'Abdu'l-Bahá's Greatness Transcends His Suffering
Around the time that 'Abdu'l-Bahá wrote the passages concerning the Commission of Inquiry, He wrote a long Tablet to the believers in Persia to familiarize them with the distressing situation that endangered His life as He awaited the decision of the Sultan on the Commission's report. Here is a translation of part of this Tablet:
O ye the cherished loved ones of 'Abdu'l-Bahá! It is a long time
now since my inward ear hath heard any sweet melodies out of
certain regions, or my heart been gladdened; and this despite the
fact that ye are ever present in my thoughts and standing clearly
visible before my sight. Filled to overflowing is the goblet of my
heart with the wine of the love I bear you, and my yearning to set
eyes upon you streameth like the spirit through my arteries and
veins. From this it is clear how great is my affliction. At this time
and throughout this tempest of calamities now tossing its waves to
high heaven, cruel and incessant darts are being hurled against
me from every point of the compass, and at every moment, here
in the Holy Land, terrifying news is received, and every day
bringeth its quota of horror The Centre of Sedition had imagined
that it needed but his arrogant rebellion to bring down the Covenant
and Testament in ruins; it needed but this, so he thought,
to turn the righteous away from the Holy Will. Wherefore he sent
out far and wide his leaflets of doubt, devising many a secret
scheme. Now he would cry out that God's edifice had been subverted
and His divine commands annulled, and that accordingly,
the Covenant and Testament was abolished. Again he would set
himself to sighing and groaning that he was being held a prisoner
and was kept hungry and thirsty day and night. Another day he
would raise an uproar, saying that the oneness of God had been
denied, since another Manifestation had been proclaimed, prior
to the expiration of a thousand years.
When he saw that his calumnies had no effect, he gradually
formed a plan to incite a disturbance. He began stirring up mischief,
and went knocking at every door. He started making false accusations
to the officials of the Government. He approached some of
the foreigners, made himself their intimate, and together with them
prepared a document and presented it to the seat of the Sultanate,
bringing consternation to the authorities. Among the many
slanderous charges was this, that this hapless one had raised up
a standard of revolt, a flag bearing the words Ya Baha'u'l-Abha; that
I had paraded this throughout the countryside, to every city, town
and village, and even among the desert tribes, and had summoned
all the inhabitants to unite under this flag.
O my Lord, verily I seek refuge with Thee from the very
thought of such an act, which is contrary to all the commandments
of Bahá'u'lláh, and which would indeed be a mighty wrong that
none but a grievous sinner would ever perpetrate. For Thou has
made it incumbent upon us to obey the rulers and kings.
Another of his slanders was that the Shrine on Mount Carmel
was a fortress that I had built strong and impregnable — this when
the building under construction compriseth six rooms — and that
I had named it Medina the Resplendent, while I had named the
Holy Tomb[*] Mecca the Glorified. Yet another of his calumnies was
that I had established an independent sovereignty, and that — God
forbid! God forbid! God forbid! — I had summoned all the believers
to join me in this massive wrongdoing. How dire, O my Lord, is
[* At Bahji.]
Yet again, he claimeth that since the Holy Shrine hath become
a point visited by pilgrims from all over the world, great damage
will accrue to this Government and people. He, the Centre of
Sedition, averteth that he himself hath had no hand in all these
matters, that he is a Sunni of the Sunnites and a devoted follower
of Abu-Bakr and 'Umar, and regardeth Bahá'u'lláh as only a pious
man and a mystic; all these things, he saith, were set afoot by this
To be brief, a Commission of Investigation was appointed by
the Sultan, may the glory of his reign endure. The Commission
journeyed hither and immediately upon arrival betook themselves
to the house of one of the accusers. They then summoned the
group who, working with my brother, had prepared the accusatory
document and asked them whether it was true. The group, explained
the contents of the document, stated that everything they
had reported therein was nothing but the truth, and added further
accusations. Thus they functioned at one and the same time as
plaintiffs, witnesses, and judge.
