THIRD PERIOD

THE MINISTRY OF 'ABDU'L-BAHÁ
1892–1921

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CHAPTER XIV

The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh


["One day the Greatest Holy Leaf..."] The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 4, p. 59
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I have in the preceding chapters endeavored to trace the rise and progress of the Faith associated with the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh during the first fifty years of its existence. If I have dwelt too long on the events connected with the life and mission of these twin Luminaries of the Bahá'í Revelation, if I have at times indulged in too circumstantial a narrative of certain episodes related to their ministries, it is solely because these happenings proclaim the birth, and signalize the establishment, of an epoch which future historians will acclaim as the most heroic, the most tragic and the most momentous period in the Apostolic Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation. Indeed the tale which the subsequent decades of the century under review unfold to our eyes is but the record of the manifold evidences of the resistless operation of those creative forces which the revolution of fifty years of almost uninterrupted Revelation had released.    
A dynamic process, divinely propelled, possessed of undreamt-of potentialities, world-embracing in scope, world-transforming in its ultimate consequences, had been set in motion on that memorable night when the Báb communicated the purpose of His mission to Mullá Husayn in an obscure corner of Shíráz. It acquired a tremendous momentum with the first intimations of Bahá'u'lláh's dawning Revelation amidst the darkness of the Síyáh-Chál of Tihrán. It was further accelerated by the Declaration of His mission on the eve of His banishment from Baghdád. It moved to a climax with the proclamation of that same mission during the tempestuous years of His exile in Adrianople. Its full significance was disclosed when the Author of that Mission issued His historic summonses, appeals and warnings to the kings of the earth and the world's ecclesiastical leaders. It was finally consummated by the laws and ordinances which He formulated, by the principles which He enunciated and by the institutions which He ordained during the concluding years of His ministry in the prison-city of 'Akká.    
To direct and canalize these forces let loose by this Heaven-sent process, and to insure their harmonious and continuous operation after His ascension, an instrument divinely ordained, invested with indisputable authority, organically linked with the Author of the Revelation Himself, was clearly indispensable. That instrument Bahá'u'lláh had expressly provided through the institution of the Covenant, an institution which He had firmly established prior to His ascension. This same Covenant He had anticipated in His Kitáb-i-Aqdas, had alluded to it as He bade His last farewell to the members of His family, who had been summoned to His bed-side, in the days immediately preceding His ascension, and had incorporated it in a special document which He designated as "the Book of My Covenant," and which He entrusted, during His last illness, to His eldest son 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
["When the ocean of My presence..."] The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶121
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Written entirely in His own hand; unsealed, on the ninth day after His ascension in the presence of nine witnesses chosen from amongst His companions and members of His Family; read subsequently, on the afternoon of that same day, before a large company assembled in His Most Holy Tomb, including His sons, some of the Báb's kinsmen, pilgrims and resident believers, this unique and epoch-making Document, designated by Bahá'u'lláh as His "Most Great Tablet," and alluded to by Him as the "Crimson Book" in His "Epistle to the Son of the Wolf," can find no parallel in the Scriptures of any previous Dispensation, not excluding that of the Báb Himself. For nowhere in the books pertaining to any of the world's religious systems, not even among the writings of the Author of the Bábí Revelation, do we find any single document establishing a Covenant endowed with an authority comparable to the Covenant which Bahá'u'lláh had Himself instituted.
[Crimson Book] Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 32
 
"So firm and mighty is this Covenant," He Who is its appointed Center has affirmed, "that from the beginning of time until the present day no religious Dispensation hath produced its like." "It is indubitably clear," He, furthermore, has stated, "that the pivot of the oneness of mankind is nothing else but the power of the Covenant." "Know thou," He has written, "that the 'Sure Handle' mentioned from the foundation of the world in the Books, the Tablets and the Scriptures of old is naught else but the Covenant and the Testament." And again: "The lamp of the Covenant is the light of the world, and the words traced by the Pen of the Most High a limitless ocean." "The Lord, the All-Glorified," He has moreover declared, "hath, beneath the shade of the Tree of Anísá (Tree of Life), made a new Covenant and established a great Testament … Hath such a Covenant been established in any previous Dispensation, age, period or century? Hath such a Testament, set down by the Pen of the Most High, ever been witnessed? No, by God!" And finally: "The power of the Covenant is as the heat of the sun which quickeneth and promoteth the development of all created things on earth. The light of the Covenant, in like manner, is the educator of the minds, the spirits, the hearts and souls of men." To this same Covenant He has in His writings referred as the "Conclusive Testimony," the "Universal Balance," the "Magnet of God's grace," the "Upraised Standard," the "Irrefutable Testament," "the all-mighty Covenant, the like of which the sacred Dispensations of the past have never witnessed" and "one of the distinctive features of this most mighty cycle."
["In other Tablets..."] The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1, p. 81
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Extolled by the writer of the Apocalypse as "the Ark of His (God) Testament"; associated with the gathering beneath the "Tree of Anísá" (Tree of Life) mentioned by Bahá'u'lláh in the Hidden Words; glorified by Him, in other passages of His writings, as the "Ark of Salvation" and as "the Cord stretched betwixt the earth and the Abhá Kingdom," this Covenant has been bequeathed to posterity in a Will and Testament which, together with the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and several Tablets, in which the rank and station of 'Abdu'l-Bahá are unequivocally disclosed, constitute the chief buttresses designed by the Lord of the Covenant Himself to shield and support, after His ascension, the appointed Center of His Faith and the Delineator of its future institutions.
The Hidden Words, Persian #19

["When the ocean of My presence..."] The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶121

 
In this weighty and incomparable Document its Author discloses the character of that "excellent and priceless Heritage" bequeathed by Him to His "heirs"; proclaims afresh the fundamental purpose of His Revelation; enjoins the "peoples of the world" to hold fast to that which will "elevate" their "station"; announces to them that "God hath forgiven what is past"; stresses the sublimity of man's station; discloses the primary aim of the Faith of God; directs the faithful to pray for the welfare of the kings of the earth, "the manifestations of the power, and the daysprings of the might and riches, of God"; invests them with the rulership of the earth; singles out as His special domain the hearts of men; forbids categorically strife and contention; commands His followers to aid those rulers who are "adorned with the ornament of equity and justice"; and directs, in particular, the Aghsán (His sons) to ponder the "mighty force and the consummate power that lieth concealed in the world of being." He bids them, moreover, together with the Afnán (the Báb's kindred) and His own relatives, to "turn, one and all, unto the Most Great Branch ('Abdu'l-Bahá)"; identifies Him with "the One Whom God hath purposed," "Who hath branched from this pre-existent Root," referred to in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas; ordains the station of the "Greater Branch" (Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí) to be beneath that of the "Most Great Branch" ('Abdu'l-Bahá); exhorts the believers to treat the Aghsán with consideration and affection; counsels them to respect His family and relatives, as well as the kindred of the Báb; denies His sons "any right to the property of others"; enjoins on them, on His kindred and on that of the Báb to "fear God, to do that which is meet and seemly" and to follow the things that will "exalt" their station; warns all men not to allow "the means of order to be made the cause of confusion, and the instrument of union an occasion for discord"; and concludes with an exhortation calling upon the faithful to "serve all nations," and to strive for the "betterment of the world."
["the One Whom God hath purposed..."] The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶121
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That such a unique and sublime station should have been conferred upon 'Abdu'l-Bahá did not, and indeed could not, surprise those exiled companions who had for so long been privileged to observe His life and conduct, nor the pilgrims who had been brought, however fleetingly, into personal contact with Him, nor indeed the vast concourse of the faithful who, in distant lands, had grown to revere His name and to appreciate His labors, nor even the wide circle of His friends and acquaintances who, in the Holy Land and the adjoining countries, were already well familiar with the position He had occupied during the lifetime of His Father.    
He it was Whose auspicious birth occurred on that never-to-be-forgotten night when the Báb laid bare the transcendental character of His Mission to His first disciple Mullá Husayn. He it was Who, as a mere child, seated on the lap of Táhirih, had registered the thrilling significance of the stirring challenge which that indomitable heroine had addressed to her fellow-disciple, the erudite and far-famed Vahíd. He it was Whose tender soul had been seared with the ineffaceable vision of a Father, haggard, dishevelled, freighted with chains, on the occasion of a visit, as a boy of nine, to the Síyáh-Chál of Tihrán. Against Him, in His early childhood, whilst His Father lay a prisoner in that dungeon, had been directed the malice of a mob of street urchins who pelted Him with stones, vilified Him and overwhelmed Him with ridicule. His had been the lot to share with His Father, soon after His release from imprisonment, the rigors and miseries of a cruel banishment from His native land, and the trials which culminated in His enforced withdrawal to the mountains of Kurdistán. He it was Who, in His inconsolable grief at His separation from an adored Father, had confided to Nabíl, as attested by him in his narrative, that He felt Himself to have grown old though still but a child of tender years. His had been the unique distinction of recognizing, while still in His childhood, the full glory of His Father's as yet unrevealed station, a recognition which had impelled Him to throw Himself at His feet and to spontaneously implore the privilege of laying down His life for His sake. From His pen, while still in His adolescence in Baghdád, had issued that superb commentary on a well-known Muhammadan tradition, written at the suggestion of Bahá'u'lláh, in answer to a request made by 'Alí-Shawkat Páshá, which was so illuminating as to excite the unbounded admiration of its recipient. It was His discussions and discourses with the learned doctors with whom He came in contact in Baghdád that first aroused that general admiration for Him and for His knowledge which was steadily to increase as the circle of His acquaintances was widened, at a later date, first in Adrianople and then in 'Akká. It was to Him that the highly accomplished Khurshíd Páshá, the governor of Adrianople, had been moved to pay a public and glowing tribute when, in the presence of a number of distinguished divines of that city, his youthful Guest had, briefly and amazingly, resolved the intricacies of a problem that had baffled the minds of the assembled company—an achievement that affected so deeply the Páshá that from that time onwards he could hardly reconcile himself to that Youth's absence from such gatherings.
["It was His..."] The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 2, p. 391
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On Him Bahá'u'lláh, as the scope and influence of His Mission extended, had been led to place an ever greater degree of reliance, by appointing Him, on numerous occasions, as His deputy, by enabling Him to plead His Cause before the public, by assigning Him the task of transcribing His Tablets, by allowing Him to assume the responsibility of shielding Him from His enemies, and by investing Him with the function of watching over and promoting the interests of His fellow-exiles and companions. He it was Who had been commissioned to undertake, as soon as circumstances might permit, the delicate and all-important task of purchasing the site that was to serve as the permanent resting-place of the Báb, of insuring the safe transfer of His remains to the Holy Land, and of erecting for Him a befitting sepulcher on Mt. Carmel. He it was Who had been chiefly instrumental in providing the necessary means for Bahá'u'lláh's release from His nine-year confinement within the city walls of 'Akká, and in enabling Him to enjoy, in the evening of His life, a measure of that peace and security from which He had so long been debarred. It was through His unremitting efforts that the illustrious Badí' had been granted his memorable interviews with Bahá'u'lláh, that the hostility evinced by several governors of 'Akká towards the exiled community had been transmuted into esteem and admiration, that the purchase of properties adjoining the Sea of Galilee and the River Jordan had been effected, and that the ablest and most valuable presentation of the early history of the Faith and of its tenets had been transmitted to posterity. It was through the extraordinarily warm reception accorded Him during His visit to Beirut, through His contact with Midhat Páshá, a former Grand Vizir of Turkey, through His friendship with 'Azíz Páshá, whom He had previously known in Adrianople, and who had subsequently been promoted to the rank of Valí, and through His constant association with officials, notables and leading ecclesiastics who, in increasing number had besought His presence, during the final years of His Father's ministry, that He had succeeded in raising the prestige of the Cause He had championed to a level it had never previously attained.  
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He alone had been accorded the privilege of being called "the Master," an honor from which His Father had strictly excluded all His other sons. Upon Him that loving and unerring Father had chosen to confer the unique title of "Sirru'lláh" (the Mystery of God), a designation so appropriate to One Who, though essentially human and holding a station radically and fundamentally different from that occupied by Bahá'u'lláh and His Forerunner, could still claim to be the perfect Exemplar of His Faith, to be endowed with super-human knowledge, and to be regarded as the stainless mirror reflecting His light. To Him, whilst in Adrianople, that same Father had, in the Súriy-i-Ghusn (Tablet of the Branch), referred as "this sacred and glorious Being, this Branch of Holiness," as "the Limb of the Law of God," as His "most great favor" unto men, as His "most perfect bounty" conferred upon them, as One through Whom "every mouldering bone is quickened," declaring that "whoso turneth towards Him hath turned towards God," and that "they who deprive themselves of the shadow of the Branch are lost in the wilderness of error." To Him He, whilst still in that city, had alluded (in a Tablet addressed to Hájí Muhammad Ibráhím-i-Khalíl) as the one amongst His sons "from Whose tongue God will cause the signs of His power to stream forth," and as the one Whom "God hath specially chosen for His Cause." On Him, at a later period, the Author of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, in a celebrated passage, subsequently elucidated in the "Book of My Covenant," had bestowed the function of interpreting His Holy Writ, proclaiming Him, at the same time, to be the One "Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root." To Him in a Tablet, revealed during that same period and addressed to Mírzá Muhammad Qulíy-i-Sabzivárí, He had referred as "the Gulf that hath branched out of this Ocean that hath encompassed all created things," and bidden His followers to turn their faces towards it. To Him, on the occasion of His visit to Beirut, His Father had, furthermore, in a communication which He dictated to His amanuensis, paid a glowing tribute, glorifying Him as the One "round Whom all names revolve," as "the Most Mighty Branch of God," and as "His ancient and immutable Mystery." He it was Who, in several Tablets which Bahá'u'lláh Himself had penned, had been personally addressed as "the Apple of Mine eye," and been referred to as "a shield unto all who are in heaven and on earth," as "a shelter for all mankind" and "a stronghold for whosoever hath believed in God." It was on His behalf that His Father, in a prayer revealed in His honor, had supplicated God to "render Him victorious," and to "ordain … for Him, as well as for them that love Him," the things destined by the Almighty for His "Messengers" and the "Trustees" of His Revelation. And finally in yet another Tablet these weighty words had been recorded: "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 Thy enemy."
[Súriy-i-Ghusn] The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 2, p. 388

["from Whose tongue God will..."] The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 2, p. 261

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And now to crown the inestimable honors, privileges and benefits showered upon Him, in ever increasing abundance, throughout the forty years of His Father's ministry in Baghdád, in Adrianople and in 'Akká, He had been elevated to the high office of Center of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, and been made the successor of the Manifestation of God Himself—a position that was to empower Him to impart an extraordinary impetus to the international expansion of His Father's Faith, to amplify its doctrine, to beat down every barrier that would obstruct its march, and to call into being, and delineate the features of, its Administrative Order, the Child of the Covenant, and the Harbinger of that World Order whose establishment must needs signalize the advent of the Golden Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation.    

CHAPTER XV

The Rebellion of Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí


The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1, p. 315; vol. 2, p. 261; vol. 4, p. 5, p. 145
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The immediate effect of the ascension of Bahá'u'lláh had been, as already observed, to spread grief and bewilderment among His followers and companions, and to inspire its vigilant and redoubtable adversaries with fresh hope and renewed determination. At a time when a grievously traduced Faith had triumphantly emerged from the two severest crises it had ever known, one the work of enemies without, the other the work of enemies within, when its prestige had risen to a height unequalled in any period during its fifty-year existence, the unerring Hand which had shaped its destiny ever since its inception was suddenly removed, leaving a gap which friend and foe alike believed could never again be filled.    
Yet, as the appointed Center of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant and the authorized Interpreter of His teaching had Himself later explained, the dissolution of the tabernacle wherein the soul of the Manifestation of God had chosen temporarily to abide signalized its release from the restrictions which an earthly life had, of necessity, imposed upon it. Its influence no longer circumscribed by any physical limitations, its radiance no longer beclouded by its human temple, that soul could henceforth energize the whole world to a degree unapproached at any stage in the course of its existence on this planet.    
Bahá'u'lláh's stupendous task on this earthly plane had, moreover, at the time of His passing, been brought to its final consummation. His mission, far from being in any way inconclusive, had, in every respect, been carried through to a full end. The Message with which He had been entrusted had been disclosed to the gaze of all mankind. The summons He had been commissioned to issue to its leaders and rulers had been fearlessly voiced. The fundamentals of the doctrine destined to recreate its life, heal its sicknesses and redeem it from bondage and degradation had been impregnably established. The tide of calamity that was to purge and fortify the sinews of His Faith had swept on with unstemmed fury. The blood which was to fertilize the soil out of which the institutions of His World Order were destined to spring had been profusely shed. Above all the Covenant that was to perpetuate the influence of that Faith, insure its integrity, safeguard it from schism, and stimulate its world-wide expansion, had been fixed on an inviolable basis.  
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His Cause, precious beyond the dreams and hopes of men; enshrining within its shell that pearl of great price to which the world, since its foundation, had been looking forward; confronted with colossal tasks of unimaginable complexity and urgency, was beyond a peradventure in safe keeping. His own beloved Son, the apple of His eye, His vicegerent on earth, the Executive of His authority, the Pivot of His Covenant, the Shepherd of His flock, the Exemplar of His faith, the Image of His perfections, the Mystery of His Revelation, the Interpreter of His mind, the Architect of His World Order, the Ensign of His Most Great Peace, the Focal Point of His unerring guidance—in a word, the occupant of an office without peer or equal in the entire field of religious history—stood guard over it, alert, fearless and determined to enlarge its limits, blazon abroad its fame, champion its interests and consummate its purpose.    
The stirring proclamation 'Abdu'l-Bahá had penned, addressed to the rank and file of the followers of His Father, on the morrow of His ascension, as well as the prophecies He Himself had uttered in His Tablets, breathed a resolve and a confidence which the fruits garnered and the triumphs achieved in the course of a thirty-year ministry have abundantly justified.    
The cloud of despondency that had momentarily settled on the disconsolate lovers of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh was lifted. The continuity of that unerring guidance vouchsafed to it since its birth was now assured. The significance of the solemn affirmation that this is "the Day which shall not be followed by night" was now clearly apprehended. An orphan community had recognized in 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in its hour of desperate need, its Solace, its Guide, its Mainstay and Champion. The Light that had glowed with such dazzling brightness in the heart of Asia, and had, in the lifetime of Bahá'u'lláh, spread to the Near East, and illuminated the fringes of both the European and African continents, was to travel, through the impelling influence of the newly proclaimed Covenant, and almost immediately after the death of its Author, as far West as the North American continent, and from thence diffuse itself to the countries of Europe, and subsequently shed its radiance over both the Far East and Australasia.
["the Day which..."] The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 2, p. 290
 
