The Memoirs of
Badiullah [The Most Luminous Branch (غصن انور) ]
Baha's Youngest Son
1. Lady Munira & Her Entry Into Baha's Household
Before proceeding to furnish summaries or excerpts from the memoirs, the following information is provided concerning Sir Abbas Effendi's wife Lady Munira.
According to Dr J.E.Esslemonts Bahaullah and the New Era, revised edition, first printing, March 1937, PP.67-68, "the following particulars regarding the marriage of [Sir] Abdul Baha [Abbas Effendi] was kindly supplied to the writer by an Iranian historian of the Bahai faith [i.e. Mirza Abd-al-Husayn Ayati surnamed Awara before his abjuration of Bahaism and return to the fold of Islam:
When the BÂB was in Isfahan, Mirza Muhammad Ali [Nahri] had no children, but his wife was longing for a child. On hearing of this, the BÂB gave him a portion of his food and told him to share it with his wife. After they had eaten of that food, it soon became apparent that their long cherished hopes of parenthood were to be fulfilled, and in the course a daughter was born to them, who was given the name of Munira Khanum. Later a son was born to them to whom they gave the name Sayyid Yahya. Persecution of the Bahais followed. Baha then permitted Munira Khanum and her brother Sayyid Yahya to come to Acre for protection. Baha and his wife Nawab, the mother of Abdul Baha, showed such kindness and favour to Munira Khanum that others understood that they wished her to become the wife Abdul Baha. The wish of his father and mother became the wish of Abdul Baha too and ere long they became united in marriage. Munira Khanum's birth came about through the blessing which the BÂB gave to her parent in Isfahan..'"
Similar account is given by Mirza Abd-al-Husayn Ayati surnamed Awara in his Al-Kawakib-al-Durraya, Vol. II., PP.14-15, written by him prior to his abjuration of Bahaism and return to the fold of Islam. At the time Awara was one of the Hands of the Cause."
According to Baha's historian Nabil, the Dawn-Breakers, Nabil's Narrative, PP. 208-209, "the BÂB took a portion of the food with which he had been served, placed it with his own hands on a platter and handed it to his host, asking him to take it to Mirza Muhammad Ali and his wife "Let them both partake of this, "he said; ;their wish will be fulfilled.' By virtue of that portion which the BÂB had chosen to bestow upon her, the wife of Mirza Muhammad Ali conceived and in due time gave birth to a girl who eventually was joined in wedlock with the most Great Branch [i.e. Sir Abbas Effendi, a union that came to be regarded as the consummation of the hopes entertained by the parents."
According to Lady Munira's own account quoted by Lady Blomfield in her Chosen Highway, wherein the learned authoress speaks of the former as the 'Holy Mother' (P. 73),: P.84: "When I was a young girl, I loved to think over the two lives of the Holy Ones, the Lord Christ, Muhammad, and the other prophets of God. I used to weep and lament that I had not lived in their time."
"My father went to Baghdad to visit Baha when I was about Nine years old. Once a dream came to me, of which, even now, I retain the impression. In my dream, I carried many things in my arms; wearily I walked, dragging my feet across the endless desolation of desert sand. My strength seemed to be ebbing away, and my burden too heavy to hold. I was oh! so tired, almost unable to walk one more step. When suddenly, to my surprise, I came to two rivers, a bridge connected these two rivers. Leaning against the wall of the bridge, I saw in my dream one of the disciples, as old Sayyid. He came forward to me and asked: 'What dost thou want? Where dost thou wish to go?'
I replied earnestly : 'I desire greatly to go to the blessed cities of Jerusalem-Love-and-Baha.'"
At the Sayyid's suggestion "I let fall the things of my burden. The old Sayyid took me by the arm and plunged me into the rivers, first into the one, then into the other. When I emerged I suddenly found myself flying without effort, as it were floating over amazingly beautiful country. I arrived at a radiant city of shining glory. On its wall were written in Arabic in letters of brilliant light:
"Love, Baha, Jerusalem."
"Jerusalem, Love, Baha."
"Baha, Jerusalem, Love."
In the Great temple of the city were all the Holy Ones, the prophets of God, in whose presence I had so ardently longed to stand. His Holmes the Lord Christ, Moses, Isiah, and even every other prophet of whom I knew."
"At one altar was Muhammad; He gave me a radiant necklace of diamond, this I handed to my mother, and trying to fly, I awoke."
"And now came the never-to-be-forgotten days, when Shaykh Salman arrived at Isfahan, bringing word from Baha that he wished me to come to him."
P.86: "Accordingly, I set forth with my brother and Shaykh Salman on the journey from Isfahan to Acre. Extreme caution was necessary, we refrained from intercourse with any of the friends, specifically we took care that, not through any word or action of ours, should it became known that the two devoted brothers, Mirza Hasan, and Mirza Husayn of Isfahan, were BÂBis. These two dear first cousins of mine were always a great help to any of the friends who were in trouble. The tragedy of their martyrdom in 1878, when they were given the names of "King of the Martyrs" and "Beloved of the Martyrs…"
Shaykh Salman had brought direction from Baha for our journey. We gave out that we were going to Mecca. On our return from the holy shrine, we were directed to stay at Jedda.
"At length we left Jedda; my brother and myself, Shaykh Salman, and one servant, such was the little party of four who were permitted to make this pilgrimage to Acre. Always exercising the greatest discretion we proceeded on our way. We embarked at Alexandria for Acre; a telegram came; 'Do not land until fetched'. Permission to enter the city [of Acre] was obtained. 'Abdul, an [Arab] Christian merchant, landlord of the 'little house,' as it came to be called, where Baha and his family were then living, had stated that he expected some friends to visit him, as his friends we entered Acre, and went straightaway to his house."
"In a few days I went to stay at the house of Mirza Musa, the brother of Baha; here I remained for six months."
P.88: "Many beautiful daughters were offered from time to time by parents anxious that their child should have the honour of becoming the wife of the Master [i.e. Sir Abbas Effendi]. He refused to consider any of them until I arrived; we met each other once, and our marriage was arranged." "On the day of my wedding Baha spoke wonderful words to me: "Oh Munira! My heart!
I have destined you for the wife of my greatest branch. This is the bounty of God to you. In earth or in Heaven there is no greater gift. Many have come, but we have rejected them and chosen you. Be worthy of him, and of our generosity to you."
P.89: "For fifty years my beloved and I were together."
P.90: "When my darling little son Husayn passed away, Baha wrote the following: "The knowledge of the reason why your sweet baby has been called back in the mind of god, and will be manifested in his own good time. To the prophets of God the present and the future are as one.'
Therefore I understand how that wisdom has ordained the uniting of the two families, that of Baha and of the BÂB, in the person of Shoghi Effendi, eldest son of our daughter Ziyaiyya Khanum, by her marriage with Aqa Mirza Hadi Afnan."
To sum up: Lady Munira's parents were childless. They partook of a morsel blessed by the BÂB. The BÂB's morsel worked wonders. The mother of the 'Holy Mother' conceived and in due time gave birth to the 'Holy Mother'. In her dream, the 'Holy Mother' visited "a radiant city of shining glory. Written on its walls were Love-Baha-Jerusalem." In the temple of the city, the 'Holy Mother' met with the Holy Ones. Muhammad presented her "a radiant neckless of diamonds. Baha "wished the 'Holy mother' to come to him." Arrived at Acre, the 'Holy Mother stayed in the house of Baha's brother Mirza Musa for six months. The 'Holy Mother' and Sir Abbas Effendi "met each other once, and our marriage was arranged," by Baha.
There was no need for the 'Holy Mother' to grieve over the death of her little son, therein lay a wisdom which ordained the uniting of the two families, that of Baha and of the BÂB, in the person of Shoghi Effendi."
The 'Holy Mother's' rosy and embellished account of her own self is not however shared by Baha. The considerations which according to the somewhat different account in the memoirs necessitated the removal of 'Holy Mother' from Isfahan to Acre will be seen infra.
In his autograph letter, addressed to his wife Asiya Khanum, surnamed Nawab, and to his daughter Samadiyya Khanum, and his son Mirza Ziyaullah and Mirza Badiullah, who were vacationing at Haifa, Baha refers to the 'Holy Mother' as "the She of Isfahan", namely Munira, who oblivious of her compact with Samadiyya Khanum [to wait on her as a main-servant] has stuck to the Most Great Branch, like a tick of Edirne," in allusion to parasitic acarids with which Edirne was infested at the time of Baha's sojourn there.
