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Mulla Husayn Chose to Sacrifice Privileged Life

What could be more important than a life of prestige and privilege? Mullá Husayn-i-Bushrú'í demonstrated fearlessness, consecration and detachment from all save God in giving up potential positions of prestige and privilege in Shí'ih society to live by new priorities brought into being through the Cause of the Báb.

Mullá Husayn is reported by some scholars to have been in poor health from a young age, with some reporting that he received treatment for epilepsy and heart palpitations. Childhood friends have indicated he often had difficulty even with the physical exertion involved in lengthy writing sessions as a student and in his later work as a scribe and copyist.

Despite his physical frailty he traversed Iran on foot on a number of occasions to spread the teachings of his new faith. Perhaps it was this physical frailty that focused his attention on more intellectual pursuits. As a young man, he studied Usuli theology, becoming an authorised member of the Shi'ih clerical order at the age of 21.

As a licensed mujtahid, Mullá Husayn was granted the rights to preach in mosques, to take on students of theology and to issue authoritative legal opinions. On the completion of his studies he was offered a position of religious leadership in his home town but he declined.

What did he understand about the power of this cause, the immortality of his soul and the fleetingness and deception of this physical world that he so easily reprioritised his life's work? Can we do the same?

Mullá Husayn's fearlessness and consecration -his dedication to a special purpose or service- is evident in the beloved Guardian's retelling of the experience at Shaykh Țabarsí:

"We are struck with wonder as we contemplate the super-human prowess of Mullá Husayn which enabled him, notwithstanding his fragile frame and trembling hand, to slay a treacherous foe who had taken shelter behind a tree, by cleaving with a single stroke of his sword the tree, the man and his musket in twain."

Nabil's Narrative records:

"On four distinct occasions, he rose to such heights of courage and power as few indeed could attain...In each encounter he distinguished himself by such acts of valour, of chivalry, of skill, and of strength that each one would alone suffice to establish for all time the transcendent character of a faith for the protection of which he had so valiantly fought, and in the path of which he had so nobly died. "The traits of mind and of character which, from his very youth, he displayed, the profundity of his learning, the tenacity of his faith, his intrepid courage, his singleness of purpose, his high sense of justice and unswerving devotion marked him as an outstanding figure among those who, by their lives, have borne witness to the glory and power of the new Revelation."

In one of the prayers He revealed to the Southern States of America in Tablets of the Divine Plan, 'Abdul-Bahá assures us that we too can access confirmations that can "change a gnat into an eagle, a drop of water into rivers and seas, and an atom into lights and suns" if we take on the purpose to "raise Thy word among the masses and to spread Thy teachings among Thy peoples".

-David Levick

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