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Abstract:
Extensive account of the 1912 travels of Abdu'l-Baha in the West.
Notes:
The Universal House of Justice states of this work that it "...attaches great importance to this work which, as you may know, is regarded as a reliable account of `Abdu'l-Bahá's travels in the West and an authentic record of His utterances, whether in the form of formal talks, table talks or random oral statements. Mírzá Mahmúd was a careful and faithful chronicler and engaged in assembling and publishing his work with the permission of the beloved Master, as he states in the Introduction. Indeed, Shoghi Effendi drew upon it for details about the Master's visit to the West in writing God Passes By..."

In response to a question whether the translation as a whole (including the observations of Mahmúd) were approved, the publisher states "The translation as a whole has not been 'approved' but, as mentioned in the Note from the Publisher at the beginning of the book: 'The translations of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's words recorded in the present volume were read and revised at the Bahá'í World Centre."

As the digital copy of this text was taken from a version prior to final editing, there may be some discrepancies between this and the printed work. We have divided the book into "chapters" according to the month of the diary entry to allow for manageable online viewing (though the book can also be viewed as a whole if desired), but the book itself does not separate itself into chapters.

Add or read links or comments pertaining to this work here. This work has been approved to be reproduced here by George Ronald, Publisher. You can purchase a copy of this book here.


Mahmúd's Diary:
The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Journey to America

by Abdu'l-Bahá and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani

translated by Mohi Sobhani.
edited by Shirley Macias.
Oxford: George Ronald, 1998
originally published as "Badáyi'u'l-Áthar, vol. 1" in Persian.
single page chapter 1 next chapter
Mahmúd's Diary





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Mahmúd's Diary

The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání
Chronicling `Abdu'l-Bahá's Journey to America


translated by
Mohi Sobhani

with the assistance of
Shirley Macias

George Ronald
Oxford



George Ronald, Publisher
46 High Street, Kidlington, Oxford OX5 2DN

Â(c) This translation Mohi Sobhani 1997
All Rights Reserved

A catalogue record for this book is available
from the British Library

ISBN 0-85398-418-2


Contents

Click here to jump to a talk by date.
Click here to jump to a talk by page.
Or click here to view entire book.


A Note from the Publishervii
Mahmúd's Diary1
Preface3
Introduction9
The Diary11
Biographical Notes435
Bibliography455
References and Notes459
Index497