The Commission hath now returned to the seat of the Caliphate,
and reports of a most frightful nature are coming in daily from
that city. However, praised be God, 'Abdu'l-Bahá remaineth
composed and unperturbed. To none do I bear ill will because of
this defamation. I have made all my affairs conditioned upon His
irresistible Will and I am waiting, indeed in perfect happiness, to
offer my life and prepared for whatever dire affliction may be in
store. Praise be to God, the loving believers also accept and remain
submissive to God's Will, content with it, radiantly acquiescent,
The Centre of Sedition hath imagined that once the blood of
this wronged one is spilled out, once I have been cast away on the
wide desert sands or drowned in the Mediterranean Sea — nameless,
gone without trace, with none to tell of me — then would he
at last have a field where he could urge his steed ahead, and with
his mallet of lies and doubts, hit hard at the polo ball of his ambitions,
and carry off the prize.
Far from it! For even if the sweet musk-scent of faithfulness
should pass, and leave no trace behind, who would be drawn by
the stench of perfidy? And even if some gazelle of heaven were to
be ripped apart by dogs and wolves, who would go running to seek
out a ravening wolf? Even should the day of the Mystic Nightingale
draw to its close, who would ever lend his ear to the raven's croak,
or the cawing of the crow? What an empty supposition is his! What
a foolish presumption! 'Their works are like the vapour in a desert
which the thirsty dreameth to be water, until when he cometh unto
it, he findeth nothing.'[*]
[* Qur'an 24:39]
O ye loved ones of God! Be ye firm of foot, and fixed of heart,
and through the power of the Blessed Beauty's help, stand ye committed
to your purpose. Serve ye the Cause of God. Face ye all
nations of the world with the constancy and the endurance of the
people of Baha that all men may be astounded and ask how this
could be, that your hearts are as well-springs of confidence and
faith, and as mines so rich in the love of God. Be ye so, that ye shall
neither fail nor falter on account of these tragedies in the Holy
Land; let not these dread events make you despondent. And if all
the believers be put to the sword, and only one be left, let that one
cry out in the name of the Lord and tell the joyous tidings; let that
one rise up and confront all the peoples of the earth.
Gaze ye not upon the dire happenings at this Illumined Spot.
The Holy Land is in danger at all times, and here, the tide of
calamities is ever at the flood; for this upraised call hath now been
heard around the world, and the fame of it hath gone forth to the
ends of the earth. It is because of this that foes, both from within
and from without, have turned themselves with subtlety and craft
to spreading slander. It is clear that such a place as this would be
exposed to danger, for there is no defender here, none to arise and
take our side in the face of calumny: here are only a few souls that
are homeless, hapless, held captive in this stronghold. No champion
have they; there is none to succour them, none to ward off
the arrows of lies, the darts of defamation that are hurled against
them: none except God...
O ye loving friends! Strive ye with heart and soul to make this
world the mirror-image of the Kingdom, that this nether world
may teem with the blessings of the world of God, that the voices
of the Company on high may be raised in acclamation, and signs
and tokens of the bounties and bestowals of Bahá'u'lláh may
encompass all the earth.
Jinab-i-Amin hath expressed the greatest admiration for you
honoured men and enlightened women, naming and commending
you each by each, telling at length of the firmness and constancy
ye all have shown, saying that, God be praised, in all Persia the
men and women are standing together, straight, strong, unmovable
— a mighty edifice solidly raised up; and that ye are engaged with
love and joy in spreading abroad the sweet savours of the Lord.
These were tidings of great joy, especially as they have reached
me in these days of extreme peril. For the dearest wish of this
wronged one is that the friends be spiritual of heart and illumined
of mind, and once this grace is granted me, calamity, however
afflictive, is but bounty pouring down upon me, like copious rain.
O God, my God! Thou seest me plunged in an ocean of anguish,
held fast to the fires of tyranny, and weeping in the darkness
of the night. Sleepless I toss and turn upon my bed, mine eyes
straining to behold the morning light of faithfulness and trust. I
agonize even as a fish, its inward parts afire as it leapeth about in
terror upon the sand, yet I ever look for Thy bestowals to appear
from every side.
[197 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections, pp. 216-22.]
