November 29, 2014

Mulla Husayn miraculously finds Baha’u’llah in Tihran and delivers an excerpt from the Báb’s newly-revealed Writings

The glorious mission entrusted to Mulla Husayn was truly enviable. Its nature was intimated to him by the Báb in assuring words:

"In this pilgrimage upon which We are soon to embark, We have chosen Quddus as Our companion. We have left you behind to face the onslaught of a fierce and relentless enemy. Rest assured, however, that a bounty unspeakably glorious shall be conferred upon you. Follow the course of your journey towards the north, and visit on your way Isfahan, Kashan, Qum, and Tihran. Beseech almighty Providence that He may graciously enable you to attain, in that capital [Tihran], the seat of true sovereignty. A secret lies hidden in that city. When made manifest, it shall turn the earth into paradise. My hope is that you may partake of its grace and recognize its splendour.”

When Mulla Husayn reached the capital, Tihran, he lived in one of the rooms of a religious school. The leader of the Shaykhi community of Tihran, who acted as an instructor in that institution was approached by Mulla Husayn but failed to respond to his motivation to accept the Message of the Báb. Mulla Husayn assured him that he had no intention of prolonging his stay in Tihran, that his aim was in no wise to abase or suppress the teachings inculcated by Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim.

During his stay in that capital Mulla Husayn did not appear in public. He limited himself to confidential conversations with those who visited him. He received a fair number of individuals and won over a large number of enquirers. According to the French historian Comte de Gobineau, among the people who showed interest in seeing him were the King, Muhammad Shah and his Minister, Haji Mirza Aqasi. Mulla Husayn presented them with some of the Writings of the Báb.

Trying to fulfill the assignment given to him by his Master to find the “secret” that was in that city – the secret that when made manifest would “turn the earth into paradise” – Mulla Husayn began leaving his room early in the morning and would only return to it an hour after sunset. Upon his return he would quietly re-enter his room alone, close the door behind him, and remain in the privacy of his cell until the next day.

Baha’u’llah’s faithful brother, Mirza Musa, Aqay-i-Kalim, recounted the following to Nabil, the great Baha’i chronicle: 

"I have heard Mulla Muhammad-i-Mu'allim [teacher], a native of Nur, in the province of Mazindaran, who was a fervent admirer of both Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim, relate this story: 

I was in those days recognised as one of the favoured disciples of Haji Mirza Muhammad, and lived in the same school in which he taught. My room adjoined his room, and we were closely associated together. On the day that he was engaged in discussion with Mulla Husayn, I overheard their conversation from beginning to end, and was deeply affected by the ardour, the fluency, and learning of that youthful stranger. I was surprised at the evasive answers, the arrogance, and contemptuous behaviour of Haji Mirza Muhammad. That day I felt strongly attracted by the charm of that youth, and deeply resented the unseemly conduct of my teacher towards him. I concealed my feelings, however, and pretended to ignore his discussions with Mulla Husayn.

I was seized with a passionate desire to meet the latter [Mulla Husayn], and ventured, at the hour of midnight, to visit him. He did not expect me, but I knocked at his door, and found him awake seated beside his lamp. He received me affectionately, and spoke to me with extreme courtesy and tenderness. I unburdened my heart to him, and as I was addressing him, tears, which I could not repress, flowed from my eyes.

‘I can now see,’ he said, ‘the reason why I have chosen to dwell in this place. Your teacher has contemptuously rejected this Message and despised its Author. My hope is that his pupil may, unlike his master, recognize its truth. What is your name, and which city is your home?’  ‘My name,’ I replied, ‘is Mulla Muhammad, and my surname Mu'allim.  My home is Nur, in the province of Mazindaran.’

‘Tell me, ‘further enquired Mulla Husayn, ‘is there today among the family of the late Mirza Buzurg-i-Nuri, who was so renowned for his character, his charm, and artistic and intellectual attainments, anyone who has proved himself capable of maintaining the high traditions of that illustrious house?’

‘Yea,’ I replied, ‘among his sons now living, one has distinguished Himself by the very traits which characterized His father. By His virtuous life, His high attainments, His loving-kindness and liberality, He has proved Himself a noble descendant of a noble father.’

