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Online version is exact replica of original, save underdots represented as underline; Persian text transcribed (by Juan Cole) and bracketed; footnotes included in the body of the text.


Chronicle of `Abdu'l-Ahad Zanjani:
Personal Reminiscences of the Insurrection at Zanjan

by Aqa Abdu'l-Ahad Zanjani

translated by E.G. Browne.
published in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 29, pages 770-826
1897
original written in Persian.

[page 770]

[TRANSLATION OF ÁQÁ 'ABDU'L-AHAD'S MEMOIR.]


      In the Name of God, the Most Ineffable, the Most Holy.


      Let it not be concealed from such as seek knowledge of these events. Know that His Holiness the Martyr [footnote 1: By "His Holiness the Martyr" [Jinab-i Shahid], Mullá Muhammad 'Alí [Hujjat -JRIC.]; of Zanján is throughout intended.] (may God Almighty accord him peace) was a person well known in the Land of the Supreme,[footnote 2: Zanján is so called by the Bábís because it corresponds numerically with [A`la] , "Supreme." Both words give the number 111, when the letters composing them are reckoned up by the abjad notation.] which is Zanján, before the appearance of the Sun of Truth, very learned and accomplished, so that none of the doctors of Zanján dared so much as breathe in his presence, because he was very learned, skilled in exegesis, and perfectly versed in subtleties. Now the other doctors, although outwardly on friendly terms with him, were at heart hostile, because in questions of Law he was wont to criticize them in respect to their acceptance of bribes and their recourse to legal quibbles.

      Now the father of His Holiness was Mullá Rahím, whom all the people of Zanján regarded as a master of exegesis and as one divinely gifted, so long as he was alive. And after that his spirit had ascended to the Eternal Throne, His Holiness the Martyr sat in the place of his departed sire, and exercised the functions of a mujtahid, faithfully and sincerely giving effect to the Law, with unaffected piety and unremitting diligence, and restraining men from all evil deeds contrary to the Law. In consequence of this unremitting diligence of his, the devotion of the town's folk to him, and men's humility and deference towards him, were, to use his own expression, "beyond him."

      Now when the other doctors of that district perceived his position and influence to be such, they began secretly to hate him, although outwardly, knowing his power, they


[page 771]

were obliged to behave in friendly manner towards him. So for a long while the affairs of His Holiness continued in this splendour and power.

      Now there was a person named Ahmad, one of His Holiness's own followers, whose ostensible trade and calling was that of a money-changer. And it so happened that he one day departed to Shíráz, and there heard how the mission of the Point of Revelation [i.e., the Báb] (great and glorious is He!) had been made manifest. And because-
"In earth and heav'n each atom unto itself doth draw
Atoms of like affinity, as amber snatches straw,"[footnote 1: This verse, which appears to be from the Mathnaví, though I have been unable to find it, runs thus in the original: [Dharrih, dharrih andar in ard va sama, jins-i khud ra hamchu kah va kahraba]]

he, since the light of faith was in his heart, became united to the Light of the Sun of Truth. In short, this Ahmad sought out the place of abode of the Point of Revelation (great and glorious is He!), was admitted to the presence of that Most Great Light, and, answering with "Yea" His appeal of "Am I not [thy Lord]?" at once prostrated himself in worship, kissed his holy knees, and believed. And so, when some few days had elapsed after his event, His Holiness vouchsafed to this Ahmad permission to return; and, bestowing on him several epistles, bade him take them back with all speed to the Land of the Supreme, which is Zanján, and hand them over to those for whom they were intended. So he, seeing that this command was from God, speedily made preparation for the journey, and returned with all haste to Zanján.

      So when he had established himself in his own place, he rose up to carry out God's command, and one by one handed over his trusts, to wit, these holy epistles, to their owners. Now, of these holy epistles, one was addressed to the Seyyid and Mujtahid, another to Mír Abu'l-Qásim Malikí, another to another Mírzá Abdu'l-Qásim, another to Mullá 'Alí Sirdání,


[page 772]

another to the Imám Jum'a Seyyid 'Abdu'l-Wási', and another to the Sheykhu'l-Islám. To be brief, all the doctors of the district, after perusing these epistles, repudiated [the Báb's claims]; as though from the day when the first human nature, which is Adam, appeared, no breath of faith had in any cycle reached their nostrils, and as though the Word of God had at no period entered their ears; or as though no Prophet in any age had foretold the Manifestation which should succeed him, whereby they might look for such a day or such a person. The drop of rain, in short, produced no effect on adamant, nor could they convey this matter to their dull brains. Indeed, this Mírzá Abu'l-Qásim even took some sheets of paper, and wrote a refutation of that holy epistle, and, weaving together sundry vain imaginings, made a book, which book he entitled "The Knocking at the Gate" [Daqq al-Bab][footnote 1: Of course there is a double meaning in this title. Daqqu'l-Báb means "knocking at the gate," and also "the smashing" or "breaking up of the Báb."] and published amongst his adherents, who made it a matter for mirth, read it in their assemblies, and fell to mocking and derision. But the all-wise God is very patient, and be thou likewise patient, for "verily God is with the forbearing."

     
Well-
"If thou art in sooth Sikandar, be the Dawning of the Day,
That everywhere thereafter may the Glory with thee stay,"[footnote 2: This couplet occurs near the beginning of Book ii of the Mathnaví (ed. 'Alá'u'd-Dawla, p. 106, l. 6). In the original it runs [Matla`-i shams ay agar Iskandari, ba`d az an har ja ruy-i niku farri]]

and hear some few words as to the discerning power of the eyes of His Holiness the Martyr, and what mood came over him when he had but once glanced at that holy epistle. For this Ahmad, after seeing the unbelief of all these doctors, turned his face towards the mosque of His Holiness the Martyr, whose presence he entered at the moment when he was concluding the prayer, and was seated near the mihráb facing the congregation; for some


[page 773]

of his followers were students, and so, after concluding the prayer, he was wont to lecture and give them a lesson. Most of his congregation, however, having recited the prayer, had departed to their homes to resume their business; yet were there some four hundred persons, men and women, still present in the mosque. One of these was my own brother, who was named 'Abdu'l-'Alí; and he witnessed what took place in the mosque, and it is from his account that I describe it. He said that just as they were preparing for the lecture, this Ahmad brought the blessed mandate of His Holiness [the Báb] (great and glorious is He!) and placed it in the hands of His Holiness the Martyr, who opened it; and no sooner had his eyes lighted on that noble script than the colour left his face, and he fell into the strangest state, so that for about two minutes he remained thus, as one bereft of speech and beyond bodily sensation, as if blotted out and unconscious of himself. All those present were watching his state, apprehensive of what catastrophe this might be which had so disturbed his composure; and therefore were the hearts of those present likewise troubled.

      But after this His Holiness raised his head, and, after perusing the holy script, rubbed his finger in the dust on the wall, and, turning towards the congregation, cried in a loud voice: "O ye who are present! know and be aware that I give good tidings to you, both such of you as are present and such as are absent, of the appearance of that Sun of Truth whom all creatures in the world await, and who is now become manifest. This holy epistle which I hold in my hand is from that Most Great Light; and if the writer thereof regards me even so much as I regard the dust upon this finger which I rubbed upon the wall, my position and rank before the Lord will rise to so high a degree as to surpass description. And I, whom ye see to be endowed with such knowledge and virtue, and whom ye know to be faithful in word and deed, I, with all my knowledge and virtue, do believe in that Sun of Truth on merely once beholding this noble script and these wondrous


[page 774]

verses [ayat] which He hath inscribed therein. Wherefore let everyone who loves me and deems my word true believe in Him, even as I have believed, for this is that same Promised Deliverer [Mahdi-yi Maw`ud] whom all creatures await, and who hath now appeared. This know for a surety, and be apprised thereof." Then he began to read the wondrous verses of that blessed epistle in a loud voice, while all the congregation present in the mosque gave ear, so that you would have said that they heard from their Lord in his speech the cry of "Am I not your Lord?" and to that appeal of "Am I not?" with one accord responded "Yea!" and bowed themselves in thankful worship to God. You have probably heard that tradition, recorded from what was said formerly, to the effect that in the Day of Resurrection a Bridge [Sirati] will be set up, finer than a hair and sharper than a sword, and that there will be some who will cross like lightning over that Bridge. The meaning of this tradition of yore was made plain by those who were present in that mosque, for four hundred persons had no sooner heard these wondrous verses then they prostrated themselves in worship. Others there were who were not present in the mosque when these wondrous verses were read; but those who were present communicated this matter on that same day to those who were absent, who likewise responded "Yea," and bowed themselves in thankful worship before God, being convinced because of the whole-hearted devotion which they had in sooth and sincerity towards His Holiness the Martyr.

      To be brief, it was no more than the twinkling of an eye ere some three thousand persons simultaneously and without interval believed in that Most Great Light, and, in short, the murmur of enthusiasm of the believers filled the city of Zanján as though the Resurrection had come on that day. In short, such trepidation fell on all the unbelievers as one cannot describe, for they wondered what had taken place amongst these people that this tumultuous excitement had thus suddenly fallen upon them. And when they learned that it was still the same story of those holy


[page 775]

epistles which this Ahmad had brought from Shíráz, then, in their hatred and malice, they ground their teeth like hungry wolves, though occasion was denied to them on every side. For thereafter day by day humility and reverence increased and extended, and whosoever had in his heart so much as a spark of the Light of Faith was irresistibly drawn to believe.

      Thereafter His Holiness the Martyr wrote a letter in answer to that blessed epistle to the Holy Presence of the Point of Revelation (great and glorious is He!), wherein, after discharging thanks and prayer and praise, he detailed the matter of the conversion of the people of Zanján, and their number. Thereat was His Holiness [the Báb] (great and glorious is He!) filled with joy, and thenceforth he continually sent books and writings to His Holiness the Martyr, so that the enthusiasm and devotion of the people of Zanján continued to wax and increase day by day, until matters reached such a point that all the believers, without fear or apprehension, used openly to read, in the mosques, in the pulpits, in their houses, and in the public thoroughfares, the exhortations, prayers, and verses of the Point of Revelation (may God give him Peace!) with sweetness and joy.

      At length news came that His Holiness [the Báb] had been exiled to the Castle of Mákú, and that He was to pass through the town of Zanján. Thereat a violent commotion fell upon the town of Zanján, some of the believers being grieved because of His arrest, and others gladdened by the hope of meeting Him; and they were perplexed as to what they should do. At length some of the leading believers met together and waited on His Holiness the Martyr, asking him to grant them permission to deliver the Point of Revelation, so soon as He should be come there, from the hands of His oppressors, and not suffer them to bear Him away, but rather mete out to them the chastisement they merited. "We accept," they added, "whatever may be enjoined on us by that King, and will strive in His way so long as we have life."


[page 776]

      But His Holiness [the Martyr] answered them, saying: "You are not permitted [so to act], for I am not empowered to accord you this permission, but only that Holy Being; and what shall anyone venture to command in the presence of so Supreme a Light, or what permission shall he give, seeing that it is for that Holy Being alone to permit? In the presence of such a Being we have neither authority over anyone, nor power to accord permission to anyone; for how should we dare even to breathe before Him?" Then he bade them be patient until that Holy Being should Himself come, when they could prefer this request to Himself (may God keep Him in Peace!), and see what He would direct.

