Abdu’l-Baha on Baha’i Persecutions in 1903 (part 4)

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As a result, the third day after the arrival of that worthless [man], either through persuasion or force, a mob of ruffians and vagabonds was assembled. A great multitude, armed with swords and daggers, invaded the house of the honoured [Haji] Mirza Muhammad Sini-saz [tinsmith], with sticks and clubs beat and injured his wife and suckling babes, broke their household utensils and fixtures, plundered the furniture and demolished their home. With great force, they pulled the gentle Haji from his house, and dragged him in the streets until they arrived at a butcher’s shop, where a bully attacked him, like a wild beast, and with a meat cleaver, assaulted his blessed head, cutting it deeply, and causing several more injuries to his chest and side.

It was then that a farrash [footman] of the governor arrived and rescued the poor victim from the hands of his tormentors. Because his wounds were severe and the blows of Shimr and Yazid[10] had been inflicted on him, that wronged man was unable to walk, and thus the farrash was obliged to drag him to the court of the governor, where he lay motionless.

During this time, his eleven-year old son was at school. His schoolmates, being urged by their teacher, attacked this innocent lad. The wretched, tormented child ran to his teacher for protection and he, having a stone in place of a heart, commanded him to curse, insult and deny his religion. However, this wonderful child, with confidence and faith, refused to do so, saying: ‘I am only a school boy, unfamiliar with the reality of affairs. How can I stain my lips with a curse?’

Then that pitiless instructor joined the other school boys, inflaming the fire of malice and enmity, and committing such a deed of cruelty which has caused hearts to burn and tears to pour forth from the eyes of friends and strangers. That inhuman teacher with his pupils, tortured that dear boy, beating him with sticks, stabbing him with penknives, picking him with needles and awls in such manner that pens cannot portray, nor tongues utter, nor ear hear, nor hearts imagine.

In short, that light of the martyr’s eye and the first-fruit of the Abha Paradise, at the dawn of youth, manifested such constancy and steadfastness at the time of martyrdom and hastening to the divine altar of sacrifice, that brave men were stupefied. The teacher himself and the pupils would relate, ‘When we were stabbing him he only cried out, “Ya Baha’u’l-Abha!” and “Ya Mahbubu’l-A’la!” [O Beloved of the Most Exalted!]. Never wavering an instant, but with greatest joy and delight he yielded up life to the Life-Giver!’ In this manner he attained the presence of the Supreme Friend in advance of his noble father.

If there be but a particle of justice, it will testify that this constancy and firmness, this joy and exhilaration, manifested on the plain of martyrdom, this cry of ‘Ya Baha’u’l-Abha!’ at the zenith of anguish and pain, is beyond human endurance, especially when exhibited in a boy of such tender years. Sanctified is He Who confirmed his heart in God’s love when he hastened to the field of martyrdom! Sanctified is He Who caused him to utter ‘Ya Baha’u’l-Abha!’ under the attack of the enemies. Sanctified is He Who caused his soul to rejoice when ascending to the Supreme Friend! Verily this is but one of the signs of the Mighty Lord!

The blood of that superb child was still flowing when the malicious crowd killed his illustrious maternal uncle with utmost cruelty and torture, chopping his body until it was a mass of pieces. And this prince of faithfulness, under the keen sword of the foes, was heard saying, ‘I am content with the fate decreed by God, sacrificing myself for the sake of His Mighty Cause.’ The evildoers then tied with ropes the sacred remains of the benevolent father, the pure-hearted son and the sanctified uncle, and disgracefully hauled them through the streets, clubbing and stoning their mutilated corpses, meanwhile clapping and cheering, until they reached the town square, where they threw down the bodies.

The mother of that fine child, seeing her martyred son, her husband slain by the severest cuts, and her brother covered with blood and dust, began to weep and bitterly cry over the wrongs they had suffered, and especially that of the child. One can imagine what must have been the condition of that wretched of the worlds, while being held captive by the people of enmity, upon finding those sanctified bodies thus hacked to pieces before her. 

Such viciousness, ferocity, bloodthirstiness, tyranny and injustice have not been heard of in ancient or medieval times – even among the most brutal criminals or the wilds of Africa. Possibly barbarous tribes, in moments of revenge for massacres and severe losses in battle, might have produced deeds of similar brutality. That would be the mere seeking of vengeance and attempting retribution. But such tyranny and gross injustice has never been witnessed from the hand of foes or the attack of enemies, as was poured out upon these angelic, pure minded, trustworthy, righteous and pure hearted souls – people that were kind to all, well-wishers of the world of humanity, renowned for their goodly characters, and even praised by their oppressors and well-known as innocent and guiltless. If we refer to all the histories of the world, we will see that such oppression and tyranny on the part of the enemies of God toward the lovers of the Merciful One, is unparalleled and unequalled, especially when we consider that not one of these martyrs ever stretched his hand in defence, nor uttered an uncivil word at the time of martyrdom. Nay, rather, with utmost concentration on the Supreme Concourse, with humility, submissiveness, tenderness and exaltation of spirit, they were praying until they surrendered their souls into the Hand of the Life-Giver.

Sanctified be God! The government of His Imperial Majesty, the Shah of Iran – may God protect his dominion – has strictly forbidden hunters from killing birds during the season of breeding, or to discharge a gun even into the air, it being considered cruel and unlawful that, during the hatching period, the young ones should be killed or even startled or troubled by the sound of a gun. But the Baha’is, notwithstanding their innocence and purity, with righteousness and deeds approved at the Divine Threshold, were the victims of their own countrymen, and made to suffer such calamity, and were the object of such enmity. Consider the equity and tenderness of His Crowned Majesty [the Shah], and how stony-hearted are the people of the old religion.

 

[10] Yazid, son of the Caliph Mu’awiyah, was the man who ordered the killing of the Imam Husayn in Karbala. Shimr ibn Dhu’l-Jawshan was the man who carried out the order.

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