March April May June July August September October November December
Monday, March 25, 1912'Abdu'l-Bahá's departure from Ramleh, Alexandria
Tuesday, March 26, 1912[aboard the Cedric]
Wednesday, March 27, 1912[aboard the Cedric]
Thursday morning, March 28, 1912[aboard the Cedric]
Friday, March 29, 1912[aboard the Cedric]
Saturday, March 30, 1912[aboard the Cedric]
Sunday, March 31, 1912[aboard the Cedric]
Monday, April 1, 1912[aboard the Cedric]
Tuesday, April 2, 1912[aboard the Cedric]
Wednesday, April 3, 1912[aboard the Cedric]
Thursday, April 4, 1912[aboard the Cedric]
Friday, April 5, 1912[aboard the Cedric]
Saturday, April 6, 1912[aboard the Cedric]
Sunday, April 7, 1912[aboard the Cedric]
Monday, April 8, 1912[aboard the Cedric]
Tuesday, April 9, 1912[aboard the Cedric]
Wednesday, April 10, 1912 [Thursday, April 11, 1912]`Abdu'l-Bahá's Arrival in New York City
Thursday, April 11, 1912[New York]
Friday, April 12, 1912[New York]
Saturday, April 13, 1912[New York]
Sunday, April 14, 1912[New York]
Monday, April 15, 1992[New York]
Tuesday, April 16, 1912[New York]
Wednesday, April 17, 1912[New York]
Thursday, April 18, 1912[New York]
Friday, April 19, 1912[New York]
Saturday, April 20, 1912[en route to Washington DC]
Sunday, April 21, 1912[Washington DC]
Monday, April 22, 1912[Washington DC]
Tuesday, April 23, 1912[Washington DC]
Wednesday, April 24, 1912[Washington DC]
Thursday, April 25, 1912[Washington DC]
Friday, April 26, 1912[Washington DC]
Saturday, April 27, 1912[Washington DC]
Sunday, April 28, 1912[Washington DC, en route to Chicago]
Monday, April 29, 1912[Chicago]
Tuesday, April 30, 1912[Chicago]
Wednesday, May 1, 1912[Chicago]
Thursday, May 2, 1912[Chicago]
Friday, May 3, 1912[Chicago]
Saturday, May 4, 1912[Chicago]
Sunday, May 5, 1912[Chicago]
Monday, May 6, 1912[Chicago -- Cleveland]
Tuesday, May 7, 1912[Cleveland -- Pittsburgh]
Wednesday, May 8, 1912[Pittsburgh -- Washington DC]
Thursday, May 9, 1912[Washington DC]
Friday, May 10, 1912[Washington DC]
Saturday, May 11, 1912[Washington DC -- New York]
Sunday, May 12, 1912[New York -- New Jersey -- New York]
Monday, May 13, 1912[New York]
Tuesday, May 14, 1912[New York]
Wednesday, May 15, 1912[Lake Mohonk]
Thursday, May 16, 1912[Lake Mohonk -- New York]
Friday, May 17, 1912[New York]
Saturday, May 18, 1912[New York]
Sunday, May 19, 1912[New York -- New Jersey]
Monday, May 20, 1912[New York]
Tuesday, May 21, 1912[New York]
Wednesday, May 22, 1912[New York -- Boston]
Thursday, May 23, 1912[Boston]
Friday, May 24, 1912[Boston -- Brookline -- Boston]
Saturday, May 25, 1912[Boston]
Sunday, May 26, 1912[Boston -- New York]
Monday, May 27, 1912[New York]
Tuesday, May 28, 1912[New York]
Wednesday, May 29, 1912[New York]
Thursday, May 30, 1912[New York]
Friday, May 31, 1912[New Jersey]
Saturday, June 1, 1912[New Jersey -- New York]
Sunday, June 2, 1912[New York]
Monday, June 3, 1912[New York]
Tuesday, June 4, 1912[New York]
Wednesday, June 5, 1912[New York]
Thursday, June 6, 1912[New York -- Brooklyn -- New York]
Friday, June 7, 1912[New York -- Philadelphia]
Saturday, June 8, 1912[Philadelphia]
Sunday, June 9, 1912[Philadelphia -- New York]
Monday, June 10, 1912[New York]
Tuesday, June 11, 1912[New York]
Wednesday, June 12, 1912[New York]
Thursday, June 13, 1912[New York]
Friday, June 14, 1912[New York]
Saturday, June 15, 1912[New York -- Brooklyn]
Sunday, June 16, 1912[New York]
