Martyrdom of the Bab ~ Baha'i Holy Day ~ July 9th

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  1. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    I'll be posting more information about the Martyrdom of the Bab which is commemorated on Friday July 9th later...


     
  2. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    The following was compiled by David Merrick in 2008:

    This is the story of the final days of the Báb, who appeared in Persia in 1844 to challenge and reform the corruption of the land, and introduce to the world the appearance of Bahá'u'lláh and a new world Faith. Imprisoned in the Castle of Chihriq, he was conveyed to Tabriz for arraignment, back to the castle prison and again to Tabriz, meeting His death there in 1850. Suspended in mid-air with a disciple, He was executed by a detachment of soldiers in full view of thousands of people.

    The story begins with the vision of Anis, promising him a death alongside the Báb...

    Anis' Vision
    Two years before His martyrdom and whilst imprisoned in the Castle of Chihriq, the Báb's message was spreading in that foremost of cities, Tabriz. There, a youth named Anis had the greatest fortune to hear it, and from that moment on he was overtaken with a longing to sacrifice himself for the message of the Báb. His stepfather, a notable of the city, deplored his state and the trouble it brought his honour, and forcefully confined the young Anis to his house. He placed a watch over him so that Anis could not leave the city to meet the Báb, and he languished in this confinement, tears continually raining from his eyes.

    In due course the Báb was brought to this very city where, before the 15-year-old Crown Prince and his panel, instead of recanting, the Báb announced His station publicly and was beaten and returned to the Castle of Chihriq.

    One day as Anis languished in despair in his confinement, he was in deep communion with the Báb, and the Báb appeared before him, in a vision of indescribable beauty, power and majesty. From that day on, this vision forever in his heart, Anis' became constantly filled with serenity and joy. In the vision, the Báb had told him how He would Himself be suspended before the eyes of the multitude in that same city and fall to the fire of the enemy, and that none but Anis would be chosen to share His martyrdom. "Rest assured," were the Báb's closing words, "that this promise which I give you shall be fulfilled."

    One of his stepfather's relatives who was a follower of the Báb was able to persuade Anis to be patient and keep everything close within his heart, and in doing this he arranged for Anis' freedom.

    In Chihriq
    The Báb continued to be in prison within the Castle, at work and prayer, unalterably gentle. The King of Persia passed away, and was succeeded by the Crown Prince, who being so young relied entirely upon his new Prime Minister, who was most hostile to the Báb.

    The Báb, seeing His fate approach, gathered together all His letters, documents, seals and other private possessions into a chest, and entrusted them with the key and a letter to one of the Letters of the Living for taking to one of His secretaries, urging the utmost confidentiality and care. That Living Letter after much journeying caught up with the secretary in his rented house. When he opened the chest they found among its items a spotless scroll of blue paper, of the most delicate texture that caused everyone to marvel, for on it the Báb had written, in the shape of a man-shaped star, hundreds of derivatives of the word "Bahá", so finely written that they appeared like a single wash of ink as no calligraphist might ever hope to rival. Everything was carefully returned to the chest, and following the Báb's instruction, His secretary pressed on to the capital Tihran and delivered them to Bahá'u'lláh.

    The land was in turmoil from the unjust treatment and persecution of the imprisoned Báb and His followers, and the Prime Minister, rather than see justice pursued, further deepened the darkness by scheming relentlessly how to destroy the Báb, planning to lead the Báb publicly across the land to the capital, humiliating Him everywhere, and making Him look a fool; but fearing the Báb would transform it all into a triumph, he decided instead to move Him away to Tabriz with a view towards His execution, although knowing the Báb had been in prison He was entirely innocent of any crime.

    Tabriz - In the Prince's Hands
    So the Prime Minister, with scarcely anyone daring to protest, requested the Prince governing Tabriz to transfer the Báb to his city, which was the second capital of the realm, a journey of 180 km. The Prince was kind-hearted, and brought the Báb over with respectful escort and arranged for His accommodation with one of his friends, expecting He was going to be asked to release Him home.

    In three days, however, the Prime Minister's own brother arrived revealing further requests for the Governor to have the Báb assessed before the clergy. The Prince tried to arrange this meeting, but the clergy shrank from meeting the Báb, instead demanding His death, and the Prince was instead forced to arrange that same evening a meeting of his own to examine the Báb, composed of city notables in a poor position to examine the religious niceties at hand. Only the Báb's secretary was allowed to accompany Him, and the Báb was brought to the meeting in a disrespectful fashion, but the Prince went out of his way to seat Him in a position of honour. Questions and tests of a religious nature and inquiry about the upheavals in the land were made, but the meeting became heated with so many members opposed to the Báb and wishing Him to die. The Prince at its conclusion sent the Báb away home to His lodging and seeing how it was clearly going to end refused to have any more involvement with the matter, and handed the Báb's situation to the Prime Minister's brother. The official decree for the Báb's execution, the Prince told him, was a vile act which he would not perform.

