Further extracts concerning the remains of the Bab in Tehran
by Fadl Mazandarani and Avarihtranslated by Sepehr Manuchehri.
original written in Persian.
Introduction: Excerpt from the Tarikh Zuhur-Al-Haqq, and some of factual details provided by Avarih in his work Kavakebu'l Dorriah. Avarih has relied on Haji Mulla Ali Akbar Shahmirzadi - Hand of the Cause - who was Bahá'u'lláh's nominated representative in administering the movement of the remains of the Bab. Interestingly it appears that the reason for keeping the hide-out locations secret were two fold: On one hand there was the Government, and on the other the general Bahá'ís who were keen for a pilgrimage and were not very discrete about their intentions!
1. Extracts from Fadil Mazandarani's Tarikh Zuhur-Al-Haqq volume 6 pp. 490-492."The investigations conducted by this servant about the remains of the Bab reveal that after His martyrdom, the holy remains of the Bab and Mirza Muhammad Ali were left abandoned in the town square. This would give the residents a chance to insult and humiliate the remains. The authorities had specifically advised that no one could contemplate their burial. Aqa Siyyid Ibrahim and Zabih - two of the Bab's close companions and secretaries - were at that time hiding at a textile factory in Milan owned by Haji Ahmad Milani with a number of other Babis. They were busily plotting to free the holy remains, or at least identify their where-abouts. They agreed to send two Milani's disguised as beggars to that square. These two were to act as mentally unstable wonderers, as they were unlikely to be challenged in that state.
They were specifically instructed to keep an eye on the holy remains until such time that an alternative plan could be formulated. They were to spend their time - night and day - in that location. One person was nominated to bring them food and water under the disguise of charity. Those two remained in the square for the first and second day, during which the public came in groups to visit the remains. Some appeared regretful and some applied all sorts of abuse.
On the third day the remains were dumped in a large dug-out outside of the city. On the same day the Russian Consul met with the local authorities and advised: 'In our country it is customary to free the captive if he survives the execution at the first attempt. The second attempt at executing this person [the Bab] was illegal. I wish to visit his remains.'
That afternoon the Consul accompanied by a Portrait Artist went to the dug-out. The artist made an impression of the portrait of the Bab. The Consul then tipped the soldiers to bury the two remains. They dug a hole in the vicinity and placed the two bodies there. That same night Haji Suleyman Khan lead a group of people including Haji Allahyar to that location. Allahyar was asked to keep guard whilst Haji Suleyman Khan assisted by the others, recovered the remains and placed them in a bag. They then left in haste, but were not followed. After travelling a distance, they retired Haji Allahyar and set out towards the textile factory of Haji Ahmad Milani where Aqa Siyyid Ibrahim was waiting. After their arrival, Siyyid indicated that 'It is close to dawn and I am far too impatient to observe caution. We must conceal the remains.'
A casket was prepared. Haji Suleyman Khan wrapped the bag containing the remains in another cloth and placed them in the casket with his own hands. Apparently one of the hands of Mirza Muhammad Ali was separated from his body. Haji Suleyman Khan placed a local plant/flower, commonly found in Tabrizi homes, next to the Holy face of the Bab. They quickly sealed the casket and placed it in the wall cavity, covering it with mortar.
After a few days a tablet was received from the Blessed Beauty addressed to Aqa Siyyid Ibrahim. It instructed the transfer of the remains to Tehran. They took the casket out, wrapped it in a cloth and disguised it as a commercial consignment ready for dispatch to Tehran. Haji Suleyman Khan accompanied the remains to Tehran pretending to be an importer of goods from Europe. As they entered Tehran, the Blessed Beauty was in Shire of Shemiran. He sent Mirza Husayn Isfahani with specific instructions to take delivery of the casket. They obeyed his mandate and he took the casket to Imamzadeh Ma'asum which was located in the middle of the desert - as ordered by Bahá'u'lláh. He placed the casket in an abandoned structure, constructed a wall in the front section and performed minor repairs to the surrounding walls.
No believers, men or women, were aware of this secret except Jinab-i Maryam [?]. A few years transpired in this fashion after which Jinab-i Maryam disclosed this matter to his/her god-mother. Later others learnt of this secret. The volume of pilgrims rushing to Imamzadeh Ma'ssum suddenly increased causing a pick up in its business. That locality became a meeting place for friends and strangers.
