Materials for the Study of the Babi Religioncompiled and translated by E. G. Browne.
IBRAHIM GEORGE KHAYRU'LLÁH AND
The account of Khayru'lláh's life given by our author Muhammad Jawád may be regarded, so far as it goes, as perfectly authentic, since it is based on his own statements1. I shall here endeavour to add such further details about the propaganda in which he took so great a part, and generally about the Bahá'í movement in America, as I have been able to glean from the sources at my disposal, which include, besides various published works, Eastern and Western, a number of letters written to me at various dates between December 1897 and August 1906 by some dozen American Bahá'ís, and three American newspapers (of August 12, 1900; February 16, 1902; and December 18, 1904) which Dr Goldziher of Budapest was kind enough to send me, and each of which contains, besides illustrations, some account of the progress of the movement.
Khayru'lláh, as we have seen, reached America in the course of the year 1893, and almost immediately began his propaganda in Chicago2, which, as Mr Thornton Chase wrote to me ten years later (October 29, 1903), "still remains the stronghold and practical centre of the teachings in this country," and maintains a "House of Spirituality" (founded later by Mírzá Asadu'lláh of Isfahán by command of `Abbás Efendi `Abdu'l-Bahá) and a "Bahá'í Publishing Society," for which translations of the most notable Bahá'í writings were
1 As already mentioned (p.93 supra, n.1 ad
calc.) the original autobiography has lately (1917) been published in English.
prepared by the above-mentioned Asadu'lláh and later by his son Mírzá Faríd Amín, who came to Chicago about the end of 1901. For five years, during which he published (in 1896) his pamphlet entitled Bábu'd-Dín, Khayru'lláh's propaganda went quietly but steadily forward, without interference, and without attracting much notice outside the United States, especially in Chicago, New York and Ithaca, until in June, 1898, he set out with a few American believers on the visit to `Akká which has been fully described above, and in which were sown the first seeds of the estrangement between him and `Abbás Efendi `Abdu'l-Bahá.
The most interesting of my American correspondents was a Miss A. H. of Brooklyn, New York, from whom, between May and September 1898, I received five letters, together with notes of the first thirteen lectures given by Khayru'lláh in his course of instruction to enquirers. These throw so much light on the methods employed by him and the form given to the Bahá'í doctrine in America that I think it worth while to quote them in full.
My dear Dr Browne:
The only apology which I have to offer for this intrusion is that I most earnestly desire information concerning Bábism, and that you are the only one known to me competent to give it.
A most ardent follower of Behá'u'lláh1 is teaching here, and I, with many others, have been attending the classes. The lecturer, a Dr Kheiralla, has made the most astounding statements regarding Behá, but the proofs brought forward are sadly inferior to the claims set forth, so it seems to me. Most of them are verses taken from the prophetic books of
the Bible. According to this doctor, Behá was God Himself. He teaches that god did not manifest through the personality of Behá, as in the case of Jesus, but that He really was God, and that He will not come again during this cycle. We are all called upon to believe this, or else forever lose our chance of salvation. Believing it makes us the adopted children of God, and we are given the power of creation. Prayer is taught, and little type written prayers composed by Behá are given to the students, and they are told to pray for spiritual things, which, however, they have no right to, else they would have received them, and there would be no need of asking for them. This is one of the principal points in the teachings. The first prayer given is really the most inclusive and truly beautiful one I have ever know. Angels are placed lower than man, for they are controlled by God, and man is not, but has free will and the power of choosing. Those who die without hearing of Behá are reincarnated and have another chance; those who have already heard do not. Believers see their friends who are not in the earth-body. God never takes a female form as he selects the stronger one to manifest Himself. There is to be a great time in the future when Napoleon IV, who is now a colonel in the Russian army, will war against the religion of Christ, aided by Russia, and the "Red Dragon" the Pope. France is to be an empire. The Napoleons are the Antichrists. Mírzá Yahyá1 is scarcely spoken of, but when he is mentioned he is called Satan. I think very few of the students know anything about him. These are a few of the many statements made in the course of thirteen lessons; but there is not the slightest reference throughout the entire course to the development of character, and those who claim an inner guidance are particularly censured and ridiculed. Certain
forms of metaphysical thought that have proved helpful to hundreds of people here receive a severe drubbing. Everything seems to be on the outside - just a belief in the "Manifestation" is what the doctor calls "Truth," so far as I have been able to learn, and that one's actions have nothing whatever to do with the case. At the last lecture the people are told, if they believe in the "Manifestation," to write a letter to `Abbás Efendi, who is a reincarnation of Jesus Christ, stating their belief and begging to have their names recorded in the "Book of the favorites." They are informed that Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, and Daniel are reincarnated and are at Acre, the "Holy Place." The doctor further says that he has been sent by the Father and Jesus Christ to deliver the message concerning the "Manifestation" to the people of this country. He claims there are fifty-five million believers at the present time. A great mystery is made of the whole thing and the ideas are given out in minute portions, as we, it seems, are account slow of understanding in this country. The "message" or "pith," as it is called, is not given until the eleventh lesson. The effect upon the people is very strange. I never knew any one idea to create so many different and curious impressions. You will no doubt be surprised to hear that six hundred persons in Chicago, where Dr Kheiralla taught, are said to have declared themselves to be believers and that about two hundred persons in New York, so I am told, have written the letters to `Abbás Efendi. The teachings are all free and are given with a sincerity and earnestness which I heartily admire. Such untiring devotion must appeal to all fair-minded persons, no matter how much they may differ as to the truth of the teachings.
This is the first that I have know of Bábism, so I am very ignorant concerning it. What I want so much to know
is whether these ideas are held in general by the Beháí's, and above all if Behá'u'lláh himself believed he was God, the Almighty, and that the salvation of the race rests upon that belief. We have been taught nothing about the life and character of Behá. To me it seems perfectly absurd to believe in the vanishing form of a man.
I found your interesting books in a reading library, and I go there to read them; but I have not yet been able to find out for sure that Behá was what this Bábí doctor claims for him.
When I began this letter I had no idea it would assume the proportions of a small book; but perhaps you will pardon its length when I tell you I really could not make it shorter and say what I wished to.
With respect, I am,
My dear Dr Browne,
Your kind letter of May 29th has reached me, and I am much surprised to learn of the error made in the number of Behá's followers, for I sincerely believe that Dr Kheiralla would not wilfully make a false statement. I have noticed that his intense zeal and love for the cause make him at times use extravagant language, and I have made due allowance for this. For instance he told me a few weeks since in speaking of the "believers" in America that every one of them would lay down his life for the cause. He is rather excitable, but he has an extremely kind and sweet heart, and I am sure that could he but suffer martyrdom he would be supremely happy. How he has come to give the statistics so remarkable a twist I cannot imagine. Besides stating that there are at present fifty-five million believers, he told us in
his last lecture that there were forty millions at the time of Behá's death in 1892. The New History I have not yet read, but I found your articles on Bábism in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society for 1889 and '92. Much of it I was unable to read on account of its being written in Persian; the English language is the only one that I know. But when I found the summary of the "Most Holy Tablet" I was very happy because it gave me some knowledge of Behá. I have enjoyed it very much, especially whenever there was anything about the Bábí who visited Behá so many times. What you wrote in your letter concerning the two views of God's way of dealing with man is exceedingly helpful, for things have been a trifle hazy since I have been investigating Bábism, and you will understand why when you know more of its propaganda. My belief is very simple in spite of a great fondness for metaphysics, and there is nothing I love so well as to hear about the ways to God. The mystics have always a wondrous charm for me. It must be true that the Father manifests in all His children, but that some minds are purer and are better media for the Light to shine through; that He is with each of us at all times. If God is omnipresent, surely He is with every soul. You see that I can accept a "Manifestation," and when I first heard of Behá and `Abbás Efendi I was very glad, as I have wished many times to know some great soul on the earth who had made the "union." I have had so many teachers and I find alas! they really know nothing about God; most of their words are born on their lips and they have not the slightest perception of the profound ideas which they voice; but when I met Dr Kheiralla I saw that at last I had found one who really believes his own teaching and is giving all that he has to spread what he things is true; right or wrong he is faithful. Behá must have been a marvellous personality to
so control another. I wanted to know of the great force back of this new teacher, and I listened to the teachings very closely; but nothing that I was in search of came. So one day I went to Dr Kheiralla and asked him if he meant to simply declare the "Manifestation"—if that was not his only message. He said yes, and that was all he had to do—just to bring the people to God. No ethics, no religious life does he pretend to teach. But he does such a peculiar thing; at the end of the thirteenth lesson all teaching ends for those who do not write the letter to `Abbás Efendi; but those who do are received into the fold and are given further instructions. The following is a fairly accurate form of the letter given to the students:
"To the Greatest Branch,
It is impossible for me to write such a letter, for the doctor has not proved to my satisfaction that Behá was a particular "manifestation" and there is really nothing in the letter that I can honestly say I believe - except the "oneness and singleness of the Almighty God." Besides, to beg for
spiritual gifts and blessings of any human being at Acre or anywhere else is to me positively shocking. The idea of favoritism is also very repulsive. But I want very much to learn all that I can of Behá and `Abbás Efendi, and the ethics and religious life of the sect. The believers are given some mysterious name which openly they always call "The Greatest Name." It is given very privately and in a very solemn manner. They are supposed to make use of it when in need. I am sorry to say that some people have sent the letter for the sake of the rest of the teaching and for a mysterious something which they hope to get. This propaganda is the strangest and the most unique one that America has ever known and I'm quite sure that you cannot form a correct idea of it unless you have heard something of every one of the lectures, and in the order in which they were given. I have therefore concluded to send you what I can of the leading ideas of each one. Many things I cannot explain, for explanations were not given, but we were told that we should know in the future. That future has never come—it may be reserved for the believers. Besides the doctor requested the students to take no notes up to about the tenth lecture, when the use of pencils and paper was allowed. The "message" is given in the eleventh lesson. After each lecture I jotted down what I could remember of the main ideas. There will be a good deal of fog, but I hope you will be able to see through it. The doctor repeatedly declares that this is a teaching where everything is proved and I should like you to know just how he proves the "Manifestation."
With this letter I send the first two lectures. I will send the others later on.
