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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 24-26

Imprisoned as Bábí

When the Báb declared His mission in 1844, Bahá’u’lláh, Who was then in His twenty-seventh year, boldly espoused the Cause of the new Faith, of which He soon became recognized as one of the most powerful and fearless exponents.
He had already twice suffered imprisonment for the Cause, and on one occasion had undergone the torture of the bastinado, when in August 1852, an event occurred fraught with terrible consequences for the Bábís. One of the Báb’s followers, a youth named Ṣádiq, had been so affected by the martyrdom of his beloved Master, of which he was an eyewitness, that his mind became deranged, and, in revenge, he waylaid the Sháh and fired a pistol at him. Instead of using a bullet, however, he charged his weapon with small shot, and although a few pellets struck the Sháh, no serious harm was done. The youth dragged the Sháh from his horse, but was promptly seized by the attendants of his Majesty and put to death on the spot. The whole body of Bábís was unjustly held responsible for the 25 deed, and frightful massacres ensued. Eighty of them were forthwith put to death in Ṭihrán with the most revolting tortures. Many others were seized and put into prisons, among them being Bahá’u’lláh. He afterwards wrote:—
By the righteousness of God! We were in no wise connected with that evil deed, and Our innocence was indisputably established by the tribunals. Nevertheless, they apprehended Us, and from Níyávarán, which was then the residence of His Majesty, conducted Us, on foot and in chains, with bared head and bare feet, to the dungeon of Ṭihrán. A brutal man, accompanying Us on horseback, snatched off Our hat, whilst We were being hurried along by a troop of executioners and officials. We were consigned for four months to a place foul beyond comparison. As to the dungeon in which this Wronged One and other similarly wronged were confined, a dark and narrow pit were preferable. Upon Our arrival We were first conducted along a pitch-black corridor, from whence We descended three steep flights of stairs to the place of confinement assigned to Us. The dungeon was wrapped in thick darkness, and Our fellow-prisoners numbered nearly a hundred and fifty souls: thieves, assassins and highwaymen. Though crowded, it had no other outlet than the passage by which We entered. No pen can depict that place, nor any tongue describe its loathsome smell. Most of these men had neither clothes nor bedding to lie on. God alone knoweth what befell Us in that most foul-smelling and gloomy place!
Day and night, while confined in that dungeon, We meditated upon the deeds, the condition, and the conduct of the Bábís, wondering what could have led a people so high-minded, so noble, and of such intelligence, to perpetrate such an audacious and outrageous act against the person of His Majesty. This Wronged One, thereupon, decided to arise, after His release from prison, and undertake, with the utmost vigor, the task of regenerating this people. 26
One night, in a dream these exalted words were heard on every side: “Verily, We shall render Thee victorious by Thyself and by Thy Pen. Grieve Thou not for that which hath befallen Thee, neither be Thou afraid, for Thou art in safety. Erelong will God raise up the treasures of the earth—men who will aid Thee through Thyself and through Thy Name, wherewith God hath revived the hearts of such as have recognized Him.”—Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp. 20–21.