as well as the administrative seats of the future Bahá'í Commonwealth; the conspicuous honor which the inhabitants of Bahá'u'lláh's native land in general, and its government in particular, must enjoy in a distant future; the unique and enviable position which the community of the Most Great Name in the North American continent must occupy, as a direct consequence of the execution of the world mission which He entrusted to them: finally they foreshadow, as the sum and summit of all, the "hoisting of the standard of God among all nations" and the unification of the entire human race, when "all men will adhere to one religion ... will be blended into one race, and become a single people."
Nor can the revolutionary changes in the great world which that ministry has witnessed be allowed to pass unnoticed--most of them flowing directly from the warnings which were uttered by the Báb, in the first chapter of His Qayyúmu'l-Asmá, on the very night of the Declaration of His Mission in Shíráz, and which were later reinforced by the pregnant passages addressed by Bahá'u'lláh to the kings of the earth and the world's religious leaders, in both the Súriy-i-Mulúk and the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. The conversion of the Portuguese monarchy and the Chinese empire into republics; the collapse of the Russian, the German and Austrian empires, and the ignominious fate which befell their rulers; the assassination of Násiri'd-Dín Sháh, the fall of Sultán `Abdu'l-Hamíd--these may be said to have marked further stages in the operation of that catastrophic process the inception of which was signalized in the lifetime of Bahá'u'lláh by the murder of Sultán `Abdu'l-`Azíz, by the dramatic downfall of Napoleon III, and the extinction of the Third Empire, and by the self-imposed imprisonment and virtual termination of the temporal sovereignty of the Pope himself. Later, after `Abdu'l-Bahá's passing, the same process was to be accelerated by the demise of the Qájár dynasty in Persia, by the overthrow of the Spanish monarchy, by the collapse of both the Sultanate and the Caliphate in Turkey, by a swift decline in the fortunes of Shí'ah Islám and of the Christian Missions in the East, and by the cruel fate that is now overtaking so many of the crowned heads of Europe.
Nor can this subject be dismissed without special reference to the names of those men of eminence and learning who were moved, at various stages of `Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry, to pay tribute not only to `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself but also to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. Such names as Count Leo Tolstoy, Prof. Arminius Vambery, Prof. Auguste Forel, Dr. David Starr Jordan, the Venerable Archdeacon Wilberforce, Prof.
Jowett of Balliol, Dr. T. K. Cheyne, Dr. Estlin Carpenter of Oxford University, Viscount Samuel of Carmel, Lord Lamington, Sir Valentine Chirol, Rabbi Stephen Wise, Prince Muhammad-`Alí of Egypt, Shaykh Muhammad `Abdu, Midhát Páshá, and Khurshíd Páshá attest, by virtue of the tributes associated with them, the great progress made by the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh under the brilliant leadership of His exalted Son--tributes whose impressiveness was, in later years, to be heightened by the historic, the repeated and written testimonies which a famous Queen, a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, was impelled to bequeath to posterity as a witness of her recognition of the prophetic mission of Bahá'u'lláh.
As for those enemies who have sedulously sought to extinguish the light of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, the condign punishment they have been made to suffer is no less conspicuous than the doom which overtook those who, in an earlier period, had so basely endeavored to crush the hopes of a rising Faith and destroy its foundations.
To the assassination of the tyrannical Násiri'd-Dín Sháh and the subsequent extinction of the Qájár dynasty reference has already been made. Sultán `Abdu'l-Hamíd, after his deposition, was made a prisoner of state and condemned to a life of complete obscurity and humiliation, scorned by his fellow-rulers and vilified by his subjects. The bloodthirsty Jamál Páshá, who had resolved to crucify `Abdu'l-Bahá and raze to the ground Bahá'u'lláh's holy Tomb, had to flee for his life and was slain, while a refugee in the Caucasus, by the hand of an Armenian whose fellow-compatriots he had so pitilessly persecuted. The scheming Jamálu'd-Dín Afghání, whose relentless hostility and powerful influence had been so gravely detrimental to the progress of the Faith in Near Eastern countries, was, after a checkered career filled with vicissitudes, stricken with cancer, and having had a major part of his tongue cut away in an unsuccessful operation perished in misery. The four members of the ill-fated Commission of Inquiry, despatched from Constantinople to seal the fate of `Abdu'l-Bahá, suffered, each in his turn, a humiliation hardly less drastic than that which they had planned for Him. Árif Bey, the head of the Commission, seeking stealthily at midnight to flee from the wrath of the Young Turks, was shot dead by a sentry. Adham Bey succeeded in escaping to Egypt, but was robbed of his possessions by his servant on the way, and was in the end compelled to seek financial assistance from the Bahá'ís of Cairo, a request which was not refused. Later he sought help from `Abdu'l-Bahá, Who immediately directed the believers to present him with a sum on His behalf, an instruction
which they were unable to carry out owing to his sudden disappearance. Of the other two members, one was exiled to a remote place, and the other died soon after in abject poverty. The notorious Yahyá Bey, the Chief of the Police in Akká, a willing and powerful tool in the hand of Mírzá Muhammad-`Alí, the arch-breaker of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, witnessed the frustration of all the hopes he had cherished, lost his position, and had eventually to beg for pecuniary assistance from `Abdu'l-Bahá. In Constantinople, in the year which witnessed the downfall of `Abdu'l-Hamíd, no less than thirty-one dignitaries of the state, including ministers and other high officers of the government, among whom numbered redoubtable enemies of the Faith, were, in a single day, arrested and condemned to the gallows, a spectacular retribution for the part they had played in upholding a tyrannical regime and in endeavoring to extirpate the Faith and its institutions.
