Baha’u’llah’s Family


By Edwin

Below is the Detail of the Family Members of Baha’u’llah. Interesting to note that many members of Bahaullah’s family were Ex-Communicated by Abdul-Baha and Shoghi Effendi.


Mirza Husayn Ali Commonly called “Baha” or “Baha’u’llah” was the founder and prophet of the Bahá’í Faith. He was born in 1817 to Khadíjih Khánum and MírzáBuzurg of Nur (in the province of Mazandaran), a Persian man, and went on to be a follower of Islam than follower in the Bábí movement/Faith, and then established the Bahá’í Faith in 1863.

He married:

  1. Asiya
  2. BiBi Fatima
  3. Gawhar


  1. Asiya surnamed Nawwaba (Highness)

Asiya is stated to have been surnamed the mother of the Universe. This is denied by the followers of Mirza Muhammad Ali and dismissed as devoid of historical foundation.

To his first wife (Asiya) he gave the title Nawwaba, because she was the daughter of Nawwab of Tehran (Avareh, Al‐Kawakib‐al‐Durriyya by Awara, vol. 2, p. 4, Materials, p. 62).

Ásíyih was “Bahá’u’llá h”’s first and best‐known wife. She was a daughter of a nobleman, Mirza Isma’il‐i‐Vazir. Her date of birth is not known. They married sometime between 24 September and 22 October, 1835 in Tehran and she had seven of “Bahá’u’lláh”’s children, of whom only three made to adulthood. She was given the title Navváb by which she is best known within Bahá’í circles. She died in 1886 in `Akká.

She bore him:

  1. Abbas
  2. Bahiyya or Sultan
  3. Mírzá Mihdí

Navváb bore at least three other children, but due to their early deaths little is known about them

  • Sádiq who died aged 3‐4
  • Alí Muhammad who died in Mázandarán at the age of 7
  • Alí Muhammad who was born and died in Baghdad at the age of 2
  1. Abbas

Born in 1844 and died 1921 He was the oldest child of Ásíyih and Bahá’u’ll á h. He was variously referred to by Bahá’u’lláh as “Mystery of God”, “The Master”, “Perfect Exemplar” and “the Greatest Branch”. “Abdu’l‐Bahá” went on to be the Centre of the Covenant of the Bahá’í Faith after the death of His father.

During this time, he bore attacks from his half‐brother Muhammad `Alí, who was not given a leadership role or authority by “Bahá’u’lláh”. Muhammad `Alí claimed that “Abdu’l‐Bahá” was taking on too much authority; Bahá’ís refute this claim by citing “Bahá’u’lláh”’s Lawh‐i‐Ghusn (Tablet of the Branch) (National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States (ed.) (1943-1976). Bahá’í World Faith: Selected Wri tings of Báha’u’lláh and Abdu’l‐Bahá, pp. 204‐207), Kitáb‐i‐Ahd (The Book of the Covenant) (Bahá’u’lláh [1873‐92] (1994). Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed After the Kitáb‐i‐Aqdas, pp. 219‐223), and the Kitáb‐i‐Aqdas (The Most Holy Book) (Bahá’u’lláh [1873] (1992). The Kitáb‐i‐Aqdas: The Most Holy Book, para. 121) as clear appointments of “Abdu’l‐Bahá” as his sole successor and interpreter of his writings. The struggle led to increasingly deteriorating prison conditions until “Abdu’l‐Bahá” was released after the Turkish Revolution.

During Bahá’u’lláh’s lifetime, he referred to his eldest son, Abbás, by terms such as “Sirru’lláh” (Mystery of God), or “Sarkár‐i‐Áqá” (the Master). After the passing of “Bahá’u’lláh”, he chose the title “Abdu’l‐Bahá” (Servant of Bahá).

  1. Bahiyya or Sultan surnamed the Supreme Leaf (Waraqa‐i‐Ulya)

She died a spinster.

Born in 1846 she was called Bahíyyih Khánum and entitled the Greatest holy Leaf. She was particularly dear to her father and is seen within the Bahá’í Faith as one of the greatest women to have lived:

“Verily, we have elevated thee to the rank of one of the most distinguished among thy sex, and granted thee, in My court, a station such as none other woman hath surpassed.” (Baha’u’llah, quoted in The Bahá’í World, vol. 4, p.171)

She stood by and remained faithful to the Centers of the Covenant over years of infighting within the “Bahá’u’lláh”’s family that led to the expelling of many of them. Shoghi Effendi in particular felt her support during difficult times such as the passing of “Abdu’l‐Bahá”, and in the years afterwards when she was entrusted with the Faith when he was absent from the Bahá’í World Center in Haifa.

She died on 15 July 1932 was buried in the Bahá’í gardens below the Bahá’í Arc on Mount Carmel not far from her two brothers and mother. The shock to the administration meant that religious festivals were suspended for nine months.

  1. Mírzá Mihdí

Mírzá Mihdí in 1868

Born in 1848 and entitled the Purest Branch, Mírzá Mihdí died on 23 June 1870. He was chanting Qasidiy‐i‐Varqa’iyyih (a poem written by “Bahá’u’lláh” in Kurdistan) (Bahá’u’lláh [1873] (1992). The Kitáb‐i‐Aqdas: The Most Holy Book, para. 121) when he fell through a skylight in the prison city of `Akká while pacing back and forth in prayer and meditation. He was 22 at the time.

