The Dawn-Breakers Study Outline

Chapter 20

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2) Jump to the Chapter 20 Extended Contents View with Summaries.

3) Jump to the Condensed Summary for Chapter 20.

4) Jump to the Chapter 20 Cross-References to The Dawn-Breakers and A Traveler's Narrative

5) Jump to the Condensed and Extended Contents for the following chapters:
Intro.1 Intro.2 Preface 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 Epilogue Other Sections
6) Jump to the actual Chapters of The Dawn-Breakers:
Introduction  Preface  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26  Epilogue
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Condensed Contents View

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    Extended Contents View with Summaries


    Prince Mihdí-Qulí Mírzá's company recovered & was rejoined by 'Abbás-Qulí Khán-i- Láríjání & Sulaymán Khán-i-Afshár-i-Shahríyárí & their regiments of infantry & cavalry. They erected a series of 7 barricades around the fort. They first flaunted their numbers and arms after they had assembled.

    The lack of water in the fort had led the friends to dig a well inside. Mullá Husayn promised them that they would receive water that day for their earthly cleansing, in order to hasten undefiled to the next world. He called those wishing to be martyred to join him before dawn to scatter the enemy and ascend unto glory.

    (413-415) It was related that Prince Ahmad Mírzá and 'Abbás-Qulí Khán later spoke of the war against Quddús and Mullá Husayn and 'Abbás-Qulí Khán marveled at Mullá Husayn's power and prowess despite his lack of training and in contrast to his vast learning, weak build, low supplies as well as the besieged's fearless and joyous courage.

    The Declaration of the Báb's Mission

    (Condensed Summary of Chapter 20)

    I. As the prince's forces were reinforced by those of 'Abbás-Qulí Khán-i-Láríjání, they hoped in vain to intimidate the believers.

    II. Mullá Husayn told those digging a well that they would receive all the water they required that night and invited them to join him in being martyred. He later wore new garments and the Báb's turban and left with 313 companions with their cry. They were scattering the enemy when 'Abbás-Qulí Khán-i-Láríjání in a tree shot Mullá Husayn while his horse was caught in a rope, causing him to dismount and fall down. He was brought back by Qulí and Hasan to Quddús.

    III. In his private company, Mullá Husayn conversed with Quddús and answered his questions. Quddús announced his own impending martyrdom & their reunion. Mullá Husayn offered his life for Quddús & asked him whether he was well-pleased with him.

    IV. Quddús allowed the friends be admitted as they witnessed Mullá Husayn's remaining smile. Quddús buried him with his own shirt, praised his steadfastness in the Covenant to the end, kissed his eyes and forehead & prayed they never would be separated. The believers wept wishing they had been instead sacrificed. Quddús warned them not to reveal his grave site and they buried the other 36 in a mass grave. He exhorted them to be as united as the others were in death.

    V. Due to their defeat and the cold, the enemy stopped for 45 days. Quddús warned the friends if they had any fear to leave then as they could not change after.

    VI. Mírzá Husayn-i-Mutavallí betrayed the friends writing to 'Abbás-Qulí Khán-i-Láríjání for him to finish the job as they were weakened. 'Abbás-Qulí Khán was encouraged by this news, killed the messenger to obtain all credit for the projected victory, made some excuse for his death, and brought in forces to destroy them.

    VII. Quddús ordered Mírzá Muhammad-Báqir to chastise the aggressor and demonstrate the continuing invincible power of the Faith. They made the cry, and caused the whole army to flee in confusion. 'Abbás-Qulí Khán was so afraid that he fell from his horse and left running with one boot left in the stirrup. He confessed his failure to the prince. The divines who were to fight with them made excuses out of fear, and 'Abbás-Qulí Khán was forced to accept for fear their fear would spread to his soldiers.

    VIII. The success emboldened the friends as they brought back the standard to Quddús. They persisted amidst their distress though they only had horse flesh to eat. Quddús refused more than a few teaspoons of the pudding offered to him of one friend's cow out of his lack of joy at Mullá Husayn's death. He continued his commentary on the Sád of Samad, however, which Mírzá Muhammad-Báqir would chant for the friends. The friends possessed such joy and themselves lost the pleasure of food. Quddús alluded to the martyrdom of a good number of the friends.

