nasir-n
 

Narrative of Hájí Nasír Qazvíní

 

 

Translated by Ahang Rabbani

 

[The fragment of Hájí Nasír’s narrative which follows is printed in its original Persian on pages 501-520 of Táríkh Samandar.  It starts at the point when the Bábís led by Mullá Husayn met Khusraw Qádí-Kalá’í, “a notorious scoundrel who often rebelled against the government.”[1] Translator.]

 

 

[Khusraw remarked,] “Apparently there is no need for me and my two hundred men to remain in your service. Praise God that roads are safe and with the utmost tranquility you can continue on your journey. However, I have a request to present to you: As a source of blessing and felicity, kindly grant me your steed and sword, so I may have them as signs of divine bounties.” In response, [Mullá Husayn] stated, “You have asked for two things that both are necessary unto us. Ask for other objects since we are at the beginning of our journey. Moreover, you have observed that most people have been stirred up in entrenched opposition towards us. Therefore, these two things are both critical and essential to us.”

In response, Khusraw Bayk said, “Since I am a servant of the Sultan, with the duty to serve as a cavalry soldier and to fight in battles, I asked for these as a token of blessing so that through this confirmation would attain victory over the enemy. Otherwise, I have no need for a horse and a sword. Nay, they are readily available. [In fact,] I will present you with another horse and saber to serve you.”

          At that moment, the honored Báb[2], upon him rest God’s peace, through a divine glance, motioned the esteemed Mírzá Muhammad-Taqí Khurásání, and he stabbed that wicked scoundrel [Khusraw] from behind with his knife. He cried loudly when cut, but Mullá Muhammad-Báqir and some others killed him [instantly] with their ready swords and sabers. When his men, who had been standing some distance away, heard the cry of that evildoer, they immediately ran away, and no trace of his comrades remained.

In short, the mutilated remains of that accursed one were thrown into a ditch.

At that time, the honored personage [Mullá Husayn] instructed the companions “Let us leave so we can reach an inhabited spot.” It so happened that the night was so dark that we could not even see one another.

 

 

Arrival of the Companions at Fort Shaykh Tabarsí

After their departure and proceeding [with their journey], no matter how hard they tried to find a frequented path, it was not possible. At this point a traveler appeared and was asked, “Is there a place or a village in this vicinity that would be inhabited, where we could spend the night?” “There are no villages in this area;” he responded, “however, there is a shrine nearby known as Shaykh Tabarsí, though it has no dwelling.”

The honored Bábu’l-Báb [Mullá Husayn] exclaimed, “That location is good!” All the companions were unaware that this utterance was by means of spiritual insight, and that his and others’ rendezvous with destiny lay in that very location. At all events, outwardly that passerby was the reason that the personage [Mullá Husayn] and his companions were led to that blessed spot.

It was some three hours into the night when they reached that holy land and spent the night at that place.

 

 

Chapter Eleven

Upon settling into the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsí, at dawn, when the sun broke over the horizon, the muezzins [prayer-callers] raised the [Islamic] Call to Prayer, and the companions performed their obligatory prayer and engaged in supplications to the Prayer-Answerer. After these [prayers] were concluded, they looked around and considered their surroundings. They saw that with utmost refinement, attraction and beauty, the shrine was situated in the midst of that location, with a large courtyard enclosing it. Stretching around the property was a small fence-wall, two meters in height.

Every manner of profession and worldly occupation could be found among the exalted companions.  For instance, there were master-carpenters, builders, tailors, masseurs, engravers and cobblers, as well as many learned men of letters. In short, every profession was at hand.

          [On their first morning] they inspected [the property]. First, several turrets were built in the vicinity and around the shrine where sharpshooters were placed for protection and security. Some other companions also arrayed themselves [in a defensive posture], believing that with Khusraw’s killing, the town people would arise against them [i.e. the Bábís]. For several days, they were anticipating such an attack, thinking that surely a mob [of the enemy] would assail them. The honored Báb [Mullá Husayn], upon him rest God’s peace, constantly assured everyone to rely upon God, saying, “Out of divine bounties and might, they will not be able to overcome us!”