'Abdu'l-Bahá felt the sufferings inflicted on Him by the Covenant-breakers much more intensely than any human being would have felt them. This is true of Bahá'u'lláh also. He mentions in many Tablets that no one on earth has been, or will be, subjected to such suffering. It may be difficult for those who are not fully familiar with the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh to accept such a statement. They may argue that there have been many people who were afflicted with unbearable tortures and life-long sufferings. In order to appreciate the words of Bahá'u'lláh let us imagine a community somewhere in the world whose people are savage, barbarous and brutally cruel. Those born and brought up within such a community, who have lived there all their lives and have never been in touch with civilization, would find this life to be normal. Although to the outsider the standard would seem to be very cruel, yet for the members of that community every event that took place in their midst would be a natural happening and accepted as such. As in every other community, there would be moments of joy and comfort as well as sadness and suffering for the people who belonged to this society. However, were a noble person who had lived in a highly civilized society forced to join this uncivilized community, he would suffer much more than the rest. Because he was used to a far superior standard in his life, it could be said of him that he had undergone cruelties and hardships, both mental and physical, that no one else in that community had experienced.
It is the same with the Manifestation of God and His Chosen Ones, sent to live among men. There is a vast contrast between the world of man and the world of the Chosen Ones of God. The former is limited and full of imperfections while the latter is a realm of perfections far exalted above the comprehension of human beings. Coming from such a realm, possessing all the divine virtues and embodying God's attributes, these exalted Beings descend into this world and become prisoners among human beings. Man's ignorance, his cruelty, his ungodliness, his selfishness, his insincerity and all his sins and shortcomings are tools of torture inflicting painful wounds upon the souls of the Chosen Ones of God, who have no alternative but to bear them in silence with resignation and submissiveness, as in the case of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. One act of unfaithfulness — even a glance betraying the insincerity of the individual or an unworthy thought emanating from his mind — is painful torture to them. But they seldom reveal the shortcomings of men or dwell on their own pain and suffering. Like teachers who have to descend to the level of a child and act as if they do not know, the Manifestations of God come as men appearing to be the same as others. They have the sin-covering eye to such an extent that some may think that they do not know.
The perusal of the Will and Testament may leave the reader with the erroneous impression that 'Abdu'l-Bahá was being crushed under the pressure of sufferings inflicted on Him by the Covenant-breakers, and that He could not bear their onslaught any longer. For example, we come across the following statements which, if considered on a human level, may lead one to conclude that a person facing such fierce opposition would collapse and be heard of no more:
3l-WT Yet now Thou seest them, O Lord, my God! with Thine
eye that sleepeth not, how that they have broken Thy Covenant
and turned their backs thereon, how with hate and rebelliousness
they have erred from Thy Testament and have arisen intent upon
32-WT Adversities have waxed still more severe as they rose
with unbearable cruelty to overpower and crush me, as they
scattered far and wide their scrolls of doubt and in utter falsehood
hurled their calumnies upon me.
36-WT O dearly beloved friends! I am now in very great danger
and the hope of even an hour's life is lost to me.
The study of the life of the Manifestations of God and their Chosen Ones reveals that although they physically endure the pain and agony of persecutions, in the realm of the spirit they are not affected. For instance, while 'Abdu'l-Bahá faced fierce opposition from the Covenant-breakers, He dispelled, through His exemplary life, the gloom that had been surrounding the community of the Most Great Name. During this time, when He Himself was the target of dire afflictions and sufferings, He cast upon everyone around Him the light of truth, of divine virtues and spiritual teachings.
Although we can never understand the reality of Bahá'u'lláh, the Manifestation of God, or of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the Most Great Mystery of God and the Centre of His Covenant, we can observe some of their superhuman characteristics. Unlike a human being whose mind can only deal with one subject at a time, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, who had all the powers of Bahá'u'lláh conferred upon Him, was free from this limitation. Usually a person becomes overwhelmed when afflicted by sufferings or faced with insurmountable obstacles. Under such circumstances even people of outstanding ability show their weakness and reveal their human frailty. They try to cope with one problem at a time and often seek the assistance of experts and advisors to help them make a decision.