Before the Faith, however, could plant its banner in the midmost heart of the North American continent, and from thence establish its outposts over so vast a portion of the Western world, the newly born Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh had, as had been the case with the Faith that had given it birth, to be baptized with a fire which was to demonstrate its solidity and proclaim its indestructibility to an unbelieving world. A crisis, almost as severe as that which had assailed the Faith in its earliest infancy in Baghdád, was to shake that Covenant to its foundations at the very moment of its inception, and subject afresh the Cause of which it was the noblest fruit to one of the most grievous ordeals experienced in the course of an entire century.  
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This crisis, misconceived as a schism, which political as well as ecclesiastical adversaries, no less than the fast dwindling remnant of the followers of Mírzá Yahyá hailed as a signal for the immediate disruption and final dissolution of the system established by Bahá'u'lláh, was precipitated at the very heart and center of His Faith, and was provoked by no one less than a member of His own family, a half-brother of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, specifically named in the book of the Covenant, and holding a rank second to none except Him Who had been appointed as the Center of that Covenant. For no less than four years that emergency fiercely agitated the minds and hearts of a vast proportion of the faithful throughout the East, eclipsed, for a time, the Orb of the Covenant, created an irreparable breach within the ranks of Bahá'u'lláh's own kindred, sealed ultimately the fate of the great majority of the members of His family, and gravely damaged the prestige, though it never succeeded in causing a permanent cleavage in the structure, of the Faith itself. The true ground of this crisis was the burning, the uncontrollable, the soul-festering jealousy which the admitted preeminence of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in rank, power, ability, knowledge and virtue, above all the other members of His Father's family, had aroused not only in Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí, the archbreaker of the Covenant, but in some of his closest relatives as well. An envy as blind as that which had possessed the soul of Mírzá Yahyá, as deadly as that which the superior excellence of Joseph had kindled in the hearts of his brothers, as deep-seated as that which had blazed in the bosom of Cain and prompted him to slay his brother Abel, had, for several years, prior to Bahá'u'lláh's ascension, been smouldering in the recesses of Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí's heart and had been secretly inflamed by those unnumbered marks of distinction, of admiration and favor accorded to 'Abdu'l-Bahá not only by Bahá'u'lláh Himself, His companions and His followers, but by the vast number of unbelievers who had come to recognize that innate greatness which 'Abdu'l-Bahá had manifested from childhood.    
Far from being allayed by the provisions of a Will which had elevated him to the second-highest position within the ranks of the faithful, the fire of unquenchable animosity that glowed in the breast of Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí burned even more fiercely as soon as he came to realize the full implications of that Document. All that 'Abdu'l-Bahá could do, during a period of four distressful years, His incessant exhortations, His earnest pleadings, the favors and kindnesses He showered upon him, the admonitions and warnings He uttered, even His voluntary withdrawal in the hope of averting the threatening storm, proved to be of no avail. Gradually and with unyielding persistence, through lies, half-truths, calumnies and gross exaggerations, this "Prime Mover of sedition" succeeded in ranging on his side almost the entire family of Bahá'u'lláh, as well as a considerable number of those who had formed His immediate entourage. Bahá'u'lláh's two surviving wives, His two sons, the vacillating Mírzá Díyá'u'lláh and the treacherous Mírzá Badí'u'lláh, with their sister and half-sister and their husbands, one of them the infamous Siyyid 'Alí, a kinsman of the Báb, the other the crafty Mírzá Majdi'd-Dín, together with his sister and half-brothers—the children of the noble, the faithful and now deceased 'Áqáy-i-Kalím—all united in a determined effort to subvert the foundations of the Covenant which the newly proclaimed Will had laid. Even Mírzá Áqá Ján, who for forty years had labored as Bahá'u'lláh's amanuensis, as well as Muhammad-Javád-i-Qazvíní, who ever since the days of Adrianople, had been engaged in transcribing the innumerable Tablets revealed by the Supreme Pen, together with his entire family, threw in their lot with the Covenant-breakers, and allowed themselves to be ensnared by their machinations.
[Muhammad Javád-i-Qazvíní] Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 74, 240
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Forsaken, betrayed, assaulted by almost the entire body of His relatives, now congregated in the Mansion and the neighboring houses clustering around the most Holy Tomb, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, already bereft of both His mother and His sons, and without any support at all save that of an unmarried sister, His four unmarried daughters, His wife and His uncle (a half-brother of Bahá'u'lláh), was left alone to bear, in the face of a multitude of enemies arrayed against Him from within and from without, the full brunt of the terrific responsibilities which His exalted office had laid upon Him.    
Closely-knit by one common wish and purpose; indefatigable in their efforts; assured of the backing of the powerful and perfidious Jamál-i-Burújirdí and his henchmen, Hájí Husayn-i-Káshí, Khalíl-i-Khu'í and Jalíl-i-Tabrízí who had espoused their cause; linked by a vast system of correspondence with every center and individual they could reach; seconded in their labors by emissaries whom they dispatched to Persia, 'Iráq, India and Egypt; emboldened in their designs by the attitude of officials whom they bribed or seduced, these repudiators of a divinely-established Covenant arose, as one man, to launch a campaign of abuse and vilification which compared in virulence with the infamous accusations which Mírzá Yahyá and Siyyid Muhammad had jointly levelled at Bahá'u'lláh. To friend and stranger, believer and unbeliever alike, to officials both high and low, openly and by insinuation, verbally as well as in writing, they represented 'Abdu'l-Bahá as an ambitious, a self-willed, an unprincipled and pitiless usurper, Who had deliberately disregarded the testamentary instructions of His Father; Who had, in language intentionally veiled and ambiguous, assumed a rank co-equal with the Manifestation Himself; Who in His communications with the West was beginning to claim to be the return of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who had come "in the glory of the Father"; Who, in His letters to the Indian believers, was proclaiming Himself as the promised Sháh Bahrám, and arrogating to Himself the right to interpret the writing of His Father, to inaugurate a new Dispensation, and to share with Him the Most Great Infallibility, the exclusive prerogative of the holders of the prophetic office. They, furthermore, affirmed that He had, for His private ends, fomented discord, fostered enmity and brandished the weapon of excommunication; that He had perverted the purpose of a Testament which they alleged to be primarily concerned with the private interests of Bahá'u'lláh's family by acclaiming it as a Covenant of world importance, pre-existent, peerless and unique in the history of all religions; that He had deprived His brothers and sisters of their lawful allowance, and expended it on officials for His personal advancement; that He had declined all the repeated invitations made to Him to discuss the issues that had arisen and to compose the differences which prevailed; that He had actually corrupted the Holy Text, interpolated passages written by Himself, and perverted the purpose and meaning of some of the weightiest Tablets revealed by the pen of His Father; and finally, that the standard of rebellion had, as a result of such conduct, been raised by the Oriental believers, that the community of the faithful had been rent asunder, was rapidly declining and was doomed to extinction.  
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And yet it was this same Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí who, regarding himself as the exponent of fidelity, the standard-bearer of the "Unitarians," the "Finger who points to his Master," the champion of the Holy Family, the spokesman of the Aghsán, the upholder of the Holy Writ, had, in the lifetime of Bahá'u'lláh, so openly and shamelessly advanced in a written statement, signed and sealed by him, the very claim now falsely imputed by him to 'Abdu'l-Bahá, that his Father had, with His own hand, chastised him. He it was who, when sent on a mission to India, had tampered with the text of the holy writings entrusted to his care for publication. He it was who had the impudence and temerity to tell 'Abdu'l-Bahá to His face that just as 'Umar had succeeded in usurping the successorship of the Prophet Muhammad, he, too, felt himself able to do the same. He it was who, obsessed by the fear that he might not survive 'Abdu'l-Bahá, had, the moment he had been assured by Him that all the honor he coveted would, in the course of time, be his, swiftly rejoined that he had no guarantee that he would outlive Him. He it was who, as testified by Mírzá Badí'u'lláh in his confession, written and published on the occasion of his repentance and his short-lived reconciliation with 'Abdu'l-Bahá, had, while Bahá'u'lláh's body was still awaiting interment, carried off, by a ruse, the two satchels containing his Father's most precious documents, entrusted by Him, prior to His ascension, to 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He it was who, by an exceedingly adroit and simple forgery of a word recurring in some of the denunciatory passages addressed by the Supreme Pen to Mírzá Yahyá, and by other devices such as mutilation and interpolation, had succeeded in making them directly applicable to a Brother Whom he hated with such consuming passion. And lastly, it was this same Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí who, as attested by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will, had, with circumspection and guile, conspired to take His life, an intention indicated by the allusions made in a letter written by Shú'á'u'lláh (Son of Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí), the original of which was enclosed in that same Document by 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
["tampered with the text..."] The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1, p. 133
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The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh had, by acts such as these, and others too numerous to recount, been manifestly violated. Another blow, stunning in its first effects, had been administered to the Faith and had caused its structure momentarily to tremble. The storm foreshadowed by the writer of the Apocalypse had broken. The "lightnings," the "thunders," the "earthquake" which must needs accompany the revelation of the "Ark of His Testament," had all come to pass.    
'Abdu'l-Bahá's grief over so tragic a development, following so swiftly upon His Father's ascension, was such that, despite the triumphs witnessed in the course of His ministry, it left its traces upon Him till the end of His days. The intensity of the emotions which this somber episode aroused within Him were reminiscent of the effect produced upon Bahá'u'lláh by the dire happenings precipitated by the rebellion of Mírzá Yahyá. "I swear by the Ancient Beauty!," He wrote in one of His Tablets, "So great is My sorrow and regret that My pen is paralyzed between My fingers." "Thou seest Me," He, in a prayer recorded in His Will, thus laments, "submerged in an ocean of calamities that overwhelm the soul, of afflictions that oppress the heart … Sore trials have compassed Me round, and perils have from all sides beset Me. Thou seest Me immersed in a sea of unsurpassed tribulation, sunk into a fathomless abyss, afflicted by Mine enemies and consumed with the flame of hatred kindled by My kinsmen with whom Thou didst make Thy strong Covenant and Thy firm Testament…" And again in that same Will: "Lord! Thou seest all things weeping over Me, and My kindred rejoicing in My woes. By Thy glory, O my God! Even amongst Mine enemies some have lamented My troubles and My distress, and of the envious ones a number have shed tears because of My cares, My exile and My afflictions." "O Thou the Glory of Glories!," He, in one of His last Tablets, had cried out, "I have renounced the world and its people, and am heart-broken and sorely afflicted because of the unfaithful. In the cage of this world I flutter even as a frightened bird, and yearn every day to take My flight unto Thy Kingdom."  
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Bahá'u'lláh Himself had significantly revealed in one of His Tablets—a Tablet that sheds an illuminating light on the entire episode: "By God, O people! Mine eye weepeth, and the eye of 'Alí (the Báb) weepeth amongst the Concourse on high, and Mine heart crieth out, and the heart of Muhammad crieth out within the Most Glorious Tabernacle, and My soul shouteth and the souls of the Prophets shout before them that are endued with understanding … My sorrow is not for Myself, but for Him Who shall come after Me, in the shadow of My Cause, with manifest and undoubted sovereignty, inasmuch as they will not welcome His appearance, will repudiate His signs, will dispute His sovereignty, will contend with Him, and will betray His Cause…" "Can it be possible," He, in a no less significant Tablet, had observed, "that after the dawning of the day-star of Thy Testament above the horizon of Thy Most Great Tablet, the feet of any one shall slip in Thy Straight Path? Unto this We answered: 'O My most exalted Pen! It behoveth Thee to occupy Thyself with that whereunto Thou hast been bidden by God, the Exalted, the Great. Ask not of that which will consume Thine heart and the hearts of the denizens of Paradise, who have circled round My wondrous Cause. It behoveth Thee not to be acquainted with that which We have veiled from Thee. Thy Lord is, verily, the Concealer, the All-Knowing!'" More specifically Bahá'u'lláh had, referring to Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí in clear and unequivocal language, affirmed: "He, verily, is but one of My servants … Should he for a moment pass out from under the shadow of the Cause, he surely shall be brought to naught." Furthermore, in a no less emphatic language, He, again in connection with Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí had stated: "By God, the True One! Were We, for a single instant, to withhold from him the outpourings of Our Cause, he would wither, and would fall upon the dust." 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself had, moreover, testified: "There is no doubt that in a thousand passages in the sacred writings of Bahá'u'lláh the breakers of the Covenant have been execrated." Some of these passages He Himself compiled, ere His departure from this world, and incorporated them in one of His last Tablets, as a warning and safeguard against those who, throughout His ministry, had manifested so implacable a hatred against Him, and had come so near to subverting the foundations of a Covenant on which not only His own authority but the integrity of the Faith itself depended.
["By God, O people..."] The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 3, p. 142

["He, verily, is but one..."] The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 2, p. 261

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CHAPTER XVI

The Rise and Establishment of the Faith in the West

 
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Though the rebellion of Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí precipitated many sombre and distressing events, and though its dire consequences continued for several years to obscure the light of the Covenant, to endanger the life of its appointed Center, and to distract the thoughts and retard the progress of the activities of its supporters in both the East and the West, yet the entire episode, viewed in its proper perspective, proved to be neither more nor less than one of those periodic crises which, since the inception of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, and throughout a whole century, have been instrumental in weeding out its harmful elements, in fortifying its foundations, in demonstrating its resilience, and in releasing a further measure of its latent powers.    
Now that the provisions of a divinely appointed Covenant had been indubitably proclaimed; now that the purpose of the Covenant was clearly apprehended and its fundamentals had become immovably established in the hearts of the overwhelming majority of the adherents of the Faith; and now that the first assaults launched by its would-be subverters had been successfully repulsed, the Cause for which that Covenant had been designed could forge ahead along the course traced for it by the finger of its Author. Shining exploits and unforgettable victories had already signalized the birth of that Cause and accompanied its rise in several countries of the Asiatic continent, and particularly in the homeland of its Founder. The mission of its newly-appointed Leader, the steward of its glory and the diffuser of its light, was, as conceived by Himself, to enrich and extend the bounds of the incorruptible patrimony entrusted to His hands by shedding the illumination of His Father's Faith upon the West, by expounding the fundamental precepts of that Faith and its cardinal principles, by consolidating the activities which had already been initiated for the promotion of its interests, and, finally, by ushering in, through the provisions of His own Will, the Formative Age in its evolution.    
A year after the ascension of Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá had, in a verse which He had revealed, and which had evoked the derision of the Covenant-breakers, already foreshadowed an auspicious event which posterity would recognize as one of the greatest triumphs of His ministry, which in the end would confer an inestimable blessing upon the western world, and which erelong was to dispel the grief and the apprehensions that had surrounded the community of His fellow-exiles in 'Akká. The Great Republic of the West, above all the other countries of the Occident, was singled out to be the first recipient of God's inestimable blessing, and to become the chief agent in its transmission to so many of her sister nations throughout the five continents of the earth.  
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The importance of so momentous a development in the evolution of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh—the establishment of His Cause in the North American continent—at a time when 'Abdu'l-Bahá had just inaugurated His Mission, and was still in the throes of the most grievous crisis with which He was ever confronted, can in no wise be overestimated. As far back as the year which witnessed the birth of the Faith in Shíráz the Báb had, in the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá', after having warned in a memorable passage the peoples of both the Orient and the Occident, directly addressed the "peoples of the West," and significantly bidden them "issue forth" from their "cities" to aid God, and "become as brethren" in His "one and indivisible religion." "In the East," Bahá'u'lláh Himself had, in anticipation of this development, written, "the light of His Revelation hath broken; in the West the signs of His dominion have appeared." "Should they attempt," He, moreover, had predicted, "to conceal its light on the continent, it will assuredly rear its head in the midmost heart of the ocean, and, raising its voice, proclaim: 'I am the lifegiver of the world!'" "Had this Cause been revealed in the West," He, shortly before His ascension, is reported by Nabíl in his narrative to have stated, "had Our verses been sent from the West to Persia and other countries of the East, it would have become evident how the people of the Occident would have embraced Our Cause. The people of Persia, however, have failed to appreciate it." "From the beginning of time until the present day," is 'Abdu'l-Bahá's own testimony, "the light of Divine Revelation hath risen in the East and shed its radiance upon the West. The illumination thus shed hath, however, acquired in the West an extraordinary brilliancy. Consider the Faith proclaimed by Jesus. Though it first appeared in the East, yet not until its light had been shed upon the West did the full measure of its potentialities become manifest." "The day is approaching," He has affirmed, "when ye shall witness how, through the splendor of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, the West will have replaced the East, radiating the light of Divine guidance." And again: "The West hath acquired illumination from the East, but, in some respects, the reflection of the light hath been greater in the Occident." Furthermore, "The East hath, verily, been illumined with the light of the Kingdom. Erelong will this same light shed a still greater illumination upon the West."
[Qayyúmu'l-Asmá] The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 165, 216; The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 231 ; The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh vol. 1 Index, vol. 2 p. 179, 303, vol. 4 Index
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More specifically has the Author of the Bahá'í Revelation Himself chosen to confer upon the rulers of the American continent the unique honor of addressing them collectively in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, His most Holy Book, significantly exhorting them to "adorn the temple of dominion with the ornament of justice and of the fear of God, and its head with the crown of the remembrance" of their Lord, and bidding them "bind with the hands of justice the broken," and "crush the oppressor" with the "rod of the commandments" of their "Lord, the Ordainer, the All-Wise." "The continent of America," wrote 'Abdu'l-Bahá, "is, in the eyes of the one true God, the land wherein the splendors of His light shall be revealed, where the mysteries of His Faith shall be unveiled, where the righteous will abide and the free assemble." "The American continent," He has furthermore predicted, "giveth signs and evidences of very great advancement. Its future is even more promising, for its influence and illumination are far reaching. It will lead all nations spiritually."
["O Rulers of America..."] The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶88
 
"The American people," 'Abdu'l-Bahá, even more distinctly, singling out for His special favor the Great Republic of the West, the leading nation of the American continent, has revealed, "are indeed worthy of being the first to build the Tabernacle of the Most Great Peace, and proclaim the oneness of mankind." And again: "This American nation is equipped and empowered to accomplish that which will adorn the pages of history, to become the envy of the world, and be blest in both the East and the West for the triumph of its people." Furthermore: "May this American democracy be the first nation to establish the foundation of international agreement. May it be the first nation to proclaim the unity of mankind. May it be the first to unfurl the standard of the Most Great Peace." "May the inhabitants of this country," He, moreover has written, "…rise from their present material attainment to such heights that heavenly illumination may stream from this center to all the peoples of the world."    
"O ye apostles of Bahá'u'lláh!," 'Abdu'l-Bahá has thus addressed the believers of the North American continent, "…consider how exalted and lofty is the station you are destined to attain … The full measure of your success is as yet unrevealed, its significance still unapprehended." And again: "Your mission is unspeakably glorious. Should success crown your enterprise, America will assuredly evolve into a center from which waves of spiritual power will emanate, and the throne of the Kingdom of God, will in the plenitude of its majesty and glory, be firmly established." And finally, this stirring affirmation: "The moment this Divine Message is carried forward by the American believers from the shores of America, and is propagated through the continents of Europe, of Asia, of Africa and of Australasia, and as far as the islands of the Pacific, this community will find itself securely established upon the throne of an everlasting dominion … Then will the whole earth resound with the praises of its majesty and greatness."  
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Little wonder that a community belonging to a nation so abundantly blessed, a nation occupying so eminent a position in a continent so richly endowed, should have been able to add, during the fifty years of its existence, many a page rich with victories to the annals of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. This is the community, it should be remembered, which, ever since it was called into being through the creative energies released by the proclamation of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, was nursed in the lap of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's unfailing solicitude, and was trained by Him to discharge its unique mission through the revelation of innumerable Tablets, through the instructions issued to returning pilgrims, through the despatch of special messengers, through His own travels at a later date, across the North American continent, through the emphasis laid by Him on the institution of the Covenant in the course of those travels, and finally through His mandate embodied in the Tablets of the Divine Plan. This is the community which, from its earliest infancy until the present day, has unremittingly labored and succeeded, through its own unaided efforts, in implanting the banner of Bahá'u'lláh in the vast majority of the sixty countries which, in both the East and the West, can now claim the honor of being included within the pale of His Faith. To this community belongs the distinction of having evolved the pattern, and of having been the first to erect the framework, of the administrative institutions that herald the advent of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. Through the efforts of its members the Mother Temple of the West, the Harbinger of that Order, one of the noblest institutions ordained in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, and the most stately edifice reared in the entire Bahá'í world, has been erected in the very heart of the North American continent. Through the assiduous labors of its pioneers, its teachers and its administrators, the literature of the Faith has been enormously expanded, its aims and purposes fearlessly defended, and its nascent institutions solidly established. In direct consequence of the unsupported and indefatigable endeavors of the most distinguished of its itinerant teachers the spontaneous allegiance of Royalty to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh has been secured and unmistakably proclaimed in several testimonies transmitted to posterity by the pen of the royal convert herself. And finally, to the members of this community, the spiritual descendants of the dawn-breakers of the Heroic Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation, must be ascribed the eternal honor of having arisen, on numerous occasions, with marvelous alacrity, zeal and determination, to champion the cause of the oppressed, to relieve the needy, and to defend the interests of the edifices and institutions reared by their brethren in countries such as Persia, Russia, Egypt, 'Iráq and Germany, countries where the adherents of the Faith have had to sustain, in varying measure, the rigors of racial and religious persecution.
[Mashriq'ul-Adhkár] The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶31; The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1; vol. 2 p. 180, p. 431; vol. 3; 4
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Strange, indeed, that in a country, invested with such a unique function among its sister-nations throughout the West, the first public reference to the Author of so glorious a Faith should have been made through the mouth of one of the members of that ecclesiastical order with which that Faith has had so long to contend, and from which it has frequently suffered. Stranger still that he who first established it in the city of Chicago, fifty years after the Báb had declared His Mission in Shíráz, should himself have forsaken, a few years later, the standard which he, single-handed, had implanted in that city.    
It was on September 23, 1893, a little over a year after Bahá'u'lláh's ascension, that, in a paper written by Rev. Henry H. Jessup, D.D., Director of Presbyterian Missionary Operations in North Syria, and read by Rev. George A. Ford of Syria, at the World Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago, in connection with the Columbian Exposition, commemorating the four-hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America, it was announced that "a famous Persian Sage," "the Bábí Saint," had died recently in 'Akká, and that two years previous to His ascension "a Cambridge scholar" had visited Him, to whom He had expressed "sentiments so noble, so Christ-like" that the author of the paper, in his "closing words," wished to share them with his audience. Less than a year later, in February 1894, a Syrian doctor, named Ibráhím Khayru'lláh, who, while residing in Cairo, had been converted by Hájí 'Abdu'l-Karím-i-Tihrání to the Faith, had received a Tablet from Bahá'u'lláh, had communicated with 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and reached New York in December 1892, established his residence in Chicago, and began to teach actively and systematically the Cause he had espoused. Within the space of two years he had communicated his impressions to 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and reported on the remarkable success that had attended his efforts. In 1895 an opening was vouchsafed to him in Kenosha, which he continued to visit once a week, in the course of his teaching activities. By the following year the believers in these two cities, it was reported, were counted by hundreds. In 1897 he published his book, entitled the Bábu'd-Dín, and visited Kansas City, New York City, Ithaca and Philadelphia, where he was able to win for the Faith a considerable number of supporters. The stout-hearted Thornton Chase, surnamed Thábit (Steadfast) by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and designated by Him "the first American believer," who became a convert to the Faith in 1894, the immortal Louisa A. Moore, the mother teacher of the West, surnamed Livá (Banner) by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Dr. Edward Getsinger, to whom she was later married, Howard MacNutt, Arthur P. Dodge, Isabella D. Brittingham, Lillian F. Kappes, Paul K. Dealy, Chester I. Thacher and Helen S. Goodall, whose names will ever remain associated with the first stirrings of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in the North American continent, stand out as the most prominent among those who, in those early years, awakened to the call of the New Day, and consecrated their lives to the service of the newly proclaimed Covenant.  
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By 1898 Mrs. Phoebe Hearst, the well-known philanthropist (wife of Senator George F. Hearst), whom Mrs. Getsinger had, while on a visit to California, attracted to the Faith, had expressed her intention of visiting 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the Holy Land, had invited several believers, among them Dr. and Mrs. Getsinger, Dr. Khayru'lláh and his wife, to join her, and had completed the necessary arrangements for their historic pilgrimage to 'Akká. In Paris several resident Americans, among whom were May Ellis Bolles, whom Mrs. Getsinger had won over to the Faith, Miss Pearson, and Ann Apperson, both nieces of Mrs. Hearst, with Mrs. Thornburgh and her daughter, were added to the party, the number of which was later swelled in Egypt by the addition of Dr. Khayru'lláh's daughters and their grand-mother whom he had recently converted.    
The arrival of fifteen pilgrims, in three successive parties, the first of which, including Dr. and Mrs. Getsinger, reached the prison-city of 'Akká on December 10, 1898; the intimate personal contact established between the Center of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant and the newly arisen heralds of His Revelation in the West; the moving circumstances attending their visit to His Tomb and the great honor bestowed upon them of being conducted by 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself into its innermost chamber; the spirit which, through precept and example, despite the briefness of their stay, a loving and bountiful Host so powerfully infused into them; and the passionate zeal and unyielding resolve which His inspiring exhortations, His illuminating instructions and the multiple evidences of His divine love kindled in their hearts—all these marked the opening of a new epoch in the development of the Faith in the West, an epoch whose significance the acts subsequently performed by some of these same pilgrims and their fellow-disciples have amply demonstrated.  
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"Of that first meeting," one of these pilgrims, recording her impressions, has written, "I can remember neither joy nor pain, nor anything that I can name. I had been carried suddenly to too great a height, my soul had come in contact with the Divine Spirit, and this force, so pure, so holy, so mighty, had overwhelmed me … We could not remove our eyes from His glorious face; we heard all that He said; we drank tea with Him at His bidding; but existence seemed suspended; and when He arose and suddenly left us, we came back with a start to life; but never again, oh! never again, thank God, the same life on this earth." "In the might and majesty of His presence," that same pilgrim, recalling the last interview accorded the party of which she was a member, has testified, "our fear was turned to perfect faith, our weakness into strength, our sorrow into hope, and ourselves forgotten in our love for Him. As we all sat before Him, waiting to hear His words, some of the believers wept bitterly. He bade them dry their tears, but they could not for a moment. So again He asked them for His sake not to weep, nor would He talk to us and teach us until all tears were banished…"    
…"Those three days," Mrs. Hearst herself has, in one of her letters, testified, "were the most memorable days of my life … The Master I will not attempt to describe: I will only state that I believe with all my heart that He is the Master, and my greatest blessing in this world is that I have been privileged to be in His presence, and look upon His sanctified face … Without a doubt 'Abbás Effendi is the Messiah of this day and generation, and we need not look for another." "I must say," she, moreover, has in another letter written, "He is the most wonderful Being I have ever met or ever expect to meet in this world … The spiritual atmosphere which surrounds Him and most powerfully affects all those who are blest by being near Him, is indescribable … I believe in Him with all my heart and soul, and I hope all who call themselves believers will concede to Him all the greatness, all the glory, and all the praise, for surely He is the Son of God—and 'the spirit of the Father abideth in Him.'"    
Even Mrs. Hearst's butler, a negro named Robert Turner, the first member of his race to embrace the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh in the West, had been transported by the influence exerted by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the course of that epoch-making pilgrimage. Such was the tenacity of his faith that even the subsequent estrangement of his beloved mistress from the Cause she had spontaneously embraced failed to becloud its radiance, or to lessen the intensity of the emotions which the loving-kindness showered by 'Abdu'l-Bahá upon him had excited in his breast.  
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The return of these God-intoxicated pilgrims, some to France, others to the United States, was the signal for an outburst of systematic and sustained activity, which, as it gathered momentum, and spread its ramifications over Western Europe and the states and provinces of the North American continent, grew to so great a scale that 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself resolved that, as soon as He should be released from His prolonged confinement in 'Akká, He would undertake a personal mission to the West. Undeflected in its course by the devastating crisis which the ambition of Dr. Khayru'lláh had, upon his return from the Holy Land (December, 1899) precipitated; undismayed by the agitation which he, working in collaboration with the arch-breaker of the Covenant and his messengers, had provoked; disdainful of the attacks launched by him and his fellow-seceders, as well as by Christian ecclesiastics increasingly jealous of the rising power and extending influence of the Faith; nourished by a continual flow of pilgrims who transmitted the verbal messages and special instructions of a vigilant Master; invigorated by the effusions of His pen recorded in innumerable Tablets; instructed by the successive messengers and teachers dispatched at His behest for its guidance, edification and consolidation, the community of the American believers arose to initiate a series of enterprises which, blessed and stimulated a decade later by 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself, were to be but a prelude to the unparalleled services destined to be rendered by its members during the Formative Age of His Father's Dispensation.    
No sooner had one of these pilgrims, the afore-mentioned May Bolles, returned to Paris than she succeeded, in compliance with 'Abdu'l-Bahá's emphatic instructions, in establishing in that city the first Bahá'í center to be formed on the European continent. This center was, shortly after her arrival, reinforced by the conversion of the illumined Thomas Breakwell, the first English believer, immortalized by 'Abdu'l-Bahá's fervent eulogy revealed in his memory; of Hippolyte Dreyfus, the first Frenchman to embrace the Faith, who, through his writings, translations, travels and other pioneer services, was able to consolidate, as the years went by, the work which had been initiated in his country; and of Laura Barney, whose imperishable service was to collect and transmit to posterity in the form of a book, entitled "Some Answered Questions," 'Abdu'l-Bahá's priceless explanations, covering a wide variety of subjects, given to her in the course of an extended pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Three years later, in 1902, May Bolles, now married to a Canadian, transferred her residence to Montreal, and succeeded in laying the foundations of the Cause in that Dominion.
Some Answered Questions
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In London Mrs. Thornburgh-Cropper, as a consequence of the creative influences released by that never-to-be-forgotten pilgrimage, was able to initiate activities which, stimulated and expanded through the efforts of the first English believers, and particularly of Ethel J. Rosenberg, converted in 1899, enabled them to erect, in later years, the structure of their administrative institutions in the British Isles. In the North American continent, the defection and the denunciatory publications of Dr. Khayru'lláh (encouraged as he was by Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí and his son Shu'á'u'lláh, whom he had despatched to America) tested to the utmost the loyalty of the newly fledged community; but successive messengers despatched by 'Abdu'l-Bahá (such as Hájí 'Abdu'l-Karím-i-Tihrání, Hájí Mírzá Hasan-i-Khurásání, Mírzá Asadu'lláh and Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl) succeeded in rapidly dispelling the doubts, and in deepening the understanding, of the believers, in holding the community together, and in forming the nucleus of those administrative institutions which, two decades later, were to be formally inaugurated through the explicit provisions of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament. As far back as the year 1899 a council board of seven officers, the forerunner of a series of Assemblies which, ere the close of the first Bahá'í Century, were to cover the North American Continent from coast to coast, was established in the city of Kenosha. In 1902 a Bahá'í Publishing Society, designed to propagate the literature of a gradually expanding community, was formed in Chicago. A Bahá'í Bulletin, for the purpose of disseminating the teachings of the Faith was inaugurated in New York. The "Bahá'í News," another periodical, subsequently appeared in Chicago, and soon developed into a magazine entitled "Star of the West." The translation of some of the most important writings of Bahá'u'lláh, such as the "Hidden Words," the "Kitáb-i-Íqán," the "Tablets to the Kings," and the "Seven Valleys," together with the Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, as well as several treatises and pamphlets written by Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl and others, was energetically undertaken. A considerable correspondence with various centers throughout the Orient was initiated, and grew steadily in scope and importance. Brief histories of the Faith, books and pamphlets written in its defence, articles for the press, accounts of travels and pilgrimages, eulogies and poems, were likewise published and widely disseminated.
The Hidden Words

