Martyrdom of the Bab:
This document is an outline for those researching the martyrdom of the Bab, intended as an assistance to read original accounts against. It highlights differences between accounts, issues, and possible scenarios and resolutions, but ultimately it is up to the researcher how little or how much they wish to follow this assistive outline. Original accounts are here and a readable account is here.
This outline covers some of the closing events of Chihriq, the Bab's transfer to Tabriz, His examinations and imprisonments with some of His companions, and His conveyance to execution with Anis (2-3 weeks after arrival). The execution itself has been treated in a separate outline, but will in due course be added to the end of this one.
Given most readers' familiarity just with the Dawnbreaker version, as an assistance it has been noted where that narrative omits important events.
Below is an outline of the presentation style used. Sometimes a source is in blue, and if clicked will give a text fragment you can copy to use to find the item in the original accounts. There are currently only a few of these but more will be added.
• Brief overall summary of all sources first, in black, omitted for simple cases.
SOURCES SOURCES: Then a summary of individual source(s), in black, prefixed with the capitalised source names and a colon sometimes a green comment is added.
Messages - During the account, messages travel back and forward to Tehran via Qazvin. It is 630 km between Tabriz and Tehran. Persian relay riders went at '177 miles/day' → 2.2 full days (according to one source), which needs to be expanded to account for terrain, rest, lack of horse changes etc, perhaps to 3 days. (See also Curzon's, Persia and the Persian Question, vol. 1 for details inc Tabriz to Tehran and historically - p39, p41+/pdf 66, 68+ where Tabriz to Qazvin is 72 farsakhs for 424 km, or 4 days between Tabriz to Teheran for a laden animal.)
Next Days - Often accounts say 'the next day' and 'next morning'. When they say this, the impression can be had that we should not necessarily take this precisely but may sometimes read them to mean 'shortly after' and 'shortly after on a morning' respectively. Perhaps in the original tellings they did originally narrate the next day/next morning after some event, but on inadvertently losing that event the 'next day' becomes incorrectly joined to an earlier remaining narrative.
Day Start - The Muslim day lasted from one sunset to the next, and can cause confusion of days when interpreted in terms of western days which run from midnight to midnight.
This section gives the terms, shorthands and their meanings encountered in the accounts.
Shah = Nasruddin Shah = His Excellency the Regent (born 16 Jul 1831 – died 1 May 1896, reigned as Shah from 5 Sep 1848, aged 17).
PM = Mírzá Takí Khán = Prime Minister = Amír-i-Kabír ("Great Leader") = Amir-i-Nazim = Grand Vizier = Resided in Tehran - see Balyuzi's 'The Bab: Herald of the Day of Days' p148 regarding him.
ex-PM = Hájí Mirzá Aqásí = Previous Prime Minister.
HK = Mirza Hasan Khan = Mirzá Hasan = Prime Minister's Brother = Vazir-Nizám or inspector of the regular army.
Prince = Prince Hamzé Mírzá = Hamzih Mirzá Hishmatu’d-Dawlih (Dawla="State, Government") = Navvab Hamzih Mirza = Navvab = Sháhzádih ("Prince") = Governor of Adhirbáyján = Shah's brother = Resided at the Citadel in Tabriz.
Crown Prince = Vali Ahd = The one to become Shah when the Shah dies = Nasruddin Shah before Sep 1848 (see Shah above).
Clergy Condemning the Bab in the last day(s) = Hájí Mírzá Báqir, Mullá Muhammad Mámaghání, Mullá Muhammad-'Ali-i-Mamaqáni (Sheykhí), Siyyid-i-Zunúzi.
Delegate from Tehran (asks Prince to summon the Bab) = Sulayman Khán, the Afshar.
Háji Mirzá 'Alí = Son of Háji Mírzá Mas’úd = Former Minister of Foreign Affairs under old Shah (Muhammad Sháh) = Was at Prince's Meeting.
Sam Khan = Christian General of the first attempt to execute the Bab.
The Bab = Sayyed ʿAli Muhammad Shirāzi = The Gate.
SH = Áká Seyyid Huseyn = Secretary/Emanuensis = Siyyid Husayn-i-Yazdí.
SHas = Áká Seyyid Hasan = SH's brother.
Anis = Mírzá Muhammad ‘Alí (Martyred with the Bab).
Farman/Firman = Decree By or On Behalf Of the Shah (→ Wikipedia).
Fatwa = Judgment of Mufti (Clergy) (→ Wikipedia).
S = Siyyid = Descendent of Muhammad.
Farsakh = Distance laden animal travels in an hour.
Tehran = Capital of Persia - Map
Tabriz = Capital of Azerbaijan region, 630 km NW of Tehran and near the edge of Persia and under Russian influence - Map.
Chihriq = A Citadel in Azerbaijan region 180km from Tabriz where the Bab was imprisoned. Location at Map 38.083056, 44.599722.
The Citadel = arg = A giant structure that was the Prince's residence and also had prisons. There are barracks at its base where the Bab was held, and outside the barracks the Square (BRO: 'Square of the Lord of the age') where the execution was staged. Not far was the bazaar, where some of the public parading of the Bab would have been, and no doubt nearby the residences of the clergy they were taken to. (→ Wikipedia & Google Images).
Nayriz = Niriz.
Mazindaran = Mazandaran.
A few useful search terms when researching these events:-
Bab, Ali Muhammad/Mohamed/Mohammed/Mohammad/Mahomet, Babeddin.
Babi(s), Babee(s), Baby, Babism, Babeeism, Babist.
Tabriz, Tabreez, Tauris.
Barracks, Small Barracks, Barrack Square, Caserne, Casernement, Square, Place.
Citadel, Ark, Arg, Citadelle, Bastille, Ali Shah, Alishah.
• All accounts may be considered to show bias by interpretation, embellishment or omission, and SIP as an official history definitely shows this at certain points, however where accounts lack a motive their details can be useful, particularly if they are early, such as SIP is.
• Some of these sources such as GOB & BEK utilise SIP. However, although they use it, how they write shows they have spoken to many other witnesses and Babis and also appreciate that SIP is biased as an official history. Because of this, their accounts are important to consider both in their differences from and in their affirmations of SIP.
ANITCH1850 = 1850, Letter to Russian Foreign Ministry (Anitchkov, Russian Consul).
JS1850 = 1850-07-22, Letter (Sir Justin Sheil).
SHE1856 = 1856, Lady Sheil.
AHM = 1869, Ahmad ibn Abul Hasan Sharif of Shiraz.
BNE = 1923, Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era, 1923 ed, by J E Esslemont.
BEK = 1865, Bab i babidy, by Mirza Kazem-Bek.
BRO = 1890, Religious Systems of the World, by E G Browne.
DAW = 1890, Dawnbreakers, by Nabil-i-Zarandi.
GOB = 1865, Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l’Asie Centrale, by Gobineau.
JAD = 1880, Tarikh-i-Jadid of Mirza, of Husayn Hamadani, with Nabil-i-Akbar's revisions sometimes marked as JADn.
MHK = 1896, Mírzá Mihdí Khán.
NQK = 1851+, Nuqta-al-Kaf (some rescension of).
SIP = 1858, Násikhu’t tavarikh, vol. 3, of Mirza Muhammad Taqi Khan Lisanu’l Mulk Sipihr.
TRN = 1886, Traveller's Narrative (see note below on authorship).
TZH = 1944, Tarikh Zuhur-Al-Haqq Volume 6 by Fadil Mazandarini. This work draws for the execution on NQK and Tarikh Hajji Moulin, the latter getting his material from the (no longer available) eyewitness Hashatroudi, and other sources. For the rescue of the remains it draws on Hand of the Cause Mirza Hassan Adib Taleqani.
YAY = 1889, Mirza Yahya.
NIC = 1905, Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb by A L M. Nicolas.
NQK : This is a very early work, which comes down to us in various copies which have been slanted toward Bahá'u'lláh or toward Subh-i-Azal; however the common interest in the Bab would mean it was unaffected by such partisan questions.
JAD : A substantial history of the Bab of 1880 utilising early sources, which suffered from being published by a Zoroastrian editor who improved it in unknown places and ways, probably mostly in the digressions, however it was revised by the veteran Bahá'í Nabil-i-Akbar, reportedly at Bahá'u'lláh's request.
TRN Authorship : Although generally TRN has been ascribed to Abdu'l-Bahá, Abdu'l-Bahá was asked on several occasions and he replied that he was a major contributor to it but that it was a group production effort - see Star of West, 1912, vol 3, iss 8, lower half of p7 starting at Is Professor Browne correct in his statement that Abdul-Baha wrote "A Traveler's Narrative" • and Light of the World, at 19 Nov 1919 starting at Mr. Latimer then asked concerning the authorship and authenticity of the Traveller's Narrative
DAW : Whilst being a late work, it must be balanced that Nabil will have read earlier works and used their findings. Shoghi Effendi translated Dawnbreakers not because it is word-for-word accurate (no work ever is) but undoubtedly because it is written in an inspiring and sacred spirit imbued with later sentiments and also gives a superb overview of the entire history. Shoghi Effendi has specifically denied claims to any special ability when it comes to writing such things as history, beyond hard work and his great personal merits, so whilst his accounts need to be given great respect, there's no need to feel that because Dawnbreakers and God Passes By mention things in a particular way, that they necessarily have to have happened in that way. Nabil's history was looked over by Bahá'u'lláh and sent back for correction, but the corrected version was stolen and the version used for Dawnbreakers was the original uncorrected version. Even if the corrected version were to turn up, an approval by Bahá'u'lláh wouldn't necessarily mean endorsement of its contents, rather an endorsement of its spirit and historical gist.
