March 18, 2018

‘Abdu’l-Baha tells a story about an incident during His childhood

[On another day, the Master gave them a story out of His own life:]

I was a child, nine years old. In the thick of those calamities, [Baha'u'llah was confined in the Siyah-Chal] when the enemy attacked, they stoned our house and it had filled up with stones. We had nobody to help us. There was only my mother, [1] my sister, [2] and Aqa Mirza Muhammad-Quli. [3] To protect us, my mother took us away from the Shimiran Gate to the Sangilaj quarter, where in the back lanes she found a house. In that house she watched over us and forbade us ever to set foot on the street. But one day the problem of how to get food became so urgent that my mother said to me: ‘Can you go to your aunt’s house? [4] Tell her to find a few krans [5] for us, no matter how.’

Our aunt lived in the Takyih [6] of Haji Rajab-’Ali, near the house of Mirza Hasan Kajdamagh. I went there. She tried everywhere and finally managed to collect five krans, which she tied up in the corner of a handkerchief and gave me.

On my way back through the Takyih, the son of Mirza Hasan recognized me. Immediately he called out, ‘This one is a Bábí!’ and the boys ran after me. The house of Mulla Ja’far of Astarabad was not far away, and I reached it and went into the entry. The son of Mulla Ja’far saw me but he did not put me out. Neither did he rout the boys.

I stayed there till it was dark. When I left the place, the boys came after me again, shouting and throwing stones, following me until I got close to the store of Aqa Muhammad Sanduqdar. The children did not come on any farther after that. When I reached home, exhausted and terrified, I fell to the ground. My mother asked, ‘What ails you?’ I could not tell her. I simply fell down. My mother took the handkerchief with the money and put me to bed and I slept.

[Later He (‘Abdu’l-Baha) added:]

There was a time in Tihran when we had every means of comfort and luxury, and then in a single day they pillaged our house and robbed us of everything. Living became so hard for us that there came a day when my mother took a little flour and shook it into my hand instead of bread, and I ate it like that.

[Continually, He repeated the basic theme of His life, that nothing really matters except the Cause of God:]

Look at the plains, look at the hills: they are defeated armies, they are hosts that fell in heaps and were levelled with the ground; they are the dust of high pavilions, and palace and hall are the hole of owls that feed upon the dead, the roost of carrion crows. ... All gain is loss, except in the great business of serving God.
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, recorded by Mahmud Zarqani, in vol. 2 of Mahmud’s Diary, samples translated by Marzieh Gail, ‘The Baha’i World, 1954-1963)
[1] The sheltered and beautiful Navvb, then at most in her mid-twenties.
[2] Bahiyyih Khanum the Most Exalted Leaf, then seven.
3 An uncle of 'Abdu’l-Baha.
[4] A sister of Baha’u’llah.
[5] One-tenth of a Toman (Persian currency).
[6] A place where religious plays were performed.