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

Thursday, August 4, 2011

August 4, 1912

Dublin: day 11 of 23; race unity; portending His travels; hearing the voice of God by whatever means

Mahmud dated this Friday, August 2, but the events actually occurred on August 4, according to notes:
"A meeting for blacks was held near Lake Dublin. At this gathering the Master delivered an eloquent address regarding unity and amity between blacks and whites. He spoke of the approaching wedding of Miss [Louisa] Mathew, a white woman, and Mr [Louis] Gregory, a black man, which is to take place shortly in Washington DC. The white people in the audience were astonished to see the influence of the Cause and the blacks were pleased. Incidents like these are little less than miracles; in fact, `splitting the moon in half' would be an easier accomplishment in the eyes of the Americans. This meeting was full of joy.
The guests rejoiced when the Master returned to Mr and Mrs Parsons's home. His words made a deep impression. He spoke on the oneness of the basic principles of the religions of God and the unity of His Manifestations. When questioned about Muhammad, the Prophet of God, His proofs were clear and persuasive and his arguments decisive, uplifting every downcast heart. Everyone testified to the convincing nature of His argument and the greatness of this Cause. About Islam some seemed restrained but no one uttered a dissenting word."

[entry dated Aug. 4] 
"When He had finished writing Tablets in response to petitions from the friends in the East and the West, the Master had a little time to rest. He then went for lunch at the home of Miss [Fanny] Knobloch. Her friends and relatives were fascinated with His explanations and enchanted by His manner.
In the afternoon He spoke in Mr and Mrs Parsons's drawing room about the power of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh and the assistance and confirmations of the Greatest Name. Mírzá `Alí Akbar [Nakhjavání] related that during the troubled times in `Akká the Master used to say that a great event would take place in the very near future: it would be as though this lamp would go away and then come back to its original place. Now we understand that this assertion of `Abdu'l-Bahá was a reference to His travels and His return to the Holy Land. The Master then said:
The assistance of the Blessed Beauty brings about extraordinary things. Every act of the Blessed Beauty constitutes in itself a consummate proof. In one of my early writings I wrote that in the eyes of the possessors of insight the doings of Him Who is the Sovereign Truth have no equal. For instance, if the Blessed Beauty asked after someone's health, although outwardly a common expression, it could give to a person who was perceptive hints as to the wisdom and mystery hidden in the words spoken on that occasion. Thus it is that God in all His actions is distinct from all others, just as a wise man displays in all his actions the signs of wisdom.
There were several people waiting to see Him. Two ladies, both of whom were hard of hearing, requested permission to sit near Him so that they might listen to His words through their hearing aids. He said, `Yes, the nearer they come, the better they will hear the Words of God. They must hear the Voice of the Lord in whatever way possible or by whatever means.'
Today, the Master's talk on the immortality of the soul so impressed the hearts that from then on He was asked to speak on this subject at most of the meetings."

Agnes says, "He spoke to all the colored people at our boat house at four. There were 28 of them I believe and they appeared pleased. Abdu'l-Baha shook hands with them all before He left. . . . I am now, with Abdu'l-Baha's permission, telling people that He will speak at five on Thursdays and Fridays, and at 1/4 to 6 on all other days." 

Every day, a blessing. . . .

Rob Stockman writes: Knobloch, Fanny A. (1859-1949). Fanny Almine Knobloch was born in Bautzen, Saxony, Germany on 22 December 1859.
Her parents emigrated to the United States when she was a child; eventually they settled in Washington, D.C. She had two sisters: Pauline Knobloch Hannen (1874-1939) and Alma S. Knobloch (1863-1943). The entire family was devout Free Evangelical Lutheran. Pauline was the first to hear of the Bahá'í Faith, in November 1902, and soon taught it to her sisters and her mother, Amalie. At the time Fanny had a business of her own. The entire family became very active Bahá'ís.
     In 1913 Fanny left Washington for Stuttgart, Germany, where her sister had been a central figure in establishing a Bahá'í community. In July-August 1920 Knobloch traveled from Washington to Capetown, South Africa (q. v.) where she stayed for a year to help establish the Bahá'í Faith in that country. She visited Johannesburg and made a side trip to Mozambique. She returned to South Africa in 1923, visiting Orange Free State, Transvaal, and Rhodesia. She went back to the United States in 1926, but returned to Capetown in 1928 for two more years. The last nineteen years of her life were spent in Wilmette, Ill., and Washington, D.C. In the 1930s she made several teaching trips in the southern and central United States. She is buried with the rest of her family in Washington.
     Bibliography. The only published biographical sketch of Fanny Knobloch is by Viola Ioas Tuttle and is published in The Bahá'í World: A Biennial International Record, 1946-1950, vol. 11, 473-76. Some letters to her and by her may be found in the Knobloch-Hannen Family Papers in the Washington, D.C. Bahá'í Archives and in the National Bahá'í Archives, Wilmette, Illinois. Biographies of her sisters are published in volumes 8 and 9 of The Bahá'í World. Information on her is also available on her Historical Record Card, National Bahá'í Archives, Wilmette, Ill. Knobloch's trips to South Africa are chronicled in Fanny Knobloch, "South African Mission"; part one was published in World Order, Nov. 1946, 247-52, and part two was published in World Order, Dec. 1946, 281-86. The Bahá'í National Archives in Wilmette, Ill., contain eleven tablets and one cable from `Abdu'l-Bahá to Fanny Knobloch.

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