And still another of His trials was the hostility, the
flagrant injustice, the iniquity and rebellion of Mirza Yahya.
Although that Wronged One, that Prisoner, had through His
loving-kindness nurtured him in His own bosom ever since his
early years, had showered at every moment His tender care upon
him, exalted his name, shielded him from every misfortune,
endeared him to them of this world and the next, and despite the
firm exhortations and counsels of His Holiness, the Exalted One
(the Bab) and His clear and conclusive warning; — 'Beware,
beware, lest the Nineteen Letters of the Living and that which
hath been revealed in the Bayan veil thee!'
Mirza Yahya, Subh-i-Azal, was a paternal half-brother of Bahá'u'lláh. He was about 14 years younger and when their father died he was only a boy of eight. He thus grew up under the care and protection of Bahá'u'lláh, Who paid special attention to his education and upbringing. When the Bab declared His mission in 1844, Mirza Yahya was 13 years old. When the message of the Bab reached Bahá'u'lláh, He helped Mirza Yahya to recognize the station of the Bab and to embrace the newly born Faith and encouraged him to read the writings of the Bab and become familiar with their style of composition.
A few months before the Bab was martyred in 1850, Sayyah, one of His distinguished disciples, attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh in Tihran. On this occasion Bahá'u'lláh sent a communication to the Bab through Sayyah, about which Nabil-i-A'zam writes:
Ere the departure of Sayyah from Tihran, Bahá'u'lláh entrusted
him with an epistle, the text of which He had dictated to Mirza
Yahya, and sent it in his name. Shortly after, a reply, penned in
the Bab's own handwriting, in which He commits Mirza Yahya to
the care of Bahá'u'lláh and urges that attention be paid to his
education and training, was received.
[100 Nabil, Dawn-Breakers, p. 433.]
Thus Mirza Yahya grew up under the guidance of Bahá'u'lláh and became conversant with the writings of the Bab.
In those days the believers who were educated used to make handwritten copies of the holy word. In order to deepen his half-brother's understanding of the writings of the Bab, Bahá'u'lláh especially assigned Mirza Yahya the task of transcribing them. Consequently Mirza Yahya learned not only the style of the composition of the Bab's writings but was also able to write in the same fashion and imitate the Bab's handwriting — an art which served him well some years later when he rebelled against Bahá'u'lláh and, by forging the Bab's handwriting, interpolated his own words into the Bab's writings to produce texts in his own favour.
The appointment by the Bab of Mirza Yahya as the leader of the Babi community took place on the advice of Bahá'u'lláh. 'Abdu'l-Bahá states that some time after the death of Muhammad Shah it became evident that Bahá'u'lláh's fame had spread far and wide in Persia and it was essential to divert public attention away from His person. To achieve this aim Bahá'u'lláh advised the Bab to appoint Mirza Yahya as His nominee. This advice was communicated through the medium of a trusted believer, Mulla 'Abdu'l-Karim of Qazvin, otherwise known as Mirza Ahmad, who was able to make contact with the Bab. The appointment of Mirza Yahya, who was then in his late teens, had the obvious advantage of enabling Bahá'u'lláh to direct the affairs of the community behind the scenes through the instrumentality of Mirza Yahya, who, in reality, was merely the ostensible head until the advent of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'.
The Babi community was not informed of the reasons behind this appointment. It must have come as a surprise to many when they realized that the appointee of the Bab was a youth in his teens and those who knew his personality were aware of his shallowness and vanity. Apart from Mulla 'Abdu'l-Karim, the only other person who was privy to this secret arrangement was Bahá'u'lláh's faithful brother Mirza Musa, entitled Aqay-i-Kalim. It must be stated here that the Bab in all His writings urged the believers to be ready for the manifestation of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' and no one else. So imminent was His advent that the Bab never contemplated the appointment of a successor to Himself. Indeed, He confirms this in the Bayan saying that in His Dispensation there was to be no mention of successorship. Yet Mirza Yahya, as we shall see later, broke the Covenant of the Bab and claimed to be His successor.
Mirza Yahya was devoid of outstanding qualities. He was easily influenced by people, ambitious and, above all, very timid by nature. At the age of 19 he married his cousin and for some time they lived in the village of Takur in the province of Nur. The Babi community of Takur was one of the most thriving communities in Persia at the time because as soon as the news of the declaration of the Bab had reached Bahá'u'lláh, He had arisen to teach the Faith to the members of His family and others in Nur. Many relatives and friends in that area had embraced the Faith and through the influence of Bahá'u'lláh had become staunch believers.
