Suppose you and I had been born in Persia more than a hundred years ago. Suppose we had grown up as Muslim children, hearing the beautiful words of the Qur'an. Suppose we were playing with our cousins and friends, learning to wash before prayers, turning toward Mecca, bowing our heads to the ground on our own prayer rugs. Suppose we were content.
Then we heard about a young Man. This young Man spoke with such power and with such love that our parents took us to listen to Him. When we heard His voice and saw His tender young face, would we see that He had come to change the world?
Suppose the people in our neighborhood were afraid of this young Man, Who called Himself the Báb, which means the ‘Gate’. Suppose we heard shouting from groups of people outside the walls of our home “We are going to find Bábís and drag them through the streets!" What would we feel? Would we want to be part of the small group of devoted Bábís?
Maybe we could get a better idea if we could get a glimpse of what people saw when they actually met the Báb. Here are three stories about the Báb in the words of those who loved Him when He was a child and a grown Man.
After His father died, the Báb's uncle sent him to school. His teacher said this about the Báb when He was six or seven years old:
"One day, I asked the Báb to recite the opening words of the Qur'an." The teacher remembered that the Báb hesitated and replied that, unless He knew what the words meant, He couldn't say them out loud. The teacher pretended not to know their meaning -- then the Báb said that He did know what the words meant, after all, and asked the teacher permission to explain them. "He spoke with such knowledge and fluency that I was struck with amazement," the teacher recalled. "The sweetness of His utterance still lingers in my memory."
The Blessed Youth
Two special men were invited to meet the Báb in the days before He told the world just Who He was. The Báb was not yet twenty-five years old.
"We soon reached a house, at the door of which stood a Youth... He wore a green turban and His (face) revealed an expression of humility and kindliness which I can never describe.... He bade us be seated.... We observed a silver cup ... which our youthful Host... filled to overflowing... Siyyid Kazim (my master and teacher) held the cup with both hands and (drank) it. A feeling of reverent joy filled his being ... I was mute with wonder, and knew not how to express the cordiality of His welcome, the dignity of His bearing, the charm of that face, and the delicious fragrance of that beverage."
The Promised One
The wife of the Báb knew Him most of His life. They grew up next door to each other and played together as children. After they were married, she spoke of the tenderness He showed her:
"His kindness towards me and His care for me were indescribable. He and his mother alike showered me with kindness and consideration."
When the Báb prayed, people in His presence were attracted to His sincerity and reverence.
His wife once found Him praying late at night. "There I saw Him standing in that chamber, His hands raised heavenwards, intoning a prayer in a most melodious voice, with tears streaming down His face. And His face was luminous; rays of light radiated from it." It was then that she knew He was the Promised One.
The Glory of God
Not long after His wife realized that He was God's Messenger, the Báb told the world exactly Who He was. He announced that He had come to be the Gate to invite all people to welcome the Glory of God. Who is the Glory of God? Baha'u'llah! So, there are no true Bábís today. It was the Báb's Plan that all of us should find Baha'u'llah, become His followers and help His Cause.
There are so many wonderful stories that give us glimpses of the Báb, stories that show His tenderness, His courage, His love for all of us. The best part is this: these stories are true.
(by Susan Engle, The Brilliant Star magazine, September-October 1999)