          Gradually, the fear and trepidation of these people [i.e. the Bábís] penetrated the hearts of the people in that region, in such wise that they trembled in fear from dawn till dusk, thinking that we would suddenly attack, slay and plunder them.

          However, they saw no evidence nor movement from us. Gradually, they developed a deep confidence in us. In fact, the inhabitants of villages in that region began visiting and engaging in conversations [with us]. There was a certain Nazar Khán who lived a distance of three kilometers from the Fort, who was the head of a tribe and the village chieftain. He too began to associate with us. He and others who met us observed that we were rational and dignified men, whose speech was all based on discernment and insight, and that our arguments were based on Qur’anic verses and traditions. They broadly spread the word that “These people are all driven by spiritual sagacity, law and citizenship. You have said about them: ‘They are a band of thugs and vagabonds who have gathered after Muhammad Shah’s passing for the purpose of gathering worldly treasures.’ This is all false. Their words and deeds are consistent with the religion of Muhammad, and not for one instant are they negligent of God.”

After the news of the goodly character of these distinguished men [the Bábís] had penetrated most hearts, the townsfolk began to visit us as well. They would come in multitudes and ask various questions, and his honored person [Mullá Husayn] would give answers suitable to each question.

For a while time passed like this.

 

 

Arrival of the Illustrious Quddús to the Fort

The illustrious Quddús, upon him be God’s peace, who was staying in Sari, came to the Fort with the utmost grandeur and majesty. The seats of His Holiness Quddús and of the honored Bábu’l-Báb, upon both be God’s peace, were in the midst of the mosque and shrine of Shaykh Tabarsí. Group by group, the rest of the companions would gather for their meals in the courtyard.

          Other people who also numbered as our companions [i.e. were Bábís], who had heard the Word of the Source of Splendor [i.e. the Báb’s teachings], came from every town. For instance, from Mazandaran itself came about one hundred men. And from other regions, such as, Qazvin, Adharbayjan, Isfahan, Qum, Yazd, Khurasan and its various districts, and Tehran, came others. Approximately five hundred people were assembled there.[3]

          A while later, the illustrious Quddús composed a prayer and gave it to one of the companions, commanding, “Take this prayer to a certain river which flows towards the city. Throw the prayer in the middle of the river and return.” The believer carried out the specified instructions.

The illustrious Quddús also wrote a letter to the city-dwellers which was delivered to its destination. Briefly, its essence was, “Whoever considers us believers and Muslims and does not come to our aid is an infidel. And whoever considers us unbelievers and non-Muslims and does not come to battle us is likewise an infidel.”

          They asked His Holiness [Quddús] regarding the secret enshrined in the prayer. He responded, “The people drink from the river into which the prayer was thrown. From that, they will grow in turmoil and clamor.”

          As soon as that prayer was composed and thrown into the river, and the letter was dispatched containing the described message, the townspeople grew in agitation, raised an army and soldiers, and marched towards us, settling in a village belonging to Nazar Khán, near the shrine [of Shaykh Tabarsí].

The next day, a battle ensued. However, our masters [Quddús and Mullá Husayn] were not present, or maybe the honored Báb, upon him be God’s peace, was present – at this point, I no longer recall.

 

 

First Battle of the Fort’s Companions

In short, the opposing soldiers were two thousand in number when the battle commenced. Through divine sovereignty, the companions rushed in and thoroughly destroyed them. Many of the enemy were killed, and the rest took to flight. Not one breathing person remained in the village. Therefore, the command was issued that whatever belongings were left in the village could be seized as spoils. The companions hurried and appropriated many possessions and much food, including, rice, wheat, grains and clothing. Whatever there was, they brought.

