Posted by: samandal | August 1, 2009

The Báb, III

Díyáfat-i-Kamál, the Feast of Perfection

After the death of Manúchihr Khán in February 1847, Hájí Mírzá Áqásí, the minister of the Sháh, saw the popularity of the Báb as a threat to his own position. At his order, the Báb was made a prisoner of state and transferred to the fortress of Mákú, a town in Azerbaiján under the control of Áqásí. There he was isolated for nine months (July 1847–9 April 1848), but the governor, ‘Alí Khán, permitted him to receive visitors as a result of a vision he received. The Báb was later transferred to the fortress of Chihríq in the region of Urúmiyyih (April 1848–June 1850), where the warden, Yahyá Khán, allowed him comparative freedom.

The Báb declared the abrogation of Islámic holy law (sharí‘a) and revealed a new code of Bábí law in the Bayán (Exposition), two works written in Persian and Arabic while he was a prisoner in Mákú. He also denounced the Sháh and his chief minister. In Tabríz, the capital of Azerbaiján, the Báb was brought before a clerical tribunal presided over by the crown prince, Násiru’d-din Sháh, and received the bastinado in the house of one of the adjudicators. The first assembly of Badasht, a three-week conference of eighty-one Bábís in 1848, heralded the end of the Islámic era and the start of a new dispensation.

“All besides Him are His creatures.”                                                                   (The Báb: Selections from the Writings of the Báb, page 158)

Upon the death of Muhammad Sháh in September 1848, an armed conflict broke out at the holy shrine of Shaykh Ahmad ibn Abí Tálib Tabarsí south-east of Bárfurúsh. Government troops eradicated the Bábí defenders of the Black Standard, the Shí‘í messianic symbol associated with the advent of the Mahdí. The new minister, Mírzá Taqí Khán Amír Kabír, viewed the Bábí movement as a profound threat to public order. The Báb was brought to Tabríz and fired upon by an execution squad on 27/28 Sha‘bán 1266/8–9 July 1850. He was, miraculously, unscathed: the first regiment missed and was replaced by a second one that completed the task.

“I adjure Thee by Thy might, O my God! Let no harm beset me in times of tests, and in moments of heedlessness guide my steps aright through Thine inspiration. Thou art God, potent art Thou to do what Thou desirest. No one can withstand Thy Will or thwart Thy Purpose.”                                                                                        (The Báb: Selections from the Writings of the Báb, page 210)