Tablet to Abu'l-Hasan Mírzá (Lawh-i-Abu'l-Hasan Mírzá)
translated by Hasan M. Balyuzi
published in Eminent Bahá'ís in the Time of Bahá'u'lláh
, page 155
George Ronald, 1985
The Lamp of the Assemblage of the high-minded, the Prince of the enlightened, Shaykhu’r-Ra’ís: May he be a ray of God, and a dazzling moon!
O kind Friend! What thy musk-laden pen hath inscribed bestowed joy and brought delight. It was not a dew-drop, but an ocean; not a lamp, but a beam of sunlight. Praise and glory be to God, Who hath endowed Creation with such beatitude and conferred such tranquillity upon the hearts, and by imparting heavenly knowledge, made the friends stars of the East, brilliant moons, so that they would enkindle the Light of Understanding, and with the showers of the rain of their utterance make human hearts the envy of meadows and rose-gardens. O kind Friend! The All-Bountiful God guided thee and led thee to traverse mountains and deserts, to reach the City of thine ancestors. That Land stood in great need of one mighty soul like that loving friend to enter therein, engage in discussion, show the Way of God, embellish the assemblage of men with mysteries unveiled, and watch over their spiritual lives so that they might abide under the shade of the tree of hope. Thou shouldst speak forth, wax eloquent, divulge the hidden secrets, share the Word of God, inaugurate a school of the Kingdom and give instruction in the heavenly Books, ignite a shining lamp and burn down the veils of the imaginings of the ignorant. May thy soul be joined to the Beloved.
 According to Balyuzí, this Tablet is unpublished, but no manuscript collection is named (MW’s note).
 ’Abu’l-Hasan Mírzá, known as Shaykhu’r-Ra’ís (1847 - 1917). He was a grandson of Fath-‘Alí-Sháh (reigned 1797-1834). His father, Muhammad-Taqí Mírzá, was one of the princes who rebelled against Muhammad Sháh (reigned 1834-1848), was imprisoned at Ardibíl in Ádharbáyján, but escaped to live out his life relatively undisturbed in Tabríz. ’Abu’l-Hasan’s mother, Khurshíd Bagum, taught him the Bábí Faith when he was a child. When he was young, he was sickly, losing the use of one eye due to smallpox. He escaped a cholera epidemic in Tabríz, and was soon sent for tutoring in the capital with his father. He studied logic and Arabic syntax under Mullá ’Alí-i-Núrí, and advanced rapidly. His father died when ’Abu’l-Hasan was about 14, and his brothers, partly because of jealously of his gifts, forced him into military training. At the military school, he was able to continue his literary studies, determined to fulfill his father’s wish that he become a cleric. After two years, he left the military school and moved to Mashhad. By this time, he had demonstrated signs of a great poetical and literary gift, and, at 17, he was inducted into the clerical ranks by Hájí Qavámu’l-Mulk. He entered the theological academy and studied Arabic, mathematics, philosophy and theology under some of the most enlightened men of the time. From Mashhad, he went on to further studies in Najaf and Karbilá in ’Iráq, then served as apprentice under Hájí Mírzá-Muhammad-Hasan, the greatest Shí’ih divine at that time, for two years. After receiving the power of issuing religious decrees and judgements from his master and making his pilgrimage to Mecca, he returned to Mashhad to preach. He quickly became beloved for his speeches at the pulpit. He was then forced to leave Mashhad for Qúchán, due to the hatred of the Ásafu’d-Dawlih of Shíráz. After one year in Qúchán, he briefly was in ‘Ishqábád, before again journeying to Mecca and Medina. On his returned, he again gained great renown in Baghdád, but was encouraged by Shaykh Muhsin Khán, the Persian ambassador, to return to Persia. The favours presented to him by Nasiri‘d-Din Sháh’s family aroused jealousy in certain circles and he was banished Kalát-i-Nádiri. When freed, he collected his family in Mashhad and moved them back to ‘Ishqábád. After touring Transoxania, and receiving gifts and high praises from Sultán ‘Abdu’l-A’ziz, he finally journeyed to Beirut, Jerusalem, and finally to ’Akká, where he attained the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’. The Master commanded Shaykhu’r-Ra’ís to teach the Faith, but with great caution. This he did, proceeding to Burma and India, then returning to Shíráz in 1896. He again ascended the pulpit and great crowds flocked to listen to his lectures. Opposition from the ’ulamá again forced him to flee, this time to Isfahán. In that city, he resumed preaching, only to arouse the animosity of no less a figure than Shaykh Muhammad Taqíy-i-Najafí, stigmatized by Bahá’u’lláh as the ‘Son of the Wolf’. However, due to his position, Shaykhu’r-Ra’ís could not be harmed. He soon left Isfahán for Tihrán, where, in a few years, against the wishes of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’, he became a leading voice in favour of a constitution. In the coup d-état that followed, the Shaykhu’r-Ra’ís was imprisoned for a time, but pardoned by the government. The Master never reproached him for his error. ’Abu’l-Hasan Mírzá soon retired from public life, ending his days in Ishqábád, where he passed away in 1336 A.H. (between October 17th 1917 to October 6th, 1918. See H. M. Balyuzí. Eminent Bahá’ís in the Time of Bahá’u’lláh, (Oxford, George Ronald, 1985) chap. 12. (A photograph of ‘Abu’l-Hasan Mírzá appears on page 149.) Taherzadeh records that ’Abu’l-Hasan Mírzá was one of the first men sent by Muhammad-Taqí Mírzá to entreat ‘Aba Badí (the father of Badí, the bearer of the Tablet to the Sháh) to recant his faith. (Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, Vol. 2, p. 132) (MW’s note).