Not so with 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He acted independently, for no individual was qualified to advise or assist Him in His manifold activities. His soul was not bound by the limitations of the world of humanity and His mind was not overwhelmed when faced with a host of problems simultaneously. In the midst of calamities, when the ablest of men would have succumbed to pressure, He remained detached, while directing His attention to whatever He desired. This is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Manifestation of God and His Chosen Ones. Bahá'u'lláh has explained this in the Kitab-i-Iqan, quoting the celebrated Islamic passage: 'Nothing whatsoever keepeth Him from being occupied with any other thing.'
[198 Quoted in Bahá'u'lláh, Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 67.]
Although the Manifestations of God and these specially Chosen Ones such as 'Abdu'l-Bahá feel the agony of sufferings inflicted on them by their enemies, and their human nature experiences both mental and physical pain, their souls are not affected by any man-made affliction. They abide in a realm far beyond the ken of mortal men and wield the spiritual sceptre of authority and power with which they rule over humanity. These powers are at first hidden from the eyes of most people but with the passage of time humanity observes the influence of their word and the spread of their Faith.
To appreciate, even to a limited degree, the superhuman powers and divine perfections with which 'Abdu'l-Bahá was invested, we can do no better than to turn to the writings of Shoghi Effendi. Referring to the station of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the position He occupies in this Dispensation, the Guardian writes:
It would be indeed difficult for us, who stand so close to such a
tremendous figure and are drawn by the mysterious power of so
magnetic a personality, to obtain a clear and exact understanding
of the role and character of One Who, not only in the Dispensation
of Bahá'u'lláh but in the entire field of religious history, fulfils a
unique function. Though moving in a sphere of His own and
holding a rank radically different from that of the Author and the
Forerunner of the Bahá'í Revelation, He, by virtue of the station
ordained for Him through the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, forms
together with them what may be termed the Three Central Figures
of a Faith that stands unapproached in the world's spiritual history.
He towers, in conjunction with them, above the destinies of this
infant Faith of God from a level to which no individual or body
ministering to its needs after Him, and for no less a period than
a full thousand years, can ever hope to rise...
...we should not by any means infer that 'Abdu'l-Bahá is merely
one of the servants of the Blessed Beauty, or at best one whose
function is to be confined to that of an authorized interpreter of
His Father's teachings. Far be it from me to entertain such a notion
or to wish to instil such sentiments. To regard Him in such a light
is a manifest betrayal of the priceless heritage bequeathed by Bahá'u'lláh
to mankind. Immeasurably exalted is the station conferred
upon Him by the Supreme Pen above and beyond the implications
of these, His own written statements. Whether in the Kitab i-Aqdas,
the most weighty and sacred of all the works of Bahá'u'lláh, or in
the Kitab-i-'Ahd, the Book of His Covenant, or in the Suriy-i-Ghusn
(Tablet of the Branch), such references as have been recorded by
the pen of Bahá'u'lláh — references which the Tablets of His Father
addressed to Him mightily reinforce — invest 'Abdu'l-Bahá with
a power, and surround Him with a halo, which the present generation
can never adequately appreciate.
He is, and should for all time be regarded, first and foremost,
as the Centre and Pivot of Bahá'u'lláh's peerless and all-enfolding
Covenant, His most exalted handiwork, the stainless Mirror of His
light, the perfect Exemplar of His teachings, the unerring Interpreter
of His Word, the embodiment of every Bahá'í ideal, the
incarnation of every Bahá'í virtue, the Most Mighty Branch sprung
from the Ancient Root, the Limb of the Law of God, the Being
'round Whom all names revolve', the Mainspring of the Oneness
of Humanity, the Ensign of the Most Great Peace, the Moon of the
Central Orb of this most holy Dispensation — styles and titles that
are implicit and find their truest, their highest and fairest expression
in the magic name 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He is, above and beyond
these, appellations, the 'Mystery of God' — an expression by which
Bahá'u'lláh Himself has chosen to designate Him, and which, while
it does not by any means justify us to assign to Him the station of
Prophethood, indicates how in the person of 'Abdu'l-Bahá the
incompatible characteristics of a human nature and superhuman
knowledge and perfection have been blended and are completely
[199 Shoghi Effendi, World Order, pp. 131-4.]