      So they went away until, after some few days, [His Holiness the Báb] arrived, accompanied by twenty horsemen, of whom the actual chief was named Darvísh 'Alí, who was groom of the bedchamber [farrash-i khalvat] to Muhammad Sháh. According to what the narrator tells, this man was good-natured and well-disposed, inasmuch as he conducted that Most Great Light with perfect respectfulness and seemly behaviour, not causing sorrow to that Holy Being in any way, though, being under the King's orders, he had no option [but to obey]. Yet had he not escorted Him, perchance greater favour would have been accorded him on the part of the Lord; but, in brief, thus was it ordained by the Divine Decree. But let me be brief, and return to the matter of that Most Great Light (great and glorious is He!).

      When His Holiness [the Báb] had set his holy feet in the Land of the Supreme, peace, quiet, and tranquillity departed from all the believers of Zanján, who were considering in what way they might, perchance, obtain the honour of meeting that Most Great Light. But His Holiness, fearing lest a great disturbance might arise, did not grant permission to any of His followers to visit Him, and many believers were [in consequence] filled with despair, though they had no option but to acquiesce, for thus was it ordained on the part of God.


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      After this, His Holiness the Martyr privily despatched a letter to the presence of His Holiness (great and glorious is He!) containing the following proposal: "In case that Holy Being is disposed to escape, let Him but issue His commands, for all the believers wait on that Holy Being, and are ready to carry out aught that He may enjoin." But His Holiness, after perusing this letter, did not accord this permission in His reply, but wrote: "This thing is not expedient, lest a great tumult arise. Let the faithful abide in their own places, and not stir thence: for the Eternal Lord Himself sufficeth for all His creatures, neither hath He who abideth unceasingly on His self-supported Throne, any need of help from them."

      Now when His Holiness the Martyr had received in the answer to his letter such instructions, the vehemence of the faithful was somewhat abated, though they made great endeavours not to be debarred from the visitation of that Holy Being, so that most of them went forth from the city and hid themselves by the way, that perchance they might behold the blessed countenance of that Most Great Light. Yet even this was not vouchsafed them, save in the case of three persons, to whom it was permitted to behold Him. Of these three, one still lives; and his name is Núr Muhammad.

      To be brief, let us leave these, and hear now somewhat of the arrest of His Holiness the Martyr. It chanced that almost immediately after His Holiness [the Báb] (great and glorious is He!) had set His holy feet outside the gate of Zanján, and was departing, twenty horsemen, who had been appointed by Muhammad Sháh to be on the watch to arrest His Holiness the Martyr whenever they saw him alone in his house, and to bring him to Tihrán with all speed, [arrived]. And all the followers of His Holiness the Martyr were [at this juncture] dispersed, running hither and thither in the town and the [surrounding] country, hoping that they might perhaps catch a glimpse of their Beloved; and it was as though that day was the day of "Woe, and alas!" for it seemed as though they


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were turned aside from all thought of self or other, save only to obtain one glance of their Beloved, and the birds of their spirits were fluttering in the air of the Beloved, while they recked not of home and place and nest, being overpowered with the ardour of their love for Him. And so these horsemen, making a sudden descent on the house of His Holiness the Martyr, arrested him, and, hastily setting him upon a horse, started at a gallop for Tihrán, where Muhammad Sháh had him placed under surveillance in the house of one of his lords.

      So when the believers, disappointed of their hopes, returned each to his home, and became aware of what had befallen His Holiness the Martyr, wailing and lamentation fell upon them all at this double catastrophe which had overtaken them, this trouble and calamity which had suddenly befallen them. And so for some days they continued thus in wailing and lamentation, having no resource of any kind, until a year had elapsed from this occurrence, when tidings came that the bird of Muhammad Sháh's spirit had flown from the cage of his body, and that, in consequence of his death, confusion prevailed at Tihrán, no one heeding another, but each engrossed in the thought of his own peril and the preservation of his own property. So, when His Holiness the Martyr saw the arena open, and perceived that none observed him on any side, he bade his servants (for he had two servants, natives of Zanján, the one named Muhammad 'Alí and the other Sá'il) procure three horses; and they went and, in some way or other, managed to procure the horses, and His Holiness mounted and galloped away towards the town of Zanján.

      Now when he was come within two stages of Zanján, to a village which they call Khurram-daré, he sent his two servants on before him to Zanján to convey the news to his partisans, that they might prepare to escort him in, and to give the good news to all the faithful. So they came and appraised all the faithful, who became with one accord joyful and glad; and thereafter most of them came out these two stages to meet him, and some even prepared


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sacrifices. Thus, two days later, he entered Zanján with this multitude of followers; and ere he had passed through the city gate, his partisans, male and female, all came forth from the gate to meet him, and, in brief, from the gate to the door of his house some three hundred offerings were slain. Indeed, the matter reached such a pass that several of his followers led out their children by the hand to sacrifice them, but His Holiness the Martyr did not accord permission, and refused to consent to this. And so at last, with a thousand clamourings and demonstrations of enthusiasm, they brought him into his own house.

      To be brief, for several days they feasted one another and made merry, to the vexation of their enemies, and thenceforth, day by day, the enthusiastic love and devotion of his followers continued to increase. Every Friday, when His Holiness the Martyr went to the Friday prayer, they set him and his son Muhammad Huseyn on their horses with a thousand manifestations of reverence and respect, and escorted him, to the number of three or four hundred persons, going before and behind, to the Mosque. And the Mosque was divided down the midst into two portions, whereof the women occupied one and the men the other, so that they stood in ranks which extended even into the court of the Mosque, and performed their prayers behind His Holiness. And, because of the multitude of his followers, mukabbirs[footnote 1: As the Bábí takbír, or cry of "Alláhu akbar," corresponds to the Muhammadan azán, so the Bábí mukabbir is equivalent to the Muhammadan mu'azzin.] cried [the takbír] in each of the seven parishes, and, after completing it, ascended into their pulpits and preached.

      Now the manner in which these people disposed themselves in the Mosque was as follows: The poor sat on the right[footnote 2: That is to say, in the place of honour.] side of the pulpit, and the rich on the left side; and I myself repeatedly beheld in my childhood that His Holiness, when preaching, ever turned his face towards the poor, only at times glancing towards the rich. And


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he always preached in a loud voice, so that all the faithful might hear; and after he had risen up from his discourse, his followers brought him back with the same reverence and respect, and then returned [to their homes], leaving him in his place.

      To be brief, matters continued thus with His Holiness and his followers for a long while, until one day by chance one of the partisans of His Holiness the Martyr, by name 'Abdu'l-'Alí, had an altercation with another man, an unbeliever, called Abu'l-Qásim. And this Abu'l-Qásim, who was not of the Friends, first drew a dagger on him to inflict a wound on his body; but 'Abdu'l-'Alí deftly anticipated him, drew his dagger more quickly, and wounded him in the body. Now I had a brother named Naqd 'Alí who chanced to be present at that altercation, and he also, both for the sake of this man and also for the sake of the Friends, drew his dagger and gave assistance to 'Abdu'l-'Alí. So the cries and clamour rose high, but several of the malignants who were not of the Friends assembled, arrested 'Abdu'l-'Alí, and then would have arrested Naqd 'Alí also, but he eluded them and fled.

      So they dragged 'Abdu'l-'Alí before Amír Aslán Khán, the Governor of Zanján, who ordered him to be cast into prison, after which he bade his Farrásh-báshí go and seize Naqd 'Alí and bring him also [before him]. In short, thereupon the farráshes raided our house to arrest Naqd 'Alí, but he, with two other brothers, escaped and was not caught, although they even despatched several horsemen after them, who went some stages [in pursuit]; but, finding no trace of them, returned. But on the day when they raided our house, they seized my father instead of my brother, and brought him also before Amír Aslán Khán, who sentenced him too to imprisonment. Since, however, he was the head-man (Kedkhudá) of the district, he was kept in prison only two or three days, after which they released him, though they exacted from him a fine of one hundred gold pieces (ashrafí) by reason of his son's participation in the strife.


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      After this, the man 'Abdu'l-'Alí remained in prison for about a month, and no one inquired [lit. went] after him; until, after a month, several of the faithful went and petitioned His Holiness the Martyr to vouchsafe them a letter, which one should carry to Amír Aslán Khán, to secure the release of 'Abdu'l-'Alí and bring him back to them. So His Holiness the Martyr was graciously pleased to write a letter, which he gave to one of his followers whose name was Mír Jalíl, a very brave and stout-hearted young man. So he took the letter, kissed it, put it to his eyes, and set off, alone and unaccompanied, taking none other with him. So when he was come into the presence of Amír Aslán Khán, he bowed his head, handed over the letter of His Holiness to Amír Aslán Khán, and stood before him awaiting his answer. So Amír Aslán Khán took the letter of His Holiness; and, when he had read it, he fell into a violent rage, and, turning his face towards Mír Jalíl, said: "If I be governor of this province on behalf of the king, I know my own business, with which no one else shall meddle or interfere. Go and tell him [who sent you] that the Amír has not granted [the prisoner's] release, but says, 'The affairs of the people of this city are in my hands, and have nothing to do with anyone else.'"

      So this man Mír Jalíl, seeing that it was useless to reply, came back and communicated the Amír's answer, exactly as he had given it, to His Holiness the Martyr. Then His Holiness the Martyr again wrote another note, saying: "This man belongs to me; be good enough to forgive me his fault, and I will consent to pay whatever fine may be required of him." Then he gave this note into the hands of this same Mír Jalíl and bade him say: "You must certainly release him; and I will submit to any punishment which you may inflict."

      Then Mír Jalíl took this letter and again brought it into the presence of the Amír, who, after reading it, fell into a rage and passion even more violent than before, and answered with hatred and enmity, saying: "The answer


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is the same as that which was given before. Go and say that I have not set him free." But this time this young man Mír Jalíl, filled with anger like a roaring lion, turned right round, set his face towards the door of the prison, and, amidst all the farráshes and farrásh-báshís and myrmidons of the court, cried out, saying: "Whosoever is weary of his life, let him set his footsteps towards [us]!"[footnote 1: The MS. has [Har kas az khud sir gasht qadami suy-i biguzar]. There seems to be an omission after [suy-i], which I have endeavoured to supply.] Then he turned to the prison-door, and, taking hold of the door-handle, broke it open by sheer strength of arm, entered the prison, and set free therefrom all [the prisoners], from the murderers down to those guilty of every [minor] crime. He also carried off 'Abdu'l-'Alí; and, setting all these before him, moved off, himself following after them, through all the myrmidons of the court, like a lion carrying off his prey, crying the while that none who should move from his place might deem his life his own. Thus did this lion-hearted man come through the midst of two or three hundred persons, not one of whom, for fear of his life, dared approach him, until he had set free all those prisoners, brought 'Abdu'l-'Alí into the presence of His Holiness the Martyr, and related to him what had happened. And His Holiness smiled and said, "What has happened is for the best."

      Now, at the very moment when Mír Jalíl was breaking open the door of the prison-house, the farráshes ran to Amír Aslán Khán, and informed him, saying: "Mír Jalíl is breaking open the prison: who do you command?" When Amír Aslán Khán heard this news, his position was as that of an ass lying in the mud. He plunged into the sea of thought, but was unable to issue any instructions as to how he should be dealt with: firstly, because he had already heard of Mír Jalíl's courage, and knew that, in what way soever he might command him to be arrested, he would not quit the door until he had slain several farráshes; secondly, he reflected that harm would surely


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accrue to himself from ordering his arrest, that these people would attack him, and that then neither he nor his court would remain. Moved by these considerations, he swallowed down his anger, and was unable to issue any explicit order respecting this man, although inwardly he was immersed in the sea of thought as to how he should gratify his hatred and enmity, and continued devising plans to meet this crisis until a whole day had elapsed since the event.

