Release the Sun
THE PROMISE IS FULFILLED
Mulla Husayn was faithful to the Bab's instructions. He told no one of his discovery, even though a large number of the followers of Siyyid Kazim soon gathered about him. They recognized a new spirit in Mulla Husayn's speech, and marvelled at it, unaware that the source of his knowledge and power flowed from the Bab Whose coming all of them were so eagerly awaiting. "During those days," Mulla Husayn states, "I was summoned to visit the Bab on several occasions. Every time I visited Him, I spent the entire night in His presence. Wakeful until dawn, I sat at His feet fascinated by the charm of His utterance, and oblivious of the world and its cares. How rapidly those precious hours flew by! At each daybreak I would reluctantly withdraw from His presence. How eagerly in those days I looked forward to the approach of the evening hour. With what feelings of sadness and regret I beheld the dawning of day! "In the course of one of those nightly visits, the Bab addressed me in these words: `Tomorrow thirteen of your companions will arrive. To each of them extend the utmost loving kindness. Pray to God that He may graciously enable them to walk securely in that path which is finer than a hair and keener than a sword.'" Some of these companions, the Bab told Mulla Husayn, would become His chosen disciples. Others would be neither warm nor
cold, while still others would remain undeclared until that future day when He, for Whom the Bab Himself was but the Herald, appeared. The next morning, Mulla `Ali, Mulla Husayn's close friend arrived in Shiraz, accompanied by twelve companions. He at once noted the great change which had taken place in Mulla Husayn. He was struck by the tranquil radiance of his face and suspected the truth. "How is it," Mulla `Ali asked, "that we see you teaching the people with the utmost tranquility and no longer searching? Agitation and expectancy have vanished from your face. I beg of you, bestow upon me a portion of what you have found, for only that can quench my thirst and ease the pain of longing in my heart." Mulla Husayn refused. "Do not entreat me to grant this favor," he begged Mulla `Ali. "Let your trust be in God, for He will surely guide your steps." So great was the joy that shone from Mulla Husayn's face, that Mulla `Ali could no longer bear to be deprived of that secret. By prayer and fasting he sought desperately to remove the veil that separated him from the Beloved. On the third night of his retirement, while wrapt in deep prayer, Mulla `Ali had a vision. There appeared before his eyes a light, and lo! it moved off before him. Allured by its matchless beauty, he followed it until at last it led him to a certain door. He knew immediately that the Treasure was within. He awoke in a state of great rapture. Although it was the middle of the night, he rushed to Mulla Husayn. His face was aglow with happiness. He threw himself into the arms of his friend. Mulla Husayn realized at once that Mulla `Ali at last knew the truth. He knew where to find his Beloved. He embraced Mulla `Ali lovingly, and said: "Praise be to God Who hath guided us." That very morning, at break of day, Mulla Husayn followed by Mulla `Ali hastened to the residence of the Bab. At the entrance they were met by the Bab's much loved Ethiopian servant, who immediately recognized them. He greeted them with these words: "Before break of day I was summoned to the presence of my Master who instructed me to open the door of the house and to stand expectant at its threshold. "`Two guests,' He told me, `are to arrive early this morning.
