E. G. Browne's "A
Traveller's Narrative:" Note A[page 171]
PERSIAN AND EUROPEAN ACCOUNTS OF THE BÁB AND HIS RELIGION.
I. PERSIAN ACCOUNTS
Four works, besides the present, written in the Persian
language treat more or less fully of the history of the Bábí movement.
Two of these, the Násikhu't-Tawáríkh and the
Rawzatu's-Safá, are general histories compiled by
Musulmán historians; one, the Táríkh-i-Jadíd, is
a monograph on the said movement, whereof the author, if not actually a
Bábí, at least sympathised warmly with the reformers; one, the
Kisasu'l-'Ulamá, is a biography of Shi'ite divines, which
deals incidentally at some length with the Bábí doctrines and the history
of their originator and his precursors. Each of these works I shall now consider in
1. The Násikhu't-
This is a general history of the world, intended, as its
name implies, to supersede all preceding works of a similar character. Its author is
Mírzá Takí Mustawfí, better known by his
poetical nom-de-guerre of Sipihr and his official title of
Lisánu'l-Mulk ('The Tongue of the Kingdom'). Gobineau, at p. 454 of his
interesting work Trois Ans en Asie (Paris, 1859), gives a description of the
social aspects of this historian (to whom he is indebted for the greater part of the facts
relating to the Bábí movement so graphically pourtrayed in his
Religions et Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale), and of Rizá-
Kulí Khán, the author of the work to be next mentioned. The
Násikhu't-Tawáríkh consists of a series of large volumes,
each of which deals
with a particular period of history. The last volume is entirely devoted to the
Kájár dynasty, and with it alone are we here concerned. It is
divided into three parts, of which the first treats of the origin and rise of the
Kájárs and the reigns of Áká
Muhammad and Fath-'Alí Sháh; the second of the
reign of Muhammad Sháh; and the third of the reign of
Násiru'd-Dín, the present Sháh, down to the year A.H.
1267 (A.D. 1850-1851). A further supplement published separately carries the
history down to the year A.H. 1273 (A.D. 1856-1857). All that relates to the
Bábís is contained in the second and third parts of the main
volume and in the supplement, of the contents of which I shall immediately give a brief
abstract. My intention was to have made this abstract a complete index of contents, but,
having already written more than half of it, I perceived that it would occupy more space
than could conveniently be spared, and I was therefore compelled to confine myself to a
mere summary of the chief heads of the narrative, deferring a fuller presentation
thereof till some future occasion. This is the less to be regretted, inasmuch as almost
everything relating to the subject before us which is contained in this history has been
embodied in the works of Gobineau and Kazem-Beg. The whole of the
Násikhu't-Tawáríkh has been lithographed at
Teherán, but unfortunately the pages are unnumbered and there is no index save
occasional marginal references to the chief events narrated in the text. The numeration
of the pages here given is supplied by myself. It is re-commenced for each part and for
the supplement, but, inasmuch as my copy of the latter has no title-page and appears to
be incomplete, it cannot in this case be regarded as having more than a relative value.
Contents of Part ii of the Kájáriyya volume
in so far as they relate to the Bábís.
P. 130. Events of the year A.H. 1260 (A.D. 1844).
Appearance of the Báb - His parentage, education, and character - Development
of his claims - Peculiarities of his doctrines and ordinances - Reception accorded to him
by different classes.
P. 131. Proofs advanced by the Báb - His
innovations in matters of religion - Accusations against the chastity and temperance of
his followers - The Báb's pilgrimage to Mecca and return to Bushire - Action
taken against him and his missionaries by Huseyn Khán
Ajudán-báshí the governor of Fárs - The
Báb confined to his house.
P. 132. The Báb is entrapped by a stratagem of
Huseyn Khán's into a too free enunciation of his doctrines - He is
punished, and imprisoned with greater rigour for six months - Minúchihr
Khán Mu'tamadu'd-Dawla, the governor of Isfahán, succeeds in
effecting the Báb's release and bringing him to Isfahán, where he treats
him with consideration and kindness.
P. 133. Huseyn Khán expels Seyyid
Yahyá and other prominent Bábís from
Shíráz - Minúchihr Khán, anxious to test the
Báb's knowledge, summons a number of learned men to confer and dispute with
him. [See Note J, infra.]
P. 134. [first 7 lines]. Conclusion of
this conference - Minúchihr Khán conceals the Báb in his house
and sets afloat a rumour that he has sent him to Teherán.
P. 175 [last 3 lines]. Account of the
Báb's first examination before the clergy of Tabríz in A.H. 1263 (A.D.
P. 176. Continuation of the same. [See note M,
P. 177. Continuation of the same.
P. 178 [first 9 lines]. Conclusion of
the same - The Báb is bastinadoed until he recants.
Contents of Part iii of the Kájáriyya volume
in so far as they relate to the Bábís.
P. 45. Events of the year A.H. 1264 (A.D. 1848).
Kurratu'l-'Ayn, her parentage, education, beauty, learning and eloquence - She
embraces the Bábí doctrines.
P. 46 [first 12 lines]. The devotion
inspired by Kurratu'l-'Ayn in her followers - She discards the veil, and openly
preaches the new doctrines - Anger of her uncle, Mullá Muhammad
Takí - He drives her from his house - He is assassinated by
Bábís - Kurratu'l-'Ayn flies from
Kazvín, but continues her propaganda elsewhere. [See Note Q,
P. 53 [last line]. Mullá
Huseyn of Bushraweyh and the Bábí insurrection in
P. 54. Mullá Huseyn is converted to
Bábíism - His missionary journey - His reception and adventures in
Isfahán, Káshán, and Teherán.
P. 55. Mullá Huseyn attempts to attach
Muhammad Sháh and Hájí Mírzá
Ákásí to the Báb's cause - He is compelled by
threats to leave Teherán - He proceeds to Khurásán - Conversions
to Bábíism - Measures adopted against the Bábís -
Hamzé Mírzá imprisons Mullá Huseyn in
his camp at Rádagán - Escape of Mullá Huseyn from
custody - His journey westward, successes, and rebuffs.
P. 56. Continuation of Mullá Huseyn's
journey towards Mázandarán - Encounter with the populace at
Miyámí and defeat of the Bábís - Altercation with
Mullá Muhammad Kázim, the mujtahid of
Sháhrúd - Death of Muhammad Sháh - Account of
Hájí Muhammad 'Alí of Bárfurúsh - He
falls in with the Báb on the pilgrimage to Mecca and embraces his doctrines - He
returns to Bárfurúsh - He joins Mullá Huseyn at Mash-
had - Returns thence on the arrest of his colleague - At Badasht near
Bistám meets Kurratu'l-'Ayn and her followers who have arrived
P. 57. Kurratu'l-'Ayn's address - Its effect on
the audience - She returns with Hájí Muhammad 'Alí
towards Mázandarán - Imputations on the conduct of Kurratu'l-
'Ayn and Hájí Muhammad 'Alí - They are attacked by the
people of Hazár-Jaríb - They separate, he returning to
Bárfurúsh, and she continuing to wander through
Mázandarán preaching - Mullá Huseyn joins his colleague
at Bárfurúsh - Success of the Bábí propaganda - Enmity
of the Sa'ídu'l-'Ulamá - Preparations for battle - Khánlar
Mírzá's aid invoked by the orthodox party to put down the innovators.
P. 58. The Bábís retreat from, but
return to, Bárfurúsh - 'Abbás-Kulí Khán
of Láriján interferes - Collision between the two parties in the city -
Terms offered by the
Bábís and accepted by 'Abbás-Kulí Khán -
The Bábís retire accompanied by an escort sent by 'Abbás-
Kulí Khán - After the escort leaves them they are attacked at
Khusraw of Kádí-Kalá at the head of a band of plunderers
- Khusraw is killed and his followers routed - The Bábís take up their
quarters at the Tomb of Sheykh Tabarsí.
P. 59. The Bábís fortify their position
strongly without let or hindrance, most of the nobles and chiefs of the province having
gone to assist at the Sháh's coronation at Teherán - Description of these
fortifications - Garrison and commissariat of the Bábís - Mullá
Huseyn continues his propaganda - Extreme veneration paid to
Hájí Muhammad 'Alí by the Bábís -
Mullá Huseyn's encouragements and exhortations to his
P. 60. A letter arrives from the Báb containing
this passage: -
[two lines of Persian/Arabic text]
'They [the Bábís] shall descend
from the Green Isle [Mázandarán] unto the foot of the mountain of
Zawrá [Teherán], and shall slay about twelve thousand of the
Turks' - The Government, informed of the Bábís' proceedings,
instructs the Mázandarání chiefs to take action against them -
Áká 'Abdu'lláh marches against Sheykh
Tabarsí with some Afghan, Kurdish, and Turkish tribesmen and
volunteers from Kádí-Kalá - Mullá
Huseyn makes a night-attack on the besiegers.