The tributes which Bahá'u'lláh has paid to 'Abdu'l-Bahá are numerous, as recorded in His Tablets to which Shoghi Effendi refers above. The following passages are gleaned from a wide range of Bahá'u'lláh's writings, some of which are written in His own hand.
In the Suriy-i-Ghusn (Surih of the Branch),[*] He exalts the station of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in these words:
[* See Taherzadeh, of Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 2.]
There hath branched from the Sadratu'l-Muntaha this sacred and
glorious Being, this Branch of Holiness; well is it with him that
hath sought His shelter and abideth beneath His shadow. Verily
the Limb of the Law of God hath sprung forth from this Root which
God hath firmly implanted in the Ground of His Will, and whose
Branch hath been so uplifted as to encompass the whole of creation.
Magnified be He, therefore, for this sublime, this blessed,
this mighty, this exalted Handiwork!... Render thanks unto God,
O people, for His appearance; for verily He is the most great
Favour unto you, the most perfect bounty upon you; and through
Him every mouldering bone is quickened. Whoso turneth towards
Him hath turned towards God, and whoso turneth away from Him
hath turned away from My Beauty, hath repudiated My Proof, and
transgressed against Me. He is the Trust of God amongst you, His
charge within you, His Manifestation unto you and His appearance
among His favoured servants...
[200 Bahá'u'lláh, quoted in ibid. p. 135. (Shoghi Effendi, World Order.)]
In another Tablet in His own handwriting, Bahá'u'lláh thus addresses 'Abdu'l-Bahá:
O Thou Who art the apple of Mine eye! My glory, the ocean of My
loving-kindness, the sun of My bounty, the heaven of My mercy
rest upon Thee. We pray God to illumine the world though Thy
knowledge and wisdom, to ordain for Thee that which will gladden
Thine heart and impart consolation to Thine eyes.
[201 ibid. (Bahá'u'lláh quoted in Shoghi Effendi, World Order, p. 135.)]
In yet another Tablet, these verses have been revealed by Him:
The glory of God rest upon Thee, and upon whosoever serveth
Thee and circleth around Thee. Woe, great woe, betide him that
opposeth and injureth Thee. Well is it with him that sweareth fealty
to Thee; the fire of hell torment him who is Thine enemy.
[202 ibid. (Bahá'u'lláh quoted in Shoghi Effendi, World Order, p. 135.)]
We have made Thee a shelter for all mankind, a shield unto all
who are in heaven and on earth, a stronghold for whosoever hath
believed in God, the Incomparable, the All-Knowing. God grant
that through Thee He may protect them, may enrich and sustain
them, that He may inspire Thee with that which shall be a well-spring
of wealth unto all created things, an ocean of bounty unto
all men, and the dayspring of mercy unto all peoples.
[203 ibid. pp. 135-6. (Bahá'u'lláh quoted in Shoghi Effendi, World Order.)]
When 'Abdu'l-Bahá was on a visit to Beirut, Bahá'u'lláh expressed in these words His sorrow at their separation:
Praise be to Him Who hath honoured the Land of Ba [Beirut]
through the presence of Him round Whom all names revolve. All
the atoms of the earth have announced unto all created things that
from behind the gate of the Prison-city there hath appeared and
above its horizon there hath shone forth the Orb of the beauty of
the great, the Most Mighty Branch of God — His ancient and
immutable Mystery — proceeding on its way to another land.
Sorrow, thereby, hath enveloped this Prison-city, whilst another
Blessed, doubly blessed, is the ground which His footsteps have
trodden, the eye that hath been cheered by the beauty of His
countenance, the ear that hath been honoured by hearkening to
His call, the heart that hath tasted the sweetness of His love, the
breast that hath dilated through His remembrance, the pen that
hath voiced His praise, the scroll that hath borne the testimony of
[204 Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets, pp. 227-8.]