Extend to them in My name a warm welcome. Say to them from Me: "Enter therein in the name of God."'" The first meeting of Mulla `Ali with the Bab differed greatly from the first meeting of Mulla Husayn with the Bab. At the previous meeting the Bab had offered proofs of His Mission for Mulla Husayn to weigh and study. At this meeting, all such matters had been put aside and a spirit of intense love and ardent fellowship prevailed. The very chamber, said Mulla `Ali, seemed to have been vitalized by His utterance. Everything in the room seemed to be vibrating with this testimony: "Verily, the dawn of a new day has broken. The Promised One is enthroned in the hearts of men. In His hand He holds the mystic cup of immortality, and blessed is he who drinks therefrom!"[F2] One by one, seventeen separate souls searched for the Bab, met Him, and accepted His teachings. Among these disciples, there was one woman. She was called Tahirih, the Pure. She accepted the Bab without ever attaining to His presence. She saw Him in the world of vision, and became a staunch believer, a courageous teacher, and finally a martyr. One night while conversing with Mulla Husayn, the Bab said to him, "Seventeen have thus far enlisted under the standard of the Faith of God ... Tomorrow night the remaining Letter will arrive and will complete the number of My chosen disciples." The next evening as the Bab, followed by Mulla Husayn, was returning to His home, a youth appeared. He was travel-stained and weary from his long journey. His name was Quddus. He approached Mulla Husayn, embraced him, and asked him if he had yet attained to his heart's desire. Mulla Husayn tried to calm him. He advised him to rest for a while, saying that he would speak to him later. The youth, however, refused to rest. He looked past Mulla Husayn at the retreating figure of the Bab. Then turning to Mulla Husayn, he said: "Why do you seek to hide Him from me. I can recognize Him by His gait. I testify that none beside Him, whether in the East or the West, can claim to be the Truth. None other can manifest the power and majesty that radiate from His Holy person." Mulla Husayn marveled at these words. He pleaded with him to restrain his feelings, promising that the truth would be unveiled
to him soon. Leaving him, Mulla Husayn hastened to join the Bab. He told Him of his conversation with the young man. "Marvel not at this strange behavior," the Bab said, "We have in the world of the spirit been communing with that youth. We know him already. We indeed awaited his coming. Go to him and summon him forthwith to Our presence." Mulla Husayn instantly recalled the prophesy given for the time of the end: "On the last Day, the men of the unseen shall, on the wings of the spirit, traverse the immensity of the earth, shall attain the presence of the Promised One and shall seek from Him the secret that will resolve their problems and remove their perplexities."[F3] Now when this eighteenth disciple, known as Quddus, had accepted Him, the Bab addressed them, saying: "Raise the cry: Awake! awake, for lo! the Gate of God is open, and the morning light is shedding its radiance upon all mankind! The Promised One has come, prepare the way for Him, O people of the world!"[F4] The Bab gave a special message of assurance to Mulla `Ali. "Your faith must be immovable as the rock, must weather every storm and survive every calamity. Suffer not the denunciations of the foolish to turn you from your purpose. You are the first to leave the House of God, and to suffer for His sake. If you be slain in His path, remember that great will be your reward, and goodly the gift which will be bestowed upon you." No sooner were these words uttered than Mulla `Ali arose from his seat and set out to teach the Faith of the Bab. True to the Bab's forewarnings, Mulla `Ali was overtaken and beaten just beyond the gate of Shiraz. He was the first to suffer for the new Faith. He was also the first to bring news of the Bab to Tahirih. In Najaf he was arrested for fearlessly proclaiming the Faith. He was bound with chains and taken to Baghdad under sentence of death. He was cast into prison, tried again, and, still in chains, ordered to Constantinople. Some say he died enroute, some say he was later martyred. No one knows what eventually befell this hero of God.[F5] The Bab summoned all of the others to His presence and to each one He gave a special command and a special task. He spoke to all of them these parting words: "O My beloved friends! You are the bearers of the name of God in this Day ... The very members of your body must bear witness
to the loftiness of your purpose, the integrity of your life, the reality of your faith, and the exalted character of your devotion. ... "Ponder the words of Jesus addressed to His disciples as He sent them forth to propagate the Cause of God: `Ye are even as the fire which in the darkness of the night has been kindled upon the mountain-top. Such must be the purity of your character and the degree of your renunciation, that the people of the earth may through you recognize and be drawn closer to the heavenly Father Who is the source of purity and grace.'" In His parting message to His disciples the Bab once again called attention to the One Who was to come after Him, and for Whom He was but the Herald. He sent each one of them back to his own province to teach. "I am preparing you for the advent of a mighty Day," He told them. "Exert your utmost endeavor that, in the world to come, I Who am now instructing you, may, before the mercy-seat of God, rejoice in your deeds and glory in your achievements. Scatter throughout the length and breadth of this land, and with steadfast feet and sanctified hearts, prepare the way for His coming. "Heed not your weaknesses and frailty: fix your gaze upon the invincible power of the Lord, your God, the Almighty. ... "Arise in His name, put your trust wholly in Him, and be assured of ultimate victory." With such words as these, the Bab quickened the faith of His disciples and launched them upon their mission.[F6]