Baha'-Allah - I : Mirza `Abbas Nuri, Mirza Buzurg (d. 1255/1839), Parents and Genealology.

Mirza `Abbas Nuri, Mirza Buzurg (d. 1255/1839), Asiyih Khanum, the parents of Baha'-Allah and their genealogy and extended family.

Stephen Lambden UCMerced.

In progress 2017 - from 199os Notes now under revision and correction ...

Mirza `Abbas Nuri, Mirza Buzurg (d. 1255/1839).

PDf. Bamdad-Abbas Mirza Buzurg.pdf.


1980s unrevised Notes and draft in BSB below from 1990s.

In his God Passes By (1944) Shoghi Effendi sums up developed Baha'i matters relative to the genealology of Baha'-Allah  accepted by Baha'is as  follows:

He derived His descent, on the one hand, from Abraham (the Father of the Faithful) through his wife Keturah [see Gen 25:1], and on the other from Zoroaster, as well as from Yazdigird, the last king of the Sásáníyán dynasty. He was moreover a descendant of Jesse, and belonged, through His father, Mírzá Abbás, better known as Mírzá Buzurg--a nobleman closely associated with the ministerial circles of the Court of Fath-`Alí Sháh-- to one of the most ancient and renowned families of Mazindarán. (GPB:94)".

These lines presuppose various further titles of Baha'-Allah relating to Zoroastrianism and Judaism and their relationship to Baha'-Allah and the religion he founded. It will be convenient to further list and comment upon titles used or applied to Baha'-Allah under the headings indicative of  which religion they most likely derive and from which sacred book or books they might be found.


[1] The descent from Abraham (fl. 3rd cent. BCE)

The line of decent from Abraham is traced back through his third wife Keturah who became associated with ancient Persian in a range of Islamic and pre-Islamic Jewish sources.


[2] The descent from Jesse the father of David and the throne of David (fl. )


[3] The alleged descent from Zoroaster (c.1500 BCE?).

Stephen Lambden - under revision from notes written in the 1980s.

Zoroastrians have a profound respect for lineage. They generally expect their various messiah figures, including the ultimate messiah, Saoshyant (though conceived of a virgin according to some traditions), to be of the seed of Zoroaster. ln replying to question seven about the lineage and ancestry of Bahâ'-A'llâh in the Lawh-i haft pursish for Ustad Javan Mard a Zoroastrian from Yazd (c.late 1870s or 1880s) reference is made to a treatise on this subject written by the apostle of Bahâ'-Allâh and Bahâ'i apologist, Mirzâ 'Abu'l-Fadl Gulpâygàni {1844-1914). Though this detailed treatise on the ancestry of Baha'-Allah was lost in 130011883, there exists another brief consideration of this subject by Gulpâygâni, the Sharh-i shajara-yi jamâl-i mubâraka {"Commentary on the Blessed Genealogical Tree''), which was written in New York in 1321/1903-4 in reply to an enquiry of Khusraw Bimân (add). This latter treatise is printed in Ruhu'llah Mehrabkhâni's Rasa'il va Raqâ'im-i Abu'l-Fadâ'il (Tehran: BPT., 135/1978, pp. 41-47). Hasan Balyuzi in his Baha 'u'llâh, King of Glory records that this reply to Âqâ Khusraw Bernan, written at 'Abdu'l-Bahà's instruction, was printed in Bombay as a pamphlet (p.11 fn). For a few details on the history of Gulpaygâni 's first genealogical treatise (risala) see also Mihrabkhàni, Zindiganl-i-Mirza Abu'l-Fadl-i Gulpaygani (Hofheim-Langenhain: Bahâ'i-Verlag, 154/1988), pp.418-9 (item 15).

