Meditations on the Martyrdom of the Bab:

Jun 2006
As we approach this Holy Day Thursady July 9th the anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Bab it occurred to me to post some remembrances of it's signiifcance. Here is the writing of Shoghi Effendi about the Shrine of the Bab:

Within this Most Holy Land rises the Mountain of God of immemorial sanctity, the Vineyard of the Lord, the Retreat of Elijah, Whose return the Bab Himself symbolizes. Reposing on the breast of this holy mountain are the extensive properties permanently dedicated to, and constituting the sacred precincts of, the Báb's holy Sepulcher.

In the midst of these properties, recognized as the international endowments of the Faith, is situated the most holy court, an enclosure comprising gardens and terraces which at once embellish, and lend a peculiar charm to, these sacred precincts. Embosomed in these lovely and verdant surroundings stands in all its exquisite beauty the mausoleum of the Bab, the shell designed to preserve and adorn the original structure raised by 'Abdu'l-Bahá as the tomb of the Martyr-Herald of our Faith.

Within this shell is enshrined that Pearl of Great Price, the holy of holies, those chambers which constitute the tomb itself, and which were constructed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Within the heart of this holy of holies is the tabernacle, the vault wherein reposes the most holy casket. Within this vault rests the alabaster sarcophagus in which is deposited that inestimable jewel, the Báb's holy dust.

So precious is this dust that the very earth surrounding the edifice enshrining this dust has been extolled by the Center of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, in one of His Tablets in which He named the five doors belonging to the six chambers which He originally erected after five of the believers associated with the construction of the Shrine, as being endowed with such potency as to have inspired Him in bestowing these names, whilst the tomb itself housing this dust He acclaimed as the spot round which the Concourse on high circle in adoration.

~~~ Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, pp. 95-96
Jun 2006
Background of the Martyrdom:

The man who took the decision to have the Báb executed was Mirza Taqi Khan, the Grand Vizier of Násiri'd-Dín Sháh His obdurate nature brooked no opposition. Mirza Aqa Khan-i-Nuri, who had a ministerial post, made a faint protest, but his voice went unheeded. Orders were sent to Hamzih Mirza, the Hishmatu'd-Dawlih, Governor-General of Adharbayjan, to bring the Báb to Tabriz. When these were carried out further orders came from the Grand Vizier, brought by no less a person than his brother, Mirza Hasan Khan, the Vazir Nizam. They were to the effect that the Báb should be executed by a firing squad, in full public view. 153 Hishmatu'd-Dawlih refused absolutely to be associated in any way with such a dastardly action. His response was: 'I am neither Ibn-i-Ziyad nor Ibn-i-Sa'd[1] that he should call upon me to slay an innocent descendant of the Prophet of God.'(5)

[1 Men responsible for the tragedy of Karbila, and the martyrdom of Imam Husayn.]

The Grand Vizier, on being informed by Mirza Hasan Khan of this refusal, instructed his brother to carry out the orders under his own authority. Divested of His turban and sash which indicated His lineage, the Báb and His attendants were taken on foot to the barracks, from the house which the Governor had put at their disposal. On the way to the citadel, a youth, barefoot and dishevelled, threw himself at the feet of the Báb, beseeching Him: 'Send me not from Thee, O Master. Wherever Thou goest, suffer me to follow Thee.' To this the Báb replied: 'Muhammad-'Ali, arise, and rest assured that you will be with Me. Tomorrow you shall witness what God has decreed.'

~ H.M. Balyuzi, The Bab - The Herald of the Day of Days, p. 152
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Jun 2006
A few days before the martrydom of the Bab:

Mirza Hasan Khan summoned his chief of the farrashes, and gave him his instructions. They removed the Báb's turban and sash which were the signs of His Siyyid-hood, brought Him with four of His followers to the barrack square of Tabriz, confined Him in a cell, and appointed forty of the Christian soldiers of Tabriz to guard Him.

Next day the chief of the farrashes delivered over the Báb and a young man named Aqa Muhammad-'Ali who was of a noble family of Tabriz to Sam Khan, colonel of the Christian regiment of Urumiyyih, at the sentences of the learned divine Mulla Muhammad of Mamaqan, of the second ecclesiastical authority Mulla Mirza Baqir, and of the third ecclesiastical authority Mulla Murtada-Quli and others

~ Abdu'l-Baha, A Traveller's Narrative, p. 26
Jun 2006
"It is a miracle! He was a man of God!"

Sam Khan, could delay the command no longer.

The Báb had told him to do his duty; therefore, it was
apparently the will of God that his regiment should take the life
of the Báb. This was a source of great sorrow to him. Reluctantly
he gave the command, "Fire!" In turn, each of the files opened fire
upon the Báb and His companion until the entire regiment had
discharged its volley of bullets. There were over ten thousand
eye-witnesses to the electrifying spectacle that followed. One of
the historical accounts of that staggering moment states:

"The smoke of the firing of the seven hindered and fifty rifles was such
as to turn the light of noonday into darkness.

"As soon as the cloud of smoke had cleared away, an astounded multitude looked upon a scene which their eyes could scarcely believe. "There, standing
before them, alive and unhurt, was the companion of the Báb, whilst
He, Himself, had vanished from their sight. Though the cords with
which they had been suspended had been rent in pieces by the
bullets, yet their bodies had miraculously escaped the

Cries of astonishment, confusion and fear rang out
from the bewildered multitude. "The Báb has vanished!" "He is
freed!" they shrieked. "It is a miracle! He was a man of God!"
"They are slaying a man of God!" An intense clamor arose on all
sides. The crowd was already dangerous. The public square became
a bedlam as a frantic search for the Báb began. M C. Huart, a
French author who wrote of this episode, says: "The soldiers in
order to quiet the excitement of the crowd which, being extremely
agitated, was quite ready to believe the claims of a religion which
thus demonstrated its truth, showed the cords broken by the
bullets, implying that no miracle had really taken place."

"Look!" their actions implied. "The seven hundred and fifty
musket-balls have shattered the ropes into fragments. This is what
freed them. It is nothing more than this. It is no miracle."
Uproars and shouts continued on all sides. The people still were
not certain themselves what really had happened.

\M. C. Huart, giving his view of that astonishing event, states:
"Amazing to believe, the bullets had not struck the condemned but,
on the contrary, had broken the bonds and he was delivered. It was
a real miracle."

~~~ William Sears, Release the Sun, pp. 174-176