My dear Dr Browne,
Enclosed you will find four more lectures. The meaning of the sixth lesson is distressingly obscure in my mind, and I could not do otherwise than place it so on paper. But I have tried to do Dr Kheiralla justice, and trust that I have given everything just as I heard it. I believe there are two different "images", but I am not at all sure. The doctor does not seem to be able to express his ideas in our language so clearly as the Hindoo exponents of the Vedanta philosophy and other forms of Oriental thought. The students are in utter ignorance as to what the religion or sect really is until the eleventh lesson; it was called the "Religion of God"; at first we were told it is in all parts of the world, even in the heart of Africa. To our amazement we find out when we reach the last lesson that there is some literature on the subject. As the taking of notes is seldom allowed the memory is mainly depended upon, and the result is that at the end of the course, the Báb, `Abbás Efendi and Behá'u'lláh are most ludicrously confounded: under the circumstances perhaps Mírzá Yahyá has fared better by being kept out. I asked one of the most enthusiastic believers about Subhi-i-Ezel, and she said that she had heard him lecture; she thought he was one of the Hindoo Swamis! When I told her I meant Satan she seemed to know. This confusion exists in New York I am sure, as I have talked with a number of the people who have listened to the entire course and have repeated the lectures. A woman who has been a believer for more than three years and is now a teacher (there are more than twenty teachers in Chicago), told me a few weeks since that she has never read any of the
books on the subject. It is my impression that very few of the believers have. This may not be the case with those in Chicago. Some New York people have sent recently for copies of the Traveller's Narrative. There is little chance for discussion at any lecture, as the doctor has an extremely funny way of telling people who oppose his view in the class that they are "excused." Of course they have to leave, and in profound silence the surprised offender arises, packs up what belongs to him and makes as graceful an exit as he can under the trying conditions. The lesson is then resumed with great serenity on the doctor's part. At the first lecture the people are requested not to talk over what they are told with outsiders. An air of mystery is over the whole affair and infinitesimal things are most enormously magnified, and the way in which [some] matters are minimized in order to maximize other points in the teaching is truly remarkable; I mean interpretations of the English Bible. Many people hear all they care to in a very few lesson. The doctor works hard and faithfully, starting class after class until there are seven or eight, all receiving the same lectures. One can repeat a lecture a number of times provided one has heard the previous lesson. If a student loses one, Mrs Kheiralla sometimes gives the main points privately. Public talks on reincarnation, evolution, and Bible interpretation are given; but the "Manifestation" is not taught outside of the classes, or in some private way. A great deal is made of visions; they are seeing Acre, `Abbás Efendi, the old man at Acre that we were told is Joshua reincarnated, and others of the household. The visions are told to the doctor, and he does the best he can with them and there is great satisfaction. The believers have organized in New York with a president and several vice- presidents. The first vice-president told me that they are 107 or 109 in
number and that they call themselves an "Assembly." The believers (I do not know that this includes the Chicago people) have collected about one thousand dollars. The movement was started in New York last February by a Mr Dodge, formerly of Chicago, who is now president of the New York organization. He sent for Dr Kheiralla who was living in Chicago, paid the expenses of the doctor and his wife while in New York, and provided the rooms for the classes which ended in June. The lessons are to be begun again in the fall. I most sincerely hope that `Abbás Efendi will send others that we may know whether these ideas are held in common by the sect; one gets a very imperfect idea from only one representative. I asked Mr Dodge how many believers there are now, and he said about fifty-five or sixty millions! I was very much amazed at the sudden rise in numbers. This gentleman is exceedingly generous and is working hard upon an invention by which he hopes to make one million dollars. His wife told me that he intends to put all of this money into the movement; this was not told me in confidence1.
I enclose two prayers which Dr Kheiralla gave me in the class, that you might see the exact form in which they were given. Will you kindly return the smaller one only, marked "4th Lesson" at your leisure....... I am on a summer tour, but I have all the lecture notes with me and can send them just the same. I hope the first two reached you.
1 Mr. A. P. Dodge came to England in November, 1900, when I met him in Cambridge. See p. 148 infra.
My dear Dr Browne,
Enclosed are five more lectures. In the tenth lesson Dr Kheiralla is entirely wrong about the Christian Scientists. They teach that man is a reflection of perfect Mind or Principle - never that he is God. No Christian Scientist every says "I am Brahma" as a Vedantist of the Adwaita school does. I think he has confused the two. He has a queer conception of some of the ideas promulgated here; he thinks that those who teach the mother principle of God mean that He is a woman. A few of the dates in the 11th lesson concerning the "Manifestation" the doctor was not sure about, as he relied upon his memory only. The book written by Behá is at Acre and in the Sultan's library. The doctor says that his people do not call themselves Bábís but others do. I believe that I have not mentioned the doctor's healing; he assured me that he gives no medicine, but to some patients he gives a hubble-bubble to inhale the fumes of certain herbs; of course this is medicine. He has another way of healing. A person who has rheumatism in her fingers told me that she went to him twice for treatment and he sat very quietly and held her fingers for a time. This patient was not helped; she was not a believer. But a believer told me he had cured her of some trouble, and Mrs Kheiralla informed me that he has quite a practice in Chicago. The lessons are free, but the treatments are two dollars each. Healing is said to be a gift, but I have not read anywhere that Bábís heal mentally. In lesson five it is clearly stated that Behá was a Manifestation of God, but in lesson eleven he is God Himself. I was much puzzled and asked Dr Kheiralla about it. He very humbly attempted to explain and began by saying that Behá was a Manifesta-
tion only, but before he ended he certainly spoke of him as being God. I asked if Behá'ul-Abhá is the "Most Sacred Name" and was told that it is not; that is one of the names of Behá. I think the name contains nine letters1 as the place where it is omitted on the slip of papers which I sent contains nine dots.
A. A. H.
My dear Dr Browne,
The enclosed two lectures are the last in the course of thirteen delivered by Dr Kheiralla on the religion of the Behá'ís. I have sent eleven others at different times, which I hope have reached you. Perhaps you may not care for the notes; but it occurred to me that since you had spent so much time in investigating Bábism and in helping others to learn what it is, possibly you might like to know just what is being taught in America concerning it, especially as Doctor Kheiralla was sent by Behá himself. I have tried to be accurate and to give as full notes as lay in my power, but lack of interest prevented me from remembering more, which I now regret, as I fear it has hindered me from presenting the teachings quite fairly. However, I do not think that I have omitted anything which was given as "proof" of the "Manifestation."
With hearty appreciation of your earnest study of spiritual ideas and of the aid which you render to others in increasing their knowledge of religious thought, I am,
Proof of soul and its immortality—Matter is indestructible.—— Silver dollar used as illustration.——Its qualities, as weight, density, smoothness, hardness, etc. spoken of.——Back of every quality is an essence.—The essence is unknown; the qualities prove the essence. We can never know an atom in our present condition. The soul has nine qualities; namely, perception, will, reason, judgment, memory, consciousness, mental taste, imagination and abstraction. Back of the qualities there must be an essence. Matter has none of these qualities. If matter is indestructible, how much more the soul. The consciousness carries things to the soul; it is a reporter. Perception and intuition are only a strong power of classification (an intuitive person knows just how to place things). Man has not the creative power, he only combines. God is perfection; nothing can be added to Him or taken from Him. He cannot be divided; we are not parts of Him.
What mind is.—In all languages mind means that which protects us from what is harmful, and is the receiver of that which is good. In Syriac it means a fort built on a hill. Mind is a collective name given to the nine qualities or faculties of the soul when they are in operation. The qualities act together, never singly. They are always fighting for us; they hurry us to the table when hungry, they tell us to protect ourselves when cold, etc. There is no mortal mind, no universal mind. Each one has a mind and a soul
or spirit. The mind is eternal, because the essence or soul is eternal, and its qualities are eternal. We can receive nothing except through mind. Thought is the action of the mind's nine qualities. The action is never the actor. When we remember, it is the action of the mind.—We are not memory; when we judge we think, when we reason we think. Contact with the outside develops these qualities; a child left alone would still be a baby at forty years of age. What is called subjective and objective mind is the same mind, only different operations or conditions of that same mind. Mind has an internal, or subjective, and an external, or objective, action. We have not two minds. Different workings of a fort likened to the qualities of the soul. The officer (reason) commands the soldiers (will), etc. God is not Love, He is Loving; God has Power, He is not Power; He is not Mind, and those who say so blaspheme. God is limited to Himself, because He knows Himself; to us He is limitless. He is manifested through everything, but He is not the thing manifested.
The needs of the Soul and the Body.—The body needs food, drink, and protection. God has given us kitchens, to wit the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms, where we can supply the needs of the body, and we do not need to pray for such things. Man spends most of his time in taking care of the body. This teaching has nothing to do with the body. The teaching is for the soul and is spiritual; the food for the soul is not material. What we eat does not make us spiritual. The animals are for us to eat. (The condition of India, which was spoken of as a place of plague and famine, kept in subjection by a few red-coats, was here compared with America, and the vegetarians were
unmercifully criticised.) The soul needs food, drink and protection. The food of the soul is the knowledge of God; the drink of the soul is faith; the protection of the soul is love. We should ask for knowledge, faith and love. The knowledge of God produces faith. We are taught to believe only what we know. We cannot love God if we do not know Him. (I have heard the doctor say that we can never know God.) When we know Him we shall love each other, and we shall also know why knowledge is knowing facts, while wisdom is knowing how to use knowledge.
Jesus was the greatest one ever on this planet. (A great difference is made between Jesus and Behá; God is said to have manifested through Jesus.)
