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Abstract:
Life of "the Pride of the Martyrs."
Notes:
Mirrored with permission from the Bahá'í Faith Website of Reno, Nevada; no longer online, but available at archive.org.

Badi, Áqá Buzurg

by Richard Francis

1993/2001

Badí accompanied by his torturers. Image scanned from Basic Bahá'í Dictionary, p. 32, originally from Bahá'u'lláh, King of Glory p. 372.
Áqá Buzurg-i-Nishapuri, known to most western Bahá'ís as Badí', was born in 1853, the son of Hájí 'Abdu'l-Majid-i-Nishapuri, known as Aba Badí' (Father of Badí'). Aba Badí' was an outstanding believer of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh, and also eventually found martyrdom. Badí', who was a rebellious youth, eventually became a dedicated believer. Nabil-A'zam, in the course of his travels come to Nishapur in the province of Khurasan and met Aba Badí', a successful merchant in shawls and Badi's uncle, Shaykh Ahmad-i-Khurasani. They were engaged in copying the Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh. Badí' refused to help and his father described him as "the despair of his family". Nabil-A'zam met with Badí' and discussed the suffering and tribulations of Bahá'u'lláh, by quoting verses from the poem Qasídiy-i-'Izz-i-Varqá'iyyh, which Bahá'u'lláh composed while in Sulaymaniyyih. Badí, upon hearing them, begun to weep. The next morning, Nabil-A'zam told Aba Badí' that the youth was no longer in command of himself and has given in to God.

Badí' insisted on accompanying Nabil-A'zam to Mashhad. However, his father requested that he finish his education beforehand, offering to provide his travel expenses, including a steed, upon completing his study of the Kitab-i-Iqán. Nabil-A'zam documented Aba Badí' saying: " This manner of losing one's self is exactly what I desired. If he remains firm in the cause of God, I myself shall serve him."

Studies completed, Badí' left his home for Bandar-i-'Abbas where he met up with a prominent Bahá'í traveling teacher, Shaykh Faní. Together they departed for Baghdad and ultimately Adrianople. Badí' gave Shaykh Faní everything he possessed and alone set out on foot to walk the last of the way to Daru's-Salám (the Abode of Peace).

Upon his arrival in Baghdad, he stepped in to replace the martyred Áqá 'Abdur-Rásul, serving as the water-carrier of the companions. When eighty-eight of the companions were imprisoned and taken to Mosul, the illumined youth, despite being wounded in several places, set out on foot and arrived at Mosul ahead of the captives. Once again, he engaged in carrying water for the Friends. Later, he set out for the presence of the Abhá Beauty.

This time, he was drawn as if by a magnetic force to the waters of the Mediterranean and walked all the way from Mosul to the citadel of Akká, arriving in the spring of 1869. Since he was still wearing the simple garb of a water-carrier, he passed through the city gate and the vigilant guards. Once inside the city, with the fear of being discovered and not knowing whom to contact, he quietly slipped into a mosque to pray. It was there, to his surprise, he recognized 'Abdu'l-Bahá among a group of Persians attending evening prayers. Badí' wrote a note on a piece of paper and managed to slip it to him. Arrangements were made later that same night for Badí' to enter the citadel and be in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh.

Badí' was given two interviews by Bahá'u'lláh; during the course of these, The King of Glory made reference to a revealed Tablet addressed to Nasíri d-Din Shah. Bahá'u'lláh later wrote of Badí' that which was later quoted by Shoghi Effendi in God Passes By: "the spirit of might and power was breathed". Mírzá Áqá Jan remarks what Bahá'u'lláh stated: "He created him anew with the hands of power and might and sent him out as a ball of fire". **

Badí' subsequently asked for the honor of delivering the Lawh-i-Sultán to the Shah and his request was granted. Because of risks, Badí' was instructed to travel first to Haifa and wait, and while returning to Persia, he would travel alone without contacting any of the believers.

To avoid further risk of detection, the tablet was secretly delivered in a small box by Hájí Shah-Muhammad-i-Amin to Badí during a brief meeting on Mount Carmel. Upon receiving the box he held it in both hands, kissed it, and then prostrated himself. He also was given another Tablet bearing tidings of the "martyrdom of that essence of steadfastness and constancy", as recorded in the Bihjatu's-Sudúr. During his travels, Badí' was often observed by Hájí 'Alí in an account written by Hájí Shah-Muhammad-i-Amin, "- to be full of joy, laughter, gratitude and forbearance, walking around one hundred paces then leaving the road and turning to face 'Akká. He would then prostrate himself and say: "O God, that which you have bestowed upon me through Your bounty, do not take back through Your justice; rather grant me strength to safeguard it"".

