March 5, 2011

Journey from Baghdad to Constantinople – ‘Abdu’l-Baha describes some of the challenges

When the Blessed Perfection (Baha'u'llah) was exiled from Baghdad the large number of believers who went with him divided the work of the party among them. For example, Darvish Sedk Ali and Haji Ebrahim acted as equerries, Ustad Muhammad Ali locked after the baggage, Mirza Muhammad Goli supervised the pitching of the tents and I was, if we may here use a military term, a commissary officer and had to supply the party, including horses, etc. with food and the daily necessities.

Often, by day or by night we covered a distance of from twenty five to thirty miles. No sooner would we reach a caravanserai than from sheer fatigue everyone would lie down and go to sleep. Utter exhaustion having overtaken everybody -- they would be unable even to move.

But Mirza Mahmud and Aqa Reza rested not for a moment. After our arrival they would immediately become engaged in cooking for this party of nearly seventy-two people and this after their arduous work of guiding all day or all night the horses which carried the palanquin of the Blessed Perfection. When the meal was cooked and made ready all those who had slept would wake, eat and go to sleep again. These two men would then wash all the dishes and pack them up. By this time they would be so tired that they could have slept on even a hard boulder.

During the journey when they became utterly weary they would sleep while walking. Now and again I would see one of them take a bound and leap from one point to another. It would then become apparent that he was asleep and had dreamed that he had reached a wide creek hence the jump.