The death is significant as Bahá’ís believe that “Bahá’u’lláh” offered him the chance of being cured, however he chose to use his life as a sacrifice so that the prison gates would open and the pilgrims would be able to visit “Bahá’u’lláh” in prison. It reflected one of the toughest times for them, but restrictions on them did lift in the years to come with them eventually being allowed to live a short distance outside the prison city.

Mírzá Mihdí was eventually buried alongside his mother in the gardens below the Bahá’í Arc on Mount Carmel in Haifa near his brother and sister.


  1. BiBi Fatima surnamed the Supreme Cradle (Mahd‐i‐Ulya)

Fatima surnamed the Supreme Cradle (Mahd‐i‐Ulya) born in 1828 and generally known as Mahd‐i‐’Ulya, Fatimih was one of “Bahá’u’lláh”’s first cousins, and later become his second wife. They married in 1849 in Tehran and she had six of Bahá’u’lláh’s children, of whom only four survived to adulthood. She was said to have harbored great enmity towards “Abdu’l‐Bahá”. She died in 1904, BiBi Fatima and her four children were excommunicated by “Abbas Effendi”. To his second wife (BiBi Fatima) he gave the title ‘The Supreme Cradle’ [a title reserved for the Queen‐Mother in Iran, T.A p. 361] (al‐Kawakib, ibid, p.8; Materials, p.63)

She bore him:

  1. Muhammad Ali
  2. Samadiyya
  3. Ziyaullah
  4. Badiullah

BiBi Fatima (Mahd‐i‐’Ulya) bore at least two other children:

  • `Alí Muhammad who died at the age of 2 in Baghdad
  • Sádhajiyya Khánim who was born in Baghdad and died at the age of 2 in


  1. Muhammad Ali

Born in Baghdad in approximately 1852, his father called him the “Greater Branch”. When “Bahá’u’lláh” declared “Abdu’l‐Bahá” his successor, he set that Muhammad `Alí was next in rank after him. (Bahá’u’lláh [1873‐92] (1994). Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed After the Kitáb‐i‐Aqdas, p. 221). When “Abdu’l‐Bahá” died, his Will went into great detail about how Muhammad `Alí had been unfaithful to the Covenant, labelling him a Covenant‐breaker (`Abdu’l‐Bahá [1901‐08] (1992). The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l‐Bahá, p. 5), and appointing Shoghi Effendi his successor instead.

Muhammad `Alí is often described as the “Arch‐Breaker of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant” (Shoghi Effendi (1944). God Passes By, p. 263 & p.317). He died in 1937.

  1. Samadiyya, (married 37)

She was born at Baghdad. Married Majdu’d‐Din (son of “Bahá’u’lláh”’s faithful brother Aqay‐i‐Kalim also known as Mirzá Musa), who was one of “Abdu’l‐Bahá”’s greatest critics. Both were eventually declared Covenant‐breakers. She died at age 49 in 1904/5 and her husband died at over one‐hundred years of age in 1955.

  1. Ziyaullah

Relatively little is known about Díyá’u’lláh (Ziyaullah), so it is difficult to piece together an accurate account of his life, but we do know:

  • Born 15 August 1864 in Edirne (modern day Adrianople)
  • Married Thurayya
  • He swayed between the two sides in his brothers’ argument, and died before taking part in an act against “Abdu’l‐Bahá”, but has still been labelled a Covenant‐breaker
  • He died in 30 October 1898 (without issue) and was buried in the room next to where “Bahá’u’lláh” was buried
  • His body was moved by relatives to a building covering the grave of his brother Muhammad `Alí
  • In 1965 the Universal House of Justice removed his body from the vicinity of the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh as an act of purification. (Bahá’u’lláh [1873‐92] (1994). Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed After the Kitáb‐i‐Aqdas, p. 221)
  1. Badiullah


  1. Gawhar

Gawhar was “Bahá’u’lláh”’s third wife. They are said to have married in Baghdad

sometime before he declared his mission. When “Bahá’u’lláh” left Baghdad in

1863 she and her daughter stayed and lived with her brother Mirza Mihdiy‐i‐

Kashani. Later, on her way to join “Bahá’u’lláh” and the family she is reported to

have been taken captive along with other believers, and for some years she was

among the Bahá’í refugees in Mosul. She later went to Akká at “Bahá’u’lláh”’s

instruction. (Letter from Universal House of Justice: 1998, Apr 06, Memorandum re Wives of Bahá’u’lláh)

Gawhar may have been a maid of the first wife of “Bahá’u’lláh” when he married

her. (Juan Cole. A Brief Biography of Baha’u’llah)

Both mother and daughter were declared Covenant‐breakers by Mirza Abbas Effendi after the death of “Bahá’u’lláh”. Gawhar died during the ministry of “Abdu’l‐Bahá”, thus between 1892 and 1921.

