January 17, 2015

An example of why not to read the Word of God with the eye of intellect only

The following story in the life of Mirza Abu'l-Fadl, the outstanding scholar of the Cause and its famous apologist, is one which demonstrates that reading the Word of God with the eye of intellect can lead a man astray.

Mirza Abu’l-Fadl, himself, has recounted the story that soon after he came in contact with the believers, they gave him the Kitáb-i-Íqán to read. He read it with an air of intellectual superiority and was not impressed by it. He even commented that if the Kitáb-i-Íqán was a proof of Bahá'u'lláh's claims, he himself could certainly write a better book.

At that time he was the head of a theological college in Tihran. The following day a prominent woman arrived at the college and approached some students asking them to write an important letter for her. In those days people who were not educated often paid a small sum of money to a learned man to write letters for them. The essential requirements for writing good letters were good composition and fine penmanship.

The students referred her to Mirza Abu'l-Fadl saying that he was an outstanding writer, a master of eloquence and a man unsurpassed in the art of composition. Mirza Abu'l-Fadl took up his pen to write, but found himself unable to compose the first sentence. He tried very hard but was unsuccessful. For several minutes he scribbled in the corner of the page and even drew lines on his own fingernail, until the woman realized that the learned scribe was unable to write. Losing her patience she arose to go and mockingly said to Mirza Abu'l-Fadl, 'If you have forgotten how to write a simple letter why don't you say so instead of keeping me here while you scrawl?'

January 4, 2015

The sudden arrest of the Báb and its agonizing impact on His wife – as recalled by Khadijih Bagum

…I will relate the incident of His capture briefly.

One night we were asleep. [the year was 1846] Suddenly, the chief of police, the accursed 'Abdu'l-Hamid Khan, entered with his men through the roof of the house and seized the Báb, who was clad only in a thin robe. They took Him away without any explanation. I never saw Him again. 

I cannot describe the terrible trials, ordeals, and difficulties that occurred after this. I did not see even one of His friends or followers after his arrest. The doors were shut on all sides, and communications were cut off completely.

One day I saw that Shiraz was in turmoil. [the year was 1850] The populace was in an uproar and I could hear the loud noises of bugles and trumpets. People were saying that the heads of the martyrs of Nayriz had been brought into the city. The next day, with the same tumult and violence, those captured at Nayriz were paraded through the city. How I longed to meet a relative of one of those prisoners, but it was impossible. Two of the captives came to our house in the guise of beggars, but no one dared speak to them. 

But time passed and so did those events. Now [circa 1870] you have come to visit us, and we can speak of any matter without fear. 
(Khadijih Bagum, quoted by Munirih Khanum, the wife of ‘Abdu’l-Baha; ‘Munirih Khanum: Memories and Letters’)