June 25, 2013

"I am only a drop from the vast ocean of Baha'u'llah's school"

Notable among those who had attained the station of true knowledge was Mirza Abu'l-Fadl, the great Baha'i scholar and one of the Apostles of Baha'u'llah. He is renowned for his vast knowledge, not only within the Baha'i community but throughout the East. He was an acknowledged authority on many subjects including history and divine philosophy and was an outstanding master of Arabic and Persian literature. Once in academic circles in Egypt he was referred to as 'God of the pen, a pillar of history and the comer-stone of knowledge and virtue.'

Dr. Habib Mu'ayyad, who knew him personally, has written a great deal in his memoirs concerning the greatness of this man. Here is one passage:

Once people asked him [Mirza Abu'l-Fadl] how he had acquired this vast erudition and how he had become the recipient of this God-given knowledge. He became so displeased with his questioners that he angrily remarked 'Who is Abu'l-Fadl! What is Abu'l-Fadl! I am only a drop from the vast ocean of Baha'u'llah's school. If you also, enter the same school, you will become the master of Abu'l-Fadl. If you don't believe me go to Gulpaygan[his home town], see my relatives and then you will understand.'

The following story gives us a glimpse of his greatness:

In the early years of the twentieth century, 'Abdu'l-Baha sent Mirza Abu'l-Fadl to the United States of America to teach and help the believers deepen in the Faith. After his return, he and a number of American pilgrims were seated in the presence of ' Abdu'l-Baha in ‘Akka. The pilgrims began to praise Mirza Abu'l-Fadl for the help he had given them, saying that he had taught many souls, defended the Cause most ably against its adversaries, and had helped to build a strong and dedicated Baha'i community in America. As they continued to pour lavish praise upon him, Mirza Abu'l-Fadl became increasingly depressed and dejected, until he burst into tears and wept loudly. The believers were surprised and could not understand this, even thinking that they had not praised him enough!

Then 'Abdu'l-Baha explained that by praising him they had bitterly hurt him, for he considered himself as utter nothingness in the Cause and believed with absolute sincerity that he was not worthy of any mention or praise.

Mirza Abu'l-Fadl has truly set an example for Baha'is to follow, in that throughout his Baha'i life he never used the word 'I' to ascribe merit to himself. 
(Adib Taherzadeh, ‘The Revelation of Baha’u’llah’, vol. 2)