      So, when it was the next day, he convened all the doctors of Zanján, entertained them at a banquet, and related to them in full this affair of Mír Jalíl, in order that they might find a remedy for his distress. And they, because from of old they harboured an inward grudge and hatred against His Holiness the Martyr, fastened upon this occurrence [as a pretext], and, assembled in solemn conclave, decided that it was expedient for them all to pass sentence of death upon him, and to forward this sentence, sealed with their seals, to Násiru'd-Dín Sháh, who would send an army to put an end to His Holiness the Martyr and his followers.

      So all the doctors, being agreed as to the expediency of this course of action, sealed the warrant and declaration sentencing His Holiness the Martyr and all his followers to death, setting forth the conduct of Mír Jalíl towards Aslán Khán, and falsely alleging against His Holiness the Martyr sundry breaches of the Law. All these things they set down in writing in this statement, which they then gave to Amír Aslán Khán, who sealed it, placed it in an envelope, and forwarded it to Tihrán, to Násiru'd-Dín Sháh. O ye who see with just eyes! behold these doctors, who toiled for many years, labouring and striving to acquire theological science ([`ilm-i ijtihadi]), whereby they should be fitted to sit at the administration of justice, to give effect to God's commands, and to guide mankind in the Faith of God's Apostle, imagining within their unclean hearts that they were doing God good service and pronouncing sentence according to His Will! For these men, quitting the religion of God's Apostle, and acting contrary to the dictates


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of His Law, command and cause the blood of some thousands of their fellow-creatures to be shed. See to what a pitch the wickedness of their hearts had attained, that, for the sake of a moment's authority in the Amír's presence, for the sake of a moment's self-indulgence at his banquet, they were ready to bring about the death of several thousand persons, innocent or guilty, not reflecting - such was the wickedness of their hearts and the blindness of their inward sight - that all these people, whose blood was to be shed on the ground, as though they were no more than ants or locusts, were Musulmáns, who had not left the faith of God's Apostle. Who caused the death of those who perished in consequence of this sentence, who are answerable for their blood, and who brought about this great mischief? Yet, if thou lookest, these doctors did commit, according to their own imagining, no great fault in pronouncing sentence of death on all these people, for it seems that perchance they had not marked the meaning of that verse which the Lord of the Universe hath revealed in the Qur'án: "Whosoever slayeth one soul, it is as though he had slain all mankind" [Qur. v, 35]. "So those who have wrought evil shall know," saith the Almighty, "with what a turn they shall be turned!" [Qur. xxvi, 228].

      In short, in every cycle the Lord of the Universe hath made manifest the Manifestation of the Sun of His Will, to guide His people into the Way of God, so that He may deliver men from the fire of separation, and bring them into the Paradise of Union with Him. But no sooner hath the Sun of Truth shone forth from its horizon than the Devil also, clothing himself in raiment of sanctity of the former dye,[footnote 1: The MS. has [libas-i taqaddus sibqat-i qabl ra pushid]. The third word must be emended to [sifat] or [sibghat], and the latter emendation seems to me preferable. The meaning is "sanctimonious garb coloured with [the ideas, forms, and phraseology of] the previous [and now abrogated] dispensation."] prepares himself in all lands for that deceiving which is of his essential nature, so that, when the Dawn of the Effulgence of the Sun of Truth appears, in whatever land It may rise, he too, aided by his progeny, displays the


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darkness of his denial in opposition to the light of that Sun of Truth, even as is seen in this dispensation. For whoever hath in his heart so much as a particle of the light of faith, or of the desire to please God, would not, by reason of the tenderness of his heart, be willing to cause even an ant to stumble beneath his feet, much less to slay it; while another, bidding his heart acquiesce in so grievous a mischief, wherein he brings about the death of a hundred thousand innocent and godly persons, doth yet deem himself a divine, while knowing that none save Eternal God can create so much as a single hair on the head of one of His creatures. How can he pronounce sentence of death on all these creatures of God, not even reflecting - "It is the Lord who hath called them into being: how, then, shall I cause their blood to be shed?"

      Now this statement which I set down in writing I have not heard from another, but have seen with mine own eyes; and I declare that these divines, in that great trouble, came forth and cried in the midst of that concourse of people: "O people! to-day is the day of war for the faith! Ye must strive in the way of your religion." And so, having made men's bosoms shields for the arrows of great affliction, they themselves turned aside, and in their own luxurious abodes bade their servants bring in the samovar, and set the best Austrian tea of the finest quality to draw, because, forsooth, they had been put to much trouble by going forth amidst the throng of people, and were tired! Then, reclining on their cushions, they would open their books to look up doubtful points connected the menstrual discharges and the lochia.[footnote 1: That is, with the isolation and purification which these necessitate according to Shi'ite Law. See Querry's Droit Musulman, vol. i, pp. 19-22 and 27. The minute legislation of the Shi'ite doctors on these and kindred matters is a constant butt of Bábí ridicule.] In short they themselves sat thus, taking their ease and busied with their own comfort, while so many fellow - creatures, urged on by them to religious warfare, fell to the ground in that strife like ants or grasshoppers. Neither did this trouble them to the


[page 786]

extent of a mustard-seed, but they continued to busy themselves only with their own comfort. And had this religious war been against such as denied their faith, and law, and scripture, there had been no harm; but this war was against those who cried like themselves: "There is no god but God, Muhammad is the Apostle of God, 'Alí is the Friend of God!" Moreover, if you regard the obvious aspect of the matter, God Himself is witness what hair-splitting refinements in matters connected with the Law of the Qur'án and the Faith of Islám were made at that time by His Holiness the Martyr, such as were beyond the power of every one of the doctors of that province. For I myself, being then but a child, observed, according to my understanding, how in certain matters no one so enforced the Law of the Qur'án; for it was due to the firmness of his rule that none dared transgress the path of the Law, or commit any vile or evil deed. Thus he had enacted that wine should not be sold in any district, because, firstly, this thing is forbidden in the Law, and, secondly, whoever drinks it will commit evil deeds. And there were certain Christian merchants who used to sell wine, and he sent some of his followers to break all their wine-jars and pour out the wine, nor did one of them, for fear of himself, venture to utter a word.

      In short, under his jurisdiction, Zanján was purified in every way which you can conceive from unnatural crimes and fornications, and such things as are forbidden by Religion and Law, and all those people who were devoted to His Holiness were ever intent, in sincere humility and self-abasement, on their devotions, neither did they neglect by so much as a moment the seasons of prayer and fasting, nor did one of his men omit his devotions or tolerate any misdeed which infringed the Law. Yet still, notwithstanding all this, the divines set on foot all this ado about His Holiness, pronouncing sentence of death on him, and not only on him but on his followers, and sealing the declaration and forwarding it to Násiru'd-Dín Sháh. And he, being in the first pride of youth and but recently seated


[page 787]

on the throne, and reading this document, containing the declarations of the divines and the Governor of the province, couched in such a strain, thought within himself: "Yes, the Bábís have indeed risen in rebellion, have taken possession of Zanján, and have issued and put in force orders contrary to our Law, wherefore they are infidels, their lives and property are forfeit, and Násiru'd-Dín Sháh, Pivot of the World, must devise means for dealing with these enemies of religion, lest the faith of Law of Islám be trodden under foot," and so forth.

      So, to be brief, Násiru'd-Dín Sháh, when he had read this document, wherein a thousand absurd calumnies were falsely and untruly hurled at His Holiness and recorded in writing against him, had been moved to anger, and had ordered the advance of an army [against Zanján]. So several regiments of soldiers, with their officers and a few guns, were despatched by Násiru'd-Dín Sháh to Zanján to dispose of this holy cause; and on the first night of the month of Rajab, A.H. 1265 [= May 23, 1849],[footnote 1: This is an error. The year should be A.H. 1266 [= May 13, 1850]. See my translation of the New History, p. 144 and n. 2.] was the beginning of the fighting, when the army of Násiru'd-Dín Sháh entered the city of Zanján.

      Now on the morrow they ordered a herald to make proclamation in the market, saying: "This is the Governor's order, that the Musulmáns shall separate themselves from the Bábís, for the fighting is about to begin." So every one sought for himself a place and abode, and they separated one from the other.

      Now His Holiness the Martyr used to go to every Friday to public worship, and on the next Friday, according to his former habit, he again went to prayer. But while he was at prayer, the Musulmáns, knowing in advance that he would go forth on the Friday to pray, thought within themselves to assemble and slay and put to the sword all the Bábís while they were engaged in their devotions. They therefore prepared to give effect to this plan, and, assembling every man noted for his strength, and every


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bold youth in the city of Zanján, they advanced in mass, followed by the several regiments of soldiers which Násiru'd-Dín Sháh had sent, intending to kill His Holiness the Martyr, together with all his followers, at their prayers in the Mosque, and then to return. But when they had begun to go thither, one of the friends, outstripping them, brought tidings of this matter to His Holiness in the Mosque, saying: "Even now they are marching to the attack, and they will rush upon you to slay you all, so be prepared!" And the Bábís had not yet completed the noonday prayer.

      Now there was a man called Mír Saláh who had two brothers besides himself, the one named Mír Jalíl and the other Mír Rizá. This Mír Jalíl was the same man who had, at the beginning of this affair, broken open the door of Amír Aslán Khán's prison. All three brothers were endowed with great courage. At the moment when all these people were preparing to attack, three of the followers of His Holiness the Martyr were not at the prayers, having probably been left [outside] as sentinels to be on the look out lest anything should happen. Of these three, one was named Sheykh Muhammad, who was mu'ezzin to His Holiness the Martyr; another was the above-mentioned Mír Saláh.; and the third they called "Janáb-i-Sheykh." That brave man whose name was Mír Saláh., hearing so much, that the people were preparing to attack, at once dashed forth, prompted by the zeal of his manhood, from the door of the Mosque, in order to oppose this host, lest they should inflict some injury on His Holiness the Martyr and the rest while they were at prayer. These, however, were still distant some fifty or sixty paces from the door of the Mosque when Mír Saláh., alone and unaccompanied, came forth, and raised from his very heart a cry of "Yá Sáhibu'z-Zamán," inspired by such zeal, courage, and valour as caused the limbs of these people to tremble with apprehension; for they thought that perhaps all the followers of His Holiness the Martyr had been warned, and were coming upon them sword in hand.


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      So, being thus filled with fear for their lives, all these people turned their faces to flight, and departed; and those who led them, although before it had seemed to outward appearance that one might have withstood a hundred, yet at that time turned to flee from fear of the shout of one. And of those who formed this vanguard, one was Pahlaván Asadu'lláh, another Pahlaván Qurbán 'Alí, another Pahlaván Sheykh 'Alí, another Pahlaván Sádiq, and another Hasan-'Alí, all of whom were men who passed in Zanján as being most brave and valorous, for which reason they had been placed in the vanguard of all that host.