Monday, June 17, 1912[New York -- Brooklyn -- New York]
Tuesday, June 18, 1912[New York]
Wednesday, June 19, 1912[New York]
Thursday, June 20, 1912[Montclair]
Friday, June 21, 1912[Montclair]
Saturday, June 22, 1912[Montclair]
Sunday, June 23, 1912[Montclair]
Monday, June 24, 1912[Montclair]
Tuesday, June 25, 1912[Montclair]
Wednesday, June 26, 1912[Montclair -- Newark]
Thursday, June 27, 1912[Newark -- Montclair]
Friday, June 28, 1912[Montclair -- West Englewood]
Saturday, June 29, 1912[West Englewood]
Sunday, June 30, 1912[New York]
Monday, July 1, 1912[New York]
Tuesday, July 2, 1912[New York]
Wednesday, July 3, 1912[New York]
Thursday, July 4, 1912[New York]
Friday, July 5, 1912[New York]
Saturday, July 6, 1912[New York]
Sunday, July 7, 1912[New York]
Monday, July 8, 1912[New York]
Tuesday, July 9, 1912[New York]
Wednesday, July 10, 1912[New York]
Thursday, July 11, 1912[New York]
Friday, July 12, 1912[New York]
Saturday, July 13, 1912[New York -- West Englewood]
Sunday, July 14, 1912[West Englewood -- New York]
Monday, July 15, 1912[New York -- Brooklyn]
Tuesday, July 16, 1912[Brooklyn -- New York]
Wednesday, July 17, 1912[New York]
Thursday, July 18, 1912[New York]
Friday, July 19, 1912[New York]
Saturday, July 20, 1912[New York -- New Jersey]
Sunday, July 21, 1912[New York]
Monday, July 22, 1912[New York]
Tuesday, July 23, 1912[New York -- Boston]
Wednesday, July 24, 1912[Boston]
Thursday, July 25, 1912[Boston]
Friday, July 26, 1912[Dublin]
Saturday, July 27, 1912[Dublin]
Sunday, July 28, 1912[Dublin]
Monday, July 29, 1912[Dublin]
Tuesday, July 30, 1912[Dublin]
Wednesday, July 31, 1912[Dublin]
Thursday, August 1, 1912[Dublin]
Friday, August 2, 1912[Dublin]
Saturday, August 3, 1912[Dublin]
Sunday, August 4, 1912[Dublin]
Monday, August 5, 1912[Dublin]
Tuesday, August 6, 1912[Dublin]
Wednesday, August 7, 1912[Dublin]
Tuesday, August 8, 1912[Dublin]
Friday, August 9, 1912[Dublin]
Saturday, August 10, 1912[Dublin]
Sunday, August 11, 1912[Dublin]
Monday, August 12, 1912[Dublin]
Tuesday, August 13, 1912[Dublin]
Wednesday, August 14, 1912[Dublin]
Thursday, August 15, 1912[Dublin]
Friday, August 16, 1912[Dublin -- Green Acre]
Monday, August 17, 1912[Green Acre]
Sunday, August 18, 1912[Green Acre]
Monday, August 19, 1912[Green Acre]
Tuesday, August 20, 1912[Green Acre]
Wednesday, August 21, 1912[Green Acre]
Thursday, August 22, 1912[Green Acre]
Saturday, August 23, 1912[Green Acre]
Sunday, August 24, 1912[Malden]
Monday, August 25, 1912[Malden]
Monday, August 26, 1912[Malden]
Tuesday, August 27, 1912[Malden]
Wednesday, August 28, 1912[Malden]
Thursday, August 29, 1912[Malden]
Friday, August 30, 1912[Malden -- Montreal]
Friday, August 31, 1912[Montreal]
Saturday, September 1, 1912[Montreal]
Monday, September 2, 1912[Montreal]
Tuesday, September 3, 1912[Montreal]
Wednesday, September 4, 1912[Montreal]
Thursday, September 5, 1912[Montreal]
Friday, September 6, 1912[Montreal]
Saturday, September 7, 1912[Montreal]
Sunday, September 8, 1912[Montreal]
Monday, September 9, 1912[Montreal -- Toronto -- Buffalo]
Tuesday, September 10, 1912[Buffalo]
Wednesday, September 11, 1912[Buffalo]
Thursday, September 12, 1912[Buffalo -- Chicago]
Friday, September 13, 1912[Chicago]
Saturday, September 14, 1912[Chicago, Illinois]
Sunday, September 15, 1912[Chicago -- Kenosha]
Monday, September 16, 1912[Kenosha -- Chicago]
Tuesday, September 17, 1912[Chicago -- Minneapolis]