• Anis, enflamed by the Bab's message, is incarcerated and has a vision of his martyrdom.
DAW: Whilst the Bab is imprisoned in Chihriq (Apr-Jul 1848 - before His 2nd journey to Tabriz for trial and return), Anis in Tabriz hears of the Bab's message. Anis is fired to visit the Bab in Chihriq; ashamed at his 'madness' and strenuously objecting, his stepfather S Aliy-i-Zunuzi (a notable of Tabriz) confines him in his house with a watch. The Bab in due course arrives and returns back to Chihriq. Anis is in tears at the confinement but one day is full of joy after a vision of his martyrdom with the Bab. Anis promises to 'be good' at Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunuzi's advice (who is related to Anis' stepfather), and on that the latter obtains Anis' release. Anis gets on excellently with his kinsmen and all Tabriz come to admire him.
• A new Shah (age 17) and Prime Minister take their seats.
JAD: The Shah - Muhammad Sháh - passes away and is replaced by the Crown Prince Násiru’d-Dín Sháh. In so doing the PM Hájí Mírzá Ákásí becomes replaced by Mírzá Takí Khán, the older falling into disgrace. The new PM acts with hostility to the Bab, as had the previous.
DAW: The PM deals with the Babis as he feels fit with no one daring to disapprove, the young Shah having little knowledge of matters and refraining from interference. The old Shah had been very tolerant of diverse religious views and was 'impressionable and tender-hearted' (albeit reliant on ministers who had their own agendas).
GOB: 'kind and patient... [Muhammad Sháh] was completely indifferent regarding the success or failure of this or that religious doctrine; he was rather pleased to witness the conflict of opinions which were proof to him of the universal blindness.
• Upheavals in the land cause the government to eradicate the Bab.
DAW: To stem, by the Bab's execution, the escalations of Niriz, Tabarsi, Mazindaran, Zanjan and general upheavals and for the 'interest of the State'.
JAD: The insurrections of Zanjan, Mazindaran, Niriz; fear of general revolution (overthrow of state).
SIP: Mazindaran, Tabarsi, Zanjan insurrections, and future ones - better to liquidate the troubles for the sake of the state by removing the Bab. The Shah regrets the Bab had not been brought to Tehran earlier in place of Chihriq so people could then see directly for themselves and not feed off myth.
GOB: Outwardly Zanjan but more particularly "the Reason of State" (i.e. having to kill an innocent man for fundamental stability and good) being the driving force. The PM's original thought is to humiliate and demoralise the Bab to Tehran and then finish off His reputation there, but he decides otherwise in case the Bab turns it into a triumph.
NQK: The Empress of Russia sends the Russian consul in Tabriz to investigate and report back on the Bab's circumstances. On news of this they put the Bab to death.
• 40 days before transferring to Tabriz, the Bab sends off His writings and personal belongings.
DAW: 40 days before the Prince's respectful officer arrives to take the Bab to Tabriz.
DAW TRN: The Bab sends His writings and seals etc in a chest with a letter (in which the key) via Mulla Baqir to DAW: Mirza Ahmad amanuensis / TRN: Mulla 'Abdu'l-Karim of Qazvin = same person.
DAW: The Bab enjoins secrecy, that it only be shown to Mirza Ahmad; so Mulla Baqir goes to Qazvin then Qum (end of Jun 1850) where he reaches Mirza Ahmad, with Nabil-i-Zarandi and others staying with him.
DAW TRN: Mirza Ahmad is prevailed upon to open the trust and they find the (DAW: 500 / TRN: 360) derivatives of Baha. The same day Mirza Ahmad proceeds to Tihran to deliver the trust to Bahá'u'lláh.
BALYUZI: Some other details of the Bab's last period in Chihriq are the Bab's uncle's visit, the Bab's grief at Tabarsi, the Bab's writing the Bayan (in the last few months): See Baluzi's 'The Bab: Herald of the Day of Days.
• The PM asks the Prince to summon the Bab (the message traversing 630 km).
SIP GOB AHM JAD YAY DAW: In Tehran, the PM ( / SIP: on PM's advice) sends (SIP GOB AHM YAY: Suleyman Khan Afshar) to Prince Hamzih in Tabriz, asking the Prince to summon the Bab.
GOB : After doing so, the Prince would learn what to do.
DAW: The PM carefully didn't reveal the real purpose (that of executing the Bab), for the Prince was 'distinguished among the princes of royal blood for his kind-heartedness and rectitude of conduct'.
SIP TRN: The Prince is also instructed to execute the Bab (both accounts are very brief).
JAD: The PM has been given full authority to act. It mentions 'according to one account' where the order includes showing the Bab's heresy and His execution by clerical warrant, but is introduced in a way that suggests such particulars are not certain.
TRN: The PM issues his remedy of the execution without royal command or consultation but on his own arbitrary authority. However this is immediately contradicted in the next paragraph by the Prince's statement indicating it had been issued by 'His Excellency the Regent'. (Reading carefully these can be resolved as two messages, the first the PM's instruction, then the farman.)
DAW: PM asks for advice but only the Minister of War dares speak out.
• The Prince summons the Bab to Tabriz, some disciples coming with Him, a journey of about 180 km.
DAW: With mounted escort, using a trusted officer of the Prince, urging utmost consideration. The Prince is kind-hearted, and assumes the purpose of summoning the Bab will be to allow Him home.
BEK: With SHas and SH ($14).
NEWSPAPERS: The jailers refused to give up the Bab to execution. [But at that time the motive of execution was obscured.]
GOB: With 'two of his disciples' Anis and SH, chained and guarded.
• After a 180 km journey, the Bab arrives in Tabriz, the capital of Azerbaijan.
• The Bab is accommodated well.
DAW: The Bab is accommodated extremely respectfully in the home of the Prince's friend.
JAD: After the Prince's lay meeting he sends the Bab back: 'go now to your lodging, and rest'.
GOB: The Prince delivers the three to the 'citadel' (then meets the Mullahs, who refuse to meet the Bab).
BEK: They were thrown into a 'dungeon' where Anis and S Ahmad had been for several days.
• The PM orders the Prince to assess the Bab's religious orthodoxy/heresy.
DAW: 3 days after the Bab's arrival...
DAW: The Prince is ordered by the PM, through HK, to make the Bab's heresy plain and then execute the Bab on receiving the farman (decree).
DAW: And to execute any adherents, using Sam Khan and the Urumiyyih regiment, at the barracks.
GOB: The PM is 'still somewhat bemused by his first idea' (of parading the Bab to Tehran).
• The four messages show an evolution unobvious in individual texts.
• The Prince summons the clergy to debate with the Bab but they refuse.
GOB SIP AHM: The Prince summons the clergy with the desire that they debate with the Bab but the clergy dismiss the idea of hearing the Bab.
GOB AHM: Saying that the time for discussion has passed and the Bab must be executed without delay.
JAD DAW: Omit this event.
• A royal edict (farman) arrives at some time, saying that the Bab and any adherents should be executed.
DAW TRN : as summarised.
DAW implied: Using the Urumiyyih regiment under Sam Khan.
• The Prince is appalled at the execution order.
DAW TRN: The Prince dissents at the farman/execution to HK (DAW: to HK who bears the farman).
• The Prince arranges his own lay assessment with many important non-religious figures. The Prince is respectful but the meeting which centres on religious questions seems itself disrespectful. On its close the Prince sends the Bab back and washes his hands of the matter to HK.
JADn GOB SIP (AHM mentions): With the clergy refusing to meet the Bab, the Prince arranges his own lay assessment (JADn: out of curiosity).
DAW: Omits this event.
GOB: On the same night as the clergy's refusal; at the citadel.
SIP: At the governor's residence.
GOB: Prince, HK, Háji Mirzá 'Alí (son of Háji Mírzá Mas’úd, the former minister of foreign affairs under Muhammad Sháh), Sulaymán Khán the Afshár (=Tehran delegate).
JADn: Prince, Babi in the Prince's service, SH, Tehran delegate.
• Respect and disrespect in the questioning.
JADn: The delegate from Tehran conveys the Bab disrespectfully to the meeting of laymen, in a room in the citadel to assess the religious questions, with only SH allowed to be with him. The Prince himself acts respectfully, with the Bab opposite and SH between. The Prince asks about insurrections, the Bab replying He's an innocent prisoner. The Bab states He is the Qa'im. The Prince asks Him to extemporise on light which He does for an hour and then is asked to repeat it but the two differ. The Prince sends Him respectfully back to His lodging.
GOB: Háji Mirzá (Ali) questions the Bab on the traditions of the Prophets and the Imáms, gets worsted by the Bab, becomes haughty, and has Him speak on light. The Prince has the verses written down and tries to get the Bab to repeat them word for word as they would have been engraved on the mind of a prophet, but the results differ.
JADn: The Prince entrusts some of the Bab's letters to the Babi in his service, which the reviser Nabil-i-Akbar saw, which seems to favour stories of the Prince's kindness/sympathy.
BEK: Has the Prince assertive at the Square on the execution day regarding the blood shed in the land.
