One of the early believers of the Bab, by the name of Haji Abu’l-Hasan Shirazi shares the following eye-witness account of his journey with the Bab and Quddus from Port of Bushihr to The Holy places of Islam in Arabia in 1844. At the time Haji Abu’l-Hasan was one of the Muslem pilgrims and a year later, when the Bab was brought to the Masjid Vakil for interrogation and humiliation by the government and Moslem clergy, Haji Abu’l-Hasan Shirazi recognised The Bab’s station and became a believer. The divine power of meekness emanating from The Bab and the empathic capabilities of thousands of receptive souls was among the many ways that the loving and patient God assisted His ignorant and wayward servants to arise and recognize His new Revelation.
Through out the course of this journey which lasted two months and despite the rough sea, Haji Abu’l-Hasan witnessed the Bab, radiantly revealing verses and Quddus taking down the dictation. This Journey to the Holy cities was particularly full of sufferings for the Beloved Bab. From Bushihr He embarked on a small and crowded ship called Baghleh. Much of the crowd consisted of Persian pilgrims heading for the annual pilgrimage in Mecca.
The leader of the Moslem pilgrims was an ignorant and arrogant man by the name of Shaikh Abu Hashem. He was a power hungry, wicked, egotistic and vicious individual. Soon he became perturbed with jealousy and was burning with anger because the Bab refused to follow his lead in the group prayer. He felt insulted that the Bab did not pay respect to him in front of other pilgrims and missed no opportunity to do everything in his power to steer his group to insult the Bab and cause Him pain. His aggression became so blatant that the ship’s captain reprimanded him and warned him about his behavior and told him to leave the Bab alone.
Eventually the ship’s captain himself got into a dispute with him and the ignorant Shaikh insulted the Captain. This proved to be a deadly crime on board of a ship and was punishable by death. The captain was enraged and ordered the nasty Shaikh to be thrown into the Sea and off the board of his ship. In this instant the beloved Bab approached the captain and asked for the Shaikh’s life to be spared. The captain was furious and could not stop screaming and ordering: “throw this cursed trash overboard”.
The Bab knew that the captain was absolutely determined to have the Shaikh thrown into the sea. In order to prevent the Shaikh’s execution, the Bab approached the Shaikh and tightly embraced His enemy to stop the Captain from killing him while asking the captain to pardon the Sheikh for His sake and release the Sheikh to Him. The captain was perplexed by the Bab’s extraordinary action and his heart was touched by the Bab’s request. He commented to the Bab that this cursed man has been hurting you more than any one else and of all people you should welcome his death. The Bab replied “These people are only hurting themselves, it is becoming for us to have a sin covering eye.”
This intercession of the Bab and the radiance of His unconditional love awakened the ignorant and warmed the hearts of those who were sincere on board of the ship to the extend that they changed their behavior towards the Bab and from then on offered Him their utmost respect.
In one of His prayers the Bab reveals an unprecedented and unimaginable mystery about how God confers His blessings upon a servant when He so chooses and also how He ordains evil for a servant for raising against His Will and committing injustice.
“Indeed shouldst Thou desire to confer blessing upon a servant Thou wouldst blot out from the realm of his heart every mention or disposition except Thine Own mention; and shouldst Thou ordain evil for a servant by reason of that which his hands have unjustly wrought before Thy face, Thou wouldst test him with the benefits of this world and of the next that he might become preoccupied therewith and forget Thy remembrance.” – The Báb
Story Translated by Keyvan from Payam-i Bahá’í