Wednesday, September 18, 1912[Minneapolis]
Thursday, September 19, 1912[Minneapolis -- St Paul]
Friday, September 20, 1912[Minneapolis -- Denver]
Saturday, September 21, 1912[Omaha -- Lincoln]
Sunday, September 22, 1912[Lincoln]
Monday, September 23, 1912[Denver]
Tuesday, September 24, 1912[Denver]
Wednesday, September 25, 1912[Denver]
Thursday, September 26, 1912[Denver]
Friday, September 27, 1912[Glenwood Springs]
Saturday, September 28, 1912[En route to Salt Lake City]
Sunday, September 29, 1912[Salt Lake City]
Monday, September 30, 1912[Salt Lake City, en route to California]
Monday night, eve of 1 October 1912[San Francisco]
Tuesday, October 1, 1912[San Francisco]
Wednesday, October 2, 1912[San Francisco -- Oakland]
Thursday, October 3, 1912[San Francisco]
Friday, October 4, 1912[San Francisco]
Saturday, October 5, 1912[San Francisco]
Sunday, October 6, 1912[San Francisco]
Monday, October 7, 1912[San Francisco]
Tuesday, October 8, 1912[San Francisco -- Palo Alto]
Wednesday, October 9, 1912[Palo Alto -- San Francisco]
Thursday, October 10, 1912[San Francisco]
Friday, October 11, 1912[San Francisco]
Saturday, October 12, 1912[San Francisco]
Sunday, October 13, 1912[San Francisco -- Pleasanton]
Monday, October 14, 1912[Pleasanton]
Tuesday, October 15, 1912[Pleasanton]
Wednesday, October 16, 1912[Pleasanton -- San Francisco -- Oakland]
Thursday, October 17, 1912[Oakland -- San Francisco]
Friday, October 18, 1912[San Francisco -- Los Angeles]
Saturday, October 19, 1912[Los Angeles]
Sunday, October 20, 1912[Los Angeles]
Monday, October 21, 1912[Los Angeles]
Tuesday, October 22, 1912[San Francisco]
Wednesday, October 23, 1912[San Francisco -- Oakland]
Thursday, October 24, 1912[San Francisco]
Friday, October 25, 1912[San Francisco -- Sacramento]
Saturday, October 26, 1912[Sacramento]
Sunday, October 27, 1912[En route to Salt Lake City]
Monday, October 28, 1912[en route to Denver]
Tuesday, October 29, 1912[Denver]
Wednesday, October 30, 1912[En route from Denver to Chicago]
Thursday, October 31, 1912[En route from Denver to Chicago]
Friday, November 1, 1912[Chicago]
Saturday, November 2, 1912[Chicago]
Sunday, November 3, 1912[Chicago]
Monday, November 4, 1912[Chicago -- Cincinnati]
Tuesday, November 5, 1912[Cincinnati]
Wednesday, November 6, 1912[Washington DC]
Thursday, November 7, 1912[Washington DC]
Friday, November 8, 1912[Washington DC]
Saturday, November 9, 1912[Washington DC]
Sunday, November 10, 1912[Washington DC]
Monday, November 11, 1912[Washington DC -- Baltimore]
Tuesday, November 12, 1912[New York]
Wednesday, November 13, 1912[New York]
Thursday, November 14, 1912[New York]
Saturday, November 15, 1912[New York]
Saturday, November 16, 1912[New York]
Sunday, November 17, 1912[New York]
Monday, November 18, 1912[New York]
Tuesday, November 19, 1912[New York]
Wednesday, November 20, 1912[New York]
Thursday, November 21, 1912[New York]
Friday, November 22, 1912[New York]
Saturday, November 23, 1912[New York]
Sunday, November 24, 1912[New York]
Monday, November 25, 1912[New York]
Tuesday, November 26, 1912[New York]
Wednesday, November 27, 1912[New York]
Thursday, November 28, 1912[New York]
Friday, November 29, 1912[New York]
Saturday, November 30, 1912[New York]
Sunday, December 1, 1912[New York]
Monday, December 2, 1912[New York]
Tuesday, December 3, 1912[New York]
Wednesday, December 4, 1912[New York]
Thursday, December 5, 1912[New York]
(Ending)