Then command was given that whatever doors or windows were on homes should be removed and brought – even the bricks and the lime. In sum, that village was demolished so thoroughly that no trace remained of it. Nazar Khán escaped as well, and took residence elsewhere.

          Eventually, the news was spread to all surrounding regions and districts that our exalted men had been victorious [over their foes].

          The thought came to some people that since these men [i.e. the Bábís] had been triumphant and conquering, therefore it proved that they possessed the truth, and that God was with them. For this reason, they began to associate and converse with our people. Some time passed in this fashion.

 

 

Second Battle of the Companions

By Nasiri’d-Dí­­n Shah’s order, the evil Mihdí-Qulí Mírzá was commissioned [for war against us], and brought a large army with him. He settled a distance of twelve kilometers away, in a village which apparently was called Afrád or Afrát. As he remarked, he wanted to show his presence, and render a notable service to the Sultan.

          The illustrious Quddús stated, “We must attack these gathered soldiers unexpectedly and at night.” The companions prepared forthwith and that very night about two hundred of the ablest were selected. They were led by His Holiness Quddús and the honored Báb – upon both be God’s peace – who rode on horses while others walked quietly, so no one heard their approach until they entered the village. All of a sudden, they attacked and killed a great many [of the soldiers]. Confounded, Mihdí-Qulí Mírzá fled on a bare-back horse, while many of his men were slain or took to flight.

          In midst of these, an accursed one fired a shot at the honored Quddús – upon him be God’s peace – which struck his wonder-dispensing mouth. When the companions witnessed this occurrence, they took His Holiness and returned. They were deeply saddened and despondent because of the injury sustained to the mouth of his holiness, and their victory and triumph turned to sorrow and sadness.

          In short, after his return [to the Fort], His Holiness remained indoors, and commenced treating the wound to his blessed mouth.

          Time passed thus for a while. The news of the injury to his blessed mouth spread among the people - they even wrote about it to Tehran, and added, “With so few soldiers, we will not be able to dislodge these people [i.e. the Bábís]. There is no other way, except to prepare a large army in the capital and send them here for this purpose.”

It was then that ministers consulted [in Tehran] and decided to array an army five thousand soldiers strong, plus several mounted cannons and several more large guns, and all the necessary lead, powder and shells and to dispatch them.

They came and camped at a distance of three kilometers from the shrine. From all surrounding districts, whoever of the inhabitants had military experience was added to the camp as well. In overall command was ‘Abbás-Qulí Khán, the Sardár Larjání, who placed rank upon rank of men around us, circling and surrounding us like a ring on a finger.

During the time that we were at that location [fort Tabarsí], all provisions were available in copious quantities. However, when company after company of the troops came, they completely blockaded all provisions from us.

At this time, the illustrious Quddús instructed that the companions prepare to make a sudden attack at night. However, since the honored Quddús – upon him be God’s peace – was injured in his blessed mouth and was busy with recovery and general infirmity had overtaken his sanctified being, he could not participate [in this campaign].

 

 

Third Battle of the Fort’s Companions

The honored Báb – upon him be God’s peace – led the companions. Two hours before dawn we exited the Fort. Silently, we approached [the military camp] and entered with cries of “Yá Sáhibu’z-Zamán[4]”. With unsheathed sabers, we set upon that wretched band. Since the enemy was many and we [i.e. the Bábís] were few, the battle was lost. It was a particularly dark night which resulted in both sides being unable to distinguish [friend from foe]. When sabers were brought down, one could not tell if it stuck one’s own men or the enemy’s. For this reason, a great many were killed – often by the hand of their own side.

 

 

Injury of the Honored Bábu’l-Báb

In the midst of the battle, the companions learned that the honored Báb – upon him be God’s peace – was struck by a bullet. That news completely robbed them of their strength and caused them to lose heart. They could no longer remain in the battlefield. Therefore, they took the honored Bábu’l-Báb and withdrew [to the Fort]. The companions were scattered. On realizing that his friends and comrades had returned [to the Fort], whoever was left behind, one by one made his way back as well.

