Memorials of the Faithful
Among the Hands of the
Cause of God who have
departed this life and ascended to the Supreme Horizon
was Jináb-i-Ismu'llahu'l-Asdaq. Another was Jináb-i-Nabil-i-Akbar.
Still others were Jináb-i-Mulla `Alí-Akbar and
Jináb-i-Shaykh Muhammad-Riday-i-Yazdi. Again, among
others, was the revered martyr, Áqá Mirzá Varqá.
Ismu'lláhu'l-Asdaq was truly a servant of the Lord from
the beginning of life till his last breath. When young, he
joined the circle of the late Siyyid Kázim and became one
of his disciples. He was known in Persia for his purity of
life, winning fame as Mullá Sádiq the saintly. He was a
blessed individual, a man accomplished, learned, and much
honored. The people of Khurásán were strongly attached
to him, for he was a great scholar and among the most renowned
of matchless and unique divines. As a teacher of the Faith, he spoke with such eloquence, such extraordinary power, that his hearers were won over with great ease.
After he had come to Baghdád and attained the presence
of Bahá'u'lláh, he was seated one day in the courtyard of
the men's apartments, by the little garden. I was in one of
the rooms just above, that gave onto the courtyard. At that
moment a Persian prince, a grandson of Fath-`Alí Sháh, arrived
at the house. The prince said to him, "Who are you?"
Ismu'lláh answered, "I am a servant of this Threshhold. I
am one of the keepers of this door." And as I listened from
above, he began to teach the Faith. The prince at first objected
violently; and yet, in a quarter of an hour, gently
and benignly, Jináb-i-Ismu'llah had quieted him down.
After the prince had so sharply denied what was said, and
his face had so clearly reflected his fury, now his wrath
was changed to smiles and he expressed the greatest satisfaction
at having encountered Ismu'lláh and heard what
he had to say.
He always taught cheerfully and with gaiety, and would
respond gently and with good humor, no matter how much
passionate anger might be turned against him by the one
with whom he spoke. His way of teaching was excellent.
He was truly Ismu'lláh, the Name of God, not for his
fame but because he was a chosen soul.
Ismu'lláh had memorized a great number of Islámic traditions
and had mastered the teachings of Shaykh Ahmad
and Siyyid Kázim. He became a believer in Shíráz, in the
early days of the Faith, and was soon widely known as
such. And because he began to teach openly and boldly,
they hung a halter on him and led him about the streets
and bázárs of the city. Even in that condition, composed
and smiling, he kept on speaking to the people. He did
not yield; he was not silenced. When they freed him he
left Shíráz and went to Khurásán, and there, too, began
to spread the Faith, following which he traveled on, in the company of Bábu'l-Báb, to Fort Tabarsí. Here he endured intense sufferings as a member of that band of sacrificial
victims. They took him prisoner at the Fort and delivered
him over to the chiefs of Mazindarán, to lead him
about and finally kill him in a certain district of that province.
When, bound with chains, Ismu'lláh was brought to
the appointed place, God put it into one man's heart to
free him from prison in the middle of the night and guide
him to a place where he was safe. Throughout all these
agonizing trials he remained staunch in his faith.
Think, for example, how the enemy had completely
hemmed in the Fort, and were endlessly pouring in cannon
balls from their siege guns. The believers, among them
Ismu'lláh, went eighteen days without food. They lived on
the leather of their shoes. This too was soon consumed,
and they had nothing left but water. They drank a mouthful
every morning, and lay famished and exhausted in
their Fort. When attacked, however, they would instantly
spring to their feet, and manifest in the face of the enemy
a magnificent courage and astonishing resistance, and drive
the army back from their walls. The hunger lasted eighteen
days. It was a terrible ordeal. To begin with, they
were far from home, surrounded and cut off by the foe;
again, they were starving; and then there were the army's
sudden onslaughts and the bombshells raining down and
bursting in the heart of the Fort. Under such circumstances
to maintain an unwavering faith and patience is
extremely difficult, and to endure such dire afflictions a rare
phenomenon.[Cf. Nabíl, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 395, note 1.]
Ismu'lláh did not slacken under fire. Once freed, he
taught more widely than ever. He spent every waking
breath in calling the people to the Kingdom of God. In
`Iráq, he attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, and again in the Most Great Prison, receiving from Him grace and favor.
He was like a surging sea, a falcon that soared high. His
visage shone, his tongue was eloquent, his strength and
steadfastness astounding. When he opened his lips to
teach, the proofs would stream out; when he chanted or
prayed, his eyes shed tears like a spring cloud. His face
was luminous, his life spiritual, his knowledge both acquired
and innate; and celestial was his ardor, his detachment
from the world, his righteousness, his piety and fear
Ismu'lláh's tomb is in Hamadán. Many a Tablet was
revealed for him by the Supreme Pen of Bahá'u'lláh, including
a special Visitation Tablet after his passing. He
was a great personage, perfect in all things.
Such blessed beings have now left this world. Thank
God, they did not linger on, to witness the agonies that
followed the ascension of Bahá'u'lláh--the intense afflictions;
for firmly rooted mountains will shake and tremble
at these, and the high-towering hills bow down.
He was truly Ismu'lláh, the Name of God. Fortunate is
the one who circumambulates that tomb, who blesses himself
with the dust of that grave. Upon him be salutations
and praise in the Abhá Realm.
Memorials of the Faithful
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