    IX. The prince gratefully used 'Abbás-Qulí Khán's failure as a pretext for absolving himself and requesting more resources. He amassed these forces outside their walls. They fired cannons and built towers to overtake them, but the friends built their own heights and Quddús was unnerved but smiled when a cannonball landed before him and rolled it away. He praised them as the holy ones spoken of by Muhammad but warned them that any fear would remove God's protection, inspiring most, and causing the surprise of the fearful by the zeal with which it inspired them.

    X. Mullá Sa'íd had been asked by Quddús to give a brief temporary reply before he could respond on questions of divination and astrology. His reply astonished them to recognize his new powers as a divine gift. Later, he sought to obtain tea & sugar for Quddús was captured, and refused to recant, and instead told his captor to instead repent for his evil. He was sent away in chains and was slain with 5 friends.

    XI. Ja'far-Qulí Khán built a tower to fire his cannon and silence their call of the muadhdhhin and singing of hymns and verses of the Qur'án. Quddús called Mírzá Muhammad-Báqir to inflict a befitting punishment on the "boastful newcomer," he went out with 18 friends, killing Ja'far-Qulí Khán, capturing their guns & best stallions, and destroying their barricades.

    XII. As the enemies suspended attack due to ammunition explosions, the friends emerged for grass as they had been eating grass, shoe leather & disinterred horse flesh.

    XIII. Mírzá Muhammad-Báqir was sent by Quddús with 36 men to defend them against another onslaught and they successfully repelled them, but 5 were martyred and brought back for burial.

    XIV. A messenger was permitted by the king to induce Mullá Mihdí & his brother Mullá Báqir-i-Kandí to leave the fort, as Mullá Mihdí's infant Rahmán yearned for him. He replied that the true Rahmán had removed all his affections for anyone else. Mullá Mihdí reasserted his intention to stay, and indicated his desire to return to Quddús. The messenger left after having failed to persuade him to leave.

    XV. Siyyid Mírzá Husayn-i-Mutavallí and a few others, in the midst of famine, were unable to resist the assurances of being delivered. However, they were all killed upon leaving the fort by 'Abbás-Qulí Khán's orders.

    XVI. Quddús sent Mullá Yúsuf-i-Ardibílí & Siyyid Ridáy-i-Khurásání as his 2 representatives to the prince who had indicated his desire to negotiate a peace. The prince assured them of peace and protection by swearing their delivery on the Qur'án and promised to receive them in his tent. Quddús asked God to judge between them then sent his acceptance of the offer.

    XVII. Quddús later told the friends to disperse, that he would be going to Bárfurúsh, and that he would meet them again in the Kingdom. Some friends were deceived by the prince's attendants' that Quddús had wished them to join them. They were captured, some being sold into slavery to carry on news of these events. These attendants then sought to pressure Mullá Yúsuf into telling the friends that Quddús wished for them to disarm. When he refused, they killed him.

    XVIII. The friends remained steadfast to their cruel end. The soldiers shot them, and cut open their stomachs, joking at the undigested grass which came out. Others were torn apart, bound to trees and riddled with bullets, blown from cannons or enflamed. Those who had been pardoned were killed as well as women and children whose throats were even cut.

    XIX. Qá'iní chopped off the head of an executioner who had killed a friend, and mowed down the crowd which rushed him until being shot with a rifle.

    XX. Siyyid Ahmad's father, a follower of Siyyid Kázim, sought to bring his sons to meet the Siyyid. However, he died before they could reach him. The father then dreamt that Muhammad had the Imám 'Alí say that the Siyyid's sons would meet the Qá'im and be martyred for His Cause after his death. He died a few days later.

    XXI. Karbilá'í Abú-Muhammad and Karbilá'í 'Alí had prepared the people, urging them to follow the hoisting of the Black Standard which would occur soon. Abú-Muhammad's sons, Abu'l-Qásim & Muhammad-'Alí. Mullá Zaynu'l-'Ábidín-i-Shahmírzádí told the prince of their fathers' story.

