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Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era

  • Author:
  • J. E. Esslemont

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 edition
  • Pages:
  • 286
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Page 13

Early Life

Mírzá ‘Alí Muḥammad, Who afterwards assumed the title of Báb (i.e. Gate), was born at Shíráz, in the south of Persia, on the 20th of October 1819 A.D. 1 He was a Siyyid, that is, a descendant of the Prophet Muḥammad. His father, a well-known merchant, died soon after His birth, and He was then placed under the care of a maternal uncle, a merchant of Shíráz, who brought Him up. In childhood He learned to read, and received the elementary education customary for children. 2 At the age of fifteen He went into business, at first with His guardian, and afterward with another uncle who lived at Búshihr, on the shore of the Gulf of Persia.
As a youth He was noted for great personal beauty and charm of manner, and also for exceptional piety, and nobility of character. He was unfailing in His observance of the prayers, fasts and other ordinances of the Muḥammadan religion, and not only obeyed the letter, but lived in the spirit of the Prophet’s teachings. He married when about twenty-two years of age. Of this marriage one son was born, who died while still an infant, in the first year of the Báb’s public ministry.
1. First day of Muharram, 1235 A.H.   [ Back To Reference]
2. On this point a historian remarks: “The belief of many people in the East, especially the believers in the Báb (now Bahá’ís) was this: that the Báb received no education, but that the Mullás, in order to lower him in the eyes of the people, declared that such knowledge and wisdom as he possessed were accounted for by the education he had received. After deep search into the truth of this matter we have found evidence to show that in childhood for a short time he used to go to the house of Shaykh Muḥammad (also known as Abid) where he was taught to read and write in Persian. It was this to which the Báb referred when he wrote in the book of Bayán: ‘O Muḥammad, O my teacher! …’

“The remarkable thing is this, however, that this Shaykh, who was his teacher, became a devoted disciple of his own pupil, and the uncle of the Báb who was like a father to him, whose name was Ḥájí Siyyid ‘Alí, also became a devout believer and was martyred as a Bábí.

“The understanding of these mysteries is given to seekers after truth, but we know this, that such education as the Báb received was but elementary, and that whatever signs of unusual greatness and knowledge appeared in him were innate and from God.”   [ Back To Reference]