    In the Prime Minister's Brother's Hands
    The Prime Minister's brother was about to arrange the Báb's immediate murder but instead, thinking a public execution would be much better and in view of the clergy's official condemnation still remaining to be obtained and a want of his own authority, reported back to the Prime Minister, a long distance which would take a week for the reply.

    During this time, the Báb sent out Anis and several others with letters to the clergy of the city. One of these, treating the letter with contempt, led to a great disturbance as they defended the Báb, and the Prince had to put Anis and his companions in prison for a while to preserve the peace.

    The reply from the Prime Minister came through, entrusting his brother with obtaining the formal condemnation and a public execution. The brother tried to communicate this to the Prince, but the Prince would not meet him and released Anis and his companions from their cell.

    The Báb was led out by the brother to transfer Him to the barracks nearby, when Anis, still haggard and dishevelled from his recent release from prison, rushed into the crowd gathering around and forced his way through, breathless with excitement. Disregarding all personal peril, he flung himself at the feet of the Báb and seized the hem of His garment, passionately imploring Him to let him always be at His side. Two other companions, one also from the cell, unable to contain themselves, rushed forward, declaring their loyalty to the Báb. They were all seized and confined with the Báb in the barracks, and a large number of soldiers were placed on their guard.

    In the Barracks
    During their stay in the barracks, which lasted up to several days, Anis' brother continued to try to draw Anis away from the Báb so that he might return home and receive back his wife and family. Anis wrote back that he was content to die, entrusting his family to God.

    On the final night before the execution, far from being downcast, the face of the Báb was aglow with joy. Unmoved by the storm raging all around Him and conscious of approaching victory, He conversed with His companions in utmost gaiety and cheerfulness.

    'Tomorrow,' said the Báb to His companions, 'will be the day of My martyrdom. Would that one of you might now arise, and with his own hands end My life; I prefer to be slain by the hand of a friend, than by that of the enemy.'

    Tears rained from everyone's eyes; they each made their excuses, and remained silent, for no one wished to do such a thing. But Anis sprang to his feet and announced that the Báb had requested it, and he would obey Him. The companions prevented him from achieving this. The Báb however smiled approvingly and praised Anis' devotion. He requested everyone should disown Him, so that they would be released to convey to His followers everything they knew. Anis, unable to be separated, fell at the Báb's feet and entreated the Báb to be allowed to lay down his life with Him. After much persistence, the Báb permitted Anis' request. "This same youth," the Báb consented, "will suffer with Me in martyrdom: Him will I choose to share with Me its crown. Truly, Anis will be with Us in Paradise."

    The Final Morning
    At sunrise on the fateful morning, the brother ordered the chief hand to conduct the Báb into the presence of the city's religious leaders and gain their condemnation. As the chief hand carried this through, he interrupted the Báb during a confidential conversation with His secretary; the Báb turned, and warned him severely: "Not until I have told him all that I wish to say, can any earthly power silence Me. I shall not be deterred from fulfilling, to the last word, My intention."

    The Báb, His secretary and Anis were taken to several of the houses of the leading clergy, who attempted to induce them individually to deny their Faith or face death, and quickly issued their written demands for the Báb's death. Following this, they were taken to the government house for the final civil authorisation for the plans to proceed, and from there through the city in a parade to the barracks Square for execution.

    Insults, blows and brutalities bursting out with extreme violence rained down on them for hours. The Báb walked unalterably firm, and Anis brazenly stood steadfast beside Him through this agonising and tiring ordeal, whilst the others, exhausted by long endurance, followed their instructions and renounced the Báb so that the His message could continue and were returned to the barracks. Seeing their success, Anis' young wife and little children were brought before him, hoping the rain of their tears and entreaties might conquer his resolution; but Anis remained steadfast, declaring his faith in the most forthright manner.

    The Báb and Anis, in iron chains, collars clamped around their necks and barefoot, the Báb without cloak or turban, were dragged to execution by a cord with violence and taunts, stones and mud cast at them through all the teeming streets and bazaars of the city.

    At length our exhausted heroes arrived at the barracks, and Anis was put back in the cell whilst the Báb was led to execution. Anis however was not content to be there, and at great insistence was brought outside to join the Báb.

    The colonel was greatly moved by the godly behaviour of the Báb, and was seized with fear that he might be performing an act that would condemn him before God. "Enable me to free myself from the obligation to shed your blood," he requested the Báb. The Báb however bade him continue with his instructions, and assured him that if he were sincere the Almighty would be able to deliver him from his perplexity.

    Martyrdom of the Bab
     
  3. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Excerpt from the Súriy-i-Aḥzán - Súrih of Sorrows

    (Many Baha'is read the following on the commemoration of the Martyrdom of the Bab.)


