Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June 23rd in Baha'i History

1870 - Mirzá Mihdí dies in ‘Akká after falling through a skylight. The photo above is of his resting place on Mt. Carmel.

What expressions of devotion, love and thanksgiving must have passed through his lips on that occasion, we cannot imagine. All we know is that Bahá'u'lláh, having the power of life and death in His hands, asked His dying son whether he wished to live. He assured him that if this was his wish God would enable him to recover and grant him good health. But the Purest Branch begged Bahá'u'lláh to accept his life as a ransom for the opening of the gates of the prison to the face of the many believers who were longing to come and enter the presence of their Lord. Bahá'u'lláh accepted his sacrifice and he died on 23 June 1870, twenty-two hours after his fall.

Thus ended the life of one of whom Bahá'u'lláh states that he 'was created of the light of Baha', whose birth had taken place during some of the darkest hours in the history of the Faith, whose infancy had been spent within the cradle of adversity, whose soul at an early age had been set aglow with the fire of ordeal and separation, whose days of joy had been spent in exile and within the walls of a prison, and whose tragic death had clothed him with the crimson vesture of sacrifice, shedding thereby an imperishable lustre upon the Cause of his glorious Father.

(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 3, p. 207)

Nabil-i-A'zam has said that he, Siyyid Mihdiy-i-Dahaji[1] and Nabil-i-Qa'ini[2] were in Nazareth when the earth tremor occurred. It lasted for about three minutes and people were frightened. Later when they heard the news of the death of the Purest Branch they realized that it coincided with the timing of his burial and then they knew the reason for it. Bahá'u'lláh, in one of His Tablets referring to the Purest Branch, confirms the 210 cause of the earth tremor in these words:
Blessed art thou and blessed he that turneth unto thee, and visiteth thy grave, and draweth nigh, through thee, unto God, the Lord of all that was and shall be... I testify that thou didst return in meekness unto thine abode. Great is thy blessedness and the blessedness of them that hold fast unto the hem of thy outspread robe... Thou art, verily, the trust of God and His treasure in this land. Erelong will God reveal through thee that which He hath desired. He, verily,is the Truth, the Knower of things unseen. When thou wast laid to rest in the earth, the earth itself trembled in its longing to meet thee. Thus hath it been decreed, and yet the people perceive not... Were We to recount the mysteries of thine ascension, they that are asleep would waken, and all beings would be set ablaze with the fire of the remembrance of My Name, the Mighty, the Loving.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 3, p. 209)
Lauded be Thy name, O Lord my God! Thou seest me in this day shut up in my prison, and fallen into the hands of Thine adversaries, and beholdest my son (The Purest Branch) lying on the dust before Thy face. He is Thy servant, O my Lord, whom Thou hast caused to be related to Him Who is the Manifestation of Thyself and the Day-Spring of Thy Cause.
At his birth he was afflicted through his separation from Thee, according to what had been ordained for him through Thine irrevocable decree. And when he had quaffed the cup of reunion with Thee, he was cast into prison for having believed in Thee and in Thy signs. He continued to serve Thy Beauty until he entered into this Most Great Prison. Thereupon I offered him up, O my God, as a sacrifice in Thy path. Thou well knowest what they who love Thee have endured through this trial that hath caused the kindreds of the earth to wail, and beyond them the Concourse on high to lament.
I beseech Thee, O my Lord, by him and by his exile and his imprisonment, to send down upon such as loved him what will quiet their hearts and bless their works. Potent art Thou to do as Thou willest. No God is there but Thee, the Almighty, the Most Powerful.

(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 34)

In a Tablet revealed in that grievous hour Bahá'u'lláh sorrows that "This is the day whereon he that was created of the light of Baha has suffered martyrdom, at a time when he lay imprisoned at the hands of his enemies." Yet He makes clear that the youth passing has a far profounder meaning than His acceptance of the simple request, declaring that "Thou art, verily, the trust of God and His treasure in this land. Erelong will God reveal through thee that which He hath desired." In a prayer revealed for His son He proclaims the purpose underlying the tragedy: "I have, O my Lord, offered up that which Thou hast given Me, that Thy servants may be quickened, and all that dwell on earth be united." Thus upon a youth of consummate devotion who demonstrated such beauty of spirit and total dedication was conferred a unique station in the Cause of God.

(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 168)

the Purest Branch, the martyred son of Bahá'u'lláh, "created of the light of Baha," the "Trust of God" and His "Treasure" in the Holy Land, and offered up by his Father as a "ransom" for the regeneration of the world and the unification of its peoples.

(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 347)
The Purest Branch, the martyred son, the companion, and amanuensis of Bahá'u'lláh, that pious and holy youth, who in the darkest days of Bahá'u'lláh's incarceration in the barracks of 'Akká entreated, on his death-bed, his Father to accept him as a ransom for those of His loved ones who yearned for, but were unable to attain, His presence,

(Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America, p. 31)
The Master, as a very young man, was called upon to shoulder heavy responsibilities in the service of His Father in Iraq and Turkey; and His brother, the Purest Branch, yielded up his life to God in the Most Great Prison at the age of twenty-two that the servants of God might "be quickened, and all that dwell on earth be united."

(The Universal House of Justice, 1966 Jun 10, Youth in Every Land)

Also On June 23rd
1845 – An Account of the activities of this date in Persia appeared in the London Times dtd November 19, 1845 As far is known, these were the earliest references to the Faith the Báb in any Western publication.
”(June 23): -- Four persons being heard repeating their profession of faith according to the form prescribed by the impostor, were apprehended, tried, and found guilty of unpardonable blasphemy. They were sentenced to lose their beards by fire being set to them. The sentence was put into execution with all the zeal and fanaticism becoming a true believer in Mahomet. Not deeming the loss of beards a sufficient punishment, they were further sentenced the next day, to have their faces blacked and exposed through the city. Each of them was led by a mirgazah[1] (executioner), who had made a hole in his nose and passed through it a string, which he sometimes pulled with such violence that the unfortunate fellows cried out alternately for mercy from the executioner and for vengeance from Heaven. It is the custom in Persia on such occasions for the executioners to collect money from the spectators, and particularly from the shopkeepers in the bazaar. In the evening when the pockets of the executioners were well filled with money, they led the unfortunate fellows to the city gate, and there turned them adrift.

(H.M. Balyuzi, The Bab - The Herald of the Day of Days, p. 76)

1912 – Abdul-Baha gave a Talk at Montclair, New Jersey

1970 - In commemoration of the centenary of the martyrdom of the Purest Branch, which falls on 23 June 1970, we call upon the Bahá'ís of the world to unite in prayer for "the regeneration of the world and the unification of its peoples."

(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 168)

1981 Three more Martyrs in Tihran

To all National Spiritual Assemblies


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