Browne’s List of descendants of Mīrzā ʿAbbās Nūrī

Mīrzā Yaḥyā Nūrī (known as Ṣobḥ-e Azal, 1831–1912), with three of his sons. [1]
Mīrzā Yaḥyā Nūrī (known as Ṣobḥ-e Azal, 1831–1912), with three of his sons. [1]

One of the Western scholars to pioneer the study of the Bahāʾī faith was the noted Orientalist Edward Granville Browne (1862–1926), who met personally many of the central figures of the religious movement, including Bahāʾ-Ollāh (also Baháʾuʾlláh, born Mīrzā Ḥusayn-ʿAlī Nūrī, 1817–1892), the prophet-founder of the faith. Browne’s book, Materials for the study of the Bábí religion (1918), represents a valuable sourcebook for the early history of the religion, containing several primary sources in English translation. The ninth chapter of this book, ‘List of the descendants of Mírzá Buzurg of Núr, the Father both of Baháʾuʾlláh and of Ṣubḥ-i-Azal’, reproduces a list compiled in June 1912 by Mīrzā Ebrāhīm Khān, a grandson of Mīrzā ʿAbbās Nūrī (known as Bozorg-e Vazīr, d. 1839), the father of Bahāʾ-Ollāh.

This list provides an early account of the genealogy of the Bahāʾī holy family and this chapter from Browne’s book is reproduced below in full, using the same transliteration and style as the original text (pp. 317-322). (Click here to view the pages from Browne’s book. The entire book can also be viewed online at the Internet Archive.)

Table of contents

1. List of the descendants of Mírzá Buzurg of Núr, the Father both of Baháʾuʾlláh and of Ṣubḥ-i-Azal

[page 319]

This list was sent to me in June, 1912, by the already-mentioned Azalí scribe of Iṣfahán, resident in Ṭihrán, with whom I succeeded in establishing relations, and who supplied me with numerous precious documents. The original is written, not very distinctly, by a certain Mírzá Ibráhím Khán, the son of Fáṭima Khánim, the niece of Mírzá Buzurg’s daughter (the half-sister of both Baháʾuʾlláh and Ṣubḥ-i-Azal) Sháh Sulṭán Khánim, commonly known as Ḥájji (or Ḥájjiya) Khánim-i-Buzurg. It is accompanied by a more legible transcript by the aforesaid scribe.

Mírzá Buzurg seems to have had six wives (unnamed in the list) who bore him children, and who are here distinguished by Roman numbers.

  1. (1) Mírzá Yaḥyá Ṣubḥ-i-Azal.
  2. (2) Mírzá Ḥusayn ʿAlí Baháʾuʾlláh; (3) Mírzá Músá Kalimuʾlláh1, who followed Bahá; (4) an unnamed daughter.
  3. (5) Mírzá Muḥammad Ḥasan (Azalí).
  4. (6) Mírzá-qulí; (7) an unnamed daughter (both Baháʾís).

[page 320]

  1. (8) Ḥájji Mírzá Riẓá-qulí, known as Ḥakím (the Philosopher), d. A.H. 1311 (=A.D. 1893–4), aet. 90; (9) Sháh Sulṭán Khánim, commonly called Ḥájji Khánim-i-Buzurg, d. A.H. 1322 (=A.D. 1904–5), aet. 84. She wrote in 1310/1892–3 a refutation of ʿAbduʾl-Bahá (ʿAbbás Efendí) known as Risála-i-ʿAmma (“the Aunt’s Epistle”)2; (10) Mírzá Muḥammad Taqí, known as Paríshán, d. A.H. 1292 (=A.D. 1875–6), aet. 45: (11) Mírzá Ibráhim, aet. 30: (12) Fátima Khánim, still living in A.D. 1912, aet. 70. All these five were Azalís.
  2. (13) Ḥusayniyya (Azalí).

In 1912 five of Fáṭima Khánim’s children, three daughters (Fakhriyya, Ḥamída and Zamzam) and two sons (Muḥammad Khán and Ibráhím Khán), all Azalís, were still living.

1.1 Descendants of Mírzá Ḥusayn ʿAlí Baháʾuʾlláh

Baháʾuʾlláh had two wives, each of whom bore him six children.

In 1251/1835, when 18 years of age, he married Nawwáb, who bore him:

  1. Ṣádiq, who died at the age of 3 or 4.
  2. ʿAbbás, now known as ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, who was born in 1257/1841. He had four daughters, two of whom were married to Mírzá Hádí and Mírzá Muḥsin respectively.

[page 321]

  1. Bahiyya Khánim, b. 1260/1844 (unmarried).
  2. ʿAlí Muḥammad, d. aged 7 in Mázandarán.
  3. Mahdí, who died at ʿAkká 1287/1870–1.
  4. ʿAlí Muḥammad, b. and d. at Baghdád, aged 2.

In 1266/1849 he married his cousin Mahd-i-ʿUlyá, who bore him:

  1. Muḥammad ʿAlí in 1270/1853, the rival claimant to ʿAbbás. He has three sons, Shuʿáʿuʾlláh, Amínuʾlláh and Músá.
  2. Ṣamadiyya Khánim, b. at Baghdád, d. aged 49 in 1322/1904–5. She was married to her cousin Majduʾd-Dín (son of Mírzá Músá) and had two daughters.
  3. ʿAlí Muḥammad, d. at Baghdád, aged 2.
  4. Sádhajiyya Khánim3, b. at Baghdád, d. aged 2 at Constantinople.
  5. Ẓiyáʾuʾlláh, b. at Adrianople 1282/1865, d. at Ḥayfá, aged 34, 1316/1898. He was married, but died without issue.
  6. Badíʿuʾlláh, b. at Adrianople 1285/1868.

1.2 Descendants of Mírzá Yaḥyá Ṣubḥ-i-Azal

Concerning those of Ṣubḥ-i-Azal’s family who came with him to Cyprus and resided or were born there full particulars, abstracted from official documents preserved in the island, were published by me in Vol. ii of my Traveller’s Narrative, pp. 376–386. They included two wives, Fáṭima and Ruqayya; nine sons, of whom the two eldest, Núruʾlláh

[page 322]
and Hádí, seem to have resided in Persia and only to have visited their father occasionally, while a third, Aḥmad, left Cyprus for Constantinople (probably with his wife Fáṭima and his four-year old daughter ʿÁdila) in 1884; and five daughters. Of the sons whom I met in Cyprus the eldest and most intelligent was ʿAbduʾl-ʿAlí4. The next, Riẓwán ʿAlí, who was for some time in the service of the late C. D. Cobham, Esq., Commissioner of Larnaca, turned Christian and took the name of “Constantine the Persian.” He died recently. Most of the Azalí MSS. in the British Museum were transcribed by him.


  1. The only one of Mírzá Músá’s sons with whom I was acquainted was Majduʾd-Dín, but he had three other sons named ʿAlí Riẓá, Jamíl and Kamál. []
  2. See p. 227 supra. []
  3. I have been informed that Baháʾuʾlláh had another daughter named Fárúqiyya, who married Sayyid ʿAlí Afnán and bore him two sons. []
  4. See p. 314, n. 1 supra. []

Bibliography and further reading

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Image credits

  1. Mīrzā Yaḥyā Nūrī (known as Ṣobḥ-e Azal, 1831–1912), with three of his sons. Source: Edward Granville Browne, Materials for the study of the Bábí religion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1918), 322a.

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