Skip to content

Bib. Part III. Mirza Yaḥyā Nūrī (c.1831 - 1912), Azali Babism and related Sources.


Stephen Lambden UC Merced.

IN PROGRESS - Last updated  15-08-2019.


Mirza Yaḥyā Nūrī (b. Tehran, c. 1831 - d. April 29th, Famagusta, Cyprus, 1912), Ṣubḥ-i Azal (Morn of Eternity),  Azali Babism in Persian, Arabic, European and other western languages.

Mirza Yaḥyā Nūrī  also known as (Per.)  صبح ازل Ṣubḥ-i Azal (the Morn of Eternity) was the son of Mirza Buzurg Nuri and his concubine Kuchik Khanum. A Babi from about 1845 CE (he was then perhaps 14 years old) he was the half-brother of Mirza Husayn `Ali Nuri, entitled Baha'-Allah (d. Bahji near Acre, Palestine, 1892), the founder of the Baha'i religion. Claiming to be the successor to the Bab, he had many titles including Ṣubḥ-i Azal (cf. Imam `Ali in 5th responce within the Hadith Kumayl about al-haqiqa. "Reality"). Breaking with Baha'-Allah in Edirne (Adrianople) in the mid. 1860s the followers of Mirza Yahya came to be known as Azalis (`Pre-Eternal Ones', cf. his title above) or Azali Babis. They aligned with him as the alleged leader of the post-1850 followers of the Bab after his execution or martyrdom on July 9th 1850.  The numerous Persian and Arabic writings of Azal will not be detailed here. MacEoin notes in his Azali Babism art. in EIr. (see below) that "Lists of the works of Ṣobḥ-e Azal may be found in E. G. Browne, ed., Materials for the Study of the Bābī Religion, Cambridge, 1918, pp. 211-20; idem and R. A. Nicholson, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Oriental MSS Belonging to the late E. G. Browne, Cambridge, 1932, pp. 69-75". See further MacEoin :

"[Mírzá Yaḥyá] Ṣubḥ-i Azal :

  • 1. Huart, Clement. "'Notes sur trois ouvrages Babis'." Journal Asiatique (Paris) 10 (8e`me serie 1887): 133-44. Description of three works by Subh-i Azal, including his Kitab al-nur.
  • 2... Majmūʼahʼi az āthār-i Nuqtah-ʼi Ūlá va Ṣubḥ-i Azal [Compilation of the writings of the Primal Point and of Ṣubḥ-i Azal, the Morn of Eternity']
  • 3...Mustayqiẓ. [Iran]: [Privately published by the Azali Babis], n.d. A well-known polemical work written by Subh-i Azal in the 1850s, largely to refute the claims of a rival contender for the leadership of the Babi community, Mirza Asad Allah Khu'i Dayyan. The work is turgid, its chief points of interest being the extensive quotations from works of the Bab and, in particular, Dayyan, the latter not being recorded elsewhere.
  • 4... Mutammim-i Bayan. [Iran]: [Azali Community of Iran], n.d.The original Persian Bayan was left unfinished by the Bab; intended to run to 19 sections, each of 19 chapters, it ends at section 9, chapter 10. The Bab's successor, Subh-i Azal, produced this continuation as far as section 11, chapter 9. The present text is reproduced from a MS in the hand of the author." (cited from MacEoin, BBRAB).

Note also :

  • مجمل بدىع در وقاىع منىع / Mujmal-i Badīʻ dar vaqāyiʻ-i manīʻ. 26 pages. ` "A succinct account of the Bábí movement written by MÍRZA YAḤYÁ ṢUBḤ-I-EZEL' in E.G. Browne,  Persian text and trans. of Mírzá Yaḥyá Ṣubḥ-i-Ezel's "A succinct account of the Bábi movement, Persian text, English translation = Mujmal badīʻ dar waqāyiʻ-i ẓuhūr-i munīʻ  in Hamadani, The Táríkh-i-Jadíd, or New history of Mírzá ʻAlí Muhammad the Báb. Cambridge : at the University Press, 1893, Appendix III pp. 397-419 + Persian text in 26 pages (concludes the book).