      Now there was a longish lane close to the Mosque of His Holiness the Martyr, and along this the assailants fled until they reached the end of it. There Pahlaván Asad'ulláh cast a glance behind him, expecting to see all the Bábís, sword in hand, pursuing them; instead of which he saw that one solitary individual who, sword in hand, was following them with cries of "Yá Sáhibu'z-Zamán." So when Pahlaván Asadu'lláh saw that none but this one man had drawn the sword against them, he took courage, and cried out: "O women! whither do ye flee from before one man? Turn back!" And when the mob heard his cry, they turned their heads, and saw that there was not a soul in the lane save this one man, whereat they all plucked up courage, and came to a halt. Then they saw this man continue to advance towards them, roaring like a male lion, and making no more account of all these people than of a gnat; and he swiftly came towards the edge of the crowd. Then Pahlaván Asadu'lláh, plucking up his courage, raised his shield over his head, and hurled himself on Mír Saláh.'s sword-blade. The narrator of this incident of the sword-stroke which he delivered told me himself, confirming it with an oath, as follows: "I, myself," said he, "was in the midst of that crowd, and saw Mír Saláh., so soon as he was within striking distance, bring down his sword like lightning on the shield of Pahlaván Asadu'lláh so that his shield was cleft in two over his head, and one half of it fell to the right and the other


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to the left, while his four fingers were cut off, and the sword lighted on his head."[footnote 1: The original text runs - [chahar angusht u-ra niz qalam kardih va chahar angusht ham bar sar-i shamshir nishistih]. I think that the words [chahar angusht ham] have been repeated through inadvertence, and should be omitted. If not, the meaning may be - "While his four fingers were split, and the sword stopped [or stuck] at the root of the four fingers." It is not clear whether the words of the narrator here cited cease at this point or further on.] And when Pahlaván Asadu'lláh felt his hand deal such a blow, he sank down on the ground, crying: "One blow of the sword has done for me: do not strike again!" So Mír Saláh. left him on the ground and turned upon the mob, who, having seen him strike such a stroke, did not venture near him, but drew back. And all those men of might [pahlaván-há] who had led the vanguard looked to their own reckoning, and not one of them dared to cross his path; but, seeing themselves held in check, they cried out to stone him. Then all the mob began to cast stones at one single solitary individual, so that, as the narrator used to say, "some thousand men encompassed him on every side, and pelted him with stones, so that even the women cast stones upon him from the roof." And in whatever direction that brave man charged, the mob made way for him, casting stones at him from afar.

      In short, they felled him to the ground, stunned by the stones which they rained upon him. Then, when they saw that he had not life enough left in him to stand up, they advanced, and, all drawing their daggers, smote him on the head and body until they had accomplished his martyrdom.

      Now these two men who had been placed as sentries at the door of the Mosque, hearing this turmoil of strife and clamour of war, came forth also from the Mosque, intending to go to the help of Mír Saláh.. Then they, too, drawing their swords, directed their steps towards the army; and when they came over against it, they saw that Mír Saláh. had already suffered martyrdom. And the cowardly mob pelted these two also with stones from a distance, and slew them also; for they accomplished the martyrdom of


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the mu'ezzin [Sheykh Muhmmad], and took captive the other Sheykh, after that they had inflicted on him several wounds.

      At the time when these three men went forth from the Mosque, His Holiness the Martyr was still at prayer, having not yet finished his devotions. He had been aware of what was taking place, grievous mischief would have resulted on that day; but these three had gone forth suddenly and without the knowledge [of their friends]. So after they had dispersed from their devotions and had come forth from the Mosque, and had heard all this matter, they sorrowed greatly; and when their grief had somewhat subsided, they desired to march with drawn swords against the mob, and to avenge these three victims upon all these people. But His Holiness the Martyr, reflecting that if he should grant permission [for this] by declaring a religious war, in any case three of four hundred persons would perish, did not deem it expedient [so to do], and withheld his permission.

      But as for the Sheykh whom the mob had taken captive, they dragged him with a thousand insults into the presence of Amír Aslán Khán, who, after sundry unworthy maledictions, said: "If" (God pardon me for repeating the words) "thou wilt curse the Founder of thy religion and Mullá Muhammad 'Alí" (that is to say, His Holiness the Martyr), "I will not slay thee." But that brave man, putting aside fear and hope alike, replied: "Curses be upon thine own foul nature, even unto seventy generations of thy forbears, for that they have been instrumental in producing a bastard like thee, who hast brought about such great mischief and trouble!" Then Amír Aslán Khán, overcome with fury, drew his sword from his side, and struck him with all his might upon the mouth; and I myself saw the Sheykh's mouth laid open from ear to ear. Then he commanded the people to strike; and each one of that ungenerous mob, each with the dagger that he had in his hand, struck him on the head and body; so that a carpenter's adze had inflicted a wound which had penetrated his head to the


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depth of four fingers, and had broken in two and there remained. In short they accomplished his martyrdom also, and cast his naked body out into the square to be a warning and terror to the people.

      Now this beginning of hostilities fell on a Friday, and thus did the whole matter of strife become defined, and the streets which gave passage were blocked on either side, and all intercourse was cut off [between the two parts of the town]. Then guns and muskets were brought into play, and on every high vantage-ground stockades were constructed on both sides; and on their side each stockade was entrusted to a captain or a major, while on our side also His Holiness the Martyr entrusted each stockade to some brave champion, and likewise nineteen men who should be under his authority. In short, they divided the town of Zanján into two parts: in the eastern part was His Holiness the Martyr with his followers, and in the western part abode the other people. And it was by the Lord of the Universe also that the matter was thus determined, as to which party, even in the world of appearance, should be on the eastern side and which on the western, which on the right hand and which on the left.[footnote 1: For from the East comes the Dawn, the illumination both of hearts and horizons ([al-ishraq fi'l-anfus wa'l-afaq]), while in the West is the setting and declination. "The people of the right hand," and "the people of the left hand," in the Qur'án as in the Gospels, signify the blessed and the damned (Qur'án, lvi, 26 et seq.).] Yet are these people far from [apprehending] this matter, but remain benighted.

      Let me be brief, however, and not let my subject slip from the hand. The city of Zanján has but one bazaar, which, beginning at the Tihrán gate, ends close to the Tabríz gate. This bazaar, also, they had cut in two, so that the part towards the Tihrán gate, which is to the east, was in the hands of His Holiness the Martyr and his followers, while the Tabríz part, which is the western, was in the hands of his adversaries. But the followers of His Holiness the Martyr had wholly suspended all buying and


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selling, and had placed the shop-goods in store; while on the other side some kept their shops open, and others closed them. My object in mentioning this is that you may know every detail of the matter.

      After this His Holiness the Martyr commanded his followers that they should all be as one family and one household, and that all things, from eatables to clothing, whatever there was, should be divided for use; and his followers did even as he had commanded, so that they even opened their houses to one another, and passed in and out in unity and concord. But since it was as yet but the first beginning of warfare, intercourse was still maintained between the two parties by some who were united outwardly by family ties and kinsmanship, nor were the channels of communication yet entirely cut between them. These communications continued for about a week, until the foolish divines attempted to take advantage of them in order to compass the death of His Holiness the Martyr; but the Lord of the Universe did not favour the desire wherewith their doctrine had inspired them, so that it did not succeed.

      Now the stratagem whereby they endeavoured to give effect to their designs was as follows. They instructed a certain man, having promised to give him one hundred túmáns in money, to go in disguise, and, by some means or other, to slay His Holiness the Martyr, and so return; "and we," they added, "will treat you with honour and respect so long as you live."

      So this accursed fellow acquiesced in this proposal, and went away to put on his disguise, in order to approach His Holiness the Martyr by some device and slay him. The scoundrel had grown up from his very childhood on the bread of His Holiness the Martyr, had been a servant in his house, and had paraded himself outwardly in the guise of the Friends; but in the inner world he was a devilish-minded bastard, the like of whom the eye of time hath not beheld; and his unclean name was Hájí Dádásh. To be brief, this accursed villain, on hearing the promise of a hundred túmáns in money, fell into foolish and brain-sick


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fancies, imagining that he had undertaken an easy task, and so set off, like another Ibn Muljam,[footnote 1: The name of the Khárijite who assassinated 'Alí.] to accomplish his work.

      Now His Holiness the Martyr used still to go every Friday to the Mosque, and had not abandoned public prayer; but at the time of this occurrence he had ceased to go out to the Mosque, and had arranged to perform public prayer with his followers in his own house. And this villain had deferred his attempt to Friday, thinking that he might perhaps succeed in firing a shot at His Holiness the Martyr while he was at prayer, and might then flee. So he went and put on a woman's dress, took with him a small gun, which he concealed about his person, and started off so as to arrive at the time when His Holiness the Martyr, having finished the public prayers, was seated on his stool and was exhorting the people. Now in the court of this building only men were seated, but on the roof round about it a number of women also; and this accursed fellow, having veiled his foul face, was seated amongst the company of women as a woman, awaiting his opportunity to fire his shot at His Holiness the Martyr, and then flee. Well speaks Mawláná [Jalálu'd-Dín Rúmí] on this subject in this couplet:-
"God's Grace deals gently with thee, till at last
It shames thee, when the bearing-point is passed."


      To be brief, this accursed fellow was continually protruding the muzzle of his gun from beneath the woman's wrapper which he wore, and, because of his nervousness, was in constant movement and agitation. Now there was sitting in front of him a certain brave woman, who, noticing the restlessness of this [supposed] woman, turned her face towards this accursed fellow to say, "How restless you are!" Then her eye fell on the muzzle of the gun, which was protruded some two inches beyond the mantle, for the assassin was intending to fire. No sooner had this


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brave woman perceived this than she seized the muzzle of his gun, dragged it forth, and swiftly plucked the veil from his face, and saw that - good heavens! - the person had a beard! Then she caught hold of him, crying, "O, seize this accursed fellow"; and the crowd of women, hearing her cries, quickly surrounded him, hemmed him in, and tore the chádar from his head, so that his bogey-[footnote 1: I translate [nisnas] by 'bogey.' Concerning the popular superstitions about the nesnás prevalent in Persia, see my Year amongst the Persians, pp. 165 and 267, as well as the dictionaries.] face was revealed, and all recognised him. Then these brave women, surrounding him, beat him with their fists on the face and head in a manner which baffles description; and presently the men, informed by the cries and clamour of the women, arose and came up, and took him out of the women's hands, and pounded his face and mouth beyond measure. After this they dragged him before His Holiness the Martyr, who, on raising his eyes, saw that it was none other than Hájí Dádásh, who had been a servant in his house, and whose ingratitude had reached this pitch. Then he said: "God curse thee and thy deed, and those who instigated thee to this deed! How ungrateful art thou become that thou hast stooped to so foul an act, not reflecting that thy very hair has grown out of the salt of this house, and withal thou art thus shameless and graceless!" Then [Hájí Dádásh] said, with tears and lamentations: "They led me astray after the manner of the Devil. Forgive me! I repent. Overlook my fault!" So His Holiness the Martyr, moved to pity by his lamentations and tears, overlooked his fault and released him; and the accursed wretch abode for some days amongst the believers, but afterwards, prompted by his accursedness, fled back [to the enemy]. And thenceforth, in consequence of this occurrence, all intercourse between the two sides was cut off, the roads of communication were blocked, and the streets were barricaded at every point.

      To be brief, war raged with the utmost fury for about


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two months, both by day and night, so that not for one single moment did men's ears rest from the noise of cannons and muskets, and bullets constantly fell through the air like rain on every side, until matters reached such a pass that the army sent by Násiru'd-Dín Sháh was all finished off. So a courier was sent to Násiru'd-Dín Sháh to tell him that the army was insufficient, and that he must send reinforcements. Then Násiru'd-Dín Sháh again sent five thousand more troops under the command of the Sardár Bábá Khán with several pieces of artillery. In short they sent to Zanján seventeen cannons and two mortars; but these again, ere two or three months had elapsed, were finished up. Then several thousand troops were sent from Tabríz, but these also proved insufficient. Then, to make a long story short, they poured into the city of Zanján some twenty thousand troops from every side, from Urúmiyya, Hamadán, Garrús, and sundry other towns; and still they did not suffice. Then they collected and brought up more than ten thousand irregulars[footnote 1: The word [chalk], not to be found in the dictionaries, is explained by my friend Mírzá Huseyn-Qulí Khán as = [`asakir-i bi-nizam].] from the different districts of Khamsa, which is [the province wherein lies] Zanján, but it availed nothing. In short, not a day or a night passed but two or three hundred men shed their blood like ants or grasshoppers; an if you have heard tell of "the Trouble of the Last Time," it was even this which had come to pass, though none knew it save those who knew.