When the news of the martyrdom of the Bab reached Mirza Yahya, he was so frightened for his own life that he disguised himself in the garb of a dervish and, leaving his wife and child behind, fled into the mountains of Mazindaran. Two years later, when Bahá'u'lláh was exiled from Persia to Iraq, Mirza Yahya could no longer avail himself of His protection and guidance. Thus he roamed the countryside in fear and trepidation. This behaviour, especially at a time when Bahá'u'lláh was absent from Persia, had a deadly effect upon the believers in the province of Nur. Through Mirza Yahya's cowardly behaviour and lack of faith in the religion of the Bab, many believers were disappointed in him as a leader, became disenchanted and left the Faith altogether.
This tragic situation brought great sorrow to Bahá'u'lláh. Some years later in 'Akka, He uttered these words on the subject, as recounted by Nabil:
God knows that at no time did We attempt to conceal Ourself or
hide the Cause which We have been bidden to proclaim. Though
not wearing the garb of the people of learning, We have again and
again faced and reasoned with men of great scholarship in both
Nur and Mazindaran, and have succeeded in persuading them of
the truth of this Revelation. We never flinched in Our determination;
We never hesitated to accept the challenge from whatever
direction it came. To whomsoever We spoke in those days, We
found him receptive to our Call and ready to identify himself with
its precepts. But for the shameful behaviour of the people of
Bayan, who sullied by their deeds the work We had accomplished,
Nur and Mazindaran would have been entirely won to this Cause
and would have been accounted by this time among its leading
[101 Bahá'u'lláh, quoted in ibid. p. 583. (Dawn-Breakers.)]
When the attempt was made on the life of Nasiri'd-Din Shah by a few mentally disturbed Babis in 1852, the Babi community was engulfed by a wave of persecution. Many of the followers of the Bab were martyred in the most cruel circumstances and Bahá'u'lláh, along with others, was imprisoned in the Siyah-Chal. The Shah ordered his prime minister, Mirza Aqa Jan,[*] a native of Nur himself, to send troops to Nur and arrest all the followers of the Bab in that area. The troops carried out their orders; some believers were killed and some were taken to the Siyah-Chal, their houses demolished and their properties confiscated. The house of Bahá'u'lláh, which was royally furnished, was turned into ruins. Its roof was destroyed and all its exquisite furnishings confiscated. So terrified was Mirza Yahya as a result of these persecutions that once again he fled, this time to Gilan in disguise and then to Kirmanshah in the west of Persia. There he decided to engage himself in a profession so that no one could identify him. He took work as a salesman with a certain 'Abdu'llah-i-Qazvini, a maker of shrouds.
[* He was related to Bahá'u'lláh through the marriage of his niece to Mirza Muhammad-Hasan, an elder half-brother of Bahá'u'lláh.]
Some months later Bahá'u'lláh and His family passed through Kirmanshah on their way to Baghdad. In Kirmanshah several people of rank and position came to visit Bahá'u'lláh to pay their respects but Mirza Yahya was afraid to contact Him. Such was his state of mind that when Aqay-i-Kalim, Bahá'u'lláh's faithful brother, called on him, Mirza Yahya was apprehensive lest someone should recognize his true identity. After some persuasion by Aqay-i-Kalim, he went and visited Bahá'u'lláh, knowing that Bahá'u'lláh would extend to him His protection and guidance. Feeling secure in His presence, he expressed the desire to go to Baghdad and live alone, incognito, in a house close to Bahá'u'lláh's, and engage in a trade there. Bahá'u'lláh gave him a small sum of money and he bought a few bales of cotton, disguised himself as an Arab and, soon after Bahá'u'lláh's arrival in Baghdad, found his way to that city.
Being a master in the art of disguise, he arrived at Bahá'u'lláh's doorstep in Baghdad dressed as a dervish, kashkul (alms box) in hand. So well was he disguised that Aqay-i-Kalim, who answered the door, did not recognize him at first. He stayed for a few days in the house of Bahá'u'lláh but asked that neither his identity nor his arrival in the city be divulged to the believers in Iraq. He was helped to secure a residence in the Arab quarter of the city where no Persians resided. There he spent his time in hiding during the day, emerging only at night when he would go to the house of Bahá'u'lláh, meet with Aqay-i-Kalim and then return home in the late hours. He even had threatened that if anyone insisted on visiting him and revealing his identity, he would excommunicate him from the Babi community.