This was Baha's considered opinion of "the She of Isfahan" before her marriage with the "beloved", who died in Haifa on November 28, 1921.
2. Munira's Character on The Authority of Baha
2.1 Munira’s Ulterior Motive
PP. 5-7: “During the last years preceding the ascension [i.e. Baha’s death], he [i.e. Baha] declared with the utmost clarity, time after time, the ulterior motives of the wife of the Most Mighty Branch Abbas [i.e. Munira Khanum].
Also he disclosed secret intentions of her as well as of her dependents aiming at guardianship (Walayat) and executorship (Wasayat). Most of the times this servant [i.e. Badiullah] was forbidden by him [i.e. Baha] to go to Acre. And sometimes when his permission was forthcoming, I was strictly enjoined upon by him to guard myself against foul play on the part of the afore-mentioned[i.e. Munira Khanum] and against eating or drinking anything from her hands.
Whenever the Most Mighty Branch [i.e. Abdul Baha was received in audience [by Baha] at the palace at Bahja, he would invite this servant [i.e. Badiullah] to visit Acre. Upon submission [of the matter to] and request for permission [from Baha], he [i.e. Baha] would say: “In order to please me, he [i.e. Abdul Baha] invites you to go to Acre. I am averse to your going to Acre because they are out to lay snares for you. Through her influence on the Most Mighty Branch [i.e. Abdul Baha], the woman of Isphahan [Isphahaniyya-i, i.e. Munira Khanum] is out to translate her ulterior motives into action through the instrumentality of him.”
On account of her, the displeasure of the Blessed Beauty [Jamal-i Mubarrak of Baha] waxed high day by day, and he explained her wicked motives.
2.2 Munira’s Influence on Abbas Effendi
In the latter years preceding his death, Baha "stated with clarity" the secret thoughts of Sir Abbas Effendi's wife [i.e. Lady Munira], her influence on him, and ulterior motives to set up guardianship and executorship." On many occasions I was not permitted by Baha to go to Acre [Baha, his wife Mahd-i-Ulya and his children by her lived in the Bahja, a few miles away from town of Acre. Sir Abbas Effendi, his mother Nawab, and his sister lived in Acre]. Occasionally when permission was forthcoming I was enjoined by him "to be wary and chary of attempt upon my life on her part and not to eat or drink anything effected by her."
« و در سنین اخیره قبل از صعود بکرات سرّیه حرم غصن اعظم را عباس بکمال وضوح بیان میفرمودند و همچنین تأثیر او را در غصن اعظم عباس افندی و ولایت و وصایت که مقصد سرّی او و منتسبین اش بود اظهار میفرمودند و اکثر اوقات این عبد را از رفتن به عکا منع میفرمودند و گاهی اذن عنایت میشد سفارش اکید میفرمودند از سوء قصد مذکوره احتراز نمایم و از دست او چیزی نخورم و هر وقت عصن اعظم در قصر بهجه شرفیاب میشدند این عبد را برفتن به عکا دعوت میکردند میخواهد بعد از عرض و طلب اذن میفرمودند ما را از خود راضی نماید بعکا دعوت میکند ما میل نداریم بعکا بروی لانّهم یریدون انّ بکیدوالک کیبدا. (ص 8) اصفهانیه نظر به تأثیرش در عصن اعظم میخواهد افکار سرّیه خود را بواسطة او جاری نماید روز بروز کدورت جمال مبارک از او در ازدیاد بود و مقاصد فاسده او را بیان میفرمودند پسر آرضای قنادی میرزا حبیب شرفیاب بود نظر به صغر سنش مضصرب شد بعد از مرخصی او احضار فرمودند پس از نوازش و دلچوئی فرمودند»
2.3 Baha Revealing Munira’s Intentions
One day this servant [i.e. Badiullah] applied to him for permission to Acre. Indignantly I was forbidden [to proceed]. Mirza Habib, son of Aqa Rida, the confectioner, was in audience at the time. Owing to his tender age, he was perturbed. After he was allowed to leave, I was summoned [by Baha]. After being caressed and soothed, he told me: Take a seat, I will give you an elucidation of the circumstances of this evil genies of Isphahaniyya [i.e. Munira Khanum] to enable you to guard yourself against her at all times:
This woman was the wife of Sayyid Kazim, brother of Sultan-ash-Shuhada, in Isphahan; for a time; This poor fellow was overtaken by afflictions caused by this fiend [i.e. Munira Khanum]; as no intimacy was established between them and as she failed to tempt him”
"Her feminine wiles failed to lure him into having a desire for her. In the end she rid herself of him by administering hot poisonous drugs to him. She had a daughter by him who died. Afterwards, she endeavoured for a time to become the wife of a [Bahai] missionary. Owing to her villainous actions, and association with her paternal aunt Qanita. No missionary she could ensnare. She came to Acre as a sweeper, and for service in the Harem. She petitioned for acceptance, we put her up in the house of Kalim [the brother, namely, Baha's full brother Mirza Musa] to wait on the Leaf Samadiyya [Baha's daughter married to Mirza Musa's son Mirza Majd-al-Din]."
“In those days the most Great branch [Sir] (Abbas) [Effendi] was a seeker after a wife exceedingly, and expressed [his intension] to the Harem. In his first meeting with the She of Isfahan, he took a liking to her. Letter by letter, she allured him with her womanly wiles in such wise that he became a frequenter of the Kalim's house. Owing to her villainous actions we viewed with disfavour that he should take her to wife. For a time we refused to entertain the solicitation and entreaties of the Most Great Branch (Abbas), put forward through some [members] of the Harem, and withheld permission. In the end, the affair reached the pitch that there was no other remedy for it but submit to it.”
"No sooner had the news reached Iran than the King of the Martyrs [i.e. Mirza Hasan of Isfahan, 'dear first cousin of mine, [see Munira's entry into Baha's household] sent a letter to the Servant [of the presence] [i.e. Baha's amanuensis Mirza Aqa Jan of Kashan], in which he expressed his considerable amazement at the admittance of this woman into the Harem, so much so that there was a fear for his faith to undergo abatement. He had written saying: "We were exceedingly pleased when we heard that she had gone to Acre to work as a sweeper, and for service, in the Harem, because these regions became purged of her deeds and vices, and she might perhaps reform herself. But that she should infiltrate into the Harem and be accepted was absolutely inconceivable.' We sent an epistle and propitiated the king of the Martyrs."
"three days after she was joined in wedlock with the Most Great Branch, this catastrophe [i.e. Lady Munira] wrought a change into his character to such extent that dealings with other members of the family underwent a change. Night and day she strove, and weaned him entirely from the members of the household. She created such a rift between the Most Great Branch and his mother that she continually suffered from torment, complained and wept."
"And, now she is out to set up guardianship & executorship in her own issue through this man, and to service bygone fancies. But it is impossible that god would leave male issues to the Most Great Branch by this Munira. In as much as the presence of you branches [i.e. Baha's sons] conflicts with her thoughts for the future. She is striving most strenuously for your annihilation. You always beware of her."