P. 61. Áká 'Abdu'lláh is
slain and his force routed with a loss of thirty killed - The fugitives flee to the village of
Farrá, which is sacked, burned, and razed to the ground by the
Bábís, and its inhabitants put to the sword - Rage of
Násiru'd-Dín Sháh on hearing this news - Prince
Mahdí-Kulí Mírzá is ordered to proceed against
the Bábís with all speed and exterminate them - He quits Teherán
at the end of Muharram [A.H. 1265 = Christmas, A.D. 1848]
for Mázandarán - 'Abbás-Kulí Khán
marches by another route to join him - The Prince takes up his quarters at
near 'Alí-ábád - His negligence - Stormy weather and snow come
P. 62. Mullá Huseyn makes a sortie with
300 resolute men before dawn on Safar 15th [A.H. 1265 = January 10th
A.D. 1849] - By means of a stratagem he enters Vásaks, surrounds and
fires the Prince's quarters, and defeats and disperses the enemy, of whom many are
killed, including two princes, Sultán Huseyn
Mírzá and Dá'úd Mírzá - Prince
Mahdí-Kulí Mírzá escapes with difficulty -
Hájí Muhammad 'Alí is wounded in the mouth
P. 63. Courageous stand made by the men of Ashraf
against the Bábís - Cowardice of the other troops - Triumphant return of
the Bábís to their fortress - The Prince is discovered and harboured by a
peasant, and his troops gradually re-assembled - He declines to risk another encounter
- Arrival of 'Abbás-Kulí Khán with his troops before
Sheykh Tabarsí - His foolhardiness and negligence - Mullá
Huseyn at the head of 400 Bábís makes a sortie before dawn on
Rabí'u'l-Avval 10th [A.H. 1265 = February 3rd A.D. 1849].
P. 64. Description of the engagement - Rout of the
besiegers - Mullá Huseyn is mortally wounded - The
Bábís retire in good order to their stronghold - After their departure and
the dawn of day some of the scattered besiegers return, bury their own dead, decapitate
the Bábí corpses, and retire.
P. 65. How the news of the defeat is communicated to
Prince Mahdí-Kulí Mírzá - Death of Mullá
Huseyn after re-entering Sheykh Tabarsí - His dying
injunctions - His burial in the shrine - Thirty other Bábís die of their
wounds - The Bábís go out to bury their dead, find them decapitated, and
in retaliation exhume and decapitate the Musulmán corpses and fix their heads on
posts round the gate of the fortress - How the news of the defeat is received by the
Prince - After much hesitation he advances against the Bábís and
encamps at Kiyá-Kalá.
P. 66. On reaching Sheykh Tabarsí the
Prince's courage fails him - He retires to Kásht, and there meets 'Abbás-
Kulí Khán - Preparations for the siege of Sheykh Tabarsí
- Arrival of artillery - Discontent and insubordination amongst the besieging troops
caused by the wilfulness and incapacity of Mahdí-Kulí
P. 67. Sortie of 200 Bábís - They
capture one of the towers erected by the besiegers - Cruelty of Mahdí-
Kulí Mírzá to one of his wounded officers - Renewed anger
of the Sháh because the siege has lasted for four months without any decisive
advantage have been gained - Threats and reproaches addressed by the Sháh to the
P. 68. Suleymán Khán Afshár is
sent from Teherán to superintend the siege - Revival of the courage of the
besiegers - A breach is effected in the Bábí fortifications by means of a
mine sprung under the western tower of the fortress - A vigorous attempt to storm the
breach fails, once again through the incapacity of Mahdí-Kulí
Mírzá - Desertions from the Bábí camp - Fate of
Aká Rasúl and thirty other deserters.
P. 69. Desertion of Rizá Khán
and some others from the Bábís - They receive promises of pardon from
the Prince - They are placed in the custody of Hádí Khán of
Núr - The Bábís, having consumed all their provisions, are
reduced to eating grass, leaves, boiled leather, and broth made from the bones of dead
horses - They make another desperate sortie, and attempt, but fail, to capture the tower
erected by the besiegers against the western gate - The Bábís capitulate
on receiving a written promise, signed and sealed by the Prince, that their lives shall be
P. 70. Evacuation of Sheykh Tabarsí and
entry of the surviving Bábís (216 in number) into the royalist camp -
They are reassured by the manner in which they are at first received, but on the
following day are perfidiously massacred, except Hájí Muhammad
'Alí and some of the other chiefs, who are reserved to grace the Prince's
triumphal entry into Bárfurúsh - The Prince visits the deserted
fortress, marvels at the skill displayed in its construction, and carries off the spoils
accumulated by the Bábís - Execution of Hájí
Muhammad 'Alí and the other Bábí chiefs by command of
the Musulmán clergy - During the whole war in Mázandarán
1500 Bábís and 500 soldiers perished.
P. 83 [last 12 lines]. Troubles at
Zanján - Mullá Muhammad 'Alí Zanjání -
His character and previous career - His innovations, and disagreements with the other
P. 84. He is summoned to Teherán by
Muhummad Sháh and forbidden to return to Zanján - On the death
of that king he escapes in disguise and returns home - He is received with acclamation
by his admirers - He begins to preach the Bábí doctrines, and soon gains
15,000 adherents - Action is taken against him by the government - Collision between
him and Aslán-Khán the governor of Zanján.
P. 85. The Bábís assume the offensive -
Their organization and preparations - Fighting begins on Rajab 5th [A.H. 1266
= May 17th, A.D. 1850. In the Násikhu't-Tawáríkh these
events are described under the year A.H. 1265, but this is an error, as proved by the
accounts of Watson and Lady Sheil] - Names of some of the killed and wounded,
who number about forty in all - Execution of a Bábí prisoner named
Sheykhí remarkable for his valour - Attack on Aslán
Khán's residence by a party of Bábís led by one Mír
Sálih. - Repulse of the Bábís and death of their leader -
Names of some of the killed and wounded.
P. 86. Arrival of Sadru'd-Dawla on Rajab 20th
[June 3rd], and of Seyyid 'Alí Khán of
Fírúzkúh, Shahbáz Khán of Marágha,
Muhammad 'Alí Khán Shahsívan, Kázim
Khán Afshár, and Mahmúd Khán of Khúy
with large reinforcements of cavalry and artilllery [sic] on
Sha'bán 2nd-5th [June 13th-16th] - Capture of a
Bábí position held by Mashhadí Pírí on
Sha'bán 20th [July 1st] - Impatience of the Government -
Mustafá Khán Kájár, colonel of the
16th (Shakákí) regiment, is sent to join the besiegers -
Capture of a Bábí position held by Mírzá
Faraju'lláh after a desperate struggle on Ramazán 15th
[July 25th] - Besiegers further reinforced by
Násiriyya regiment and a corps of picked marksmen, and threatened with
severe punishment unless they quickly bring the siege to a close - General attack on the
Bábís on Ramazán 25th [August
P. 87. The day goes against the Bábís till
Mullá Muhummad 'Alí creates a diversion by setting fire to the
bazaar - On Shawwál 8th [August 17th] the besiegers are
further reinforced by Muhammad Khán Begler-begí with
3000 troops, 6 cannons, and 2 mortars - On the same day the Násiriyya
and Shakákí regiments are ordered to attack
the Bábís - The stratagem whereby Mullá Muhammad
'Alí throws the Násiriyya regiment into confusion - Description
of the Bábí defences - The Begler-begí tries conciliatory
measures, wherein he is seconded by 'Azíz Khán
Ajúdán-báshí and Mírzá
Hasan Khán the Amír-Nizám's brother,
both of whom happen to pass through Zanján at this time - Conciliation failing, a
fresh attack is made.
P. 88. Failure of this attack - Punishment inflicted on
certain officers - The Sadru'd-Dawla is replaced by Farrukh
Khán (the son of Yahyá Khán of Tabríz and the
brother of Suleymán Khán the Bábí), who reaches
Zanján on Zi'l-Ka'da 4th [September 11th] - Arrival of
fresh reinforcements - A way of escape is intentionally left open for the
Bábís - The Bábís again turn to account the covetousness
of the troops of inflict on them fresh losses - Extraordinary courage of the
Bábí women - Letter from the Amír-Nizám
to Farrukh Khán - The stratagem whereby the Bábís decoy
Farrukh Khán to his destruction.
P. 89. Capture of Farrukh Khán by the
Bábís - He and two renegades are tortured to death and their heads cast
into the camp of the besiegers - Anger of the King at this news - More artillery is sent
against Zanján - Renewed attack on the Bábís - Capture of the
Castle of 'Alí-Mardán Khán and other Bábí
positions - Twenty Bábís taken prisoners.
P. 90. Execution of these prisoners - Desertion and capture of twenty-five
Bábís - Their ultimate fate - Mullá Muhammad
'Alí is wounded - He survives his wound for one week - His dying instructions -
His death and burial - His followers capitulate on receiving promise of pardon - Entry
of the royal troops into Zanján - Mullá Muhammad 'Alí's
body is exhumed and dishonoured - Bad faith of the royalist leaders - Plunder of the
Bábí quarter - Massacre of the Bábí prisoners on the
third day after the surrender.
