Dedication & Introduction

Born in Nayríz, I grew up listening to the oral stories of my family and the recollections of the elders. I recall very clearly, eagerly searching the Nayríz Bahá’í Center library for any books or notes about the history of Nayríz. In particular, I was eager to find the book that my grandfather , Mohammed Husayn, had written. Studying with great scholars like Eshragh Khavari and Fananapazir, perusing the tablets revealed by the Central Figures of the Bahá’í Faith to my family, enjoying the wonderful stories from Chehre Negar’s collection, and reading my father’s manuscript and the work of Mírzá Mohammad Shafí Rouhani and Mohamad Ali Faizi were abundant sources of information and inspiration that helped me create this project.

My earliest recollections of Nayríz go back to my childhood, walking in the dusty and often muddied alleyways, sharing roads with donkeys, goats, chickens and roosters, playing at the Khájih Fortress, battleground of Vahíd and his companions, and spending quiet time in the Bahá’í Cemetery where my martyred ancestors are buried. There are rich memories of times enjoying the beautiful garden next to the fortress where two streams of water flow; or climbing the tree underneath which Vahíd had once set up his tent; walking up the mountain among orchards of grape vines and fig trees; viewing remains of the stone defensive line Sardar and his companions erected on the mountain peak; drinking from the same spring of whose waters those innocent Bábí women, children and men were deprived; talking to my grandfather, Mirzá Ahmad, and my grandmothers, Saheb Jan and Pari Jan, who were all victims of the third Nayríz upheaval. Life was very difficult for a Bahá’í, but we survived.

My father was kidnapped and tortured in the mountains south of Nayriz in 1949 for being a secretary of the Local Spiritual Assembly. After being released through the intervention of some influential non-Bahá’í relatives, he decided to leave Nayríz forever. He moved to Abadan and lived there for many years.

Shoghi Effendi mentioned that in the future, Nayríz will prosper, “abad khahad gasht.” It was probably around this time that my grandfather, Mohammad Husayn, wrote his book.

The intent of my book, AWAKENING: A History of the Babí and Bahá'í Faiths in Nayriz and this companion Website is to introduce the reader in the West to the major Bábí and Bahá’í upheavals in Nayríz. Although Western diplomats reported the events to their governments and a few historians have made reference to them, there has not been a major attempt to cover the events in English. Nabíl does devote a chapter in The Dawn-Breakers to the upheaval, which according to his own words, is mostly a copy of the diary of Mullá Shafí–my great, great grandfather–who was present during the first and second upheavals. When Shafí undertook a journey by foot from Nayríz to Baghdad, Bahá’u’lláh asked him to write his diary. This diary has become the basis of my book and this site.

The site tells the story of men and women who accepted the call of the Báb and patiently endured many hardships and suffered great pain for their beliefs. They witnessed the deaths of their fathers, mothers, children, husbands, and wives. They courageously gave their lives and worldly possessions in sacrifice to support the birth of the new Faith. Enduring many calamities at the hands of their fellow countryman, many of them died as unknown soldiers, with no record of their lives or of their deaths.

Today, the Bahá’í community in Iran is also facing similar persecutions, and as assured by Bahá’u’lláh, we shall prevail now as we have in the past.

The site is dedicated to all of those women, men and children who lost their lives in Nayríz. The descendants of those martyrs are scattered throughout five continents. This book is really for them if they are interested in knowing more about their ancestors. I have no doubt that one day Nayríz will become a pilgrimage point for the people of the world who will come to visit the graves of Vahíd and Shafí -- their names will be remembered forever. Steadfast in the Covenant, their bravery in the path of service will serve as an example for future generations.

  Copyright © 2023 by Hussein Ahdieh. All rights reserved.