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Abstract:
Account of a visit to Haifa, December 1919 - January 1920, by a little-known author Mírzá 'Isá Khán Isfahání Darágáh'í. Includes table of an old Persian solar calendar and its Western astrological correspondences, and anecdotes about Esslemont.
Notes:
See Persian text (offsite).

With Abdu'l-Bahá:
The Diary of Mirza 'Isa Khan Isfahani

by Mirza `Isa Khan Isfahani

translated and edited by Ahang Rabbani.
published in Witnesses to Babi and Bahá'í History, vol. 11
2008-03
first written or published 1919
Contents
    Translator's Foreword
    Old Iranian/Aghanistan solar calendar
    Mírzá 'Isá Khán's Narrative
    Location of the Revelation of the Hidden Words
    The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf
    Confirmations of the Blessed Beauty
    Recognition of the Cause
    Tests for the Believers in the West
    Progress of the Cause and the Covenant-breakers
    Bahá'í Life
    The Destitute
    Delight of the Friends
    Consort with the followers of all religions
    Suspending Habits
    Political Parties in Iran
    The Organization of the League of Nations
    The Qur'an: Created or Ancient
    Visiting the Sacred Shrines of Past Religions
    The Head of Husayn
    History of 'Akká
    Haifa's Development
    Dawn and Ten Nights in the Qur'an
    A Story
    'Abdu'l-Bahá's Humor
    Humor of His Blessed Person
    The Book Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era
    Dr. Esslemont and Shoes worn with Bent Heels
    Abú'l-Fadl and History
    Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí Isfahání
    The Marriage of Mahmúd Zarqání
    Mírzá Áqá Ján
    Persian original text (offsite)

Translator's Foreword

While searching the splendid collection of the Bábí and Bahá'í materials in the H-Bahai archives one day in February 2008, the present translator came across a short but remarkable account of a visit to Haifa in December 1919 through January 1920 by a certain Mírzá 'Isá Khán Isfahání Darágáh'í, catalogued on the as: Guftar-i 'Abdu'l-Bahá az Khatirat-i Mirza `Isa Isfahani, 1919 ("Pilgrim's Notes from 'Abdu'l-Bahá by 'Isa Isfahani, 1919"); Ms. in private hands; East Lansing, Mi.: H-Bahai, 2000.[1]

Seeing this manuscript was a pleasant surprise since an earlier reference to this account could not be recalled, nor was the translator familiar with its author. Unfortunately, further research about the author's background did not reveal any details, except the anecdotal reference that he had been a devoted Bahá'í of his time.

In light of the significance of a number of historical details disclosed in this account, it was decided that a translation of this interesting document should be included in this volume for the use of students of Bahá'í history.

The entries in this account range from 14 December 1919 to 11 January 1920, and do not appear to be listed in any particular order.

The calendar used by Mírzá 'Isá Khán is rather rare, and nowadays is found only in parts of Afghanistan and Tajikistan. It is based on the Iranian solar calendar and corresponds to the signs of the Zodiac used in the Gregorian calendar. The first six months are 31 days each, and the remaining six months are 30 days each. For ease of reference, the following table is provided:


Old Iranian/Afghanistan solar calendar

#

Month & sign

فارسی/دری

transliteration

۱

March-April
Aries

حمل

hamal

۲

April-May
Taurus

ثور

sawr

۳

May-June
Gemini

جوزا

jawzā

۴

June-July
Cancer

سرطان

saratān

۵

July-August
Leo

اسد

asad

۶

August-September
Virgo

سنبله

sombole

۷

September-October
Libra

میزان

mizān

۸

October-November
Scorpio

عقرب

`aqrab

۹

November-December
Sagittarius

قوس

qaws

۱۰

December-January
Capricorn

جدی

jady

۱۱

January-Febrary
Aquarius

دلو

dalv

۱۲

February-March
Pisces

حوت

hut

It should be noted that the original of this document was discovered by accident in Iran in the 1990s by Yadu'lláh Ká'dí, who extracted a certain selection, added subtitles to various entries; the resultant document was typed by Faruq Izadinia. It was then donated to H-Bahai for publication, which is located at h-net.org/~bahai/areprint/ab/G-L/G/guftar/isa.htm. The fact that the account does not follow a chronological order may well have been introduced by its compiler, Mr. Ká'dí. It is hoped that the full text will be made available to researchers for further study and analysis.

The translator wishes to record his debt of gratitude to Phillip Tussing, who with great care edited the present rendering, thereby making this publication a reality.

    Ahang Rabbani
    Houston, Texas
    February 2008
With 'Abdu'l-Bahá

By

Mírzá 'Isa Khán Isfahání


Location of the Revelation of the Hidden Words

Monday, 7 Jaddí 1298 [29 December 1919] in Haifa

Mírzá Muhammad Khán Partúví inquired, "When and where were the Hidden Words revealed?"

'Abdu'l-Bahá responded, "In Baghdad, in a room overlooking the Tigris River. At the time of its revelation, the Blessed Countenance [of Bahá'u'lláh] was most excited."


The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf

Thursday, 25 Qaus 1298 [18 December 1919], Haifa

['Abdu'l-Bahá] instructed one of the attendees, "Recite a portion of the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf." He added, "Divine utterances penetrate stones, but did not influence the Son of the Wolf."[2]

Mírzá Muhammad Khán Partúví asked, "Did this Epistle reach his hands?"

'Abdu'l-Bahá responded,

Yes. It was revealed during the latter days of the Blessed Beauty. When it reached the Son of the Wolf, the Ascension [of Bahá'u'lláh] had taken place." Once again He emphasized, "The blessed expositions infuse the stone, but had no effect on him. It is the story of the deaf man and the trumpet, and the mirror in the hand of the blind.


Confirmations of the Blessed Beauty

Tuesday, 8 Jaddí 1298 [30 December 1919], Haifa

'Abdu'l-Bahá stated,

When I went to America, My fatigue was of such a degree that My voice could not reach more than a few meters. Of necessity, in gatherings of four or five thousands souls, I would first concentrate on the Blessed Beauty and then begin speaking. Confirmations would pour forth and then My voice would be raised. [Bahá'u'lláh] wrote, 'Arise to further My Cause, and to exalt My Word amongst men. We are with you at all times, and shall strengthen you through the power of truth.'[3]


Recognition of the Cause

Tuesday, 8 Jaddí 1298 [30 December 1919], Haifa

Hájí 'Abdu'r-Rahím Hamadání inquired, "Will the blessed Cause soon receive official recognition?" 'Abdu'l-Bahá responded:

Recognition will not occur in a specific country where the Bahá'ís should gather. In every land, the friends will progress and the Cause of God will be recognized without warfare or conflict.

