North Cyprus  

Subh i-Ezel
  (A leader of the Bab'i sect (later the Bahá'i Faith), who lived and died in North Cyprus.)
  Below is the account of Sir Harry Luke of Subh i-Ezel, in Cyprus
  ...In the course of my travels in Turkey before the First World War, I met more than one Vali who had spent his youth in Famagusta in the house of an exiled parent. When Great Britain occupied Cyprus in 1878, several State prisoners were found within its walls.

The most interesting of these was the saintly Subh i-Ezel, "The Dawn of Eternity," successor of the Persian reformer, Mirza Ali Mohammed, who founded the Bab'i sect and was put to death by the Shah in 1850. The Bab'is, expelled from Persia after their founder's execution, took refuge in Baghdad and were then transferred by the Turkish Government to Adrianople [Edirne], the Shah considering that in Baghdad they were too close to the Persian frontier.

While in Adrianople [Edirne], the sect was rent by schism. Subh i-Ezel's more assertive half-brother Baha'ullah now claimed the leadership, maintaining that Mirza Ali, the Bab, had been no more than his own forerunner. While some continued to acknowledge the Bab and adhered to Subh i-Ezel, others followed Baha'ullah and called themselves Bahá'is.

Meanwhile both sections were again deported by the Turks, the Ezelis to Famagusta, Baha'ullah and his followers to Acre. When after the British occupation Subh i-Ezel was free to leave Cyprus, he elected to remain in Famagusta, where he lived on a small subsidy from the Cyprus Government until his death in 1912 at the age of eighty-two. Several of his sons were still living in Famagusta when I went there as Commissioner in 1918, eking out a modest existence on the
pension it was my duty to have paid them at the end of every month.

From Acre the Bahá'i faith spread to Europe and the United States and counts its adherents by millions; Baha'ullah's son and successor ended a successful career as Sir Abdul Baha, K.B.E., thus joining the late Agha Khan as a divinity with the honour of a British Knighthood. The Ezelis, after dwindling to a handful, have now dissapeared completely except for Subh i-Ezel's descendents.
  • Sir Harry Luke, 'Cyprus'.

  People & Life