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Timeline to the Baghdad Period

Timeline to the Baghdad Period: Themes of Early Tablets and Historical Personages Related to them. by Kathryn Brown, Sharon Davis, and Karen Johnson. 2000

 

Historical Personages Related to Early Tablets

  1. Haji Mirza Kamalu’d-Din of Naraq

    This man was a Babi who became dissatisfied with the leadership of Mirza Yahya,
    and sought explanation of Bahá’u’lláh for a Qur’anic verse in late 1853 or
    early 1854. This was the first occasion of Bahá’u’lláh responding in writing to
    a question; the reply, “The Tablet of All Food,” was revealed in Arabic. The
    recipient was so illumined, uplifted, and inspired by the tablet that he
    immediately recognized the station of Bahá’u’lláh as the Manifestation [‘Him
    Whom God shall make manifest’]. However, Bahá’u’lláh cautioned him to not
    divulge this truth at this time. He was a devoted follower until his death in
    1881, and is credited as the first person to recognize the divinity of
    Bahá’u’lláh. It is also interesting to note that his great-grandfather, Haji
    Mulla Mihdi, wrote of the martyrdom of Imam Hysayn , which deeply touched the
    Bab.

  2. Mirza Aqa Jan

    He was the amanuensis (secretary or scribe) of Bahá’u’lláh, and served him for
    40 years. He met Bahá’u’lláh at the age of 16, and was among the first to be
    aware of Bahá’u’lláh’s station as Manifestation of God. Mirza Aqa Jan was
    honored to be present during the Revelations, and is described as writing so
    rapidly that the sound of the pen was shrill, and the ink was not dry when the
    page was completed. He is credited for recording and preserving many of the
    Writings, but after Bahá’u’lláh’s death, he did not support the Covenant and
    turned against Abdul Baha; he died in 1901.

  3. Mirza Yahya

    Mirza Yahya, Bahá’u’lláh’s younger half brother (also known as Subh-i-Azal)
    was appointed to serve as the leader of the Babis after the Bab’s death. As he
    was a teenager, being 13 years younger than Bahá’u’lláh, this appointment was
    to divert attention from Bahá’u’lláh during the time of persecution. After
    Bahá’u’lláh went into exile from Persia to Iraq (Baghdad), Mirza Yahya followed
    to that city. However, the youth went into seclusion, kept his location and
    identity a secret, and failed to provide leadership for fear of persecution at
    a time many Babis were martyred. Mirza Yahya competed with Bahá’u’lláh by
    claiming prophethood for himself, attempted to murder Bahá’u’lláh with poison,
    and made false accusations against Bahá’u’lláh which lead to the imprisonment
    at Akka. Mirza Yahya died in exile in Cyprus in 1912.

  4. Siyyid Muhammad-i-Isfahani

    This man influenced Mirza Yahya to oppose Bahá’u’lláh, and was known as the
    Antichrist of the Bahá’í Revelation. He, as well as Mirza Yahya, married the
    Bab’s widow for purposes of credibility. He was sent with the Bahá’ís to Akka,
    where he continued to plot mob attacks against Bahá’u’lláh, resulting in his
    murder by seven Bahá’ís, which caused further oppression to Bahá’u’lláh.

  5. Abdul-Q’asim-i-Hamadani

    He was a Muslim who was the only person to go with Bahá’u’lláh into the remote
    areas of Kurdistan during His time of retreat there. Hamadani brought
    Bahá’u’lláh money and supplies on occasion, and maintained the role of a
    merchant. When Hamadani was killed in 1855, while traveling to bring supplies
    to Bahá’u’lláh, news of his death indicated to the family the location of
    Bahá’u’lláh.

  6. Shaykh Ismail

    Shaykh Ismail was the leader of the Khaledi Sufis at Sulaymaniyyih, who
    recognized Bahá’u’lláh’s unusual gifts. He received a long poem of which 127 of
    2000 verses were preserved as the others identified Bahá’u’lláh’s divinity too
    directly for this early time of the Revelation. This work, called Poem of the
    Dove, is an example of the Sufi style of writing used by Bahá’u’lláh until 1863
    when His declaration was made.

  7. Mirza Musa

    Mirza Musa was Bahá’u’lláh’s younger brother, who helped to locate Him in
    Sulaymaniyyih for His return to Baghdad in 1856. Also known as Aqay-i-Kalim, he
    loyally served Bahá’u’lláh, hid the remains of the Bab in Tehran, lived in
    exile with Bahá’u’lláh, served as communicator with officials and religious
    leaders, and died in Akka in 1887.

