The founder of the Sheykhí school, with which in its origin the Bábí movement is so closely connected, was Sheykh Ahmad of Ahsá (often, but apparently erroneously, written Lahsá) in the province of Bahreyn. The following is a brief account of his life, for which I am indebted to the kindness of one of my Persian friends in Teherán. The genealogy therein contained purports to be based on an account written by the Sheykh himself for his son Sheykh Muhammad Takí.

        Sheykh Ahmad was the son of Sheykh Zeynu'd- Dín Ahsá'í, son of Sheykh Ibrahím, son of Sheykh Sakr, son of Sheykh Ibrahím, son of Sheykh Dághir, son of Sheykh Ramadhán, son of Sheykh Ráshid, son of Sheykh Dihím, son of Sheykh Shamrúkh of the tribe of Sakr, one of the most important tribes of the Arabs. From Sheykh Shamrúkh to Sheykh Ramadhán the family were ostensibly not of the Imámite (Shi'ite) faith, but conformed outwardly to the practices of the Sunnites.

        According to my correspondent's statement, the year of Sheykh Ahmad's birth is represented by the chronogram

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~~~ (A.H. 1166 = A.D. 1752-53). I think, however, that it should be ~~~, "the water- courses overflowed." This sentence yields the date 1157 A.H., which agrees with the other particulars given, and also conveys an intelligible meaning, neither of which conditions, so far as I can see, are fulfilled by the first chronogram. The year of his death (A.H. 1242 = A.D. 1826-27) is contained in the following chronogram:-

[one line of Persian/Arabic text]

"Thou hast victoriously attained unto Paradise, O Ahmad son of Zeynu'd- Dín!" Sheykh Ahmad was eighty-five years old at the time of his death.

        From his youth upwards Sheykh Ahmad was pious, devout, and ascetic in his life. At the direction of his spiritual guides he quitted his native country and went to 'Irák. (Kerbelá and Nejef), where he took up his abode and occupied himself in teaching and diffusing religious knowledge. He soon acquired great fame, and many students gathered around him. His fame continuing to increase, he was invited by Fath-'Alí Sháh, Prince Muhammad 'Alí Mírzá Ruknu'd-Dawla, and other eminent personages, to visit Persia. He accordingly came to Teherán; thence he proceeded to Kirmánsháhán, and thence to Yezd, where he abode of twelve years. He performed the pilgrimage to Mecca several times, and on the last occasion for doing so died two stages from Medína, where he was buried in the cemetery called Bakí' [-ul-Gharkad. See Lane's Arabic- English-Lexicon, Book I. Part i, p. 235].

        The account of Sheykh Ahmad Ahsá'í contained in the Kisasu'l- 'Ulamá1 differs somewhat from that above given. Thus it is asserted that he came direct from Bahreyn to Yezd where he abode some time; that from Yezd he went to Kirmánsháhán, where he received yearly the sum of 700 túmáns from Fath- 'Alí Sháh's son Muhammad 'Alí Mírzá
1 See Note A, pp. 197-198, supra.

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Ruknu'd-Dawla; and that thence he went to Kerbelá where he finally took up his abode. It would appear, however, that he again visited Persia towards the end of his life, and that on this occasion he passed through Kazvín, where he paid a visit to Hájí Mullá Muhammad Takí1 . The latter questioned him concerning his views on the resurrection, and, after a violent altercation, declared them to be heretical. In consequence of this many other divines, who had hitherto regarded Sheykh Ahmad almost as a saint, began to look askance at him or even to display open hostility, so that he was compelled to leave Kazvín. He intended to proceed to Mecca, but died on his way thither at Basra.

