December 31, 2012

This is not an ordinary child, verily this is a precious and darling angel!

Dr. Baghdadi [an intimate of the Holy family who years later wrote a book about the time he spent with the family of Abdu’l-Baha] recounts how, on one of these visits [to Beirut] when Shoghi Effendi, a child of five or six years of age, accompanied his parents, the Greatest Holy Leaf and other members of the family there, he spent most of his time in Dr. Baghdadi's room, looking at the pictures in his medical books and asking questions. It seems Shoghi Effendi wanted to see something actually dissected; he was not satisfied with just pictures. This zeal for knowledge (and no doubt those large eyes, so insistent and intelligent) quite won over the young medical student who had a victim provided - a large wildcat - and proceeded to cut it up in front of Shoghi Effendi, one of his aunts and the servant who had shot it. They watched in absorbed silence. When it was over, and Dr. Baghdadi was asking himself how such a small child could have understood what it was all about, he was astonished to hear Shoghi Effendi recapitulating word for word the salient points of what he had described during his dissection. "I said to myself," Dr. Baghdadi then writes, "this is not an ordinary child, verily this is a precious and darling angel!" As one of Shoghi Effendi's subjects in 1916 was zoology, he must have recalled his first early lesson in anatomy. 
(Ruhiyyih Khanum, The Priceless Pearl)