Shaykh Bahá'í

Shaykh Bahá'í was born in Nayriz while his father, Shaykh Muhammad Husayn, was away on pilgrimage to Haifa while influenza became a major epidemic in Iran. His prominent roots run very deep as the humble son of a distinguished father from the city of Nayríz. There he learned to emulate his father by developing a broad knowledge and devotion to the Faith.

This exemplary man was forced after his father's death to accept the responsibility of caring for his younger siblings. He was always grateful that Bahá'u'lláh had provided him with a purpose for his life that allowed him to grow socially and spiritually. He married Bushra, the youngest daughter of a well-to-do man, Hájí Mirzá Ahmad Nayrizi Vahidi (a descendent of the famous calligrapher of the same name). She was a wonderful mother and wife and a devoted Bahá'í.

They had five children together. He chose to live a modest lifestyle emphasizing education. He worked relentlessly to educate himself and his children. He had a keen sense of humor, was well versed in the Qur'án and the traditions of Islam. He was a remarkable debater and orator. Honest and hospitable, he was a great Bahá'í teacher. He served many years as a member of the Local Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'ís of Nayriz and of Abadan and often served as their secretary. For many years he was selected as a delegate to the National Convention.

Shaykh Bahá'í studied with some of the leading Bahá'í teachers including Mr. Samandari and Mr. Faizi, who often visited Nayriz for an extended stay as his guest. He committed to memory hundreds of tablets and prayers. He was fond of poetry, which he often recited with a melodious voice while giving his lectures.

Shaykh Bahá'í had a special dislike for Mullá Mohayadin Falli, a mullá who attracted a large number of Nayrizi's and used them to harass the Bahá'ís and to control the affairs of the town. Realizing that killing Bahá'ís would attract bad publicity and intervention of the federal authorities, Mullá Mohayadin Falli chose instead to simply torment the Bahá'ís continuously. This evil man barred Bahá'ís from using the public baths, discouraged doctors from treating them and merchants from selling them food. Mullá Mohayadin Falli callously prevented Bahá'í children from attending schools. Bahá'í marriages were not recognized, causing the children to be considered illegitimate. He destroyed the Bahá'í cemetery and would not allow the burial of Bahá'ís in the public cemetery.

Other atrocities committed by Mullá Mohayadin Falli included the destruction of their harvests, killing of their livestock and subjecting them to such unbearable conditions that they were forced to leave town. He even persuaded one Muslim woman to kill her Bahá'í husband with the help of her brother.

At the instigation of Mullá Mohayadin Falli, scores of Bahá'ís, including Shaykh Bahá'í, were physically attacked and severely wounded. In the late 1940's, when the country was going through a major political crises and upheaval, Mohammad Tahmai, a rebel and a follower of Mullá Mohayadin Falli, along with four of his body guards living in the mountains near Nayriz, frequently harassed and injured members of the Bahá'í community on the way to and from their farms.

On one occasion, Shaykh Bahá'í had arranged a debate between Mullá Mohayadin Falli and Mr. Tarazollah Samandari. The governor who was friendly to Bahá'ís knew that Mullá Mohayadin Falli was up to no good and might create even more troubles for the Bahá'ís, so the governor canceled the debate. The angry Mullá Mohayadin Falli blamed Shaykh Bahá'í for the cancellation and ordered Siyyid Mohammad Tahmai to punish Shaykh Bahá'í for embarrassing him by organizing a debate that never took place. Soon afterwards when Shaykh Bahá'í visited his own farm, he was kidnapped, taken to the nearby mountains and tortured by Siyyid Mohammad Tahmai, who blamed Shaykh Bahá'í for instigating the turmoil in Nayriz by his correspondence with the Bahá'ís of Shiraz and Tihrán, since he was the secretary of the Nayriz Local Spiritual Assembly.

Through the intervention of a few powerful non–Bahá'í members of Shaykh Bahá'ís family, including ‘Abdu'l Husayn Shoay, a distant cousin, Shaykh Bahá'í was rescued and brought back to his family. Siyyid Mohammad Tahmai told Shaykh Bahá'í, “I will continue tormenting you if you keep writing those letters about me!” Shaykh Bahá'í answered “Inshallah (God willing) I will do just that.”

Two weeks later Siyyid Mohammad Tahmai was shot by a criminal sharpshooter after the army had released the sharpshooter from prison under the condition that he would kill the Siyyid. The sharpshooter brought the dead body to town and hung it from a tree next to the house of the main troublemaker Mullá Mohayadin Falli. Soon after that Mullá Mohayadin Falli was exiled to another town. However, when he later returned to Nayriz, he still continued to harass the Bahá'ís.

Mullá Mohayadin Falli built a mosque next to Shaykh Bahá'ís house from where he continued attacking Bahá'ís in general and Shaykh Bahá'í in particular. This period was the most torturous time in the life of my beloved father, Shaykh Bahá'í. Eventually, when the harassment became unbearable, he left Nayriz for Abadan. One of the highlights of his life in Abadan was a trip from there to Baghdad to visit the house of Bahá'u'lláh.

Through all these sufferings, my father's continued to server the Cause and to protect his family. He died in 1978 in the city of New York shortly after completing his book on the history of Nayriz.

Shaykh Bahá'í was a recipient of a tablet by Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, which he received upon the passing of his father, Shaykh Muhammad Husayn.

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