strange outbursts," declares the well-known Orientalist Prof. E. G. Browne, "of enthusiasm, faith, fervent devotion and indomitable heroism ... the birth of a Faith which may not impossibly win a place amidst the great religions of the world." And again: "The spirit which pervades the Bábís is such that it can hardly fail to affect most powerfully all subjected to its influence.... Let those who have not seen disbelieve me if they will, but, should that spirit once reveal itself to them, they will experience an emotion which they are not likely to forget." "J'avoue même," is the assertion made by Comte de Gobineau in his book, "que, si je voyais en Europe une secte d'une nature analogue au Babysme se présenter avec des avantages tels que les siens, foi aveugle, enthousiasme extreme, courage et devouément éprouvés, respect inspire aux indifférents, terreur profonde inspirée aux adversaires, et de plus, comme je l'ai dit, un proselytisme qui ne s'arrête pas, et donc les succes sont constants dans toutes les classes de la societé; si je voyais, dis-je, tout cela exister en Europe, je n'hésiterais pas a prediré que, dans un temps donné, la puissance et le sceptre appartiendront de toute necessité aux possesseurs de ces grands avantages."
"The truth of the matter," is the answer which Abbás-Qulí Khán-i-Laríjaní, whose bullet was responsible for the death of Mullá Husayn, is reported to have given to a query addressed to him by Prince Ahmad Mírzá in the presence of several witnesses, "is that any one who had not seen Kárbilá would, if he had seen Tabarsí, not only have comprehended what there took place, but would have ceased to consider it; and had he seen Mullá Husayn of Bushrúyih, he would have been convinced that the Chief of Martyrs (Imám Husayn) had returned to earth; and had he witnessed my deeds, he would assuredly have said: `This is Shimr come back with sword and lance...' In truth, I know not what had been shown to these people, or what they had seen, that they came forth to battle with such alacrity and joy.... The imagination of man cannot conceive the vehemence of their courage and valor."
What, in conclusion, we may well ask ourselves, has been the fate of that flagitious crew who, actuated by malice, by greed or fanaticism, sought to quench the light which the Báb and His followers had diffused over their country and its people? The rod of Divine chastisement, swiftly and with unyielding severity, spared neither the Chief Magistrate of the realm, nor his ministers and counselors, nor the ecclesiastical dignitaries of the religion with which his government was indissolubly connected, nor the governors
who acted as his representatives, nor the chiefs of his armed forces who, in varying degrees, deliberately or through fear or neglect, contributed to the appalling trials to which an infant Faith was so undeservedly subjected. Muhammad Sháh himself, a sovereign at once bigoted and irresolute who, refusing to heed the appeal of the Báb to receive Him in the capital and enable Him to demonstrate the truth of His Cause, yielded to the importunities of a malevolent minister, succumbed, at the early age of forty, after sustaining a sudden reverse of fortune, to a complication of maladies, and was condemned to that "hell-fire" which, "on the Day of Resurrection," the Author of the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá had sworn would inevitably devour him. His evil genius, the omnipotent Hájí Mírzá Aqásí, the power behind the throne and the chief instigator of the outrages perpetrated against the Báb, including His imprisonment in the mountains of Ádhirbayján, was, after the lapse of scarcely a year and six months from the time he interposed himself between the Sháh and his Captive, hurled from power, deprived of his ill-gotten riches, was disgraced by his sovereign, was driven to seek shelter from the rising wrath of his countrymen in the shrine of Sháh `Abdu'l-`Azím, and was later ignominiously expelled to Kárbilá, falling a prey to disease, poverty and gnawing sorrow--a piteous vindication of that denunciatory Tablet in which his Prisoner had foreshadowed his doom and denounced his infamy. As to the low-born and infamous Amír-Nizám, Mírzá Taqí Khán, the first year of whose short-lived ministry was stained with the ferocious onslaught against the defenders of the Fort of Tabarsí, who authorized and encouraged the execution of the Seven Martyrs of Tihrán, who unleashed the assault against Vahíd and his companions, who was directly responsible for the death-sentence of the Báb, and who precipitated the great upheaval of Zanján, he forfeited, through the unrelenting jealousy of his sovereign and the vindictiveness of court intrigue, all the honors he had enjoyed, and was treacherously put to death by the royal order, his veins being opened in the bath of the Palace of Fín, near Káshán. "Had the Amír-Nizám," Bahá'u'lláh is reported by Nabíl to have stated, "been aware of My true position, he would certainly have laid hold on Me. He exerted the utmost effort to discover the real situation, but was unsuccessful. God wished him to be ignorant of it." Mírzá Áqá Khán, who had taken such an active part in the unbridled cruelties perpetrated as a result of the attempt on the life of the sovereign, was driven from office, and placed under strict surveillance in Yazd, where he ended his days in shame and despair.
