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Mirza Yahya Nuri Subh-i Azal
He was a disciple of the Báb's, and before the Báb's martyrdom in 1850, Mirza Yahya was named as his successor in the leadership of the Babis, and according to him was also appointed by the Báb to finish his work the Persian Bayan - this is however disputed by Bahá'ís. His title of Subh-i-Azal or the "Morning of Eternity" was conferred on him by the Bab after Yahya became the return of Quddus as Mirza Jani tells us. On these points it is instructive to read what the Bab stated in his will regarding Mirza Yahya:
- "....This is a letter from God, the Guardian, the Self-Subsisting, to God, the Guardian, the Self-Subsisting.... This is a letter from Ali before Nabil, the Reminder of God for the worlds, to him whose name is equivalent to the name of the One, the Reminder of God for the worlds.... That, O thou, name of the One, guard what has been revealed in the Bayan and enjoin the same, for thou art surely the way, the great truth." (Quoted from the "History and Doctrines of the Babi Movement" who quotes Browne's "Introduction to Nuqtatul Qaf".)
Mirza Yahya was the son of Mirza Buzurg of Nur, and a younger-half-brother of Mirza Husain Ali, better known as Bahá'u'lláh.
In 1863, Bahá'u'lláh claimed that he was the one whom the Báb prophesized about and asked the Bábís to follow him, this began a period of murderous infighting between the two rival claimants. The group that followed Mirza Yayha became known as the Azali sect of Bábism.
In 1863 both half-brothers and their retinue were exiled to Adrianople.
Mirza Yahya had two wives, Fatima and Ruqayya; nine sons; and five daughters. His sons included: Nurullah, Hadi, Ahmad, Abdul Ali, and Rizwan Ali and four others whose names I do not know. Other reports claim he had up to eleven, twelve, fourteen, or seventeen wives including four in Iran and at least five in Baghdad, although it is not clear how many, if any, were simultaneous.
His legacy, contrary to common Bahá'í belief did continue, however with diminishing success. A distinguished Bábí, Hádí Dawlatábádí (d 1908), then his son were appointed as Azal's successors. In the 1970s there were believed to be 500-5000 Azalis.
- Browne, E.G. (1891). A Traveller’s Narrative. Cambridge.
- Britannica (Eds.) (1911). Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. Chicago.
- Browne, E.G. (1918) Materials for the Study of the Babi Religion. Cambridge.
- "History and Doctrines of The Babi Movement", by Maulana Muhammad Ali; Lahore, India. 1933
- Taherzadeh, Adib (2000). The Child of the Covenant. George Ronald, Publisher 46 High Street, Kidlington, Oxford, UK OX5 2DN. ISBN 0-85398439-5.
- The Primal Point's Will and Testiment - Commentry on the Báb's will
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