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Release the Sun

by William Sears

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Chapter 4

THE PILGRIMAGE AND THE PROCLAMATION

One morning shortly after this, at the hour of dawn, most of the disciples of the Bab left Shiraz to carry out the teaching tasks He had given them. The first disciple, Mulla Husayn, and the last, Quddus, remained with Him. To these two the Bab disclosed His intention to go to Mecca. Just as Jesus had journeyed to Jerusalem, the stronghold of the Jews, to proclaim His Mission, so did the Bab make plans to go to Mecca, the heart of the Moslem world. As the hour of His departure arrived, He called Mulla Husayn to Him. He Himself would visit Mecca and Medina, He told him, and there fulfill the Mission with which God had entrusted Him. He had chosen Quddus to go with Him and left Mulla Husayn behind to face the onslaught of a fierce and relentless enemy. He assured him, however, that until he had completely finished his work, no power on earth could harm him. "He that loves you loves God ... whoso befriends you, him will God befriend; and whoso rejects you, him will God reject. His Almighty arms will surround you and guide your steps."[F1] The Bab, accompanied by Quddus, departed for Bushihr on the Persian Gulf where they embarked upon a sailing vessel. After two

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months of sailing on stormy seas, they landed on the coast of Arabia. A fellow passenger during this voyage has recorded the following: "From the day we embarked at Bushihr until we landed, whenever I saw the Bab or Quddus, they were invariably together absorbed in their work. The Bab was dictating and Quddus was taking down whatever fell from His lips." Neither the storms that raged about them, nor the sickness which seized the other passengers, could disturb their serenity or interfere with their work.[F2] The Bab entered the city of Mecca seated upon a camel, as Christ had entered Jerusalem seated upon an ass. Quddus refused to ride beside Him on the journey inland. He preferred, he said, to accompany Him on foot, holding the bridle of the camel. Each night from sunset until dawn, Quddus would stand watch over His Beloved. One day during His visit in Mecca, the Bab approached a man named Muhit. The Bab recognized him as a distinguished follower of Shaykh Ahmad. He knew that if Muhit were faithful to his master's instructions, he would now be energetically searching for the Promised One. The Bab spoke to him. "Oh Muhit!" He said, "Behold, we are both now standing within the most sacred Shrine. ... He Whose spirit dwells in this place can cause Truth to be known from falsehood. ... Verily, I declare, none beside Me in this day, whether in the East or in the West, can claim to be the Gate that leads men to the knowledge of God. ... Ask Me whatsoever you please; now, at this very moment, I pledge Myself to reveal such verses as can demonstrate the Truth of My Mission." This sudden, unexpected and direct challenge unnerved Muhit. He was anxious to depart. "I am expected at once in Medina," he said. He did not look at the Bab as he spoke. Unable to remain in His presence, he fled in terror from His face and hurried from the Shrine.[F3] The Bab found no one would listen. They were indifferent, antagonistic, or afraid. He made one last effort to awaken the people in that holy city of the Muslims. He wrote a letter to the Sherif of Mecca, hoping that through him He might reach the hearts of the people. In that letter, he set forth in clear and unmistakable terms the distinguishing features of His Mission and called upon the Sherif to arise and embrace His Cause. The Sherif did not bother to read the letter or to share it with his

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friends who were all too much absorbed in their own affairs to respond to the call of the Bab. Later, the Sherif admitted his indifference. "In the year 1844," he said, "I recall that a young man came to see me. He gave me a book, but I was too occupied to read it at that time. A few days later I met him again. He asked me if I had any reply to make to his message. Pressure of work had prevented me from reading the contents of that book, so I told him that I had no answer to give him."[F4] The Bab was treated as Christ had been treated, with ridicule and contempt. It was the same as it had been in those days when Jesus accused the leaders of His day, saying: "Woe unto you! ... ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered."[F5] The people did not understand Him, whether He spoke plain truths or in symbols. The historian Nicolas writes that the Bab, throughout His Mission, had to act "as does a physician to children, who must disguise a bitter medicine in a sweet coating in order to win over his young patients. The people in the midst of whom he [the Bab] appeared were, and still are, alas, more fanatical than the Jews were in the time of Jesus. ... Therefore, if Christ, in spite of the relative calm of the surroundings in which He preached thought it necessary to employ the parable, the Bab was obliged to pour out one drop at a time, the filter of his divine truths. He brings up his child, humanity; he guides it, endeavoring always not to frighten it and directs its first steps on a path which leads it slowly but surely so that as soon as it can proceed alone, it reaches the goal preordained for it from all eternity."[F6] Before leaving the cities of Mecca and Medina, the Bab beseeched God to hasten the hour of His martyrdom so that by this sacrifice men might know the truth. "The drops of this consecrated blood," He said, "will be the seed out of which will arise the mighty Tree of God, the Tree that will gather beneath its all-embracing shadow the peoples and kindreds of the earth. Grieve not, therefore, if I depart out of this land, for I am hastening to fulfill My destiny."[F7]

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