ʻIzzīyah Khānum Nūrī, Shah Sultan Khānum (d. 1322/1904) / عزيه خانم نورى  An ultimately Azali Babi full sister of Mirza Rida'-Quli, eldest sister of Mirza Yahya Nuri, Subh-i Azal, and thus a member of the family of Mirza Buzurg Nuri (d. 1839) and of Mirza Husayn `Ali Nuri, Baha'u'llah.

  • Tanbīh al-nāʼimīn.  np. [Tehran] nd [between 1891 and 1904]. vii, 141 pages. Contains writings of ʻIzzīyah Khānum Nūrī; ʻAbduʼl-Bahá and Aḥmad Musharraf [Ruhi] Kirmānī. A collection of three works, comprising a letter from ʻAbbās Effendi [`Abd al-Baha'] to ʻIzzīyah Khānum, Khānum Buzurg, the Bāb's aunt, her reply, and a homily and refutation by Shaykh Aḥmad [Ruhi] of Kirmān. Included is the Lawh-i `ammah (Tablet to the Aunt) and a responce of `Abd al-Baha' `Abbas to this Azali half-sister of Baha'u'llah. See further the - copy in Harvard Univ. Library, Repository Homa Rouhi (Sarlati):
  • تنبيه النائمين : نمودى از گفت و گو‌ها و مناظرات ازليان و بهائيان / Tanbīh al-nāʼimīn : numūdī az guft va gūʹhā va munāẓarāt-i Azaliyān va Bahāʼiyān (in series Tārīkh-i siyāsī, 15.) ed. Sayyid Miqdād Nabavī Radavī. Tehran : Nashr-i Nigāh-i Muʻāṣir, 1394/ 2015. 420 pages, 100 unnumbered pages. "ʻIzzīyah Khānum Nūrī ; bā hamkārī-i Mīrzā Aḥmad Amīn al-Aṭibbāʼ Rashtī, Mīrzā Muṣṭafá Kātib, Shaykh Muhammad Mahdī Sharīf Kāshānī va Shaykh Mahdī Baḥr al-ʻUlūm Kirmānī ; bih kūshish-i Sayyid Miqdād Nabavī Radavī" (so World Cat.).

Ahmad Bahhāj (d. Haifa, 1933) and Jalal Azal (d. April 5th, 1971)  a son and a grandson of Mirza Yahya.

"Ahmad Bahhāj was the eldest of Mīrzā Yahyā's children to accompany him to Cyprus. In 1884, he moved to lstanbul where he worked in a bank. He was joined there by his wife and two daughters. At some stage, his wife and daughters became Protestant Christians in lstanbul. In about 1899, Ahmad's employment at the bank ceased for some reason and by 1912, we find him impoverished and working asa railway porter in Famagusta. His wife and daughters appear to have remained in Istanbul. Then in 1921, learning of 'Abdu'l Bahā's presence in Palestine from his nephew Jalal and remembering 'Abdu'l-Bahā's kindness to him as a young boy in Baghdad and Edirne, he came to Haifa. He appears
to have become a Bahā'i and remained in Haifa as a rather reclusive figure until his death in 1933. He is buried in the Bahā'ī cemetery in Haifa" (Momen, Cyprus Exiles, 99).

Ḥājj Sayyid Mīrzā Muhammad Hādī Dawlatābādī (d. 1909). 

He was "an influential local mojtahed and leader of the clandestine Azalī branch of Babism in Persia". Ultimately he was reckoned by some the apponted successor of Mirza Yahya there is much confusion in this respect.