She bore him:

  1. Furughiyya

Relatively little is known about Furughiyyih so it is difficult to write a documented

account. What is known is:

  • Until her mother moved to Akká, she was raised by her in the area around Mosul
  • She married Siyyid Ali (the son of the Báb’s brother‐in‐law) on 17 May 1886 and bore him two sons
  • She, her husband and her children (in particular her eldest Nayyir), all rebelled against “Abdu’l‐Bahá”’s authority as Centre of the Covenant, and became Covenant‐breakers
  • According to Shoghi Effendi she died of cancer (date unknown)
  1. Abbas Married Munira, who bore him:
  2. Ziyaiyya
  3. Tuba
  4. Ruha
  5. Munawwar


  1. Hadi Afnan married Ziyaiyya (9) who bore him:
  2. Shoghi
  3. Ruh‐Angiz (married 25)
  4. Mihr‐Angiz (married 28)
  5. Husayn
  6. Riyadh

13 to 15 were surnamed Rabbani. Mirza Hadi Afnan and their children (14‐17) were excommunicated by Shoghi Effendi (13), on whom the title of Effendi was conferred by Mirza Abbas Effendi.


  1. Muhsin Afnan married Tuba (10), who bore him:
  2. Ruhi (married 23)
  3. Suhayl
  4. Thuraiyya (married 27)

Muhsin Afnan, Tuba and their children were excommunicated by Shoghi Effendi.


  1. Jalal Shahid married Ruha (11) who bore him:
  2. Munir
  3. Hasan
  4. Zahra (married 18)

Jalal Shahid, Ruha and their children were excommunicated by Shoghi Effendi.


  1. Ahmad Yazdi married Munawwar (12).

No further detail found.

Ahmad Yazdi and Munawwar were excommunicated by Shoghi Effendi.


  1. Sayyid Ali Afnan married Furughiyya (8) who bore him:
  2. Husayn
  3. Nayyir (married 14)
  4. Hasan (married 15)
  5. Fawzi (married 20)

Sayyid Ali Afnan, and Furughiyya were excommunicated by Abbas Effendi. Their children were excommunicated by Shoghi Effendi and Husayn posthumously.


  1. Muhammad Ali (4) married

i)Masuma, who bore him:

  1. Shuaullah
  2. Aminullah
  3. ii) Hizariyya who bore him:
  4. Musa (married 35)

Mirza Muhammad Ali, his wives and children were excommunicated by Abbas Effendi.


  1. Majd‐al‐Din Musa (38) married Samadiyya (5) who bore him:
  2. Maryam
  3. Zar‐Azngiz

Majd‐al‐Din Musa, Samadiyya and their children were excommunicated by

Abbas Effendi.


  1. Ziyaullah (6) married Thuraiyya Samandar

No further detail found.

Ziyaullah and his wife were excommunicated by Abbas Effendi


  1. Badiullah married Aliya, who bore him:
  2. Sazitch
  3. Salah
  4. Ghamar (married 30)
  5. Iffat
  6. Ismat (married Jalal Azal)

Badiullah, Aliya and their children were excommunicated by Abbas Effendi. Baha’s full brother Musa surnamed Kalim (Interlocutor) because he talked with god, “Baha”.

His children:

  1. Majd‐al Din (married 5)
  2. Jamil
  3. Jalal / Jaleh
  4. Hizaiyya (married 4)


Here, in a table is illustrated all the relationship of Bahaullah’s family.



1.One of “Bahá’u’lláh”’s titles is Sadratu’l‐Muntahá, which translates from Arabic

as the tree beyond which there is no passing. In this connection, “Bahá’u’lláh”

entitled his descendants as follows:

His male descendants were given the title of Aghsán (Arabic for “Branches”) which in singular form is “Ghusn”. In particular, three of his sons were given specific “branch” titles

  • `Abdu’l‐Bahá (given name, Abbás): Ghuṣn‐i‐A`ẓam (Arabic) “The Greatest Branch”
  • Mírzá Muhammad `Alí: Ghusn‐i‐Akbar, (Arabic) “The Greater Branch” (Note1)
  • Mírzá Mihdí: Ghusn‐i‐Áthár, (Arabic) “The Purest Branch”

His daughters were given the title of Afnán (translated from Arabic as “Leaves”). This title should not be confused with the Afnán title given by “Bahá’u’lláh” to the maternal relatives of the “Báb”, which is translated as “twigs”, and was adopted by their descendants as a surname. Thus “Bahá’u’lláh”’s eldest daughter, Bahíyyih (given name, Fatimih), was given the title of the Greatest Holy Leaf.

2.Ghusn‐i‐A‘ẓam and Ghusn‐i‐Akbar can both be translated as “the great branch, “The greater branch” or “the greatest branch”. A‘ẓam carries a higher status in Arabic, so Bahá’í authors and others translate `Abdu’l‐Bahá’s title as “Most Great” and Muhammad `Alí’s title as “Greater” (Taherzadeh, 2000, p. 256).

Some authors have reversed the English translations (Maulana, 1933, p.56). However the designations of Ghusn‐i‐A‘ẓam and Ghusn‐i‐Akbar are clear. (Browne, 1918, p. 61, & p. 85)




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