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As an intense romantic, I love nothing more than reading a compelling love story – and when the story is true, that’s even better!
It begins when the Bab and Khadijih were just children. Being second cousins twice removed, they were playmates until they reached the age where, by the Islamic custom in Persian society, they were no longer allowed to see each other. Then when the Bab reached the age of 23, his mother began to search for a wife for her son.
At the same time, Khadijih, who was 20 years old, had a vivid dream:
One night I saw in the world of dreams, Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed, coming to our house and desiring one of us to marry her son. My sisters and I welcomed her with affection and courtesy. When she sat down, she looked us over keenly, then arose from her seat, came forward and kissed my forehead. – Munirih Khanum, Episodes in the life of Munirih Khanum, Marriage of Khadijah to the Bab, pp. 32-33.
Khadijih further related:
Next morning I arose and felt light and buoyant, but I was ashamed to relate my dream to anyone. The afternoon of that very day the mother of the Bab came to our house. With my sisters we went to welcome her, and, to my surprise just as I had seen in my dream, she left her seat, came smilingly toward me, kissed my forehead and embraced me. After some general conversation she left. My eldest sister whispered into my ears that she had come to ask my hand for her son. I answered, ‘How fortunate I am.’ Then I related my dream of the previous night saying that the realization of this dream had brought to my heart great happiness. – Ibid.
The Bab and Khadijih soon married, the young couple very much in love. But shortly after their marriage Khadijih had a frightening dream. A ferocious lion had appeared in her courtyard and she held her arms around its neck. The lion dragged her around the courtyard 2 ½ times. When Khadijih awoke the next morning she recounted the terrifying dream to her husband. He explained to her the meaning of the dream – that their lives together would not last for more than 2 ½ years. Thus began a turn in their lives as the couple prepared themselves for the many adversities to come.
A year later Khadijih, pregnant with their first child, became critically ill during childbirth, endangering her and their baby’s lives. The mother of the Bab, frightened for both mother and child, appealed to her son to save them. The Bab then took a mirror and wrote a prayer on it. He asked his mother to hold the mirror in front of his wife, Khadijih. Soon afterwards, a baby boy, who they named Ahmad, was delivered. But shortly after his birth, the baby died.
The Bab’s mother was very angry and upset with her son that he could not save both mother and baby, but the Bab explained that God did not destine for him to have children.
Then the Bab, who loved his wife so dearly, wrote these words of consolation to her:
O well-beloved! …Thou shalt not be a woman, like other women, if thou obeyest God in the Cause of Truth, the greatest Truth … Be patient in all that God hath ordained. Verily, thy son, Ahmad, is with Fatimih, the Sublime, in the sanctified Paradise. – H.M. Balyuzi, The Bab, p. 47.
Khadijih, spiritually mature and enlightened, observed that her beloved husband was also not like a man among other men. But she had no idea just how much until one unforgettable night. Sometime before the Bab declared his mission, Khadijih Bagum had an amazing encounter with her husband. Late one evening, the Bab left their bed and did not return for hours. Becoming worried, Khadijih began to search for him. As described in the book, “Twin Divine Trees:”
… she saw the upper chamber of the House immersed in light. What was the source of all this light, and where had the lamps come from, she asked herself. But this was not tangible light; it was divine light, and she did not see it with her outward eyes but with her inner sight. … There she saw that world-illuminating Sun and light-shedding Moon standing in the middle of the room with His hands raised heavenward. While her eyes were fixed upon the dazzling light emanating from His being, a feeling of awe and fright came over her. She wanted to return but was unable to move. Her awe grew to such intensity that she felt stupefied. – quoted by Baharieh Rouhani Ma’ani, Twin Divine Trees, p. 34.
The Bab would later say to her the next morning:
Know thou that the Almighty God is manifested in Me. I am the One whose advent the people of Islam have expected for over a thousand years. God has created Me for a great Cause, and you witnessed the divine revelation. Although I had not wished that you see Me in that state, yet God had so willed that there may not be any place in your heart for doubt and hesitation. – Ibid., p. 35.
Khadijih Bagum related that as soon as she heard The Bab speak these words, she believed in him … and her heart became calm and assured. Later, the Bab revealed a special prayer for his beloved Khadijih to say in times when he was away or she was afraid for his safety. He said:
In the hour of your perplexity, recite this prayer ere you go to sleep. I Myself will appear to you and will banish your anxiety. – Nabil, The Dawn Breakers, p. 143.
The Bab and his wife Khadijih shared a life of intense sacrifice at a time that would later be known as “The Hour of the Dawn” – the beginning of a new world Faith. Despite fierce religious persecution, forced separation, and the tragic loss of their newborn son, the two remained steadfastly devoted to each other, and to God. The Bab described the sorrow he would feel when the couple was separated:
My sweet love … God is my witness that since the time of separation sorrow has been so intense that it cannot be described … – H.M. Balyuzi, Khadijih Bagum: Wife of The Bab.
The two newlyweds, very much in love, had so little time together on this Earth. But in that short time they cherished each day and triumphed over every adversity. Their love will endure until the end of time and they will be united throughout all the worlds of God.
As the Bab predicted, 2 ½ years after Khadijih’s dream about the lion, he was martyred … but that is yet another bittersweet love story.