water pipe, and the Master too would briefly take it in His hand. Later, in 'Akka, its use was discontinued.) I prepared his pipe, and he smoked it.
Then he announced: "I am not going to die. I have taken a new lease on
Well, we kept telling him, "You must die. You promised," and he kept saying that he would not. But, by now his entire body was nothing but perforations, and finally, after being sick thirty or forty days, he passed away.
"Darvish," I said, "we can hardly take him to the body-washer's in this condition. Go and draw up water, and I will clean him up a little; and then we will hand him over." And so we did. The body-washer bathed him some too, and buried him.
At this time, after the door of the Blessed Beauty was opened wide, Haji Ibrahim would come to the house of Baha'u'llah. One day he appeared in the biruni and he was carrying a satchel and dressed for traveling. He said that he had come to take his leave. He then told Mirza Aqa Jan that for some time he had been going to Azal and Siyyid Muhammad to find out what they were saying, and that the believers were not aware of it. "Now they have appointed me," he went on, "to go to Iran and spread their teachings, and they have given me documents and letters to deliver -- but I have no wish to go. My only aim was to find out what they are up to."
Baha'u'llah directed Mirza Aqa Jan, "Go to Haji Ibrahaim and say: 'Whatever they gave you, without opening it, take it and deliver it in Iran according to the terms of your mission.'" So they told him he must obey.
But he said, "I will go nowhere." And this poor fool, whose being one of us and being a Baha'i could not be determined, and who was one of those odd Kashis, disappeared for a time. Siyyid Muhammad and Azal thought he had gone on to his mission. <p103>
Little by little, the companions opened up Azal's writings (but not at Baha'u'llah's bidding) and learned that all the evil things done by Azal himself, he had attributed to Baha'u'llah. "They plan to kill me," he had written. "I am in hiding. Only Siyyid Muhammad comes by sometimes to ask about me. They did not even give me that fur cloak you sent me."
Darvish, who had delivered the cloak himself, went around saying, "Woe is me! And I personally carried that fur cloak to him!"
In Edirne, after some time had passed the Blessed Beauty left this house, the house of Rida Bey, and moved to the grocer's house. It had no reception area, no biruni, but the domestic apartments were excellent. The house was, indeed, perfect except for lacking a biruni, and the Master had one built.
As before, I was there in the Household, and I served in the room where the beverages were prepared. Wherever the Master would go at night, I would accompany him.
Haji Ibrahim was there, too. He was directed to go to Iran [as bidden by Azal] and was given money for the journey, and he left, but stayed on in the area around Edirne, until he finally came to 'Akka. He lived in the house where Mishkin-Qalam and Sayyah and their companions stayed. Afterward, as has been related, they insisted on leaving, and Baha'u'llah finally said, "Very well. You may go." They left and were arrested [in Istanbul].
It was also from this very house that we left with the horses and suffered all those misfortunes. And it was to this very house that I carried in the water every day, from outside. <p104>
One day when I was bringing water into the reception area, someone told me: "Aqa Jamal of Burujird is here." I went into the room and saw Jamal sitting in a corner, all twisted into his 'aba, wearing a gigantic turban, and with one hand poked out to indicate that, should someone wish to kiss it, this could be accomplished. He had not yet been received by Baha'u'llah. He was certainly one rascally preacher.
[1 This man was an important Baha'i teacher during Baha'u'llah's lifetime But, afterward, he rebelled against 'Abdu'l-Baha's authority and became one of the most implacable of Covenant-breakers. See God Passes By, pp. 247-8; Stories from the Delight of Hearts, pp.128-29, 135-43 passim; The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, Vol. 2, p. 118-19, 264-67.]
I went and opened the door -- I thought I was very smart in those days -- and I entered and said, "Allah-u Abha!" Then I took a seat greatly above his, completely disregarding him. I stretched out. Then I stood up, then sat down again: all this to take him down a peg or two, because he was sitting there being so important in the reception room of Baha'u'llah. Assuming superiority, I paid him great inattention. I sat down again, glanced over his way, and then I said, "And you are you?" He nodded his head. I rose and went about my business.
When it was afternoon, and he was due to enter the presence of Baha'u'llah, they came and said, "Let Aqa Jamal come in."
I went and told him, "Aqa Jamal, bismi'llah. Enter in the name of God."
He rose and came, with me escorting him, his eyes glued <p104> to the innermost corners of the andarun. He climbed up the stairs, and I went along with him. I stood by the entrance, and the fellow went in, making himself quiver all over a little -- for show -- and fell to the floor.
The Blessed Beauty was seated. The Purest Branch came forward to lift up the visitor, but Baha'u'llah said, "Let him be. He will arise by himself." Little by little, he rose, took a seat, and rose again. Baha'u'llah did not address him, beyond giving him leave to go.
Aqa Jamal came downstairs, remained several days, and then was excused. He was a man corrupt from the beginning, and his single aim was to rule over others. He went away to Iran, where he proclaimed, not the Faith, but himself.
