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.
During Tabarsí's early days of siege, Vahíd was teaching the Cause in Burújird and Kurdistán, resolved to win the majority there to the Faith then go on to Fárs. However, after learning of Mullá Husayn's leaving for Mázindarán, he prepared to go there also, but was informed by Bahá'u'lláh, upon His arrival of its impossibility. Though deeply saddened, he was consoled by frequent visits to Bahá'u'lláh and His wise counsel (His resultingly new spirit indicated to Mírzá Jání that Vahíd was about to depart this world. He also heard him say how God's saints are able to foretell coming events, and that he knew the details of his martyrdom.)
Vahíd went to Qazvín to continue his work, then went to Qum and Káshán to stimulate the believers. In Isfáhán, Ardistán and Ardikán, he fearlessly taught and won over supporters of the Faith. He came to Yazd (where his wife and her 4 sons lived) a few days before Naw Rúz, which fell on the Báb's Declaration this year.
Navváb-i-Radaví, the most prominent of his rivals, hinted at its extravagance in questioning whether the Sháh's banquets would compare and voiced his suspicion of his celebrating another anniversary. Vahíd's bold and sarcastic reply to this greedy and wicked Navváb provoked others' laughter and enflamed his antagonism.
Vahíd sought then to publicly teach (in the spirit of the poem which says to love and conceal one's secret is impossible, Vahíd began to openly teach in the Mosques, streets, bazaars, public squares, and everywhere there were listeners bringing forth numerous and sincere conversions). Some were attracted and embraced it, while others privately wished to destroy it and him.
They later spread the news of his challenge, Qur'ánic and traditional proofs, and the inability of the eminent mujtahids to speak against him, resulting in an enthusisam which has led to supporters and converts. Their spreading of this news had similiar results, despite enflaming hatred among some.
People from Ardikán to Manshád and further came to his house to hear his message then receive guidance as to what to do to demonstrate their faith. For 40 days, his house was full of countless devotees, inciting the Navváb-i- Radaví to influence the young, experienced governor Áqá Khán in sending a regiment to his house & also to instigate a mob to intimidate the inhabitants.
Vahíd continued to animate & guide his supporters from a window of the upper floor of his house by remaining tranquil and stating that the Qá'im had Himself given him the sword he had there, that with His permission could have alone defeated the enemy, but that he was commanded against it.
He recounted the charge he had been given by Muhammad Sháh to determine the Báb's truth, and that despite his initial arrogance at attempting to change the Báb's position, upon their meeting, he became at first confounded then completely humbled and won over to the manifestation of God, yearning to be martyred for Him.
Seeing their agitation, he assured the friends that God would impose a defeat on the enemy.
As soon as he said this, news arrived that Muhammad-'Abdu'lláh emerged with some comrades (all thought dead) crying the call of the Lord of the Age, attacked, and induced the enemies' abandoning of arms and flight to the Nárín fort.
Muhammad-'Abdu'lláh met Vahíd & expressed his intention of subjugating the enemy. Vahid, though noting his preventing of a calamity, contrasted what had been till then limited to an argument about the Báb with the conflict they would face because of what the Navváb was about to accuse him of–plotting to take over the province & Persia, and advised him to leave the city, allowing God to protect him as they could not be injured until their time.
(471) While the inhabitants poised to attack Vahíd's house, Vahíd summoned Siyyid 'Abdu'l-'Azím-i-Khu'í (Siyyid-i-Khál-Dár) who had defended Tabarsí for a few days, and attracted attention by his bearing, and told him to take his own
(472) horse, beseech the public in the streets to embrace the Cause, inform them of Vahíd's willingness to resort to self-defense if they did not respect his lineage & send 7 companions to repulse those influenced by Navváb, despite his reluctance to enter holy war.
The Siyyid also added in his booming voice that if they were to ignore his plea, his voice would cause their fort's walls to crumble, and his arm would break their gates. Out of fear, the population consented, though they were incited by Navváb to attack Muhammad-'Abdu'lláh.
The governor came forth & instructed his detachment to join that of Navváb. While Muhammad-'Abdu'lláh was dispersing the Navváb's mob, the governor's troops fired, struck him on the foot, and threw him to the ground while some of his supporters were also wounded. His brother got him away and brought him to Vahíd's house.