Christianity in France was emancipated in this manner. One of the monarchs in France realized that no matter how many Christians were slain, it bore no fruit. One day he summoned his ministers and consulted [with them]. Thereupon, he announced that he bore no opposition whatsoever to Christianity. This resulted in all the people being enticed to investigate, and gradually they became Christian.

In this Cause, it will also occur likewise.


Tests for the Believers in the West

Tuesday[4], 5 Jaddí 1298 [27 December 1919], Haifa

In attendance was the honored Mírzá Haydar-'Alí, the renowned teacher [of the Faith], who due to advanced age and sufferings endured in the path of the Cause of the Beloved, was most broken. Also present was Mullá 'Abú-Tálib Bádkúbi'í. The attendees were gathered in a room next to the Shrine of the Exalted One [the Báb] on the north side.

The Blessed Temple ['Abdu'l-Bahá] said to Shoghi [Effendi] Rabbani, "Go behind the table and render into English what I speak."

The gathering of the pilgrims and the resident believers numbered about seventy souls. Mrs. Parsons,[5] Mrs. Dodge and the esteemed British Dr. Esslemont[6] were also present.[7]

The essence of His blessed utterances was as follows. In pointing to the honored Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí, 'Abdu'l-Bahá stated:

You see this old man; he has devoted his entire life in service to the Cause of God. He has dedicated all his energies and thought to the exaltation of the Word of God. Never has he considered his own comfort. In Iran, the friends have passed the tests very well: They have offered their heads, their lives, and their families. The Mir-Ghazab [executioner] would say, "Curse [the Faith] or I will separate your head from your body;" but they would respond, "We will not curse; do what you please." In America, such tests have not occurred yet. If tests occur and the believers remain constant, then that means something.

'Abdu'l-Bahá stated:

In the early days when we came to 'Akká and arrived at the military barracks, one day the governor sent word that someone on behalf of Bahá'u'lláh should come to hear the Sultan's decree. The Blessed Beauty sent me as His deputy to the government house. They placed Me where the criminals would stand. The announcer went behind the table and read the decree of the Sultan, which was in Turkish. The essence of that order was that the family of Bahá'u'lláh would be imprisoned until the end of eternity in the city of 'Akká and were not permitted to leave the city.

After hearing this command, I laughed. Those present were most astonished and asked, "Why do you laugh?" I said, "Because the statement about us not leaving the city is meaningless, since we will not be alive till the end of time."

It so happened that this decree was revoked, because Bahá'u'lláh departed through the city gate and came to the top of this Mount Carmel. I too also left through the city gate, and went to Beirut."


Progress of the Cause of God and the Situation of the Covenant-breakers

Tuesday, 8 Jaddí 1298 [30 December 1919], Haifa

In the evening, as was customary, 'Abdu'l-Bahá invited pilgrims and resident believers into His presence and permitted them to take a seat. He gave an envelope from Hájí Amín, which contained a letter from Iraq filled with glad-tidings and [news] of the progress and influence of the Cause of God, to one of the attendees, saying, "Read this." It had wonderful tidings that brought great delight. ['Abdu'l-Bahá] stated:

The illustrious Covenant-breakers say that I have destroyed the Cause of the Blessed Beauty. Very well, let them say what they wish. I share the following for levity.

There was a Qádí [judge] in Tiberius, who was most corrupt and lewd. He had a humble dwelling, and once took a Jewish prostitute home. It so happened that the Qá'im-Maqám went to visit him that day. The Qádí saw him coming through the window. He quickly came out of the house and in order for the prostitute to become aware [of the Qá'im-Maqám's approach] and hide in the closet, he shouted, "T­árif, tárif!" which in Hebrew means, "Unclean, unclean!" The Qá'im-Maqám, who was a shrewd person, upon entering the room quickly went [to the closet], brought out the prostitute and remarked, "I admit to what you said about me. However, what manner of conduct is this for someone like you who claims to be kosher, meaning clean?"

This news of this incident spread and the Qádí lost his reputation.

Now, I am tárif and these illustrious personages [the Covenant-breakers] are kosher.


Bahá'í Life

Monday, 22 Qaus 1298 [14 December 1919], Haifa

['Abdu'l-Bahá stated,] "Travel for the Bahá'ís is not arduous now. Praised be God, the friends are present everywhere, and prepare the means of comfort. Even non-believers take advantage of the situation and introduce themselves as Bahá'ís, so they may benefit from the friends' assistance." 'Abdu'l-Bahá added:

Someone from Shiraz had came here, and introduced himself as a Bahá'í. I said to him, "Since you are not a Bahá'í, tell the truth: What is your purpose [in introducing yourself as a Bahá'í]?' He was not inequitable, and told the truth, saying, 'There are Bahá'ís everywhere. I identify myself as such, so I could benefit from their humanity and kindness.' I was most pleased with his truthfulness in this regard.

The point is that, praised be God, the friends are vigilant in every locality and prepare the means of comfort for new arrivals.


The Destitute

Tuesday, 23 Qaus 1298 [15 December 1919], Haifa

['Abdu'l-Bahá] stated:

The rich must aid the poor. There was a person in America who was worth about three hundred million liras. Nevertheless, he was unwilling to spend even one lira on the poor; and all his life, he had not experienced comfort. One day, he invited Me to his library. He said, "I have many books. Come and see them." I responded, "Since the intention is to promote learning, I will come." I went to his library. It was most expansive and complete. He had collected many books, including books in Persian, such as, [Rumí's] Mathnaví Ma'naví, [the anthology of] Hafiz, and many others, which he showed Me. A fine, large carpet was spread in the middle of the room, which he also presented....[8]

The person who was our intermediary said, "I have promised him that we will go to his residence for lunch." I said, "Your pledge was unwarranted. Why did you promise without first confirming it with Me? I freely go to the home of the poor, but do not go to the home of the rich. No good deed appears from such people from their avarice and greed in amassing wealth. All their wealth comes from the efforts of the poor. They compel the poor to work, and from their toil, accumulate their wealth. If they were not greedy, so much wealth would not have been amassed. It is because of this that in the blessed Cause, equality and endowment have been decreed, and indeed, endowment [i.e. helping others] is preferred to equality.[9] It would be very good if the affluent were to spend half of their wealth on the poor; and if they devote their entire fortune, it is even better. Of course, that is unlikely. However, the rich must be openhanded. The poor must also be content. How wonderful it would be if every person would take from his income what he needs for daily necessities and give away the rest.