Well, afterwards we took those horses to Istanbul, and then came our terrible ordeal. Meanwhile, the Blessed Beauty had written the government authorities in Istanbul that He had debts, money owing the butcher and the baker, that He could not leave until all these were paid -- and for them to send Him money for the horses so that He could settle the debts and go.
At the time when we were in prison with Mishkin-Qalam, they would secretly pass letters to us. One letter arrived from Mirza Aqa Jan, most of the wording being Baha'u'llah's. It contained a personal, loving message to each one of us. The message He sent me was this: "Every day since you left, my head has been in a different pair of hands."
It brought me joy.
SELECTED LOVE POEMS of Ustad Muhammad-'Aliy-i Salmani
Translated by Marzeih Gail Persian consultant: Yousef Mostaghim <p111>
And if unto Thy robe I cannot cling,
Then I must sate myself with tears and sighs.
Cut off by fowler's net on every side,
Or in Thine ambience I'd spread my wings.
I weep alone here in my prison cage,
O nightingale that with the rose dost dwell!
O caravan that to my Love intend,
My ears are longing for the starting-bell.
In blood unwritten lies, from start to end,
This loneliness of mine on my heart's page.
If only this, my final breath,
The mournful tale had penned.
My love is like that fabled bird
That doth a crown presage.
And for the rest, or so I gauge,
This whole round world
Is but a midge,
Or say, a bagatelle.
Each man has someone for his haven -- I
Have but Baha.
And truth to tell,
To me, none but Baha
In either world doth dwell <p112>
I bound my restless heart to His black and tangled hair,
And thus I darkened
All my days to come.
If only once, by night, I held his locks in hand,
Then I'd recount my countless sorrows
One by one.
Thine eyes did slay me suddenly, their lashes are
Thou seized my lands, O King,
With Turkish guns.
And wilt Thou never pass among Thy slain,
To see with Thine own eyes
That red-stained ground?
To say Thou art the sun would bring me shame,
For my Beloved's
Far above the sun.
O friends, that hour the roses turned to thorns,
When midst the flowers I saw
That rosy-petaled Gem. <p113>
So far has love burnt up my helpless self,
No ash is left
For wind to blow --
If only out of pity, show Thy face!
What harm, Baha, to waft on us
That musk, thy fragrant breath? <p114>
O tangled head that gives no heed to my disheveled
That of my secret suffering know not!
Designed for my derangement, Thy lock intoxicate:
The fame of sweet insanity is all my lot.
Those watchers from behind the veil of life
Are spirit witnesses to this my state.
These are not brows you see above my eyes --
Of my indenture they're the written lines.
(Look Thou, O new-sprung Rose of blossomed hope,
The nightingale's gone mad with this song of mine!)
I know not how to offer Thee my life,
That none should say I held it dear, who learned
But long before life's structures were built up
Love rose on every hand my ruin to create. <p115>
O Love, without Thee never can I rest
Nor ever solve
My mind's predicament,
Nor find a moment's peace within my breast.
Thou stealest from the sugar all its sweet,
And from the rose its red,
With every smile of Thine,
And every blandishment.
And who to others turn away instead,
They all would come to Thee as pilgrims poor,
If of Thy love they caught
The faintest hint.
Surpassing musk of Tartary,
The morning wind blows through Thy hair.
Like ambergris the very air,
Like Jesus' breath and scent.
Love is the bird of prey,
And I a poor hen-sparrow.
See what hath painted those rapacious claws,
Of my blood redolent!
Love all my life doth harrow.
What shall I say?
How win the fray?
What beggar at this threshold would consent
To leave Him so he could
O'er all the earth hold sway? <p116>
No lover can complain
If he love true
Of anything his best-beloved may do.
Even the loved one's cruelty
Brings healing to the heart.
So if my cries have set a soul on fire,
It is no wonder,
For lover's tears, like flooding rain,
Can even split the cliffs asunder.
The secret of love's code is never found
By those who but to reasoning are prone.
What rose could spring out that brackish ground,
Or what anemone from stone?
O brighter than the bright sun art Thou!
It is Thy light that veils Thee from men's eyes.
But who has ever glimpsed Thy face he cries:
The Sun of Truth is dawning on me now!
A thousand gaze upon Thy face and none
Is worthy he should ever look thereon.
How could I ever on Thy beauty dwell?
O, this unease!
Thou art not to be sung.
Of Thee my tongue
Could never tell -- neither by speaking out,
Nor by holding its peace. <p117>
If Thou shouldst wish to cut my wings or grant
Still in Thine ambience I'll ever soar.
From nothingness Thy love did me bring forth.
I sprang from nothing: I know nothing more.
To sing of this, my every bone a flute.
But if, from love, these bones to ashes burn,
How could they then a breath to song transmute,
And tell the tale of Thee for whom they yearn?
What ease it is to yield Thy curling hair,
To cast this life aside -- easy it is and sweet.
