Sháh-Muḥammad, who had the title of Amín, the Trusted One, was among the earliest of believers, and most deeply enamored. He had listened to the Divine summons in the flower of his youth, and set his face toward the Kingdom. He had ripped from his gaze the veils of idle suppositions and had won his heart’s desire; neither the fancies current among the people nor the reproaches of which he was the target turned him back. Unshaken, he stood and faced a sea of troubles; staunch with the strength of the Advent day, he confronted those who tried to thwart him and block his path. The more they sought to instill doubts in his mind, the stronger he became; the more they tormented him, the more progress he made. He was a captive of the face of God, enslaved by the beauty of the All-Glorious; a flame of God’s love, a jetting fountain of the knowledge of Him.
Love smoldered in his heart, so that he had no peace; and when he could bear the absence of the Beloved One no more, he left his native home, the province of Yazd. He found the desert sands like silk under his feet; light as the wind’s breath, he passed over the mountains and across the endless plains, until he stood at the door of his Love. He had freed himself from the snare of separation, and in Iraq, he entered the presence of Bahá’u’lláh.
Once he made his way into the home of the Darling of mankind, he was emptied of every thought, released from every concern, and became the recipient of boundless favor and grace. He passed some days in Iraq and was directed to return to Persia. There he remained for a time, frequenting the believers; and his pure breathings stirred each one of them anew, so that each one yearned over the Faith, and became more restless, more impatient than before.
Later he arrived at the Most Great Prison with Mírzá Abu’l-Ḥasan, the second Amín. On this journey he met with severe hardships, for it was extremely difficult to find a way into the prison. Finally he was received by Bahá’u’lláh in the public baths. Mírzá Abu’l-Ḥasan was so overwhelmed at the majestic presence of his Lord that he shook, stumbled, and fell to the floor; his head was injured and the blood flowed out.
Amín, that is Sháh-Muḥammad, was honored with the title of the Trusted One, and bounties were showered upon him. Full of eagerness and love, taking with him Tablets from Bahá’u’lláh, he hastened back to Persia, where, at all times worthy of trust, he labored for the Cause. His services were outstanding, and he was a consolation to the believers’ hearts. There was none to compare with him for energy, enthusiasm and zeal, and no man’s services could equal his. He was a haven amidst the people, known everywhere for devotion to the Holy Threshold, widely acclaimed by the friends.
He never rested for a moment. Not one night did he spend on a bed of ease, never did he lay down his head on comfort’s pillow. He was continuously in flight, soaring as the birds do, running like a deer, guesting in the desert of oneness, alone and swift. He brought joy to all the believers; to all, his coming was good news; to every seeker, he was a sign and token. He was enamored of God, a vagrant in the desert of God’s love. Like the wind, he traveled over the face of the plains, and he was restive on the heights of the hills. He was in a different country every day, and in yet another land by nightfall. Never did he rest, never was he still. He was forever rising up to serve.
But then they took him prisoner in Ádhirbáyján, in the town of Míyándu’áb. He fell a prey to some ruthless Kurds, a hostile band who asked no questions of the innocent, defenseless man. Believing that this stranger, like other foreigners, wished ill to the Kurdish people, and taking him for worthless, they killed him.
When news of his martyrdom reached the Prison, all the captives grieved, and they shed tears for him, resigned to God and undefended as he was in his last hour. Even on the countenance of Bahá’u’lláh, there were visible tokens of grief. A Tablet, infinitely tender, was revealed by the Supreme Pen, commemorating the man who died on that calamitous plain, and many other Tablets were sent down concerning him.
Today, under the shadowing mercy of God, he dwells in the bright Heavens. He communes with the birds of holiness, and in the assemblage of splendors he is immersed in light. The memory and praise of him shall remain, till the end of time, in the pages of books and on the tongues and lips of men.
Unto him be salutations and praise; upon him be the glory of the All-Glorious; upon him be the most great mercy of God.
Mashhadí Faṭṭáḥ was personified spirit. He was devotion itself. Brother to Ḥájí ‘Alí-‘Askar—of the same pure lineage—through the latter he came into the Faith. Like the twins, Castor and Pollux, the two kept together in one spot, and both were illumined with the light of belief.
In all things, the two were united as a pair; they shared the same certitude and faith, the same conscience, and made their way out of Ádhirbáyján to Adrianople, emigrating at the same time. In every circumstance of their life, they lived as one individual; their disposition, their aims, their religion, character, behavior, faith, certitude, knowledge—all were one. Even in the Most Great Prison, they were constantly together.
Mashhadí Faṭṭáḥ possessed some merchandise; this was all he owned in the world. He had entrusted it to persons in Adrianople, and later on those unrighteous people did away with the goods. Thus, in the pathway of God, he lost whatever he possessed. He passed his days, perfectly content, in the Most Great Prison. He was utter selflessness; from him, no one ever heard a syllable to indicate that he existed. He was always in a certain corner of the prison, silently meditating, occupied with the remembrance of God; at all times spiritually alert and mindful, in a state of supplication.
Then came the Supreme Affliction. He could not tolerate the anguish of parting with Bahá’u’lláh, and after Bahá’u’lláh’s passing, he died of grief. Blessed is he; again, blessed is he. Glad tidings to him; again, glad tidings to him. Upon him be the glory of the All-Glorious.
This distinguished man, Mullá Muḥammad-‘Alí,1 was one of those whose hearts were drawn to Bahá’u’lláh before the Declaration of the Báb; it was then that he drank the red wine of knowledge from the hands of the Cupbearer of grace. It happened that a prince, who was the son of Mír Asadu’lláh Khán, prince of Qá’in, was commanded to remain as a political hostage in Ṭihrán. He was young, far away from his loving father, and Mullá Muḥammad-‘Alí was his tutor and guardian. Since the youth was a stranger in Ṭihrán, the Blessed Beauty showed him special kindness. Many a night the young prince was Bahá’u’lláh’s guest at the mansion, and Mullá Muḥammad-‘Alí would accompany him. This was prior to the Declaration of the Báb.
It was then that this chief of all trusted friends was captivated by Bahá’u’lláh, and wherever he went, spread loving praise of Him. After the way of Islám, he also related the great miracles which he had, with his own eyes, seen Bahá’u’lláh perform, and the marvels he had heard. He was in ecstasy, burning up with love. In that condition, he returned to Qá’in with the prince.
Later on that eminent scholar, Áqá Muḥammad of Qá’in (whose title was Nabíl-i-Akbar) was made a mujtahid, a doctor of religious law, by the late Shaykh Murtaḍá; he left, then, for Baghdad, became an ardent follower of Bahá’u’lláh, and hastened back to Persia. The leading divines and mujtahids were well aware of and acknowledged his vast scholarly accomplishments, the breadth of his learning, and his high rank. When he reached Qá’in, he began openly to spread the new Faith. The moment Mullá Muḥammad-‘Alí heard the name of the Blessed Beauty, he immediately accepted the Báb. “I had the honor,” he said, “of meeting the Blessed Beauty in Ṭihrán. The instant I saw Him, I became His slave.”
In his village of Sar-Cháh, this gifted, high-minded man began to teach the Faith. He guided in his own family and saw to the others as well, bringing a great multitude under the law of the love of God, leading each one to the path of salvation.
