June 14, 2019


As his fellow Shaykhís gathered round to hear him speak near the entrance to the mosque, they noticed that although Mullá Husayn looked the same, he was somehow different. When he spoke, a new fire burned in his eyes. They still had not discovered the Promised One, but they sensed that Mullá Husayn knew, though he refused to say. However, he did recommend that they all fast and pray to God and that in time, the answer would come.

Gradually, as predicted by the Báb, almost all those who became the Letters of the Living were led by prayers and dreams to the house of the Báb, including Mullá Husayn’s nephew and brother. The Báb then told Mullá Husayn that one Letter of the Living remained to present himself and that he would arrive the next evening.

The following evening, as the Báb and Mullá Husayn were returning to His home, they were met by a young man in a state of agitation whose clothes were travel-stained with dust. He approached Mullá Husayn, hugged him and asked him if he had reached his goal, all the while staring at the Báb. Surprised, Mullá Husayn asked him to calm down and that he would soon let him know, but the young man never removed his gaze from the Báb.

“Why do you seek to hide Him from me? I can recognize Him from His gait. I confidently testify that none besides Him, whether in the east or the west, can claim to be the Truth. None other can manifest the power and majesty that radiates from His Holy Person.”

"Marvel not at his behaviour, replied the Báb while conferring with Mullá Husayn. We have been communing with that youth in the world of the spirit. We know him already and we indeed awaited his coming. Go to him and summon him forthwith to Our presence.” That youth, whose given name was Muhammad-‘Alí-Bárfurúsh but who was known as Quddús, which means ‘’the most holy”, became the eighteenth Letter of the Living.

In October 1844, five months after His declaration and the departure of the Letters of the Living on their mission to spread the Bábí Faith, the Báb, His servant Mubárak and Quddús prepared to leave Búshihr to embark on their pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina – as every Muslim should do at least once in their lives – in Arabia, the country of the Prophet Muhammad’s birth.

They boarded a ship bound for the Arabian port city of Jeddah, but sea travel was then very difficult: accommodations were uncomfortable, food was unpleasant and water scarce. The Persian Gulf was particularly stormy during this trip, and it tossed the flimsy ship and its occupants like a child’s toy upon its waves. Although many of its passengers, the majority of whom were pilgrims, cowered in fear at the angry elements and argued among themselves, this was not the case for the Báb and His companions. They were seen huddling undisturbed on the main deck, where the Báb engaged in prayer and dictated His tablets to Quddús, who recorded his words.

When they arrived at Jeddah, a camel was found for the Báb, but Quddús refused the offer of one, preferring to walk alongside the Báb as an act of humility and love. One morning, as the the Báb stopped by a well to recite His prayers, a Bedouin suddenly appeared, and rushing at them, snatched the Báb’s saddlebag containing His writings and ran off into the desert. Mubárak was about to run after him, but the Báb signaled that he should stay.

“Had I allowed you, you would surely have overtaken the man and punished him, but this is not to be. The papers and writings which that bag contains are destined to reach, through the instrumentality of this Arab, such places as we would never have succeeded in attaining. Grieve not, therefore, at this action, for this was decreed by God, the Ordainer, the Almighty.”

The Báb and His companions finally reached Mecca, and according to ancient custom, on the Day of Sacrifice (Eid-al-Adha) the Báb bought 19 lambs for slaughter: nine in His own name, seven for Quddús and three for Mubárak. The meat was then distributed to the needy and the poor. Although the beginning of the pilgrimage (known as the hajj) fell on the first day of winter, the heat was so intense that many pilgrims removed their turbans and outer coats to circle round the Ka’aba. However, the Báb, out of reverence, refused to follow their example. He circumambulated the Ka’aba fully dressed and never seemed the least bit bothered by the merciless sun.

On the last day of the hajj, the Báb met Mírzá Muhít-í-Kirmání, a cowardly and ambitious Shaykhí disciple who had not embraced the Báb’s claim. The Báb grabbed Mírzá Muhít’s hand and, placing His other hand on the Sacred Black Stone of the Ka’aba, challenged him: “O Muhít! You regard yourself as one of the most outstanding figures in the Shaykhí community and a distinguished teacher. In your heart you even consider yourself one of the direct successors of its founders. Behold, we are now standing within this most sacred shrine. Verily, I declare, none besides Me in this day, whether in the East or the West, can claim to be the Gate that leads men to the knowledge of God.”

He then invited Mírzá Muhít to ask Him whatever he wished and promised to reveal verses that would demonstrate the truth of His claim, refusing to let go of his hand until he made clear whether he would accept or refuse His offer. Eager only to escape, Mírzá Muhít attempted to flatter the Báb and submitted his questions, then said he would meet Him in Medina, where the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad was located, to receive the answers. However, Mírzá Muhít avoided Him in Medina, and although the Báb had written him a tablet called The Epistle Between the two Shrines, he refused to accept Him, and remained a source a opposition.

Before leaving for Medina, the Báb revealed a tablet that He sent to the Sherif of Mecca, the highest religious authority there. This man was so busy with his work that he never bothered to read the tablet until the Báb had left and knew nothing about its Author until after His martyrdom in Tabríz. When at last he read the Báb’s tablet, the rebuke was clear:

O Sherif! All thy life thou hast accorded worship unto Us, but when We manifested Ourself onto thee, thou didst desist from bearing witness unto Our Remembrance, and from affirming that He is indeed the Most Exalted, the Sovereign of Truth, the All-Glorious. Thus hath thy Lord put thee to proof in the Day of Resurrection. Verily, he is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. For hadst thou uttered “Here am I” at the time we sent thee the Book, We should have admitted thee to the company of such of Our servants as truly believe, and would have graciously praised thee in Our Book, until the Day when all men shall appear before Us for judgement … However, that which was preordained has come to pass.

After visiting Medina and ardently praying at the tombs of the Prophet Muhammad and the founder of the Shaykhí Faith, Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa’i, the three men left for Jeddah and boarded a ship bound for Búshihr. They arrived back on Persian soil where both triumph and persecution awaited the Báb and His followers.

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