The consideration of Bahà-Allâh's genealogy by Gulpâygâni apparently had its origin in an attempt to interpret a few stanzas of a poem of Abi Ja'far Muhammad ibn 'Ali al-Shalmaghani (executed 3221934) who is viewed as a Shi'i extremist reckoned to have preached hulul incamation- alist and other ghuluww or heretical ideas. He had considerable influence at the 'Abbasid court in Baghdad and was the assistant and lieutenant (na'ib) of the third "gate" (bab) to the hidden lmàm, Ibn Rüh Nawbakhti (305/917-326/928) who excommunicated him and his followers in 312/924-5. Differing Bahâ'i opinions had been expressed in 19th century Tehran about the meaning of this poem. Loosely translated from the Arabic, it reads:

"O claimant [or 'seeker', 'interrogator'] (tâliban) from the Hashimite house (bayt hâshimï),
And disclaimer (jâhid an) from the house of the Chosroes (bayt kisrawï)!
Assuredly was he hidden in a non-Arab lineage (nisbat ajamï),
One Persian, of noble, agreeable, descent (fi' al-farsi al-hasab al-raqi)" 

Arabic text cited Gulpaygâni, Sharh-i  shajara .. in Mehrabkhâni, Rasa'il, 41) Fn.  Abu'l-Fadl Gulpaygani notes that some, by virtue of the reference to Hâshimite status and the use of "Persian" (Fârsi, understood to mean Shirâzi), found prophetic allusion to the Bâb in these lines. The Bâb, as a Husaynid Sayyid was a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad and Imam Husayn,  thus a Hâshimite or a descendant of Hâshim b. Abd Manaf -- the common ancestor of Muhammad, 'Ali and al-'Abbâs whom the 'Abbâsids claimed to be descended from.  The Bab was also a Persian born in Shiraz.

ln a scriptural Tablet to Abu al-FadI Gulpaygani dated 26th  Sha'bàn 1299/1882, underlining the veracity of his application of these prophetic words attributed to al-Shalmaghani, to the person of Baha'-Allâh, the founder of the Baha'i Faith wrote,

"O Abu'l-Fadl! Thou hast uttered the very truth and caused to be made manifest that which was concealed in His book (or 'his [Shalmaghàni's] writing) (cited Mihrabkhàni, Zindigani, 419).

Various Persian, Sassanian kings were named Khusro- in Greek Chosroes; Syriac, Kesro/Kosro; Arabie, Kisra; Persian, Khusraw (see M. Morony, Kisrâ. El2 5:184-5). Chosroes I son of Kavadh (Kavât), known as Anosarvan (Ar. Anushirwan; "of the lmmortal soul") and Dagdar ("the Just" Ar. 'Âdil), reigned as king of Persia from 531-579 CE. Two subsequent Sassanian kings, dominant during the late Sassanian period, were named 'Chosroes': Chosroes Il Abharvez (Ar. Kisrâ Aparwiz; Per. Khusraw Parwiz, 591-628 CE., nephew of Chosroes 1 and possibly a Christian) and Chosroes Ill (630-2). Chorsoes Il was among those rulers contemporary with the Prophet Muhammad who received a letter of proclamation from him. He is said ta have tom up this letter inviting him ta Islam and planned ta kidnap its author. Legend has it that the Prophet foretold his death.

Descent from the last Sassanisn king Yazdigird III  (632-651 CE).

Mirza Abu al-Fadl further notes, as Balyuzi summarizes it in his Bahâ'u'llah, King of Glory, that "final confirmation camefrom Hâji Mirzâ Ridâ-Quli, a half-brother of Bahâ'u'l!âh, who told Mirzé Abu al-Fadl categorically, in answer to his query, that the Nûris possessed a genealogical table tracing their line back to Yazdigird the Sasanian." (Balyuzi, BKG:11, drawing on Gulpaygàni's essay cited Rasa'il p.44f). Of probable relevance to the study of Bahà'-Allàh's genealogy are the traditions about Shàhbànüya (Shahrbânü ='Lady of the Land'), daughter of the last Sassanian King, Yazdigird Ill (632-651 CE).  She is also, for example, variously named; Ghazâla, Solâfa, Salâma, Shâhzanân (see W. Madelung, "Ali b. al-Husayn . .' Elr.1:849).

