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An account of the burial of the Bab

Posted by Sen on February 9, 2010

The following description by Mirza Munir Zayn, of the final burial of the Bab’s remains in the Shrine dedicated to him, on Mount Carmel in Israel was published in Star of the West volume 11 page 316 (March 2 1921). In addition to its inherent interest, Zayn’s account is clearly the source of a description of the same event by Shoghi Effendi, which I have appended to it.

The Final Burial of The Bab on Mt. Carmel

Extracts from Mirza Moneer’s letters, Acca, Syria, March 22, 1909.

Sunday morning, Abdul Baha drove from Acca to Haifa with his family and a few of the old believers. Along the shore, half way between the two cities, there is now a small house which the government has built for the watch of the road. Here, in the middle of the desert, we stopped and had luncheon; then, after an hour and a half, we reached Haifa.

But few of the believers knew that nine years ago the remains of His Holiness, The Bab, had been quietly placed in the (place of) Hazerat-o-ikoods [sic] on Mount Carmel.

A week before the Feast of Naurooz (March 21st) Abdul Baha had sent to Haifa two of the believers that they should prepare everything for the coming ceremonies.

Nine years ago a believer of Rangoon (India) sent to Haifa a large casket made of marble, beautifully worked with the Greatest Name in relief and gilded three times on each side. It was later to hold the remains of The Bab, which had been kept 60 years (59 A. D. or solar years) in safety. Now they were to be definitely buried by Abdul Baha.

A few weeks before some twenty men had pulled this heavy marble casket up the mountain. Abdul Baha gave the last necessary instructions and it was slowly slid down into the under part of the Tomb. This must have been performed with the help of the Kingdom of El abha for though the work presented great difficulty and was done by inexperienced men, everyone wondered at the ease with which it was done.

The Shrine under the ground was lighted with but one lamp. Abdul Baha waited until all was well finished. He threw off his turban; he removed his shoes; he took off his coat but what followed was so impressive that it is useless for me to attempt to picture it! I will simply relate what happened.

Our Beloved, with his hair waving around his beautiful head, his face shining with light, looking inspired, tragic and majestic, rushed down and threw himself on his knees. He placed the remains of The Bab in the large coffin (in the marble casket) and leaning his blessed head on the border of the coffin, he wept, wept, wept and all wept with him.

That night the Master did not sleep.

And the account in God Passes By (page 276):

When all was finished, and the earthly remains of the Martyr-Prophet of Shiraz were, at long last, safely deposited for their everlasting rest in the bosom of God’s holy mountain, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Who had cast aside His turban, removed His shoes and thrown off His cloak, bent low over the still open sarcophagus, His silver hair waving about His head and His face transfigured and luminous, rested His forehead on the border of the wooden casket, and, sobbing aloud, wept with such a weeping that all those who were present wept with Him. That night He could not sleep, so overwhelmed was He with emotion.

~~~~~~~
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3 Responses to “An account of the burial of the Bab”

  1. My impression is that Shoghi Effendi was himself an eyewitness. I don’t have time at the moment to look it up, but I think there is more on this in the book by Mrs. Maani, on the Leaves of the Twin Divine Trees. Also, in that book there is a letter from a believer who was in the Shrine of the Bab with Abdu’l-Baha, and Abdu’l-Baha motioned to a spot and said that He was to be buried there. My recollection is that this letter is quoted in the section of the book about the Greatest Holy Leaf; I think the letter was addressed to her.
    Also, I believe it was Hossein Achtchi who said that he had heard that the manner of placing the sarcophagus into the Shrine, was that instead of the hole being dug straight down from the inner Shrine, there was an entrance made at a slanting angle, from the face of the Mountain, i.e. under the north side of the Shrine, which faces the Bay. I recall reading somewhere, a pilgrim’s note in which Abdu’l-Baha stated that the Bab is buried very deep in the mountain, under the Shrine. This northern approach would have better allowed this.
    Brent

  2. Sen said

    Thanks for the extra details Brent. Sometime about 1909, Shoghi Effendi began to attend the Preparatory School in Beirut, so it could be that he was not in Haifa at the time. He would have been 12 years old.

  3. He was there.

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