Sayyid Yaḥyā Dawlatābādī, (b. Dawlatābād near Isfahan, 17th Rajab 1279/8 January 1863 - d. Tehran, 4 Ābān 1318 Sh./26 October 1939), son of the above. For details see Abbas Amanat, `DAWLATĀBĀDĪ, SAYYED YAḤYĀ in EIr. Originally Published: December 15, 1994 and last updated: November 18, 2011 :

  • Memoirs "He completed the first edition of the memoirs in 1314 Sh./1935 and revised it in 1316 Sh./1937..." (Amanat EIr.). 
  • Kongreh. Istanbul : Matbaʼah-i Shams, 1330/1912. 47 pages. Electronic reproduction. [S.l.] : HathiTrust Digital Library, 2011.
  • Ḥayāt-i Yaḥyā. Tehran : Chāpkhānah-i Chahar, 1328 / 1949 or 1950. 
  • Tārīkh-i muʿāṣir yā ḥayat-i Yaḥyā. Tehrān Kitābfurūshī-i Ibn Sīnā, 4 vols. 1328-36 / 1949-57. Numerous later printings including Kitābkhana-i Suqrāt, 1949>
  • Tārīkh-i muʿāṣir yā ḥayāt-i Yaḥyā. 3 vols., Tehran: 1336 Sh./1957.
  • Tārīkh-i muʿāṣir yā ḥayāt-i Yaḥyā. 4 vols. Tehrān:  Intišārāt-i ʻAṭṭār, Firdawsı̄, 1362 Sh./1983.
  • Ḥayāt-i Yaḥyā. Intišārāt-i ʻAṭṭār, Firdawsı̄,  2008.  (So World Cat.).

Kongreh. Istanbul : Matbaʼah-i Shams, 1330/1912. 47 pages. Electronic reproduction. [S.l.] : HathiTrust Digital Library, 2011.

Miscellenous Azali Babi and other Writers.

Shaykh Aḥmad Rūḥī Kirmānī  (b. near Kirman, Mashiz, c. 1263/1847 or 1272/1856- executed, 1314/1896). He was the son of Mullā Muhammad Jaʿfar Tahbāgh-Allāhī, Shaykh al-ʿUlamāʾ (1241/ 1826-1311/1893) who "was an eminent ʿālem from Kermān who had been an early convert to Babism" (MacEoin, EIr. Azali Babism', EIr.  III/2, pp. 179-181). See further, Hasht Behesht, Introduction, 4ff.; ʻIzzīyah Khānum Nūrī (see above) Tanbīh al-nāʼimīn; Ishraq-Khavari, Da'irat al-Ma`arif-i Baha'i  vol. 2: 45-46;  

Mīrzā ʿAbd al-Ḥusayn, Aqa Khan Kirmānī (b. Mashīz near Kirman, c. 1270/1854-5 - d. executed, 1314/1896). An Azali apologist or defender of the elevated Babi status and position of Mirza Yahya Nuri  as as a well-educated freethinker and intellectual. He became a Babi under the influence of Ḥāǰǰī Sayyed Jawād Ṭabāṭabāʾī Karbalāʾī  (d. 1299/1882) though he remained a freethinking, western influenced individual. In 1886 he met Subh-i Azal and married one of his daughters and was one of the main authors of the c. 1892 CE., anti-Baha'i Hasht Behesht ("The Eighth Paradise"). In 1300/     he went with Shaykh Ahmad Ruhi to Istanbul. See further, Browne  ADD and Bayat, ĀQĀ KHAN KERMĀNĪ (EIr., see below), etc.

  • Hasht behesht ("The Eighth Paradise"), Lihograph ed.c. 1896.
  • Hasht behesht. Tehran: XXXX, 1339 Sh./1960. 330 pages in the printed edition. Has a  biographical introduction by Muhammad Afdal-al-mulk Kirmānī. This work has several sections on the laws and other (often esoteric) teachings of the Bayan.

Shaykh Aḥmad Rūḥī and Aqa Khan Kirmani (as above) :

  • c. 1892. Hasht bihisht ("The Eighth Paradise"). Lithograph ed.
  • Hasht bihisht ("The Eighth Paradise"), Tehran: XXXX, 1339 Sh./1960. 330 pages in the printed edition. Has a  biographical introduction by Muhammad Afdal-al-mulk Kirmānī. This work contains several sections on the laws and other (often esoteric) teachings of the Bayan.