      So matters dragged on, with the same turmoil and trouble, for some six months. And it was in the midst of the war that one named Farrukh Khán proposed before Násiru'd-Dín Sháh in Tihrán to go with several horsemen and bring back the head of Mullá Muhammad 'Alí. So the King granted him a few horsemen, and made him chief and commander over them, and sent them off.

      Now this ill-starred Farrukh Khán was the brother of that Suleymán Khán who afterwards suffered the candle-


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torture,[footnote 1: The torture in question ([sham`-i ajin]) consists in wounding the victim's flesh with knives, and inserting into each wound a lighted wick or candle, which, when it has consumed its own grease, feeds itself on the fat of the sufferer. Hájí Suleymán Khán suffered death on Sept. 15, 1852. See Vámbéry's Wanderungen und Erlebnisse in Persien, p. 299; my Traveller's Narrative, pp. 326, 332-4; the New History, pp. 228-30.] and whom they thus led through the bazaars of Tihrán, because he belonged to this sect. And when Farrukh Khán came to Zanján, his brother Suleymán Khán, with a thousand kindly warnings, bade him abandon this enterprise; "for," said he, "thou wilt not fare well on this journey." But Farrukh Khán, in his vain-glorious pride, would not consent to this, but persisted that he would go. Then Suleymán Khán had said: "Since thou wilt not harken to my advice, thou shalt go; but they will strip thy skin over thy head." And even thus it fell out, exactly as he had spoken; for they took the skin from his head, nay, his whole head from his body, and made the flesh of his body even as minced meat, because he had not hearkened to the counsels of so perfect a being [as his brother Suleymán Khán], but had rather lent an ear to his own foolish reasonings. Well says Háfiz in this couplet on this matter-

"Hear, I pray, sweet friend, my counsel; blessed youths will dearer hold
Even than dear life itself the wise monitions of the old."[footnote 2: Díván of Háfiz, ed. Rosenzweig-Schwannan, vol. i, p. 24, penultimate couplet.]

To continue. He refused to listen to his brother's advice, and came into Zanján with his horsemen in brave show. And the people of Zanján showed him and his horsemen much respect and consideration, as though he were a man of extraordinary valour and courage, at whose hands many doughty deeds should be accomplished; but they knew not the inner truth that, if God so wills it, one single person could deal with this whole mob, and that, moreover, without gear or weapons of war.


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      To the outward eyes of the people of Zanján, however, it seemed that the followers of His Holiness the Martyr were but as a handful of chickens in the grip of this doughty champion, who would just thrust in his hand, pluck them from their nest, cut off their heads one after another, and so leave them. So they feasted and entertained these gentlemen, and did them honour for several nights, until it was ultimately agreed that on that very night they should display their prowess and show their valour to all the people. Then Farrukh Khán said: "To-night all the bravest youths of Zanján must be my guests, and they shall all drink wine and 'araq until they be somewhat emboldened, so that they may not flee from the fray." So they acted in accordance with his instructions; and that night he assembled all the bravest of the people of Zanján, and gave them all wine and 'araq to drink, so that even himself and his horsemen were blind drunk.

      In short, he made some three or four hundred men as drunk as himself; and, when some five or six hours of the night had passed, he led them forth, and they set out, intending to take the Bábís off their guard and attack them. And he placed these youths of Zanján in front to show the way, and they went right out of the town and re-entered it by the Hamadán gate, until he had brought himself and his host to a rest-house which was actually the key to the position occupied by the followers of His Holiness the Martyr.[footnote 1: I am uncertain as to the translation of this passage, which runs as follows: [ta ankih khud-ra ba an jam`iyyat rasanid bi-yak takyih-`i kih asl bizangah `arsih-'i maydan-i ashab jinab-i shahid anja bud]. I am informed that [bizangah = mawqa`, fursat].] But now one of the followers of His Holiness the Martyr named 'Azíz, whose abode was situated near that rest-house, hearing the footfalls of all this host, at once sprang to his feet, and peeped through a crack in the door to see what was happening. Then he saw some three or four hundred men, all fully armed, standing in the court of the rest-house and consulting together on which side they should attack the Bábís.


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      To be brief, when he had carefully observed the condition of these people, he saw that they were all senseless with drink, so that they were unable to walk or speak aright, and, having lost their reckoning, knew neither whence they were come nor whither they were going. Then he noticed that in the midst of all this crowd there was one who seemed to be a leader, and whose weapons of war excelled those of the others. So this brave fellow, seizing his opportunity, and placing his trust in the Eternal God, threw open the door, and, alone and unsupported, without arms, ran out, seized Farrukh Khán from behind in the midst of all that multitude, and tucked him under his arm. And that great host no sooner saw that Farrukh Khán was taken than, drunk as they were, they fancied that perhaps the followers of His Holiness the Martyr had received information, and were even then about to attack them and put them all to the sword. Then such as were natives of Zanján, knowing the way, fled with one accord, while the horsemen who were with Farrukh Khán, knowing not whither to flee, were unable to make their escape.

      But as for the young man who had seized Farrukh Khán from behind, Farrukh Khán, strive as he would to free himself from his hands, could do nothing. He drew a pistol from his girdle and fired over his shoulder at the youth 'Azíz, who instantly drew himself back so that the bullet passed by him. Then he fired again on the other side, but again it missed him, and still he did not leave hold of Farrukh Khán.

      No sooner was the report of Farrukh Khán's pistol heard than all the Bábís who were in the neighbourhood instantly hurried to the rest-house to see what was the matter. Then, when they saw them, they seized them all; but ere they bore Farrukh Khán before His Holiness the Martyr, they had left scarcely a trace of his existence, for they had hacked his body in pieces ere they bore it away, and when he came before His Holiness the Martyr he had already surrendered up his soul.

      In short, God willed not that the frowardness of those


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should succeed who, deeming these men so valorous, had sent them to cut off the heads of His Holiness the Martyr and some of his followers, and to bring in the others captive; but they themselves were overtaken by ruin. For they beheaded them all, stuck their heads on spears, and set them up on the roofs, so that their late comrades might see them and take warning and reckon for themselves. So when the night had passed and morning dawned, all those heads were visible on the roofs, and their friends seeing them were filled with grief, and for some time there was discussion amongst them as they pointed them out to one another from afar off.

      Then Amír Aslán Khán commanded them to beg the dead body of Farrukh Khán from the followers of His Holiness the Martyr, thinking that perhaps they might obtain it. So they demanded it; and the Bábís took the head of Farrukh Khán and cast it towards them. So they picked it up and bore it to Amír Aslán Khán, who said, "Obtain possession of his body also." Then they went back once more and demanded his body, but this the Bábís would not give them. The Amír Aslán Khán agreed to give up ten young Bábís whom he had in prison that he might receive in exchange the body of Farrukh Khán, and to this exchange the followers of His Holiness the Martyr agreed. So they took over the ten young men and then surrendered the body of Farrukh Khán.

      To make a long story short, this war dragged on for about a year with the same turmoil and trouble, so that none rested for a moment from the noise of artillery and musketry, while bullets fell from heaven to earth like rain. Yet never during all this strife did His Holiness the Martyr proclaim a religious war, save once towards the end of the struggle, when he could not help himself. And all that the followers of His Holiness the Martyr wrought, they wrought by their courage and valour; but what their adversaries did, they effected by cowardly deceit and guile. Thus the Bábís were never seen to go and


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make a sudden attack on their opponents when seven or eight hours of the night had passed, and to rush upon them when they were off their guard; but the others constantly fought in this cowardly fashion, waiting until several hours of the night had elapsed, and then suddenly falling upon the followers of His Holiness the Martyr unawares; though, notwithstanding this stratagem, they were still defeated and driven back. For example, one kind of stratagem which they employed in their warfare was this, that they would dig a mine underground from their quarters beneath a house inhabited by some of the Bábís, deposit a cauldron full of gunpowder there, retire, and fire it from their side, so that the house collapsed, and if there were people in it they all perished, and if not, the house was laid in ruins. But after they had done this several times, the followers of His Holiness the Martyr were on the look out, and would from time to time lay their ears to the ground and hear the sound of the picks. The they too would begin to dig on their side until the two mines met, when they either killed the miner there in the mine, or dragged him out and slew him. It often happened that they removed the cauldron of powder, while the other side, not knowing that it was gone, fired the fuse, expecting that the house would fall upon them. And when they saw that there was neither stir nor sound, they were filled with wonder as to what had happened. And when they went to look, they would see no trace of cauldron or powder, and would return bewildered.

      Sometimes, again, they would fill cannon-balls (i.e. grenades) with powder, and when they came to close quarters they would light them and throw them with their hands into the houses of the Bábís, who, however, soon learned to deal with them, for they would run swiftly to them, pull out the fuse, and so extinguish them, so that they did not burst or do any harm. But often, too, there was no time for this, and they did great damage, sometimes killing men, and sometimes injuring them. In short, all their fighting was in this cowardly fashion.


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      You must know also that the women of the Bábís fought more bravely than the men on the other side. To take one instance, a girl appeared amongst the followers of His Holiness the Martyr of extraordinary courage, so that she became famous even amongst all these brave disciples for her quickness and dexterity in battle, so that they named her Rustam 'Alí as a fit tribute to her valour. In short, she was a master in every artifice of war, and had no compeer in swordsmanship or in shooting; and when she fought she always wore men's attire, nor could anyone distinguish her by her fighting from a man. Now they had erected barricades in every thoroughfare, and His Holiness the Martyr had stationed at each barricade a man of valour, and had placed under his authority nineteen young men who should be at his command. And to this girl also, because of her courage, they gave her a barricade, and under her command, too, they placed nineteen men. Let me tell you somewhat of her prowess, that you may know it.

      One night, to take an instance, an attack was made by the enemy at midnight on her barricade; and she, as soon as she was aware of it, sent one to wait on His Holiness the Martyr to request his permission to fight, saying, "Let us, too, repel the foe who is about to attack us." And His Holiness the Martyr granted this permission, bidding her not to attack, but to repel the enemy herself. So she sent again several times, but His Holiness the Martyr would not permit them to arise and attack the enemy, but bade them only drive the foe back from about the position which they themselves occupied. So when she saw that there was no other way, and that the enemy were just about to set their feet on the barricade, she saw nothing for it but to let them come close to where she stood and give them their answer fighting. Then, without constraining her comrades to join her rash venture, she suddenly drew her sword from its scabbard, and hurled herself against an army of seven thousand foes. As she did so she raised from her


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very soul a cry of "Yá Sáhibu'z-Zamán!" and so great a host, imagining within themselves that the Bábís were about to make a simultaneous attack, all turned their faces to flight, she pursuing them the while, until she had made her way to the heart of the army. Thither had she no sooner come than her first sword-cut was delivered on the head of the standard-bearer, so that the standard fell from his hand, and he himself passed to hell. Then the girl raised his standard from the ground, and again turned her face towards the army, until she had wounded several of them in the back. Then, having seen so many foes annihilated before her sight, that young lioness, carrying the standard in her hand, turned back towards her barricade. Thereupon all her comrades rose up from their places to do her honour, with warm welcomes and applause; after which they brought her into the presence of His Holiness the Martyr, who received her very graciously, and applauded her in the most flattering terms. So, in consequence of this act of bravery, she was highly esteemed and honoured in the eyes of all the believers, for, although outwardly but a woman, she was in truth the very Rustam of her time, nor can there be produced or pointed out amongst the women of any age or time one who was like her, nor another instance of several thousand soldiers abandoning their standard and fleeing before the sword of one girl in man's apparel.

