These are excerpts from the famous historian Edward Browne’s book. These are not tales from Arabian nights but facts taken down from the reputed and noted historian’s Book. It narrates historical incidences about the “Most Holy Branch”, Abbas Efendi. No one can refute the noted historians contribution to the Baha’i Faith.
- Lamentation Over Present Degeneration.
- Denunciation Of Abbas Efendi (Abdul Baha)
- Instances Of Abbas Efendi’s Alleged Ambitious Actions.
- Part Of Baha’u’llah’s Testament Held Back By Abbas Efendi
- No Further Manifestation To Take Place For 1000 Years.
- Abbas Efendi’s Claim.
- Dissension Fostered By Abbas Efendi
- Schism After Baha’ullah’s Death
- Muhammad Ali And His Followers
- Muhammad Ali’s Followers Demand A Conference
- Abbas Efendi Favours Those Who Most Exxagerate His Position.
- Abbas Efendi Deprives His Brothers Of Their Allowances.
- Death Of Ziya’ullah, October 30, 1898
- Attempt To Abduct The Widow Of Ziya’ullah
- Protest Of Mirza Aqa Jan (Janab-I-Khadimullah)
- Ill-Treatment Of Janab-I-Khadimullah
- Death Of Janab-I-Khadimullah, May 17, 1901.
- Janab-I-Khadimullah’s Books And Papers Appropriated By Abbas Efendi, March, 1908.
- Increased Stringency Of Control By Turkish Officials.
LAMENTATION OVER PRESENT DEGENERATION
But alas, alas for what we see today! All these spiritual virtues and humane practices have undergone a complete change. Concord has been replaced by dissension, constancy by cruelty and affection by enmity. Dissent and mutual avoidance have appeared in this community, and their concatenation hath been dissolved and their assembly dispersed. All this that hath been mentioned hath happened by reason of the love of self and seeking after supremacy emanating from ” the Most Mighty Branch ” (al-Ghusnu’l-A’zam) Abbas Efendi and his opposition to the last Testament of His Holiness our Great Master Baha’u’llah. For he [Baha’u’llah] says in Persian (may my life be sacrificed to his utterance!): ” Every soul from which the scent of existence (i.e. love of self) is perceived to-day is the cause of discord.”
DENUNCIATION OF ABBAS EFENDI (ABDUL BAHA)
He hath also informed us in most of His Tablets that His object in making manifest His Dispensation was to cause religious hatred to disappear from the World, and to diffuse love and concord and kindliness amongst the nations.
INSTANCES OF ABBAS EFENDI’S ALLEGED AMBITIOUS ACTIONS.
But after His Ascension [i.e. His death] events took place and sayings became current which produced great discord and mutual avoidance within the community, by reason of what issued from Abbas Efendi, as has been stated, so that antagonism and separation arose between father and son, brother and sister, *husband and wife, and so forth; nay, God be our refuge! even enmity and hatred. In this connection I will mention certain events and matters which gradually came to pass after the death of His Holiness our Great Master Baha’u’llah, some of which I beheld with my own eyes, while others I heard from trustworthy witnesses. These I will briefly, lest the reader be wearied, so that the Guardians of the Divine House of Justice and all just and fair-minded people may be the better informed and admonished, and may set themselves to amend what Hath happened.
