Did ʿAbdu’l-Bahāʾ personally oversee the murder of Siyyid Muḥammad Iṣfahānī?

 
 عبد القاتل
In his marginalia and commentary on tarjumih-i-tārīkh-i-bābīyih (A translation of the history of Babism from Russian into Persian, see also original Russian), Shaykh Maḥdī Baḥr al-ʿUlūm Kirmānī contends that the murder of Hājjī Siyyid Muḥammad Iṣfahānī (d. 1869-70) took place at the hands of ʿAbdu’l-Bahāʾ personally who was accompanied by three accomplices who helped him in the deed. He alleges that one of the wives of Ṣubḥ-i-Azal who had been banished by the Ottomans to Acre alongside the Bahāʾīs, namely Badr-i-Jahān Khānum (the sister of Mīrzā Riḍā-Qulī Tafrishī, also killed by the Bahāʾīs), was a personal eyewitness to the event, see Princeton University, William M. Miller Bābī MSS Collection, Islamic Manuscripts, Third Series, No. 261, vol. 36, folio 60a-b (paginated at 117 and 118). However, we note here that this attribution of the murder of Hājjī Siyyid Muḥammad Iṣfahānī directly to ʿAbdu’l-Bahāʾ is Shaykh Maḥdī Baḥr al-ʿUlūm Kirmānī’s own contention and is not one that, to our knowledge, other Bayānī sources have explicitly made. Be that as it may, E.G. Browne observes that this event was viewed with some level of complaisance by the Bahāʾī founder, where he also quotes (in the original as well as in translation) one of Bahāʾuʾllāh’s own epistles from the period addressed to one of his disciples where he is quoted as saying, “O phlebotomist of the Divine Unity! Throb like the artery in the body of the Contingent World, and drink of the blood of the Block of Heedlessness for that he turned aside from the aspect of thy Lord the Merciful!”:

ان يا فصّاد الاحدية كُن نبّاضاً  كالّشريان في بدن الامكان و اشرب من دم جرثوم الغفلة لانّه اعرض عن ربّك الرّحمن

See A Travellers Narrative Written to Illustrate the Episode of the Bāb, Volume 2, Note W, 359, 363-4 and 370. 

Here is the relevant pages/folio below from the Princeton MS:



Transcription of the relevant passage in f.60a (117)

...اين چهار نفر ازلي كه با بهاء به عكا فرستادند حاجي سيد محمد اصفهاني و ميرزا آقا خان كج كلاه و ميرزا رضا قلي تفرشي و ميرزا نصر الله برادر او بود، ميرزا نصر الله را در همان ادرنه مسموم كرده كشتند، اين سه نفر ديگر  وارد عكا شده در يك خانه منزل گرفته مدتي انجا اقامت داشتند، بدر جهان خانم همشيره ميرزا رضا قلي هم بديدن برادرش رفته در وقت شهادت آنها در همان خانه حاضر بوده و الان زنده است و حكيات ميكند در اول طلوع صبح ليلة الرغائب شهر رجب كه هنوز هوا تاريك و كسي بدرستي شناخته نمي شد در خانه را بشدت زدند، ميرزا آقا خان كج كلاه ته پيرهن در را گشوده اورا در همان دهليز خانه كشتند بعد وارد شدند و انها هفت نفر بودند يكي از آنهاهم عباس افندي پسر بهاء بود كه اول ابتداء بقتل حاجي سيد محمد نموده...

Translation

…these four Azalī individuals who were sent to Acre with Bahāʾ [were] Ḥājjī Siyyid Muḥammad Iṣfahānī, Mīrzā Āghā Khān Kaj-Kullāh, Mīrzā Riḍā-Qulī Tafrishī and Mīrzā Naṣr’ullāh who was his brother. They poisoned Mīrzā Naṣr’ullāh to death in Edirne. Once entering Acre, the other three took dwelling in a house [together and] resided there for some time. The sister of Mīrzā Riḍā-Qulī Tafrishī, Badr-i-Jahān Khānum, had likewise gone to visit her brother and in the moment of [their] martyrdom [i.e. murder] was present -- and is at the moment alive -- and relates how at the first light of dawn on the laylat al-raghāʾīb of the month of Rajab [i.e. the first Friday of that Islamic month] as the sky was still dark and no one could be distinguished from anyone else, the door of the house was knocked upon with great force. Mīrzā Āghā Khān Kaj-Kullāh opened the entry gate to the house [to see who it was] and there in the house’s atrium was martyred  [i.e. murdered]. Then they entered and they were seven individuals; and one of them was ʿAbbās Effendī, the older son of  Bahāʾ, who at the very initial beginning [personally] went and murdered Ḥājjī Siyyid Muḥammad [Iṣfahānī]…(my trans.)


See also

Popular Posts