Then another tablet was received from the Blessed Beauty to move the Holy casket to another location immediately. After consultation they decided to take it towards the Shire of Abdu'l Azim and hide it in amongst the abandoned buildings. Hassan Aqa and his brother went to Imamzadeh Ma'asum in the middle of the night, opened up that wall, took the casket out and made their way towards Abdu'l Azim via the unused dirt tracks. They entered the casket to the town desguised as luggage belonging to their wives - who pretended to be pilgrims. Aqa Jamal and Jinab-i Ali Qabl-i Akbar [Haji Akhund, a Hand of the Cause] came to take delivery of the consignment."
2. Extracts from Avarih's Kavakebu'l Dorriah, pp. 369-372"In the year 1284 Bahá'u'lláh issued a tablet addressed jointly to Haji Mulla Ali Akbar Shahmirzadi - Hand of the Cause - and Aqa Jamal Burujerdi - the renouned teacher of the time. It instructed them to remove the remains of the Bab from Imamzadeh Ma'asum to another location. Those two souls immediately set out to Imamzadeh Ma'asum and without any assistance dismantled the wall which housed the holy casket. They quickly carried the casket and set out towards the shire of Shahzadeh Abdu'l Azim. Apparantly Imamzadeh Ma'asum did not have any custodians present at the time, perhaps there was a custodian and he was not very strict. Another persumption is that usually such custodians can be convinced with a little bribe.
Anyhow they placed the holy casket on a mule and travelled to the vicinity of Shahzadeh Abdu'l Azim. Initial search of that locality did not identify a safe location. Hence they carried on their journey towards Chishmeh Ali. During the way they came across an abandoned structure which was known as Masjid Masha'u'llah. They established that this location [was] fit for the purpose. They entered the mosque at night time and deposited the holy casket. Prior to placing the casket, they opened its cover and observed that the Holy remains of the Bab were wrapped in Kafan. They noticed a bunch of flowers had been placed on the chest of the Bab which had been sprayed with bullets. Flowers were now dry and appeared to have been there for years. The assumption of this author [Avarih] is that the flowers had been placed by none other than Haji Sulayman Khan years earlier.
They removed the flowers and placed the Holy remains in a new Kafan made of silk which had been prepared for this purpose earlier. They placed the Holy remains in to the casket again and positioned the casket underneath an arc structure which had not been damaged. It was located next to a damaged vertical wall. They quickly repaired the vicinity of the arc wall with similar bricks. During this construction process only one of the Babis resident in the Shire of Abdu'l Azim assisted in supplying them with mortar. Afterwards the two souls left for the Shire of Ghooch Hesar and endeavoured to return to Tehran in the coming days. On the way to Tehran, upon reaching the junction at Chishmeh Ali they became concerned about the safety of the casket and turned back towards that mosque to ensure that the casket had not been disturbed.
This concern was well-founded. A number of farmers had seen the Babis on that night. Following their departure, the farmers had dismantled the wall and broke into the casket. However the Holy Remains had not been disturbed. The assumption of this author [Avarih] is that the farmers had not recognised the identity of the body. Had they known so, they could have disturbed or abused the holy remains which may in turn have stirred up trouble in that locality. The farmers must have assumed that the casket contained some hidden treasures stolen from another location and were probably alarmed by the late night activity.
Haji Akhund [Shahmirzadi] explains that once we decided to turn back towards that mosque, Aqa Jamal accelerated at once becuase he had a faster mule. I followed him to that place within one hour. When I reached the mosque, I found him in a state of bewilderment. I asked of the problem, he answered that the wall has been damaged and the casket is broken in to. I became similarly distressed and rushed towards the wall. As I moved the casket, I noticed its wieght has not changed. I informed Aqa Jamal that the remains are still in tact. He became happy and we lifted the broken casket on to his mule and accompanied it towards Tehran.
Prior to arrival at the city Gate, we became increasingly apprehensive. The Gate Keepers could inspect our load. If the contents were to be revealed, not only the Holy Remains but our lives would be placed at risk. At this time an interesting incident happened. A short time before our arrival at the city Gate, a rain storm began and quickly developed in to a cyclone. Severe wind gusts and rain forced all travellers from Shahzadeh Abd'ul Azim to rush forwards towards the Gate. This enabled us to use the crowd as a cover and take the casket safely through the Gate and in to the city to the house of Aqa Mirza Hassan Vazir.
... Haji Mulla Ali AKbar rented that house and stayed there for 14 months solely to protect that casket. Unfortunately in a short time, Bahá'ís learned of this secrete and arrived from far and wide to pay their respects. Haji Akhund, as hard as he tried, became unable to keep this matter a secret. Some Bahá'í's even offered to purchase that house and turn it in to a permanent shrine of the Bab! As this was not possible and could infuriate the Government, the Hands wrote a letter to Bahá'u'lláh asking for further advice."