Four and Twenty Elders

The following are the "four and twenty elders"(1) mentioned in Revelation within the King James Version of the Holy Bible ( Revelation 4:4, 4:10, 5:8, 5:14, 11.16, 19.4 ) whom bow before and praise The Glory of God, Baha'u'llah ( November 12, 1817 - May 29, 1892; born Mirza Husayn - 'Ali Nuri ).

Mullá Husayn Bushrú’í (2)
Mírzá Muhammad Hasan Bushrú’í (3)
Mírzá Muhammad Báqir Bushrú’í (4)
Mullá ‘Alí Bastamí (5)
Mullá Khudá-Bakhsh Qúchání (6)
Mullá Hasan Bajistání (7)
Siyyid Husayn Yazdí (8)
Mírzá Muhammad Rawdih-Khán Yazdí (9)
Sa’íd Hindí (10)
Mullá Mahmúd Khú’í (11)
Mullá Jalíl Urúmí (12)
Mullá Ahmad Abdál Marághi’í (13)
Mullá Báqir Tabrízí (14)
Mullá Yúsuf Ardibílí (15)
Mírzá Muhammad-‘Alí Qazvíní (16)
Mírzá Hádí Qazvíní (17)
Táhirih (18)
Haji Mulla Muhammad-Aliy-i-Barfurushi (19)
Siyyid ‘Alí Muhammad Shírází (20)
Haji Mirza Muhammad-Taqi (21)
Mírzá Mihdí Nuri (22)
‘Abbás Effendí (23)
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání (24)
Bahíyyih Khánum (25)


1."Regarding the four and twenty elders: The Master in a Tablet, stated that they are the Báb, the 18 Letters of the Living and five others who would be known in the future. So far we do not know who these five other are."
(From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, July 22, 1934: Bahá'í News, No. 171, November 1944, p. 2)
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 507 - 508 ) (Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, p. 22)

2. Mullá Husayn Bushrú’í (c. 1814–49): the first to declare his belief in the Báb (in Shiraz on 23 May 1844); given the title Bábu’l-Báb (Gate of the Gate) by the Báb; original leader of a group of Bábís attacked near Babul (Barfurush) in northern Iran in October 1848 and later besieged at the nearby shrine of Shaykh Tabarsí until May 1849; killed there on 2 February 1849.

3. Mírzá Muhammad Hasan Bushrú’í (d. 1849): younger brother of Mullá Husayn; accompanied Mullá Husayn on his travels; badly wounded in the same battle at Shaykh Tabarsí in which Mullá Husayn was killed; according to some accounts, then served as leader of the Bábí forces; subsequently killed at Shaykh Tabarsí.

4. Mírzá Muhammad Báqir Bushrú’í (d. 1849): nephew of Mullá Husayn; according to some accounts, led the forces at Shaykh Tabarsí after Mullá Husayn was killed and Mírzá Muhammad Hasan was wounded; killed at Shaykh Tabarsí.

5. Mullá ‘Alí Bastamí (d. 1846): the second to recognize the Báb; directed by Him to announce His advent in the Shiite shrine cities of Iraq; arrested, tried in Baghdad in January 1845, and sentenced to work for life in the imperial naval docks; died in an Istanbul prison, becoming the first Bábí martyr.

6. Mullá Khudá-Bakhsh Qúchání (later named Mullá ‘Alí Rází): returned to Karbala from Shiraz; did not actively participate in the Bábí community.

7. Mullá Hasan Bajistání: active at first in propagating the Bábí Cause; later retired to Karbala, considering himself unworthy of the station conferred by the Báb on the Letters of the Living; visited Bahá’u’lláh in Baghdad (between 1853 and 1863).

8. Siyyid Husayn Yazdí (d. 1852): accompanied the Báb as His secretary during His imprisonment in Mákú and Chihríq; known as Kátib (the Amanuensis); executed during an outbreak of persecutions in 1852 that followed an unsuccessful attempt on the life of the shah by a small group of Bábís seeking revenge for the execution of the Báb (See Tehran.The Bábí Period).

9. Mírzá Muhammad Rawdih-Khán Yazdí (or Dhákir-i-Masá’ib): returned from Shiraz to Yazd; because of persecution of the Bábís, chose not to reveal his beliefs but continued to teach the Bábí Faith covertly to the end of his life.