* Page 57
PART OF BAHA’ULLAH’S TESTAMENT HELD BACK BY ABBAS EFENDI
The first difference which happened after the death of His Holiness our Great Master within this community was that Abbas Efendi concealed some part of the book of [Bahau’llah’s] Testament entitled ” the Book of my Testament,” which book was given to him by Baha’ullah in his own holy writing’1
The detail of this is that on the ninth day after the Ascension [i.e. the death of Baha’ullah] Abbas Efendi chose nine persons from amongst the Companions, one of whom was the author [of this book] and disclosed to them this document, concealing, however, a portion of it with a blue leaf [of paper] without any reason or justification, and gave it to them that they might enjoy the blessing of its perusal. One of them, named Aqa Riza of Shiraz, read it at a sign from him down to the place concealed by the blue leaf, whereupon Abbas Efendi said to the persons above mentioned, ” Verily a portion of this book is concealed for a good reason, because the time cloth not admit of its full disclosure.” On the afternoon of that day Majdu’d-Din Efendi read it again, by command of Abbas Efendi, in the Holy Place, before a company of the Aghsan (sons of Baha’ullah), Afnan (kinsmen of the Bab), Muhajirin (Exiles), Mujawirin (settlers in ‘Akka) and Musafirin (temporary visitors), down to the afore-mentioned passage, as narrated above. [The Arabic text of this Testament has been published in Russia. See section III infra]
Let it not be hidden from persons of discernment that the injunctions set forth in the above mentioned book all refer * to this community generally; how then could it be right for Abbas Efendi to disclose what he wished and conceal a portion thereof? For there is no doubt that if what was so concealed had not been suitable (for general publication) His Holiness Baha’u’llah would not have written it in His august writing.
The duty of sons is to carry out the testamentary instructions of their father, not to reveal a portion and conceal a portion thereof, according to their private ideas and opinions or personal inclinations, for His Holiness Baha’ullah says: ” O (Divine) Beauty! Verily I have spent my soul and my spirit for the glorification of the Word and the exalting of the Dispensation of thy Glorious and Beneficent Lord. If we see one of the ‘Branches’ (Aghsan, that is sons) otherwise than as God willeth, we will rightfully drive him away: verily I am the Mighty, the All-Powerful.”
1. The Arabic text of this Testament has been published in Russia. See Section III Infra
* pg. 58.
NO FURTHER MANIFESTATION TO TAKE PLACE FOR 1000 YEARS.
The second difference was that His Holiness our Great Master hath said in numerous places in his Holy Scriptures, plainly and explicitly, that no fresh Manifestation shall take place until a full thousand years shall have passed from this Theophany; and that if anyone advances a claim to any such position before the completion of the above mentioned period, whosoever he be, and from whatsoever place he be, he is a vain pretender worthy of rejection; as when he says in the ” Most Holy Book ” (Kitab-i-Aqdas): “Whosoever layeth claim to a [new] Dispensation before the completion of a full thousand years is a liar and prevaricator… And whosoever construes this verse or interprets it otherwise than as it hath been obviously revealed is deprived of the Spirit of God, and of His Mercy which encompasseth all the worlds.”
ABBAS EFENDI’S CLAIM
But Abbas Efendi after he had attained to supremacy, clearly and explicitly adopted the position of originality1, and claimed such lofty stations and high degrees as belong exclusively to Divine Theophanies, and even proclaimed in public in America that he was the Messiah and the Son of God, and in India that he was the promised Bahram2 . Thus he says in one of his writings: “The Dispensation in its entirety hath reverted to this visible place3, *and it is not (permissible) for anyone to stir after his permission.”
And again: ” Whosoever calls on men in my Name, verily he is from me.”
[But] His Holiness our Great Master says: “Whosoever lays claim to any station, rapture, ecstasy or craving otherwise than in this [my] Name, verily he is of (the number of) the most lost, though he speak with all utterance4 and cause rivers to burst forth from rocks, and control the winds, and cause the clouds to rain.”
Abbas Efendi says in Persian: “Say, ‘the Goal and Sum of all are the products of this Pen, and the Proof is that which this tongue utters.”‘
[But] His Holiness our Great Master says in Persian: “What this Oppressed One desireth of all is Justice and Equity. Let them not be satisfied with listening, but let them ponder on what bath been manifested by this servant.
By the Sun of the Bayan arising from the horizon of the heaven of the Kingdom of [God] the All-merciful, had there been found anyone (else) to explain or to speak, we would not have made ourselves the object of men’s reviling and calumnies.”