'Abdu'l-Bahá remarked:

In Tehran, we had a neighbor named Hájí Muhammad-Husayn Jawáhirí. He was an affluent man and had several children, both boys and girls. For the sustenance of each child, he would give a piece of bread and a small coin. In the evenings, he would purchase a dízí[10] for a hundred dínár and they would eat that with bread. He also had a donkey, which he rode during the day while traveling through town, attending to his business transactions.

One of his sons one time stole two-thousand tumáns from him. He complained to the governor, who summoned the boy. The governor asked, "Did you steal the money? Tell the truth. If you lie, I will skin your head."[11] The lad replied affirmatively. The governor inquired, "Why?" He stated, "Our father is tightfisted and does not spend any money. Therefore, I was compelled to this deed."

The governor gave a thousand of that money to the Hájí and decreed that each month, the Hájí would give ten tumáns to the boys and five tumáns to the girls, and if he did not, the children were free to steal their father's possessions. Immediately, the children received their monthly allowance.

['Abdu'l-Bahá] stated:

How wonderful it would be for the affluent to spend [on the poor] with a happy disposition, not out of being compelled or to deceive. When famine and scarcity enveloped Iran, the illustrious Sultánu'sh-Shuhadá and the Mahbúbu'sh-Shuhadá in Isfahan would generously give of their estate, would ensure the well-being of all the Bahá'ís, and would help non-believers as well. The British also rendered assistance, but it was conditioned on becoming Christian and being baptized.[12] That is, their purpose was to spread the Christian religion.

['Abdu'l-Bahá] remarked moreover:

During the days that the Blessed Beauty tarried in Baghdad, there was a certain Áqá Siyyid Husayn, who was a believer in the blessed Cause and was most devoted and trustworthy. He knew a little confectionary, but had no capital. He partnered with Áqá Abú'l-Qásim and raised a sum of fifty tumáns, with which they bought sugar-cubes. It so happened that after selling them, they suffered a loss of twenty-five tumáns. Áqá Abú'l-Qásim was willing to assume the loss, but Áqá Siyyid Husayn did not consent and said, "Since I was the cause of this loss, then it must be shouldered by me." He work as a laborer and paid the sum.

One time Baghdad was overcome with famine. This same Áqá Siyyid Husayn used to invite the believers to his shop, serve them and surround them with his generosity.

In accordance with His blessed instructions a prayer was chanted, and then He left.


Delight of the Friends

Thursday, 10 Jaddí 1298 [1 January 1920], Haifa

The Egyptian man who yesterday had wrecked his automobile against the wall was too embarrassed today to come into the presence [of 'Abdu'l-Bahá].[13] However, 'Abdu'l-Bahá summoned him and in Arabic said,

Where were you? Did you want to deprive us today of your company? Do not be saddened at all. If one person's heart is happy, it is worth more than any automobile. A vehicle is for the comfort of the friends. I will not barter the delight of one of the friends for the entire world.

['Abdu'l-Bahá] offered many expressions of kindness and bounties, and then left.


"Consort with the followers of all religions"

Wednesday, 2 Jaddí 1298 [24 December 1919], Haifa

This evening, what has remained in my memory of His blessed utterances is the following. ['Abdu'l-Bahá] stated:

Today was the birth of the Christ. I went to visit some of the Christian friends. In accordance with Bahá'u'lláh's utterance, I associate with all people in the spirit of friendliness and fellowship.[14] In Divine Verses it is revealed, "Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship."[15] Moreover, elsewhere, He [Bahá'u'lláh] states, "Beware, beware, not to associate with the rebellious."[16] If someone wants to instill doubt in hearts or invite them for carnal pleasure and debauchery, then of a certainty one must avoid such a person and avoid association with him.

Then He added:

One of the Christians said to Us, "You claim divinity!" I replied, "If I succeed in servitude to the Sacred Threshold, then I have attained unto a mighty station. It is your priests who advance claim of divinity." He asked, "How so?" I said, "They take a piece of bread, recite something and blow on the bread, and then say, 'This bread has become the blood and the flesh of Jesus.' Therefore, these individuals are even mightier than God, as they are able to blow on bread and turn it into the flesh and blood of Jesus.

He also stated:

In 'Akká we had a neighbor who one day said, "Tomorrow I want to baptize my daughter." He also invited Me. Therefore, I went. I saw that a bowl was filled with water and placed before the priest, who recited something. He read so much that it tired everyone. Then he said, "This water is made holy." He took the hapless little girl, and holding her mouth, immersed her twice in water. The third time he submerged her, she polluted the water. Even funnier and more ridiculous was that the priest said, "Do not pour this holy water somewhere unsanitary; pour it in the sea!"


Suspending Habits

Sunday, 20 Jaddí 1298 [11 January 1920], Haifa, the Pilgrim House

The Blessed Temple [of 'Abdu'l-Bahá] stated:

I had wished for you to stay [in Bahjí], so we would spend the night at the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh engaged in reciting prayers. However, the means of reception are not ready. God willing, later such means will be made available. At that time, the friends will spend the night by the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh.

['Abdu'l-Bahá] remarked:

Last night, several of the Western friends arrived here for dinner. We had bread, butter and honey. Since forks and knives were not available, they ate supper with much difficulty.

How wonderful it would be if a person were not seized by habits. When I was in the blessed presence [of Bahá'u'lláh] going from Baghdad to Istanbul, preparation of all provisions for the companions was in My charge. After conclusion of all the work, I would be very tired. Sometimes, I was so fatigued that I would put a rock under My head and fall sleep on the ground. Since I was under the shadow of His blessed bounties, when I woke, the fatigue had disappeared and a special delight had overcome Me.


