The Hidden Imam

claim to be the Hidden Imam has always been connected with

political uprising." In order to prevent this, the Persian

authorities imprisoned the Bab. However; because the people were

looking for a deliverer, the movement spread. While in prison,

the Bab wrote a number of books and had visits from his


In the spring of 1848, while the Bab was still alive in

prison, the babi leaders met in conference where they declared

the laws of the Islamic dispensation had now been abrogated in

the same way that Muslims believe that the Islamic dispensation

replaced the Christian revelation. They decided that rather than

being the twelfth Imam, the Bab was the prophet of the new

dispensation in place of Muhammad. This declaration placed the

Bab clearly outside of the Islamic fold and invited the utmost

hostility from the traditional Muslims.

After the Babis sought forcefully to gain control of the

province of Mazanderan, a succession of conflicts with the

Persian government resulted that led to the mass defeat of the

Babis and in 1850, the execution of Bab.

Those writings of the Bab which have been preserved are

called the Bayan (translated = utterance or exposition). The Bab

was convinced that his works were superior TO ALL OTHERS, that

they were inimitable, and that they replaced Muhammad's Quran

(KORAN) as the scripture relevant to the present age. He cited

the supposedly superior quality of his writings as proof of his

divine mission, just as Muhammad had compared his writings to the

Bible. The Bayan includes religious and social laws for the

universal theocracy of this new age.

As Baha'is claim, the Bab taught that one would come after

him who would be greater than he. In the Bayan there are seventy

references to "He whom God will manifest."


In keeping with the Shi'ite belief that Muhammad appointed

his son-in-law to the caliphate before his death, the Bab

appointed the vice regency of his movement to Mizra Yahya Subh-I-

Azal, Subh-I-Azal continued as the ruler of the Babi community

for about sixteen years. This appointment is noted in the book

NUQ tatu 'L-kaf, which is a history of the babi movement written

in 1851 by an "authorized" Babi, Mizra Jani. There is no

historical evidence to the contrary, though Baha'i histories omit

mention of this appointment of Subh-I-Azal.

Subh-I-Azal instructed his followers to lay aside the sword,

and under his leadership, the movement continued to grow with

little opposition. He was assisted in the leadership of the

movement by his older half-brother, Mizra Husayn Ali, who took

for his name, BAHA (Glory).

Turmoil began when a number of claimants to the coming

divine manifestation arose, citing certain verses in the Bayan

and ignoring the required time span of 1,500 years. Then Azim, a

devoted disciple of the Bab, devised a plot to assasinate the

Shah, which failed and resulted in a search for Babi leaders and

the execution of many. The Mizra brothers fled Bagdad to escape.

In Bagdad, Baha became increasingly active in the leadership

of the movement, while his brother retired to seclusion in order

to contemplate and write. Baha saw that the movement needed

stronger leadership than his brother was supplying, but he

recognized that since he had not been appointed by the Bab, the

only way he could attain it would be to convince the faithful

that he was "He whom God will manifest." However; strong

opposition from other leaders prevented Baha from making any such

claim at that time. In spite of these thoughts, Baha wrote during

that period in his "Book of Certitudes" (alleged to have been a

response to others who were claiming to be the "HE") that the

time interval between the Bab and He whom God will manifest "is

about 1000 years."

After ten years in Bagdad, outbreaks of violence between

Muslims and Babis forced the Turkish government to banish the

Babi leaders to Adrianople on the extreme western border of

Turkey. There, with no one nearby to oppose him, Baha declared

that he was the one who should come. He assumed the name

Baha'u'llah (Glory of God), a title applied to the Divine

Manifestations in the Bayan. Baha'u'llah called upon his brother

and all the Babis to submit to him without question, since this

would be the only appropriate response to one who is GOD, and the

Bab had instructed in the Bayan that "HE" be received in that


While most of the Babis accepted Baha'u'llah's claim and

thus became known as Baha'is, Subh-i-Azal and some of his

followers refused. They strongly believed that the Bab's

revelation was all sufficient for the age. They held that it was

unreasonable to suggest that the elaborate system revealed by the

Bab was only to last twenty-two years, but rather that it must be

accepted and instituted for multitudes of people for many

centuries before another manifestation would appear. After all,

the Bab had indicated that it would be a minimum of 1,511 years

before "HE" would appear. They reasoned that (1) since the Bab

was infallible and (2) that he had appointed Subh-i-Azal to

succeed him, if Baha was truly "He," Subh-i-Azal would have to

recognize him. Thus the minority that remained loyal to Subh-i-

Azal continued to be called Babis (sometimes Azalis).

Baha'u'llah sought to force Subh-i-Azal to recognize him by

withholding his share of the allowance that the Turkish

government had been supplying to the exiles. As a result, Subh-i-

Azal's children fell sick due to lack of food, and his wife

complained to the wife of the Turkish governor. This "betrayal"

incurred even greater wrath from Baha'u'llah. The Baha'is

responded to Babis resistance by rewriting many Babi writings and

records, degrading the Bab to a forerunner of Baha'u'llah, the

REAL prophet for the age, and MURDERING about twenty Babis in

Bagdad, Adrianople, and Akka. Two of these Babis were brothers of


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