Not difficult this whole world to forswear --
And if the chance come, perish at Thy feet.
The bow of His brow, the darts of His lashes --
They kindle a flame that will burn me to ashes!
Still this I sing:
His loving ways
Me back to life will bring. <p118>
I never studied logic in a book --
For love I have
But wept my heart away.
I chose the path to the Beloved's door,
And thus did free myself
From this world's sway.
And I shall cease this longing for Thee never,
Though I may burn forever
And a day.
O pilgrims of the Truth
Who seek the Friend:
I've set my head upon the block,
And thrown my soul away.
From halting-place I've passed to halting-place,
Nor yet have made a start
Upon Love's way.
How good if I could die before Thy feet!
It's in this hope that I
Live out my day.
And with this wine from out Thy flowing cask,
I'll never ask
For heaven's fabled fountains
That pious thirsts allay. <p119>
Nothing in the path of love surpasses martyrdom.
Win all your friends to this
If to it they will come.
And this is the best.
I said, for Him I'd die like moth in flame.
"Rather," He said, "like candle keep:
"To light and weep, and light and weep.
"Then take this for your aim,
For this is best."
How well we know that human life is sweet,
And so find gold, and to be eminent.
But if your life to win His love is spent,
Then fling it at His feet,
For this is best.
Let reason's hoary counsel go unheard.
By like a child who plays
On love's path all his days.
"Become like little children," was His word.
And this is best.
I tore my heart from both the worlds away,
And took and bound it to Thy hair.
Caught fast it is within Thy snare:
Burn it, or stamp it out, I pray.
And this is best.
O harpist, must thou ever
Of the Scripture then intone?
To us sing but of love,
And change thy tune.
For this is best. <p120>
O let them burn me up a hundred times,
I would not even know,
So lost am I in Thee.
I'll never take my eyes from off Thy face --
Without Thy beauty's light
How could they see?
I've placed Thee here within my inmost core --
And in my eyes, so wheresoe'er I look,
I only look on Thee.
And in this love,
Whatever thorn may sting
Is only balm,
And but a rose to me.
I with the wind would journey
All my days
That one day it might
Carry me to Thee.
O Thou Messiah, raising up dead hearts!
With Thy breath, like a scented breeze
Raise up this corpse to Thee. <p121>
Thou art love's flutist,
I am but flute:
What dost Thou play in me?
What song is this that to the world's edge brings
Poor helpless me?
O Candle of desire!
Moth-like I'm shedding fire
From my wings. <p122>
Perplexed am I to gaze on Thee
Thy beauty to behold.
O what art Thou to me:
My well-beloved, or my very soul?
Where'er I look I see
These souls burnt up by Thee:
Moths to Thy candle flame, beyond control.
One life is all my capital and store,
And still away from Thee I cannot turn.
And freely would I pay it all
To Thee for whom I burn,
If absence does not finish me before.
And though both wise and mad do counsel me in turn,
What is the use? I'm lost in longing
For Thy tangled hair.
Hast Thou seen how a man will hunt after the water
His object to stay young and fair?
I am even as he -- and a hundred times more.
What harm if Thou my robe of life dost tear?
Of all such borrowed clothes I am stripped bare.
Lettered, unlettered, they all
For a place at thy table compete.
But I, heart and soul, would be but the dust at Thy feet. <p123>
A Persian bath, or hammam (from the Arabic hamma -- to make hot), is an elaborate affair, quite unlike the American three-minute shower.
Requiring great quantities of desert thorn (as many an over-burdened donkey could testify) to heat the water, it is somewhat of a luxury, and includes rooms of different temperatures, with at least one large, very hot chamber where the floor is slabs of stone, light filters down through the steam, and the walls resound the voices.
Bath procedures comprise sudsing and rinsing, rubbing the body with rough mitt, attention to finger- and toe-nails, shaving, use of henna and black dye on beard and head, and removal of body hair by a quick-acting depilatory made of lime and orpiment (an age-old custom practiced by peoples from the ancient Greeks to the pagan Arabs).
Hours may be spent at the hammam, where, traditionally, food is served, tea is drunk, the water pipe is smoked, and even musicians and dancers may complete the festivities. Men and women, it goes without saying, do not frequent the bath at the same time.
Since Persians do not care for nudity, each bather is wrapped in a towel, often of cotton with a design of dark blue and yellow checks. (22) <p127>
When Baha'u'llah was exiled out of Baghdad, traveling north to Constantinople with the spring, He sometimes rode His thoroughbred -- a red roan stallion -- along with the caravan, and sometimes rested in a howdah reserved for His use.
The caravan consisted of "fifty mules, a mounted guard of ten soldiers with their officer, and seven pairs of howdahs, each pair surmounted by four parasols..."(23) The journey from Baghdad to Samsun on the Black Sea took one hundred and ten days.
The Persian howdah (depicted on p. 24 of this book) consisted of two wooden compartments, each just large enough for one traveler -- arched, cloth covered and balanced on either side of a sturdy pack animal.