[Political] Parties in Iran

Monday, 22 Qaus 1298 [14 December 1919], Haifa

['Abdu'l-Bahá] stated, "Various parties in Iran have not grown repentant yet." Áqá Mírzá Muhammad Khán Partúví submitted, "Some of them have become remorseful." ['Abdu'l-Bahá] responded:

They work for their own personal gains. Mulláy-i Rúmí says that Satan came by the Mu'áviyih's bed and woke him to offer his obligatory prayer. Mu'áviyih said, "Satan, you never do any righteous deed. Tell the truth: For what purpose did you wake me from my slumber?" He responded, "The truth is that you lead prayers with conceit, arrogance and pride. The sin of so doing is greater than missing the prayer. Therefore, I awakened you. Otherwise, I do not do good."[17]

['Abdu'l-Bahá] added, "Various parties in Iran have no intention of doing good. Their purpose is to gain personal profit."


The Organization of the League of Nations

Tuesday, 8 Jaddí 1298 [30 December 1919], Haifa

One of the attendees inquired, "After this [World War I], will there be another?" ['Abdu'l-Bahá] responded:

Yes, since they have disobeyed the blessed instructions [of Bahá'u'lláh]. Only a few countries have representatives in the League of Nations,[18] whereas the representatives must be appointed and ratified by the nation, the government, the monarch and the Senate. They do not even consult. On the other hand, some governments are deprived of membership, and this has precipitated their fury and prompted their feeling of revenge. Governments have secret alliances with each other of which no one is aware, but these schemes will reach nowhere. Whoever remains under the shadow of blessed teachings and adheres to the sacred principles, he will be confirmed.


The Qur'an: Created or Ancient

Thursday, 10 Jaddí 1298 [1 January 1920], Haifa

Shaykh Farju'lláh Zakí al-Kurdí inquired whether the Qur'an was created or eternal, an issue about which the Asha'irih [anti-rationalism] and the Mu'tazilih [pro-rationalism] fought during the time of the 'Abbásí caliphs.

'Abdu'l-Bahá responded,

The solution to this issue is simple. Kalám[19] appears in three types. One is oral, which is composed of airwaves, impacts the orifice of the ear and is made and assembled of letters. The other is intellectual: that is, things that a person will comprehend after one has contemplated over them. And lastly, spiritual. The first two are created, but the third one is ancient, since it pertains to divine knowledge, and has its beginning in the knowledge of God, which is eternal.

'Abdu'l-Bahá then recited a poem in Arabic which Shaykh Farju'lláh wrote down.


Visiting the Sacred Shrines of Past Religions

Wednesday, 9 Jaddí 1298 [31 December 1919], Haifa

'Abdu'l-Bahá stated,

The Bahá'ís [pilgrims] of Hamadam have gone to Jerusalem. Some think that we do not wish for the friends to visit Jerusalem. It is not so. In the Bayán, visiting the shrines was prohibited. However, the Blessed Beauty has abrogated this Law. I too wish to visit Karbala and other holy places.


The Head of Husayn

Monday, 29 Qaus 1298 [21 December 1919], Haifa

Mírzá Muhammad Khán Partuví asked, "From which route did Bahá'u'lláh journey from Baghdad to Istanbul?

['Abdu'l-Bahá] responded, "By way of Mosul."

He [Partuví] also stated, "They say that a spot in the Masjid Amuí in Damascus is the tomb of St. John the Divine."

['Abdu'l-Bahá] replied,

[This claim] has no basis. Every church that the Christians raised, they would name it after one of the apostles. This church was also named after John, the Evangelist. After the Muslims conquered Damascus, they designated half of this building as a church and a half as a mosque. However, during the reign of Hishám Ibn 'Abdu'l-Mulk, the entire structure came into Muslim possession. They gave some money to the Christians to build a church somewhere else.

Hájí 'Abdu'r-Rahím Burújirdí inquired about the head of [Imam] Husayn, which people say is buried Masjid Amuí.

['Abdu'l-Bahá] responded,

At first, they buried the head of Husayn as a trust there. Later, the inhabitants of 'Asqalan asked for the head and it was taken there for burial. After the Fatimid Dynasty triumphed over Egypt, the head was conveyed to Egypt and eventually buried there.


History of 'Akká

Monday, 29 Qaus 1298 [21 December 1919]

The honored Mírzá 'Alí Khán Fírúz submitted, "When Prophet Joshua states that the valley of Achor is the door of hope, is that about 'Akká?"[20] ['Abdu'l-Bahá] responded:

Yes, Achor is this same 'Akká. The Westerners refer to 'Akká as Achor. Over the course of history, it has acquired many names. At first it was 'Aúk, then became 'ákúr [Achor] and afterwards 'Akká. The Phoenicians raised this city and their custom was that when they built a town, whatever geometric figure it resembled, they would call it by that name. Since this city was triangular with curved sides, then they called it 'Aúk, which had this meaning.[21] Moreover, Haifa was known as Hayfú, meaning 'a town on the skirt of a mountain.' And Lebanon in the Phoenician language means 'white mountain" since it is covered under the snow. The city of 'Akká was build fifteen hundred years before Christ.


Haifa's Development

Sunday, 13 Jaddí 1298 [4 January 1920], Haifa (During a Visit to the Shrine of the Exalted One [the Báb])

['Abdu'l-Bahá] stated:

Haifa will develop to such a degree that this mountain will be covered entirely in light. From here to 'Akká will be connected by roads and on each side trees will be planted. This will be become the most important port in the world. Innumerable ships will come and go. I now see ships have anchored in this bay, and with utmost humility and modesty monarchs will come to visit the Shrine of the Exalted One [the Báb].

Mrs. Parsons asked, "Where will the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar be built?" ['Abdu'l-Bahá] replied, "Near the Shrine of the Exalted One. On one side, the largest and most important scientific school will be raised." Then He added, "On the other side, there will be an asylum for invalids and on the opposite side an orphanage."


Dawn and Ten Nights in the Qur'an

Monday, 29 Qaus 1298 [21 December 1919], Haifa

Shaykh Badru'd-Dín inquired, "In the Qur'an, God has taken an oath by the dawn and ten nights, and in a Tablet it has been emphasized that it has other meanings."[22]

'Abdu'l-Bahá responded,

Daybreak is the luminous countenance of the Blessed Beauty, and ten nights are His hair, two eyebrows, four eyelashes, two mustaches and one beard.


