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.
Despite their success at ruthlessly destroying the companions, the repeated signs of indomitable will and faith showed the rulers in Tihrán that the spirit & Source behind their faith and heroism was not vanquished. Rather, the opposition had caused even greater attachment to Him, as many seeking new ways of thinking to overcome the injustices of the day were eager to join a faith inspiring such devotion.
Also, their Leader and cause of these upheavals, though isolated, was exercising full influence. The minister supposed that His execution would quell the fervor, insufficiently addressed by Hájí Mírzá Áqásí, that had brought his country shame.
Oddly, however, he did not immediately order His execution, plotting instead (at first) to bring Him from the mystic halo of suffering and wisdom in the Chihríq retreat to expose Him to moral ruin and show Him for who he believed Him to be instead of adding credibility to His Cause through bodily death.
As he did not believe Him capable of inspiring the courage displayed by Mullá Husayn, (Quddús?), Vahíd, Hujjat or participate in them, but as rather a charlatan and dreamer, he at first considered attempting to bring about his shame through exposure to great dialecticians of Islám & public humiliation from being brought in chains to Tihrán and forced to debate the Mullás (silencing Him when He became too audacious) believing this would break Him and deprive Him of power as a lion of its claws exposed to the dogs.
Considering that the Báb had demonstrated strength in captivity as He had prayed and worked unceasingly in Chihríq, maintained meekness and influenced many, including the guards, in spite of themselves by his conduct and speech, he with his advisors decided against this public content due to the risk of losing it and increasing His power.
The minister gathered his counselors to explain his belief that the only solution for these outbreaks was to kill Him and permitted them to devise any other remedy, as he solely desired his countrymen's peace and honor. When Mírzá Áqá Khán-i-Núrí, the Minister of War (the sole person to dare reply) pleaded that putting to death a banished siyyid for the actions of irresponsible agitators would be an act of cruelty, citing the example of the late Muhammad Sháh in ignoring the enemy's clamoring.
The Amír-Nizám protested that those considerations were irrelevant in that they could not permit the State's interests to be exposed to danger. He sought to justify His execution by stating the imperative of the State in executing the destabilizing Imám Husayn, despite his relation to his Grandfather, Muhammad.
The minister asked Sulaymán Khán (Afshár) to have Navváb (Prince) Hamzih Mírzá, the kind-hearted governor of Ádhirbáyján summon the Báb and imprison Him in the Tabríz citadel for a later judgment.
The prince agreed, believing He would be sent home, and ordered his trusted officer that He be brought with the utmost consideration with a mounted escort to Tabríz.
The Báb placed His Tablets, documents, pen-case, seals & agate rings into a coffer along with a letter to His amanuensis Mírzá Ahmad with the coffer's key for Mullá Báqir (Letter of the Living) to bring it with utmost care and concealment to Mírzá Ahmad.
When Mullá Báqir reached Qazvín and learned Mírzá Ahmad had left for Qum, he went there too and found him, Nabíl, Sádiq-i-Tabrízí (who had been sent by Mírzá Ahmad to get Nabíl from Zarand), and Shaykh 'Azím, Siyyid Ismá'íl, and others. After Shaykh 'Azím insisted that the trust be opened in front of them, they marveled at its contents, including the Tablet in shikastih script, penned in a pentacle with at least 360 derivatives of Bahá so clean it looked printed. All Mírzá Ahmad could divulge about the letter was that it was to be delivered into the hands of Jináb-i-Bahá (Bahá'u'lláh's title then) in Tihrán. The Báb had left the community's spiritual affairs in His hands contrary to the Azalí view that Subh-i-Azal was to be the writings' custodian & arranger of His resting-place. Mírzá Ahmad sent Nabíl back to his father in Zarand.
3 days later, the death farmán (decree) from the Vazír was delivered to the prince commanding him to execute Him and any of His followers. The Armenian regiment of Urúmíyyih & its colonel Sám Khán were to shoot Him in the barracks courtyard in the center of the city.
The prince told the farmán's bearer, Mírzá Hasan Khán (Vazír-Nizám and Grand Vazír's brother) that the Amír should entrust him with things better than tasks as slaying an innocent descendent of the Prophet that only ignoble people would accept (as Ibn-i-Zíyád & Ibn-i-Sa'd who were persecutors of Muhammad's descendants).
When the brother reported this to the Amír, the Amír reiterated he should follow the entire order immediately and allow them to celebrate Ramadán and fast in tranquility.