P. 91 [first 7 lines]. Hájí Kázim
Kaltúkí and Mashhadí Suleymán the cloth-
maker are blown from the mouths of mortars - Approval of the Sháh - Some of
the Bábí chiefs are brought to Teherán - Mírzá
Rizá, Hájí Muhammad 'Alí, and
Hájí Muhsin are put to death at the command of the
Amír-Nizám, while the rest are cast into prison. *
[Fourth and third lines from the bottom.] Suleymán
Khán Afshár arrives at Tabríz with the death-warrant of the
P. 93. Mírzá Taki Khán the Amír-
Nizám advises Násiru'd-Dín Sháh to
order the Báb to be put to death - Discussion between the King and the Minister -
The Báb's execution is finally decided on - Suleymán Khán
Afshár is sent to Tabríz with the Báb's death-warrant and
instructions to Hamzé Mírzá, the Prince-Governor of
Ázarbaiján, as to the method of procedure - The Báb and his
amanuensis, Áká Seyyid Huseyn of Yezd, are brought
from Chihrík. to Tabríz - Áká [here
called Mullá] Muhammad 'Alí of Tabríz is also
arrested - His brother, Áká 'Abdu'lláh, unsuccessfully
attempts to induce him to recant - Hamzé Mírzá desires
the clergy of Tabríz to dispute with and confute the Báb - They
P. 94. The Báb is brought before Hamzé Mírzá,
Mírzá Hasan, Hájí Mírzá
'Alí, and Suleymán Khán Afshár by night -
Hamzé Mírzá asks him to recite verses concerning a
crystal candlestick - The Báb complies, and these verses are written down -
Hamzé Mírzá requests the Báb to repeat these
verses - They are repeated differently - It is decided to kill the Báb with the
utmost publicity - He is taken to the houses of three prominent members of the clergy,
Hájí Mírzá Bákir, Mullá
Muhammad Mámakání, and
Áká Seyyid Zanvazí, who ratify the sentence of death -
Áká Seyyid Huseyn of Yezd recants - The steadfastness of
Áká Muhammad 'Alí - The execution takes place
on Sha'bán 27th [A.H. 1266, not 1265 as stated by Sipihr and
Kazem-Beg. See pp. 45 and 186 - 187] - The firing-party is formed of
Christian soldiers - At the first volley Áká Muhammad
'Alí is killed, but the Báb, released from his bonds by the bullets, falls
uninjured to the ground - He takes refuge in the rooms of one of the soldiers.
P. 95 [first 9 lines]. Reflections on his strange occurrence - The
Báb is dragged forth from his retreat by Kúch 'Alí
Sultán, again bound, and once more fired on by the
soldiers - This time he is killed - Indignities offered to his body.
P. 112 [last half]. The insurrection at Níríz -
Áká Seyyid Yahyá of Dáráb - His
character, and that of his father Áká Seyyid Ja'far-i-
Kashfí - Seyyid Yahyá is converted to the
Bábí doctrines - He goes to Teherán to preach the new faith - He
goes to Yezd - The Yezd insurrection and its failure - Seyyid Yahyá goes
to Fasá in Fárs - Bahrám Mírzá having been
dismissed from the government of Fárs, and Fírúz
Mírzá not having yet arrived to take his place, Mírzá
Fazlu'lláh Nasíru'l-Mulk is the supreme authority
in the province - The nobles of Fasá request him to put a stop to Seyyid
P. 113. The Nasíru'l-Mulk writes a letter to Seyyid
Yahyá - He receives a reassuring reply - Fresh complaints are made -
Another message to Seyyid Yahyá proves equally ineffectual - Seyyid
Yahyá goes to Níríz with the force which he has collected
- Disaffection of Níríz, and unpopularity of its governor, Zeynu'l-
'Ábidín Khán - Seyyid Yahyá, with 300
followers, occupies an old castle near Níríz - The
Nasíru'l-Mulk sends him a third message - His answer - He
makes a night attack on Níríz, sacks the town, and puts Zeynu'l-
'Ábidín Khán to flight - Hereupon many recruits join the
Bábís, so that their forces amount to more than 2000 men.
P. 114. Fírúz Mírzá the new governor, when distant
four stages from Shíráz, receives news of the success of the
Níríz insurgents - He sends a messenger to Shíráz
instructing Mihr 'Ali Khán Núrí Shujá'ul-Mulk
and Mustafá-Kulí Khán to proceed against Seyyid
Yahyá with two Káragúzlú regiments - The
Nasíru'l-Mulk writes to Zeynu'l'Ábidin Khán the
fugitive governor of Níríz ordering him to collect what forces he can and
join the attacking force - The royalist forces combine and proceed to
Níríz - Preliminary skirmish - Siege operations commenced - Failure
of Mustafá-Kulí Khán's attempts to bring
about a peaceable settlement - Seyyid Yahyá supplies his followers with
amulets - Sortie of 300 Bábís - Failure of the sortie
after prolonged fighting, during which 150 Bábís and four soldiers are
slain - Desertions amongst the Bábís - Second sortie of the
P. 115 [first half]. Repulse of Bábí sortie -
Valí Khán is sent with reinforcements from Shíráz -
Seyyid Yahyá is induced to quit his fortress, and, accompanied by one
attendant, to return to his house in Níríz - On his way thither he is met
by the sons of 'Alí 'Askar Khán who kill him in revenge for their father's
death - Seyyid Yahyá's two sons and thirty of his followers are brought to
Shíráz - The former are spared in consideration of their being seyyids,
but the latter are put to death by order of Fírúz
Contents of the Supplement to the Kájáriyya
volume in so far as they relate to the Bábís.
P. 22. Events of the year A.H. 1268 [A.D. 1852]. Imám-
Kuli Mírzá is appointed governor of Kirmánsháh -
His energy in restoring order to his province - He arrests Mullá 'Alí
Asghar, a Bábí missionary, and sends him in chains to
Teherán - One Teymúr1 of Kal'a-
Zanjírí claims to be the vicegerent of the Absent Imám and draws
to himself a great number of people - He is seized and put to death by Imám-
Kulí Mírzá - Account of the attempt on the Sháh's life -
Digression on the character and doctrines of Sheykh Ahmad
P. 23. Hájí Seyyid Kázim
of Resht succeeds Sheykh Ahmad - Dissensions amongst his followers after his
death - Mullá Huseyn persuades many of the Sheykhís to follow
Mírzá 'Alí Muhammad the Báb - His journey to
Khurásán - Mullá Sheykh 'Alí [whom the
Bábís entitle Jenáb-i-'Azím]
becomes a Bábí and engages in active propaganda - He goes from
Kerbelá to Káshán, where he sees and attempts to
1Subh-i-Ezel informed me that this
Teymúr was not a Bábí but advanced a claim on his own account.
After his death, however, a youth calling himself Seyfúr, who was a
Bábí, appeared, and used to declare that he was Teymúr returned
again from the dead.
convert Mírzá Áká Khán of Núr,
afterwards Sadr-i-A'zam (Prime Minister) - He goes to
Teherán, where, under various names and in diverse disguises, he continues his
attempts at proselytizing - During the ministry of the Amír-
Nizám he mediates a rising to be inaugurated by the slaughter of
Mírzá Abú'l Kásim the Imám Jum'a
- This plot is discovered by government spies and reported to the Amír-
Nizám - Mírzá 'Abdu'r-Rahím, the
brother of Mullá Muhammad Takí of Herát, one of
the disciples of Mullá Sheykh 'Alí, is arrested.
P. 24. Mírzá 'Abdu'r-
Rahím refuses to betray his confederates - Mírzá
Táhir, fellow-lodger of the above, is questioned - Hájí
Seyyid Muhammad of Isfahán is beguiled by a forged letter into revealing
Mullá Sheykh 'Alí's abode - A servant of Mullá Sheykh
'Alí's is arrested and tortured, but discloses nothing - He is put to death, but
Mírzá 'Abdu'r-Rahím's life is spared - Mullá
Sheykh 'Alí escapes and takes refuge in Sháh 'Abdu'l-
'Azím, whence he presently flies to Ázarbaiján - On the
fall of the Amír-Nizám, Mullá Sheykh 'Alí
returns to Teherán and begins to organize the conspiracy against the
Sháh's life - The house of Hájí Suleymán Khán of
Tabríz becomes the meeting-place of the conspirators, and there Mullá
Sheykh 'Alí takes up his quarters - Seventy persons are involved in the
conspiracy - Nature of the plot - Twelve Bábís volunteer for the
attempt, amongst them being Muhammad Sádik. [of
Zanján], Mírzá 'Abdu'l-Wahháb of
Shíráz, Mullá Fathu'lláh of Kum, and
Muhammad Bákir of Najafábád.
P. 25. The attempt on the Sháh's life is made on
Sunday, Shawwál 28th [A.H. 1268 = August 15th, 1852] -
Account of the attempt and its failure. [See infra, Note
P. 26. Fate of the assassins - Consternation of the
ministers - Conjectures as to the originators of the plot - Firmness of the Prime
P. 27. Messengers despatched to all parts of the kingdom
to announce the Sháh's safety - The search for the Bábís begins -
Arrest of Hájí Suleymán Khán and twelve of his
confederates - On information obtained from some of these prisoners 36
Bábís are captured, amongst whom is Mullá Sheykh 'Alí.