The majesty of Bahá'u'lláh was apparent to the, members of His family. In the light of this the two faithful brothers, Aqay-i-Kalim and Mirza Muhammad-Quli, who accompanied Bahá'u'lláh on His exile, showed the utmost humility to Him. Even Mirza Yahya showed great respect to Bahá'u'lláh until he fell under the spell of Siyyid Muhammad-i-Isfahani, who duped him. Some individuals who were close to Mirza Yahya have testified that he felt so inadequate to meet with Bahá'u'lláh that whenever he entered into His presence and came face to face with His majestic person, he was unable to put forward his thoughts and became utterly speechless. Mirza Aqa Jan, Bahá'u'lláh's amanuensis, was at first surprised to find Mirza Yahya so helpless and mute in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh until later he realized that Mirza Yahya was like anyone else.
Since the martyrdom of the Bab, it was Bahá'u'lláh who had guided the Babi community. During the days before Mirza Yahya's rebellion, at times when he was in a place accessible to Him, Bahá'u'lláh used to call him into His presence and dictate to him His utterances. His message would then be communicated to the Babi community in Mirza Yahya's name. Many years after Mirza Yahya's rebellion, Bahá'u'lláh, in the following passage in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, reminds him of earlier days when he used to attain His presence and take down His words:
Granted that the people were confused about thy station, is it
conceivable that thou thyself art similarly confused? Tremble
before thy Lord and recall the days when thou didst stand before
Our throne, and didst write down the verses that We dictated unto
thee — verses sent down by God, the Omnipotent Protector, the
Lord of might and power.
[102 Bahá'u'lláh, Kitab-i-Aqdas, para. 184.]
The main reason that the Bab, at the suggestion of Bahá'u'lláh, appointed Mirza Yahya the leader of the Babi community was to protect Bahá'u'lláh from the assaults of an implacable enemy. Thus the Bab diverted public attention from Bahá'u'lláh and at the same time provided a means for Him to unobtrusively direct the affairs of the Babi community until such time as His station was revealed. The fact that various communications to the Babis were issued in the name of Mirza Yahya caused certain uninformed Babis to think that he was the author.
Around the time that the followers of Mirza Yahya were cast out of the community of the Most Great Name, Bahá'u'lláh revealed a beautiful Tablet in Adrianople, known as the Tablet of Zagh va Bulbul (the Raven and the Nightingale)[*] Its imagery depicts a delightful drama in which several figures conduct two-way dialogues. Among them are the rose and the nightingale, both symbolic of Bahá'u'lláh. There are also birds disguised as nightingales, symbolizing the unfaithful. The raven represents Mirza Yahya and the owl one of his followers. Here is a summary of part of the Tablet, paraphrased by the author:
[*For further information about this Tablet see Taherzadeh, Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 2, pp. 241-3. In Persian literature the raven's coarse croak is symbolic of evil while the owl is a symbol of doom and ruin.]
The owl argues that the song of the crow is much more melodious
than that of the nightingale. Challenging this statement, the
nightingale demands some evidence and invites the owl to investigate
by listening to the melody of each bird, so that the sweet
music of the Bird of Heaven can be distinguished from the croaking
of the raven. But the owl refuses and says, 'Once from inside a rose-garden
the enchanting voice of a bird reached my ears and when
I enquired its origin, I was informed that the voice was that of the
raven. Simultaneously, a raven flew out of the garden and it became
clear to me who the singer was.'
'But that was my voice,' said the nightingale to the owl, 'and to
prove it I can warble similar if not more beautiful melodies now.'
'I am not interested in hearing thy songs,' the owl replied, 'for
I saw the raven and have been assured by others that the melody
from inside the garden was his. If the tune of this heavenly music
was thine, how is it that thou wert hidden from the eyes of men and
thy fame did not reach them?'
'Because of my beauty,' replied the nightingale, 'I have been
despised by my enemies. They were resolved to put an end to my
life and for this reason my melodies were noised abroad in the
name of the raven. But those with unsullied hearts and sanctified
ears have been able to distinguish the voice of the true nightingale
from the croaking of the raven.'
