Some Early Pilgrims

From the time that the news of Bahá'u'lláh's arrival in Adrianople reached the believers, many of them longed to travel to that city and attain His presence. At first only a few succeeded, but as time went on, and especially after the 'Most Great Separation' became effective, several believers from Persia came as pilgrims to the residence of the One who had unmistakably identified Himself as 'He Whom God shall make manifest'--the Revealer of God Himself and the Promised One of all ages. Some of these pilgrims were permitted by Bahá'u'lláh to remain in Adrianople while the majority were sent to Persia or the adjoining countries to spread His Cause among the people.

Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí

Notable among those who travelled to Adrianople and attained the presence of their Lord was Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí, one of the most illustrious of Bahá'u'lláh's disciples. Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí has written in his book, the Bihjatu's-Sudúr (Delight of the Hearts) some reminiscences of Bahá'u'lláh and of some events which he witnessed in Adrianople and later in 'Akká as well as in Persia and 'Iráq. He travelled to Adrianople in the year 1283 A.H. (1866-7) and was permitted by Bahá'u'lláh to remain there for about seven months. During this period he attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh almost every day. As a result of this personal contact with Bahá'u'lláh, Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí was set on fire and was filled with a new spirit. He was an embodiment of detachment, humility and


self-effacement. Having truly recognized the august station of Bahá'u'lláh, his whole being was dominated by a passionate love and adoration for Him.

Once a Muslim clergyman from Isfahán requested Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí to recount his impressions of Bahá'u'lláh. He did not, he said, wish to enter into discussion concerning proofs of the authenticity of His claims, but rather was interested in hearing about some of the things Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí had witnessed with his own eyes. Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí writes about his conversation with the clergyman:

Much as I tried to explain to him [the clergyman] that contrary to all physical phenomena, which are possible of explanation, one cannot describe a spiritual experience, he was not able to understand. So I said, 'Before attaining His presence, I was hopeful of seeing many miracles--physical, intellectual and spiritual. Also I had stored up several questions in my mind and wished them answered. But when I beheld the light of His beauteous Countenance, I was transported into such a state that all the miracles I had hoped to see and all the physical and spiritual mysteries I had longed to understand, paled into insignificance. They all appeared to me as a mirage to which the thirsty hasten, not the pure water which quenches the thirst and gives life.' He [the clergyman] asked me, 'What did you see that enabled you to acquire such a state of mind and heart?'...I said, 'His blessed person appeared in the form of a human being, but His very movements, His manners, His way of sitting or standing, eating or drinking, even His sleep or wakefulness, were each a miracle to me. Because His perfections, His exalted character, His beauty, His glory, His most excellent titles and most august attributes revealed to me that He was peerless and without parallel. He was matchless with no one to join partners with Him, unique with no peer or equal, the One and Single without a deputy, the Ever-Abiding God, the Incomparable Being. He who "begetteth not, neither is He begotten and there is not anyone like unto Him" '.1

He [the clergyman] said, 'But Bahá'u'lláh's father was one


1. Qur'án, cxii.
of the outstanding ministers [of the Government], and His Son, 'Abbás Effendi,* is renowned throughout the world and is reputed to be the most perfect being on this earth.' I replied, 'Neither His father nor His Son were seated upon the Throne of the Speaker on Sinai,† they were not Founders of religion nor Revealers of the Book. Bahá'u'lláh alone is the Throne wherein abides the splendour of God's Revelation, the Mirror reflecting His light, He Who "begetteth not, neither is He begotten". Should you stand in front of a mirror and announce your identity, the mirror will do likewise, but in reality it is dissociating itself from you.'‡ He [the clergyman] was very pleased with this answer and told me that it was a convincing and weighty reply which revealed many truths. He asked me to tell him more. I said, '...I saw a Person Who, from the human point of view, was like the rest of humanity. However, if one were to add the love, mercy and compassion of all the peoples of the world together, it would appear as a drop when compared with the ocean of His tender mercy and loving-kindness. I even seek God's forgiveness for making such a comparison. Similarly, if one brought together all the knowledge of sciences, crafts, philosophy, politics, natural history and divinity possessed by mankind, it would seem, in comparison with His knowledge and understanding, as an atom compared to the sun. If one weighed the might and power of kings, rulers, Prophets and Messengers against His omnipotence and sovereignty, His grandeur and glory, His majesty and dominion, they would be as insignificant as a touch of moisture compared with the waters of the sea...As I observed every one of His attributes, I discovered my inability to emulate Him, and realized that all the peoples of the world will never be able to attain to His perfections.' He [the clergyman] admitted that all these were miracles and constituted the signs and tokens of the power of God, exalted be His glory.2

*'Abdu'l-Bahá. (A.T.)

† One of Bahá'u'lláh's designations. (A.T.)

‡ Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí is saying that 'Abdu'l-Bahá is a reflection of Bahá'u'lláh, that there is a vast difference between the two, and that the reflection is not the same as the reality of the One Who is reflected. (A.T.)

2. Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí, Bihjatu's-Sudúr, p. 72 ff
To some who have not recognized the station of Bahá'u'lláh, the above statements by Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí may seem exaggerated. The truth, however, is that if any just man were to describe his meeting with God, should this be possible, he would tell his story in the same vein and extol Him in the same fashion. To portray the powers and attributes of the Manifestation of God is beyond the capacity of man. For man can only communicate his feelings through the use of words, and words are inadequate tools for expressing spiritual phenomena or explaining divine qualities. It is for this reason that Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí, like many other Bahá'í writers who attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, has extolled the virtues and attributes of his Lord with absolute sincerity--and to the best of his ability by using as many superlative adjectives as he could find. When reading his book one can appreciate his utter self-effacement and humility before Bahá'u'lláh, as well as his vision, his nobility, and purity of spirit.

He writes an interesting story of his own spiritual awakening and struggles:

In the early days of the Faith in Isfahán, when I began to study the Tablets and Writings of the Báb, and listen to the explanations of the friends, I found the proofs of His Revelation convincing and conclusive and the testimonies supremely sound and perfect. So I was assured in myself that this Cause was the Cause of God and the Manifestation of His Grandeur, the dawning of the Day-Star of Truth promised to be revealed by the Almighty. But when I was alone with no one to talk to, I was often overtaken with doubts. The idle fancies of my past life, and the whisperings of the evil one were tempting me...God knows how much I wept and how many nights I stayed awake till morning. There were days when I forgot to eat because I was so immersed in my thoughts. I tried by every means to relieve myself of these doubts. Several times I became steadfast in the Cause and believed, but later I would waver and become perplexed and dismayed.