Up to that time he had always been a close companion of Mír ‘Alam Khán, the Governor of Qá’in, had rendered him important services, and had enjoyed the Governor’s respect and trust. Now that shameless prince turned against him in a rage on account of his religion, seized his property and plundered it; for the Amír was terrified of Náṣiri’d-Dín Sháh. He banished Nabíl-i-Akbar and ruined Nabíl of Qá’in. After throwing him in prison and torturing him, he drove him out as a homeless vagrant.
To Nabíl, the sudden calamity was a blessing, the sacking of his earthly goods, the expulsion into the desert, was a kingly crown and the greatest favor God could grant him. For some time he remained in Ṭihrán, to outward seeming a pauper of no fixed abode, but inwardly rejoicing; for this is the characteristic of every soul who is firm in the Covenant.
He had access to the society of the great and knew the condition of the various princes. He would, therefore, frequent some of them and give them the message. He was a consolation to the hearts of the believers and as a drawn sword to the enemies of Bahá’u’lláh. He was one of those of whom we read in the Qur’án: “For the Cause of God shall they strive hard; the blame of the blamer shall they not fear.”2 Day and night he toiled to promote the Faith, and with all his might to spread abroad the clear signs of God. He would drink and drink again of the wine of God’s love, was clamorous as the storm clouds, restless as the waves of the sea.
Permission came, then, for him to visit the Most Great Prison; for in Ṭihrán, as a believer, he had become a marked man. They all knew of his conversion; he had no caution, no patience, no reserve; he cared nothing for reticence, nothing for dissimulation. He was utterly fearless and in terrible danger.
When he arrived at the Most Great Prison, the hostile watchers drove him off, and try as he might he found no way to enter. He was obliged to leave for Nazareth, where he lived for some time as a stranger, alone with his two sons, Áqá Qulám-Ḥusayn and Áqá ‘Alí-Akbar, grieving and praying. At last a plan was devised to introduce him into the fortress and he was summoned to the prison where they had immured the innocent. He came in such ecstasy as cannot be described, and was admitted to the presence of Bahá’u’lláh. When he entered there and lifted his eyes to the Blessed Beauty he shook and trembled and fell unconscious to the floor. Bahá’u’lláh spoke words of loving-kindness to him and he rose again. He spent some days hidden in the barracks, after which he returned to Nazareth.
The inhabitants of Nazareth wondered much about him. They told one another that he was obviously a great and distinguished man in his own country, a notable and of high rank; and they asked themselves why he should have chosen such an out-of-the-way corner of the world as Nazareth and how he could be contented with such poverty and hardship.
When, in fulfillment of the promise of the Most Great Name, the gates of the Prison were flung wide, and all the friends and travelers could enter and leave the fortress-town in peace and with respect, Nabíl of Qá’in would journey to see Bahá’u’lláh once in every month. However, as commanded by Him, he continued to live in Nazareth, where he converted a number of Christians to the Faith; and there he would weep, by day and night, over the wrongs that were done to Bahá’u’lláh.
His means of livelihood was his business partnership with me. That is, I provided him with a capital of three krans;3 with it he bought needles, and this was his stock-in-trade. The women of Nazareth gave him eggs in exchange for his needles and in this way he would obtain thirty or forty eggs a day: three needles per egg. Then he would sell the eggs and live on the proceeds. Since there was a daily caravan between ‘Akká and Nazareth, he would refer to Áqá Riḍá each day, for more needles. Glory be to God! He survived two years on that initial outlay of capital; and he returned thanks at all times. You can tell how detached he was from worldly things by this one fact: the Nazarenes used to say it was plain to see from the old man’s manner and behavior that he was very rich, and that if he lived so modestly it was only because he was a stranger in a strange place—hiding his wealth by setting up as a peddler of needles.
Whenever he came into the presence of Bahá’u’lláh he received still more evidences of favor and love. For all seasons, he was a close friend and companion to me. When sorrows attacked me I would send for him, and then I would rejoice just to see him again. How wonderful his talk was, how attractive his society. Bright of face he was; free of heart; loosed from every earthly tie, always on the wing. Toward the end he made his home in the Most Great Prison, and every day he entered the presence of Bahá’u’lláh.
On a certain day, walking through the bázár with his friends, he met a gravedigger named Ḥájí Aḥmad. Although in the best of health, he addressed the gravedigger and laughingly told him: “Come along with me.” Accompanied by the believers and the gravedigger he made for Nabíyu’lláh Ṣáliḥ. Here he said: “O Ḥájí Aḥmad, I have a request to make of you: when I move on, out of this world and into the next, dig my grave here, beside the Purest Branch.4 This is the favor I ask.” So saying, he gave the man a gift of money.
That very evening, not long after sunset, word came that Nabíl of Qá’in had been taken ill. I went to his home at once. He was sitting up, and conversing. He was radiant, laughing, joking, but for no apparent reason the sweat was pouring off his face—it was rushing down. Except for this he had nothing the matter with him. The perspiring went on and on; he weakened, lay in his bed, and toward morning, died.
Bahá’u’lláh would refer to him with infinite grace and loving-kindness, and revealed a number of Tablets in his name. The Blessed Beauty was wont, after Nabíl’s passing, to recall that ardor, the power of that faith, and to comment that here was a man who had recognized Him, prior to the advent of the Báb.
All hail to him for this wondrous bestowal. “Blessedness awaiteth him and a goodly home … And God will single out for His mercy whomsoever He willeth.”5
Muḥammad-Taqí came from the village of Manshád. When still young, he learned of the Faith of God. In holy ecstasy, his mind turned Heavenward, and his heart was flooded with light. Divine grace descended upon him; the summons of God so enraptured him that he threw the peace of Manshád to the winds. Leaving his kinsfolk and children, he set out over mountains and desert plains, passed from one halting-place to the next, came to the seashore, crossed over the sea and at last reached the city of Haifa. From there he hastened on to ‘Akká and entered the presence of Bahá’u’lláh.
In the early days he opened a small shop in Haifa and carried on some trifling business. God’s blessing descended upon it, and it prospered. That little corner became the haven of the pilgrims. When they arrived, and again at their departure, they were guests of the high-minded and generous Muḥammad-Taqí. He also helped to manage the affairs of the believers, and would get together their means of travel. He proved unfailingly reliable, loyal, worthy of trust. Ultimately he became the intermediary through whom Tablets could be sent away and mail from the believers could come in. He performed this service with perfect dependability, accomplishing it in a most pleasing way, scrupulously despatching and receiving the correspondence at all times. Trusted by everyone, he became known in many parts of the world, and received unnumbered bounties from Bahá’u’lláh. He was a treasury of justice and righteousness, entirely free from any attachment to worldly things. He had accustomed himself to a very spare way of life, caring nothing for food or sleep, comfort or peace. He lived all alone in a single room, passed the nights on a couch of palm branches, and slept in a corner. But to the travelers, he was a spring in the desert; for them, he provided the softest of pillows, and the best table he could afford. He had a smiling face and by nature was spiritual and serene.
After the Daystar of the Supreme Concourse had set, Siyyid Manshádí remained loyal to the Covenant, a sharp sword confronting the violators. They tried every ruse, every deceit, all their subtlest expedients; it is beyond imagining how they showered favors on him and what honors they paid him, what feasts they prepared, what pleasures they offered, all this to make a breach in his faith. Yet every day he grew stronger than before, continued to be staunch and true, kept free from every unseemly thought, and shunned whatever went contrary to the Covenant of God. When they finally despaired of shaking his resolve, they harassed him in every possible way, and plotted his financial ruin. He remained, however, the quintessence of constancy and trust.