Prayer: - Nine is a sacred number; everything in nature is planned on the number nine (this was not explained). There are nine openings in the body; the navel opening was locked and you are going to know why (this too was never explained). The sacred number nine is in this prayer. (I have marked the divisions in the prayer.) 19, 29 and 90 are also sacred numbers, but 9 is the most sacred one. In our religion prayer is called commune. We need to pray; God does not need our prayers. We do not need to ask for those things which God has given us the power to get, things out of the earth, etc. - but we should ask for what we have not received yet - what is not our right to have - and we shall receive if we ask earnestly. We should pray for spiritual things. Some pray for material things; some pray and use the wrong Name; they will not receive; some think they are gods, and have no need of prayers. We believe in prayer. We are here to battle and we need help. We will not develop if we do not pray. We should
not beg but ask earnestly. We are to share God's majesty and glory through prayer. We communicate with God through talking with Him. Use of the right Name is the pass-word. When you become "believers" the "Greatest Name" will be given to you to be used in time of need. Prayers are pass-words and we have used prayers of our own making; have used the wrong pass-word; should not compose them. If we do not use the right pass-word God will hear, but He will not answer. We prove our teachings in three ways: by science and logic, by the prophets and teachers, and by revelations. We believe that we have the absolute truth. If you use these prayers earnestly you will have dreams or visions which will come to pass. I promise you that you will have revelations if you use them. All do who use them; but we do not depend upon revelations for proof of the truth. [The doctor told the students to tell him their visions, and if they came to pass they would know them to be true.] You can have dreams and visions through hypnotism. [Some Eastern practices for spiritual development were spoken of and condemned.] Gazing at the tip of the nose is the most powerful form of hypnotism. Don't concentrate: you will go crazy, as professional chess-players do. The real dreams and visions will be those that come to pass.
Many have been sent by God, Noah, Moses, and others; but the teachings were all corrupted. When they become so, God sends another. At last He sent Jesus, His Beloved son. Brahmins and Buddhists do not know what their true religion is. The Mohammedan is the most corrupt of all. A few days (I'm not sure about the exact number of days) after the death of Mohammed his teaching was corrupted.
Truth is to know God. We must know god if we are to love Him, otherwise we love our imaginations.
Second prayer given. There are 27 [?28] letters called the "Letters of Luddon," and every letter signifies a great power which can only be received by special permission from head-quarters (Acre). Luddon1 means presence of God, or presence of the Almighty. This prayer is very important, as it asks for growth "by that letter"; letter means growth, not creation. "The fruits appeared"; the tree came first and then the fruit. God created one man and one woman; they obeyed the law of multiplication and wove a tent for another soul. "The trees began to thrive," God made one tree and from the seeds came others. "The traces were destroyed"; in all material growth the last destroys the traces of the first. "The curtains were torn asunder"; here the spiritual part of the prayer begins. The finite cannot comprehend the infinite; this is what is between God and us. (Read from Isaiah xlii, 102 and St John i, 18.) God is forever unknowable. He wished to make Himself known, and as the finite cannot comprehend the infinite He made a form, He chose a "Face3," that through that He might become known to us. He is not the form; it only represents Him. He is back of it, and is not confined to the form. "The faithful hurried": when the faithful hear of this "Face" of God they hasten to live with this form of God for ever. The "face" is called by different names; as, "The Chosen," "my Son David," etc. He came here that we might gain higher limitations. We receive the Letters of Luddon in our new limitations. Jesus had 12 powers, 8
1 Probably [ARABIC PHRASE] in the
original Arabic phrase.
first, then 4 (did not say what they all were). One power is to communicate without material means; another one is sight. The teacher has no power to convey to another these powers given by head-quarters. We gain by being active not passive, but gain nothing by sleep. (The spiritual were censured for "sitting development.") There is such a thing as "sitting in the silence."
Jesus came to teach the Kingdom of God. (Read Luke iv, 43.)
The soul does not leave the body until death. We do not travel in the astral [body] and see places. People say that they have seen a thread connection1, but we know it is not so. We see things as if the light were reflected in one mirror and then in another and another. The soul thinks it is moving when something is only passing before it.
This is a very important lesson, as it tells where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. Eden means the paradise of God. It is not a place. No tree of knowledge and evil can grow in the soil; it is not a real tree (read Revelation xxii, 2 as one proof). Rivers mentioned in Genesis (ii, 10—14) are not real rivers, for you never see rivers branching into four heads. (We were told in a later lecture that the "Manifestation" is the big river and the four branches are the four sons of Behá.) There are three Adams - the race, our ancestor, and we shall know the other (Behá) when we get to the "pith." Adam spoke the Kurdish language, which has no alphabet and is a short
1 This apparently refers to the belief (finely set forth near the beginning of the First Book of the Mystical Mathnawí) that men's souls escape from their bodies during sleep, but are attached to them by an immaterial thread which compels them to re-enter their respective bodies when the night is over.
spoken language only. Silence will prove this. Adam does not mean "red earth"; it means the "skin" or "surface." Eve means life1. God gave Adam and Eve "coats of skin," to wit the body. He made but two coats of skin. The meaning of "coats of skin" is His "image." Adam and Eve obeyed the law of multiplication and gave tents to other souls. They had two children, Cain and Abel. These are not material children. Cain means the material and Abel means the spiritual, and these are always at war. There are three bibles: the Hebrew, the Egyptian, and the Chaldean. The Hebrew borrowed from the Egyptian, and the Egyptian from the Chaldean. All have [the same] account from Adam to Moses. We were in Eden, the Paradise of God. The serpent, Wisdom, suggested to us that we should go higher and be as gods. We asked God for this great privilege, and we were allowed to come to earth where this great privilege is to be gained. The "flaming sword" is the earth. Our will is free at all times; we can choose. Angels are always controlled by God; they are lower than man and never gain the "great privilege," as they have no desire to go higher. We come to earth to overcome. To overcome means to have the desire for a knowledge of God above all desires. We are not here to love each other or to be kind to one another; of course we should be [so]; but that is not what we are here for. Those who overcome return to Eden. The tree of knowledge and tree of life are God. When we become adopted children we eat of the tree of life. Cain, the material, is cast out. Cain's "mark" is God's image, the skin(?) (It is the thickest kind of fog right here.) Those having the"mark"
1 In Arabic Hawwá, from the same root as hayy, "living," and hayát, "life."
never become the adopted children of God; they bring this upon themselves; it is not a punishment. Cain went to the Land of Nod [Genesis iv, 16] which means wandering. Impossible to live with God unless we have the image. All go to the Land of Nod who do not conquer. (The Prodigal Son was quoted as proof that Jesus taught these ideas.) We learn to know the good from the evil.
Shepherd in the Bible means spiritual man.
It is a blessing not to remember our past. A baby remembers at first, but after three days the memory is locked.
Noah's Ark.—The ark is a symbol of God, and means protection. The Temple of Solomon is the same. The clean animals "by sevens' (Genesis vii, 2) are the believers; "by two" means the believers' parents, who are protected because of the believers. 70 persons went into the ark; 40 first and then 30. The translation is wrong. "Raven" means calamities, and "dove" peace. (A curious story was related in which a dot caused by a fly changed a character which meant husband to mean mule1.) Jesus in speaking of the rich did not use the word which means camel; he used a word which means thread. He meant those who thought themselves rich in spiritual things. It is just as easy for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven as it is for others. The entrance to a city is not called "Eye of a Needle" in the New Testament, and theologians know it, but will not say so for fear of the people's faith.
"Water" in the Bible means teachings, and "Mountains" the might ones of earth. [Compare p. 140, l. 3 infra.]
1 I do not recognize this story, but a similar one about a fly which changed (PERSIAN LETTER) (with) into (PERSIAN LETTER) (or) is related in Ouseley's Notices of the Persian Poets (London, 1846), pp.157—8.
The prayer and Bible references were given to each person. The references were to be studied, and each student was to come to the 10th lesson prepared to give his idea of the meaning. The class were then permitted to ask questions. These are a few of the statements in answer to questions. God never chooses a female form through which to manifest: He chooses the male as it is the stronger. There is no sex in spirit. "Curse" means to put in a lower place. The serpent, Wisdom, was compelled to go lower. When we do wrong it bites our heel or where we are walking. Moses and Elias did really return to this earth and appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration. The accounts of Creation in Genesis were given by three different persons. The prophets themselves did not know the meaning of their own prophecies; the meaning was always concealed until the prophecy came to pass. God made disease; it exists because of the perfection of the law; it is the result of the law. We must all die. It is possible to communicate with others without physical contact. There are 42 million "tablets" (alwáh) in the religion of the Behá'ís.
The class were asked to give their ideas as to the meaning of the biblical references in the 9th lesson, but scarcely any one answered satisfactorily. Some said Jesus was referred to, but this was denied with great energy by Dr Kheiralla, and Isaiah ix, 6 was given as proof. Jesus was not "the Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace"; he was not a ruler. The answer which seemed to give satisfaction was that a manifestation of God was foretold. Revelation i was read as evidence that Jesus bore
witness to the Manifestation. Job xix, 25; Ezekiel xliii, 4; Isaiah lxiii, 1, and Jude 14 are proofs of the Manifestation. In Isaiah xxiv, 23 the "moon" means Turkey and the "sun" means Persia. (Headquarters at Acre are called Jerusalem, and some place in the mountains is Zion.) Isaiah xlvii was read and a very strong body of religionists in America called Christian Scientists was condemned for saying, "I am and none else beside me" (verse 10). II Timothy iv, [3—4, but perhaps I, iv is meant] was read as referring to those who are now promulgating certain ideas here. The meaning of "clouds" is ignorance. Jesus taught the Kingdom of God; 226 years after Christ the Trinity was taught.