P. 28. The Hájibu'd Dawla cuts
off Mullá Sheykh
'Alí's ear - Examination of the prisoners - Mírzá Huseyn
'Alí Núrí [apparently Behá'u'lláh
himself], Mírzá Suleymán-Kulí,
Mírzá Mahmúd, Áká
'Abdu'lláh, Mírzá Jawád of Khurásán, and
Mírzá Huseyn of Kum are imprisoned, there not being
sufficient evidence to incriminate them in the plot: the other Bábí
prisoners are apportioned amongst the different departments and classes each to be slain
in such fashion as shall please those to whom he has been assigned - The slaughter takes
place on the last day of Zi'l-Ka'da [A.H. 1268 = September 15th,
A.D 1852] - Account of the executions [see infra, Note
P. 29. Account of the executions continued, including
that of Kurratu'l-'Ayn [see infra, Notes Q and T] -
Whoever carefully examines the arrangement of matter
in the Násikhu't-Tawáríkh as indicated in the above table
of contents will perceive that this arrangement is not strictly chronological, although
ostensibly intended to be so. A desire not to interrupt the continuity of the narrative in
relating an episode often induces the historian to include under the year in which the
episode which he is describing first began, events properly belonging to subsequent
years. Thus the first public appearance of the Báb was in the year A.H. 1260,
but the narrative is carried on without interruption not only to the time of his return
from Mecca to Bushire, which certainly did not occur till A.H. 1261, but to the period of
his concealment by the Mu'tamadu'd-Dawla in Isfahán, which belongs to
the year A.H. 1262. So likewise the beginning of the insurrection in
Mázandarán was in A.H. 1264, while its final suppression did not take
place till A.H. 1265; yet the whole insurrection from its earliest beginning to its
ultimate conclusion is described under the year A.H. 1264, the only indication of a
change of year being afforded by the rotation of the months. Other instances might be
adduced, but these are sufficient to prove a fact which it is most important to bear in
mind. The erroneous dates given for the siege of Zanján and the Báb's
martyrdom (of which events, according to all testimony, the latter took place during
former) cannot, however, be satisfactorily accounted for in this way; and I am forced to
suppose that in this case the Lisánu'l Mulk has committed a positive
error, which, as it has been copied and reproduced by Kazem-Beg and a number of
writers who have followed him, it is necessary to expose in the clearest manner
possible. This I strove to do in my first paper on the Bábis in the Journal of
the Royal Asiatic Society for 1889 (pp. 511-513), where I attempted to prove that
both of the events in question were to be assigned, not, as stated in the
Násikhu't-Tawáríkh and repeated by those who have
unreservedly followed it, to the year A.H. 1265 (A.D. 1849), but to the year A.H. 1266
(A.D. 1850). It is unnecessary for me to repeat in this place the arguments there
adduced to support an opinion in which further study of the matter serves but to confirm
me; I will only observe that further corroboration of that opinion is afforded not only by
the present work (supra, pp. 44-45) and the Rawzatu's-
Safá, but also by Dr A. H. Wright's memoir contributed to the
Z. D. M. G. in 1851, wherein the Báb's execution is
described (p. 385) as having occurred "last year," and by Binning (Journal of
Two Years' Travel in Persia &c., London, 1857, vol. i, p. 407), who, in a passage
written in 1850 or early in 1851, remarks, after describing the Báb's
execution, that "a large number of them [i.e. the Bábís]
are now up in arms in Zenjân."
Complete impartiality is a quality we could not
reasonably expect to find in the court historian of a despot whose ears must hear what is
pleasant rather than what is true, and whose actions must be not only justified but
extolled as models of wisdom and virtue. When we consider that, apart from this, the
Lisánu'l-Mulk, as a presumably orthodox Shi'ite Muhammadan, was
bound to disparage and traduce in every way possible those whose object was nothing less
than the complete overthrow of Islám and the abrogation of its ordinances, we
cannot but admire the candour which he displays; for if, on the one hand, he brings
against the Bábís many unfounded and absurd accusations, on the other
hand he pourtrays with a fidelity scarcely surpassed by the witty and sarcastic Comte de
Gobineau the cowardice, incapacity, and treachery of Mahdí-Kulí
Mírzá, the courage of Mullá Huseyn of Bush-
reweyh, the constancy of Áká Muhammad 'Alí of
Tabríz, and the heroism of the Bábí women of Zanján.
Each page of the Násikhu't-
Tawáríkh consists of 29 lines containing on an average 21 words
each, so that a page is equivalent to about 600 words. That portion of the narrative
which refers to the Bábís occupies in all not less than 46 pages, and
cannot contain fewer than 27,000 words.
2. The Rawzatu's-Safá.
The Teherán lithographed edition of this work,
whereof the publication was completed in Rabí'u'l-Avval A.H. 1274
(Oct-Nov., A.D. 1857), consists of ten volumes bound in two. Of these ten
volumes the first six composed by Mírkhwánd (d. A.D. 1498) and the
seventh composed by his grandson Khwándamír (d. A.D. 1534) constitute
the whole of what is generally understood by European writers when they speak of the
Rawzatu's-Safá. The three last (eighth, ninth, and
tenth) volumes, which supplement the older work and bring the narrative down to our
own days, were written by that most talented and learned scholar Rizá-
Kulí Khán 'Lelé-Báshí,' of whose
life and works a most valuable account from the pen of Mr Sidney Churchill will be
found in vol. xviii (New Series) of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, pp.
196-206. All that relates to the Bábís is contained in the last (tenth)
volume, with which alone, therefore, we are here concerned. The numeration of the
pages in this volume is supplied by my hand, the pages in the original being
unnumbered. As the narrative of the Bábí movement here given agrees
very closely for the most part with that contained in the Násikhu't-
Tawáríkh, I shall in the summary of its contents about to be given
indicate very briefly that portion of it dealt with in each page, except in cases where
some fact is added or differently stated.
Contents of vol. x of the Rawzatu's-
Safá in so far as they relate to the
P. 69 [last 17 lines]. From the first
appearance of the
Báb to the stratagem whereby Huseyn Khán
Ajúdán-Báshí induces him to expose his ideas
P. 70 [first 18 lines]. From the
Báb's disputation with the clergy of Shíráz to the death of
Minúchihr Khán in Rabí'u'l-Avval A.H. 1263 and the
Báb's removal to Chihrík. Reflections on the causes which led to
the rapid spread of his doctrines. He is accused of holding and teaching the doctrine of
P. 118 [first 26 lines]. From the
beginning of Mullá Huseyn's propaganda to his escape from Mash-had and
advance on Mázandarán with 300 or 400 followers. It is stated that his
original intention was to proceed to Chihrík. and liberate the Báb. The
last three lines of this page begin the account of the Báb's first examination (A.H.
1263=A.D. 1847) by the clergy of Tabríz presided over by the present
Sháh, at that time Crown-Prince. The account of the proceedings of this assembly
is professedly copied "without favour or enmity" from the report written by
Hájí Mullá Mahmúd the
Nizámu'l-'Ulamá. Concerning this conference see
supra, pp. 18-21, and infra, Note M.
P. 119. Account of the conference continued.
P. 120. Account of the conference continued.
P. 121. Conclusion of the conference, and punishment of
the Báb, who is afterwards sent back to Chihrík. - Exasperation of the
Bábís on hearing what indignities have been offered to their master -
Mullá Muhammad 'Alí of Bárfurúsh -
Kurratu'l-'Ayn - The meeting of Badasht - The attack on the
Bábís at Hazár-Jaríb - The death of Muhammad
Sháh (Shawwál, A.H. 1264=August 31st - September 28th, A.D.
18481) - Beginning of the Mázandarán
P. 122. Recapitulation of Mullá
Huseyn's earlier adventures and behaviour - Narrative of events from the
collision between Mullá Huseyn's 700 or 800 white-robed, white-
turbaned followers and the Musulmáns of Bárfurúsh to the
occupation of Sheykh Tabarsí by the former - Description of the
1 According to Watson (History of Persia, p. 354), the
death of Muhammad Sháh took place on September 4th,
P. 123. Continuation of narrative of the
Mázandarán insurrection to the surprise and discomfiture of
Mahdí-Kulí Mírzá by the Bábís at
P. 124. Continuation of narrative to the night attack of
the Bábís led by Mullá Huseyn on 'Abbás-
Kulí Khán's army. The date of this event is here stated as
Rabí'u'l-Avval 10th A.H. 1266 (January 24th, A.D. 1850), which is a mistake.
The correct date, Rabí'u'l-Avval (10th) A.H. 1265 (February 3rd, A.D. 1849)
is given in the Násikhu't-Tawáríkh.
P. 125. From the death of Mullá Huseyn
to the second advance of Mahdí-Kulí Mírzá against
P. 126. Continuation of the narrative to the arrival of
Ja'far-Kulí Khán and Tahmásp
Kulí Khán with reinforcements for the besiegers.
P. 127. Continuation of the narrative to the
Bábí sortie, which results directly in the death of
Tahmásp-Kulí Khán, and indirectly in that of his
uncle Ja'far-Kulí Khán through the wanton and inconsiderate
cruelty of Mahdí-Kulí Mírzá.
P. 128. Conclusion of the narrative of the
Mázandarán insurrection. Beginning of the narrative of the
P. 129. Continuation of the narrative to Seyyid
'Alí Khán's unsuccessful attempt at pacification.
P. 130. Continuation of the narrative to Farrukh
Khán's capture and terrible fate.
P. 131. Continuation of the narrative to Hasan
Khán's unsuccessful attempt at pacification. (According to the
Násikhu't-Tawáríkh this event preceded the last, and this
version is on the face of it more probable.)
P. 132. Conclusion of the narrative of the
Zanján insurrection - Brief account of the execution of the Báb at
Tabríz. (The date of this event is here correctly stated as A.H. 1266. The account
itself is most meagre, amounting in substance merely to this: that the Báb was
brought from Chihrík. to Tabríz, condemned to death by the clergy of that
city, and suspended and shot, together with two of his disciples, by the Christian
regiment, his body being afterwards cast outside the city as food for wolves and
No mention is made of his miraculous escape from the first volley by the
soldiers) - Beginning of the narrative of the Níríz
P. 133. Conclusion of the narrative of the
Níríz insurrection. (According to this account, Aká Seyyid
Yahyá of Dáráb the insurgent leader was brought to
Shíráz and there put to death. Allusion is also made to the second
Bábí rising at Níríz and the assassination of the governor
Zeynu'l-'Ábidín Khán, which events occurred about two years
later. See Note H, infra.)
