Mosque Interior Design from Isfahan

“The Prophetic Cycle hath, verily, ended. The Eternal Truth is now come.”


Every one of the Founders of the worlds major religions have proclaimed They would return. Ancient scriptures and prophecies have foretold that when the Promised One of all ages appears, He will unite mankind and the followers of all religions.

Muhammad al Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam, was a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, and in 874 ad., while still a child, he disappeared in a cave under a mosque in Samarra. At that time he went into Occultation and became known as The Hidden Imam or The Promised Qaim (The One who shall arise)

Mishkin Galam Calligraphy

Map of Persia

According to Shiah belief, The Hidden Imam would return in a thousand years bringing peace and justice to all mankind thereby marking the end of Muhammad’s dispensation. Since that time devout Shiah have gathered around the holy shrines to pray for his return. Centuries later, in Karbila, Shaykh Ahmad established himself as one initiated into the mysteries of Divine Revelation and therefore qualified to unravel the interpretations of the sacred text of the Quran and Hadith*

Shaykh Ahmed and Siyyid Kazim in Karbila

He prepared his followers for the imminent return of the Promised Qaim, with the help of his devoted student Siyyid Kazim. Among his students was Mulla Husayn, a meek theologian who set out in search of the Messianic figure. In 1844 a youth named Siyyid Ali Muhammad of Shiraz revealed He was The Bab, or the Gate, to the Hidden Imam and later proclaimed to be the return of The Promised Qaim Himself.
The Bab heralded a New Age of Fulfillment and the first to believe in the Bab’s station was Mulla Husayn who traveled around Persia to proclaim “Zahabuz Zahman” (The Promised One has come.) Mashhad became the first teaching center of the new Faith and the Bab’s followers became known as Babi’s. Thousands of followers pledged their allegiance to the Bab who proposed breaking away from the established laws of Islam by introducing far reaching concepts such as the equality of men and women, racial equality and the Unity of Mankind

Mulla Husayn Teaching in Isfahan

When the news of the Bab’s declaration, and the excitement it generated throughout Persia, reached the Royal Court in Tehran, his Imperial Majesty Muhammad Shah appointed Siyyid Yahyay-i-Darabi, the most learned and influential of his subjects, to travel to Shiraz and interview the Bab in order to ascertain the validity of His claims.

On his journey Siyyid Yahyay compiled a list of questions which he intended to present to the Bab in order to judge His response, but the Bab addressed the questions before Siyyid Yahyay was able to speak. Overwhelmed with awe and humility, he immediately pledged his allegiance to the Bab’s Cause and from that moment became known as Vahid.

Vahid's Feast

Vahid was a wealthy man who owned property in several cities including a luxurious mansion in Yazd. There he prepared a great feast and invited all the governors and dignitaries of the region to announce the glad tidings of the new revelation. The celebration was even more festive because Naw Ruz coincided with the anniversary of the declaration of the Bab.

The religious authorities and Mullahs of Persia became increasingly alarmed at the popularity of the Bab and perceived His followers as a threat to their positions of authority. They imprisoned the Bab, martyred thousands of His followers and denounced all Babi’s as heretics.

Tahirih Teaching in Baghdad

Tahirih believed in the station of the Bab, as the return of the Promised Qaim, when a prayer He revealed appeared to her in a dream. The enthusiasm with which she announced the dawning of a new age of enlightenment attracted seekers from all levels of society. Her fame quickly grew not only because of her revolutionary views and exquisite poetry but also for her extraordinary beauty and eloquence.

The Conference of Badasht

In 1848, Baha’u’llah, a wealthy nobleman from Tehran, invited a group of Babi’s to gather at a Caravansarie in Badasht, a small hamlet near the Caspian Sea. Initially they discussed plans to help the Bab escape from imprisonment, but one day at the Conference of Badasht, Tahirih removed her veil and appeared before the assembled believers and pronounced: “I am the blast of the trumpet, I am the call of the bugle. Like Gabriel I will awaken sleeping souls.”

The event signified the end of the Prophetic Age of Revelation and sounded the clarion call of a new cosmic cycle known as the Baha’i dispensation.

Around the same time, Mulla Husayn and his companions hoisted the Black Standard**and set out from Mashhad to join the other Babi’s at Badasht. On their way, they were ambushed at the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsi. The Babi’s built a fort around the shrine and for almost six months 313 of the Bab’s devoted followers, including several descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, fearlessly defended themselves against attacks from 12,000 men from Nasirid-Din Shah’s army.

Unfurling the Black Standard

The Battle of Fort Tabarsi

One day, while mounting his horse, Mulla Husayn was killed by a sniper hiding in a tree. Without their courageous leader the Babi’s peacefully surrendered but were cruelly massacred, by the Shah’s army. When the news of the martyrdom of Mulla Husayn and his closest friend Quddus reached the Bab he suffered such grief that his pen of revelation was silenced for several months.

In the Kitab-i-Iqan Baha’u’llah wrote, “But for Mulla Husayn God would not have been established upon the seat of His mercy, nor have ascended the throne of eternal glory.” Tahirih, meanwhile, returned to Tehran where she was placed under house arrest. She was at the peak of her popularity and dignitaries, wives of aristocracy, including princesses, came to visit her and listen to her inspired and eloquent teaching.

Tahirih Teaching in Tehran

Tahirih Teaching in Mashhad

One evening, under direct orders of the Mullah’s of Tehran, Tahirih was removed from captivity and taken under military escort to the Garden of Ilkhani outside the city gates, where she was strangled with her own veil. Just before her death she is reported to have declared: “You can kill me as soon as you like, but you cannot stop the emancipation of women.” 

“The Seven Martyrs of Tehran”

During the Naw Ruz festivities in 1850, seven innocent Babi’s including the Bab’s maternal uncle, were taken to the central bazaar in Tehran, opposite the Majid-i-Shah mosque, and executed. Upon hearing the news of their martyrdom the Bab revealed a tablet in their honor and referred to them as those “Seven Goats” referred to in the Hadith “On the Day of Judgment the Seven Goats shall lead the Shepherd.” The Bab was martyred a few days later in Tabriz. This marked the beginning of a reign of terror organized by the Mujtahid’s under the directive of the Amir Nizam during which hundreds of thousands of Babi’s were tortured and executed in an effort to stamp out the new faith.

This era of Baha’i history, from the Declaration of the Bab through the passing of Abdu’l - Baha and Bahiyyih Khanum is generally referred to as the Heroic Age

* Hadith: Oral traditions and interpretations of the words of the Prophet Muhammad and the Imams.

** “Should your eyes behold the Black Standards proceeding from Khurasan, hasten ye towards them, even though ye should have to crawl over the snow, inasmuch as they proclaim the advent of the promised Midhi, the Vicegerent of God."

                                                                                                                                                                                            - The Prophet Muhammad

To learn more about The BAHA'I FAITH click here

To see the making of VAHID'S FEAST   click here

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