"It is always in the same line of thought that when imprisoned in Mah-Ku he addressed a long letter to the Shah (Muhammad Shah) which we are about to analyze here. The document begins like nearly all the literary documents of the Bab with exalted praise of Divine Unity. The Bab continues in praising, as is fitting, Muhammad, the twelve Imams, who, as we shall see in the second volume of this work, are cornerstones of the Bayan edifice. `I affirm,' he exclaims, `that everything which is in this world of possibilities other than they, is, in comparison, as absolute nothingness, and if one could express it at all, all that is but a shadow of a shadow. I ask God to pardon me for assigning to them such limits. In truth, the highest degree of praise which one can confer upon them is to confess in their very presence that it is impossible to praise them....
"`This is why God has created me out of a clay from which no one else has been created. And God has given me what the learned, with all their science, are unable to understand, what no one can know unless he be completely humbled before my revelation.... Know then in truth, I am a pillar of the first word; whosoever knows that first word has known God wholly, and has entered into the universal good. Whosoever has refused to know it has remained in ignorance of God and has entered into the universal evil.
"`I take God as witness, the Master of the two worlds, he who here below lives as long as nature permits and remains all his life the servant of God in all the works prescribed by true religion, if he entertains in his heart any enmity towards me, even so little that God alone might be aware of it, he is useless and God will prepare for him a punishment; he will be among those destined to die. God has determined the good which is implied in obedience to me, and all the evil which follows disobedience to my commands. In truth, today I see all that I have just said; I see the children of my love, the obedient ones in the highest heaven, while my enemies are thrust into the depths of eternal fire!
"`By my life, I swear, if I had not been obliged to accept the station of the Hujjat of God, I would not have warned you!'...
"It is evident that the Bab re-states his affirmations made in the Kitab-i-baynu'i-Haramayn without addition or retraction. `I am,' he says, `the Point from which all being flows. I am that Face of God which never dies! I am that Light which is never extinguished! He who knows me is accompanied with all good, he who rejects me is pursued by evil. In truth, when Moses besought God that he might gaze upon Him, God radiated upon the mountain and as the hadith explains, "this light, I solemnly affirm was my light." Do you not see that the numerical value of the letters which make up my name is equal to the value of those which compose the word Rabb (Lord)? But has not God said in the Qur'an, "And when your Rabb radiates upon the mountain"?'
"The Bab continues with a study of the prophecies contained in the Qur'an and in some of the hadiths concerning the manifestation of the Mihdi. He relates the celebrated hadith of Mufaddal which is one of the strongest arguments in favor of the truth of his mission.
"It is said in the Qur'an, chapter 32, verse 4: `From the heaven to the earth, He governeth all things; hereafter shall they come up to Him on a day whose length shall be a thousand of such years as ye reckon.' (Note: J. M. Rodwell's translation.)
"On the other hand, the last Imam disappeared in the year 260 of the Hegira; it is at that time that the prophetic manifestation is completed and that `The door of science is closed.' But Mufaddal questioned the Imam Sadiq as to the signs of the coming of the Mihdi and the Imam answered: `He will appear in the year sixty and his name will be glorified.' This means in the year 1260 which is precisely the year of the manifestation of the Bab.
"On this subject Siyyid Ali-Muhammad said: `I declare before God I have never been taught and my education has been that of a merchant. In the year sixty, I felt my heart filled with potent verses, with true knowledge and with the testimony of God and I proclaimed my mission that very year.... That same year I sent you a messenger (Mulla Husayn-i-Bushru'i) carrying a Book, so that the government might fulfill its duty towards the Hujjat. But the will of God being that civil war should break out which would deafen the ears of men, blind their eyes and crush their hardened hearts, the messenger was not permitted to reach you. Those who considered themselves patriots intervened and, even today, after a lapse of four years, no one has told you the truth regarding this occurrence. And now as my time is near and my work is not human but divine, I have written briefly to you.
"`If you could know how during these four years your officials and delegates have treated me! If you knew, the fear of God would choke you unless you would decide immediately to obey the Hujjat and make amends for the harm done.
"`I was in Shiraz and I suffered from this evil and accursed governor such tyrannies that, if you knew even the least of them, your sense of justice would exact revenge, because his cruelty has drawn the punishment of heaven even unto the judgment day on the entire empire. This man, very proud and always inebriated, never gave an intelligent order. I was forced to leave Shiraz and was on my way to visit you in Tihran, but the late Mu'tamidu'd-Dawlih understood my mission and did what respect for God's elect demands. The ignorant of the city started an uprising and I, therefore, hid myself in the Palace of Sadr until the death of Mu'tamidu'd-Dawlih. May God reward him! There is no doubt that his salvation from eternal fire is due to what he has done for me. Then Gurgin forced me to travel during seven nights with five other men, exposed to every discomfort and brutality and deprived of every necessity. At last, the Sultan ordered that I should be taken to Mah-Ku without even providing me with a mount. I finally reached that village whose inhabitants are ignorant and coarse. I affirm before God, if you knew in what place I dwell, you would be the first to pity me. It is a dungeon on a mountain top and I owe that to your kindness! My companions are two men and four dogs. Imagine how I spend my days! I thank God as He should be thanked, and I declare before God that he who has thus imprisoned me is satisfied with himself. And if he only knew who it is he has so treated he would never again taste happiness!
"`And now I reveal a secret to you! This man in imprisoning me has imprisoned all of the prophets, all the saints and him who is filled with divine wisdom. There is no sin which has not brought me affliction. When I learned of your command (to take me to Mah-Ku) I wrote to Sadr-i-A'zam: "Kill me and send my head wherever you please, because to live without sin among sinners does not please me." He did not reply and I am convinced that he did not understand the matter, because to sadden without reason the hearts of the believers is worse than to destroy the very house of God; but I declare that it is I who am today the house of God! Reward comes to him who is good to me; it is as though he were good to God, to His angels and to His saints. But perhaps God and His saints are too high above us for the good or evil of men to reach their threshold, but what happens to God, happens to me. I declare before God that he who has imprisoned me has imprisoned himself; only that which is the will of God can happen to me. Woe to him whose hand works evil! Blessed is he who scatters good!
"`At last, to sum up this letter already too long: The late Mu'tamid, one night, dismissed all his guests to retire, even Haji Mulla Ahmad, and then he said to me: "I know very well that all I have acquired has been obtained through force and all that I have belongs to the Sahibu'z-Zaman. I therefore give it all to thee, thou art the Master of Truth and I ask of thee the privilege of ownership." He even took the ring off his finger and gave it to me. I took it and gave it back to him and I sent him away in possession of all his goods. God is witness of the truth of this testimony. I do not wish for a dinar of his wealth, that is for you to dispose of; but as, in any dispute, God requires the testimony of two witnesses, from the midst of all the learned, call Siyyid Yahya and Akhund Mulla Abdu'l-Khaliq. They will show you and will explain my verses and the truth of my testimony will appear.
"`Of these two personages, one knew me before the manifestation, the other afterward; I have chosen them because they both know me well!'
"The letter ends with cabalistic proofs and some hadiths. It is clear therefore that the Bab was very unhappy in his prison. He evidently remained there a long time, as the document which we have quoted dates back to 1264, and the execution of the martyr took place only on the twenty-seventh of Sha'ban of the year 1266 (July 8, 1850)." (A. L. M. Nicolas' "Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Bab," pp. 367-373.)