The Kitáb-i-Íqán

[The Tablets to the Kings] The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 2, p. 337

The Seven Valleys

261

Simultaneously, travellers and teachers, emerging triumphantly from the storms of tests and trials which had threatened to engulf their beloved Cause, arose, of their own accord, to reinforce and multiply the strongholds of the Faith already established. Centers were opened in the cities of Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Buffalo, Rochester, Pittsburgh, Seattle, St. Paul and in other places. Audacious pioneers, whether as visitors or settlers, eager to spread the new born Evangel beyond the confines of their native country, undertook journeys, and embarked on enterprises which carried its light to the heart of Europe, to the Far East, and as far as the islands of the Pacific. Mason Remey voyaged to Russia and Persia, and later, with Howard Struven, circled, for the first time in Bahá'í history, the globe, visiting on his way the Hawaiian Islands, Japan, China, India and Burma. Hooper Harris and Harlan Ober traveled, during no less than seven months, in India and Burma, visiting Bombay, Poona, Lahore, Calcutta, Rangoon and Mandalay. Alma Knobloch, following on the heels of Dr. K. E. Fisher, hoisted the standard of the Faith in Germany, and carried its light to Austria. Dr. Susan I. Moody, Sydney Sprague, Lillian F. Kappes, Dr. Sarah Clock, and Elizabeth Stewart transferred their residence to Tihrán for the purpose of furthering the manifold interests of the Faith, in collaboration with the Bahá'ís of that city. Sarah Farmer, who had already initiated in 1894, at Green Acre, in the State of Maine, summer conferences and established a center for the promotion of unity and fellowship between races and religions, placed, after her pilgrimage to 'Akká in 1900, the facilities these conferences provided at the disposal of the followers of the Faith which she had herself recently embraced.    
And last but not least, inspired by the example set by their fellow-disciples in 'Ishqábád, who had already commenced the construction of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of the Bahá'í world, and afire with the desire to demonstrate, in a tangible and befitting manner, the quality of their faith and devotion, the Bahá'ís of Chicago, having petitioned 'Abdu'l-Bahá for permission to erect a House of Worship, and secured, in a Tablet revealed in June 1903, His ready and enthusiastic approval, arose, despite the smallness of their numbers and their limited resources, to initiate an enterprise which must rank as the greatest single contribution which the Bahá'ís of America, and indeed of the West, have as yet made to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. The subsequent encouragement given them by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and the contributions raised by various Assemblies decided the members of this Assembly to invite representatives of their fellow-believers in various parts of the country to meet in Chicago for the initiation of the stupendous undertaking they had conceived. On November 26, 1907, the assembled representatives, convened for that purpose, appointed a committee of nine to locate a suitable site for the proposed Temple. By April 9, 1908, the sum of two thousand dollars had been paid for the purchase of two building lots, situated near the shore of Lake Michigan. In March 1909, a convention representative of various Bahá'í centers was called, in pursuance of instructions received from 'Abdu'l-Bahá. The thirty-nine delegates, representing thirty-six cities, who had assembled in Chicago, on the very day the remains of the Báb were laid to rest by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the specially erected mausoleum on Mt. Carmel, established a permanent national organization, known as the Bahá'í Temple Unity, which was incorporated as a religious corporation, functioning under the laws of the State of Illinois, and invested with full authority to hold title to the property of the Temple and to provide ways and means for its construction. At this same convention a constitution was framed, the Executive Board of the Bahá'í Temple Unity was elected, and was authorized by the delegates to complete the purchase of the land recommended by the previous Convention. Contributions for this historic enterprise, from India, Persia, Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Russia, Egypt, Germany, France, England, Canada, Mexico, the Hawaiian Islands, and even Mauritius, and from no less than sixty American cities, amounted by 1910, two years previous to 'Abdu'l-Bahá's arrival in America, to no less than twenty thousand dollars, a remarkable testimony alike to the solidarity of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in both the East and the West, and to the self-sacrificing efforts exerted by the American believers who, as the work progressed, assumed a preponderating share in providing the sum of over a million dollars required for the erection of the structure of the Temple and its external ornamentation.  
262

CHAPTER XVII

Renewal of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Incarceration

 
263

The outstanding accomplishments of a valiant and sorely-tested community, the first fruits of Bahá'u'lláh's newly established Covenant in the Western world, had laid a foundation sufficiently imposing to invite the presence of the appointed Center of that Covenant, Who had called that Community into being and watched, with such infinite care and foresight, over its budding destinies. Not until, however, 'Abdu'l-Bahá had emerged from the severe crisis which had already for several years been holding Him in its toils could He undertake His memorable voyage to the shores of a continent where the rise and establishment of His Father's Faith had been signalized by such magnificent and enduring achievements.    
This second major crisis of His ministry, external in nature and hardly less severe than the one precipitated by the rebellion of Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí, gravely imperiled His life, deprived Him, for a number of years, of the relative freedom He had enjoyed, plunged into anguish His family and the followers of the Faith in East and West, and exposed as never before, the degradation and infamy of His relentless adversaries. It originated two years after the departure of the first American pilgrims from the Holy Land. It persisted, with varying degrees of intensity, during more than seven years, and was directly attributable to the incessant intrigues and monstrous misrepresentations of the Arch-Breaker of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant and his supporters.    
Embittered by his abject failure to create a schism on which he had fondly pinned his hopes; stung by the conspicuous success which the standard-bearers of the Covenant had, despite his machinations, achieved in the North American continent; encouraged by the existence of a régime that throve in an atmosphere of intrigue and suspicion, and which was presided over by a cunning and cruel potentate; determined to exploit to the full the opportunities for mischief afforded him by the arrival of Western pilgrims at the prison-fortress of 'Akká, as well as by the commencement of the construction of the Báb's sepulcher on Mt. Carmel, Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí, seconded by his brother, Mírzá Badí'u'lláh, and aided by his brother-in-law, Mírzá Majdi'd-Dín, succeeded through strenuous and persistent endeavors in exciting the suspicion of the Turkish government and its officials, and in inducing them to reimpose on 'Abdu'l-Bahá the confinement from which, in the days of Bahá'u'lláh, He had so grievously suffered.  
264

This very brother, Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí's chief accomplice, in a written confession signed, sealed and published by him, on the occasion of his reconciliation with 'Abdu'l-Bahá, has borne testimony to the wicked plots that had been devised. "What I have heard from others," wrote Mírzá Badí'u'lláh, "I will ignore. I will only recount what I have seen with my own eyes, and heard from his (Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí) lips." "It was arranged by him (Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí)," he, then, proceeds to relate, "to dispatch Mírzá Majdi'd-Dín with a gift and a letter written in Persian to Nazim Páshá, the Valí (governor) of Damascus, and to seek his assistance.… As he (Mírzá Majdi'd-Dín) himself informed me in Haifa he did all he could to acquaint him (governor) fully with the construction work on Mt. Carmel, with the comings and goings of the American believers, and with the gatherings held in 'Akká. The Páshá, in his desire to know all the facts, was extremely kind to him, and assured him of his aid. A few days after Mírzá Majdi'd-Dín's return a cipher telegram was received from the Sublime Porte, transmitting the Sultán's orders to incarcerate 'Abdu'l-Bahá, myself and the others." "In those days," he, furthermore, in that same document, testifies, "a man who came to 'Akká from Damascus stated to outsiders that Nazim Páshá had been the cause of the incarceration of 'Abbás Effendi. The strangest thing of all is this that Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí, after he had been incarcerated, wrote a letter to Nazim Páshá for the purpose of achieving his own deliverance.… The Páshá, however, did not write even a word in answer to either the first or the second letter."    
It was in 1901, on the fifth day of the month of Jamádíyu'l-Avval 1319 A.H. (August 20) that 'Abdu'l-Bahá, upon His return from Bahjí where He had participated in the celebration of the anniversary of the Báb's Declaration, was informed, in the course of an interview with the governor of 'Akká, of Sultán 'Abdu'l-Hamíd's instructions ordering that the restrictions which had been gradually relaxed should be reimposed, and that He and His brothers should be strictly confined within the walls of that city. The Sultán's edict was at first rigidly enforced, the freedom of the exiled community was severely curtailed, while 'Abdu'l-Bahá had to submit, alone and unaided, to the prolonged interrogation of judges and officials, who required His presence for several consecutive days at government headquarters for the purpose of their investigations. One of His first acts was to intercede on behalf of His brothers, who had been peremptorily summoned and informed by the governor of the orders of the sovereign, an act which failed to soften their hostility or lessen their malevolent activities. Subsequently, through His intervention with the civil and military authorities, He succeeded in obtaining the freedom of His followers who resided in 'Akká, and in enabling them to continue to earn, without interference, the means of livelihood.  
265

The Covenant-breakers were unappeased by the measures taken by the authorities against One Who had so magnanimously intervened on their behalf. Aided by the notorious Yahyá Bey, the chief of police, and other officials, civil as well as military, who, in consequence of their representations, had replaced those who had been friendly to 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and by secret agents who traveled back and forth between 'Akká and Constantinople, and who even kept a vigilant watch over everything that went on in His household, they arose to encompass His ruin. They lavished on officials gifts which included possessions sacred to the memory of Bahá'u'lláh, and shamelessly proffered to high and low alike bribes drawn, in some instances, from the sale of properties associated with Him or bestowed upon some of them by 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Relaxing nothing of their efforts they pursued relentlessly the course of their nefarious activities, determined to leave no stone unturned until they had either brought about His execution or ensured His deportation to a place remote enough to enable them to wrest the Cause from His grasp. The Valí of Damascus, the Muftí of Beirut, members of the Protestant missions established in Syria and 'Akká, even the influential Shaykh Abu'l-Hudá, in Constantinople, whom the Sultán held in as profound an esteem as that in which Muhammad Sháh had held his Grand Vizir, Hájí Mírzá Áqásí, were, on various occasions, approached, appealed to, and urged to lend their assistance for the prosecution of their odious designs.    
Through verbal messages, formal communications and by personal interviews the Covenant-breakers impressed upon these notables the necessity of immediate action, shrewdly adapting their arguments to the particular interests and prejudices of those whose aid they solicited. To some they represented 'Abdu'l-Bahá as a callous usurper Who had trampled upon their rights, robbed them of their heritage, reduced them to poverty, made their friends in Persia their enemies, accumulated for Himself a vast fortune, and acquired no less than two-thirds of the land in Haifa. To others they declared that 'Abdu'l-Bahá contemplated making of 'Akká and Haifa a new Mecca and Medina. To still others they affirmed that Bahá'u'lláh was no more than a retired dervish, who professed and promoted the Faith of Islám, Whom 'Abbás Effendi, His son, had, for the purpose of self-glorification, exalted to the rank of God-head, whilst claiming Himself to be the Son of God and the return of Jesus Christ. They further accused Him of harboring designs inimical to the interests of the state, of meditating a rebellion against the Sultán, of having already hoisted the banner of Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá, the ensign of revolt, in distant villages in Palestine and Syria, of having raised surreptitiously an army of thirty thousand men, of being engaged in the construction of a fortress and a vast ammunition depot on Mt. Carmel, of having secured the moral and material support of a host of English and American friends, amongst whom were officers of foreign powers, who were arriving, in large numbers and in disguise, to pay Him their homage, and of having already, in conjunction with them, drawn up His plans for the subjugation of the neighboring provinces, for the expulsion of the ruling authorities, and for the ultimate seizure of the power wielded by the Sultán himself. Through misrepresentation and bribery they succeeded in inducing certain people to affix their signatures as witnesses to the documents which they had drawn up, and which they despatched, through their agents, to the Sublime Porte.  
266

Such grave accusations, embodied in numerous reports, could not fail to perturb profoundly the mind of a despot already obsessed by the fear of impending rebellion among his subjects. A commission was accordingly appointed to inquire into the matter, and report the result of its investigations. Each of the charges brought against 'Abdu'l-Bahá, when summoned to the court, on several occasions, He carefully and fearlessly refuted. He exposed the absurdity of these accusations, acquainted the members of the Commission, in support of His argument, with the provisions of Bahá'u'lláh's Testament, expressed His readiness to submit to any sentence the court might decide to pass upon Him, and eloquently affirmed that if they should chain Him, drag Him through the streets, execrate and ridicule Him, stone and spit upon Him, suspend Him in the public square, and riddle Him with bullets, He would regard it as a signal honor, inasmuch as He would thereby be following in the footsteps, and sharing the sufferings, of His beloved Leader, the Báb.    
The gravity of the situation confronting 'Abdu'l-Bahá; the rumors that were being set afloat by a population that anticipated the gravest developments; the hints and allusions to the dangers threatening Him contained in newspapers published in Egypt and Syria; the aggressive attitude which His enemies increasingly assumed; the provocative behavior of some of the inhabitants of 'Akká and Haifa who had been emboldened by the predictions and fabrications of these enemies regarding the fate awaiting a suspected community and its Leader, led Him to reduce the number of pilgrims, and even to suspend, for a time, their visits, and to issue special instructions that His mail be handled through an agent in Egypt rather than in Haifa; for a time He ordered that it should be held there pending further advice from Him. He, moreover, directed the believers, as well as His own secretaries, to collect and remove to a place of safety all the Bahá'í writings in their possession, and, urging them to transfer their residence to Egypt, went so far as to forbid their gathering, as was their wont, in His house. Even His numerous friends and admirers refrained, during the most turbulent days of this period, from calling upon Him, for fear of being implicated and of incurring the suspicion of the authorities. On certain days and nights, when the outlook was at its darkest, the house in which He was living, and which had for many years been a focus of activity, was completely deserted. Spies, secretly and openly, kept watch around it, observing His every movement and restricting the freedom of His family.  
267

The construction of the Báb's sepulcher, whose foundation-stone had been laid by Him on the site blessed and selected by Bahá'u'lláh, He, however, refused to suspend, or even interrupt, for however brief a period. Nor would He allow any obstacle, however formidable, to interfere with the daily flow of Tablets which poured forth, with prodigious rapidity and ever increasing volume, from His indefatigable pen, in answer to the vast number of letters, reports, inquiries, prayers, confessions of faith, apologies and eulogies received from countless followers and admirers in both the East and the West. Eye-witnesses have testified that, during that agitated and perilous period of His life, they had known Him to pen, with His own Hand, no less than ninety Tablets in a single day, and to pass many a night, from dusk to dawn, alone in His bed-chamber engaged in a correspondence which the pressure of His manifold responsibilities had prevented Him from attending to in the day-time.    
It was during these troublous times, the most dramatic period of His ministry, when, in the hey-day of His life and in the full tide of His power, He, with inexhaustible energy, marvelous serenity and unshakable confidence, initiated and resistlessly prosecuted the varied enterprises associated with that ministry. It was during these times that the plan of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of the Bahá'í world was conceived by Him, and its construction undertaken by His followers in the city of 'Ishqábád in Turkistán. It was during these times, despite the disturbances that agitated His native country, that instructions were issued by Him for the restoration of the holy and historic House of the Báb in Shíráz. It was during these times that the initial measures, chiefly through His constant encouragement, were taken which paved the way for the laying of the dedication stone, which He, in later years, placed with His own hands when visiting the site of the Mother Temple of the West on the shore of Lake Michigan. It was at this juncture that that celebrated compilation of His table talks, published under the title "Some Answered Questions," was made, talks given during the brief time He was able to spare, in the course of which certain fundamental aspects of His Father's Faith were elucidated, traditional and rational proofs of its validity adduced, and a great variety of subjects regarding the Christian Dispensation, the Prophets of God, Biblical prophecies, the origin and condition of man and other kindred themes authoritatively explained.
Some Answered Questions
268