Other modes of travel included the kajavih, two open crates roped together and balanced on either side of a pack animal (the word is said to mean "that which hangs crooked," because the crates certainly did), and the "running chair" or takht-i-ravan, like a small room with door and windows, fixed on shafts, onto which mules are fastened at either end. According to C. Colliver Rice, "from the nose of the mule to the tail of the other the length is at least twenty feet."(24) He adds that this was Persia's first-class travel, but very difficult in turning corners; also that some travelers could not stand the motion, because the mules do not walk in step. <p129>
The Water Pipe
Lighting up and maintaining a water pipe (ghalyan) is not the easiest of tasks.
The Persian water pipe is about two feet high and consists primarily of a large glass bowl or vase holding one quart of water. From the vase rises a wooden tube, perhaps fifteen inches high, possibly of elaborately carved wood, and surmounted by a decorative container. A wooden stem to smoke through is inserted at an angle into the vase. The stem has a silver mouthpiece.
The tobacco, a kind grown in Shiraz, said to be scented rather like sandalwood -- and which can be smoked only in a water pipe -- is moistened, squeezed out, and packed in the decorative top of the ghalyan, under a piece of burning coal made from the root of the tobacco plant. The coal itself must first be placed in a small metal basket on a wire, lit, and whirl around until it catches. (The lit coal makes a circle in the dark.)
The smoke passes through the water and is drawn straight into the lungs. Each smoker takes three or four puffs -- this makes a gurgling sound -- and passes the pipe on to the smoker at his right.(25) <p131>
Andarun and Biruni
(The Within and The Without)
Persians of an earlier day, if they had the means, lived in walled compounds enclosing trees, pools and flowers, utility buildings such as cook house and stables, and two main houses: one for men, called the biruni; the other for women, the andarun.
Men servants took care of the biruni; women, the andarun.
The women of the time were not only black-veiled (almost impenetrably) in public, but they wore Madonna-like house veils, brightly colored, in the andarun as well. Should any man other than her husband or a close relative appear there, a woman would quickly draw part of the veil across her face. To keep the veil adjusted, she would sometimes hold a corner in her teeth. Doctors were obliged to make their diagnoses somehow around the veil: they would be vouchsafed one sore eye, or perhaps a bruised elbow would appear among the folds.
Women did not frequent the biruni, which was devoted to a man's more or less public life, while the andarun was the focus of domestic life. The two buildings might be equally beautiful, but as a rule the private bath with its tank of water, fed through an opening in the wall by a stream from outside, was located in the wall by a stream outside, was located in the andarun.
A Presbyterian missionary named James Bassett, who spent fourteen years in Iran, starting in 1871, has provided <p132> these details on Persian life as he found it:(26) there were from five to ten million inhabitants, he thought (no census existed), of two races, Iranian or pure Persian, and Turanian -- that is, Tartar and Turkish tribes. The chief building material was sun-baked brick. Many houses and gateways were decoratively faced with enameled tiles showing hunting scenes, portraits, landscapes. The rarest of such tiles might be nine hundred years old.
Persian removed their shoes indoors; Europeans, not wishing to do this, wore overshoes and left them outside a Persian's rooms. Considerable drinking went on, but in secret, because of heavy fines and the attendant disgrace. He writes of the men playing cards and smoking in the biruni -- hunting, hawking, going to horse races and ram fights. The women's life of the andarun, he says, was feasting, eating candies, gossiping, watching hired dancers, both girls and boys, or listening to a mulla reading poetry from an adjoining room. He says that few girls married after the age of sixteen, except widows. <p133>
Persian Names (27)
Persians of the nineteenth century did not use surnames. Men were given proper names, such as Muhammad, Husayn, or Ibrahim, and often more then one -- Muhammad-'Ali, or Rida-Quli. Many times the second name was one of the ninety-nine Most Beauteous Names of God, from the Qur'an. For example, 'Abdu'r-Rahim [Servant of the All-Merciful].
To distinguish one individual from another, titles and descriptions would be added to the given name. Haji Muhammad-Hasan Isfahani, for example, would indicate the man from Isfahan named Muhammad-Hasan who had made the pilgrimage to Mecca; Ustad Mahmud Banna would designate the Mahmud who was the master builder; and so forth.
The following are a few of the many titles and description added to Persian names:
Aqa: Sir, mister. General term of respect.
Darvish: A Muslim mystic. Often a wandering, mendicant ascetic who
traditionally carries an ax and a begging bowl (kashkul).
Haji: One who had made the Muslim pilgrimage.
Kashi: Someone from Kashan
Mirza: A general term of respect which usually indicates that the one
designated is literate. Used after the name it indicates a prince. <p134>
Mulla: A Muslim priest.
Shaykh: An elder; a chief; a professor; or the head of a dervish order.
Siyyid: A descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.
