Mulla Sadiq-i-Khurasani (Muqaddas)
by Vahid Rafatipublished in Encyclopaedia Iranica
New York: Columbia University, 2016
ḴORĀSĀNI, MOLLĀ ṢĀDEQ (ملا صادق خراسانی), teacher, defender and promulgator of the Babi-Bahai faiths (b. Mashhad; d. Hamadan, 1291/1874).
Mollā Ṣādeq, known as Esm-Allāh Aṣdaq in Bahai literature, was the son of Mirzā Esmāʿil Ḵorāsāni, a cleric from a noble family in Mashhad. He received his traditional elementary education and continued his higher Islamic studies under the well-known teachers of his time in Mashhad, such as Sayyed Moḥammad Qaṣir. From a young age he became known as Mollā Ṣādeq “Moqaddas” (the holy one), due to his perceived piety and upright character. To receive further clerical education he left Mashhad for Karbala, where he studied under Sayyed Kāẓem Rašti, a prominent member of the Shaikhi sect, reached the rank of mojtahed in May 1843 (Fāżel Māzandarāni, p. 146), and became one of Rašti’s close disciples. While in Karbala in 1843, he met with Sayyed ʿAli-Moḥammad Širāzi, later known as the Bāb (1819-50), the charismatic leader of the messianic movement known as Babism, and was drawn to his manner and personality.
Upon his return to Iran, Mollā Ṣādeq resided in Mashhad for about two years, after which he moved to Isfahan. There he met with Mollā Ḥosayn Bošruʾi, studied some of the Bāb’s writings that were presented to him by Bošruʾi, accepted the Bāb’s claims after some prayerful meditations, and set out for Shiraz. While preaching and leading the congregational prayer in Shiraz, he received instructions from the Bāb to add his name to the call to prayer (aḏān). Such an action, in addition to his other activities to promote the Bāb’s claim, resulted in uproar. Mollā Ṣādeq, together with a few other Babi leaders, was arrested, scourged, mutilated, and ordered to leave the city (Foʾādi, pp. 111-13).
After being the Bāb’s guest for ten days (Foʾādi, p. 113; Samandar, p. 166), Mollā Ṣādeq went to Yazd and stayed there for about two months, after which he traveled to Kerman. There he submitted the Bāb’s Tawqiʿ, a signed epistle to the Shaykhi leader, Ḥāji Karim Khan Kermāni (Fayżi, pp. 180-82), and in numerous occasions publicly announced the Bāb’s mission. After about seventy days, he moved to Khorasan (Solaymāni, p. 396), where, circa October 1848, he accompanied other Bābis and participated in the upheaval at the shrine of Shaikh Ṭabarsi near Bārforuš, and was one of the few to survive the struggle (Foʾādi, p. 115).
Following his return from Ṭabarsi, he fearlessly and actively propagated the Babi faith from 1849 to 1860 and invigorated the Babi communities, while constantly being attacked, reviled, and denounced by his adversaries (Fāżel Māzandarāni, p. 153). In 1860, he and a few members of his family traveled to Baghdad and met with Bahāʾ-Allāh. Impressed by Bahāʾ-Allāh’s personality and attracted to his spiritual status, Mollā Ṣādeq’s encounter with Bahāʾ-Allāh marked a new chapter in his life as a defender, teacher, and promoter of the Bahai faith.
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