SIP: (Incident recounted, but only summary available: several officials including HK, and questions and arguing on obscure Islamic passages and traditions.)
BRO: The Bab asserts being the Qa'im, which elicits the assessors' preconceptions about the Qa'im.
• The Prince won't involve himself further.
JADn: Next morning, the Prince washes his hands of the Bab's fate to the Tehran delegate and won't involve himself further, handing him to the delegate and HK. (So -- potential time gap -- the delegate then drags the Bab off before the clergy.)
DAW TRN: The Prince dissents at the farman/execution to HK (DAW: to HK who bears the farman).
• Initial thoughts of an immediate private execution are thought better of.
GOB: The Bab is about to be put to death privately but it is then decided it would be better done publicly.
SIP: Afraid to execute in secret they decide a public parade.
• The Prince's reaction is reported.
DAW TRN: HK writes to the PM reporting the Prince's dissent at the instructions (and presumably a progress report).
• Gap of a week whilst messages travel.
• HK's report back to the PM and the reply would have taken 5-7 days (being 1260 km).
• Anis with three companions run letters to the clergy, are imprisoned, and secretly released.
JAD (NQK): At some point [either when the Bab was in the Prince's care or perhaps even before the Bab's arrival] the Bab sends four people - Anis, S Ahmad + two others - with letters to the clergy of Tabriz. Defending the letters from a particular cleric's contempt causes a disturbance, and the Prince imprisons them; but he (also NQK) secretly releases them except (also NQK) Anis who stays in prison until he has the honour of meeting the Bab. (It then mentions the alternative standard account of two of them having been not released but poisoned in that prison but seems to give more value to the account of their being released.)
BEK: Anis and S Ahmed are already in prison (citadel or barracks?) for several days when the Bab is put there, Anis being a most ardent propagandist; "they left it to march to death" (BEK is a brief treatment).
GOB: Anis' relatives were still making extraordinary efforts before and after the Tabriz arrival. (This suggests Anis is 'active' despite Anis' original success at being restrained, and this is entirely to be expected given the passion and ardour Anis shows in various accounts. One has to wonder what the 'extraordinary efforts' entailed.)
AHM: Anis, one of the Bab's most respected and loyal followers.
DAW: Omits this clergy letter event.
• After 5-7 days, instructions arrive for HK to carry it all out himself.
DAW: HK should himself get the sentence from the clergy and do the execution before Ramadan (= sunset 10 Jul 1850), which suggests a view that the details were in the farman (Msg #3).
TRN: The first instance of mentioning the clergy, regiment and public execution.
DAW: HK tries to inform the Prince : but the Prince pretends illness.
• With HK fully in command the Bab is moved to the barracks, and this appears to have been made a public spectacle.
DAW TRN GOB: On receiving Msg #4.
JAD: Indeterminable, being narrated after a witness record.
DAW: Those (plural) in His company in the house the Prince had arranged (but then only mentions SH - since 'those' is plural, perhaps SHas is included?)
BEK: Bab, SH, SHas thrown into a dungeon where Anis and S Ahmad had been for several days...
TRN: He and 4 followers moved to barracks.
TRN DAW: Turban and sash are removed.
AHM: Paraded round town with Anis. Then to the clergy.
DAW TRN: Immediately after the Msg #4, the Bab is transferred (TRN: by farrash-bashi) to the barracks with a guard from Sam Khan's men. Cell guards number 10 (DAW) or 40 (TRN).
DAW: The transfer convulses the city in an unmatched way.
• Anis appears and is imprisoned with the Bab.
DAW: On the way Anis appears with 2 others and are put in the cell where the Bab + SH (+?SHas+) also go.
BEK: Bab, SH, SHas are thrown into a dungeon where Anis and S Ahmad had been for several days... S Ahmad later renounces the Bab.
• The new imprisonment lasts 1-3 days.
JAD: Barracks prison lasts 3 days with clergy meeting incidentally narrated before in a witness report.
TRN: Lasts 1 day with clergy meeting uncertain but probably on the execution day.
DAW: Lasts 1 day with clergy meeting on the execution day.
• Bab, SH, SHas, Anis, S Ahmad + 1 may have been present in the cell.
TRN: The Bab is put with four followers in the cell.
DAW: Bab, SH + 1+ and Anis + 2 others.
BRO: Bab, SH, Anis.
JAD: Bab, SH, SHas; Anis already there.
BEK: Bab, SH, SHas; Anis and S Ahmad already there.
• Anis writes to his elder brother.
JADn: 2-3 days before execution Anis writes to his elder brother in reply to his brother's urging him to 'come back'. The letter shows Anis awaiting possible death, seeking forgiveness.
• At Anis' insistence the Bab allows his martyrdom.
JAD DAW: On the night before the execution morning.
DAW JAD (NQK): Discussion in the cell that Anis be martyred (JAD: and that the others renounce Him).
JAD: Anis is also meant to renounce Him but Anis insists and is allowed to be martyred.
DAW: The Bab is aglow that night.
• The Bab requests the other cell companions renounce him and avoid martyrdom.
JAD: On the night before the execution morning (noted above).
DAW: On the execution morning.
• The Martydom happens at noon.
• They are led out to face several leading clergy so that religious orders for their can be utilised.
DAW GOB: To face the clergy.
TRN : To face the clergy (maybe).
JAD: A little while after sunrise to the Government House.
BRO: To face the civil (not clerical) sentence.
DAW: The execution morning.
JAD: The timing in JAD is ambiguous, but unlikely the execution morning (logistically).
AHM: The morning after Prince's meeting, but may hide a time gap since the narrative is brief.
BRO: Some prior day during the barracks, not the execution morning.
JAD: The Bab, leaving others unspoken of.
SIP GOB: Bab, SH and Anis.
DAW: Bab, SH (uncertain) and Anis.
JAD GOB SIP AHM BRO BEK: (JAD: Delegate) uses (SIP GOB: Prince's)/(HK's) attendants (farashbashi etc) to drag/parade them publicly (JAD GOB) (so all could see and recognise them) to the houses of several clergy. GOB has full description.
MHK: Omits commotion before clergy, but mentions commotion after the governor's ratification.
DAW: Seemingly led there separately (but may not be, see comment below) and presented separately. Omits any parade/commotion.
DAW: As the farrash-bashi is conducting the Bab from the barracks (to face the clergy) the Bab replies to SH not to confess. A confidential conversation follows with SH and is interrupted by the farrash-bashi causing a stern rebuke by the Bab and the farrash-bashi leads SH away.
GOB: Points out that clerical fatwa had little value in executions for centuries (at Tabriz previously the Bab was condemned but it was ignored and He was given a bastinado instead). However as the Bab had been in prison and not done anything He could hardly be indicted under any civil law for any actions and so He had to be condemned on the back of the usually-ignored religious fatwas. It would also have the double advantage of shifting any backlash onto the clergy, thus lessening the blame on the state and at the same time reducing the estimation of the clergy in the people's eyes.
Mamaqani = Mulla Muhammad-i-Mamaqani
Baqir = Mirza Baqir
Zunuzi = Aqa Siyyid Aliy-i-Zunuzi
Murtada-Quli = Mulla Murtada-Quli-i-Marandi
BEK: Baqir (fanatic conservative), Mamaqani (Sheiki).
DAW: The Bab goes to Mamaqani, Baqir son successor of Mirza Ahmad, then Murtada-Quli. For Anis only Mamaqani is named.
GOB SIP: Baqir, Mamaqani, Zunuzi. All 3 ratify.
JAD: 2-3 well-known clergy, including Mamaqani, and sundry others at one of their houses.
TRN: Mamaqani, Baqir, Murtada-Quli and others.
MHK: Baqir, Mamaqani, Zunuzi.
Balyuzi: Mamaqani, Murtida-Quli and Baqir, but as a no-meeting.
BEK: The Bab didn't reply to the questions asked and avoided contradicted Islam, limiting himself to His convictions, so He didn't merit execution. (ch. 13).
JAD: Fearlessly said He was the Qa'im and answered questions. A strong encounter with Mamaqani and others in the porch of one of the houses that explicitly condemns Him.
MHK: Baqir didn't meet because he was or pretended to be ill. Mamaqani welcomes Him on His entry and the Bab admitting authorship of books, being the Qa'im, not concealing His mission etc, Mamaqani condemns Him, the wording indicating Baqir had also done so. S Zunuzi talked with the Bab, with the outcome of execution.
DAW: All refuse to meet the Bab.
GOB: Muslims swear the Bab recanted.
SIP: The Bab met all, concealed convictions and begged protection. All three issued fatwas.
• SH, SHas and S Ahmad, as previously arranged, deny the Bab in order to benefit the community, at some time between the clergy and the government house.
GOB: SH on leaving Zunuzi's; went free immediately. Failure to persuade Anis also to.
SIP: SH after the clergy meeting and before the Square, loose timing. Went free, loose timing. Anis doesn't.
BEK: SH, SHas, S Ahmad at the sight of the preparations for execution. Anis doesn't.
JAD: SH and SHas at the Government House. Anis doesn't.
BRO: SH during their execution morning parade for hours through the streets and bazaars.
DAW TRN: Omit the scene, although DAW mentions the plan for it.
YAY: S Husayn, S Ahmad, at some time. Both continued in prison a while. YAY adds that he was to preserve himself.
SIP: SH has to spit at the Bab.