It must be remembered that ever since the days of Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdad the great majority of the believers in Persia had turned to Him as the focal point of the Babi community. To Him they went for help and enlightenment and from Him received their guidance. His spiritual ascendancy and influence were so strikingly manifest that even the enemies of the Cause felt their fame. To a great many believers Mirza Yahya was only a name. There were some, however, who, either because of their ignorance of the facts, or through their devotion to the Bab who had appointed him as His nominee, were eager to meet Mirza Yahya.
One such person was Siyyid 'Abdu'r-Rahim-i-Isfahani, a well-known believer who had collected certain extracts from the Bayan and other books of the Bab which he used to prove that Bahá'u'lláh was the Promised One of the Bayan and that Azal was only a name without a reality, like a body without a soul. As a result of such pronouncements Aqa Siyyid 'Abdu'r-Rahim was denounced by some. He used to give the following account:
After the martyrdom of the Bab when Azal had become famous,
I travelled from Isfahan to Tihran with the express purpose of
meeting him. In the bazaar I met Bahá'u'lláh, the Day-Star of
Revelation, the Speaker of Sinai ... the mention of whose name
has adorned the Books and Tablets of the Bab. I attained His
presence at a time when His glory was hidden behind a myriad
veils of light. He asked me if I had come to meet Azal. I answered
in the affirmative. I had actually attained the presence of
Bahá'u'lláh before this at Badasht. I had recognized His glory and
greatness, His uniqueness and magnanimity by the manner in
which Quddus and Tahirih used to bow before Him. I also knew
the deeds and actions of Azal; nevertheless. since he was known as
the nominee of the Bab I considered meeting with him as a means
of nearness to God. I went, in the company of Bahá'u'lláh, to His
house. He asked for tea to be served. Thereupon Azal brought the
samovar and served the tea. He was standing in the presence of
Bahá'u'lláh, from Whose tongue were flowing the rivers of wisdom
and knowledge. After drinking tea, Bahá'u'lláh rose, and turning
to Azal said, 'He has come to see you' and then went into the inner
court of the house. Azal sat down, I bowed and expressed my
devotion to him, but he had nothing to say to me.
[103 Haydar-'Ali, Bihjatu's-Sudur, pp. 22-4.]
Another person of wide repute who was eager to meet Mirza Yahya was Shaykh Salman,[*] honoured by Bahá'u'lláh as the 'Messenger of the Merciful' and one of the outstanding believers who for almost 40 years carried Tablets and messages from Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá to the believers. This encounter occurred in the early days of Bahá'u'lláh's sojourn in Baghdad. After much pleading by Shaykh Salman, Mirza Yahya agreed to meet him outside the city on a hill-top. When the interview took place, Mirza Yahya had nothing to say except trivialities. He was interested in the telegraph poles (a novelty in those days) and wanted Shaykh Salman to guess the distance between two poles! The few others who succeeded in meeting Mirza Yahya in Baghdad also quickly recognized his ignorance and shallow-mindedness.
[* See Taherzadeh, Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1.]
In His Will and Testament 'Abdu'l-Bahá quotes the exhortations of the Bab:
Beware, beware, lest the Nineteen Letters of the Living
and that which hath been revealed in the Bayan veil thee!
As we survey the ministry of the Bab, which lasted a little over six years, we note that the most significant part of His writings was devoted to establishing a mighty Covenant with His followers concerning the Revelation of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' — Bahá'u'lláh. Indeed, no Manifestation of God before Him ever devoted so much of His Revelation to the subject of the Covenant. When we carefully study the Bayan, the Mother Book of the Babi Dispensation, we note that on practically every page of that book there is a mention of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', stating some aspect of His Revelation but always extolling His station and mentioning His name with a reverence that staggers the imagination. The Bab mentioned 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' in the Persian Bayan more than three hundred times and in the Arabic Bayan more than 70. There are also references to Him without mentioning this designation. In several instances the Bab identifies 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' with the designation Bahá'u'lláh.
The announcement of the Revelation of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' is not limited to the Bayan. In the great majority of His writings the Bab directed the attention of the Babis to that great Revelation which was to follow Him, established a firm Covenant with them and directed all the forces of His Revelation towards the spiritual enrichment of the Babi community in order to rear a new race of men worthy to attain the presence of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', recognize His station and embrace His Cause.
