April 27, 2011

The Persian Princess and Tahirih

There was a Persian princess by the name of Shams-i-Jahan Khanum [Khanum means lady, and Shams-i-Jahan literally means the “sun of the world”). She was a granddaughter of Fath-Ali Shah, one of Qajar Kings, and a relative of the reigning Shah. She was interested in religion and had made a pilgrimage to Mecca. Because of this pilgrimage she was called Haji Khanum [Haji means a person who has gone on pilgrimage to Mecca]. She had heard about Tahirih and her beautiful poems, and as she herself occasionally wrote poetry, she longed to see Tahirih. She had heard that Tahirih was imprisoned in the house of the kalantar (mayor) of Tihran.

In a book of poetry that she later wrote, the princess described her meeting with Tahirih. She wrote that one day she left the palace with her maids under the pretense of going for a walk. They came to the garden of the kalantar and entering it, Haji Khanum gradually approached the building where Tahirih was imprisoned on its second story. When she reached the building she turned to God and said, "O God if this Cause is true, make Tahirih come forward and let me see her.”

“As soon as I had thus prayed," she writes, "the window of the top story suddenly opened and Tahirih, like a brilliant sun, looked out and called to me, ‘What dost thou want, O princess?’

April 15, 2011

Baha’u’llah’s Departure from Baghdád

Bahá’u’lláh was well aware of the Persian Consul's plans to get Him out of Baghdád. He knew that the Persian Government might decide to have all the Persian Bábís brought back into Persia, and perhaps put to death. Because of this, He arranged for the Persian believers to get Ottoman nationality, so that they would be protected by the Ottoman Government. The Ottoman Empire was a large portion of the Middle East and was ruled by the Turks. The Persian Consul was very angry when he found out that this had been done.

But the Ambassador in Constantinople kept on and on at the Grand Vizier, because Násir’d-Din Sháh was insisting that Bahá’u’lláh had to be taken away from his border. He wanted Bahá'u'lláh to be sent somewhere where He would not meet so many highly placed people. He was really afraid that if Bahá’u’lláh kept on teaching such people, the Bábí Faith would spread back into Persia, stronger than ever before. He thought that sending Bahá'u'lláh further away would stop that from happening.

Now the Ambassador in Constantinople had tried everything, but the Grand Vizier still wouldn't listen to him. At last he was so frustrated that he went into a furious sulk. He locked himself in his house for seven days, and said that he would not be friends with any of the officials he knew any more, and would not speak to any of the Sultán’s ministers. Finally the Grand Vizier, who was a very good friend of his, couldn't stand it any more, and gave in. You can see why Bahá'u'lláh later said that He found no one among the government officials of Constantinople who was grown-up enough to understand His teaching. He remarked that they were like children playing with clay.

The order was given for Bahá'u'lláh to leave Baghdád - but instead of being sent somewhere far, far away He was 'invited' to Constantinople itself. This was not what the Persian Ambassador had wanted! Now Bahá'u'lláh would be in the capital city itself, where He could have a great effect.