Mírzá Mihdí

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Mirzá Mihdí in 1868, aged 20.

Mírzá Mihdí (Persian: ميرزا مهدي‎‎ 1848 – June 23, 1870) was the youngest child of Bahá'í founder Bahá’u’lláh and wife Navváb.[1][2] He was given the title Ghusn-i-Athar ("Purest Branch" or "Purer Branch").[note 1]


He was born in Tehran, Persia as Mehdi Nuri.[3]

Mirza Mehdi was his mother's favourite child.[4] Mihdí did not remember his once luxurious life as at the age of four his father was arrested and imprisoned on account of his faith. The family were left in penury and his sister later recollected how the siblings would hold each other and weep.[5] When his family were exiled to Baghdad, the family thought it necessary to leave Mírzá Mihdí in Persia as a result of his health. He was left to the care of his maternal great-grandmother and his paternal aunt. The separation was hard for his family, especially his mother.[6]

At the age of twelve, he rejoined his family in Baghdad. There he accompanied his father through all his exiles and grew very close to him.[7] He later became the amanuenses of Bahá’u’lláh and a staunch companion. He was beloved by the Bahá’ís; revered in a similar sense to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and was noted for his meekness, piety, purity and sincerity. Whilst rapt in prayer,[8][9] chanting the Ode of the Dove (a prayer revealed by his father during the period in Kurdistan) and pacing on the rooftop, Mírzá Mihdí fell through a skylight, and the wooden crate that he fell onto pierced his ribs and injured his lungs.[10][11] Bahá’u’lláh was horrified and asked for a physician to attend his son.[12] However, by this time it was too late. His mother was especially hurt and poignantly caressed her blood-soaked son shortly before his death.[13] Bahá’u’lláh was heard lamenting “Mihdí! O Mihdí!” as his son was dying.[14] His companions surrounding him on his death-bed remember his courtesy despite his pain, and even apologizing that he was lying before their presence.[15][16]

The graves of Navváb and Mirzá Mihdí within the Monument Gardens.

He died on June 23, 1870, at the age of twenty-two.[17] His dying wish was that the believers would attain the presence of Bahá’u’lláh, a wish which the broken-hearted Bahá’u’lláh accepted. His body was taken away and buried in a Muslim cemetery. His sister collected the blood-soaked clothes of Mihdí and other relics. These are seen in the International Archives in Israel. Bahá’u’lláh eulogized his son and connected the subsequent easing of restrictions and pilgrims' ability to visit him to his dying prayer. He wrote that his death caused “the Concourse on high to lament”. He also exalted his death, comparing it to the intended sacrifice of Abraham’s son, the crucifixion of Christ and the martyrdom of the Imam Husayn.[18] Bahá’u’lláh also named him the Purest Branch. The exiles and companions commented that he had been a "pillar of strength" amongst the exiles and adored for his gentleness and patience.[19]

Shoghi Effendi later removed the body of Mírzá Mihdí and reinterred it alongside his mother[20] in the gardens below the Arc on Mount Carmel, Haifa, in an area now called the Monument Gardens.[21]

See also[edit]

Others buried in the Monument Gardens:

Notes and citations[edit]

  1. ^ The elative is a stage of gradation in Arabic that can be used both for a superlative or a comparative. Ghusn-i-Athar could mean "Purest Branch" or "Purer Branch."
  1. ^ Ma'ani 2008, p. 91
  2. ^ Smith 1999, p. 262
  3. ^ Named after his father's deceased brother, Nuri being his father's surname. Taherzadeh 2000, p. 204
  4. ^ Ma'ani 2008, p. 19
  5. ^ Blomfield 1975, p. 68
  6. ^ Ma'ani 2008, p. 101
  7. ^ Effendi 1944, p. 188
  8. ^ Taherzadeh 2000, p. 205
  9. ^ Handal 2017
  10. ^ Smith 1999, p. 246
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2013-04-11. 
  12. ^ Balyuzi 2000, p. 310
  13. ^ Ma'ani 2008, p. 110
  14. ^ Balyuzi 2000, p. 311
  15. ^ Balyuzi 2000, p. 311
  16. ^ In Persian custom, it is rude to be lying down in front of people; it is viewed as disrespectful.
  17. ^ Ma'ani 2008, p. 150
  18. ^ Effendi 1944, p. 188
  19. ^ Balyuzi 2000, p. 312
  20. ^ Smith 1999, p. 259
  21. ^ Smith 1999, p. 247


  • Razavi, Shahriar (2009). "Mihdí, Mírzá (1848-70)". Bahá’í Encyclopedia Project. Evanston, IL: National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States. 

External links[edit]