P. 167 [last 21 lines]. The attempt on
the Sháh's life (see Note T, infra). Preliminary recapitulation of similar
attempts on the lives of kings and ministers made by members of heretical sects -
Eulogies of Násiru'd-Dín Sháh.
P. 168. After the death of the Báb a new leader
(whom the author of this history apparently believes to have been Mullá Sheykh
'Alí 'Jenáb-i-'Azím') is chosen by his followers -
The Bábí conspiracy - The assassination is planned by twelve
Bábís, who arrange that the attempt shall take place on the morning of
Sunday the 28th of Shawwál A.H. 1268 (August 15th, A.D. 1852) as the
Sháh is riding out on a hunting expedition from his summer residence at
Niyávarán - Description of the Royal Cavalcade and the approach of the
conspirators in the guise of suppliants.
P. 169. Of the twelve assassins, six fail to arrive in
time, while three lag behind - The three who are ready approach the Sháh as
petitioners, surround him, and fire two shots at him - The Sháh's retainers
come up and kill one of the conspirators - Another shot is fired wounding the
Sháh in the shoulder - The two surviving conspirators are seized and retained
for examination - The Sháh wishes to continue his expedition, but is dissuaded by
the Prime Minister - Panic in Teherán - The Sháh holds a public
reception on the following day.
P. 170. Messengers are despatched in all directions to
announce the Sháh's safety - Certain malicious persons strive unsuccessfully to
cast suspicion on the Prime Minister and Muhammad Hasan Khán
of Erivan - It is
discovered that 70 Bábís are in the habit of resorting to the house of
Hájí Suleymán Khán, on which accordingly a raid is made,
resulting in the capture of Suleymán Khán and twelve others -
Mullá Sheykh 'Alí and thirty-six other Bábís are also
arrested - Account of the execution of these - The Sháh returns to
Teherán from Niyávarán amidst general rejoicings on Friday,
Zi'l-Ka'da 17th, A.H. 1268 (September 2nd, A.D. 1852).
narrative substantially agrees with that of the Lisánu'l-Mulk, but is on
the whole less full, more bombastic, and more vituperative, execrations and curses on
the Bábís severally and generally being freely introduced throughout.
Some new dates are added, and some, such as that of the Zanján troubles, which
are erroneously stated in the Násikhu't-Tawáríkh, are
here correctly given; but, on the other hand, some fresh chronological errors, notably
in the case of Mullá Huseyn's last sortie and death, are introduced. The
account given of the Báb's death is extremely meagre; and in other parts of the
narrative we miss that abundance of detail and fulness of description which render the
Násikhu't-Tawáríkh so readable and so graphic.
Each page of the Rawzatu's-
Safá contains 33 lines, and each line an average of 26 words, making
about 858 words to the page. The number of pages devoted to the Bábís is
in all twenty and a half, so that the whole narrative above summarized contains not
fewer than 17,500 words, and is about two-thirds of the length of the account given in
3. The Táríkh-i-
Of this work, which exists only in manuscript, two
copies only, so far as I know, have reached Europe1.
1 Quite recently, as I have learned from Baron Rosen, another
MS. of this work, obtained by M. Tumanski at Ishkábád,
has been added to the library of the Institut des Langues Orientales of St
obtained by Mr Sidney Churchill, is in the library of the British Museum, and is
numbered Or. 2942. The other is in my own possession, and is briefly described at p.
496 of my first paper on the Bábís in the J. R. A. S. for
1889, and at pp. 1002-1003 of my second paper in the same volume. Of the manner in
which I first became acquainted with this work, of the means whereby I obtained the
MS. now in my possession, of my intention of publishing it, and of the causes
which led me to lay aside (I trust but for a season) the text and translation on which I
was engaged in favour of the present work, I have already spoken in the Introduction. As
the Táríkh-i-Jadíd is not at present generally available to
scholars, I shall confine myself to giving a brief statement of its contents based on my
own MS. Before doing so, however, a few words must be said concerning the
British Museum codex, which is superior alike in accuracy, neatness, and calligraphy to
In the MS. catalogue of recent acquisitions the
MS. in question is described thus:-
"Or. 2942. Táríkh-i-Jadíd. A
history of the Bábís. A.H. 1298 (1881). Persian."
On its cover it bears the following inscription:-
BRIT. MUS. OR.
Inside the cover is written:-
The blank leaf at the beginning bears the name of the
work (~~~) both in Arabic and English
characters, the date July 1882, and Mr Sidney Churchill's signature, substituted for
that of Hr Henry Churchill through which a pen has been drawn.
At the end of the text is the following colophon:-
(Rajab A.H. 1298 = May 30th - June 28th A.D.
A final note states that the MS. was bought of
[sic] Mr S. Churchill on October 10th, 1885. It consists of 177
fol. (354 pp.). Quotations, headings, and the initial words of sentences are sometimes
written in red. The paper is of a bluish colour. The text, so far as I have collated it,
offers a good many variants from, and some additions to, my MS., and its readings
are generally preferable.
My MS. consists of 374 pp., each of which
contains 19 lines numbering on an average 10 words apiece. The whole history may be
estimated to contain over 70,000 words.
As regards the authorship of the work, it is concealed
for obvious reasons; and indeed the author goes out of his way to describe himself as a
traveller who, having visited all parts of Europe and India, undertook a journey to
Persia for scientific purposes and especially geographical research. He expresses
thankfulness to God that he does not belong to the Persian nation, whose faults he exposes
unsparingly. He pourtrays himself as a non-Muhammadan open to conviction on matters
of religion and associating freely with all sects. And at the conclusion of his work he
apologizes for his lack of literary style, advances as an excuse the statement that
Persian is not his native tongue, and alludes to a "treatise written in his own language in
French writing" wherein the matter in hand is more eloquently set forth. Now that any
European should have been capable or desirous of composing such a work is on the face of
it extremely improbable, and there can be little doubt that the author advanced the
statements above alluded to merely as a blind. Of the Bábís whom I have
questioned on the subject some attribute the authorship of the work to a certain well-
known and widely-travelled resident in the Persian capital, whom, as he is still living,
I do not feel myself justified in indicating more particularly; others to his
mírzá or secretary, now dead. It appears not improbable that it
was the joint product of these two. Whoever the author or authors may have been, the
information set forth is so detailed and so minute that it must have been derived for the
most part from persons who had conversed with actual eye-witnesses of the events
described, if not from eye-witnesses themselves. The author, whether
he had really embraced the Bábí faith or not, was, on his showing, a
warm admirer of the Báb and his apostles and disciples, and was during the
composition of his work in continual communication with certain prominent members of
the sect. Yet the work when completed - perhaps because of the violence wherewith it
denounces the Musulmán clergy and reproaches the Persian nation, perhaps
because of the slight mention which it makes of Behá'u'lláh (of
Subh-i-Ezel it makes no mention at all) and the exaggerated veneration
paid to the Báb - did not meet with the approval of the Bábí chiefs
in Acre, and as early as the spring of 1888 I learned in Shíráz that
instructions had been issued for the compilation of a new history more in accordance
with the views entertained by those chiefs. Of these instructions the history now offered
to the public is the outcome.
Summary of the contents of the Táríkh-i-Jadíd.
Hájí Seyyid Kázim of Resht foretells the approaching
'manifestation' and dies.
Pp. 41-47. Conversion of Mullá Huseyn
Pp. 48-50. Conversions of Hájí
Muhammad 'Alí of Bárfurúsh ('Jenáb-i-
Kuddús'), Mullá Muhammad Sádik. of
Khurásán ('Mukaddas'), and others.
Pp. 51-55. From Mullá Huseyn's
journey to Khurásán to his entry into Bárfurúsh with
Hájí Muhammad 'Alí and their combined
Pp. 56-114. From the first collision between the
Bábís and the Musulmáns in Bárfurúsh to the fall
of the Castle of Sheykh Tabarsí.
Pp. 115-132. Biographies of certain eminent
Bábís who suffered martyrdom in Mázandarán, with some
reflections on the heroism displayed by the besieged.
Pp. 133-155. The struggle at Níríz, and
reflections thereon. (See Note H, infra.)
1: The pagination refers to my own MS., not to the British
Pp. 156-163. The siege of Zanján.
Pp. 164-166. Reflections thereon.
" 167-176. Account
of a disputation between a learned Bábí and an assembly of
Pp. 177-201. The decadence of the Persian empire and
the deterioration of its people traced to the complete ascendancy obtained by the clergy,
whose ignorance, wickedness, and arrogance are unsparingly exposed.
Pp. 202-222. Personal history of the Báb from
the beginning of his mission until his exile to Mákú.
Pp. 223-236. Sufficiency of the testimony given by a
host of martyrs of every class to the truth of Bábíism. Objections
Pp. 237-240. Personal history of the Báb
continued until his removal from Mákú to
Pp. 241-243. History of the 'Indian believer'
Pp. 244-246. History of Seyyid Basír
" 247-249. Eulogy on
the devotion and self-sacrifice of the Bábís.
Pp. 250-261. History of the 'Seven Martyrs'
(See Note B, infra.)
Pp. 262-264. Reflections thereon.
