February 19, 2018

Some facts about the Báb’s first disciples: The Letters of the Living

Within approximately two months following the private Declaration of the Báb to Mulla Husayn, His first believer, sixteen men and one woman found themselves drawn to Him and became His first followers. Each of the eighteen recognized Him independently, gave Him allegiance, and agreed not to reveal His identity until the appointed time. The Báb gave each of these first disciples the title "Letter of the Living."
• They were seventeen men and one woman.
• The first to believe in the Báb was Mulla Husayn Bushrú’í.
• The second to believe in the Báb was Mulla Ali Bastamí.
• Two of them were brothers, a third a nephew of them.
• Two were cousins.
• Ten of them were Muslim clerics before becoming Bábis.
• One of them was referred to by the Báb, in allegorical language, as the return of the Imam Ali.
• One of them was instrumental in bringing the news of the Advent of the Báb to the attention of Tahirih who was in Karbala, Iraq at the time – before she became a Babi.
• One of them didn’t personally meet the Báb .
• One of them became known as the First Babi martyr.
• One of them was the son of a famous Persian mujtahid (a prominent religious scholar).
• One of them visited Baha’u’llah in Baghdad.

• One of them became the Báb’s secretary -- His amanuensis.
• One of them went to India, another to Iraq, proclaimed the Advent of the Báb, was arrested and tried in Baghdad, and sentenced to work for life in the imperial naval dock in Istanbul.
• One became the Báb’s intermediary to deliver His correspondence and some other items to Baha’u’llah.
• One became a Baha’i after visiting Baha’u’llah in Baghdad. He then received permission from Baha’u’llah to spend the rest of his life in Istanbul and became the last surviving Letter of the Living.
• One of them was an accomplished poet and a scholar. She became instrumental in announcing the dawn of a new era in religion.
• One accompanied the Báb on His pilgrimage to Mecca.
• One brought the News concerning the Declaration of the Báb to Baha’u’llah.
• Five of them participated in the historic Conference of Badasht.
• Eight of them were killed at Fort Tabarsi.
• One was designated by the Báb as the “Primal Mirror” of His Dispensation and acclaimed by Baha’u’llah in the Kitab-i-Iqan as “the one but for whom ‘God would not have been established upon the seat of His mercy, nor ascended the throne of eternal glory;’” (Shoghi Effendi, ‘God Passes By’)
• One was immortalized by the Báb as “Ismu'llahi'l-Akhir (the Last Name of God)” and on whom Baha’u’llah “later conferred the sublime appellation of Nuqtiy-i-Ukhra (the Last Point)” and elevated him in another Tablet to “a rank second to none except that of the Herald of His Revelation”. (Shoghi Effendi, ‘God Passes By’). He was designated by ‘Abdu’l-Baha as the “Moon of Guidance” and his “appearance the Revelation of St. John the Divine anticipated as one of the two ‘Witnesses’ into whom, ere the ‘second woe is past,’ the ‘spirit of life from God’ must enter.” (Shoghi Effendi, ‘God Passes By’)
• Some of them were noted for their roles in shaping the evolution of the Babi history.
• A few chose not to remain in the forefront of the Babi Faith.
• Three of them were executed – one savagely tortured before his death, “a death which even Jesus Christ, as attested by Bahá'u'lláh, had not faced in the hour of His greatest agony.” (Shoghi Effendi, ‘God Passes By’)
(Adapted from The Baha’i Encyclopedia Project site)