      In short, this thing also was from God, that men might recognize the power of the Truth against Falsehood; though these people were so sunk in heedlessness that even should the Lord of the Universe raise up one little child five years old amongst all created beings, and maintain him, and bestow on him power of every kind, and give him authority over all mankind, still these people would not recognize the power of his strength as from God, but would deny this. Consider, for instance, what fear of the followers of His Holiness the Martyr the Lord of the Universe cast into the hearts of those people, so that one day in the midst of the war an incident occurred in the bazaar of Zanján which was indeed very ludicrous.


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      For they had blocked the thoroughfare of the bazaar of Zanján in the middle, but there remained an aperture in the midst [of the barricade], large enough to allow the voice of anyone speaking or crying out to be heard through it. Now a few tradesmen of the other side continued their business and trade. One day, however, they heard through this hole a shout of "Yá Sáhibu'z-Zamán!" whereupon they all abandoned their shops and fled. But one of them, a grocer, had a customer, and was busy weighing with his scales. Directly he saw all the people running away, he too sprang from his place to flee, and the scales caught around his neck and there hung; and the grocer, because of the fear and dread of his life which possessed him, did not observe that the scales were hanging round his neck, nor did he notice that they hung there until he was come close to the Tabríz gate. But just outside the gate one said to him, "So-and-so, it seems that these scales were what you prized most of the goods and chattels of your shop, that you have brought them all this way with you." Then the grocer was astonished at himself, and answered: "Now that you tell me, I notice that it is so; but until I arrived here I was so fearful and terrified for myself that I never noticed it, nor did I know whether the scales were round my neck or not." Now this hole was such that a cat's body would hardly have squeezed through it, much less a man's! In short, they had seen no one, nor had anyone pursued them; but, merely on hearing one shout, all these people had leaped from their places and taken to their heels.

      Know, in short, that God cast into the hearts of these people fear of even the dead bodies of the followers of His Holiness the Martyr; how much more, then, when they were alive! And this I saw with my own eyes; for one day, when the war was at its very fiercest, I came out, as children love to do, to explore and look about me. And thus I came to the gate of Amír Aslán Khán's house, close to which there was an open space. There a great crowd was assembled, for it was in this open space that


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they used to put to death such of the Bábís as they took prisoners. So when I entered this square, I saw lying in the midst of the open space several decapitated bodies, naked and covered with wounds. The season was winter, and the air bitterly cold; and in that cruel cold these holy bodies had lain several days and nights. Several loads of tree-prunings had been deposited in a corner of the square, in order that anyone who liked might pick up some of these greens sticks and beat the naked bodies of these dead and lifeless forms, to gratify the malice which they bore in their hearts. Then I saw a soldier go and pick up several switches from these woodheaps, and begin to beat the naked body of a dead man whose corpse already bore several wounds. But when he had struck a few blows on this dead body, as God is my witness, I, being there present, saw this dead body rise up from the earth, and sit on the ground without support of hands, and for a moment begin to look at all these people. And there were round about it three of four hundred people, all of whom, when their gaze fell upon it as it sat up regarding them, took to their heels, and only when they had withdrawn to some distance began to look in amazement at it. Even that accursed soldier who had been beating it with the switch, even he, I say, began to flee, and, standing afar off, regarded the dead body with astonishment. Yet withal this accursed fellow, having seen this, did not fear God, but returned, levelled his musket, and fired several successive shots into the back of its head, whereupon the dead body again fell to the ground. But all the people marvelled at this thing, because this dead, naked body, leaving out of reckoning the several mortal wounds which it bore, had lain naked, probably for two days and two nights, in that bitter cold, amidst the snow and rain. For assuredly the man must have died from exposure to this cruel cold during two days and two nights, even had he not succumbed to his wounds; or, at any rate, some sign of life, some motion or movement, would have been perceptible and apparent during this


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period, and no such thing was observed. How, then, did he suddenly rise to a sitting posture, and wonderingly regard all these people? Even I, notwithstanding my tender years, marvelled what a mystery this might be. For it was afterwards that I entered into this matter [i.e. the Bábí faith].

      On another subsequent occasion I saw an inhuman soldier carrying about the head of a man which he had cut off and stuck on the bayonet of his gun. As soon as my eyes fell on it, I knew to what poor wretch the head belonged. Consider what a quintessence of irreligion these people were, so that at no time or epoch have men so devoid of humanity or justice been seen by anyone; for this head was the head of a poor, half-witted fellow named Naqí, whom the people called "Delí Naqí" ("Crazy Naqí"), who used to wander about, daft and demented, in the streets and bazaars, an object of mirth and sport to the children, not having sense enough to beg; but when men gave him a trifle in pity, he ate; and when they did not give [he went hungry].[footnote 1: The MS. has: [har kas az ruy-i tarahhum bi u chizi midad va u mikhurad namidad]. I think that the word [namikhurad] has been accidentally omitted at the end of this sentence, and have supplied it in translating.] Now this accursed inhuman soldier, coming across this poor wretch standing half-witted and crazy in I know not what back lane, had thrown him down and cut off his head. For Aslán Khán had issued an order that anyone bringing the head of one of His Holiness the Martyr's followers, should receive a reward of five qráns Persian money, which is one mejídiyyé in Ottoman coin; and this shameless ruffian, thinking to get these five qráns, had cut off this poor wretch's head in a quiet corner, stuck it on his bayonet, and paraded it before all these people. And, though all of them recognized it, not one of this unmanly crowd dared tell that shameless soldier what he had done. So, in brief, carrying it thus, he brought the head before Amír Aslán Khán, who knew not whose it was, not having been informed about his state, but imagined that it was the head of one of the followers of His Holiness the Martyr. So this mine of generosity took it, and was


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graciously pleased to give and bestow on him [i.e. the soldier] one qrán in Persian money, which is equivalent to five piastres. Did Hátim [Tá'í][footnote 1: An Arab whose open-handedness has made him a proverb for generosity. Of course all this passage is bitter irony.] in his most generous mood ever see such bounty or munificence?

      Consider, now, the deeds of these people, in how extraordinary a degree they reveal their inward uncleanness, so that they will compass a man's death for the sake of getting one qrán in money! Imagine whether any eye hath seen, or any ear heard, wickedness so great as this from the time of Adam until the appearance of the Qá'im!

      So [the soldier], after he had received this bounty of one qrán, brought the poor idiot's head and cast it by those dead bodies which lay in the square, and went his way.

      Our original topic was, however, that you should consider the degree of this people's inhumanity, to what a pitch it reached. For instance, every house which they took and entered, they first of all thought of the rafters thereof, to pluck them forth and sell them, and each rafter thereof they would sell for two sháhís Persian money, which is equivalent to one qamarí of Ottomon coinage, never considering of what religion or sect the owner of the house might be, or whether a thousand or two thousand túmáns had been spent on the house, or how many years its owner had laboured to build it up; such considerations they absolutely and utterly disregarded. Thus, in short, did these persons of judgement, understanding, and perception comprehend justice, so that finally they laid the house in ruins, so that you would see each rafter of that house in the hands of two soldiers, who sold it in partnership. They even tore off and sold all the window-shutters in the Mosque, which is the House of God, because His Holiness the Martyr had occupied the Mosque, never considering what wrong the Mosque, which was the House of God's worship, had committed. For the upshot of the matter was this, that had he who occupied it not performed the prayers


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there, no one else would have done so. Matters reached such a pass that every house belonging to one of the followers of His Holiness the Martyr which they took, they plundered his furniture, destroyed his house, and took his wife and children captive, besides inflicting on them a thousand calamities, so that, after they had taken them captive, they placed them in the very stables of those divines devoid of the practice of virtue. Indeed, matters came to such a pass that girls twelve years of age used to be bought and sold amongst the town's folk for one qrán in money, while most of them were carried away to other towns and villages.

      In short, for nearly a year things were so that all these people had not a single moment's peace on either side. But His Holiness the Martyr, from the very beginning of the war until the end, repeatedly, while seated on the daïs in his house, urged his followers to depart, so that he even made known to them every calamity that would befall them, and the whole matter, ere its occurrence, either from shame [of bringing this suffering upon them without warning], or that there might be no compulsion [to suffer for the Cause] amongst them, but that each might of his own free will set his feet in God's way. And most of them, believing this test-proposal [to be made in earnest], went away; and if anyone asked, "Whither goest thou?" they would reply, "If he himself is a Proof[footnote 1: "His Holiness the Proof ([Jinab-i Hujjat]) is the title commonly given by the Bábís to Mullá Muhammad 'Alí.] unto us, then his word also is a Proof unto us, and he bids us go." In short, this matter was like what is related to have occurred in the case of [the Imám Huseyn] the Chief of Martyrs in the land of taff,[footnote 2: Lit, "the bank," or "shore," especially of the Euphrates; or, the part of the land of the Arabs that overlooks the cultivated regions of el-'Iráq; or, a place near Kúfa. See Lane's Ar.-Engl. Lex., pt. v, p. 1858, s.v. [taf].] for he saw and knew with the inward eye of the heart that all those Arabs who were round him were faithless and disloyal, wherefore, drawing his blessed cloak over his head, he proposed to all those


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Arabs, to test them, that they should go. And they, at the mere suggestion of this on the part of the Chief of Martyrs, seized on this pretext, came one by one to kiss the blessed hand of His Holiness, and departed; for His Holiness had said, "We, too, will depart"; but their departure was not on account of what he had said, but because they saw the enemy encompassing them round about, and knew for a surety that they would not save their lives from the arena thus hemmed in by all these foes, thence it was that they seized this pretext for setting their faces to flight. Observe how they linked together the thought of losing their own lives with the allegation that the Word of His Holiness was a Proof, and this, too, was in itself a great sin, apart from the sin of fleeing from before His Holiness, for fear of losing their own lives. His word was a Proof; but not when it was [uttered merely] to try the disposition of the waverer's heart. Rather that saying of His Holiness was to ascertain the mental temper of all his supporters on that battlefield, where life was to be surrendered. And the proof of this is that this test-proposal was made also to 'Abbás, the brother of the Chief of Martyrs: why, then, did not he set his foot outside the circle of steadfastness?

      In short, only the immediate adherents of His Holiness the Martyr, who stood firm in their vow and covenant with him, attained the rank of martyrdom. And at the beginning of the war His Holiness the Martyr had round about him some three thousand followers; but after he had several times made the [above-mentioned] proposal to them, some thousand of them took advantage of it as a pretext to withdraw, while those who stood by His Holiness the Martyr until the end of the war hardly exceeded two thousand.

      To be brief, there were sixty barricades round about [the Bábí position], and at each barricade nineteen men, while the rest patrolled the circuit. But during this year's period of warfare, the Musulmáns thrice wrote, and sent to His Holiness the Martyr, letters, attested by oaths


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sworn on the Qur'án and sealed with the seals of all, small and great, including their divines, to this effect: "We are unwilling that all this killing and plundering should continue in our midst. Come out, and let us agree on terms of peace, for we swear on this Qur'án and on this verse that we will do you no harm, so do you likewise refrain from harming us." So His Holiness the Martyr, out of respect for the Qur'án, agreed; and after that he had agreed, several of the great men and nobles of the province assembled and waited upon him, and requested a reconciliation. And his Holiness the Martyr said in reply: "If ye were not yourselves content that these people should be slain and plundered, I did not desire it; for I sat in my own house, neither interfering nor meddling with the affairs of anyone, nor doing violence to anyone, nor seeking to pluck any man's faith from his hand, nor acting contrary to the commandments of the Law and Path of Islám, nor enjoining aught on any man but what God hath commanded; neither hath any deed contrary to the religion of God's Apostle been wrought by me or my followers, nor do I say aught save, 'There is no god but God, Muhammad is the Apostle of God, 'Alí is the friend of God.' Wherefore, then, do your divines stigmatize us as apostates from their faith? Why have they passed sentence of death on me and my followers? Why have they brought against me twenty thousand troops and all these muskets, cannons, and munitions of war? If they do not desire that I should continue in their country, then let them grant me free passage, so that I may take my wife and children by the hand and go to Europe. But they have encompassed me in on every side, and cut off help in every quarter. And had my authority been exercised frowardly at that time when I was in a position of manifestly superior strength, in the course of a few hours I would not have left a single soul [of the Musulmáns] alive in this province; but, during all this period of strife, what day hath there been, or what night, whereon I have commanded a religious war, save only that


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I was constantly considering how we might ward off your assaults from our wives and children, for we have no choice but to defend ourselves? Do not, therefore, regard me as culpable in this matter; all which has happened or will happen has been brought about by your own divines and by the governor of the province. If you desire peace, I for my part never declared war, but my influence was ever for peace."

