The Bab: The Herald of the Day of Days

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THE BÁB
The Herald of
the Day of Days


By the same author
`ABDU’L-BAHÁ
The Centre of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh
BAHÁ’U’LLÁH
The King of Glory
BAHÁ’U’LLÁH
A brief life, followed by an essay entitled THE WORD MADE FLESH
KHADÍJIH BAGUM
The Wife of the Báb
EDWARD GRANVILLE BROWNE AND THE BAHÁ’Í FAITH
EMINENT BAHÁ’ÍS IN THE TIME OF BAHÁ’U’LLÁH
MU?AMMAD AND THE COURSE OF ISLÁM

THE BÁB
The Herald of the Day of Days

by
H. M. BALYUZI

GR

GEORGE RONALD
OXFORD


First published 1973 by George Ronald
46 High Street, Kidlington, Oxford, OX5 2DN
Reprinted 1973 and 1974
Paper edition 1975
Reprinted 1994

© H. M. BALYUZI 1973

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This book is copyright under the Berne Convention. It may not be reproduced in whole or in part, in any form (except for fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, 1956) without written permission from the publisher.

ISBN 0 85398 054 3

EXTRACTS FROM
Nabíl, The Dawn-Breakers
Copyright © 1932 National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís
of the United States
Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By
Copyright © 1944, 1971 National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís
of the United States
WORLD ORDER, A Bahá’í Magazine
Copyright © 1966 National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís
of the United States

Printed by The Cromwell Press,
Broughton Gifford, Melksham,
Wiltshire SN12 8PH


Contents

Forewordix
A Note on the Construction of Persian Namesxi
Prologue1
1.All Hail Shíráz15
2.He Whom They Sought32
3.?ihrán48
4.The First Martyr58
5.Pilgrimage to Mecca69
6.Forces of Opposition Arrayed76
7.Belief and Denial85
8.The City of `Abbás the Great106
9.The Antichrist of the Bábí Revelation117
10.Where the Aras Flows124
11.The Grievous Mountain134
12.That Midsummer Noon148
13.The Dawn-Breakers161
Epilogue189
APPENDICES
1.The Siege of Karbilá193
2.The Martyrdom of the Báb202
3.Prelude to the Episode of Nayríz204
4.The Seven Martyrs of ?ihrán206
5.The Episode of Zanján209
6.Lord Palmerston’s Enquiry214
7.Myth-Making217
Bibliography225
Notes229
Index243

TO
THE SHINING MEMORY
OF
A LONE AND NOBLE WOMAN
WHO SUFFERED IN SILENCE
FOR FORTY YEARS
THIS STORY OF HER BELOVED HUSBAND
IS DEDICATED


Foreword

The present book completes the trilogy on the lives of the Founders of the Bahá’í Faith. However, now that additional material is at my disposal, it is my hope to expand at a future date the volume on the life of Bahá’u’lláh, and also to write a supplement to the volume on the life of `Abdu’l-Bahá.

This book is the first in the range of Bahá’í literature to make extensive use of official documents from governmental archives. I am greatly indebted to Moojan Momen who has generously shared with me the results of his able research in the Public Record Office of London and elsewhere.

The two British Foreign Secretaries who received news and dispatches regarding the Báb and the Bábís were the Earl of Aberdeen, who held office from September 1841 to July 1846, under Sir Robert Peel; and Viscount Palmerston, whose tenure of office extended from July 1846 to January 1852, under Lord John Russell. The British envoy chiefly involved in forwarding such reports to London was Lt.-Col. (later Sir Justin) Sheil, the Minister in ?ihrán. Lord Palmerston’s letters to him (F.O. 248/134) state that his dispatches concerning the Báb and the Bábís were ‘laid before the Queen’.

My deep gratitude goes to Abul-Qasim Afnan, who has unstintingly made available to me the chronicle-history and the autobiography of his father, the late ?ájí Mírzá ?abíbu’lláh, as well as letters written by and to the relatives of the Báb, together with many other documents of inestimable value.

It should be borne in mind that apart from quotations from the Writings of the Báb, speeches attributed to Him or to anyone else in these pages must not be taken as exact reportage of words spoken at the time. They only convey the sense and purport of what was said on those occasions. Obviously no one was taking notes. It is possible, however, that a few short sentences here and there, which immediately engrave themselves on the mind, are exact utterances, the very words spoken.

As the bibliography indicates I have consulted a number of books; but of printed works, the main sources have been God Passes By and Nabíl’s Narrative, The Dawn-Breakers. I am much indebted to the Bahá’í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, Illinois, for permission to quote from these and other sources, as well as to Cambridge University Press, the Public Record Office, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., A. & C. Black Ltd., Faber & Faber Ltd., William Heinemann Ltd., Methuen & Co. Ltd., and World Order, A Bahá’í Magazine. Full acknowledgment is made in the bibliography and notes.

I am profoundly grateful to the Hands of the Cause Paul Haney and Abul-Qasim Faizi for reading the manuscript and for their review and advice. As in the past Marion Hofman’s generous help has smoothed the path to publication. My indebtedness to her is immense. And without my wife’s assistance and support I could not have completed my task.

I should also like to thank Miss Dorothy Wigington, Mr. Farhang Afnan and Mr. Rustom Sabit for their care in reading the proofs, and Mr. Horst W. Kolodziej for his excellent reproduction of a number of old documents and photographs.

Finally, a word as to the Prologue; this in my view provides a necessary background for the story of the Báb. But should the reader find in it too many unfamiliar facts, he may turn immediately to the first chapter.

H. M. BALYUZI

London
October 1972


A Note on the Construction of Persian Names

In times past the people of Persia had no surnames, but in many instances they were known by the name of the district, city, town, or even the village from which they came: for example, Khurásání, Mázindarání, ?ihrání, I?fahání, and Shírází.

There were also various honorific prefixes and suffixes by which a person was distinguished. A descendant of the Prophet Mu?ammad had (and has) the prefix of ‘Siyyid’. At times, ‘Mírzá’ took the place of ‘Siyyid’, and at times the two were used together. ‘Mírzá’ by itself did not denote any particular ancestry, except when placed after a proper name to mark royal descent.

The suffix ‘Khán’ served at one time as a title, but with passing years, it became merely honorific, even meaningless, and at no time was it a surname.

The prefix ‘?ájí’ or ‘?áj’ indicated then, as now, one who had made the pilgrimage to Mecca. Mashhadí and Karbilá’í, as prefixes, marked pilgrimage to Mashhad or Karbilá, but as suffixes pointed out nativity.

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