May 14, 2015

An example of how ‘Abdu’l-Baha treated an unfriendly Christian missionary in ‘Akka

While in Edinburgh ‘Abdu’l-Baha is reported to have mentioned the following account to a group of Baha’is:

‘Abdu’l-Baha spoke to us about Miss Wardlaw Ramsey, a Scottish Christian missionary in Akka. She was a most zealous missionary; and though not friendly towards the Cause, the Master showed her all manner of kindness because she was very faithful to her Christ.

‘Abdu’l-Baha would tell her: "Miss Ramsey! Do you know how much I love you? Look in your heart and see how much you hate me; to that extent I love you!" In response, she would try to turn her back upon Him.

While holding the Bible in her hand, she used to go from house to house and read passages from it from morning till evening. For a long time she used to go to ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s House and read passages from the Bible to the members of the Household. They would listen to her most attentively every time. Finally she thought that she had converted them. One day while she was reading a passage, one of the members of the family asked her about the meaning of the verse she had just read. Unable to provide an explanation, they told her that this was a prophecy about the appearance of Baha’u’llah and asked her if she could see it in that light. She became very upset and left the house.

May 10, 2015

Mulla Husayn is led to Shiraz in his quest for the Promised One

When Siyyid Kazim died in Karbila, Iraq, on December 31, 1843, his enemies became emboldened and renewed their hurtful activities to further discredit his teachings and ridicule those who followed them. For a time, fear and anxiety filled the hearts of Siyyid Kazim’s faithful disciples as they found themselves leaderless and unsure as to what course of action to take in such a gloomy setting. This condition however was drastically improved with the return of Mulla Husayn on January 22, 1844, from a highly successful mission to Iran that his teacher Siyyid Kazim had entrusted him with. Mulla Husayn was a man whose great learning and strength of character were acknowledged even by his enemies. He had devoted himself to study from early childhood and his progress in theology and jurisprudence had won him no little consideration.

Mulla Husayn cheered and strengthened the disconsolate disciples of his beloved chief, reminded them of his unfailing promise, and pleaded for unrelaxing vigilance and unremitting effort in their search for the concealed Beloved. Living in the close to the house that Siyyid Kazim had occupied, for three days he received visits from a considerable number of mourners who hastened to convey to him, as the leading representative of Siyyid Kazim’s disciples, their distress and sorrow at the passing of their leader.

Mulla Husayn afterwards summoned a group of his most distinguished and trusted fellow-disciples and enquired about the expressed wishes and the last exhortations of their departed leader. They told him that Siyyid Kazim had told them emphatically many times, during Mulla Husayn’s absence, to leave their homes, scatter far and wide, purge their hearts from every idle desire, and dedicate themselves to the quest of Him to whose advent he had so often alluded. Furthermore, they told Mulla Husayn that their teacher had told them, “that the Object of our quest was now revealed. The veils that intervened between you and Him are such as only you can remove by your devoted search. Nothing short of prayerful endeavour, of purity of motive, of singleness of mind, will enable you to tear them asunder. Has not God revealed in His Book: ‘Whoso maketh efforts for Us, in Our ways will We guide them’?” [Qura’n 29:69]

May 3, 2015

Catching a glimpse of the majesty of ‘Abdu’l-Baha

While on pilgrimage in 1906, Florence Khan, the wife of Ali-Kuli Khan [1] related the following heart-warming and incredible incident:

One evening, after sunset, Khan [Ali-Kuli Khan] came in great enthusiasm and excitement to our room. ‘Do you remember,’ he asked, ‘that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said He would answer all the letters we brought to Him from America before we left?’ ‘Yes, I do.’ ‘Then come quickly. It is too wonderful! The Master is pacing to and fro, in His sitting room- I cannot see the secretary—and He is replying to those letters, as if he had known the inmost secret of the writers’ hearts, from the cradle! Yet He has never met nor seen one of them. You can see Him from the corridor beyond the little room, each time He passes the open doorway!’ So, Rahím being peacefully asleep, I returned with Khan, to his post, outside the doorway which led to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s long room with its many windows looking over the Bay of ‘Akká to the Mediterranean and beyond.

I heard the dear Master’s beautiful voice, and then saw Him, as He strode by the doorway of His lighted room. We were in the dark, looking through the small darkened antechamber. I recalled how, never, at the daily luncheon table, and never at the late evening dinner, and never at any time, had I satisfied my longing to gaze more fully upon the Master’s beautiful, noble, and spiritual face. I used to glance admiringly at the snowy, scarf-enfolded headdress, and at the beautiful, silver-white hair falling softly to the shoulders; and at the lofty arch of His forehead, at the expression of His eyes, indescribable in human language; now they seemed blue-and now brown- and again partly of each colour, or hazel—but always illumined, loving and understanding; sometimes raised in holy reverence, in silent prayer, sometimes gently smiling-but always kingly and supreme. . . Then, I could never get my fill, so to speak, of the Divine perfection of spirituality—a gentleness-a holy patience—no sign whatsoever in lines or expression of the lower traits of human nature, only a Divine perfectness. It was astounding. I had never seen a face like it. Selfless. The stamp of suffering upon it; alas for humanity, which crucifies God’s messengers!