In about 1848, four years after recognizing the Báb and becoming His first believer, and receiving the title of Bábu’l-Báb (the Gate of the Gate), Mulla Husayn left the city of Mashhad, in the province of Khurasan, north-east of Tihran, where he had lived since 1844. Desiring to see his Lord Who was imprisoned in the castle of Mah-Ku in the province of Adhirbayjan, north-west of Tihran, he told his friends: “I have vowed to walk the whole distance that separates me from my Beloved.” (a distance of about 900 miles). “I shall not relax in my resolve until I shall have reached my destination.”
His friends offered to arrange for a more conventional and comfortable mode of travel for this long and arduous journey, but Mulla Husayn declined their help. Upon his insistence, he finally allowed one of his friends to accompany him and to act as his servant throughout his pilgrimage to Ádhirbayján. On his way to Tihran, Mulla Husayn was enthusiastically greeted by the believers in the towns through which he passed. They too offered him the same assistance and received from him the same reply.
When Mulla Husayn arrived in Tihran he was visited by many believers. Nabil, the great Baha’i historian, recorded what he heard from Áqáy-i-Kalím, Bahá’u’lláh’s faithful brother, about Mulla Husayn:
“When Mulla Husayn arrived at Tihran, I, together with a large number of believers, went to visit him. He seemed to us the very embodiment of constancy, of piety and virtue. He inspired us with his rectitude of conduct and passionate loyalty. Such were the force of his character and the ardour of his faith that we felt convinced that he, unaided and alone, would be capable of achieving the triumph of the Faith of God.”
It was about the first day of Naw-Rúz 1848 that Mulla Husayn reached the Castle of Mah-Ku. The Báb received him warmly and affectionately embraced him. Taking him by the hand, He conducted him to His chamber. He then summoned His friends into His presence and celebrated in their company the feast of Naw-Rúz – the fourth Naw-Rúz since His Declaration in Shiraz.
Mulla Husayn stayed with the Báb for nine days. During those memorable days the Bab, one after the other, related to Mullá Husayn those events which must needs transpire in the future, and bade him not to mention them to anyone. “A few days after your departure from this place,” the Báb informed him, “they will transfer Us to another mountain. Ere you arrive at your destination, the news of Our departure from Máh-Kú will have reached you.” As the Báb bade His last farewell to Mullá Husayn, He addressed these words to him:
“You have walked on foot all the way from your native province to this place. On foot you likewise must return until you reach your destination; for your days of horsemanship are yet to come. You are destined to exhibit such courage, such skill and heroism as shall eclipse the mightiest deeds of the heroes of old. Your daring exploits will win the praise and admiration of the dwellers in the eternal Kingdom. You should visit, on your way, the believers of Khúy, of Urúmíyyih, of Marághih, of Milán, of Tabríz, of Zanján, of Qazvín, and of Tihrán. To each you will convey the expression of My love and tender affection. You will strive to inflame their hearts anew with the fire of the love of the Beauty of God, and will endeavour to fortify their faith in His Revelation. From Tihrán you should proceed to Mázindarán, where God’s hidden treasure will be made manifest to you. You will be called upon to perform deeds so great as will dwarf the mightiest achievements of the past. The nature of your task will, in that place, be revealed to you, and strength and guidance will be bestowed upon you that you may be fitted to render your service to His Cause.”
On the morning of the ninth day after Naw-Rúz, Mullá Husayn set forth, as bidden by his Master, on his journey to Mázindarán. Faithful to the instructions he had received, stopped at every town and village that the Báb had directed him to visit, gathered the faithful, conveyed to them the love, the greetings, and the assurances of their beloved Master, quickened afresh their zeal, and exhorted them to remain steadfast in His way. In Tihrán he was again privileged to enter the presence of Bahá’u’lláh and to receive from His hands that spiritual sustenance which enabled him, with such undaunted courage, to brave the perils that so fiercely assailed the closing days of his life.