10. Sa’íd Hindí: went to India and converted one or two persons there before contact with him ceased.

11. Mullá Mahmúd Khú’í (d. 1849): killed at Shaykh Tabarsí.

12. Mullá Jalíl Urúmí (d. 1849): taught the Bábí Faith especially in Azerbaijan and Qazvin; killed at Shaykh Tabarsí.

13. Mullá Ahmad Abdál Marághi’í (d. 1849): present at the Conference of Badasht, a gathering of the Báb’s followers held in 1848; killed at Shaykh Tabarsí.

14. Mullá Báqir Tabrízí (d. c. 1881): assisted Táhirih (listed below) in Karbala, then traveled to Iran with her; present at Badasht; visited the Báb in Azerbaijan and acted as intermediary for the Báb’s correspondence and other items that He wished delivered to Bahá’u’lláh; became a follower of Bahá’u’lláh after visiting Him in Baghdad; traveled twice to Acre (See: Bahá’í World Center); with Bahá’u’lláh’s permission, spent his last years in Istanbul; the last surviving Letter of the Living.

15. Mullá Yúsuf Ardibílí (d. 1849): noted for his learning and eloquence; played an active and prominent role among the Bábís; killed at Shaykh Tabarsí.

16. Mírzá Muhammad-‘Alí Qazvíní (d. 1849): son of Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Vahháb, a mujtahid (preeminent religious scholar) of Qazvin; cousin and brother-in-law of Táhirih, closely associated with her in Karbala; entrusted by her with a sealed letter and a verbal message to be delivered to the Promised One whom they both sought; present at Badasht; killed at Shaykh Tabarsí.

17. Mírzá Hádí Qazvíní: brother of Mírzá Muhammad-‘Alí Qazvíní; distanced himself from the Bábís and played no important role; recipient of several letters from Bahá’u’lláh; became a follower of Mírzá Yahyá (Azal); some lists replace him with Mullá Muhammad Miyámayí, who actively propagated the new religion in Mayámey (Miyámay), a small town and district near Shahrud in northeastern Iran.

18. Táhirih (c. 1814–52) (the Pure One), title given to Fátimih (Fatima) Baraghání, or Umm-Salamih, also known by the titles Qurratu’l-‘Ayn (Solace of the Eyes) and Zarrín-Táj (Crown of Gold): a prominent Shaykhí and an accomplished poet; the only woman among the Letters of the Living; having been accorded the distinction of becoming a Letter of the Living on the basis of a message she sent via her brother-in-law, the only Letter not to have met the Báb personally; a participant at the Conference of Badasht, appearing there without her veil to signal a new era; executed in September 1852 during the persecutions that decimated the Bábí ranks after the unsuccessful attempt to assassinate the shah (See: Tehran.The Bábí Period).

19. Quddús (c. 1822–49) (the Most Holy), title given to Mullá Muhammad-‘Alí Bárfurúshí: the last Letter of the Living; accompanied the Báb on His pilgrimage to Mecca (1844–45); present at Badasht and subsequently arrested and detained in Sárí for more than three months; having been released through the efforts of Mullá Husayn, joined the Bábí forces at Shaykh Tabarsí in late 1848; played a leading role in the Bábí defense; taken prisoner on 10 May 1849, following the final siege at Shaykh Tabarsí, tortured, and then killed on 16 May 1849 in Barfurush (Babul), the town of his birth; ranked by Bahá’u’lláh as having been second only to the Báb, and described by Shoghi Effendi as the first in rank among the Letters of the Living.
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20. Siyyid ‘Alí Muhammad Shírází - the Bab - glossary by Romane Takkenberg -

The Báb, whose birth name was Siyyid 'Ali Muhammad Shirazi (October 20, 1819 – July 9, 1850)
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21. Surrounded thus by enemies within and without, 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the Will and Testament now appointed His grandson Shoghi Effendi, who was then a young child, as the Guardian of the Cause. At this same time He also wrote a Tablet of great significance to Haji Mirza Muhammad-Taqi, the Vakilu'd-Dawlih, the cousin of the Báb. He was a distinguished believer who was designated by 'Abdu'l-Bahá as one of the '...four and twenty elders which sat before God on their seats...' mentioned in the Revelation of St John the Divine (Chapter 11). In this Tablet He intimates to the Vakilu'd-Dawlih the great dangers which have surrounded His person, and urges him to make arrangements, when and if it becomes necessary, for the election of the Universal House of Justice. To bring this about, He directs him to gather the Afnan and the Hands of the Cause in one place and establish this institution in accordance with the provisions of His Will and Testament.(Adib Taherzadeh, The Covenant of Baha'u'llah, p. 241)

