750 muskets

It’s the season of family movies, and Christmas miracle stories. If you don’t have cable, it’s hard to find anything else. But who would want to? I love them. I don’t believe them, of course, but I believe in them. I think the world’s a better place with them, and I go soppy-eyed every time the director pulls a tear-jerker. They work for me.

I feel the same way about other miracle stories. I believe in them, even if I can’t believe them. Take the 750 muskets at the martyrdom of the Bab, for example. The way Abdu’l-Baha tells the story:

By one rope the Báb was suspended and by the other rope Aqa Muhammad-’Ali, both being firmly bound in such wise that the head of that young man was on the Báb’s breast. The surrounding housetops billowed with teeming crowds. A regiment of soldiers ranged itself in three files. The first file fired; then the second file, and then the third file discharged volleys. From the fire of these volleys a mighty smoke was produced. When the smoke cleared away they saw that young man standing and the Báb seated by the side of His amanuensis Aqa Siyyid Husayn in the very cell from the staircase of which they had suspended them. To neither one of them had the slightest injury resulted.
(Abdu’l-Baha, A Traveller’s Narrative, p. 26-7)

The way Shoghi Effendi tells it, it goes like this:

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