[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]


[Newspaper:] Nour va Zolmat

[Date:] 6 Bahman 1336 [26 January 1958]

[Issue No.:] 90


What Do We Know From the Past

How Was Ali Mohammad the Bab Executed in Tabriz? …

From the Notes of Professor Edward Brown

After the death of Mohammad Shah, the opposition of the Babis and the clergy had reached such a level that it was feared that a great massacre would take place. As soon as Naser al-din Shah took power after Mohammad Shah, the Babis revolted in the cities of Yazd, Neyriz, Zanjan and Mazandaran.

The Babi uprising in Mazandaran ended in disarray after some people were killed and in Zanjan, too, there was little left for the Iranian government forces to be defeated by the insurgent forces. Mirza Taqi Khan Amirkabir, who was the prime minister under Naser al-din Shah, told the king that, it would be good for him to order the assassination of Ali Mohammad, so that the Babis would no longer have any hope of revolt.

The government knew that Ali Mohammad the Bab was the source of the riots, and without him the Babis would no longer have the strength and endurance to revolt. After this decision, the shah ordered Tabriz to release Mirza Ali Mohammad from prison and kill him after a trial. This order was carried out and Mirza Ali Mohammad was taken to the streets and bazaar of Tabriz for several hours, where some clergy and other people humiliated him. Shortly before sunset he was brought to the place of execution, [where they] executed him.

Many inhabitants of Tabriz were gathered there, some out of interest and some out of hostility and [wanting to be] able to see his death, and some came there out of curiosity… Mirza Ali Mohammad was not alone, but two of his followers were to be executed with him. One of the two men was Mr. Seyyed Hossein Yazdi, who lived with Mirza Ali Mohammad throughout his imprisonment. As soon as he arrived at the execution place and realized that they would kill him, he showed remorse and said [he did not] believe in him, and took back his belief. Thus, Agha Seyyed Hossein was temporarily saved from death, but what is certain is that he did not live more than two years after the Bab’s execution and was killed along with some Babis in Tehran.

Another disciple who had to be killed with the Bab was a young merchant from Tabriz named Agha Mohammad Ali, who should not be confused with the Bab himself because of the similarity of his name… Government officials [tied] Agha Mohammad Ali next to Mirza Ali Mohammad the Bab, a few steps away from him. A rope was passed under his arms and he was [tied up]. At this point, the soldiers were ordered to shoot. The guns sounded and the gunpowder smoke hid them for a few moments.

When the smoke of the gunpowder dispersed and the people were able to see the scene of the execution, a cry of astonishment arose from the people because [Agha] Mohammad Ali had been [tied up] and killed by bullets, but Mirza Ali Mohammad the Bab was not present and had disappeared. This is a strange accident because the bullets that were supposed to kill the Bab accidentally hit the ropes, causing the ropes to break, thus saving the Bab.

The period of astonishment of the people and the soldiers did not last long and the agents tried to find the Bab. They found him nearby in a room reserved for the guards and brought him again to the execution venue and [tied him up] in the same manner, and another group of soldiers rushed to the Bab’s execution. This time, when the firing order was issued and the guns sounded, the Bab’s body was pierced by the bullets and he died. Then they took the two corpses from the middle of the streets and the bazaar and took them out of the city and left them there in the desert, meaning that the animals would [eat] the corpses, but Soleiman Khan and a few other Baha’is who had influence in Tabriz, by their own influence and most likely by bribery, removed the corpses from the city and wrapped them in a white shroud and sent them to Tehran.

In Tehran, according to the order of Mirza Yahya, nicknamed the Sobh-e Azal [Eternal Morning], the corpses were transferred to the Imamzadeh Masum [Shrine of Masum], located on the road to Hamedan near Robat Karim, and the corpses were there for seventeen or eighteen years. Azal lost the presidency of the Baha’is to his half-brother Baha’u’llah Khan, as a result of the creation of a new sect among the Baha’is. The Baha’is moved the bodies of the Bab and Agha Mohammad Ali from the Imamzadeh Masum to another place, and now no one but the Baha’is knows where the bodies of the two are! ...