It was during the darkest hours of this period that, in a communication addressed to the Báb's cousin, the venerable Hájí Mírzá Muhammad-Taqí, the chief builder of the Temple of 'Ishqábád, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in stirring terms, proclaimed the immeasurable greatness of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, sounded the warnings foreshadowing the turmoil which its enemies, both far and near, would let loose upon the world, and prophesied, in moving language, the ascendancy which the torchbearers of the Covenant would ultimately achieve over them. It was at an hour of grave suspense, during that same period, that He penned His Will and Testament, that immortal Document wherein He delineated the features of the Administrative Order which would arise after His passing, and would herald the establishment of that World Order, the advent of which the Báb had announced, and the laws and principles of which Bahá'u'lláh had already formulated. It was in the course of these tumultuous years that, through the instrumentality of the heralds and champions of a firmly instituted Covenant, He reared the embryonic institutions, administrative, spiritual, and educational, of a steadily expanding Faith in Persia, the cradle of that Faith, in the Great Republic of the West, the cradle of its Administrative Order, in the Dominion of Canada, in France, in England, in Germany, in Egypt, in 'Iráq, in Russia, in India, in Burma, in Japan, and even in the remote Pacific Islands. It was during these stirring times that a tremendous impetus was lent by Him to the translation, the publication and dissemination of Bahá'í literature, whose scope now included a variety of books and treatises, written in the Persian, the Arabic, the English, the Turkish, the French, the German, the Russian and Burmese languages. At His table, in those days, whenever there was a lull in the storm raging about Him, there would gather pilgrims, friends and inquirers from most of the afore-mentioned countries, representative of the Christian, the Muslim, the Jewish, the Zoroastrian, the Hindu and Buddhist Faiths. To the needy thronging His doors and filling the courtyard of His house every Friday morning, in spite of the perils that environed Him, He would distribute alms with His own hands, with a regularity and generosity that won Him the title of "Father of the Poor." Nothing in those tempestuous days could shake His confidence, nothing would be allowed to interfere with His ministrations to the destitute, the orphan, the sick, and the down-trodden, nothing could prevent Him from calling in person upon those who were either incapacitated or ashamed to solicit His aid. Adamant in His determination to follow the example of both the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh, nothing would induce Him to flee from His enemies, or escape from imprisonment, neither the advice tendered Him by the leading members of the exiled community in 'Akká, nor the insistent pleas of the Spanish Consul—a kinsman of the agent of an Italian steamship company—who, in his love for 'Abdu'l-Bahá and his anxiety to avert the threatening danger, had gone so far as to place at His disposal an Italian freighter, ready to provide Him a safe passage to any foreign port He might name.  
269

So imperturbable was 'Abdu'l-Bahá's equanimity that, while rumors were being bruited about that He might be cast into the sea, or exiled to Fízán in Tripolitania, or hanged on the gallows, He, to the amazement of His friends and the amusement of His enemies, was to be seen planting trees and vines in the garden of His house, whose fruits when the storm had blown over, He would bid His faithful gardener, Ismá'íl Áqá, pluck and present to those same friends and enemies on the occasion of their visits to Him.    
In the early part of the winter of 1907 another Commission of four officers, headed by 'Árif Bey, and invested with plenary powers, was suddenly dispatched to 'Akká by order of the Sultán. A few days before its arrival 'Abdu'l-Bahá had a dream, which He recounted to the believers, in which He saw a ship cast anchor off 'Akká, from which flew a few birds, resembling sticks of dynamite, and which, circling about His head, as He stood in the midst of a multitude of the frightened inhabitants of the city, returned without exploding to the ship.  
270

No sooner had the members of the Commission landed than they placed under their direct and exclusive control both the Telegraph and Postal services in 'Akká; arbitrarily dismissed officials suspected of being friendly to 'Abdu'l-Bahá, including the governor of the city; established direct and secret contact with the government in Constantinople; took up their residence in the home of the neighbors and intimate associates of the Covenant-breakers; set guards over the house of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to prevent any one from seeing Him; and started the strange procedure of calling up as witnesses the very people, among whom were Christians and Moslems, orientals and westerners, who had previously signed the documents forwarded to Constantinople, and which they had brought with them for the purpose of their investigations.    
The activities of the Covenant-breakers, and particularly of Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí, now jubilant and full of hope, rose in this hour of extreme crisis, to the highest pitch. Visits, interviews and entertainments multiplied, in an atmosphere of fervid expectation, now that the victory was seen to be at hand. Not a few among the lower elements of the population were led to believe that their acquisition of the property which would be left behind by the deported exiles was imminent. Insults and calumnies markedly increased. Even some of the poor, so long and so bountifully succored by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, forsook Him for fear of reprisals.    
'Abdu'l-Bahá, while the members of the Commission were carrying on their so-called investigations, and throughout their stay of about one month in 'Akká, consistently refused to meet or have any dealings with any of them, in spite of the veiled threats and warnings conveyed by them to Him through a messenger, an attitude which greatly surprised them and served to inflame their animosity and reinforce their determination to execute their evil designs. Though the perils and tribulations which had encompassed Him were now at their thickest, though the ship on which He was supposed to embark with the members of the Commission was waiting in readiness, at times in 'Akká, at times in Haifa, and the wildest rumors were being spread about Him, the serenity He had invariably maintained, ever since His incarceration had been reimposed, remained unclouded, and His confidence unshaken. "The meaning of the dream I dreamt," He, at that time, told the believers who still remained in 'Akká, "is now clear and evident. Please God this dynamite will not explode."  
271

Meanwhile the members of the Commission had, on a certain Friday, gone to Haifa and inspected the Báb's sepulcher, the construction of which had been proceeding without any interruption on Mt. Carmel. Impressed by its solidity and dimensions, they had inquired of one of the attendants as to the number of vaults that had been built beneath that massive structure.    
Shortly after the inspection had been made it was suddenly observed, one day at about sunset, that the ship, which had been lying off Haifa, had weighed anchor, and was heading towards 'Akká. The news spread rapidly among an excited population that the members of the Commission had embarked upon it. It was anticipated that it would stop long enough at 'Akká to take 'Abdu'l-Bahá on board, and then proceed to its destination. Consternation and anguish seized the members of His family when informed of the approach of the ship. The few believers who were left wept with grief at their impending separation from their Master. 'Abdu'l-Bahá could be seen, at that tragic hour, pacing, alone and silent, the courtyard of His house.    
As dusk fell, however, it was suddenly noticed that the lights of the ship had swung round, and the vessel had changed her course. It now became evident that she was sailing direct for Constantinople. The intelligence was instantly communicated to 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Who, in the gathering darkness, was still pacing His courtyard. Some of the believers who had posted themselves at different points to watch the progress of the ship hurried to confirm the joyful tidings. One of the direst perils that had ever threatened 'Abdu'l-Bahá's precious life was, on that historic day, suddenly, providentially and definitely averted.    
Soon after the precipitate and wholly unexpected sailing of that ship news was received that a bomb had exploded in the path of the Sultán while he was returning to his palace from the mosque where he had been offering his Friday prayers.    
A few days after this attempt on his life the Commission submitted its report to him; but he and his government were too preoccupied to consider the matter. The case was laid aside, and when, some months later, it was again brought forward it was abruptly closed forever by an event which, once and for all, placed the Prisoner of 'Akká beyond the power of His royal enemy. The "Young Turk" Revolution, breaking out swiftly and decisively in 1908, forced a reluctant despot to promulgate the constitution which he had suspended, and to release all religious and political prisoners held under the old régime. Even then a telegram had to be sent to Constantinople to inquire specifically whether 'Abdu'l-Bahá was included in the category of these prisoners, to which an affirmative reply was promptly received.  
272

Within a few months, in 1909, the Young Turks obtained from the Shaykhu'l-Islám the condemnation of the Sultán himself who, as a result of further attempts to overthrow the constitution, was finally and ignominiously deposed, deported and made a prisoner of state. On one single day of that same year there were executed no less than thirty-one leading ministers, páshás and officials, among whom were numbered notorious enemies of the Faith. Tripolitania itself, the scene of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's intended exile was subsequently wrested from the Turks by Italy. Thus ended the reign of the "Great Assassin," "the most mean, cunning, untrustworthy and cruel intriguer of the long dynasty of 'Uthmán," a reign "more disastrous in its immediate losses of territory and in the certainty of others to follow, and more conspicuous for the deterioration of the condition of his subjects, than that of any other of his twenty-three degenerate predecessors since the death of Sulaymán the Magnificent."    

CHAPTER XVIII

Entombment of the Báb's Remains on Mt. Carmel


The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 2, p. 403, vol. 3, p. 422
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'Abdu'l-Bahá's unexpected and dramatic release from His forty-year confinement dealt a blow to the ambitions cherished by the Covenant-breakers as devastating as that which, a decade before, had shattered their hopes of undermining His authority and of ousting Him from His God-given position. Now, on the very morrow of His triumphant liberation a third blow befell them as stunning as those which preceded it and hardly less spectacular than they. Within a few months of the historic decree which set Him free, in the very year that witnessed the downfall of Sultán 'Abdu'l-Hamíd, that same power from on high which had enabled 'Abdu'l-Bahá to preserve inviolate the rights divinely conferred on Him, to establish His Father's Faith in the North American continent, and to triumph over His royal oppressor, enabled Him to achieve one of the most signal acts of His ministry: the removal of the Báb's remains from their place of concealment in Tihrán to Mt. Carmel. He Himself testified, on more than one occasion, that the safe transfer of these remains, the construction of a befitting mausoleum to receive them, and their final interment with His own hands in their permanent resting-place constituted one of the three principal objectives which, ever since the inception of His mission, He had conceived it His paramount duty to achieve. This act indeed deserves to rank as one of the outstanding events in the first Bahá'í century.    
As observed in a previous chapter the mangled bodies of the Báb and His fellow-martyr, Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí, were removed, in the middle of the second night following their execution, through the pious intervention of Hájí Sulaymán Khán, from the edge of the moat where they had been cast to a silk factory owned by one of the believers of Mílán, and were laid the next day in a wooden casket, and thence carried to a place of safety. Subsequently, according to Bahá'u'lláh's instructions, they were transported to Tihrán and placed in the shrine of Imám-Zádih Hasan. They were later removed to the residence of Hájí Sulaymán Khán himself in the Sar-Chashmih quarter of the city, and from his house were taken to the shrine of Imám-Zádih Ma'sum, where they remained concealed until the year 1284 A.H. (1867–1868), when a Tablet, revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in Adrianople, directed Mullá 'Alí-Akbar-i-Sháhmírzádí and Jamál-i-Burújirdí to transfer them without delay to some other spot, an instruction which, in view of the subsequent reconstruction of that shrine, proved to have been providential.  
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Unable to find a suitable place in the suburb of Sháh 'Abdu'l-'Azím, Mullá 'Alí-Akbar and his companion continued their search until, on the road leading to Chashmih-'Alí, they came upon the abandoned and dilapidated Masjid-i-Mashá'u'lláh, where they deposited, within one of its walls, after dark, their precious burden, having first re-wrapt the remains in a silken shroud brought by them for that purpose. Finding the next day to their consternation that the hiding-place had been discovered, they clandestinely carried the casket through the gate of the capital direct to the house of Mírzá Hasan-i-Vazír, a believer and son-in-law of Hájí Mírzá Siyyid 'Alíy-i-Tafríshí, the Majdu'l-Ashráf, where it remained for no less than fourteen months. The long-guarded secret of its whereabouts becoming known to the believers, they began to visit the house in such numbers that a communication had to be addressed by Mullá 'Alí-Akbar to Bahá'u'lláh, begging for guidance in the matter. Hájí Sháh Muhammad-i-Manshádí, surnamed Amínu'l-Bayán, was accordingly commissioned to receive the Trust from him, and bidden to exercise the utmost secrecy as to its disposal.    
Assisted by another believer, Hájí Sháh Muhammad buried the casket beneath the floor of the inner sanctuary of the shrine of Imám-Zádih Zayd, where it lay undetected until Mírzá Asadu'lláh-i-Isfahání was informed of its exact location through a chart forwarded to him by Bahá'u'lláh. Instructed by Bahá'u'lláh to conceal it elsewhere, he first removed the remains to his own house in Tihrán, after which they were deposited in several other localities such as the house of Husayn-'Alíy-i-Isfahání and that of Muhammad-Karím-i-'Attár, where they remained hidden until the year 1316 (1899) A.H., when, in pursuance of directions issued by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, this same Mírzá Asadu'lláh, together with a number of other believers, transported them by way of Isfahán, Kirmánsháh, Baghdád and Damascus, to Beirut and thence by sea to 'Akká, arriving at their destination on the 19th of the month of Ramadán 1316 A.H. (January 31, 1899), fifty lunar years after the Báb's execution in Tabríz.    
In the same year that this precious Trust reached the shores of the Holy Land and was delivered into the hands of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, He, accompanied by Dr. Ibráhím Khayru'lláh, whom He had already honored with the titles of "Bahá's Peter," "The Second Columbus" and "Conqueror of America," drove to the recently purchased site which had been blessed and selected by Bahá'u'lláh on Mt. Carmel, and there laid, with His own hands, the foundation-stone of the edifice, the construction of which He, a few months later, was to commence. About that same time, the marble sarcophagus, designed to receive the body of the Báb, an offering of love from the Bahá'ís of Rangoon, had, at 'Abdu'l-Bahá's suggestion, been completed and shipped to Haifa.  
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No need to dwell on the manifold problems and preoccupations which, for almost a decade, continued to beset 'Abdu'l-Bahá until the victorious hour when He was able to bring to a final consummation the historic task entrusted to Him by His Father. The risks and perils with which Bahá'u'lláh and later His Son had been confronted in their efforts to insure, during half a century, the protection of those remains were but a prelude to the grave dangers which, at a later period, the Center of the Covenant Himself had to face in the course of the construction of the edifice designed to receive them, and indeed until the hour of His final release from His incarceration.    
The long-drawn out negotiations with the shrewd and calculating owner of the building-site of the holy Edifice, who, under the influence of the Covenant-breakers, refused for a long time to sell; the exorbitant price at first demanded for the opening of a road leading to that site and indispensable to the work of construction; the interminable objections raised by officials, high and low, whose easily aroused suspicions had to be allayed by repeated explanations and assurances given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself; the dangerous situation created by the monstrous accusations brought by Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí and his associates regarding the character and purpose of that building; the delays and complications caused by 'Abdu'l-Bahá's prolonged and enforced absence from Haifa, and His consequent inability to supervise in person the vast undertaking He had initiated—all these were among the principal obstacles which He, at so critical a period in His ministry, had to face and surmount ere He could execute in its entirety the Plan, the outline of which Bahá'u'lláh had communicated to Him on the occasion of one of His visits to Mt. Carmel.    
"Every stone of that building, every stone of the road leading to it," He, many a time was heard to remark, "I have with infinite tears and at tremendous cost, raised and placed in position." "One night," He, according to an eye-witness, once observed, "I was so hemmed in by My anxieties that I had no other recourse than to recite and repeat over and over again a prayer of the Báb which I had in My possession, the recital of which greatly calmed Me. The next morning the owner of the plot himself came to Me, apologized and begged Me to purchase his property."  
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Finally, in the very year His royal adversary lost his throne, and at the time of the opening of the first American Bahá'í Convention, convened in Chicago for the purpose of creating a permanent national organization for the construction of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, 'Abdu'l-Bahá brought His undertaking to a successful conclusion, in spite of the incessant machinations of enemies both within and without. On the 28th of the month of Safar 1327 A.H., the day of the first Naw-Rúz (1909), which He celebrated after His release from His confinement, 'Abdu'l-Bahá had the marble sarcophagus transported with great labor to the vault prepared for it, and in the evening, by the light of a single lamp, He laid within it, with His own hands—in the presence of believers from the East and from the West and in circumstances at once solemn and moving—the wooden casket containing the sacred remains of the Báb and His companion.
The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 3, p. 431
 
When all was finished, and the earthly remains of the Martyr-Prophet of Shíráz were, at long last, safely deposited for their everlasting rest in the bosom of God's holy mountain, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Who had cast aside His turban, removed His shoes and thrown off His cloak, bent low over the still open sarcophagus, His silver hair waving about His head and His face transfigured and luminous, rested His forehead on the border of the wooden casket, and, sobbing aloud, wept with such a weeping that all those who were present wept with Him. That night He could not sleep, so overwhelmed was He with emotion.
The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 3, p. 431
 
"The most joyful tidings is this," He wrote later in a Tablet announcing to His followers the news of this glorious victory, "that the holy, the luminous body of the Báb … after having for sixty years been transferred from place to place, by reason of the ascendancy of the enemy, and from fear of the malevolent, and having known neither rest nor tranquility has, through the mercy of the Abhá Beauty, been ceremoniously deposited, on the day of Naw-Rúz, within the sacred casket, in the exalted Shrine on Mt. Carmel … By a strange coincidence, on that same day of Naw-Rúz, a cablegram was received from Chicago, announcing that the believers in each of the American centers had elected a delegate and sent to that city … and definitely decided on the site and construction of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár."
The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 3, p. 432; vol. 4, p. 359
 
With the transference of the remains of the Báb—Whose advent marks the return of the Prophet Elijah—to Mt. Carmel, and their interment in that holy mountain, not far from the cave of that Prophet Himself, the Plan so gloriously envisaged by Bahá'u'lláh, in the evening of His life, had been at last executed, and the arduous labors associated with the early and tumultuous years of the ministry of the appointed Center of His Covenant crowned with immortal success. A focal center of Divine illumination and power, the very dust of which 'Abdu'l-Bahá averred had inspired Him, yielding in sacredness to no other shrine throughout the Bahá'í world except the Sepulcher of the Author of the Bahá'í Revelation Himself, had been permanently established on that mountain, regarded from time immemorial as sacred. A structure, at once massive, simple and imposing; nestling in the heart of Carmel, the "Vineyard of God"; flanked by the Cave of Elijah on the west, and by the hills of Galilee on the east; backed by the plain of Sharon, and facing the silver-city of 'Akká, and beyond it the Most Holy Tomb, the Heart and Qiblih of the Bahá'í world; overshadowing the colony of German Templars who, in anticipation of the "coming of the Lord," had forsaken their homes and foregathered at the foot of that mountain, in the very year of Bahá'u'lláh's Declaration in Baghdád (1863), the mausoleum of the Báb had now, with heroic effort and in impregnable strength been established as "the Spot round which the Concourse on high circle in adoration." Events have already demonstrated through the extension of the Edifice itself, through the embellishment of its surroundings, through the acquisition of extensive endowments in its neighborhood, and through its proximity to the resting-places of the wife, the son and daughter of Bahá'u'lláh Himself, that it was destined to acquire with the passing of the years a measure of fame and glory commensurate with the high purpose that had prompted its founding. Nor will it, as the years go by, and the institutions revolving around the World Administrative Center of the future Bahá'í Commonwealth are gradually established, cease to manifest the latent potentialities with which that same immutable purpose has endowed it. Resistlessly will this Divine institution flourish and expand, however fierce the animosity which its future enemies may evince, until the full measure of its splendor will have been disclosed before the eyes of all mankind.  
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"Haste thee, O Carmel!" Bahá'u'lláh, significantly addressing that holy mountain, has written, "for lo, the light of the Countenance of God … hath been lifted upon thee … Rejoice, for God hath, in this Day, established upon thee His throne, hath made thee the dawning-place of His signs and the dayspring of the evidences of His Revelation. Well is it with him that circleth around thee, that proclaimeth the revelation of thy glory, and recounteth that which the bounty of the Lord thy God hath showered upon thee." "Call out to Zion, O Carmel!" He, furthermore, has revealed in that same Tablet, "and announce the joyful tidings: He that was hidden from mortal eyes is come! His all-conquering sovereignty is manifest; His all-encompassing splendor is revealed. Beware lest thou hesitate or halt. Hasten forth and circumambulate the City of God that hath descended from heaven, the celestial Kaaba round which have circled in adoration the favored of God, the pure in heart, and the company of the most exalted angels."  
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CHAPTER XIX

