Thursday, July 9, 2009

July 9th in Baha'i History

1850: The Báb is publicly executed in Tabriz.

The Bab was denied even a candle in the Mountain of Mahku; now His Shrine of shining white, crowned with a dome of gold, on the side of its green throne on Mount Carmel, is a blaze of light. (William Sears, Release the Sun, p. 223)

The martyrdom of the Báb took place at noon on Sunday, the twenty-eighth of Sha'ban, in the year 1266 A.H.,[1] thirty-one lunar years, seven months, and twenty-seven days from the day of His birth in Shiraz.
[1 July 9, 1850 A.D.] (Shoghi Effendi, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 517)

'His Holiness, the Exalted One' is one of the titles of the Báb. He offered up His life and through His supreme sacrifice, as testified by Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, enormous spiritual forces were released for the advancement of the Cause of God. In the first year after the Declaration of His Message, the Báb expressed His longing to lay down His life in the path of Bahá'u'lláh, to whom He refers as 'The Remnant of God' in the following celebrated passage from the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá':

O Thou Remnant of God! I have sacrificed myself wholly for Thee; I have accepted curses for Thy sake, and have yearned for naught but martyrdom in the path of Thy love. Sufficient witness unto me is God, the Exalted, the Protector, the Ancient of Days. [The Báb, Selections, p. 59.]

About six years later He achieved His heart's desire when He was publicly executed in Tabriz on 9 July 1850. While the circumstances of His martyrdom are recorded in books of history, a brief account of this supreme sacrifice is bound to enlighten the vision and enrich the heart and mind of any believer who embarks on a deeper study of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Here is a short account of this tragic and earth-shaking episode:

After securing the Báb's death warrant from the leading mujtahids of Tabriz, Mirza Hasan Khan, as instructed by his brother, the Grand Vizir, took charge of His execution. As a mark of humiliation, the Báb's green turban and sash, the twin emblems of His noble lineage from the Prophet of Islam, were removed. He was conducted by the farrash-bashi (the chief attendant) to a room in the barracks of the city where a few of His disciples, including His amanuensis, were also imprisoned. Shoghi Effendi describes the circumstances leading to the execution of the Báb in these words:

The farrash-bashi had abruptly interrupted the last conversation which the Báb was confidentially having in one of the rooms of the barracks with His amanuensis Siyyid Husayn, and was drawing the latter aside, and severely rebuking him, when he was thus addressed by his Prisoner:

'Not until I have said to him all those things that I wish to say can any earthly power silence Me. Though all the world be armed against Me, yet shall it be powerless to deter Me from fulfilling, to the last word, My intention.'

To the Christian Sam Khan -- the colonel of the Armenian regiment ordered to carry out the execution -- who, seized with fear lest his act should provoke the wrath of God, had begged to be released from the duty imposed upon him, the Báb gave the following assurance:

'Follow your instructions, and if your intention be sincere, the Almighty is surely able to relieve you of your perplexity.'

Sam Khan accordingly set out to discharge his duty. A spike was driven into a pillar which separated two rooms of the barracks facing the square. Two ropes were fastened to it from which the Báb and one of his disciples, the youthful and devout Mirza Muhnmad-'Ali-i-Zunuzi surnamed Anis, who had previously flung himself at the feet of his Master and implored that under no circumstances he be sent away from Him, were separately suspended. The firing squad ranged itself in three files, each of two hundred and fifty men. Each file in turn opened fire until the whole detachment had discharged its bullets. So dense was the smoke from the seven hundred and fifty rifles that the sky was darkened. As soon as the smoke had cleared away the astounded multitude of about ten thousand souls, who had crowded onto the roof of the barracks, as well as the tops of the adjoining houses, beheld a scene which their eyes could scarcely believe.

The Báb had vanished from their sight! Only his companion remained, alive and unscathed, standing beside the wall on which they had been suspended. The ropes by which they had been hung alone were severed. 'The Siyyid-i-Báb has gone from our sight!' cried out the bewildered spectators. A frenzied search immediately ensued. He was found, unhurt and unruffled, in the very room He had occupied the night before, engaged in completing His interrupted conversation with His amanuensis.

'I have finished My conversation with Siyyid Husayn' were the words with which the Prisoner, so providentially preserved, greeted the appearance of the farrash-bashi, 'Now you may proceed to fulfil your intention.'

Recalling the bold assertion his Prisoner had previously made, and shaken by so stunning a revelation, the farrash-bashi quitted instantly the scene, and resigned his post.
Sam Khan, likewise, remembering, with feelings of awe and wonder, the reassuring words addressed to him by the Báb, ordered his men to leave the barracks immediately, and swore, as he left the courtyard, never again, even at the cost of his life, to repeat that act. Aqa Jan-i-Kamsih, colonel of the body-guard, volunteered to replace him. On the same wall and in the same manner the Báb and His companion were again suspended, while the new regiment formed in line and opened fire upon them. This time, however, their breasts were riddled with bullets, and their bodies completely dissected, with the exception of their faces which were but little marred.

'O wayward generation!' were the last words of the Báb to the gazing multitude, as the regiment prepared to fire its volley, 'Had you believed in Me every one of you would have followed the example of this youth, who stood in rank above most of you, and would have willingly sacrificed himself in My path. The day will come when you will have recognized Me; that day I shall have ceased to be with you.'

Nor was this all. The very moment the shots were fired a gale of exceptional violence arose and swept over the city. From noon till night a whirlwind of dust obscured the light of the sun, and blinded the eyes of the people. In Shiraz an 'earthquake', foreshadowed in no less weighty a Book than the Revelation of St John, occurred in 1268 AH. which threw the whole city into turmoil and wrought havoc amongst its people, a havoc that was greatly aggravated by the outbreak of cholera, by famine and other afflictions.
[Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 52-4.]
The Child of the Covenant – Balyuzi p.50

1950 - Completion of the Arcade and Parapet of the Shrine of the Báb on Mt. Carmel.

The beloved Guardian has sent each of the National Assemblies under separate cover, a couple of enlarged photos of the finished arcade of the Báb's Shrine. These are a little gift from him. He would like as many of the believers as possible to see them, and for them to then be hung wherever they would then be seen most, in some countries this would be the National Hazira.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha'i Community, p. 255)

See the Day of Resurrection for the link to this verse from the Quran. The Guardian incorporated the fulfillment of this verse from the Quran in the octagon with 8 minarets design of the superstructure surrounding the Shrine of the Bab

* In the Qur'án, Sura LXIX, 'The Inevitable', verse 17, it is said: "And the angels shall be on its sides, and over them on that day eight shall bear up the throne of thy Lord." From Rodwell's translation. Arberry translates this verse: "... and the angels shall stand upon its borders, and upon that day eight shall carry above them the throne of thy Lord."
(Ugo Giachery, Shoghi Effendi - Recollections)

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