You will recall our previous post regarding the two luminaries, Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kazim, who devoted their lives to the advent of the Qá’im (He who arises). Before Siyyid Kazim died, he told his followers to scatter and find the Promised One, the 12th Imam of Islam. Upon the death of Siyyid Kazim, fear and anxiety filled the hearts of his faithful disciples, but Mullá Husayn was very resilient and fervent in his quest of Him to whose advent his teacher had so often alluded.
Mullá Husayn was born in 1813 and as a student at school he demonstrated his capacity to memorize passages from the Qu’ran and was an exemplary student. His father, Haji Mulla ‘Abdu’llah, and his mother were part of the elite and wealthy people of Bushruyih, a small town not far from Mashhad, Iran. Various narratives of those periods mention that Mullá Husayn’s mother was a notable lady endowed with ability to write eloquent poems. He had three brothers and two sisters.
Upon reaching the age of twelve, after completing his studies in Bushruyih, Mullá Husayn went to the nearby city of Mashhad, the most prestigious center of religious study in Iran, to pursue his religious studies. There, Mullá Husayn showed great spiritual capacities, and upon blessings from his parents, he decided to follow the path of religion and become a mujtahid (A Muslim Doctor of Law). Soon he became attracted to the doctrines of Shaykh Ahmad (as you will recall from our first post) and became a follower of Shaykh Ahmad’s successor, Siyyid Kazim.
Upon the passing away of his father, Mullá Husayn, who during this specific period was unraveling the mystery of the Qa’im together with Siyyid Kazim, had to temporarily leave him and come back to his hometown to take care of his family. However, this did not last for long and he felt the urge to leave for Karbila. His entire family decided to accompany him to Karbila, so they sold some of their property in the village and left. Thus began Mullá Husayn’s journey to Iraq to rejoin his master Siyyid Kazim. This was in 1831 and Mullá Husayn was only 18 years old!
During the early months of 1844, Mullá Husayn felt the need to leave his fellow-disciples and journey from Karbila for Najaf. With him were Muhammad-Hasan, his brother, and Muhammad-Baqir, his nephew, both of whom had accompanied him ever since his visit to his native town of Bushruyih. Just before his arrival in Najaf he decided to spend forty days at Masjid-i-Kufih, where he led a life of retirement and prayer to prepare himself for the holy adventure upon which he was soon to embark. Immediately after, Mullá Husayn, together with his two disciples, departed for Najaf and proceeded directly to Bushihr. From there he was attracted by an irresistible force to Shiraz.
On 22nd May 1844, a few hours before sunset, whilst walking outside the gate of the city of Shiraz, he met The Báb, who was wearing a green turban and who, advancing towards him, greeted him with a smile of loving welcome. He embraced Mullá Husayn with tender affection as though he had been his intimate and lifelong friend. Mullá Husayn initially thought that he was a disciple of Siyyid Kazim but would soon realize that he had come into the presence of the Qa’im. Mullá Husayn was invited by The Báb to visit his home to refresh himself and have tea. Below is a quote from the Dawn Breakers in Mullá Husayn ’s own words regarding his encounter with The Báb.
`We soon found ourselves standing at the gate of a house of modest appearance. He knocked at the door, which was soon opened by an Ethiopian servant. “Enter therein in peace, secure,” were His words as He crossed the threshold and motioned me to follow Him. His invitation, uttered with power and majesty, penetrated my soul”. He further added “It was about an hour after sunset when my youthful Host began to converse with me. “Whom, after Siyyid Kazim,” He asked me, “do you regard as his successor and your leader?” “At the hour of his death,” I replied, “our departed teacher insistently exhorted us to forsake our homes, to scatter far and wide, in quest of the promised Beloved. I have, accordingly, journeyed to Persia, have arisen to accomplish his will, and am still engaged in my quest.” “Has your teacher,” He further enquired, “given you any detailed indications as to the distinguishing features of the promised One?” “Yes,” I replied, “He is of a pure lineage, is of illustrious descent, and of the seed of Fatimih. As to His age, He is more than twenty and less than thirty. He is endowed with innate knowledge. He is of medium height, abstains from smoking, and is free from bodily deficiency.” He paused for a while and then with vibrant voice declared: “Behold, all these signs are manifest in Me!” That evening was the declaration of The Báb on the 22nd of May 1844 and He told Mullá Husayn that this moment would be celebrated in the future throughout the world. Mullá Husayn further states “He then addressed me in these words: “O thou who art the first to believe in Me! Verily I say, I am the Bab, the Gate of God, and thou art the Babu’l-Bab, the gate of that Gate. Eighteen souls must, in the beginning, spontaneously and of their own accord, accept Me and recognise the truth of My Revelation. Unwarned and uninvited, each of these must seek independently to find Me”.
After Mullá Husayn met The Báb, it took nearly 3 months for the rest of the 18 Letters of Living to recognize Him independently. Soon afterwards the Báb gave them their assignments and revealed a Tablet in honor of each of them before sending them away. He took the last Letter of the Living, Quddus, with Him to go for Pilgrimage to Mecca in fulfillment of Islamic prophecy and gave Mullá Husayn an unusual assignment, which was to deliver a letter to a person in Teheran without actually mentioning the name of the recipient. Upon his departure to Teheran, The Báb addressed to Mullá Husayn “Grieve not that you have not been chosen to accompany Me on My pilgrimage to Hijaz. I shall, instead, direct your steps to that city which enshrines a Mystery of such transcendent holiness as neither Hijaz nor Shiraz can hope to rival. My hope is that you may, by the aid of God, be enabled to remove the veils from the eyes of the wayward and to cleanse the minds of the malevolent”.
Upon his arrival in Teheran, Mullá Husayn met Mullá Muhammad and whilst sharing the glad tidings regarding the Qa’im, he came across the name of Husayn-‘Alí who was later known as Bahá’u’lláh. Mullá Husayn took some of the Báb’s Writings, which were rolled up in a piece of cloth, gave them to Mullá Muhammad, and asked him to give them to Bahá’u’lláh in person at the hour of dawn. When Mullá Muhammad delivered the parcel to Bahá’u’lláh, He read The Báb’s Writings, and turning to His brother, Mírzá Músá, said: “Verily, I say, whoso believes in the Qur’án and recognizes its Divine origin, and yet hesitates, though it be for a moment, to admit that these soul-stirring words are endowed with the same regenerating power, has most assuredly erred in his judgement and has strayed far from the path of justice.” He sent Mullá Husayn a gift of a loaf of Russian sugar and a package of tea and a message of love and thanks. In this way, Bahá’u’lláh showed Mullá Husayn how precious He considered the Message which He had received. Mullá Husayn then wrote to The Báb about the gracious response of Bahá’u’lláh. This message brought great joy to The Báb who told Quddus “now the Cause of God is in capable hands and we could start our journey to Mecca”.
From that moment, Mullá Husayn dedicated his life to the spread of the Faith. His courageous service led him across Persia, as instructed by The Báb, to raise the call of the new age in cities, towns, and villages, and to establish Bábí communities wherever he went. Eventually he was surrounded by enemies at the Shrine of Shaykh Tabarsí and died a martyr on the field of battle.
Source and Quotes from:
(1) MULLÁ HUSAYN: Disciple at Dawn, By R. Mehrabkhani
(2) The Dawn Breakers: Nabil-i-A’zam
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