October 26, 2014

Two examples of Baha’u’llah being fully aware of one’s thoughts and feelings

Haji Muhammad-Tahir-i-Malmiri, who was a historian, a teacher of wide repute and the father of Adib Taherzadeh, attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh in 'Akká. He writes in his memoirs:

Whenever I came into the presence of the Blessed Beauty, if there were anything I wanted to ask, I would say it by the way of the heart, and He would invariably answer me. This is because, in His presence, the tongue was powerless to utter one word. I always sat in His presence spellbound, oblivious of my own self. One of the questions I wanted to ask concerned the station of the Holy Imams. [1] I wanted to know whether they were equal or, as I thought, some of them were exalted above others. For about six months I wanted to ask this question, but every time I attained His presence I forgot to think of it in my heart.

One day, as I was going to the Mansion to attain His presence, I kept on continuously reminding myself about this question so that I might remember to communicate it through the heart to Bahá'u'lláh. Even as I was climbing the steps of the Mansion I was thinking of it. Suddenly I heard the voice of Bahá'u'lláh greeting me saying 'Marhaba' (Welcome). I looked up and saw Him standing at the top of the stairs. I forgot everything! He went to His room, invited me in, and told me to be seated. I sat by the door. He then paced up and down and revealed a Tablet [2] in my name. The Tablet was in Persian and halfway through it he said, 'The Imams all came from God, spoke of God and all returned to Him.' [3] This answered my question and I realized that their station was equal. [4]

In another instance, Haji Muhammad-Tahir writes:

In my heart I often begged the Blessed Beauty to enable me to lay down my life as a martyr in His path. Every time that I turned to Him in my heart with this plea, he would smile at me and reveal to me the signs of His pleasure and bounties ... until one day when these thoughts entered my mind, he turned to me and said, 'You must live to serve the Cause...'[4]
(Adib Taherzadeh, ‘The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, vol. 3’ - 'Akka, The Early Years - 1868-77)

[1] 'Ali, the son-in-law of Muhammad, was according to Bahá'í belief the legitimate successor of Muhammad, and the first Imam. Ten of his descendants succeeded him and are known as the holy Imams. The Qá'im is believed by Shí'ah Islam to be the return of the twelfth Imam.
[2] This Tablet was not recorded and therefore no copy exists.
[3] These are not the exact words of Bahá'u'lláh.
[4] Unpublished memoirs.

October 19, 2014

An example of the commanding power of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was about twenty-four years old, the most terrible crisis which Bahá'u'lláh and His family ever had to meet, developed in Adrianople, when once again they were on the eve of banishment. A banishment far more cruel than the three that had preceded it, for now this uniquely united family was to be torn asunder, Baha'u'llah sent to a distant city, a secret destination, His wife and children to another secret destination; forever parted, and forever lost, one to the other.

'Abdu’l-Bahá sought out the officials. Again and again He went to them. What He said has not been recorded--only that "He pleaded", "He persisted", and that the officials "seemed unable to put the measure into execution."

While this measure was pending, news of it reached the believers of Adrianople and they rushed in a body to the house of Baha'u'llah, frantic at the thought of separation from Him. In such a state of agitation and despair one old man seized a knife and crying, "If I must be separated from my Lord, I will go now and join my God," cut his throat.

A scene of wild confusion followed, during which a cordon of police surrounded the frenzied crowd and attempted brutally to control it.

It was then that 'Abdu’l-Bahá suddenly appeared in their midst. A lightning flash of power and a superhuman force was felt by all as they heard His "impassioned and vehement words", denouncing the cruelty of the police, demanding the presence of the governor.

In telling the story ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s sister, Bahiyyih Khánum, told Juliet Thompson: "We had never before seen my brother angry."

So swift was the effect of this anger that the governor was at once sent for. He hurried to the scene and, witnessing it, said: "We cannot separate these people. It is impossible."

Thus it was that about seventy devotees were allowed to accompany their Divine Beloved, Baha’u’llah, to ‘Akka. 
(Adapted from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Center of the Covenant’, by Juliet Thompson)

October 1, 2014

Hand of the Cause Mr. Faizi’s first exposure to the Baha’i Faith as a child

Leaving the city of Qum, Faizi’s Muslim family settled well in Tehran. Shortly after they were joined by Faizi's newly married brother and his wife. Because their father was worried about his young son getting lost in the big, busy city, Faizi was left to studying on his own at home.  When his brother became aware of this situation, he was concerned that he had not been registered in any school and persuaded their father that it would be better to send him to school. Having already sent his eldest son to a school run by Baha'is, their father agreed to send Faizi to the Baha'i Tarbiyat School for boys, which was near where they lived, so there was no danger of him getting lost. His older brother arranged for him to be interviewed by the principal of the school. 

Early one morning, Faizi, accompanied by his older brother, set off for Tarbiyat School, the younger one in trepidation of what awaited him, the older one happy that he was going to entrust his dear brother to the daily care of a benevolent institution. The classes were already in session when they arrived and the principal, 'Aziz Misbah, was waiting for them in his office. How different was the young Faizi's reception at this school compared to what he had received earlier at the religious school (maktab) in Qum, how genial and kindly Mr. Misbah was compared to the so-called teachers in his hometown. No wonder that, as soon as Faizi met this much-loved principal he was immediately drawn to him. After welcoming the two brothers the principle asked Faizi a few questions to ascertain his level of literacy and decided to place his new pupil in grade five.