The Martyrdom of Bab & his RemainsThey (Primal Point and his disciple Mirza Muhammad Ali Zanuzi) were martyred by a firing party of soldiers. Three volleys were fired in all 290 Mirza Jani in New History, P. 383; 298 Dr Browne’s footnote 1 in New History, P. 301 and Suleyman Khan’s statement to Mirza Jani, New History, PP. 309-310.
The first firing party was composed of Christian soldiers and the second firing party of Moslem soldiers. Subh-i Azal’s reply to A.L.M Nicholas, the translator of the Bayan.
In the presence of a great crowd Mirza Muhammad Ali was suspended by ropes from the parapet, and his body was riddled by a collies of bullets fired from the firing party.
Then a volley was fired by the same firing party at the BÂB, who was similarly suspended. When the smoke rolled away “a cry of mingled exultation and terror arose from the spectators, for the BÂB had disappeared from sight! It seemed, indeed, that his life had been preserved by a miracle, for of the storm of bullets which had been aimed at him, not one had touched him; nay, instead of death they had brought him deliverance by cutting the ropes which had bound him, so that he fell to the ground.” 29F New History P. 299-304; Mirza Jani in New History P. 383; E.G. Browne in A Year Amongst the Persians, Persian Translation, PP. 78-79.
Had the BÂB been able to maintain his presence of mind, and rushed out among the crowd the spectators would have hailed his escape to be miracle. They would have identified themselves with his cause. No soldier, be he a Christian or a Moslem would have dared to take a shot at him again. Disturbances would have broken in Tabriz, the second capital of Iran, culminating in the toppling of Qajar dynasty. 29G Gobineau, chapter X, Persian Translation, P. 229.
But, dazed by the terrible experience he had just passed through, he took refuge in one of the rooms of the barracks there he was soon found. “was seized, dragged forth, and again suspended; a new firing party was ordered to advance (for the man who had composed the first firing party refused to act again); and before the spectators had recovered from their first astonishment, or the BÂBis had time to attempt a rescue, the body of the young prophet of Shiraz was riddled with bullets” 29H A Traveller’s Narrative note A PP. 182-183; E.G.Browne in A Year Amongst the Persians, P. 64 Mirza Jani in New History, P. 383.
But the BÂBi historian Mirza Jani writes: “The bodies of the two victims were exposed for two days, after while they were buried. Some of the BÂBis exhumed them, wrapped them in white silk, and according to the BÂB’s own instructions, brought them to Hazrat-i Wahid-i Thani [i.e. Subh-i Azal], who, with his own hands, buried them in a certain spot in a tradition handed down from the Imams as the last resting-place of the Qaim. This matter is at present kept secret, and it is unlawful for anyone who has knowledge of it to divulge it till such a time as the lord may see fit to make it known”. Mirza Jani in New History, P. 383.
There is corroborative evidence to uphold Mirza Jani’s factual report on the burial of the body of the Primal Point and of his fellow-martyr.
Corroborative evidence of Mirza Jani’s statement
- In his epistle addressed to “Ism-allah-al Jawad” (i.e. Sayyid Jawad of Karbala, J.R.A.S July 1892, P. 4803, the Primal Point, among other things, tells him to write to “Muhammad in Calcutta”, to arrange for the construction of a crystal casket for the Point’s body and to “forward this epistle to him and to such as be on the sea besides him …”. Reference is made to this epistle in J.R.A.S July 1892, but the personage concerning the construction of a crystal casket is not quoted.
- Mirza Abdul Rahim Hirati and his brother Mulla Muhammad Taqi Hirawi
were Bahais. Fitna-i BÂB by Abdul Husayn Nawai, P. 46 the former
performed the burial service over the Point’s body.
بر جسد باب نماز گذارد.
ibid, P. 46, footnote 6.
- The Primal Point’s own
instructions as to the disposal of his remains referred to by Mirza Jani
are quoted by Dr Browne in T.A P. 46 footnote 1.
The quotation is part of the Point’s epistle to “Anis”, namely, Suleyman
Khan, the son of Yahya Khan of Tabriz, J.R.A.S 1892, P.480. The epistle
is quoted in full in ibid, P.489.
Suleyman Khan was the brother of Farrukh Khan (see the Zanjan upheaval). Subh-i Azal’s narrative, appendix III, New History, P. 411. Suleyman Khan was one of the most ardent and steadfast martyrs of the BÂBi faith. Dr Browne’s footnote 1, P. 239, T.A.
Suleyman Khan was killed in the Teheran massacre of 1857. T.N, P.332, item 26. Suleyman Khan recovered the bodies of the two martyrs for a consideration. New History, P. 311.
Apparently the powers-that-be who received the consideration sought to justify themselves by spreading a rumour that wild beasts had carried away the bodies of the two martyrs.
- In his epistle addressed by Aqa Sayyid Husayn of Yazd from “the proximity of Mashhad” (i.e. the place of martyrdom, Tabriz, where the Primal Point was martyred) to Anis” (i.e. Suleyman Khan) in “the land of Baha” [i.e. Teheran, the letter Ta in Teheran and Baha have the same numerical equivalent, Viz., 9]. The former states that he has made “the bearer (of the epistle) Ism-allah’ul-Hazir, the bearer of the throne of god [i.e. the Primal Point’s body] and has sent him Collection of some of the autograph epistles of the Primal Point and of his amanuensis Aqa Sayyid Husayn of Yazd.
- In his narrative, appendix III, New History, PP. 412-413, Subh-i
Azal writes: .. Suleyman Khan sent certain persons to obtain permission
of that holy body [i.e. the Primal Point’s body], together with (the
body of the departed Aqa Muhammad Ali, and to deliver them over to him,
and because they had been co-mingled by the blow of the bullets, they
put them in one coffin, and so shrouded them.
For this reason I also refrained from disturbing them, [and the other body] was deposited in the same place and in the same coffin with the lord, until [both] were stolen [by the Bahais, Browne’s footnote 1, on P. 413].”
- In his reply to Browne
touching the disposal of the remains of the two martyrs, Subh-i-Azal
writes: When the Primal Point was imprisoned in Chihriq he wrote to say
that “the place of Shah Abdul Azim is a good land, by reason of
proximity of Wahid for keeping; and god is the best of Keepers.” (Para 3
supra). After the martyrdom of the Primal Point his body kept in the
house of Suleyman Khan on the Point’s behest, I sent a letter to
Suleyman Khan and had that Trust conveyed to Tehran with the assistance
of two believers. In those days the “Pretender” [i.e. Mirza Husayn Ali
Baha] had sought asylum in the Masjid-i-Shah, with a complaint against
two of his brothers about inheritance. I was unwilling to keep that
Trust in the precinct of Shah Abdul Azim as graves of the dead were
daily ripped up and others were interred in them.
Therefore I deposited it in a spot in the shrine of -----. Two persons had knowledge of the spot, Aqa Mahdi of Kashan, who was martyred in Tehran (T.A. Note T., P. 330, item 14), and ibid, p.46), and my brother Mirza Musa.
After the “Pretender” had set up his pretensions, he assigned certain persons to steal the Trust, and the Trust was stolen. The remains of the two martyrs were “stolen” by followers of Baha on Baha’s own instructions from Edirne, following the schism between Subh-i-Azal and Baha.
For more than thirty years the remains of the martyrs were bandied about by their Bahai bearers at Teheran for fear that they will be detected by the authorities, and what remained of the remains is claimed to have been brought to the Holy Land in 1899, and buried on Mt. Carmel at Haifa in 1909, where the Point’s alleged tomb may be seen together. The Point’s alleged tomb, like Baha’s tomb at Acre, faces the Qibla.
It appears from the Primal Point’s epistle addressed to Mulla Husayn of Khurasan that the latter was surnamed by him “al-Nazir” “ and “Ismu’l-Nazir ‘Ind al-Arsh”.
Consequently “Ismu’llahu’l-Hazir”, the bearer of the Primal Point’s body is identified with Mulla Husayn of Khurasan.
This is confirmed by Dr Browne in his footnote 3 P. 110, T.N, where he says: “Mulla Husayn of Khurasan (who, with Aqa Muhammad of Isfahan) had been entrusted with the conveyance of the Primal Point’s remains from Tabriz to Teheran”.
Mulla Husayn of Khurasan lost his life in the Teheran massacre in 1852. T.N P.329, item 4.
What became of the bodies of the two martyrs?
According to the Moslem sources such as the Nasiku’t-Tawarikh the Rawzat-al Safa and other Moslem historians, the bodies of the two martyrs were cast into the moat outside the city walls to be devoured by animals and vultures. Abdu’l Husayn Nawai in the Fitna-i BÂB, P. 84
According to Browne, the bodies of the two victims were dragged through the streets and Bazaars and then thrown into the wilderness to be devoured by beasts. 30A Brown in A Year Amongst the Persians, Persian Translation P. 79.
According to Gobineau, the bodies of the two victims were dragged through the streets and Bazaars and then thrown outside the city walls to be devoured by beats of prey. 30B Gobineau chapter X, Persian Translation, P. 230.
According to Awara (Ayati), the historian of the Bahai movement, he states emphatically in a book written after he defected from the movement that the Point’s body remained in Tabriz and that it would have been impossible at such a time for the BÂBis to have recovered and removed it. Awara in Kashful-Hiyal, Vol. ? P. 142.
According to the New History, the two bodies were removed from the place in which they were buried. New History, P. 312.
In footnote 3, P. 312, Dr Browne states that “the removal of the BÂB’s body was effected by Baha against the Will and without the knowledge of Subh-i Azal”.
According to Shoghi Effendi the mingled bodies of the BÂB and his fellow martyr, Mirza Muhammad Ali, were placed in the shrine of ----, where they remained until the year 1867-1868, when on Baha’s own request from “Edirne”, they were removed by two of his followers. Places of concealment of the remains of the two martyrs changed hands many times with the change in their conditions.
The remains were brought to “Acre” on January 31, fifty lunar years after the Primal Point’s execution in Tabriz”.
On March 21, 1909” the remains were buried by Abdul on Mt Carmel at Haifa. 30G. Shoghi Effendi in God Passes By PP. 273-274 and P. 276.
Shoghi Effendi produces no documentary evidence in support of his statement that the alleged tomb contains what remained of the remains which were buried bandied about by many a custodian.