Then one night I dreamt that a town-crier in...Isfahán


was announcing this message: 'O people, the Seal of the Prophets* is here in a certain house and has given permission for anyone who wishes to attain His presence to go there. Remember that a mere glance at His countenance is more meritorious than service in both worlds.' On hearing this, I hastened and entered the house. I had never seen such a building. I went upstairs and arrived in an area which had a roof over it and was surrounded by rooms and chambers. The Manifestation of the All-Glorious was pacing up and down and some people were standing motionless. I arrived and spontaneously prostrated myself at His feet. Graciously, He lifted me up with His own hands and, standing, said 'A person may claim that he has come here wholly for the sake of God, and has truly attained the presence of His Lord, when he is not held back by the onslaught of the peoples of the world, who with drawn swords attack him and intend to take his life because he has embraced the Cause of God. Otherwise, he cannot truthfully say that his motive was to seek God.'

On hearing these words, I woke up from my dream and found myself assured, joyous and thankful. All my doubts had completely disappeared. I learnt the mysteries of martyrdom, persecution and sufferings which were inflicted upon the believers in every Dispensation. I was amazed as I looked back upon the doubts I had entertained, my ignorance, low-mindedness, weakness of faith and shallowness of thought. I used to laugh at myself also, because in my wakeful hours, I had heard many similar statements and also read them in the Tablets and holy Books of the past, and was not assured by them. And now, through this dream, I had acquired faith and assurance...

However, time passed, and about fourteen years later I was in the 'Land of Mystery'† where I stayed for seven months. Every day, through His bounty, I used to attain the presence of Bahá'u'lláh once, twice and sometimes more. But during this period, I never thought of my dream. One evening about four or five hours after sunset I was sitting with Áqá Mírzá


* The Prophet Muhammad. (A.T.)

† Adrianople. (A.T.)

Muhammad-Qulí* and Áqá Muhammad-Báqir-i-Qahvih-Chí,† in the tea-room [a room set aside for Bahá'u'lláh's companions and visitors]. That day I had not attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh and was most eager for an opportunity to do so. Although I could never bring myself to ask for permission, in my innermost heart I was entreating and invoking Him for this honour. But there was no hope, for it was far too late. Suddenly, the door opened and the Most Great Branch,‡ Who in those days was known as Sirru'lláh [the Mystery of God] entered and summoned me to follow Him. When I came out of the room, I saw the Ancient Beauty§ pacing in the roofed area of the house. The stream of His utterance was flowing and a few souls were standing. I prostrated myself at His feet, whereupon He lifted me up with His blessed hands. He turned to me and said:

'A person may claim that he has arrived here wholly for the sake of God, and has truly attained the presence of His Lord, when he is not held back by the onslaught of the peoples of the world, who with drawn swords attack him and intend to take his life because he has embraced the Cause.' These were exactly the words I had heard fourteen years before, and I saw the same incomparable Beauty and the same building as in my dream. I stood by the wall, awe-struck and motionless. Gradually, I recovered and in a state of full consciousness attained His presence. My purpose in telling this story was not, God forbid, to attribute any miracles, ¶ but rather to state the facts as they happened...

That evening there was talk of my leaving. Bahá'u'lláh sent a message to find out from me what my aims and intentions were. I entreated 'Abdu'l-Bahá and begged Him to intervene that my affairs might not be left in my own hands nor my wishes sought, but rather that Bahá'u'lláh might indicate His wishes and direct me to carry them out. I


* The youngest half-brother of Bahá'u'lláh and one who was faithful to Him; see vol. 1, pp. 15-16. (A.T.)

† See pp. 329-30 ff. (A.T.)

‡ 'Abdu'l-Bahá. (A.T.)

§ Bahá'u'lláh. (A.T.)

¶ See vol. 1, p. 291, f.n. (A.T.)

beseeched Him to send His confirmation and assistance so that I might be enabled to fulfil what was required of me. I further submitted that I was alone in this world, had no home or family and sought only the shelter of His Providence. Through mediation by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, this plea was accepted and I was told that Bahá'u'lláh would bestow upon me the honour and privilege of serving His Cause and would send down His confirmations and assistance to succour me.

So it was arranged that I should go to Constantinople and serve as a channel of communication for the believers who travelled to and from that city, as well as despatching letters and Tablets to various places...I arrived in Constantinople having taken with me books and Tablets in the handwriting of Áqáy-i-Kalím, 'Abdu'l-Bahá and others. I was accompanied by Mírzá Husayn,* and we were both happy and successful in our service. Each week some Tablets would arrive for despatch to many parts and I used to read them. I also had the opportunity to meet the believers who arrived with the intention of making the pilgrimage to Adrianople. These had to remain a few days in Constantinople making preparations for the journey or seeking permission from Bahá'u'lláh for pilgrimage. They also stayed a few days on their way back.

I used to receive instructions from the late Áqá Muhammad-'Alíy-i-Tambákú-Furúsh of Isfahán on matters which were connected with worldly affairs such as the purchasing of provisions and other goods, and from Áqáy-i-Kalím on spiritual matters. On one occasion, Áqá Muhammad-'Alí ordered some tea. I purchased some and sent it off to him. Not being pleased with the tea he wrote me a very kind letter and lovingly pointed out that since I knew this tea would be served in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh and His family, I should have tried it first and been more careful in choosing a good brand.†


* Known as Mírzá Husayn-i-Khurtúmí of Shíráz, he accompanied Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'All to Egypt. Both were taken prisoner, together with five others, and sent to the Súdán. This man later became a Covenant-breaker.

† One of the essential features of life, and one which gave much pleasure, especially at gatherings, was the serving of tea. Not only was the quality important, but also the preparation needed great attention and skill. Tea was served in small glass cups. In order to enjoy its aroma, nothing would be added to it except lump sugar which was broken off sugar cones. There were those who were expert tea-makers. In Adrianople it was Áqá Muhammad-Báqir-i-Qahvih-Chí who made tea for Bahá'u'lláh and His companions. (A. T.)

