The Dawn-Breakers Study Outline
6) Jump to the actual Chapters of The Dawn-Breakers: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
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
For other sections, see the Contents page.
He watched their progress with anxiety had prayed with zeal for their victory but was overcome with when He learned of the enemies' betrayal and butchery, causing Him not to meet with the friends or eat or drink for 9 days, to weep and anguish as He communed behind the curtain in His cell, and to languish for 5 months. At one point, His amanuensis attempted to jot down His lamentations, but He bade him destroy them.
At Muharram, the Báb continued His writing, dedicating the first page to Mullá Husayn and describing his fidelity, magnanimous conduct, exploits, meeting with Quddús in the next world, and foretelling His immanent joining with them. He continued for a week to write praises of the martyrs of Tabarsí.
(431) On 'Áshúrá (Imám Husayn's anniversary of martyrdom), He then summoned Mullá Ádí-Guzal of Marághih, His recently acting attendant (instead of Siyyid Hasan, Siyyid Husayn-i-'Azíz's brother) titled him Sayyáh, entrusted him with the visiting Tablets revealed for the martyrs that he would make a pilgrimage there with detachment and disguised as a traveler, and when arriving taking off his shoes, bowing his head in reverence, invoking their names, circle the shrine, and bring back to Him, out of remembrance, a handful of the holy earth covering Quddús' and Mullá Husayn's graves, to return to join Him for His likely last Naw-Rúz.
(432) Sayyáh acquitted himself of this mission then proceeded to Tihrán. He arrived at Bahá'u'lláh's home there in the depth of winter wearing only a dervish garb, barefoot and dishevelled but his heart enkindled. Siyyid Yahyáy-i-Dárábí (Vahíd), then a guest there, flung himself, despite his eminent position, at the pilgrim's feet, held his legs which were covered with mud to the knees, in his arms and kissed them devoutly. Bahá'u'lláh evinced such evidences of loving solicitude to Vahíd that day as Áqáy-i-Kalím had never seen Him evince to anyone. His conversation convinced him that Vahíd would soon distinguish himself by similarly remarkable deeds as those of Tabarsí. Sayyáh, however, did not perceive His host's power, despite the favors He showered on Him. Sayyáh later recounted his experiences, described (433) Bahá'u'lláh's favors to Him and the preference Vahíd extended to him, and his own ignorance then of not suspecting Bahá'u'lláh's position. Bahá'u'lláh entrusted Sayyáh with an epistle, dictated to and sent in Mírzá Yahyá's name to which the Báb replied in His own handwriting that Mírzá Yahyá be committed to Bahá'u'lláh's care for his education and training. This letter was later misconstrued as an evidence of the Báb's favors to Mírzá Yahyá's position, instead of his being merely a figurehead under Bahá'u'lláh used to detract outsiders' and government agents' attention though it contained no such indication, but instead has praises of Bahá'u'lláh.
Nabíl came to accept the Faith this same year (1265 A.H.). His father was a nomad of the Táhirí tribe of Khurásán, named Ghulám 'Alí (son of Husayn-i- 'Arab) whose wife was Kalb-'Alí by whom he had 3 sons and 3 daughters, the 2nd son of which was Nabíl, named Yár-Muhammad.
He was born on the 18th of Safar in 1247 A.H. in Zarand. He was a shepherd, of a most rudimentary education. Though unable to study, he read the Qur'án eagerly, memorized certain passages and chanted them while following his flock. He loved solitude and watched the stars at night with wonder & delight. He recited prayers attributed to the Imám 'Alí facing the Qiblih, supplicating the Almighty for guidance to the Truth.
His devout father brought him to Qum, where his father would piously perform all the rites. Nabíl heard the lectures of mujtahids and gradually began to perceive their insincerity and base character but he could not find the time to ascertain the trustworthiness of their assertions. His father expressed his fear that his aversion for the mujtahids would lead him to difficulties and shame.
In 1263 A.H. in Rubáb-Karím he overheard a conversation on the Báb, discussing His being conducted to Kinár-Gird toward Tihrán. As the friend with whom the man was speaking did not know about this, he elaborated the circumstances of the Báb, His Declaration, arrest in Shíráz, departure for Isfáhán, reception of the Imám-Jum'ih and Manúchihr Khán, His wonders, the verdict of the Isfáhán 'ulamás. This story excited Nabíl for how a Man could so influence His countrymen.
