One morning as the sun rose over Tihran, a Child was born. He was born into a family that was powerful in the government of Persia, and was also rich. The house where he was born looked more like a palace than a house, with its tall columned walkways and arched windows looking out over the walled garden.
This child was very special, right from the start. He never cried or fussed in the way that little babies ordinarily do, which surprised his mother very much. People used to shake their heads and say, 'Such a child will not live', because they felt he was too good for this world. His name was Mirza Husayn ‘Ali, but he will always be known as Baha’u’llah.
Baha’u’llah never went to school at all, though of course he was taught the things that noble boys usually learnt, like horse riding, sword fighting and to shoot a gun. He would have read poetry and the Qur’an, and also have learnt to write, but that was all. The odd thing was that even though he had not been taught things like history and philosophy, he knew it all anyway. Grown-ups were often very surprised to find that he knew more than they did!
Once, when he was visiting a famous scholar, who was like a professor at a college, he sat up in the evening and listened while the scholar questioned his students. The scholar asked the students to explain the meaning of a Muslim tradition, but none of them could do it. Out of politeness, he then asked Baha’u’llah to try. Baha’u’llah quietly gave such a clear explanation of the tradition that nobody else could think of anything to say, they were so astonished. The next day the great scholar was very angry with his students. 'I have taught you for twenty-five years', he shouted, 'and yet this youth knows more than you do!'
Baha’u’llah loved the outdoors, and the fresh beauty of the countryside. He spent much of his time out in the garden or riding on horseback through the hills around his family's country house.
One day, when his family was staying at this country house, he saw a government tax collector bullying his father and being very rude. This tax collector was trying to make Baha’u’llah's father, Mirza Buzurg, pay all sorts of taxes that he didn't even owe. Baha’u’llah knew that this was unjust. He couldn't bear to see his father treated so badly, so he decided to do something about it. He took his horse and rode for two whole days until he came to Tihran. He told the people in the government what the tax collector was doing, and made them see how wrong it was. They agreed that such a dishonest bully should not keep his job. Then Baha’u’llah took the papers ordering the tax collector to leave his job straight away, and rode back to his parents.
(by Shirin Sabri, ‘The Incomparable Friend – The Life of Baha’u’llah told in stories’)