'Abdu'l-Bahá's Travels in Europe and America

 
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The establishment of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in the Western Hemisphere—the most outstanding achievement that will forever be associated with 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry—had, as observed in the preceding pages, set in motion such tremendous forces, and been productive of such far-reaching results, as to warrant the active and personal participation of the Center of the Covenant Himself in those epoch-making activities which His Western disciples had, through the propelling power of that Covenant, boldly initiated and were vigorously prosecuting.    
The crisis which the blindness and perversity of the Covenant-breakers had precipitated, and which, for several years, had so tragically interfered with the execution of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's purpose, was now providentially resolved. An unsurmountable barrier had been suddenly lifted from His path, His fetters were unlocked, and God's avenging wrath had taken the chains from His neck and placed them upon that of 'Abdu'l-Hamíd, His royal adversary and the dupe of His most implacable enemy. The sacred remains of the Báb, entrusted to His hands by His departed Father, had, moreover, with immense difficulty been transferred from their hiding-place in far-off Tihrán to the Holy Land, and deposited ceremoniously and reverently by Him in the bosom of Mt. Carmel.    
'Abdu'l-Bahá was at this time broken in health. He suffered from several maladies brought on by the strains and stresses of a tragic life spent almost wholly in exile and imprisonment. He was on the threshold of three-score years and ten. Yet as soon as He was released from His forty-year long captivity, as soon as He had laid the Báb's body in a safe and permanent resting-place, and His mind was free of grievous anxieties connected with the execution of that priceless Trust, He arose with sublime courage, confidence and resolution to consecrate what little strength remained to Him, in the evening of His life, to a service of such heroic proportions that no parallel to it is to be found in the annals of the first Bahá'í century.    
Indeed His three years of travel, first to Egypt, then to Europe and later to America, mark, if we would correctly appraise their historic importance, a turning point of the utmost significance in the history of the century. For the first time since the inception of the Faith, sixty-six years previously, its Head and supreme Representative burst asunder the shackles which had throughout the ministries of both the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh so grievously fettered its freedom. Though repressive measures still continued to circumscribe the activities of the vast majority of its adherents in the land of its birth, its recognized Leader was now vouchsafed a freedom of action which, with the exception of a brief interval in the course of the War of 1914–18, He was to continue to enjoy to the end of His life, and which has never since been withdrawn from its institutions at its world center.  
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So momentous a change in the fortunes of the Faith was the signal for such an outburst of activity on His part as to dumbfound His followers in East and West with admiration and wonder, and exercise an imperishable influence on the course of its future history. He Who, in His own words, had entered prison as a youth and left it an old man, Who never in His life had faced a public audience, had attended no school, had never moved in Western circles, and was unfamiliar with Western customs and language, had arisen not only to proclaim from pulpit and platform, in some of the chief capitals of Europe and in the leading cities of the North American continent, the distinctive verities enshrined in His Father's Faith, but to demonstrate as well the Divine origin of the Prophets gone before Him, and to disclose the nature of the tie binding them to that Faith.    
Inflexibly resolved to undertake this arduous voyage, at whatever cost to His strength, at whatever risk to His life, He, quietly and without any previous warning, on a September afternoon, of the year 1910, the year following that which witnessed the downfall of Sultán 'Abdu'l-Hamíd and the formal entombment of the Báb's remains on Mt. Carmel, sailed for Egypt, sojourned for about a month in Port Said, and from thence embarked with the intention of proceeding to Europe, only to discover that the condition of His health necessitated His landing again at Alexandria and postponing His voyage. Fixing His residence in Ramleh, a suburb of Alexandria, and later visiting Zaytún and Cairo, He, on August 11 of the ensuing year, sailed with a party of four, on the S.S. Corsica, for Marseilles, and proceeded, after a brief stop at Thonon-les-Bains, to London, where He arrived on September 4, 1911. After a visit of about a month, He went to Paris, where He stayed for a period of nine weeks, returning to Egypt in December, 1911. Again taking up His residence in Ramleh, where He passed the winter, He embarked, on His second journey to the West, on the steamship Cedric, on March 25, 1912, sailing via Naples direct to New York where He arrived on April 11. After a prolonged tour of eight months' duration, which carried Him from coast to coast, and in the course of which He visited Washington, Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Montclair, Boston, Worcester, Brooklyn, Fanwood, Milford, Philadelphia, West Englewood, Jersey City, Cambridge, Medford, Morristown, Dublin, Green Acre, Montreal, Malden, Buffalo, Kenosha, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Omaha, Lincoln, Denver, Glenwood Springs, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Oakland, Palo Alto, Berkeley, Pasadena, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Cincinnati, and Baltimore, He sailed, on the S.S. Celtic, on December 5, from New York for Liverpool; and landing there He proceeded by train to London. Later He visited Oxford, Edinburgh and Bristol, and thence returning to London, left for Paris on January 21, 1913. On March 30 He traveled to Stuttgart, and from there proceeded, on April 9, to Budapest, visited Vienna nine days later, returned to Stuttgart on April 25, and to Paris on May first, where He remained until June 12, sailing the following day, on the S.S. Himalaya from Marseilles bound for Egypt, arriving in Port Said four days later, where after short visits to Ismá'ílíyyih and Abúqir, and a prolonged stay in Ramleh, He returned to Haifa, concluding His historic journeys on December 5, 1913.  
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It was in the course of these epoch-making journeys and before large and representative audiences, at times exceeding a thousand people, that 'Abdu'l-Bahá expounded, with brilliant simplicity, with persuasiveness and force, and for the first time in His ministry, those basic and distinguishing principles of His Father's Faith, which together with the laws and ordinances revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas constitute the bed-rock of God's latest Revelation to mankind. The independent search after truth, unfettered by superstition or tradition; the oneness of the entire human race, the pivotal principle and fundamental doctrine of the Faith; the basic unity of all religions; the condemnation of all forms of prejudice, whether religious, racial, class or national; the harmony which must exist between religion and science; the equality of men and women, the two wings on which the bird of human kind is able to soar; the introduction of compulsory education; the adoption of a universal auxiliary language; the abolition of the extremes of wealth and poverty; the institution of a world tribunal for the adjudication of disputes between nations; the exaltation of work, performed in the spirit of service, to the rank of worship; the glorification of justice as the ruling principle in human society, and of religion as a bulwark for the protection of all peoples and nations; and the establishment of a permanent and universal peace as the supreme goal of all mankind—these stand out as the essential elements of that Divine polity which He proclaimed to leaders of public thought as well as to the masses at large in the course of these missionary journeys. The exposition of these vitalizing truths of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, which He characterized as the "spirit of the age," He supplemented with grave and reiterated warnings of an impending conflagration which, if the statesmen of the world should fail to avert, would set ablaze the entire continent of Europe. He, moreover, predicted, in the course of these travels, the radical changes which would take place in that continent, foreshadowed the movement of the decentralization of political power which would inevitably be set in motion, alluded to the troubles that would overtake Turkey, anticipated the persecution of the Jews on the European continent, and categorically asserted that the "banner of the unity of mankind would be hoisted, that the tabernacle of universal peace would be raised and the world become another world."
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas
282

During these travels 'Abdu'l-Bahá displayed a vitality, a courage, a single-mindedness, a consecration to the task He had set Himself to achieve that excited the wonder and admiration of those who had the privilege of observing at close hand His daily acts. Indifferent to the sights and curiosities which habitually invite the attention of travelers and which the members of His entourage often wished Him to visit; careless alike of His comfort and His health; expending every ounce of His energy day after day from dawn till late at night; consistently refusing any gifts or contributions towards the expenses of His travels; unfailing in His solicitude for the sick, the sorrowful and the down-trodden; uncompromising in His championship of the underprivileged races and classes; bountiful as the rain in His generosity to the poor; contemptuous of the attacks launched against Him by vigilant and fanatical exponents of orthodoxy and sectarianism; marvelous in His frankness while demonstrating, from platform and pulpit, the prophetic Mission of Jesus Christ to the Jews, of the Divine origin of Islám in churches and synagogues, or the truth of Divine Revelation and the necessity of religion to materialists, atheists or agnostics; unequivocal in His glorification of Bahá'u'lláh at all times and within the sanctuaries of divers sects and denominations; adamant in His refusal, on several occasions, to curry the favor of people of title and wealth both in England and in the United States; and last but not least incomparable in the spontaneity, the genuineness and warmth of His sympathy and loving-kindness shown to friend and stranger alike, believer and unbeliever, rich and poor, high and low, whom He met, either intimately or casually, whether on board ship, or whilst pacing the streets, in parks or public squares, at receptions or banquets, in slums or mansions, in the gatherings of His followers or the assemblage of the learned, He, the incarnation of every Bahá'í virtue and the embodiment of every Bahá'í ideal, continued for three crowded years to trumpet to a world sunk in materialism and already in the shadow of war, the healing, the God-given truths enshrined in His Father's Revelation.
["the incarnation of..."] The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1, p. 313
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In the course of His several visits to Egypt He had more than one interview with the Khedive, 'Abbás Hilmí Páshá II, was introduced to Lord Kitchener, met the Muftí, Shaykh Muhammad Bakhít, as well as the Khedive's Imám, Shaykh Muhammad Ráshid, and associated with several 'ulamás, páshás, Persian notables, members of the Turkish Parliament, editors of leading newspapers in Cairo and Alexandria, and other leaders and representatives of well-known institutions, both religious and secular.    
Whilst He sojourned in England the house placed at His disposal in Cadogan Gardens became a veritable mecca to all sorts and conditions of men, thronging to visit the Prisoner of 'Akká Who had chosen their great city as the first scene of His labors in the West. "O, these pilgrims, these guests, these visitors!" thus bears witness His devoted hostess during the time He spent in London, "Remembering those days, our ears are filled with the sound of their footsteps—as they came from every country in the world. Every day, all day long, a constant stream, an interminable procession! Ministers and missionaries, oriental scholars and occult students, practical men of affairs and mystics, Anglicans, Catholics, and Non-conformists, Theosophists and Hindus, Christian Scientists and doctors of medicine, Muslims, Buddhists and Zoroastrians. There also called: politicians, Salvation Army soldiers, and other workers for human good, women suffragists, journalists, writers, poets and healers, dressmakers and great ladies, artists and artisans, poor workless people and prosperous merchants, members of the dramatic and musical world, these all came; and none were too lowly, nor too great, to receive the sympathetic consideration of this holy Messenger, Who was ever giving His life for others' good."    
'Abdu'l-Bahá's first public appearance before a western audience significantly enough took place in a Christian house of worship, when, on September 10, 1911, He addressed an overflowing congregation from the pulpit of the City Temple. Introduced by the Pastor, the Reverend R. J. Campbell, He, in simple and moving language, and with vibrant voice, proclaimed the unity of God, affirmed the fundamental oneness of religion, and announced that the hour of the unity of the sons of men, of all races, religions and classes had struck. On another occasion, on September 17, at the request of the Venerable Archdeacon Wilberforce, He addressed the congregation of St. John the Divine, at Westminster, after evening service, choosing as His theme the transcendental greatness of the Godhead, as affirmed and elucidated by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-Íqán. "The Archdeacon," wrote a contemporary of that event, "had the Bishop's chair placed for his Guest on the chancel steps, and, standing beside Him, read the translation of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's address himself. The congregation was profoundly moved, and, following the Archdeacon's example, knelt to receive the blessing of the Servant of God—Who stood with extended arms—His wonderful voice rising and falling in the silence with the power of His invocation."
The Kitáb-i-Íqán
284

At the invitation of the Lord Mayor of London He breakfasted with him at the Mansion House; addressed the Theosophical Society at their headquarters, at the express request of their President, and also a Meeting of the Higher Thought center in London; was invited by a deputation from the Bramo-Somaj Society to deliver a lecture under their auspices; visited and delivered an address on world unity at the Mosque at Woking, at the invitation of the Muslim Community of Great Britain, and was entertained by Persian princes, noblemen, ex-ministers and members of the Persian Legation in London. He stayed as a guest in Dr. T. K. Cheyne's home in Oxford, and He delivered an address to "a large and deeply interested audience," highly academic in character, gathered at Manchester College in that city, and presided over by Dr. Estlin Carpenter. He also spoke from the pulpit of a Congregational Church in the East End of London, in response to the request of its Pastor; addressed gatherings in Caxton Hall and Westminster Hall, the latter under the chairmanship of Sir Thomas Barclay, and witnessed a performance of "Eager Heart," a Christmas mystery play at the Church House, Westminster, the first dramatic performance He had ever beheld, and which in its graphic depiction of the life and sufferings of Jesus Christ moved Him to tears. In the Hall of the Passmore Edwards' Settlement, in Tavistock Place, he spoke to an audience of about four hundred and sixty representative people, presided over by Prof. Michael Sadler, called on a number of working women of that Settlement, who were on holiday at Vanners', in Byfleet, some twenty miles out of London, and paid a second visit there, meeting on that occasion people of every condition who had specially gathered to see Him, among whom were "the clergy of several denominations, a headmaster of a boys' public school, a member of Parliament, a doctor, a famous political writer, the vice-chancellor of a university, several journalists, a well-known poet, and a magistrate from London." "He will long be remembered," wrote a chronicler of His visit to England, describing that occasion, "as He sat in the bow window in the afternoon sunshine, His arm round a very ragged but very happy little boy who had come to ask 'Abdu'l-Bahá for sixpence for his money box and for his invalid mother, whilst round Him in the room were gathered men and women discussing Education, Socialism, the first Reform Bill, and the relation of submarines and wireless telegraphy to the new era on which man is entering."  
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Among those who called on Him during the memorable days He spent in England and Scotland were the Reverend Archdeacon Wilberforce, the Reverend R. J. Campbell, the Reverend Rhondda Williams, the Reverend Roland Corbet, Lord Lamington, Sir Richard and Lady Stapley, Sir Michael Sadler, the Jalálu'd-Dawlih, son of the Zillu's-Sultán, Sir Ameer Ali, the late Maharaja of Jhalawar, who paid Him many visits and gave an elaborate dinner and reception in His honor, the Maharaja of Rajputana, the Ranee of Sarawak, Princess Karadja, Baroness Barnekow, Lady Wemyss and her sister, Lady Glenconner, Lady Agnew, Miss Constance Maud, Prof. E. G. Browne, Prof. Patrick Geddes, Mr. Albert Dawson, editor of the Christian Commonwealth, Mr. David Graham Pole, Mrs. Annie Besant, Mrs. Pankhurst, and Mr. Stead, who had long and earnest conversations with Him. "Very numerous," His hostess, describing the impression produced on those who were accorded by Him the privilege of a private audience, has written, "were these applicants for so unique an experience, how unique only those knew when in the presence of the Master, and we could partly divine, as we saw the look on their faces as they emerged—a look as though blended of awe, of marveling, and of a certain calm joy. Sometimes we were conscious of reluctance in them to come forth into the outer world, as though they would hold fast to their beatitude, lest the return of things of earth should wrest it from them." "A profound impression," the aforementioned chronicler has recorded, summing up the results produced by that memorable visit, "remained in the minds and memories of all sorts and conditions of men and women.… Very greatly was 'Abdu'l-Bahá's sojourn in London appreciated; very greatly His departure regretted. He left behind Him many, many friends. His love had kindled love. His heart had opened to the West, and the Western heart had closed around this patriarchal presence from the East. His words had in them something that appealed not only to their immediate hearers, but to men and women generally."  
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His visits to Paris, where for a time He occupied an apartment in the Avenue de Camoens, were marked by a warmth of welcome no less remarkable than the reception accorded Him by His friends and followers in London. "During the Paris visit," that same devoted English hostess, Lady Blomfield, who had followed Him to that city, has testified, "as it had been in London, daily happenings took on the atmosphere of spiritual events.… Every morning, according to His custom, the Master expounded the principles of the teaching of Bahá'u'lláh to those who gathered round Him, the learned and the unlearned, eager and respectful. They were of all nationalities and creeds, from the East and from the West, including Theosophists, agnostics, materialists, spiritualists, Christian Scientists, social reformers, Hindus, Sufis, Muslims, Buddhists, Zoroastrians and many others." And again: "Interview followed interview. Church dignitaries of various branches of the Christian Tree came, some earnestly desirous of finding new aspects of the Truth.… Others there were who stopped their ears, lest they should hear and understand."    
Persian princes, noblemen and ex-ministers, among them the Zillu's-Sultán, the Persian Minister, the Turkish Ambassador in Paris, Rashíd Páshá, an ex-valí of Beirut, Turkish páshás and ex-ministers, and Viscount Arakawa, Japanese Ambassador to the Court of Spain, were among those who had the privilege of attaining His presence. Gatherings of Esperantists and Theosophists, students of the Faculty of Theology and large audiences at l'Alliance Spiritualiste were addressed by Him; at a Mission Hall, in a very poor quarter of the city, He addressed a congregation at the invitation of the Pastor, whilst in numerous meetings of His followers those already familiar with His teachings were privileged to hear from His lips detailed and frequent expositions of certain aspects of His Father's Faith.    
In Stuttgart, where He made a brief but never-to-be-forgotten stay, and to which He traveled in spite of ill-health in order to establish personal contact with the members of the community of His enthusiastic and dearly beloved German friends, He, apart from attending the gatherings of His devoted followers, bestowed His abundant blessings on the members of the Youth group, gathered at Esslingen, and addressed, at the invitation of Professor Christale, President of the Esperantists of Europe, a large meeting of Esperantists at their club. He, moreover, visited Bad Mergentheim, in Württemberg, where a few years later (1915) a monument was erected in memory of His visit by one of His grateful disciples. "The humility, love and devotion of the German believers," wrote an eyewitness, "rejoiced the heart of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and they received His blessings and His words of encouraging counsel in complete submissiveness.… Friends came from far and near to see the Master. There was a constant flow of visitors at the Hotel Marquart. There 'Abdu'l-Bahá received them with such love and graciousness that they became radiant with joy and happiness."  
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In Vienna, where He stayed a few days, 'Abdu'l-Bahá addressed a gathering of Theosophists in that city, whilst in Budapest He granted an interview to the President of the University, met on a number of occasions the famous Orientalist Prof. Arminius Vambery, addressed the Theosophical Society, and was visited by the President of the Turanian, and representatives of the Turkish Societies, army officers, several members of Parliament, and a deputation of Young Turks, led by Prof. Julius Germanus, who accorded Him a hearty welcome to the city. "During this time," is the written testimony of Dr. Rusztem Vambery, "His ('Abdu'l-Bahá) room in the Dunapalota Hotel became a veritable mecca for all those whom the mysticism of the East and the wisdom of its Master attracted into its magic circle. Among His visitors were Count Albert Apponyi, Prelate Alexander Giesswein, Professor Ignaz Goldziher, the Orientalist of world-wide renown, Professor Robert A. Nadler, the famous Budapest painter, and leader of the Hungarian Theosophical Society."    
It was reserved, however, for the North American continent to witness the most astonishing manifestation of the boundless vitality 'Abdu'l-Bahá exhibited in the course of these journeys. The remarkable progress achieved by the organized community of His followers in the United States and Canada, the marked receptivity of the American public to His Message, as well as His consciousness of the high destiny awaiting the people of that continent, fully warranted the expenditure of time and energy which he devoted to this most important phase of His travels. A visit which entailed a journey of over five thousand miles, which lasted from April to December, which carried Him from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast and back, which elicited discourses of such number as to fill no less than three volumes, was to mark the climax of those journeys, and was fully justified by the far-reaching results which He well knew such labors on His part would produce. "This long voyage," He told His assembled followers on the occasion of His first meeting with them in New York, "will prove how great is My love for you. There were many troubles and vicissitudes, but in the thought of meeting you, all these things vanished and were forgotten."  
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The character of the acts He performed fully demonstrated the importance He attached to that visit. The laying, with His own hands, of the dedication stone of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, by the shore of Lake Michigan, in the vicinity of Chicago, on the recently purchased property, and in the presence of a representative gathering of Bahá'ís from East and West; the dynamic affirmation by Him of the implications of the Covenant instituted by Bahá'u'lláh, following the reading of the newly translated Tablet of the Branch, in a general assembly of His followers in New York, designated henceforth as the "City of the Covenant"; the moving ceremony in Inglewood, California, marking His special pilgrimage to the grave of Thornton Chase, the "first American believer," and indeed the first to embrace the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh in the Western world; the symbolic Feast He Himself offered to a large gathering of His disciples assembled in the open air, and in the green setting of a June day at West Englewood, in New Jersey; the blessing He bestowed on the Open Forum at Green Acre, in Maine, on the banks of the Piscataqua River, where many of His followers had gathered, and which was to evolve into one of the first Bahá'í summer schools of the Western Hemisphere and be recognized as one of the earliest endowments established in the American continent; His address to an audience of several hundred attending the last session of the newly-founded Bahá'í Temple Unity held in Chicago; and, last but not least, the exemplary act He performed by uniting in wedlock two of His followers of different nationalities, one of the white, the other of the Negro race—these must rank among the outstanding functions associated with His visit to the community of the American believers, functions designed to pave the way for the erection of their central House of Worship, to fortify them against the tests they were soon to endure, to cement their unity, and to bless the beginnings of that Administrative Order which they were soon to initiate and champion.    
No less remarkable were 'Abdu'l-Bahá's public activities in the course of His association with the multitude of people with whom He came in contact during His tour across a continent. A full account of these diversified activities which crowded His days during no less than eight months, would be beyond the scope of this survey. Suffice it to say that in the city of New York alone He delivered public addresses in, and made formal visits to, no less than fifty-five different places. Peace societies, Christian and Jewish congregations, colleges and universities, welfare and charitable organizations, members of ethical cults, New Thought centers, metaphysical groups, Women's clubs, scientific associations, gatherings of Esperantists, Theosophists, Mormons, and agnostics, institutions for the advancement of the colored people, representatives of the Syrian, the Armenian, the Greek, the Chinese, and Japanese communities—all were brought into contact with His dynamic presence, and were privileged to hear from His lips His Father's Message. Nor was the press either in its editorial comment or in the publication of reports of His lectures, slow to appreciate the breadth of His vision or the character of His summons.  
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His discourse at the Peace Conferences at Lake Mohonk; His addresses to large gatherings at Columbia, Howard and New York Universities; His participation in the fourth annual conference of the National Association for the Advancement of the Colored People; His fearless assertion of the truth of the prophetic Missions of both Jesus Christ and Muhammad in Temple Emmanu-El, a Jewish synagogue in San Francisco, where no less than two thousand people were gathered; His illuminating discourse before an audience of eighteen hundred students and one hundred and eighty teachers and professors at Leland Stanford University; His memorable visit to the Bowery Mission in the slums of New York; the brilliant reception given in His honor in Washington, at which many outstanding figures in the social life of the capital were presented to Him—these stand out as the highlights of the unforgettable Mission He undertook in the service of His Father's Cause. Secretaries of State, Ambassadors, Congressmen, distinguished rabbis and churchmen, and other people of eminence attained His presence, among whom were such figures as Dr. D. S. Jordan, President of Leland Stanford University, Prof. Jackson of Columbia University, Prof. Jack of Oxford University, Rabbi Stephen Wise of New York, Dr. Martin A. Meyer, Rabbi Joseph L. Levy, Rabbi Abram Simon, Alexander Graham Bell, Rabindranath Tagore, Hon. Franklin K. Lane, Mrs. William Jennings Bryan, Andrew Carnegie, Hon. Franklin MacVeagh, Secretary of the United States Treasury, Lee McClung, Mr. Roosevelt, Admiral Wainwright, Admiral Peary, the British, Dutch and Swiss Ministers in Washington, Yúsuf Díyá Páshá, the Turkish Ambassador in that city, Thomas Seaton, Hon. William Sulzer and Prince Muhammad-'Alí of Egypt, the Khedive's brother.  
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"When 'Abdu'l-Bahá visited this country for the first time in 1912," a commentator on His American travels has written, "He found a large and sympathetic audience waiting to greet Him personally and to receive from His own lips His loving and spiritual message.… Beyond the words spoken there was something indescribable in His personality that impressed profoundly all who came into His presence. The dome-like head, the patriarchal beard, the eyes that seemed to have looked beyond the reach of time and sense, the soft yet clearly penetrating voice, the translucent humility, the never failing love,—but above all, the sense of power mingled with gentleness that invested His whole being with a rare majesty of spiritual exaltation that both set Him apart, and yet that brought Him near to the lowliest soul,—it was all this, and much more that can never be defined, that have left with His many … friends, memories that are ineffaceable and unspeakably precious."    
A survey, however inadequate of the varied and immense activities of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His tour of Europe and America cannot leave without mention some of the strange incidents that would often accompany personal contact with Him. The bold determination of a certain indomitable youth who, fearing 'Abdu'l-Bahá would not be able to visit the Western states, and unable himself to pay for a train journey to New England, had traveled all the way from Minneapolis to Maine lying on the rods between the wheels of a train; the transformation effected in the life of the son of a country rector in England, who, in his misery and poverty, had resolved, whilst walking along the banks of the Thames, to put an end to his existence, and who, at the sight of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's photograph displayed in a shop window, had inquired about Him, hurried to His residence, and been so revived by His words of cheer and comfort as to abandon all thought of self-destruction; the extraordinary experience of a woman whose little girl, as the result of a dream she had had, insisted that Jesus Christ was in the world, and who, at the sight of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's picture exposed in the window of a magazine store, had instantly identified it as that of the Jesus Christ of her dream—an act which impelled her mother, after reading that 'Abdu'l-Bahá was in Paris, to take the next boat for Europe and hasten to attain His presence; the decision of the editor of a journal printed in Japan to break his journey to Tokyo at Constantinople, and travel to London for "the joy of spending one evening in His presence"; the touching scene when 'Abdu'l-Bahá, receiving from the hands of a Persian friend, recently arrived in London from 'Ishqábád, a cotton handkerchief containing a piece of dry black bread and a shrivelled apple—the offering of a poor Bahá'í workman in that city—opened it before His assembled guests, and, leaving His luncheon untouched, broke pieces off that bread, and partaking Himself of it shared it with those who were present—these are but a few of a host of incidents that shed a revealing light on some personal aspects of His memorable journeys.  
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Nor can certain scenes revolving around that majestic and patriarchal Figure, as He moved through the cities of Europe and America, be ever effaced from memory. The remarkable interview at which 'Abdu'l-Bahá, while placing lovingly His hand on the head of Archdeacon Wilberforce, answered his many questions, whilst that distinguished churchman sat on a low chair by His side; the still more remarkable scene when that same Archdeacon, after having knelt with his entire congregation to receive His benediction at St. John's the Divine, passed down the aisle to the vestry hand in hand with his Guest, whilst a hymn was being sung by the entire assembly standing; the sight of Jalálu'd-Dawlih, fallen prostrate at His feet, profuse in his apologies and imploring His forgiveness for his past iniquities; the enthusiastic reception accorded Him at Leland Stanford University when, before the gaze of well nigh two thousand professors and students, He discoursed on some of the noblest truths underlying His message to the West; the touching spectacle at Bowery Mission when four hundred of the poor of New York filed past Him, each receiving a piece of silver from His blessed hands; the acclamation of a Syrian woman in Boston who, pushing aside the crowd that had gathered around Him, flung herself at His feet, exclaiming, "I confess that in Thee I have recognized the Spirit of God and Jesus Christ Himself"; the no less fervent tribute paid Him by two admiring Arabs who, as He was leaving that city for Dublin, N. H., cast themselves before Him, and, sobbing aloud, avowed that He was God's own Messenger to mankind; the vast congregation of two thousand Jews assembled in a synagogue in San Francisco, intently listening to His discourse as He demonstrated the validity of the claims advanced by both Jesus Christ and Muhammad; the gathering He addressed one night in Montreal, at which, in the course of His speech, His turban fell from His head, so carried away was He by the theme He was expounding; the boisterous crowd in a very poor quarter of Paris, who, awed by His presence, reverently and silently made way for Him as He passed through their midst, while returning from a Mission Hall whose congregation He had been addressing; the characteristic gesture of a Zoroastrian physician who, arriving in breathless haste on the morning of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's departure from London to bid Him farewell, anointed with fragrant oil first His head and His breast, and then, touching the hands of all present, placed round His neck and shoulders a garland of rosebuds and lilies; the crowd of visitors arriving soon after dawn, patiently waiting on the doorsteps of His house in Cadogan Gardens until the door would be opened for their admittance; His majestic figure as He paced with a vigorous step the platform, or stood with hands upraised to pronounce the benediction, in church and synagogue alike, and before vast audiences of reverent listeners; the unsolicited mark of respect shown Him by distinguished society women in London, who would spontaneously curtsy when ushered into His presence; the poignant sight when He stooped low to the grave of His beloved disciple, Thornton Chase, in Inglewood Cemetery, and kissed his tombstone, an example which all those present hastened to follow; the distinguished gathering of Christians, Jews and Muslims, men and women and representative of both the East and the West, assembled to hear His discourse on world unity in the mosque at Woking—such scenes as these, even in the cold record of the printed page, must still have much of their original impressiveness and power.  
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Who knows what thoughts flooded the heart of 'Abdu'l-Bahá as He found Himself the central figure of such memorable scenes as these? Who knows what thoughts were uppermost in His mind as He sat at breakfast beside the Lord Mayor of London, or was received with extraordinary deference by the Khedive himself in his palace, or as He listened to the cries of "Alláh-u-Abhá" and to the hymns of thanksgiving and praise that would herald His approach to the numerous and brilliant assemblages of His enthusiastic followers and friends organized in so many cities of the American continent? Who knows what memories stirred within Him as He stood before the thundering waters of Niagara, breathing the free air of a far distant land, or gazed, in the course of a brief and much-needed rest, upon the green woods and countryside in Glenwood Springs, or moved with a retinue of Oriental believers along the paths of the Trocadero gardens in Paris, or walked alone in the evening beside the majestic Hudson on Riverside Drive in New York, or as He paced the terrace of the Hotel du Parc at Thonon-les-Bains, overlooking the Lake of Geneva, or as He watched from Serpentine Bridge in London the pearly chain of lights beneath the trees stretching as far as the eye could see? Memories of the sorrows, the poverty, the overhanging doom of His earlier years; memories of His mother who sold her gold buttons to provide Him, His brother and His sister with sustenance, and who was forced, in her darkest hours, to place a handful of dry flour in the palm of His hand to appease His hunger; of His own childhood when pursued and derided by a mob of ruffians in the streets of Tihrán; of the damp and gloomy room, formerly a morgue, which He occupied in the barracks of 'Akká and of His imprisonment in the dungeon of that city—memories such as these must surely have thronged His mind. Thoughts, too, must have visited Him of the Báb's captivity in the mountain fastnesses of Ádhirbáyján, when at night time He was refused even a lamp, and of His cruel and tragic execution when hundreds of bullets riddled His youthful breast. Above all His thoughts must have centered on Bahá'u'lláh, Whom He loved so passionately and Whose trials He had witnessed and had shared from His boyhood. The vermin-infested Síyáh-Chál of Tihrán; the bastinado inflicted upon Him in Ámul; the humble fare which filled His kashkúl while He lived for two years the life of a dervish in the mountains of Kurdistán; the days in Baghdád when He did not even possess a change of linen, and when His followers subsisted on a handful of dates; His confinement behind the prison-walls of 'Akká, when for nine years even the sight of verdure was denied Him; and the public humiliation to which He was subjected at government headquarters in that city—pictures from the tragic past such as these must have many a time overpowered Him with feelings of mingled gratitude and sorrow, as He witnessed the many marks of respect, of esteem, and honor now shown Him and the Faith which He represented. "O Bahá'u'lláh! What hast Thou done?" He, as reported by the chronicler of His travels, was heard to exclaim one evening as He was being swiftly driven to fulfil His third engagement of the day in Washington, "O Bahá'u'lláh! May my life be sacrificed for Thee! O Bahá'u'lláh! May my soul be offered up for Thy sake! How full were Thy days with trials and tribulations! How severe the ordeals Thou didst endure! How solid the foundation Thou hast finally laid, and how glorious the banner Thou didst hoist!" "One day, as He was strolling," that same chronicler has testified, "He called to remembrance the days of the Blessed Beauty, referring with sadness to His sojourn in Sulaymáníyyih, to His loneliness and to the wrongs inflicted upon Him. Though He had often recounted that episode, that day He was so overcome with emotion that He sobbed aloud in His grief.… All His attendants wept with Him, and were plunged into sorrow as they heard the tale of the woeful trials endured by the Ancient Beauty, and witnessed the tenderness of heart manifested by His Son."  
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A most significant scene in a century-old drama had been enacted. A glorious chapter in the history of the first Bahá'í century had been written. Seeds of undreamt-of potentialities had, with the hand of the Center of the Covenant Himself, been sown in some of the fertile fields of the Western world. Never in the entire range of religious history had any Figure of comparable stature arisen to perform a labor of such magnitude and imperishable worth. Forces were unleashed through those fateful journeys which even now, at a distance of well nigh thirty-five years, we are unable to measure or comprehend. Already a Queen, inspired by the powerful arguments adduced by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the course of His addresses in support of the Divinity of Muhammad, has proclaimed her faith, and borne public testimony to the Divine origin of the Prophet of Islám. Already a President of the United States, imbibing some of the principles so clearly enunciated by Him in His discourses, has incorporated them in a Peace Program which stands out as the boldest and noblest proposal yet made for the well-being and security of mankind. And already, alas! a world which proved deaf to His warnings and refused to heed His summons has plunged itself into two global wars of unprecedented severity, the repercussions of which none as yet can even dimly visualize.    