From Tihrán Mullá Husayn proceeded to Mázindarán in eager expectation of witnessing the revelation of the hidden treasure promised to him by his Master. Quddús was at that time living in Barfurúsh in the home which had originally belonged to his own father. He freely associated with all classes of people, and by the gentleness of his character and the wide range of his learning had won the affection and unqualified admiration of the inhabitants of that town. Upon his arrival in that city, Mullá Husayn went directly to the home of Quddús and was affectionately received by him. Quddús himself waited upon his guest, and did his utmost to provide whatever seemed necessary for his comfort. With his own hands he removed the dust, and washed the blistered skin of his feet. He offered him the seat of honour in the company of his assembled friends, and introduced, with extreme reverence, each of the believers who had gathered to meet him.
On the night of his arrival, as soon as the believers who had been invited to dinner to meet Mullá Husayn had returned to their homes, the host, turning to his guest, enquired whether he would enlighten him more particularly regarding his intimate experiences with the Báb in the castle of Máh-Kú. “Many and diverse,” replied Mullá Husayn, “were the things which I heard and witnessed in the course of my nine days’ association with Him. He spoke to me of things relating both directly and indirectly to His Faith. He gave me, however, no definite directions as to the course I should pursue for the propagation of His Cause. All He told me was this: ‘On your way to Tihrán, you should visit the believers in every town and village through which you pass. From Tihrán you should proceed to Mázindarán, for there lies a hidden treasure which shall be revealed to you, a treasure which will unveil to your eyes the character of the task you are destined to perform.’ By His allusions I could, however dimly, perceive the glory of His Revelation and was able to discern the signs of the future ascendancy of His Cause. From His words I gathered that I should eventually be called upon to sacrifice my unworthy self in His path. For on previous occasions, whenever dismissing me from His presence, the Báb would invariably assure me that I should again be summoned to meet Him. This time, however, as He spoke to me His parting words, He gave me no such promise, nor did He allude to the possibility of my ever meeting Him again face to face in this world. ‘The Feast of Sacrifice,’ were His last words to me, ‘is fast approaching. Arise and gird up the loin of endeavour, and let nothing detain you from achieving your destiny. Having attained your destination, prepare yourself to receive Us, for We too shall ere long follow you.’”
Quddús enquired whether he had brought with him any of his Master’s writings, and, on being informed that he had none with him, presented his guest with the pages of a manuscript which he had in his possession, and requested him to read certain of its passages. As soon as he had read a page of that manuscript, his countenance underwent a sudden and complete change. His features betrayed an undefinable expression of admiration and surprise. The loftiness, the profundity—above all, the penetrating influence of the words he had read, provoked intense agitation in his heart and called forth the utmost praise from his lips. Laying down the manuscript, he said: “I can well realise that the Author of these words has drawn His inspiration from that Fountainhead which stands immeasurably superior to the sources whence the learning of men is ordinarily derived. I hereby testify to my whole-hearted recognition of the sublimity of these words and to my unquestioned acceptance of the truth which they reveal.” From the silence which Quddús observed, as well as from the expression which his countenance betokened, Mullá Husayn concluded that no one else except his host could have penned those words. He instantly arose from his seat and, standing with bowed head at the threshold of the door, reverently declared:
“The hidden treasure of which the Báb has spoken, now lies unveiled before my eyes. Its light has dispelled the gloom of perplexity and doubt. Though my Master be now hidden amid the mountain fastnesses of Ádhirbayján, the sign of His splendour and the revelation of His might stand manifest before me. I have found in Mázindarán the reflection of His glory.”
(Adapted from ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, by Nabil, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)
It’s truly amazing when one reflects on the station of Mulla Husayn and the humility that he instantly showed towards Quddus upon discovering the latter’s spiritual station. The Guardian has summarized the awesome stations of Mulla Husayn and Quddus in ‘God Passes By’: