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The Bab's Captivity in Adhirbayjan
The period of the Bab's banishment to the mountains of Adhirbayjan, lasting no less than three years, constitutes the saddest, the most dramatic, and in a sense the most pregnant phase of His six year ministry. It comprises His nine months' unbroken confinement in the fortress of Mah- Ku, and His subsequent incarceration in the fortress of Chihriq, which was interrupted only by a brief yet memorable visit to Tabriz. It was overshadowed throughout by the implacable and mounting hostility of the two most powerful adversaries of the Faith, the Grand Vizir of Muhammad Shah, Haji Mirza Aqasi, and the Amir- Nizam, the Grand Vizir of Nasiri'd- Din Shah. It corresponds to the most critical stage of the mission of Baha'u'llah, during His exile to Adrianople, when confronted with the despotic Sultan Abdu'l- 'Aziz and his ministers, Ali Pasha and Fu'ad Pasha, and is paralleled by the darkest days of Abdu'l- Baha's ministry in the Holy Land, under the oppressive rule of the tyrannical Abdu'l- Hamid and the equally tyrannical Jamal Pasha. Shiraz had been the memorable scene of the Bab's historic Declaration; Isfahan had provided Him, however briefly, with a haven of relative peace and security; whilst Adhirbayjan was destined to become the theatre of His agony and martyrdom. These concluding years of His earthly life will go down in history as the time when the new Dispensation attained its full stature, when the claim of its Founder was fully and publicly asserted, when its laws were formulated, when the Covenant of its Author was firmly established, when its independence was proclaimed, and when the heroism of its champions blazed forth in immortal glory. For it was during these intensely dramatic, fate- laden years that the full implications of the station of the Bab were disclosed to His disciples, and formally announced by Him in the capital of Adhirbayjan, in the presence of the Heir to the Throne; that the Persian Bayan, the repository of the laws ordained by the Bab, was revealed; that the time and character of the Dispensation of "the One Whom God will make manifest" were unmistakably determined; that the Conference of Badasht proclaimed the annulment of the old order; and that the great conflagrations of Mazindaran, of Nayriz and of Zanjan were kindled.
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