The bounties that Bahá'u'lláh showered upon 'Abdu'l-Bahá were not confined to these and the other Tablets that streamed from His Pen. On innumerable public and private occasions He praised 'Abdu'l-Bahá, described His divine attributes in glowing terms and paid tribute to His noble deeds. Haji Mirza Haydar-'Ali, that spiritual giant immortalized by the title 'the Angel of Carmel', has left the following record of one of his memorable audiences, when Bahá'u'lláh spoke about 'Abdu'l-Bahá's important role in shielding Him from the pressures of the outside world:[*]
[* These are not to be taken as the exact words of Bahá'u'lláh; they are only recollections of His utterances by Haji Mirza Haydar-'Ali.]
During the days of Baghdad We ourself used to visit the coffee
house[**] and meet with everyone. We associated with people whether
they were in the community or outside, whether acquaintances or
strangers, whether they came from far or near.
[** See Taherzadeh, Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 3, pp. 250-l.]
We considered those who were distant from us to be near, and
the strangers as acquaintances. We served the Cause of God,
supported His Word, and exalted His Name. The Most Great
Branch ['Abdu'l-Bahá] carried out all these services, withstood all
the difficulties and endured the sufferings and calamities to a great
extent in Adrianople and now to a far greater extent in 'Akka.
Because while in Baghdad, to all appearances We were not a
prisoner and the Cause of God had hardly enjoyed a fame it does
today. Those who opposed it and the enemies who fought against
it were comparatively few and far between.
In Adrianople We used to meet with some of the people and
gave permission to some to attain Our presence. But while in the
Most Great Prison We did not meet with anyone[*] and have completely
closed the door of association with the people. Now the
Master has taken upon Himself this arduous task for Our comfort.
He is a mighty shield facing the world and its peoples and so He
has relieved Us [from every care]. At first He secured the Mansion
of Mazra'ih for Us and We stayed there, then the Mansion of Bahji.
He is so occupied in the service of the Cause that for weeks He
does not find the opportunity to come to Bahji. We are engaged
in meeting with the believers and revealing the verses of God,
while He labours hard and faces every ordeal and suffering.
Because to deal and associate with these people is the most arduous
task of all.
[* That is, with non-Bahá'ís.]
[205 Haydar-'Ali, Bihjutu's-Sudur, pp. 251-2.]
Mirza Mahmud-i-Kashani, [**] a trusted follower of Bahá'u'lláh who was in His service from the days of Baghdad and accompanied Him to Adrianople and 'Akka, has recounted in his memoirs his recollection of the words of Bahá'u'lláh as He spoke to a number of believers about the exalted station of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Here is a summary translation of his notes:
[** See Taherzadeh, Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1, p. 288.]
...The word Aqa (the Master) was a designation given to 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
I recall that one day when Bahá'u'lláh was in the Garden of
Vashshash which was a delightful place situated outside Baghdad,
which He occasionally used to visit, someone referred to certain
individuals as the Aqa.[***] On hearing this Bahá'u'lláh was heard to
say with a commanding voice: 'Who is the Aqa? There is only one
Aqa, and He is the Most Great Branch.'
[*** As a common noun, the word 'Aqa' in the Persian language is used as a title before a name. It is similar to 'Mr' in English. However, if it is used on its own as a proper noun, it signifies the exalted station of a person.]
Bahá'u'lláh said the same thing again in the Garden of Ridvan
in 'Akka. On that occasion, someone addressed Mirza Muhammad-'Ali
as Aqa, whereupon Bahá'u'lláh admonished him saying: 'There
is one and only one Aqa and He is the Most Great Branch, others
should be addressed by their names.'...
Many a time I was in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh when the
Master was also present. Because of His presence Bahá'u'lláh
would be filled with the utmost joy and gladness. One could see
His blessed countenance beaming with delight and exultation so
lovingly that no words can adequately describe it. Repeatedly He
would laud and glorify the Master and the mere mention of His
name would suffice to evoke an indescribable feeling of ecstasy in
the person of the Blessed Beauty. No pen is capable of fully
describing this. In many of His Tablets Bahá'u'lláh has extolled
the station of 'Abdu'l-Bahá...
