In a Tablet revealed and circulated around 1870 Baha'u'llah foretold that God would soon 'dismiss' 'Ali Pasha, the entrenched and vastly powerful prime minister of Ottoman Turkey, then 'lay hold on' Sultan 'Abdu'l- Aziz, the tyrannical 'Chief who ruleth the land'. The Arabic expression 'lay hold on' is a figure of speech implying violent and untimely death- a meaning rendered especially portentous by Baha'u'llah's added warning to the sultan himself that he stood in grave danger of betrayal by faithless subordinates. So impossible did these prophecies sound at the time that they were publicized by Baha'u'llah's adversaries in an attempt to descredit Him. A few years later, however, the abrupt dismissal of 'Ali Pasha, followed by an 1876 palace coup resulting in the overthrow and subsequent assassination of 'Abdu'l- Aziz fulfilled the prophecies to the last word. (168:3)
..During His exile.. Baha'u'llah addressed to 'Ali Pasha a Tablet called the Suriy- i- Ra'is, stating that the prime minister soon would find himself in 'manifest loss' (GPB 74). In 1868.. He repeated this prophecy in a second letter to 'Ali Pasha and further reproved the entire Ottoman government: Soon will He [God] seize you in His wrathful anger, and sedition will be stirred up in your midst, and your dominions will be disrupted. Then will ye bewail and lament, and will find none to help or succor you... Be expectant... for the wrath of God is ready to overtake you. Erelong will ye behold that which hath been sent down from the Pen of My command (PDC 61). (169:1)
So preposterous did this prophecy seem that a distinguished scholar and cleric, Mirza Abu'l- Fadl, seized upon it as a chance to discredit Baha'u'llah.. (170:1)
..Mirza Abu'l- Fadl.. when the Baha'is reminded him of his pledge, he became incoherent. Nevertheless, the episode cracked his smugness and impelled him, for the first time, to consider seriously Baha'u'llah's claim.. Forfeiting his high position - he had headed one of Tihran's leading religious universities - he embarked on a life of poverty and sometimes imprisonment in order to teach Baha'u'llah's message. His book 'The Baha'i Proofs'.. did much to introduce the Faith to Christian audiences during the early 1900s.