The laws He promulgated, some very severe, were designed to shake up the lethargic people of Persia and to inflame His own followers with the zeal and fervour of a new and dynamic Faith. In past Dispensations, the energies latent within God's Revelation have taken about a thousand years to be fully released and diffused gradually throughout human society. In the Dispensation of the Bab, however, the energies of a mighty Revelation had to be released within a very short period of time. Therefore, everything associated with His Faith — His laws, His teachings, His own public appearances, His ministry, His personal life and His martyrdom — were all characterized by a dynamism and forcefulness unparalleled in the annals of past religions and which exerted a most potent and electrifying influence upon friend and foe alike.
The laws of the Bayan were promulgated for the sake of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. The aim of the Bab in revealing the laws of His Dispensation was to edify the souls of His followers and mould their conduct so they would be worthy to embrace the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. In the Kitab-i-Asma', one of His celebrated writings, He reveals these thought-provoking words:
But for the sole reason of His being present amongst this people,
We would have neither prescribed any law nor laid down any
prohibition. It is only for the glorification of His Name and the
exaltation of His Cause that We have enunciated certain laws at
Our behest, or forbidden the acts to which We are averse, so that
at the hour of His manifestation ye may attain through Him the
good-pleasure of God and abstain from the things that are abhorrent
[104 The Bab, Selections, p. 149.]
The Covenant that the Bab made with His followers concerning 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' was firm and irrevocable. Because His advent was unquestionable, assured as the midday sun, the Bab did not appoint a successor. Instead, He appointed Mirza Yahya as the leader of the community until the advent of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. So real was His advent that the Bab in the early days of His Revelation in Shiraz despatched Mulla Husayn, the first to believe in the Bab, to Tihran for the sole purpose of searching for and establishing contact with 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', the One who was the source of the Revelation of the Bab, the object of His adoration and the One in whose path He longed to lay down His life.
Innumerable are the passages in the Bab's writings in which He extols the station of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', portrays His person as majestic, awe-inspiring, incomparable and infinitely glorious, describes the inconceivable greatness of His Revelation, regards Himself as the lowliest servant of His threshold, recognizes Him as the Source of His own Revelation and the object of His adoration and cherishes the desire to lay down His life in His path. Indeed, no Manifestation of God has ever made such a mighty Covenant with His followers regarding the Manifestation who was to follow. The following passages from the writings of the Bab are among those that reveal the greatness of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh and the exalted station of its author. He writes:
Of ail the tributes I have paid to Him who is to come after Me, the
greatest is this, My written confession, that no words of Mine can
adequately describe Him, nor can any reference to Him in My
Book, the Bayan, do justice to His Cause.
[105 The Bab, quoted in Shoghi Effendi, World Order, p. 100.]
The Bab has clearly stated to His followers that His Revelation is entirely dependent upon 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' and that He is only a servant at His threshold. In His Qayyumu'l-Asma', the first emanations of His pen, the Bab communes with Bahá'u'lláh in these words:
Out of utter nothingness, O great and omnipotent Master, Thou
hast, through the celestial potency of Thy might, brought me forth
and raised me up to proclaim this Revelation. I have made none
other but Thee my trust; I have clung to no will but Thy will...
[106 ibid. (The Bab, quoted in Shoghi Effendi, World Order, p. 100.)]
And in the same book He craves for martyrdom in the path of Bahá'u'lláh, whom He addresses as the 'Remnant of God'.
...O Thou Remnant of God! I have sacrificed myself wholly for
Thee; I have accepted curses for Thy sake, and have yearned for
naught but martyrdom in the path of Thy love. Sufficient witness
unto me is God, the Exalted, the Protector, the Ancient of Days.
[107 ibid. (The Bab, quoted in Shoghi Effendi, World Order, p. 100.)]
In a Tablet addressed to 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', the Bab writes:
This is an epistle from this lowly servant to the All-Glorious Lord
— He Who hath been aforetime and will be hereafter made manifest.
Verily He is the Most Manifest, the Almighty.
[108 The Bab, Selections, p. 3.]
There are many passages in the writings of the Bab in which He states that He will be the first to acknowledge the Cause of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' and bow before Him as a lowly servant. A few examples follow:
Were He to appear this very moment, I would be the first to adore
Him, and the first to bow down before Him.
[109 The Bab, quoted in Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 171.]
'I, verily, am a believer in Him, and in His Faith, and in His Book,
and in His Testimonies, and in His Ways, and all that proceed
from Him concerning them. I glory in My kinship with Him, and
pride Myself on My belief in Him.' And likewise, He saith: 'O
congregation of the Bayan and all who are therein! Recognize ye
the limits imposed upon you, for such a One as the Point of the
Bayan Himself hath believed in Him Whom God shall make
manifest, before all things were created. Therein, verily, do I glory
before all who are in the kingdom of heaven and earth.'