  8. Shaykh Sultan

    This man, at the request of his son-in-law Mirza Musa, searched for Bahá’u’lláh
    for two months, and accompanied His return to the family and followers in
    Baghdad.

  9. Haji Mirza Musay-i-Javahiri
  10. Haji Mirza Hadi

    Haji Mirza Hadi, father of Haji Mirza Musay-i-Javahiri, was a Persian nobleman
    who migrated to Baghdad and sat at the feet of Bahá’u’lláh in humility despite
    his wealth and position.

    Haji Mirza Musay-i-Javahiri, referred to as Letter of Eternity, provided the
    house of Bahá’u’lláh in Baghdad. This building, called the House of God or Most
    Great House is to be a site for pilgrimage

  11. Shaykh Muhyid-Din and
  12. Shaykh Abdur-Rahman

    Shaykh Muhyid-Din, a Sufi judge in Kurdistan, was in correspondence with
    Bahá’u’lláh upon His return to Baghdad . Bahá’u’lláh wrote The Seven Valleys in
    reply to his question.

    Shaykh Abdur-Rahman, the leader of the Qadiriyyih Sufis, received the Four
    Valleys in correspondence from Bahá’u’lláh.

  13. Mirza Aqay-i-Rikab-Saz

    This man, an early martyr of the Faith, was the recipient of the Tablet of the
    Verse of Light, as he had requested that Bahá’u’lláh interpret the isolated
    letters at the chapter beginnings of the Qur’an. He was devoted to the Bab,
    unshakable in his faith despite persecution, and did meet Bahá’u’lláh in Iraq.

  14. Shaykh Salman

    Shaykh Salman, a faithful disciple from the village of Hindiyan, received the
    tablet The City of Unity. His original name was Shaykh Khanjar prior to being
    named Salman by Bahá’u’lláh. This name was chosen in replication of Muhammad
    giving the name Salman to a beloved follower named Ruz-bih.

    Shaykh Salman had an important and essential role in dissemination of the
    Writings in Persia when Bahá’u’lláh was exiled to Baghdad in Iraq. This man,
    known as “Messenger of the Merciful,” was the first messenger to come to Iraq
    from Persia, and continued the courier function for 40 years. He traveled
    thousands of miles on foot, delivering letters to Bahá’u’lláh and returning
    with tablets to the believers, despite active searches along the border to
    block the communication. In later years, he continued this function for Abdu’l
    Baha.

    Shaykh Salman had stamina, endured hardship and mistreatment, and lived in
    poverty. Although illiterate and unable to read the messages, he had spiritual
    depth and wisdom, and was known for his purity of heart. For protective
    reasons, the names of recipients of the tablets were not written on them.
    Shaykh Salman would have someone read the messages to him, and through
    understanding of the content, he would know the person to receive it.
    Throughout his years of service, this simple and primitive man never lost a
    single message to confiscation. His wisdom was so respected that his judgment
    was honored in decisions to allow audiences of the believers with Bahá’u’lláh.
    [Revelations of Bahá’u’lláh, vol. 1, pages 109-114]

  15. Mirza Muhammad-i-Vazir
  16. Maryam

    Mirza Muhammad-i-Vazir was a cousin of Bahá’u’lláh’s. The tablet The Exalted
    Letters was written in his memory, for his grieving wife Havva and sister
    Maryam, for their consolation. This deceased cousin was “the very first among
    the family of Bahá’u’lláh to have been converted by Him to the Babi Faith in
    the province of Nur in 1844.” [Revelations of Bahá’u’lláh, vol.1, pages 122-3]
    Maryam assisted in Bahá’u’lláh’s care after His release from prison in the
    Siyah-Chal. She was active in His care, and was a devoted follower. Although
    family responsibilities prevented her from ever seeing Bahá’u’lláh again after
    His exile, He wrote to her with sincere affection, and named her Crimson Leaf.
    After her death, Bahá’u’lláh wrote a special tablet in her membory.

  17. Princess Shamsi-i-Jihan

    The Tablet of the Test was written in honor of Princess Shams-i-Jihan, also
    known as Fitnih. She came to be a believer through her friendship with Tahirih.
    She had an audience with Bahá’u’lláh, and was named The Leaf of Paradise.