BEK: In front of the assembled people police obliged them to treat the Bab as hypocrite, impostor and seducer.
BRO: SH is immediately liberated.
• After the clergy they are led out to their final civil sentence.
JAD: Led at sunrise in night attire to the Government House and sentenced to be shot. Anis is very forthright and gets sentenced with the Bab. SH and SHas renounce the Bab and their liberation occurs here at the Government House.
MHK: The governor (Prince) announces to the guard the fatwa of the ulama (clergy) and orders the Báb to be led along the big streets, through the bazaar, to Square, which happens, feet bare except for socks and nightcap, along with Anis, to execution.
SIP: On orders of the Prince he would be executed.
• After the final civil sentence, the Bab is paraded round the streets and bazaars to execution.
BRO: For several hours 'through the endless streets and bazaars of Tabríz'.
MHK: 'led along the big streets of the town and through the bazaar' barefoot and in nightcaps.
JAD: After the government house, the Bab and Anis were 'dragged... to the barracks situated by the citadel'.
NQK: The Bab is paraded through the town on an ass previously to his execution.
How would an execution be advertised? certainly parading them through the street and word of mouth would quickly do the rest. Would it need to be declared the day before?
• During the public parade, they try to sway Anis after their success with SH and others.
GOB SIP BEK: Anis is tempted after the clergy and before the return from them. GOB: at the Bazaar before return to citadel.
BEK: Anis' fortitude an inspiration and example even for all his enemies.
JAD: On way to or at Square. The placing in the narrative would naturally suggest at the Square although it also speaks of bystanders and could be being narrated in a loose position.
YAY: When about to be bound for execution.
DAW: Omits this scene.
ANITCH1850: Anis singularly firm in the face of temptations. Both face death gallantly.
• The Bab is handed over to Sam Khan, and shortly after Anis is added to Him.
DAW: Farash-bashi having the necessary documents delivers Bab over to Sam Kham.
JAD: After the Government House the Bab and Anis are dragged to the barracks by the citadel, opposite the cells and suspended.
MHK: The governor (Prince) announces to the guard the fatwa of the ulama (clergy) and orders the Báb's parade (above) to the Square, which happens, to execution.
• The original plan was to execute only the Bab, not Anis.
DAW: Anis is placed with SH who had remained there the while (at least during the parade, but by one interpretation since the night) and the Bab is led to execution. At Anis' persistence, the farrash-bashi hands him to Sam Khan to execute also if he persists.
• The colonel Sam Khan is deeply troubled by events.
DAW: Sam Khan is affected by the Bab's character and His treatment and begs to free himself. The Bab says to continue and that if he is sincere God will find a solution.
• The Bab and Anis are suspended, and a firing squad is lined up (sizes vary, most suggesting an ordinary size). The first attempt to execute the Bab fails and the Bab, disappearing in the gunsmoke, has to be refound. Early accounts have Anis not surviving, late accounts surviving. A second execution is successful (regiment varies). Their remains are left publicly in the Square (duration varies). Following this, they are dumped at the perimeter of the city and guarded, and a drawing is made. Some say the remains are briefly buried and unearthed, before at any rate being taken away by well-wishers, placed in a casket and sent to Tehran under Bahá'u'lláh's orders.
• Huge crowds flock to the execution, filling the streets and rooftops.
BEK: The streets leading to the square and roofs of the houses are covered with a crowd of spectators.
TRN: The surrounding housetops billow with crowds.
DAW: 10,000 people are on the roof of the barracks and adjoining houses.
• The Bab is brought in to the great Public Square and addressed, and is notably calm. Anis is brought in at some point to join him.
OTHER: 1850 - The Bab undergoes his punishment with a courage and coolness not at all common with persons of his class (1850-09-03 - The Morning Chronicle (London)).
OTHER: 1851 - They are shot in the public square (The Bab and his sect in Persia, 1851, A H Wright).
SHE1856 - They are brought to the great mai'dan, or square.
SIP: They are brought to Tabriz Square.
BEK: The condemned are brought in and the sentence immediately executed. The location is the courtyard of the barracks ('la cour de la caserne des sarbazes').
GOB: Facing them, on an immense square, was the surging crowd, and everyone could see the two condemned men perfectly. ('En face, sur une immense place, se pressait la foule, et chacun pouvait voir parfaitement les deux condamnés.') (Given the size of the square, such seeing 'perfectly' may have been limited in scope.)
AHM: They are brought to the Square in Tabriz.
JAD: They are brought to "the barracks situated by the citadel".
TRN: At the cells that are at the barrack square of Tabriz.
BRO: They lead the two prisoners to the great square by the citadel called ironically the "Square of the Lord of the age". (Is it possible it acquired this name after?)
MHK: They reach the 'Small Barracks' square and bring the Báb out through the first door that leads to the square. When they reach the roof of the cistern they stop, at the top of the stairs that lead to the square. Notables (the author's father and friends) approach him and beg him to give up his claim and not spill his blood in a city that so revers the siyyids, but the Bab pays no attention and remains calm.
OTHER 1906: The place of execution is the large public square of the arsenal, gunsmiths, prison, royal stables, and buildings belonging to the Crown Prince; he is suspended from the wall above a small shop pointed out to the author (in 1906) into which he took refuge after being freed by the shots (Persia Past and Present, 1906, A V Williams Jackson).
• The head of execution will only obey the Colonel.
MHK: The governor's farrásh-báshí comes to the commander of the special regiment and shows him the order of the judge [qádí] for the execution. The officer refuses to obey the judge's order since his command is from the War Ministry. So the head of the gate keepers goes to Sam Khan the colonel of the Christian regiment and shows him the judge's order and he submits 'a detachment of the regiment' to carry it out. The head of the detachment is Qúch-'Alí Sultán, a Muslim of the town of Khuv.
• Spike(s) are driven into the barracks' column of bricks at a height, just under the roof. Anis and the Bab are lowered from the roof on ropes or lifted up there; a rope runs over the spike for each, suspending each under the two arms high off the ground; some (NQK JAD) say Anis and the Bab are suspended at separate times, some say at the same time. (Photo with X.)
NQK: Anis is the first to be tied up to be shot. Just after this first volley is fired, the Bab exclaims as the body falls at his feet, "You are with me in Paradise'." The first shots are aimed at Anis not the Bab.
GOB: They are brought out to the rampart, of great height and formed by a perpendicular wall of fired bricks. Heavy ropes are passed under their arms and they are let down against the outer surface of the wall in such a way that they are left hanging a few feet from the ground. (GOB almost seems to imagine they are being lowered from the citadel building itself, but whatever his thinking, the element of the story is that they were lowered down from a roof to get them on the spike.)
JAD: Opposite to the cells on one side of the barrack, Anis is suspended from one of the stone gutters erected under the eaves of the cells. (The Bab is suspended later.) ('Opposite' here perhaps means 'facing', as they bound people for execution facing the wall, or otherwise maybe 'against' the wall.)
TRN: An iron nail is hammered into the middle of the staircase of the imprisonment cell. Two ropes are hung down, one suspending the Bab, the other Anis.
DAW: Sam Khan has a nail driven into the pillar between the door of Siyyid Husayn's room and the entrance to the adjoining one. Two ropes are fastened to it for suspending them severally. The nail survives.
BRO: They are suspended with ropes from staples set in one of the walls.
MHK: They are led to the spot where iron spikes had been driven in. Their shoulders are firmly bound with ropes and they are lifted three zars [three meters] off the ground. (Anis also asks to have his head at the Bab's feet.)
TZH: Each rope is knotted together at the end so the entire rope forms a loop, and placed so that the loop middle is at the chest, running under the arms, knotted at the back and then goes up to the iron nail, the two ropes, one for the Bab, one for Anis, being so arranged. The iron nail is on the wall between the imprisonment cell and a neighbouring cell. The brickwork is at most 90cm wide and they are in the middle of the wall (in height).
• Anis makes various requests for how he should be placed.
NQK: Anis is facing the wall with his back to the Bab who, being executed separately, is further away; Anis asks to face the other way so that he can face the Bab and not have his back to Him (it being improper to turn your back on your master, and undoubtedly a wish for one's last moments to gaze upon the beloved).
BEK: When they shoot criminals they tie them to a pillar with face to the wall so they do not see the preparations. Anis solemnly requests to be tied facing the public.
JAD: Anis is suspended and executed, following which the Bab is suspended and fired upon.
TRN: The head of Anis is placed on the Bab's breast.
YAY: Anis asks during his temptations, "If you love me, bind me opposite to the Lord". They bind Anis together with the Bab (for 'opposite' perhaps read 'facing' or 'against' the Bab (if Anis is expecting a separate execution (per NQK/JAD) it could mean facing toward Him, whilst DAW has Anis begging to shield the Bab, and also with his head on the Bab's chest, both of which can be seen as 'against'); however it potentially could also mean 'differently to' so that he does not die in an identical way, recalling Peter's request to be crucified upside down to be different to Christ).
DAW: (As they are being suspended) Anis begs Sam Khan to be placed to shield the Bab from the bullets. Anis is 'eventually' suspended so that his head rests on the Bab's chest ('eventually' suggests the arrangement was protracted; 'on' the chest could perhaps mean somewhat at the side of rather than squarely on).
MHK: Their shoulders are firmly bound with ropes and they are lifted three zars [three meters] off the ground. Their faces are turned to the wall. Anis begs the head of the detachment to turn him to face the soldiers so that he can see the bullets flying toward him. The officer grants this. Then he asks for his face to be placed at the Báb's feet, which is not accepted.