[110 ibid. p. 154. (The Bab, quoted in Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the
'The whole of the Bayan is only a leaf amongst the leaves of His
Paradise.' And likewise, He saith: 'I am the first to adore Him, and
pride Myself on My kinship with Him.'
[111 ibid. p. 158. (The Bab, quoted in Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the
The following are utterances of the Bab gleaned from His various writings as He extols the person of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. In the Persian Bayan, the Bab states that 'He Whom God shall make manifest', as the Mouthpiece of God, will proclaim:
Verily, verily, I am God, no God is there but Me; in truth all others
except Me are My creatures. Say, O My creatures! Me alone,
therefore, should ye fear.
[112 The Bab, Selections, p. 98.]
He, verily is the One Who, under all conditions, proclaimeth: 'I,
in very truth, am God.
[113 The Bab, quoted in Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf , pp 154-5.]
The glory of Him Whom God shall make manifest is immeasurably
above every other glory, and His majesty is far above every other
majesty. His beauty excelleth every other embodiment of beauty,
and His grandeur immensely exceedeth every other manifestation
of grandeur. Every light paleth before the radiance of His light,
and every other exponent of mercy falleth short before the tokens
of His mercy. Every other perfection is as naught in the face of His
consummate perfection, and every other display of might is as
nothing before His absolute might. His names are superior to all
other names. His good-pleasure taketh precedence over any other
expression of good-pleasure. His pre-eminent exaltation is far
above the reach of every other symbol of exaltation. The splendour
of His appearance far surpasses that of any other appearance. His
divine concealment is far mote profound than any other concealment.
His loftiness is immeasurably above every other loftiness.
His gracious favour is unequalled by any other evidence of favour.
His power transcendeth every power. His sovereignty is invincible
in the face of every other sovereignty. His celestial dominion is
exalted far above every other dominion. His knowledge pervadeth
all created things, and His consummate power extendeth over all
[114 The Bab, Selections, p. 157.]
If ye seek God, it behooveth you to seek Him Whom God shall
[115 ibid. p. 131. (The Bab, Selections.)]
Similarly He states:
From the beginning that hath no beginning all men have bowed
in adoration before Him Whom God shall make manifest and will
continue to do so until the end that hath no end. How strange then
that at the time of His appearance ye should pay homage by day
and night unto that which the Point of the Bayan hath enjoined
upon you and yet fail to worship Him Whom God shall make
[116 ibid. p. 155. (The Bab, Selections.)]
In the Persian Bayan the Bab states that attaining unto the presence of God as promised in the Holy Books would be none other than attaining the presence of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', for man has no access to the Essence of God. In another
passage' He mentions Bahá'u'lláh by name and categorically states that He is the 'Primal Will' of God. In several other instances the Bab refers to Bahá'u'lláh by name. In a celebrated passage in the Persian Bayan He states:
[117 The Bab, Persian Bayan, III, 7.]
[118 ibid. III, 15. (The Bab, Persian Bayan.)]
Well is it with him who fixeth his gaze upon the Order of Bahá'u'lláh,
and rendereth thanks unto his Lord. For He will assuredly
be made manifest. God hath indeed irrevocably ordained it in the
[119 The Bab, quoted in Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 25.]
The Bab considered His own Revelation to be a gift to 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. These are some of His utterances concerning the Bayan, the Mother Book of the Babi Dispensation:
Suffer not yourselves to be shut out as by a veil from God after He
bath revealed Himself For all that hath been exalted in the Bayan
is but as a ring upon My hand, and I Myself am, verily, but a ring
upon the hand of Him Whom God shall make manifest — glorified
be His mention! He turneth it as He pleaseth, for whatsoever He
pleaseth, and through whatsoever He pleaseth. He, verily, is the
Help in Peril, the Most High.
[120 The Bab, quoted in Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp. 154-5.]
The whole of the Bayan is only a leaf amongst the leaves of His
[121 ibid., p. 152. (The Bab, quoted in Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf.)]
The Bayan is from beginning to end the repository of all of His
attributes, and the treasury of both His fire and His light.
[122 ibid, p. 174. (The Bab, quoted in Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf.)]