A Story

Tuesday, 8 Jaddí 1298 [30 December 1919], Haifa

We saw the Blessed Temple [of 'Abdu'l-Bahá] in the gardens adjacent to His House. He was engaged in giving instructions about planting flowers to Hushang and Surúsh, the gardeners at Ridván and Firdaws [Gardens]. When they presented several luscious narcissus flowers to Him, 'Abdu'l-Bahá stated, "People call these Ziva[23], whereas smaller narcissuses are Ziva." He distributed the flowers among those present, but there were not enough for everyone.

He remarked,

A cloth-seller had bought a few rolls of fabric in Baghdad and was taking them back to his home town to sell. It so happened that along the way he ran into thieves. They took his cloths and using spears, cut and distributed them among themselves. However, there was not enough cloth for every thief to receive a share, so they begun to beat the merchant. As they were beating him, they would complain, 'Why did you not bring enough?' He responded, 'By God, I did not know that so many customers would be so readily at hand, otherwise I would have brought more.' Now, this is the situation with Surúsh. If he had known that so many customers would be ready, of a certainty he would have brought more flowers.


'Abdu'l-Bahá's Humor

Tuesday, 8 Jaddí 1298 [30 December 1919]

Even though Mírzá Mihdí and his father, Áqá Mírzá Husayn Vakíl Kirmání, were affluent, nonetheless they wore new malikí (gívih).[24] In humor, ['Abdu'l-Bahá] said, "Wearing gívih in winter and cashmere in summer is a sign of impoverishment." He stated this and went inside the House.


Humor of His Blessed Person ['Abdu'l-Bahá]

Monday, 14 Jaddí 1298 [5 January 1920], Haifa

['Abdu'l-Bahá stated:]

The Blessed Beauty has freed us from all restraints. He teaches that we must be kind to all, even to our enemies.

There was a certain Mustafa Bayk, the chief of the secretariat of the Muftí of 'Akká. He was a most unscrupulous person and harbored intense enmity towards the blessed Cause. He was most unattractive as well. We were invited one night to the home of Muftí and it so happened that he was there too. For some reason, I told the story of Hajjáj Ibn Yusúf.[25] I said, "Hajjáj had a wife who was most beautiful, and she did not love her husband at all. One day, Hajjáj was beholding himself in the mirror and admiringly said, 'O Lord! How attractive Thou hast created me and what an excellent character hast Thou bestowed upon me!' His wife replied, 'Hajjáj, you are being slanderous towards God!' This morning when Mustafa Bayk was beholding himself in the mirror, the Muftí said, 'Say: O Lord, How attractive Thou hast created me and what an excellent character hast Thou bestowed upon me!'"

Everyone laughed heartedly.

In short, this person [Mustafa Bayk] was most antagonistic [towards the Faith]. Hand in hand with the Mutasarrif, he wrote many calumnies to Beirut. They returned the same report from Beirut. To deflect the situation from himself, the Mutasarrif forwarded the report to Me through an intermediary. His purpose was to exact money from Me. However, I paid no attention. For this reason, the Mutasarrif confirmed the accuracy of the report and wrote, "These illustrious personages [i.e. 'Abdu'l-Bahá and other Bahá'ís] are trying to convert me to the Bábí Faith." Additionally, he ordered that the [Bahá'í] children be beaten in the streets.

At last, he sent a message, "Your house has an agreeable air and my sister is ill. Therefore, I would like to transfer her residence to that house." I responded, "We have no other homes and need this one for our use." When he saw the situation, he went and rented the house from its owner and made the situation most difficult for us in every way.

One day I was standing in the presence of the Blessed Beauty and with a fan was cooling Him. A bee was circling His Blessed Temple. No matter how I tried to disperse the bee with the fan, the bee would not leave. At the end, I brought the fan in that direction and said, "Mutasarrif, leave us alone!" It so happened that the fan struck the bee and tore him into two parts, so that he dropped dead. The Blessed Beauty said, "You obliterated the Mutasarrif!"

It was not long after that Hilmí Pashá and two of his deputies arrived. One night we were invited to the Muftí's home. They too came there late at night, and after the customary exchange of pleasantries, he said, "One of the Sunni 'ulamá has said that the phrase 'In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate' is the same as 'In the Name of Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.' What is the meaning of this?"

I gave an exposition regarding the claim of the Divine Manifestations, Who considered Themselves God's mirror. I also considered the situation appropriate for saying, "His Holiness the Báb states, 'I am the Mirror of God.'[26] His purpose is to show the Sanctified Manifestations teach that, 'God's Effulgence shines upon Us, and from Us shines upon the creation.' It is in this station that They claim divinity. If the sun shining in the mirror claims that it is the sun, indeed it has spoken the truth."

At all events, I wrote a letter to the Vali suggesting the situation in 'Akká was worthy of his attention and investigation. The Vali sent two inspectors to investigate the situation. It was because of this that efforts were begun and the Mutasarrif was dismissed.

One day I was sitting in the house's veranda and saw that the Mufti and another person came and said, "Do you have extra chairs?" I replied, "Yes." They came and sat. After some discussion, with reference [to the situation], they conveyed, "It is best to give us some money so we would conclude this affair." I did not heed them. He said, "At any event, I have rented this house."

With great determination, the investigators began to investigate the situation. One day I saw that one of them had come, knocking on the door. I did not wish to receive him. He cried out, "I have a critical matter to discuss." They opened the door. He came in, sat and after some discussions said, "If you give some money, this affair will conclude." I said to him, "Your purpose was then money. Why did you not say sooner? Wait and I will go bring money."

I went and performed My ablutions and stood for obligatory prayer. Afterwards, I recited prayers. He was in a hurry and I was protracting [My meditations].

At the end, I said to him, "I have sent the money." He inquired, "With whom did you send it?" I replied, "Stand up!" Then slapped him in the ear, lifted him and threw him down from the height of the building.

He went and caused a commotion. He composed a complaint, claiming, "These illustrious people [i.e. 'Abdu'l-Bahá] have grown so presumptuous that they beat the chief of commerce."

He had not signed the complaint when a telegraph arrived, stating, "The Mutasarrif, the Mufti and the chief of the secretariat are suspended from their work until the investigator's arrival."

He became deeply perturbed. The Muftí took a thousand liras with him to Beirut to acquire the position of the Mutasarrif, but the investigators telegraphed the details to the Valí.

Upon the arrival of the Muftí, the Valí said, "You have brought me bribes so you can become the governor of 'Akká! Where are the liras?" Moreover, he did not give him permission to sit [in his presence].

