Bullying

My mother tied a two-qiran silver piece in the corner of a handkerchief and asked me to go out and buy some food. As I was passing through the streets in the Karbila‘i ‘Abbas-‘Ali marketplace of Tihran, one of the youngsters cried out: “This child is a Bábí!”. Whereupon the children in the street rushed towards me to beat me. I was frightened and escaped. They chased me, until eventually I was able to hid in the entrance to a house belonging to the father of Sadru’l-‘Ulama (apparently the father of Sadru’l-‘Ulama and Aqa Mirza Muhsin, the son-in-law of Siyyid Abdu’llah Bihbahani, who was well-known at the beginning of the constitutional movement or perhaps their grandfather). I stayed in that dark entrance until the streets were deserted and returned home to find my mother perturbed over my fate.
(Hasan M. Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Centre of the Covenant, p. 40-41)


These horrible sounds I well remember, as we three children clung to our mother, she not knowing whether the victim was her own adored husband. She could not find out whether he was still alive or not until late at night, or very early in the morning, when she determined to venture out, in defiance of the danger to herself and to us, for neither women or children were spared. How well I remember cowering in the dark, with my little brother, Mirza Mihdi, the Purest Branch, at that time two years old, in my arms, which were not very strong, as I was only six. I was shivering with terror, for I knew of some of the horrible things that were happening, and was aware that they might have seized even my mother. So I waited and waited until she should come back. Then Mirza Musa, my uncle, who was in hiding, would venture in to hear what tidings my mother had been able to gather. My brother ‘Abbas usually went with her on these sorrowful errands.
(Hasan M. Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Centre of the Covenant, p. 42-43)


Nabíl-i-A‘zam, in his narrative history of the early days of the Faith, The Dawn-Breakers, gives this account of the treatment of Bahá’u’lláh after His arrest in the district of Shimírán: From Shimírán to Tihrán, Bahá’u’lláh was several times stripped of His garments, and was overwhelmed with abuse and ridicule. On foot and exposed to the fierce rays of the midsummer sun, He was compelled to cover, barefooted and bareheaded, the whole distance from Shimírán to the dungeon already referred to. All along the route, He was pelted and vilified by the crowds whom His enemies had succeeded in convincing that He was the sworn enemy of their sovereign and the wrecker of his realm. Words fail me to portray the horror of the treatment which was meted out to Him as He was being taken to the Síyáh-Chál of Tihrán. As He was approaching the dungeon, an old and decrepit woman was seen to emerge from the midst of the crowd, with a stone in her hand, eager to cast it at the face of Bahá’u’lláh. Her eyes glowed with a determination and fanaticism of which few women of her age were capable. Her whole frame shook with rage as she stepped forward and raised her hand to hurl her missile at Him. “By the Siyyidu’sh-Shuhada, I adjure you,” she pleaded, as she ran to overtake those into whose hands Bahá’u’lláh had been delivered, “give me a chance to fling my stone in his face!” “Suffer not this woman to disappointed,” were Bahá’u’lláh’s words to His guards, as He saw her hastening behind Him. “Deny her not what she regards as a meritorious act in the sight of God.”
(Nabíl, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 606-608)


Na‘im was a truly devoted servant of Bahá’u’lláh. As a result of embracing the Faith, he suffered great persecutions in his native village of Sidih near Isfahan. By order of the clergy, he and four other believers had their arms tied to their bodies; they were then tied closely together with a rope and paraded barefoot through the village. Crowds had gathered from neighbouring villages to watch them being tortured. For about fourteen hours the victims were alternately beaten with sticks by the officials. Their bare bodies, painted in different colours, were exposed to the severe winter cold and were so badly battered that many spectators were horrified to witness them. After some time in prison in Isfahan, they were exiled from their homes. In the case of Na‘im, his wife was taken from him and married to another man without any divorce proceedings.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh v 3, p. 391-392)


When religious fanaticism was aroused against a person or persons, who were accused of being infidels, as was now the case with the Bábís, it was customary not simply to condemn them to death and have them executed by the State executioner, but to hand the victims over to various classes of the populace. The butchers had their methods of torture; the bakers theirs; the shoemakers and blacksmiths yet others of their own. They were all given opportunities of carrying out their pitiless inventions on the Bábís. The fanatics became more and more infuriated when they failed to quench the amazing spirit of these fearless, devoted ones, who remained unflinching, chanting prayers, asking God to pardon and bless their murderers, and praising Him, as long as they were able to breathe. The mob crowded to these fearful scenes, and yelled their execrations, whilst all through the fiendish work, a drum was loudly beaten.
(Hasan M. Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Centre of the Covenant, p. 40-41)


At first, on going to her aunt’s, my mother would take me with her; but one day, returning unusually late, we found Abbas Effendi surrounded by a band of boys who had undertaken to personally molest him. He was standing in their midst as straight as an arrow - a little fellow, the youngest and smallest of the group - firmly but quietly commanding them not to lay their hands upon him, which, strange to say, they seemed unable to do. After that, my mother thought it unsafe to leave him at home, knowing his fearless disposition, and that when he went into the street, as he usually did to watch for her coming, eagerly expectant of news from his father for whom, even at that early age, he had a passionate attachment, he would be beset and tormented by the boys. So she took him with her, leaving me at home with my younger brother. I spent the long days in constant terror, cowering in the dark and afraid to unlock the door lest men should rush in and kill us.
(Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 14-15)