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Who is Zahrá Bagum

Beloved sister of the wife of the Báb

Zahra Bagum

Referred to in the Writings as 'Ukht Haram' [sister of the wife of the Báb]. In 1838–39, she married Áqá Mírzá Zaynu'l-'Abidín, a paternal cousin of the Báb. She became a Bábí in the 1850s, after the conversion of her son, Áqá Mírzá Áqá, and a Bahá'í about a decade later. She was very close to the wife of the Báb, Khadijih Bagum, and was one of the few who dared to visit her during the difficult days after the Báb's arrest in 1846. During this time, she was known to dress as a beggar and visit her sister's House to lend her support. After her sister's death in 1882, she moved into the Báb's House in Shíráz and lived there until her own death in October 1889. On Bahá'u'lláh's instructions, the custodians of the House of the Báb are chosen from her descendants. She was buried near Khadíjih Bagum.

Zahrá Bagum received many Tablets from Bahá'u'lláh, two of which are quoted below.

Ukht Haram. The Wondrous, the Most Great! O leaf! God willing, through the bounties of the Lord of Creation, thou wilt be attached to the divine Lote-Tree in all the worlds. Heavenly favors have been decreed for each one of you and will continue to surround thee. Praise to the Lord of Eternity that thou hast attained the greatest bounty, the recognition of the Most Great Beauty. By God's leave, may thou always be engaged in praising the Merciful with the utmost spirit and joy….(Fayzí, Khándán Afnán, p. 198.)

A second Tablet by Bahá'u'lláh in honor of Zahrá Bagum reads:

Sh[íráz]. The sacred leaf, the mother of the Afnán, upon her be the glory of God, the Most Glorious. He is Governor over the Supreme Horizon! O My leaf and mother of My Afnán, upon him rest forever the glory of God, and His bounty and His mercy, in both the heavens and the earth! You have endured in the path of God that which hath caused the hearts of the denizens of the cities of justice and equity to be filled with sorrow. Yet, since all that occurred was sustained in the path of God, then it is very important and best to be patient and forbearing. The exalted leaf (Presumably, a reference to Khadíjih Bagum.)—upon her rest the glory of God, His mercy, and His bounties—and thine esteemed self, have always been in our thoughts and will always remain so. I swear by the supreme Day-Star, Which is evident and manifest over the horizon of the Most Great Prison, that what hath been ordained for the Afnáns is such that naught besides can compare with it. The world testifies to its own evanescence. Every discerning person can readily and at all times see the world's impermanence, and every ear can hear its cry and lamentation. The station that the Supreme Pen hath decreed for the Afnáns is the remembrance of God, His praise, and teaching of His Cause to a prescribed degree. No other station is greater than this. What hath been revealed in the Tablets is such that the entire world cannot be compared to one word of it….

Excerpt from The Afnán Family: Some Biographical Notes by Ahang Rabbani



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