Deeply embarrassed, he returned. Orders arrived [from Beirut] that the investigators should conduct themselves in accordance with My instructions. I did not consent and said, "They should discharge their office in any manner they deem best, and investigate the matter."

Afterwards, the Mutasarrif sent a messenger to me, beseeching that this was enough. Consequently, I sent a message to the investigators to conclude the case.

In all events, the Mutasarrif sent a thousand liras to the Válí to purchase his silence.

The chief of the secretariat was dismissed from office and went to Damascus in hope of remedying the situation. He had sixteen children and family members as dependents. I heard that they were in dire straits, so I immediately sent them money and pledged to shoulder all their expenses for four months.

At the end, Mustafa Bayk wrote me a letter from Damascus expressing his deep regret over his past deeds, writing, "By God, may Your generous house be ever-flourishing. If it is possible now, kindly arrange for my wife and children to come to Damascus." Therefore, I prepared a howdah and sent them all in complete comfort to Damascus.

After a while, he wrote a letter, "I am dying of hunger. I implore you to arrange work for me." I wrote [to the Vali] and an assignment was given to him.

The point is that the Blessed Beauty has instructed us to show kindness even to enemies. This is our duty. We have no enmity towards anyone.


The book Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era

Friday, 26 Qaus 1298 [18 December 1919]

['Abdu'l-Bahá] stated, "There is much work. Even though I rise in the middle of the night, there is not enough time. Nevertheless, what can we do? There is no remedy and we must work."

['Abdu'l-Bahá] said to Dr. Zíáu'd-Dín Baghdádí, "Read the translation you have made."

The Doctor read a section of the translation of the beginning of the book, Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era, written by the honored Dr. Esslemont. Abdu'l-Bahá corrected some of the sentences and remarked, "There is so much work and so little time. However, this book must be translated as I do not wish this person [Dr. Esslemont] to leave this place unhappy."[27]


Dr. Esslemont and Shoes Worn with Bent Heels

Thursday, 3 Jaddí 1298 [25 December 1919], Haifa

The honored Dr. Esslemont and three American [Bahá'ís] came to meet with the venerable Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí.

At the time of his departure, the esteemed Doctor [Esslemont] said [to me], "I wish to stroll a little on this mountain of God with you."

After a varied conversation, he [Esslemont] asked, "If it is possible for you, I would like to study Persian under your tutelage each morning from 8 to 9 am." I responded, "It would be my pleasure." We agreed to start the next morning.

I said to him, "I have a question as well."

"What is it?" he said.

I inquired, "Why do you wear your shoes with the heel bent inside?"

He stated, "After my arrival in Haifa, it so happened that at the time I attained an audience [with 'Abdu'l-Bahá], as I was removing my shoes, other companions would go inside and I would remain by myself and would be sad. Therefore, I prepared this means so that at the time of attaining His presence, I would not fall behind."


Abú'l-Fadl and History

3 Jaddí 1298 [25 December 1919], Haifa

Tonight, after we attained the blessed presence [of 'Abdu'l-Bahá], the honored Mírzá Muhammad Khán Partúví asked, "The venerable Mírzá Abú'l-Fadl has stated in his history that Shaykh Salmán and Khádim in Sulaymániyyih attained the sacred presence [of Bahá'u'lláh]. Is this Khádim the same Mírzá Áqá Ján?" 'Abdu'l-Bahá responded, "At that time, Mírzá Áqá Ján was in Tehran; later he came to Baghdad and became known as Khádim."


Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí Isfahání

Sunday, 28 Qaus 1298 [20 December 1919], Haifa

Today is Sunday. Typically, the Blessed Temple would go to the Shrine of the Exalted One [the Báb] on this day. Consequently, He arrived in the pilgrim house and went to Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí's room. He inquired of the honored Hájí's health and offered many expressions of kindness. The Hájí submitted, "I implore You to instruct Davúd [Shahídí] to attend to my affairs each morning, noon and afternoon for a half-hour each time. When I was young, I could take care of all my needs by myself. However, I can no longer do so. When a person has passed the age of seventy, someone should look after him."

As Davúd was standing by the entrance when 'Abdu'l-Bahá was leaving the room, He took his ear and stated, "Whenever the honored Hájí calls, you must answer immediately. Otherwise, I will put a pebble over your ear and press it so hard that you will remember the milk you drank from your mother's breast!" Of course, He was speaking these words with a broad smile and great affection.

Thereupon, He left the room and went to the Shrine of the Exalted One. Standing before the Shrine He stated:

Mount Carmel is magnificent. It has flourishing sweetbrier.[28] Consider its orange trees. How beautiful they are! It is a wonderful fruit. The Blessed Beauty would refer to this tree as the "tree of lanterns."[29]

From there, He proceeded to the southern room adjacent to the Shrine of the Exalted One and inquired after the health of the pilgrims. They brought tea and it was served. ['Abdu'l-Bahá] stated:

This candelabrum[30] is most exquisite. A person does not grow tired of looking at it. I have seen many candelabra in the homes of the British Lords, but none finer than this. The honored Mírzá Hasan Shírází contributed this. He left a fine memento of himself. He was a wise man. When he went to America to teach [the Faith], his conduct and deeds were in concordance with Christ's utterance that says, "When you leave a town, shake your clothes so you do not take away even the dust of that city."[31]


The Marriage of Mahmúd Zarqání

Friday, 11 Jaddí 1298 [2 January 1920], Haifa

Since it was the nuptials of the honored Mírzá Mahmúd Zarqání, in the company of the honored Mírzá Jalál, who is the son-in-law of the Blessed Person ['Abdu'l-Bahá], we went to the House in the afternoon and took a photograph of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Since the marriage festivities were to take place in the home of the honored Áqá Mírzá Jalál, therefore gradually the pilgrims, resident believers and other guests arrived at a long hall arranged for this purpose, and with His blessed permission took their seat. His Sanctified Person ['Abdu'l-Bahá] sat on one side and the Americans and Europeans also sat on the same side in a row.

After tea was served, the two witnesses – the honored Dr. Zia Baghdadi on behalf of the bride and the esteemed Mírzá Asadu'lláh Fádil Mázandarání on behalf of the groom – were introduced into the presence of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.

Afterwards, in accordance with His blessed instructions, sweets were presented to attendees and concluding prayer was recited.

Since two visitors had arrived for the Blessed Temple, He left. After a few minutes, the guests [at the wedding] dispersed as well.


