A Calm Storm

The blog of Sholeh Samadani Munion

Reading the Dawnbreakers

I have been reading The Dawnbreakers (Nabil’s Narrative) since the fall. It is a book about the early days of the Baha’i Faith. I am currently on page 560 out of 668. My goal is to finish by the end of the Fast.

“One day, seeing that her companions were being suddenly enveloped by the forces of the enemy, Zaynab ran in distress to Hujjat and, flinging herself at his feet, implored him, with tearful eyes, to allow her to rush forth to their aid. ‘My life, I feel, is nearing its end,’ she added. ‘I may myself fall beneath the sword of the assailant. Forgive, I entreat you, my trespasses, and intercede for me with my Master, for whose sake I yearn to lay down my life.’

Hujjat was too much overcome with emotion to reply. Encouraged by his silence, which she interpreted to mean that he consented to grant her appeal, she leaped out of the gate and, raising seven times the cry ‘Ya Sáhibu’z-Zamán!’ rushed to stay the hand that had already slain a number of her companions.”

-The Dawn-Breakers, p. 551


10 thoughts on “Reading the Dawnbreakers

  1. Isn’t it the best bedside companion (Dawn Breakers)? I think it’s time for me to read it again too…you’ve inspired the itch in me to do the same… every time there’s something new to discover!

    Zaynab, together with Hujjat and of course Mulla Husayn, Quddus and Tahirih among other Dawn-Breakers, was one of my childhood heroines. The animation Mulan reminds me of her and her heroism.

    What’s hard to believe is that we are their spiritual descendants, as unworthy as we are… but that’s what our Beloved Guardian tells us American youth… such a great standard to live up to and carry forward!

  2. It sits right next to my bed on the table, so I read it right before I sleep. They are so inspiring.

    You know, as a kid (and even now) I wanted to know more about the people no one really talked about. I knew all about Mulla Husayn & Quddus, but I don’t know the other Letters of the Living.

  3. this makes me feel so far behind, not having grown up in the Faith. still, i like to believe there’s a reason for everything.

    I’ve begun reading the Dawn-Breakers twice, and unfortunately lost momentum around page 50 both times. 🙁

    I loved taking Ruhi Book 4 a few months ago, because it covered some of these stories (in less depth of course), despite the fact that it was an intensive and we had to skip quite a few sections!

    All things in time, I guess.

    I think perhaps I am one of those people who should read “Release the Sun” as a warm-up.

  4. Jay, the best thing to do is to not pay much attention to all the names…there are SO many names you come across and one tends to get lost in those names very easily.

    Read it through once and get the general jist of it down, then try it with the names!!!

    Ack (not quack….ack…) …time for me to catch up on reading too.

  5. thanks Sam,

    i’ve heard that advice before- it makes sense to a point, but how am i supposed to follow the plot if i can’t remember who’s who?

    i think i just added “Release the Sun” to my reading list (i know i don’t have time for the Dawn Breakers right now)

    (Sholeh, hope you don’t mind the cross-talk on your blog)

  6. Sholeh, what a wonderful pledge you have made to yourself, and what a wonderful service to post some paragraphs of it here for us!

    Little by little, day by day, we too can all read and be inspired by that book, a book which is to us Baha’is, much like the book “The Acts of the Apostles” of the New Testament is to our Christian brothers and sisters!

  7. William Sears did a version of the Dawn Breakers for kids. It’s a fantastic plot summary and is available in audio form. Even though it’s targeted at children I recommend it highly as an introduction to the text itself. It’s a great primer.

  8. Brother Jay, please do not feel left behind… growing up in the Faith has nothing to do with the quality of your heart, which is all that matters in God’s sight; the hearts of men are what He has reserved for Himself, and the heart of a brand new Baha’i can be many times purer and more acceptable in the sight of God than that of one who has been a Baha’i all his/her life. As a matter of fact, I believe you are at an advantage having had the privilege of finding Baha’u’llah on your own…we who have grown up in the Faith envy you! You are the first in your family to recognize the Sun of Truth, and future and past generations in your family will thank you for having done so…

    The Dawn-Breakers, from personal experience, I have found is best read in little bits and pieces, like a very rich cake that is too sweet to eat all at once. That’s just me… for all those spiritual sweet-teeth out there it may be a book to be read in a matter of hours, days or weeks. It’s taken me years to assimilate what I have thus far learned from this priceless text, and I’ve still a long way to go… the important thing is that what you read, no matter how little, gets imprinted in your heart and mind and lifts you up to greater heights.

    If reading one chapter or a small passage from this book inflames your heart with the love of God, fans those flames and moves you into action, you have already achieved more than many historians and theologians who have read this book in its entirety and remained incredulous, impartial or unmoved by its stories.

    If I had to choose only one chapter to read from Nabil’s Narrative, it would be “The Mazindaran Upheaval”. Although there are so many other exciting chapters to read, all of them very moving and important, this is the one that whetted my spiritual apetite and made me want to read more… for others the same is true of other chapters such as “The Zanjan Upheaval”. Briefly put, it’s not the quantity, but the quality that matters…

    With brotherly Baha’i love,

    -Jamal William

  9. wow, i can’t leave a long comment due to time constraints but thanks for that, Brother Jamal!
    your kindness and sincerity are much appreciated.

  10. I was looking for a used “Dawnbreakers” to give to a friend. That is when I ran across your site.
    All things come in time. Everything and everyone is in perfect harmony, according to God’s plan.
    I too had many failures in reading the Dawnbreakers. One hint some Friend gave me; read the pattern not the particulars. Let the words flow and be taken by the current.
    Also, and this will date me, Shoghi Effendi gave wise council, when one is in spiritual turmoil, read The Dawnbreakers (The youth in particular). Good luck to all.
    In Service.

Comments are closed.

Back to top