      In short, preliminaries for peace were arranged, and the delegates [of the Musulmáns] returned to their own quarters. Then men began to pass to and fro between the two sides; but, ere two or three days had passed, fools again provoked a conflict, and [fresh] dissension arose between [the two sides], and they separated from one another. Finally they perceived that no peace could be concluded, but that the war must work itself out. Then the Musulmáns saw that no arrangement was possible, and they made a shelter out of thick planks, placed it on carriages, and so advanced. But the followers of His Holiness the Martyr battered the shelter with cannon, and broke it in pieces and shattered it; for they had made two guns of iron. In short, matters reached such a pass that there was no street in which you could set your foot where several dead bodies did not lie fallen on the ground, nor a single pit left which was not choked with dead bodies, nor a ditch wherein corpses were not cast one upon another, nor a tent unfilled with the dead and their gear and chattels. In a word, whoever has desired to behold the Trouble of the Last Time, would that he had come and watched this from afar!

      To make a long story short, war continued with unabated violence between the two factions for a period of about one year, till matters reached such a pass that only some three or four hundred adherents still stood by His Holiness the Martyr, all the rest having attained martyrdom. And, whenever one of the barricades on the side of His Holiness the Martyr was left devoid of men, the enemy were quickly made aware of it, and entered and occupied it, until, little


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by little, they surrounded the sides of His Holiness the Martyr's own house, and, when they had thus surrounded it, they desired to enter it.

      Then His Holiness the Martyr, perceiving that all was over, took a sword in his own hand, summoned his few remaining followers to do battle for the faith, and, himself preceding them, grasped his sword, and, with his adherents, hurled himself into the midst of that host of foes. Notwithstanding the fewness of his following, he succeeded in driving back the enemy from several houses, but that very day he received a bullet-wound in the arm, and the bullet splintered his arm-bone. He survived this wound for three days, at the end of which time he bade farewell to this transitory world, and the bird of his spirit flew to the branches of the Túbá-tree. May God have mercy on him - abundant mercy!

      Now, while he was yet alive, that glorified saint [[an marfu`]] had given injunctions that his holy body should be placed in a chest and buried in his own house. So his followers placed the body in a chest, and buried him in his own house, even as he had enjoined them. And, after his death, about a hundred of his followers still survived, who continued to fight for five days. But when five days had elapsed, the other side imagined within themselves to capture them by a stratagem, else in no other way would they succeed. So again they wrote letters, sealed with their seals, and attested by oaths sworn on the Qur'án, saying: "We have no sort of quarrel with you; let there only be peace between us, that so much killing and looting may not take place." But they were not yet aware of the death of His Holiness the Martyr.

      In short, the followers of His Holiness the Martyr, in order that the Proof might be fulfilled to all, accepted the [pledge given on the] Qur'án which had been sent to them. But their antagonists did not keep faith with the pledge of that Book which was the fountain-head of their religion, and by the token of which they had sworn. They received it back, and, after they had received it, intercourse


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between the two parties was again re-established; and this time they completely succeeded in making their way to the house of His Holiness the Martyr, and in entering it. Then they questioned the followers of His Holiness as to where their Master was; and these answered that he had fulfilled his martyrdom. But, question as they might each of his followers as to the locality of his place of burial, none would point it out. Then they waxed wroth, and ordered all the followers of His Holiness the Martyr to be seized, and their arms pinioned, after which they sent them, escorted by drums and music, before Amír Aslán Khán. And after they had sent them, they fell upon the wives and children of His Holiness the Martyr and seized them also, and God alone knows with what disrespect and cruelty this shameless band brought them before Amír Aslán Khán. It was a man named Lut.f 'Alí who related this incident to me, and he said, "I myself was there at the time, and saw how they brought them."

[footnote 1: I do not know who is the author of this poem, but I presume that it is by Áqá 'Abdu'l-Ahad himself. As it is an expression of sentiments, not a statement of facts, I give the original without a translation.]


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      To resume. This Lut.f 'Alí related as follows. "The first of the mob to enter the house of His Holiness the Martyr seized as plunder all the furniture and utensils of the house, but the wives of His Holiness the Martyr had removed all the money that there was in cash to their own apartments before the arrival of the mob." And according to the narrative given by this informant, every man had carried off fifty túmáns in silver with him. In short, after looting the furniture, they beat the wives and children of His Holiness the Martyr as much as they could, in order that they might reveal the place where he was buried; but this they would not do. Then they desired to bring them also before Amír Aslán Khán; but so fiercely had they beaten them that some of them did not retain enough sensation in their bodies to enable them to walk, so that this Lut.f 'Alí related, saying: "I took one of the daughters of His Holiness the Martyr on my shoulders and carried her."

      The wives and children of His Holiness the Martyr were in all eleven persons, and these they took and carried before Amír Aslán Khán. But as for the cash which they had taken, ere they came to the Amír's gate they had placed a silver qrán in the hand of each one present, and had finished it up. And of these eleven persons, three were the wives of His Holiness the Martyr, six his daughters [one his son],[footnote 1: These words, evidently required from what follows, as well as to complete the tale, are omitted in the MS.] and one his brother. The names of his wives were Sultán Khánum, Sakína, Khadíja, and Gulpasand; but Khadíja had been blown in pieces by a cannon-ball during the war, though [this fact] was not before the bystanders.[footnote 2: MS. [vali pish-i hadirin nabud]. I am not sure that I have rightly apprehended the meaning of these words.] And the names of his daughters were Ruqeyya,


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Fát.ima, safiyya, hamída, Khadíja, and Zubeyda; and the name of his son was Muhammad Huseyn, and of his brother, as I think, Mullá 'Alí. These, in short, they brought before Amír Aslán Khán, who spoke such unseemly words to them as accorded with his evil nature. Then he commanded, saying: "Take them before the divines of the province, for it is not my place to deal with them." So he sent them before Mírzá Abu'l-Qásim, he who had written a refutation against the blessed Epistle of the Point of Revelation [i.e. the Báb] (great and glorious is He!); and they again led them forth, like the captives in the market-place of Damascus,[footnote 1: i.e. the relatives of the Imám Huseyn, who were taken captive after the massacre of Kerbelá and brought before Yezíd at Damascus.] and brought them to the house of Mírzá Abu'l-Qásim. God above knows what they suffered at the hands of the ignorant mob, from their spitting and their foul speech.

      And when they were come before that ignorant doctor [i.e. Mírzá Abu'l-Qásim], he poured forth foul invectives against this sect and [particularly] against His Holiness the Martyr, such as were worthy of himself, whatever came into his unclean mouth. Then he ordered them to be taken to his stable and there assigned a place. In short, he housed the wives and children of His Holiness the Martyr in his stable, where the captives remained for some days.

      Then Amír Aslán Khán sent a courier to inform Násiru'd-Dín Sháh that the wives and children and followers of His Holiness the Martyr had been taken captive, and to request instructions as to his proper course of action. Then Násiru'd-Dín Sháh ordered them to send the wives and children of His Holiness the Martyr to Shíráz; as for the remainder of his followers, if the 'Ulamá of the province should pronounce sentence of death against them, they should all be bayonetted to death,[footnote 2: [hamih ra nizih pich nimayand]] save some few who should be blown from guns, but that, in short, they should make an end of them.

      To make a long story short, when these instructions


[page 818]

from Násiru'd-Dín Sháh arrived, Amír Aslán Khán sent and obtained from the assembled 'Ulamá a condemnation to death of all the followers of His Holiness the Martyr. Now there was close by the gate of his residence a wide open space, and here he assembled them all to the sound of drums, trumpets, and music; and the number of the victims thus assembled was seventy-five. Amír Aslán Khán had a lofty balcony over the door of his residence, and here he established himself with some of the 'Ulamá to look on at the executions.

      When they had assembled the victims, he commanded to strip them all naked in that bitter cold. Then they made them all sit down in rows, pinioned, in the middle of the square, and each row they assigned to a regiment of soldiers. But three of them, because during the war they had made cannons of iron, Amír Aslán Khán summoned before himself and questioned, saying: "So far as can be ascertained, it was you who made the guns." They answered, "Yes, we made them." Then the Amír commanded that these three men should be blown from the mouths of guns; and their names were Suleymán, Seyyid Ramazán, and Hájí Kázim. So these the artillery-men carried off to bind them to the guns. Then the Amír again sent a servant to bid them bring back him who was named Suleymán. So his farráshes ran swiftly and brought Suleymán back, ere he had been placed before the gun, into the Amír's presence. Then the Amír turned his face towards Suleymán and said: "If thou wilt tell me the place where His Holiness the Martyr is buried, we will order them not to place thee before the gun's mouth again." The poor wretch, not understanding that they were deceiving him, and thinking to save his life from this whirlpool of destruction, hastily replied, "We buried him in his own house." Then several farráshes were sent with this Suleymán, and they went [thither together], and dragged forth the blessed body of His Holiness the Martyr from the place where it had been buried, and brought it with the coffin before the Amír, who heaped foul abuse, such


[page 819]

as accorded with his evil nature, on the blessed body of His Holiness the Martyr, and then again commanded them to lead Suleymán away and blow him from a gun. So they led him forth once more and set him at the cannon's mouth.

      Now out of the ranks of those seventy-five men whom they had stripped naked to bayonet them to death, two did not attain the rank of martyrdom. Of these two, the one was named Najaf 'Alí and the other 'Abbás 'Alí. For, since the father and brothers of Najaf 'Alí were on the other [i.e. the Muhammadan] side, they interceded for him with the Amír and effected his deliverance, and brought him forth from the ranks [of the condemned] and led him away. And Hájí Yár Muhammad, the Naqíb of the province, interceded for 'Abbás 'Alí, and brought him forth from the ranks [of the condemned]. But this Najaf 'Alí ultimately became the Mírzá's[footnote 1: By "the Mírzá" the Ezelís mean the late Mírzá Huseyn 'Alí, better known as Behá'u'lláh, Subh-i-Ezel's half-brother and rival. The Behá'í Bábís, whose qibla is Acre, are always called "Mírzá'ís" by the Ezelís residing in Cyprus.] servant, and, while engaged in his service, finally reached hell[footnote 2: i.e. was put to death.] by the commands of Násiru'd-Dín Sháh. And as for 'Abbás 'Alí, he was the brother of that Muhmúd Ustád whom you have seen in this land [i.e. at Famagusta]; and his father's name was Hájí Muhammad Huseyn, who attained martyrdom in the ranks of these martyrs by a bayonet-thrust.