Click on any of the numbers below to jump to a specific page of Mahmúd's Diary:

vii viii ix 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400 401 402 403 404 405 406 407 408 409 410 411 412 413 414 415 416 417 418 419 420 421 422 423 424 425 426 427 428 429 430 431 432 433 434 435 436 437 438 439 440 441 442 443 444 445 446 447 448 449 450 451 452 453 454 455 456 457 458 459 461 462 463 464 465 466 467 468 469 470 471 472 473 474 475 476 477 478 479 480 481 482 483 484 485 486 487 488 489 490 491 492 493 494 495 496 497 498 499 500 501 502 503 504 505 506 507 508 509 510 511 512 513 514 515 516 517 518 519 520 521 522 523 524 525 526


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A Note from the Publisher
In the spring of 1912 `Abdu'l-Bahá set off from Alexandria on His historic journey to America. Among his small entourage was Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání, who became, in the words of Shoghi Effendi, `the chronicler of His travels'.
Mírzá Mahmúd had made a number of teaching trips through Iran and in 1903 began to teach the Bahá'í Faith in India. He was, therefore, already a seasoned traveller by the time `Abdu'l-Bahá asked him to journey with Him to the West. Mírzá Mahmúd went everywhere with `Abdu'l-Bahá, making extensive notes not only of the Master's many public talks and conversations with individuals but also of the new sights and experiences they found in America as well as the daily routines of eating, writing letters and travelling. Mahmúd remarks on the novelty of the New York skyscrapers, electric lights and American foods and customs for `Abdu'l-Bahá's party as well as the picturesque spectacle provided to the Americans by His entourage in their `abás and Persian hats.
`Abdu'l-Bahá's journey across America was remarkable. He was 68 years old and had been a prisoner most of His life. When He set out from Egypt He was unwell and planned only to travel to the American East coast and to Chicago. However, the American Bahá'ís begged Him to visit their communities and He undertook the strenuous three thousand-mile journey across the continent by train, sitting up most nights in a chair rather than spend money on a sleeping compartment. He spoke at public meetings nearly every day, sometimes three times a day, and gave hundreds of private interviews. His hectic and exhausting schedule is well-documented by Mírzá Mahmúd, who frequently alludes to the anxiety of the Master's companions over His health. Mahmúd's telling references to the simplicity of `Abdu'l-Bahá's lifestyle -- `For dinner `Abdu'l-Bahá ate only a little bread and cheese and went to bed' -- contrast with the opulent lives lived by many of the Americans who visited Him.
The present work is a translation of the first volume of Mahmúd's Badáyi`u'l-Átha'r, an impressive documentary which he appears to have written from his notes on his return to the Middle East in 1913. Mahmúd made extensive notes of many of `Abdu'l-Bahá's major talks and various private conversations. The translations of `Abdu'l-Bahá's words recorded in the present volume were read and revised at the Bahá'í World Centre. The publisher is grateful to Kalimát Press, who undertook the original translations of these passages, for their kind permission to use these translations in the present volume.
The Universal House of Justice, in a letter of April 30, 1984 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States, stated that it
. . . attaches great importance to this work which, as you may know, is regarded as a reliable account of `Abdu'l-Bahá's travels in the West and an authentic record of His utterances, whether in the form of formal talks, table talks or random oral statements. Mírzá Mahmúd was a careful and faithful chronicler and engaged in assembling and publishing his work with the permission of the beloved Master, as he states in the Introduction. Indeed, Shoghi Effendi drew upon it for details about the Master's visit to the West in writing God Passes By . . .
Mahmúd wrote in Persian in an ornate style not often used for English prose. Certain phrases common in Persian are inelegant when translated into English and these have, for the most part, been omitted, for example, `His Luminous Presence', `His blessed Person' and so on. The Universal House of Justice itself, in a letter of July 24, 1987, to a publisher advised that the word `Hadrat', meaning `His Holiness', `should not be used in this translation, especially when referring to `Abdu'l-Bahá'. However, without burdening the work with many of the flowery descriptions that may seem peculiar to a reader of English, the translator has tried to retain the flavor of the original Persian. Mírzá Mahmúd was, after all, a Persian and brought his own culture to bear on his American experience.
To assist the reader, the publisher has added explanatory endnotes and biographical notes on many of the people mentioned in the diary. These do not form part of the original text.
The names of some of the people mentioned in the text are unclear. Mahmúd recorded in Persian the names of Americans as he heard them pronounced. As not all vowels are written in Persian, it is not always possible to be sure which name is meant. For example, the name of Mr and Mrs Killius when written in Persian script could also be read as Clives and it is only be careful research that the correct spelling has been found. Some of the people mentioned are not named in English-language Bahá'í histories and we cannot therefore be certain how their names should be rendered.
Mahmúd occasionally mistakes the date of a particular event or talk by `Abdu'l-Bahá. This may be due to his unfamiliarity with the Gregorian calendar or that he was apparently writing some time after his return from the West.
The sheer volume of `Abdu'l-Bahá's activities and the pace He set Himself as He traveled made Mírzá Mahmúd's work more difficult than that of most diarists. That he wrote so comprehensively and so accurately under such circumstances is a tribute to his devotion to `Abdu'l-Bahá and to his skill as a chronicler.