When, at the instigation of the violators, ‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd began his opposition to me, I was obliged to send Manshádí away to Port Said, because he was widely known among the people as the distributor of our mail. I then had to relay the correspondence to him through intermediaries who were unknown, and he would send the letters on as before. In this way the treacherous and the hostile were unable to take over the mail. During the latter days of ‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd, when a commission of investigation appeared and—urged on by those familiars-turned-strangers—made plans to tear out the Holy Tree by the roots; when they determined to cast me into the depths of the sea or banish me to the Fezzan, and this was their settled purpose; and when the commission accordingly tried their utmost to get hold of some document or other, they failed. In the thick of all that turmoil, with all the pressures and restraints, and the foul attacks of those persons who were pitiless as Yazíd,1 still the mail went through.
For many long years, Siyyid Manshádí befittingly performed this service in Port Said. The friends were uniformly pleased with him. In that city he earned the gratitude of travelers, placed those who had emigrated in his debt, brought joy to the local believers. Then the heavy heat of Egypt proved too much for him; he took to his bed, and in a raging fever, cast off the robe of life. He abandoned Port Said for the Kingdom of Heaven, and rose up to the mansions of the Lord.
Siyyid Manshádí was the essence of virtue and intellect. His qualities and attainments were such as to amaze the most accomplished minds. He had no thought except of God, no hope but to win the good pleasure of God. He was the embodiment of “Keep all my words of prayer and praise confined to one refrain; make all my life but servitude to Thee.”
May God cool his feverish pain with the grace of reunion in the Kingdom, and heal his sickness with the balm of nearness to Him in the Realm of the All-Beauteous. Upon him be the glory of God the Most Glorious.
Early in youth, Muḥammad-‘Alí Ṣabbáq became a believer while in Iraq. He tore away hindering veils and doubts, escaped from his delusions and hastened to the welcoming shelter of the Lord of Lords. A man to outward seeming without education, for he could neither read nor write, he was of sharp intelligence and a trustworthy friend. Through one of the believers, he was brought into the presence of Bahá’u’lláh, and was soon widely known to the public as a disciple. He found himself a corner to live in, close beside the house of the Blessed Beauty, and mornings and evenings would enter the presence of Bahá’u’lláh. For a time he was supremely happy.
When Bahá’u’lláh and His retinue left Baghdad for Constantinople, Áqá Muḥammad-‘Alí was of that company, and fevered with the love of God. We reached Constantinople; and since the Government obliged us to settle in Adrianople we left Muḥammad-‘Alí in the Turkish capital to assist the believers as they came and went through that city. We then went on to Adrianople. This man remained alone and he suffered intense distress for he had no friend nor companion nor anyone to care for him.
After two years of this he came on to Adrianople, seeking a haven in the loving-kindness of Bahá’u’lláh. He went to work as a peddler, and when the great rebellion1 began and the oppressors drove the friends to the extreme of adversity, he too was among the prisoners and was exiled with us to the fortress at ‘Akká.
He spent a considerable time in the Most Great Prison, after which Bahá’u’lláh desired him to leave for Sidon, where he engaged in trade. Sometimes he would return and be received by Bahá’u’lláh, but otherwise he stayed in Sidon. He lived respected and trusted, a credit to all. When the Supreme Affliction came upon us, he returned to ‘Akká and passed the remainder of his days near the Holy Tomb.
The friends, one and all, were pleased with him, and he was cherished at the Holy Threshold; in this state he soared to abiding glory, leaving his kin to mourn. He was a kind man, an excellent one: content with God’s will for him, thankful, a man of dignity, long-suffering. Upon him be the glory of the All-Glorious. May God send down, upon his scented tomb in ‘Akká, tiers of celestial light.
Another of those who left their homeland to become our neighbors and fellow prisoners was ‘Abdu’l-Ghaffár of Iṣfahán. He was a highly perceptive individual who, on commercial business, had traveled about Asia Minor for many years. He made a journey to Iraq, where Áqá Muḥammad-‘Alí of Ṣád (Iṣfahán) brought him into the shelter of the Faith. He soon ripped off the bandage of illusions that had blinded his eyes before, and he rose up, winging to salvation in the Heaven of Divine love. With him, the veil had been thin, almost transparent, and that is why, as the first word was imparted, he was immediately released from the world of idle imaginings and attached himself to the One Who is clear to see.
On the journey from Iraq to the Great City, Constantinople, ‘Abdu’l-Ghaffár was a close and agreeable companion. He served as interpreter for the entire company, for he spoke excellent Turkish, a language in which none of the friends was proficient. The journey came peacefully to an end and then, in the Great City, he continued on, as a companion and friend. The same was true in Adrianople and also when, as one of the prisoners, he accompanied us to the city of Haifa.
Here, the oppressors determined to send him to Cyprus. He was terrified and shouted for help, for he longed to be with us in the Most Great Prison.1 When they held him back by force, from high up on the ship he threw himself into the sea. This had no effect whatever on the brutal officers. After dragging him from the water they held him prisoner on the ship, cruelly restraining him, and carrying him away by force to Cyprus. He was jailed in Famagusta, but one way or another managed to escape and hastened to ‘Akká. Here, protecting himself from the malevolence of our oppressors, he changed his name to ‘Abdu’lláh. Sheltered within the loving-kindness of Bahá’u’lláh, he passed his days at ease, and happy.
But when the world’s great Light had set, to shine on forever from the All-Luminous Horizon, ‘Abdu’l-Ghaffár was beside himself and a prey to anguish. He no longer had a home. He left for Damascus and spent some time there, pent up in his sorrow, mourning by day and night. He grew weaker and weaker. We despatched Ḥájí ‘Abbás there, to nurse him and give him treatment and care, and send back word of him every day. But ‘Abdu’l-Ghaffár would do nothing but talk, unceasingly, at every hour, with his nurse, and tell how he longed to go his way, into the mysterious country beyond. And at the end, far from home, exiled from his Love, he set out for the Holy Threshold of Bahá’u’lláh.
He was truly a man long-suffering, and mild; a man of good character, good acts, and goodly words. Greetings and praise be unto him, and the glory of the All-Glorious. His sweet-scented tomb is in Damascus.
Also among the emigrants and near neighbors was Áqá ‘Alí Najaf-Ábádí. When this spiritual young man first listened to the call of God he set his lips to the holy cup and beheld the glory of the Speaker on the Mount. And when, by grace of the light, he had attained positive knowledge, he journeyed to the Most Great Prison, where he witnessed the substance of knowledge itself, and arrived at the high station of indubitable truth.
For a long time he remained in and about the sacred city; he became the proverbial Ḥabíbu’lláh the Merchant, and spent his days relying upon God, in supplication and prayer. He was a man meek, quiet, uncomplaining, steadfast; in all things pleasing, worthy of praise. He won the approval of all the friends and was accepted and welcome at the Holy Threshold. During his latter days, when he felt that a happy end was in store for him, he again presented himself at the holy city of the Most Great Prison. Upon arrival he fell ill, weakened, passed his hours in supplicating God. The breath of life ceased within him, the gates of flight to the supreme Kingdom were flung wide, he turned his eyes away from this world of dust and went onward to the Holy Place.