        The chief points wherein Sheykh Ahamd's doctrine is regarded as heterodox are stated as follows. He believed that the body of man was compounded of parts derived from each of the nine heavens and the four elements; that the grosser elemental part perished irrevocably at death; and that only the more subtle celestial portion would appear at the resurrection. This subtle body he named ~~~ (the word Huwarkilyá being supposed to be of Greek origin) and believed to be similar in substance to the forms in the "World of Similitudes' (~~~). Similarly he denied that the Prophet's material body had, on the occasion of his night-journey to heaven (~~~), moved from the spot where it lay in a trance or sleep. He was much given to fasts, vigils, and austerities, and believed himself to be under the special guidance of the Imáms, especially, as it would appear, the Imám Ja'far-i-Sádik. He regarded the Imáms as creative forces, quoting in support of this view the expression ~~~ "God, the Best of Creators," occurring in Kur'án xxiii, 14; "for," said he, "if God be the Best of Creators He cannot be the sole Creator." He also adduced in support of this

        1 The maternal uncle and father-in-law of Kurratu'l- 'Ayn, see Note Q, infra, and pp. 197-198, supra.

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view the tradition wherein the following words are attributed to 'Alí:-

        ~~~ "I am the Creator of the heavens and the earth" He even went so far as to assert that in reciting the opening chapter of the Kur'án (~~~) the worshipper should fix his thoughts on 'Alí as he repeats the words ~~~ "Thee do we worship."

        Sheykh Ahmad composed a number of works, amongst which the following are enumerated by the author of the Kisasu'l-'Ulamá:-

        ~~~ Commentary on the Ziyárat-i-Jámi'a, in four vols. According to Subh-i-Ezel's statement it is in this work that the doctrine of the subtle body (~~~ or ~~~) which survives the dissolution of the material frame is elaborated.

        ~~~ Answers to questions.

        ~~~ Commentary on the 'Arshiyya of Mullá Sadrá1 .

        ~~~ Commentary on the Mashá'ir of Mullá Sadrá.

        ~~~ Commentary on the Tabsira-i- 'Alláma2 .

        1 Concerning Mullá Sadrá and his doctrines see Note K, infra.
Concerning 'Alláma ('the Sage'), i.e. Jemálu'd-Dín Hasan ibn Yúsuf ibn 'Alí of Hilla, see a footnote on Note M, infra. The full title of the work here mentioned appears to be ~~~ ("The Enlightenment of students on the ordinances of Religion.")

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        ~~~ The Fawá'id and Commentary thereupon.

        Sheykh Ahmad Ahsá'í was succeeded at his death by his disciple Hájí Seyyid Kázim of Resht, of whose life the following brief account was supplied to me by the same friend to whom I am indebted for the biography of Sheykh Ahmad given at the beginning of this note. His family were merchants of repute. His father was named Áká Seyyid Kásim. When twelve years old he was living at Ardabíl near the tomb of Sheykh Safí'ud-Dín Is- hák, the descendant of the seventh Imám Músá Kázim and the ancestor of the Safaví kings. One night in a dream it was signified to him by one of the illustrious progenitors of the buried saint that he should put himself under the spiritual guidance of Sheykh Ahmad Ahsá'í, who was at this time residing at Yezd. He accordingly proceeded thither and enrolled himself amongst the disciples of Sheykh Ahmad, in whose doctrine he attained such eminence that on the Sheykh's death he was unanimously recognized as the leader of the Sheykhí school. He died at Baghdad ere he had attained his fiftieth year A.H. 1259 (A.D. 1843-1844). The date of his death is contained in the following chronogram: ~~~, "The moon of guidance hath disappeared" His works are said to exceed 300 volumes.

        Up to this point the Sheykhís were a united body, for the succession of Hájí Seyyid Kázim would seem to have been approved and accepted by all. This unanimity was no longer to continue. Seyyid Kázim had not explicitly nominated a successor; indeed according to the Bábí historian he had hinted that the transitional state of things under which he and his master Sheykh Ahmad had assumed the guidance of the faithful was with his declining life drawing to a close, and that a brighter light was about to shine forth from the horizons of the spiritual world. Let the Bábí historian, the author of the Táríkh-i-Jadíd, take up the tale, and describe in the words of his informant the closing scenes of the life of Seyyid Kázim.