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Mahmúd's Diary



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Preface
In the Name of God, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious
Praise and gratitude be to the Lord of the Kingdom of attributes and names for the Manifestation of His Greatest Name [Bahá'u'lláh], through whom the principles of peace and the tranquillity of humankind have been revealed and the foundation for the salvation of the peoples of the world has been laid; and for the appearance of the Mystery of God [`Abdu'l-Bahá],1 who has raised the standard of universal peace and pitched the tabernacle of unity for all humankind. He has delivered the people of Bahá from the darkness of prejudice and blind imitation and illumined them with the light of divine knowledge and unity. He has safeguarded them from the idle fancies of the people of negation and discord and protected them from the mischief and rancor of the Covenant-breakers. Thus under the banner of His mighty Covenant, diverse peoples have become united and with the utmost zeal have arisen to spread abroad the light of unity and love. They are spreading the principle of the unity of religions and discovering the secrets of harmony and fellowship. They have become the lovers of humankind and the propagators of peace and tranquillity in the world of humanity. They have burned the veils of vain imaginings and of religious, political, national and gender prejudices, and with heart and soul are serving the children of men, who are all citizens of one country and members of one family.
The people of Bahá have unveiled the shortcomings of the material world, knowing a divine civilization to be the highest honor and best mantle for humankind. With God's assistance and through the power of His Covenant, they have made extraordinary progress and in this enlightened age have transformed the thoughts and caused the upliftment of human character. May God increase their power, might, perfection and grandeur and assist them through the Concourse on High and the Hosts of the Abhá Kingdom! Verily, He is mighty over all things. Light and glory, salutation and praise be upon the Dawning-Places of His Cause among His people and the Day-Springs of the revelation of His grace to His creation, through whom the sovereignty of God is manifested in this world and His guidance provided by One through whose exalted efforts the signs of glory and might have been spread and the banners of power and grandeur have been raised: the Greatest Branch of God, the Ancient Mystery, the Will of God, who has branched out from the Ancient Root; He whom God has chosen for His Cause in this century of light, appointed to protect the world and succor all who are on earth and in heaven. O God, cause us to circle round His desire, to be obedient to His will, to hold fast to the robe of His bestowals and to remain steadfast in His Covenant and Testament. Verily, He is Victorious, the Self-Subsistent, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
This humble servant [Mahmúd Zarqání] was the recipient of such great bounty and love from the One round whom circle all Names, the Source of all generosity and grace -- `Abdu'l-Bahá (may my life be a ransom for His friends who are steadfast and firm in His Covenant) -- in whose company he traveled in Europe and America as part of His entourage. As I wrote to share the glad tidings of the Master's talks with the friends in the East, to inform them of the great events taking place -- the spread of the teachings of God, the majesty of God's Covenant in both America and Europe, the onrush of many highly respected people, men and women alike, the reverence shown to Him by the clergy of all denominations and the praise of many philosophers -- I was overwhelmed. I felt compelled to speak and my pen trembled in my hand. Although brief and inadequate, this chronicle attempts to describe the majesty and grandeur of the Center of God's Covenant and the power and authority of the words of God He uttered in both public and private gatherings. Recently, the most great Mystery of God, with complete and perfect joy and enthusiasm, returned to Port Said. Once again the emanations of His light illumined the horizon of the East. The hearts of the Eastern friends were filled with joy and elation. A few of the believers, especially Hájí Mírzá Haydar `Alí (may my life be a ransom for his humility before the presence of `Abdu'l-Bahá) asked me to collect and organize `Abdu'l-Bahá's talks, to describe the events related to His journey in the West and to publish this for the delight of the believers and as an aid for those who seek truth. After obtaining permission from the Center of the Covenant, I began collecting and organizing all the papers and notes so that the readers might obtain a clear understanding of the importance and significance of this journey and, in particular, that the people of the East might pay due respect for this great event and be everlastingly thankful for this heavenly blessing and honor. At the present time, the peoples and governments of America and Europe, who are extremely proud of their material and technological progress and civilization, look upon the inhabitants of the East with disdain and prejudice and consider them to be a most uncivilized and ignorant people, as demonstrated by the imposition of their unjust rule over them. At such a time has a majestic Sun shed its light from the horizon of the East and a brilliant Star appeared over the Eastern horizon in such wise that these proud and so-called civilized peoples have become humble and been inspired to pay homage to the Light from the East.