« بنشین تا شرح حال این راهیه اصفهانیه را بگویم و همیشه از او خود را حفظ نمائی. این زن در اصفهان زوجه سید کاظم اخوی سلطان الشهداء بود و بیچاره در امر این بلاد مبتلا بود و چون بینشان الفت حاصل نشد و به حیل نسائیه نتوانست او را به خود مایل نماید بالاخره به واسطه ادویه حارة مسموده خود را از او خلاص نمود، از او یک دختر داشت مٌرد و بعد از مدتی کوشید زن یکی از مبلغین گردد. نظر به سوء اعمالش و مصاحبتش مدتی با عمه خود قانطه در دام او گرفتار نشدند، به اسم جاروکش و خدمت حرم به عکا آمد و استدعای قبول نموده او را در بیت کلیم برای خدمت ورقه صمدیه منزل دادیم این ایام غصن اعظم (عباس) بسیار طالب عیال بود و به حرم اظهار میداشت. ملاقات اول با اصفهانیه میل به او نمود و کم کم چنان به حیل نسائیه او را جذب نمود که اکثر اوقات در بیت کلیم بود. نظر به سوء اعمالش میل نداشتیم او را ببرد و مدتی اصرار و الحاح غصن اعظم (عباس) به واسطه بعضی از حرم قبول ننمودیم و اجازه ندادیم امر به درجه ای رسید که جز قبول چاره نماند و چون این خبر به ایران رسید سلطان الشهداء نامه به خادم نوشت و در آن بسیار اظطراب از قبول این زن در حرم نموده بودند به درجه ای که بیم آن بود ایمانش سست گردد و نوشته بودند وقبیکه شنیدیم او را برای چاروکشی بیت وخدمت حرم رفته بسیار مسرور شدیم از اینکه هم این جهات از اعمال و نقائص او ظاهر گشت وهم او شاید تربیت شود ولی ابداً گمان نمیرفت داخل حرم و مقبول گردد لوحی ارسال نمودیم و سلطان الشهداء را ساکن نمودیم بعد از سه روز از پیوستن این داهیه به غصن اعظم اخلاق او را تغییر داد به درجه ای که معامله او با سائر اهل و عاطله تغییر کرد شب و روز کوشید و او را از اهل بیت به کلی فصل نمود و بین عصن اعظم و والده اش را به درجه ای رساند که دائماً از او معذب بود و شکوه داشت و گریه میکرد و حال میخواهد بواسطه این مرد ولایت و وصایت در ذریه خود قرار دهد و اوهامات قبل را تجدید نماید ولی ممکن نیست خدا از این منیره به جهت غصن اعظم اولاد ذکور بگذارد و چون وجود شما اغصان مخالف فکر مستقبل اوست به کمال جهد در اضمحلالتان ساعی است باید همیشه از او احتراز نمائید. »
"Her allegation that she is His-Holiness the Supreme's [i.e. the Point's] Morsel [see Munira's entry into Baha's household] is falsehood and calumny. Never can His-Holiness the Supreme's Morsel be the cause of procreation of a scoundrel like her. She bruited about this falsehood, whereby to establish a miracle for herself. She wants to say that from the “day of Am I Not [Yom a-last (a-lastu) = the day of the original covenant between god and man = the day of creation, when the interrogation, Am I Not Your God? Was put to Adam (and with him to his posterity) by the Creator] she was intended for the Most Mighty Branch [i.e. Abdul Baha Abbas]. "She has great skill in diabolical malignity." "Although we have prescribed these fancies, yet she does not desist from them. She has spoken of them to some historians, as for example to [Baha's historian] Nabil [for incorporation in their history]. [See Nabil's account of BÂB's morsel] we have ordered them to eliminate [account of her fancies]. She would not restrain herself. In the long run, she will cause a shock more violent than the shock inflicted by Sayyid Muhammad of Isfahan [murdered by Baha's men at Acre, Materials for the Study of the BÂBi Religion by Prof. Browne, P.55]; "Because her buttress is the Most Great Branch. It is impossible that god would let her fancies gain currency in the world. She may circulate fancies for a few days and such may credit them out of good faith. However, pure and holy souls we have promised in the Epistle, in the Most Holy Book (Al-Aqdas) and in the [Sura-i]-Haykal, will appear and rise up to destroy that which is at variance with the Cause and to set down that which was revealed by the Supreme Pen." Agreeably to the command, I noted down these directions forthwith.
« و اینکه میگوید من لقمه حضرت اعلی هستم کذب است و افتری هرگز لقمه حضرت اعلی سبب وجود خبیثه ای مثل او نمیشود این کذب را شهرت داد تا معجزه جهت خود ثابت نماید و میخواهد بگوید از یوم السبت باری غصن اعظم بوده ام در شیطنت ید طولانی دارد. (ص 7) با آنکه ما این اوهامات را منع نمودیم دست بر نمیدارد به بعضی از مورخین گفته من جمله نبیل امر کردیم محو نمایند دست بر نمیدارد بالاخره این شیطانه حدمه ای اشد از سید محمد اصفهانی به امر میزند چون تکیه اش به غصن اعظم است ولی ممکن نیست حق بگذارد افکار او در عالم رواجی حاصل نماید اگر چند روزی اوهامی شایع نماید و نفوس از روی سلامت نسبت اذعان نمایند نفوس طاهره مقدسه ای که در الواح و کتاب اقدس و هیکل وعده نمودیم ظاهر شوند و قیام نمایند آنچه مخالف امر است محو و آنچه از قلم اعلی نازل ثبت کنند » حسب الأمر فی الحین این فرمایشات را یادداشت نمودم
2.4 Baha Admonishing Abbas Effendi on Munira
P.8: One year before his death I was in audience with Baha. The Most Great Branch came to see him. I was about to take my leave when Baha beckoned me to stay. Addressing himself to the Most Great Branch said to him: "Listen to what I say and act accordingly. If you overstep it to one iota it will yield nothing but frustration. Do not heed to the temptations of Munira. Her intention is to create sedition in the cause. She wants to establish guardianship and executorship, and to resuscitate fancies of the past."
"Act agreeably to the document of Command [i.e. Baha's Will and Testament] and do not forget to be true to the Supreme Pen that has bestowed such a bounty on you. Know that if you act contrary to the command, it will produce nothing but blackness of face [i.e. disgrace], commotion and discord. In this dispensation the rule of change in the Divine Intention (Bada) applies not to the commandments revealed by the Supreme Pen."
I saw the Most Great Branch off. He asked me not to disclose these directions. I wrote down these directions promptly.
« روزی قبل از صعود به یک سال تعریباٌ بعد از ظهر قبل از عصر در حضور بودم غصن اعظم حسب اعاده که هر چند روزی مشرف میشدن شرفیاب شده تعظیم نموده ایستادند چون وجه مبارک به طرف پنجره بود چند دقیقه ای طول کشید هنگامیکه به طرف اطاق توجه نموند و غصن اعظم احوالپرسی و اظهار عنایت فرمودند: « آنچه میگویم بشنو و به موجب آن عمل نما اگر ذره ای تجاوز نماطی جز خسران نتیجه ای نبخشد گوس به وسوسه منیره مده غرور اخذت نکند مقصد او فساد در امر است و میخواهد ولایت و وصایت تأسیی نماید واوهامات قبل را تجدید کند موافق آنچه نوشته ام حرکت نما و وفای به قلم اعلی را که چنان عنایتی نمودند فراموش مکن و بدان آنچه مخالف امر حرکت نمائی نتیجه ای جز روسیاهی و اظطراب و اختلاف ندهد رجالیکه در الواح از قلم اعلی قیام و نصرت آنان مرقوم ظاهر خواهد شد و آنچه مخالف امر است محو و آنچه موافق است ثبت خواهند کرد در این ظهور حکم بدابر اوامر نازله از قلم اعلی تعلق نمیگیرد. » و بعد امر به چائی فرمودند. »
« بعد از صرف چائی عصن اعظم مرخص شده من هم همراهشان به مشایعت بیرون رفتم خارج از غرفه مبارکه آهسته فرمودند این فرمایشات مبارک را جایی ذکر نکنید و حالا آنچه فرموده بودند یادداشت کردم. باری روز به روز کدورت جمال مبارک بهاءالله از منیره و تابعانش در ازدیاد بود روزیکه خبر وفات پسر کوچک اخیر او را آوردند فرمودندممکن نیست خدا جهت غصن اعظم از این اصفانیه اولاد ذکور بگذارد خیالات ولایت دارد و بعد هرچه بوسائط جهت حمل تمسک نموده ثمره نبخشید مذکوره چون همه افکار مستقبل او رابیان میفرمودند عداوت باطنی به جمال مبارک بهاءالله و آل داشت ومنتظر سنوخ فرصت بود والده غصن اعظم عباس افندی قبل از فوت فرموند منیره من راکشت نمیدانم سر خانم چه بیاورد به درجه ای فساد کرده بود که غصن اعظم دائما والده اشانرا زجر میکردند و اکثر اماء موجوده مطلع بودند و بعضی ذکر آنرا بعد از صعود میکردند و ؟ عباس افندی مبتلا میشدند و از ناقضی محسوب میگشتند ..... حفظ نوشتجات سفارسی میکردند که به دست اصفهانیه نیفتد و میفرموند هر نوشته نزد عصن اعظم باشد به دست او می افتد و محو میگردد این زن آتشی است در این عائله (ص 9) وغصن اعظم به درجه ای در قید اطاعت اوست که آنچه نصیحت کنم ثمره ندارد خدا سما را از او حفظ کند آنچه باید نوشته ام سفارش کل را نموده ام. »
In short Baha's displeasure with her and her clique waxed high day by day. When news of the death of her small son was conveyed to Baha, he said: "It is impossible that God would leave a male child to the Most Great Branch by the She of Isfahan. She is after executorship."
