November 12, 2010

An exceptional example of spiritual ecstasy and joy felt by some early believers in a devotional gathering

Nabil [1] has recounted in his as yet unpublished narratives the story of a gathering held one evening in the house of Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdad, sometime before His Declaration. He considered that gathering to have been one of the most memorable of his life.

That night a wonderful feast had been arranged and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, then eighteen years of age, was acting as host. His youthful and radiant personality added distinction to the assembly. A number of believers from Baghdad and Karbila were present, among them some eminent personalities such as Haji Siyyid Javad-i-Karbila'i, [2] Shaykh Sultan [3], and Sayyah [4].

After partaking of food they began to chant the Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, and soon the atmosphere became deeply spiritual. Hearts were filled with divine love and souls were illumined by the light of the New Day; so when the poem of Az-Bágh-i-Iláhí[(From the Garden of Holiness) -- a Tablet of Baha’u’llah. For a brief explanation about it please visit Baha’i Historical Facts] was chanted, its mysteries became apparent to them, revealing thereby the approaching hour of the unveiling of Bahá'u'lláh's divine station. Every sincere soul in that company experienced ecstasy and joy, and the atmosphere became alive with excitement and rapture.

November 5, 2010

Ali-Kuli Khan becomes one of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s secretaries and begins translating His correspondence with the American Baha'is

Ali-Kuli Khan (c. 1879-1966) was also known as Nabilu'd-dawlih. He was an eminent Iranian Baha'i who served briefly as 'Abdu'l-Baha’s English-language secretary between 1899-1901. He was subsequently sent to America where he was the first to translate into English some of the most important works of Baha’u’llah, such as the Kitab-i-Iqan, the Seven Valleys and the Glad-Tidings. He also continued to translate 'Abdu'l-Baha’s correspondence with the American Baha'is. Ali-Kuli Khan was appointed Iranian charge d'affaires in Washington in 1910 and later served in various high-ranking diplomatic positions. His marriage to Boston society girl Florence Breed (1875-1950) in 1904 not only caused comments on two continents, but was praised by 'Abdu'l-Baha as the first marriage between East and West, a symbol of the unity taught by the Baha’i Faith. Their daughter, Marzieh Gail (1908-93), also became an eminent Baha'i writer and translator. Her translations from Persian and Arabic include The Seven Valleys by Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s The Secret of Divine Civilization. (Adapted from Summon up Remembrance, by Marzieh Gail, and A Concise Encyclopedia of the Baha’I Faith, by Peter Smith) Here is how his daughter Marzieh Gail composed from his memoir his first pilgrimage to Haifa, the resulting meeting with ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and the amazing way through which he became able to translate Arabic Tablets – a language he didn’t know prior to his pilgrimage.