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

Jináb-i-Zayn arrived to Baghdad when Bahá’u’lláh was in Adrianople. During Jináb-i-Zayns sojourn in Baghdad, he made a pilgrimage to the House of Bahá’u’lláh. This deed pleased Bahá’u’lláh very much. The Blessed Beauty revealed a Tablet in which He extols this act of pilgrimage. Bahá’u’lláh states that this deed of Jináb-i-Zayn radiates as bright as the sun among his other deeds. Bahá’u’lláh further states that with this act, all his other deeds were fulfilled and accepted in the eyes of God.

Jináb-i-Zayn met and introduced Mishkín-Qalam to the Faith together who later became a believer in Adrianople when he met the Blessed Beauty. Jináb-i-Zayn and Mishkín-Qalam would later be neighbours in ‘Akká.

House of Bahaullah in Baghdad

House of Bahá’u’lláh in Baghdad after restoration in early 1930’s.

Exile to Mosul

In 1868 all Bahá’ís living in Baghdad were arrested and exiled to Mosul. Taherzadeh writes that these “refugees were subjected to severe hardships in Mosul. When they arrived, some of the inhabitants crowded on to the rooftops and threw stones at them. The shopkeepers refused to sell them food and no one would give them shelter. It took a long time for them to settle in Mosul.”

Mosul is on the path from Iran to ‘Akká and as such, all believers who had received permission to go on pilgrimage (‘Akká) travelled via Mosul. These pilgrims brought gifts such as goods and clothing from Bahá’u’lláh Himself to the friends in Mosul on their way back to Iran. The friends in Mosul were in such poverty that the Blessed Beauty wished to alleviate some of the difficulties. The King of Martyrs and the Beloved of Martyrs also greatly assisted with financial aid. Even with this aid, the friends lived in utter poverty in Mosul.

Despite extreme difficulties and the scarcity of funds, the believers in Mosul had strong bonds of friendship and unity. Balyuzi writes that, “the Baha’is in Mosul, under the leadership and guidance of Zaynu’l-Muqarrabin, soon became a model Baha’i community reflecting something of the spirit of the ‘‘Akká community.” They were unified. Even if the situation was very difficult, the stream of Tablets from the Blessed Beauty revealed in their honour washed their hearts of all sorrows.

Mirza Heydar-Ali, as he was passing through Mosul, recounted that the, “friends in Mosul, together with the person of Zaynu’l-Muqarrabín, made one remember the days spent in Bahá’u’lláh’s holy presence in the holy city of ‘Akká. These believers were living in the utmost unity and harmony. They vied with each other in their efforts and their services. They had no desire except first, to gain the good pleasure of the Blessed Beauty, and secondly, to attain His presence.”

Maintaining the Unity

Jináb-i-Zayn shouldered two main responsibilities while in Mosul. First and foremost was his role in maintaining the unity of the friends. If any problems arose Jináb-i-Zayn would mediate between the parties and remind them of who they were and why they were in Mosul. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá writes, “When the believers were taken prisoner in ‘Iráq and banished to Mosul, Jináb-i-Zayn became their chief. He remained for some time in Mosul, a consolation to the rest, working to solve their many problems. He would kindle love in people’s hearts, and make them kind to one another.”

Jináb-i-Zayn had a deep understanding of the Faith and could explain, encourage and inspire the friends. It is no wonder that he was the chief of the Bahá’ís in Mosul. An example of his understanding and beautiful logical reasoning is seen in one of his letters. Jináb-i-Zayn received a letter from a friend living in Najafabad. His friend is expressing the extreme difficult of being united and of good cheer when they are constantly under pressure of their persecutors. He and other believers are finding it increasingly harder to keep their faith in God as the All-Powerful when He is not God doing anything.

Jináb-i-Zayn replies that our lack of understanding does not change the Will of God. Difficulties and sufferings have always been the way by which God has chosen to raise His Cause. Then he proceeds to explain that disunity, doubtfulness and anxiety has no place in the hearts of the believers. Rather this should serve to strengthen their resolve. If they fear that these calamities should befall them, they should know that this cup is not for everyone. This is a cup only offered for the lovers and pure in heart and that it is an honour to be offered this cup.

Jináb-i-Zayn continues to say that we have so little information about events taking place in this world. How can we know of what is happening in all the divine worlds of God when we are not even aware of the events of this world?

He then refers to the question as why God is not taking revenge and says that God will not forgive oppression as He has said in the Hidden Words. However everything has its set time and place. Jináb-i-Zayn asks have you not read the Lawh-i-Rais? Did not all that was foretold in that Tablet come to light? Then Jináb-i-Zayns says that you should not be in a hurry for God is in no hurry.

In those days when someone did an injustice, one would want justice to take place quickly as the perpetrator could flee the town and not be brought to justice. In reference to this line of thinking, Jináb-i-Zayn writes that God is not worried about events slipping out of His hands. He can do whatever He wants, whenever He wants and that as long as the Proof is not concluded, God will not extend any punishment.

The concept of proof being concluded (hujjat taman shavad) refers to that first people must be given a fair chance to understand the Message and choose if they wish to follow or reject it. As there are many misunderstandings and false information about the Faith, it is not possible for people to fairly investigate and understand what the Faith is. Therefore God is waiting until the proof is concluded.

Jináb-i-Zayn writes that the punishment will come and if you wish to see it, gird up the loins of perseverance and be patient for it will come. Then he reminds his friend that had we (the Bahá’ís) from the beginning obeyed and done what was the Will of God and what had been asked of us, the whole world would have been believers by now. However the truth has not been concluded as the peoples have not heard the truth but been fed misinformation, lies and slander. How could the people recognize the Truth in the midst of all this? So while the proof is not concluded, how can God punish them? Now is the time when the Bahá’ís must show good deeds, be steadfast and show praiseworthy character, to serve their fellow human beings so their actions and deeds guide those who seek God and thereby concluding the proof.

Transcribing Tablets

His second responsibility was to make copies of Tablets of the Blessed Beauty. It was common that friends from various places would ask questions of the Blessed Beauty. Bahá’u’lláh would reveal Tablets in which the answers were provided. Jináb-i-Zayn would make one copy (transcribe) of each Tablet for each person who had been mentioned in the Tablets. As such, Balyuzi writes, “these Tablets could be distributed more widely and each of those to whom a Tablet was addressed could have a copy.”

Longing for the Sacred Threshold

Jináb-i-Zayn longed to be allowed to leave Mosul and settle in ‘Akká, to be closer to the Blessed Beauty. One day in September or October of 1885, Jináb-i-Zayn received a Tablet saying that (provisional translation)

O Zayn! Your longing to attain the Presence of the Sacred Threshold hath been mentioned. God Willing, He will draw you closer to Him and grant you the best of both worlds. If conditions allow and the believers of that land will not be disunited and the journey is with happiness and joy, then come.

When Jináb-i-Zayn received this Tablet, he prepared himself for moving to ‘Akká. He finally managed to enter the Presence of the Sacred Threshold in 1303 (most likely in 1886) and moved his permanent residency to ‘Akká. He also managed to have his wife and children moved to ‘Akká.

Not long after, the Blessed Beauty revealed a Tablet addressed to the friends in Mosul. They were told that it was time for the friends to gradually and with utter wisdom move out of Mosul and find a new home in either Iran or Iraq but not in the ‘Akká area. Following this, Mosul was gradually emptied of Bahá’ís.