    Would that thou wert standing at this moment before the Throne and couldst hear how the melodies of eternity issue from the Temple of Bahá! By the one true God, should His creatures but cleanse their ears, and should they hear but a single strain of these melodies, they would, one and all, fall thunderstruck upon the dust in the presence of thy Lord, the All-Glorious, the Most Bountiful. Since, however, they have contended with God, He hath denied them the wonders of His grace and hath reckoned them in His sight as discarded lumps of clay. By God! Wert thou to consider their words, thou wouldst hear what was never heard from the Jews when We sent the Spirit unto them with a perspicuous Book, nor from the concourse of the Gospel when We caused the Day-Star of eternity to dawn above the horizon of Mecca with world-illumining splendours, nor yet from the people of the Qur’án when the heavens of divine knowledge were cleft asunder and God manifested Himself, with the power of the truth and in the shadow of His All-Merciful Name, in the beauty of ‘Alí.

    At the mention of this blessed, this hallowed, this exalted and unapproachably wondrous Name, a Name in truth most wondrous, there arise within Me two conditions. I see My heart burning with the fire of grief over that which befell the Beauty of the All-Merciful at the hands of the people of the Qur’án. It is as though every limb of My body were being devoured by a consuming flame that, if left unchecked, would set ablaze the entire world. To this, God Himself beareth Me witness. Likewise I behold tears flowing from Mine eyes, and My limbs, and even the hairs of My head, at the calamities that were visited upon Him by the wicked, who slew God and recognized Him not, and who, boasting of allegiance to but one of His Names, suspended Him in the air and riddled His breast with the bullets of hatred.


    Would that the universe had never been called into existence! Would that the world had never been brought into being! Would that no Prophet had ever been raised up, no Messenger sent forth, and no Cause established amongst men! Would that the Name of God had never been manifested betwixt earth and heaven, and that no Books, Tablets, or Scriptures had ever been revealed! Would that the Ancient Beauty had never been made to dwell among these workers of iniquity, nor to suffer at the hands of those who openly disbelieved in God and who committed against Him that which none on earth had ever dared commit! By the one true God! Wert thou, O ‘Alí, to examine My limbs and members, My heart and vitals, thou wouldst discover the traces of those same bullets that struck that Temple of God. Alas, alas! Thus was the Revealer of verses prevented from revealing them, and this Ocean from surging, and this Tree from bearing fruit, and this Cloud from pouring down its rain, and this Sun from giving its light, and this Heaven from ascending on high. Yet, so hath it been irrevocably decreed in this Day.

    Would that I had never been, and that My mother had never borne Me! Would that I had never heard of that which befell Him at the hands of those who worshipped the Names of God and yet slew Him Who is their Author, their Creator, their Fashioner, and their Revealer! Woe betide them for following the promptings of self and passion, and for committing that which caused the Maids of Heaven to faint away in their celestial chambers and the Spirit to cover its face in the dust by reason of that which these wolves have inflicted upon the Lord of Lords. All things weep at the tears I shed for Him; all things lament at the sighs I uttered over Our separation. Such indeed is My sorrow that the melodies of eternity can no longer flow from My lips, nor can the breezes of the spirit waft from My heart. And had I not sought to protect Myself, My body would have been cleft asunder and My life extinguished.

    Behold, My former Manifestation weepeth in turn and addresseth thee, saying, “O ‘Alí! By the righteousness of the one true God! Wert thou to examine My heart, My limbs, and My members, and to observe Mine inner and outer being, thou wouldst find the traces of the darts of rancour that have struck My latter Manifestation Who appeareth in My Name, the All-Glorious! Thus do I lament, and the Concourse on high lament My weeping. Thus do I bewail, and the dwellers of the Tabernacle of names bewail My cries. Thus do I sigh in anguish, and the inhabitants of the cities of eternity shed tears at My sighing for this Wronged One Who findeth Himself among the people of the Bayán. By God, they have inflicted upon Him that which the followers of the Qur’án never inflicted upon Me. Alas for what hath befallen Him at their hands! Whereupon did the denizens of earth and heaven fall distraught upon the dust at that which had afflicted that Beauty Who was seated upon the throne of divine nearness. Woe to them and to what their hands have wrought every morn and eve!”

    Behold, the Ancient Beauty crieth out: “O Pen of the Most High! Turn aside from this theme which hath saddened all that wear the garment of existence, and make mention of another out of mercy for the Concourse on high. By the one true God! His Throne hath well-nigh been overwhelmed, notwithstanding its grandeur and loftiness.”

    When We heard this call, We ceased Our account of these sorrows and returned to Our previous theme, that thou mayest be fully apprised thereof. O ‘Alí, be not dismayed at that which we have recounted to thee of the calamities that have been visited upon Our former and latter Manifestations. Gird up thy loins to assist the Cause of God, and arise in this path with constancy and unbending resolve.

    - Baha'u'llah

     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2021

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