Monday, June 29, 2009

June 29th in Baha'i History

1850 - Martyrdom of Vahid. (Chronolgy of Principle Events - Dawn Breakers)

Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan, the Governor of Nayriz, was alarmed by the tumultuous reception accorded to Vahid by the people of the town, and was shocked and angered when he saw that great numbers were entering the Faith within the span of a few days. He decided to take immediate action, and ordered the army to wipe out the newly-formed community and kill its leader. Soon there was a great upheaval and the followers of the Báb were forced to take refuge in an old fort outside the town. Though vastly outnumbered by the army, and in spite of their lack of training, these defenders of the fort of Khajih fought with such courage and heroism that their enemies suffered humiliating defeat and were forced to withdraw in terror.

Having realized the futility of his armed intervention, Zaynu'l-'Abidin Khan resorted to deception and treachery. Cunningly, he raised the cry of peace, sent a message in writing to the defenders of the fort to invite Vahid and other leaders to visit him in the army camp, and pledged his word to investigate the truth of the Cause of the Báb and to end all bloodshed and strife. In order to beguile those simple and pure-hearted men, he and his staff affixed their seal to the Qur'án and sent it with this message as a testimony of their honesty and truthfulness. Vahid knew their treachery, but to honour the Qur'án he emerged from the fort and went to the camp, where he was at first ceremoniously received. There he rebuked the authorities for their tyranny and blindness and called on them to investigate and embrace the new-born Faith of God. So penetrating were his words that the Governor and his men were confounded by the force of his argument. Recognizing the profundity of his knowledge and the sincerity of his beliefs, the Governor became apprehensive lest some of his men transfer their allegiance to Vahid. Within three days, through deceit and treachery, the Governor succeeded in evacuating the fort. But its heroic defenders walked into a trap, and most were massacred by the army. Vahid was shamefully put to death and his body was dragged through the streets and bazaars of Nayriz to the accompaniment of drums and cymbals, while men and women danced merrily around him.

Vahid's martyrdom shed an imperishable lustre upon the Faith of God. The story of his life adorns the pages of the history of the Cause and the example he has left will guide and inspire countless generations throughout the ages. He was peerless in the realm of learning and knowledge, indomitable in his faith, challenging in his public discourse, heroic in the defence of the Cause of God and unsurpassed in his love for the Báb.

In the Suriy-i-Sabr Bahá'u'lláh describes the proclamation of the Faith by Vahid and the circumstances which led to the upheaval in Nayriz. He recounts, at some length, the events which led to the incarceration of the believers and lauds their heroism, self-sacrifice, and eventual martyrdom. He portrays the agony and sufferings which were inflicted upon the survivors, mainly women and children, who were forced to accompany the heads of the martyrs which were carried aloft on lances to Shiraz and paraded in the streets and bazaars of that city.[1] He severely condemns the perpetrators of such atrocities and warns them not to rejoice in their actions, but to fear the wrath of an almighty God who will justly, in the next world, punish them for the cruelties they have inflicted upon His loved ones.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 1, p. 264)

1883– Martyrdom of Mulla 'Ali-Jan in Mazindaran

Mulla 'Ali-Jan was a native of Mazindaran and was born in the year 1846. In his youth he displayed a passion for acquiring religious knowledge. He therefore studied Islamic theology and became well-versed in the Qur'án and the traditions of Islam. One day he came across some traditions extolling the merits of the city of 'Akká. He was puzzled by this, and no one among the divines could explain to him the significance of these traditions. He searched for an answer until he came across a well-known Bahá'í who taught him the Faith. Embracing the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh endowed Mulla 'Ali-Jan with new vision, and his religious passion found an outlet in the teaching field. With exemplary devotion and enthusiasm he taught the Faith to many souls; he even took the unusual step of proclaiming the Faith from the pulpits of the mosques. This resulted in great numbers entering the Faith in different villages.
Then began a period of great opposition. The divines clamoured for his death, and he was sent to Tihran where he was imprisoned. Eventually, with the approval of Násiri'd-Dín Sháh, on 29 June 1883 he was escorted by a band of soldiers beating drums and blowing trumpets to a public square in Tihran and executed. Shoghi Effendi has summarized the story of his martyrdom in these words:
Mulla 'Ali Jan was conducted on foot from Mazindaran to Tihran, the hardships of that journey being so severe that his neck was wounded and his body swollen from the waist to the feet. On the day of his martyrdom he asked for water, performed his ablutions, recited his prayers, bestowed a considerable gift of money on his executioner, and was still in the act of prayer when his throat was slit by a dagger, after which his corpse was spat upon, covered with mud, left exposed for three days, and finally hewn to pieces.(35) (Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 4, p. 386)

1912 – Abdul-Baha gave a Talk at Unity Feast, Outdoors in West Englewood, New Jersey

Here is a story of that day an talk from Juliet Thompson

The great words He spoke to us then have been preserved. I will not repeat them. Besides I remember them too imperfectly. But He said one thing which woke my whole being: "This is a New Day; a New Hour."

By the time He had finished, the feast was ready, but just as it was announced a storm blew up -- a strange, sudden storm, without warning. There was a tremendous crash of thunder; through the treetops we could see black clouds boiling up, and big drops of rain splashed on the tables.
The Master rose calmly and, followed by the Persians, walked out to the road, then to the end of it where there is a crossroad. A single chair had been left there and, as I watched from a distance, I saw the Master take it and sit down, while the Persians ranged themselves behind Him. I saw Him lift His face to the sky. He had gone a long way from the house; thunder still crashed and the clouds rolled frighteningly low, but He continued to sit perfectly motionless, that sacred, powerful face upturned to the sky. Then came a strong, rushing wind; the clouds began to race away; blue patches appeared above and the sun shone out. And then the Master rose and walked back into the grove. This I witnessed.

Later, as we sat at the tables, two hundred and fifty of us, He anointed us all with attar of rose. I was not at a table but sitting under a tree with Marjorie Morten and Silvia. The Master swept toward us in His long white robes, forever the Divine Shepherd.

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