October 4, 2015

Ruhiyyih Khanum’s first encounter with Shoghi Effendi

Ruhiyyih Khanum often described her first encounter with the youthful Guardian [when she was 13 years old]. The day after their arrival in Haifa, [in 1923] she and her mother were in the old Pilgrim House opposite the home of 'Abdu'l-Baha on Persian Street, where they were staying, when a visitor came to the door. Mrs. Maxwell, who had suffered from insomnia on the voyage over, was finally sleeping after several broken nights, and Mary, in her concern for her mother, was determined that no one should disturb her. When the door opened a young man stepped into the hall and asked to see Mrs. Maxwell. Ruhiyyih Khanum recounts: 'I pulled myself up to my full height and said, "Mrs. Maxwell is resting; who is it who wants to see her?'"  

'I'm Shoghi Effendi,' was the young man's bemused reply - at which young Mary gasped and fled into her mother's room. Quite forgetting her concern to allow May an uninterrupted sleep, she dived beneath the pillows, 'like a puppy', as she always put it, and woke her up. When her mother asked her what on earth was the matter, Mary could only manage to say, 'He's here! He's here!' and, burrowing her head further into the pillows, point to the hall behind her. Upon realizing the situation, May said to her daughter, 'Now Mary, pull yourself together and go and tell him I am coming.' 
- Violette Nakhjavani  (‘The Maxwells of Montreal, vol. 2’)