Ustad: A master craftsman. <p135>
The stories of the believers who are mentioned in this book are told in other Baha'i publications which are readily available. As a service to the reader, some of the most important references are provided below. Not every person in the memoirs of Ustad Muhammad-'Aliy-i Salmani has been listed, nor are the references intended to be exhaustive. The titles of the books cited are given in shortened form below. Complete citations can be found in the bibliography, pp. 149.
Aba-Basir (Aqa Naqd-'Ali). Prominent Baha'i teacher martyred with Siyyid Ashraf. See Wolf, p. 73; God Passes By, p. 199; Revelation, Vol. 2, pp. 226-27.
'Abbas, Haji. Mentioned, Memorials, p. 63.
'Abdu'l-Ghaffar, Aqa, of Isfahan. Companion of Baha'u'llah in exile who attempted suicide when informed that he was to be sent to Cyprus and separated from Him. See Memorials, pp. 59-61; God Passes By, p. 182; Baha'u'llah, p. 467 (biographical note); Revelation, Vol. 1, pp. 287-88.
Abu'l-Hasan, Haji, of Ardikan (Amin-i Ilahi). First pilgrim to attain the presence of Baha'u'llah in 'Akka. See God Passes By, p. 187; Baha'u'llah, p. 398 and passim; Babi and Baha'i, pp. 355-56.
'Abdu'l-Karim Kharrat of Isfahan. Companion of Baha'u'llah in 'Akka. See Baha'u'llah, pp. 325, 330.
'Abdu's-Salih, the Gardener. See Memorials, pp. 26-28. <p136>
Ahmad, Mirza. Son of Mirza Yahya. See Baha'u'llah, p. 232.
'Ali-'Askar, Haji, of Tabriz. Companion of Baha'u'llah. See Memorials, pp. 161-64; Baha'u'llah, pp. 469-70 (biographical note) and passim.
Ali-Kuli Khan, Dr (Nabilu'd-Dawlih). Believer sent to America as an interpreter for Mirza Abu'l-Fadl. He later became the Charge d'Affaires for the Persian Legation in Washington, D.C. He was appointed a member of the Persian Peace Delegation to the Versailles Conference. Also served as Charge d'Affaires of Persian Embassy at Istanbul, and then became head of the Persian Crown Prince Regent's court, before returning to private life in the United States, when the Qajar dynasty fell.
'Aliy-i Sayyah, Mirza (Mulla Adi Guzal). Companion of Baha'u'llah in Edirne who was exiled to Cyprus and was separated from Him. See Baha'u'llah, p. 468 (biographical note) and passim; Babi and Baha'i, passim.
Aminu'd-Dawlih (Farrukh Khan). See Memorials, p. 29. See also Reference #18, p. 148.
Aqa Jan, Mirza (Khadimu'llah). Amanuensis and close companion of Baha'u'llah -- the first to accept His Station -- who eventually broke the Covenenant and rebelled against 'Abdu'l-Baha. See God Passes By, pp. 115-16; Baha'u'llah, pp. 109-12 and passim; Revelation, Vol 1, pp. 40-42, 315-19; Delight of Hearts, pp. 145-48.
Ashchi. See Husayn-i Ashchi, Aqa.
Ashraf, Aqa Siyyid, of Zanjan. Famous Baha'i martyr. <p137> See Wolf, p. 73; God Passes By, pp. 199-200; Baha'u'llah, p. 470 (biographical note) and passim; Revelation, Vol. 2, pp. 223-30.
Azal. See Yahya, Mirza (Subh-i Azal).
Badi' (Aqa Buzurg of Nishapur). Youth who carried Baha'u'llah's Epistle to Nasiri'd-Din Shah and was martyred. See Wolf, p. 73; God Passes By, p. 199; Baha'u'llah, pp. 298-310.
Beloved of Martyrs (Haji Siyyid Muhammad-Husayn of Isfahan). One of two Baha'i brothers martyred in Isfahan. See footnote, p. 76. See also Wolf, p. 72; God Passes By, pp. 200-01; Babi and Baha'i, pp. 274-77.
Fath-'Ali, Mirza, of Ardistan (Fath-i A'zam). See Baha'u'llah, p. 471 (biographical note); Delight of Hearts, pp. 123, 134.
Haydar-'Ali, Haji Mirza (Angel of Carmel). Famed Baha'i teacher and author of Bihjatu's Sudur (Delight of Hearts). See Baha'u'llah, pp. 236, 248-50 and passim; Revelation, Vol. 1, pp. 28-29, Vol. 2, pp. 68-73, 194-202 and passim; Stories from The Delight of Hearts.
Husayn-i Ashchi, Aqa. Youthful companion of Baha'u'llah who served as a cook in His Household. See Baha'u'llah, pp. 473-74 (biographical note) and passim.
Husayn, Aqa Siyyid, of Kashan. Companion of Baha'u'llah in Baghdad and Edirne. See Baha'u'llah, p. 175 and passim.