‘Alí Najaf-Ábádí was tender and sensitive of heart, at all times mindful of God and remembering Him, and toward the close of his life detached, without stain, free from the contagion of this world. Sweetly, he gave up his corner of the earth, and pitched his tent in the land beyond. May God send upon him the pure savors of forgiveness, brighten his eyes with beholding the Divine Beauty in the Kingdom of Splendors, and refresh his spirit with the musk-scented winds that blow from the Abhá Realm. Unto him be salutation and praise. His sweet and holy dust lies in ‘Akká.
Mashhadí Ḥusayn and Mashhadí Muḥammad were both from the province of Ádhirbáyján. They were pure souls who took the great step in their own country: they freed themselves from friend and stranger alike, escaped from the superstitions that had blinded them before, strengthened their resolve, and bowed themselves down before the grace of God, the Lord of Life. They were blessed souls, loyal, unsullied in faith; evanescent, submissive, poor, content with the will of God, in love with His guiding Light, rejoicing over the great message. They left their province and traveled to Adrianople. Here beside the holy city they lived for quite a time in the village of Qumruq-Kilísá. By day, they supplicated God and communed with Him; by night, they wept, bemoaning the plight of Him Whom the world hath wronged.
When the exile to ‘Akká was under way, they were not present in the city and thus were not arrested. Heavy of heart, they continued on in that area, shedding their tears. Once they had obtained a definite report from ‘Akká, they left Rumelia and came here: two excellent souls, loyal bondsmen of the Blessed Beauty. It is impossible to tell how translucent they were of heart, how firm in faith.
They lived outside ‘Akká in Bágh-i-Firdaws, worked as farmers, and spent their days returning thanks to God because once again they had won their way to the neighborhood of grace and love. But they were natives of Ádhirbáyján, accustomed to the cold, and they could not endure the local heat. Furthermore, this was during our early days in ‘Akká, when the air was noxious, and the water unwholesome in the extreme. They both fell ill of a chronic, high fever. They bore it cheerfully, with amazing patience. During their days of illness, despite the assault of the fever, the violence of their ailment, the raging thirst, the restlessness, they remained inwardly at peace, rejoicing at the Divine glad tidings. And at a time when they were offering thanks with all their heart, they hurried away from this world and entered the other; they escaped from this cage and were released into the garden of immortality. Upon them be the mercy of God, and may He be well pleased with them. Unto them be salutations and praise. May God bring them into the Realm that abides forever, to delight in reunion with Him, to bask in the Kingdom of Splendors. Their two luminous tombs are in ‘Akká.
Ḥájí ‘Abdu’r-Raḥím of Yazd was a precious soul, from his earliest years virtuous and God-fearing, and known among the people as a holy man, peerless in observing his religious duties, mindful as to his acts. His strong religious faith was an indisputable fact. He served and worshiped God by day and night, was sound, mild, compassionate, a loyal friend.
Because he was fully prepared, at the very moment when he heard the summons from the Supreme Horizon—heard the drumbeats of “Am I not your Lord?”—he instantly cried out, “Yea, verily!” With his whole being, he became enamored of the splendors shed by the Light of the World. Openly and boldly he began to confirm his family and friends. This was soon known throughout the city; to the eyes of the evil ‘ulamás, he was now an object of hate and contempt. Incurring their wrath, he was despised by those creatures of their own low passions. He was molested and harassed; the inhabitants rioted, and the evil ‘ulamás plotted his death. The government authorities turned on him as well, hounded him, even subjected him to torture. They beat him with clubs, and whipped him. All this went on, by day and night.
He was forced, then, to abandon his home and go out of the city, a vagrant, climbing the mountains, crossing over the plains, until he came to the Holy Land. But so weak he was, and wasted away, that whoever saw him thought he was breathing his last; when he reached Haifa, Nabíl of Qá’in hurried to ‘Akká, and desired me to summon the Ḥájí at once, because he was in his death agony and failing fast.
“Let me go to the Mansion,” I said, “and ask leave.”
“It would take too long,” he said. “And then ‘Abdu’r-Raḥím will never see ‘Akká. I long for him to have this bounty; for him at least to see ‘Akká, and die. I beg of You, send for him at once!”
Complying with his wish, I summoned ‘Abdu’r-Raḥím. When he came, I could hardly detect in him a whisper of life. At times he would open his eyes, but he spoke no word. Still, the sweet savors of the Most Great Prison restored the vital spark, and his yearning to meet Bahá’u’lláh breathed life into him again. I looked in on him the next morning and found him cheerful and refreshed. He asked permission to attend upon Bahá’u’lláh. “It all depends,” I answered, “on whether He grants you leave. God willing, you shall be singled out for this cherished gift.”
A few days later, permission came, and he hastened to the presence of Bahá’u’lláh. When ‘Abdu’r-Raḥím entered there, the spirit of life was wafted over him. On his return, it was clear that this Ḥájí had become a different Ḥájí entirely: he was in the bloom of health. Nabíl was dumbfounded, and said: “How life-giving, to a true believer, is this prison air!”
For some time, ‘Abdu’r-Raḥím lived in the neighborhood. He spent his hours remembering and praising God; he chanted prayers, and carefully attended to his religious duties. Thus he saw few people. This servant paid special attention to his needs, and ordered a light diet for him. But it all came to an end with the Supreme Affliction, the ascension of Bahá’u’lláh. There was anguish then, and the noise of loud weeping. With his heart on fire, his eyes raining tears, he struggled weakly to move about; so his days went by, and always, he longed to make his exit from this rubbish heap, the world. At last he broke away from the torment of his loss, and hurried on to the Realm of God, and came to the assemblage of Divine splendor in the Kingdom of Lights.
Unto him be salutations and praise, and mercy ineffable. May God scatter on his resting-place rays from the mysterious Realm.
Once he had become a believer, Ḥájí ‘Abdu’lláh left his native Persia, hastened to the Holy Land, and under the sheltering grace of Bahá’u’lláh found peace of heart. He was a man confident, steadfast and firm; certain of the manifold bounties of God; of an excellent disposition and character.
He spent his days in friendly association with the other believers. Then for a while he went to Ghawr, near Tiberias, where he farmed, both tilling the soil and devoting much of his time to supplicating and communing with God. He was an excellent man, high-minded and unsullied.
Later he returned from Ghawr, settled near Bahá’u’lláh in Junayna, and came often into His presence. His eyes were fixed on the Abhá Kingdom; sometimes he would shed tears and moan, again he would rejoice, glad because he had achieved his supreme desire. He was completely detached from all but God, happy in God’s grace. He would keep a vigil most of the night, remaining in a state of prayer. Then death came at the appointed hour, and in the shadowing care of Bahá’u’lláh he ascended, hurried away from this world of dust to the high Firmament, soared upward to the secret land. Unto him be salutations, mercy and praise, in the neighborhood of his exalted Lord.
Yet one more among those who emigrated and came to settle near Bahá’u’lláh was the bookbinder, Muḥammad-Hádí. This noted man was from Iṣfahán, and as a binder and illuminator of books he had no peer. When he gave himself up to the love of God he was alert on the path and fearless. He abandoned his home and began a dreadful journey, passing with extreme hardship from one country to another until he reached the Holy Land and became a prisoner. He stationed himself by the Holy Threshold, carefully sweeping it and keeping watch. Through his constant efforts, the square in front of Bahá’u’lláh’s house was at all times swept, sprinkled and immaculate.
