How an Iranian Mullah became a Bahá’í!
The story goes back to some 60 years ago. Mohammad Movahed was a young Muslim priest who had entered the priesthood at an early age.He was around 7 when he asked his father to let him join a Maddreseh of Mullahs, a seminar for becoming a priest. He graduated soon and when he was almost 20 he himself became a professor of such Maddreseh. He had many students under his control and was a very successful professor.
One day he saw one of his pupils had a book and was busy reading it. Curious about the book, he asked the pupil what it was, when the boy said that it was a Raddieh, A book that the Muslim clergy authors rejecting the Bahá’í Faith. In these books they normally cling to calumny, lies and wrong data on the history to defame the Faith. Mr. Mohammad asked the boy to let him read the book as he had never heard about the Bahá’í Faith before and wanted to know why a Raddieh had been written against an unknown religion.
He read the book overnight and the next day he was uncomfortable to see contradictions on the attacks on the Faith by the author. Very few phrases had been taken from the context of the Bahá’í writings and were included there, over which the attacks were focused. He was astonishingly more attracted towards those phrases than on the attacks. He was now more thirsty to know more about the strange religion he had come up with. He went to the library in Shiraz to find more books on the Faith, which he was not so lucky with. He asked the director of the library about such books, and he said that they had some but they were locked in and nobody was supposed to see them. He insisted to get some, and the director supposed that a Mullah would need them just to write Raddieh Raddieh on.
He got the Bayan, Farsi, and the Arabic, the book of Iqan, and a few others. He almost did not sleep for a week to read all those books.
With each book he found himself drown into an ocean of doubts and more questions to which he could not find answers. So he looked for more and more books to read, when one day he was certain of the validity of the Faith, and he felt great love for Bahá’u’lláh. Now the next task was to look for others who had embraced the Faith. He searched and searched but he could not find anyone, until he met a shopkeeper who was known as Bahá’í. He went to his shop and asked to meet him in private to talk about the Faith. He was still wearing the priests' outfit, with the white turban and the long black robe. He asked the shopkeeper to meet him somewhere else to talk about the Faith. The next day he was waiting for the Bahá’í man but he never showed up. He went back to his shop the next day telling him why he did not show up. The man said he would go the next day, to which Mr. Mohammad attended and waited for hours and the shopkeeper did not appear. So he assumed that maybe he was afraid to be abducted or be attacked, so he decided not to look for any other Bahá’í and instead he decided to declare his Faith to his own pupils.
He gathered them together one day in the classroom and announced to them that he was then a believer in Bahá’u’lláh and was no longer considering himself a Bahá’í.
His students remained surprised and none could say anything and one by one they went away and he was left alone in the room. Days later he received swarms of other priests from the city,(Shiraz) reproaching him his decision.
He answered them all with logical proofs why he had accepted Bahá’u’lláh. They called him an apostate, and warned him of the consequences. He said he did not care for the possible consequences as well as losing all the benefits of being a Mullah.
The Ullema had a consulting session and decided to arrange for him hospitalization in a mental institution. They did not tolerate that one of their kinds could declare himself a Bahá’í. He was then taken to an institution and the only favor they did to him was not to take them to the dangerous patients section.
All the patients and the doctors and nurses tried to avoid him as it was rare to see a priest among them. The institution director called him a few days later and told him he did not see any sign of madness in him, and wondered why he had been let it there.
He said that it was because of being a Bahá’í and a priest at the same time. The director said,Then you really are crazy".
Little by little the nurses and the doctors started to get along with him as he had a kindly behavior towards everyone. A patient next door who was almost cured and ready to leave the institution told him that his wife was a Bahá’í and the next time she came , she could have a talk with him, which he welcomed. When she was sure that he was a real Bahá’í and that it was no trick, she passed the word to the local spiritual assembly of Shiraz. The assembly tried to send a representative but he was blocked to meet Mohammad. Later it was known that only the Muslims clergy were allowed to meet with him. But the assembly was able to send him a big box of Persian cookies as a gift for becoming a Bahá’í. That box of cookies he later said was the sweetest candy he had ever had in his life.
The clergy tried to use another tactic to make him recant. They had a well known hypnotizer to meet him and try to make him recant through hypnosis.
The doctor went to his room and said he would love to talk to him, and he said it was fine. The doctor did not know how to start so he asked Mohammad to say about his problem, to which he said it would take long and the doctor said he had lots of time and he would not mind.
So Mohammad started to tell him the long story how he became a Bahá’í. After about some 20 minutes the doctor who seemed to be in a deep sleep, woke up and stood up from the chair and said in a freaked voice, "Who are you? what am I doing here? what was all that you just said?" and he left abruptly. He got worried about the interviewer and went after him but he had left the building. Then he asked a nurse "Who was the guy who just ran away?" The nurse said that he was a new specialist doctor in hypnosis.
The next morning the same psychiatrist showed up at his room and apologized for leaving like that the previous day. When Mohammad asked why he did so, he said that he had been looking for a true religion for 17 years and none had satisfied him and his talk of the past day had brought him answers to all his question he had had for the last 17 years.
Two years later this same doctor declared Bahá’í and left the country for pioneering.
The story goes on and on and Mr. Mohammad was later released from that mental hospital after 95 days with the help of the Bahá’ís of Shiraz, and resided in Tehran. He was one of the very few Bahá’ís who knew the Faith through his own investigation without meeting even one Bahá’í and getting taught in a conventional method.
Years later after the Islamic revolution his ex colleagues spotted him and martyred him for the sin of apostasy.
He has left his testimony in a recorded tape before a group of Bahá’ís and the story is much sweeter from his own words and his own mouth.
I have tried to be brief and yet loyal to his account. I hope you enjoy the story as much as I did.