NIC: The two are tied before the Christian regiment of Bahadurans.
TZH: Anis requests to shield the Bab and face outward, with his head on the Bab's chest.
BNE1923: The two are suspended by ropes under their armpits in such a way that the head of Anis rests against the breast of the Bab.
Chosen Highway - The Bab and His friend are bound with ropes, and hung upon a wall, with their arms extended in the form of a cross. A company of soldiers stand ready.
• Public recitations and speeches before the execution.
BEK: Anis calmly reads aloud excerpts from prayers composed by the Bab. The Báb is silent throughout.
• A firing squad is drawn up in several lines. Due to questions surrounding the number of soldiers in the first volleys, original terms used or original translation terms are in quotes, with links to images for the terms on their first use. (For Sen McGlinn's treatment see here.)
SHE1856: A 'company of soldiers' are ordered to despatch the Bab by a volley - (company images).
SIP: Soldiers of the Bahádurán 'regiment' of Christian confession are to shoot them. The Bab misses the opportunity to stand before the crowd and say he escaped a thousand bullets (a thousand may actually indicate a large size since a regiment was about a thousand-strong, or simply Persian hyperbole meaning far more than necessary much as we would say 'a myriad bullets' - in English we have similar expressions such as 'I've told you a thousand times not to').
GOB: A 'company' (compagnie) of the Christian regiment of Behadéran. Muslims maintain it carried out its duty with repugnance, the Bábis maintain Christians were chosen because of the distrust of the Muslim soldiers.
BEK: A 'platoon' of the Christian regiment ('un peloton du régiment chrétien' - peloton images).
OTHER: 1865 - A small detachment of soldiers ('eine kleine Abtheilung Soldaten' - images) carry out the execution (Persien das Land und seine Bewohner by Jakob Eduard Polak). (This author is the Shah's personal physician, and he personally witnesses (and briefly describes) Tahirih's execution.)
AHM: They are brought to the Square in Tabriz to where the Bahadur regiment, composed of men who had formerly been Christians, is summoned and ordered to shoot them.
OTHER: 1866 - A 'company of soldiers' is drawn up in the great square of Tabriz (History of Persia by R Grant Watson).
OTHER 1868: The Bab is tied to a tree and 750 soldiers discharge their guns at him (1868 Letter of Reverend L Rosenberg to British Consul in Adrianople). (Here 'tree' could be a natural evolution from something like 'post' (either the divider, or the spike driven into it) in works such as NIC the term 'poteau' (post/stake) is used for the spike; this account is interesting for giving an early mention of the 750 soldiers later used in DAW and TZH.)
AHM: Bahadur 'regiment' of former Christians.
JAD: Shakaki 'regiment' (foj shaghaghi = "group of soldiers of schism/discord", presumably Muslim if they are the same as refuse to fire after the Bab is refound).
TRN: A 'regiment' of soldiers ranges itself in three files. (Literally foj "company/division" from a foj "regiment"; 'a company of soldiers' would be better.)
DAW: As soon as fastened, 750 soldiers ("regiment") are ranged in three files of 250; each line fires in turn until the whole "detachment" has discharged its bullets (detachment images, regiment images). (This account is notable (certainly in the English) for using detachment and regiment interchangeably. This might indicate difficulties or ambiguities in the original.)
MHK: The head of the 'detachment' (Qúch-'Alí Sultán, a Muslim) ranges his detachment in three files (then he takes the Bab and Anis to their spot.) On the eventual firing smoke fills the whole square.
TZH: The regiment (foj) of Sam Khan which is 750 people is divided into three parts, in lines. The distance from the first row to the Bab and Anis is 60 paces (40m). Then other government personnel move away. Sam Khan orders and the first line fires and sits, then the second fires, and finally the third fires at the two bodies.
OTHER : In addition, there are various records of Abdu'l-Bahá using 'a thousand bullets' (an expression He seems to be quoting from the official Persian histories, see SIP) to illustrate the sacrifice of the day and in general; it is not known whether this was a case of being free with numbers or not, since the purpose of mentioning them wasn't history. (Various.)
BNE1923: A regiment of Armenian soldiers is drawn up and receive the order to fire.
• The gun volleys are fired, in various accounts aimed at Anis and Bab separately.
ANITCH1850: Both are shot. The soldiers little used to proceedings of this sort transform the punishment into complete torture. This could align with one notion that they were unused to accurate shooting.
NQK: (Summary) The first shots are fired only at Anis and not at the Bab. Anis falls dead at the Bab's feet. The Bab exclaims "Thou art with me in Paradise'." The second sever the Bab's ropes. The third take effect, three bullets enter the Bab's body to the number of Ali. (This number three may have arisen for symbolic reasons.)
SIP: The soldiers avoid shooting the Bab from fear.
GOB: The only thing Anis' tempters could get from him (prior to the leading into the square) was that if they desired to treat him with some humanity, to execute him before the Bab. Anis is distinctly heard to say to the Báb, "Master, are you not pleased with me?" and at that moment the company fire at Anis.
BEK: Anis is shot first, then the Báb. (Stated after the Bab is not hit.)
OTHER 1865 - The soldiers are most reluctant to obey the command and so fire their guns without aiming. The Bab amidst the smoke slips away through a gap in the water feeder. He is discovered, and shot. (The water feeders here represent the columnar walls between cells which carried the water drainage.) (Persien das Land und seine Bewohner by Jakob Eduard Polak.)
JAD: Anis is shot in the presence of the Bab. The Bab is then suspended and the Shakaki regiment fires in a single volley. JAD also tells a story of Sulayman Khan hearing three sounds of fire and knowing the execution has happened.
TRN: Each file fires in their turn.
YAY: They fire (too brief to draw any conclusions).
DAW: (As they are being suspended) Anis begs Sam Khan to be placed to shield the Bab from the bullets.
BRO: As the firing-party takes up position Anis is heard to say, "Master, are you content with me?" To this the Báb replies in Arabic, "Truly Muhammad 'Alí is with us in paradise!" The words hardly leave his lips and the guns ring out, cloud of smoke hiding them. As it lifts a great cry of wonder and awe arises. The lifeless body of the disciple is riddled with bullets swinging in the air, but the Báb has disappeared. The clamour arises that it is a miracle and the authorities fear the people might turn in the Bab's favour.
MHK: Colonel Sâm Khán orders and the soldiers raise their guns as for salute. The people fall silent. He commands again and there is utter silence. Sâm Khán glances towards the chief of the governor's gate keepers who holds in his hand the order for execution, the latter signals to carry it out. Sâm Khán signals the head of the squadron and orders the first file to fire. Bullets whistle and smoke fills the square. (Mention of the first file being ordered to fire suggests a methodical sequence to their firing.)
BNE1923: Promptly the volleys ring out.
• The Bab disappears; in early accounts Anis dies or is severely wounded (or his fate is unmentioned), in later accounts he comes through unscathed.
JS1850: The balls break the ropes by which the Bab is bound. The smoke clears and he is not to be seen. The crowds proclaim that he has ascended to the skies.
ANITCH1850: No disturbances occur, thanks to the well-considered measures taken by the local authorities.
NQK: Anis is tied and killed, then the Bab is tied and shot, but He disappears in the smoke.
SHE1856: The smoke clears, and the Bab has disappeared.
SIP: Anis is struck by bullets and asks "Are you not satisfied with me?" At this moment an accidentally discharged bullet hits the Bab's rope and frees Him....
GOB: Anis is killed instantly but the Báb is not wounded - his rope is cut by a bullet. The crowd roars in admiration at the event.
BEK: Anis is shot first, then the Báb. (Stated after the Bab is not hit.)
OTHER: 1866 : The Bab disappears (no mention of Anis) (History of Persia by R Grant Watson).
AHM: Anis is riddled with bullets at the first volley, and a shot hits the rope which binds the Bab's hands, sets the Bab free and he runs away. (We should see this as the rope holding the Bab by His arms at the shoulders.)
JAD: Anis is shot by his volley. After Anis they suspend the Bab and two bullets strike the two ropes suspending the Bab. The Bab falls to the ground and goes into the adjacent room. A great clamour arises and a search is made.
OTHER: 1882 - An elderly man reports how as a boy he had witnessed a prodigy in Tabriz of a prophet being bound to a cross with two companions; he remains suspended for several hours; the companions are dispatched at the first volley but the prophet is unhurt, the cords are cut by the bullets and he falls to the ground on his feet. (This looks like a confusion with the plan of executing SH with them (or that the Bab's execution twice is inserted as an extra companion) and the fact that the arms may have been outwards a little like a cross with lowered arms; the description could also be influenced by Christ's story, perhaps due to the author writing it down later rather than the narrator himself, although the original narrator may have himself employed the resemblance to Christ for illustration.) (Future of Islam (Wilfrid Blunt).)
TRN: A great smoke is produced and when it clears the crowd sees Anis standing and the Bab seated by His amanuensis in the cell. Neither has been injured.
YAY: Anis is martyred but the Bab unhurt.
DAW: Smoke turns the noonday sun to darkness. The smoke clears, and Anis is standing alive, unhurt, tunic unsullied from the smoke, the Bab is vanished. The cords had been torn in pieces by the bullets. Everyone shouts the Bab has gone.