Anon (Azali authored).

  • 'A. A'in-i Bab. [Iran]: [Privately published by the Azali Babis], n.d. "A short (98 pp.) but fairly comprehensive introduction to the Babi religion, from an Azali perspective. The sections on doctrine and legislation consist mainly of quotations from works of the Bab, in many instances taken from otherwise unpublished manuscripts" (so MacEoin, BBRAB. No.16).

Dihajī, Sayyid Mahdī

  • Risala, Browne Coll. of Manuscripts, Cambridge University Library, Mss no. F.57

Miscellenous Academic and Other Writers on Azali Babism and Azali Babis.

Browne, Edward Granville (d. Cambridge, 1926).

A deeply religious thinker and academic, this renowned British orientalist and Persianist, was not an Azali Babi or Baha'i. At various points in his life, however,  he had a very sympathetic attitude towards both these streams of religious thought. He met and had close contact with Mirza Yahya and members of his family who were generaous in providing him with numerous mss. of the works of the Bab and responding to his penetrating enquiries. 

  • 1891. `Writings of the Bāb and Ṣubḥ-i-Ezel,’ in A Traveller’s Narrative Written to Illustrate the Episode of the Bāb, 2 vols., Cambridge, 1891, I, pp. 335-47.
  • Hamadānī, Ḥusayn / Ḥusain (ed. trans. Edward Granville Browne) 1893. ed. and tr., E.G. Browne, The Táríkh-i-jadíd, or New history of Mírzá ʻAli Muḥammad the Báb, by Mírzá Ḥuseyn of Hamadán. Translated from the Persian, with an introduction ... by Edward G. Browne, 1893. lii-459-26 pages. 
  • 1893. Hamadānī, Ḥusayn  (ed. trans. Edward Granville Browne). The Tārīkh-i-Jadīd, or New History of Mīrzā ʿAlī Muḥammed, the Bāb, Cambridge, 1893; repr. as The New History. Reprint 1975. The new history of Mírzá ʻAlí Muhammed, the Báb = Táríkh-i-jadíd : being an account of the origins and growth of the Babi religion and its founder. Reprint: Amsterdam: Philo Press, 1975. This is a reprint of the 1893 ed. published by Cambridge University Press.  ii, 459 pages, 6 unnumbered leaves of plates.  It is translated from the Persian and edited with explanatory notes and appendixes containing Ṣubḥ-i-Ezel's narrative, Persian and English, Mírzá Jání's history and other documents ... [by] Edward G. Browne ; with a biographical note by Michael Browne. Contains the following Appendices : Abridgement of omitted digressions. II. Hájí Mírzá Jání's history. III. Translation of Ṣubḥ-i-Ezel's narrative. IV. Texts and translations of original documents. "Persian text of Ṣubḥ-i-Ezel's narrative": 26 p. at end.
  • 1910. Nuqṭat al-kāf (ed), Browne, Kitab-i Nuqṭatu'l-Káf.. Compiled by Hājjī Mīrzā Jānī of Kāshān. London and Leiden. 1910.
  • ed.  Ḥājī Mīrzā Jānī Kashani + (attrib.) Ketāb-i nuqṭat al-kāf, ed. E. G. Browne, Kitāb-i Nuqṭatu’l-Kāf , Leyden and London, 1910. See further Bib. I and II (Kashani).
  • 1918. Materials for the Study of the Bábí Religion. Cambridge: CUP., 1918 [Rep.1961] see esp. `Further Notes on Bābī Literature,’ in Materials pp. 198-208. Also, `Further notes on Bábí, Azalí and Baháʼi literature, oriental and occidental, printed, lithographed and manuscript.--Five unpublished contemporary documents, Persían and English, relating to the Báb's examination at Tabriz in 1848.--An Austrian officer's account of the cruelties practised on the Bábís who suffered in the great persecution of 1852.--Two unpublished contemporary state papers bearing on the removal of the Bábís from Baghdád to Turkey in Europe, dated May 10, 1862.--Persecutions of Bábís in 1898-1891 at Isfahań and Yazd.--Account of the death and burial of Mírzá Yaḥyá Subḥ-i Azal on April 20, 1912.--List of the descendants of Mírzá Buzurg of Núr, the father both of Baháʼuʼlláh and of Subḥ-i-Azai.--Thirty heretical doctrines ascribed to the Bábís in the Iḥqáquʼl-Ḥaqq of Áqá Muḥammad Taqi of Hamadán.--Selected poems by Qurratuʼl-ʻAyn and Nabíl." (W-Cat.)