This advice by an affable counsellor and sincere friend did not please me. My vanity and ignorance played their part here. I showed no regard for his courtesy, love and seniority and instead wrote him a reply which was wrong and unfair. The letter reached its destination. Soon after this, I received an exalted Tablet from the Ancient Beauty, the All-Bountiful, He Who conceals the faults of men and is the All-Merciful.* This Tablet was addressed to me, a sinful, arrogant, rebellious and conceited person. In it He assured me that I and my deeds were praiseworthy and blessed with His good-pleasure. Upon reading this Tablet, I became aware of my errors and realized that I had made a grave mistake and committed a serious transgression. For in spite of my ignorance and the vanity of my youth, I had, through the study of the holy Tablets and my observations during the seven months that I had attained His presence, understood the way in which God works in this Most Great, this Most Ancient Revelation...and it is this, that in order to educate the sinners, edify the souls of the evil-doers, and teach them human virtues and the way of servitude Bahá'u'lláh chastises them with the scourge of loving-kindness and compassion, of tender mercy and grace. To them He manifests His attributes of the All-Merciful, the Concealer of the faults of men, the Forgiver of sins, and the All-Bounteous.

It was for this reason that I became distressed, sore-perplexed and dismayed. In a state of devotion and with tears I returned to God. I prayed, fervently entreating and invoking Him to accept my repentance. Again I turned to 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the Mystery of God, to mediate for me. As the rays of the Sun of His Name, 'the Concealer of sins', shone forth with greater intensity, as the waves of the Sea of His Mercy surged with greater fury and as the rains of His loving-


* Bahá'u'lláh. (A.T.)

kindness and compassion showered more profusely, I became seized with more fear and trembling. In brief, I was so overtaken with shame that I could not rest. I pleaded that the outpourings of Bahá'u'lláh's tender mercy and loving providence were well-nigh consuming me. I begged Him to direct me clearly to carry out that which was conducive to my serving the Cause and attaining His good-pleasure.

This time, Bahá'u'lláh instructed me to proceed to Egypt and there to teach the Cause with wisdom and utterance, with goodly deeds and lofty character. I knew that my sins were forgiven, I became confident and happy...3

Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí was arrested in Egypt. This happened as a result of his teaching unwisely and becoming known as a Bahá'í. He was sent to the Súdán as a prisoner and it was about nine years before he gained his freedom.*

Mírzá Muhammad-'Alíy-i-Nahrí

Another distinguished believer who came on pilgrimage to Adrianople and attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh was the devout Mírzá Muhammad-'Alíy-i-Nahrí, who had had the privilege of meeting Him some years before in Baghdád. Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí came from a prominent family in Isfahán blessed with material wealth and spiritual gifts. He and his brother Mírzá Hádí spent some years in Karbilá where they joined the Shaykhí sect and used to sit for hours at the feet of Siyyid Kázim-i-Rashtí in order to receive spiritual enlightenment.†

It was in Karbilá that these brothers met the Báb for the first time. As they watched Him pray at the shrine of Imám Husayn, they became deeply attracted to His person, and recognized in Him extraordinary powers. They became aware, too, of the profound reverence and high esteem in which He was held by


* For a brief account of his eventful life see Appendix III and vol. 1, pp. 28-9.

† Concerning the Shaykhí sect and its leader Siyyid Kázim, see The Dawn-Breakers.

3. Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí, Bihjatu's-Sudúr, p. 80 ff.
Siyyid Kázim. No wonder that when the news reached them that a youth in Shíráz had declared Himself to be the Báb, they immediately recognized His identity.*

Obedient to the behest of the Báb, Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí and his brother proceeded to Isfahán. On their way to that city they met Mullá Husayn who acquainted them fully with the Cause. The zeal and enthusiasm of Mullá Husayn, the staunchness of his faith and the ardour of his love for the Báb greatly inspired the two brothers and assisted them to recognize the truth of the new-born Faith of God. They attained the presence of the Báb in Shíráz at the time when He was under house arrest by order of the Governor of the province.† This meeting created a new spirit of dedication and certitude in Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí and Mírzá Hádí and from that time on they ranked as foremost among the early disciples of the Báb.

From Shíráz, Mírzá Hádí went to Karbilá while Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí returned to Isfahán. Soon after his arrival in that city, the latter learnt that his wife had died in Karbilá. He remarried and remained in Isfahán until the Báb arrived there on his way to Tihrán. Up to that time Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí had no children. His first wife, who had died after a few years of marriage, had borne him no child. His second wife was also childless until an event of great significance took place. Nabíl-i-A'zam describes this joyous episode:

Ere the Báb had transferred His residence to the house of the Mu'tamid, Mírzá Ibráhím, father of the Sultánu'sh-Shuhadá ‡ and elder brother of Mírzá Muhammad-'Alíy-i-Nahrí, to whom we have already referred, invited the Báb to his home one night. Mírzá Ibráhím was a friend of the Imám Jum'ih, was intimately associated with him and controlled the management of all his affairs. The banquet which was

* Soon after His declaration the Báb instructed His disciples to spread the news but not to disclose His identity until a later date, when it would be announced.

† See The Dawn-Breakers.

‡ Mírzá Hasan, entitled by Bahá'u'lláh the 'King of the Martyrs'. (A.T.)

spread for the Báb that night was one of unsurpassed magnificence. It was commonly observed that neither the officials nor the notables of the city had offered a feast of such magnitude and splendour. The Sultánu'sh-Shuhadá and his brother, the Mahbúbu'sh-Shuhadá,* who were lads of nine and eleven respectively, served at that banquet and received special attention from the Báb. That night, during dinner, Mírzá Ibráhím turned to his Guest and said: 'My brother, Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí, has no child. I beg You to intercede in his behalf and to grant his heart's desire.' The Báb took a portion of the food with which He had been served, placed it with His own hands on a platter, and handed it to His host, asking him to take it to Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí and his wife. 'Let them both partake of this,' He said; 'their wish will be fulfilled.' By virtue of that portion which the Báb had chosen to bestow upon her, the wife of Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí conceived and in due time gave birth to a girl, who eventually was joined in wedlock with the Most Great Branch,† a union that came to be regarded as the consummation of the hopes entertained by her parents.4

