religious and secular leaders at the time. A group of students formed, eager to learn from him.
One of them was Siyyid Kázim-i-Rashtí. After Shaykh Ahmad's death in 1826, Siyyid Kázim continued to spread the word about the arrival day of the Qá'im, but there was increasing opposition to his message. Siyyid Kázim was not put off, and continued to spread his message.
Shortly before his death in 1843, Siyyid Kázim instructed his students to go out and search for the Qá'im, saying He was about to be revealed.
Some of Siyyid Kázim's followers, namely Mullá Husayn, his brother, and a nephew, went to the city of Shíráz on 22nd May, 1844. Mullá Husayn sent his companions to the mosque to wait for him, where he would join them for evening prayers.
While walking outside the gates of the city a few hours before sunset, a young man greeted Mullá Husayn with much affection and invited Mullá Husayn to his home to refresh himself. Mullá Husayn explained that he already had accommodation in the city and that his companions were waiting for him. The youth responded "Commit them to the care of God. He will surely protect and watch over them."
Mullá Husayn went with the man to his house, where tea was served. Mullá Husayn then wanted to leave, so that he could join his friends at the mosque for evening prayer. The young man explained that it was the will of God for Mullá Husayn to stay there so that they could pray together. The young man then questioned Mullá Husayn about the Qá'im that everyone was waiting and searching for.
Mullá Husayn explained that the Qá'im they were searching for was of pure lineage and illustrious descent, and of the seed of Fátimih. The Qá'im was between twenty and thirty years old and very knowledgeable. He was of medium height, a non-smoker with a perfect body. The young man, Siyyid Alí Muhammád, pointed out that he met all the requirements.
Mullá Husayn had prepared two tests for anyone claiming to be the Qá'im, and decided to test Siyyid Alí Muhammád in order to prove his claims.
The first test was a treatise which Mullá Husayn himself had composed, referring to the hidden teachings of Shaykh Ahmad and Siyyid Kázim. Mullá Husayn wanted to be sure that Siyyid Alí Muhammád was capable of unravelling the mysterious allusions made in that treatise. The second test was for Siyyid Alí Muhammád to reveal, without any hesitation or reflection, a commentary on the Súrih of Joseph, in a style and language entirely different from the prevailing standards.
Siyyid Alí Muhammád passed both tests with flying colours. From that day on, Siyyid Alí Muhammád refered to Himself as the Báb (the Gate) and Mullá Husayn became his first disciple.
The Báb was the Qá'im that was initially foretold by Shaykh Ahmad but he explained that he was the herald of another, even more powerful Messenger who would appear very soon after Him.
Over the next six years there was much political strife in Persia. Large numbers of the Báb's followers were put to death and the Báb himself was executed by firing squad in 1850. Mullá Husayn was killed when the army beseiged a group of Bábís at Fort Tabarsí in 1849.