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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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Pages 33-34

Imprisonment in ‘Akká

At that time ‘Akká (Acre) was a prison city to which the worst criminals were sent from all parts of the Turkish Empire. On arriving there, after a miserable sea journey, Bahá’u’lláh and His followers, about eighty to eighty-four in number, including men, women and children, were imprisoned in the army barracks. The place was dirty and cheerless in the extreme. There were no beds or comforts of any sort. The food supplied was wretched and inadequate, so much so that after a time the prisoners begged to be allowed to buy their food for themselves. During the first few days the children were crying continually, and sleep was almost impossible. Malaria, dysentery and other diseases soon broke out, and everyone in the company fell sick, with the exception of two. Three succumbed to their sickness, and the sufferings of the survivors were indescribable. 1
This rigorous imprisonment lasted for over two years, during which time none of the Bahá’ís were allowed outside the prison door, except four men, carefully guarded, who went out daily to buy food.
During the imprisonment in the barracks, visitors were rigidly excluded. Several of the Bahá’ís of Persia came all the way on foot for the purpose of seeing their beloved leader, but 34 were refused admittance within the city walls. They used to got to a place on the plain outside the third moat, from which they could see the windows of Bahá’u’lláh’s quarters. He would show Himself to them at one of the windows and after gazing on Him from afar, they would weep and return to their homes, fired with new zeal for sacrifice and service.
1. In order to bury two of those who died, Bahá’u’lláh gave His own carpet to be sold for the expenses of their burial, but instead of using this money for that purpose the soldiers appropriate it, and thrust the bodies into a hole in the ground.   [ Back To Reference]