The new-born daughter was named Fátimih by her parents. Bahá'u'lláh, later on, conferred upon her the name of Munírih (Illumined). Her birth took place around the time that her father and her uncle Mírzá Hádí had gone to take part in the conference of Badasht.‡ It is interesting to note that at that conference the two brothers were among those who became extremely agitated when Táhirih removed her veil. They reacted by leaving the scene of the conference and taking residence in the ruins of an old castle. Bahá'u'lláh sent for them, calmed their emotions and pointed out that it was unnecessary for them to desert their companions. When the conference of Badasht ended, the believers were attacked in the village of Níyálá. Mírzá Hádí died on the way home as a result of these persecu-

* Mírzá Husayn, entitled the 'Beloved of the Martyrs'. A more detailed account of their lives will be given in future volumes. (A.T.)

† Reference to Munírih Khánum's marriage with 'Abdu'l-Bahá.

‡ See The Dawn-Breakers for details.

4. Nabíl-i-A'zam, The Dawn-Breakers, pp. 149-50 (Brit.), pp. 208-9 (U.S.).
tions, and Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí returned to Isfahán. Through the potency of his belief, he became a leading exponent of the Faith in that city. It was mainly through his help and guidance that those two of his nephews referred to by Nabíl and entitled the 'King of the Martyrs' and 'Beloved of the Martyrs' were confirmed in the Cause. They became the most illustrious among the martyrs of the Faith.

When Bahá'u'lláh was in Baghdád, Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí conducted his two youthful nephews to that city where they attained His presence. They saw the Glory of God hidden behind many veils of concealment; their souls were magnetized by His love and transformed into a new creation. They truly detached themselves from this world and returned home in a spirit of joy and steadfastness.

Some years later Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí travelled to Adrianople. Once again, he was privileged to attain the presence of His Lord and achieve his heart's desire. But he did not live long enough to witness the honour which was conferred upon his daughter Munírih Khánum in becoming the consort of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.

It was during the Adrianople period that certain events took place which paved the way for 'Abdu'l-Bahá's marriage in 'Akká some years later. The custom of the time, especially among the nobility, was to arrange the marriages of their sons and daughters when they were children. Most marriages were arranged inside the family and the couple had very little say in this choice. When 'Abdu'l-Bahá was a child in Tihrán, they chose for Him Shahr-bánú, a cousin, and betrothed her to Him. She was a daughter of Mírzá Muhammad-Hasan, an older half-brother of Bahá'u'lláh.* When Bahá'u'lláh and His family were exiled to 'Iráq, Shahr-bánú remained in the district of Núr in Mázindarán, until in 1285 A.H. (1868) Bahá'u'lláh instructed His uncle Mullá Zaynu'l-'Ábidín† to conduct Shahr-bánú to


* See vol. 1, p. 16.

† Bahá'u'lláh had eight paternal uncles. Among those to whom He taught the Faith of the Báb in Núr were some uncles. Two of them rejected the Cause of God and actively rose up against it. These were Shaykh 'Azízu'lláh and Safí Qulí Big. Two others, Mullá Zaynu'l-'Ábidín and Karbilá'í Zamán, became ardent believers. The former accompanied Bahá'u'lláh to the fortress of Shaykh Tabarsí, and when Bahá'u'lláh was bastinadoed in Ámul, threw himself upon His feet and was beaten so much that he fainted. For details of the incident at Ámul, see The Dawn-Breakers.

Tihrán and from there to arrange her journey to Adrianople. No sooner had this news reached Sháh Sultán Khánum* (a half-sister of Bahá'u'lláh and a follower of Mírzá Yahyá), than she arose in enmity to prevent the marriage from taking place. She took Shahr-bánú to her home in Tihrán and practically forced her to marry instead Mírzá 'Alí-Khán-i-Núrí, the son of the Prime Minister. Bahá'u'lláh has referred to this in Epistle to the Son of the Wolf.† This marriage, so rudely imposed upon her, plunged Shahr-bánú into a state of perpetual grief and misery. Her youngest brother, Mírzá Nizámu'l-Mulk, a faithful and devoted follower of Bahá'u'lláh, has recorded in his memoirs that after her marriage Shahr-bánú prayed fervently to God for her deliverance from her tragic plight. It seems that her prayers were answered, as shortly afterwards she became afflicted with tuberculosis and died.

As for Munírih Khánum, she spent her childhood and youth in Isfahán under the care and protection of her parents and illustrious cousins. Some time after the death of her father, the family, including the 'King of the Martyrs' and the 'Beloved of the Martyrs' decided that the time had come for her to be married. Therefore, arrangements were made for Munírih Khánum to be united in wedlock with Mírzá Kázim, the youngest brother of the 'King of the Martyrs' and the 'Beloved of the Martyrs'.

When the wedding day arrived, a splendid feast was given and the festive atmosphere came to its climax when the couple were married. When the ceremony ended, however, a distressing incident turned everyone's joy into deep sorrow. The


* See vol. 1, p. 50.

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 170.

bridegroom, who up to then had been in perfect health, was suddenly struck down by a strange phenomenon as he approached the entrance of his home. He appeared to be stunned by an inexplicable force, and had to be helped to his feet. He became gravely ill and died soon afterwards.

After this tragic incident, Munírih Khánum turned her thoughts away from this world and spent her days in prayer and meditation. The circumstances of her marriage with 'Abdu'l-Bahá are very thrilling indeed. The following account, mainly in her own words, reveals the joy and excitement of such an exalted life:

'In compliance with the command of the Blessed Perfection (Bahá'u'lláh) Siyyid Mihdí Dhaji [Dahají] arrived in Persia, and later passed through Isfahán to promulgate the Cause of God. A great feast was prepared for him, and all the believers clustered around inquiring eagerly the news of the Holy Land, and all the details concerning the Blessed Family and an account of the imprisonment of the believers in the barracks of 'Akká. Among the inquirers was Shms os Zoha, [Shamsu'd-Duhá] the wife of my uncle, and a member of the household of the King of the Martyrs. She asked of Siyyid Mihdí: "While you were in the Presence of Bahá'u'lláh, did you ever hear whether any girl had been spoken of or selected for the Master 'Abdu'l-Bahá?" He answered, "No, but one day the Blessed Perfection was walking in the men's apartment and speaking. Then He turned His face to me and said, 'Aga Siyyid Mihdí! I had a remarkable dream last night. I dreamt that the face of the beautiful girl who is living in Tihrán, whose hand in marriage we asked from Mírzá Hasan for the Greatest Branch, became dark and obscure. At the same moment, the face of another girl appeared on the scene whose countenance was luminous and whose heart enlightened. We have selected her to become the wife of the Greatest Branch.' Except for the above talk from the lips of the Blessed Perfection, I have heard nothing."