Nabíl then returned to Zarand, and his father noted his restlessness and behavior leading to his loss of appetite and sleep. He sought to conceal this from his father that it would not interfere with his hopes, when a Siyyid Husayn-i-Zavár'í arrived, befriended him, and to whom Nabíl expressed his longing.
To his surprise, he was already enthralled by this secret, as one of his cousins, Siyyid Ismá'íl-i-Zavári'í, who had met the Báb in the Imám-Jum'ih's house in Isfáhán and witnessed the stunningly rapid, forceful, and original revelation of the commentary on the Súrih of Va'l-'Asr (Qur'án, 103) while He answered questions posed to Him convinced him of the Báb's mission. The kad-khudás (village head) and siyyids of Zavárih became hostile at his fearless preaching and induced him to return to Isfáhán. Siyyid Husayn left too and met Hájí Mírzá Jání spoken of by his cousin, and gave him "Risáliy-i-'Adlíyyih' of the Báb to read carefully. He was so impressed that he transcribed it. He missed the Báb, however, Who arrived on Naw-Rúz and stayed at Hájí Mírzá Jánís for 3 days then left for Tihrán. He then left from Káshán to a fortress near Kinár-Gird. A man emerged and asked him where he was going to which he replied he was a poor wandering siyyid. The man said he imagined him to be a follower of the Siyyid Who left for Ádhirbáyján of Whom he himself was a follower, named Hájí Zaynu'l-'Ábidín. The Báb told him to stay there to dissuade any of the friends he might meet from following Him but to consecrate their lives to serving His Cause that the barriers may be removed to allowing them to worship God and observe its precepts. Siyyid Husayn-i- Zavár'í then came to Zarand instead of to Qum.
This relieved Nabíl and he was given a copy of Risáliy-i-'Adlíyyih which gave him strength and refreshment. Siyyid Husayn advised him to meet Siyyid Ismá'íl-i-Zavári'í who would be visiting the shrines of Qum. He told his father that he wished to go there to study Arabic (so as to avoid him being prevented by the Qádí (judges) and 'ulamás from going. He was visited by his mother, sister, and brother during Naw-Rúz. He taught his mother and sister, who accepted the Faith. Siyyid Ismá'íl arrived a few days after they returned to Zarand and was able to win him over completely to the Cause in discussing the the continuity of Divine Revelation, the oneness of the past Prophets and Their association with His Mission, and the nature of Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kázim's missions (with whom Nabíl had been unacquainted). He asked and was told that the faithful should go to Mázindarán and lend assistance to Quddús. He advised Nabíl, however, to remain in Qum with Mírzá Fathu'lláh-i-Hakkák (a youth of the same age who had just declared) until receiving his message from Tihrán.
As no word came, he decided to leave for the capital, was followed by Mírzá Fathu'lláh (who was arrested and was eventually executed because of the attempt on the Sháh's life), met Siyyid Ismá'íl-i-Zavár'í (who said he had just written the letter), and discovered the saddening news that that the fort and its inhabitants had been destroyed. Nabíl's maternal uncle Naw-Rúz-'Alí came to get him and Siyyid Ismá'íl advised him to return. Upon his return, he won over his brother and induced his father to allow him to leave for Tihrán where he met Mullá 'Abdu'l-Karím (titled Mírzá Ahmad by Bahá'u'lláh) who received him affectionately as the temporary trust of Siyyid Ismá'íl. He introduced him to the Báb's disciples who taught him more of the Faith's teachings. Mírzá Ahmad at the time was a scribe & spent evenings copying the Persian Bayán & other of His writings as gifts for his fellow-disciples. Nabíl bore such gifts from him to Mullá Mihdíy-i-Kandí's wife (the mother of the infant son whose father had left to join the friends at Tabarsí). He was informed of Táhirih's transfer from Núr to a courteous confinement in Tihrán.