Husayn Khán, the governor of Shíráz, stigmatized as a "wine-bibber" and a "tyrant," the first who arose to ill-treat the Báb, who publicly rebuked Him and bade his attendant strike Him violently in the face, was compelled not only to endure the dreadful calamity that so suddenly befell him, his family, his city and his province, but afterwards to witness the undoing of all his labors, and to lead in obscurity the remaining days of his life, till he tottered to his grave abandoned alike by his friends and his enemies. Hajíbu'd-Dawlih, that bloodthirsty fiend, who had strenuously hounded down so many innocent and defenseless Bábís, fell in his turn a victim to the fury of the turbulent Lurs, who, after despoiling him of his property, cut off his beard, and forced him to eat it, saddled and bridled him, and rode him before the eyes of the people, after which they inflicted under his very eyes shameful atrocities upon his womenfolk and children. The Sa'ídu'l-`Ulamá, the fanatical, the ferocious and shameless mujtahid of Barfurúsh, whose unquenchable hostility had heaped such insults upon, and caused such sufferings to, the heroes of Tabarsí, fell, soon after the abominations he had perpetrated, a prey to a strange disease, provoking an unquenchable thirst and producing such icy chills that neither the furs he wrapped himself in, nor the fire that continually burned in his room could alleviate his sufferings. The spectacle of his ruined and once luxurious home, fallen into such ill use after his death as to become the refuse-heap of the people of his town, impressed so profoundly the inhabitants of Mazindarán that in their mutual vituperations they would often invoke upon each other's home the same fate as that which had befallen that accursed habitation. The false-hearted and ambitious Mahmúd Khán-i-Kalántar, into whose custody Táhirih had been delivered before her martyrdom, incurred, nine years later, the wrath of his royal master, was dragged feet first by ropes through the bazaars to a place outside the city gates, and there hung on the gallows. Mírzá Hasan Khán, who carried out the execution of the Báb under orders from his brother, the Amír-Nizám, was, within two years of that unpardonable act, subjected to a dreadful punishment which ended in his death. The Shaykhu'l-Islám of Tabríz, the insolent, the avaricious and tyrannical Mírzá `Alí Asghar, who, after the refusal of the bodyguard of the governor of that city to inflict the bastinado on the Báb, proceeded to apply eleven times the rods to the feet of his Prisoner with his own hand, was, in that same year, struck with paralysis, and, after enduring the most excruciating ordeal, died a miserable death--a death that was soon followed by
the abolition of the function of the Shaykhu'l-Islám in that city. The haughty and perfidious Mírzá Abú-Talíb Khán who, disregarding the counsels of moderation given him by Mírzá Áqá Khán, the Grand Vizir, ordered the plunder and burning of the village of Tákúr, as well as the destruction of the house of Bahá'u'lláh, was, a year later, stricken with plague and perished wretchedly, shunned by even his nearest kindred. Mihr-`Alí Khán, the Shujá'u'l-Mulk, who, after the attempt on the Sháh's life, so savagely persecuted the remnants of the Bábí community in Nayríz, fell ill, according to the testimony of his own grandson, and was stricken with dumbness, which was never relieved till the day of his death. His accomplice, Mírzá Na'ím, fell into disgrace, was twice heavily fined, dismissed from office, and subjected to exquisite tortures. The regiment which, scorning the miracle that warned Sám Khán and his men to dissociate themselves from any further attempt to destroy the life of the Báb, volunteered to take their place and riddled His body with its bullets, lost, in that same year, no less than two hundred and fifty of its officers and men, in a terrible earthquake between Ardibíl and Tabríz; two years later the remaining five hundred were mercilessly shot in Tabríz for mutiny, and the people, gazing on their exposed and mutilated bodies, recalled their savage act, and indulged in such expressions of condemnation and wonder as to induce the leading mujtahids to chastise and silence them. The head of that regiment, Áqá Ján Big, lost his life, six years after the Báb's martyrdom, during the bombardment of Muhammarih by the British naval forces.
The judgment of God, so rigorous and unsparing in its visitations on those who took a leading or an active part in the crimes committed against the Báb and His followers, was not less severe in its dealings with the mass of the people--a people more fanatical than the Jews in the days of Jesus--a people notorious for their gross ignorance, their ferocious bigotry, their willful perversity and savage cruelty, a people mercenary, avaricious, egotistical and cowardly. I can do no better than quote what the Báb Himself has written in the Dalá'il-i-Sab`ih (Seven Proofs) during the last days of His ministry: "Call thou to remembrance the early days of the Revelation. How great the number of those who died of cholera! That was indeed one of the prodigies of the Revelation, and yet none recognized it! During four years the scourge raged among Shí'ah Muslims without any one grasping its significance!" "As to the great mass of its people (Persia)," Nabíl has recorded in his immortal narrative, "who watched with sullen indifference the tragedy that was being enacted
before their eyes, and who failed to raise a finger in protest against the hideousness of those cruelties, they fell, in their turn, victims to a misery which all the resources of the land and the energy of its statesmen were powerless to alleviate.... From the very day the hand of the assailant was stretched forth against the Báb ... visitation upon visitation crushed the spirit out of that ungrateful people, and brought them to the very brink of national bankruptcy. Plagues, the very names of which were almost unknown to them except for a cursory reference in the dust-covered books which few cared to read, fell upon them with a fury that none could escape. That scourge scattered devastation wherever it spread. Prince and peasant alike felt its sting and bowed to its yoke. It held the populace in its grip, and refused to relax its hold upon them. As malignant as the fever which decimated the province of Gílán, these sudden afflictions continued to lay waste the land. Grievous as were these calamities, the avenging wrath of God did not stop at the misfortunes that befell a perverse and faithless people. It made itself felt in every living being that breathed on the surface of that stricken land. It afflicted the life of plants and animals alike, and made the people feel the magnitude of their distress. Famine added its horrors to the stupendous weight of afflictions under which the people were groaning. The gaunt spectre of starvation stalked abroad amidst them, and the prospect of a slow and painful death haunted their vision.... People and government alike sighed for the relief which they could nowhere obtain. They drank the cup of woe to its dregs, utterly unregardful of the Hand which had brought it to their lips, and of the Person for Whose sake they were made to suffer."
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