'When my aunt returned to the house and saw me, she declared by the One God that the very moment when Siyyid


Mihdí was relating to us the dream of Bahá'u'lláh, it had occurred to her mind that, without question, I was that girl, and ere long we would realize that she was right. I wept and answered: "Far be it, for I am not worthy of such a bounty. I beg of thee never let another word concerning the matter issue from thy lips; do not speak about it."'

Munírih Khánum continues the story of how she travelled to the Holy Land through successive instructions from Bahá'u'lláh to her relatives. En route to their destination they met many friends who tried to prevent them from going to the Holy Land, saying that in these days no one is permitted to go to 'Akká because some sad and unfortunate events had caused anew the incarceration of the friends, and the authorities did not permit any Bahá'í to enter the city of 'Akká. 'This news disturbed us a great deal, and we wondered what we should do, but Shaykh Salmán assured us that these conditions did not apply to us, and made us feel confident that we should enter the Holy Land with the utmost ease and tranquillity, even if all the believers were thrown into prison and under chains.' After many trials and difficulties on the way, they finally arrived in 'Akká.

'...members of the Blessed Family came to visit and welcome us. I returned with them, and for the first time stood in the Presence of the Blessed Perfection. The state of ecstasy and rapture that possessed me was beyond description. The first words of Bahá'u'lláh were these: "We have brought you into the Prison at such a time when the door of meeting is closed to all the believers. This is for no other reason than to prove to everyone the Power and Might of God." I continued to live in the house of Kalím for nearly five months. I visited Bahá'u'lláh many times and then returned to my abode. Whenever Kalím returned from his visit to the Blessed Perfection he would tell me of His infinite bounties, and bring a material gift from Him for me. One day he arrived with a great happiness in his face. He said: "I have brought a most wonderful gift for you. It is this--a new name has been given you and that name is Munírih (Illumined)."

'Then the night of union...drew nigh. I was dressed in a




Where Bahá'u'lláh lived for a year. A recent photograph
taken after the house was restored



Bahá'u'lláh's last residence in Adrianople.
A photograph taken in 1933

white robe which had been prepared for me by the fingers of the Greatest Holy Leaf, and which was more precious than the silks and velvets of Paradise. About nine o'clock...I was permitted to stand in the Presence of Bahá'u'lláh. Attended by the Greatest Holy Leaf, I listened to the words of the Blessed Perfection...He said: "You are welcome! You are welcome! O thou My blessed leaf and maid-servant. We have chosen thee and accepted thee to be the companion of the Greatest Branch and to serve Him. This is from My Bounty, to which there is no equal; the treasures of the earth and heaven cannot be compared with it...Thou must be very thankful, for thou hast attained to this most great favor and bestowal...May you always be under the protection of God!" ' 5
Of her companionship with 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Munírih Khánum writes these words:

If I were to write the details of the fifty years of my association with the Beloved of the world, of His love, His mercy and bounty, I would need fifty years more of time and opportunity in order to write it; yet, if the seas of the world were turned into ink and the leaves of the forest into paper, I would not render adequate justice to the subject.6
Mírzá 'Alíy-i-Sayyáh

The betrayal of the trust of the Báb by Mírzá Yahyá had plunged the Faith into a crisis of such magnitude that it shattered the unity and solidarity of the community and brought in its wake untold sufferings to Bahá'u'lláh and His loved ones. Without acquiring a full knowledge of all the machinations, plots and evil deeds of Mírzá Yahyá and his supporters, it is not possible to understand the extent of the harm which they inflicted upon Bahá'u'lláh and His Cause. A full account of their pernicious influence and foul deeds is beyond the scope of this work. Suffice it to say that the rebellion of Mírzá Yahyá caused so much pain and anguish for Bahá'u'lláh that the persecutions


5. The Bahá'í World, vol. VIII, pp. 261-2.

6. ibid.

which were heaped upon Him by enemies from outside the Bahá'í community cannot compare with them.

Bahá'u'lláh remained in the house of Ridá Big for about one year and then transferred His residence to the house of Amru'lláh where He stayed about three months. In almost every Tablet revealed during this whole period, He refers to the unfaithfulness and perfidy of Mírzá Yahyá and the harm he had inflicted upon the Cause of God. One of the Tablets of this period is the Lawh-i-Sayyáh, revealed in honour of Mullá Ádí-Guzal, otherwise known as Mírzá 'Alíy-i-Sayyáh. The title 'Sayyáh' (Traveller) was given to him by the Báb. He was a native of Marághih, and had received his education as a Mullá in that town. In the early days of the Faith he attained the presence of the Báb, recognized His station and was numbered among His followers. No sooner did he embrace the Cause of the Báb than he began to serve his Lord with great dedication and earnestness. When the Báb was imprisoned in the castles of Máh-Kú and Chihríq, Sayyáh served Him as a faithful messenger. He attained His presence many times in these fortresses and was one of His leading companions. From there he proceeded to various parts of Persia bearing the messages of the Báb to His followers and bringing their letters back to Him. On one occasion he carried some Tablets in the handwriting of the Báb together with an exquisite pen-case as a gift from the Báb to Quddús.

One of his unforgettable services to the Báb at a time when He was grief-stricken at the news of the martyrdom of many heroes in Mázindarán, was to visit, on His behalf, the spot where the martyrs of Tabarsí* had fallen. Concerning this Nabíl recounts:

No sooner had He [the Báb] completed His eulogies of those who had immortalized their names in the defence of the fort, than He summoned, on the day of 'Áshúrá,† Mullá

* See The Dawn-Breakers.