          There were many of our companions who had received bullet wounds, and had fallen with no strength left in them. After the companions who had not been injured returned, the foes saw and recognized them as not being of their own, and killed them.

          At any rate, after the return of the companions who carried with them the honored [Mullá Husayn] – upon him rest God’s peace – it was only a short moment before the sanctified spirit of that noble person winged its flight to the Sacred Realm.

          Of the friends, about fifty had suffered martyrdom. The opponents took their own fallen men and withdrew a distance. The esteemed friends, upon seeing their departure, went to the battlefield and carried back with them the bodies and the remains of the martyrs, among them the honored Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Jalíl and Áqá Mírzá Muhammad-‘Alí,[5] who were martyred in that battle.

          That day witnessed a great cataclysm in the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsí. On one side was the honored Báb – upon him be God’s peace – who died as a martyr. On the other side were about fifty of our dearly-cherished companions who in the battlefield had each hastened to the Abode of the Merciful, Almighty God. The sacred remains of some of the martyrs were left in the opposing camp, while the enemy had severed some of their heads and carried these away with them as gifts and prizes.

          In short, first the honored Quddús instructed that a burial shroud be prepared for the honored Báb and that he be buried in the corner of the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsí while still wearing his own garments. He then ordered that the martyrs who had fallen in the enemy’s camp be collected one by one, and brought to the courtyard of Shaykh Tabarsí. He further commanded that on the side of the door that entered the mosque of Shaykh Tabarsí, situated on the eastern flank of the courtyard, a ditch be dug about five or six meters (in length and depth) and that collectively the sanctified remains of the martyrs be placed in that grave, in the same clothes that they had worn [in the battle]. They were placed next to each other and earth was poured over them, thereby hiding their remains.

          After the burial of the martyrs, everyone was profoundly sad and despondent, wondering how his own end would come about. Some hearts wavered, since what their frail minds had imagined had not come to pass. The honored Báb, who was their champion, and in the field of battle had shown the greatest valor and peerless leadership, was now gone. Gone were also some of the friends who had fallen in the battle just concluded. In addition to this, food provisions were essentially depleted as well.

          Several people left. Included among those was Áqá Rasúlí, a native of Mazandaran who lived in a district known as Bahnamiri. He left together with his people, who numbered about fifty. It so happened that when they departed, the enemy seized them all collectively and each was killed in a different district in that region, thereby spreading the news of their victory, or as they believed, signs of blessings and divine favors for their deeds.

          In sum, a mighty clamor and upheaval occurred in that realm. When the enemy saw that the situation was most difficult for us, they attacked en masse. That is, the soldiers who had come from Tehran were situated at a distance of three kilometers and had not come near the shrine [of Shaykh Tabarsí]. They were waiting to see what would befall the Mazandarani soldiers who had been assembled from the region, who were led by ‘Abbás-Qulí Khán Larjání. It became evident that while some of their soldiers had been killed, much vital strength had left us as well.

          Therefore, they began to advance from their locations, and established a new camp for themselves near the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsí, at a distance of approximately five hundred steps.

          Until that time, the opposing army had not completely surrounded the shrine, because their number was no more than two or three thousand, and they were insufficient to completely encircle [the Fort]. Subsequently, they had stayed [only] on one side.

          One last time, they assembled and further summoned men from all regions of Mazandaran. Together with soldiers from Tehran, they gradually came together and thoroughly encircled us.

          The esteemed companions were housed in the courtyard of the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsi. That is, before any hostilities had occurred, day and night all the companions had dug a trench around Shaykh Tabarsí, which had been a fort in previous times. The trench was three meters wide and three meters deep. The [excavated] earth was thrown behind the trenches and wooden, fortified fences built over it. Turrets were built in six locations and, on rotation, from the rank of companions sharpshooters were selected to man them day and night. The rest of the companions, in groups of five or ten men, had built huts in the shrine’s courtyard. These were made of wood, and the roof was covered by hay to protect them from snow and rain. These makeshifts served as their dwellings. Food and provisions for each person was provided from what had been purchased and from the [war] spoils, and stored in each hut.

