December 26, 2010

A story told by ‘Abdu’l-Baha concerning the great influence of Prophet Muhammad over Arabs

When the Muslims conquered Persia, the chief of the Zoroastrian high priests went to drink wine. According to Muslim law wine is forbidden, and he who drinks it must be punished by eighty-one strokes of the whip. Therefore, the Muslims arrested the high priest and whipped him. At that time the Arabs were considered very low and degraded by the Persians, scarcely to be accounted as human beings. As Muhammad was an Arab, the Persians looked upon Him with disdain; but when the high priest saw the evidences of a power in Muhammad which controlled these despised people, he cried out, "O thou Arabian Muhammad, what hast thou done? What hast thou done which has made thy people arrest the chief high priest of the Zoroastrians for committing something unlawful in thy religion?" By this circumstance the prejudice which caused the Zoroastrian to shun the Muslim had been overcome, for he recognized in what had happened to him the great influence Muhammad exercised over these people.
(‘Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 42)

December 9, 2010

How Tahirih recognized the Bab

One of the most courageous of all the followers of the Bab was a woman. She was among His chosen disciples. She was known as Tahirih, which means "The Pure One." The members of her family ranked high among the religious leaders of Persia. Her father was one of the most famous of all. From her earliest childhood, she was regarded by her fellow-townsmen as a prodigy. Her knowledge and gifts were so outstanding that her father often was heard to lament, "Would that she had been born a boy, for he would have shed illumination upon my household, and would have succeeded me." ['Abdu’l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 191]

She was renowned for both her intelligence and her beauty. Her brother, `Abdu'l-Vahhab said, "None of us, her brothers or her cousins dared to speak in her presence, her learning so intimidated us; and if we ventured to express some hypothesis upon a disputed point of doctrine, she demonstrated in such a clear, precise and conclusive manner that we were going astray, that we instantly withdrew confused." [A. L. M. Nicolas, Siyyid Ali-Muhammad dit la Bab, p. 273]

December 2, 2010

The immediate circumstances pertaining to Baha’u’llah’s arrest and imprisonment in Tehran and its impact on the Holy Family –- the Greatest Holy Leaf explains to a western pilgrim

He returned [following His return from abroad] to His own village. Here He rested, and while there, the news was brought of the shooting of the Shah. Immediately, Baha’u’llah was arrested and taken to prison. His family in Tehran knew nothing of this, and they were entertaining friends.

The servant rushed in, and said he had seen the Master [Baha’u’llah] being led through the street with bare head and feet, being taken to prison. The friends, realizing they risked imprisonment, left Baha’u’llah’s wife alone with her children – ages two, six, nine. A cousin urged them to spend the night with her, and she accepted, but soon realized even there she was causing anxiety, and so early in the morning, she returned to her home.

When she and Baha’u’llah were married, they were from the wealthiest families in the community, and it was said their wealth could never end. His wife, being an only child, had a marvelous trousseau, all her dresses were of the finest silk and the buttons and fastening were of rare jewels. At the time of His arrest, all of His property was confiscated as well as hers, and she was left with nothing to care for her children. She suffered most terribly from grief for her husband and because she could get no word as to His condition. For a week, she was without word, and finally through an aunt [whose husband was employed in the Russian legation in Tehran] … she was able to hear from her husband.