† The tenth of Muharram, the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Imám Husayn, which fell in that year on 26 November 1849.

[Lawh-i-Sayyáh] God Passes By, p. 171
Ádí-Guzal, one of the believers of Marághih, who for the last two months had been acting as His attendant instead of Siyyid Hasan, the brother of Siyyid Husayn-i-'Azíz. He affectionately received him, bestowed upon him the name Sayyáh, entrusted to his care the visiting Tablets He had revealed in memory of the martyrs of Tabarsí, and bade him perform, on His behalf, a pilgrimage to that spot. 'Arise,' He urged him, 'and with complete detachment proceed, in the guise of a traveller, to Mázindarán, and there visit, on My behalf, the spot which enshrines the bodies of those immortals who, with their blood, have sealed their faith in My Cause. As you approach the precincts of that hallowed ground, put off your shoes and, bowing your head in reverence to their memory, invoke their names and prayerfully make the circuit of their shrine. Bring back to Me, as a remembrance of your visit, a handful of that holy earth which covers the remains of My beloved ones, Quddús and Mullá Husayn. Strive to be back ere the day of Naw-Rúz, that you may celebrate with Me that festival, the only one I probably shall ever see again.'

Faithful to the instructions he had received, Sayyáh set out on his pilgrimage to Mázindarán. He reached his destination on the first day of Rabí'u'l-Avval in the year 1266 A.H. [15 January A.D. 1850] and by the ninth day of that same month [23 January A.D. 1850], the first anniversary of the martyrdom of Mullá Husayn, he had performed his visit and acquitted himself of the mission with which he had been entrusted. From thence he proceeded to Tihrán.

I have heard Áqáy-i-Kalím, who received Sayyáh at the entrance of Bahá'u'lláh's home in Tihrán, relate the following: 'It was the depth of winter when Sayyáh, returning from his pilgrimage, came to visit Bahá'u'lláh. Despite the cold and snow of a rigorous winter, he appeared attired in the garb of a dervish, poorly clad, barefooted, and dishevelled. His heart was set afire with the flame that pilgrimage had kindled. No sooner had Siyyid Yahyáy-i-Dárábí, surnamed Vahíd, who was then a guest in the home of Bahá'u'lláh, been informed of the return of Sayyáh from the fort of Tabarsí, than he, oblivious of the pomp and circumstance to


[Naw-Rúz] The Kitáb-i-Aqdas; Prayers and Meditations, p. 67; The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1, 2, 3, 4

which a man of his position had been accustomed, rushed forward and flung himself at the feet of the pilgrim. Holding his legs, which had been covered with mud to the knees, in his arms, he kissed them devoutly. I was amazed that day at the many evidences of loving solicitude which Bahá'u'lláh evinced towards Vahíd. He showed him such favours as I had never seen Him extend to anyone. The manner of His conversation left no doubt in me that this same Vahíd would ere long distinguish himself by deeds no less remarkable than those which had immortalized the defenders of the fort of Tabarsí.'

Sayyáh tarried a few days in that home. He was, however, unable to perceive, as did Vahíd, the nature of that power which lay latent in his Host. Though himself the recipient of the utmost favour from Bahá'u'lláh, he failed to apprehend the significance of the blessings that were being showered upon him. I have heard him recount his experiences, during his sojourn in Famagusta: 'Bahá'u'lláh overwhelmed me with His kindness. As to Vahíd, notwithstanding the eminence of his position, he invariably gave me preference over himself whenever in the presence of his Host. On the day of my arrival from Mázindarán, he went so far as to kiss my feet. I was amazed at the reception accorded to me in that home. Though immersed in an ocean of bounty, I failed, in those days, to appreciate the position then occupied by Bahá'u'lláh, nor was I able to suspect, however dimly, the nature of the Mission He was destined to perform.' 7

After the martyrdom of the Báb, Sayyáh tarried for a short while in Ádhirbáyján. He then proceeded to Karbilá where he resided for a considerable time. In the course of his interrogation in Constantinople in 1868,* he declared that he had lived in Karbilá for twelve years. He married the daughter of Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunúzí, an eminent disciple of the Báb and one to whom He had given the glad-tidings and the assurance of meeting the 'Promised Husayn'† in Karbilá. Sayyáh himself was

* See pp. 328-9 ff.

† In Shí'ah Islám, it is believed that after the advent of the Qá'im (the Promised One of Islám), Imám Husayn will return. The name of Bahá'u'llah was Husayn-'Alí. It was in the summer of 1851 that Bahá'u'lláh encountered Shaykh Hasan in Karbilá and confided to him His station. See vol. 1, pp. 207-8. It was from that time, before Bahá'u'lláh was imprisoned in the Síyáh-Chál, that Shaykh Hasan fully recognized the station of Bahá'u'lláh as 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'.

7. Nabíl-i-A'zam, The Dawn-Breakers, pp. 315-16 (Brit.), pp. 431-3 (U.S.).
also promised by the Báb that he would attain the presence of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'.

Sayyáh travelled to Adrianople in the early part of 1284 A.H. (1867). There he attained the presence of Bahá'u'lláh and told the believers, in one of their gatherings, how the promise made by the Báb concerning his meeting with 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' was fulfilled. He also wrote about this to Mírzá Yahyá. He was one of the most devoted followers of Bahá'u'lláh. When he had been in Adrianople three months,* Bahá'u'lláh sent him with Mishkín-Qalam† and Jamshíd-i-Gurjí to Constantinople on an important mission. The nature of this mission and their imprisonment in that city will be referred to later.

In the Tablet of Sayyáh Bahá'u'lláh unveils the glory of His station, states that He is the Ancient Beauty through Whose command the whole of creation has come into being, affirms that mankind turns to Him in adoration and clings to the hem of His bounty even though it is unable to recognize Him in His wondrous Revelation. He alludes to the followers of the Bayán who have denied and repudiated His Cause, refers to them as the people of sedition and the company of Satan, reminds them that for many years He had associated with them, but had hidden His glory from their eyes so that none might recognize Him; but they had risen up against Him in great enmity. It was then that He unveiled the beauty of His Countenance and shed the radiance of His Face upon all creation. He declares that the days of tests have come and that the balance has been established, a balance through which the deeds of all men will be


* When interrogated in Constantinople, Sayyáh stated that he stayed in Adrianople for three months.