In Persia, apart from the sovereign who had, in the full tide of his hopes and the plenitude of his power, been removed from the scene in so startling a manner, a number of princes, ministers and mujtahids, who had actively participated in the suppression of a persecuted community, including Kámrán Mírzá, the Ná'ibú's-Saltanih, the Jalálu'd-Dawlih and Mírzá `Alí-Asghar Khán, the Atábik-i-A'zam, and Shaykh Muhammad-Taqíy-i-Najafí, the "Son of the Wolf," lost, one by one, their prestige and authority, sank into obscurity, abandoned all hope of achieving their malevolent purpose, and lived, some of them, long enough to behold the initial evidences of the ascendancy of a Cause they had so greatly feared and so vehemently hated.
When we note that in the Holy Land, in Persia, and in the United States of America certain exponents of Christian ecclesiasticism such as Vatralsky, Wilson, Richardson or Easton, observing, and in some cases fearing, the vigorous advances made by the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in Christian lands, arose to stem its progress; and when we watch the recent and steady deterioration of their influence, the decline of their power, the confusion in their ranks and the dissolution of some of their old standing missions and institutions, in Europe, in the Middle East and in Eastern Asia--may we not attribute this weakening to the opposition which members of various Christian sacerdotal orders began, in the course of `Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry, to evince towards the followers and institutions of a Faith which claims to be no less than the fulfilment of the Promise given by Jesus Christ, and the establisher of the Kingdom He Himself had prayed for and foretold?
And finally, he who, from the moment the Divine Covenant was born until the end of his life, showed a hatred more unrelenting than that which animated the afore-mentioned adversaries of `Abdu'l-Bahá, who plotted more energetically than any one of them against Him, and afflicted his Father's Faith with a shame more grievous than any which its external enemies had inflicted upon it--such a man, together with the infamous crew of Covenant-breakers whom he had misled and instigated, was condemned to witness, in a growing measure, as had been the case with Mírzá Yahyá and his henchmen, the frustration of his evil designs, the evaporation of all his hopes, the exposition of his true motives and the complete extinction of his erstwhile honor and glory. His brother, Mírzá Díya'u'lláh, died prematurely; Mírzá Áqá Ján, his dupe, followed that same brother, three years later, to the grave; and Mírzá Badí'u'lláh, his chief accomplice, betrayed his cause, published a signed denunciation of his evil acts, but rejoined him again, only to be alienated from him in consequence of the scandalous behavior of his own daughter. Mírzá Muhammad-`Alí's half-sister, Furúghíyyih, died of cancer, whilst her husband, Siyyid `Alí, passed away from a heart attack before his sons could reach him, the eldest being subsequently stricken in the prime of life, by the same malady. Muhammad-Javád-i-Qazvíní, a notorious Covenant-breaker, perished miserably. Shu`á`u'lláh who, as witnessed by `Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will, had counted on the murder of the Center of the Covenant, and who had been despatched to the United States by his father to join forces with Ibráhím Khayru'lláh, returned crestfallen and empty-handed from his inglorious mission. Jamál-i-Burújirdí, Mírzá Muhammad-`Alí's ablest lieutenant in Persia, fell a prey to a fatal and loathsome disease; Siyyid Mihdíy-i-Dahají, who, betraying `Abdu'l-Bahá, joined the Covenant-breakers, died in obscurity and poverty, followed by his wife and his two sons; Mírzá Husayn-`Alíy-i-Jahrúmí, Mírzá Husayn-i-Shírázíy-i-Khurtúmí and Hájí Muhammad-Husayn-i-Káshání, who represented the arch-breaker of the Covenant in Persia, India and Egypt, failed utterly in their missions; whilst the greedy and conceited Ibráhím-i-Khayru'lláh, who had chosen to uphold the banner of his rebellion in America for no less than twenty years, and who had the temerity to denounce, in writing, `Abdu'l-Bahá, His "false teachings, His misrepresentations of Bahaism, His dissimulation," and to stigmatize His visit to America as "a death-blow" to the "Cause of God," met his death soon after he had uttered these denunciations, utterly abandoned and despised by the entire body of the members of a community, whose founders he himself
had converted to the Faith, and in the very land that bore witness to the multiplying evidences of the established ascendancy of `Abdu'l-Bahá, Whose authority he had, in his later years, vowed to uproot.
As to those who had openly espoused the cause of this arch-breaker of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, or who had secretly sympathized with him, whilst outwardly supporting `Abdu'l-Bahá, some eventually repented and were forgiven; others became disillusioned and lost their faith entirely; a few apostatized, whilst the rest dwindled away, leaving him in the end, except for a handful of his relatives, alone and unsupported. Surviving `Abdu'l-Bahá by almost twenty years, he who had so audaciously affirmed to His face that he had no assurance he might outlive Him, lived long enough to witness the utter bankruptcy of his cause, leading meanwhile a wretched existence within the walls of a Mansion that had once housed a crowd of his supporters; was denied by the civil authorities, as a result of the crisis he had after `Abdu'l-Bahá's passing foolishly precipitated, the official custody of his Father's Tomb; was compelled, a few years later, to vacate that same Mansion, which, through his flagrant neglect, had fallen into a dilapidated condition; was stricken with paralysis which crippled half his body; lay bedridden in pain for months before he died; and was buried according to Muslim rites, in the immediate vicinity of a local Muslim shrine, his grave remaining until the present day devoid of even a tombstone--a pitiful reminder of the hollowness of the claims he had advanced, of the depths of infamy to which he had sunk, and of the severity of the retribution his acts had so richly merited.
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