And again, in the ” Chapter of the Pen ” (Suratul-Qalam): ” Say, ‘Into the heart of whomsoever it entereth to rival this Pen**, or to associate himself therewith, or to approach it, or to know what is revealed by it, let it be surely known that the Devil bath whispered into his soul: thus hath the matter been revealed, if ye would know it.”‘
Abbas Efendi says in Persian: “This servant is the expositor of the Perspicuous Book, and whatever of God’s writings is not confirmed by this servant is not worthy of credence.”
His Holiness our Great Master says: “The Covenant was taken at the time of the Dawn from those who believe that they should not worship (aught) save God, nor work mischief in the earth.”
Abbas Efendi ascribes all the covenants and vows mentioned in the Sacred Books to himself, as his words prove. Thus he says in Persian: “In short, verily from the beginning of Creation until now there hath not happened or appeared any plain covenant or clear promise like unto this. Yea, there have been promises, but they were not + beneath the shadow of the Tree of Prophecy and the Lote-tree of the Limit, but were only suggested by allegories. But in this great Cycle and luminous Epoch the Object of the Covenant is visible in the horizons and the Centre of the Promise is known amongst the people of the world.”
His Holiness our Great Master says in Persian: “Though one should adduce all the scriptures in the world, yet speak otherwise than as God willeth, he is mentioned in God’s Book as of the Fire, and is [so] inscribed by the Supreme Pen.”
Abbas Efendi says in Persian: “The Dispensation in its entirety reverts to the recognized and acknowledged place, and this Station is distinguished, witnessed and explicitly differentiated, like the Sun in all its phases, from all that is on the earth.” And he has many other utterances of this sort in his treatise, available to all in a text lithographed from a copy made by one of his well-known disciples. Let him, therefore, who desires [further] information peruse this treatise entitled ” the Production of the Proof [Ityanu’d-Dalil li-man yuridul-Iqbal ila siwais-Sabil, lithographed (in Egypt?) on Safar I, 1318 (=May 31, 190o). See pp. 188-9 Infra.], ” for therein is what amply sufficeth.
The third difference is that His Holiness our Great Master Baha’u’llah in many passages of his writings, as also in the Book of his [last] Testament, commanded this community to do away with discord, to extinguish the fire of sectarian hatred, and to consort with all religions with kindness and friendliness, as he says in Persian: [Compare pp. 64-5 supra, where the same passage is cited.]
” By the Sun of Truth arising from the horizon of the heaven of this prison (i.e. Akka), never did the Beauty of Eternity desire strife and discord, or aught whereby (men’s) hearts are troubled! Refer to the Tablets: He saith, ‘Consort with [all] religions with spirituality and fragrance.’ The object of this Theophany is the extinction ++of the fire of [page 61.]hatred kindled in the hearts of the creeds, and the abatement thereof by the Kawthar5 of the utterance of Divine Counsel and Celestial Admonition. In this very year, A.H. 1306 [=1888-9], a Tablet was revealed in the writing of this Oppressed one wherein this Sublime Word shone forth from the horizon of the Supreme Pen: ‘O people, speak well of [God’s] servants, and speak not of them evil, or that whereby their souls may be troubled.’ The mention of evil hath also been forbidden in this Law, because the tongue is for the commemoration of the Truth, and it is pitiful that it should be defiled by backbiting or uttering words which cause sadness and grief to [God’s] servants.”
He says also in Persian in ” the Book of my Will “: “The object of this Oppressed One in bearing hardships and afflictions is the revealing of Verses and the showing forth of Proofs, so that the fire of malice and hatred may be quenched; then perhaps the horizons of men’s hearts may be illuminated with the light of concord and may attain to true Peace.”
1. i.e. of being the bearer of a new Revelation and not merely the interpreter and maintainer of that given by Baha’ullah
2. The expected Saviour of the Zoroastrians or Parsees.
3. meaning himself
* page 59.
