The Kitáb-i-Badí'

The Kitáb-i-Badí' is Bahá'u'lláh's apologia written in defence of His Faith and to demonstrate the validity and the truth of His Own Mission. It is mainly in Persian, but also contains many passages in Arabic. This book may be regarded in the same light as the Kitáb-i-Íqán, in which Bahá'u'lláh establishes the authenticity and truth of the Message of the Báb. A contrasting feature of these two books is that, whereas the Kitáb-i-Íqán was addressed to the Báb's illustrious uncle* who as a result of reading it became illumined by the light of faith and acknowledged the truth of the Cause of God, the Kitáb-i-Badí' was addressed to the notorious Mírzá Mihdíy-i-Gílání, a so-called Bábí and a man of perfidy and hypocrisy. It was revealed in response to several venomous comments which he had made in a letter to one of the companions of Bahá'u'lláh. In the early days of the Faith, Mírzá Mihdí had entered the fold of the Bábí community in Tihrán and was a close friend of Áqá Muhammad-'Alíy-i-Tambákú-Furúsh. Mírzá Mihdí, however, was known among the Bábís as a man who lived an impious life and whose deeds were contrary to the teachings of God.

When Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí was preparing to go to Adrianople, Mírzá Mihdí decided to accompany him. They were both in Tihrán at the time. The former at first agreed, but then refused to travel with him when he observed Mírzá Mihdí's reprehensible conduct and attitude. They parted company and Mírzá Mihdí went on his own to Constantinople, but not to Adrianople. Hájí Mírzá Husayn Khán, the Persian


* See vol. 1, chapter 10.

Ambassador in Constantinople, was impressed by Mírzá Mihdí and appointed him as the judge of the Persian Shí'ah community in the capital. It was at this juncture in his life that he came in contact with Siyyid Muhammad-i-Isfahání who had gone to Constantinople to stir up trouble for Bahá'u'lláh and His companions.

As a result of this association a new chapter opened in the life of Mírzá Mihdí. As a corrupt and arrogant mischief-maker himself, he discovered in Siyyid Muhammad an affinity and likeness which soon resulted in his becoming an ardent follower and a willing tool. Under the guidance of his newfound teacher, he learned new lessons in intrigue, became acquainted with those misrepresentations and lies which characterized the activities of Siyyid Muhammad, and arose in enmity and opposition to Bahá'u'lláh.

At the instigation of Siyyid Muhammad, Mírzá Mihdí wrote a letter to his old friend Áqá Muhammad-'Alíy-i-Tambákú-Furúsh who was one of Bahá'u'lláh's companions in Adrianople. This venomous letter, loaded with calumnies against Bahá'u'lláh, was obviously written with the help of Siyyid Muhammad, and probably composed by him. Most of its arguments were aimed at proving the falseness of the claims of Bahá'u'lláh to be 'He Whom God shall make manifest', the One promised by the Báb. Not only were his objections utterly false themselves, but some of them were couched in discourteous language and were disrespectful to Bahá'u'lláh.

Áqá Muhammad-'Alí, to whom this letter was addressed, was a devoted companion of Bahá'u'lláh. We have already stated* that he had accompanied Bahá'u'lláh from Baghdád to Constantinople and Adrianople, and he was also among those who later journeyed with Him to 'Akká. He was a man who enjoyed a good life in spite of the hardships and privations suffered during these banishments. Of him 'Abdu'l-Bahá writes:


* See vol. 1, p. 287.

...he had little to live on, but was happy and content. A man of excellent disposition, he was congenial to believers and others alike...In Adrianople as well, his days passed happily, under the protection of Bahá'u'lláh. He would carry on some business which, however trifling, would bring in surprisingly abundant returns...

He spent his days in utter bliss. Here,* too, he carried on a small business, which occupied him from morning till noon. In the afternoons he would take his samovar, wrap it in a dark-coloured pouch made from a saddle-bag, and go off somewhere to a garden or meadow, or out in a field, and have his tea. Sometimes he would be found at the farm of Mazra'ih, or again in the Ridván Garden; or, at the Mansion, he would have the honour of attending upon Bahá'u'lláh.