Ibrahim, Haji, of Kashan. Fickle believer who vacillated <p138> between allegiance to Baha'u'llah and association with Azal. See Baha'u'llah, pp. 156, 330.
Iman, Haji, of Zanjan. See Revelation, Vol. 2, pp. 224-25; Babi and Baha'i, p. 361.
Isma'il Banna, Ustad, of Kashan. Early Baha'i pilgrim to 'Akka. See Memorials, pp. 29-32; God Passes By, pp. 187-88; Baha'u'llah, pp. 290, 292.
Ja'far, Mulla, of Isfahan. See Sifter of Wheat.
Jamal, Aqa, of Burujird (Ismu'llahu'l-Jamal). Important Baha'i teacher at the time of Baha'u'llah who later broke the Covenant and rebelled against 'Abdu'l-Baha. See God Passes By, pp. 247-48; Revelation, Vol. 2, pp. 118-19, 264-67; Delight of Hearts, pp. 128-29, 135-43 and passim.
Jamshid of Bukhara (Aqa Jamshid-i Gurji). See Memorials, pp. 120-22; Baha'u'llah, p. 475 (biographical note) and passim.
Javad of Qazvin (Muhammad-Javad-i Qazvini). Important scribe of Baha'u'llah who eventually broke the Covenant and rebelled against 'Abdu'l-Baha. See God Passes By, p. 247; Delight of Hearts, pp. 126, 128.
Kalim, Aqay-i (Mirza Musa). Loyal half brother of Baha'u'llah. See Memorials, p. 86-90; God Passes By, p. 108 and passim. See also numerous references in Baha'u'llah and Revelation, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.
King of Martyrs. One of two Baha'i brothers martyred in Isfahan. See footnote, p. 76. See also Wolf, p. 72; God Passes By, pp. 200-01; Babi and Baha'i, pp. 274-77. <p139>
Mahd-i 'Ulya. Wife of Baha'u'llah, mother of Mirza Muhammad-'Ali. See Baha'u'llah, p. 277; Materials, p. 63.
Mahmud, Aqa Mirza, of Kashan. Companion of Baha'u'llah. See Memorials, pp. 39-41; Baha'u'llah, p. 475 (biographical note) and passim.
Majdu'd-Din, Mirza. Son of Aqay-i Kalim who eventually broke the Covenant and rebelled against 'Abdu'l-Baha. See God Passes By, p. 247; Baha'u'llah, p. 277; 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 54; Revelation, Vol. 2, p. 316; Delight of Hearts, pp. 154-55.
Mihdiy-i Dahiji, Siyyid (Takhtih-Kanah-si, Bedbug). See footnote p. 76. See also Baha'u'llah, pp. 242-47 and passim.
Mihdi-Quli, Mirza, of Kashan. Comapanion of Baha'u'llah. See Memorials, pp. 95-97.
Mishkin-Qalam (Aqa Mirza Husayn of Isfahan). Famous Baha'i calligrapher and companion of Baha'u'llah. See Memorials, pp. 97-101; Baha'u'llah, pp. 247-49; Revelation, Vol. 1, pp. 126-28.
Muhammad, Siyyid, of Isfahan. The "Antichrist of the Baha'i Revelation." See footnote, p. 38. See also God Passes By, pp. 112-13, 164; Baha'u'llah, pp. 108-325 passim; Revelation, Vol. 1, pp. 246-56, Vol. 2, pp. 66-75, 325-28 and passim.
Muhammad, Mir, of Kazirun. The believer who arranged the aborted meeting between Baha'u'llah and Mirza Yahya in Edirne. See God Passes By, pp. 168-69. <p140>
Muhammad-'Ali, Mirza (Ghusn-i Akbar). Son of Baha'u'llah, half brother of 'Abdu'l-Baha; the archbreaker of Baha'u'llah's Covenant. See God Passes By, pp. 246-51; Revelation, Vol. 1, pp. 131-33, Vol. 2, pp. 259-61. See also numerous references in Baha'u'llah.
Muhammad-'Ali, Haji Shaykh (Nabil ibn Nabil). See Wolf, pp. 108-11; Baha'u'llah, pp. 387-400.
Muhammad-'Ali, Aqa, the Tobacconist, of Isfahan. Companion of Baha'u'llah. See Memorials, pp. 23-25; Revelation, Vol. 2, pp. 18, 370-73.
Muhammad-'Ali Sabbagh, Aqa, the Dyer (Sabbagh-i Yazdi). Companion of Baha'u'llah. See Memorials, pp. 57-59; Baha'u'llah, p. 477 (biographical note) and passim; Revelation, Vol. 2, p. 59.
Muhammad-'Aliy-i Salmani, Ustad, the Barber. Companion of Baha'u'llah who acted as His barber and bath attendant; the author of this memoir. See Memorials, pp. 120-21; God Passes By, p. 166; Baha'u'llah, pp. 227-30, 260-61, 325, 483 (biographical note); Revelation, Vol. 2, pp. 155-61.