Inwardly she harboured enmity towards Baha and his family. She bided her time. Before her death the mother of the Most Great Branch said: "Munira has killed me. I do not know what she will cause to happen to the Khanum [i.e. Sir Abbas Effendi's full sister Bahiyya]. She provoked such a mischief that the Most Great Branch continually persecuted his mother. Most of the women were aware of this fact. Any one who made mention of it after Baha's death incurred the wrath of [sir] Abbas Effendi and was accounted a violator [of the covenant].
2.5 Baha’s Concern For His Writings
Baha stressed the safeguarding of the writings lest they fall into the hands of the She of Isfahan. Baha reiterated: "Any writing held by the Most Great Branch will fall into her hands and suffer destruction. This woman is a firebrand that has descended on this family. Baha continued: "and the most Great Branch is held in bond of obedience to such extent that no counsels of mine would prevail. May god protect you from her. I have written what is necessary. I have made provision for all."
2.6 Abbas Effendi’s Submission to Munira
P. 9 : “and the Most Mighty Branch [i.e. Abdul Baha Abbas] is so kept in leash of submission to her that all my counsels [to him] prove fruitless. May god protect you from her …. The apostle of God [i.e. Muhammad] nominated [no successor], that was a cause of discord …… Had he nominated [one] would there not have been dissension.” …….. The woman of Isfahan [i.e. Munira Khanum] will do her business; She will disrupt the word of divine unity; She will be the cause of trouble and execration for a limited period of time.”
3. Baha's Prediction 'Impending commotions'
P.11 : In those days traces of anguish were apparent in Baha's face and he continually referred to impending commotions in the cause. The Bahais were under the impression that his anguish was traceable to the Servant [of the presence, to wit, Baha's amanuensis Mirza Aqa Jan of Kashan]. Aqa Sayyid Mahdi & Dahaj called on Baha and ascertained from him whether his anguish was caused by the servant. Baha replied: "By the servant; it is absurd. Go and swear that it is not from his. My enemy is lurking in my sleeves."
ص 11 – در آن ایام آثار کدورت از وجه مبارک حاضر بود و پیوسته عباراتی که دلالت بر وقوع اظطرابات در امر میگردد از لسان عظمت اصفا میشد بعضی از بهائیان موجوده آن کدورت را از خادم گمان نمودند آسید مریدی دهجی علیه الرحمة اذن شرفیابی طلب نموند بعد از فوز به لقاء عرض کردند کدورت جمال مبارک از خادم است فرموند « از خادم ؟ به معنی ! برو قسم بخور از او نیست دشمن در استین من است »
4. Carving of a ‘Calf’
P. 14: Baha reflected for a while and observed: "The inhabitants of Isfahan are of two categories: one category of extreme degree of faith & and of firm belief, possessed of commendable character, like the king of the martyrs and the beloved of the Martyrs [see Munira's entry into Baha's household], and one category of extreme degree of Zandaqa (heresy, impiety) and of disbelief malignity, like Sayyid Muhammad [of Isfahan, see Baha revealing Munira's intentions] and Munira."
Baha said: "The She of Isfahan is bidding her time. She will cause great mischief, she will carve a calf. She will lead weaklings astray save a handful of my thoughtful creatures. God's men are in concealment in the unseen. They will appear in the fullness of time. They shall smash the calf, and they shall guide all to the law of the divine unity, love and union."
ص 14 – بعد از قدری تأمل فرمودند « اهل اصفهان دو قسمند قسمی در منتهی درجه ایمان و ایقان و اخلاق مرضیه مانند سلطان الشهدا و محبوب الشهداء و عبدالغفار و عبد الصالح و قسمی در منتهی درجه زندق و شیطنت مثل سید محمد م منیره .... حضرت غصن اکبر و ابن کلیم اقای مجدالدین داماد به حفظ ادویه از دست تصدی نفوس مغرضه منتظر صعود و تقویم آن پرداختند ... « اصفانیه منتظر است و فساد عظیمی خواهد نمود عجل خواهد تراشید نفوس ضعیفه را گمراه خواهد نمود مگر قلیلی و قلیلی من عبادی الشکور رجال الهی در غیب مکنونند وقلی ظاهر گردند عجل را بشکنند و کل را به شریعت توحید و محبت و اتحاد هداین تمایند. »
5. Baha’s Concern for His Life
P. 14 : Referring to Baha’s illness and to his treatment by Doctors Badiullah writes: “The Most Great Branch [i.e. Muhammad Ali] and Aqa Majduddin, son of Kalim [Musa, brother of Baha], [Baha’s] son-in-law, were charged with the duty of safeguarding of medicines against being tampered with by self-interested persons expectant of the ascension [i.e. death of Baha] and of administering same [to Baha].”
P. 16: Badiullah adds: In order to get me out of the way “lest Baha should draw up a fresh Will & Testament”, Abdul Baha Abbas sent me out to Acre on a fool’s errand and “made available obituary notices” in anticipation of Baha’s death.
6. Outpouring of Abbas Effendi towards Mahd-i-Ulya
P. 19: One day I proceeded to Acre accompanied by Baha's surviving wife Mahd-i-Ulya and members of his household. In the courtyard of Sir Abbas Effendi's home there was a group of his followers, who were murmuring. We walked straightway into the room, where Sir Abbas Effendi was sitting. "He received us full of rage and with flushed face." He turned towards Mahd-i-Ulya and poured forth words and remarks, which decency forbids me to put down. He was grossly scurrilous."
He told her: "As an instance, you say that my writings should not be named 'tablets' and that carpet [i.e. outfit of tablet and pen is rolled up."
With the utmost politeness she replied: "We do not say this. The Blessed Beauty [i.e. Baha] has commanded it. It is provided in the tablets [in allusion to Baha's writings, in which he records that at his death, the supreme Pen ceases to move on tablets, and the cry of the Supreme Pen is hushed].”
Sir Abbas Effendi "pronounce the Blessed name [of Baha] most scornfully. He was abusive and scurrilous. His wife and her clique were sitting. Their faces displayed pleasure."
ص 19 - « روزی با حرم (مهد علیا) و بقیه آل از نساء رفتیم به عکا در پائین خانه جمعی از رجال بودند وهمهمه ای بود رفتیم در حرم یکسر به اطاقیکه حضرتشان جالس بود به مجرد وصول عضب آلود و چهره ای برافروخته خوش آمد گفتند و بدون فاصله رو به حرم مهد علیا نمودند کلماتی و عباراتی ذکر نمودند که حیا مانع ذکر ان است بسیار بد زبان بودند من جمله « میگوئید نوشته های من را لوح نگویند بساط لوح و قلم پیچیده شد؟ » حرم مبارک مهد علیا به کمال ادب فرمودند « ما نمیگوئیم جمال مبارک فرموده اند و در الواح مسطور» به کمال استهزا اسم مبارک را به زبان راندند و فحش دادند و بد زبانی کردند حرمشان و من یتعلق نشسته بودند و سرور از وجهشان نمودار بود.
7. Allegation of ‘European Prostitutes at the Bahja Mansion’
P.26 : I came from Haifa to Acre. I called on the Most Great Branch Sir Abbas Effendi. He inquired after my health and displayed the utmost love towards me. He then said: "The Most Mighty Branch Mirza Muhammad Ali took three European prostitutes to the Bahja mansion and put them there for the night. He then despatched them to Syria. He has disgraced us."
Although I knew that such a thing was not possible to take place, yet it caused some astonishment. I proceeded to the Bahja mansion and enquired from the Most Pure Branch Mirza Ziyaullah whether any female guests had stayed for the night in the mansion. He replied: "The Most Great Branch [Sir Abbas Effendi] sent a note in which he said: "three female travellers from Europe will spend the night in the Bahja mansion. Entertain them to the utmost. In the morning they will be travelling to Beirut, accompanied by [their dragoman] Mr Jad." Agreeably to his directions [in the note] we entertained them, and in the morning they proceeded to Beirut, accompanied by Mr. Jad."
Mirza Ziyaullah "produced to me the note, which was penned in Sir Abbas Effendi's handwriting." These three women were from Europe. They were not Bahais.