BRO: The smoke rises to reveal Anis riddled with bullets and swinging in the air, but the Báb has disappeared.
MHK: When the smoke clears it appears a bullet has struck Anis and he calls out to the Báb, "Are you content with me, O my master?" As for the Bab, a bullet hits the Bab's rope, He falls to the ground and immediately runs into one of the rooms of the barracks and disappears there. Spectators and soldiers cannot see this for the smoke. They raise a cry wondering whether the Bab flew in the air, ascended to heaven, or disappeared.
NIC: On firing Anis is seen covered with wounds, dying, running towards his Master, his words terrifying the witnesses: "Master," he said, "Master, are you content with me?" The bullets cut the Bab's cords, who drops to his feet without a scratch. (Although in order for the crowd to see Anis running to the Bab in this way, the Bab would need to be executed somewhat separately in time.)
Abdu'l-Bahá: 1919 - In a meticulously recorded Q&A with 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Abdu'l-Bahá is asked at which volley Anis is martyred, the first or the second, and Abdu'l-Bahá states: "With the first one he was killed. He was mutilated. But the body of His Holiness the Báb was not hit by the first discharge." He also is asked who authored Traveller's Narrative and he states that he didn't but he provided material (Pilgrim Notes of Abdu'l-Bahá by George Latimer, The Evening Meal 24 November 1919).
BNE1923: The bullets only sever the ropes by which they are suspended, so that they drop to the ground unhurt. When the smoke clears, it is found that the Bab and His companion are still alive.
Chosen Highway: Only the ropes by which He is suspended are severed. The smoke clears.
• The authorities fear the events and a riot.
ANITCH1850: No disturbances occur, thanks to the well-considered measures taken by the local authorities.
MHK: The colonel and commander of the detachment are filled with anxiety and sense fear. Sam Khan gives an order and the soldiers form a wedge and stop the people's rush. He orders the soldiers to search the rooms off the square and find the Báb.
• The Bab is found in the building and brought back out.
JS1850: The Bab is dragged from the recess after some search, and shot.
NQK: After being rediscovered in the same room, the Bab says, "O people, am I not after all the son of God's Apostle? Do not approve such injustice and cruelty towards me! Fear God, and have some shame before His Apostle! What is my crime, but that I have invited you to the knowledge of God, called you from the world of Plurality to the Kingdom of Unity, and cast myself into affliction and suffering for your sake?" and other moving words (presumably to the soldiers and those nearby).
SHE1856: The smoke clears, and the Bab has disappeared. He hides in the guard-room, is immediately discovered, brought out, and shot. Had he fled to the bazaar a few yards away he would probably have escaped and a miracle proclaimed.
SIP: The Bab hides in one of the soldiers' rooms. Qúch-Alí Sultán [the detachment head] takes the Bab, hits him several times on the back of his head, and returns him to the place of execution.
GOB: The Bab runs into a guardhouse. Infantry captain Qúch-’Alí comes in after him and cuts him down with his sword. The Báb falls without saying a word. Then the soldiers seeing him in a pool of blood approach and end his life.
BEK: On the ropes being cut, the Bab it is said runs forward and tries to show it is a miracle; Muslim soldiers might have been daunted but not Christian ones, who point out the ropes and rebind him (BEK is a Christian; this appears to be an evolution of the 'if he had run forward and claimed a miracle' notion into a fact that such happened).
JAD: They find the Bab in the cell writing a verse on the wall.
AHM: The Bab is arrested again and shot.
DAW: There is a frenzied search for the Bab. They find the Bab calmly seated in the same room completing His interrupted conversation with SH. He says "I have finished My conversation, now you may proceed." The Farrash-bashi quits and resigns; Sam Khan quits with his men, refusing to resume the task or anything harmful to the Bab even though he should be killed for so refusing.
BRO: Before the crowd recover from its amazement, a soldier sees the Báb whose bonds strangely have been cut sheltering in an adjacent guard-house, follows him there, and cuts at him with his sword. When the others see blood flow their fear goes and they hurry to complete the execution.
MHK: The head of the squadron Qúch-'Alí Sultán, finds the Báb in one of the rooms, drags him by force from the room, hits him on the back of his head, and shows him to the people... but MHK says his father did not see the hit on the head.
NIC: The soldiers take the Bab again and attach him to the pole, and this time he is executed.
BNE1923: They (the Bab and Anis) proceed to a room nearby, where they are found talking to one of their friends.
Chosen Highway: The Bab is seen seated in an adjoining room unharmed. He is calmly writing. He looks up as the official rushes in, and continues His work. Soon he lays down His pen, saying: "It is finished. I am ready." He is conducted to the place of martyrdom. The officials in terror and amazement give the word to fire again. The soldiers refuse saying what happened was from God. Another company is hastily brought in, and the execution carried out.
• The old soldiers refuse to fire again and a new reluctant detachment is lined up.
JS1850: The Bab is dragged from the recess after some search, and shot.
SIP: (Back in the Square:) This time without hurry and with deliberation they make him the aim of their shots. The author provides the reason for the first failure as human ill-discipline rather than divine intervention.
GOB: Infantry captain Qúch-’Alí comes in after him and cuts the Bab down with his sword, who falls without saying a word. Then the soldiers seeing him in a pool of blood approach and ended his life with their rifles at point-blank range. (This significantly differs from SIP, which suggests GOB thinks he has a better source; it is common to administer a 'coup de grace' to kill a person when an execution has failed to do so; but it differs from other accounts. However it is possible it reflects a narrative that after the first execution failed the second squad was far smaller and precise and fired from a very short range to ensure no mistakes, perhaps evoking coup de grace terminology.)
JAD: The Muslim soldiers refuse to fire and a Christian regiment is ordered to fire. (We might guess the Muslim soldiers here refusing had fired the first shots that missed the Bab, but the wording does not necessitate this: it could have been the replacement Muslim regiment that, knowing what happened and being superstitious of shooting a prophet-siyyid who had survived, refused, and another less concerned was chosen, here stated to be Christian. See Religion above about potential to confuse the religion of the regiment particularly due to disparate religious elements in the hierarchy. It could even be a relic of the first Christian regiment being brought into service for the first volleys due to the refusal of a Muslim regiment.)
TRN: Sam Khan the Christian asks to be excused. The turn of service comes to another regiment, and the chief of the farrashes withholds his hand (distances himself). Aqa Jan Big of Khamsih, colonel of the bodyguard, advances. They again bind the Bab together with Anis to the same nail. The Bab utters certain words which those few who know Persian understand, while the rest hear just the sound of His voice. The colonel of the regiment appears in person. ('Withhold his hand' is the opposite of the English expression 'have a hand in' (to be involved with); the exact expression is also used in the KJV Bible on occasions.)
DAW: Aqa Jan Khan-i-Khamsih, also known as "Nasiri", volunteers. He is colonel of the body-guard. The Bab and Anis are resuspended and the "regiment" forms in line.
Abdu'l-Bahá: 19xx - On a number of occasions Abdu'l-Bahá references the martyrdom for teaching sacrifice, and in so doing uses the expression "a thousand bullets", taken from the official histories.
OTHER : 1933 - Our guide's grandfather had been in Tabriz and had witnessed the execution. The Bab is to be shot with two of his disciples, but they are offered an opportunity to recant before they are pinioned. One succumbs to the temptation and is released; but the Bab and the other stand firm, and are suspended by the arms from gallows-like frames in front of the firing-squad. The order is given and the volley rings out; when the smoke has cleared away the Bab's friend hangs dead on his ropes, but the Bab himself has disappeared. The bullets had cut the ropes and he fell unharmed and escaped into the crowd. Of course he is discovered almost at once, and once again he is hoisted on to the gallows. But the first firing squad refuses to act again, and it is only with the greatest difficulty that other soldiers are found to take their place. This time there is no mistake, and the Bab dies. Afterwards his body is smuggled away by his friends and buried in a secret tomb, and even to-day none save the highest leaders of the Bahá'í religion know where he is buried. (Cairo to Persia and Back by Owen Tweedy). (It should be remembered that it is a common manner of speech when you know someone was at an event but you don't have their story, to state that they were present and immediately summarise the story from other sources, so it is not known how much of this is remembered from the grandfather; however it does contain fresh elements, particularly the (understandable) great reluctance of the new squad.)
• The execution is at noon.
TRN: Before noon the final shots are fired.
DAW: The final shots are at noon.
GOB: The execution is at sunset.
BNE: The first suspension is at 2 hours before noon and the resuspension 2 hours later at noon.
• The new detachment fires, this time with great effect.
NQK: This time the bullets take effect, three bullets ("according to the
JAD: This time the bullets take effect and the Bab ascends (this is clear from its digression; JAD then mentions as an extra M. Jani's account (NQK) where the second time fails and only the third one makes its mark, but it is not clear if this is being quoted as confirmation (i.e. the second one overall fails) or as an alternative (i.e. the second one aimed at the Bab fails) but the version we have of that work fits with it being in confirmation). JAD mentions that in M. Jani's account a symbolic three bullets strike Him. The Story is given of Haji Suleyman Khan hearing the guns three times and of the Bab's prescient instructions to him to rescue His remains from the guards two days after it should happen and send them in a chest to Bahá'u'lláh.