        "When Hájí Seyyid Kázim had but recently departed

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this life, I arrived at the Supreme Shrines [Kerbelá and Nejef] and heard from his disciples that the late Seyyid (may God exalt his station) had, during the last two or three years of his life, wholly restricted his discourse, both in lecture- room and pulpit, to discussing the promised Proof, the signs of his appearance, and their explanation, and enumerating the qualities of the Master of the Dispensation, repeatedly declaring that he would be a youth, that he would not be versed in the learning of men, and that he would, moreover, be of the race of Háshim. Sometimes, too, he would say, 'I see him as the rising sun.' At length during the last journey which he made with the intention of visiting Kázimeyn and Surra-man-ra'a, while he was returning from the latter place to Kázimeyn and Baghdad, he was entertained by one of his friends and disciples, some dozen of his [other] disciples and pupils being [also] present in that garden. Suddenly an Arab entered, and, still standing, made representation thus:- 'I have seen a vision touching your Reverence.' On receiving permission, he repeated the dream; whereupon Seyyid Kázim appeared somewhat troubled, and said, 'The interpretation of this dream is this, that my departure from this world is nigh at hand and I must go hence.' His companions who were present were much distressed and grieved at this intelligence, but he turned his face towards them and said, 'The time of my sojourn in the world has come to an end, and this is my last journey. Why are ye grieved and troubled because of my death? Do ye not then desire that I should go and the True One should appear?'

        "This is as I have heard it from Hájí 'Abdu'l-Muttalib of Isfahán, and Suleymán Khán Afshár1 of Sá'ín Kal'a, who were present in that assembly. Indeed from the noble personage alluded to [apparently Suleymán Khán] I further

        1 This must be a mistake. Suleymán Khán Afshár was conspicuous as a persecutor of the Bábís, for he was not only chiefly instrumental in putting down the Mázandarán insurrection, but was also the bearer of the Báb's death-warrant from Teherán to Tabríz. Hájí Suleymán Khán the son of Yahyá Khán of Tabríz, one of the most ardent adherents and steadfast martyrs of the Bábí faith [see Note T, infra], is no doubt intended.

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heard as follows:- 'The late Seyyid specially promised me that I should myself apprehend the Manifestation, saying, "Thou shalt be there and shalt apprehend" Now the utterance of these words and good tidings by him [Seyyid Kázim] as here described is a matter of notoriety and a thing universally admitted amongst his intimates, being authenticated by several letters from well-known persons to others who accepted the new Manifestation also1 . Indeed some of those [who were] present in that assembly are still alive, and confess to having heard that announcement from the late Seyyid. Mullá Huseyn of Bushraweyh, one of the most distinguished of divines, who was moreover intimately acquainted with the late Seyyid, made urgent enquiry as to the manner in which the Manifestation should come to pass. The latter, however, only replied, '"Permission is not accorded unto me to say more than this2 ." But from whatever quarter the Sun of Truth shall arise it will irradiate all horizons and render the mirrors of believers' hearts capable of receiving the effulgences of the lights of wisdom.' At all events after his return from Surra-man-ra'a the revered Seyyid departed this life as he had foretold"

        Whatever credence we may be disposed to attach to this narrative, there is no doubt that the Sheykhís were, in general, anxiously expecting the appearance of someone who should assume the leadership of their party. A number of the late Seyyid Kázim's immediate disciples repaired directly after his death to the mosque at Kúfa, and there, with fasting, vigils and prayers, sought for God's guidance in the choice of a spiritual director. Having completed their religious exercises they dispersed each in his own way. Mullá Huseyn of Bushraweyh proceeded to Shíráz, and on his arrival there paid a visit to Mírzá 'Alí Muhammad, with whom he had become acquainted at Kerbelá. To him first of all did the young prophet announce his

        1 "The new Manifestation" (~~~) may mean only the dispensation inaugurated by the Báb, but the force of the "also" (~~~) which follows leads me rather to conjecture that the dispensation of Behá is intended.
        2 This quotation is from the beginning of the first book of the Masnaví.