The first point to consider is the effect that `Abdu'l-Bahá had when He traveled from the East and directed His attention towards the thousands of eminent men and women of the West, clergy of all denominations and highly regarded philosophers of America and Europe who paid the highest respect to Him at the many gatherings in churches, synagogues and large halls, and who praised Him and acknowledged the greatness and the excellence of His character.
Second is to observe the wisdom, perfection and style of His speech and discourse as He answered questions, whether from individuals or at public gatherings. The manner of His response was so flawless and His reasoning so profound that inquirers were completely satisfied, without a hint of objection.
Third is the transformation that occurred in the hearts of the people who were attracted by the penetrating power of His utterance. In every meeting, both public and private, there was great exhilaration in people's hearts. How many eyes wept through joy and happiness, and how many lips, wreathed in smiles, praised Him most highly!
Fourth is the large number of clergymen and presidents of societies who felt highly honored to have Him in their midst and who openly acknowledged His high station, His vast knowledge and the greatness of His teachings.
Fifth is the recognition of the greatness of the Cause of God and loftiness of the station of God's Covenant as published in several journals, newspapers, books and articles written by scholars and philosophers of both America and Europe. Because the translations of these articles and publications are by themselves sufficient to fill a book, they will be published separately.
Sixth is His courage, the potency of His utterances and the power of reasoning in His talks, talks which demonstrated the validity of the Christian teachings in Jewish synagogues and the reality of Islam in Christian churches; His elucidation of the proofs of the existence of God and the immortality of the human soul to the materialists and agnostics; and the offering of solutions to the complex economic problems of the world to gatherings of socialists, the promulgation of the teachings and principles of this new Dispensation with the glad tidings of the appearance of the promised Manifestation of God and the establishment of His dominion in the world and His command to spread this Cause throughout the world. `Abdu'l-Bahá's talks and discourses will eventually make an enormous collection. Now they are being gradually compiled and will be presented to Him for His approval, after which they will be published.2
Seventh is the Master's renunciation of all comfort, rest and concern for His own health in spreading the teachings of God. How many nights He could not sleep despite His overwhelming exhaustion and how many days He found not a moment's rest owing to the rush of people, the gathering of such large numbers and His continuous discussions with them about the Cause of God! His travels over long distances across land and sea left Him no rest or comfort. Each day a new physical weakness and suffering appeared. Nevertheless, He always preferred servitude to the threshold of the Abhá Beauty above His own comfort and health. His constant joy and enthusiasm amazed us. These qualities are not attainable except through the power of the Holy Spirit and assistance from on High.
Eighth is the progress of the Cause and the increase in the numbers of new believers in both Europe and America resulting from `Abdu'l-Bahá's journey. Many prominent people became aware of the need to investigate the Cause of God and were willing to accept its independent nature.
And ninth is `Abdu'l-Bahá's selflessness, His refusal to accept assistance, gifts, funds or recompense from anyone; rather, He bestowed aid on the poor and needy in the cities He visited. This had a powerful impact on many souls and amazed them. Before setting out on this journey, `Abdu'l-Bahá often admonished His entourage that `In these travels, we shall conform to the saying of Christ that when you leave a city you should be so detached as not to allow even the dust of that place to settle on your garment.'3
When `Abdu'l-Bahá accepted the invitations from the organizers of the peace congresses to travel to America, believers from all parts of the country offered to contribute towards His expenses. They collected a large sum [$16,000] and sent it to Him in two separate drafts. When the first draft arrived, He immediately returned it to its sender. From Alexandria, Egypt, He wrote to Mírzá Ahmad Sohrab, who was then in Washington DC, and firmly instructed him to return the funds immediately to the contributors, telling them that `Abdu'l-Bahá had sufficient money for the journey, otherwise He would have accepted their offer. `Abdu'l-Bahá later revealed many Tablets on this subject which He sent to the friends in America. `Abdu'l-Bahá's action was widely publicized in various newspapers in Egypt and many non-Bahá'ís were witness to His selflessness and detachment from material wealth.
What follows are some of the great and important results of this historic and blessed journey, the contemplation of which brings great joy and happiness to those who witnessed them. For the sake of brevity, the less important events and daily routine are omitted (even though their sweet savor is greatly appreciated by the friends). The major events of the Master's journey are being recorded daily and will be presented in two volumes. The first volume concerns `Abdu'l-Bahá's journey to America [this volume]; the other will describe His journeys in Europe.4 I beseech the Omnipotent God to protect me from errors and omissions, to assist me to elevate His great Cause and to expound His everlasting, mighty Covenant. Verily, He is the Merciful, the Loving and the Most Kind.


