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4:2: The Life of the Bab

  • Book 4: “The Life of the Bab.” Section 8: Pp. 41-. paraphrased from Dawnbreakers

    “In the year 1850, a new Prime Minister of Persia ordered the execution of the Bab. Again the Bab was brought from Chiriq to Tabriz. There he was confined to a cell next to a courtyard, which was to be the scene of His martyrdom.”
    “As the Bab was being conducted to the cell, a youth forced his way through the crowd and threw himself at the feet of the Bab. “Send me not from Thee, O Master.” pleaded the youth. He begged the Bab to allow him to follow Him wherever He might go. “Arise,” answered the Bab, “and rest assured that you will be with Me. Tomorrow you shall witness what God has decreed.” The youth was immediately arrested, together with two of his companions, and was placed in the same cell in which the Bab and His secretary were confined. This young man became known as Anis.”

    “Anis had heard of the new Message from the Bab Himself during His previous imprisonment in Tabriz and had determined to follow Him to Chiriq. So strong was the fire of the love of God burning in Anis’ heart that his only desire was to sacrifice himself for his new Faith. But his stepfather, alarmed at his son’s strange behaviour, confined Anis to his home and kept him under strict watch. There Anis spent weeks in prayer and meditation, imploring God to allow him to attain the presence of his Beloved. Then one day, while lost in prayer he had an extraordinary vision. He saw the Bab standing before him and calling to him. Anis threw himself at his feet. “Rejoice,” the Bab said to him, “the hour is approaching when, in this very city, I shall be suspended before the eyes of the multitude and shall fall a victim to the fire of the enemy. I shall choose no one except you to share with Me the cup of martyrdom. Rest assured that this promise which I give you will be fulfilled.” 20 And so Anis began to wait patiently, knowing that the day would soon arrive when he would be reunited with His Beloved. Now, at last, he had attained his Heart’s Desire.”

    “That evening the Bab was aglow with joy. He spoke with cheerfulness to Anis and the other three loyal followers confined with Him in His prison cell. “Tomorrow,” He said to them, “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 rather than by that of the enemy.” None of them could think of taking so precious a life, and they remained silent, tears running from their eyes. Then, suddenly Anis sprang to his feet and said he was ready to obey whatever the Bab might command. “This same youth who has risen to comply with My wish,” the Bab declared, “will together with Me, suffer Martyrdom. Him will I choose to share with Me its crown.”21

    “Early the next morning, 9 July 1850, the Bab was working with His secretary when an official suddenly interrupted their conversation. “Not until I have said to him all those things I wish to say,” the Bab told the official, “can any earthly power silence Me. Though all the world be armed against Me, yet shall they be powerless to deter Me from fulfilling the last word. My intention.” 22 But the official did not understand the significance of the Bab’s words. He made no reply and instructed the secretary to follow him. The Bab was then taken from His cell to the houses of the most prominent clergy of the city of Tabriz who, without hesitation, signed the decree for His execution.”

    “Later that morning the Bab was conducted back to the courtyard where a crowd of nearly ten thousand people had gathered to witness the execution. He was delivered into the hands of Sam Khan, the commander of the regiment of soldiers ordered to execute Him. But Sam Khan finding himself greatly affected by the Bab’s behaviour, was seized with fear that his action would bring the wrath of God upon him. I profess the Christian Faith, he explained to the Bab, “and entertain no ill will against you. If your Cause be the Cause of Truth, enable me to free myself from the obligation to shed your blood.” “Follow your instructions,” the Bab replied, “and if your intentions be sincere, the Almighty is surely able to relieve your from your perplexity.” 23

    “Sam Khan ordered his men to drive an iron nail into the wall and attach two ropes to it. From these ropes, the Bab and Anis were suspended. The regiment then arranged itself in three rows, each of two hundred and fifty men. One after the other, each row opened fire. When the smoke from seven hundred and fifty rifles cleared away, the astonished crowd saw a scene they could hardly believe. Anis was standing before them alive and unhurt, and the Bab had disappeared from sight. The bullets had only cut the ropes from which they had been suspended. A frantic search for the Bab began. Eventually He was found seated in His cell, completing His interrupted conversation with His secretary. “I have finished my conversation,” the Bab said. “Now you may proceed to fulfill your intention.” 24

    “Stunned by what had taken place, Sam Khan refused to allow his men to shoot again and ordered them to leave the courtyard. Another regiment had to be brought in to carry out the execution. Once more the Bab and Anis were suspended in the courtyard, and the soldiers opened fire. This time the bullets found their mark. The bodies of the Bab and Anis were completely shattered; yet their faces remained almost untouched. As the regiment was preparing to open fire, the Bab addressed these final words to the gazing multitude:

    “Had you believed in Me, O wayward generation, everyone of you would have followed the example of this youth, who stood in rank above most of you, and willingly would have 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.”25

  • “I have heard Siyyid Husayn bear witness to the following: “That night the face of the Bab was aglow with joy, a joy such as had never shone from His countenance. Indifferent to the storm that raged about Him, He conversed with us with gaiety and cheerfulness. The sorrows that had weighed so heavily upon Him seemed to have completely vanished. Their weight appeared to have dissolved in the consciousness of approaching victory. `To-morrow,’ He said to us, `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 rather than by that of the enemy.’ Tears rained from our eyes as we heard Him express that wish. We shrank, however, at the thought of taking away with our own hands so precious a life. We refused, and remained silent. Mirza Muhammad-‘Ali suddenly sprang to his feet and announced himself ready to obey whatever the Bab might desire. This same youth who has risen to comply with My wish,’ the Bab declared, as soon as we had intervened and forced him to abandon that thought, `will, together with Me, suffer martyrdom. Him will I choose to share with Me its crown (Dawnbreakers ).'”

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