Recently read ‘The Dawn breakers’ by Nabil- I- Azzam, the chronicler of Bahaism.  The book was so good that I pondered over many things.

Synopsis

19th century Iran. An obscurantist, cruel clergy which is bent up on pillage and rapine on the poor inhabitants. A populace that is steeped in superstitions. The rule of the Qajar dynasty.

In Shia islam, there is a belief that the last of the 12 imams, Muhammad, who disappeared thousands of years ago, is still living invisibly. He will come with Imam Husayn on the eve of the judgement day. Imam Muhammad, popularly known as the Mehdi, in the beginning used to communicate through specific persons, known as Babs (The gates). After the foruth bab, the tradition was stopped.

During the 1840s, a handsome youth from the city of Shiraz, claimed to be the Bab.  His name was Siyyid ali Muhammad. He was of the lineage of the holy prophet.  People began to flock around him, and soon it took the form of a popular revolution much to the chagrin of the Dynasty and the ulamas (the Muslim scholars).  Eventually the government had to unleash its power on the babis, and thousands were perished, many heroically. Even the life of the Bab wasn’t spared.

Bahaullah, another leader of the babi revolution was put in an underground dungeon, and there he gets a divine revelation.  He reaches the prison city of Akka, and begins to preach his new gospel, which eventually culminates in the promulgation of the Baha’I religion.

The Baha’I community believes in a universal world order, accepting and respecting all the prophets.

The language used in the book is at the same time beautiful and simple. I still can’t forget some of the episodes, such as the death of Bab. When he was fired on by 750 soldiers and how miraculously he escapes, only to be killed in the second attempt… the tribulations of Bahaullah, in the  underground dungeon of Siyal- i- chai, and in the end how he ushers the beautiful religion…

If you really want to study the baha’I history, this book is a must.

My rating -4/5.

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