And It Came to Pass:
the Báb and the Fulfillment of Shí'í Islamic Messianism (Part 1)

By Stephen Lambden

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #81
Bosch Bahá'í School: Santa Cruz, California, USA
May 29 – June 1, 2008
(see list of papers from #81)

    The Báb fixed very, very precisely, to the exact minute, the time of the onset of the New age and non-literally understood "Day of Resurrection" (yawm al-qiyáma). According to Persian Bayán the "Day of God" commenced on the evening of May 22nd 1844 CE, two hours and eleven minutes after sunset on the evening of that day when the Báb announced his mission before Mullá Husayn Bushrú'í. This took place 1,000 years after the disappearance of the 12th Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi and alleged son of Hasan al-Askarí, the 11th Imam of the Twelver Shí`ís. The year was 1,260 AH or during the Gregorian year 1844. In this paper the nature and interpretation of certain traditions attributed to the Prophet and the Imams which the Báb and his followers cited in proof of the truth of their claims will be examined. It will be shown that, among other things, traditions were cited in proof of the name, age, appearance, habits, nationality, travels, revelations and martyrdom of the Báb. The Arabic texts will be shared and given their exact textual source as well as fully translated into English.

    The following text is an example of such a prediction contained in the Kitáb al-Ghayba (Book of the Occultation") of Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Ja`far al-Nu`mání (d. 360/970) and from the Bihár al-anwár (Oceans of Lights) of Muhamad Báqir Majlisí (d. 1111/1699-1700), centering on Mecca and the future role of the messianic Qá'im. It is a hadíth (tradition) relayed from the fifth Imam Muhammad al-Báqir (d. c.126/743):
    ... until a Herald from heaven (munád min al-samá') cries out. So when he cries out then quickly hasten along [to join him]. By God! It is as if I perceive him (al-Qá'im) [in Mecca] between the pillar [corner of the Ka`ba] (al-rukn) and the [nearby] locale ["station" of Abraham] (al-maqám). He will spread out his arms in initiating a new Cause (amr jadíd), [offering] a new book (kitáb jadíd), and [instituting] a new sovereign rule from heaven (sultán jadíd min al-samá'). His eternal banner (ráyat abadá an) will be not be layed down until [the time of] his death" (Nu`mání, K-Ghayba, 2003: 363; Majlisi, Bihar, 2nd ed. vol. 52: 235, 293).

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