Muhammad-Baqir, Aqa Ustad, of Kashan. Companion of Baha'u'llah who died in the barracks at 'Akka. See Memorials, pp. 167-70; Baha'u'llah, pp. 156, 283 and passim.
Muhammad-Baqir, Aqa (Qahvih-chiy-i Mahallati). Companion of Baha'u'llah. See Baha'u'llah, p. 156, 250-52; Revelation, Vol. 2, pp. 329-30.
Muhammad-Hasan, Haji Siyyid, of Isfahan. See King of Martyrs. <p141>
Muhammad-Hasan Musafir-Khanihi, Aqa, of Qum. Companion of Baha'u'llah. See Baha'u'llah, pp. 157, 178-79, 237.
Muhammad-Husayn, Haji Siyyid, of Isfahan. See Beloved of Martyrs.
Muhammad-Ibrahim-i Amir, Aqa, of Nayriz. Companion of Baha'u'llah. See Memorials, pp. 94-95; Baha'u'llah, pp. 144, 156, 477 (biographical note).
Muhammad-Isma'il, Aqa, the Tailor, of Kashan. Companion of Baha'u'llah who died in the barracks at 'Akka. See Memorials, pp. 167-70; Baha'u'llah, pp. 156, 279, 283.
Muhammad-Isma'il Dhabih, Haji, of Kashan (Anis). Early Believer. See God Passes By, p. 180; Baha'u'llah, pp. 253, 260, 261, 264; Revelation, Vol. 1, pp. 15-16.
Muhammad-Quli, Mirza. Loyal half brother of Baha'u'llah. See Memorials, pp. 70-71; God Passes By, p. 108; Baha'u'llah, pp. 14 and passim; Revelation, Vol. 1, pp. 15-16.
Muhammad-Rida, Haji, of Isfahan. Martyr of 'Ishqabad. See Wol 77-78; God Passes By, pp. 202-03; Babi and Baha'i, pp. 196-99. See also no p. 90.
Muhammad-Sadiq, Aqa, of Isfahan. Companion of Baha'u'llah. See Baha'u'llah, p. 478 (biographical note) and passim; Revelation, Vol. 1, p. 287.
Munir, Mirza Aqay-i, of Kashan (Ismu'llahu'l-Munib). Companion of Baha'u'llah who died on the journey from <p142> Edirne to 'Akka. See Memorials, pp. 145-47; God Passes By, p. 182; Baha'u'llah, pp. 157, 176-77, 479 (biographical note); Revelation, Vol. 1, 283-87, Vol. 2, 72-77; Delight of Hearts, pp. 13-14.
Musa, Mirza. See Kalim, Aqay-i.
Mustafa, Mirza, of Kashan. Baha'i martyred in Tabriz. See Memorials, pp. 148-50; Baha'u'llah, pp. 203-205, 237-38.
Nabil of Zarand (Nabil-i A'zam). Amanuensis of Baha'u'llah who became the author of the famous Baha'i chronicle, The Dawn Breakers. See Memorials, pp. 32-36; God Passes By, p. 130; Revelation, Vol. 1, pp. 202-06 and passim. See also numerous references in Baha'u'llah.
Najaf-'Ali, Aqa, of Zanjan. Companion of Baha'u'llah who ws later martyred in Tihran. See Wolf, p. 73; God Passes By, p. 178; Baha'u'llah, p. 144 and passim; Revelation, Vol. 2, pp. 222-23; Delight of Hearts, p. 15.
Nasru'llah, Mirza. Brother-in-law of Mirza Yahya. See Baha'u'llah, pp. 236-323; Babi and Baha'i, p. 19.
Navvab (Asiyih Khanum, The Most Exalted Leaf). First wife of Baha'u'llah; mother of 'Abdu'l-Baha, Bahiyyih Khanum (The Greatest Holy Leaf), and Mirza Mihdi (The Purest Branch). See God Passes By, p. 108; Baha'u'llah, pp. 17, 369 and passim; Revelation, Vol. 1, p. 15.
Nuru'llah, Mirza. Son of Mirza Yahya. See Baha'u'llah, p. 390.
Pahlavan Rida, the Champion. See Memorials, pp. 167-69. <p143>
Riday-i Qannad, Aqa, of Shiraz (Aqa Muhammad-Riday-i Qannad). Companion of Baha'u'llah. See Memorials, pp. 39-41; Baha'u'llah, p. 478 (biographical note) and passim; Revelation, Vol. 1, pp. 288-89.
Rida-Quli, Mirza, of Tafrish. Brother-in-law of Mirza Yahya. See Baha'u'llah, pp. 236-37, 320-23; Babi and Baha'i, p. 19.
Sadhijiyyih Khanum. The infant daughter of Baha'u'llah who died. See Baha'u'llah, p. 203.
