January 11, 2010

The Bab’s Imprisonment in the Fortress of Chihriq

The fortress of Chihriq where the Bab was imprisoned for almost all of the last two years of His life is located in north-western Iran in the region of Urumiyyih of the province of Azerbaijan. This was the second fortress in which the Bab was imprisoned. The first one was called Maku. The Bab called Chihriq the ‘Grievous Mountain’ .. to differentiate it from Maku which He had called the ‘Open Mountain’ -- although the pattern of imprisonment was similar, with initial strictness eventually giving way to comparative freedom, as the warden, Yahya Khan, became devoted to his prisoner. The Bab received large numbers of visitors at Chiriq, more than He had received at Maku. He revealed many of His Writings in Chihriq, including the Arabic Bayan and His powerful Tablet of ‘Sermon of Wrath’ to the then Persian Prime Minister, Haji Mirza Aqas. It was during this period that a very knowledgeable Persian, whom the Bab later gave the title of Dayyan (Judge), became a believer. He is reported to have been unusual for his range of knowledge and learning which included Syriac and Hebrew and was the recipient of the Bab’s ‘Tablet of Letters’ (Lawh-i-Hurufat). It was also during this period that people in the town of Urumiyyih greeted the Bab very enthusiastically when He went to the public bath and vied with each other in taking the water after He had used it because the water was thus assumed to have acquired holiness. 
(Adapted from A Basic Baha’i Dictionary, by Wendi Momen; and A Concise Encyclopedia of the Baha’i Faith, by Peter Smith)