Shahr Banu is said in various Shi'i and other sources to have married the third Shï'ï lmâm, Husayn (martyred 61/680) and to have been the mother of the fourth Imam, 'Ali Zayn al-'Abidin (b. Medina c. 36/656-7- c. 94/712). ln Shi'i traditions attributed tothe Prophet Muhammad and the lmâms, the fourth Imam was reckoned the "son of the two elect [lines]" (ibn al-khiaratayn)-- descended through both the Arabs of Quraysh (Hâshimites) and the non Arabs of Persia, from Chosroes (for details see Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar2 46:4f).

Aspects of the Zoroastrian popular legends about Shahrbânü and the shrines assocîated with her have been studied by Mary Boyce and others as evident in her 'Bibi Shahrbânü and the Lady of Pars' BSOAS XXX (1976). pp. 30-44. 2. She is also, for example, variously named; Ghazâla, Solâfa, Salâma, Shâhzanân (see W. Madelung, "Ali b. al-Husayn . .' Elr. 1:849. Madelung writes about her alleged descent,

"According to reports of a legendry character she was a daughter of Yazdegerd, the last Sassanian king of Persia, captured in the Arab conquest.. This descent is cornmonly accepted by Shi'ite tradition but is not confirmed by the early sources and is rejected by some of the genealogists. According to Ebn Qotayba, his mother was said to be from Sind .. " (art. cit. 839). 

See Mary Boyce, 'Bibi Shahrbânü and the Lady of Pars' BSOAS XXX (1976). pp. 30-44.Madelung writes about her alleged descent, "According to reports of a legendry character she was a daughter of Yazdegerd, the last Sassanian king of Persia, captured in the Arab conquest.. This descent is cornmonly accepted by Shi'ite tradition but is not confirmed by the early sources and is rejected by some of the genealogists. According to Ebn Qotayba, his mother was said to be from Sind" (art. cit. 839).

Boyce recounts popular Zoroastrian and Shi'i legends associated with two different shrines relating to her (one at Yazd and another in Rayy [near Tehran]).  She also sums up a few of the contradictory Sunni and Shi'i traditions about (1927) pp. 253-77. For details see Boyce, Bibi Shahbânû, 31-3; Sayyid Ja'far Shahidi, Cherag-i roshan dar dunyâ-yi tarïkh (Tehran, 1333/1954; esp. the chapter 5 relating to Shahrbànü). Above what purports to be the grave of Shahrbânü in Rayy we read, "This is the tomb of the Mother of Believers, the most excellent of princesses, my Lady Shahrbânoe. May Allàh sanctify her secret!" {Boyce, Bibi, 38). ln the Zïyarat-namah to be recited at this shrine, the princess is called Shahrbànü daughter of Yazdigird, as well as "Shàh-Jehân" {King of the World), "Shàh-i Zanan" (King of Women) and "Jehàn-Bânû" (Lady of the World ; refer Boyce, ibid).

Boyce it should also be noted, sums up a few of the contradictory Sunni and Shi'i traditions about Shahrbànü, traditionally the mother of the fourth lmàm.  Among the traditions recorded by Boyce about the mother of the fourth Imam is that of Abü 'Abd Allâh Muhammad Ibn Sa'd (d. 845 CE author of the Tabaqat al-kabir) who "states that 'his mother was a slave-girl (umm walad) called Ghazâla, who, after Husayn, was married to his client [mawlâ] Zuyaid, to whom she bore 'Abdullâh ibn Zuyaid' [see Tabaqat, Leiden, 1904,v,156]. Ibn Qutayba (d. AD. 889) amplifies this slightly: "Ali Asghar[thefourth Imam] son of t:'usayn is the only person through whom any descendants of Husayn survive. lt is said that his mother was a Sindi woman called Sulâfa, or it is said Ghazàla, who after Husayn was taken to wife by Zubaid, the client of Husayn ibn 'Ali. She bore to hîm 'Abdullâh ibn Zubaid, who is therefore of the same mother as Ali ibn Husayn' [al..Ma'âtif, Caire, 1935, 94]." {pp.33-4).
She also refers ta the Rriiq al-Shi'a of Nawbakhtï {10th cent CE) where various names/titles of the fourth lmâm's mother are given, including her pre-captive designation, Jehânshâh and that she was the daughter of Yazdigird Ill. A late tenth century CE Tarikh-i Qum (ed. Jalàl al-Din Tihràni, Tehran 1313/1934, 195-6). An obviously unhistorical tradition is also recorded in the speaks of "Shahrbànoe daughter of Yazdigird" also referring to Salâma (or Sulaqa) who is again Jehàb shah daughter of Yazdigird (p.197). Ibn Bâbüya al-Oummï (Bâbawayh, 306/908- 381/991) in his 'Uyün akhbar al-Ridâ' records a tradition from Sahl ibn Qâsim Nosjani (d.818 CE) to the effect that Imam 'Al-Rida (the eighth Imam, d. 203/818) said to him in Khurasan: "1 and you are kinsmen" and related this to the marriage of Yazdigird lll's daughters to the Shi'i Imams Hasan and Husayn (see Tehran lithograph 1275/1858, 309). Such is a summary of a few legendary and sometimes non-historical traditions noted by Boyce. They invite detailed analysis. An obviously unhistorical tradition is also recorded in the Kilâb al-kâfi of Kulayn i (d. 939/40 CE) to the effect that lmâm 'Ali rescued Yazdigird's daughter and facilitated her marriage to his son lmâm Husayn (a/..Kafi, Tihran, 1381/1962, 1, 466).