CHAPTER XX

Growth and Expansion of the Faith in East and West

 
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'Abdu'l-Bahá's historic journeys to the West, and in particular His eight-month tour of the United States of America, may be said to have marked the culmination of His ministry, a ministry whose untold blessings and stupendous achievements only future generations can adequately estimate. As the day-star of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation had shone forth in its meridian splendor at the hour of the proclamation of His Message to the rulers of the earth in the city of Adrianople, so did the Orb of His Covenant mount its zenith and shed its brightest rays when He Who was its appointed Center arose to blazon the glory and greatness of His Father's Faith among the peoples of the West.    
That divinely instituted Covenant had, shortly after its inception, demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt its invincible strength through its decisive triumph over the dark forces which its Arch-Breaker had with such determination arrayed against it. Its energizing power had soon after been proclaimed through the signal victories which its torch-bearers had so rapidly and courageously won in the far-off cities of Western Europe and the United States of America. Its high claims had, moreover, been fully vindicated through its ability to safeguard the unity and integrity of the Faith in both the East and the West. It had subsequently given further proof of its indomitable strength by the memorable victory it registered through the downfall of Sultán 'Abdu'l-Hamíd, and the consequent release of its appointed Center from a forty-year captivity. It had provided for those still inclined to doubt its Divine origin yet another indisputable testimony to its solidity by enabling 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in the face of formidable obstacles, to effect the transfer and the final entombment of the Báb's remains in a mausoleum on Mt. Carmel. It had manifested also before all mankind, with a force and in a measure hitherto unapproached, its vast potentialities when it empowered Him in Whom its spirit and its purpose were enshrined to embark on a three-year-long mission to the Western world—a mission so momentous that it deserves to rank as the greatest exploit ever to be associated with His ministry.    
Nor were these, preeminent though they were, the sole fruits garnered through the indefatigable efforts exerted so heroically by the Center of that Covenant. The progress and extension of His Father's Faith in the East; the initiation of activities and enterprises which may be said to signalize the beginnings of a future Administrative Order; the erection of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of the Bahá'í world in the city of 'Ishqábád in Russian Turkistán; the expansion of Bahá'í literature; the revelation of the Tablets of the Divine Plan; and the introduction of the Faith in the Australian continent these may be regarded as the outstanding achievements that have embellished the brilliant record of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's unique ministry.  
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In Persia, the cradle of the Faith, despite the persecutions which, throughout the years of that ministry, persisted with unabated violence, a noticeable change, marking the gradual emergence of a proscribed community from its hitherto underground existence, could be clearly discerned. Násiri'd-Dín Sháh, four years after Bahá'u'lláh's ascension, had, on the eve of his jubilee, designed to mark a turning-point in the history of his country, met his death at the hands of an assassin, named Mírzá Ridá, a follower of the notorious Siyyid Jamálu'd-Dín-i-Afghání, an enemy of the Faith and one of the originators of the constitutional movement which, as it gathered momentum, during the reign of the Sháh's son and successor, Muzaffari'd-Dín, was destined to involve in further difficulties an already hounded and persecuted community. Even the Sháh's assassination had at first been laid at the door of that community, as evidenced by the cruel death suffered, immediately after the murder of the sovereign, by the renowned teacher and poet, Mírzá 'Alí-Muhammad, surnamed "Varqá" (Dove) by Bahá'u'lláh, who, together with his twelve-year-old son, Rúhu'lláh, was inhumanly put to death in the prison of Tihrán, by the brutal Hájibu'd-Dawlih, who, after thrusting his dagger into the belly of the father and cutting him into pieces, before the eyes of his son, adjured the boy to recant, and, meeting with a blunt refusal, strangled him with a rope.
[Jamálu'd-Dín-i-Afghání] Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 94
 
Three years previously a youth, named Muhammad-Ridáy-i-Yazdí, was shot in Yazd, on the night of his wedding while proceeding from the public bath to his home, the first to suffer martyrdom during 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry. In Turbat-i-Haydariyyih, in consequence of the Sháh's assassination, five persons, known as the Shuhadáy-i-Khamsih (Five Martyrs), were put to death. In Mashhad a well-known merchant, Hájí Muhammad-i-Tabrízí, was murdered and his corpse set on fire. An interview was granted by the new sovereign and his Grand Vizir, the unprincipled and reactionary Mírzá 'Alí-Asghar Khán, the Atábik-i-A'zam, to two representative followers of the Faith in Paris (1902), but it produced no real results whatever. On the contrary, a fresh storm of persecutions broke out a few years later, persecutions which, as the constitutional movement developed in that country, grew ever fiercer as reactionaries brought groundless accusations against the Bahá'ís, and publicly denounced them as supporters and inspirers of the nationalist cause.  
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A certain Muhammad-Javád was stripped naked in Isfahán, and was severely beaten with a whip of braided wires, while in Káshán the adherents of the Faith of Jewish extraction were fined, beaten and chained at the instigation of both the Muhammadan clergy and the Jewish doctors. It was, however, in Yazd and its environs that the most bloody outrages committed during 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry occurred. In that city Hájí Mírzáy-i-Halabí-Sáz was so mercilessly flogged that his wife flung herself upon his body, and was in her turn severely beaten, after which his skull was lacerated by the cleaver of a butcher. His eleven-year-old son was pitilessly thrashed, stabbed with penknives and tortured to death. Within the space of half a day nine people met their death. A crowd of about six thousand people, of both sexes, vented their fury upon the helpless victims, a few going so far as to drink their blood. In some instances, as was the case with a man named Mírzá Asadu'lláh-i-Sabbágh, they plundered their property and fought over its possession. They evinced such cruelty that some of the government officials were moved to tears at the sight of the harrowing scenes in which the women of that city played a conspicuously shameful part.    
In Taft several people were put to death, some of whom were shot and their bodies dragged through the streets. A newly converted eighteen-year-old youth, named Husayn, was denounced by his own father, and torn to pieces before the eyes of his mother, whilst Muhammad-Kamál was hacked into bits with knife, spade and pickaxe. In Manshád, where the persecutions lasted nineteen days, similar atrocities were perpetrated. An eighty-year-old man, named Siyyid Mírzá, was instantly killed in his sleep by two huge stones which were thrown on him; a Mírzá Sádiq, who asked for water, had a knife plunged into his breast, his executioner afterwards licking the blood from the blade, while Shátir-Hasan, one of the victims, was seen before his death distributing some candy in his possession among the executioners and dividing among them his clothing. A sixty-five year old woman, Khadíjih-Sultán, was hurled from the roof of a house; a believer named Mírzá Muhammad was tied to a tree, made a target for hundreds of bullets and his body set on fire, whilst another, named Ustád Ridáy-i-Saffár, was seen to kiss the hand of his murderer, after which he was shot and his corpse heaped with insults.  
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In Banáduk, in Dih-Bálá, in Farásháh, in 'Abbás-Ábád, in Hanzá, in Ardikán, in Dawlat-Ábád and in Hamadán crimes of similar nature were committed, an outstanding case being that of a highly respected and courageous woman, named Fátimih-Bagum, who was ignominiously dragged from her house, her veil was torn from her head, her throat cut across, her belly ripped open; and having been beaten by the savage crowd with every weapon they could lay hands on, she was finally suspended from a tree and delivered to the flames.    
In Sárí, in the days when the agitation for the constitution was moving towards a climax, five believers of recognized standing, known later as the Shuhadáy-i-Khamsih (Five Martyrs), were done to death, whilst in Nayríz a ferocious assault, recalling that of Yazd, was launched by the enemy, in which nineteen lost their lives, among them the sixty-five year old Mullá 'Abdu'l-Hamíd, a blind man who was shot and his body foully abused, and in the course of which a considerable amount of property was plundered, and numerous women and children had to flee for their lives, or seek refuge in mosques, or live in the ruins of their houses, or remain shelterless by the wayside.    
In Sírján, in Dúgh-Ábád, in Tabríz, in Ávih, in Qum, in Najaf-Ábád, in Sangsar, in Sháhmírzádí, in Isfahán, and in Jahrum redoubtable and remorseless enemies, both religious and political, continued, under various pretexts, and even after the signing of the Constitution by the Sháh in 1906, and during the reign of his successors, Muhammad-'Alí Sháh and Ahmad Sháh, to slay, torture, plunder and abuse the members of a community who resolutely refused to either recant or deviate a hair's breadth from the path laid down for them by their Leaders. Even during 'Abdu'l-Bahá's journeys to the West, and after His return to the Holy Land, and indeed till the end of His life, He continued to receive distressing news of the martyrdom of His followers, and of the outrages perpetrated against them by an insatiable enemy. In Dawlat-Ábád, a prince of the royal blood, Habíb'u'lláh Mírzá by name, a convert to the Faith who had consecrated his life to its service, was slain with a hatchet and his corpse set on fire. In Mashhad the learned and pious Shaykh 'Alí-Akbar-i-Qúchání was shot to death. In Sultán-Ábád, Mírzá 'Alí-Akbar and seven members of his family including a forty day old infant were barbarously massacred. Persecutions of varying degrees of severity broke out in Ná'ín, in Sháhmírzádí, in Bandar-i-Jaz and in Qamsar. In Kirmánsháh, the martyr Mírzá Yá'qub-i-Muttahidih, the ardent twenty-five year old Jewish convert to the Faith, was the last to lay down his life during 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry; and his mother, according to his own instructions, celebrated his martyrdom in Hamadán with exemplary fortitude. In every instance the conduct of the believers testified to the indomitable spirit and unyielding tenacity that continued to distinguish the lives and services of the Persian followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.  
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Despite these intermittent severe persecutions the Faith that had evoked in its heroes so rare a spirit of self-sacrifice was steadily and silently growing. Engulfed for a time and almost extinguished in the sombre days following the martyrdom of the Báb, driven underground throughout the period of Bahá'u'lláh's ministry, it began, after His ascension, under the unerring guidance, and as a result of the unfailing solicitude, of a wise, a vigilant and loving Master, to gather its forces, and gradually to erect the embryonic institutions which were to pave the way for the establishment, at a later period, of its Administrative Order. It was during this period that the number of its adherents rapidly multiplied, that its range, now embracing every province of that kingdom, steadily widened, and the rudimentary forms of its future Assemblies were inaugurated. It was during this period, at a time when state schools and colleges were practically non-existent in that country, and when the education given in existing religious institutions was lamentably defective, that its earliest schools were established, beginning with the Tarbíyat, schools in Tihrán for both boys and girls, and followed by the Ta'yíd and Mawhibat schools in Hamadán, the Vahdat-i-Bashar school in Káshán and other similar educational institutions in Bárfurúsh and Qazvín. It was during these years that concrete and effectual assistance, both spiritual and material, in the form of visiting teachers from both Europe and America, of nurses, instructors, and physicians, was first extended to the Bahá'í community in that land, these workers constituting the vanguard of that host of helpers which 'Abdu'l-Bahá promised would arise in time to further the interests of the Faith as well as those of the country in which it was born. It was in the course of these years that the term Bábí, as an appellation, designating the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in that country, was universally discarded by the masses in favor of the word Bahá'í, the former henceforth being exclusively applied to the fast dwindling number of the followers of Mírzá Yahyá. During this period, moreover, the first systematic attempts were made to organize and stimulate the teaching work undertaken by the Persian believers, attempts which, apart from reinforcing the foundations of the community, were instrumental in attracting to its cause several outstanding figures in the public life of that country, not excluding certain prominent members of the Shí'ah sacerdotal order, and even descendants of some of the worst persecutors of the Faith. It was during the years of that ministry that the House of the Báb in Shíráz, ordained by Bahá'u'lláh as a center of pilgrimage for His followers, and now so recognized, was by order of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and through His assistance, restored, and that it became increasingly a focus of Bahá'í life and activity for those who were deprived by circumstances of visiting either the Most Great House in Baghdád or the Most Holy Tomb in 'Akká.  
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More conspicuous than any of these undertakings, however, was the erection of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of the Bahá'í world in the city of 'Ishqábád, a center founded in the days of Bahá'u'lláh, where the initial steps preparatory to its construction, had been already undertaken during His lifetime. Initiated at about the close of the first decade of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry (1902); fostered by Him at every stage in its development; personally supervised by the venerable Hájí Mírzá Muhammad-Taqí, the Vakílu'd-Dawlih, a cousin of the Báb, who dedicated his entire resources to its establishment, and whose dust now reposes at the foot of Mt. Carmel under the shadow of the Tomb of his beloved Kinsman; carried out according to the directions laid down by the Center of the Covenant Himself; a lasting witness to the fervor and the self-sacrifice of the Oriental believers who were resolved to execute the bidding of Bahá'u'lláh as revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, this enterprise must rank not only as the first major undertaking launched through the concerted efforts of His followers in the Heroic Age of His Faith, but as one of the most brilliant and enduring achievements in the history of the first Bahá'í century.
The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 4, p. 122

