Purported photograph of Aḥmad

There is a photo, often shared on social media, purporting to show Aḥmad. It is a black and white photo of an old man with a black hat and a white beard sitting cross-legged on the ground, his hands resting in front of him. Oftentimes the photo is accompanied by a caption which reads “Bahá’u’lláh revealed Tablet of Aḥmad for Ahmad Yazdi shown here”.

However, this would appear to be incorrect.

In 2015 an individual wrote to the Bahá’í World Centre asking about the authenticity of this photo, and received the following response:

17 June 2015

Transmitted by email: …

Mr. …

Dear Bahá’í Friend,

Your email letter of 1 February 2015, addressed to the Universal House of Justice, has been received at the Bahá’í World Centre and forwarded to our Office for reply. You enclose a purported photograph of Mírzá Aḥmad Yazdí, the recipient of the Tablet of Aḥmad, and enquire as to its authenticity. The following was provided on a previous occasion in response to a query about the same photograph:

Currently, the World Centre is not in possession of any photographic image of Mírzá Aḥmad Yazdí that has been authenticated. Therefore, the image you have provided cannot be verified. (From a letter dated 27 October 2014 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)

With loving Bahá’í greetings,

Office of Correspondence

Moreover, it can be reasonably deduced that the man in the photograph cannot be Mírzá Aḥmad Yazdí. Aḥmad died in 1902 at a very advanced age (possibly a hundred years old or more) Adib Taherzadeh says that Aḥmad died in 1902 at what was apparently a very advanced age (possibly a hundred years old or more),1According to Adib Taherzadeh and the hat worn by the man in the photograph, which looks like a bowler hat, was not at all fashionable for men in Persia to wear at the time. The táj, kuláh, and skullcap were the standard choices2See http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/clothing-x for more.

While Aḥmad traveled throughout Persia, to Iraq, and even to Bombay, it does not seem that he ever went to the West, where that kind of hat was more common. Reza Pahlavi did introduce a Western-style “Pahlavi hat” to Persia in the late 1920s, which he replaced with the fedora some years later, but neither of those hats resembles the one shown in the photograph in question, not to mention that they were introduced long after Aḥmad had passed away.

  • 1
    According to Adib Taherzadeh
  • 2
    See http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/clothing-x for more.