The prince, however, did not meet the messenger, pretending to be ill. The brother instructed that the Báb and company should be transferred from where He was staying to one of the barracks rooms, to be guarded by Sám Khán and 10 of his men.
Deprived of turban and sash (2 emblems of lineage), the Báb and Siyyid Husayn (amanuensis) were confined there (according to His plan).
When the Báb was led to the courtyard, an unprecedented convulsion occurred in the city (perceived by them as relating to the Day of Judgment). Upon His approach, a youth leapt forward through the crowd regardless to overtake the Báb regardless of the risks involved. His face was haggard, feet bare, and hair dishevelled. Breathless with excitement and exhausted with fatigue, he flung himself at His feet, took His garment hem, and implored not to be sent away from Him. The Báb addressed him as Muhammad-'Alí and, as Jesus Christ, told his disciple that he would be with Him. 2 other companions rushed forward and assured Him of their loyalty. These 2 were placed with Mírzá Muhammad-'Alíy-i-Zunúzí in the cell of the Báb and Siyyid Husayn.
Siyyid Husayn described the Báb's indescribable joy that night, despite the situation and sorrows that had weighed on Him. While telling them that He would be martyred the next day, He expressed the wish to be martyred by a friend rather than enemy. Though tears ran from their eyes at this wish, they shrank from such an act of taking such a life. When Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí announced himself ready to obey, the friends intervened and persuaded him to abandon the thought. The Báb then announced that that youth who was ready to comply with His wish would suffer martyrdom with Him.
In the early morning, the Vazír's brother ordered the farrásh-báshí (head attendant) to bring Him in front of the city mujtahids for permission to execute. When Siyyid Husayn asked Him what to do, He told him not to confess his faith that he might, when the destined time and company appear, convey to them the things only he knew. In the middle of their conversation, the farrásh- báshí interrupted & took Siyyid Husayn by the hand & severely rebuked him.
When the youth was brought into the mujtahids presence, he was repeatedly urged to recant given his stepfather, Siyyid 'Alíy-i-Zunúzí's position. He refused to renounce his Master Who was the essence of his faith, adoration, and paradise and Whose Law was his salvation. Mullá Muhammad-i- Mámáqání told him to be quiet as he sought to excuse his words as madness. However, the youth retorted he, as one ready to shed blood for His Faith, was not mad, but rather the man who sought the Qá'im's death.
The youth had written his older brother 2-3 days before his martyrdom in reply to his letter of counsel to turn from his devotion. The younger brother respectfully wrote praise of God for his contentment at his circumstances, questioned his brother's position that there was no purpose to this as there could be no more significant purpose, he maintained that none could avert God's will that each soul taste death and that should he be taken into God's hands, his brother should act as his trustee in forgiving any lack of respect or duty shown to him as his elder brother and seeking pardon for him from their family and God.
After the prince's people opened the prison doors, checked the irons around their necks and wrists, tied a long cord to the iron held by a farrásh, and brought the Báb and disciples out through the streets & bazaars, people flocked to see this Subject of discussion, even on one another's shoulders. Bábís scattered to try to arouse pity or sympathy to help save Him. The rest indifferent ones, philosophers, Shaykhís & Súfísleft in disgust or waited at street corners out of curiosity to see Him. The tattered, restless, and excitable crowd flung insults, though ready to change their minds. Some Muslims, including children, tried to strike the Báb or disciples in the face or head, leading the guard and crowd to laughter.
When the Báb was brought into Mullá Muhammad-i-Mámáqání's presence, he took the death-warrant he had written the day he met Him at the Valí-'Ahd's meeting and gave it to his attendant to give to the farrásh-báshí as he was surely the same man.
When brought to Mírzá Báqir's house, the successor and son of Mírzá Ahmad had his attendant waiting to tell them he was satisfied with his father's decision pronouncing His death and that he could do no better.
Mullá Murtadá-Qulí, as the 2 other mujtahids, had his priorly written testimony given without meeting his dreaded opponent face to face.
When they sought to place the youth in the same room as Siyyid Husayn away from the Báb, the youth burst in tears, and was then delivered to Sám Khán to execute him should he not recant.
As Sám Khán was becoming affected by His behavior amidst His treatment, he began to fear his action bringing about God's wrath.
Professing himself a Christian unwilling to entertain ill-will against him, he requested the Báb deliver him from the duty of shedding His blood if His Cause were the Cause of Truth. The Báb bade him proceed and promised that God would deliver him if his intentions were sincere.