" 265-277. History of
Kurratu'l-'Ayn. (See Note Q, infra.)
Pp. 278-280. First examination of the Báb at
Tabríz. (See Note M, infra.)
Pp. 281-286. Reflections on the unfairness of the
Pp. 287-300. Personal history of the Báb until
Pp. 301-305. Review of former prophetic
dispensations and comparison of these with the present 'manifestation.'
Pp. 306-322. Discussion of the kind of proof necessary
to establish the truth of a new revelation, and reflections on the hard-heartedness,
obstinacy, and stiff-neckedness of the Musulmáns in general and their clergy in
particular, together with further proofs of their want of
fairness illustrated by additional details concerning the conference at Isfahán.
(See Note J, infra.)
Pp. 323-331. The irrational beliefs, absurd
traditions, and gross ignorance of the generality of Shi'ite divines.
Pp. 332-369. Account of a discussion which took place
in the author's presence between a Bábí and a mujtahid, and
discomfiture of the latter.
Pp. 370-372. Refutation of certain charges falsely
alleged against the Bábís.
Pp. 373-374. Conclusion.
4. The Kisasu'l-
This is a work of 350 pages containing biographical
notices of 153 eminent Shi'ite divines, amongst whom the author, Mírzá
Muhammad ibn Suleymán-i-Tanakábuní, includes
himself. It was published for the second time at Teherán in A.H. 1304 (A.D.
1886-7), together with two treatises composed by Seyyid Murtazá
''Ilmu'l-Hudá,' which are included in the same volume. The second
biography in this volume, extending from p. 12 to p. 43, is devoted to
Hájí Mullá Muhammad Takí ibn
Muhammad al-Burghání al-Kazvíní,
called by the Shi'ites Shahíd-i-Thálith ('the Third Martyr'), and
treats incidentally at some length of the Bábís, with whom the subject of
the memoir in question came into such fatal collision. Of the book under consideration we
are here concerned with this section alone, and indeed only with a part of that.
Hájí Mullá Muhammad
Takí was the eldest of three brothers, of whom the second,
Hájí Mullá Muhammad Sálih, was also a
divine and jurisconsult, while the third, Hájí Mullá 'Alí,
was first a disciple of Sheykh Ahmad Ahsá'í and
afterwards a partisan of the Báb. Now Hájí Mullá
Muhammad Takí detested Sheykh Ahmad and his doctrines,
and was indeed the first amongst the Shi'ite clergy to denounce him as a dangerous
heretic; but if his detestation of the Sheykhís was great, much bitterer and more
violent was his hatred of the Bábís. The fact that not only his youngest
brother Hájí Mullá 'Alí, but also his niece and daughter-
in-law Zarrín-Táj (or, to give her the title whereby she has become for
ever famous, Kurratu'l-
'Ayn), had embraced the doctrines which he so abhorred, must have greatly conduced to
an intensification of this hatred, which rose to such a pitch that, as we learn from the
present work, he was during the last year of his life chiefly engaged in violent public
denunciation of the Báb and his religion. This cost him his life; for at length
certain Bábís, stung by his words into uncontrollable anger, fell upon
him early one morning as he was praying in the mosque, and with knives and daggers
inflicted on him eight wounds, from the effects of which he expired two days later. He
was buried at Kazvín in the precincts of Sháhzádé
Contents of the Kisasu'l-'Ulamá in so far as
they relate to the Bábís.
P. 20. Hájí Mullá
Muhammad Takí first denounces Sheykh Ahmad
Ahsá'í as a heretic - Account of Sheykh Ahmad.
Pp. 21-30. Account of Sheykh Ahmad and
Hájí Seyyid Kázim - Exposition and refutation of their
doctrines. (See Note E, infra, and B. ii, pp. 890-892.)
Pp. 30-35. Account of Hájí
Muhammad Karím Khán of Kírmán - Further
remarks on the Sheykhí doctrines.
P. 36. Account of the assassination of
Hájí Mullá Muhammad Takí by certain
Bábís in A.H. 1264 (A.D. 1848).
P. 37. Account of Mírzá 'Alí
Muhammad the Báb - His diligent attendance at Hájí
Seyyid Kázim's lectures. (See B. ii, p. 894.)
P. 38. How the attention of the author was first drawn
to the Báb (see B. ii, pp. 894, 895) - The Báb returned to Bushire and
begins to practise austerities - He composes a 'Kur'án' - The heresy of
his doctrines exposed.
P. 39. Imprisonment of the Báb at
Chihrík. - His first examination before the clergy of Tabríz. (See Note
Pp. 40, 41. Account of the Báb's examination
continued and concluded - He is bastinadoed - Further particulars concerning
Hájí Muhammad Karím Khán.
Pp. 42, 43. Disparagement of Hájí
Muhammad Karím Khán, and proofs of his lack of
II. OTHER WRITINGS IN ORIENTAL
LANGUAGES WHEREIN INCIDENTAL REFERENCE TO THE BÁBÍS IS
Besides the Persian works above noticed which bear
directly on the history of the Bábí movement, we may observe that the
Persian poet Ká'ání has two
kasídas written to celebrate the Sháh's escape
from the attempt on his life1. These, however, as one would
naturally expect, throw very little new light on the facts of the case. It is said that
Ká'ání was at first disposed to regard the Báb with
favour, and that the kasída beginning:-
[two lines of Persian/Arabic text]
"The ensample of men and jinn hath appeared,
The leader of these and those hath appeared,"
was written in his honour. If this be so, it is by no means the only instance of
inconsistency wherewith this talented but fickle poet can be taxed.
In Arabic there is an article on
Bábíism in the Encyclopaedia (~~~) of Butrusu'l-Bustání (Beyrout, 1881)
which contributes some important facts not previously published, but also contains one
or two grave errors. It comprises about 1600 words, and is based on information
communicated by Seyyid Jemálu'd-Din al-Afghán. Of a portion of this I
published a translation in my second paper on the Bábís (J. R. A. S. for 1889, pp. 942-943).
In Turkish a short article of about 240 words in
vol. ii of Sámí Bey's Dictionnaire Universel d'Histoire et de
Géographie (~~~, Constantinople,
A.H. 1307) contains no new facts, but several new errors.
1: See infra, Note T
Numerous accounts of the Báb and his religion
have been published in Europe, and these, so far as they are known to me, I shall now
enumerate in the order of their publication, noting as far as possible whence each work
derives the information which it embodies. A mere casual remark of some traveller
often sheds a fresh ray of light on the matter, or helps to decide some doubtful date, and
therefore I shall include in my list several works wherein only a few paragraphs are
devoted to the Bábís; while on the other hand I do not consider it
necessary to refer to all of the numerous articles on the subject which have appeared in
various encyclopaedias and magazines, since these for the most part merely repeat more
or less fully and eloquently the facts recorded by other writers.
[A.D. 1851.] Bâb und
seine Secte in Persien, by A. H. Wright of the American Mission at
Urúmiyya, Persia, contributed by J. Perkins, also of the aforesaid Mission, to
the German Oriental Society, and published in Vol. v of the Z. D. M.
G. (Leipzig, 1851, pp. 384-385). From a note appended by the Editor we learn that
the MS. of this article, dated March 31, 1851, was forwarded with a letter from
Mr Perkins dated March 29, and that another copy of the same article was sent to the
American Oriental Society. From the Journal of the last-named society it appears that
this paper was read at one of their meetings, but, so far as I can discover, it was not
published, so that we have it only in its German dress. This document is of capital
importance, and I have more than once had occasion to refer to it in my notes.
[A.D. 1856.] Glimpses of
Life and Manners in Persia, by Lady Sheil (London, 1856). The authoress of this
work also was resident in Persia during the Bábí troubles, and much
valuable information is supplied by her. That this information was derived for the most
part, if not entirely, from bitter enemies of the new faith, or in other words from
persons attached to the Persian Court, is sufficiently
evident. Some of the statements advanced seem to be traceable to one or other of the Court
historians whose works have already been noticed. Others - especially one to the effect
that the Báb, while resident at Baghdad or Kerbelá, was arrested by the
Turkish authorities, and only saved from execution at their hands by the intervention of
the Persian consul (p. 177) - stand alone, and are unsupported by other testimony.
What relates to the Bábís in this work is as follows:
P. 176. Origin of the sect.
P. 177. Personal history of the Báb until his
P. 178. Confessions of ex-
P. 179. Bábí doctrines exposed.
P. 180. Bábís compared to Assassins and
Mazdakites - Mázandarán and Yezd insurrections - Execution of the
P. 181. Rising at Zanján - Probability that the
Bábí faith is spreading.
Pp. 273-282. Accounts of the attempt on the
Sháh's life and of the Bábí executions which followed it, the latter
translated from the 'Teherán Gazette' in which it appeared.