The "Pith".—In 1844 the Báb appeared in Persia. He was 19 years old. He came as Elijah. He used sometimes to set a chair, covered with cashmere, for the one whose coming he foretold, but he did not know when or where the "Manifestation" would appear. He proclaimed the Kingdom of God at hand. He said, "God is among the human race; the Father is come." In 1844 the Millerites also appeared. The Báb had wonderful spiritual powers and was remarkable for his power of logic. Like Abraham he was a wanderer; like Mahomet he was a merchant; like Moses he had power of argument; and he was like Christ because he was crucified. He wrote a large book called the Beyán. The Báb had a great following. He was persecuted by the Mohammedans; was arrested by the government; foretold his own death. In 1850 the Báb and his secretary were suspended by ropes from a wall; soldiers fired; the secretary was killed, but the bullets cut the ropes by which the Báb was suspended and he escaped. The soldiers refused to fire again, but other soldiers fired and the Báb was killed. Mahomet prophesied
the Báb's death. Mahomet was a true prophet. A tradition 1300 years ago says that Mahomet said ships (railroads) would sail on land; railroads were introduced in 1828. In 1852-1853 the Incarnation of God (Behá) appeared. He left Tihrán as an exile in 1852. He was of family of Kings1. Went to Baghdád to River Chebar with 7000 prophets (Ezekiel xliii, 3). Here he manifested himself for 5 days as the Lord of Hosts, having been previously shaved by a barber (Isaiah vii, 20), after which he veiled himself. Jesus Christ (`Abbás Efendi) as a boy was with him. In 1863 the Sultan invited the "Manifestation" to visit Constantinople. At this time there were 30,000 believers. He appeared before the Sultan, who asked for proof of his divinity. Behá asked the Sultan if he believed in Mahomet. The Sultan said that he did, and Behá asked for a sign. The Sultan replied that the Korán was a proof. Behá then wrote a book larger than the Korán in 6 hours as a sign of his own divinity. Behá was ordered to Adrianople. At one time a regiment was sent against him. Behá rebuked it and the regiment returned, without harming him (Psalm lxxvi). Behá declared himself God to the world in 1866. He was exiled to Acre in 1868-1869. He prophesied that the ship in which he sailed would go to pieces, and it sunk on its return voyage. Micah contains an account of Acre, the New Jerusalem. In 1869-1870 Behá sent tablets to the different rulers calling upon them to throw their kingdoms at his feet and worship him. He sent Napoleon III two tablets, and the Pope three. A tablet was sent to General Grant. The only ones who replied were Queen Victoria and Alexander II. The Queen said if it was of God it would stand, and the Czar said that he should investigate the
1 This, of course, is quite incorrect. He was the son of Mírzá Buzurg of Núr.
matter. Napoleon tore the tablet, and said that if Behá was God, he was also. Behá told Napoleon his secrets and prophesied that he would be punished. He also prophesied as to the future of the German Emperor. There was a conference of the Powers against Behá. The "Manifestation" left the earth in 1892, leaving the Kingdom to Jesus Christ. The 25 years following the departure of the "Manifestation"1 will be years of calamities. The Millennium is to come in 1917; this is the Resurrection, when one out of every three will become a follower of Behá. Napoleon IV who is in the guards of the Czarina will defeat Germany aided by the "Dragon," the Pope and Russia. He will persecute the believers. France will be an empire. There are now fifty-five million believers in this religion.
A message, said to be from Jesus Christ and addressed to the students in Chicago where there were about thirty, was read.
In 1852-1853 God Almighty appeared. He was born in Persia among the Mohammedans; declared himself God in 1866 and departed in 1892. He wrote forty million "tablets", no two alike. Numbers have letters; 1892 spells Jehovah in Hebrew. Prof. Totten predicted the end of the world in 1892, but this was really the end of a dispensation. See Isaiah xxiv, 23 and Revelation xii, 1; where the woman clothed with the Sun (Persia) and the Moon (Turkey) under her feet, is Mahomet, while the "twelve stars" [indicate the period]2 from Mahomet to the Báb. Rock (stone) means Mohammedanism, and is a prophecy of Behá. 600 years after Christ came Mahomet and the Pope. Catholics fought Mohammedans 400 years (Revelation xii,
3, 4). The "Dragon" is the Pope; seven great powers under the Pope; "the third part" (the
Christians) followed the Pope. In Revelation xii, [15—]16 "water" means "teachings."
In Revelation xii, 6 "a thousand two hundred and three score days" means 1260 years.
(Compare Ezekiel iv, 6, according to which 1260 days = 1260 years).
The household and departure of the "Manifestation." Zechariah iv is a prophecy of the household of the "Manifestation." The candlestick is the "Manifestation," God
(verse 14). He married two wives1; they are the "anointed ones" or "olive trees." People object to the "Manifestation" because of his being married. A real man ought to marry; a monk is the invention of priests. God came as a man, had a father and mother, fulfilled His own law, and married. In Isaiah xlv (9—)11 we are rebuked for thinking God should do as we think best. The greatest reason why God should marry is that the race is grafted through His having children. He is the Tree of Life and we are grafted. See Genesis vi (1—4) concerning marriage of the sons of God. Also Isaiah lxvi, 9. The "seven lamps" or "seven eyes" are the children of Behá, 4 males and 3 females. One wife had two daughters, the other had one. One wife died. The four sons are called Branches2; the three daughters are the Holy Leaves3. Every woman belongs to one of the Holy Leaves; every man belongs to one of the Holy Branches. The eldest son is Jesus Christ. Mary, the mother is buried at Acre. The eldest daughter is equal in power with the eldest son. We are the trees in the Garden of Eden, the big river is the "Manifestation" and the "four rivers" are the four sons.
The body.—The heart represents the "Manifestation"; the lungs, the two wives; the 24 ribs, the 24 elders. (I could not remember other parts—something about the tribes of Israel and leaves of lungs being like the daughters, etc.)
Zechariah iii, 8—9.—Joshua too the place of Satan; the "stone" means God. The tabernacle of Moses, Ark of Noah, Temple of Solomon, Pyramids, and tabernacle of
1 One named Nawwáb, the mother of `Abbás
Efendi and his sister Bahiyya; the other entitled Mahd-i-`Ulyá, the mother of
Muhammad `Alí, Ziyá'u'lláh, and Badá`u'lláh. See
pp.62—3 supra and Section IX infra.
Buddha were built on the plan of the "Manifestation's" household. Zechariah xii, 10 et seqq. is a prophecy of the death of Behá. Also Zechariah xiii, 1—7.
David is sometimes used to mean the "Manifestation." He is sometimes called "My servant." Ezekiel xxxiv, 23—24.
All prophecy is about the "Manifestation," and henceforth there will be no more prophecy. At the time of Behá's death, there were 40 million believers.
Dr E. G. Browne of Cambridge was appointed by the Royal Asiatic Society to investigate Bábism1.
The account of the visit to Acre in The Traveller's Narrative was read, and also the announcement of Behá's death sent to Dr Browne by the youngest Branch2. The members of the class were told what a great privilege it is to have one's name written in the "Book of the Believers," and it was suggested that they should write to the Greatest Branch3 to beg this privilege. The form of the letter was read and some of the members made copies of the form. Those who write the letter and are "accepted" join the class of believers, and the mysteries contained in the book of Revelation are revealed to them4.
These notes of Khayru'lláh's propagandist lectures in America, though fragmentary, are instructive as to the methods he adopted and the modifications he introduced into Bahá'í doctrine to adapt it to American taste and
1 This, of course is a pure fiction, though my first papers
on the subject were published in 1899, in the Journal of that society.
comprehension. Particularly noticeable is the extensive application of Bible prophecies, especially the very ingenious interpretations of the obscure sayings and numbers in the Book of Daniel and in the Apocalypse of St John. The full elaboration of Khayru'lláh's teaching is contained in his books Báb-ed Dín, the Door of True Religion (Chicago, 1897), and Behá'u'lláh (the Glory of God), 2 vols. (Chicago, Jan. 1, 19001). His statement that "at the time of Behá's death there were forty million believers" is, of course, an absurd exaggeration; still more so his assertion that "at the present time (i.e. 1897 or 1898) there are fifty-five million believers." In his pamphlet The Three Questions (undated) Khayru'lláh says (p.22), however, that though this number was given to him by his teacher `Abdu'l-Karím of Tihrán, resident in Cairo, and was confirmed by `Abbás Efendi's secretary, Sayyid Muhammad Taqí Minshadí, "the number of Beháists is not known, but cannot be more than three millions."
The interesting account of the Bábís entitled Ta'ríkhu'l-Bábiyya, aw Miftáhu Bábi'l-Abwáb ("History of the Bábís, or the Key to the Gate of the Gates"), composed in Arabic by Dr Mírzá Muhammad Mahdí Khán Za`ímu'd- Dawla (editor of the Persian paper Hikmat), and published at Cairo by the Press of Al-Manár in 1321 (1903-4), concludes (pp.437—9) with a rather malicious version of the propaganda in America, of which the translation is as follows:
"A little while after the death of Bahá there was in Egypt a Syrian Christian named Ibráhím Khayru'lláh who had been a friend of ours for twenty five years. He was employed in translating and in business, and subsequently took to farming, but ill-luck accompanied him in all his
1 As already mentioned, this book has been republished in smaller form in one volume this year (1917).
adventures. Latterly he became acquainted with Hájji `Abdu'l-Karím of Tihrán, one of the leaders of the Bahá'í-Bábís in Egypt, and inclined to their belief. These two consulted frequently as to how they could best render service to their doctrine, and finally agreed that Ibráhím [Khayru'lláh] should go to New York and invite the people there to embrace the Bábí religion, on the understanding that Hájji `Abdu'l-Karím should defray the expenses of the journey. So Hájji `Abdu'l-Karím, having sought permission from `Abbás Efendi, bestowed on him the money and provided him with the new teachings. So the man departed thither, and devoted himself to organizing the propaganda; for he was eloquent in speech and resolute of heart. And there inclined to him a certain rich old American lady, whom he inspired with the desire of visiting the tomb of Bahá and meeting `Abbás Efendi at `Akká. There her faith was confirmed and she gave a donation of £.500 to improve the tomb of Bahá1. On her return journey she visited Egypt, where she remained for some while, and where we made her acquaintance. Thence she journeyed to her country, and laboured with Ibráhím Khayru'lláh to spread the teachings of Bahá amongst the Americans, of whom a few inclined to her, for seldom does anyone advance any claim [there] without evoking an immediate response. And Ibráhím Khayru'lláh reckoned this acceptance on their part a piece of good luck to himself, and set to work to seek subsistence from them and to get money from them2 by every imaginable title and pretext, while they were like wax in his hands3. And when he had collected and stored up about £.3000
1 This would seem to have been in the latter half of
tidings of this new and profitable traffic reached Hájji `Abdu'l-Karím's ears, and demanded his share from Khayru'lláh, who, however, refused to divide the spoil. Then Hájji `Abdu'l-Karím succeeded in obtaining from `Abbás Efendi an order that he should go to America and dispute the accounts with Khayru'lláh. But when he reached New York, Ibráhím Khayru'lláh, hearing of the dispute between `Abbás Efendi and his brother [Muhammad `Alí], seized this fine opportunity to appropriate the money, declaring himself an adherent of Mírzá Muhammad `Alí and denouncing `Abbás Efendi, whom he accused of apostasy from the new religion So he set to work to invite the people to accept Mírzá Muhammad `Alí, and dissensions arose amongst the Bábís, and there were sent from Mírzá Muhammad `Alí to Ibráhím Khayru'lláh letters wherein he exposed the misdeeds of `Abbás Efendi. Thus was the community divided into two parties, whereby the star of Hájji `Abdu'l-Karím's good fortune shone forth, since a number of the rich American Bábís went over to him, from whom he received several thousand pounds wherewith to strengthen `Abbás Efendi's position. Having obtained this he returned to Cairo1, where, having settled down comfortably, he suddenly manifested a distaste to the Bábí religion, denounced as misbelievers the Báb, Bahá and `Abbás Efendi, and reverted to Islám. Then he and his son Muhammad Hasan began to enumerate the vices of the Bábís and to declare their evil deeds, for he had been one of the leading Bábís, and was well acquainted with all which they revealed or concealed. So turmoil arose amongst the Bábís, and they were prodigal
1 The New York Herald of Sunday, August 12, 1900, in the course of a long article on the Bahá'í propaganda in America and its success, states that `Abdu'l-Karím had sailed for Europe a week previously, i.e. about August 5, 1900.