Sám Khán had his men drive a nail into the pillar (between Siyyid Husayn's door and the next) with 2 ropes tied to it from which the Báb and youth were separately suspended. The youth begged to be placed so as to shield Him and his head was placed against His breast. When the condemned are shot in Persia, they are bound to a post facing away from the onlookers so as not to see the execution signals of the officer.
The Báb's silence, pale handsome face with a black beard and small mustache, appearance and refined manners, white and delicate hands & simple but very neat garments evoked sympathy and compassion.
As soon as they were fastened, the regiment went in 3 files of 250 men, each ordered to fire until all bullets were fired. The smoke of 750 rifles changed the noonday sunlight into darkness. 10000 people had gathered on the barracks' and other houses' roofs to see the scene.
When the smoke cloud cleared, the masses were stunned that the youth was standing there unhurt with his tunic unsullied despite the smoke while the Báb had disappeared. When the multitude cried out about His disappearance, they sought and found Him eventually, calmly seated unscathed in the same room occupied the night before finishing His conversation with Siyyid Husayn.
As testified to by eyewitnesses and Western historians, the bullets had cut the cords and freed Him without a scratch. The Christian soldiers used these broken cords to imply to the agitated crowd that no miracle had occurred.
When the Báb told the farrásh-báshí that His conversation was finished and that he could now fulfill his intention, the man was shaken and immediately resigned. He told this story to the Tabrízí notable Mírzá Siyyid Muhsin, converting him. This convert later showed Nabíl the wall, cell, and suspending nail associated with the event.
Áqá Ján Khán-i-Khamsih (Khamsih or Násirí), the Muslim body-guard colonel, volunteered to execute Him. They were suspended and fired upon again in the same manner, but this time their bodies were shattered and blended into one mass of flesh and bone, though His face was virtually unscathed.
The Báb's last words told the people that had they believed, they would have followed the youth's example in sacrificing themselves. He also foretold that they would recognize Him one day, but He would be gone then.
As the shots were fired, a severe storm swept over the whole city, bringing up a dense dust whirlwind which obscured sunlight and blinded people's eyes from noon to midnight.
Despite witnessing this strange phenomenon after seeing the effect on Sám Khán upon failing to injure the Báb, and upon the farrásh-báshí after he saw the Báb finish His conversation, the youth's unstained tunic despite the bullets, and the serenity of the unhurt Báb, the Tabrízí people still did not recognize the event's significance.
That evening, the bodies of the Báb and companion were removed from the courtyard to the edge of the moat outside the city gate. 4 companies of 10 sentinels were to keep watch. The next morning, the Russian consul in Tabríz with an artist went there and ordered a sketch be made of the remains.
Hájí 'Alí-'Askar related how a relative who worked as a Russian consulate official showed him the sketch that same day, rendering Him well showing no marks on His forehead, cheeks, or lips, and showing a slight smile while depicting the mutilation of His body. Together with the sight of the youth, with his identifiable head and arms holding Him, he was horror-struck at the sight, locking himself in his room for 3 days and night without sleep or food and reflecting on the His short and tumultuous life culminating in His martyrdom.
The Russian Emperor had sent orders for the consul to fully investigate and report on the Báb's situation. As he received this news, the Báb was put to death. When summoned by the Russian consul, Áqá Siyyid Muhammad- Husayn (the amanuensis) hinted at some of what transpired (fearful of speaking plainly given the presence of Muslims there) and gave him some of the Báb's Writings.
(518) On the second day after the martyrdom in the afternoon, Hájí Sulaymán Khán (Yahyá Khán's son) arrived at the house of the Kalantar (mayor) (who was a
(519) súfí dervish friend of his) hoping to deliver the Báb. Though dismayed at the events, he resolved, despite the risk to his life, to carry the bodies away. The Kalantar urged him, for his safety, to wait and transfer to another house to wait for Hájí Alláh-Yár who would carry it out.
He agreed and on the same night he was able to meet Hájí Alláh-Yár, he had him bring the bodies from the moat edge to a Mílání believer's silk factory where the body was laid in a specially constructed wooden case and had the remains brought to a place of safety. The sentinels used the excuse that wild beasts had carried the bodies away while they slept, their superiors corroborated their story to avoid dishonor, and the Bábís, not wanting any further police investigation, did not dispute the story, leading to the propagation of the false story and adoption by even several historians.