Bahá’u’lláh would often glance at that plot of ground, and then He would smile and say: “Muḥammad-Hádí has turned the square in front of this prison into the bridal bower of a palace. He has brought pleasure to all the neighbors and earned their thanks.”
When his sweeping, sprinkling and tidying was done, he would set to work illuminating and binding the various books and Tablets. So his days went by, his heart happy in the presence of the Beloved of mankind. He was an excellent soul, righteous, true, worthy of the bounty of being united with his Lord, and free of the world’s contagion.
One day he came to me and complained of a chronic ailment. “I have suffered from chills and fever for two years,” he said. “The doctors have prescribed a purgative, and quinine. The fever stops a few days; then it returns. They give me more quinine, but still the fever returns. I am weary of this life, and can no longer do my work. Save me!”
“What food would you most enjoy?” I asked him. “What would you eat with great appetite?”
Jokingly, I named off the different dishes. When I came to barley soup with whey (ásh-i-kashk), he said, “Very good! But on condition there is braised garlic in it.”
I directed them to prepare this for him, and I left. The next day he presented himself and told me: “I ate a whole bowlful of the soup. Then I laid my head on my pillow and slept peacefully till morning.”
In short, from then on he was perfectly well for about two years.
One day a believer came to me and said: “Muḥammad-Hádí is burning up with fever.” I hurried to his bedside and found him with a fever of 42° Centigrade. He was barely conscious. “What has he done?” I asked. “When he became feverish,” was the reply, “he said that he knew from experience what he should do. Then he ate his fill of barley soup with whey and braised garlic; and this was the result.”
I was astounded at the workings of fate. I told them: “Because, two years ago, he had been thoroughly purged and his system was clear; because he had a hearty appetite for it, and his ailment was fever and chills, I prescribed the barley soup. But this time, with the different foods he has had, with no appetite, and especially with a high fever, there was no reason to diagnose the previous chronic condition. How could he have eaten the soup!” They answered, “It was fate.” Things had gone too far; Muḥammad-Hádí was past saving.
He was a man short of stature, lofty of station and mind. His heart was pure, his soul luminous. During all those days when he served the Holy Threshold, he was loved by the friends and favored by God. From time to time, a smile on His lips, the Blessed Beauty would speak to him, expressing kindness and grace.
Muḥammad-Hádí was loyal always, and he accounted all things other than God’s good pleasure as fiction and fable, nothing more. Blessed is he for this gift bestowed upon him, glad tidings to him for the place to which he shall be led; may it do him good, this wine-cup tempered at the camphor fountain, and may all his strivings meet with thanks and be acceptable to God.1
Jináb-i-Mírzá Muḥammad-Qulí1 was a loyal brother of the Blessed Beauty. This great man was known even from his childhood for nobility of soul. He was newly born when his distinguished father passed away, and thus it came about that from the beginning to the end of his days, he spent his life in the sheltering arms of Bahá’u’lláh. He was detached from every selfish thought, averse to every mention except to whatever concerned the Holy Cause. He was reared in Persia under the care of Bahá’u’lláh, and in Iraq as well, especially favored by Him. In the presence of Bahá’u’lláh, it was he who would pass around the tea; and he waited upon his Brother at all times, by day and night. He was always silent. He always held fast to the Covenant of “Am I not your Lord?” He was encompassed by loving-kindness and bounty; day and night he had access to the presence of Bahá’u’lláh; he was invariably patient and forbearing, until in the end he reached the very heights of Divine favor and acceptance.
He kept always to his own way of being. He traveled in the company of Bahá’u’lláh; from Iraq to Constantinople he was with the convoy and at the halting-places it was his task to pitch the tents. He served with the greatest diligence, and did not know the meaning of lethargy or fatigue. In Constantinople as well, and later in the Land of Mystery, Adrianople, he continued on, in one and the same invariable condition.
With his peerless Lord, he then was exiled to the ‘Akká fortress, condemned by order of the Sulṭán to be imprisoned forever.2 But he accepted in the same spirit all that came his way—comfort and torment, hardship and respite, sickness and health; eloquently, he would return thanks to the Blessed Beauty for His bounties, uttering praise with a free heart and a face that shone like the sun. Each morning and evening he waited upon Bahá’u’lláh, delighting in and sustained by His presence; and mostly, he kept silent.
When the Beloved of all mankind ascended to the Kingdom of Splendors, Mírzá Muḥammad-Qulí remained firm in the Covenant, shunning the craft, the malice and hypocrisy which then appeared, devoting himself entirely to God, supplicating and praying. To those who would listen he gave wise advice; and he called to mind the days of the Blessed Beauty and grieved over the fact that he himself lived on. After the departure of Bahá’u’lláh, he did not draw an easeful breath; he kept company with no one, but stayed by himself most of the time, alone in his small refuge, burning with the fires of separation. Day by day he grew feebler, more helpless, until at the last he soared away to the world of God. Upon him be peace; upon him be praise and mercy, in the gardens of Heaven. His luminous grave is in Naqíb, by Tiberias.
And again among those who left their homeland were two carpenters, Ustád Báqir and Ustád Aḥmad. These two were brothers, of pure lineage, and natives of Káshán. From the time when both became believers each held the other in his embrace. They harkened to the voice of God, and to His cry of “Am I not your Lord?” they replied, “Yea, verily!”
For a time they stayed on in their own country, occupied with the remembrance of God, characterized by faith and knowledge, respected by friend and stranger alike, known to all for righteousness and trustworthiness, for austerity of life and the fear of God. When the oppressor stretched forth his hands against them, and tormented them beyond endurance, they emigrated to Iraq, to the sheltering care of Bahá’u’lláh. They were two most blessed souls. For some time they remained in Iraq, praying in all lowliness, and supplicating God.
Then Ustád Aḥmad departed for Adrianople, while Ustád Báqir remained in Iraq and was taken as a prisoner to Mosul. Ustád Aḥmad went on with the party of Bahá’u’lláh to the Most Great Prison, and Ustád Báqir emigrated from Mosul to ‘Akká. Both of the brothers were under the protection of God and free from every earthly bond. In the prison, they worked at their craft, keeping to themselves, away from friend and stranger alike. Tranquil, dignified, confident, strong in faith, sheltered by the All-Merciful, they happily spent their days. Ustád Báqir was the first to die, and some time afterward his brother followed him.
These two were firm believers, loyal, patient, at all times thankful, at all times supplicating God in lowliness, with their faces turned in His direction. During that long stay in the prison they were never neglectful of duty, never at fault. They were constantly joyful, for they had drunk deep of the holy cup; and when they soared upward, out of the world, the friends mourned over them and asked that by the grace of Bahá’u’lláh, they should be favored and forgiven. These two were embosomed in bounty, and Divinely sustained, and the Blessed Beauty was well pleased with them both; with this provision for their journey, they set out for the world to come. Upon them both be the glory of God the All-Glorious; to each be a seat of truth1 in the Kingdom of Splendors.