of all things, cheap or dear, if the man would but desist from reciting their vices, or at least be silent about them; but he only increased in violence. So, when they despaired of him, they gave out that he was mad. But he, together with his son, who is still living in Egypt, remained in the faith of Islám for a while, until he died lately, being about a hundred years old. And the apostasy of Ibráhím Khayru'lláh from `Abbás Efendi, together with the return to Islám of Hájji `Abdu'l-Karím, was a heavy blow to the Bahá'ís.
"For some time `Abbás Efendi bore with these alarming circumstances, until latterly he set himself to stir up the fanaticism of a man named Hájji Mírzá Hasan of Khurásán, one of the leading Bábís in Egypt, and commissioned him to proceed to America to repair this rupture. The latter obediently accepted this commission, took with him as interpreter Husayn Rúhi the son of Hájji Mullá `Ali of Tabríz, and went to America, where he remained some time1. At first he tried to bring back Ibráhím Khayru'lláh to Abbás Efendi, but, not succeeding in his efforts, he busied himself for a while in declaring and proving to his friends the sanctity of `Abbás Efendi. But he failed to achieve his object, and returned to Egypt, where he was stricken with imbecility, and is at present under treatment in Egypt. Then `Abbás Efendi sent Mírzá Asadu'lláh, `Alí-qulí Khán, and Mírzá Abu'l-Fazl [of Gulpáyagán]2, author of the two books entitled ad-Duraru'l- Bahiyya ("The Pearls of great price")3
1 He was there, as we shall presently see, at the end of
and al-Fará'id ("Rarities")1, to Chicago to spread the Bábí propaganda. There they founded a garden which they called by a name ["Green Acre"} equivalent in meaning to `Akká al-Khadrá2. There they assemble at stated times to chant the "Tablets" (Alwáh) of Bahá and to mutter his sayings. No credence is to be attached to their pretence that they have converted several hundreds or thousands of the Americans, the truth being that which we have already mentioned in this book of ours after profound investigations and protracted enquiries.
"`Abbás Efendi desired to enhance his glory by means of the Americans and to fortify his religion by the protection of their Government, and he began to construct a temple surrounded by fortifications at Hayfá, which, as he announced, was for the Americans, and which he placed over the tomb which he had constructed for the Báb, and in which they suppose his bones to be, as has been already mentioned in its proper place. But his brother, Mírzá Muhammad `Alí, proceeded to inform His Majesty the Sultán of this, and an Imperial Rescript was issued ordering that the building should not be completed, and that the leaders of the Bábís exiled to `Akká should be restrained3 so that they should not quit its fortifications, whereas they had previously been wont to wander about in Syria as they pleased."
1 Published at Cairo in 1315/1898: pp. 25 + 731.
As regards the total number of Bábís and Bahá'ís, different writers take the most widely divergent views, according to their predispositions. Lord Curzon, writing in 1892 and speaking only of Persia, says (Persia, vol.i, p.499): "The lowest estimate places the present number of Bábís in Persia at half a million. I am disposed to think, from conversations with persons well qualified to judge, that the total is nearer one million...I hear that during the past year they are reported to have made 150 Jewish converts in Tihrán, 100 in Hamadán, 50 in Káshán, and 75 per cent. of the Jews in Gulpáyagán." On the other hand Dr Mírzá Muhammad Mahdí Khán, whom we have just been quoting, puts the total number of Bábís of all sects at the absurdly low figure of 7200, viz. (1) Kullu-Shay'ís, or Old Bábís, who do not concern themselves with any developments subsequent to the martyrdom of the Báb in 1850, 200 souls in Persia1. (2) Azalís 2000 or a little over. (3) Bahá'ís of both factions (i.e. followers of `Abbás Efendi, called by their opponents Máriqín, "Rebels" or "Apostates," and followers of Muhammad `Alí, called by their opponents Náqizín, or "Covenant-breakers"), 3000 in Persia and 2000 elsewhere. As regards the American Bahá'ís (Mr August J. Stenstrand is the only American Azalí I ever heard of), one of them, Mr A. P. Dodge, who paid me a visit at Cambridge on November 6, 1990, told me that Ibráhím Khayru'lláh, after three years' propaganda in Chicago, had made some hundred converts by 1896, but that latterly their numbers had greatly increased, and that at the time he spoke (1900) there were at least 3000, to wit, in Chicago about 1000; in New York about 300; in Kenosha (Wisconsin) 300 or 400: in Cincinnati 50 to 100; and a few more in Boston,
1 According to the statement of Sayyid Muhsin of Dahaj, which will be quoted later, their number was very much smaller.
Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, San Francisco (20 or 30) Detroit (Michigan), Newark (New Jersey) and Hoboken (New Jersey). Mr Stoyan Krstoff Vatralsky of Boston, Mass., in a remarkable attack on the Bahá'í religion published in the American Journal of Theology for January, 1902 (pp.57—78), and entitled "Mohammedan Gnosticism in America: the Origin, Character, and Esoteric Doctrines of the Truth-Knowers," writes as follows (p.58):
"Ibráhím Khayru'lláh, the propagandist of the sect, claims to have converted two thousand Americans in the space of two years. How far this boast is true I am unable in every particular to verify; but there is no room to doubt that the man has had incredible success. I have personally seen large, well-organized congregations of his converts both in Kenosha, Wis., and in Chicago. I have also reasons to believe their claims that similarly growing assemblies are holding their secret meetings in every large city of the United States. This is the more remarkable when we recall the fact that never before in the history of the world has a Mohammedan sect taken root among a Christian people without the aid of the sword. I believe it would not have happened to-day had it come bearing its own proper name, flying its own native colours. It has succeeded because, like a counterfeit coin, it has passed for what it is not. Most of the converts hardly realize what they have embraced, and whither they are drifting. I consider it a duty, therefore, to tell the American people what I know of this secret and mysterious sect, and what are its origin, character, and purposes."
Again he says (p.69):
"It was from there [`Akká or Acre in Syria] that a missionary of the sect was sent to propagate the faith in this country, which seems to have prove a fruitful field.
According to Mullá Ibráhím G. Khayru'lláh, the Bábí-Bahá'í missionary to America, he converted no less than 2000 Americans during his first two years of labour. Of these about 700 were living in Chicago; between 250 and 300 in Kenosha, Racine, and Milwaukee; about 400 in New York; and the rest in Boston and other large cities. Lately it has been reported, I know not how truly, that there are now about 10,000 Bábís in the United States1. But as they are a secret cult, no outsider can know their exact number. The means for the propaganda are furnished, it is said, by a wealthy New York woman, a convert."
Amongst the literary curiosities which I possess are three American newspapers, containing accounts of the Bahá'í propaganda in the United States, which were sent to me by Dr Ignaz Goldziher of Buda-Pest.
The first is a copy of the New York Herald for Sunday, August 12, 1900. The front page is adorned with a picture of the "City of Acre," an old and atrociously bad portrait of `Abbás Efendi `Abdu'l-Bahá; a fac-simile of an autograph letter of the Báb's; another fac-simile of part of the instructions written on the back of Bahá'u'lláh's Epistle to Násiru'd-Dín Sháh; and some fantastic friezes of ancient Persian soldiers. The head-lines are as follows: "These believe that Christ has returned to Earth."— "Strange Faith Has Attracted Many Followers, a large Number of Whom are in New York City."—"A New Gospel according to `Abbás of Acre." The accompanying letter-press deals chiefly with the history and doctrines of the Bábís, and begins as follows:
"Is Christ living in the world to-day? There are tens of thousands of persons who believe that He is; that the Kingdom of Heaven has been established upon earth, and
that the prophecies of the book of Revelation and the Koran are already in process of fulfilment. There are hundreds who claim to have looked upon the face and to have listened to the voice of the Divinity, and there are other hundreds who can exhibit personal letters said to have been transcribed by His own hand."
The article mentions that `Abdul-Karím of Tihrán had sailed for the East from New York a week previously "after a visit to the Faithful in America," whose numbers are estimated at about two thousand, of whom those of New York are about a hundred, with their head-quarters at Carnegie Hall. "Chicago," the article concludes, "where the Rev. Ibráhím Khayru'lláh has been spreading the new faith, is another place where they have a number of members, and there is a considerable colony of Bábís at Wankegan, Wis."
The second is a copy of The North American (Philadelphia) of Sunday, February 16, 1902. The front page is headed "The Astonishing spread of Bábism," and contains fairly good portraits of `Abbás Efendi as a young man (head and shoulders only), and full-length tinted portraits of Mírzá Abu'l-Fazl of Gulpáyagán and Hájji Niyáz of Kirmán; also a picture of `Akká from the sea, and a vignette of Colonel Nat Ward Fitzgerald, of Washington, who is described as "at present, perhaps, the leading native male expounder of the new faith in this country." The accompanying letter-press is headed "Hundreds converted to `Abbás Efendi in Baltimore," and "They hold that the Redeemer prophesied is now alive," and begins with the statement of Mírzá Abu'l-Fazl of Gulpáyagán: "If we make the same percentage of converts throughout the country as we have made in Baltimore and Washington, within a year's time the Bábí faith will have two million adherents in the United States."