      But to be brief, lest the thread of the discourse be lost. After they had made all these believers sit down in ranks, naked, with their hands bound, in that bitter cold, on the snow in the midst of the square, orders were issued by the Amír and those 'Ulamá [who sat beside him] that they should be bayonetted to death. Then they raised a blare of trumpets, and the soldiers, amidst music and the beating of drums, martyred all of them with their bayonets. Then [came the turn of] those three men whom they had bound to the mouths of cannons, and they fired the cannons, so that every fragment of their bodies was


[page 820]

blown through the air to a different spot. Neither did they rest satisfied with this harsh sentence, but again ordered that the blessed body of His Holiness the Martyr should be taken out of its coffin, that a puppy-dog should be tied to its neck and a rope to its feet, and that it should be dragged on the ground by that rope through the streets and bazaars, and round about the city, as a warning to the people. And the shameless mob did more even than had been commanded, so that they dragged his blessed body from house to house, making a mock of it, and demanding from each house one or two sháhís in money. And for three days they continuously dragged it round about the city to every house, nor did they even then leave it, lest it might be decently buried somewhere; but there was a ditch outside the Tabríz gate, in the Citadel of the Fortress, in which they had deposited many dead bodies, and thither they bore his blessed body and laid it beside them, even withholding a handful of earth to cover it.

      Now, on the outskirts of the city, in certain spots, there were houses for those who suffered from the disease of leprosy; and when two or three days had elapsed after the occurrences above detailed, these lepers saw at midnight several men, mounted on horses, each carrying a lighted lantern in his hand, come from the direction of Tabríz and go straight to the ditch where those dead bodies lay. Then they began to search [amongst them], and presently discovered the blessed body of His Holiness the Martyr amongst all those dead bodies, placed it in a coffin, loaded this on a horse, and bore it away. And thereat were these lepers greatly astonished, marvelling what mystery this might be, and whether these were men or angels. So they slept not all night, and when they had passed the night [in wakefulness] till morning, they thought that to make known this wonderful mystery to the 'Ulamá and people of the city would a source of advantage to them. So all those who had seen and witnessed this occurrence assembled and went with gladness of heart


[page 821]

before the 'Ulamá, and described this incident to them in detail, saying, "Such a thing did we behold at midnight."

      But the 'Ulamá of the city were greatly vexed and disturbed at this occurrence, because this thing tended to break down the validity of the sentence which they had promulgated in respect to His Holiness the Martyr, and to cause the townsfolk to fall into doubt, and because it would be interpreted in favour of the validity of His Holiness the Martyr's claim. Therefore, being moved by their inward malice to a grudging envy, they commanded men to go and burn to the ground the quarter and the dwelling-houses inhabited by these poor unfortunates, and to drive them forth from the outskirts of the city. So they sent and obtained from Amír Aslán Khán also a few farráshes, and went and set fire to all the houses of these poor unfortunates. And at the time I myself was present, with a few other children, looking on. As God is my witness, the lamentations of these poor lepers were such that it seemed as though the very stones of the earth, the wilderness, the valley, and the plain were weeping over their pitiful plight, and were consumed with the fire of their hearts; but the stony hearts, hard as adamant, of those cruel men, it seemed as though that fire could not affect.

      After they had burned their houses, they gathered together all the lepers, and drove them on foot before the horsemen several parasangs from the town boundary, and left each one, wailing and crying for pity, at a different spot in the wilderness, and then returned. Let this deed hereafter serve as an example to warn the discerning with what fierce violence the principle of hatred and malice showed itself in this Cycle against its true teachers of truth, and what actions they dared to commit for the sake of a brief span [lit. two days] of sensual pleasure, and to maintain their position and power in this transitory world, although they have no power to prolong their lives by so much as a single moment; while every day they sit in their


[page 822]

pulpits preaching that in the Day of Resurrection God will require from his creatures an account of everything, from a grain to a mithqál. But the Resurrection hath come,[footnote 1: According to the Bábí doctrine, all these things are to be understood allegorically or symbolically. The Resurrection ([qiyamat]) is the Arising of the Promised Deliverer ([Qa'im]); Hell-fire is denial; Heaven is faith and love; the Bridge of sirát., "finer than a hair and sharper than a sword," is the difficult passage from unbelief to sure conviction, and so forth. See J.R.A.S., Vol. XXI, p. 930 et seqq.] and the Reckoning hath been taken with all creatures, and themselves have entered into Hell-fire, ere they have yet awakened from the slumber of heedlessness. Yet still they continue to say, "The Resurrection will come, and God will call men to account, even for every grain"; but the atoms of their own beings are the very primal source of the essence of rebelliousness, in the fire of heedlessness and denial of which all these weak creatures are consumed. They see not this mountain of Qáf before their own eyes, yet they split hairs in the eyes of another.

      However, to be brief, after a while the Lord of the Universe, in His justice, sent the souls of such people as these, who had been the cause of such mischief and trouble, one by one to hell, each by some different calamity, so that should one hear the account thereof, on no more than hearing it he would cry, "Our refuge is in God!" First of all over him who was the chief of frowardness in this trouble and mischief, to wit, this Amír Aslán Khán, God caused an evil disease to prevail, the like of which may He not inflict on any of His servants! This began with a dropsy, such that in a single day he would drink a whole skin-full of water, and even this did not suffice to quench his thirst. Many were the physicians who treated him for this morbid thirst, which, however, proved refractory to all treatment, and did but increase in violence. At length the physicians advised him secretly, saying: "You must eat the liver of a boy who has not yet reached the age of puberty,[footnote 2: For a parallel to this, see Gulistán, ed. Platts, p. 34.] so that it may quench the painful thirst which


[page 823]

consumes your liver, else will it yield to no other treatment." So he, being thus advised, disclosed the matter to none, but secretly gave bribes to his servants to go out into the town in disguise, and, by night or day, to kidnap any young boy of the age specified, wherever they might find him, either by bribes, or fair words, or forcible abduction; but that in whatever way his capture might be effected, they must find him and bring him secretly before the accursed wretch. Then they separated the head of the child from his body, cut open his belly, took out his liver, and roasted it, and he ate it, that perchance he might thereby cure the grievous thirst that consumed his liver. But the heat of his liver shall continue, like hell, to cry till the Judgement-day, "Is there any more?"[footnote 1: Qur'án, ii, 29] nor shall the glow of his painful thirst be extinguished. In short, day by day his sufferings increased, and no remedy could be found for his painful thirst, until a rumour arose amongst the people in the city of Zanján that every few days some one's son suddenly disappeared, so that they supposed that perhaps a wolf entered the city from outside and carried off these children. So they placed watchmen, by day and by night, in every thoroughfare, who went the rounds, that perhaps they might catch this man-eating wolf, or else shoot it with their guns and kill it. After a while the wolf was discovered, but no man was found to give it its deserts, but only the Lord of the Universe, who slew him with such pains that all the dependents of his household were filled with wonder at his death-pangs; and were admonished, and cried, "God is our Refuge!" For a farrásh who was himself in the household of the Amír related this matter to me myself; and the name of this farrásh was Najaf 'Alí Beg. Briefly, he related as follows: "I was present beside him when he was in the death-agony, attending to him: for he was in mortal throes for a whole week. And as he lay at the point of death, he constantly cried, as though he were answering some


[page 824]

[unseen] questioner; and in this crying he constantly exclaimed and repeated aloud, 'Did I do it?' 'Did I order it?' 'In what way am I to blame? It was all the doing of the clergy, and it was they who brought it about.' In short, until the day when he sent forth his soul to hell, his tongue was constantly repeating such regretful and remorseful expressions as these."

      Afterwards each one of these divines also surrendered up his soul to the Angel of Death with divers pains, the like of which may God not inflict on any others of His servants! Mírzá Abul-Qásim, who had written the [treatise entitled] Daqqu'l-Báb in refutation of the Blessed Epistle of the Point of Revelation [i.e. the Báb] (great and glorious is He!), was attacked by paralysis, so that his mouth was twisted crooked, and drawn to his ear. After six months he was bedridden, and his mouth and body became all covered with sores, and the stench arising from him was such that his family and wives and children would not approach him for the disgust they felt, but they hired with money an attendant, who attended him for one or two days, after which he too was inspired with such disgust that he fled without even demanding his payment for these two days, because of his violent aversion from the foul stench from his body which filled his nostrils. In short, he too, in that sickness, passed to the dark eternal tomb.

      Another, Mír Abu'l-Qásim Malikí, took the plague, and for seven days and nights continued to cry aloud in such wise that his cries could be heard seven houses off. If I were to mention all, my discourse would be unduly protracted; but, in a word, the Lord of the Universe, as a warning to His creatures, took the soul of each and removed them from this transitory world with a different pain, so that they might know the meaning of "There is no strength and no power save in God," to wit that, save the Lord of the Universe, there is none possessed of strength and power amongst all beings which exist in the world. But what avails it, since these creatures associate


[page 825]

the strength and power of the creature with the strength and power of the Creator, and continue to act as they do?

      Now, after all these shiftings, none knoweth to this day where they buried the blessed body of His Holiness the Martyr after those of whom I spoke bore it away, nor who these were, nor whence they came, nor whither they went. In short, it is not known to what land the blessed body of His Holiness was assigned; but it seems to me that the right of territorial sanctity belongs to that spot where he was first buried, namely, his own house. But one of the people of Zanján, named 'Abbás-qulí Khán, a retainer of Amír Aslán Khán's (in whose hands, though he was but a servant, all the authority of the Amír was vested, so that to him was entrusted the entire control of the different quarters of Zanján and the administration of all the villages surrounding its suburbs), had, as it chanced, his dwelling-place opposite the house of His Holiness the Martyr, only a little space intervening between the two. This accursed fellow had many beasts and mules and horses; and, seeing that the house of His Holiness the Martyr had for some years stood untenanted, and was falling into ruins, and that none owned it, he went and took possession of it. And when he had taken possession of it, he gave over those broken walls to be destroyed, and had a stable erected anew for his beasts and mules and horses. But after some while, because of the disrespect which he had shown towards His Holiness the Martyr and his house, he too, when a little time had elapsed, and the Amír, who was his master, had passed into hell, fell into such straits that he used to beg of the servants who attended at the Governor's Palace, and all that pomp of mastery slipped from his hands, so that the very place, abode, and house which he had all passed out of his possession, and he remained homeless and a wanderer, so that I myself have seen his children begging in the streets.

      To conclude. Two books composed by His Holiness the Martyr have survived. The one was called Báriqa [i.e.


[page 826]

"the Lightning-flash"], and the other Sá'iqa [i.e. "the Thunder-bolt"]. The former consisted entirely of poems; while the latter was an explanation of the true nature of the Manifestation of the Point of Revelation (great and glorious is He!), and a denunciation of the 'Ulamá.[footnote 1: I think this is what is meant by the words [va khitab bar `ulama], though they may be interpreted as meaning, "and an appeal to the 'Ulamá."] This Sá'iqa consisted of about forty quires [juz', each containing, as a rule, sixteen pages], while the Báriqa contained about ten quires. Should one seek for them in Zanján, he might perhaps discover them. I myself possessed a copy of the Sá'iqa in Zanján; but there was a certain believer of Hamadán, named Mírzá Sádiq (who was, indeed, a true friend to me), who was engaged in the practice of medicine in Zanján, and he asked me to lend it to him that he might read a little of it. And afterwards, when it fell to my lot to undertake the journey to Baghdad, I set out, leaving this book entitled Sá'iqa in the hands of this physician. I know not what happened to it after this, but it never again came into my possession; and that physician, moreover, has passed into God's mercy. May God exalt his degree, for he was a man of lovable disposition!


Written by this least and humblest servant [of God] 'Abdu'l-
Ahad. In the blessed month of Ramazán did it reach
completion, A.H. 1309 [= April, 1892].


[page 827]



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