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Part 6. The Realization
Persia, once the glory of the east had become, in the mid 19th century, a country of superstition and bribery, controlled by a fanatical clergy and a corrupt government, riddled with nepotism. Islám brought only despair and fear to the common people. However, as in the Christian world, an air of expectation began stirring.
In 1783, a mujtahid named Shaykh Ahmad founded a movement based on the mysteries of Divine Revelation. After his death in 1826, he was succeeded by Siyyid Kázim who urged his followers to renounce their material lives in order to advance their spiritual development. Siyyid Kázim died in 1843, leaving an instruction to his followers to spread out and seek for the Promised One. One of these followers was Mullá Husayn, who decided to dedicate his life to this task, encouraged by the prophecies regarding the year 1260 (1844CE).
Mullá Husayn devised a test for determining the validity of any claim to be God's Messenger. The claimant was to write, unasked, a commentary on the Súrih of Joseph, one of the most difficult passages of the Holy Qur'án, a task that Siyyid Kázim himself had been unable to do.
In the evening of 22nd May, 1844, Mullá Husayn arrived at the gate of the city of Shiráz, in Persia, where he was greeted by a young man who appeared to be waiting for him and who invited him to visit his home in order to refresh himself after his long journey. On being told that Siyyid Kázim had instructed his followers to go out and search for the Promised One, the young man asked if the Siyyid had left any indication as to what they should look for in the person they were seeking. Mullá Husayn proceeded to list all the distinguishing features, including age, lineage and height. However, when the young man declared, "Behold, all these things are manifest in me," Mullá Husayn answered politely that it was not possible as the one sought would be a being of vast knowledge and unsurpassed holiness. As soon as he had made this statement, he was overcome by a sense of fear and remorse, so decided to test the claim by presenting the young man with a treatise which he had with him in which he had written of the deep, hidden teaching of Siyyid Kázim and Shaykh Ahmad; if the youth could unravel these mysteries then the final test would be the Súrih of Joseph.
Mullá Husayn was astounded at the knowledge and insight of the youth, even more so when He announced, unprompted, that the time had come for the commentary on the Súrih of Joseph to be revealed. In Mullá Husayn's own words,
"He took up His pen and with incredible rapidity revealed the entire Súrih of Mulk, the first chapter of His commentary on the Súrih of Joseph. The overpowering effect of the manner in which He wrote was heightened by the gentle intonation of His voice, which accompanied his writing. Not for one moment did He interrupt the flow of the verses which streamed from His pen. Not once did He pause till the Súrih of Mulk was finished. I sat enraptured by the magic of His voice and the sweeping force of His revelation...."
The young man's name was Siyyid 'Alí-Muhammad, later known as the Báb [Herald, or Gate]. The date was 22nd May, 1844. The following day Samuel Morse sent his historical message, "What hath God wrought."