In January, 1844, a young man named Mulla Husayn set out on a mission to find the Promised One of All Ages, a task given to him by his spiritual teacher, Siyyid Kázim of Karbilá (Iraq). He was accompanied on his journey to the town of Búshihr on the Persian Gulf by his brother, Muhammad-Hasan and his brother’s son’s Muhammad-Báqir. They eventually reached their intended destination, however, Mulla Husayn found himself inexplicably urged to travel north to the gated city of Shíráz. When the trio arrived outside of the city, he told his brother and nephew to go to a certain mosque, and he would join them later. He walked around the wall of the city, unsure of what he should do next when he saw a young man smiling warmly at him as he approached. The Youth was wearing a green turban, a sign that he was a direct descendent of the Prophet Muhammed, and he greeted Mulla Husayn as if he were a very close friend. The stranger invited him into his home to freshen up after his long journey, and have dinner.
It was after serving dinner and tea that Siyyid `Ali-Muhammad revealed Who He truly was:
After the prayers were finished, the youth asked Mullá Husayn whom he regarded as his new leader now that Siyyid Kázim had passed away.
Mullá Husayn said, “Siyyid Kázim told all his followers to leave their homes and travel everywhere and look for the Promised One.”
The Youth then asked Mullá Husayn if his teacher had given him any signs by which he would know the Promised One.
Mullá Husayn answered, “Yes, Siyyid Kázim said that the Promised One would be a pure descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, and of the family of Fátimih. He would be more than twenty and less than thirty years old. He would have knowledge without having studied. He would be of medium height, would not smoke, and would be physically perfect.”
There was a silence for a while, and then the Young Man said with a strong voice: “Behold, all those signs are manifest in Me!” He then repeated each of these signs of the Promised One, and showed how each one was true about Himself. But Mullá Husayn did not at first believe. He remembered what Siyyid Kázim had told him, that the Promised One would be a very holy man, very wise, with more knowledge than any other person on earth. He told the Young Man what Siyyid Kázim said, but as soon as he said it, he became very sorry and very afraid. However, Mullá Husayn had decided when he started his search, that he would test the Promised One in two ways: the Promised One must reveal an explanation of part of the Qur’án known as the Súrih of Joseph without being asked to do so, and must explain a book which Mullá Husayn had written.
Although Mullá Husayn was very afraid, he asked the Young Man to read his book and explain it to him. The Young Man happily looked at parts of the book, closed it, and then spoke to Mullá Husayn. Within a few minuted, he had explained all the ideas and answered all the questions in it. Then, before Mullá Husayn could answer, the Young Man said, “Now is the time to reveal the commentary on the Súrih of Joseph.”
Needless to say, Mulla Husayn was stunned into reverential silence. He later revealed what transpired that night to Mírzá Ahmad-i-Qazvín, an early follower in what was then known as the Babi Faith:
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. At last I reluctantly arose from my seat and begged leave to depart. He smilingly bade me be seated, and said: “If you leave in such a state, whoever sees you will assuredly say: ‘This poor youth has lost his mind.’”
Eventually, Mulla Husayn did leave the Ba’b’s residence in Shiraz, and went forth to tell as many people as he could about the dawning a New Age in the history of mankind, one that has been foretold for thousands of years. However, before he set out on his critically important quest, the Ba’b imparted the following message:
“This night,” He declared, “this very hour will, in the days to come, be celebrated as one of the greatest and most significant of all festivals. Render thanks to God for having graciously assisted you to attain your heart’s desire, and for having quaffed from the sealed wine of His utterance. ‘Well is it with them that attain thereunto.’”
On Tuesday, May 22, the Oakland Community of Baha’is commemorated the night that Mulla Husayn witnessed the unveiling of mankind’s new age when a young merchant revealed to him that he was the One who had been promised by God throughout the Ages. He would be known as the Gate, or as His Name appears in Arabic, the Ba’b. His name would also signify that there was “One Whom God Would Make Manifest” (Baha’u’llah, The Glory of God) who would continue to teach humanity about God’s message for this Day. The Declaration of the Ba’b was remembered at the Oakland Baha’i Center with prayers, selections from the Writings of the Ba’b and Baha’u’llah, and concluded with fellowship and refreshments.
For more information about upcoming events with the Oakland Baha’i community, please visit the website at http://www.bahaifaithoakland.org/ or calling 510-534-3883.
Information about can be found at the Baha’i Reference Library or visiting the Baha’i website.