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The Sifter of Wheat

This is a story of a humble youth who became a hero and a martyr.


The Báb had told Mulla Husayn to go to Tihran, and visit all the towns on his way to tell people that the Promised One had come. The first city that Mulla Husayn visited was Isfáhán. Isfáhán was famous for two things - the great learning of its clergy, and also for the keen expectation of the people there, that the coming of the Promised One was at hand.


But the first person in this town to become a Bábi was not a person of great learning. He was a humble youth. His name was Mulla Muhammad Ja'far. He was known as Gandum-Pak-Kun, which means Sifter of Wheat. His job was to clean the wheat for the farmers. He would put the wheat into a sieve and shake it until the good grain became separated from the stones and husks.


As soon as Mulla Ja’far heard the Message of the Báb, he believed at once. From that moment, the sifter of wheat devoted his life to teaching others. When, a few years later, Mulla Ja’far heard that some of his fellow believers were being martyred at Fort Shaykh Tabarsi, he immediately left his work, and carrying his sieve in his hand, hurried through all the bazaars of Isfáhán. He announced that he was leaving to help his fellow Bábis at Fort Shaykh Tabarsi.


"Why leave in such a hurry?" his friends asked.


"I am going to join the glorious company of those who are willing to give their life for their faith. With this sieve which I carry with me, I intend to sift people in every village through which I pass.”


By this he meant that he was going to tell everyone he met on the way about the Promised One, and find the pure ones who were ready to become believers.


“Whoever I find ready to embrace this Cause I will ask to join me and hasten to the field of martyrdom."


Mulla Ja’far joined the company of the defenders of the Fort of Shaykh Ṭabarsí and perished during that siege.


The Báb praised the devotion of Mulla Ja’far and said that of all the learned inhabitants of Isfáhán, only one person, a sifter of wheat, was found to recognize the Truth, and was invested with the robe of Divine virtue.


The Báb wrote that Mulla Ja’far’s acceptance of the Message, and the clergy’s rejection of it, was the fulfillment of this prophecy: "the lowliest of the creatures shall become the most exalted, and the most exalted shall become the most debased.”


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