Hájí Sulaymán Khán told Bahá'u'lláh who had Áqáy-i-Kalím send a special messenger to transfer the bodies to Tihrán, as wished for by the Báb as evident in His Tablet and instructions to Mírzá Sulaymán-i-Khatíb to go the shrine of the Imám-Zádih-Hasan and recite the Tablet which mentioned His wish to be buried there with the Imám.
Nabíl was with Mírzá Ahmad in Tihrán then. Bahá'u'lláh had left for Karbilá according to the Amír-Nizám's instructions while Áqáy-i-Kalím and Mírzá Ahmad transferred the remains to a place only they knew. When Bahá'u'lláh left for Adrianople, Áqáy-i-Kalím was to inform Munír of the location though he could not find it. Jamál, an old adherent who had learned its location from Bahá'u'lláh in Adrianople, discovered it.
Mírzá Áqá Khán-i-Núrí had been banished to Káshán by Muhammad Sháh when the Báb went through that city. He assured Hájí Mírzá Jání who taught him the Faith, that should he regain his position, he would endeavor to ensure the community's security. When Hájí Mírzá Jání told this to 'Abdu'l- Bahá, He told Him he would soon have the position next to the Sháh and should not forget the promise.
Now in the position of I'timádu'd-Dawlih (hoping to become Grand Vazír), on hearing of the martyrdom, he informed Bahá'u'lláh of the news, expressing also the hope that the fire that might one day threaten Bahá'u'lláh was extinguished. Bahá'u'lláh said that if the news were true, the flame would become even stronger than the statesmen could quench, though Mírzá Áqá Khán could not imagine how the Faith could survive such a blow.
When his son (Nizámu'l-Mulk) one day questioned whether he thought Bahá'u'lláh, Who seemed the most capable of all the Vazír's sons, had not lived up to His father's tradition, Mírzá Áqá Khán-i-Núrí replied by questioning whether he really believed that and by stating that their lives' ambitions for honor (as that of great ones of any race or rank) would only be temporary and conditional on continued material aid to their supporters, while Bahá'u'lláh's allegiance would increase by each generation to encompass the world and lead to a devotion such that his lovers would not dare evoke in the dead of night, the memory of the slightest desire contrary to His will.
The enemy's treatment of Him brought great calamities on Persia & its people.
Those responsible fell into deep remorse & soon suffered shameful deaths.
The indifferent witnesses to the cruelty suffered a misery their land resources and statesmen could not alleviate, bringing them to the verge of national bankruptcy with plagues affecting high and low. Even the plants and animals felt such distress. Slow and painful death at starvation haunted their vision. They remained unaware of the Person for Whom they were made to suffer.
Husayn Khán's acts brought about a plague killing 1000's and he saw the undoing of his work, his dying in obscurity and abandonment.
Hájí Mírzá Áqásí in courting to the 'ulamás' favor, prevented Muhammad Sháh's meeting with the Báb & pronounced His banishment and imprisonment, leading to the Báb's Tablet foretelling his doom. After a year and 6 months of the Báb's reaching Tihrán, he was toppled from power and forced to seek refuge from his own people, was forced into exile, and a life of poverty & distress.
250 of the Muslim regiment which executed Him were killed in an earthquake that same year which appeared on a hot summer day under the shadow of a wall while they were absorbed in games and pleasures on the way to Tabríz from Ardibíl. 3 years after His martyrdom, the 500 others mutinied and were all shot (twice to be sure) for it by Mírzá Sádiq Khán-i-Núrí's command, with their bodies pierced by spears and lances and subjected to the public gaze. The city inhabitants recalled the Báb's martyrdom considering whether the soldiers' death was God's vengeance. The mujtahids ordered punishment (beating, fines) and the ceasing of evoking His memory for those who questioned why His persecutors would be so punished if He was guilty.
The Amír-Nizám and brother the Vazír-Nizám were dreadfully punished within 2 years leading to their miserable death as predicted by the martyrs of Zanján, Mírzá Ridá, Hájí Muhammad-'Alí and Hájí Muhsin. Fallen into disgrace and out of royal hatred, his veins were slashed open (as had his victims) staining the bath of Fín It was then that Mírzá Áqá Khán-i-Núrí succeeded him, taking the title of Sadr-i-A'zam as the Grand Vazírs of the Ottoman Empire took on.
The Declaration of the Báb's Mission
(Condensed Summary of Chapter 23)
Cross-References for Chapter 23