Bahá'u'lláh's Declaration (Ridván) - Sources
This document provides the original source accounts for the story of Bahá'u'llah's declaration in the Garden of Ridvan.
The story of the Bahá'u'lláh's great announcement in plain english using these accounts, is here:
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Bahá'u'lláh's Declaration (Ridván) - Sources 1
18?? - My Memories of Bahá'u'lláh (Ustád Muhammad-'Alíy-i- Salmání) 1
1886 - Travellers Narrative (Abdu'l-Bahá) 5
xxxx - Memorials of the Faithful (Abdu'l-Bahá) 5
1890 - Nabil's Narrative Vol 2 (Nabil-i-Zarandi) 6
1903 - Life and Teaching of Abbas Effendi / Master in Akka (Myron Phelps) 7
1923 - Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era (Esslemont) 9
1925 - Ashchi (Aqa Husayn Ashchi) 10
1932 (pre) - Haifa Talks with Lorel and Keith 19
1940 - Chosen Highway : Munirih Khanum (Lady Blomfield) 20
1940 - Chosen Highway: Mirza Asadu'llah Kashani and Siyyid 'Ali Yazdi (Lady Blomfield) 21
1944 - God Passes By (Shoghi Effendi) 26
1963 - Bahá'u'lláh (Balyuzi) 45
1971 - 'Abdu'l-Bahá The Centre of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh (H M Balyuzi) 46
197? - Adib Taherzadeh's Summary 47
1972 - Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh: Baghdad 1853-63 (Adib Taherzadeh) 47
1972 - Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh: Baghdad 1853-63 (Adib Taherzadeh) 47
1972 - Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh: Adrianople, 1863-1868 (Adib Taherzadeh) 48
1973 - A Flame of Fire (A. Q. Faizi) (3rd Print) 49
1980 - King of Glory (H M Balyuzi) 49
1999 - The Child of the Covenant (Adib Taherzadeh) 54
1873 - Kitab-i-Aqdas 56
1873 - Aqdas Notes 56
Baha'u'llah via Khadimu'llah regarding Ridvan (Tr. Juan Cole) 57
Tablet of Job (Lawh-i-Ayyub) 57
Tablet of the Branch 58
Tablet to Napolean III 58
Tablet in the handwriting of Mirza Aqa Jan 58
Comment on Khadimu'llah passage 58
Tablet of the Feast of the Ridwan 58
Divine Springtime is Come 61
The Wondrous Maiden / Houri of Wonder (Hur-i 'Ujab) 63
Gleanings CLI (Release yourselves, O nightingales) 66
x Lawh-i-Bágh-i-Ridván (Late Akka) 66
Surih of Patience/Job (Surih-i-Sabr, Lawh-i-Ayyub) 67
SWA P111 #73 (Lady wishing to celebrate Ridvan) 82
PUP 18 Apr 1912 (History Talk) 83
Encylopedia Article (John Walbridge) 83
Sacred Acts, Sacred Space, Sacred Time (Walbridge) 86
Calendrical and Geo Info 92
18?? - My Memories of Bahá'u'lláh (Ustád Muhammad-'Alíy-i- Salmání)
The year of my arrival in Baghdad was one year before the Blessed Beauty departed from the city [in 1863], and He had not yet made an explicit declaration of His Mission. He would say whatever the Manifestation of God would say, but in all He uttered there was no: "I am He!
Another time, when I was about to make use of the rubbing mitt, Baha'u'llah said, "Ustad Muhammad-'Ali, we have in mind to take a long journey. What do you say to that?"
I bowed. And that day went by.
Two days later, He said He was about to go to Government House. This terrified me. I went and fastened on a dagger, concealed a couple of pistols about me, and left for the seat of government to see what was happening. I went over the bridge and walked past the confectionary shop to Siyyid Husayn of Isfahan -- and there I saw Aqay-i Kalim. He called to me, and I asked him what was going on. He replied that Baha'u'llah had been summoned. Not much time passed before the Blessed Beauty returned, and we learned that orders had come from Istanbul to Baghdad, that Baha'u'llah should proceed to wherever He might desire, away from Baghdad; the choice was to be His, that is, within the Ottoman territory.
It became widely known that Haji Mirza Husayn Khán [Persian ambassador to Istanbul] was behind proposal. He had said, "Because of the proximity of Baghdad to Persian soil, the Cause of Baha is constantly progressing."
Namiq Pasha had sent the following message to Baha'u'llah: "This decree has already been received here ten or twelve times, but I did not tell you of it, and my reply to it was: 'Baha'u'llah has lived in Baghdad twelve years,(6) and up to now no fault has ever been found in Him.'"