Haji Mirza Habibu'llah-i-Afnan, a younger son of Aqa Mirza Aqa entitled Nuru'd-Din,[*] one of the distinguished members of the Afnan family, has written in his memoirs some interesting stories of his pilgrimage in 1891. The following is an extract from his notes, summarized and translated:
[* For a detailed account of his life and services see Taherzadeh, Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 4.]
One evening we were informed that the Beloved of the World
[Bahá'u'lláh] intended to visit the Garden of Junaynih[**] and had
directed that all the pilgrims and resident Bahá'ís accompany Him
in the morning. That night we could not sleep because we were so
excited ... that we should have the bounty of being in His holy
presence for several hours the next day. At the hour of dawn we
faced His blessed room and engaged in prayers and devotions.
Before sunrise we all assembled outside the gate of the Mansion.
It took about one hour until His Blessed Person came downstairs
and mounted a white donkey... All the believers followed Him
on foot to the garden. One of the local believers, Haji Khavar, was
a tall man. He walked alongside Bahá'u'lláh and held an umbrella
over His head as a protection against the heat of the sun. The air
was refreshing as we arrived in the garden... His Blessed Person
was extremely happy that day and each one of the friends received
his share of the bounties from His presence. We had lunch in the
garden, then we assembled together and attained His presence.
[** A garden situated in the north of 'Akka near the Mansion of Mazra'ih.]
It was at that time that 'Abdu'l-Bahá arrived from 'Akka. The
Blessed Beauty said, The Master is coming, hasten to attend Him'...
On those days Bahá'u'lláh used to sow the seeds of loyalty and
servitude towards 'Him Whom God hath purposed' ['Abdu'l-Bahá]
in the hearts of the believers and explained the lofty station and
hidden reality of the Master to all.
Attended by everyone, 'Abdu'l-Bahá came with great humility
into the presence of the Blessed Beauty. Then The Tongue of
Grandeur uttered words to this effect, 'From morning until now
this garden was not pleasant but now with the presence of the
Master it has become truly most delightful.' Then, turning to
the Master, He remarked, 'You should have come in the morning.'
'Abdu'l-Bahá responded, 'The Governor of 'Akka and some
residents had requested to meet with Me. Therefore I had to receive
and entertain them.' Bahá'u'lláh, with a smiling face, said, 'The
Master is our shield. Everybody here lives in the utmost comfort
and peace. Association with the outside people such as these is very,
very difficult. It is the Master who stands up to everything and
prepares the means of comfort for all the friends. May God protect
Him from the evil of the envious and the hostile.'[*]
[* These are not to be taken as the exact words of Bahá'u'lláh or 'Abdu'l-Bahá.]
In His Will and Testament, having dwelt on the machinations of the Covenant-breakers, the Centre of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and the Supreme Exemplar of His teachings unveils to His loved ones a different picture of His warm and affectionate nature. He gives them a glimmer of that heavenly spirit bestowed upon Him by Bahá'u'lláh and provides them with a glimpse of His limitless love and compassion, His humility and self-effacement through the following soul-stirring prayer of forgiveness for His enemies:
34-5-WT I call upon Thee, O Lord my God! with my tongue
and with all my heart, not to requite them for their cruelty and
their wrong-doings, their craft and their mischief, for they are
foolish and ignoble and know not what they do. They discern not
good from evil, neither do they distinguish right from wrong; nor
justice from injustice. They follow their own desires and walk
in the footsteps of the most imperfect and foolish amongst them.
O my Lord! Have mercy upon them, shield them from all
afflictions in these troubled times and grant that all trials and
hardships may be the lot of this Thy servant that hath fallen into
this darksome pit. Single me out for every woe and make me a
sacrifice for all Thy loved ones. O Lord, Most High! May my
soul, my life, my being, my spirit, my all be offered up for them.
O God, My God! Lowly, suppliant and fallen upon my face, I
beseech Thee with all the ardour of my invocation to pardon
whosoever hath hurt me, forgive him that hath conspired against
me and offended me, and wash away the misdeeds of them that
have wrought injustice upon me. Vouchsafe unto them Thy
goodly gifts, give them joy, relieve them from sorrow, grant them
peace and prosperity, give them Thy bliss and pour upon them
Thou art the Powerful, the Gracious the Help in Peril, the