Bahâ'u'llah appears, in certain Tablets, to deny descent from the Prophet Muhammad. ln a Tablet to Mashadi lsmâ'il Zarqani he refers to himself (as did Muhammad and the Bàb) as an "unlettered one" (al-ummi cf. Qur'ân 7:157-8) whose advent is predicted in ail the sacred
books. He states that neither his clothes nor his appearance indicate any special status: "The garb He weareth, His flowing locks, His head-dress, attest the truth of His words." These words are continued with reference to  "..Certain ones among both commoners and nobles" who have objected to the effect that he is "neither a member of the ecclesiastical order ('ulama') nor a descendant of the Prophet" (Muhammad, lit. 'one of the Sayyids', sâdâl). ln response to this Bahà'u'llàh states,

"Say: 0 ye that claim to be just! Reflect a little while, and ye shall recognize how infinitely exalted is His present state above the station ye claim He should possess. The Will of the Almighty hath decreed that out of a house wholly devoid of all that the divines, the doctors, the sages, and scholars commonly possess, His Cause should proceed and be made manifest" (GI XLIV).

 ln certain of the abovementioned sources it is indicated that Shahrbànü (daughter of Yazdigird Ill}, after the death of her husband (the third Imam), married his client (mawla) from whom a son 'Abdu'llàh was bom. As Bahâ'-Allah seems not to be descended from the Prophet
or the Shi 'i Imams, it would seem likely that further research into the traditional material - not that this îs all historical -- might attempt to trace his genealogy back through 'Abdu'llah and his rnother to the Sassanian kings, including Yazdigird Ill and Chosroes I.

The 'Alid Nüris of Mazandaran

Gulpaygàni 's researches came to be related to Sassanian genealogy and the Sh i'i rulers and notables of Tabaristân (north Iran; spanning modern Mazandaran from where Baha'u'llah's family originated). His father Mirza Buzurg was born in Takur. Abu'l-Fadl draws attention to the fact that Rida Quli Khan (1215/1800-1288/1871-2), known as "Prince of the Poets" (Amïr al-shu'âra), in his Nizhâd-nâmih ("Genealogical Treatise"} reckons that the line of the 'Alid Nüris of Mazandaran 3 culminates in the person of Chosroes 1, the "Just" (see Gulpaygân i, Sharh-i shajara.. in Mehrabkhâni, Rasa'il, 42ff).

Fn.3 Detailed research into Baha'u'llah's genealogy would include a study of the 'Alids of Tabarestan, Daylamân and Gilan on which an important article has been written by W. Madelung in Encyclopoedia lranica (ed. E. Yarshater) 1:881-886. Certain of the works listed in the bibliography may be important, e.g. H.L. Rabino de Borgamile, 'Les dynasties Alaouides du Mazandéran' in Joumal Asiatique 210 (1927) pp.253-77.