    XXII. When asked why he did not content himself with the divines of Najaf, Siyyid Ahmad related that his faith was not of idle imitation and that its learned exponent showed his ignorance by his impatience to answer a basic question he had had. He expressed to the prince that his execution would be a favor in his eagerness to leave the world and return to this friends. He hesitated to kill a siyyid but killed 2 of his companions. However, Mírzá Muhammad-Taqí with 7 'ulamás of Sárí urged the prince to reconsider, and, though not agreeing, consented to deliver him to their custody. After abusing their guests, Siyyid Ahmad pointed out the Qur'ánic verse to respect one's guest, upon which Mírzá Muhammad-Taqí and the 'ulamás cut him to pieces as he made the call of the Lord of the Age. His brother was spared, however.

    XXIII. After the prince returned to Bárfurúsh, theSa'ídu'l-'Ulamá' and the ulamás welcomed and congratulated him. The people had bonfires for 3 days. The Sa'ídu'l-'Ulamá' appealed to the reluctant prince to hand him over to be executed, rousing a mob by threatening to go without food or sleep until he did so. The prince brought in Quddús who had been quarantined and respectfully asked him and the Sa'ídu'l-'Ulamá' to defend their positions solely through use of the Qur'án. When the Sa'ídu'l-'Ulamá' asked Quddús why he wore the green siyyid turban, he replied that Siyyid Murtadá had worn the turban as he had descended from Muhammad through his mother & Quddús was likewise descended through his mother, which all recognized. XXIV. The Sa'ídu'l-'Ulamá' threw his turban to the ground, complained they would soon recognize his claim to be the revealer of God's will, when the prince then dropped his oath, "washed himself" of responsibility & left him to the Sa'ídu'l-'Ulamá'.

    XXV. He was stripped of his clothes, his turban befouled, and barefoot, bareheaded, and loaded with chains, he was paraded thorugh the streets. He was insulted and spat upon by the howling mob. Amidst this, Quddús whispered forgiveness to them.

    XXVI. Siyyid-i-Qumí passed by Quddús in his helplessness and hit him in the face taunting him to break from his chains if his voice was from God. Quddús steadfastly looked at him, sighed deeply, and asked God to requite him for his deed.

    XXVII. Quddús upon approaching the Sabzih-Maydán glorified his "nuptials" and was then attacked by the mob with knives and axes (the town's female scum), who piereced, mutilated, and tore to pieces his body and threw the scattered members into the fire started for that purpose. One 'ulamá' who had deplored the Sa'ídu'l-'Ulamá''s actions, gathered his remains and buried them.

    XXVIII. The Sa'idu'l-'Ulamá was later afflicted despite his furs and fire in his room, with shivers & a high fever, causing him intolerable thirst. His beautiful house was abandoned, crumbled, and refuse was dumped upon it leading to a Mázindarání insult wishing another's house to meet the same fate as the Sa'ídu'l-'Ulamá's.

    XXIX. The Báb was unable to write or dictate for 6 months after this due to his grief. He surely had such cries of anguish at the tales of the siege, their sufferings, betrayal and massacre.

    Cross-References for Chapter 20

    Regarding the Mázindarán upheaval (DB 378-429, see also 324-377), see GPB 17, 37, 38-41, 62, 63; TN 19 , 22 -24 .

    Regarding Quddús (DB 378-415, see also 349-377), see GPB 40-42, 49-50.

    Regarding the marytrdom of Mullá Husayn (DB 378-379), see GPB 50.

    Regarding the frenzy of the Sa'ídu'l-'Ulamá (DB 410, see also 328), see GPB 39.

    Regarding the persecutions of the Sa'ídu'l-'Ulamá (DB 408-411, see also 338-339 note 1, 347, 265-267), see GPB 83.

    Overall of Chapter 20 (DB 378-429): GPB 17, 37-42, 49-50, 62, 63, 83; TN 19, 22-24.

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