The Relationship Between the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh – by Rick Schaut

imageThe Báb and Bahá’u’lláh were contemporaries. This unprecedented confluence of the Twin Manifestations of God affords us a unique opportunity to explore how these two Luminaries related to One Another. Their devotion to Each Other, the manner in which They addressed Each Other and Their deference to Each Other can give us insights into the Station of a Manifestation of God.

The earliest episode we might examine occurs as The Báb entrusts several of his early followers with a number of tasks. To Mulla Husayn He gave a scroll wrapped in fine cloth, addressing him with these words:

“Grieve not that you have not been chosen to accompany Me on My pilgrimage to Hijáz. I shall, instead, direct your steps to that city which enshrines a Mystery of such transcendent holiness as neither Hijáz nor Shíráz 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.”[1]

Here, “Hijáz” is a reference to Muhammad and “Shíráz” is a reference to The Báb Himself, and “that city” refers to Tehrán. The Báb’s instructions included a number of stops along the way, all of which are detailed in history texts. We’re interested in the events that occurred upon his arrival in that city.

Mulla Husayn encountered  Mulla Muhammad-i-Mu’allim, who later became a Babi, and began to enquire as to whether or not a Son of the illustrious Mirza Buzurg resided there. Upon receiving an answer in the affirmative and enquiring as to the qualities of this Son, Mulla Husayn gave the entrusted scroll to Mulla Muhammad and asked that it be delivered into Baha’u’llah’s hands. Mulla Muhammad describes what happened:

“Unfolding the scroll, He [Baha’u’llah] glanced at its contents and began to read aloud to us certain of its passages. I sat enraptured as I listened to the sound of His voice and the sweetness of its melody. He had read a page of the scroll when, turning to His brother, He said: “Músá, what have you to say? Verily I say, whoso believes in the Qur’án and recognises 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 judgment and has strayed far from the path of justice.” He spoke no more. Dismissing me from His presence, He charged me to take to Mullá Husayn, as a gift from Him, a loaf of Russian sugar and a package of tea, and to convey to him the expression of His appreciation and love.”[2]

At that time, Russian sugar and tea were rare delicacies in Persia.

Nabil-i-Zarandi, after having chronicled the early days of The Báb’s Ministry offers his own summary of this relationship:

“The Báb, whose trials and sufferings had preceded, in almost every case, those of Bahá’u’lláh, had offered Himself to ransom His Beloved from the perils that beset that precious Life; whilst Bahá’u’lláh, on His part, unwilling that He who so greatly loved Him should be the sole Sufferer, shared at every turn the cup that had touched His lips. Such love no eye has ever beheld, nor has mortal heart conceived such mutual devotion. If the branches of every tree were turned into pens, and all the seas into ink, and earth and heaven rolled into one parchment, the immensity of that love would still remain unexplored, and the depths of that devotion unfathomed.”[3]

Dr. Nader Saiedi, in “Logos and Civilization,” notes that in one of His Writings, Bahá’u’lláh,

“refers to the laws of the Bayán which encourage refinement in all things, living in the best houses with the best furniture, wearing the best clothes, using the best perfumes, eating the best foods, and which allow more than two thousand types of food in feasts organized to honor the Promised One. As Bahá’u’lláh says, the explicit purpose of the Báb in revealing all these laws was to ensure that the eyes of the Promised One would never gaze upon unpleasant things and that He would never become subject to hardship and suffering.”[4]

The Báb knew that Bahá’u’lláh would be living amongst the Bábís, but that they would not fully apprehend His Station until Bahá’u’lláh revealed that station Himself. These laws of the Bayan form a part of The Báb’s Lesser Covenant, a topic that we will take up in our next presentation on the Covenant.

[1] “The Dawnbreakers: Nabil’s Narrative,” p 96 http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/nz/DB/db-22.html

[2] “The Dawnbreakers: Nabil’s Narrative,” pp 106-7 http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/nz/DB/db-23.html

[3] “The Dawnbreakers: Nabil’s Narrative,” pp 372-3 http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/nz/DB/db-38.html

[4] “Logos and Civilization,” p 208 online text not available

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