Read: Biography of Mulla Aliy-i-Bastami Letter of Living


      Mullá 'Alíy-i-Bastámí was one of the Shaykhis ( a group of literate people whom were students of Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim, who were taught about the coming of the new age and the Promised One). After passing of Siyyid Kazim his advice to his students was to spread and search for the Promised One. Mulla Ali following his teacher's orders proceeded to Iran looking for the Promised One. He arrived to Shiraz accompanied by 12 other companions and students of Siyyid Kazim. Which was the next morning at sunrise after the declaration of the Bab to Mulla Husayn.

Becoming a Letter of Living

      A few days later Mulla Ali on behalf of his companions spoke to Mulla Husayn regarding a change of dedication for the search of a promised one. In return Mulla Husayn said that he should proceed in his search and trust God fore He will guide him to the Promised One. Mulla Ali returned to his companions and informed them about his reply. It was this that inspired them to go back to their quarters and to meditate and deepen in prayer. On the third night of prayer Mulla Ali had a vision. A light appeared before his eyes. As it moved it led him to his beloved. Although it was late at night Mulla Ali with great happiness and excitement rushed to Mulla Husayn. Immediately Mulla Husayn realized that God had shown him the truth. First thing the next morning they both proceeded towards the house of the Bab. At the entrance of the Bab's house stood his Ethiopian servant who was awaiting their arrival. As he was instructed by the Bab to await the arrival of them. On the first meeting Mulla Ali met the Bab he recognized that the Bab was the Promised One, without any proofs and testimonies but through spiritual contact (which was different from the first meeting between Mulla Husayn and the Bab, which consisted of proofs, questions and answers). This making Mulla Ali the fourth letter of the living proceeding Mulla Husayn's brother and nephew.

Mission of Mulla Ali

      The Bab instructed Mulla Ali his mission to spread the message of God, not in Persia but to proceed all the way to Karbila and Najaf in Iraq. "Your faith," he told him "must be immovable as the rock, must weather every storm and survive every calamity. Suffer not the denunciations of the foolish and the calumnies of the clergy to afflict you, or to turn you from your are the first to leave the house of God and to suffer for His sake. If you be slain in His path, remember that great will be your reward, and goodly the gift which will be bestowed upon you." [1]
Immediately after this meeting Mulla Ali left and head to Iraq to accomplish his profound mission.

Execution of his Mission

      After his departure from Shiraz, Mulla Ali experience some unspeakable injuries and difficulties. Mulla Ali met the Bab's uncle in Bushihr before entering Iraq. In Iraq he went to Najaf, the most holy city of the Shi'ah Muslims (one of the two major branches of Islam). After visiting the Shrine of the Imam Ali and some prayer, he went to the house of Shaykh Muhammad Hasan (one of the high clergy of Shi'ah Islam) to proclaim the message of the Bab to him. As Shoghi Effendi, The Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith explains. "Already the energetic and audacious Mulla Ali...who in the presence of one of the leading exponents of Shi'ah Islam, the far-framed Shaykh Muhammad Hasan, had audaciously asserted that from the pen of his new-found Master within the space of forty-eight hours, verses had streamed out that equaled in number those of the Qur'an, which it took its Author twenty-three years to reveal"[2] (meaning that it took The Bab 48 hours to reveal equal amount of verses as Muhammad revealed in the Qur'an in 23 years). He also to this same Shaykh presented the copy of the Bab's Qayumu'l-Asma. After this incident, Shaykh Muhammad excommunicated, chained and disgraced Mulla Ali. Mulla Ali continued to give the message of the new revelation to all the main religious leaders, religious schools, previous students of Siyyid Kazim in Iraq, authorities, general public and who ever he found capable of hearing the message of the Bab. This raised a great concern for the religious leaders in Karbila, Najaf and other parts of Iraq. As a result the leaders of both Shi'ah and Sunni opposed Mulla Ali's actions. This news reached the governor of Iraq, and he imprisoned him in Baghdad, but Mulla Ali continued his teachings not concerned about the dangers he was to face. Through his heroic efforts many people accepted the message of the Bab in Iraq and some of them became very important Babi and Bahá'í teachers.

Sufferings and Martyrdom

      During Mulla Ali's imprisonment in Baghdad, a court of inquiry held on January 1846, where the Sunnis argued for the death penalty, while the Shi'ahs argued for banishment or imprisonment. Mulla Ali was eventually transferred to Istanbul where he was sentenced to labour in the docks. He died in prison near the end of 1846, making him the first Babi martyr.


[1] The Dawn-Breakers, pg. 87:13
[2] God Passes By, Pg. 10 v2.7 (213613) © 2005 - 2015 Emanuel V. Towfigh & Peter Hoerster | Imprint | Change Interface Language: DE EN