Meeting at Mosque
Baha'u'llah had said to the messenger, "Tell Namiq Pasha that I will not come to the Government House, but I will come to the mosque in its vicinity. I will meet there with whoever wishes to address me."
Baha'u'llah went to the mosque, and the deputy of Namiq Pasha appeared and said, "Namiq had desired to come to You himself, but he was ashamed to, and sent me in his place." He then recited the particulars of the decree.
The Beloved said, "I will go to Istanbul." And they approved.
Afterward, thinking of journey, Baha'u'llah said, "I will go alone." But the Household wept and insisted and begged. He finally agreed that they should accompany Him, and He named those who were to stay behind. One night Mirza Muhammad Quli came in and told me "He says that you must be among the ones who go with Him."
After some days, Bahá'u'lláh proceeded to a garden outside the city, and there His tent was pitched. This was the garden of Najíb Páshá [later known as the Garden of Ridván] and it was here in this garden that He openly declared His Mission. That is, He spoke of the manifestation of the Exalted One, the Báb, saying that He was the Qá'im, that the Cause was His Cause--and at the same time, with certain intimations, He also declared His own Mission. During the twelve days of His sojourn in that garden, every morning and every afternoon He would speak of the Báb's Cause and declare His own.
Journey to Istanbul
Then came the last day. There was a Turk, a Sunni, who owned pack mules, and he took charge of our baggage. Some eight or nine howdahs were closed up.... The Master was on horseback, and it was he who undertook to watch over the animals. Mirza Muhammad-'Ali was also on horseback, as well as a number of other believers, besides several who came along on foot.
I was the one in charge of supplies. That is, when anyone needed some article, I would give it to him and see to it that it was returned. A number of the friends accompanied us to the first few stopping places and then went back, for Baha'u'llah had said that anyone following along on this journey without permission would come to no good.
Some of us who were members of His retinue were these: myself, Muhammad-'Ali Khayyatbashi, the Tailor, of Kashan; Mirza Aqa (who had no permission and came to a bad end); Najaf-'Ali, who came through my interceding for him; Aqa Muhammad-'Ali, the Tobacconist, from Isfahan; 'Abdu'l-Ghaffar; Aqa Muhammad-Sadiq of Isfahan; Mirza Aqa Jan. And Aqay-Kalim; Mirza Muhammad-Quli; His Holiness the Master; Mirza Muhammad-'Ali; Siyyid Muhammad of Isfahan; Haji Mirza Ahmad of Kashan, who was the brother of Haji Mirza
Jani and who, because of the quarrel which he had carried on in Baghdad with the kinfolk of Mirza Buzurg Khan-i Ilichi was in mortal danger, and if left behind would have perished. Also, there was Aqa Muhammad-'Ali Sabbagh, the Dyer, of Yazd; Aqa Muhammad-Hasan Musafir-Khanihi of Qum; and Aqa Husayn Ashchi, the Porridge Cook, who was a child and was accepted as an attendant around the house. And there was Ahmad, the son of Mirza Yahya.(8)
On the point of departure, Baha'u'llah had said, "Whoever accompanies us on this journey without permission shall come to no good." Nevertheless some of these individuals left with Him anyhow.
At every stopping place, for security along the road, we were given a mounted escort, five or six guards, who would come along with us. One night when we made camp, a package was missing from the tent of Baha'u'llah. Someone had stolen it and run off. We looked everywhere, but couldn't find it.
Most of the stopping places were along the Tigris, and most days the Master would go bathing in the river. At each encampment the crowds would come out to meet us and watch, for it was widely known that "the leader of the Babis" was on His way to Istanbul. And as a rule, when we neared the campsite the guards would ride on ahead and beat the drums so that the populace would congregate for their visit. As soon as they had gathered, Baha'u'llah would teach them the Faith.
In Baghdad, Mirza Yahya [Azal] would always stay in the house, and the rare occasions when he came out,
he would arrange things so that no one was aware of it. When Baha'u'llah was about to leave the city, He told Azal: "Say where you would want to go. I will provide a servant for you, so you will be safe."
Azal had answered, "My Lord, wherever You go, I will go too." And he thought it prudent to add; "But send me on ahead. Let me go first, so that I will not be seen in your company."
An Arab, a person named Za'i, [Zahir in God Passes By] a shrewd man and a believer, was appointed to accompany Azal. And Za'i, along with Azal, left Baghdad ahead of the others, in such a way that nobody found out about it. All the way to Mosul, which is approximately ten stopping places from Baghdad, there was not a trace of Azal to be seen.
Mosul 3 Days - Azal, Crowds
In Mosul, we pitched the Blessed Beauty's tent along the Tigris. Here we noted that, hidden off in a corner to one side, there was a little tent with a raised flap, and that a minuscule individual with a long beard was living in it. Za'i was with this person. Purely by guessing, some realized that the tent-dweller had to be Azal.