4. Or, “with all Bayan,” i.e. with all utterance of the Bab
** i.e. Baha’ullah himself
+ pg. 60
++ page 61
5. The name of a fountain or river in Paradise
ENMITY AND DISSENSION FOSTERED BY ABBAS EFENDI
And again in the same Book: ”O people of the world ! God’s religion exists for Love and Concord: do not make it a means to enmity and discord ! ” But Abbas Efendi hath nullified this most great gift and most high and glorious aim, since he, for his Enmity and private ends and personal aims, hath instituted hatred and discord amongst the people of Baha, in such wise that he hath introduced division and separation between brother and sister, fathers and sons, husband and wife, friend and old comrade; and whosoever does not agree with him in his ideas and statements, and does not speak evil concerning his brother Muhammad ‘Ali Efendi ” the Most Great Branch ” (al-Ghusnu’l-Akbar) and the Holy Family is accounted a ” violator” (Naqiz) of the Covenant and a ” vacillator” (Mutazalzil), nay, an infidel, wherefore they avoid him and hold it unlawful to speak, or converse, or have any dealings with him.* Let it not be hidden from the intelligent that the causes of discord are numerous, but the author has not touched on them fully from a desire for brevity.
SCHISM AFTER BAHA’ULLAH’S DEATH
The sum of the matter is that this schism took place on account of what hath been mentioned, and for [other reasons] which have not been mentioned, so that this cleavage resulted, and this community became two communities. On the one hand are the followers of Abbas Efendi, who constitute the majority. Most of these believe him to be possessed of the Supreme Immaculacy and to be the Mirror of ” He doeth what He will,” as is witnessed by their published treatises in handwritings well-known [to all]. They ascribe to him the high degrees and lofty stations peculiar to the Divine Manifestations, and name themselves “the steadfast” (ath-Thabitun).
MUHAMMAD ALI AND HIS FOLLOWERS
On the other hand are the minority, who find Abbas Efendi and his claim, his sayings, and his ideas at variance with the commands of His Holiness our great Master; who regard Muhammad ‘Ali Efendi as submissive to God and obedient to the commands of His Holiness Baha’u’llah; and who conceive of him as of a finger who points to his Master, so that they agree and unite with him, and are called ” Unitarians”. (ahlu’t-Tawhid).
When it became certain that a schism had taken place, Muhammad ‘Ali Efendi and those who were with him, in conformity with the commands of His Holiness our Great Master, where he says in the Kitab-I-Aqdas: “If ye differ in any matter, refer it to God, so long as the Sun continues to shine front the horizon of this heaven;1 and when it hath set, then refer to what hath been revealed by Him: verily that sufficeth the worlds ; and in another place in Persian: “O divers peoples, turn towards unity, and become illuminated with the Light of Concord: meet in some place in godly fashion, and put away from amongst you what ever is the cause of difference*
MUHAMMAD ALI’S FOLLOWERS DEMAND A CONFEREN
(- in accordance with these precepts, I say) they repeatedly communicated with Abbas Efendi asking him to appoint a sitting in godly fashion and to choose a few representatives from both sides to discuss the matter with the utmost loving-kindness as regards the disagreement and its causes; to make the efforts necessary to remove it; to weigh words and thoughts in the balance of God’s Scripture; and to distinguish the Truth from all else by the criterion of His [Baha’u’llah’s] words. Moreover they besought the acceptance of this proposal with the extreme of supplication and sincerity, and repeated their request many times, but obtained no answer from him [i.e. Abbas Efendi], nor would he in any wise consent to this, perceiving that reference to the verses explanatory [of this question] could be contrary to his private ideas and personal advantage, and knowing that the truth would be revealed by reference to them, and that all men would recognize the vanity of the ideas and expressions current in the assemblies of Abbas Efendi and the Family of the House of Greatness2 statements and allegations at which reasonable people were horrified, paying no heed to the injunctions of His Holiness our Great Master where he enjoins in His honourable writings respect for the ” Branches ” (Aghsan), [i.e. as already explained, the sons of Baha’ullah], wives and family, even as he says in the Book of His Testament, “Respect and heed for the ‘Branches’ (Agsan, i.e. sons) is incumbent upon all for the glorifying of the Dispensation and the uplifting of the Word.”
