Beginning July 9, Baha’is will commemorate the 158th anniversary of the Bab’s martyrdom.
This week, on July 9, the Baha’is will be suspending work to celebrate the 158th anniversary of the Bab’s martyrdom. It was on July 9 that he was suspended and executed before tens of thousands of people in the city of Tabriz. This day is one of nine days that Baha’is take the day off, commemorating the date with programs and prayers.
The Bab Story
The Bab appeared in 1844 with the goal to bring new faith, “reform corruption” in the world, give Baha’u’llah an introduction. According to the story of the Bab’s martyrdom, just after the Bab’s imprisonment in the Chihriq Castle, there was a boy named Anis that wanted to sacrifice himself for the Bab, but his dad wouldn’t allow it. After a while, he saw the Bab in a vision and he told him that he would be able to sacrifice himself for the Bab. He had chosen Anis for martyrdom. Meanwhile, a chest of important items were sent to the Bab’s secretary that included a soft blue scroll that the Bab had written upon (and beautifully so). The chest was sent to Baha’u’llah in the Capital. About a month after these two events, the Prime Minister, in spite of the King’s orders, had the Bab transferred from Chihriq to Tabriz, the second capital.
After some back and forth with the Prime Minister’s brother, who showed up a few days later to give orders of execution to the Governor and had to return later under orders to do it himself, the Prince of Tabriz ordered a judgement. After the Council and judges abused and beat the Bab, they wanted him dead. The only reason they didn’t was because the Prime Minister’s brother had been given the task. They stripped him, and sent him, along with 4 followers, to the Barracks. That’s when Anis showed up, threw himself down before him and begged to come with him.
They all spent the night in the cell and when day came, they were all stripped and dragged/led through the streets as people threw things, screamed at them and otherwise abused them. As they had been getting ready, the Chief Aide interrupted the conversation Bab was having with his secretary, but they were still taken. After acquiring the needed documents from clergy, they tried to convince the Bab’s followers to leave him. All but Anis did, as they had promised the night before. Anis was given the role of being the one to end his life.
There were two execution attempts of the Bab and Anis. The first one had the two suspended from spikes. Three rows of soldiers formed before them and fired. When the smoke had cleared, the Bab was simply gone, only to be found in his cell again speaking with his secretary. When he finished, they took him to be suspended again. This time, he told them that Anis was above them in rank before the soldiers killed him. The city was in darkness the rest of the day.
The bodies of the Bab and Anis were taken to the ditch they used for feeding dogs. Soldiers were made to stand watch over the bodies as a precaution to make sure they stayed dead. Two Babis remained close by, watching as the Emperor had a drawing made. They bribed the guards, and threatened them, before taking the bodies and sending them to Tihran in secret. The body didn’t arrive for half a century, but it now rests in Haifa.