‘What is His occupation?’ he asked me.

‘He cheers the disconsolate and feeds the hungry,’ I replied.

‘What of His rank and position?’

‘He has none,’ I said, ‘apart from befriending the poor and the stranger.’

‘What is His name?’


‘In which of the scripts of His father does He excel?’

‘His favourite script is shikastih-nasta'liq.’

‘How does He spend His time?’

‘He roams the woods and delights in the beauties of the countryside.’

‘What is His age?’

‘Eight and twenty.’

The eagerness with which Mulla Husayn questioned me, and the sense of delight with which he welcomed every particular I gave him, greatly surprised me. Turning to me, with his face beaming with satisfaction and joy, he once more enquired:  ‘I presume you often meet Him?’  ‘I frequently visit His home,’ I replied. ‘Will you,’ he said, ‘deliver into His hands a trust from me?’  ‘Most assuredly,’ was my reply. He then gave me a scroll wrapped in a piece of cloth, and requested me to hand it to Him the next day at the hour of dawn. ‘Should He deign to answer me,’ he added, ‘will you be kind enough to acquaint me with His reply.’

I received the scroll from him and, at break of day, arose to carry out his desire. 

As I approached the house of Baha'u'llah, I recognised His brother Mirza Musa, who was standing at the gate, and to whom I communicated the object of my visit. He went into the house and soon reappeared bearing a message of welcome. I was ushered into His presence, and presented the scroll to Mirza Musa, who laid it before Baha'u'llah. He bade us both be seated.  Unfolding the scroll, He glanced at its contents and began to read aloud to us certain of its passages. I sat enraptured as I listened to the sound of His voice and the sweetness of its melody. He had read a page of the scroll when, turning to His brother, He said: ‘Musa, what have you to say? Verily I say, whoso believes in the Qur'an and recognises its Divine origin, and yet hesitates, though it be for a moment, to admit that these soul-stirring words are endowed with the same regenerating power, has most assuredly erred in his judgment and has strayed far from the path of justice.’

He spoke no more.  Dismissing me from His presence, He charged me to take to Mulla Husayn, as a gift from Him, a loaf of Russian sugar and a package of tea, and to convey to him the expression of His appreciation and love. [Tea and that variety of sugar being extremely rare in Persia at that time, both were used as gifts among the higher classes of the population.]  

I arose and, filled with joy, hastened back to Mulla Husayn, and delivered to him the gift and message of Baha'u'llah. With what joy and exultation he received them from me! Words fail me to describe the intensity of his emotion. He started to his feet, received with bowed head the gift from my hand, and fervently kissed it. He then took me in his arms, kissed my eyes, and said:  ‘My dearly beloved friend! I pray that even as you have rejoiced my heart, God may grant you eternal felicity and fill your heart with imperishable gladness.’

I was amazed at the behaviour of Mulla Husayn. What could be, I thought to myself, the nature of the bond that unites these two souls? What could have kindled so fervid a fellowship in their hearts? Why should Mulla Husayn, in whose sight the pomp and circumstance of royalty were the merest trifle, have evinced such gladness at the sight of so inconsiderable a gift from the hands of Baha'u'llah? I was puzzled by this thought and could not unravel its mystery. 

A few days later, Mulla Husayn left for Khurasan. As he bade me farewell, he said: ‘Breathe not to anyone what you have heard and witnessed.  Let this be a secret hidden within your breast. Divulge not His name, for they who envy His position will arise to harm Him. In your moments of meditation, pray that the Almighty may protect Him, that, through Him, He may exalt the downtrodden, enrich the poor, and redeem the fallen. The secret of things is concealed from our eyes. Ours is the duty to raise the call of the New Day and to proclaim this Divine Message unto all people. Many a soul will, in this city, shed his blood in this path. That blood will water the Tree of God, will cause it to flourish, and to overshadow all mankind.’”
(Adapted from the ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, by Nabil-i-A'zam, translated by Shoghi Effendi; ‘The Bab – The Herald of the Day of Days’, by Baluzi; and Comte de Gobineau’s ‘Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale,’ included in ’Translation of French Foot-Notes of the Dawn-Breakers’)