Shaykh Muhammad Husayn

Shaykh Muhammad Husayn, my grandfather, born in 1880, was the first son of Mullá Muhammad Shafi from his second wife, Khavar Sultan. She was related to the Imam Jumih of Shiraz. For two years he stayed in the house of the Imam Jumih of Shiraz. After his father died, Shaykh Muhammad Husayn studied Arabic, religion, logic and philosophy. Later on, some of his former classmates became the leading Mullás of Shiraz and were often very helpful to the Bahá'í's in Shíráz and other parts of the country.

Renowned for his unique public speaking ability, Bahá'í scholars frequently admired his vast knowledge of the early history of the faith. His home, like the home of his father Mullá Muhammad Shafi, was open to everyone. It was a frequent meeting place for all occasions and traveling Bahá'í scholars such as, Mr.Samandari.

In his younger days, Shaykh Muhammad Husayn became good friends with two dervishes who were studying alchemy in an attempt to convert copper to gold. They travelled extensively to Karbala and Khorasan, Bushehr and many other places. Some say he was really doing all this travelling just to avoid a particular woman to whom he was engaged to marry. It was common in those days for marriages to be pre-arranged, even among the Bahá'ís.

Shaykh Muhammad Husayn had a great sense of humour and everybody loved him. Since he did not want to become a professional Mullá nor a religious leader, he decided to become a pharmacist. As a pharmacist, he used herbs and exotic plants to treat patients. Therefore, people often compared him to another figure in Persian history, the philosopher and poet Shaykh Atar, also a pharmacist, who had lived seven hundred years earlier.

Accompanied by his very close friends, Mírzá Ahmad Nayrizi, my other grandfather, and other Bahá'ís, he travelled to Haifa for pilgrimage and to visit ‘Abdu'l-Bahá. The Pilgrimage affected him tremendously, increasing his enthusiasm to teach and to participate in Bahá'í activities.

The citizens of the town, as well as the constantly changing governors, feared and respected Shaykh Muhammad Husayn. This was due to his positive influence on the ullamá, his former classmates and his family ties to the Imam Jumih of Shíráz.

Shaykh Muhammad Husayn, served as secretary of the Nayriz Local Spiritual Assembly which he helped to establish during ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's lifetime. He received many tablets from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá.

He married a wonderful woman, Saheb Jan, daughter of Mírzá Aqa Nayrizi. They had seven children. Saheb Jan's mother was a niece of the famous Sardar, leader of the second Nayriz upheaval, which took place in the surrounding mountains. Despite all the problems and difficulties, Saheb Jan's primary mission in life was to raise her children as good Bahá'ís and to guard the precious tablets her family had received from Bahá'u'lláh and ‘Abdu'l-Bahá. Thanks to her diligence and sacrifice we still have some of tablets in our family today, although the originals have been sent to Haifa.

Shaykh Muhammad Husayn was responsible for the welfare of a large number of his relatives as well as others. In 1909, when Shaykh Zakeria attacked the town, Shaykh Muhammad Husayn collected all of them and protected them by hiding them in the southern mountains of Nayriz. The women and children could not climb the steep mountains, so he would hide them in a cave for several days at a time.

When news came that Shaykh Zakeria issued an order to kill all the males older than 10 years of age, sparing the women and children, Shaykh Muhammad Husayn left the care of his family members to his close non-Bahá'í friend and relative and went to Sarvestan with two others. He made arrangements for his relative to provide protection and insure that nothing would happen to the women and children who were so vulnerable to abuse and suffering.

Shaykh Zakeria was very angry when he heard that Shaykh Muhammad Husayn had left town and ordered the destruction of his house and properties. His house and shop were set ablaze. After Shaykh Zakeria left Nayriz, Muhammad Husayn returned to Nayriz. He began to rebuild with his good friend and business partner, Khajihe Aly Izadi, a wonderful Bahá'í.

Like his father before him, Shaykh Muhammad Husayn wrote a history of various events in Nayriz. Currently not to be found, there is hope that his manuscript will surface one day in the near future. He is quoted in Mr. Faizi's book, History of Nayriz.

The suffering and services of Shaykh Muhammad Husayn continued on for many years. A number of other incidents happened in Nayriz in which he was able to protect the Bahá'í community. For example, there was the arrival of ‘Abu'l Hasan Kohestani, brother of Shaykh Zakeria, and there was the occasion of ‘Abdu'l Husayn Khan Baharlu. Shaykh Muhammad Husayn helped the community in Nayriz when there was major flooding causing destruction in town. He became involved in protecting the Bahá'ís from Siyyid Aziz, also Shaykh Muhammad Yazdi. These are just a few of the incidents in which Shaykh Muhammad Husayn suffered a great deal. May God bless his soul. He died in 1942 at the age of 60 and was survived by his two sons and five daughters. The two boys were Bahá'í and Shaykh Agha. The girls were Roha, Afifeh, Eshraghieh, Badieh and Mahin.

Tablets to Shaykh Muhammad Husayn

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