Siyah-Chal

During the days I lay in the prison of Tihran, though the galling weight of the chains and the stench-filled air allowed Me but little sleep, still in those infrequent moments of slumber I felt as if something flowed from the crown of My head over My breast, even as a mighty torrent that precipitateth itself upon the earth from the summit of a lofty mountain. Every limb of My body would, as a result, be set afire. At such moments My tongue recited what no man could bear to hear.

Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 22.

SIYAH-CHAL -- "Black Pit": the subterranean dungeon in Tihran in which Bahá’u’lláh was imprisoned August -- December 1852. Here, chained in darkness three flights of stairs underground, in the company of his fellow-Bábís and some 150 thieves and assassins, He received the first intimations of His world mission.

The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 751

Although most of the Bábís were taken from the prison, one by one, and martyred in the adjoining market square of Sabzih-Maydan, Bahá’u’lláh's life was providentially spared. After four months He was released but was ordered to leave Persia within a month.

Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, p. 58

Bahá’u’lláh spent four months in the Black Pit, during which time he contemplated the full extent of His mission. "I was but a man like others, asleep upon My couch, when lo, the breezes of the All-Glorious were wafted over Me, and taught Me the knowledge of all that hath been," He later wrote. "This thing is not from Me, but from the One Who is Almighty and All-Knowing. And he bade Me lift up My voice between earth and heaven..."

Bahá’í International Community, The Bahá’ís Magazine, 1992

Bahá’u’lláh's experience in the Black Pit set in motion a process of religious revelation which, over the next 40 years, led to the production of thousands of books, tablets and letters – which today form the core of the sacred scripture of the Bahá’í Faith. In those writings, He outlined a framework for the reconstruction of human society at all levels: spiritual, moral, economic, political, and philosophical.

Bahá’í International Community, The Bahá’ís Magazine, 1992

Because of His prominence in the defense of the Báb's cause, Bahá’u’lláh was arrested and brought, in chains and on foot, to Teheran. Protected in some measure by an impressive personal reputation and the social position of His family, as well as by protests which the Bábí pogroms had evoked from Western embassies, He was not sentenced to death, as influential figures at the royal court were urging. Instead, He was cast into the notorious Siyah-Chal, the "Black Pit", a deep, vermin-infested dungeon which had been created in one of the city's abandoned reservoirs. No charges were laid but He and some thirty companions were, without appeal, kept immured in the darkness and filth of this pit, surrounded by hardened criminals, many of them under sentence of death. Around Bahá’u’lláh's neck was clamped a heavy chain, so notorious in penal circles as to have been given its own name. When He did not quickly perish, as had been expected, an attempt was made to poison Him. The marks of the chain were to remain on His body for the rest of His life.

Bahá’í International Community, 1992 May 29, Statement on Bahá’u’lláh, p. 3