In June of 1850, the Bab sent a special locked coffer to Baha’u’llah, containing letters, seals, pens, and rings. On a scroll of delicate blue paper, He wrote five hundred verses containing three-hundred and sixty derivations of the word ‘Baha’ in the form of a pentacle.
He may well have known that his earthly ministry was coming to an end. The authorities had signed His death warrant and killed many of His Apostles.
But thousands more had responded to His Divine Call:
“I am the Mystic Fane, which the Hand of Omnipotence hath reared. I am the Lamp which the Finger of God hath lit within its niche and caused to shine with deathless splendor.”
On July 9th, 1850, in a public square in the northeastern city of Tabriz, the Bab, the former young merchant who had caused a spiritual revolution by proclaiming to be the revealer of a new holy book and the forerunner of another manifestation of God, was shot to death by firing squad along with a young believer who had begged to ascend with him.
He spoke to the crowd as the firing squad raised their rifles:
“O wayward generation! Had you believed in Me every one of you would have followed the example of this youth, who stood in rank above most of you, and would have willingly sacrificed himself in My path. The day will come when you will have recognized Me; that day I shall have ceased to be with you.”
The Bab had made his claims known gradually; only with time did Babis come to realize their breadth.
This poem may give us an idea of Tahirih’s emotions during this painful period with this theme of separation:
“I am lost in the heartland of your love,
and yet you do not even seem to care
Look down in pity at this foreigner,
you truest ruler of the kingdoms here,
and tell me, love, how have I sinned, and where?
And why, my idol, does your love prepare
with each breath banish me, strip me bare
like some murderer exiled to nowhere?
I have waited for you day after day.
I’m weary now. I’m wasted, worn away
to bone, a flute that sighs away my care—
sorrows sung to the wind, and lost in air.
Is there a mind that knows your perfection?
A passion to utter your perfection?
A path that leads me to your perfection?
Beyond you, nothing, and no direction
And when the wandering wind reaches you,
it carries our tormented words to you
Look at these tear-filled eyes, this pallid face—
Can you refuse them? Whom would it disgrace?
Will you not come at daybreak to my bed,
with kindness ravish me, and end my dread?
Lift me, love, on the wings of my desire
Lift me to you, to safety in your fire
Only take me up, away from this place
Set me down in the place that is no place
Yet keep me close to you, far from strife,
since in this empty world, I have no life”