1. “so long as Baha’ullah is alive.”
2. i.e. other members of Baha’ullah’s family who rejected the claim of Abbas Efendi.
ABBAS EFENDI FAVOURS THOSE WHO MOST EXXAGERATE HIS POSITION
The fourth difference was that the more the followers of Abbas Efendi increased in exaggeration of his praise, and described him by names and attributes proper only to the Divine Majesty, the more he magnified his gifts to them and the more graciously he treated them. So they exaggerated the more,* and carried matters to the point of polytheism1, exceeding all limits in respect to him. Thus they took certain verses of the Surat-ul-Amr and made them a separate Tablet, which, they asserted, was Abbas Efendi’s, so that they might establish for him a glory proper only to Divine Theophanies. And Abbas Efendi himself made alterations in one of the Servant’s2 letters to Muhammad Mustafa of Baghdad in Beyrout, that is to say added to it and diminished from it, saying that it was a Tablet which the Lord had revealed to him. Moreover he claimed that the Holy Tablet specially addressed to his brother Muhammad ‘Ali Efendi was shared by himself. Again the Servant [Mirza Aqa Jan of Kashan], during the days when His Holiness, our Great Master sojourned at Adrianople, had written a tract wherein he made a mention of the Mischief of the days of the Manifestation. This tract Abbas Efendi named ” the Tablet of the Mischief,” saying that it was a Holy Tablet revealed from the Supreme Pen, and ordered it to be read in the assemblies, his object therein being to cast doubts into men’s hearts, so that they might imagine that the utmost importance belonged to his days. Again our Great Master, before he made known his Mission, warned us of the advent of ” the grievous days,” meaning thereby the days of His Manifestation. But after the Manifestation He declared in one of the Holy tablets that they had come to an end. But Abbas Efendi said in answer to a question concerning ” the grievous days ” that they were the year of the Ascension3, in order to establish the importance of his own days, as hath been mentioned. And not withstanding all that we have mentioned, he asserted that his brother Muhammad Ali Efendi had tampered with the published Divine Verses, I mean the [edition of the] Kitabul Haykal lithographed in the days of His Holiness our Great Master, whereof many copies exist in the writing of Zayn (al-Muqarrabin)4 (who is well known amongst this community and who collated this lithographed edition), and said that the verses which were not confirmed by him were not to be relied on, intending thereby to prevent his followers from referring to these Divine Verses, lest they should become aware of his [Abbas Efendi’s] opposition to the Holy Writings** in word, deed, declaration and writing.
ABBAS EFENDI DEPRIVES HIS BROTHERS OF THEIR ALLOWANCES.
In the fourth year after the death of His Holiness our Great Master [i.e. about 1896], the partisans of Abbas Efendi held a meeting in his audience-chamber at his suggestion, took counsel with one another, and agreed that what was given of the necessaries of life to the Holy Family and to his brothers was on no account permissible; wherefore Abbas Efendi cut it off completely, so that he compelled them to borrow for household expenses, because they were deprived of means. This was a wrongful act on his part, because what [revenue] reached him from the different countries was not his private property, but belonged to the entire Holy Family, as will not be hidden from the discerning Yet he cut it off from them, and spent it on whom he would of the officials and men of influence, in order to effect his personal aims, not acting conformably to truth, justice and equity.
* pg. 64
** pg. 65
1. shirk, i.e. associating partners with God.
2. i.e. Mirza Aqa Jan of Kashan, the special attendant and amanuensis of Baha’ullah commonly called Janab-I-Khadimullah.
