--provisional translation available at: Baha’i Tablets – provisional translations
Maryam was a cousin of Baha’u’llah. Her mother, Malik Nisá’ Khánum was a sister of Bahá’u’lláh’s father, Mírzá ‘Abbas, better known as Mírzá Buzurg. Maryam was also Baha’u’llah’s sister-in-law because she had married Mírzá Ridá-Qulí, a half-brother of Bahá’u’lláh, and also because her younger sister Fátimih Khánum had become Bahá’u’lláh’s second wife in 1849 after she had become a widow. Fátimih Khánum who is better known as Mahd-i-’Ulyá, the Most Exalted Cradle, was the mother of Muhammad-‘Alí (1852 c.-1937), the unfaithful half-brother of ‘Abdu’l-Baha who rebelled against Him after the ascension of Baha’u’llah.
Maryam’s husband, Mírzá Ridá-Qulí was the son of Kulthúm Khánum-i-Núrí, the third wife of Baha’u’llah’s father. None of her four surviving children became a supporter of Bahá’u’lláh. Mírzá Ridá-Qulí, was a physician, and therefore he was known as “Hakím.”
When Bahá’u’lláh was released from the Síyáh-Chál in Tihran, Mírzá Ridá-Qulí hosted Him and His family in his house. Mírzá Ridá-Qulí had inherited this house from his father, Mirza Buzurg when in the last years of his life he was obliged to sell his complex of houses in Tihran, where he lived with his whole family, to pay the expenses for the divorce from his last wife, princess Sháh Begum, Díyá’u’s-Saltanih. Mírzá Ridá-Qulí’s mother also lived with him in this house. Baha’u’llah, however, prior to His arrest and imprisonment in the Siyah-Chal, lived in a rented house near the northern gate of Tihran along with a number of the family members.
In later years Mírzá Ridá-Qulí kept his distance from Bahá’u’lláh, tried to conceal the fact of their relationship and opposed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s anticipated marriage to his niece Shahr-Banú, because he was afraid that Násiri’d-Dín Sháh and his ministers would frown on this marriage and take him to task. In the 1870s, although he was held in high esteem in Tehran and had never supported the new Faith, he was arrested, conducted to the capital and thrown into the Síyáh-Chál, where he remained for a month. Bahá’u’lláh maintained communication with Mírzá Ridá-Qulí and exhorted him to recognize the new Revelation.
Maryam, who had been converted by Bahá’u’lláh Himself in the early days of the Bábí Dispensation, always remained a staunch believer. She longed to meet her illustrious Cousin, but her family prevented her from realizing her longing. She wrote a number of poems in which she praises her Lord and expresses her sadness for being remote from Him. For instance in one of them she sings of her love for the Blessed Beauty:
Were I to drink one or two cups of wine from Bahá’s jar, I would continue roaring and blazing even after my extinction and death….
Should I put on the robe of nearness from the hands of the Friend, I would illumine the heaven and the earth even as the sun.
Bahá’u’lláh revealed several Tablets in her honor. In a very poetical Tablet, that begins with “O Maryam, The Spirit of life ascended to the domain of placelessness, He consoles her grief at His remoteness:
“Shed thee not tears from thine eyes and be not of the anxious ones. Put on the robe of submission and quaff from the wine of acquiescence; and sell the entire world for a mere derham. Give thy heart to God’s irrevocable decree and submit to that which He has ordained for thee.”
The most celebrated of these Tablets is known as Hurúfát-i-’Állín (The Exalted Letters). It was revealed in the memory of Maryam’s only brother, Mírzá Muhammad-i-Vazír, which Baha’i scholars accredit to be the very first among the family of Bahá’u’lláh to have been converted by Him to the Bábí Faith in the province of Núr in 1844.
Bahá’u’lláh also revealed for Maryam a Tablet of Visitation (Zíyárát-Námiy-i-Maryam) in which He honored her with the title of “Crimson Leaf (al-Waraqatu’l-hamrá’).”
Maryam passed away in Teheran in 1868, at the age of 42. She was buried in the precincts of a shrine in the outskirts of Tihran where Násiri’d-Dín Sháh is also buried.
(Adapted from ‘Baha’u’llah, King of Glory’, by Hand of the Cause Hassan Balyuzi, ‘The Revelation of Baha’u’llah, vol. 1’, by Adib Taherzadeh, and ‘ A Commentary on the Lawh-i-Maryam’ by Julio Savi and Faezeh Mardani Mazzoli, in ‘Lights of Irfan, vol. 8, 2007, available at Baha’i Library Online)