† See vol. 1, pp. 26-8.

weighed with justice. He proclaims to the peoples of the world that if they wish to hear the voice of God they should hearken to His wondrous melodies, and if they desire to behold the Face of God they should gaze into His beauteous Countenance. He warns them, however, that they shall not be able to do this unless they cleanse their hearts of all idle fancy and detach themselves from this world and all that is therein.*

It is in this Tablet that Bahá'u'lláh, by allusion, foretells His exile to the city of 'Akká, designating it as the 'vale of Nabíl'.† He describes in allegorical terms His arrival in that city in these words:

Upon Our arrival, We were welcomed with banners of light, whereupon the Voice of the Spirit cried out saying: 'Soon will all that dwell on earth be enlisted under these banners.' 8

There are passages in this Tablet which throw light on the severity of the tests which the believer encounters when he treads the path of faith. Alluding to the people of the Bayán, Bahá'u'lláh refers to some who were among the most holy of men, who worshipped God with great devotion, who were considered the most devout, who were endowed with the keenest insight; yet when the breezes of His Revelation were wafted over them, they were found to be shut out as by a veil from Him. This notwithstanding the fact that He associated with them for so long and manifested His glory to their eyes. He attributes the reason for this failure to pride and attachment to self and ego. He grieves that their acts of devotion and service had become the cause of pride and had deprived them of God's bounty.

The subject of detachment occurs in numerous Tablets. Perhaps it may be said that there are few, if any, among Bahá'u'lláh's exhortations which have been stressed so much as detachment from this world and from every selfish desire. We have already referred to this important theme in previous chap-


* See vol. 1, pp. 187-9.

† The numerical value of the word Nabíl is equal to that of 'Akká.

8. Bahá'u'lláh, quoted by Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 184.
ters. The perusal of the Tablet of Sayyáh makes it absolutely clear that Bahá'u'lláh's companions, because of their closeness to Him, could not remain faithful to the Cause of God unless they were able to cast out entirely the evil of self. Any trace of self-glorification, however insignificant, was fatal to them, and in His holy presence nothing but utter self-effacement could survive.

There were many among His disciples who were enabled to subdue their ego. By their words and deeds they demonstrated their utter nothingness when they came face to face with their Lord. These became the spiritual giants of this Dispensation, and through their faith they shed an imperishable lustre upon the Cause of God. It is concerning such men, during the days of Baghdád, that Nabíl writes:

Many a night, no less than ten persons subsisted on no more than a pennyworth of dates. No one knew to whom actually belonged the shoes, the cloaks, or the robes that were to be found in their houses. Whoever went to the bazaar could claim that the shoes upon his feet were his own, and each one who entered the presence of Bahá'u'lláh could affirm that the cloak and robe he then wore belonged to him. Their own names they had forgotten, their hearts were emptied of aught else except adoration for their Beloved...O, for the joy of those days, and the gladness and wonder of those hours!9

That a few souls have been able to achieve such distinction, to soar into the realms of detachment, and to humble themselves before their Lord, augurs well for the human race which, in the fullness of time, is destined to follow in their footsteps. Today, the followers of Bahá'u'lláh cannot attain His presence in this life and therefore the tests which were particularly associated with His person do not seem to affect them. But the requirements of faith and the path to Bahá'u'lláh remain unchanged. It is necessary for the believer of today, as in the days of Bahá'u'lláh, to detach himself from all earthly things and to banish from his soul the traces of passion and desire, of ego and self

9. Nabíl-i-A'zam, quoted by Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 137.
glorification, in order that he may truly appreciate the awe-inspiring station of Bahá'u'lláh and become a worthy servant of His Cause. If he fails to do this, although he may not be faced with the same perils that surrounded Bahá'u'lláh's companions, he is bound to feel a measure of doubt in his innermost heart concerning the Faith and may experience great conflicts in his mind. Although intellectually he may accept Bahá'u'lláh as a Manifestation of God and may be well versed in His Writings, he will not be able to have that absolute certitude which endows a human being with divine attributes and confers upon him perpetual contentment, serenity and happiness.

The acquiring of true faith is man's greatest accomplishment. Faith endows a human being with powers that no earthly agency can equal. By the power of their faith, the believers have overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and won memorable victories for the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. In order to have faith, a man must banish from his heart every trace of vain imagination and idle fancy. Let us examine the road to the achievement of this exalted goal and explore the many pitfalls and obstacles which confront the soul in its quest.

There are two focal points of enormous power within a human being. One is the brain, the centre of intellect and thinking and the storehouse of his knowledge and learning. Through the agency of this faculty man can manifest the unique powers of the rational soul which distinguish him from the animal. The intellect is the greatest gift of God to man. But since man has free will, he may be led by his intellect either to faith and belief in God, or else to disbelief.

The other focal point is the heart which is the centre of warmth and love. The heart of man falls in love with the world and its own self. But it is also the habitation wherein God's attributes are revealed. Bahá'u'lláh states

O Son of Being!
Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent...10

10. Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, no. Arabic #59; The Dawn-Breakers, p. 8; vol. 4, p. 68
It is within the heart of man that the spark of faith appears. But this can only happen when the heart becomes freed from attachment to the things of the world. Bahá'u'lláh declares in The Hidden Words:

O Son of Dust!
All that is in heaven and earth I have ordained for thee, except the human heart, which I have made the habitation of My beauty and glory; yet thou didst give My home and dwelling to another than Me; and whenever the manifestation of My holiness sought His own abode, a stranger found He there, and, homeless, hastened unto the sanctuary of the Beloved. Notwithstanding I have concealed thy secret and desired not thy shame.11
God has created man in such wise that the two focal points in his being, namely the mind and the heart, should complement each other. The mind without the heart illumined by faith does not acquire the capacity to investigate, or the language to understand, the truth of the Cause of God. Similar to the eye when deprived of light, it is unable to explore the world of the spirit. Instead, it develops its powers in the field of materialism and naturally rejects the concept of God and religion. Thus it becomes the most effective barrier to the individual's acquisition of faith. In such circumstances the heart becomes filled with love of the world and its own self, for it is a characteristic of the heart to love. If it is not allowed to love God, it will love itself and its worldly possessions. And this is one significance of the 'stranger' that Bahá'u'lláh refers to in The Hidden Words:

O My Friend in word!
Ponder awhile. Hast thou ever heard that friend and foe should abide in one heart? Cast out then the stranger, that the Friend may enter His home.12
To acquire faith man must cast out the 'stranger' from his heart. To the extent that he succeeds in doing this, he will acquire faith. Once the spark of faith is ignited within the heart it must be allowed to grow steadily into a flame, otherwise it

11. Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, no. Persian #27.