YAY: Again they bind the Bab and complete what they wish, Anis and the Bab becoming mingled by the bullets. Haji Suleyman Khan is also among the crowds with a sword waiting to rescue them. He becomes faint and insensible, and sits down a while. When he comes to, he sees everything is over and the people are gone, and the Bab's body left with the guards (this is clear about the Bab being retied with a dead Anis, and suggests the remains were guarded in the Square whilst they were left there on show).
TRN: The breasts are riddled by bullets, their limbs completely dissected, except their faces which are hardly damaged.
DAW: Their bodies are shattered and blended into one. The Bab addresses the crowd (Had you believed in Me you would have followed Anis' example... you will come to recognise Me but I will not be with you...).
MHK: The Bab is retied and shot, hit by more than twenty bullets. His whole body is mangled except his face which remains whole.
OTHER: The Bab and Anis are mingled together. (Tablet revealed in Arabic in honour of "Ghasem", in Noghteh Ulla by M.A.Faydi (Fayzi), pp.348, 349)
NIC: The soldiers take the Bab again and attach him to the pole, and this time he is executed.
OTHER: 1911 - The breast of His Highness the Báb is riddled by dozens of bullets (Abdu'l-Bahá in the Diary of Juliet Thomson, 1911-08-25).
BNE1923: About noon they are again suspended. The Armenians, who consider the escape from their volleys a miracle, are unwilling to fire again, so another regiment of soldiers is brought on the scene, and fire when ordered. This time the volleys take effect. The bodies of both victims are riddled by bullets and horribly mutilated, although their faces are almost untouched.
• Various other accounts of interest relating to the execution itself.
DAW: Later on a neighbour of the farrashbashi shows the author Nabil around to the wall, the nail the Bab was suspended from, the cell room, and the very spot the Bab had sat. (From the text it sounds like the neighbour wasn't present at the events, so it follows this is Nabil's recollection of a neighbour's recollection of the farrashbashi's story. One therefore wonders how the neighbour could have known for example what spot the Bab was seated in; he was, though, a notable of Tabriz and might have learnt by some means - but then we don't know by what means, and so what at first seems a very useful testimony has its importance reduced.)
OTHER: 1900 - A Christian regiment fires at them but the bullets only kill the Secretary(!) and cut the ropes by which the Bab is bound so that he falls to the ground without harm. After the smoke of the guns clears the Bab is found writing with charcoal on the wall in an adjoining guard room. The regiment is ordered to fire again but they refuse. A Mahommedan regiment is called and the Bab is killed (Notes from Lessons by Abul Fazle, Port Said, 1900-01.) (Some mistakes may be expected from notes from lessons, but it is useful for looking at the prevailing narrative in 1900.)
OTHER : 193? - The martyrdoms of the Bab and His uncle are concealed from the women of the family, and whenever they mention rumours that have come to their ears, the men hotly deny them - all lies they say, knowing what has happened. The servants and maids of the house also do not know. It is impossible to talk of such matters with anyone. One of the servants purchases a broom with a green handle to sweep every day the courtyard of the Shrine of Imam Husayn, awaiting the Bab's return. Others are told the Bab and His uncle have gone to Bombay for trade. When the house is being repaired one maid is radiantly happy, saying all the time it must be that the Bab is on His way home. (Khadijih Bagum, Wife of the Bab by Balyuzi.)
• A wind or a whirlwind arises, one late account portraying the sun being obscured all day.
NQK: After the Bab is executed a strong wind blows (no mention of any darkness).
GOB: The execution is at sunset.
DAW: As the shots are fired, a gale sweeps over the city and a whirlwind of dust blacks out the sun and blinds people, with darkness from noon till night (and then by implication night till morning). The people are unmoved.
1922 in Chosen Highway - This story of Shaykh Mahmud is told by his granddaughter in Arabic, translated by Munavvar Khanum, and written down at the time by Lady Blomfield : At Ramadan of 1850 (in Akka it seems), the Shaykh and family fast till sundown and have their customary meal. When finished, it is dark, and the Shaykh, a little boy, cries out "Look! Look! The sun is risen again, the sun has come back!" The whole family stands looking at the western sky, where a brilliant gleam is shining, seemingly miraculous. The father hurries to consult an old Shaykh friend, afraid they have broken the law by eating when the sun is up. The Shaykh answers that a terrible crime has that day been committed in a far-off city of Persia, the murder of the Promised One who was a herald to the Great One. On the next day the old Shaykh comes and calls the boy and tells him the Great One will come to Akka as a prisoner, and that he should give their greetings to Him; both the boy's father and the Shaykh often remind him of this promise, to keep it in his mind for when the time should come. A little later, news of the martyrdom of the Bab had come, and after the deaths of his father and the Shaykh, the boy goes on to meet Bahá'u'lláh in a most remarkable way. (This narration could be considered as supporting the notion in DAW that at the execution the land went dark; however the execution happened at noon and most people have enough sense of time to know at noon that sunset has not had time to come, whilst a whirlwind in Tabriz would not be expected to affect the view of the sun from Akka. This story is furthermore about the dark becoming light rather than the light becoming dark. Perhaps the event could be considered as a visionary experience. Importantly, the execution happens before Ramadan, not during it, although sometimes different places might judge the moon differently and start the month one day apart.)
• The execution occurs c. 9 Jul 1850.
NQK: 27 Shaban of 1266 AH
SIP, GOB: Mon 27 Sha’bán.
JAD: Thu 27 Shaban 1266 AH.
TRN: 28 Sha'ban 1266 AH.
DAW: 28 Sha'ban 1266 AH [9 Jul 1850].
MHK: 27 Sha'bán AH 1265 according to official books or the morning of 18 Sha'bán AH 1266 as Babis think (18 could be a mistake for 28).
NIC: Monday 27 Sha'ban.
Chosen Highway - 9 July 1850.
JAD, DAW: Connect the execution with its being done as an auspicious act to enter Ramadan with, Chosen Highway (Shaykh Mahmud story) also connects its timing in connection with Ramadan.
• The execution occurs. Some then have the remains left for a varying period of insult in the Barrack Square. All have them removed and dumped in the moat, and drawn by an artist. Some have them buried, some have the guards gone. All have them recovered by Babis and placed in a casket.
To understand the schema of these events, the following table provides an outline, with letters D M A E N standing for Day Morning Afternoon Evening Night, eg N2 = second night. Some accounts only mention days without night or morning, making it difficult to tell if the day count includes the day of the martyrdom or not, and they are marked with * for which one may add a day to numbers to the right of the star (including in other table cells).
|Src||Day 0||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3|
|TRN||D0 Exec + Moat||D1 Artist||N2 Rescue||D3 Bodies Missing|
|DAW||D0 Exec E0 Moat||M1 Artist||A2 SKhan arr N2 Rescue||D3 Casketed|
|MHK||D0 Exec||E2 Body but no Guard|
|TZH||D0 Exec + Square (Babis watching)||*D2 Moat A2 Artist, Burial N2 Rescue||M3 Casketed|
• The remains are left in the square for several days (DAW: an afternoon) of public humiliation and moved to the city ditch. Two Babis keep a watch for a chance to rescue the remains.
NEWSPAPERS 1850: Two of the Bab's disciples are chosen to proceed instantly to endeavour to obtain his body; they make three attempts, and on the third they are met with imprecations, and are told they should meet with the reward of their leader, when one of them instantly places himself before the soldiers ready to receive their fire, and in doing so falls, imploring the intercession of the Bab. (This should be read with the story of the two Babis in TZH below.) (1850-09-03 - The Morning Chronicle (London)).
NQK: The remains are exposed for two days after which they are buried.
GOB SIP: The body is paraded/dragged for several days in the streets then thrown outside the walls and abandoned to the animals.
DAW: The bodies stay there until evening and are then removed to the edge of the moat outside the gate of the city. Next day the artist draws the Bab.
MHK: In the evening of the second day after the execution, MHK's father and others visit (and describe) the remains. There is no watch or guard.
TZH: They are left abandoned in the town square for people to humiliate the remains. No one was permitted to contemplate their burial. Aqa Siyyid Ibrahim and Zabih - two of the Bab's close companions and secretaries - were at that time hiding with a number of other Babis, plotting to free the remains or identify their whereabouts. They send two disguised as beggars to the square who act as if they are mentally unstable so they will receive little challenge, and they keep an eye on the remains night and day until a plan can be thought of, one of the members bringing them food and water as charity. They remain in the square for the first and second day, during which the public come in groups to visit the remains. Some appeared regretful and some applied all sorts of abuse. On the third day the remains are dumped in a large dug-out outside the city. That same afternoon the consul has them drawn, arranges their burial and that night the Babis unbury them. (Compare NEWSPAPERS 1850 just above).
• The remains of the Bab and Anis are thrown into the city ditch. Popularly they are thought to be eaten by dogs, but are recovered and smuggled away.
ANITCH1850: The bodies of the victims are then thrown outside the gates of the town, and eaten by dogs.
JS1850, OTHER: 1850 - The remains by order of HK are thrown into the ditch to be devoured by dogs, which actually happens. (R. W. Stevens 1850-07-24 & JS1850.)
SHE1856: His body is thrown into the ditch of the town, where it is devoured by the half-wild dogs which abound outside a Persian city.
SIP: His body is dragged through the city for several days and then thrown outside the gates to be eaten by beasts.
GOB: The body is paraded/dragged for several days in the streets then thrown outside the walls and abandoned to the animals.
TRN: The two bodies are removed to the edge of the moat outside the city, and that night they remain by the edge of the moat.
