Among the crowd, which hurled abuse at Bahá’u’lláh and pelted Him with stones, was an old woman. She stepped forward with a stone in her hand to strike at Him. Although frenzied with rage, her steps were too weak for the pace of the procession. ‘Give me a chance to fling my stone in His face‘, she pleaded with the guard. Bahá’u’lláh turned to them and said, ‘Suffer not this woman to be disappointed. Deny her not what she regards as a meritorious act in the sight of God.’ Such was the measure of His compassion.
(H.M. Balyuzi, Bahá’u’lláh - The King of Glory, p. 77)
A visitor, to her great relief, reached the doors of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s house only two days before He left Paris. She had travelled post-haste from the United States, and had a remarkable story to relate. At home her little daughter had asked her what she would do should the Lord Jesus return to the world. She would rush to seek Him, she had said, only to be told that the Lord Jesus was here. How did she know, the mother had enquired. The child replied that the Lord Jesus had told her Himself. Some days later the mother was reproached for not doing what she had said she would do. Twice the Lord Jesus had told her that He was here, the little girl insisted. But she did not know where to look, the mother told her child. And the child was certain that they would discover where to go, where to look. That afternoon, on a walk, the little girl suddenly stopped and, excited and ecstatic, pointed to a shop where magazines were displayed. Prominent there was the photograph of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. There, there, the child shouted, was the Lord Jesus. The magazine which contained the photograph of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá led the way to Paris, and the American lady, taking the first available boat to cross the Atlantic, sailed that very night.
(H.M. Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá - The Centre of the Covenant, p. 168)
One point, the Master was speaking about Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation and spiritual susceptibilities. Touching a young man named Mr. Robinson, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said ‘Because of the susceptibilities, this radiant youth is seated here, and in the utmost of love I am patting him on his shoulder‘. Ramona Allen wondered why the Master had chosen to specifically bless the youth. Later, she found out. Seated at the same table as Mr. Robinson was John Matteson, who was on a search for spiritual truth. When Mr. Matteson saw the Master put His hands on the young man’s shoulder, Mr. Matteson thought to himself, ‘If ‘Abdu’l-Bahá did that same thing to me, I would believe‘. However, the Master strolled into the other rooms. Presently He returned to the room, walked straight to Mr. Matteson, and placed His hands upon the young man’s shoulders. From that moment Mr. Matteson became one of the most faithful followers of Bahá.
(Earl Redman, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst, p. 231)
THIS IS FAITH
by Amatu’l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum
To walk where there is no path
To breathe where there is no air
To see where there is not light-
This is Faith.
To cry out in the silence,
The silence of the night,
And hearing no echo believe
And believe again and again-
This is Faith.
To hold pebbles and see jewels
To raise sticks and see forests
To smile with weeping eyes-
This is Faith.
To say: “God, I believe” when others deny,
"I hear” when there is no answer,
"I see” though naught is seen-
This is Faith.
And the fierce love in the heart,
The savage love that cries
Hidden Thou art yet there !
Veil Thy face and mute Thy tongue
yet I see and hear Thee, Love,
Beat me down to the bare earth,
Yet I rise and love Thee, Love !"
This is Faith.
The following story in the life of Mirza Abu’l-Fadl, the outstanding scholar of the Cause and its famous apologist, is one which demonstrates that reading the Word of God with the eye of intellect can lead a man astray. He himself has recounted the story that soon after he came in contact with the believers, they gave him the Kitáb-i-Íqán to read. He read it with an air of intellectual superiority and was not impressed by it. He even commented that if the Kitáb-i-Íqán was a proof of Bahá’u’lláh’s claims, he himself could certainly write a better book.
At that time he was the head of a theological college in Tihran. The following day a prominent woman arrived at the college and approached some students asking them to write an important letter for her. The students referred her to Mirza 220 Abu’l-Fadl saying that he was an outstanding writer, a master of eloquence and a man unsurpassed in the art of composition. Mirza Abu’l-Fadl took up his pen to write, but found himself unable to compose the first sentence. He tried very hard but was unsuccessful. For several minutes he scribbled in the corner of the page and even drew lines on his own fingernail, until the woman realized that the learned scribe was unable to write. Losing her patience she arose to go and mockingly said to Mirza Abu’l-Fadl, ‘If you have forgotten how to write a simple letter why don’t you say so instead of keeping me here while you scrawl?‘
[1 In those days people who were not educated often paid a small sum of money to a learned man to write letters for them. The essential requirements for writing good letters were good composition and fine penmanship.]
Mirza Abu’l-Fadl says that he was overcome with feelings of shame as a result of this incident, and then suddenly remembered his own comments the night before about his being able to write a better book than the Kitáb-i-Íqán. He had a pure heart and knew that this incident was nothing but a clear answer to his arrogant attitude towards that holy Book.
However, it took Mirza Abu’l-Fadl several years to be convinced of the truth of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. He reached a stage where he accepted the Faith intellectually, but for years his heart was not convinced. The only thing which caused him to recognize the truth of the Cause of God after having struggled for so long was to submit himself and surrender his intellectual gifts to God. One evening he went into his chamber, and prayed with yearning as tears flowed from his eyes, beseeching God to open the channels of his heart. At the hour of dawn he suddenly found himself possessed of such faith that he felt he could lay down his life in the path of Bahá’u’lláh. The same person who once had said he could write a better book than the Kitáb-i-Íqán, read this book many times with the eye of faith and found it to be an ocean of knowledge, limitless in scope. Every time he read it he found new pearls of wisdom within it and discovered new mysteries which he had not come across before.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh v 2, p. 219)