October 10, 2012

An example of Baha’u’llah’s insistence on the pursuit of justice

The following two complementary accounts relate an incident that took place during Baha’u’llah’s exile from Baghdad to Constantinople in the summer of 1863. The first unpublished account is from Aqa Husayn-i-Ashchi, a youth from Kashan who served Bahá'u'lláh as a cook in His household in Adrianople and later in 'Akká and one of His devoted servants. The second account, complementing the first, is from Nabil’s unpublished narrative. They are compiled by the Hand of the Cause 'Ali-Akbar Furutan.

As our caravan was passing through a village at the foot of Mount Mardin we were joined by an Arab muleteer from Damascus. The Blessed Beauty invited him to stay with the caravan during the night, since the area was swarming with thieves, but the muleteer chose instead to sleep outside the encampment. In the night highwaymen robbed him of his mules.

Next morning the caravan had scarcely resumed its journey when the Arab rushed to Baha'u'llah's howdah [a litter, seat or covered pavilion, carried on the back of a camel, mule, horse, or elephant for travelling purposes] and, seizing the hem of His robe, implored His help: 'I want my mules back,' he cried. Baha'u'llah directed that the howdahs be lowered, and summoned the official appointed to accompany Him. 'Tell him,’ said to the Master ['Abdu'l-Baha], 'that the stolen mules must be recovered.'

The official sent for the Kad-khuda [headman] of the village, who, apprised of the situation, remarked: 'Although this man was advised to stay within the circle of tents with the rest of the travellers because the region is infested with thieves, he did not heed the warnings. Consequently, we are not to blame nor are we responsible. Some time ago an entire load of silk belonging to 'Umar Pasha, the governor of Baghdad, was stolen in this very spot. Since a regiment was unable to locate the stolen goods, what hope is there that we can find this man's mules?'

On hearing this, the Blessed Beauty stated: 'The words of 'Umar Pasha were limited in their influence and could not exceed those bounds, whereas the intention of My words is that they be carried out. My orders are not to remain unheeded.'