DAW: The bodies stay in the courtyard of the barracks until evening and are then removed to the edge of the moat outside the gate of the city.
BRO: The two bodies are dragged through the streets and cast out of the gate to feed the dogs and jackals.
MHK: Thereupon their bodies are lowered, ropes are tied to their legs, and they are dragged through the streets and the bazaar to the gate of the main street. From there they reach the Barracks Square. Then they throw the bodies in the moat opposite the middle tower, and there the bodies are eaten by beasts and birds. The author states this is from the official account and contrasts that his father, a notable eyewitness, did not confirm the part of their being dragged through the streets. (One may presume in this scenario the remains must be tied together to maintain integrity and dragged with heads above ground to maintain descriptions of their faces being intact.)
NIC: When the execution is complete, the troops retire, the crowd disperses and the bodies are entrusted to the soldiers on guard. NIC notes that GOB follows official historians in the body being marched through the streets for three days but that this is in general denied by tradition however accepted in being believable. Either way, night having come, the body is left alone and abandoned or guarded by soldiers... Persian guarding essentially consists of sleeping in front of their charge... news that they were eaten by dogs is spread by the authorities to avoid rebuke and by the Babis happy for no further investigation to happen. The surest testimonies of the eyewitnesses and actors leave the author in no doubt that the body of the Bab is received by pious hands. (Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb by A L M. Nicolas.)
TZH: On the third day after being left in the Square the remains are dumped in a large dug-out outside the city.
• About 10 men guard the remains.
JAD: 3 sentries.
DAW: 40 men : 4 companies, each of 10, watch in turn.
• A faithful drawing is made of the remains. The Bab's face is little hit.
NQK: The Empress of Russia sends the Russian consul in Tabriz to investigate and report back on the Bab's circumstances. On news of this they put the Bab to death. The consul summons SH to speak about the Bab but SH cannot speak openly however he manages to communicate by hints and provide some of the Bab's writings [backed up by the testimony of Dorn].
DAW: On the morning following the martyrdom, the Russian consul in Tabriz goes with an artist to the spot and arranges a sketch. No bullet has struck the Bab's forehead, His cheeks or His lips; a smile lingers; His body is severely mutilated. Anis' arms and head are recognisable and holding the Bab in an embrace. The portrait of the Bab is faithful. Later that day the sketch is seen by one who Nabil hears narrate at some time these details.
TRN: Next day (after moving the body) the Russian consul comes with an artist and takes a picture of those two bodies in the posture they have fallen in at the edge of the moat.
MHK: MHK's father shows him the arch under which the Báb and his comrade had been [executed] and the spot where his father had stood. Then he leads him to the moat and shows him the place where the bodies of the Báb and his comrade had been thrown and says to him, "In the evening of the second day after the Báb's execution, I, together with several persons... came to this place and saw the Body of Muhammad-'Alí. His body was in pieces and nothing remained of it. But the body of the Báb had not been mangled except for the right side of the pelvis and the right thigh. His shirt and qahá [outer garment] were on him. He lay on his left side, and on that spot, except for a group of onlookers, there was no watch or guard."
TZH: On the day they are put in the moat (the third day) the Russian Consul meets with local authorities and advises that in their country it is customary to free the captive if he survives the execution and the second attempt was illegal; that he wishes to visit the remains. That afternoon the Consul is accompanied by a Portrait Artist to the dug-out, who makes an impression of the Bab. (The Consul tips the soldiers to bury the two remains. They dig a hole in the vicinity and place the two bodies there.)
• In some accounts the remains are buried.
NQK: After execution the remains are exposed for two days after which they are buried.
TZH: On the day they are put in the moat (the third day) the Russian Consul with the artist tips the soldiers to bury the two remains. They dig a hole in the vicinity and place the two bodies there.
• Two nights in, the remains are bravely rescued. The authorities announce the dogs took them.
NEWSPAPERS 1850: Two of the Bab's disciples are chosen to proceed instantly to endeavour to obtain his body; they make three attempts, and on the third they are met with imprecations, and are told they should meet with the reward of their leader, when one of them instantly places himself before the soldiers ready to receive their fire, and in doing so falls, imploring the intercession of the Bab. (This quote was also placed above for the period of insult in the square.) (1850-09-03 - The Morning Chronicle (London)).
NQK: The remains are exposed for two days after which they are buried. Some Babis exhume them and take them to Subh-i-Azal who buries them in a secret place. (This is a very early work that suffers from partisan rescensions promoting Subh-i-Azal, however Subh-i-Azal's own later written statement (YAY below) disagrees with the suggestion that he received and buried them; they were clearly taken to Tehran on Bahá'u'lláh instruction.)
JAD: Haji Suleyman Khan has locked himself away at the Bab's request, but on hearing the three discharges of muskets realises the Bab has been executed. He opens a sealed letter which the Bab had told him to keep sealed until the greatest grief, and finds He has predicted the event, instructs patience and how to buy the remains off the guards, lay them, and send them to Bahá'u'lláh, leaving the clothes to him. Two nights after the execution he with 3 others come armed and offer the guards unlimited money or a fight to the death. They take the money, JADo: but the guards exchange the body for another. The enemies proclaim they had been eaten by beasts.
TRN: On the second day Sulayman Khan son of Yahya Khan arrives and proceeds to the house of his friend and confidential the mayor, that he with several others would try by any means to rescue the body or die. The mayor says not to and sends one of his private servants Haji Allah-Yar who by whatever means obtains the body without trouble and hands it over to Haji Sulayman Khan. At midnight the Babis carry away the two bodies. When it is morning on the third day the people do not find the bodies. The guards say that the wild beasts have eaten it, this is assumed and proclaimed from pulpits, that animals would not have touched holy bodies.
YAY: Haji Suleyman Khan sends certain people to rescue the Bab and Anis's remains and deliver them to him.
DAW: On the afternoon of the 2nd day after the martyrdom, Haji Sulayman Khan, son of Yahya Khan, arrives at Bagh-Mishih, having come planning to rescue the Bab. Instead he resolves to rescue the remains, at personal risk. The Kalantar advises him it would be certain death and to stay in another house and await the arrival that evening of Haji Allah-Yar. That same night Haji Sulayman Khan meets Haji Allah-Yar, who bear the bodies from the moat edge. The guards pretend that while they slept wild beasts carried away the bodies. Their superiors not wishing to lose face hide the fact from the authorities.
BRO: By night Suleymán Khán and one or two others come with gold in one hand and sword in the other, offering the choice of these to the guards appointed to prevent the burial of the bodies. The guards take the gold and surrender the bodies.
Chosen Highway - The bodies are taken in the dead of the night by Mirza Sulayman Khan.
TZH: On the day they are put in the moat (being the third day) the Russian Consul (who is with an artist) tips the soldiers to bury the two remains. They dig a hole in the vicinity and place the two bodies there. That same night Haji Suleyman Khan leads a group of people including Haji Allahyar there. Allahyar is asked to keep guard whilst Haji Suleyman Khan assisted by the others recovers the remains and places them in a bag. They leave in haste but are not followed. After travelling a distance, they retire Haji Allahyar and they set out towards the textile factory.
• The remains are taken to a silk factory, placed sensitively in a casket and subsequently transferred to Tehran at Bahá'u'lláh's request.
NQK: The remains are exposed for two days after which they are buried. Some Babis exhume them and take them to Subh-i-Azal who buries them in a secret place. (This paragraph was discounted just above, particularly as Subh-i-Azal himself denied it.)
JAD: The remains themself had not decayed.
TRN: That night (or the second night?) they shelter the body in the workshop of a Babi of Milan: next day they make a box, place it in the box, and leave it as a trust. Afterwards, in accordance with instructions from Tihran, they send it away from Adhirbayjan. This is kept completely secret.
YAY: They have been commingled by the bullets and are placed in one coffin and shrouded, removing their shirts and clothes as is the custom. Their underclothing, pierced by the bullets, Haji Suleyman Khan brings away. The remains are then stolen.
DAW: They bear the bodies from the moat edge to the silk factory, lay them the next day in a specially constructed wooden case, and transfer them according to Haji Sulayman Khan's directions to a place of safety. Haji Sulayman Khan reports to Bahá'u'lláh who arranges the transferral to Tehran. Nabil is there when the bodies arrive.
BRO: The bodies are wrapped in fine silk and placed in one coffin, and then conveyed secretly to Teherán, to be stored to a safe place.
Chosen Highway - The bodies are taken by Mirza Sulayman Khan, wrapped in one aba, to the house of Rahim Khan-i-Kalantar. From the house of the Kalantar, the two bodies are put into one wooden case, and taken and hidden in the warehouse of Mirza Ahmad-i-Milani. Here they remain until Bahá'u'lláh requests Mirza Sulayman Khan to bring them to Tihran.
TZH: After travelling a distance, they retire Haji Allahyar and they set out towards the textile factory. After their arrival, it is close to dawn and they need to conceal the remains quickly. A casket is prepared. Haji Suleyman Khan wraps the bag containing the remains in another cloth and places them in the casket with his own hands. Apparently one of the hands of Anis was separated. Haji Suleyman Khan places a local plant or flower commonly found in Tabrizi homes next to the Holy face of the Bab. They quickly seal the casket and place it in the wall cavity, covering it with mortar. It is transferred to Tehran at Bahá'u'lláh's instructions.