ص 26 – یک روز حسب العاده از حیفا به عکا آمدم و یک سر رفتم نزد غصن اعظم عباس بعد از احوالپرسی و اظهار محبت فوق العاده و سؤال از اجرای اوامر صادره فرمودند « خبر داری ؟» عرض کردم « خیر! » فرمودند « میرزا محمد علی (یعنی غصن اکبر) سه زن فاحشه از اهل غرب برده شب در قصر نگاه داشته و بعد روانه سوریه کرده ما را رسوا کرده » با آنکه میدانستم این ممکن الوقوع نیست باز قدری سبب حیرت شد رفتم به قصر آهسته از غصن اطهر (میرزا ضیاء الله) سؤال کردم اینجا از زنان کسی مهمان بوده؟ فرمودند «نامه غصن اعظم مرقوم فرموده اند که سه زن مسافر از اهل غرب شب را در قصر میمانند نهایت پزیرائی بکنید و صبح با خواجه بهاء روانه بیروت میشوند حسب الأمر پزیرائی نمودیم و صبح با خواجه مذکور رفتند و نامه ای به خط ایشان بود نشان دادند آن سه زن از اهل غرب بودند نه بهائی »
8. Abbs Effendi’s Despair of a male offspring
P. 26: In short the Branches and members of Baha's family were designated Covenant-Breakers, Satan and Balaam. The catastrophe, the She of Isfahan, became counsellor and God's wife, according to her the custodian of the boys of heaven and hell steadfast in the covenant, and channel of access to paradise and hell.
Despaired of a male offspring of honour and after her daughter's [Ziyaiyya Khanum’s] marriage with Sayyid Hadi of Shiraz [surnamed Afnan], she looked forward to the arrival of an heir apparent from his loins [to step into the shoe of Sir Abbas Effendi after his death].
With the birth of an heir apparent [i.e. in person of Shoghi Effendi] the mask off, and in [Bahai meetings and assemblies she and her collaborators set themselves to inciting [Bahais] to curse and revile the Branches and the House of God [i.e. Baha], and more specially the Most Mighty Branch [Mirza Muhammad Ali].
9. Ziyaiyya’s Marriage to Mirza Hadi
P. 31: The evil genius, the wife of Abdul Baha Abbas, had promised to give her daughter [Ziyaiyya Khanum] in marriage to Mirza Hadi [Afnan]. The daughter was not willing to give her consent thereto. Therefore, Badiullah was requested by Bahiyya Khanum, sister of Abdul Baha Abbas to use his good offices, to talk to Ziyaiyya Khanum and to prevail upon her. His good offices aborted. She refused to consent, turned her face to the wall and cried copiously. Badiullah reported his failure to his step-sister Bahiyya Khanum. Later, Ziyaiyya Khanum was prevailed upon to marry Mirza Hadi Afnan “on condition that the guardianship [Walayat] was to vest in her male issue” after Abdul Baha Abbas, to which prospective information or succession Abdul Baha Abbas “plighted his troth,” in advance. “Failure to conceive” despite all the means to, inclusive the use of the Hot Springs at Tiberias, coupled with the resultant despair, had driven the evil genius, the wife of Abdul Baha Abbas, to accelerate the marriage of her daughter in a bid “to trump up a guardianship.”
ص 25 - « باری بعد از رجوع از طبریه اغصان و آل و عترت جمال مبارک جل شأنه ناقض عهد و پیمان شیطان و بلعام نامیده شدند و داهیه اصفهانیه و من علی شاکلنها که عدو جمال مبارک و عترتشان بودند مشیر ومستشار و حرم الله و بقول خودش جنت و جهنم در دست من است ثابت ثابت بر عهد و میثاق و واسطه وصول بنعیم وجهیم گشتند ... بعد از دادن دختر به سید هادی و مأیوس خود اولاد ذکور به انتظار ولی عهد از صلب هادی شیرازی و دختر خود بود و به مجرد آنکه ولی عهد دنیا آمد حجاب را پاره کرند در جمیع مجالس و محافل نفوس متفقه با او به لعن و طعن اعصان و آل الله بالاخص غصن اکبر تشویق مینمودند.
10. Baha’s Family Branded As Covenant-Breakers
P. 35: In the long run, Baha’s “sons” and Baha’s “members of Family” was branded as “Covenant-Breakers, Satan, and Balaam,” and “the evil genius, the woman of Isfahan, the wife of Abdul Baha Abbas, came to be known as the counsellor, advisor, and the wife of god, the custodian of the heys of paradise and hell, the steadfast in the covenant, and the channel of access to pleasures hell-fire.” Muhammad Ali was pictured “as a bear”, and with the birth of a son to Ziyaiyya Khanum and her husband Mirza Hadi Afnan, “the mask was off” and free rein was given “to the vilification and calumniation of god’s [i.e. Baha’s] family and [Baha’s] sons.”
11. Red Rose with a Mission
A female visitor, from Tehran called the Red Rose was sent back on special assignment with secret instructions from Lady Munira.
Arrived there she held a meeting in the house of Baha's cousin in Tehran, to which "hand-maidens of the Merciful" [i.e. female believers in Baha] were invited. After the meeting "She burnt the Branches in effigy and passed remarks upon them."
زنی از مسافران موسوم به گل سرخ را فائزه لقب داده با تعلیمات سریّه روانه ایران نموده در تهران در خانه ؟ عمه (؟ عمه دختر عمه حرم مبارک گوهر خانم بود جمال مبارک او را ؟ عمه نامیدند چنانچه در الواح مقدسه مذکور) آماء رحمن را دعوت نموده بعد از اجتماع گل سرخ عکس های اغصان را که موجود بوده پاره کرده در سماور ریخته سوزاند و عباراتی در حق اغصان و آل ذکر کرد (ص 26) در بین نساء موجوده اظطرابی حاصل اکثر این عمل را کفر و خروج از حد شریعت و عزت امرالله دانستند ولی بی حیائی او که از نزد بی حیاتر از خودآمده بمانع از اظهار عاطفه آن آماء رحمن بود زیرا غصن اعظم در حق خود هرکه می نوشتند زن یا مرد در ایران اظهار محبت نص قاطع کتاب عهدی که امر به احترام اغصان اعزازاً میفرماید میداند او را ناقض عهد و پیمان و پی در پی ادای توهین وتدبیر و تخریب و تحقیر او مادی و ادبی میرفت و بالعکس نفوسیکه نسبت به اغصان و حرم و آل بها افترا و کذب و لعن و طعن او رامیداشتند و غصن اعظم را از جمال مبارک جل شأنه به مراتب بالاتر و اعظم تر میشمردند در حقشان ثابت بر عهد و میثاق الهی الطاف و عنایات فوق العاده مرقوم میداشتند.
The action of the Red Rose produced commotion amongst the audience. Most of the hand-maidens of the Merciful condemned it as disbelief and transgression of Baha's code of divine legislation. But the brazen-facedness of the Red Rose, who was sent by "more brazen-faced" than herself, brooked no public expression of sympathy by the hand-maidens of the merciful Because any person in Iran, irrespective of sex, reported to have expressed sympathy for the Branches & Baha's family was deemed by the Most Great Branch to have violated Baha's Will and Testament. Such a person was branded as a Covenant Breaker and active steps were taken by Sir Abbas Effendi "to despise and vilify, and to destroy morally and materially. Such a person."
12. The Measure for Steadfastness
Any person who indulged himself in calumny, falsehood, imprecation and continuously against the Branches, Baha's [surviving] wife and Baha's house, and who regarded the Most Great Branch higher and greater than the blessed beauty [i.e. Baha] by far, was deemed by him to be steadfast in the covenant and bounties and favours were showered upon him.
13. The Censorship Imposed By Abbas Effendi
P. 36: The Most Great Branch laid down the law that outgoing mail was to be censored by him. Bahais took their letters to him for examination. Envelopes containing the letters passed by him were sealed with a seal prepares for the purpose. Unsealed letters were ordered by him to be returned by their addresses.