          After a while, the food ran out. There were some [provisions] in the kitchen of the dwelling occupied by the illustrious Quddus, who instructed that each day one or two sír[6] [of ration] be given to each person. It went like this until no trace of rice or wheat remained.

          All that was then left were several horses belonging to the companions. Each day, two or three of the horses were slaughtered and the meat distributed among the companions.

          Before these incidents, the horse used by the honored Báb, upon him rest God’s peace, was tied in the shrine’s courtyard when shot [by the enemy]. Instantly, that horse had become a sacrifice for that distinguished and exalted personage [Mullá Husayn]. Instructions were given for the horse to be buried in the same courtyard. When all the horses had been killed and consumed, [Quddús] ordered that the honored Báb’s horse be exhumed and its flesh distributed. Therefore, the grave of that horse, which outwardly was an animal but in essence had acquired human virtues, were opened and its flesh divided among everyone. The companions ate that meat with the utmost delight and gratitude even though it was spoiled.

          After the horse flesh was finished, our ration was limited to the horse skins. The skin of each horse was torn into pieces, divided among all, and then fried over the fire and consumed like kabob – chewed and eaten.

          After the horse skins were finished, all that was left were the bones from the horses. These too were divided among everyone and each bone was fried over the fire, smashed and consumed with some warm water. In such wise, the pangs of hunger were dealt with.

          The enemy now numbered ten or twelve thousand strong, and had gathered from all districts and locations in that region. They camped nearby. The governor[7] at that time was Mihdí-Qulí Mírzá, and he left the town and settled in nearby. The soldiers were divided and situated on all four sides of the companions. For each division of soldiers a commander was appointed, and one each prepared a fortification for his soldiers. Moreover, they raised what they called bastions[8] and placed the cannons on top of them.

          Of the condition and the situation of the companions in the shrine, they had gathered and shared detailed information. They knew especially that our food provisions had been completely depleted, saying, “To the point that even desert weeds, to wet their mouths, are not available and are denied to them.” They [i.e. the military] had also cut off the flow of water that filled the trenches [around the Fort].

No one was able to go out [of the Fort] and even wild vegetation was unattainable. The situation had become most difficult.

In short, after the troops were in place, they began firing guns from all directions and bombardment by cannons and artilleries which they had trained [towards the Fort]. The shells would ascend high and land in the Fort’s courtyard, and upon contact would go into the ground about a half meter, then explode and kill several men in its range.

At any rate, a long while passed in this fashion, while the companions were thoroughly robbed of their vitality to even step outside the aforementioned shrine. Their principle injury occurred with the martyrdom of the honored Báb, upon him be God’s peace, who was the heart of the contingent world. With his death, the heart of the companions collapsed and withered completely as well.

 

[It appears that a section of the narrative is missing at this point. This section must have covered the final stage of the Bábí struggle at Shaykh Tabarsí, the deceit of the military leaders in drawing out the besieged, and the ensuing massacre of the remaining defenders of the Fort. The section that follows, however, appears to be the concluding segment of the aftermath of the conflict at Shaykh Tabarsí, where a list of various martyrs is provided. Translator.]

 

          … [From Qazvin, there were:] Áqá Mírzá Muhammad-‘Alí, who was the esteemed son of the late Hájí Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Vahhab; Áqá Muhammad-Mihdí Bághbán-Báshí, who was among those individuals who was alive until the end, and who, when the companions’ food was reduced to horse meat and the skin and bones of the horses, this humble youth did not touch a morsel of food for seventeen days, and would only satisfy himself by drinking some warm water, until he finally drank the draught of martyrdom; Áqá Siyyid Ahmad Zargar; Hájí Mullá Muhammad-‘Alí Lahardí; Karbalá’í Hájí Muhammad; Karbalá’í Muhammad-‘Alí; and this lowly Hájí Nasír.