Most of the people of Mosul flocked to Baha'u'llah, and He was loving and kind to them. In Mosul He attended the public bath, and I served Him. He remained three days in this city. As for Azal, not one of the believers really knew him. In Mosul, he came to Baha'u'llah to complain about Za'i. "He doesn't show me any respect," Azal said. "He's too independent. Too free and easy."
Za'i replied to the charge by saying to Baha'u'llah in Arabic: "Lord I beg You, keep this little fellow curtained off somewhere, and don't let him out. People might see him and lose their faith."
Well, Baha'u'llah gave Za'i some money, and he returned to Baghdad. There was a Kashi by the name of Baqir, and Baha'u'llah requested him to serve Mirza Yahya. Accordingly, Baqir went with Yahya, who never at any time traveled as one of our caravan.
Mosul to Mardin - Mules Stolen and Returned
To make a long story short, we left Mosul and after a number of days arrived at Kirkuk. (There were ten stopping places between Mosul and Kirkuk.) Along the way, we came to Mardin, a place on the slope of a high mountain where we were to stay overnight. That night, two mules were stolen from another caravan which was coming along with ours. The owner of the mules complained to Baha'u'llah, who told him: "I will stay on here until your animals are found." He then went into the town of Mardin and told them: "This man's animals must be found. I will remain in this place until they are." The mules turned up. Baha'u'llah remained three days in Mardin.
Mardin to Kirkuk
In Kirkuk, at an earlier date, there had been a dervish in honor of whom the Tablet called The Seven Valleys was revealed.(9) By the time we reached Kirkuk that dervish was dead, but he had a son named Shaykh-'Ali who present himself to Baha'u'llah with many expressions of devotion. In most places the people would come and would ask questions and receive answers.
Some days later we arrived at Diyarbakir. (There were ten stopping places between Diyarbakir and Kirkuk.) At Diyarbakir, on the banks of the Tigris, we made camp in a garden, and here (as was usual) Baha'u'llah would not go into the city.
Everywhere, Mirza Yahya was shadowing us, and little by little some the believers recognized him, but I still did not. In Diyarbakir, it was arranged that the party should go by way of Samsun. Of the remaining stops along the way, there was Irbil, where He stayed one day, and following this, we reached Sivas and stopped on the bank of the Tigris. At this place we had to carry all our possessions over the river.
River Crossing at Sivas and Azal
I went to the Master and said, "There's a lot of noise and bustle on that side of the river, and no one over there to take delivery of our things. If I may be permitted, I will cross over ahead of time and be there to receive our baggage." And the Master approved.
When I got into the boat, there was one other passenger sitting there. It was Azal, but I failed to recognize him. He said, "Where are you from?" (He would speak very roughly, and it was hateful to hear him.)
I said, "From Isfahan."
He said, "Why did you get in this boat? Who gave you permission?"
I said, "I am here by permission of a great Personage."
He said, "Now that you have come here without anyone's leave, what would you do if I gave you two or three blows with my club?" (He had a cudgel in his hand.)
I said, "If I were a mild-mannered person I would forgive you. But if I come to any harm from that club, I will take it away from you and give you such a thrashing that you will forget all about how brave you were."
This infuriated him. Anyhow, he said nothing more, and the boat reached the other side. I took delivery of our belongings and determined where to pitch the tent of Baha'u'llah, and He arrived. Baha'u'llah stayed here two days.
There was a Mir Muhammad of Kazirun who had two or three pack animals and this Mir Muhammad came along, too. He was a man in poor health, short in stature, and short on patience.
As I said, at most of the stopping places the Master would go bathing in the river. For example, at this particular place He told me that I, too, should get out of my clothes. I excused myself, saying, "I have a cold."
He said, "Very well, then..."
Mirza Aqa Jan...would also strip, on occasion, and sit off in a c somewhere and bathe....For this journey Azal had changed his name to Mirza 'Ali.
Cold and Lack of Food
It was extremely cold in Sivas. There was scarcity here also, and one could find neither hay nor oats. The Master bought a wheat field and divided up the crop among the animals. Baha'u'llah attended the public bath and I served Him. After the bathing and the application of hair coloring and henna, we returned to camp.
Azal, Food, Manners and Money
On occasion, Mirza Yahya might enter the family quarters of Baha'u'llah, but in such a way as to be seen by no one. His dinner would be brought to him from the andarun. I was told that once when he had eaten tas-kabab [a meat dish] with onions, he said to those around him, "This is an excellent tas-kabab. I like the lemons in it." What he was doing was, he was...saying to the others, "I ate those onions by accident: I took them for lemons." [the Bab forbade onions; Baha'u'llah permitted them] Anyway, his evening meal was prepared in the andarun of Baha'u'llah, and they would always set aside an extra plate of it and give it to his wife to serve to him the next morning. Really, he ate more than enough for two. I had only recently learned who he was, and I knew him now.
