Who was `Abdu'l-Bahá, and why did He come to the West?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 18, 1912 London; EG Browne . . .

Earl Redman writes:

"On December 18 'Abdu'l-Bahá gave a talk at which Edward Granville Browne, the noted Orientalist, was present.  In April 1890 'Abdu'l-Bahá had hosted Browne at Bahji when he met Baha'u'llah, one of the few Westerners to have done so and who left a memorable description of that interview. . . . After the Master's talk, Browne greeting Him with 'The last time I met you was twenty-two years ago in Acca under different environment, but now I have the pleasure of seeing you in London.' He would come to see the Master several times during this second visit to London.

"After a walk and a taxi ride through Hyde Park and Regent's Park, 'Abdu'l-Bahá met a minister from one of the churches . . . the Counsellor of the Persian Embassy . . . the president of the Esperantists of England and several Persian Baha'is, including Haji Amin . . . who had been waiting in Paris for the Master's arrival."

"Hájí Amín had had a rather confusing journey from Paris to London. He spoke neither French nor English and carried letters with names and addresses to help him reach his destination. Somehow, after leaving Paris and crossing the English Channel, he inexplicably found himself back in Paris. His second effort to reach London was successful, but ‘Abdu’l-Bahá joked that the Hájí ‘could not forsake the delights of Paris and had to hurry back there’.  
            The next day, Hájí Amín visited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the morning. Ahmad Sohrab described what happened when Hájí Amín opened his handkerchief, in which he carried letters from Persian Bahá’ís:

What caught my eyes at first glance were two small loaves of bread and an apple which were sent from a Bahai from far off Russia. This was all this poor man could send to the Beloved with his devotion and love. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá looked at this love offering with such tenderness, with such joy and kindness in his eyes, that I shall never forget it. He ate a piece of the stale bread and gave the rest to Said Assadullah for him to serve the rest at the table.

I would like to share Edward G. Browne’s description of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:  ('Akká, 1890):

"Seldom have I seen one whose appearance impressed me more. A tall strongly-built man holding himself straight as an arrow, with white turban and raiment, long black locks reaching almost to the shoulder, broad powerful forehead indicating a strong intellect combined with an unswerving will, eyes keen as a hawk's, and strongly-marked but pleasing features--such was my first impression of Abbas Efendi. . . . One more eloquent of speech, more ready of argument, more apt of illustration, more intimately acquainted with the sacred books of the Jews, the Christians, and the Muhammadans, could, I should think, scarcely be found even amongst the eloquent, ready, and subtle race to which he belongs. . . . About the greatness of this man and his power no one who had seen him could entertain a doubt."

Another story to share relates to Lady Blomfield. Earl Redman writes: 
"Ahmad Sohrab was very impressed with Lady Blomfield, describing her as ‘a remarkable woman, a most sincere Bahai, an active worker, and an enthusiastic speaker; really a wonderful woman.' ‘Abdu’l-Bahá added to this the following day, in calling attention to ‘how quickly the Paris and London addresses delivered last year were printed, and this was done through one woman, Lady Blomfield'. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wished to see the addresses he had delivered in America printed as well; ‘At present, he declared, they are all scattered and not collected’. When someone suggested the name of a prominent wealthy woman, he said, ‘One of these poor, sincere and honest women is more beloved by me than a thousand millionaires; just now this Lady Blomfield is dearer to me than all the queens of the world.'" 

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