February 1923: Keys to the Shrine of Baha’u’llah were returned to Shoghi Effendi by the British High Commissioner in Palestine

Shortly after 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ascension, this disgruntled and perfidious half-brother [Muhammad-Ali] had filed a claim, based on Islamic law (he who pretended he had still a right to be the successor of Bahá'u'lláh!), for a portion of the estate of 'Abdu'l-Bahá which he now claimed a right to as His brother. He had sent for his son, who had been living in America and agitating his father's claims there, to join him in this new and direct attack on the Master and His family. Not content with this exhibition of his true nature he applied to the civil authorities to turn over the custodianship of Bahá'u'lláh's Shrine to him on the grounds that he was 'Abdu'l-Bahá's lawful successor. The British authorities refused on the grounds that it appeared to be a religious issue; he then appealed to the Muslim religious head and asked the Mufti of 'Akká to take formal charge of Bahá'u'lláh's Shrine; this dignitary, however, said he did not see how he could do this as the Bahá'í teachings were not in conformity with Shariah law. All other avenues having failed he sent his younger brother, Badiullah, with some of their supporters, to visit the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh where, on Tuesday, 30 January, they forcibly seized the keys of the Holy Tomb from the Bahá'í caretaker, thus asserting Muhammad-Ali's right to be the lawful custodian of his Father's resting-place. This unprincipled act created such a commotion in the Bahá'í Community that the Governor of 'Akká ordered the keys to be handed over to the authorities, posted guards at the Shrine, but went no further, refusing to return the keys to either party.

February 1862: The birth of the Orientalist Edward Granville Browne

Edward Granville Browne was born on 7 February 1862 in Uley, Gloucestershire, Britain. Although he initially studied engineering and later medicine, it was his love of the Orient and oriental languages that determined his choice of profession and was to bring him fame as one of Europe's most renowned orientalists. His interest in Turkey was aroused very early through the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78. He learned Turkish while still studying medicine and later learned Persian and Arabic as well. A two-month sojourn in Istanbul in 1882 intensified his interest in the Orient still further.

Around the year 1884, as he later reported, he became acquainted with the religion of the Báb through reading Gobineau' s Les Religions et les Philosophies dans l 'Asie Centrale. Gobineau's book, or rather those parts that dealt with the Bábi Faith, impressed Browne so much that he later described it as a 'masterpiece of historical composition'. He continued: 'I had long ardently desired to visit Persia and above all Shiraz, and this desire was now greatly intensified. But whereas I had previously wished to see Shiraz because it was the home of Hafiz and Sa’di, I now wished to see it because it was the birthplace of Mirza 'Ali Muhammad the Báb.' (Udo Schaefer, ‘Making the Crooked Straight’)