Ādamīyat, Farīdūn (b. Tehran 1920- 2008), فريدون آدميت  An Iranian anti-Jewish and anti-Babi-Baha'i social and Diplomatic Historian. See

ʻAlī Aṣghar Ḥaqdār,  فريدون آدميت و تاريخ مدرنيته در عصر مشروطيت  (= Andīshahʹhā-yi Īrānī, 1.) / Farīdūn Ādamīyat va tārīkh-i mudirnīyatah dar ʻaṣr-i mashrūṭīyat. Tehran : Kavīr, 1382/2003. 296 pages. See further World Cat. Identities:

امير كبير و ايران   Persian. "23 editions published between 1944 and 2010"  (World Cat. Id.). About Mīrzā Taqī Khān Amīr Kabīr. See ffurther  H. Algar, “AMĪR KABĪR, MĪRZĀ TAQĪ KHAN,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/9, pp. 959-963, available online at (accessed on 30 December 2012).

 Amīr Kabīr va Irān. 3 volumes in 1. Tehran: Chāp-i Pīrūz, 1955.

Amīr Kabīr va Irān. 4th ed. Tehran: Intishārāt-i Khwārazmī, 1354 Sh./1975. 791 pages.

Amīr Kabīr va Īrān. : Intishārāt-i Khvārazmī, 1977.

ىادنامۀ فرىدون آدمىت / ʻAlī Dihbāshī, ed. Yādnāmah-ʼi Farīdūn Ādamīyat. Tehran: Shirkat-i Nashr-i Naqd-i Afkār, 1390 / 2011 or 2012. 1081 pages.

أنديشه‌هاى ميرزا آقا خان كرماني  = Andīshahʾhā-yi Mīrzā Āqā Khān Kirmānī

  • أنديشه‌هاى ميرزا آقا خان كرماني  = Andīshahʾhā-yi Mīrzā Āqā Khān Kirmānī. Kitābkhānah-i Tehran: Ṭuhūrī,  1346 Sh./1967. xx. 292 pages.
  • Andīshahʹhā-yi Mīrzā Āqā Khān Kirmānī.  Tehran: Intishārāt-i Payām, 1357 /1978. 311 pages. 
  • `Si maktūb-i Mīrzā Fatḥ-ʿAlī, si maktūb u ṣad khaṭāba-yi Mīrzā Āqā Khan,” Yaḡmā 19, 1345 Sh./1966, pp. 362-67, 425-28.

Bayat-Philip, Mangol 

  • 1971. `Mirza Aqa Khan Kirmani: nineteenth century Persian revolutionary thinker. A dissertation submitted ... for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in History ... 1971. University of California, Los Angeles.
  • 1974. “Mīrzā Āqā Khān Kirmānī: a Nineteenth-Century Persian Nationalist,” Middle Eastern Studies 10, 1974, pp. 36-59.
  • 1974. “The Concepts of Religion and Government in the `Thought of Mīrzā Āqā Khān Kirmānī, a Nineteenth-Century Persian Revolutionary,” IJMES 5, 1974, pp. 381-400.
  • 1980. `Aqa Kham Kirmani : A Nineteenth Century Persian Nationalist' Ch. IV in Towards a Modern Iran: Studies in Thought, Politics and Society, edited by Elie Kedourie, Sylvia G. Haim. Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. 1980;  Rep, London and New York: Routledge, 1980, pp. 64-95.
  • 1983. Mysticism and Dissent: Socioreligious Thought in Qajar Iran. Syracuse, New York, 1983. 2nd ed.
  • “ĀQĀ KHAN KERMĀNĪ,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, II/2, pp. 175-177, available online at (accessed on 30 December 2012). 
  • 1991. Iran’s First Revolution: Shi‘ism and the Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1909. New York.  Oxford University Press, 1991.
  • 2019. "Kirmānī, Āqā Khān"  in EI3 Consulted online on t5 August 2019.