[Mashriq'ul-Adhkár] The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶31; The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1; vol. 2 p. 180, p. 431; vol. 3; 4

 
The edifice itself, the foundation stone of which was laid in the presence of General Krupatkin, the governor-general of Turkistán, who had been delegated by the Czar to represent him at the ceremony, has thus been minutely described by a Bahá'í visitor from the West: "The Mashriqu'l-Adhkár stands in the heart of the city; its high dome standing out above the trees and house tops being visible for miles to the travelers as they approach the town. It is in the center of a garden bounded by four streets. In the four corners of this enclosure are four buildings: one is the Bahá'í school; one is the traveler's house, where pilgrims and wayfarers are lodged; one is for the keepers, while the fourth one is to be used as a hospital. Nine radial avenues approach the Temple from the several parts of the grounds, one of which, the principal approach to the building, leads from the main gateway of the grounds to the principal portal of the Temple." "In plan," he further adds, "the building is composed of three sections; namely, the central rotunda, the aisle or ambulatory which surrounds it, and the loggia which surrounds the entire building. It is built on the plan of a regular polygon of nine sides. One side is occupied by the monumental main entrance, flanked by minarets—a high arched portico extending two stories in height recalling in arrangement the architecture of the world famous Taj Mahal at Agra in India, the delight of the world to travelers, many of whom pronounce it to be the most beautiful temple in the world. Thus the principal doorway opens toward the direction of the Holy land. The entire building is surrounded by two series of loggias—one upper and one lower—which opens out upon the garden giving a very beautiful architectural effect in harmony with the luxuriant semi-tropical vegetation which fills the garden … The interior walls of the rotunda are treated in five distinct stories. First, a series of nine arches and piers which separate the rotunda from the ambulatory. Second, a similar treatment with balustrades which separate the triforium gallery (which is above the ambulatory and is reached by two staircases in the loggias placed one on either side of the main entrance) from the well of the rotunda. Third, a series of nine blank arches filled with fretwork, between which are escutcheons bearing the Greatest Name. Fourth, a series of nine large arched windows. Fifth, a series of eighteen bull's eye windows. Above and resting on a cornice surmounting this last story rises the inner hemispherical shell of the dome. The interior is elaborately decorated in plaster relief work … The whole structure impresses one by its mass and strength."  
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Nor should mention be omitted of the two schools for boys and girls which were established in that city, of the pilgrim house instituted in the close vicinity of the Temple, of the Spiritual Assembly and its auxiliary bodies formed to administer the affairs of a growing community, and of the new centers of activity inaugurated in various towns and cities in the province of Turkistán—all testifying to the vitality which the Faith had displayed ever since its inception in that land.  
302

A parallel if less spectacular development could be observed in the Caucasus. After the establishment of the first center and the formation of an Assembly in Bákú, a city which Bahá'í pilgrims, traveling in increasing numbers from Persia to the Holy Land via Turkey, invariably visited, new groups began to be organized, and, evolving later into well-established communities, cooperated in increasing measure with their brethren both in Turkistán and Persia.    
In Egypt a steady increase in the number of the adherents of the Faith was accompanied by a general expansion in its activities. The establishments of new centers; the consolidation of the chief center established in Cairo; the conversion, largely through the indefatigable efforts of the learned Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl, of several prominent students and teachers of the Azhar University—premonitory symptoms foreshadowing the advent of the promised day on which, according to 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the standard and emblem of the Faith would be implanted in the heart of that time-honored Islamic seat of learning; the translation into Arabic and the dissemination of some of the most important writings of Bahá'u'lláh revealed in Persian, together with other Bahá'í literature; the printing of books, treatises and pamphlets by Bahá'í authors and scholars; the publication of articles in the Press written in defense of the Faith and for the purpose of broadcasting its message; the formation of rudimentary administrative institutions in the capital as well as in nearby centers; the enrichment of the life of the community through the addition of converts of Kurdish, Coptic, and Armenian origin—these may be regarded as the first fruits garnered in a country which, blessed by the footsteps of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, was, in later years, to play a historic part in the emancipation of the Faith, and which, by virtue of its unique position as the intellectual center of both the Arab and Islamic worlds, must inevitably assume a notable and decisive share of responsibility in the final establishment of that Faith throughout the East.    
Even more remarkable was the expansion of Bahá'í activity in India and Burma, where a steadily growing community, now including among its members representatives of the Zoroastrian, the Islamic, the Hindu and the Buddhist Faiths, as well as members of the Sikh community, succeeded in establishing its outposts, as far as Mandalay and the village of Daidanaw Kalazoo, in the Hanthawaddy district of Burma, at which latter place no less than eight hundred Bahá'ís resided, possessing a school, a court, and a hospital of their own, as well as land for community cultivation, the proceeds of which they devoted to the furtherance of the interests of their Faith.  
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In 'Iráq, where the House occupied by Bahá'u'lláh was entirely restored and renovated, and where a small yet intrepid community struggled in the face of constant opposition to regulate and administer its affairs; in Constantinople, where a Bahá'í center was established; in Tunis where the foundations of a local community were firmly laid; in Japan, in China, and in Honolulu to which Bahá'í teachers traveled, and where they settled and taught—in all of these places the manifold evidences of the guiding hand of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the tangible effects of His sleepless vigilance and unfailing care could be clearly perceived.    
Nor did the nascent communities established in France, England, Germany and the United States cease to receive, after His memorable visits to those countries, further tokens of His special interest in, and solicitude for, their welfare and spiritual advancement. It was in consequence of His directions and the unceasing flow of His Tablets, addressed to the members of these communities, as well as His constant encouragement of the efforts they were exerting, that Bahá'í centers steadily multiplied, that public meetings were organized, that new periodicals were published, that translations of some of the best known works of Bahá'u'lláh and of the Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá were printed and circulated in the English, the French, and German languages, and that the initial attempts to organize the affairs, and consolidate the foundations, of these newly established communities were undertaken.    
In the North American continent, more particularly, the members of a flourishing community, inspired by the blessings bestowed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, as well as by His example and the acts He performed in the course of His prolonged visit to their country, gave an earnest of the magnificent enterprise they were to carry through in later years. They purchased the twelve remaining lots forming part of the site of their projected Temple, selected, during the sessions of their 1920 Convention, the design of the French Canadian Bahá'í architect, Louis Bourgeois, placed the contract for the excavation and the laying of its foundations, and succeeded soon after in completing the necessary arrangements for the construction of its basement: measures which heralded the stupendous efforts which, after 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ascension, culminated in the erection of its superstructure and the completion of its exterior ornamentation.    
The war of 1914–18, repeatedly foreshadowed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the dark warnings He uttered in the course of His western travels, and which broke out eight months after His return to the Holy Land, once more cast a shadow of danger over His life, the last that was to darken the years of His agitated yet glorious ministry.  
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The late entry of the United States of America in that world-convulsing conflict, the neutrality of Persia, the remoteness of India and of the Far East from the theater of operations, insured the protection of the overwhelming majority of His followers, who, though for the most part entirely cut off for a number of years from the spiritual center of their Faith, were still able to conduct their affairs and safeguard the fruits of their recent achievements in comparative safety and freedom.    
In the Holy Land, however, though the outcome of that tremendous struggle was to liberate once and for all the Heart and Center of the Faith from the Turkish yoke, a yoke which had imposed for so long upon its Founder and His Successor such oppressive and humiliating restrictions, yet severe privations and grave dangers continued to surround its inhabitants during the major part of that conflict, and renewed, for a time, the perils which had confronted 'Abdu'l-Bahá during the years of His incarceration in 'Akká. The privations inflicted on the inhabitants by the gross incompetence, the shameful neglect, the cruelty and callous indifference of both the civil and military authorities, though greatly alleviated through the bountiful generosity, the foresight and the tender care of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, were aggravated by the rigors of a strict blockade. A bombardment of Haifa by the Allies was a constant threat, at one time so real that it necessitated the temporary removal of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, His family and members of the local community to the village of Abú-Sinán at the foot of the hills east of 'Akká. The Turkish Commander-in-Chief, the brutal, the all-powerful and unscrupulous Jamál Páshá, an inveterate enemy of the Faith, through his own ill-founded suspicions and the instigation of its enemies, had already grievously afflicted 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and even expressed his intention of crucifying Him and of razing to the ground the Tomb of Bahá'u'lláh. 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself still suffered from the ill-health and exhaustion brought on by the fatigues of His three-year journeys. He felt acutely the virtual stoppage of all communication with most of the Bahá'í centers throughout the world. Agony filled His soul at the spectacle of human slaughter precipitated through humanity's failure to respond to the summons He had issued, or to heed the warnings He had given. Surely sorrow upon sorrow was added to the burden of trials and vicissitudes which He, since His boyhood, had borne so heroically for the sake, and in the service, of His Father's Cause.  
305

And yet during these somber days, the darkness of which was reminiscent of the tribulations endured during the most dangerous period of His incarceration in the prison-fortress of 'Akká; 'Abdu'l-Bahá, whilst in the precincts of His Father's Shrine, or when dwelling in the House He occupied in 'Akká, or under the shadow of the Báb's sepulcher on Mt. Carmel, was moved to confer once again, and for the last time in His life, on the community of His American followers a signal mark of His special favor by investing them, on the eve of the termination of His earthly ministry, through the revelation of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, with a world mission, whose full implications even now, after the lapse of a quarter of a century, still remain undisclosed, and whose unfoldment thus far, though as yet in its initial stages, has so greatly enriched the spiritual as well as the administrative annals of the first Bahá'í century.    
The conclusion of this terrible conflict, the first stage in a titanic convulsion long predicted by Bahá'u'lláh, not only marked the extinction of Turkish rule in the Holy Land and sealed the doom of that military despot who had vowed to destroy 'Abdu'l-Bahá, but also shattered once and for all the last hopes still entertained by the remnant of Covenant-breakers who, untaught by the severe retribution that had already overtaken them, still aspired to witness the extinction of the light of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant. Furthermore, it produced those revolutionary changes which, on the one hand, fulfilled the ominous predictions made by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, and enabled, according to Scriptural prophecy, so large an element of the "outcasts of Israel," the "remnant" of the "flock," to "assemble" in the Holy Land, and to be brought back to "their folds" and "their own border," beneath the shadow of the "Incomparable Branch," referred to by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His "Some Answered Questions," and which, on the other hand, gave birth to the institution of the League of Nations, the precursor of that World Tribunal which, as prophesied by that same "Incomparable Branch," the peoples and nations of the earth must needs unitedly establish.
["O people of Constantinople!..."] The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶89

["Incomparable Branch..."] Some Answered Questions, p. 65

 
No need to dwell on the energetic steps which the English believers as soon as they had been apprized of the dire peril threatening the life of 'Abdu'l-Bahá undertook to insure His security; on the measures independently taken whereby Lord Curzon and others in the British Cabinet were advised as to the critical situation at Haifa; on the prompt intervention of Lord Lamington, who immediately wrote to the Foreign Office to "explain the importance of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's position;" on the despatch which the Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour, on the day of the receipt of this letter, sent to General Allenby, instructing him to "extend every protection and consideration to 'Abdu'l-Bahá, His family and His friends;" on the cablegram subsequently sent by the General, after the capture of Haifa, to London, requesting the authorities to "notify the world that 'Abdu'l-Bahá is safe;" on the orders which that same General issued to the General Commanding Officer in command of the Haifa operations to insure 'Abdu'l-Bahá's safety, thus frustrating the express intention of the Turkish Commander-in-Chief (according to information which had reached the British Intelligence Service) to "crucify 'Abdu'l-Bahá and His family on Mt. Carmel" in the event of the Turkish army being compelled to evacuate Haifa and retreat northwards.  
306

The three years which elapsed between the liberation of Palestine by the British forces and the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá were marked by a further enhancement of the prestige which the Faith, despite the persecutions to which it had been subjected, had acquired at its world center, and by a still greater extension in the range of its teaching activities in various parts of the world. The danger which, for no less than three score years and five, had threatened the lives of the Founders of the Faith and of the Center of His Covenant, was now at long last through the instrumentality of that war completely and definitely lifted. The Head of the Faith, and its twin holy Shrines, in the plain of 'Akká and on the slopes of Mt. Carmel, were henceforth to enjoy for the first time, through the substitution of a new and liberal régime for the corrupt administration of the past, a freedom from restrictions which was later expanded into a clearer recognition of the institutions of the Cause. Nor were the British authorities slow to express their appreciation of the rôle which 'Abdu'l-Bahá had played in allaying the burden of suffering that had oppressed the inhabitants of the Holy Land during the dark days of that distressing conflict. The conferment of a knighthood upon Him at a ceremony specially held for His sake in Haifa, at the residence of the British Governor, at which notables of various communities had assembled; the visit paid Him by General and Lady Allenby, who were His guests at luncheon in Bahjí, and whom He conducted to the Tomb of Bahá'u'lláh; the interview at His Haifa residence between Him and King Feisal who shortly after became the ruler of 'Iráq; the several calls paid Him by Sir Herbert Samuel (later Viscount Samuel of Carmel) both before and after his appointment as High Commissioner for Palestine; His meeting with Lord Lamington who, likewise, called upon Him in Haifa, as well as with the then Governor of Jerusalem, Sir Ronald Storrs; the multiplying evidences of the recognition of His high and unique position by all religious communities, whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish; the influx of pilgrims who, from East and West, flocked to the Holy Land in comparative ease and safety to visit the Holy Tombs in 'Akká and Haifa, to pay their share of homage to Him, to celebrate the signal protection vouchsafed by Providence to the Faith and its followers, and to give thanks for the final emancipation of its Head and world Center from Turkish yoke—these contributed, each in its own way, to heighten the prestige which the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh had been steadily and gradually acquiring through the inspired leadership of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.  
307

As the ministry of 'Abdu'l-Bahá drew to a close signs multiplied of the resistless and manifold unfoldment of the Faith both in the East and in the West, both in the shaping and consolidation of its institutions and in the widening range of its activities and its influence. In the city of 'Ishqábád the construction of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, which He Himself had initiated, was successfully consummated. In Wilmette the excavations for the Mother Temple of the West were carried out and the contract placed for the construction of the basement of the building. In Baghdád the initial steps were taken, according to His special instructions, to reinforce the foundations and restore the Most Great House associated with the memory of His Father. In the Holy Land an extensive property east of the Báb's Sepulcher was purchased through the initiative of the Holy Mother with the support of contributions from Bahá'ís in both the East and the West to serve as a site for the future erection of the first Bahá'í school at the world Administrative Center of the Faith. The site for a Western Pilgrim House was acquired in the neighborhood of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's residence, and the building was erected soon after His passing by American believers. The Oriental Pilgrim House, erected on Mt. Carmel by a believer from 'Ishqábád, soon after the entombment of the Báb's remains, for the convenience of visiting pilgrims, was granted tax exemption by the civil authorities (the first time such a privilege had been conceded since the establishment of the Faith in the Holy Land). The famous scientist and entomologist, Dr. Auguste Forel, was converted to the Faith through the influence of a Tablet sent him by 'Abdu'l-Bahá—-one of the most weighty the Master ever wrote. Another Tablet of far-reaching importance was His reply to a communication addressed to Him by the Executive Committee of the "Central Organization for a Durable Peace," which He dispatched to them at The Hague by the hands of a special delegation. A new continent was opened to the Cause when, in response to the Tablets of the Divine Plan unveiled at the first Convention after the war, the great-hearted and heroic Hyde Dunn, at the advanced age of sixty-two, promptly forsook his home in California, and, seconded and accompanied by his wife, settled as a pioneer in Australia, where he was able to carry the Message to no less than seven hundred towns throughout that Commonwealth. A new episode began when, in quick response to those same Tablets and their summons, that star-servant of Bahá'u'lláh, the indomitable and immortal Martha Root, designated by her Master "herald of the Kingdom" and "harbinger of the Covenant," embarked on the first of her historic journeys which were to extend over a period of twenty years, and to carry her several times around the globe, and which ended only with her death far from home and in the active service of the Cause she loved so greatly. These events mark the closing stage of a ministry which sealed the triumph of the Heroic Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation, and which will go down in history as one of the most glorious and fruitful periods of the first Bahá'í century.  
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CHAPTER XXI

The Passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá

 
309

'Abdu'l-Bahá's great work was now ended. The historic Mission with which His Father had, twenty-nine years previously, invested Him had been gloriously consummated. A memorable chapter in the history of the first Bahá'í century had been written. The Heroic Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation, in which He had participated since its inception, and played so unique a rôle, had drawn to a close. He had suffered as no disciple of the Faith, who had drained the cup of martyrdom, had suffered, He had labored as none of its greatest heroes had labored. He had witnessed triumphs such as neither the Herald of the Faith nor its Author had ever witnessed.    
At the close of His strenuous Western tours, which had called forth the last ounce of His ebbing strength, He had written: "Friends, the time is coming when I shall be no longer with you. I have done all that could be done. I have served the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh to the utmost of My ability. I have labored night and day all the years of My life. O how I long to see the believers shouldering the responsibilities of the Cause!… My days are numbered, and save this there remains none other joy for me." Several years before He had thus alluded to His passing: "O ye My faithful loved ones! Should at any time afflicting events come to pass in the Holy Land, never feel disturbed or agitated. Fear not, neither grieve. For whatsoever thing happeneth will cause the Word of God to be exalted, and His Divine fragrances to be diffused." And again: "Remember, whether or not I be on earth, My presence will be with you always." "Regard not the person of 'Abdu'l-Bahá," He thus counselled His friends in one of His last Tablets, "for He will eventually take His leave of you all; nay, fix your gaze upon the Word of God … The loved ones of God must arise with such steadfastness that should, in one moment, hundreds of souls even as 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself be made a target for the darts of woe, nothing whatsoever shall affect or lessen their … service to the Cause of God."    
In a Tablet addressed to the American believers, a few days before He passed away, He thus vented His pent-up longing to depart from this world: "I have renounced the world and the people thereof … In the cage of this world I flutter even as a frightened bird, and yearn every day to take My flight unto Thy Kingdom. Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá! Make Me drink of the cup of sacrifice, and set Me free." He revealed a prayer less than six months before His ascension in honor of a kinsman of the Báb, and in it wrote: "'O Lord! My bones are weakened, and the hoar hairs glisten on My head … and I have now reached old age, failing in My powers.' … No strength is there left in Me wherewith to arise and serve Thy loved ones … O Lord, My Lord! Hasten My ascension unto Thy sublime Threshold … and My arrival at the Door of Thy grace beneath the shadow of Thy most great mercy…"  
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Through the dreams He dreamed, through the conversations He held, through the Tablets He revealed, it became increasingly evident that His end was fast approaching. Two months before His passing He told His family of a dream He had had. "I seemed," He said, "to be standing within a great mosque, in the inmost shrine, facing the Qiblih, in the place of the Imám himself. I became aware that a large number of people were flocking into the mosque. More and yet more crowded in, taking their places in rows behind Me, until there was a vast multitude. As I stood I raised loudly the call to prayer. Suddenly the thought came to Me to go forth from the mosque. When I found Myself outside I said within Myself: 'For what reason came I forth, not having led the prayer? But it matters not; now that I have uttered the Call to prayer, the vast multitude will of themselves chant the prayer.'" A few weeks later, whilst occupying a solitary room in the garden of His house, He recounted another dream to those around Him. "I dreamed a dream," He said, "and behold, the Blessed Beauty (Bahá'u'lláh) came and said to Me: 'Destroy this room.'" None of those present comprehended the significance of this dream until He Himself had soon after passed away, when it became clear to them all that by the "room" was meant the temple of His body.    
A month before His death (which occurred in the 78th year of His age, in the early hours of the 28th of November, 1921) He had referred expressly to it in some words of cheer and comfort that He addressed to a believer who was mourning the loss of his brother. And about two weeks before His passing He had spoken to His faithful gardener in a manner that clearly indicated He knew His end to be nigh. "I am so fatigued," He observed to him, "the hour is come when I must leave everything and take My flight. I am too weary to walk." He added: "It was during the closing days of the Blessed Beauty, when I was engaged in gathering together His papers which were strewn over the sofa in His writing chamber in Bahjí, that He turned to Me and said: 'It is of no use to gather them, I must leave them and flee away.' I also have finished My work. I can do nothing more. Therefore must I leave it, and take My departure."  
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Till the very last day of His earthly life 'Abdu'l-Bahá continued to shower that same love upon high and low alike, to extend that same assistance to the poor and the down-trodden, and to carry out those same duties in the service of His Father's Faith, as had been His wont from the days of His boyhood. On the Friday before His passing, despite great fatigue, He attended the noonday prayer at the mosque, and distributed afterwards alms, as was His custom, among the poor; dictated some Tablets—the last ones He revealed—; blessed the marriage of a trusted servant, which He had insisted should take place that day; attended the usual meeting of the friends in His home; felt feverish the next day, and being unable to leave the house on the following Sunday, sent all the believers to the Tomb of the Báb to attend a feast which a Parsí pilgrim was offering on the occasion of the anniversary of the Declaration of the Covenant; received with His unfailing courtesy and kindness that same afternoon, and despite growing weariness, the Muftí of Haifa, the Mayor and the Head of the Police; and inquired that night—the last of His life—before He retired after the health of every member of His household, of the pilgrims and of the friends in Haifa.    
At 1:15 A.M. He arose, and, walking to a table in His room, drank some water, and returned to bed. Later on, He asked one of His two daughters who had remained awake to care for Him, to lift up the net curtains, complaining that He had difficulty in breathing. Some rose-water was brought to Him, of which He drank, after which He again lay down, and when offered food, distinctly remarked: "You wish Me to take some food, and I am going?" A minute later His spirit had winged its flight to its eternal abode, to be gathered, at long last, to the glory of His beloved Father, and taste the joy of everlasting reunion with Him.    
The news of His passing, so sudden, so unexpected, spread like wildfire throughout the town, and was flashed instantly over the wires to distant parts of the globe, stunning with grief the community of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in East and West. Messages from far and near, from high and low alike, through cablegrams and letters, poured in conveying to the members of a sorrow-stricken and disconsolate family expressions of praise, of devotion, of anguish and of sympathy.    
The British Secretary of State for the Colonies, Mr. Winston Churchill, telegraphed immediately to the High Commissioner for Palestine, Sir Herbert Samuel, instructing him to "convey to the Bahá'í Community, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, their sympathy and condolence." Viscount Allenby, the High Commissioner for Egypt, wired the High Commissioner for Palestine asking him to "convey to the relatives of the late Sir 'Abdu'l-Bahá 'Abbás Effendi and to the Bahá'í Community" his "sincere sympathy in the loss of their revered leader." The Council of Ministers in Baghdád instructed the Prime Minister Siyyid 'Abdu'r-Rahmán to extend their "sympathy to the family of His Holiness 'Abdu'l-Bahá in their bereavement." The Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, General Congreve, addressed to the High Commissioner for Palestine a message requesting him to "convey his deepest sympathy to the family of the late Sir 'Abbás Bahá'í." General Sir Arthur Money, former Chief Administrator of Palestine, wrote expressing his sadness, his profound respect and his admiration for Him as well as his sympathy in the loss which His family had sustained. One of the distinguished figures in the academic life of the University of Oxford, a famous professor and scholar, wrote on behalf of himself and his wife: "The passing beyond the veil into fuller life must be specially wonderful and blessed for One Who has always fixed His thoughts on high, and striven to lead an exalted life here below."  
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Many and divers newspapers, such as the London "Times," the "Morning Post," the "Daily Mail," the "New York World," "Le Temps," the "Times of India" and others, in different languages and countries, paid their tribute to One Who had rendered the Cause of human brotherhood and peace such signal and imperishable services.    
The High Commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel, sent immediately a message conveying his desire to attend the funeral in person, in order as he himself later wrote, to "express my respect for His creed and my regard for His person." As to the funeral itself, which took place on Tuesday morning—a funeral the like of which Palestine had never seen—no less than ten thousand people participated representing every class, religion and race in that country. "A great throng," bore witness at a later date, the High Commissioner himself, "had gathered together, sorrowing for His death, but rejoicing also for His life." Sir Ronald Storrs, Governor of Jerusalem at the time, also wrote in describing the funeral: "I have never known a more united expression of regret and respect than was called forth by the utter simplicity of the ceremony."    
The coffin containing the remains of 'Abdu'l-Bahá was borne to its last resting-place on the shoulders of His loved ones. The cortège which preceded it was led by the City Constabulary Force, acting as a Guard of Honor, behind which followed in order the Boy Scouts of the Muslim and Christian communities holding aloft their banners, a company of Muslim choristers chanting their verses from the Qur'án, the chiefs of the Muslim community headed by the Muftí, and a number of Christian priests, Latin, Greek and Anglican. Behind the coffin walked the members of His family, the British High Commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel, the Governor of Jerusalem, Sir Ronald Storrs, the Governor of Phoenicia, Sir Stewart Symes, officials of the government, consuls of various countries resident in Haifa, notables of Palestine, Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Druze, Egyptians, Greeks, Turks, Arabs, Kurds, Europeans and Americans, men, women and children. The long train of mourners, amid the sobs and moans of many a grief-stricken heart, wended its slow way up the slopes of Mt. Carmel to the Mausoleum of the Báb.  
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Close to the eastern entrance of the Shrine, the sacred casket was placed upon a plain table, and, in the presence of that vast concourse, nine speakers, who represented the Muslim, the Jewish and Christian Faiths, and who included the Muftí of Haifa, delivered their several funeral orations. These concluded, the High Commissioner drew close to the casket, and, with bowed head fronting the Shrine, paid his last homage of farewell to 'Abdu'l-Bahá: the other officials of the Government followed his example. The coffin was then removed to one of the chambers of the Shrine, and there lowered, sadly and reverently, to its last resting-place in a vault adjoining that in which were laid the remains of the Báb.    
During the week following His passing, from fifty to a hundred of the poor of Haifa were daily fed at His house, whilst on the seventh day corn was distributed in His memory to about a thousand of them irrespective of creed or race. On the fortieth day an impressive memorial feast was held in His memory, to which over six hundred of the people of Haifa, 'Akká and the surrounding parts of Palestine and Syria, including officials and notables of various religions and races, were invited. More than one hundred of the poor were also fed on that day.    
One of the assembled guests, the Governor of Phoenicia, paid a last tribute to the memory of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the following words: "Most of us here have, I think, a clear picture of Sir 'Abdu'l-Bahá 'Abbás, of His dignified figure walking thoughtfully in our streets, of His courteous and gracious manner, of His kindness, of His love for little children and flowers, of His generosity and care for the poor and suffering. So gentle was He, and so simple, that in His presence one almost forgot that He was also a great teacher, and that His writings and His conversations have been a solace and an inspiration to hundreds and thousands of people in the East and in the West."  
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Thus was brought to a close the ministry of One Who was the incarnation, by virtue of the rank bestowed upon Him by His Father, of an institution that has no parallel in the entire field of religious history, a ministry that marks the final stage in the Apostolic, the Heroic and most glorious Age of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh.    
Through Him the Covenant, that "excellent and priceless Heritage" bequeathed by the Author of the Bahá'í Revelation, had been proclaimed, championed and vindicated. Through the power which that Divine Instrument had conferred upon Him the light of God's infant Faith had penetrated the West, had diffused itself as far as the Islands of the Pacific, and illumined the fringes of the Australian continent. Through His personal intervention the Message, Whose Bearer had tasted the bitterness of a life-long captivity, had been noised abroad, and its character and purpose disclosed, for the first time in its history, before enthusiastic and representative audiences in the chief cities of Europe and of the North American continent. Through His unrelaxing vigilance the holy remains of the Báb, brought forth at long last from their fifty-year concealment, had been safely transported to the Holy Land and permanently and befittingly enshrined in the very spot which Bahá'u'lláh Himself had designated for them and had blessed with His presence. Through His bold initiative the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of the Bahá'í world had been reared in Central Asia, in Russian Turkistán, whilst through His unfailing encouragement a similar enterprise, of still vaster proportions, had been undertaken, and its land dedicated by Himself in the heart of the North American continent. Through the sustaining grace overshadowing Him since the inception of His ministry His royal adversary had been humbled to the dust, the arch-breaker of His Father's Covenant had been utterly routed, and the danger which, ever since Bahá'u'lláh had been banished to Turkish soil, had been threatening the heart of the Faith, definitely removed. In pursuance of His instructions, and in conformity with the principles enunciated and the laws ordained by His Father, the rudimentary institutions, heralding the formal inauguration of the Administrative Order to be founded after His passing, had taken shape and been established. Through His unremitting labors, as reflected in the treatises He composed, the thousands of Tablets He revealed, the discourses He delivered, the prayers, poems and commentaries He left to posterity, mostly in Persian, some in Arabic and a few in Turkish, the laws and principles, constituting the warp and woof of His Father's Revelation, had been elucidated, its fundamentals restated and interpreted, its tenets given detailed application and the validity and indispensability of its verities fully and publicly demonstrated. Through the warnings He sounded, an unheeding humanity, steeped in materialism and forgetful of its God, had been apprized of the perils threatening to disrupt its ordered life, and made, in consequence of its persistent perversity, to sustain the initial shocks of that world upheaval which continues, until the present day, to rock the foundations of human society. And lastly, through the mandate He had issued to a valiant community, the concerted achievements of whose members had shed so great a lustre on the annals of His own ministry, He had set in motion a Plan which, soon after its formal inauguration, achieved the opening of the Australian continent, which, in a later period, was to be instrumental in winning over the heart of a royal convert to His Father's Cause, and which, today, through the irresistible unfoldment of its potentialities, is so marvellously quickening the spiritual life of all the Republics of Latin America as to constitute a befitting conclusion to the records of an entire century.  
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Nor should a survey of the outstanding features of so blessed and fruitful a ministry omit mention of the prophecies which the unerring pen of the appointed Center of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant has recorded. These foreshadow the fierceness of the onslaught that the resistless march of the Faith must provoke in the West, in India and in the Far East when it meets the time-honored sacerdotal orders of the Christian, the Buddhist and Hindu religions. They foreshadow the turmoil which its emancipation from the fetters of religious orthodoxy will cast in the American, the European, the Asiatic and African continents. They foreshadow the gathering of the children of Israel in their ancient homeland; the erection of the banner of Bahá'u'lláh in the Egyptian citadel of Sunní Islám; the extinction of the powerful influence wielded by the Shí'ah ecclesiastics in Persia; the load of misery which must needs oppress the pitiful remnants of the breakers of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant at the world center of His Faith; the splendor of the institutions which that triumphant Faith must erect on the slopes of a mountain, destined to be so linked with the city of 'Akká that a single grand metropolis will be formed to enshrine the spiritual as well as the administrative seats of the future Bahá'í Commonwealth; the conspicuous honor which the inhabitants of Bahá'u'lláh's native land in general, and its government in particular, must enjoy in a distant future; the unique and enviable position which the community of the Most Great Name in the North American continent must occupy, as a direct consequence of the execution of the world mission which He entrusted to them: finally they foreshadow, as the sum and summit of all, the "hoisting of the standard of God among all nations" and the unification of the entire human race, when "all men will adhere to one religion … will be blended into one race, and become a single people."  
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Nor can the revolutionary changes in the great world which that ministry has witnessed be allowed to pass unnoticed—most of them flowing directly from the warnings which were uttered by the Báb, in the first chapter of His Qayyúmu'l-Asmá', on the very night of the Declaration of His Mission in Shíráz, and which were later reinforced by the pregnant passages addressed by Bahá'u'lláh to the kings of the earth and the world's religious leaders, in both the Súriy-i-Mulúk and the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. The conversion of the Portuguese monarchy and the Chinese empire into republics; the collapse of the Russian, the German and Austrian empires, and the ignominious fate which befell their rulers; the assassination of Násiri'd-Dín Sháh, the fall of Sultán 'Abdu'l-Hamíd—these may be said to have marked further stages in the operation of that catastrophic process the inception of which was signalized in the lifetime of Bahá'u'lláh by the murder of Sultán 'Abdu'l-'Azíz, by the dramatic downfall of Napoleon III, and the extinction of the Third Empire, and by the self-imposed imprisonment and virtual termination of the temporal sovereignty of the Pope himself. Later, after 'Abdu'l-Bahá's passing, the same process was to be accelerated by the demise of the Qájár dynasty in Persia, by the overthrow of the Spanish monarchy, by the collapse of both the Sultanate and the Caliphate in Turkey, by a swift decline in the fortunes of Shí'ah Islám and of the Christian Missions in the East, and by the cruel fate that is now overtaking so many of the crowned heads of Europe.
[Qayyúmu'l-Asmá] The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 165, 216; The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 231 ; The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh vol. 1 Index, vol. 2 p. 179, 303, vol. 4 Index

[Súriy-i-Mulúk] The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 2, p. 301

 
Nor can this subject be dismissed without special reference to the names of those men of eminence and learning who were moved, at various stages of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry, to pay tribute not only to 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself but also to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. Such names as Count Leo Tolstoy, Prof. Arminius Vambery, Prof. Auguste Forel, Dr. David Starr Jordan, the Venerable Archdeacon Wilberforce, Prof. Jowett of Balliol, Dr. T. K. Cheyne, Dr. Estlin Carpenter of Oxford University, Viscount Samuel of Carmel, Lord Lamington, Sir Valentine Chirol, Rabbi Stephen Wise, Prince Muhammad-'Alí of Egypt, Shaykh Muhammad 'Abdu, Midhat Páshá, and Khurshíd Páshá attest, by virtue of the tributes associated with them, the great progress made by the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh under the brilliant leadership of His exalted Son—tributes whose impressiveness was, in later years, to be heightened by the historic, the repeated and written testimonies which a famous Queen, a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, was impelled to bequeath to posterity as a witness of her recognition of the prophetic mission of Bahá'u'lláh.  
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As for those enemies who have sedulously sought to extinguish the light of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, the condign punishment they have been made to suffer is no less conspicuous than the doom which overtook those who, in an earlier period, had so basely endeavored to crush the hopes of a rising Faith and destroy its foundations.    
To the assassination of the tyrannical Násiri'd-Dín Sháh and the subsequent extinction of the Qájár dynasty reference has already been made. Sultán 'Abdu'l-Hamíd, after his deposition, was made a prisoner of state and condemned to a life of complete obscurity and humiliation, scorned by his fellow-rulers and vilified by his subjects. The bloodthirsty Jamál Páshá, who had resolved to crucify 'Abdu'l-Bahá and raze to the ground Bahá'u'lláh's holy Tomb, had to flee for his life and was slain, while a refugee in the Caucasus, by the hand of an Armenian whose fellow-compatriots he had so pitilessly persecuted. The scheming Jamálu'd-Dín Afghání, whose relentless hostility and powerful influence had been so gravely detrimental to the progress of the Faith in Near Eastern countries, was, after a checkered career filled with vicissitudes, stricken with cancer, and having had a major part of his tongue cut away in an unsuccessful operation perished in misery. The four members of the ill-fated Commission of Inquiry, despatched from Constantinople to seal the fate of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, suffered, each in his turn, a humiliation hardly less drastic than that which they had planned for Him. 'Árif Bey, the head of the Commission, seeking stealthily at midnight to flee from the wrath of the Young Turks, was shot dead by a sentry. Adham Bey succeeded in escaping to Egypt, but was robbed of his possessions by his servant on the way, and was in the end compelled to seek financial assistance from the Bahá'ís of Cairo, a request which was not refused. Later he sought help from 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Who immediately directed the believers to present him with a sum on His behalf, an instruction which they were unable to carry out owing to his sudden disappearance. Of the other two members, one was exiled to a remote place, and the other died soon after in abject poverty. The notorious Yahyá Bey, the Chief of the Police in 'Akká, a willing and powerful tool in the hand of Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí, the arch-breaker of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, witnessed the frustration of all the hopes he had cherished, lost his position, and had eventually to beg for pecuniary assistance from 'Abdu'l-Bahá. In Constantinople, in the year which witnessed the downfall of 'Abdu'l-Hamíd, no less than thirty-one dignitaries of the state, including ministers and other high officers of the government, among whom numbered redoubtable enemies of the Faith, were, in a single day, arrested and condemned to the gallows, a spectacular retribution for the part they had played in upholding a tyrannical régime and in endeavoring to extirpate the Faith and its institutions.  
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In Persia, apart from the sovereign who had, in the full tide of his hopes and the plenitude of his power, been removed from the scene in so startling a manner, a number of princes, ministers and mujtahids, who had actively participated in the suppression of a persecuted community, including Kámrán Mírzá, the Ná'ibu's-Saltanih, the Jalálu'd-Dawlih and Mírzá 'Alí-Asghar Khán, the Atábik-i-A'zam, and Shaykh Muhammad-Taqíy-i-Najafí, the "Son of the Wolf," lost, one by one, their prestige and authority, sank into obscurity, abandoned all hope of achieving their malevolent purpose, and lived, some of them, long enough to behold the initial evidences of the ascendancy of a Cause they had so greatly feared and so vehemently hated.    
When we note that in the Holy Land, in Persia, and in the United States of America certain exponents of Christian ecclesiasticism such as Vatralsky, Wilson, Richardson or Easton, observing, and in some cases fearing, the vigorous advances made by the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in Christian lands, arose to stem its progress; and when we watch the recent and steady deterioration of their influence, the decline of their power, the confusion in their ranks and the dissolution of some of their old standing missions and institutions, in Europe, in the Middle East and in Eastern Asia—may we not attribute this weakening to the opposition which members of various Christian sacerdotal orders began, in the course of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry, to evince towards the followers and institutions of a Faith which claims to be no less than the fulfilment of the Promise given by Jesus Christ, and the establisher of the Kingdom He Himself had prayed for and foretold?    
And finally, he who, from the moment the Divine Covenant was born until the end of his life, showed a hatred more unrelenting than that which animated the afore-mentioned adversaries of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, who plotted more energetically than any one of them against Him, and afflicted his Father's Faith with a shame more grievous than any which its external enemies had inflicted upon it—such a man, together with the infamous crew of Covenant-breakers whom he had misled and instigated, was condemned to witness, in a growing measure, as had been the case with Mírzá Yahyá and his henchmen, the frustration of his evil designs, the evaporation of all his hopes, the exposition of his true motives and the complete extinction of his erstwhile honor and glory. His brother, Mírzá Díyá'u'lláh, died prematurely; Mírzá Áqá Ján, his dupe, followed that same brother, three years later, to the grave; and Mírzá Badí'u'lláh, his chief accomplice, betrayed his cause, published a signed denunciation of his evil acts, but rejoined him again, only to be alienated from him in consequence of the scandalous behavior of his own daughter. Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí's half-sister, Fúrúghíyyih, died of cancer, whilst her husband, Siyyid 'Alí, passed away from a heart attack before his sons could reach him, the eldest being subsequently stricken in the prime of life, by the same malady. Muhammad-Javád-i-Qazvíní, a notorious Covenant-breaker, perished miserably. Shu'á'u'lláh who, as witnessed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will, had counted on the murder of the Center of the Covenant, and who had been despatched to the United States by his father to join forces with Ibráhím Khayru'lláh, returned crestfallen and empty-handed from his inglorious mission. Jamál-i-Burújirdí, Mírzá Muhammad-'Alí's ablest lieutenant in Persia, fell a prey to a fatal and loathsome disease; Siyyid Mihdíy-i-Dahají, who, betraying 'Abdu'l-Bahá, joined the Covenant-breakers, died in obscurity and poverty, followed by his wife and his two sons; Mírzá Husayn-'Alíy-i-Jahrumí, Mírzá Husayn-i-Shírázíy-i-Khurtúmí and Hájí Muhammad-Husayn-i-Káshání, who represented the arch-breaker of the Covenant in Persia, India and Egypt, failed utterly in their missions; whilst the greedy and conceited Ibráhím-i-Khayru'lláh, who had chosen to uphold the banner of his rebellion in America for no less than twenty years, and who had the temerity to denounce, in writing, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, His "false teachings, His misrepresentations of Bahaism, His dissimulation," and to stigmatize His visit to America as "a death-blow" to the "Cause of God," met his death soon after he had uttered these denunciations, utterly abandoned and despised by the entire body of the members of a community, whose founders he himself had converted to the Faith, and in the very land that bore witness to the multiplying evidences of the established ascendancy of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Whose authority he had, in his later years, vowed to uproot.
[Muhammad Javád-i-Qazvíní] Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 74, 240

[Siyyid Mihdíy-i-Dahají] Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 193

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As to those who had openly espoused the cause of this arch-breaker of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, or who had secretly sympathized with him, whilst outwardly supporting 'Abdu'l-Bahá, some eventually repented and were forgiven; others became disillusioned and lost their faith entirely; a few apostatized, whilst the rest dwindled away, leaving him in the end, except for a handful of his relatives, alone and unsupported. Surviving 'Abdu'l-Bahá by almost twenty years, he who had so audaciously affirmed to His face that he had no assurance he might outlive Him, lived long enough to witness the utter bankruptcy of his cause, leading meanwhile a wretched existence within the walls of a Mansion that had once housed a crowd of his supporters; was denied by the civil authorities, as a result of the crisis he had after 'Abdu'l-Bahá's passing foolishly precipitated, the official custody of his Father's Tomb; was compelled, a few years later, to vacate that same Mansion, which, through his flagrant neglect, had fallen into a dilapidated condition; was stricken with paralysis which crippled half his body; lay bedridden in pain for months before he died; and was buried according to Muslim rites, in the immediate vicinity of a local Muslim shrine, his grave remaining until the present day devoid of even a tombstone—a pitiful reminder of the hollowness of the claims he had advanced, of the depths of infamy to which he had sunk, and of the severity of the retribution his acts had so richly merited.