July 31, 2011

The parrot that used to say Alláh-u-Abhá – recalled by Rafieh Mansour, an early believer who lived in the Holy Land from 1889 to 1938

Rafieh Mansour recalled that her uncle, who was caretaker of the pilgrim house in 'Akka, had taught a parrot, who had been given to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá as a gift, to say "Alláh-u-Abhá"(God is the Most Glorious). When anyone came near, the parrot would say this Bahá'í greeting. He also learned to say, "Begu, begu, begu, Yá Bahá." That means, "Say, say, say, O Bahá." Those who heard the parrot speak without seeing the bird thought they were hearing a human voice.

One day ‘Abdu'l-Bahá sent for my uncle, saying: 'Muhammad Hasan, tomorrow bring the parrot here so I can present it as a gift to the governor of 'Akka.' My uncle brought the parrot in his cage to spend the night in the home of the Master. The cage was placed on the windowsill in the hall.

‘Abdu'l-Bahá used to get up at dawn to walk and meditate and pray in the courtyard of the house, when everyone else was asleep. As He was walking nearby, the parrot said 'Begu, begu.'

This unexpected incident amused ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

The parrot said again, 'Begu, begu.'

‘Abdu'l-Bahá went closer to him and He said, 'What shall I say?'

The parrot said, 'Begu Yá Bahá!' (say O Bahá). That made ‘Abdu'l-Bahá extremely pleased.

Later that day, ‘Abdu'l-Bahá told my uncle, “Oh, Hasan, today the parrot saved himself from going to the Governor. This parrot saved his life because he told me, ‘Begu, begu!’ (Say, say) and I said ‘What shall I say?’ and he said ‘Begu Yá Bahá!’ He said it so fluently, so eloquently. Take him back for the pilgrims. I don't want to send him away.”

When the parrot died, my uncle kept his feathers and wrote in his beautiful handwriting, 'These are the feathers of the parrot that belonged to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, which the Master mentioned several times, praising the fluency of this parrot's talk.' (Adapted from Baha’i News, April 1974)