Seidel, Roman

  •  2019  `The Reception of European Philosophy in Qajar Iran'  in Reza Pourjavady ed. Philosophy in Qajar Iran, (Leiden: Brill ),  332-335.

Denis M. MacEoin,

  • 1983. D. `From Babism to Baha’ism,'  Religion 13, 1983, pp. 219-55.
  • 1988. `Azali Babism'  EIr. III/2 (1988), 179-181.
  • “AZALI BABISM,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, III/2, pp. 179-181, available online at (accessed on 30 December 2012).
  • "Şubh-i Azal", in J.R. Hinnells (ed.) Who's Who of Religions, MacMillan, London, 1991.
  • "Baha'i and Bābī Schisms', EIr 

Stephen Lambden

  •   A paper delivered at the Newcaste upon Tyne Baha'i Studies Seminar 19XX. Add details.

Moojan Momen

  • 1991. "The Cyprus Exiles," Bahá’í Studies Bulletin 5.3 (1991): 84–113
  • 2009. `Yahyá, Mírzá (c. 1831–1912)'  BEP. Opens as follows, "Younger half-brother of Bahá’u’lláh; follower of the Báb, who conferred on him a high station and leading role in the Bábí community; later, opponent of Bahá’u’lláh; known as Azal (Eternity or Pre-eternity) and Subh-i-Azal (Morning of Eternity), leading to his followers becoming known as Azalís; described by Shoghi Effendi as "the arch-breaker of the Covenant of the Báb." (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, 1974, 165). See :


Ṣāʼimī, Muḥammad Mahdī  / Muhammad Muḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʼī  -- Criticism and interpretation.

  • گوهر محیط : مجموعه مقالات مرحوم محیط ‌طباطبائی در نقد کتابشناسی ازلیان و بهائیان /  Gawhar-i Muḥīṭ [The Muhit's Gems] : majmūʻah-i maqālāt-i marḥūm-i Mūḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʼī dar naqd-i kitābshināsī-i Azaliyān va Bahāʼiyān. Tehran: Intishārāt-i Gūy, 1392/ 2013. 373 pages. Majmūʻah-i maqālāt-i marḥūm-i Mūḥīṭ Ṭabāṭabāʼī dar naqd-i kitābshināsī-i Azaliyān va Bahāʼiyān

Aḥmad Khāzan خزان، احمد، / Ṭabāṭabāʼī, Muhammad Muḥīṭ.

  • نظرى به نقطه الکاف = Naẓarī bih Nuqṭat al-kāf. np.nd. [1970s?]. 15 pages.

Western Azali Babis

Stenstrand, August J

See Browne, Materials ...

  • `A call of attention to the Behaists or Babists of America' np. nd. c. 1907  and Hardpress Publishing, 2012.
  • `The fourth call of attention to the Behaists or Babists of America ; The fifth call of attention to the Behaists or Babists of America'. Chicago : August J. Stenstrand, 1917
  • `Key to the heaven of the Beyan, or, A third call of attention to the Behaists or Babists of America' Chicago: [August J. Stenstrand], January 6th, 1911+1913.  34 pages.
  • `The most and the strongest evidences of the Baha'is assassinating the Azal'is at Acca are from the Baha'is themselves'. NP. Apparently printed in c. 1926. 3 typewritten leaves signed by the author (so World. Cat.).