« و چون اعلان کرده بودند همه نامه هائی که به اطراف میفرستند باید ببرند نزد شان بخوانند و بر روی پاکت مهری که منحصر این امر مهیا نموده بودند مهر نمایند و همچنین به اطراف امر محکم داده بودند هر پاکتی ممهور به مهرشان نباشد چس بفرستند به این واسطه آنچه میخواستند القا می نمودند و می نوشتند بازار کذب و افترا و تمیمه رواج گرفت و موری که هیچ رذیلی از اراذل ارتکاب آنرا جایز نمیدانند نسبتش را خود غصن اعظم عباس افندی و آل بهاء مسدادند و گوشزد و امر به تحریر آن ببعضی از خاصان می نمودند و نظر به آنکه خود سیاسی بودند به حیل سیاسه اظهار دلتنگی از آن اتکار و نوشته ها می نمودند. »
14. Lots of Inc to Swallow!
In this way whatever he suggested was written. The mart of falsehood and slander was in full swing, acts which no rascal would justify himself to perpetrate. The Most Great Branch [Sir] Abbas Effendi attributed to the Branches and Baha's household, and prompted and ordered some of his families to write as a politician he brought his political stratagem into play and made a semblance of annoyance at those remarks & writings. He smeared certain passages in the letters with finger with his saliva. He then put about the following: “what can the master do? With all his inhibitions no body will listen to him. In the process of expunction he has swallowed as much as six kilograms of inc. Night and day he defends his branches and the family [of Baha] But their deeds are so hostile and condemnable that Bahais cannot restrain themselves from writing.”
« بعضی مواقع در مکاتیب را به انگشت تر کرده با آب دهان سیاه میکردند و شهرت میدادند سر کار آقا چه بکنند هرچه منع میکنند کسی نمیشنود از بسکه پاک کرده اند به قدر دو من مرکب خورده اند شب و روز از اغصان و آل مرافعه میکنند ولی اعمالشان به درجه ای مخالف و مردود است که بهائیان نمیتوانند خود را از تحریر منع نمایند. »
15. Hardship Brought on Baha’s Household
Poisons were administered by the catastrophe to the Most Great Branch, wherewith to secure love and obsess his thoughts, included the mandrake."
In no time all avenues were blocked in the face of these wronged-ones by Sir Abbas Effendi. All were strictly forbidden to associate and converse with, and even to lod at us. Anyone who raised opposition and made signs of recognition [to the wronged-ones], Sir Abbas Effendi's spies immediately informed against him and the poor fellow was victimised with thousand lies and innumerable slanders. He incurred the wrath of Sir Abbas Effendi. He was abused foully. He was beaten up. Any cruelty was deemed lawful for him. Sir Abbas Effendi brought such pressure to bear on Baha's house and cut off food supplies that for a time we were in fact starving in the Bahja mansion. To palliate his action the Most Great Branch said: "I have purposely put the screw on them to make them come and ally themselves with me." Wherever his purpose was to implement vicious intentions of his wife and to act up an ephemeral hierarchy and nothing else. Some non-Bahai friends learnt the fact and rendered financial assistance. The Most Great Branch's move to thwart the assistance aborted. News of Sir Abbas Effendi's treatment of us spread like wild fire in Acre and reached the ears of the Divisional-General Mustafa Remzi Pasha. The Most Great Branch cooked a statement of account and took it to the Pasha. In it he posted huge sums of money by having been spent for the Bahja mansion. The Pasha laughed in his sleeve and told him: "The account does not agree with truth. Go and dead by your brothers in a manner befitting high rent and greatness." The Most Great Branch was agitated. He noised absurd that the Branches had complained to the authorities against him.
(ص 29) جناب آقا سید احمد افنان اعلی الله مقامه هر وقت میرفتند به عکا و عصن اعظم داد و فریادشان بلند بود بعد از برگشتن ذکر میکردند گویا اصفانیه عیار مِهر گیاه را زیاد کرده بود امروز بین بهائیان بیشتر از روزهای دیگر فریاد میکردند چون قدریکه عیار از معناد تجاوز میکند طبیعت حار میشوند داهیه از جمله داروهائیکه برای جلب محبت و تسلط بر افکار غصن اعظم میداد مهر گیاه بودباری چندی نگذشت که جمیع طرق را بر وجه این مظلومان بستند و همه را از معاشرت و مغالطه حتی نگاه کردن منع شدید نموده اند وهرکه مخالفت می نمود و به اغصان تعارفی میکرد جواسیس پراکنده حالا خبر میکردند و بیچاره به هزار کذب و افترای بی حد مبتلا میشد و مورد غضب میثاق میشد فحشی میدادند کتک میزدند وهر ظلم و تعدی را در حقشان روا میداشتند به اخلاق سبعی نفوس بیچاره محبان اهل بیت را از هرجهت احاطه میکردند و صدماتی فوق العاده میزدند به درجه ای که شبه آنرا کسی ندیده و نشنیده به درجه ای بر آل بها تنگ گرفته و قطع مواد غذائیه نمودند که چندی این جمع در قصر فی الحقیقه گرسنه بودیم و غصن اعظم برای تسلیت میگفتند مخصوص تنگ گرفتم که بیایند با من متفق شوند و حال آنکه مقصدشان اجرای مقاصد فاسده حرمشان و تأسیس ریاست فانیه بود لا غیر. بعضی از دوستان بهائی پس از استماع مساعده مالی نموده اند و منع غصن اعظم نتیجه نبخشید شهرت این امر گوشزد بزرگ و کوچک اهل عکا شده و باعظ اظطراب کل شد من جمله فرید مصطفی رمزی پاشا غصن اعظم دفتری درست کرده بودند نزد پاشای مذکور مبلغ زیادی به اسم مصروف قصر بهجی نشان دادند فرید پاشا لبخندی نموده گفتند این حساب موافق حقیقت نیست بروید با برادران موافق علو و شأن بزرگان حرکت نمائید غصن اعظم برآشفتند و شهرت دادند اغصان به حکومت شکایت نموده اند.
P.40 : The length to which he went through political channels to bring about our downfall beggars description. At home and abroad he left no stone unturned to bring the Branches and members of Baha's home into dissipate. His wrong doing reached such a pitch that it had a dealing with claim against a person he foiled it & stopped repayment of the debt, which he himself posed as the wronged-one. The avowed object of all this wrongdoing, inspired by evil suggestions of the catastrophe, the She of Isfahan, was to set the appointee of the Supreme Pen [i.e. Mirza Muhammad Ali], to appoint a successor and to return the hierarchy in the impure issue of [Sayyid] Hadi of Shiraz [surnamed Afnan, Shoghi Effendi's father]."
باری بطریق سیاسیه در اضمحلال ما به درجه ای میکوشید که از تعریف خارج است به جمیع وسائل تمسک جسته در داخل و خارج اغصان و اهل بیت بها از انظار ساقط نمایند ظلمشان به درجه ای رسید باهرکسی معامله یا طلبی داشتیم به هم زدند و منع از ادای دین نمودند و خود اظهار مظلومیت می نمودند همه از ظلمها به وسوسه داهیه اصفهانیه محص عزل منصوص قلم اعلی و تعیین خلف و بقای ریاست در ذریّه غیر طاهره هادی شیرازی بر آل الله و اغصان که از صلب طاهر مقدس جمال مبارک جل شأنه را روامیداشتند.
16. Abbas Effendi’s Gestapo like Regime
Corroborative evidence of Badiullah’s revelations concerning what may be termed Abdul Baha’s Gestapo system to secure strict obedience to him, Baha’s appraisal of Munira Khanum, and Shoghi Effendi’s antecedents is contained in the Payam-i Padar (the Father’s message) composed by Fayzullah (or Fazlullah) Muhtadi nicknamed Subhi, former Persian scribe to Abdul Baha Abbas, and “Channel of Grace between God and his creatures.”
The thread of the discourse is therefore left to Subhi to take it up.
Payam-i Padar: PP 102-103 & 114 : Baha’s tomb at Bahja abutted on Baha’s palace there wherein Muhammad Ali had his residence and business headquarters.
“Apprehensive of defection of Muhammad Ali’s party” pilgrims to and from Baha’s tomb were therefore invariably “escorted” by Abdul Baha’s men “with his secret agents on the look out to report any case of fraternization with Muhammad Ali or with any of his followers.” A party of pilgrims was escorted by Shoghi Effendi. After pilgrimage, Shoghi Effendi lined them in front of Muhammad Ali’s residence and instructed one of them to recite a recitation in vilification of Muhammad Ali. It ran as follows:
“I swear by god that the Arch-Covenant-Breaker [i.e. Muhammad Ali] has turned more ignoramus than a horde of lucifers. His pleasure lies in his being the ring-leader of block-heads.” The chorus was “Bravo, Bravo”.