Muhammad-'Alí would carefully consider every blessing that came his way. 'How delicious my tea is today,' he would comment. 'What perfume, what colour! How lovely this meadow is, and the flowers so bright!' He used to say that everything, even air and water, had its own special fragrance. For him the days passed in indescribable delight. Even kings were not so happy as this old man, the people said. 'He is completely free of the world,' they would declare. 'He lives in joy.' It also happened that his food was of the very best, and that his home was situated in the very best part of 'Akká. Gracious God! Here he was, a prisoner, and yet experiencing comfort, peace and joy.1

Áqá Muhammad-'Alí had a great sense of humour and was a delightful companion to Bahá'u'lláh. Once in 'Akká Bahá'u'lláh attended a memorial meeting for one of the believers who had died. Áqá Muhammad-'Alí was present. He noticed how the bounties of Bahá'u'lláh and His loving-kindness were being showered upon the soul of the deceased. Longing for the same treatment, he is reported to have said to Him, 'I shall be honoured if you would presume that I am dead also, and give me the privilege of inviting you to attend a memorial meeting

* 'Akká. (A.T.)

1. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Memorials of the Faithful, pp. 24-5.
for me!' Thereupon he gave a lavish feast in which he entertained Bahá'u'lláh and the believers in 'Akká.

As soon as he read Mírzá Mihdí's distasteful letter, Áqá Muhammad-'Alí took it to Bahá'u'lláh. The Kitáb-i-Badí' was written to refute the accusations of Mírzá Mihdí. Bahá'u'lláh revealed this book on three successive days. Each day He dictated for about two hours and Áqá Muhammad-'Alí took the words down. We have stated previously* that while some of Bahá'u'lláh's Writings appear to have been composed by his amanuensis Mírzá Áqá Ján, yet every word was dictated by Bahá'u'lláh Himself. The Kitáb-i-Badí' is a similar case. Although it is written in the words of Áqá Muhammad-'Alí, in fact it is revealed by Bahá'u'lláh from beginning to end.

This book, almost twice the size of the Kitáb-i-Íqán and written in defence of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, occupies a significant position among His Writings. It gives the reader remarkable insight into the prophecies of the Báb concerning 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', and clearly demonstrates that the advent of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh was the ultimate aim of the Báb and the fulfilment of all that He had cherished in His heart. The book exerted a great influence upon the members of the Bábí community, especially those who were confused and vacillating. It resolved many of their doubts and perplexities and enabled them to recognize the exalted station of Bahá'u'lláh as 'He Whom God shall make manifest'. For those who are well versed in the Writings of the Báb, this book may be regarded as a key to many of the mysteries which are to be found in the Revelations of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. It is one of the most challenging works of Bahá'u'lláh, written with forcefulness and clarity. It also gives an account of some of Bahá'u'lláh's teachings as well as some aspects of the history of His Cause. One of its outstanding features is the way in which Bahá'u'lláh refutes the objections and accusations of Mírzá Mihdí with such convincing proofs


* See vol. 1, pp. 40-42.

that the reader becomes utterly overwhelmed by the irrefutable power of His reasoning.

There is no doubt that the Kitáb-i-Badí' shattered the idle fancies of the breakers of the Covenant of the Báb who had sought assiduously to undermine the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh through the dissemination of misleading and untrue reports. The arguments put forward by Mírzá Mihdí were feeble and misguided. They contained many false statements, misrepresentations and lies which originated from Siyyid Muhammad.

The manner in which the Kitáb-i-Badí' is revealed is such that Bahá'u'lláh quotes a few lines from the letter of Mírzá Mihdí and then reveals pages in reply. He continues in this way until all points and accusations embodied in the letter are fully answered. A remarkable feature of these answers is the compelling vigour of Bahá'u'lláh's pronouncements. So powerful are His words that Mírzá Mihdí seems like a puny bird held in the claws of a mighty falcon and reduced to utter nothingness. The force of Bahá'u'lláh's arguments, the clarity of His explanations, the profundity of His utterances, are matched only by His all-encompassing knowledge of the Writings of the Báb which He quotes profusely in support of His theme. And this in spite of the fact that, as He Himself attests,* He had not read everything from the Writings of the Báb, including the Bayán! This is an evidence of His divine knowledge.

