Inspired
by the
Baha’i Faith
The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith. The official website of the Baha'i Faith is: Bahai.org. The official website of the Baha'is of the United States can be found here: Bahai.us.
GOT IT
The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
How do I become Baha’i?
History

Imprisoned, Impoverished, Exiled

From the Editors | Nov 20, 2013

PART 9 IN SERIES One With All the Earth

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

Interested in Other Topics?

We’ve got something for everyone.
From the Editors | Nov 20, 2013

PART 9 IN SERIES One With All the Earth

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

At last, in December of 1852, the King released Baha’u’llah from the Siyah-Chal.  Soon after that came an order from the Shah that Baha’u’llah leave Persia within one month. The order of exile banished Baha’u’llah for life, and resulted in the confiscation of His land and all other possessions. What the mobs had not stolen by riot, the Prime Minister now took by fiat. He transferred the deeds to some of Baha’u’llah’s properties to his own name.

As the family considered the difficulties of travel to Baghdad in the middle of winter, they feared that Navvab’s youngest child, Mihdi, would not survive the exile. He was very young and in delicate health.  For his protection, his parents reluctantly left him in the care of relatives in Persia. It would be several years before he was able to rejoin his parents.

The grueling exile of Baha’u’llah from Persia to Iraq required a three-month, six hundred-mile journey, from January to April. The seventy people in the party of exiles walked, or rode on horses or mules. They progressed slowly through that severe winter, particularly as they passed over the mountains, and because the impoverished exiles had no warm clothes to protect them from the weather. Frostbite afflicted Abdu’l-Baha’s hands and feet after riding all day in the frigid cold. They rode or walked through the raw stark whiteness of winter in the mountains, with no idea of what lay ahead.

Baghdad 1930

Baghdad circa 1930 © Bahá’í International Community

As spring approached, the mountain passes receded behind them.  Coming closer to Baghdad, Baha’u’llah and his family and followers camped in an orange grove in full blossom for the Persian new year holiday on the vernal equinox in March. Despite Baha’u’llah’s banishment from the government, and despite their escort of mounted guards from Persia, Baha’u’llah continued to teach the Babi Faith through the villages as they traveled. As they passed from Persia to Iraq, Baha’u’llah found followers among the Kurds and Arabs. Some of the Arab and Kurdish followers traveled with them to the gates of Baghdad.

In the mid-19th Century Baghdad was a major city of the Ottoman empire, well-known for its great mosques and city squares. Baha’u’llah and His family found a small house in the old quarter of Baghdad and began their exile.  They would never return to their native country.

The flame kindled by The Bab and fueled by the hopes and lives of so many Babis was now nearly extinguished.  The Persian Government’s campaign of genocidal extermination had done its terrible, bloody best to blot out the Babi Faith.  The believers, now terrorized, traumatized and scattered, had to practice their new Faith in secret.  Many that had not lost their lives had lost their hope. The Bab and most of the leaders of His new Faith had gone to their deaths at the hands of a brutally repressive government.  The hopes of this new Faith had never ebbed lower.

Sulaymaniyyih mountains

Sulaymaniyyih © Bahá’í International Community

After nearly a year in Baghdad, without telling people His intentions, Baha’u’llah left one morning for the rugged, desolate northern mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan near Sulaymaniyyih:

At length I gave up My home and all therein, and renounced life and all that appertaineth unto it, and alone and friendless, chose to go into retirement. I roamed the wilderness of resignation, travelling in such wise that in My exile every eye wept sore over Me, and all created things shed tears of blood because of My anguish. The birds of the air were My companions and the beasts of the field My associates… – Baha’u’llah – The King of Glory, p. 117.

He said it was a separation that “hoped for no return.”

Adapted from One With All The Earth, © Kalimat Press 2003, All Rights Reserved.

You May Also Like

History

The Struggles of Being an Advocate for Racial Unity in 1920

History

Building the Moral Force that Sustains Society

History

How to Help Poor Children, Waifs and Orphans


Comments

characters remaining
  • Rebekah Sands
    Apr 13, 2018
    -
    Thank you for this wonderful article! I've been trying to find more information re: the size of the group that traveled Tehran -> Baghdad. In accounts where individuals are named, I can only count 6 exiles i.e. Baha'u'llah, His wife Navvab, 'Abdu'l-Baha, Bahhiyih Khanum, Mirza Musa, Mirza Muhammad Quli. Additional members that aren't named or numbered include one or more Russian officials, one or more officers of the Imperial Body guard. So it could be 8 individuals, or 70, but it seems surprising to have so many guards for so few Babis. Any thoughts/sources ...about who the extra people might be? :) Rebekah
    Read more...
    • Rebekah Sands
      Apr 13, 2018
      -
      **the number 70 is mentioned in an account from 'Abdu'l-Baha ('Abdu'l-Baha in London), and there is also mention of Mirza Musa's family coming for the journey. Hmm who else was there I wonder
x
x
Connect with Baha’is in your area
Welcome!
What's your name?
Thanks my friend ! We want to connect you with a Baha’i in your area, where would that be?
Thank you so much! How can they best reach you?
To put you in touch with a Baha’i in your area who can answer your questions, we would like to kindly ask for a few details about yourself.
Connect with Baha’is in your area
Connect with Baha’is in your area
Get in touch with the Baha’is in your community.