3. i.e. of the death of Baha’llah.
4. see my translation of the Traveller’s Narrative, ii, pp. 412-418.
DEATH OF ZIYA’ULLAH, OCTOBER 30, 1898
In the sixth year after [the death of] His Holiness our great Master [i.e. about 1898], a grievous sickness overcame Ziya’ullah Efendi, by reason of the vehement emotion caused in him by the existing events and differences. After some days he went for change of air to Hayfa, where the malady increased in gravity. And during the days of his illness neither Abbas Efendi nor any of his family or followers came to visit his sick brother or to enquire after him; until the signs of dissolution appeared, on the afternoon of the 14th of Jumada II, A.H. 1316 (October 30, 1898), when Abbas Efendi came, stayed a few minutes, and then returned to his lodging. Next morning he came, accompanied the corpse to the gate of the town [`Akka], and after a short while went to the Palace (of Bahja) tarried a while there, and returned to ‘Akka, but was not present at the funeral, nor anyone of his family and followers.
They did not even close their shops and offices on that *day, as is customary, but on the contrary manifested joy and gladness and quaffed the drinks commonly used on festivals. This behaviour [on their part] astonished all, whether present or absent, kinsmen or strangers.
ATTEMPT TO ABDUCT THE WIDOW OF ZIYA’ULLAH.
Ziya’ullah Efendi had a wife whose parents and brothers were followers of Abbas Efendi, who summoned them to his presence, desiring by their means to draw her to himself. But since after her husband’s death she chose faithfulness [to his memory] and the service of Her Holiness his mother, with whom she dwelt in the Palace of Bahja, Abbas Efendi sent her parents and her brother to the Holy Place. They sent a certain woman of the partisans of Abbas Efendi to her mother-in-law, demanding an interview with the girl, that is, the wife of Ziya’ullah Efendi, in the Holy Place; which request being granted, she came in company with the above mentioned woman to the Holy Place and met her parents and her brother, who held her in conversation with inquiries as to her condition and declarations of affection, walking meanwhile towards the gate, on emerging from which her parents and brother seized her by force, and carried her off, holding her hands and feet to drag her to the place where a carriage was in readiness to carry her away. Abbas Efendi’s wife was present in person to superintend the arrangements above mentioned, while some of her relations and followers were helping the parents in her abduction, she being bare-headed and bare-footed, crying out and asking for help, and saying ” O Baha, help me ! They have taken me by force! ” This event happened at a time when Muhammad Ali Efendi and Badi’u’llah Efendi were absent, and no one was present except the Servant of the Presence1 and a few of the Unitarians2 The author of this history and some others of the Companions were proceeding towards the Holy Place to visit it**, and we happened to be there when they brought her out crying for help. We and the Servant [Janab-i-Khadimullah] hastened to the spot and delivered her out of their hands. But Abbas Efendi, when he perceived that he was foiled in his scheme and saw that it had not succeeded, ordered some of his followers to write a pamphlet in which the matter was entirely misrepresented, and sent it with the signature of the ill-used lady’s father (I mean the widow of Ziya’ullah Efendi) to Egypt to Hajji Mirza Hasan of Khurasan, who printed and published it in the lands by his command.