In the Kitáb-i-Badí', Bahá'u'lláh at times uses very strong language in condemning the actions of Mírzá Mihdí and his master, Siyyid Muhammad. Mírzá Mihdí is denounced as the 'wicked one', 'the evil plotter', 'the impious', 'the impudent', 'the outcast', 'the faithless soul', 'the froward', 'he who contends with God', 'one from whose pen had flowed what caused the Báb to lament in the Kingdom and with Him the souls of all the chosen ones of God'. Repeatedly, Bahá'u'lláh calls on him to withhold his pen and warns him that God, through His wrath, will soon strike him down. Indeed, it was not long before Mírzá Mihdí died. Bahá'u'lláh refers to this in the


* see Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp. 165, 167.

Lawh-i-Fu'ád* where He describes the tormenting agony of his soul when the wrathful vengeance of God descended upon him. There are also many passages in the Kitáb-i-Badí' in which Siyyid Muhammad is stigmatized in such terms as the 'one who joined partners with God', 'the prime mover of mischief', 'the embodiment of wickedness and impiety', and 'one accursed of God'. That Bahá'u'lláh addressed these men in such strong language is indicative of His supreme authority as the Judge and Ruler of mankind. Let us ponder upon the power of the Manifestation of God. He, and He alone, can reveal all the attributes of God to man, and one of God's attributes is His wrath. It is through the operation of this attribute that God casts out those who rise up to oppose Him.

From the study of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh it becomes clear that God's mercy and forgiveness overshadow the whole of creation. Through these attributes God has vouchsafed His protection to humanity. If it were not for His mercy and grace, no man could survive the operation of His justice. The loving and forgiving God overlooks the sins and shortcomings of man, immerses him in the ocean of His mercy and, without his deserving, bestows upon him everlasting life. But when a person breaks His Covenant and consciously rebels against the One who manifests Him, then His wrath is invoked and the soul of that individual becomes deprived of the bounties of God. Siyyid Muhammad and Mírzá Mihdí were of this category, and Bahá'u'lláh, in denouncing them, is doing no more than revealing the true condition of their souls. An important point to bear in mind, however, is that no man has the vision or the authority to condemn another soul. It is solely the function of the Manifestation of God and those upon whom He confers infallibility and authority.


* This Tablet was revealed in 1869 in 'Akká.

Condemnation of the Covenant-breakers

The Kitáb-i-Badí' is also replete with passages in condemnation of the centre of rebellion, Mírzá Yahyá. Bahá'u'lláh refutes his claims to be the appointed successor of the Báb and quotes numerous passages from the Writings of the Báb in support of His arguments. He makes it very clear that the only thing which the Báb promised to His followers was the advent of the Revelation of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. Since Mírzá Yahyá was one of the 'Mirrors' of the Bábí Dispensation*--and he used to employ this title to impress the followers of the Báb--Bahá'u'lláh clarifies the position of the 'Mirrors'. He quotes many statements of the Báb that the 'Mirrors' had no light of their own, that their radiance depended upon their turning to the source of light, 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. The Báb reveals:

He†--glorified be His mention--resembleth the sun. Were unnumbered mirrors to be placed before it, each would, according to its capacity, reflect the splendour of that sun, and were none to be placed before it, it would still continue to rise and set, and the mirrors alone would be veiled from its light. I, verily, have not fallen short of My duty to admonish that people, and to devise means whereby they may turn towards God, their Lord, and believe in God, their Creator. If, on the day of His Revelation, all that are on earth bear Him allegiance, Mine inmost being will rejoice, inasmuch as all will have attained the summit of their existence, and will have been brought face to face with their Beloved, and will have recognized, to the fullest extent attainable in the world of being, the splendour of Him Who is the Desire of their hearts. If not, My soul will indeed be saddened. I truly have nurtured all things for this purpose. How, then, can anyone be veiled from Him? For this have I called upon God, and will continue to call upon Him. He, verily, is nigh, ready to answer.2


* The Báb had bestowed the title 'Mirror' upon several of His followers.