(473) As the enemy followed him, Vahíd sent Mullá Muhammad-Ridáy-i-Manshádí (enlightened 'ulamá of Manshád titled Rada'r-Rúh by Bahá'u'lláh) who had discarded his turban and served as his doorkeeper, to go with 6 of his chosen companions to call out 'Alláh-u-Akbar 7 times then dive into attack. Though the companions were frail & inexperienced in swordsmanship, they brought terror to the enemy, killing 7 of the most redoubtable enemies & routing the enemy. But when they returned to Vahíd's house, they found Muhammad-'Abdu'lláh wounded. They brought him to Vahíd, who served him food. Though he was concealed to recover, he was eventually found & killed.
As Vahíd had the friends leave and take care for their safety, he advised his wife to take their children and her belongings to her father's home. He wished her to keep his belongings there as it had been his wish that all its possessions would be demolished for the Cause that it might inspire the people to follow in the path he followed (renouncing the worldly for the spiritual).
Vahíd took the writings of the Báb he had, his own treatises, and ordered Hasan to take them outside the city gate with the road heading to Mihríz, warning him that failure to do so would prevent their meeting again.
When Hasan heard the sentinels, he took a different route, was recognized, his horse was shot, and he was captured.
While leaving his 2 sons with their mother, Siyyid Ismá'íl and Siyyid 'Alí- Muhammad, he left with his sons Siyyid Ahmad and Siyyid Mihdí and 2 friends, Ghulám-Ridá, Ghulám-Ridáy-i-Kúchik taking the path advised to Hasan.
For his negligence, as of Muhammad-'Abdu'lláh', Hasan met with injury. He was blown from a cannon (as a pious imám, Mírzá Hasan, was also killed that day), demonstrating his faith by requesting to be bound facing the gun to see it being fired.
Vahíd's departure relieved the enemy as pursuit would be more difficult and less fruitful than executing and pillaging the remaining Bábís–which they did. They especially took from the wealthy, not as much to vindicate their Faith as for their material gain.
Vahíd walked with his sons and companions 7 farsangs that night, and hid in a mountain until his brother learned of his arrival and sent him provisions. The governor's troops arrived to search the brother's house, appropriate much of his property, and return in vain to Yazd.
Vahíd went through mountains to Bavánát-i-Fárs, where his admirers embraced the Faith, including Hájí Siyyid Ismá'íl, the Shaykhu'l-Islám, and many joined him even to Fasá village, though these inhabitants did not respond.
Along the way, he called the people at every masjid to hear the news of the New Day and ascended the pulpit to do so. He would only stay a night if there were any reliable souls who would teach.
He stayed a few days in Rúníz village where he taught receptive souls. The entire population of Chinár-Súkhtih quarter of Nayríz and others of other quarters went to meet him when they heard of his approach, leaving at night so as to avoid objection from the governor Zaynu'l-'Abidín. Over 100 students from Chinár-Súkhtih led by Hájí Shaykh 'Abdu'l-'Alí (Vahíd's father-in-law and respected judge) joined some of the most distinguished notables of Nayríz, including Mullá 'Abdu'l-Husayn, Mullá Báqir, Mírzá Husayn-i-Qutb, Hájí Muhammad-Taqí, Mírzá Nawrá and Mírzá 'Alí-Ridá, some converting secretly (at night) and others publicly (by day). Vahíd was left to enlighten the people of the basic principles of the Báb's Tablet for the newly converted of that city.
When the governor heard of this exodus, he sent a messenger to tell those leaving that those persisting in allying with Vahíd would be killed, their wives captured & property confiscated. This only increased their devotion, causing the governor dismay that they would arise against him. He left for his original home where there was a fortress of refuge whose inhabitants were trained marksmen.
Vahíd left for the Pír-Murád shrine outside of Istahbánát village. 20 inhabitants joined him to Nayríz despite the village 'ulamás prohibitions.
(478) Upon arriving, Vahíd went straight to the masjid to summon them to the Báb, without returning home or changing his dust-laden clothing. He electified
(479) 1000 people of Chinár-Súkhtih quarter and 500 others from Nayríz to ally with him by referring to his example of guidance, his lack of deviation from their religion, his love for them despite their attacks, and the sadness which would redound to Muhammad by their actions because of his relation to Him.
After the initial excitement subsided, he said that he no longer needed to stay there, though their hearts were touched by the Message, he did not wish them to be badly treated because of the governor.