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divine mission, adducing in proof thereof his Commentary on the Súra of Joseph, and showing other signs whereby Mullá Huseyn, after a mental struggle which lasted several days, became firmly convinced that the Master so eagerly sought for and so earnestly desired had at length been found. No sooner was he himself convinced than, with that fiery energy which so pre-eminently distinguished him even amongst the eager active spirits who were soon to carry the new doctrine throughout the length and breadth of the Persian land, and cause the echo of its fame to reverberate through the civilized world, he hastened to apprise his friends and comrades of his discovery. Thus did he become the "Gate of the Gate" (~~~), the "First Letter" (~~~), the "First to believe" (~~~). The rapidity with which the new doctrine spread was wonderful, representatives of all classes hastening to tender their allegiance to the young Seer of Shíráz, but it was from the old Sheykhí party that the most eminent supporters of the new faith were for the most part derived.

        It must not be supposed, however, that all the followers of the late Seyyid Kázim accepted the new doctrine. A considerable number, headed by Hájí Muhammad Karím Khán of Kirmán, utterly declined to admit the Báb's pretensions (for so they regarded his claims), and these became the bitterest and most violent of his persecutors. Of those doctors who heaped insult on the Báb during his first examination at Tabríz, and those who two years later ratified his death-warrant in the name of religion, several were Sheykhís. Hence it is necessary to recognize clearly the difference between the relations of Bábíism to the old and the new Sheykhí school. From the bosom of the former it arose, and, in great measure, derived its strength; with the latter it was ever in fiercest conflict. Of Sheykh Ahmad Ahsá'í and Seyyid Kázim of Resht both Bábís and Sheykhís speak with reverence and affection; but Hájí Muhammad Karím Khán and his followers are as odious in the eyes of the Bábís as Mírzá 'Alí Muhammad the Báb

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and his adherents are execrable in the opinion of the modern Sheykhís. The Báb stigmatized Hájí Muhammad Karím Khán as "the Quintessence of Hell-fire" (~~~) and "the [infernal] Tree of Zakkum" (see B. ii, pp. 910-911), while Hájí Muhammad Karím Khán wrote at least two treatises (one called "the crushing of Falsehood," ~~~) in refutation and denunciation of the Bábí doctrines. Of the bitter enmity which subsists between these two sects I had ample evidence during the two months which I spent at Kirmán in the summer of 1888, and on more than one occasion when representatives of both parties happened to visit me simultaneously their scarcely disguised animosity, which seemed ready at the slightest opportunity to burst forth into open conflict, caused me the liveliest disquietude.

        I trust that I have succeeded in making clear the relations which exist between the Bábís on the one hand, and the old and new Sheykhís on the other; for a proper appreciation of these is essential to a clear understanding of the history of Bábíism. Indeed we cannot consider that we have thoroughly fathomed the drift and purport of the Bábí movement until the writings of Sheykh Ahmad Ahsá'í and Hájí Seyyid Kázim of Resht shall have been submitted to careful and minute examination and study. This, however, is a labour still unaccomplished, and, with the exception of one point to be noticed immediately, I shall say no more about the Sheykhí doctrines in this place. Some further information concerning them will be found in Kazem-Beg's articles on the Bábís (Journal Asiatique, 1866, 6me série, tome vii, pp. 457-464); in von Kremer's Herrschenden Ideen des Islams (pp. 206-208); and in my second article on the Bábís in the J. R. A. S. for 1889 (pp. 884- 885 and 888-892).