Azal's wife quarreled with her traveling companion, who rode on the other side of her howdah, so they transferred her to the howdah of Mirza Muhammad Quli's wife, who changed places with her. I was in charge of the howdah of Azal's wife. Every morning I would observe that Baqir, Azal's servant, would come up, take that container of extra food from Azal's wife, and carry it to Azal, who would eat as he rode along on his horse. One day I was famished, and it so happened that when baqir came by for Azal's food, I wrested it away from him and began eating it myself. Azal saw all this from a distance. He rushed at me, attacking me from his horse, and I threw away the container of food and ran off. He was in a towering rage. And he lost face with everybody, most of all with me. I could see that he was of no account: greatness did not set well on him at all.
He was harsh too, and foul mouthed; very much of a miser, too. In Harput [Kharput], the Blessed Beauty sent for a little Isfahan gaz - a sort of nougat - which had been brought along, and divided it among all the travelers, sending three fine pieces to Azal. It happened that Azal had just eaten (this was in the afternoon), and he had decided to adopt a regimen for his health. There was an Ustad Muhammad-Baqir of Kashan - brother of the champion, Pahlavan Rida, who died in the storehouse - the jail - of Nasiri'd-Din Shah. He was a good man, and he had another brother, Muhammad-Isma'il. Baqir and his brother were both tailors, but on this journey they were in charge of serving tea. Azal called out to Aqa Muhammad-Baqir and ordered him to "Take care of those nougats."
This man...wrapped the nougats in paper and put the package under his arm. I knew what he was doing, but I said nothing. Anyhow, because of the heat, the three large pieces of nougat stuck together and melted into a single lump. An hour later Ustad Baqir came to me and said, "Those nougats of His Holiness Azal are all stuck together. What shall I do?"
I told him, "His Eminence doesn't care about such things. Let's you and me and your brother divide this among us, and eat it up."
Another hour or so went by and then Azal sent for his nougats. Ustad Baqir presented himself, quaking in his shoes, and said, "Sir, the nougats all melted together and I was ashamed to offer them to you in that condition, so I and my brother and Ustad Muhammad-'Ali divided them up, and we ate them."
Azal was enraged and berated the man very harshly. "You are nothing but a traitor," he shouted. "You are all thieves! And you don't really believe in the Bab!" He kept on that way for quite a while, in one stopping place after another, muttering and grumbling, still mourning his nougats.
In Harput the Blessed Beauty proceeded to the public bath, and Azal went along, too. Baha'u'llah said to me, "Apply the henna for me, and then go and take care of Azal." I made use of the henna as bidden, and went over to Azal.
He told me, "Shave my boy's head." At this time his son was twelve or thirteen years old [the custom for adult men to shave their heads bald]. I answered, "No. I will return to Baha'u'llah, and if He says to shave the boy's head, then I will shave it."
Azal was furious. I went and asked Baha'u'llah, and He said, "No. Do not shave the child's head." To make a long story short, I didn't. I finished attending to Azal, and left him.
Then the Purest Branch, Baha'u'llah's son, who was then fourteen or fifteen, came and and I forgot everything else. He was truly the brother of 'Abdu'l-Baha, extremely modest and self-effacing. Mirza Muhammad-'Ali there too, and Aqay-i Kalim, and Mirza Muhammad-Quli, and that Majdu'd-Din. The Purest Branch said to me, "This journey has taught us many things. For example, Azal believed that everyone would be subservient to him, and yet he now sees that such is not the case."
Samsun - Animals and their Charges
Finally, we got to Samsun. As we went along, two or three persons had charge of the animals and served as grooms - that is, to the animals of the holy Household. One was Darvish Sidq-'Ali, known as Gul-i Mawla [the Master's Rose] and he is so named in a Tablet; one was Aqa Siyyid Husayn of Kashan. And the third was Haji Ibrahim, likewise of Kashan. At this place we reached the Black Sea.
There was a chief inspector who had come to Samsun on other business, and with great ceremony he entertained Baha'u'llah. Also, a Tablet was revealed here, called the Tablet of the Howdah.(10) Baha'u'llah remained two or three days in Samsun, until the ship arrived. Those in charge of the pack animals were dismissed here, with generous gifts of money, but the horses belonging to the Household were brought along. There was also a horse from the pasha of Baghdad, which he was sending to Istanbul, and this animal too was loaded on the ship.