However, the people stated their resignation to God and brought Vahíd home in triumph regardless of consequences.
Vahíd consented to stay a few days where he eloquently taught in the masjid.
The governor was enraged for fear of losing influence. He recruited 1000 well- armed and trained cavalry and infantry to detain Vahíd. Vahíd in turn ordered those 20 friends who had greeted and followed him to occupy the Khájih fort with Shaykh Hádí (Shaykh Muhsin's son) as leader and urged the residents there to fortify that fort's gates, turrets, and walls.
The governor had transferred to his own house there and compelled the kad- khudá & one of Vahíd's companions to evacuate the house where he fortified it, giving orders to Muhammad-'Alí Khán to have their men fire.
Mullá 'Abdu'l-Husayn, the old man who had walked to welcome Vahíd, was the first to suffer as he was shot in the right foot while praying on his roof. Vahíd wrote to the sufferer to express grief at his injury but to cheer him as the first to suffer despite his age.
The attack caused some of the newly converted to waver and a few even joined the enemy at night. Vahíd left at dawn with some supporters to Khájih where he set up residence.
The governor sent his elder borther, 'Alí-Asghar Khán and 1000 men to attack the 72 there.
(482) A number of those in the fort left at sunrise by Vahíd's instructions and dispersed the enemy, leading to only 3 casualites on their side (fearless kuláh manufacturer, Táju'd-Dín, agriculturist Zayníl (Iskandar's son), and the distinguished Mírzá Abu'l-Qásim.
Prince Fírúz Mírzá (Nusratu'd-Dawlih, governor of Shíráz) was unnerved by this news, and ordered their extermination. The governor of Nayríz sent one of the prince's attendants to urge Vahíd to leave Nayríz.
Vahíd indicated his 2 sons were his only company, and questioned why, as a descendant of the Prophet, he was receiving such a hostile welcome. He also warned that he would send 7 companions to humiliate their forces if they persisted to deny him necessities of life.
As the enemy persisted, Vahíd ordered the strenghtening of the fort's defenses, the construction of a water-cistern within, and the pitching of tents outside its gates. Karbilá'í Mírzá Muhammad was made gatekeeper, Shaykh Yúsuf, fund custodian, Karbilá'í Muhammad (Shamsu'd-Dín's son) garden superintendent, Mírzá Ahmad ('Alíy-i-Sardár's uncle) mill tower (Chinár) officer, Shaykháy-i-Shívih-Kash executioner, Mírzá Muhammad-Ja'far (the governor's cousin) chronicler, Mírzá Fadlu'lláh as reader of these, Mashhadí Taqí-Baqqál gaoler, Hájí muhammad-Taqí registrar, Ghulám-Ridáy-i-Yazdí forces captain. Vahíd was induced to admit some Bázár quarter residents and his kindred.
The governor appealed again to the prince, this time with 5000 túmáns delivered on his own steed by his good friend , the courageous, fluent & tactful Mullá Báqir. On the way, he stopped near a fort where roving tribes pitched their tents. Hájí Siyyid Ismá'íl (Shaykhu'l-Islám of Bavánát) was in the area when he asked of and learned that the richly ornamented horse tethered outside the tents was a friend of the governor's.
He mounted the horse, burst in with sword unsheathed, and commanded the tent occupants to tie Mullá Báqir's hands and deliver him as he had fled before the Lord of the Age's face. They obeyed and gave him the rope which he used to compel the captive to follow him back toward Nayríz, delivering him to a kad-khudá (Hájí Akbar) on the way for him to bring to Vahíd.
When Vahíd questioned him as his journey's purpose, he was given a frank & detailed reply. Despite Vahíd's willingness to forgive him was eventually put to death by the companions.
The governor increased his appeals to the prince and sent some of his trusted men to Shíráz to bribe him with presents to act promptly. He also appealed to 'ulamás and siyyids of Shíráz to intercede with the prince, misrepresenting Vahíd's aims as subversive.
The prince sent 'Abdu'lláh Khán (Shujá'u'l-Mulk) with the Hamadání and Sílákhurí regiments, headed by several officers and with adequate artillery.
The prince also had his representative in Nayríz recruit men from surrounding villages (Istahbánát, Íraj, Panj-Ma'ádin, Qutrih, Bashnih, Dih-Cháh, Mushkán, and Rastáq) and another tribe (Vísbaklaríyyih).