Bahá'u'lláh's wife, the Varaqatu'l-'Ulyá (Most Exalted Leaf) had healed his eyes with an ointment she prepared and sent through Mírzá Ahmad. He then was conducted to the Holy Family's house by Mírzá Ahmad. He first met 'Abdu'l- Bahá Who was then 6 but remained unaware of His station. He smiled His welcome as He stood at Bahá'u'lláh's door. He was startled at the unworthiness of Mírzá Yahyá's features and conversation.
Another time Áqáy-i-Kalím requested Nabíl to conduct Áqá (the Master) to the Madrisiy-i-Mírzá-Sálih (as Isfandíyár had not yet returned from the market). 'Abdu'l-Bahá (a child of exquisite beauty) emerged from His Father's room, wearing the kuláh and a cloak (jubbiy-i-hizári'í), and descended the house steps to the gate. As Nabíl offered to carry Him, He said they shall walk together, He took his hand, and they walked to the Pá-Minár madrisih where He told him to return later as His Father would need Isfandíyár. Back at the house, Mírzá Yahyá gave Nabíl a letter to bring to Bahá'u'lláh at a room where Mullá Báqir-i-Bastámí was at the Madrisiy-i-Sadr and return immediately. After this, Nabíl returned with 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
Mírzá Ahmad invited him one day to meet Hájí Mírzá Siyyid 'Alí who had returned from Chihríq in Muhammad Big-i-Chapárchí's home near the Shimírán gate. He was impressed by his noble features and later by his, temper, piety, and character. He recalled one time when Áqáy-i-Kalím urged him to flee from Tihrán when he replied that he too wished he could share in the banquet prepared by God for His chosen ones.
Later, a siyyid of Káshán living in the Madrisiy-i-Dáru'sh-Shafá' whom Siyyid Muhammad claimed to have converted though Siyyid Muhammad's teacher, Mírzá Muhammad-Husayn-i-Kirmání, a well-known lecturer on Islám's metaphysical doctrines, had urged him to refuse this unreliable siyyid's admittance. This siyyid went to Siyyid Husayn ('ulamá of Káshán) and gave him a list of about 50 believers' addresses in Tihrán, who in turn submitted them to Mahmúd Khán-i-Kalantar who ordered their arrest. 14 were brought to the authorities. Nabíl was with his brother and maternal uncle that day outside the Naw gate. The went back the next morning to Zarand while Nabíl returned to the Madrisiy-i-Dáru'sh-Shafá' where he found a letter from Mírzá Ahmad informing him of the siyyid's report of them, entrusting him with the sacred writings he had in possession to bring to Hájí Nád-'Alí's caravanserai for delivering the package and letter, and encouraging him to meet him at the Masjid-i-Sháh. When he did this, Mírzá Ahmad told him how he had been attacked and found refuge and immunity in the masjid. Bahá'u'lláh sent Mírzá Ahmad a letter informing him of the Amír-Nizám's demand of the Imám- Jum'ih for his arrest and his intent to ignore the right of asylum. Mírzá Ahmad was urged to leave in disguise for Qum while Nabíl was to go to Zarand. Nabíl's relations plead for him to return, with particular concern for his father who had been misinformed as to his arrest and impending execution & was distressed. At Mírzá Ahmad's urging at this God-sent opportunity, he left to Zarand & celebrated Naw-Rúz with his family. This was the Báb's last Naw- Rúz as foretold in one of the Báb's last works.
Nabíl waited there & worried about the fate of those friends in Tihrán. Sádiq-i- Tabrízí came from Tihrán and was received in his father's house and, though relieving him of his uncertainty, told him of even more anxiety-provoking cruel happenings.
14 disciples who had been captured were incarcerated in Mahmúd Khán-i- Kalantar's house (where Táhirih was on the upper floor) and were subjected to every ill treatment, to obtain information. Muhammad-Husayn-i-Marághi'í, one of these, did not utter anything despite severe torture, causing the oppressors to think he was dumb. Hájí Mullá Ismá'íl (who had converted him) said he is mute but not dumb, fluent & free of impediment. When he called him by name, the victim responded assuring him he was ready to abide him.
