Mulla Husayn

It was June of 1847. An immense crowd of people thronged the gate of the city of Tabriz to witness the very first time that the Báb entered their city. Some were merely curious, while others were earnestly trying to find out if the Báb were in truth such a wondrous figure as they had been told. Still others were moved by their faith and devotion, and sought to attain His presence so they could assure Him of their loyalty.

As He walked along the streets, the cries of welcome rang out on every side. The great majority of those who saw Him shouted aloud: "God is most great!" They cheered Him on His way.

So great was the clamor which His arrival had raised that a crier was sent out among the people to warn them of the danger of continuing this behavior.

"Whoever shall make any attempt to approach the Báb, "the people were warned, "or seek to meet him, at any time, all that person's possessions shall be seized and he shall be imprisoned."

The Báb spent the first night in the home of one of the residents by the name of Muhammad Big. From there He was transferred to a room in the Citadel (the Ark), a fortress-like structure, and then subsequently moved to one of the chief houses in that city, which had been reserved for His confinement. A detachment of soldiers stood guard at the entrance of His house. The soldiers were given rigid orders by their superiors not to let anyone to come in contact with the Báb. However these soldiers soon became His friends. They were entirely obedient to the instructions of the Báb, and permitted whomever He wished to visit Him. They were in reality a protection against the onrush of the multitude who thronged about the house, the Báb said, but they were powerless to prevent those Whom He desired to meet from attaining His presence.

The Báb stayed in Tabriz for about forty days. While there, one day one of His devoted followers, by the name of 'Ali-Askar, felt strongly the desire to see Him. 'Ali-Askar’s friends, however, tried to discourage him.

"Don't you know that such a foolish attempt on your part will not only involve the loss of your possessions, but will also endanger your very life?"

"I am going," he said.

He refused to heed their counsel, and made his way to the house where the Báb was imprisoned. Nothing could keep 'Ali-Askar from the presence of the Báb, even if it meant giving up his life.

In the days past, he had journeyed many miles with Mulla Husayn, the first follower of the Báb. They had taught together in many towns. Time after time, 'Ali-Askar would complain bitterly to Mulla Husayn of his own earlier failure to recognize the Báb and meet Him in Shiraz. This was a source of great sorrow to 'Ali-Askar.

"Grieve not," Mulla Husayn told him. "The Almighty will no doubt compensate you in Tabriz for the loss you sustained in Shiraz." Mulla Husayn spoke very confidently. "Not once," he said, "but seven times can He enable you to partake of the joy of His presence, in return for one visit which you have missed."

Now that the Báb was in Tabriz, 'Ali-Askar would allow nothing to keep them apart. As he approached the door of the house in which the Báb was confined, he was immediately arrested along with the friend who accompanied him.

A command was sent from the Báb to the guards: "Suffer these visitors to enter, inasmuch as I Myself have invited them to meet Me."

This message silenced the guards at once. 'Ali-Askar and his friend were ushered into the Báb's presence. He greeted them affectionately and made them welcome. He gave them many instructions to carry out. He assured them that whenever they wished to visit Him, no one would bar their way.

'Ali-Askar said, "Several times I ventured to visit the Báb, so that I might ask questions about the work with which He had entrusted me. Not once did I encounter any opposition on the part of those who were guarding the entrance to His house.

"I had forgotten the words which Mulla Husayn had spoken to me until the time of my last visit to the Báb. How great was my surprise when, on my seventh visit, I heard Him speak these words: 'Praise be to God, Who has enabled you to complete the number of your visits, and Who has extended to you His loving protection.'"

Adapted from ‘Release the Sun’, by William Sears; Nabil’s Dawn-Breakers, pp. 237-243; and ‘A Traveller's Narrative’, p. 16