July 1847: The Báb arrives at the prison fortress of MahKu

Haji Mirza Aqasi [The Persian Priminister] finally persuaded Muhammad Shah, to send the Báb to a remote fortress called Mahku.

According to one historian, the king had been suffering from illness for some time. The Báb had promised to heal him if He were permitted to come to Tihran. Haji Mirza Aqasi feared that if the Báb should bring about such a cure, the king would no longer be under his thumb.[Nabil, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 232, footnote]

He induced the king to write to the Báb as follows: "Much as we desire to meet you, we find ourselves unable, in view of our immediate departure from our capital, to receive you befittingly in Tihran. We have signified our desire that you be conducted to Mahku."[Nabil, The Dawn-Breakers, pp. 230-231]

The Báb had written earlier to the king asking for an audience with him. He had requested permission to come to the capital so that before the king and all the religious leaders of the land, He might present the proofs of His Mission. He agreed to leave the decision of its truth or falsehood entirely in the hands of the king. He said that He would accept the judgement of the king as final; and in case of failure, was ready to sacrifice His head.[Comte de Gobineau, Les Religions et Philosophies dans l’Asie Centrale, p. 124]

Both the Prime Minister and the king had originally welcomed this letter. They were convinced that once the Báb was faced by the noted religious leaders of the land, they could humiliate Him and divest Him of all prestige. However, when they received the news of His overwhelming victories in debate at Shiraz, and especially when word came of the conversion of both Vahid and Manuchihr Khan to His Faith, they were no longer eager, or even willing, to have Him at the capital.

When the king's message reached the Báb, telling Him of His transfer to the prison of Mahku, He knew whose hand was behind the cruel order.

"You summoned Me from Isfahan to meet the doctors [religious leaders] and for the attainment of a decisive settlement," He wrote the Prime Minister. "What has happened now that this excellent intention has been changed for Mahku and Tabriz?"[A Traveller’s Narrative, p. 16]

In these words, the Báb foreshadowed the suffering He was to face in the northern city of Tabriz where He would be summoned from prison, once to be beaten and a second time to be slain.

Thus the king broke his promise to meet the Báb, and the Royal party including the young son of the king, Prince Farhad Mirza, left with the Shah and the Prime Minister for a lovely park in the neighborhood of Tihran. While there the prince approached the Prime Minister and asked him, "Haji, why have you sent the Báb to Mahku?"

The Prime Minister replied, "You are still too young to understand certain things, but know this: had he come to Tihran, you and I would not at this moment be walking free from care in this cool shade."

The historical document Journal Asiatique records: "As the order of the Prime Minister, Haji Mirza Aqasi, became generally known ... from Isfahan to Tihran everyone spoke of the iniquity of the clergy and of the government towards the Bab; everywhere the people muttered and exclaimed against such an injustice."

The Báb was ordered to proceed first to Tabriz. He refused to accept the funds provided by the government for the expense of the journey. All of the allowances that were given by the Prime Minister, the Báb bestowed upon the poor. For His own needs He used the money which He had earned as a merchant.

Rigid orders were given to avoid entering any of the towns on the journey to Tabriz. When the party at last approached the gate of the city, the leader of the escort, Muhammad Big, approached the Báb.

"The journey from Isfahan," he said, "has been long and arduous. I feel I have failed to do my duty toward you, and have failed to serve you as I should have. I can only ask for your pardon and forgiveness."

"Be assured I account you as a member of My fold," the Báb told him. "They who embrace My Cause will bless and glorify you, and will extol your conduct and exalt your name."

The rest of the guards followed the example of their chief, and with tears in their eyes, bade the Báb a last affectionate farewell. Reluctantly, they delivered Him to the soldiers of the governor of Tabriz. (William Sears, Release the Sun, pp. 59-61; The Baha’i World volume 18, p. 380)