"Thus far," it observes further on, "but 30,000 followers of `Abbás Efendi are claimed in America. But then no organized effort has been made until now to extend the faith." Mention is also made of "Mrs. Loua M. Getsinger, of Washington, who has devoted much time to the study of comprehensive [?comparative] religions. For one year she took up her residence in the Acre domicile of the man who claims to be the second Christ, and daily had communion with him. When she left him, `Abbás Efendi gave to her the name `Maid Servant of the Lord.'"
The third is a copy of the New York Times of Sunday, December 18, 1904, of which p.5, headed "Babist Propaganda making headway here," contains an interesting account of "A Sunday morning gathering of New York believers in this New Oriental Cult.— Impressive Spirit of Earnestness in Evidence.—History of the Religion and its present High Priest." The illustrations include a portrait of `Abbás Efendi, the "Master at Acre: last photograph taken 30 years ago"; a picture of the "Tomb of the `Báb,' near Acre"; and sketches of the meeting described and types of its American supporters. Thus we have "Mr. Hoar opening with a prayer": "Reading a Tablet from the Master": "A Broadway Merchant": "A Family Group": and an elderly lady in spectacles labelled "Curiosity attracted her." The article accompanying these illustrations contains a full account of a Bahá'í meeting at 226, West Fifty-eighth Street, at "a demure brown-stone building...which is down on the city map as Genealogical Hall." The New Religion is described as having "within forty years illumined for 9,000,000 human beings the path which leads to Acre and to Him Who Lives There." The congregation, consisting of nearly two hundred men and women, is thus described. "Oriental silken garments swished sibilantly as a group of handsomely gowned ...p. 153
women entered the Tabernacle. Men of iron gray hair and steel gray eyes—thinkers and doers rather than dreamers—accompanied them with such other variations as merit another paragraph. Somewhat as follows was the tout ensemble." After a florid description of the room in which the meeting was held, the congregation is described as follows. "Who were the audience? Among them were a score of men who have business in the Wall Street district and on both Broadway and Fifth Avenue. They were solid men of affairs whose names figure frequently in the public prints, and whose fortunes run into many figures. As pillars of the Bábist cause in this city they have plenty of financial sinew to support the movement and Him Who Lives at Acre."
The chair having been taken by Mr William H. Hoar, of Fanwood, New Jersey, a hymn was sung, followed by an interval of silent meditation, which was brought to an end by an address from Miss Isabella Brittingham, recently returned from `Akká, of which a pretty full report is given. At its conclusion the whole audience simultaneously ejaculated "Alláhu Abhá," " another hymn was intoned, and then everybody began talking." In conclusion the information is vouchsafed that a few days previously nine American pilgrims, including Mr Howard MacNutt, and shepherded by Mírzá Abu'l-Fazl of Gulpáyagán, had "started for Acre to acquaint the One Who Lives There with the amazing progress the cause is making in America. Up at 226 West Fifty-eighth Street it was vouchsafed that the soul of the late Colonel Ingersoll went to Acre."
I have not been able to fix exactly the date when Ibráhím Khayru'lláh definitively broke with `Abbás Efendi and adhered to the faction of Muhammad `Alí, but it was probably soon after his return from `Akká, for which he set out from America
in June 1898, and certainly before November, 1900, when he was reproached and threatened for his apostasy by Hájji Mírzá Hasan of Khurásán, as described in the following remarkable statement, which is initialled by Ibráhím Khayru'lláh, and was forwarded to me by him, together with other documents, in a letter written from Chicago on February 26, 1901.
to me on November 30th, 1900.
"`I came here especially to bring you back to your allegiance to `Abbás Efendi, and am prepared to stay ten years if necessary. If you return to `Abbás Efendi, I will cause the American believers to follow you as head in everything even better than heretofore. If you will not listen to me and become a follower of `Abbás, your abode will be in the bowels of the earth. I come here because of pity for you, and to save you. If you will not listen, your life will be short. If `Abbás Efendi should give me the word to cut you to pieces, or to tear your eyes out, or to kill you, I will do so at once. I fear not the consequences to myself. You know that I am from Khurásán, and that the sword of Khurásán is so powerful that if a blow is struck with it, it will cut from above the stars to the depth of the earth, and will cut even the fishes of the sea.'
"He then repeated to me the fate of Mírzá Yahyá of Jedda, and offered me a copy of the pamphlet published by himself entitled `the Great Miracle of `Abbás Efendi.' The above is the substance of what he said to me on Friday, November 30, 1900.
"On Saturday, December 1st, 1900, Mírzá Hasani-i- Khurásání again called in the company of Mírzá Asadu'lláh, and their interpreter Mírzá Husayn [Rúhí]. We all discussed
the difference of faith for about eight hours in the presence of my son-in-law Amír Hání Shiháb and his wife Mrs Shiháb (my daughter), also my daughter Labíba, and my son George Khayru'lláh M.D. During this discussion Mírzá Hasani-i-Khurásáni mentioned to those present that the day before, while talking to me alone, he had plainly told me the consequences of not acceding to their wishes. Upon this I repeated to all present the threatening words he had uttered the day before, and he acknowledged before all that he had said the words above reported by me.
"I. J. K."
Enclosed with this were translations of two letters and the original Arabic of a third written from `Akká by one Mahmúd, a partisan of Muhammad `Alí, to Ibráhím Khayru'lláh. The first two both seem to have been written at `Akká on October 20, 1900, and received a month later by Khayru'lláh at Chicago. The shorter one is as follows:
"Lately, in this present week, three American ladies and a gentleman arrived by the regular steamer viâ Beyrout, and are stopping at the Kraft, a German hotel at Haifa. Up to the present time they have not spoken to any of the Unitarians1, because they are prevented in the ways you know."
The longer letter, of which I have somewhat emended the style (which is clumsy and loaded with parentheses) runs as follows:
"HE IS AL-BAHIYYU'L-ABHA, GREAT IS HIS SPLENDOUR!
[Here follows the usual compliments, etc.]
"I have already informed you that some of the followers
1 This is the name by which the followers of Muhammad `Alí call themselves (Muwahhidín), while their opponents call them "Covenant-breakers" (Náqizín).
of `Abbás Efendi, our opponents, have left here for America. One of them is Mírzá Asadu'lláh of Isfahán, of whose cunning and shrewdness of intrigue you cannot fail to be aware, and who is the brother-in-law and secretary of `Abbás Efendi, and in all matters his most trusted and confidential agent. To no one else does `Abbás reveal his hidden secrets, and these people are of the most unscrupulous, and will hesitate at nothing and fear no consequences, being resolved to accomplish their purpose and spread abroad their vicious principles, even by the shedding of blood and the destruction of lives by hidden methods and secret intrigues. This obliges me to explain to you a certain cruel deed which they accomplished not long since. It is one of their many deeds which inspire detestation and break the heart with horror.
"Now therefore I say that there was in the port of Jedda a certain man of the Unitarians named Mírzá Yahyá, who was the son-in-law of one Hájji Mírzá Husayn of Lár, the Persian Vice-Consul at Jedda, and a merchant noted for his wealth. As is well known to you, these people take great and exquisite pains to attract to themselves persons of wealth and influence. When, therefore, they discovered that Mírzá Yahyá openly confessed his faith, and that he was of the party of the true Unitarians, and was wont to discuss with his father-in-law the questions at issue and the differences between the two parties, they were afraid that in the future the words of the son-in-law would influence the father-in-law, to wit the Hájji above mentioned, and eventually be the cause of depriving them of his money and wealth. They were, moreover, convinced of the impossibility of bringing Mírzá Yahyá over to their faction.
"One of the followers of `Abbás Efendi named Mírzá Mansúr, who is now in India, was therefore commanded by his master to proceed at once to Jedda and there conspire
with the Hájji above mentioned for the destruction of Mírzá Yahyá. At that time, the said Hájji was also at `Akká, but whether the plot was concocted there or at Jedda I am unable to say. To be brief, one night Mírzá Mansúr succeeded in administering to Mírzá Yahyá a poison which killed him at once. The subtlety of this plot lay in the perpetration of this horrid deed in such a city as Jedda1.
"Before the conspiracy had accomplished its purpose, `Abbás Efendi had written from `Akká to one of his friends informing him that some such calamity would befall Mírzá Yahyá, and that he would be punished. Hájji Mírzá Hasan of Khurásán published in Cairo a pamphlet concerning this event and the `Great miracle' wrought herein by `Abbás Efendi. It is unnecessary to send you this lengthy pamphlet, our object being merely to make known to you the character of these peoples' intrigues. You must employ every needful precaution, for, should they be unsuccessful or disappointed in inducing you to return to their party, they will endeavour by every means and without scruple to injure you. Concerning what befell Mírzá Yáhyá we have heard from certain persons who were at Jedda at the time that as he had no heirs, and as his father-in-law, the said Hájji, was of `Abbás Efendi's party, and was also Persian Vice-Consul at Jedda, no one appeared to demand an enquiry into the causes of his death.
"I therefore entreat you carefully to avoid taking from the hands of these people any food, drink, or other thing, although we know that the Lord (Glory be to Him) is the Protector and Sustainer, and will without doubt protect His friends and shelter those who love Him, especially him who has displayed the greatest energy, and has fought so faithfully in preaching to the people the Manifestation of His Most Great Name al-Abhá.
1 Where the crime would easily pass unnoticed, as, in fact, was the case.
"Mírzá Abu'l-Fazl [of Gulpáyagán] and Hájji Mírzá Hasan [of Khurásán] and the others, while they were here recently , did not visit any of the Unitarians, neither the Blessed Branches (Aghsán)1 nor the others. They neither wrote nor spoke to them concerning the differences of faith, and some of them used even to avert their faces from them if they happened to pass each other in the street."
The translation of the last of Mahmúd's letters, of which the Arabic text was communicated to me, is as follows:
"I inform you also of an event which happened in these days, which is that Husayn the Confectioner (Shakarjí), who has a shop opposite to the Government House at Hayfá, as you will remember, died of poison on the eve of Saturday the 28th of Ramazán2 in the house of His Holiness the Most Mighty Branch.3 He was seen by the municipal doctor, who reported that he died of poison. This is as much as we have heard hitherto, but should we obtain more detailed information, we will, please God, communicate it to you.