12. ibid., no. Persian #26.

could die because of attachment to this world. For instance, when an individual reaches a point where he recognizes Bahá'u'lláh as a Manifestation of God, his heart becomes the recipient of the light of God's Faith for this day. If the believer immerses himself from the start in the ocean of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation, reads His writings daily not merely in order to add to his own knowledge but to receive the food of the spirit, seeks the companionship of the righteous, and arises to serve Him with sincerity and detachment, then he may steadily grow in faith and become a radiant and enthusiastic soul. He may obtain a deeper understanding of the writings and reach a point where both his mind and his heart work together in harmony. Such a believer will eventually find no conflict between the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh and his own thinking. He will discover many a wisdom hidden in the utterances of Bahá'u'lláh and will recognize the limitations and shortcomings of his own finite mind.

But if a believer, after having recognized Bahá'u'lláh, fails to follow this path, he may soon find himself in conflict with many aspects of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. His intellect may not be able to understand the wisdom behind many of His Teachings, he may indeed reject some of His precepts and eventually lose faith altogether. Some people struggle for years to overcome this problem, for they long to be confirmed in their faith. Often such an individual may be helped to acquire a true understanding of the Faith by those who truly believe in Bahá'u'lláh and are detached from this world.

But if everything else fails, the only remedy for the individual who still has a glimmer of faith in his heart, but who has doubts about the Cause, is to admit that he may be wrong in his assessment of the teachings of the Faith, to affirm that Bahá'u'lláh's knowledge is of God, and to surrender his feelings and thoughts completely to Him. Once he submits himself in this way and perseveres in doing so with sincerity and truthfulness, the channels of the grace of God open and his heart becomes the recipient of the light of true knowledge. He will discover, some time in his life, either by intuition or through


prayer and meditation, the answer to all his problems and objections. Every trace of conflict will disappear from his mind. He will readily understand the reasons behind those very teachings which previously baffled his intellect, and will find many mysteries enshrined in the utterances of Bahá'u'lláh, mysteries of which he was completely unaware in earlier days.

The following words of Bahá'u'lláh in The Hidden Words demonstrate that not until man submits himself to God can he attain to the knowledge of His Revelation:

O Son of Dust!
Blind thine eyes, that thou mayest behold My beauty; stop thine ears, that thou mayest hearken unto the sweet melody of My voice; empty thyself of all learning, that thou mayest partake of My knowledge; and sanctify thyself from riches, that thou mayest obtain a lasting share from the ocean of My eternal wealth. Blind thine eyes, that is, to all save My beauty; stop thine ears to all save My word; empty thyself of all learning save the knowledge of Me; that with a clear vision, a pure heart and an attentive ear thou mayest enter the court of My holiness.13
The following story in the life of Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl, the outstanding scholar of the Cause and its famous apologist, is one which demonstrates that reading the Word of God with the eye of intellect can lead a man astray. He himself has recounted the story that soon after he came in contact with the believers, they gave him the Kitáb-i-Íqán to read. He read it with an air of intellectual superiority and was not impressed by it. He even commented that if the Kitáb-i-Íqán was a proof of Bahá'u'lláh's claims, he himself could certainly write a better book.

At that time he was the head of a theological college in Tihrán. The following day a prominent woman arrived at the college and approached some students asking them to write an important letter for her.* The students referred her to Mírzá


* In those days people who were not educated often paid a small sum of money to a learned man to write letters for them. The essential requirements for writing good letters were good composition and fine penmanship.

13. Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, no. 11, Persian.
Abu'l-Fadl* saying that he was an outstanding writer, a master of eloquence and a man unsurpassed in the art of composition. Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl took up his pen to write, but found himself unable to compose the first sentence. He tried very hard but was unsuccessful. For several minutes he scribbled in the corner of the page and even drew lines on his own fingernail, until the woman realized that the learned scribe was unable to write. Losing her patience she arose to go and mockingly said to Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl, 'If you have forgotten how to write a simple letter why don't you say so instead of keeping me here while you scrawl?'

Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl says that he was overcome with feelings of shame as a result of this incident, and then suddenly remembered his own comments the night before about his being able to write a better book than the Kitáb-i-Íqán. He had a pure heart and knew that this incident was nothing but a clear answer to his arrogant attitude towards that holy Book.

However, it took Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl several years to be convinced of the truth of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. He reached a stage where he accepted the Faith intellectually, but for years his heart was not convinced. The only thing which caused him to recognize the truth of the Cause of God after having struggled for so long was to submit himself and surrender his intellectual gifts to God. One evening he went into his chamber, and prayed with yearning as tears flowed from his eyes, beseeching God to open the channels of his heart. At the hour of dawn he suddenly found himself possessed of such faith that he felt he could lay down his life in the path of Bahá'u'lláh The same person who once had said he could write a better book than the Kitáb-i-Íqán, read this book many times with the eye of faith and found it to be an ocean of knowledge, limitless in scope. Every time he read it he found new pearls of wisdom within it and discovered new mysteries which he had not come across before.


* An account of the life of Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl will appear in the next volume.

Faith comes to a man through submission to God. The surrendering of the self with all its accomplishments renders the soul free of attachment to this mortal world. It drives the 'stranger' away from the heart and enables him to receive the 'Friend' within its sanctuary. Bahá'u'lláh states:

O Son of Man!
Humble thyself before Me, that I may graciously visit thee...14
In another passage He reveals:

O Son of Man!
If thou lovest Me, turn away from thyself; and if thou seekest My pleasure, regard not thine own; that thou mayest die in Me and I may eternally live in thee.15

14. Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, no. 42, Arabic.

15. ibid., no. 7, Arabic.