† He Whom God shall make manifest. (A.T.)

2. The Báb, quoted by Bahá'u'lláh, in the Kitáb-i-Badí', and also in English in Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 156.
Even in one of His Own Writings, the Báb, addressing Hájí Siyyid Javád-i-Karbilá'í, complains that the Mirrors have not detached themselves from the things of this world and have turned to Him with sullied hearts. These are His words:

I complain unto thee, O Mirror of My generosity,* against all the other Mirrors. All look upon Me through their own colours.3

And again:

O Sun-like Mirrors! Look ye upon the Sun of Truth. Ye, verily, depend upon it, were ye to perceive it. Ye are all as fishes, moving in the waters of the sea, veiling yourselves therefrom, and yet asking what it is on which ye depend.4

In the Kitáb-i-Badí' Bahá'u'lláh stigmatizes Mírzá Yahyá as the idol of the Bábí community, states that all his accomplishments were in the field of deceit and lies, discloses the extent of his shallowness and ignorance, declares that his words contained the essence of falsehood, any truth found in them having been borrowed from Bahá'u'lláh, refers to the fact that with the help of Siyyid Muhammad he had disseminated some of Bahá'u'lláh's Writings among the believers in his own name, explains that He did not expel Mírzá Yahyá from His presence until he publicly rose up against the Cause of God, denounces him for his malicious and slanderous letters, and portrays, in a number of lengthy passages and in moving and dramatic language, the lamentations of a pen held between the fingers of Mírzá Yahyá pleading to its God for deliverance from such a vile and perfidious master!

Writings of the Báb concerning 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'

A considerable part of the Kitáb-i-Badí' relates to the circumstances of the rebellion of Mírzá Yahyá and Siyyid Muham-


* Hájí Siyyid Javád-i-Karbilá'í. (A.T.)

3. The Báb, quoted by Bahá'u'lláh, in the Kitáb-i-Badí', and also in English in Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 160.

4. ibid.

mad. But the major part of the book is devoted to the exalted theme of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', Bahá'u'lláh, the Promised One of the Bayán. Bahá'u'lláh quotes numerous passages from the Writings of the Báb in which He extols the station, the glory, the transcendental majesty and the authority of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. It suffices to quote only a few passages from the Writings of the Báb all of which Bahá'u'lláh quotes in the Kitáb-i-Badí'. It should be noted that the Báb's Writings are replete with similar statements about Bahá'u'lláh:

I have written down in My mention of Him* these gem-like words: 'No allusion of Mine can allude unto Him, neither anything mentioned in the Bayán.'...Exalted and glorified is He above the power of any one to reveal Him except Himself, or the description of any of His creatures. I Myself am but the first servant to believe in Him and in His signs, and to partake of the sweet savours of His words from the first-fruits of the Paradise of His knowledge. Yea, by His glory! He is the Truth. There is none other God but Him. All have arisen at His bidding.5

The study of the Kitáb-i-Badí' makes it clear that the purpose of the Báb in revealing Himself was none other than to prepare His followers for the coming of Bahá'u'lláh. There are many passages in the Writings of the Báb in which He makes a firm covenant with His followers concerning 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. In one of these He states:

Glorified art Thou, O My God! Bear Thou witness that, through this Book, I have covenanted with all created things concerning the Mission of Him Whom Thou shalt make manifest, ere the covenant concerning Mine own Mission had been established. Sufficient witness art Thou and they that have believed in Thy signs. Thou, verily, sufficest Me. In Thee have I placed My trust, and Thou, verily, taketh count of all things.6


* Him Whom God shall make manifest. (A.T.)

5. The Báb, quoted by Bahá'u'lláh, in the Kitáb-i-Badí', and also in English in Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 141.

6. ibid., p. 160.