  18. Siyyid Jafar-i-Yazdi
  19. Haji Muhammad-Taqi
  20. Zaynu’l Abidin Khan
  21. Shaykh Abdul Husayn-i-Tihrani
  22. Mirza Buzurg Khan

    The tablet Suriy-i-Nush was revealed in honor of Siyyid Jafar-i-Yazdi, who was
    a distinguished divine taught the Faith by Vahid, an early Babi. Since Siyyid
    Jafar was eloquent and highly respected, his public teaching resulted “in a
    great multitude” joining the Faith. Subsequently, the government and religious
    leaders joined in persecution with resulting martyrdom of many, including
    Vahid. Siyyid Jafar was captured and treated with disgrace, despite his
    position, by Zaynu’l Abidin Khan, the Governor of Nayriz, who was intent on
    torturing the remaining Babis.

    The military presence required for persecution of the Babi’s had resulted in
    food shortage in the area. As the hungry people came to acquire their allotment
    of corn, they were required to spit on Siyyid Jafar’s face. Despite this
    degradation, “he remained calm and resigned throughout his ordeal and
    manifested a spirit of sublime joy and love and thankfulness towards those who
    offended him.” To those who hesitated to engage in this action against him,
    Siyyid Jafar encouraged them as he knew of their needs. Later, he was subjected
    to public beatings, which continued daily until observers contributed money as
    a “ransom” to temporarily stop the abuse. [Revelations of Bahá’u’lláh, vol. 1,
    pages 138-141]

    Siyyid Jafar’s companion, Haji Muhammad-Taqi, was a wealthy and respected man
    from Nayriz. He served the function of a banker in his community, and provided
    funds for the Babis. He applied his funds for propagation of the message of the
    Bab and supported Vahid and his followers during the persecution of the Babi
    community. Although he survived the siege of the fort, his properties were
    confiscated, and he was tortured daily by being thrown into a pool and then
    beaten by sticks and poles until the water was red with blood. This continued
    until the governor’s wife, after a significant dream, secretly arranged for
    their escape. They both later were able to visit with Bahá’u’lláh and receive
    His blessings directly.

    In the Suriy-i-Nush Tablet, Bahá’u’lláh refers to Shaykh Abdul
    Husayn-i-Tihrani, an evil and vindictive enemy who allied with Mirza Buzurg
    Khan, the Persian Consul in Baghdad. These men hired an assassin, who twice
    intended to shoot Bahá’u’lláh, but could not commit the murder and dropped the
    gun. These men also organizaed a meeting of the religious leaders in opposition
    to the Babi’s , but were afraid to meet directly with Bahá’u’lláh themselves.
    In this Tablet, they are described as wicked and depraved. Their schemes
    eventually influenced the Shah to request the Ottoman government to move
    Bahá’u’lláh from Baghdad into further exile. [Revelations of Bahá’u’lláh, vol.
    1, pages 143-147]

  23. Siyyid Mirza Husayn-i-Mutavalli

    Siyyid Mirza Husayn-i-Mutavalli was the recipient of the Tablet
    Shikkar-Shikan-Shavand. This man was a Babi who had been with 300 others under
    the leadership of Quddus at the Tabarsi fort, where they were attacked and
    starved. When the army was retreating, Siyyid Husayn betrayed the Babis by
    sending a message to the commander regarding their weakness and small numbers.
    As this resulted in resumption of attacks, he then deserted to the enemy. He is
    known for striking Quddus before the leader’s martyrdom. However, he again
    rejoined the Babi’s, was with Bahá’u’lláh in the prison of Siyah-Chal, came to
    Baghdad, and later was a supporter of Mirza Yaya.

  24. Siyyid Yusuf-i-Sidihi

    Siyyid Yusufi-i-Sidihi was a wise and learned religious leader of the Shi’ahs
    in Najaf. This man was honored by the Tablet The Essence of Mysteries, which
    was written in answer to a series of questions he posed regarding the
    fulfillment of prophesy of Islam. Based on this Tablet, he recognized the
    divinity of Bahá’u’lláh. The answers so impressed him, that upon a later
    meeting with Bahá’u’lláh he became a Babi, and was then rejected by his friends
    who threw him out of their house.

  25. Khal-i-Akbar or Haji Mirza Siyyid Muhammad

    The Book of Certitude was revealed in Persian and Arabic in 1862 in Baghdad to
    the eldest maternal uncle of the Bab, Haji Mirza Siyyid Muhammad, also known as
    Khal-i-Akbar. This man was not convinced that his nephew was the Promised One
    of Islam, and was not converted until Bahá’u’lláh answered his specific
    questions.

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