This man of dignity and rank, Áqá Muḥammad, was yet another among those who abandoned their homes, and was one of the earliest believers. From the dawn tide, he was widely known as a lover of the Most Great Light. He was then in Iṣfahán, and he shut his eyes to this world and the next as well,1 and opened them to the beauty of Him Who is the embodiment of all that is lovable.2
Áqá Muḥammad could no longer find rest, for he had come alive through the musk-laden breathings of God; his heart was alight, he could inhale the holy fragrance, he had an eye to see, an ear to hear. He guided a number of souls, remaining true and loyal to the great Cause. He endured terrible persecution and torment, but did not falter. Then he found favor in the eyes of the King of Martyrs and became a trusted attendant of the Beloved of Martyrs,3 serving them for some years. He was confirmed in his work, so that on many occasions the King of Martyrs expressed satisfaction with him, saying, “This man is one of those souls who are at rest; he is indeed well-pleased with his Lord, and well-pleasing unto Him.4 His faith is unalloyed, he loves God, he has a good character, and leads a good life. He is also an agreeable companion, and an eloquent one.”
After the King of Martyrs was put to death, Áqá Muḥammad stayed on for a time in Iṣfahán, consumed with mourning for him. Finally he emigrated to the Most Great Prison, where he was received by Bahá’u’lláh, and won the high honor of sweeping the ground about the Threshold. He was patient, forbearing, a true friend and companion. Then the Supreme Affliction came upon us, and Áqá Muḥammad was in such anguish that he was unable to rest for a moment. At every dawn he would rise and would sweep the ground about the house of Bahá’u’lláh, his tears pouring down like rain, chanting prayers as he worked.
What a holy being he was, how great a man! He could not bear the separation very long, but died, and hastened onward to the world of lights, to the assemblage where the beauty of God is unveiled. May God shed upon his grave rays from the realm of forgiveness, and lull his spirit in the heart of Paradise. May God exalt his station in the gardens above. His bright tomb is in ‘Akká.
Yet another of those who came out of their homeland to live in the neighborhood of Bahá’u’lláh was Faraju’lláh of Tafrísh. This blessed individual was from earliest youth the servant of Bahá’u’lláh, and with his esteemed father, Áqá Luṭfu’lláh, he emigrated from Persia to Adrianople. Áqá Luṭfu’lláh was a staunch believer, lovingly devoted to the Blessed Beauty. Patient, long-suffering, completely indifferent to this world and its vanities, he lived content in the neighborhood of Bahá’u’lláh; and then humbly at the Threshold, with a contrite heart, he abandoned this fleeting life and soared away to the boundless realms beyond. His sweet-scented dust is in Adrianople.
As for Ḥájí Faraju’lláh, he lived on in that city, until the day when merciless oppressors banished Bahá’u’lláh to ‘Akká, and in His company the Ḥájí came here to the Most Great Prison. Later on, when hardship was changed into ease, he engaged in trade, becoming a partner to Muḥammad-‘Alí of Iṣfahán. For some time he prospered and was happy. Then he was given leave to go, and journeyed to India, where he spent a long period before he winged his way into the gardens of forgiveness, and entered the precincts of ineffable mercy.
This servant of the Blessed Beauty was one with the believers in their afflictions and calamities; he had his share of the anguish. The favors of Bahá’u’lláh compassed him about, and he rejoiced in that boundless grace. He was among the companions, a close associate of the friends, and he had a docile heart. Although his body was thin and sickly, he was thankful, accepted it, was patient, and endured the trials of God’s path. Unto him be greetings and praise; may he receive Heavenly gifts and blessings; upon him be the glory of God the All-Glorious. His pure sepulcher is in Bombay, India.
And among those who emigrated and came to settle in the Holy Land was Áqá Ibráhím, one of four honored brothers: Muḥammad-Ṣádiq; Muḥammad-Ibráhím; Áqá Ḥabíbu’lláh; and Muḥammad-‘Alí. These four lived in Baghdad with their paternal uncle, Áqá Muḥammad-Riḍá, known as ‘Aríḍ. They all lived in the same house, and remained together day and night. Bird-like, they shared the one nest; and they were always fresh and full of grace, like flowers in a bed.
When the Ancient Beauty arrived in Iraq their house was in the neighborhood of His, and thus they had the joy of watching Him as He came and went. Little by little the manner of that Lord of hearts, what He did and what He did not do, and the sight of His lovesome face, had its effect; they began to thirst after the Faith and to seek His grace and favor. They presented themselves at the door of His house, as if they were flowers blooming there; and they were soon enamored of the light that shone out from His brow, captives of the beauty of that dear Companion. They needed no teacher, then; by themselves, they saw through the veils that had blinded them before, and won the supreme desire of their hearts.
As commanded by the Blessed Beauty, Mírzá Javád of Turshíz went to their house one night. Mírzá Javád had hardly opened his mouth when they accepted the Faith. They did not hesitate for an instant, for they had amazing receptivity. This is what is meant by the Qur’ánic verse: “…whose oil would well nigh shine out, even though fire touched it not! It is light upon light.”1 That is, this oil is so fully prepared, so ready to be lit, that it almost catches fire of itself, though no flame be at hand; which means that the capacity for faith, and the deserving it, can be so great, that without the communication of a single word the light shines forth. This is how it was with those pure-hearted men; truly they were loyal, staunch, and devoted to God.
The eldest brother, Muḥammad-Ṣádiq, accompanied Bahá’u’lláh from Iraq to Constantinople, and from there to Adrianople, where he lived happily for some time, close to his Lord. He was humble, long-suffering, thankful; there was always a smile on his lips; he was light of heart, and his soul was in love with Bahá’u’lláh. Later he was given leave to return to Iraq, for his family was there, and he remained in that city for a while, dreaming and remembering.
Then a great calamity occurred in Iraq, and all four brothers with their noble uncle were taken prisoner. Victimized, captive, they were brought to Mosul. The uncle, Áqá Muḥammad-Riḍá, was an old man, illumined of mind, spiritual of heart, a man detached from all worldly things. He had been extremely rich in Iraq, enjoying comforts and pleasures, but now in Hadbá—Mosul—he became the chief victim among the prisoners, and suffered dire need. He was destitute, but remained dignified, patient, content, and thankful. Keeping to himself in an out-of-the-way place, he praised God day and night until he died. He gave up his heart to his heart’s Love, burst from the shackles of this inconstant world and ascended to the Kingdom that endures forever. May God immerse him in the waters of forgiveness, make him to enter the garden of His compassion and good pleasure, and keep him in Paradise till the end of time.
As for Muḥammad-Ṣádiq, he too, in Mosul, was subjected to hardships on God’s path. He too was a soul at rest, well-pleased with his Lord and well-pleasing unto Him. In the end he too replied to the voice of the King of Glory: “Lord, here am I!” and came to fulfill the verses: “O thou soul who art well-assured, return unto thy Lord, well-pleased, and well-pleasing unto Him. Enter thou among My servants; enter Thou My Paradise.”2
And Muḥammad-‘Alí, once he was freed from captivity, hastened from Mosul to the Holy Land, to the precincts of inexhaustible grace. Here he still lives. Although he suffers hardship, his heart is at peace. As for his brother Ibráhím, referred to above, he also came on from Mosul to ‘Akká, but to a region close by. There with patience, calm, contentment, but difficulty, he engaged in trade, meanwhile mourning the ascension of Bahá’u’lláh by day and night. Lowly and contrite, with his face turned toward the mysterious realms of God, he wore his life away. At the end, consumed by the years, hardly able to move about, he came to Haifa, where he found a corner of the travelers’ hospice to live in, and spent his time humbly calling upon God, entreating Him, offering praise. Little by little, eaten away with age, his person began its dissolution, and at the end he stripped off the garment of flesh and with his unclothed spirit took flight to the realm of the All-Merciful. He was transported out of this dark life into the shining air, and was plunged in a sea of lights. May God brighten his grave with spreading rays, and lull his spirit with the fannings of Divine compassion. Upon him be the mercy of God, and His good pleasure.