        The point of doctrine above mentioned as demanding some explanation (for it is alluded to in the present text) is that of the "Fourth Support" (~~~). What I shall say concerning it is derived from notes of a conversa-

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tion which I had in June 1888 with a Sheykhí doctor of Kirmán named Mullá Ghulám Huseyn. I asked him to explain to me wherein the doctrine of the Sheykhís chiefly differed from that of other Shi'ites. His answer was in substance as follows:- "The Bálásarís [i.e. non- Sheykhí Shi'ites] hold that the 'Supports,' or essential principles of religion (~~~), are five, to wit (1) Belief in the Unity of God (~~~); (2) Belief in the Justice of God (~~~); (3) Belief in Prophethood (~~~); (4) Belief in the Imámate (~~~); (5) Belief in the Resurrection (~~~). Now two of these (Nos. 2 and 5) we refuse to admit as separate principles, for why should we specify belief in the Justice of God as one of the essentials of faith and omit belief in the Mercifulness of God, the Wisdom of God, the Power of God, and all the other Attributes? These, moreover, as well as belief in the Resurrection, are really included in the third principle, for belief in Prophethood involves belief in the Prophet, and this again involves belief in his book, wherein these two so-called principles are set forth and whence only they are known. Of the five 'principles' of the Bálásarís, therefore, we only accept three, viz. (1) Belief in the Unity of God; (2) Belief in Prophethood; (3) Belief in the Imámate; but to these we add another, which we call the 'Fourth Support' (~~~), viz. (4) that there must always be amongst the Shi'ites some one perfect man (whom we call ~~~ 'the perfect Shi'ite') capable of serving as a channel of grace (~~~) between the Absent Imám and his church. Such is our doctrine of the 'Fourth Support,' and it is evident that, whereas four supports are under all circumstances necessary for stability, a greater number than this is unnecessary."

        As so explained, the 'Fourth Support' is a term applicable rather to that article of faith which declares that there must always exist in the Church of the Imáms some visible

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head who enjoys their special spiritual guidance and serves to convey their wishes and their wisdom to all true Shi'ites, than to the actual personage who fulfils this function. Yet outside the Sheykhí circle, both amongst the Bálásarís and the Bábís, it certainly bears the second meaning as well; and it is commonly asserted that Hájí Muhammad Karím Khán regarded himself, and was regarded by his followers, as being this 'Fourth Support' or Channel of Grace from the Spiritual World. It is evidently this second meaning which the term bears in the present text, and if it bore it from the first it is evident that there was originally very little difference between the pretensions of Mírzá 'Alí Muhammad the Báb and those of Hájí Muhammad Karím Khán, since both, in the first instance, claimed to be neither more nor less than intermediaries between the absent Imám and his Church, exactly in the same sense as were the four original 'Gates' (Abwáb, or Bábs) who served as a connection between the Twelfth Imám and his followers during the period of the 'Lesser Occultation.' [See end of Note D, supra.]

        As regards the actual condition of the Sheykhís at the present day, their head-quarters are still at Kirmán, near which city, in a little village called Langar, situated two or three miles from Máhán (the burial-place of the great dervish Sháh Ni'matu'lláh), several of the sons of Hájí Muhammad Karím Khán still reside. During my stay at Kirmán I visited Langar and was permitted to sit for half an hour at the feet of 'the Masters' (Ákáyán) as they are called by their followers. The elder brothers were at Kerbelá at that time (where, I believe, they were very coldly received, being, indeed, prevented from preaching in the mosque as they desired to do), but two younger brothers were engaged in expounding the doctrines of Sheykh Ahmad to an appreciative audience of heavy-turbaned votaries. At the conclusion of the lecture I had some conversation with them, but, though I had no reason to complain of lack of courtesy on their part, I cannot say that I was greatly impressed with their wisdom. After Kirmán I believe that Tabríz contains more Sheykhís than any other city in Persia, but they are to be found in most of the large towns. They are generally regarded by orthodox Shi'ites with considerable dislike and suspicion.

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