The large host surrounded the fort, dug trenches, and set up barricades there (They were hesitant to fight (& poorly trained per p. 485, note 1 but see GPB p. 42.). They then opened fire. A bullet hit the horse of one of Vahíd's attendants on gate watch. Another bullet struck through the turret above the gate. A companion aimed and killed the artillery officer, thereby silencing the guns and leading to the enemy's retreat.
Though neither attacked further that night, Vahíd sent Ghulám-Ridáy-i-Yazdí with 14 others, mostly of old age (the rest being unprepared youth) including a 90-year-old shoemaker with the enthusiasm of a youth, to drive off the enemy. They were to divide after leaving the fort cover and cry "Alláh-u- Akbar!" taking their steeds and rifles and springing into the enemy, despite the cannon & bullet fire. This encounter lasted 8 hours as their fearlessness and skill amazed the enemy. Reinforcements were brought in. The women of Nayríz bravely cheered their heroism on the rooftops, adding to the roar of guns and shout of "Alláh-u-Akbar!" demoralized and paralyzed the enemy.
Though their losses were almost even, they were afraid of confusion. Despite their resources and moral support of the Fárs governor and people, they could not fairly defeat a seemingly untrained and contemptible people.
They ceased hostility for a few days, then sent a solemn written appeal to the besieged ascribing their attacks as due to the influence of mischief-makers inducing them to believe they had violated Islám. They maintained that they had learned of their intent not to subvert the State and that their teachings did not depart from Islám.
They requested that some representatives meet them for a few days to attempt to convince them of the Faith's validity as the were not enemies of Truth. They acknowledged Vahíd's example and guide to Islám. They bore witness on the Qur'án as the judge of their claim, asserted the purity of their intentions, urged them to save the destruction of all those men before attempting to establish their Cause's validity, pledged their devotion should they be convinced of their Faith's truth, and ensured their free return to the fort to continue fighting if not.
Vahíd received the Qur'án reverently and kissed it devoutly, announced the coming of their time, and his willingness to accept their call to unfold the Faith's verities, despite his awareness of their designs. He had the friends continue their work, ignoring the enemy's profession, but stopping hostilities until further notice.
He left with 5 attendants (as Mullá 'Alíy-i-Mudhahhib & Hájí Siyyid 'Ábid). The governor came with Shujá'u'l-Mulk and all his staff, and received Vahíd ceremoniously, brought him to a tent for his reception, and introduced the remaining officers. Vahíd sat, motioned the governor, Shujá'u'l-Mulk, and another officer to be seated while the rest stood, and addressed, with bearing and eloquence, a deeply powerful statement asserting the message from God he brought, and questioned why, as a descendant of Muhammad, he was sentenced to death regardless of his rights.
Though they lavishly entertained and respected him for 3 days and nights, followed his lead in congregational prayer and listened attentively to his discourse, they were plotting to kill him and his companions. They feared attacking him while the companions were in the fort. They also feared the fearless women.
The governor and friends requested and eventually induced Vahíd to write of settling their differences and urge them to join him or return home. He also sent another letter, warning them not to be deceived, in Hájí Siyyid 'Ábid's hands, charging him to destroy the first letter and select the best men to attack and disperse the enemy at night.
Hájí Siyyid 'Ábid brought this to the governor, who sought to reward the messenger if he would induce the occupants to leave. The messenger told them the entire army had been converted, and that Vahíd therefore wished them to return home.
(492) The friends reluctantly (believing it obedience) left the fort unguarded and (493) several discarded their arms and went to Nayríz. The governor sent forces to surround them. The men sought to repulse them and quickly take the Masjid- i-Jámi'. They cried 'Alláh-u-Akbar!" and attacked with swords and rifles or sticks and stones. A few were martyred and the rest, beset by reinforcements, gained the masjid. The officer Mullá Hasan (son of Mullá Muhammad-'Alí) went further, hid in a minaret, and fired on them when they arrived. A Mullá Husayn cried "Alláh-u-Akbar!" scaled the minaret, aimed his rifle at the officer, and hurled him to the ground. His friends brought him away to recover.