* pg. 66
1. i.e. Mirza Aqa Jan of Kashan, called Janab-i-Khadimullah,
2. This was the name adopted by the followers of Muhammad Ali. See p. 81 supra.
** page 67
PROTEST OF MIRZA AQA JAN (JANAB-I-KHADIMULLAH)
In the fifth year [after Baha’u’llah’s death], on the 26th of Dhul-Hijja, A.H. 1314 (May 28th, 1897) [This was the fifth anniversary of Baha’ullah’s death], the Servant of God invited all the Companions to the neighbourhood of the Holy Place in Bahja, where, after they had partaken of food and drunk tea, he stood up about the time of the afternoon [prayer] and addressed the people, saying:
“This servant hath been silent all this time and hath not uttered a word, for fear of giving rise to dissension. Now, however, I perceive that my silence causeth increase of discord in God’s Religion; therefore I say unto you that the deeds and words which have issued from Abbas Efendi and his company are all contrary to God’s commands, and at variance with His injunctions revealed in the Holy Scriptures. The Covenant and Promise mentioned aforetime in the Immaculate Writings refer exclusively to previous and subsequent Theopanies, but Abbas Efendi hath appropriated them to himself, and ye have so accepted them, wherein ye have greatly erred.”
ILL-TREATMENT OF JANAB-I-KHADIMULLAH
One of Abbas Efendi’s followers1 informed him of the Servant’s words, whereupon he at once appeared on the scene, seized him by the hand , and expelled him from the house bare-headed and bare-footed, while his followers beat him on the head and face, he crying out meanwhile in a loud voice, addressing them, “Verily ye *are now in the neighbourhood of the Holy Place, while I am speaking to you with discriminating signs (verses), that thereby the true may be distinguished from the false and the polytheist from the Unitarian.” Yet not one of them listened to him, but they continued to beat him and to drag him to the Holy Place where Abbas Efendi struck him with his hand a painful blow. From the Holy Place they took him by command of Abbas Efendi and imprisoned him in a stable, after they had taken from him such writings and letters as he had on him After that they denounced him as reprobate, apostate; croaker, hypocrite and devil, notwithstanding the recommendations of His Holiness our Great Master concerning him and His command to them in the Book of the [last]Testament, and in other Tablets also, to honour the Servant even as He says in a Tablet in His own holy writing ” And after the ‘Branches’ (Aghsan, i.e. the sons of Baha’u’llah) show honour to the Servant who stands before the Throne in a laudable station2.”
In short, after this event the Servant attached himself to the Place of our Great Master, and used to spend his time with Muhammad Ali Efendi and the Holy Family in commemorating the Lord (glorious in His State) and in the service of the Catholic Word, as is proved by his writings in his own well-known hand. And after a time he went one morning to the house of Abbas Efendi at ‘Akka to discuss and confer about the actual conditions and existing differences; but they shut the door in his face and prevented him from entering, and he sat before them on the ground for the space of two hours, begging Abbas Efendi and his partisans to produce the holy verses and Tablets in their possession, so that he might discuss with them and they with him according to their purport, in order that it might appear what actions and words were conformable or contrary to them, and which thereof were acceptable in God’s sight and which displeasing. But none would give ear; and finally Abbas Efendi sent his son-in-law named Mirza Muhsin to the Government to say to the [Turkish] officials that the Servant had come to make mischief. Thereupon an officer came and took ** the Servant to the Government House, where they detained him for a while, after which they drove him out from the Palace. So he continued worshipping and commemorating God and elucidating the Supreme Unity until he fell sick.
1. Sayyid Hadi was the informer.
* page 68
2 The events here narrated form the subject of a separate tract of 16 pages, lithographed, entitled Waqi’a-i-haila-I-Khadim-i-Abha dar Rawza i-Mubaraka-i-Ulya (“The Dreadful Calamity of the Servant Of Baha in the Blessed and Supreme Garden”). The persecutors were twelve in number, of whom eight are named.
** page 69.
DEATH OF JANAB-I-KHADIMULLAH, MAY 17, 1901.
His sickness lasted fifteen days, and on the 29th of Muharram, A.H. I3I9 (May ‘7th, I901) he responded to the call of his Master in the Palace of Bahja, and was buried with the utmost reverence at Abi ‘Ataba, Muhammad Ali Efendi and the Unitarians seeing to what was necessary for him in the way of washing, shrouding and burial.