(446) Khál-i-A'zam (the Greatest Uncle), the Báb's maternal uncle, was a leading merchant of Shíráz to whom the Báb had been entrusted after His father's death (who assumed responsibility for Him after His pilgrimage and arrest by Husayn Khán, acted as intermediary between Him and the hosts of followers coming to Shíráz). He was Qurbán's son (the head cook of the Qá'im-Magám, predecessor of Hájí Mírzá Áqásí) as his only child, Siyyid Javád died in infancy.
He had left Shíráz for Chihríq to visit the Báb then went to Tihrán without a special occupation until the sedition which caused his martyrdom. He remained till the last moment regardless of his friends' warnings. Some affluent merchants offered to pay his ransom, though he rejected. The Amír-Nizám sought to persuade him to give one word of recantation to secure his safe and honorable return. He indicated his wish to follow in the paths of the martyrs before him, his desire not to reject this Revelation and therefore all the Revelations before it-- Muhammad's, Jesus', Moses', etc., given his witnessing of all Their wonders (in every way) in the Báb, and his one request to be the first (there) to lay down his life in His path.
The Amír was stunned by his answer, and out of despair, motioned he be taken out and beheaded. The victim uttered the words of Háfiz in gratitude to God and called the people to note his willing sacrifice (as those of the province and beyond would testify to his upright conduct & noble lineage), noted the irony of their refusal to acknowledge what they had prayed for a 1000 years, and asked their forgiveness, despite the wrath they deserved.
The executioner was stirred, pretended his sword needed resharpening and left. He stated how he had only been charged before to kill those convicted of murder and highway robbery and was compelled to shed the blood of one no less holy than the Imám Músáy-i-Kázim (7th Imám). Becoming a porter and crier in Khurásán, he told the believers there of his repentance and cried at the mention of his victim's name who had instilled such love in his heart.
Ni'matu'lláhí of Bárfurúsh was pious, noble, and pure such that several notables of Mázindarán, Khurásán, and Tihrán had pledged him their loyalty and he was paid homage on his way to pilgrimage and elsewhere, though he disdained their pomp. A shaykh in Mandalíj had renounced his friends and disciples and followed him to Ya'qúbíyyih though Mírzá Qurbán-'Alí induced him to return to continue his work.
It was on pilgrimage that he met Mullá Husayn and embraced the Cause.
Due to illness he could not join the fort defenders, despite his preeminent eagerness to go. He was very attached to Vahíd as well as Mullá Husayn. He yearned to join Mullá Husayn and wished to make up for it by joining Vahíd when he was arrested. He was walking the streets dressed in humble clothing while adhering to all observances and devotions of the Faith so as not to neglect what the Báb Himself did and enjoined. Mírzá Qurbán-'Alí was arrested and brought to Amír- Nizám it caused a great commotion. The Amír mentioned the many appeals for intercession he was receiving and stated that it would have been better for him to assume leadership than submit to one of less knowledge. Mírzá Qurbán-'Alí retorted that his knowledge and justice led him to bow down before Him and to deny His power (to which enemies and friends alike testified) would imply the rejection of every Prophet. He testified that though his power could not move any of their hearts, His power transmuted even the most degraded to the degree that they wished to sacrifice their lives as their efforts had been inadequate. The Amír hesitated to kill him because of his station while Mírzá Qurbán-'Alí insisted that the Báb had declared him a martyr and assured him he would not blame him but in fact thank him.
When the Amír asked to remove him for fear of falling under his spell, he responded that, unlike men as the Amír, only the pure of heart could be affected. The Amír then arose shaking with anger, stated that only the sword could silence them, and told them to behead any who did not recant.
Mírzá Qurbán-'Alí rejoiced at the prospect of his martyrdom that he might obtain everlasting life and be infinitely compensated with lives for his one death. He said that Muhammad had returned in the form of 'Alí- Muhammad, that a rose is a rose in whichever garden or time it blooms, and then deplored how he could not share with any heart or mind the charm and glory of the imperishable Rose. He rejoiced upon seeing the Greatest Uncle's body, embraced it, said that his friend refused to release himself wishing to join him to the Well-Beloved's court, and then was struck in the neck, causing his head to bow, his turban to roll of, and evoking feelings of indignation, sorrow and sympathy from many of the onlookers comparable to how they meet the day of 'Áshúrá.