[A.D. 1857.] Journal of Two
Years' Travel in Persia, Ceylon, etc., by Robert B. M. Binning, Esq., of the Madras
Civil Service (London, 1857, 2 vols). Some few pages of the twentieth chapter
of this work (vol. i, pp. 403-408) are devoted to the Bábís. Of all
accounts which I have read, not excluding those given by the Musulmán
historians, this is the most hostile, the most unfair - I had almost said the most
libellous. The writer, not content with likening the Bábís to Mormons and
Sadducees and describing their Founder as a kind of oriental Joe Smith, casts aspersions
on the Báb's honesty, and almost accuses him of theft in so many words. This
should not, perhaps, cause us much surprise in one who considers that the Gospel of
Christ would be best commended to the people of Persia by the annexation of their
country by some "Christian State," and who thinks that King
Núshírván acted "very properly" in ordering the massacre of
Mazdak and his adherents. In
point of accuracy, too, this account leaves much to be desired. Thus the author, writing
in 1850-1851, describes the Níríz insurrection and the death of Seyyid
Yahyá as having occurred "about five years ago," and states that the
Báb himself travelled into Mázandarán, evidently confusing him
with Muhammad 'Alí of Bárfurúsh. Yet, open to criticism
as it is, Mr Binning's narrative has its value, and, as I have shown above (p. 187),
helps to determine some doubtful points of chronology. Mr Binning appears to have left
Persia by way of Bushire on February 7, 1852, having learned, almost at the moment of
his departure, the tragic fate of Mírzá Takí Khán
Amír-Nizám, which befel in January of that
[A.D. 1864,65.] In the
Bulletin de l'Académie Impériale de St Pétersbourg, dated
December 22, 1864 (vol. viii, pp. 247-248), is a most valuable article by Dorn on
certain Bábí MSS. belonging to the St Petersburg collection. One of
these - described as "the Koran of the Bábís" - derives special value
from the fact that it was written by the Báb's own secretary, and by him placed
in European hands. A portion of this text given by Dorn as a specimen was pronounced by
Subh-i-Ezel (to whom I submitted it) an extract from the Book of
Names (~~~). The other MS.
described is a history of the Mázandarán insurrection composed in the
Mázandarání dialect, and was obtained by Dorn during his sojourn
in that province in 1860. From the abstract given of its contents it would appear to be of
the highest interest, even though it be not in all respects worthy of credence. A short
postscript referring to the authenticity of these two MSS. is added in the
Bulletin for February 8, 1865. Concerning the occurrences in
Mázandarán, Dorn also refers to a previous article of his at p. 353 of vol.
iv of the Bulletin (Mélanges Asiatiques, vol. iv, p. 442), but this I
have not seen.
[A.D. 1865.] Les Religions
et les Philosophies dans l'Asie Centrale, by M. le Comte de Gobineau (Paris, 1865
and 1866). This most brilliant, most graphic, and most charming work is too well
known to need any detailed description.
Though largely based on the Lisánu'l-Mulk's account of the
Bábí movement, it embodies also many statements derived from
Bábí sources; and not only are the facts thus obtained sifted with rare
judgment and arranged with consummate skill, but the characters and scenes of this
stirring drama are depicted in a manner so fresh, so vivid, and so lifelike that the work
in question must ever remain a classic unsurpassed and indeed unapproached in the
subject whereof it treats. The account of the Bábí books and doctrines
(occupying 50 pages) is of the utmost value, being based on Bábí
MSS. (now in the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris) obtained by the author; and the
translation of the Book of Precepts (~~~), which forms an Appendix of 82 pages, is still the only complete
translation into any European language of a Bábí sacred book. Of the 543
pages composing this volume, 299 are devoted to the Bábís.
[A.D. 1865.] Persien. Das
Land und seine Bewohner, by Dr Jakob Eduard Polak, formerly Physician to the
Sháh of Persia and Professor at the Medical College of Teherán (Leipzig,
1865, 2 vols). This work, embodying as it does researches into every phase of
Persian life made by one whose position gave him rare opportunities of observing facts
which his scientific training enabled him to describe with precision and accuracy, is
also of the highest value. What relates to the Bábís occupies only four
pages (pp. 350-353) of the first volume. Of these four pages the contents are briefly as
P. 350. The Báb and his teaching - Its rapid
spread, especially amongst Seyyids, men of learning, and women of the most cultured
class - Kurratu'l-'Ayn - Alleged use of narcotics such as
hashísh by the Bábís - Determination of the
Amír-Nizám to put the Báb to death.
P. 351. Execution of the Báb - Insurrections in
Mázandarán and Zanján. [Both of these risings are here
described as having taken place subsequently to the Báb's death, whereas
in fact the former had terminated and the latter was in progress when this event
occurred.] - Attempt on the Sháh's life in 1852.
P. 352. Attempt on the Sháh's life - Persons
suspected - "Macchiavellian means" adopted for the extirpation of the
Bábís - Hájí 'Alí Khán the
Farrásh-Báshí - His cruel disposition - Partition of the
P. 353. Horrible cruelties perpetrated on the
Bábís - Their extraordinary fortitude - The tortures inflicted on the
beautiful Kurratu'l-'Ayn, and the "superhuman courage" wherewith she endured
her lingering death. [Of this execution Dr Polak was himself a
witness] - Persecutions in the provinces - Activity of the
Bábís continued, though concealed.
[A.D. 1865.] Journey from
London to Persepolis, by John Ussher, F.R.G.S. (London, 1865). This work
contains (pp. 627-629) some mention of the Bábís, and depicts in vivid
colours the reign of terror which succeeded the attempt on the Sháh's life. A
portion of this description is quoted in a footnote on p. 120, supra.
[A.D. 1866.] Bab et les
Babis, an article - or rather a series of five articles - communicated to the
Journal Asiatique for 1866 by Mirza Kazem-Beg. The Journal Asiatique
for each year being divided into two volumes in the second of which the pagination is
recommended, I have, for the sake of brevity, denoted all that portion of Mirza Kazem-
Beg's article which occurs in vol. vii (6th series) by the abbreviation 'Kazem-Beg i,'
and that which occurs in vol. viii by 'Kazem-Beg ii,' whenever I have had occasion to
refer to them. The whole article amounts to 251 pages distributed in the two volumes as
Vol. vii (sixième série), pp. 329-384.
Preface, and biography of the Báb in 16 sections.
Pp. 457-522. The Sheykhí doctrines. History of
the Bábís, until the final suppression of the Mázandarán
Vol. viii (sixième série), pp. 196-252.
History of the Bábís concluded. (Insurrections of Zanján and
Níríz, attempt on the Sháh, persecution of A.D. 1852.)
Pp. 357-400. The doctrine of the Bábís,
and its antecedents.
Pp. 473-507. Two letters from a Bábí
Changes in the original doctrine of the Báb wrought by his followers -
Translations from a Bábí work of a devotional character. [This
work, as I have attempted to show on pp. 897-899 of my second paper on the
Bábís in the J. R. A. S., is none other than the
Ziyárat-náma - the so-called "Récit du Pèlerinage" -
composed by the Báb.] - Conclusion.
The sources from which Mirza Kazem-Beg drew his
information are, as stated by himself in a note on p. 332 (vol. vii), the following:-
(() The Násikhu't-
(() The MS. History in the
Mázandarání dialect described by Dorn (see p. 202,
supra). Its author calls himself Sheykhu'l-'Ajam. Kazem-Beg describes
the work in question as "full of inexactitudes," "of no historic value," and "curious only
because composed in the dialect of Mázandarán."
(() A memoir on the Bábís by M.
Sévruguin, who resided for twenty years in Persia.
(() Another memoir by M. Mochenin, who was in
Persia at the time of the Bábí troubles, and who (vol. vii, p. 371) was so
fortunate as to be at Chihrík. in June 1850, and even, as it would appear, to see
the Báb addressing the multitudes who flocked thither.
Some of Kazem-Beg's dates and facts I have already had
occasion to criticize (though in almost all such cases it is the Násikhu't-
Tawáríkh which is ultimately responsible); neither can I concur in
several of the views which he advances (especially his estimate of the characters of
Áká Seyyid Huseyn of Yezd and Áká
Seyyid Yahyá of Dáráb and his theory of the passive part
taken by the Báb in the formation of the new doctrines); but, whatever new light
further research may throw on the subject treated of by Mirza Kazem-Beg, there is no
doubt that his work will always remain one of the chief authorities thereon.
[A.D. 1866.] History of
Persia from the beginning of the Nineteenth Century to the Year 1858, by Robert
Grant Watson, formerly attached to Her Majesty's Legation at the Court of Persia
(London, 1866). This work is also of the utmost value, since the author, from the
he occupied, had at his disposal the best means for arriving at the truth of matters of
historical fact (especially of chronology), and was, moreover, by no means disposed
unreservedly to follow the Musulmán historians, of whose unreliability he was
well aware. What refers to the Bábís in this work is as follows:-
Pp. 347-352. Origin of the movement - Early life of
the Báb - The treatment experienced by him at the hands of Huseyn
Khán - Edicts against the Bábís.
Pp. 360-362. Rising at Yezd (not described in this
passage as Bábí).
P. 385. Yezd rising described as a Bábí
P. 386. Account of the 'Seven Martyrs'
P. 387. Siege of Zanján.
Pp. 388-392. Execution of the Báb - Fall of
Pp. 407-410. Attempt on Sháh's life -
Executions of Bábís.
[A.D. 1867.] Meine
Wanderungen und Erlebnisse in Persien, by Hermann Vámbéry
(Pest, 1867). This well-known traveller, à propos of a conversation which he
had during his passage through Mázandarán with some of the inhabitants
of 'Alí-ábád, in whose minds the recollection of the siege of
Sheykh Tabarsí was still fresh, gives a dissertation on the
Bábís which extends from p. 286 to p. 303 of this work. This account
seems to be based almost entirely on what be [sic] was able to learn
from the Persians, though Gobineau's work is occasionally quoted. The details here given
concerning Suleymán Khán's martyrdom (which differ somewhat from
those embodied in other traditions) will be referred to in Note T, infra.