Introduction
Following the Turkish Revolution in 1909, which, among other things, resulted in `Abdu'l-Bahá's release from the Most Great Prison in `Akká, Palestine [then a part of the Ottoman Empire], and after He had received many letters from the friends in America, including a booklet with notes and signatures from the believers entreating Him to visit America, He consented to take this momentous journey.
When a number of leaders of churches, synagogues and societies became aware that the Bahá'ís had asked `Abdu'l-Bahá to visit America, they too sent invitations to Him to attend peace congresses and to meet their congregations. Owing to `Abdu'l-Bahá's physical condition and health, caused by His long years of imprisonment, He remained in Haifa for some eleven months. Then, exhausted and with many difficulties, He traveled to Egypt and resided in Port Said, Alexandria and Zaytoun for eleven more months. His health improved and He gained His physical strength but still He did not specifically promise to travel to America. Instead, He decided to take a short journey to Switzerland to teach the Cause and for a change of climate. While the Master was there, the Bahá'ís in Paris and London pleaded with Him to visit them. For a period of four months He traveled throughout Europe, bringing the glad tidings of the Cause, and raised the call of Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá in various gatherings in halls, churches and synagogues.5
When the American believers learned of `Abdu'l-Bahá's travels in Europe, they felt sure that He also would come to America. Many believers joyfully went to London to be in His presence. They pleaded with Him to continue His journey to America. He did not consent to their request at that time but instead returned to Egypt. During the five months of His stay in Alexandria, each week brought many more invitations from America, until, at last, He said that He would accept. This announcement brought a new spirit to those anxious souls. He often mentioned that, `This journey is a long one and my body is very weak. We shall remain at sea for more than two weeks; it will be difficult for my body to bear. But as it is for the sake of diffusing the divine fragrances, I shall undertake it, trusting in God and severing myself from all else save Him.'
Some believers suggested that if `Abdu'l-Bahá traveled to England, His arrival would coincide with the maiden voyage of the Titanic, which was believed to be the finest and largest English vessel in the world, and that if He would make His journey on that ship, He would arrive in New York in only five days in comfort and ease. Most of the friends approved of this suggestion. But after brief reflection, `Abdu'l-Bahá said, `No, we will go direct, trusting in the assistance and protection of the Blessed Beauty. He is the true Protector and the divine Keeper.' Later, when the tragic news of the sinking of the Titanic reached the friends and believers, they were exceedingly grateful that He had not accepted their suggestion.

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