There are also many quotations concerning the Bayán, the Mother Book of the Bábí Dispensation, and its relationship to 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. The Báb states:

The whole of the Bayán is only a leaf amongst the leaves of His Paradise.7

And again:

The Bayán is, from beginning to end, the repository of all His* attributes, and the treasury of both His fire and His light.8

The Báb warned His followers not to allow anything in this world, including the Bayán, to become a barrier between them and Bahá'u'lláh. He states:

Suffer not the Bayán and all that hath been revealed therein to withhold you from that Essence of Being and Lord of the visible and invisible.9

In another passage He affirms:

Suffer not yourselves to be shut out as by a veil from God after He hath revealed Himself. For all that hath been exalted in the Bayán is but as a ring upon My hand, and I Myself am, verily, but a ring upon the hand of Him Whom God shall make manifest--glorified be His mention! He turneth it as He pleaseth, for whatsoever He pleaseth, and through whatsoever He pleaseth. He, verily, is the Help in Peril, the Most High.10

The Báb declares that one line from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh is more meritorious in the sight of God than all that has been revealed by the Manifestations of the past. In another instance the Báb reveals:


* Bahá'u'lláh. (A.T.)

7. The Báb, quoted by Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 30.

8. ibid., p. 29.

9. The Báb, quoted by Bahá'u'lláh, in the Kitáb-i-Badí', and also in English in Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 171.

10. ibid., pp. 154-5.

Better is it for thee to recite but one of the verses of Him Whom God shall make manifest than to set down the whole of the Bayán, for on that Day that one verse can save thee, whereas the entire Bayán cannot save thee.11

He testifies to the exalted station of Bahá'u'lláh by the pronouncement that He, Bahá'u'lláh, can bestow the station of prophethood upon whomsoever He wishes. These are the words of the Báb:

Were He to make of every one on earth a Prophet, all would, in very truth, be accounted as Prophets in the sight of God...In the day of the revelation of Him Whom God shall make manifest all that dwell on earth will be equal in His estimation. Whomsoever He ordaineth as a Prophet, he, verily, hath been a Prophet from the beginning that hath no beginning, and will thus remain until the end that hath no end, inasmuch as this is an act of God. And whosoever is made a Viceregent by Him, shall be a Viceregent in all the worlds, for this is an act of God. For the will of God can in no wise be revealed except through His will, nor His wish be manifested save through His wish. He, verily, is the All-Conquering, the All-Powerful, the All-Highest.12

The Báb states that no one can recognize 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' except by His own standard. He affirms:

Look not upon Him with any eye except His own. For whosoever looketh upon Him with His eye, will recognize Him; otherwise he will be veiled from Him. Shouldst thou seek God and His Presence, seek thou Him and gaze upon Him.13

In one of His Writings, the Báb declares that at the time of the coming of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', all those who dwell in the Sinai of God's Revelation will be found awestruck at His glory. He urges the learned among His followers

11. The Báb, quoted by Bahá'u'lláh, in the Kitáb-i-Badí', and also in English in Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 153.

12. ibid., p. 155.

13. ibid., p. 153.

to withhold their pens from writing epistles and books when 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' has revealed Himself. He further urges His followers to recognize and acknowledge Bahá'u'lláh with no hesitation or delay and warns them:

Recognize Him by His verses. The greater your neglect in seeking to know Him, the more grievously will ye be veiled in fire.14

These, and many more tributes which the Báb paid to Bahá'u'lláh, are recorded in the Kitáb-i-Badí'. We have already quoted some of these passages in the former volume and devoted an entire chapter to this subject.*

In the Kitáb-i-Badí', Bahá'u'lláh demonstrates the validity of His Cause, glorifies His own Revelation, proclaims His mission and re-affirms the statement He had made in the Garden of Ridván--that no other Manifestation of God would appear before a thousand years had passed.† He describes the outpouring of the verses of God from His Pen and invites Mírzá Mihdí to attain His presence so that he may witness the rapidity with which the Words of God are revealed in this day. He also recounts many outstanding events which took place during His sojourn in Baghdád and Adrianople, describes the devotion and self-sacrifice of some of His followers, dwells on the sufferings which were inflicted on Him by the hand of Mírzá Yahyá and which culminated in the 'Most Great Separation', and enumerates some of the grievous transgressions committed by him, such as his orders to kill some of the outstanding Bábís, and his most flagrant crime, the repugnant violation of the honour of the Báb.‡


* See vol. 1, chapter 18: 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'.