And from Zanjan: Áqá Núr-Muhammad; Karbalá’í Ibráhím; Karbalá’í Ismá‘íl; and Karbalá’í Muhammad-‘Alí.

And from Adharbayjan: Mullá Muhammad Khú’í; Mullá Mihdí Khú’í; Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Jalíl Urúmiyih, and these three were among the most devoted, constant and firm believers; Mullá Ahmad, surnamed Abdál; Mullá Yúsuf Ardabílí; Karbalá’í Hasan Mílání; and Karbalá’í Hájí Muhammad Mílání.

And from Ardistan: Áqá Muhammad-Husayn; Mírzá Muhammad-‘Alí Khayyát [the tailor]; Mírzá ‘Abdu’l-Vása‘; and Áqá Mírzá Mihdí.

And from Tehran: Mullá Muhammad Mihdí Kandí; Mullá Báqir Kandí; Ridá Khan; and Mullá Hasan Bajistání.

Other martyrs: Hájí Muhammad ‘Arab; and Shaykh Muhammad ‘Arab.

I had recorded the names of the martyrs at that time, and I have now listed one hundred and forty-two of them for the friends. If more names come to mind after this [writing], I will record them in the margins as well. Otherwise, the most exalted cohorts, whose names are inscribed on the Preserved Tablet, will be made known and manifest to the contingent world at His own time.

The Almighty God willing, many of those, high or low, who have risen from the beginning of this Manifestation until now, which is only a short period, to extinguish the Light of Oneness, have been sent to the lowest abasement of hell and have tasted the greatest disgrace. I cherish the hope that the remaining adversaries who have been left on the pages of days would soon discard their pharaoh’s garment for a new garment of poverty and destitution. Nay, may this pure earth be cleansed from the filth of these evil men, and may celestial trees and evidences appear in their place.

 

 

[The surviving portion of Hájí Násí’s narrative on the events at Shaykh Tabarsí concludes at this point. What follows is a section pertaining to the author’s ordeals in Qazvin and the machinations that led to his arrest.[9] Therefore, it may be reasonable to conclude that a large segment of the narrative outlining the intervening events has been lost as well. Translator.]

 

Chapter Seventeen

Regarding the circumstance and time that this lowly one planned to set out for Gilan in order to collect the promissory notes[10] that I had with various people: when I decided on this journey to Gilan, I prepared ten loads of silk goods[11] to take with me, so I would have them as necessary means towards the collection of drafts.

          At any event, after the goods were prepared, I contacted a muleteer and entrusted the loads to him, and from the same muleteer rented steeds for myself and my attendant. However, I was thoroughly unaware of the schemes that satanic men were concocting behind the veils.

          Before all of this, a certain group had gone from Yazd to Tehran to complain to the Sultan about the suppression and persecutions brought about by their governor. At that time, the Sultan’s Prime Minister was the Sadr-A‘zam – may he be cursed – and this vicious man swayed the mind of that infidel [i.e. Yazd’s governor]. He had wanted to disperse that band of men and prevent them from informing the Sultan of the oppression and tyranny of the governor, since the governor’s deeds had been at the Sadr-A‘zam’s request.

          Therefore, the Sadr-A‘zam had remarked to the Sultan, “A band of these Bábís have gathered in the capital, and it is absolutely against the interests of the victorious government for them to be here, as they may cause injuries.” Subsequently, the Sultan instructed for that group to be dispersed, and his order was carried out. In fact, as soon as they were labeled as such [i.e. were called Bábí or Bahá’í], they dispersed of their own accord. The reason was that in those days as soon as someone was labeled as such, even if he was not [a Bábí], he would be subjected to the Shah’s reprimand and punishment.

