The Return

William Miller as profoundly disappointed at not seeing the returned Christ in March, 1844. Halfway around the world in Persia, Mullah Husayn, a young Muslim cleric, was also on a spiritual quest. A follower of the Shaykhis, an Islamic movement that believed that the time of the fulfillment of Islam was at hand, Mullah Husayn had been taught by his teacher that a holy figure had appeared in the world who would fulfill Islam.

After his teacher’s passing, Mulla Husayn secluded himself in the Great Mosque at Kufa, south of Baghdad. He wanted to prepare himself for his quest by praying and fasting for forty days and forty nights.

Mulla Husayn’s prayers led him to Shiraz, the ancient Persian city of poets and gardens. To enter Shiraz in those days, one had to pass through a large ornate gate where people met up with one another.

Mulla Husayn arrived at the gate having sent his companions ahead to find a place to stay when a young man walked up to him and greeted him warmly. He wore a green turban, the sign that he was a ‘siyyid,’ a descendant of the prophet Muhammad. His name was Siyyid Ali Muhammad. Mulla Husayn thought he was a fellow Shaykhi who had come out to greet him. Siyyid Ali Muhammad invited him to his home for dinner.

After walking through the narrow old streets of Shiraz:

“We soon found ourselves standing at the gate of a house of modest appearance. He knocked at the door, which was soon opened by an Ethiopian servant. “Enter therein in peace, secure” were His words as He crossed the threshold and motioned me to follow Him.”

The two stepped into the courtyard and climbed up the stairs to the upper room where they prayed and began their discussion. Mulla Husayn told the young Siyyid the signs of the Promised One, who said: “Behold, all these signs are manifest in Me.”

Shocked by this answer, Mulla Husayn presented one of his theological essays as a test to this young man who briefly looked over the intricate points and revealed the deeper meanings which Mulla Husayn had not understood. Then he offered to write a commentary on the Qur’anic chapter about Joseph. Mulla Husayn was stunned by this because his teacher had told him that only the Promised One would be capable of doing this.

Mulla Husayn knew that he had found the object of his quest:

“O thou who art the first to believe in Me! Verily I say, I am the Báb, the Gate of God, and thou art the Bábu’l-Báb, the gate of that Gate. Eighteen souls must, in the beginning, spontaneously and of their own accord, accept Me, and recognize the truth of My Revelation.….”

Mulla Husayn remembered that:

“…the knowledge of His Revelation had galvanized my being….The universe seemed but a handful of dust in my grasp. I seemed to be the voice of Gabriel personified, calling unto all mankind: `Awake, for, lo! the morning Light has broken. Arise, for His Cause is made manifest. The portal of His grace is open wide; enter therein, O peoples of the world! For He Who is your Promised One is come!'"”

At dawn, May 23rd, 1844, two months after William Miller’s ‘Great Disappointment’, Mulla Husayn stepped back out into the street, a man transfigured by “a sense of gladness and strength.”

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