17. Baha’s Prophecy
On several occasions, the Most Great Branch said: "A time will come when strong and able souls will appear. They will exert themselves to the utmost to set right the cause. They will destroy what I have written adverse [to the cause]."
( ص 46 ) غصن اعظم خود چنند مرتبه ذکر کردند وقتی می آید نفوس قویه مقتدری ظاهر شوند و با سلاح امر بکمال همت سعی کنند و آنچه من مخالف نوشته ام محو نمایند ..
18. Analogy to Omar & Ali
In the early days, the Most Great Branch sent a message to the Most Mighty Branch [Mirza Muhammad Ali, saying "Neither you should become the Omar [in allusion to Caliph Omar] nor should I become the Ali [in allusion to Imam Ali ibn Ali Talib]."
But things turned out to be otherwise. The Most Great Branch [Sir Abbas Effendi] became that Mu'awiya [in allusion to the first Caliph of the Ommiades] and the Most Might Branch [Mirza Muhammad Ali] that Ali."
در اوائل غصن اعظم برای غصن اکبر پیغام دادند نه تو آن عمر میشوی و نه من آن علی ولی امر بر عکس شد ایشان معاویه شدند و غصن اکبر علی
19. Carving a Guardian
All these troubles, statements contrary to the truth, calumnies and slanders were meant to destroy the Branches and the family [of Baha], to mould a calf into shape under the name of Guardian, pilot people to him and swerve them from the genuine guardian [Mirza Muhammad Ali]. Said Baha many times: "Munira, the She of Isfahan, wishes to carve a guardian and executor.'
ص 47 : همه اضطرابات و اقوال مخالف حقیقت و افتراها برای محو اغصان و آل بود تا باسم ولی عجلی بتراشند و نفوس را به او دلالت کنند و از ولی حقیق دور نمایند و جمال مبارک جل شانه آنچه در الواح مبارکه از قلمشان مسطور و آنچه از لسان عظمت جاری کل ظاهر شد به کرات می فرمودند « منیره اصفهانیه می خواهد ولی و وصی بتراشد به کسر واو به اصطلاح اهل صفهان.
20. The Dark and Light Sides of Abbas Effendi
Said Divisional-General Mustafa Remzi Pasha: "[Sir] Abbas Effendi bouts a summoning people of the world into peace, love and union. How can he justify his treatment of his brothers in this manner?" The Pasha paused for a while, and continued :"Outwardly [Sir] Abbas Effendi is light, and inwardly darkness. We are aware of his machination, and we take no notice of them. Be at ease. We will not let him cause harm to you.
فرید مصطفی رمزی پاشا گفتند « عباس افندی مدعی آنست که اهل عالم را به صلح و محبت و اتحاد دعوت مینماید چگونه با برادران این گونه و باطنش ظلمت بسیار و در مورد شما ها فساد میکند ولی ما مقاصدش را میدانیم اهمیت نمیدهیم آسوده باشید من نمی گذارم ضرری برساند»
PP.56-57 : With all frankness I can state that ninety percent of what he [i.e. Sir Abbas Effendi] has bruited about or written as regards the events at Acre as well as the history of the cause before and after the ascension [i.e. Baha's death] to this day, are contrary to the truth; because they are based on self-interest, namely, to annihilate the branches, Baha's family, and the writings of the Pen of the Most Glorious [Baha], and to designate a degenerate successor, as evidenced as clear as the sun at non-day after his passing.
(ص 57 – 56 « می توانم به کل صراحت بگویم آنچه شهرت داده و نوشته اند چه از وقوعات در عکا و تاریخ امر قبل از صعود و بعد از صعود الی یومنا هذا در صدی نود خلاف حقیقت است زیرا مبنی بر غرض شخصی و آن محو اغصان و آل بها و آثار قلم ابهی و تعیین خلف ناخلف بود چنانچه اظهر من الشمس فی رابعة النهار بعد از انتقالشان ظاهر شد. »
21. Association of Abbas Effendi With Colonel Badri Beg
This officer was a staff Colonel and associated with military & civil functionaries. He had a beautiful step daughter, the child of his wife by former marriage, who gathered young men around her.
Colonel Badri Beg hired a house at Haifa to spend the summer season there. He attended evening parties of the French Consul and leading members of the [Arab] Christian community. They engaged themselves in gambling.
The Most Great Branch [Sir Abbas Effendi] met all the [gambling] losses of the Beg, and provided for the upkeep of the [Beg's] house, and for the expenses of the [Beg's] step daughter. Thus the step daughter came to have plenty opportunity. She became familiar with a good looking Italian man. At night they met together and indulged themselves in love affair.
Some people became aware of the affair and advised the Beg to send the family to Acre. As the Beg himself had connection with the girl, and could not send her away from him. He disregarded the advice.
Eventually the Beg came to know about the affair and this roused his jealousy. One evening the Beg detailed two soldiers to go and deliver a message to the Italian young man on behest of the girl to come & see her at night. The house was unattended. The occupant had gone to Acre. As soon as the Italian young man came into the house & seated himself in the drawing room, the two soldiers appeared at the scene, caught hold of him, strangled him to death, stuffed up his throat with a long piece of rag, took him away and cast him into the sea.
In their hurry & bustle, they did not tie a stone to his foot to keep the corpse at the bottom of the sea.
In the morning his mother and relatives begun to search for the young man. Finally the young man's body was discovered near the sea shore, strangled to death.
The incident set people's tongue wagging. His mother and relatives raised a tumult in Haifa. They held Badri Beg responsible for the incident and brought an action against him and also against [Sir] Abbas Effendi because he came to Haifa after and frequented the Beg's house."
I realised that the allegation against the Most Great Branch [Sir] Abbas Effendi reflected on the whole family. By strong arguments and proof I applied myself to proving that it was impossible for him to have been involved in the matter. I called on members of the bereaved family to offer my condolences. I seised the opportunity to convince them that my brother [Sir] Abbas Effendi had not taken part at all in the matter. The mother of the deceased replied: "If he had not taken part in the matter, and had no connection with the girl, why did he take her to his own home in Acre?" I endeavoured as far as possible to exonerate the Most Great Branch [Sir] Abbas Effendi as the allegation reflected on the family as well as on Baha's name. But I did not expect that he would take her to his own house. I went to Acre to see what had happened. I enquired from the Baha'is and others. I found out that he had put up the notorious prostitute girl in his own house, the 'Abbud-House', which was the dwelling place of the Blessed Beauty [i.e. Baha], exalted be his power, before his ascension [i.e. death].