Badí' plodded on, alone for four months and upon arriving in Tehran, as instructed, he never contacted any of the believers. His father didn't even know of his return. After three days of fasting, he found out that the Shah's summer camp was located at the resort of Lar. He proceeded there and sat on a knoll where he would be found and taken to the Shah. After some time, the Shah while on a hunting expedition, found him. Badí' approached the monarch with respect and calmly said: "O King! I have come to thee from Sheba with a weighty message". Násiri'd-Dín- Shah was taken back by the youth but was conscious that this message was from Bahá'u'lláh. The Tablet was taken from him and he was retained by the monarch's bodyguards. The Shah ordered the Tablet to be delivered to the mujtahids of Tehran for the purpose of a reply. The command was evaded, and they recommended Badí' be executed. The Tablet was, in an attempt to create further animosity, sent to the Persian Ambassador in Constantinople where it was hoped that the Sultan would find it to be an insult to the ego.

Shoghi Effendi wrote in God Passes By: "Badí' was arrested, branded for three successive days, his head beaten to a pulp with the butt of a rifle, after which his body was thrown into a pit and earth and stones heaped upon it." Badí' a youth of seventeen become, as described by Bahá’u’lláh "Fakhrú’sh-Shuháda’ (The Pride of the Martyrs)". **** [1]

The Shah was reported to have been immensely displeased with the attitude and actions of the divines in refusing to meet the instructions of answering to Bahá'u'lláh. In the end, events now part of history brought a great loss and everlasting infamy to Násiri'd-Dín Shah and the inevitable end of the monarch's rein.

In a Tablet to Hájí 'Abdu'l-Majid (Aba Badí') Bahá'u'lláh states that -"the Temple of the Cause of God was adorned by Badí'. The pillars of tyranny were shaken and the countenance of victory unveiled itself. Badí' had attained to such heights in the world above that no mention could be made of it."

The calendar revealed by the Báb, first described in the Kitáb-i-Asmá', later confirmed by Bahá'u'lláh to be used for the Bahá'í Dispensation, was named the Badí calendar in his honor. [This statement appears to be incorrect. -J.W. (2013)] [2]

References:

    * Balyuzi: "Bahá'u'lláh, King of Glory", p. 372.

    ** Shoghi Effendi: "God Passes By", p. 241

    *** A Basic Bahá'í Dictionary": Edited by Wendi Momen, p.32.

    **** Shoghi Effendi: "God Passes By", p. 199.

Notes:
  1. The Epistle of Násiri'd-Dín Shah was confided to a Persian Bahá'í, Mírzá Badi Khurasani, who undertook to deliver it into the Shah's own hands. This brave man waited in the neighborhood of Tehran for the passing of the Shah, who had the intention to journey by that way to his Summer Palace. The courageous messenger followed the Shah to his Palace, and waited on the road near the entrance for several days. Always in the same place was he seen waiting on the road, until the people began to wonder why he should be there. At last the Shah heard of him, and commanded his servants that the man should be brought before him.

    'Oh! servants of the Shah, I bring a letter, which I must deliver into his own hands', Badi said, and then Badi said to the Shah, 'I bring you a letter from Bahá'u'lláh!'

    He was immediately seized and questioned by those who wished to elicit information which would help them in the further persecutions of Bahá'u'lláh. Badi would not answer a word; then they tortured him, still he held his peace! After three days they killed him, having failed to force him to speak! These cruel men photographed him whilst he was under torture.

    A certain man who was present when Badi was told he should carry the Epistle to the Shah saw him transfigured; he became radiant.

    The Shah gave the letter from Bahá'u'lláh to the priests that they might explain it to him. After some days these priests told the Shah that the letter was from a political enemy. The Shah grew angry and said, 'This is no explanation. I pay you to read and answer my letters, therefore obey!'

    The spirit and meaning of the Tablet to Násiri'd-Dín Shah was, in short, this: 'Now that the time has come, when the Cause of the Glory of God has appeared, I ask that I may be allowed to come to Tehran and answer any questions the priests may put to Me.

    'I exhort you to detach yourself from the worldly magnificence of your Empire. Remember all those great kings who have lived before you -- their glories have passed away!'

    The letter was written in a most beautiful manner, and continued warning the King and telling him of the future triumph of the Kingdom of Bahá'u'lláh, both in the Eastern and in the Western World.

    The Shah paid no attention to the warning of this letter and continued to live in the same fashion until the end. (Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 77)

  2. There is a beautiful prayer in Shi'ah Islam, usually said during the period of fasting in the month of Ramadan, which invokes God through His names. There are nineteen invocations in this prayer and each revolves around one of His names, the first being Baha (Glory). The Báb has taken these names in the same order and given them to the nineteen months of His calendar, each month having nineteen days. This calendar is the basis of the Badi' Calendar, which is the one in use in this Dispensation. (a)

    (a) Bahá'u'lláh specified that this calendar should begin in A.D. 1844 (the year of the Declaration of the Báb), and He also determined the position of the intercalary days. Nabil-i-A'zam was asked by Bahá'u'lláh, about A.D. 1871, to transcribe the text of the Badi' Calendar and instruct the believers in its details. (Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh v 1, p. 116)
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