Bahá'u'lláh's Declaration (Ridván) Sources



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Influx of Persian Babis


At the same time an influx of Persian Babis, whose sole object was to attain the presence of Baha'u'llah, swelled the stream of visitors that poured through His hospitable doors. Carrying back, on their return to their native country, innumerable testimonies, both oral and written, to His steadily rising power and glory, they could not fail to contribute, in a vast measure, to the expansion and progress of a newly-reborn Faith. Four of the Bab's cousins and His maternal uncle, Haji Mirza Siyyid Muhammad; a grand-daughter of Fath-'Ali Shah and fervent admirer of Tahirih, surnamed Varaqatu'r-Ridvan; the erudite Mulla Muhammad-i-Qa'ini, surnamed Nabil-i-Akbar; the already famous Mulla Sadiq-i-Khurasani, surnamed Ismu'llahu'l-Asdaq, who with Quddus had been ignominiously persecuted in Shiraz; Mulla Baqir, one of the Letters of the Living; Siyyid Asadu'llah, surnamed Dayyan; the revered Siyyid Javad-i-Karbila'i; Mirza Muhammad-Hasan and Mirza Muhammad-Husayn, later immortalized by the titles of Sultanu'sh-Shuhada and Mahbubu'sh-Shuhada (King of Martyrs and Beloved of Martyrs) respectively; Mirza Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Nahri, whose daughter, at a later date, was joined in wedlock to Abdu'l-Baha; the immortal Siyyid Isma'il-i-Zavari'i; Haji Shaykh Muhammad, surnamed Nabil by the Bab; the accomplished Mirza Aqay-i-Munir, surnamed Ismu'llahu'l-Munib; the long-suffering Haji Muhammad-Taqi, surnamed Ayyub; Mulla Zaynu'l-Abidin, surnamed Zaynu'l-Muqarrabin, who had ranked as a highly esteemed mujtahid--all these were numbered among the visitors and fellow-disciples who crossed His threshold, caught a glimpse of the splendor of His majesty, and communicated far and wide the creative influences instilled into them through their contact with His spirit. Mulla Muhammad-i-Zarandi, surnamed Nabil-i-Azam, who may well rank as His Poet-Laureate, His chronicler and His indefatigable disciple, had already joined the exiles, and had launched out on his long and arduous series of journeys to Persia in furtherance of the Cause of his Beloved.

Other Zuhirs Seek Baha'u'llah


Even those who, in their folly and temerity had, in Baghdad, in Karbila, in Qum, in Kashan, in Tabriz and in Tihran, arrogated to themselves the rights, and assumed the title of "Him Whom God shall make manifest" were for the most part instinctively led to seek His presence, confess their error and supplicate His forgiveness.

Fugitives Seek Baha


As time went on, fugitives, driven by the ever-present fear of persecution, sought, with their wives and children, the relative security afforded them by close proximity to One who had already become the rallying point for the members of a sorely-vexed community. Persians of high eminence, living in exile, rejecting, in the face of the mounting prestige of Baha'u'llah, the dictates of moderation and prudence, sat, forgetful of their pride, at His feet, and imbibed, each according to his capacity, a measure of His spirit and wisdom.

Ambitious Ones


Some of the more ambitious among them, such as Abbas Mirza, a son of Muhammad Shah, the Vazir-Nizam, and Mirza Malkam Khan, as well as certain functionaries of foreign governments, attempted, in their short-sightedness, to secure His support and assistance for the furtherance of the designs they cherished, designs which He unhesitatingly and severely condemned.

Britain


Nor was the then representative of the British government, Colonel Sir Arnold Burrows Kemball, consul-general in Baghdad, insensible of the position which Baha'u'llah now occupied. Entering into friendly correspondence with Him, he, as testified by Baha'u'llah Himself, offered Him the protection of British citizenship, called on Him in person, and undertook to transmit to Queen Victoria any communication He might wish to forward to her. He even expressed his readiness to arrange for the transfer of His residence to India, or to any place agreeable to Him. This suggestion Baha'u'llah declined, choosing to abide in the dominions of the Sultan of Turkey.

Baghdad Governor, Namiq-Pasha


And finally, during the last year of His sojourn in Baghdad the governor Namiq-Pasha, impressed by the many signs of esteem and veneration in which He was held, called upon Him to pay his personal tribute to One Who had already achieved so conspicuous a victory over the hearts and souls of those who had met Him. So profound was the respect the governor entertained for Him, Whom he regarded as one of the Lights of the Age, that it was not until the end of three months, during which he had received five successive commands from Ali Pasha, that he could bring himself to inform Baha'u'llah that it was the wish of the Turkish government that He should proceed to the capital. On one occasion, when Abdu'l-Baha and Aqay-i-Kalim had been delegated by Baha'u'llah to visit him, he entertained them
with such elaborate ceremonial that the Deputy-Governor stated that so far as he knew no notable of the city had ever been accorded by any governor so warm and courteous a reception. So struck, indeed, had the Sultan Abdu'l-Majid been by the favorable reports received about Baha'u'llah from successive governors of Baghdad (this is the personal testimony given by the Governor's deputy to Baha'u'llah himself) that he consistently refused to countenance the requests of the Persian government either to deliver Him to their representative or to order His expulsion from Turkish territory.

Far-Reaching Admiration


On no previous occasion, since the inception of the Faith, not even during the days when the Bab in Isfahan, in Tabriz and in Chihriq was acclaimed by the ovations of an enthusiastic populace, had any of its exponents risen to such high eminence in the public mind, or exercised over so diversified a circle of admirers an influence so far reaching and so potent. Yet unprecedented as was the sway which Baha'u'llah held while, in that primitive age of the Faith, He was dwelling in Baghdad, its range at that time was modest when compared with the magnitude of the fame which, at the close of that same age, and through the immediate inspiration of the Center of His Covenant, the Faith acquired in both the European and American continents.
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