The companions hid wherever they could, and helpless to find Vahíd, feared his death. The governor & staff were emboldened by their dispersal and sought to evade their oath. As 'Abbás-Qulí Khán did not participate in the oath, he felt free to arrest and kill whomever had violating the land's laws. He called on those whose kin had died to kill Vahíd. Mullá Ridá (Mullá Báqir's brother), then Safar (brother Sha'bán died), and Áqá Khán (nephew of governor & whose elder brother (his father) died) arose.
These men took Vahíd's turban off, wound it around his neck, and attached it to a horse, dragging him through the streets, reminding the observers there of the Imám Husayn's end (whose body was trampled on by a multitude of horsemen). Before dying, he uttered words the Imám Husayn had uttered, testifying to his abandonment of the world, trust in God, eagerness to meet Him, and refusal to ally with the wicked enemy. The women of Nayríz danced around his corpse to the drums and cymbals and shouts of triumph of the murderous enemy.
The death of the learned (he had memorized at least 30,000 traditions, knew philosophy and sciences, and commemorated in the Íqán by Bahá'u'lláh and in treatises of the Báb), courageous, and self-sacrificing Vahíd led to the commissioning of 5000 men to seize, chain (many being thus brought to Shíráz, ill-treat, and eventually slaughter the men, confiscate their property and destroy their houses. They burned the Khájih fort to the ground.
They captured and brutalized the women and children as bringing 40-50 women and a child as captives to Shíráz, thrown over the mule, donkey, or camel saddle like a bundle, some almost naked, with the heads of the male victims including Vahíd's (stuffed with straw) carried on long lances. Shíráz had been in a festive mood with food, drinking (wine), music, and screaming and laughter of lewd women as well as flags adorning the bazaars. The captives were paraded into the streets and bazaars (though the celebratory mood in the town was ruined by this sight) and brought to Prince Fírúz Mírzá who was holding a feast in his garden entertaining rich Shírází citizens. The music & dancing was stopped to hear Mihr-'Alí Khán, Mírzá Na'ím, and other officers tell of their victory. The prince then congratulated them. The soldiers then brought them to an old caravanserai & did God knows what to them.
The rich who had been kept back from Shíráz and imprisoned in subterranean dungeons, were cruelly paraded through the Nayríz streets, and tortured to obtain their funds. They were deprived of bread and water, branded with hot irons, their nails pulled out (burning weeds placed under them), their bodies lashed, an incision made in their noses through which a string was driven, dragged through the streets with nails in their hands and feet being beaten as they went and subjected to the masses' derision.
One of these was Siyyid Ja'far-i-Yazdí had formerly been honored before by the people and shown deference even by the governor. The same governor ordered his turban to be befouled and flung into the fire, exposed, despite his lineage, to the public who marched before him and abused & ridiculed him. His executioners also took him door to door to beg for money.
Hájí Muhammad-Taqí had likewise been respected for his honesty and justice, and his opinion accepted by the court judges as the determining word. He was stripped of his clothes, thrown into a pond, and lashed severely. Siyyid Ja'far and Shaykh 'Abdu'l-'Alí (Vahíd's father-in-law and leading divine and respected judge of Nayríz) with the notable Siyyid Husayn also suffered this fate. They were exposed to the cold, with hired scum heaping cruelites on their shivering bodies. Many a poor man commissioned to carry out these acts, in hastening to obtain the promised reward, became revolted, rejected the money, and turned away in loathing contempt.
The wealthy Áqá Siyyid Abú-Tálib was chained and sent by the governor to Ma'dan where he was poisoned by Hájí Mírzá Nasír who had ordered the Báb to kiss Shaykh Abú-Turáb's hand. 2 Bábęwomen threw themselves in a well rather than be captured. Some Babís (Karbilá'í Abu'l-Hasan, Áqá Shaykh Hádí (uncle of Vahíd's wife), Mírzá 'Alí and Abu'l-Qásim-ibn-iHájí- Zayná, Akbar-ibn-i-'Ábid, Mírzá Hasan and his brother Mírzá Bábá) went to Tihrán to protest to the Sháh about the governor. Upon almost arriving, they rested and were recognized by a caravan of Shírází people who arrested them. The governor alone reached Tihrán while the captives were taken to Shíráz and executed by the Prince's orders.
The Báb was shot 10 days after Vahíd's martyrdom in Tabríz.
The Declaration of the Báb's Mission
(Condensed Summary of Chapter 22)
Cross-References for Chapter 22