As for Áqá Ḥabíbu’lláh, he too was made a captive in Iraq and was banished away to Mosul. For a long time, he lived in that city, subjected to hardships, but remaining content, and his faith increasing day by day. When famine came to Mosul life was harder than ever on the outsiders, but in the remembrance of God their hearts were at rest,3 and their souls ate of food from Heaven. Thus they endured it all with astonishing patience, and the people wondered at those strangers in their midst who were neither distressed nor terrified as the others were, and who continued to offer praise day and night. “What amazing trust,” the people said, “they have in God!”
Ḥabíb was a man with a great store of patience and a joyous heart. He accustomed himself to exile and he lived in a state of yearning love. After the departure from Baghdad, the prisoners of Mosul were constantly made mention of by Bahá’u’lláh; with regard to them, He expressed His infinite favor. A few years afterward, Ḥabíb hastened away to the encompassing mercy of God, and found a nest and refuge on the boughs of the celestial Tree. There, in the Paradise of all delights, with wondrous songs he poured out his praise of the bountiful Lord.
Muḥammad-Ibráhím, who bore the title of Manṣúr—Victorious—was a coppersmith. This man of God, yet another among the emigrants and settlers, was a native of Káshán. In the early flowering of his youth he recognized the newborn Light and drank deep of the holy cup that is “tempered at the camphor fountain.”1 He was a man of pleasing disposition, full of zest and the joy of life. As soon as the light of faith was lit in his heart, he left Káshán, journeyed to Baghdad, and was honored with coming into the presence of Bahá’u’lláh.
Áqá Muḥammad had a fine poetic gift, and he would create verses like stringed pearls. In Zawrá—that is, Baghdad, the Abode of Peace—he was on amicable terms with friend and stranger alike, ever striving to show forth loving-kindness to all. He brought his brothers from Persia to Baghdad, and opened a shop for arts and crafts, applying himself to the welfare of others. He, too, was taken prisoner and exiled from Baghdad to Mosul, after which he journeyed to Haifa, where day and night, lowly and humble, he chanted prayers and supplications and centered his thoughts on God.
He remained a long time in Haifa, successfully serving the believers there, and most humbly and unobtrusively seeing to the travelers’ needs. He married in that city, and fathered fine children. To him every day was a new life and a new joy, and whatever money he made he spent on strangers and friends. After the slaying of the King of Martyrs, he wrote an elegy to memorialize that believer who had fallen on the field of anguish, and recited his ode in the presence of Bahá’u’lláh; the lines were touching in the extreme, so that all who were there shed tears, and voices were raised in grief.
Áqá Muḥammad continued to live out his life, high of aim, unvarying as to his inner condition, with fervor and love. Then he welcomed death, laughing like a rose suddenly full-blown, and crying, “Here am I!” Thus he quitted Haifa, exchanging it for the world above. From this narrow slip of land he hastened upward to the Well-Beloved, soared out of this dust heap to pitch his tent in a fair and shining place. Blessings be unto him, and a goodly home.2 May God sheathe him in mercies; may he rest under the tabernacles of forgiveness and be brought into the gardens of Heaven.
One of the emigrants who died along the way to the Holy Land was Zaynu’l-‘Ábidín of Yazd. When, in Manshád, this devoted man first heard the cry of God, he was awakened to restless life. A holy passion stirred him, his soul was made new. The light of guidance flamed from the lamp of his heart; the love of God sparked a revolution in the country of his inner self. Carried away by love for the Loved One’s beauty, he left the home that was dear to him and set out for the Desired Land.
As he traveled along with his two sons, gladdened by hopes of the meeting that would be his, he paused on every hilltop, in every plain, village and hamlet to visit with the friends. But the great distance stretching out before him changed to a sea of troubles, and although his spirit yearned, his body weakened, and at the end he sickened and turned helpless; all this when he was without a home.
Sick as he was, he did not renounce the journey, nor fail in his resolve; he had amazing strength of will, and was determined to keep on; but the illness worsened with every passing day, until at last he winged his way to the mercy of God, and yielded up his soul in a longing unfulfilled.
Although to outward eyes he never drained the cup of meeting, never gazed upon the beauty of Bahá’u’lláh, still he achieved the very spirit of spiritual communion; he is accounted as one of those who attained the Presence, and for him the reward of those who reached that Presence is fixed and ordained. He was a stainless soul, faithful, devoted and true. He never drew a breath except in righteousness, and his single desire was to worship his Lord. He walked the ways of love; he was known to all for steadfast loyalty and pure intent. May God fill up reunion’s cup for him in a fair country, make him to enter the everlasting Kingdom, and console his eyes with beholding the lights of that mysterious Realm.
Yet another who left his homeland was Mullá Mihdí of Yazd. Although to all appearances this excellent man was not of the learned class, he was an expert in the field of Muslim sacred traditions and an eloquent interpreter of orally transmitted texts. Persevering in his devotions, known for holy practices and nightly communings and vigils, his heart was illumined, and he was spiritual of mind and soul. He spent most of his time repeating communes, performing the obligatory prayers, confessing his failings and supplicating the Lord. He was one of those who penetrate mysteries, and was a confidant of the righteous. As a teacher of the Faith he was never at a loss for words, forgetting, as he taught, all restraint, pouring forth one upon another sacred traditions and texts.
When news of him spread around the town and he was everywhere charged, by prince and pauper alike, with bearing this new name, he freely declared his adherence and on this account was publicly disgraced. Then the evil ‘ulamás of Yazd rose up, issuing a decree that he must die. Since the mujtahid, Mullá Báqir of Ardikán, refused to confirm the sentence of those dark divines, Mullá Mihdí lived on, but was forced to leave his native home. With his two sons, one the great martyr-to-be, Jináb-i-Varqá, and the other Jináb-i-Ḥusayn, he set out for the country of his Well-Beloved. In every town and village along the way, he ably spread the Faith, adducing clear arguments and proofs, quoting from and interpreting the sacred traditions and evident signs.1 He did not rest for a moment; everywhere he shed abroad the attar of the love of God, and diffused the sweet breathings of holiness. And he inspired the friends, making them eager to teach others in their turn, and to excel in knowledge.
He was an eminent soul, with his heart fixed on the beauty of God. From the day he was first created and came into this world, he single-mindedly devoted all his efforts to acquiring grace for the day he should be born into the next.2 His heart was illumined, his mind spiritual, his soul aspiring, his destination Heaven. He was imprisoned along his way; and as he crossed the deserts and climbed and descended the mountain slopes he endured terrible, uncounted hardships. But the light of faith shone from his brow and in his breast the longing was aflame, and thus he joyously, gladly passed over the frontiers until at last he came to Beirut. In that city, ill, restive, his patience gone, he spent some days. His yearning grew, and his agitation was such that weak and sick as he was, he could wait no more.