"He who prays for you, Mahmúd. - January 30th, 1901."
It is my good fortune to possess a copy of Hájji Mírzá Hasani-i-Khurásání's pamphlet above mentioned, which was sent to me on March 12, 1901, by Ibráhím Khayru'lláh. It contains only 27 pages measuring 5_ by 3_ inches, is entitled Risála-i-Bushrá wa Aya-i- Kubrá ("The Tract of Good Tidings and the Most Great Sign"), was printed at the Hindiyya Press in Egypt, and was completed on Rajab 9, 1316 (November 23, 1898). My copy is signed and sealed on the last page by the author, so that there is no doubt
1 i.e., `Abbás Efendi's three younger half-
brothers, Muhammad `Alí, Badí`u'lláh, and
about its authenticity. It opens with a brief doxology, in which `Abbás Efendi is spoken of as "the Lord of the World and Goal of the Peoples, the Most Noble Mystery of God1, the Most Mighty Branch of God and His Enduring Proof in the World," designated to succeed himself by Bahá'u'lláh since "God, great is His glory, arrived in the luminous city of `Akká." Texts from the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and from Bahá's Testament are cited in proof of this assertion, and the action of those who "broke the Covenant" (i.e. who sided with `Abbás Efendi's half-brother, Muhammad `Alí) is deplored and denounced. "Our object at present," continues the author, "is not, however, to discuss these matters, which are not hidden or concealed from any one, but to gladden the Friends of God with good tidings of a wonderful event which happened in the city of Jedda, and of a clear sign and evident miracle from the writings of the holy pen of His Holiness `Abdu'l-Bahá...(may the Life of the Worlds be a sacrifice to the dust of his footsteps!)." After this brief introduction, the author proceeds to describe as follows the life and death of Mírzá Yahyá of Isfahán, and the words of `Abbás Efendi wherein that death was foreshadowed.
This Mírzá Yahyá was originally an Azalí, but in the year of Bahá'u'lláh's "Ascension" (i.e. death), 1892, he came to `Akká, met `Abbás Efendi, by whom he was very well received, and wrote a refutation of Subhi-i-Azal. After a while he departed to Jedda (the port of Mecca on the Red Sea), where he became intimate with a well-known Bahá'í named Hájji Mírzá Husayn of Lár, whose daughter he presently asked and received in marriage. When the dispute between `Abbás Efendi and his half-brother Muhammad `Alí became acute, and the Bahá'í community was rent asunder by this schism, Mírzá Yahyá became the trusted agent and
fervent supporter of Muhammad `Alí, in whose favour he carried on an active propaganda. "It is a curious fact," observes the author, "that the `Covenant-breakers' (Náqizín) become the devoted admirers and faithful friends of every atheist, Azalí and Sophist, and of such as deny God's Holy Law and disobey His command, and are the kind friends and congenial intimates of every party except the true believers..., so that the truth of the tradition, `Infidelity constitutes a single church'1 might become apparent and manifest." So Yahyá grew ever bolder in his opposition to `Abbás Efendi, "the Great Mystery of God, and the Branch derived from the Ancient Stock," until God's patience was exhausted and His Anger moved to destroy the offender, and a "Tablet" (Lawh) was sent by `Abbás Efendi to Hájji Mullá Husayn of Lár, of which a copy was forwarded to the author enclosed in a letter dated the 2nd of Jumáda 1, 1316 (=September 18, 1898). This "Tablet," which Hájji Mírzá Hasan read aloud at the time of its arrival to a circle of fellow-believers in Cairo, is of considerable length and partly in Arabic. The prophetic threats are contained in the later Persian portion, of which a translation is here appended.
"The glance of [Divine] Favour embraceth that friend, and all good is predestined in respect to him, but a great barrier hath intervened [between us and him], and a formidable obstacle hath appeared; and God controlleth [men's] secret thoughts. Praise be to God, during the Day of the Theophany that friend attained to the honour of meeting and secured the distinction of listening to the address. You will ultimately appreciate the worth of this Pearl of Great Price of the Divine Covenant. For [MISSING WORD IN ORIGINAL] unique Pearl was nourished in the embrace of the shell of
1 i.e. all misbelievers have a natural sympathy for one another, and form, as it were, a coherent community.
the Most Glorious Kingdom (Malakút-i-Abhá) and included in the range of the Supreme Pen, and hath had no peer or like since the beginning of Creation. But certain children, having gathered together, have vainly thought to cast the Joseph of the Covenant into the Pit of Oblivion, and so themselves to become famous throughout the city and the market- place, and to sell this Precious Pearl for a few dirhams, and to endeavour to give currency to their own potsherds, heedless of the fact that the Beloved (`Azíz)1 of the Divine Egypt hath come forth from the bottom of the pit in despite of every envious and obstinate foe, and by the Favour of the Most Splendid Beauty (Jamál-i-Abhá)2 hath reached the zenith of the moon. Soon you will see that by the aid of the Most Glorious Kingdom (Malakút-i- Abhá) the Standard of the Promise will wave above the Pole of the Horizons, while the Lamp of the Covenant will shine so brightly through the glass of Contingent Being that the darknesses of the Violation of the Covenant will altogether disappear, and the cry of `By God, verily God hath preferred Him over all mankind' will be heard. If a little consideration and reflection be exercised concerning past events, the truth of the matter will become plain and proved. Say, `O Shaykh, this Covenant is the Light of the Horizons, and this is the Promise of God, not the plaything of children.' Say, `So shall ye behold yourselves in manifest loss, while damage shall result and be evident, and injury shall shortly overthrow the edifice.' Say, `The first hurt, please God, will be a warning to you, [making you reflect] what was the cause of this hurt and what the reason of this loss.' At all events do you observe with new and sharpened sight, so that you may
1 This is the title commonly given to Joseph when he was
made governor of Egypt.
find your way to the aims of these plotters and destroyers. Consider of whom it is said in the Qur'án, `They say with their tongues what is not in their hearts1.' Explain for them [the verse] `And when they see those who believe, they say, "We believe"; but when they withdraw privily to their devils, they say, "We are only scoffers!"2' Elucidate the meaning of, `But God shall mock at them, and continue them in their impiety; they shall wander in confusion3.' Say to him who was alive and is soon to die4: `Like the covenant-breakers5 the children of Israel wrought for themselves Sámirí6 and the [Golden] Calf. Was not Joshua the son of Nun divinely designated?' Thou didst err and make a grievous mistake when thou dist so vehemently belittle and contemn the divinely designated Centre [of Authority]7. If the Eternal Beauty8 should say to thee, `How didst thou call the Centre of my Covenant, the Branch derived from my Ancient Stock, him who was explicitly designated in my Perspicuous Book, and the Expositor of that Book, "a
1 Qur'án, xlviii, 11.
[Golden] Calf? what answer, O shameful Yahyá, wilt thou give? If thou would'st not render help, why scorn? If thou would'st not be the salve, why be the sore? Was not the Kitáb-i-Aqdas revealed thirty years ago? Did I not summon all to obey the Derived Branch? Did I not direct all to submission, calling him the Expositor of the Perspicuous Book? Did I not awaken most of the Friends, and did I not dissociate him before all from what is beneath him? Did I not engage his Covenant and Compact in the writings of the Supreme Pen, and did I not in plain language command all the Branches (Aghsán) and Twigs (Afnán)1 and Kinsmen generally to have regard and look to him? What more could I do? How could I further strengthen the matter? O shameful Yahyá, how could'st thou deny this clear Light, or how could'st thou sanction so cruel a slander against this great Designate? What hurt had'st thou suffered at his hands that thou did'st desire for him such abasement, or what injury had'st thou experienced from him that thou did'st display such great hatred?' What answer wilt thou give? At all events, while it is yet time express regret, and manifest repentance and remorse, and bareheaded in the mountain and the desert cry out that ye be not touched, and pour forth from thine eyes like the Oxus-flood tears and blood, and become the associate of lamentation and remorse, that perchance the breeze of forgiveness may blow, the grossness of thy sin may decrease, the Ocean of Mercy may be stirred, and the Cloud of Pardon may pour forth its rain, so that this filth of Covenant-breaking may be removed. For if not, then expect the Divine Vengeance, and look for blackness of face2 in both worlds. As God liveth,
1 The sons of Bahá'u'lláh are called
Aghsán (sing. Ghusn), and the relatives of the Bab
verily humiliation shall flee from thee by reason of its abundance, and loss shall take refuge from thee with the All-Merciful, and thou shalt behold thyself in the lowest depths of Hell. For abasement, remorse and disgrace shall be the portion of those who violate the Covenant of the High, the Mighty."
(`Abbás `Abdu'l- Bahá) [ARABIC LETTERS `Ayn `Ayn, the signature of `Abdu'l- Baha]
The author, Hájji Mírzá Hasan of Khurásán, next quotes the covering letter (or "Tablet" addressed to himself by `Abbás Efendi, and dated ("contrary to what is customary") the 2nd of Jumáda II, 1316 (Sept 18, 1898). The latter portion of this runs as follows:
"O Friend, you wrote about Yahyá, who supposed that `Abdu'l- Bahá was heedless of his evil intentions and intrigues. Therefore a little while ago a letter was written to Jedda, of which a copy is enclosed. Read it, that thou may'st be assured that the clemency of `Abdul-Bahá is great and his patience strong, but that, when the Command comes, he speaks and writes and cries, `This is the Truth, and after the Truth is naught save error. O Friend, so proclaim the Covenant that the deaf ears of the [Covenant- ]breakers may hear, and so shine in the Assembly of Constancy that the blind eyes of the perjured ones may see. And the Glory [Bahá] be upon every one who is steadfast in the Covenant of thy Lord the Mighty."