† See vol. 1, pp. 279-80.

‡ See vol. 1, p. 249.

14. The Báb, quoted by Bahá'u'lláh, in the Kitáb-i-Badí', and also in English in Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 159.

In the Kitáb-i-Badí Bahá'u'lláh extols the virtues and exalted station of Fátimih-Bagum, the mother of the Báb,* and His wife Khadíjih-Bagum, designates them both as the Khayru'n Nisá' (The Most Virtuous among Women) and enjoins on His loved ones to venerate and honour them.

Khadíjih-Bagum was of noble lineage. She was a paternal cousin of the mother of the Báb. Her marriage with the Báb took place almost two years before His declaration. Through the purity of her heart, Khadíjih-Bagum recognized the station of her beloved Husband and acknowledged the truth of His Cause in the early days of His ministry. She was an eye-witness to that transforming power which emanated from the person of the Báb, a power which revolutionized the lives and conduct of His early disciples and the heroes of the Bábí Faith. Concerning Khadíjih-Bagum, Nabíl-i-A'zam writes in his narrative:

The wife of the Báb, unlike His mother, perceived at the earliest dawn of His Revelation the glory and uniqueness of His Mission, and felt from the very beginning the intensity of its force. No one except Táhirih, among the women of her generation, surpassed her in the spontaneous character of her devotion nor excelled the fervour of her faith. To her the Báb confided the secret of His future sufferings, and unfolded to her eyes the significance of the events that were to transpire in His Day. He bade her not to divulge this secret to His mother and counselled her to be patient and resigned to the will of God. He entrusted her with a special prayer, revealed and written by Himself, the reading of which, He assured her, would remove her difficulties and lighten the burden of her woes. 'In the hour of your perplexity,' He directed her, 'recite this prayer ere you go to sleep. I Myself will appear to you and will banish your anxiety.' Faithful to His advice, every time she turned to Him in prayer, the

* For a brief outline of her distinguished career, see vol. 1, pp. 154-5.

light of His unfailing guidance illumined her path and resolved her problems.l5
Khadíjih-Bagum recognized the station of Bahá'u'lláh from the early days in Baghdád and remained one of His most devoted followers.

In his narratives, the late Hájí Mírzá Habíbu'lláh-i-Afnán* writes the following account concerning the wife of the Báb.

...The Blessed Beauty after His arrival in Baghdád sent many Tablets, with His own signature, 152,† (which signifies Bahá) to various parts of Persia. These were taken to their intended destinations by some trustworthy individuals. Among these was a Tablet revealed in honour of the Exalted Leaf,‡ the wife of the Báb. At that time no one among the family of the Afnán§ had embraced the Faith, and therefore the wife of the Báb had no close friend in whom she could confide. For this reason, she entered into conversation about the Faith with the father of the writer, Jináb-i-Afnán, Áqá Mírzá Áqá, ¶ who was her nephew (her sister's son), and was then thirteen years of age.

...Because of the purity of her heart, Áqá Mírzá Áqá was deeply attracted to the Cause of God, recognized its truth


* A devoted follower of Bahá'u'lláh who for some time was custodian of the House of the Báb in Shíráz.

† The numerical values of the letters B, H, A, which constitute the word Bahá, are 2, 5 and l respectively. Some Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh are signed in this way by Him.

‡ In some of His Tablets Bahá'u'lláh has addressed Khadíjih-Bagum as the Exalted Leaf.

§ Descendants of the maternal uncles of the Báb and those of the two brothers and the sister of the wife of the Báb are known as the Afnán (The Twigs).

¶ Áqá Mírzá Áqá was one of the outstanding members of the Afnán family. He was instrumental in encouraging Hájí Siyyid Muhammad, the uncle of the Báb, to proceed to Baghdád and attain the presence of Bahá'u'lláh. He rendered distinguished services to the Faith. Bahá'u'lláh has granted him and his descendants the custodianship of the House of the Báb in Shíráz. We shall refer to him again in future volumes [3, 4]. (A.T.)

