Vahid’s tale, as adapted for storytelling
This is a story of how the “wisest man in Persia” investigated the new Faith of the Bab, herald of the Baha’i Faith, in the summer of 1845. Adapted from Amazing Stories from the Dawn-Breakers by Jacqueline Mehrabi and Release the Sun by William Sears, it is one of 23 stories recast by Baha’is in North Carolina for use in telling people about the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Bab in October.
The fame and message of the Bab had spread far and wide. Soon the authorities became alarmed. Day by day the crowds that followed the Bab greatly increased in number. There were now many followers in all classes of society, and many were of important standing — great lords, members of the clergy, military men and merchants.
The king became interested and decided to investigate. He wanted to know if the reports about the Bab were true. So he summoned his trusted friend Vahid, who was a person of great learning as well as honest and trustworthy. Vahid was known as the wisest man in Persia, and the king and government leaders often asked his advice on all matters.
The king told Vahid: “Go at once to Shiraz. Interview the Bab. Find out if these tales of wonder we hear are true. Then report to me what you discover.” Vahid was very pleased to be chosen for this mission, since he had wanted to meet the Bab ever since hearing about Him. During his journey, Vahid devised all the difficult questions he would ask the Bab to test His knowledge.
When Vahid arrived in Shiraz, he met with one of the new believers, who gently warned him not to act proudly when he was with the Bab. But Vahid was used to being the cleverest man around, so this friend knew that he might find it difficult to be humble.
The Bab welcomed Vahid with affection. For two hours, Vahid asked question after question about difficult passages and prophecies from the holy writings. The Bab listened carefully and patiently and then gave such wise answers that Vahid felt embarrassed and ashamed. He then excused himself, saying he would return on another day with the rest of his questions.
On his way to the second interview, Vahid was confident and had his questions clearly in mind. But as soon as he entered the Bab’s presence, Vahid went into a daze and found his mind completely blank. Later, to his great surprise, he realized that the Bab was speaking, and was answering his unasked questions. He came out of his daze but could not collect his thoughts, and begged to leave.
Then came a third interview. This time, thought Vahid, I will find out for sure whether the Bab is the Promised One or not. Without saying anything, I will silently ask Him to explain certain holy verses for me. If He does this, I will believe in Him!
As soon as Vahid was ushered into the Bab’s presence, a sense of fear seized him. His knees began to shake. Even though he had been many times in the presence of the king without feeling the slightest trace of timidity, Vahid was now so awed and shaken that he could not remain standing.
The Bab took his hand and seated Vahid beside him. “Seek from Me,” He said, “whatever is your heart’s desire. I will readily reveal it to you.” But Vahid could not speak. He just sat, unable to say a word.
The Bab smiled at him. Then He called for his pen-case and paper began to write a commentary on the holy verses Vahid had wanted Him to explain. When the Bab read to Vahid what He had written, tears streamed from Vahid’s eyes.
He was overcome with happiness and felt dizzy. He had to have drops of rose-water sprinkled on his face to keep him from fainting. At that moment he knew, without any doubt, that the Bab was indeed the Promised One.
Vahid then discharged his responsibility to the king, writing a detailed and personal account of his investigation of the Bab.
Vahid himself did not return to the capital. He began to summon the people to accept the new Messenger of God. Such was his enthusiasm and fervor, that other learned doctors decided Vahid must have suddenly lost his mind, or have been bewitched by the Bab.
When the report was given to the king that Vahid had investigated the Bab, found His Cause to be the truth, and had accepted it himself, the king told his prime minister that no one was allowed to say anything bad about the Bab again and should show respect for the Message He had brought.