In 1850 Nayriz was a sleepy farm town in Fars province Persia, where people grew dates and pomegranates and lived peaceful lives. But it was a stifling peace without hope, where the future was merely a continuation of the past. On May 27, 1850, the status quo was shattered. Vahíd proclaimed the message of the Báb from the pulpit of the Jumih mosque in Nayriz, and Nayriz would never be able to return to the way it was before. It had been jolted into the painful throes of awakening.

Pulpit from which Vahíd proclaimed the message
of the Báb to the people of Nayriz

Awakening: A History of the Bábi and Bahá'í Faiths in Nayriz by Dr. Hussein Ahdieh and Hillary Chapman is an inspiring chronicle of the bloody birth of the Bábi movement in Nayriz and its trying evolution into that city's Bahá'í community—a community that has planted Bahá'ís in six continents.

Book cover shows Kajih Fortress,
scene of the 1850 upheaval.

The book recounts in detail the heroic struggles of the Bábis in 1850 and 1853 against the overwhelming forces of the Persian Empire and the horrific treatment of the survivors. It includes an in-depth of study of Vahíd as a spiritual and military leader and bringer of a new way of life to the people of Nayriz. It also provides an account of the less-known but dramatic upheaval of 1909.

Aside from the battles, skirmishes and executions, Awakening brings to light the daily trials and occasional triumphs of the Nayriz Bahá'ís and their families as they endured the hostility of their Muslim neighbors.

One of Dr. Ahdieh's goals in writing Awakening has been to ensure that the early generations of Bábis and Bahá'ís and their sacrifices are not forgotten. It is a story of everyday people transformed into heroes and heroines by personal dedication and the power of the Word brought by the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh.

Zoom Talks by Hussein Ahdieh

The Life and Martyrdom of Vahíd, the Báb’s Best Known Follower
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Foreigner: From an Iranian village to New York City, and the lights that led the way by Hussein Ahdieh and Hillary Chapman
Part 1       Part 2

Tablet from 'Bahá'u'lláh to Khavar Sultan, wife of Mullá Muhammad Shafí

Balataram Mountains, location of the 1853 Upheaval

Shrine of Bibi Dokhtaran in Shiraz, where the Bábí women and children who survived the 1853 upheaval and march were imprisoned

Graves of the Bahá'í martrys of the 1909 upheaval
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