He set out on foot for the house of Bahá’u’lláh. Because he lacked proper shoes for the journey, his feet were bruised and torn; his sickness worsened; he could hardly move, but still he went on; somehow he reached the village of Mazra‘ih and here, close by the Mansion, he died. His heart found his Well-Beloved One, when he could bear the separation no more. Let lovers be warned by his story; let them know how he gambled away his life in his yearning after the Light of the World. May God give him to drink of a brimming cup in the everlasting gardens; in the Supreme Assemblage, may God shed upon his face rays of light. Upon him be the glory of the Lord. His sanctified tomb is in Mazra‘ih, beside ‘Akká.
Jináb-i-Mírzá Músá was the true brother of Bahá’u’lláh, and from earliest childhood he was reared in the sheltering embrace of the Most Great Name. He drank in the love of God with his mother’s milk; when yet a suckling, he showed an extraordinary attachment to the Blessed Beauty. At all times he was the object of Divine grace, favor and loving-kindness. After their distinguished father died, Mírzá Músá was brought up by Bahá’u’lláh, growing to maturity in the haven of His care. Day by day, the youth’s servitude and devotion increased. In all things, he lived according to the commandments, and he was entirely severed from any thoughts of this world.
Like a bright lamp, he shone out in that Household. He wished neither rank nor office, and had no worldly aims at all. His one supreme desire was to serve Bahá’u’lláh, and for this reason he was never separated from his Brother’s presence. No matter what torments the others inflicted, his loyalty equaled the cruelty of the rest, for he had drunk the wine of unadulterated love.
Then the voice was heard, crying out of Shíráz, and from a single utterance of Bahá’u’lláh’s his heart was filled with light, and from a single gust that blew over the gardens of faith, he caught the fragrance. At once, he began to serve the friends. He had an extraordinary attachment to me, and was at all times concerned for my well-being. In Ṭihrán he occupied himself day and night with propagating the Faith and gradually became well known to everyone; habitually he spent his time in the company of blessed souls.
Bahá’u’lláh then left Ṭihrán, journeying to Iraq, and of His brothers the two who were in His company were Áqáy-i-Kalím1 and Mírzá Muḥammad-Qulí. They turned their faces away from Persia and the Persians, and closed their eyes to comfort and peace; in the Beloved’s path they chose with all their hearts to bear whatever calamity should be their lot.
Thus they arrived in Iraq. During the days when Bahá’u’lláh had vanished from sight, that is, when He was on the journey to Kurdistán, Áqáy-i-Kalím lived on the edge of an abyss; his life was constantly in danger, and each day that passed was worse than the one before; still, he bore it all, and knew no fear. When at last the Blessed Beauty returned out of Kurdistán, Áqáy-i-Kalím resumed his post by the Holy Threshold, rendering every service within his power. For this he became known far and wide. At the time when Bahá’u’lláh left Baghdad for Constantinople, Áqáy-i-Kalím was with Him and continued to serve along the way, as he did on the further journey from Constantinople to Adrianople.
It was during the sojourn in this latter city that he detected from Mírzá Yaḥyá the odor of rebellion. Day and night he tried to make him mend his ways, but all to no avail. On the contrary, it was astonishing how, like a deadly poison, the temptings and satanic suggestions of Siyyid Muḥammad worked on Mírzá Yaḥyá, so that Áqáy-i-Kalím finally abandoned hope. Even then he never ceased trying, thinking that somehow, perhaps, he could still the tempest and rescue Mírzá Yaḥyá from the gulf. His heart was worn away with despair and grief. He tried everything he knew. At last he had to admit the truth of these words of Saná’í: If to the fool my lore you’d bring, Or think my secrets can be told To him who is not wise— Then to the deaf go harp and sing, Or stand before the blind and hold A mirror to his eyes.
When all hope was gone, he ended the relationship, saying: “O my brother, if others are in doubt as to this affair, you and I both know the truth. Have you forgotten the loving-kindness of Bahá’u’lláh, and how He trained us both? What care He took with your lessons and your penmanship; how constantly He saw to your spelling and your composition, and encouraged you to practice the different calligraphic styles; He even guided your copy with His own blessed fingers. Who does not know how He showered favors on you, how He brought you up in the haven of His embrace. Is this your thanks for all His tenderness—that you plot with Siyyid Muḥammad and desert the shelter of Bahá’u’lláh? Is this your loyalty? Is this the right return for all His love?” The words had no effect whatever; on the contrary, with each passing day, Mírzá Yaḥyá disclosed a greater measure of his concealed intent. Then at the end, the final rupture took place.
From Adrianople, Áqáy-i-Kalím went on with the convoy of Bahá’u’lláh, to the fortress of ‘Akká. His name was specifically listed in the Sulṭán’s decree, and he was condemned to perpetual banishment.2 He devoted all his time in the Most Great Prison to serving Bahá’u’lláh, and had the honor of being continually in his Brother’s presence, also keeping company with the believers; until at last he left this world of dust and hastened to the holy world above, dying with lowliness and contrition, as he supplicated his Lord.
It happened that during the Baghdad period, the well-known Ílkhání, son of Músá Khán-i-Qazvíní, received through Siyyid Javád-i-Ṭabáṭabá’í an audience with Bahá’u’lláh. Siyyid Javád on that occasion made a plea in the Ílkhání’s behalf, saying: “This Ílkhání, ‘Alí-Qulí Khán, although a sinner and a lifelong creature of his passions, has now repented. He stands before You with regret as to his former ways, and from this day forward he will not so much as draw a breath that might be contrary to Your good pleasure. I beg of You, accept his repentance; make him the object of Your grace and favor.”
Bahá’u’lláh replied: “Because he has chosen you as intercessor, I will hide away his sins, and I will take steps to bring him comfort and peace of mind.”
The Ílkhání had been a man of unlimited wealth, but he had wasted it all on the desires of the flesh. He was now destitute, to such a point that he did not even dare to step outside his house, because of the creditors waiting there to fall upon him. Bahá’u’lláh directed him to go to ‘Umar Páshá, the Governor of Damascus, and obtain from him a letter of recommendation to Constantinople. The Ílkhání complied, and he received every assistance from the Governor of Baghdad. After utter despair, he began to hope again, and left for Constantinople. When he arrived at Díyárbakr3 he penned a letter on behalf of two Armenian merchants. “These two are about to leave for Baghdad,” his letter said. “They have shown me every courtesy, and have also asked me for an introduction. I had no refuge or shelter except Your bounty; thus I beg of You to show them favor.” The superscription, that is, the address he had written on the envelope was: “To His Eminence Bahá’u’lláh, Leader of the Bábís.” The merchants presented this letter to Bahá’u’lláh at the head of the bridge, and when He inquired about it their reply was: “In Díyárbakr, the Ílkhání gave us particulars as to this Cause.” Then they accompanied Him to His house.
When the Blessed Beauty entered the family apartments, Áqáy-i-Kalím was there to meet Him. Bahá’u’lláh cried out, “Kalím, Kalím! The fame of the Cause of God has reached as far as Díyárbakr!” And He was smiling, jubilant.
Mírzá Músá was indeed a true brother to the Blessed Beauty; this is why he remained steadfast, under all conditions, to the very end. Unto him be praise and salutations, and the breath of life, and glory; upon him be mercy and grace.