When a Turkish man, living in Haifa, lost his position, he, his wife and children were in desperate need. They went to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for help and were naturally greatly aided. When the poor man became ill, again the Master stood ready to help. He provided a doctor, medicine and provisions to make him comfortable. When this man felt he was to die, he asked for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and called his children to him. ‘Here‘, he told the children, ‘is your father, who will take care of you when I am gone.’
One morning four small children arrived at the home of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and announced, ‘We want our father.’ The Master, hearing their voices, knew who they were. They shared their sorrow with Him—their own father had died. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá brought them in and gave them drink, sweets and cakes. He then went with them to their home. Their announcement had been premature—their father had merely fainted, but the next day he passed away. The Master arranged for the funeral and provided food, clothing and travel-tickets for the family to go to Turkey. His sympathetic heart was as wide as the universe.
(Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 66)
So sensitive and sympathetic was the Master to human suffering that He admitted to surprise that others could be quite oblivious to it. In Paris, He expressed His feelings: ‘I have just been told that there has been a terrible accident in this country. A train has fallen into the river and at least twenty people have been killed. This is going to be a matter for discussion in the French Parliament today, and the Director of the State Railway will be called upon to speak. He will be cross-examined as to the condition of the railroad and as to what caused the accident, and there will be a heated argument. I am filled with wonder and surprise to notice what interest and excitement has been aroused throughout the whole country on account of the death of twenty people, while they remain cold and indifferent to the fact that thousands of Italians, Turks, and Arabs are killed in Tripoli! The horror of this wholesale slaughter has not disturbed the Government at all! Yet these unfortunate people are human beings too.’
(Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 68)