15. Nabíl-i-A'zam, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 139 (Brit.), pp. 191-2 (U.S.).
and was filled with such enthusiasm that he was unable to withhold himself from teaching it, and proceeded to do so with courage and steadfastness. First he succeeded in teaching his own father...and then his own mother, the sister of the Báb's wife.16

When Bahá'u'lláh summoned Munírih Khánum* to 'Akká He instructed Shaykh Salmán to accompany her. The party started from Isfahán for Búshihr via Shíráz. Arrangements were made for her to stay a short while in Shíráz in the home of Hájí Mírzá Siyyid Muhammad, the uncle of the Báb. She arrived in the month of Dhi'l-Q'adih 1288 A.H. (January-February 1872) and had the privilege of meeting the wife of the Báb several times. The following is taken from Munírih Khánum's memoirs concerning one of her interviews with Khadíjih-Bagum:

...I asked the wife of the Báb to recount for me some reminiscences of her association with the Báb, of attaining His presence and of her marriage with Him. She said, 'I do not remember every detail but will tell you what I can remember...

'We were three sisters.† One night I dreamt that Fátimih [the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, the holiest woman in Islám] came to our house as a suitor to propose‡ marriage. With great joy and ecstasy my sisters and I went to her. She then came forward to me and kissed my forehead. I understood in the dream that she had chosen me. When I woke up in the morning I felt very happy and joyous, but I felt too shy to share my dream with anybody. In the afternoon of the same day, the mother of the Báb came to our house. My


* Munírih Khánum became the wife of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. See pp. 205-9.

† One of the three sisters was a half-sister who married Hájí Mírzá Siyyid 'Alí, the uncle of the Báb who was martyred in Tihrán. (A.T.)

‡ In those days it was the custom for mothers, sisters or close female relatives of a man who wished to get married to propose to the parents of a girl. Once the agreement was reached, the girl would be informed and later married. (A.T.)

16. Quoted by Muhammad-'Alí Faizi, Khánidán-i-Afnán, pp. 169-70.
sister and I went to her. Exactly as I had dreamt, she came forward, kissed my forehead and embraced me. She then left. My eldest sister said to me, 'The mother of the Báb came to propose and has asked for your hand in marriage [with her son].' I replied, 'This is a great felicity for me.' I recounted my dream and expressed the happiness of my heart because of its implications.

'After a few days...they sent some gifts as a token of engagement,* and the Báb went to Búshihr on business in company with His uncle. Although the mother of the Báb and I were cousins, yet, because of my dream every time I met her, I showed great courtesy and respect towards her. I cannot recall the duration of the Báb's journey.

'When He was in Búshihr, I dreamt one night that I was sitting in the presence of the Báb. It appeared as though it was the evening of our wedding. The Báb was dressed in a green cloak around the borders of which were inscribed the verses of the Qur'án...and light was emanating from Him. Seeing Him in this way, I was filled with such joy and gladness that I woke up. After this dream I was assured in my heart that the Báb was a distinguished personage. I cherished a love for Him in my heart, but did not disclose my feelings to anybody. Eventually He returned from Búshihr and His uncle arranged the wedding.

'After the wedding, I entertained no thought of earthly things in my mind. My heart was entirely attracted to the person of the Báb. From His words and conduct, His magnanimity and solemnity, it became clear to me that He was a distinguished person. But the thought never occurred to me that He could be the Qá'im, the Promised One. Most of the time He was engaged in praying and reading verses...As was customary among merchants, He would ask in the evenings for His business papers and account books. But I noticed that they were not business papers. Sometimes I used to ask Him what the papers were. He once said 'It is


* Engagement was a family affair. It was improper for a man engaged to a woman to associate with her until married. In any case it was not permitted even to see the face of his fiancée until after marriage. Of course a couple who were close relatives would have seen each other before. (A.T.)