I swear by the most holy Essence of God — exalted and glorified
be He — that in the Day of the appearance of Him Whom God shall
make manifest a thousand perusals of the Bayan cannot equal the
perusal of a single verse to be revealed by Him Whom God shall
[123 The Bab, Selections, p. 104.]
I swear by the most sacred Essence of God that but one line of the
Words uttered by Him is more sublime than the words uttered by
all that dwell on earth. Nay, I beg forgiveness for making this
comparison. How could the reflections of the sun in the mirror
compare with the wondrous rays of the sun in the visible heaven?
[124 ibid. p. 100. (The Bab, Selections.)]
The year-old germ that holdeth within itself the potentialities of
the Revelation that is to come is endowed with a potency superior
to the combined forces of the whole of the Bayan.
[125 The Bab, quoted in Bahá'u'lláh Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 151.)]
In a Tablet to Mulla Baqir, a Letter of the Living, the Bab testifies, in these words, to the exalted character of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest':
I have written down in My mention of Him these gem-like words:
'No allusion of Mine can allude unto Him, neither anything
mentioned in the Bayan' ... 'Exalted and glorified is He above
the power of any one to reveal Him except Himself, or the description
of any of His creatures. I Myself am but the first servant to
believe in Him and in His signs, and to partake of the sweet
savours of His words from the first-fruits of the Paradise of His
knowledge. Yea, by His glory! He is the Truth. There is none other
God but Him. All have risen at His bidding.'
[126 ibid. p. 141 (The Bab, quoted in Bahá'u'lláh Epistle to the Son of the
The Bab repeatedly gave the year nine as the date of the appearance of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. The declaration of the Bab took place in the year 1260 AH (AD 1844). The year nine is 1269 AH, which began about the middle of October 1852 when Bahá'u'lláh had already been imprisoned for about two months in the Siyah-Chal of Tihran, the scene of the birth of His Revelation. The following are a few passages concerning the year nine:
'In the year nine ye will attain unto all good.' On another occasion
He saith: 'In the year nine ye will attain unto the Presence of
[127 ibid. (The Bab, quoted in Bahá'u'lláh Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 141.)]
Ere nine will have elapsed from the inception of this Cause, the
realities of the created things will not be made manifest. All that
thou hast as yet seen is but the stage from the moist germ until We
clothed it with flesh. Be patient, until thou beholdest a new creation.
Say: 'Blessed, therefore, be God, the most excellent of
[128 ibid. p. 152. (The Bab, quoted in Bahá'u'lláh Epistle to the Son of the Wolf.)]
The Bab also mentioned the year nineteen with regard to the Revelation of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. This is a reference to the public declaration of Bahá'u'lláh in the Garden of Ridvan in Baghdad which occurred 19 years after the inception of the Bahá'í Era in 1844:
The Lord of the Day of Reckoning will be manifested at the end
of Vahid (19) and the beginning of eighty (1280 AH).
[129 The Bab, quoted in Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 29.]
Although the Bab has made several references to the years nine and nineteen, nevertheless He makes it abundantly clear that the time of the advent of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' is entirely in His own hands. Whenever He appears, all must follow Him.
There are innumerable passages in the Bab's writings exhorting His followers to be watchful, and as soon as the Supreme Manifestation of God reveals Himself, to recognize and follow Him immediately He counsels them to allow no doubt to enter their minds when
informed of the appearance of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. He warns them repeatedly to beware lest anything in the world, including the Bayan or any other of the Bab's writings, should become a barrier between them and 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. The following utterance of the Bab, urging His followers to be faithful to 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', is one quotation gleaned from among many:
At the time of the manifestation of Him Whom God shall make
manifest everyone should be well trained in the teachings of the
Bayan, so that none of the followers may outwardly cling to the Bayan
and thus forfeit their allegiance unto Him. If anyone does so, the
verdict of 'disbeliever in God' shall be passed upon Him.
[130 The Bab, Selections, p. 85.]
The Bab enjoined His followers to read once every 19 days chapter VI:8 of the Bayan so that they might prepare themselves for the Revelation of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest':
Beware, beware lest, in the days of His Revelation, the Vahid of
the Bayan (eighteen Letters of the Living) shut thee not out as by
a veil from Him, inasmuch as this Vahid is but a creature in His
sight. And beware, beware that the words sent down in the Bayan
shut thee not out as by a veil from Him.
[131 The Bab, quoted in Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 153.]