22. Mírzá Mihdí Nuri - The Purest Branch; twenty-two year old son of Bahá’u’lláh who died as a sacrifice in ‘Akká, June 23, 1870. Praying, he fell from the roof of the Prison, and supplicated Bahá’u’lláh to accept his life as a ransom for those who were prevented from attaining the presence of their Beloved.(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p.188)

In a highly significant prayer, revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in memory of His son -- a prayer that exalts his death to the rank of those great acts of atonement associated with Abraham's intended sacrifice of His son, with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the martyrdom of the Imam Husayn -- we read the following: "I have, O my Lord, offered up that which Thou hast given Me, that Thy servants may be quickened, and all that dwell on earth be united." And, likewise, these prophetic words, addressed to His martyred son: "Thou art the Trust of God and His Treasure in this Land. Erelong will God reveal through thee that which He hath desired."

After he had been washed in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, he "that was created of the light of Baha," to whose "meekness" the Supreme Pen had testified, and of the "mysteries" of whose ascension that same Pen had made mention, was borne forth, escorted by the fortress guards, and laid to rest, beyond the city walls, in a spot adjacent to the shrine of Nabi Salih, from whence, seventy years later, his remains, simultaneously with those of his illustrious mother, were to be translated to the slopes of Mt. Carmel, in the precincts of the grave of his sister, and under the shadow of the Báb's holy sepulcher. (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, pp. 188 - 189)

23. 'Abdu’l-Bahá -
"The Will of the divine Testator is this: It is incumbent upon the Aghsán, the Afnán and My Kindred to turn, one and all, their faces towards the Most Mighty Branch. Consider that which We have revealed in Our Most Holy Book: ‘When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root.’ The object of this sacred verse is none other except the Most Mighty Branch [‘Abdu’l-Bahá]. Thus have We graciously revealed unto you Our potent Will, and I am verily the Gracious, the All-Powerful. Verily God hath ordained the station of the Greater Branch [Muhammad ‘Alí] to be beneath that of the Most Great Branch [‘Abdu’l-Bahá]. He is in truth the Ordainer, the All-Wise. We have chosen ‘the Greater’ after ‘the Most Great’, as decreed by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Informed." (Baha'u'llah, KITÁB-I-‘AHD - Book of the Covenant, p.221-222)

24. Shoghi Effendi - The Guardian

"O my loving friends! After the passing away of this wronged one, it is incumbent upon the Aghsán (Branches), the Afnán (Twigs) of the Sacred Lote-Tree, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause of God and the loved ones of the Abhá Beauty to turn unto Shoghi Effendi—the youthful branch branched from the two hallowed and sacred Lote-Trees and the fruit grown from the union of the two offshoots of the Tree of Holiness,—as he is the sign of God, the chosen branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, he unto whom all the Aghsán, the Afnán, the Hands of the Cause of God and His loved ones must turn." ( Will and Testament of 'Abdu'll-Baha )

25. Bahíyyih Khánum (1846 – July 15, 1932) was the only daughter of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, and Ásíyih Khánum. She was born in 1846 with the given name Fatimih Sultan, and was entitled "Varaqiy-i-'Ulyá" or "Greatest Holy Leaf". Brought up through the trying times her family lived through, in adulthood she served the interests of the religion and was even occasionally trusted with running the affairs of the religion and is seen within the Bahá'í Faith as one of the greatest women to have lived.
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This servant, after that grievous event and great calamity, the ascension of His Holiness 'Abdu'l-Bahá to the Abha Kingdom, has been so stricken with grief and pain and so entangled in the troubles (created) by the enemies of the Cause of God, that I consider that my presence here, at such a time and in such an atmosphere, is not in accordance with the fulfilment of my important and sacred duties.

For this reason, unable to do otherwise, I have left for a time the affairs of the Cause both at home and abroad, under the supervision of the Holy Family and the headship of the Greatest Holy Leaf ( Bahiyyih, sister of 'Abdu'l-Bahá ) until, by the Grace of God, having gained health, strength, self-confidence and spiritual energy, and having taken into my hands, in accordance with my aim and desire, entirely and regularly the work of service I shall attain to my utmost spiritual hope and aspiration.

The servant of His Threshold,
Haifa, Palestine.
(Shoghi Effendi, Baha'i Administration, p. 25)

Compiled by Zoharo DeTafalla - 174 BE