[A.D. 1868.] Geschichte der
herrschenden Ideen des Islams, by Baron Alfred von Kremer (Leipzig, 1868).
Twenty pages of this work (pp. 202-222) are devoted to Bâb und seine
Lehre, which article constitutes sect. vii of Book ii. One of the Bábí
MSS. in the British Museum (Or. 3114) was, as appears from a note on the first
page, bought from
Baron von Kremer, and contains a short note in pencil in his handwriting, but it does not
seem that he made use of this in the compilation of the article in question.
[A.D. 1869.] L'Année
Philosophique for this year contains an article by F. Pillon referred to with
approbation in the last edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (vol. iii, s. v.
[A.D. 1872.] Essays und
Studien, by Dr Hermann Ethé (Berlin, 1872). Of this work 61 pages (pp.
301-362) are occupied by an essay on the Báb and his doctrine entitled Ein
moderner Prophet des Morgenlandes and based on the works of Gobineau, Kazem-
Beg, Vámbéry, and Perkins. This essay is written in a sympathetic
spirit, and the Bábí doctrines are expounded in a very lucid and logical
[A.D. 1873.] The Journal
Asiatique for this year (7th series, vol. ii, pp. 393-395) contains an article "Sur
les sectes dans le Kurdistan" by M. t. Gilbert wherein is included a short notice
of the Bábís. After briefly describing the beliefs attributed to them by
their neighbours, M. Gilbert estimates the number of those settled in Kurdistán
at about five thousand.
[A.D. 1874.] Persia -
Ancient and Modern, by John Piggot, F.SA., F.G.S, F.R.G.S.
(London, 1874). The account of the Bábí movement given in this work is
full of inaccuracies. Thus, on p. 104, speaking of the Bábís up in arms at
Yezd in May 1850, the writer says, "failing in this" (i.e. their attempt to capture the
citadel) "they retired to Zinjan"; and he further describes the Báb as having
been present in person amongst the besieged in that city, and as having been captured
"in one of the assaults of the Sháh's troops" and executed there.
[A.D. 1874.] Gurret-
ül-Eyn: Ein Bild aus Persiens Neuzeit, by Marie von Najmájer
(Vienna, 1874). This is a poem in six cantos in honour of the Bábí
heroine Kurratu'l-'Ayn, which, if not possessing much historic value, is
least a graceful and pleasing tribute to the memory of a noble woman.
[A.D. 1875.] Journey in the
Caucasus, Persia, and Turkey in Asia, by Lieut. Baron Max von Thielmann,
translated into English by Charles Henneage, F.R.G.S. (London, 1875, 2
vols). The first volume of this work contains (at p. 262) a brief reference to
the Bábís à propos of 'Muridism.' The second volume
contains (at p. 52) an allusion to the Báb's execution in the citadel (arg)
of Tabríz, which event is wrongly described as having occurred in A.D. 1843;
and (at pp. 90-91) an interesting account of a Bábí named
Hájí Muhammad Ja'far[footnote 1: Baron von Thielmann's
fellow-traveller is very probably identical with the Hájí
Muhammad Ja'far mentioned on p. 100, supra, and in note 1 on the same
page.] who was the author's fellow-traveller from Tabríz to
[A.D. 1877.] Collections
Scientifiques de l'Institut des Langues Orientales, vol. i, Manuscrits Arabes,
by Baron Victor Rosen (St. Petersburg, 1886). To this most valuable contribution to
our knowledge I have had occasion to refer frequently, both in my second paper on the
Bábís (pp. 886, 905-909, 954-960, &c.), and in the present work. Of
the two Bábí MSS. described, the first is conjectured by Baron
Rosen (and there can hardly be a doubt that his conjecture is right) to be the
Commentary on the Súra of Joseph (~~~) composed by the Báb at the beginning of his mission; the
second, concerning which I was unable to arrive at a definite conclusion in my second
paper on the Bábís (p. 954-958), has since been proved beyond all
question to be a copy of Behá's Súra-i-Heykal, whereof the
Epistles to the Kings (including the Epistle to the Sháh, a complete translation of
which is given in the present work[footnote 2: See pp. 108-151, supra,
and Note X, infra. The latter contains a translation of that portion of the Arabic
exordium which is not cited in the Persian text.]) form a portion. Baron
Rosen's convincing arguments (which he has kindly allowed me to see in proof) are
prefixed to the text of the MS., which will be published in
extenso in vol. vi of the Collections Scientifiques &c., shortly to appear (p.
145 et seq.).
[A.D. 1879.] The Deutsche
Rundschau (vol. xviii, pp. 284-291) contains an article entitled Orientalischer
Socialismus by Professor t. Nšldeke, in which the tenets of the
Bábís are briefly discussed, and compared with those of the
[A.D. 1886.] Collections
Scientifiques &c., vol. iii, Manuscrits Persans, by Baron Rosen (St
Petersburg, 1886). This volume, equally valuable with the other, contains descriptions
of MSS. of the Persian Beyán (pp. 1-32) and the
Íkán (pp. 33-51).
[A.D. 1887.] The Revue
Critique d'Histoire et de Littérature for April 18th of this year contains (pp.
297-298) a review of Baron Rosen's Manuscrits Persans by M. E. Fagnan.
Special notice is taken of the Bábí MSS. described by Baron Rosen,
and some valuable information is given concerning the five Bábí
MSS. brought by Gobineau from Persia, which, on the death of their owner, were
bought by the Bibliothèque Nationale.
[A.D. 1887.] Haifa, or Life
in Modern Palestine, by Laurence Oliphant (Edinburgh and London, 1887). This
work consists of a series of letters or essays on different subjects connected with the
Holy Land, of which the twenty-first, entitled "the Babs and their Prophet" (pp.
103-107), gives an account of a visit paid by the writer to one of Behá's
gardens in the vicinity of Acre, together with such information as to the history of the
Báb and the Bábís and the personal character and claims of
Behá as he was able to collect. This account is very noteworthy, since it is, so far
as I know, the first published notice of Behá and the Bábí colony
at Acre. Several erroneous statements are made, especially one to the effect that
Behá "is visible only to women or men of the poorest class," and that "his own
disciples who visit him are only allowed a glimpse of his august back." I myself,
during the week which I spent at Acre (April 13th-20th, 1890), was
admitted to the august presence four times, each interview lasting about 20 minutes;
besides which on one occasion I saw Behá walking in his garden of Janayn
surrounded by a dozen or so of his chief disciples. Not a day passes but numerous
Bábís of all classes are permitted to wait upon him.
[A.D. 1887.] Note sur trois
ouvrages Bâbis communicated by M. Clément Huart to the Journal
Asiatique for 1887 (eighth series, vol. x, pp. 133-144). Of the first of the three
MSS. described I submitted an extract to Subh-i-Ezel, who
pronounced it to be (as M. Huart had conjectured) from his own work the
Kitáb-i-Núr ('Book of Light'), or rather from one of the two
works which go by that name. The translation of Subh-i-Ezel's words
(contained in a letter written at the end of September 1889) will be found in Note U
infra. The other two MSS. described by M. Huart appear to be from the
same source. Baron Rosen alludes to another article about these MSS. by M. Huart
in the Revue de l'Histoire des Religions (vol. xviii, p. 279-296), which I have
[A.D. 1889.] La Religion de
Bab, a little volume of 64 pages, also by M. Huart, forming one of the series known
as the Bibliothèque Orientale Elzévirienne (Paris, 1889). This contains
some translations from the above MSS. The historical portion supplies us with no
[A.D. 1889.] The Journal of
the Royal Asiatic Society [New Series] vol. XXI contains my two
papers on the Bábís, whereof the first (throughout this work referred to
as B. i) is entitled The Bábís of Persia. I. Sketch of their
History and Personal Experiences amongst them, and the second (referred to as B.
ii) The Bábís of Persia. II. Their Literature and Doctrines. These
two papers embody the results of my investigations on this subject during the year
which I spent in Persia (1887-1888).
[A.D. 1889.] Baron Rosen's
Zapiski (vol. iv, parts 1 and 2, pp. 112-114) contains a short account of four
Bábí works recently brought to St Petersburg. These four
works are:- (1) A MS. of the ~~~; (2)
A copy of the Bombay lithographed edition of the ~~~; (3) A MS. of the ~~~ (which work I wrongly named ~~~ in my papers on the Bábís in the J. R. A. S.); (4) A MS. of the ~~~
(or ~~~). A much fuller description of all
these will be found in vol. vi of the Collections Scientifiques when it appears. See
[To appear shortly.] Collections
Scientifiques, vol. vi, by Baron Rosen. Although this volume is not yet published, the
kindness of the learned author in sending me the proof-sheets as they were printed off
has enabled me to make reference to it when occasion required. It will contain, amongst
much other valuable matter, the complete text of the Súra-i-
See also articles in the Encyclopaedia Britannicasv. Bâbi (vol. iii, 1875, pp. 180-181), Persia, Modern
History (vol. xviii, 1885, pp. 650-651), and Sunnites and Shí'ites
(vol. xxii, 1887, p. 665); and articles in the following periodicals:- Contemporary
Review (vol. xi, p. 581; vol. xii, p. 245), Chambers' Journal (vol. xxix, p.
45), All the Year Round (vol. xxii, p. 149), Hours at Home (vol. viii, p.
210), and (vol. ii, p. 793).