[ARABIC LETTERS `Ayn `Ayn, the signature of `Abdu'l-Bahá]
Not long after the receipt of this letter, which was read aloud to the faithful in Egypt, a letter dated the 27th of Jumáda I, 1316 (=October 13, 1898) was received from Hájji Mullá Husayn of Lár from Jedda by Hájji Mírzá Hasan of Khurásán declaring that "God, mighty is His glory, had removed Yahyá, that incorrigible Covenant-breaker, and had opened before his face the Door of the fierce threats of the All-Glorious Lord, which are explicitly
mentioned in the Two Holy Tablets. The simoom of Divine Wrath blew, and the gale of Celestial Anger breathed, and his (Yahyá's) darkened spirit, fulfilled with envy and hatred, descended to the abyss of Hell." Here follows Hájji Mullá Husayn of Lár's narrative of what took place, as communicated by him in a letter to Hájji Mírzá Hasan of Khurásán:
"Touching the Tablet which was vouchsafed from the Land of Heart's Desire1, in truth if anyone should possess the eye of discernment, these same Blessed Words which were thus fulfilled are a very great miracle. But what profits it, since the discerning eye is lacking?
"I read the Tablet to Mírzá Yahyá, and he listened. I said: `Assuredly thou sayest in thy heart, "I do not believe in the words thereof."' He answered, `It is even so; I have no sort of belief either in him or his father2.' I said, `If that which hath issued from the Blessed Pen does not speedily overtake you, it were well that they should shave off my beard3.' Then he rose up and departed to his own house.
"A few nights later towards the dawn one knocked at the door of my house. `Who is it?' I cried. Then, seeing that it was a maid-servant, I added, `What wilt thou?' She replied, `Mírzá Yahyá is done for.' I at once ran thither. Hájji Muhammad Báqir also was present. I saw that blood was flowing from his (Mírzá Yahyá's) throat, and that he was unable to move. By this time it was morning. I at once brought thither an Indian doctor. He examined him and said, `A blood vessel in his lung is ruptured. He must lie still for three days and not move, and then he will
1 Arz-i-Maqsúd, i.e.
recover.' He then gave him some medicine. The haemorrhage stopped for two days and his condition improved. In spite of this he was not admonished to return to the Truth. After two days there was a second flow of blood from his throat, and he was nearly finished. The doctor came again and gave him medicine, but ultimately it profited him nothing. Twice again he vomited undiluted blood, and then surrendered his spirit to the Angel of Torment.
"This event was in truth a warning to all beholders, that is to say to such as see and read this Tablet. Please God you have read it in its entirety and found your way to the meaning thereof. One individual hath He thus swiftly removed. Assuredly hereafter the Lord will accomplish every promise which He hath uttered. I take refuge with God from the wrath of God! I seek from the Truth that He will aid us to stand firm in His Covenant and Compact! In a little while the Covenant-breakers will be overtaken by calamities such that they shall flee bare-headed to the mountains and deserts, but shall find there no way of escape."
The author, Hájji Mírzá Hasan of Khurásán, here observes that never in any previous dispensation was so clear a threat followed by so swift and condign a punishment, or so explicit a prophecy so speedily accomplished. For, says he, though God's patience is almost inexhaustible, there comes an end to it, especially in the case of such apostates, who sin against the Light, and who do far more harm to the cause than the theologians, jurisconsults and rulers who ignorantly oppose and oppress it. He then quotes another Tablet which was sent to him by `Abbás Efendi after the death of Mírzá Yahyá, and which runs thus:
"Write to Mullá Husayn of Lár that these were the circumstances connected with Yahyá the shameless, to wit that he wrote a letter to the leading Covenant-breakers, and
made use of a very vile expression concerning the Centre of the Covenant1 such as none, not even the lowest, would utter; to wit, an expression which was to the leading Covenant- breakers as a floral festival, a joy, and the cause of boundless delight [causing them to say] `Praise be to God because such souls have appeared who dare to belittle so ignominiously the Pole-star of the Covenant!' Therefore was the threat of vengeance and the imminence of the thunderbolt of destruction thus explicitly given; for assuredly the Framer of the Covenant and the Protector of the Compact will vindicate the Centre of the Covenant. These are isolated events; with these same outward eyes it will be seen in what abasement and disgrace, and in what calamities, afflictions and chastisements the `quakers2' shall be overwhelmed. Say, `Wait until God shall accomplish His purpose, O Company of Shame, O Faction of Rebellion, and ye shall see yourselves in the lowest of Hell-fires!' Upon thee be the Splendour3!"
Hájji Mírzá Hasan of Khurásán concludes his pamphlet by promising further details concerning the schism, the obstinacy of `Abbás Efendi's half-brothers, the "boldness and discourtesy" of Mírzá Aqá Ján, and other kindred matters, and, as already noted, dates the completion of his work the 9th of Rajab, 1316 (November 23, 1898).
One fact which is very clearly brought out by this pamphlet is that the detestation in which the followers of `Abbás Efendi hold the rival faction of his half- brother Muhammad `Alí equals, if it does not exceed, that in which
1 i.e. `Abbás Efendi `Abdu'l-
the Bahá'ís generally hold the Azalís, and far surpasses the dislike entertained by any of these three parties for the adherents of other creeds which stand entirely outside the Bábí-Bahá'í circle. This phenomenon, however, is not peculiar to Bábíism. At all events this second schism amongst the Bábí community, which began almost immediately after Bahá'u'lláh's death in 1892 and culminated (as will be subsequently explained in fuller detail) in 1895, was singularly fierce and bitter, and in due course naturally extended to the American Bahá'ís. Ibráhím Khayru'lláh's secession from `Abbás Efendi seems to have begun soon after his return from `Akká (about the end of 1898), and, as we have seen, at the end of November, 1900, the fanatical Hájji Mírzá Hasan (the author of the pamphlet just analysed) was threatening him in Chicago for his apostasy. The great majority of the American Bahá'ís adhered to the party of `Abbás Efendi, who had established there as elsewhere a great personal ascendancy which his half-brother Muhammad `Alí completely failed to rival, though one at least of his adherents, Mírzá Ghulámu'lláh, the son of Mírzá Muhammad Jawád of Qazwín, author of the life of Bahá'u'lláh translated in the first section of this volume, visited America to promote his Master's interests and press his claims1. In 1901 we find Ibráhím Khayru'lláh defending his position against the American followers of `Abbás Efendi in two tracts entitled respectively Facts for Bahá'ists (Chicago, 1901), and The Three Questions (undated, but published subsequently to April, 1901). The former is prefaced by the following "Statement of the House of Justice of the Society of Bahá'ists to all the followers of Bahá'u'lláh":
"The time has come to publish some of the numerous
1 He was in New York in March 1901, and in Chicago in the following month, and visited me in Cambridge on his way to America.
facts which have been obtained through a very careful and strict investigation concerning the differences existing between the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh [i.e.`Abbás Efendi `Abdu'l-Bahá] and his younger brothers.
"For the sake of Truth and Justice we urge every believer to read carefully the contents of this pamphlet, and judge for himself which of the two parties is following the teachings of the Father and obeying His Commandments.
"It is intended gradually to publish the many facts in our possession, and they are open at any time to those who wish to investigate them."
"The Three Questions" answered by Khayru'lláh in his second pamphlet are as follows:
(1) "Why have some followers of Bahá'u'lláh and yourself rejected `Abbás Efendi, the Greatest Branch, and his teachings?
(2) "Did you receive the instructions you gave in America from Bahá'u'lláh in person, or from `Abdu'l-Karím of Cairo, Egypt?
(3) "Why did you not denounce `Abbás Efendi upon your return from `Akká?"
From the answer to the second question it appears (p.23) that `Abdu'l- Karím of Tihrán, by whom Khayru'lláh was first converted to the Bahá'í faith, and who, as we have seen, visited America in the summer of 1900, told Khayru'lláh, in the presence of some believers, that if he returned to `Abbás Efendi he was right and all he taught was right; but that if not he was wrong, and all he taught was wrong. "Besides this," says Khayru'lláh, "he promised me plenty of money, and when I refused he renounced me and all that I taught, and prohibited the believers from reading or buying my work Behá'u'lláh."
From the answer to the third question we learn that it was not until nearly seven months after Khayru'lláh's return to America that he definitely repudiated `Abbás Efendi and espoused the cause of Muhammad `Alí and the younger brothers. This event must have taken place in the year 1899.
`Abbás Efendi, as soon as Khayru'lláh's defection was known, seems to have taken vigorous steps to destroy his supremacy and influence in America. `Abdu'l- Karím was sent to America for this purpose in 1900. At the end of the same year, as we have seen, another ardent partisan of `Abbás Efendi, to wit Hájji Mírzá Hasan of Khurásán, was in America, not only remonstrating with but threatening Khayru'lláh. A little later Mírzá Asadu'lláh, a vehement partisan of `Abbás Efendi, founded the "House of Spirituality" in Chicago. About the end of 1901 or beginning of 1902 his son, Mírzá Faríd Amín, a lad of about twenty, who had graduated with honours in English, succeeded and aided his father as the recognized translator into English of the Bahá'í writings in Arabic and Persian.
Early in 1902 we find two more prominent Bahá'ís, both adherents of Abbás Efendi, to wit the learned and indefatigable Mírzá Abu'l-Fazl of Gulpáyagán (whose propagandist activities were also displayed at `Ishqábád, or Askabad, in Russian Turkistán and in Egypt) and the amiable old Hájji Niyáz of Kirmán (with whom I was acquainted in Cairo in the early part of 1903) carrying on an active propaganda in America. The former, unless he paid two visits to America, must have remained there nearly three years, for he sailed thence for `Akká with nine American pilgrims, including Mr Howard MacNutt (formerly associated with Khayru'lláh in the publication of his book Behá'u'lláh) in December, 1904.
The last news I had of Ibráhím Khayru'lláh was in a letter from Chicago dated April 4, 1917, in which he wrote:
"The Bahá'í movement in America became slow and dull since the sad dissension reached the West nineteen years ago [i.e. in 1898]. I thought then that to call the people to this Great Truth was equivalent to inviting them into a quarrel. But the visit of `Abbás Efendi `Abdu'l-Bahá to this country, his false teachings, his misrepresentations of Bahá'ism, his dissimulation, and the knowledge that his end is nigh, aroused me to rise up for helping the work of God, declaring the Truth, and refuting the false attacks of theologians and missionaries. Now I am struggling hard to vivify the Cause of God after its having received by the visit of `Abbás Efendi a death-blow."