Hájí Mullá Ismá'íl-i-Qumí of Faráhán sought the truth in his youth, sat at Siyyid Kázim's feet leading to his recognition of the Báb's Revelation in Shíráz a few years later. He distinguished himself by his faith and fervor and hastened to Khurásán, joined the friends going to Badasht, was titled Sirru'l-Vujúd there, deepened his understanding & zeal while with them, and becoming more impatient to demonstrate his new spirit befittingly. He explained Qur'ánic and traditional verses with great insight and eloquence, and at the time of the siege of Tabarsí, he languished sick in bed, and when he discovered their massacre, he arose to add to his labors for the Cause.
When he came to the bodies of the twin martyrs, he praised them, wished he had preceded them, asked the executioner to take his coin and purchase something sweet, took some of it, and gave the rest to the executioner, forgiving him and calling him to hasten his blow. When one had pointed out one of his friends had offered money to save him should he recant, he said he could be safe without money but recited a poem indicating that those who would be sacrificed do not turn back out of love. He asked God to accept his unworthy self and while offering his devotions, cut them short by his request.
Siyyid Husayn-i-Turshízí, the mujtahid of Turshíz in Khurásán known for his piety and upright conduct, was then brought in.
He had studied in Najaf, was commissioned by other mujtahids there to propagate these principles, and met in the process Hájí Muhammad- Taqíy-i-Kirmání an old acquaintance of his, whom he decided to join going to Persia.
This acquaintance was a close friend of the Báb's maternal uncle through whom he was converted in 1264 A.H. on his way to pilgrimage for Karbilá. He expressed his desire to join this uncle in visiting the Báb but the uncle advised him to go on to Karbilá and await instructions.
While in Chihríq, the uncle expressed his reluctance to return to Shíráz due to the arrogance there and He was sent to Tihrán that he might later rejoin the Báb. Hájí Muhammad-Taqí was requested to join Him on this journey.
Siyyid Husayn joined him from Baghdád and was thereby converted.
At his immanent martyrdom, Siyyid Husayn declared himself to the people a descendent of the Imám Husayn, noted the testimony of fellow mujtahids to his authority on the Qur'án, argued that his knowledge of Islám led to his recognition of the Báb's Message, and stated that any denunciation would be a rejection of every Revelation before Him. He called upon the people to gather the 'ulamás and mujtahids that he might demonstrate the Cause's truth to them, that innocent blood might not be shed were he to convince them. An officer of the Amír-Nizám interjected that he had a death-warrant by 7 mujtahids, declared himself answerable to God for his blood, laid the responsibility on those leaders, then stabbed him with his dagger.
As his friend said this, Siyyid Murtadá then flung himself over his friend's body, and pleaded to be executed first, stating his martyrdom as a siyyid would be more meritorious and calling to mind his martyred brother who had struggled with Mullá Husayn, astonishing the onlookers with his deep faith.
Muhammad-Husayn then asked to be martyred before them, threw himself on the body of his friend Hájí Mullá Ismá'íl-i-Qumí & declared he would never be separated from this dear friend.
Their eagerness to precede one another, which greatly astonished the multitude, led to their being beheaded at the same moment.
Though they could have easily bought their lives with a lip-denial justified under kitmán or taqíyyih, and though not driven to desperation as those at Tabarsí or Zanján, they remained faithful, inspiring many secret followers and admirers, even among important officials despite the dishonor the acts against them brought to Islám.
Nabíl here relates how Bahá'u'lláh had reviewed his work to this point and how he was confirmed by His favors, blessings, and presence. He then records his recollection of his meeting with Bahá'u'lláh.
According to Islámic tradition, Fátimih will appear unveiled crossing the bridge Sirát on Judgment Day & will declare for the people to turn their eyes away.
Bahá'u'lláh explained the meaning of these verses in context of the gathering at Badasht. He was celebrating the marriage of a prince in Tihrán when Siyyid Ahmad-i-Yazdí, father of the Báb's amanuensis (Siyyid Husayn) appeared at the door, beckoning Him with an important message. As He was then unable to leave, He met him afterwards who informed Him of Táhirih's confinement in Qazvín and her danger. He then summoned Muhammad-Hádiy-i-Farhádí right away and gave him directions to get her released and bring her to the capital. Though He was unable to host her indefinitely at His home, He arranged for her to go to the Minister of War's house (Mírzá Áqá Khán-i-Núrí) (who had been disgraced by the sovereign and was deported to Káshán) to be hosted by the minister's sister.