          After that group was dispersed, the governor of Qazvin, who was named Hájí Hasan-‘Alí Khán Khú’í,[12] and was tarrying in the government-house in Tehran at that time, was summoned for a private conversation with the Sadr-A‘zam. He had described the essence of the situation, adding, “From such a town [Yazd], several people had come with complains and protests against the governor, who was charged with a certain mission. Therefore, to protect my own interests, I accused them of being Bábí, and, with the Shah’s consent, dispersed them. However, it is now necessary that outwardly my claim about these belligerent people should appear to be true before the Shah. Since in Qazvin there are some of these Bábís, you should tell your men to seize one or two of them and to send them here, so that I may present them to the Shah in support of my contention that these people are hostile.”

          At this, Hájí Hasan-‘Alí Khan wrote to his son, Naqí Khán. At that time, there was great camaraderie and unity between Hájí Mírzá Mufíd, the Shaykhu’l-Islam, and Hájí Hasan-‘Alí. Therefore, the governor wrote him also, “Kindly join hands with Naqí Khán and locate one or two natives of that town who are accused of this appellation [i.e. being Bábí]. Seize and dispatch them to Tehran.”

These two men, namely, Hájí Mírzá Mufíd the Shaykhu’l-Islam and Naqí Khán, son of Hájí Hasan-‘Alí, inquired of some of the town’s mischief-makers, and in turn, those individuals, out of their innately base character, named this unworthy dust [Hájí Nasír]. They said to Hájí Hasan-‘Alí Khán’s men, who were Hájí Mírzá Mufíd and Naqí Khán, “This person belongs to that group [i.e. the Bábís].” In short, they manifested whatever enmity and hostility they harbored in their hearts. However, they also were told from outside [of Qazvin], “This person has prepared and left for a journey to Gilan.”

 

[The narrative of Hájí Nasír ends abruptly at this point. Translator.]



[1] The Dawn-Breakers, p. 339, n 2.

[2] Towards the latter part of His ministry, the Báb had given His own various titles to some of His chief disciples. Mullá Husayn had received the title of The Bábu’l- Báb [the Gate to the Báb], Quddús was known as Hadrat A‘lá [His Holiness the Exalted One] and Mullá Muhammad-‘Alí Zanjání received the title of Hujjat.

[3] The original text is rather ambiguous, and can be read indicating that either 500 Bábís came from the mentioned provinces, or that a total of 500 Bábís had gathered altogether.

[4] Lit. The Lord of the Age, one of the titles of the promised Qá’im.

[5] The two mentioned Bábí martyrs were from Qazvin – the author’s native town. According to The Dawn-Breakers, p. 423, Mírzá Muhammad-‘Alí had attained the presence of the Báb in Shiraz and was one of the Letters of the Living.

[6] A measure of weight in Iran, corresponding to 75 grams.

[7] The original term may mean the commanding officer.

[8] The Persian word is actually a term borrowed from English, which is why it appears somewhat unfamiliar to the author.

[9] While the present translator is uncertain how this incident in the life of Hájí Nasír unfolded, it may well be reasonable to conclude that the events described in this section are a prelude to his imprisonment in Tehran.

[10] Like many other financial communities, the merchants in Iran often traded their goods for promissory notes, which drew a certain amount of interest in addition to the original capital. In the absence of modern day regulatory agencies, often collection against such financial instruments for minorities, particularly Bahá’ís, poised a considerable challenge to the merchants.

[11] It is known that the author was a silk merchant. However, the original term pilahvarí can be either a reference to silk or to general hucksters of interest to the haberdashers.

[12] According to Mihdi Bamdad, Sharh Hál Rijál Iran, vol. 1, p. 354, Hájí Hasan-‘Alí Khan Khú’í Ájúdán-Báshí was dismissed from office in 1264 AH [1848] and died in 1277 AH [1860]. It does not seem likely, however, that the same person is intended, yet the present translator has been unable to locate any reference to another governor with the same name.