Mírzá Áqá Ján

Friday, 4 Jaddí 1298 [26 December 1919], Haifa

One of those in attendance inquired about the Tablets revealed in the tongue of Mírzá Áqá Ján. 'Abdu'l-Bahá responded:

All of those Tablets were revealed by the lips of the Blessed Beauty. During the final blessed days [of Bahá'u'lláh], one of the friends asked [the same question] of Mírzá Áqá Ján, but did not receive an affirmative response. For this reason, a number of the friends rose against him. This took place during the period of illness of the Blessed Person. I realized that the friends were divided into two camps. One group was led by Nabíl Zarandí, and the other was led by the wife of Mírzá Siyyid 'Alí Afnán[32], and they were bitterly fighting each other. I sternly admonished them, saying, "Have you no shame for creating two factions at this time of His blessed illness?" I dispersed them all.

Then the mother of Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí[33] came and said, "Mírzá Áqá Ján has become presumptuous before His Blessed Person and has said, 'I have labored more for You than His Holiness the Exalted One [the Báb], and You do not appreciate my labors.' The Blessed Beauty has become deeply grieved."

I went into Mírzá Áqá Ján's room and said, "How wretched and ignorant you are!" I beat him as much as he could endure to such an extent that he became bedridden.

Then three times I went into the Sacred Presence [of Bahá'u'lláh] to intercede [on behalf of Mírzá Áqá Ján] and threw Myself at His blessed feet. He said, "Rise!"

Then the Ascension occurred and he [Mírzá Áqá Ján] was residing in My home. I left him to his own self.

At last, he wrote in his own hand to Iran, "Whatever I have written in Tablets are utterances of the Blessed Beauty."

One of the friends inquired, "What was the wisdom of revealing verses through the tongue of Mírzá Áqá Ján? It was possible that on his own accord, he would have written things to various places that were untrue and would have caused differences." 'Abdu'l-Bahá stated:

In those days, the practice was that whenever someone wanted to send a letter to Iran, he would bring that writing to the presence [of Bahá'u'lláh], and after it was considered he would send it.

At first, Mírzá Áqá Ján harbored deep animosity towards Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí. Gradually, however, they became friends. He would put his writings in a cooking pot and on the pretext of buying cheese would go out and mail them, thinking that I did not know what he was doing. When he returned, he would bring the cheese he had bought and show it to Me.

Some time passed. One day he came and said, "I want to leave Your house." Since I was not happy with his conduct, I said, "Fíaminu'lláh."[34] He went and became friends with the illustrious personages [i.e. Covenant-breakers].

For a while, he was engaged in confusing thoughts. Afterwards, he threw burial shrouds over his neck and raised the standard of meekness.[35] However, he noticed that I was not paying him any attention.

At last, one day I was at a carpentry shop. He came and said, "The Covenant-breakers say that they are able to prevent You from building the Shrine of the Exalted One [the Báb]. However, I told them that You will succeed in building the Shrine since it is mentioned in the stories of prophets that "The Branch of God shall build the House of the Lord."[36] I said nothing.

A while later he left and chose seclusion. He would say that he had written a letter of repentance and sent it to Mírzá Siyyid 'Alí [Afnán], so that after his death it would be given to Me. After his death, I asked for the letter, but they said, "He has not given us anything."

Tonight, the blessed utterances were most moving. At the end, He turned to Hájí Siyyid 'Alí [Afnán] who had previously been with the Covenant-breakers and asked, "I adjure you to the Blessed Beauty! Was what I said not exactly how it happened?" He said, "Yes, it was the exact occurrence."


Notes

    [1] The actual title of this document is: Guftár ShafáhíMarkaz Mitháqdar Jam' Zá'irínva Mujáviríndar Haifa.

    [2] A title given by Bahá'u'lláh to Shaykh Muhammad-Taqí Isfahání, who committed many atrocities against the Faith. His father, Shaykh Muhammad-Báqir, was given the title by Bahá'u'lláh of "the Wolf."

    [3] Bahá'u'lláh, the Kitáb-i Aqdas, K38; for ease of reference, the full paragraph is, "Be not dismayed, O peoples of the world, when the day star of My beauty is set, and the heaven of My tabernacle is concealed from your eyes. Arise to further My Cause, and to exalt My Word amongst men. We are with you at all times, and shall strengthen you through the power of truth. We are truly almighty. Whoso hath recognized Me, will arise and serve Me with such determination that the powers of earth and heaven shall be unable to defeat his purpose."

    [4] Most likely a typist's error, as it should be Saturday.

    [5] Agnes Parsons (1861-1934), of Washington DC, was a society matron and an early Bahá'í. She heard about the Bahá'í Faith in 1908 and became a confirmed believer during her pilgrimage to 'Akká in 1910. She was 'Abdu'l-Bahá's hostess during His stay in Washington and arranged for Him to visit Dublin, New Hampshire, her summer residence. On her second pilgrimage, in 1920, 'Abdu'l-Bahá instructed her to organize the first race amity conference, which she did in 1921, working closely with Louis Gregory. See Hollinger, Agnes Parsons' Diary; Bahá'í World, vol. 5, pp. 410-15; Morrison, To Move the World, pp. 134-43 and Whitehead, Some Bahá'ís to Remember, pp. 76-96.

    [6] John Ebenezer Esslemont M.B., Ch.B. (1874-1925), was a prominent British Bahá'í from Scotland. He was the author of the well-known introductory book on the Bahá'í Faith, Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era, which is still in circulation. He was named posthumously by Shoghi Effendi as the first of the Hand of the Cause he appointed, and as one of the Disciples of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He was also an accomplished physician and linguist, becoming proficient in western and eastern languages.

    [7] Esslemont, Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era, p. xiii, states, "I had the great privilege of spending two and a half months as the guest of 'Abdu'l-Bahá during the winter of 1919-1920."

    [8] Left blank in the original text with no explanation.

    [9] The first of two terms, musávát va múvását, is equality. However, the second term implies not just giving aid, but to give it willingly and with radiance. (Mina Yazdani, email, 15 February 2008.)

    [10] Dízí is made from áb-gúsht (the literal translation is "meat-water") and is a hearty, fairly uncomplicated workingman's stew made of very little meat – usually lamb shank on the bone – chick peas, white beans, potatoes, onions, and tomatoes (usually as paste) simmered for hours on low heat.

