1 This wine, Rúmí says elsewhere, comes from the jar of “Yea verily.” That is, it symbolizes the Primal Covenant established between God and man on the day of “Am I not your Lord?” On that day, the Creator summoned posterity out of the loins of Adam and said to the generations unborn, “Am I not your Lord?” Whereupon they answered, “Yea, verily, Thou art.” Cf. Qur’án 7:171. ↩
5 Bahá’í writings emphasize that the “divinity attributed to so great a Being and the complete incarnation of the names and attributes of God in so exalted a Person should, under no circumstances, be misconceived or misinterpreted … that invisible yet rational God … however much we extol the divinity of His Manifestations on earth, can in no wise incarnate His infinite, His unknowable, His incorruptible and all-embracing Reality in … a mortal being.” Cf. Shoghi Effendi, The Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh. ↩
1 The rebellion of Mírzá Yaḥyá, who had been named provisional chief of the Bábí community. The Báb had never appointed a successor or viceregent, instead referring His disciples to the imminent advent of His Promised One. In the interim a virtual unknown was, for security reasons, made the ostensible leader. Following His declaration in 1863 as the Promised One of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh withdrew for a time, in Adrianople, to allow the exiles a free choice as between Him and this unworthy half brother, whose crimes and follies had threatened to destroy the infant Faith. Terrified at being challenged to face Bahá’u’lláh in a public debate, Mírzá Yaḥyá refused, and was completely discredited. As Bahá’í history has repeatedly demonstrated, this crisis too, however grievous, resulted in still greater victories for the Faith—including the rallying of prominent disciples to Bahá’u’lláh, and the global proclamation of Bahá’u’lláh’s mission, in His Tablets to the Pope and Kings. Cf. God Passes By, Chapter II, paragraph beginning “A successor or viceregent the Báb had never named…”, Chapter X and passim. ↩
1 Mírzá Yaḥyá had not been banished from Persia. Now, however, he was being exiled from Adrianople to Cyprus, and ‘Abdu’l-Ghaffár was one of the four companions condemned to go with him. Cf. Bahá’u’lláh’s Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, paragraph beginning “Again I repeat, and plead with thee…”, and God Passes By, Chapter X, paragraph beginning “On the morning of the 2nd of Jamádíyu’l-Avval 1285 A.H…”. ↩
3 These “twin shining lights” were two brothers, famous merchants of Iṣfahán. Because he owed them a large sum of money, the leading priest—Imám-Jum‘ih—of the city brought about their martyrdom. See Bahá’u’lláh’s Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, and God Passes By, Chapter XII, paragraph beginning “In Iṣfahán Mullá Káẓim was beheaded…”. and paragraph beginning “Nor should a review of the outstanding features of Baha'u'llah's writings…”. ↩
Gawhar Khánum’s marriage to Bahá’u’lláh took place in Baghdad. She remained with her brother in that city when Bahá’u’lláh left Iraq and later proceeded to ‘Akká at His instruction. While traveling from Baghdad to Mosul, she was made captive together with other believers, among them Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín. Bahá’u’lláh makes reference to this captivity in His Tablet to the Sháh.
In some of this artist’s productions, the writing was so arranged as to take the forms of birds. When E. G. Browne was in Persia, he was told that “these would be eagerly sought after by Persians of all classes, were it not that they all bore, as the signature of the penman, the following verse:
Dar díyár-i-khaṭṭ sháh-i-ṣáḥib-‘alam Bandiy-i-báb-i-Bahá, Mishkín-Qalam.”
Cf. A Year Amongst the Persians, p. 227. The verse might be translated:
Lord of calligraphy, my banner goes before; But to Bahá’u’lláh, a bondsman at the door, Naught else I am, Mishkín-Qalam.
Note the wordplay on door, which makes possible the inclusion of the Báb’s name as well as Bahá’u’lláh’s.
3 Bahá’u’lláh was accompanied by members of His family and twenty-six disciples. The convoy included a mounted guard of ten soldiers with their officer, a train of fifty mules, and seven pairs of howdahs, each pair surmounted by four parasols. The journey to Constantinople lasted from May 3, 1863, to August 16. Cf. God Passes By, Chapter IX, paragraph beginning “The same tokens of devotion shown Bahá’u’lláh…”. ↩
1 Qur’án 39:68–69: “And there shall be a blast on the trumpet, and all who are in the heavens and all who are in the earth shall swoon away, save those whom God shall vouchsafe to live. Then shall there be another blast on it, and lo! arising they shall gaze around them: and the earth shall shine with the light of her Lord.…” ↩
1 In Shaykhí terminology, the Fourth Support or Fourth Pillar was the perfect man or channel of grace, always to be sought. Ḥájí Muḥammad-Karím Khán regarded himself as such. Cf. Bahá’u’lláh, Kitáb-i-Íqán (The Book of Certitude), paragraph beginning “For instance, a certain man, reputed for his learning…”, and ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, A Traveller’s Narrative, paragraph beginning “Now since He was noted amongst the people…”. ↩
3 The Sadratu’l-Muntahá, translated inter alia as the Sidrah Tree which marks the boundary, and the Lote-Tree of the extremity. Cf. Qur’án 53:14. It is said to stand at the loftiest point in Paradise, and to mark the place beyond which neither men nor angels can pass. In Bahá’í terminology it refers to the Manifestation of God. ↩
10 Eldest son of the Sháh and ruler over more than two-fifths of the kingdom. He ratified the death sentence. Soon after these events, he fell into disgrace. Cf. God Passes By, Chapter XII, paragraph beginning “In Iṣfáhán Mullá Kázim was beheaded…” and Chapter XIII, paragraph beginning “Nor should, in a review of this nature…”. ↩
11 The eighth Imám, poisoned by order of the Caliph Ma‘múm, A.H. 203, after the Imám had been officially designated as the Caliph’s heir apparent. His shrine, with its golden dome, has been called the glory of the Shí‘ih world. “A part of My body is to be buried in Khurásán,” the Prophet traditionally said. ↩
15 A systematic campaign against the new Faith had been launched in Persia by the civil and ecclesiastical authorities combined. The believers, cut down wherever they were isolated, banded together when they could, for protection against the Government, the clergy, and the people. Betrayed and surrounded as they passed through the forest of Mázindarán, some 300 believers, mostly students and recluses, built the Fort of Shaykh Ṭabarsí and held out against the armies of Persia for eleven months. Cf. The Dawn-Breakers, chapters XIX and XX; God Passes By, Chapter V, paragraph beginning “This fierce, nation-wide controversy…” et seq. ↩
16 On August 15, 1852, a half-crazed Bábí youth wounded the Sháh with shot from a pistol. The assailant was instantly killed, and the authorities carried out a wholesale massacre of the believers, its climax described by Renan as “a day perhaps unparalleled in the history of the world.” Cf. Lord Curzon, Persia and the Persian Question, pp. 501–2, and God Passes By, Chapter V, paragraph beginning “Obsessed by the bitter tragedy of the martyrdom of his beloved Master…” et seq. ↩