the Book of the accounts of all the peoples of the world.' Should any visitor suddenly arrive, He would spread a handkerchief over the papers. All close relatives such as His uncles and aunts were fully conscious of His exalted personality. They revered Him and showed the utmost respect towards Him, until the fateful night of the 5th of Jamádíyu'l-Avval 1260 A.H. (22 May 1844) arrived. It was the night that Jináb-i-Bábu'l-Báb, Mullá Husayn-i-Bushrú'í* attained the presence of the Báb and acknowledged the truth of His Cause. That was indeed a memorable evening. The Báb intimated that we were having a guest who was dear to Him. He was as if on fire and in the utmost excitement. I was very eager to hear His blessed words, but He bade me go to bed. Although I was lying awake the whole night, I remained in bed as I did not wish to disobey Him. I could hear His voice until morning as He conversed with Jináb-i-Bábu'l-Báb. He was reading the verses of God and adducing proofs. Later I observed that every day a strange guest would arrive and the Báb would engage in similar talks.

'If I attempt to describe the sufferings and persecutions of those days, I will not be able to endure talking about them, neither will you have the fortitude to listen to them...

'One night, I woke up about midnight to find that the...Chief Constable 'Abdu'l-Hamíd had entered the house from the roof with his men and, without giving any reasons, took the Báb with him.† I never attained His presence again...' 17

Munírih Khánum describes in her memoirs how eager the wife of the Báb was for her to prolong the visit, but Shaykh Salmán had instructions from Bahá'u'lláh to proceed to 'Akká in company with the caravan which was taking the Muslim pilgrims to Mecca and time was running out.

After we bade farewell to her, the wife of the Báb said, 'Please supplicate the Blessed Perfection to grant two wishes of mine. One, that one of the exalted Leaves of the blessed

* The first believer of the Bábí Dispensation. (A.T.)

† For more information, see The Dawn-Breakers. (A.T.)

17. Quoted by Muhammad-'Alí Faizi, Khánidán-i-Afnán, p. 161 ff.
Family* may be permitted to join in wedlock with a member of the family of the Báb, so that the two holy trees may be outwardly knit together. The other, to grant me permission to attain His presence.' I conveyed this message when I attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh; He readily assented to both her requests.18
The person whom the wife of the Báb had in mind for this marriage was Hájí Siyyid 'Alíy-i-Afnán, a son of her brother, the 'Great Afnán', Hájí Mírzá Siyyid Hasan. Bahá'u'lláh granted the wish of the wife of the Báb, and Hájí Siyyid 'Alí was joined in wedlock with Fúrúghíyyih Khánum, a daughter of Bahá'u'lláh.†

As to the second wish, however, circumstances prevented the wife of the Báb from attaining the presence of Bahá'u'lláh.‡ This was a grievous blow to her and she could not be consoled. It is reported that she wept so much that her health was seriously impaired. Grief-stricken, she passed away a few months afterwards, on the evening of the 29th day of Dhi'l-Qa'dih 1299 A.H (11 November 1882). Strangely on the same evening her maid (Fiddih) who had served her since the days of the Báb also passed away.

The news of the passing of the wife of the Báb brought sadness to Bahá'u'lláh. He revealed a special Tablet of Visitation for her and later He composed a verse to be inscribed on her tombstone. During her lifetime too, Bahá'u'lláh had revealed many Tablets in her honour.


* Female member of Bahá'u'lláh's family; here a daughter of Bahá'u'lláh was intended. (A.T.)

† They both became Covenant-breakers during the ministry of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. But the wishes of the wife of the Báb were fulfilled in the marriage of Mírzá Hádíy-i-Afnán with Díyá'íyyih Khánum, a daughter of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. They were the parents of Shoghi Effendi.

‡ Knowing that he had no chance of securing this marriage on his own, and knowing also how eager the wife of the Báb was to attain the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, Hájí Siyyid 'Alí promised that he would accompany her to 'Akká if she arranged this marriage for him. But he did not fulfil his promise.

18. Quoted by Muhammad-'Alí Faizi, Khánidán-i-Afnán, pp. 165-6.