This is the third post in a series of posts telling the life story of Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín.

In 1253 his father went on pilgrimage but passed away before he reached his destination. Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín took over the role of being the Mullah of his father’s mosque, as was customary. Some years after in 1260, Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín travelled Karbila and Najaf on pilgrimage. On his way he met a certain Mulla Momen who was one of Siyyid Kazmis disciples. Mulla Momen wished Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín good fortune and he also expressed his desire that Jinab-i-Zayn would have the honor of meeting the Exalted Siyyid (referring to the Báb) in Karbila. At that time some of the Bábis waited to meet the Báb on His way back from pilgrimage in Mecca and Medina. However, the Báb returned to Iran by another route.

Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín met with some of these friends in Karbila. However they did not disclose that the Báb had declared His Mission nor did they explain anything about the new religion. As such Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín did not know much about it. When he returned to his hometown, he asked a Mullah what had happened with the Báb (he was aware that someone had claimed to be the Qaim but he did not know who it was, what He had claimed and he had not seen any proofs). He was told that the claim of the Báb had been examined and rejected by the Ulamas. Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín did not give the matter much thought nor did he discuss it with anyone.

In 1267 he heard that a visiting youth gave sermons that were contrary to what was usually preached by the mullahs at the mosques. In one instance he gave a sermon until one of the attendants told him to come down so their own mullah could take over and give his traditional sermon on ablution, fasting and such topics. This youth told this attendant; “Pity you that you in your 50-ties still have not learned how to perform your ablutions. What then about more important matters?”

Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín had as policy of allowing visiting mullahs to give sermons at his mosque. So when this youth asked to give a sermon at his mosque, Jnabi-i-Zayn agreed. Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín expected this youth to give a sermon full of traditional Shaykhi topics. However the youth gave a sermon about a tradition (hadith) on the development of our inner selves. Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín found this sermon to be very sweet and listened attentively to every word. After the evening prayer, the youth gave another sermon but this time on the topic of knowing God. Again Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín enjoyed it very much. After the sermon Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín had a conversation with the youth. Just as they had ended their conversation Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín asked the youth to pray for him (as was customary in those days).

This youth, Mulla Muhammad, responded with “the best prayer is to inform you of a big event that you are unaware of”. Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín said, please go ahead. Mulla Muhammad continued: “That person whom I know to be good, you do not know”. Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín responded: “I have no issues with anyone. Any matter that I hear, I will put it to my consideration. If I deem it to be true, I will accept it. If not, I will reject it without protesting”

Mullah Muhammad then told Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín that the One Whose advent all are waiting for has appeared. At this moment Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín was chocked as if he was shaken to the core of his being and confused as if he lost his mental balance. His mind overflowed with all superstitious thoughts from traditional Shia doctrine.

Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín asked “HOW?” The youth answered, “there is no how, He has appeared”. Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín then said that the advent has signs. The youth asked, what signs do you want? Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín said that the antichrist has to appear first. The youth replied, “This is true, he has appeared and it was Haji Mirza Aqasi who sees himself as a Sufi leader and a guide but in reality manipulates both the king and the people”.

Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín said that the antichrist only has one seeing eye. The youth explained that Haji Mirza Aqasi was just like that. He had no truth seeing eye as he did not see the truth but the eye of falsehood was wide open. Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín continued saying that the antichrist will bring both heaven and hell (the tradition states that those who follow the antichrist will go to hell fire and those who reject him will be rewarded with heaven). The youth said that Haji Mirza Aqasi had both; the heaven was all the villages and water sources he owned and the hell-fire was all the fiery cannons he produced (Haji Mirza Aqasi had an great love for cannons and therefore manufactured many cannons).

In the midst of this conversation, the owner of the house in which they were, became upset and raised his objection by saying, “what are these words you are saying?” The youth, responded quite agitated and said, “how long will you be blinded by the veil? Forty Mutjahids have sacrificed their lives in the path of the Báb and still you have not awakened.” The owner calmed down, changed his tone and remained composed until the end of the meeting.

Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín was bewildered, confused and a thousand thoughts entered his mind. He started to reflect deeply on what he had heard. He realized that the antichrist must have a symbolic meaning and not to be taken literally. The shia doctrine says that the antichrist has one blind eye and the seeing eye in the middle of his forehead, that he would be riding on a donkey so large that the distance between its ears is one mile long, and that the every hair of the body of the donkey plays a different tune.

He was thinking that first of all, who in their mind would name their son antichrist. Second, if the antichrist appears with all the characteristics that has been ascribed to him, every one will clearly see that this is the antichrist and reject him. This did not make sense to Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín because the main objective of the antichrist is to fool people. This is contradictory to other traditions about people being tested by the Advent of the Qaim. So if the antichrist were as he is described, then who would be fooled or tested? Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín concluded that the antichrist has a symbolic meaning. However Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín was stilled confused. On one hand, he still had lingering’s of superstitious beliefs that stopped him from accepting the news he had heard. On the other hand he had heard sound and reasonable as if it was the truth but no proofs had been given.

Before the youth left for the evening, he asked his hosts to inform him if he hears anyone speaking about him as a Bábi. Not long after a friend of Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín by the name of Mirza Ashraf-i-Shahid (who later became a believer and a martyr in Isfahan) told Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín that he had overheard someone at the public bath referring to the youth (Mulla Muhammad) as a Bábi. On hearing this Mulla Muhammad quickly left the village.