    [11] While Iranian executioners developed the means of skinning a person as a form of death sentence, this idiomatic expression has lingered to mean severe punishment.

    [12] It is likely that by the British, 'Abdu'l-Bahá had Protestant missionaries in mind.

    [13] It is likely that this is a reference to the automobile that was given to 'Abdu'l-Bahá as a gift by American Bahá'ís.

    [14] Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 15, states, "Consort with all men, O people of Bahá, in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship."

    [15] Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 94.

    [16] Bahá'u'lláh, The Persian Hidden Words, No. 57, "O Son of Dust! Beware! Walk not with the ungodly and seek not fellowship with him, for such companionship turneth the radiance of the heart into infernal fire."

    [17] Rumi (E.H. Whinfield translation), Mathnavi, vol. 2, book 11:

    Mo'avia, the first of the Ommiad Khalifas, was one day lying asleep in his palace, when he was awakened by a strange man. Mo'avia asked him who he was, and he replied that he was Iblis [Satan]. Mo'avia then asked him why he had awakened him, and Iblis replied that the hour of prayer was come, and he feared Mo'avia would be late. Mo'avia answered, 'Nay! it could never have been your intention to direct me in the right way.' ... Mo'avia, in reply, reproached him with concealing the truth, and ultimately brought him to confess that the true reason why he had awakened him was this, that if he had overslept himself, and so missed the hour of prayer, he would have felt deep sorrow and have heaved many sighs, and each of these sighs would, in the sight of God, have counted for as many as two hundred ordinary prayers.

    [18] A predecessor of the League of Nations were the international Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907). The Hague Confederation of States formed a broad alliance aiming at disarmament and the peaceful settlement of disputes through arbitration. Following the failure of the Hague Peace Conferences – a third conference had been planned for 1915 – the idea of the actual League of Nations appears to have originated with British Foreign Secretary Edward Grey, and it was enthusiastically adopted by the Democratic United States President Woodrow Wilson as a way of avoiding bloodshed like that of World War I. The creation of the League was a centerpiece of Wilson's Fourteen Points for Peace, specifically the final point, "A general association of nations must be formed under lenient covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike."

    The Paris Peace Conference accepted the proposal to create the League of Nations on January 25, 1919. The Covenant of the League of Nations was drafted by a special commission and the League was established by Part I of the Treaty of Versailles, which was signed on June 28, 1919. Initially, the Charter was signed by 44 states, including 31 states, which had taken part in the war on the side of the Triple Entente or joined it during the conflict. Despite Wilson's efforts to establish and promote the League, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919, the United States neither ratified the Charter nor joined the League due to opposition in the U.S. Senate, especially influential Republicans, together with Wilson's refusal to compromise.

    The League held its first meeting in London on January 10, 1920. Its first action was to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, officially ending World War I. The headquarters of the League moved to Geneva on November 1, 1920, where the first general assembly of the League was held on November 15, 1920 with representatives from 41 nations in attendance.

    It is of considerable interest that even before its first meeting in London, 'Abdu'l-Bahá appears to have anticipated the failure of the League of Nations.

    [19] Kalám refers to the Islamic philosophy of seeking theological principles through dialectic.

    [20] This appears to be a reference to Hosea 2:15: "And I will give her [Israel] her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt." The sin of Achan and the naming of the Valley of Achor (meaning "trouble" in Hebrew) is described in Joshua 7. Current scholars consider the valley of Achor to be Wadi El-Kelt, a deep ravine south of Jericho.

    [21] Historian believe that this town is probably to be identified with the Aak of the tribute of Thutmoses III (c. 1500 BC), and it is certainly the 'Akká of the Amarna letters. To the Hebrews it was known as Akko, but it is mentioned only once in the Old Testament, namely Judges 1:31, as one of the places from which the Israelites did not drive out the Canaanite inhabitants. Theoretically, it was in the territory of the tribe of Asher, and Josephus assigns it by name to the district of one of Solomon's provincial governors. Throughout the period of Hebrew domination, however, its political connections were always with Phoenicia rather than with the Philistines: thus, around 725 BC it joined Sidon and Tyre in a revolt against Shalmaneser V. It had a stormy history during the three centuries preceding the Christian era.

    [22] Surih 89 of Qur'an begins: "In the name of God, the Merciful and the Compassionate. By the dawn and ten nights!

    [23] Original shahlá, is also known as reddish-blue narcissus or daffodil.

    [24] Malikí or gívih are a form of inexpensive, thin cotton shoes typically worn in the summer. Since the visit to Haifa was taking place in the December-January period, during which Haifa can be cold and wet, it is rather surprising that well-to-do individuals wore such sandal-like shoes.

    [25] Hajjáj Ibn Yúsuf (661-714) of the tribe of Banu-Thaqif, was a ruthless administer during the early Umayyad Caliphate. He was appointed the governor of Iraq and is responsible for changing the official language of the country from Middle Persian to Arabic. His name became synonymous with horrific tyranny.

    [26] This expression appears in a number of places in the Báb's Writings. For instance, in the first báb of the first vahid of the Persian Bayán, it is stated, "Wherefore, O My Creation, worship Me! And know that he is the mirror of God, from whom the mirror of the physical universe is rendered luminous, which is made up of the Letters of the Living. In him none can be seen except God Himself."

    [27] According to Esslemont, Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era, p. xiii, 'Abdu'l-Bahá corrected a Persian translation of chapters 1, 2 and 5, and parts of 3.

    [28] Rosa rubiginosa, also known as eglantine.

    [29] Qandíl in the phrase shajarih qandíl is an Arabic expression for old-fashioned lanterns hanging from ceilings.

    [30] Referring to the type with many branches.

    [31] There are several biblical statements to this effect, including Matthew, 10:14: "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet."

    [32] Siyyid 'Alí Afnán had married Furughiyyih, a daughter of Bahá'u'lláh through His third wife. For details see, Mírzá Habíb Afnán, In the Land of Refuge: the Genesis of the Bahá'í Faith in Shiraz.

    [33] Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí was Bahá'u'lláh's son from His second wife, Mahd-'Ulyá.

    [34] Lit. Be under God's protection; a phrase often used by 'Abdu'l-Bahá to bid farewell.

    [35] These are expressions of humility in the Persian language.

    [36] This appears to be a reference to Zachariah, 6:12, "Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord."

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