Salman, Shaykh. Believer who for forty years carried Tablets and letters between Baha'u'llah and the Baha'is of Iran. See Memorials, pp. 13-16; Baha'u'llah, pp. 226, 344-47, 441-44; Revelation, Vol. 1, pp. 109-13, 255-56.
Sidq-'Ali, Darvish, of Qazvin. Companion of Baha'u'llah. See Memorials, pp. 36-38; Baha'u'llah, p. 482 (biographical note) and passim; Revelation, Vol. 1, p. 289, Vol. 2, pp. 164-65 and passim; Delight of Hearts, pp. 71-72.
Sifter of Wheat (Mulla Ja'far of Isfahan). First believer of Isfahan. See The Dawn-Breakers, p. 99; The Bab, pp. 50-51.
Subh-i Azal. See Yahya, Mirza.
Sulayman-Quli, Mirza, of Tihran (Khatibu'r-Rahman). Babi martyr. See Baha'u'llah, pp. 88-89.
Takhtih-Kanah-si. See Siyyid Mihdi-i Dahiji.
Umm-i Ashraf. The mother of Siyyid Ashraf. Gleanings, pp. 135-36; Wolf, pp. 73-74; Revelation, Vol. 2, pp. 223-230. <p144>
Yahya, Mirza (Subh-i Azal). Perfidous half brother of Baha'u'llah. See Wolf, pp. 166-68; God Passes By, pp. 112, 114, 163-70 and passim; Baha'u'llah, pp. 14, 183-84 and passim; Revelation, Vol. 1, pp. 53-56, 246-56. See also numerous references in Revelation, Vol. 2.
Za'i (Zahir). See God Passes By, p. 164; Baha'u'llah, pp. 183-83, 224.
Zaynu'l-Muqarrabin of Najafabad (Mulla Zaynu'l-'Abidin). Apostle of Baha'u'llah. See Memorials, pp. 150-53; God Passes By, p. 130; Baha'u'llah, p. 120; Revelation, Vol. 1, pp. 25-26, Vol. 2, pp. 335-36; Delight of Hearts, pp. 5-8 and passim.
1. The Sifter of Wheat was Mulla Ja'far of Isfahan.
2. Siyyid Basir-i Hindi. See Tarikh-iJadid, pp. 244-47, 288-94.
3. Cf. God Passes By, pp. 136-37; Baha'u'llah: The King od Glory, pp. 132-34; The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, Vol. 1, pp. 101-103.
4. "His supreme Highness the Bab...in the beginning of His Cause, openly forbade [tobacco] and all the friends abandoned its use. But, as it was time for caution and he who abstained from smoking was ill treated, persecuted and even killed, therefore the friends were obliged , as a matter of prudence, to smoke. Later, the Kitab-i-Aqdas was revealed and as the prohibition of tobacco was not clearly stated in it, the friends did not renounce it. But the Blessed Perfection [Baha'u'llah] had always marked aversion for its use. At the beginning of the Cause, for certain reasons, He smoked a little, but later He abandoned it completely, and the holy souls who obeyed Him in all circumstance, also entirely gave up smoking." (Abdu'l Baha, "Tablet on Purity", Baha'i World Faith, pp. 334-35)
5. See God Passes By, pp. 147-48; The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, Vol. 1, pp.228-244.
6. Baha'u'llah arrived in Baghdad from Tihran in April, 1853 and departed for Istanbul in April, 1863.
7. Cf. God Passes By, p. 153.
8. Cf. Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, pp. 156-57.
9. Shaykh Muhyi'd-Din, the Qadi of Khaniqayn.
10. See God Passes By, p. 157; Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, p. 195.
11. Cf. God Passes By, p. 157; Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, p. 201.
12. Cf. Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, pp. 201-03.
13. The Turkish officer was 'Ali Bey. See Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, pp. 205, 219.
14. Cf. God Passes By, pp. 166-67.
15. Cf. God Passes By, p. 166; Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, pp. 227-230; The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, Vol. 2, pp. 158-61.
16. Cf. Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, pp. 248, 252.
17. See Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp. 108-11; Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, pp. 398-99. <p 145>
18. My grandfather, who beace Kalantar of Tihran after leaving kashan, died when my father was only fourteen year old -- long before father came to the United States. But of course Salamani is thinking back to the days of the Manifestations. -- M.G.
19. Cf. God Passes By, pp. 168-69; The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, Vol. 2, pp. 291-300.
20. Cf. God Passes By, pp. 167-68; Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, pp. 232-33.
21. Cf. God Passes By, pp. 167; Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, pp. 231.
22. See, for example, C. Colliver Rice, Persian Women and Their Ways, London: Seely, Service & Co., 1923.
23. See God Passes By, p. 155-56.
24. Persian Women and Their Ways, p. 211.
25. See S. G. W. Benjamin, Persia and Persians, Boston: Ticknor and Co., 1887; and A. V. W. Jackson, Persia Past and Present, New York: The Macmillan Co., 1906.
26. See James Bassett, Persia, the land of the Imams, London: Blackie & Son, 1887.
27. See also Baha'i Glossary.