(ص 77 – 76) « حال حسب الوعده مختصری از احوال و اخلاق بدری بیک و مصاحبتش با غصن اعظم می نویسم ... من جمله این بدری بیک چون میر آلای ارکان حزب بود و با افراد عسگریه و ملکیه مخالف بود ... تفصیل این که بدری یک دختری از شوهر اولای زنش داشت یعنی نا دختری او بود و چون منظری زیبا داشت جوانان را دور خود جمع میکرد ... بیک مذکور در حیفا منزلی گرفت برای صیفیه و شبها با قنسول فرانسه و بعصی از بزرگان طائفه مسیحیه شب نشینی میکردند و به قمار بازی مشغول بودند و همه خسائر بیک مذکور را غصن اعظم میدادند و همچنین مصارف آن دختر و بیش را. دختر مجالی واسع بدست آورد با جوانی زیبا طلیانی الفت نموده شبها جمع میشدند و بعشق بازی مشغول بودند این کار کار عشق است دخلی به دین ندارد دختر مسلمه جوان مسیحی، بعضی مطلع شدند و به بدری بیک نصیحت کردند عائله را به عکا فرستد ولی چون خود او به این دختر علاقه داشت و نمیخواست از خود دور کند نصیحت ناصحان را اهمیت نداد تا آنکه از عالقه دختر به جوان طلیانی مطلع شد غیرتش حرکت کرد یک شب دو نفر از عسکریه را میفرستد برای جوان از لسان دختر پیغام میدهند شب بیاید در منزل کسی نبود رفته بودند به عکا آن بیچاره می آید به مجرد وصول و جلوس در سالون آن دو نفر داخل میشوند و او را میگیرند و خفه میکنند و جل زیادی در گلوی او میکنند و میبرند به دریا می اندازند از عجله سنگی به پای او نمی بندند که در قعر دریا او را نگاه داشته باشند فردای آن روز مادر و اقرباش عقب او میگردند بالاخره او را خفه کرده در کنار دریا پیدا میکنند چون اکثری علاقه او را به آن دختر داشتند ... او را نصیحت میکردند ترک کند ولی دختر مجال نمیداد قول ناصحان تأثیر نماید و او را به جاذبیه که داشت جذب مینمود قال و قیل فوق العاده در حیفا بلند مادر و اقرباش قیامت بر پا کردند و بدری بیک را مسئول نمودند و اقامه دعوی کردند و همچنین عباس افندی را چون خیلی می آمدند به حیفا و منزل او میرفتند این نگارنده دیدم اتهام غصن اعظم عباس به جهت همه عائله بدست بدلائل و براهین قویه اثبات میکردم که ممکن نیست در امر او مداخله کنند حتی چون یکوقتی ما در منزل آنان نشسته بودیم و بسیار محبت میکردند رفتم به تعزیه آنان به مناسبت اقناح کردم که ابداً برادر عباس افندی در آن امر اشتراکی نداشتند مادرش گفت اگر اشتراکی نداشتند و با دختر علاقه نداشتند چرا دختر را به منزل خود در عکا بردند ... این نگارنده به قدر امکان چون به جهت عائله و اسم جمال مبارک بد بود برائت غصن اعظم عباس افندی کوشیدم ولی گمان نمیکردم که او را منزل خود ببرند رفتم به عکا ببینم چه شده سئال از بعضی بهائیان و غیره نمودم معلوم شد در منزل خود که منزل عبود مسکن جمال مبارک جل شانه بود قبل از صعود دختر فاحشه مطروده را منزل داده اند. »
22. Proceedings of Investigations into Abbas Effendi
Accounts of allegations against Sir Abbas Effendi and of so-called proceedings of investigation are conflicting and contradictory:
To sum up: Sir Abbas Effendi speaks of one Royal Commission, that took the allegations against him for gospel, made no investigation, did not hear his defence, drew up its findings on the strength of the allegations and submitted them to Sultan.
The revised Edition of Dr. Esslemont’s Bahaullah and the New Era “an Edition which represents a revision made by the American National Spiritual Assembly, acting with the advice of Shoghi Effendi, speaks of two Royal Commissions. Sir Abbas Effendi appeared before the first Royal Commission, refuted the allegation and made certain statements. The second Royal Commission “finished its so-called investigation, prepared to report that the charges against Sir Abbas Effendi had been substantiated and recommend his exile or execution,” when the revolution broke out, the Sultan was deposed.
Lady Blomfield speaks of one Royal Commission. Sir Abbas Effendi wrote to the commission. Requesting it to be wary and chary of any documents that may be sent by his enemies containing untrue statements. The commission took advice of the request. The commission completed its investigation. Bit instead of submitting its findings on the allegations against Sir Abbas Effendi, in the light of which his majesty the Sultan was to be pleased to signify his pleasure. The commission stayed put in Acre “awaiting the official Farman, confirming the banishment of the master to Fizan in Libya.
Instead of that Farman, the commission had to leave for Istanbul as an attempt was made on the Sultan’s life. Arrived there, the commission presented its report to the Sultan, which contained three main charges. The Sultan’s government was pre-occupied with the conspiracy against the Sultan and the report was laid aside. In the meantime Sir Abbas Effendi sent in his written pleading to the sublime porte in Istanbul of the three main charges. “When the Sultan eventually received the report, he sentenced the master to banishment, but before the decree was carried out” the revolution broke out and the Sultan was deposed.
Shoghi Effendi speaks of two Royal commission, Sir Abbas Effendi was summoned to appear before the first Royal Commission. He appeared before it on “several occasions”. Each of the charges brought against him, he carefully and fearlessly refused. He cited Baha’s testament as authority in support of his argument and made certain statements.
The second Royal Commission carried on its “so-called investigation” for about one month in Acre, during which Sir Abbas Effendi “consistently refused to meet or have ant dealings with any of the members of the commission”.
The commission went back to Istanbul and submitted its report. But the case was laid aside by reason of an attempt on the Sultan’s life. With the removal of the Sultan the case was closed for ever.
The emphasis in all these conflicting accounts, which boil down to nothing, is on the authors of the allegations rather than on the so-called investigations of the commission and commissions of investigations. The avowed object of these accounts is to portray Sir Abbas Effendi as the one and only aggrieved party.
In his god passes by, p.247, Shoghi Effendi states that “this prime mover of sedition [i.e. Mirza Muhammad Ali] succeeded in ranging on his side almost the entire family of Baha. Baha’s two surviving wives, his two sons, the vacillating Mirza Ziyaullah and the treacherous Mirza Badiullah, with their sister and half-sister and their husbands, one of them the infamous [Haji] Sayyid Ali [Afnan, Baha’s son-in-law], the other crafty Mirza Majd-al-Din [Baha’s son-in-law], together with his sister and half-brother, the children of the noble the faithful and now deceased Aqa-i-Kalim [the Interlocutor, Baha’s full brother Mirza Musa], all united in a determined effort to subvert the foundation of the Covenant [i.e. Sir Abbas Effendi] who called himself the Center of the Covenant. The root of the bough, which brought about the disintegration of Baha’s family, is traceable, not to “the multitude of enemies arrayed against Sir Abbas Effendi from within to subvert the foundation of the covenant”, but to Sir Abbas Effendi, ulterior motives to neutralize this “multitude of enemies from within” in a bid to subvert Baha’s will and testament, and to oust Mirza Muhammad Ali in order to set up an institution of guardianship which petered out with the death of Shoghi Effendi without issue.
23. ‘Temple of the Lord’
Baha considered himself the “ancient Root” and called his sons “Branches.” In his physical form as a _ Baha called himself the “Branch”. Dismissing this belief made by partisans of Sir Abbas Effendi as absurd, Mirza Muhammad Ali, in his will and testament, states that the “temple of the lord” is not the building built out of clay by Sir Abbas Effendi but the Book of Haykal built [i.e. written] by Baha as the Branch. To support his statement Mirza Muhammad Ali notes the relevant passage from the Book of Haykal. A cryptic reference is made by Shoghi Effendi to the matter in his God Passes by, PP. 282-283.
24. Sensational Memoirs
The quotations from Ibn-al-Baha-Badiullah’s memoirs are sensational. His authority is Baha himself. The quotations reveal the true character, and arrieve-peusée, of Abdul Baha Abbas and his wife Munira Khanum, the parents of Ziyaiyya Khanum, the half of the “two hollowed and sacred Lote Trees”, that produced Shoghi Effendi that “wondrous, unique, and priceless pearl that doth glean from out of the twin surging sees”.
Abdul Baha Abbas appears to have applied to the letter and to the spirit what may be termed his orders of the day which says: “the Dispensation [of Baha] in its entirety hath averted to this visible place [i.e. Abdul Baha himself], and it is not [permissible] for anyone to stir save after his permission. P. 77, Mirza Jawad’s Historical Epitome, Materials for the Study of the BÂBi Religion by Professor Browne.
Emulative of Abdul Baha Abbas, and not to lag behind, Mirza Jawad in his Historical Epitome, P.73, Materials for the Study of the BÂBi religion by Professor Browne, boasts of Baha’s “elevating influence” that Bahais “meet to the oppressor with gentleness, the aggressor with pardon, and the Vituperator with love,” which assertion compares ill with what is reported in page 309, in the Hasht Bihisht: Aqa Ali Muhammad of Isfahan carried on business in Istanbul. Owing to certain discoveries which he had made concerning the conduct and character of Baha, his faith underwent considerable abatement. Mirza Abdul Qasim the Bakhtiyari robber was consequently despatched from Acre with instructions “to bleed that block or vermin of heedlessness whose blood was in excess”.
On arrival there, he played up to Aqa Ali Muhammad of Isfahan. Taking undue advantage of his unsuspecting host Aqa Ali Muhammad, he broke open his private safe and decamped with L450. A part of this sum he retained for himself; with the remainder he purchased clothes and other goods which he sent to Acre. In acknowledgment of his services, Baha revealed the following verse of mercy and indulgence: “O Phlebotomist of the Divine Unity! Throb like the artery in the body of the contingent world, and drink of the blood of the “Block of Vermin of Heedlessness” for that he turned aside from the aspect of thy Lord, the Merciful”.
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