She remained there until the call to proceed to Khurásán came. Mírzá (Áqáy-i- Kalím) was sent to bring her to a place outside the city gate and then to any suitable locality in the neighborhood. He brought her to an orchard near a deserted building under the care of an old man. Mírzá Músá returned and told Him of their reception and beautiful landscape. He in turn arranged for her departure which He was to follow in a few days. He joined her at Badasht where He rented a garden for her and appointed Muhammad-Hádí as her doorkeeper. They were joined by 70 friends who stayed in the area.
As Bahá'u'lláh was sick in bed, Táhirih called upon Him, and He was at a loss as to what to reply. She appeared at the door unveiled. He praised Mírzá Áqá Ján's summary of this as he described Fátimih's face appearing unveiled. He spoke of the great fear and bewilderment affecting those witnessing it, leading to some (including Siyyid-i-Nahrí (Mírzá Muhammad- 'Alíy-i-Nahrí), and His brother Mírzá Hádí) fleeing in horror to a deserted castle in the neighborhood. Bahá'u'lláh sent word that this desertion of the friends was not necessary.
As the friends left, He was left to His enemies' mercy. When He later went to Ámul, 4000 people congregated in the masjid and the rooftops while the leading mullá denounced Him as a perverter of Islám and its fame. He dreamt the night before that an eager multitude saw Him arrive while the Qá'im watched Him with great surprise and believed this to be a sign of Bahá'u'lláh deviating from the path of Truth. Bahá'u'lláh assured him it was disapproval at their treatment of Him. He asked Him of the Báb's Mission to which Bahá'u'lláh said that, though never having met Him face to face, He possessed a great affection for Him nevertheless and deeply believed He had not acted contrary to Islám. The mullá and followers refused to believe Him, however, confined Him, and forbade His friends meeting with Him. The acting governor of Ámul obtained His release by ordering his men to make a hole in the wall of His room and bring Him to his house. When the people learned of this, they besieged the governor's residence, pelted Him with stones, and shouted insults.
At the same time He was seeking to obtain Táhirih's deliverance to Tihrán, Shaykh Abu-Turáb wrote that such an attempt had grave risks and could cause a great tumult. Bahá'u'lláh was not deterred, however. Bahá'u'lláh described Him as kind-hearted, simple and lowly in temper, behaving with great dignity but lacking courage and determination and betraying weakness on certain occasions.
For 3 days and nights, their bodies were abandoned in the Sabzih-Maydán and exposed to untold indignities as shí'ahs spat on their faces, kicked, pelted, cursed, mocked & dumped refuse on them (saying that was the recompense of people of affection and those who pursue Wisdom and Truth) without any protest being made.
The bodies were buried outside the capital gate (in a pit they filled) beyond the limits of a public cemetery, adjoining the moat, between the gates of Naw and Sháh 'Abdu'l-'Azím, united in the same grave (as they had in life).
Their martyrdom brought an added blow to the Báb, already sad about the Tabarsí martyrs. He revealed a detailed Tablet referring to them as the Seven Goats (of a tradition) that would walk in front of the Qá'im (die before Him, their Shepherd), having lived heroically and dying by His will (4 months before His death).
That same year saw Tabarsí (east Persia) the events of Nayríz (south Persia), Vahíd's death, the storm in Zanján (north Persia--as Tihrán) which led to the martyrdom of many of the Báb's staunchest disciples, as well as His own martyrdom of marvelous and glorious circumstances in Tabríz (west Persia), covering the whole nation in darkness, heralding the mightier Revelation of the expected Husayn. The superstitious and ignorant people were dumbfounded by the accounts of continuous miracles while the Mullás were fearful of losing their control, increased their slanders and cruel lies causing both terror and admiration among the masses.
The Declaration of the Báb's Mission
(Condensed Summary of Chapter 21)
Cross-References for Chapter 21