The Servant during his days [of life] had repeatedly expressed his wish to the Friends that all of the Holy Writings which belonged to him should return to God, and that after his death they should all be deposited in the Holy Place. So after his death Muhammad ‘Ali Efendi, Badi’u’llah Efendi, and some of the Unitarians, including the author, went one day to a house in the neighbourhood of the Holy Place and examined the Sacred Mementos which the Servant had left. These included twelve Holy portraits, two hundred and seventeen Holy Tablets produced by the Supreme Pen, and a number of the Holy head-dresses,1 garments and hairs, besides many Sacred Books and a mass of correspondence, bound and unbound, and private possessions, and a number of tracts composed by the Servant concerning the Divine Unity and the Supreme Immaculateness. All these they wrote down [in a list], and placed in three boxes, which they sealed with two seals and deposited as a trust in the house of Sayyid Ali Efendi, the son-in-law of His Holiness our Great Master, because he was a Russian subject2, so that they might be protected from interference at the hands of tyrants.
JANAB-I-KHADIMULLAH’S BOOKS AND PAPERS APPROPRIATED BY ABBAS EFENDI, MARCH, 1908.
Recently, however, it appears that Abbas Efendi in the month of Safar, A.H. 1326 (March, 1908) obtained the consent of the Blessed Leaf and the Holy Spouse, and of Sayyid ‘Ali Efendi Afnan3 and sent* his son-in-law Mirza Muhsin and Aqa Riza of Shiraz by night in his private carriage to Bahja to bring him the three boxes deposited in trust as above mentioned without the knowledge of anyone. And there is no doubt that the carrying out of this transaction secretly by night is a clear proof that it was contrary alike to the Holy Law and its ordinances, and to the Common Law and its provisions, for it was effected by theft and larceny. For Muhammad ‘All and those who were with him had left the boxes there under seal as a trust, for the carrying out of the Servant’s last testament and in order to give effect to it. How then could it be right for Abbas Efendi to appropriate them in the fashion above mentioned, or that this treachery should be committed by him ?
1. Tijan, literally “Crowns,” i.e. the tall felt caps which Baha’ullah used to wear.
2. And therefore not liable to be molested by the Persian or Turkish Government
3. So called because he was related to the Bab, whose kinsmen are called Afnan (“Branches”)
* page 70
INCREASED STRINGENCY OF CONTROL BY TURKISH OFFICIALS.
After Abbas Efendi had attained to supremacy, he made a great display, by reason of the moral and material prestige which he now possessed. So likewise his followers did not observe prudence, wisdom or moderation in affairs, whence arose many troubles and difficulties, so that orders were issued by the Ottoman Government to confine him and his brothers in the fortress of ‘Akka. After a while there appeared four inspectors to investigate and enquire into the circumstances of certain of the officials and exiles, and they examined his [Abbas Efendi’s] affairs also. After a while Khalil Pasha the Governor of Beyrout appointed an inspector to watch him and ascertain who associated with him of the people of the country and others; and when he chanced on such an one, he used to bring him to the Government House, where he was examined to ascertain the cause of his frequenting the society of Abbas Efendi. He, however, ascribed all that had happened to his brother Muhammad ‘All Efendi, spreading this report abroad in the country, and thereby filling the hearts of his followers with hatred, enmity and aversion, so that they used to display the extreme of dislike and detestation in regard to Muhammad Ali Efendi and the Holy Family, and used to speak unseemly words concerning them. But when Muhammad ‘Ali Efendi discovered that his brother ascribed these occurrences to him, he communicated with him repeatedly by means of some of the officials and inhabitants of the city and some of his followers, * and begged him to agree to appoint a time and men to enquire into the truth of these matters, investigate these events, and ascertain their reasons and causes. This happened during the presence of the inspectors, and he requested him to appoint two persons on his behalf that they might go together to the local government and to the Board of Inspectors and formally demand [the production of] a note of complaint, if such were in their possession, on the part of Muhmmad ‘Ali against his brother Abbas Efendi, or an assertion that they were cognizant of some direct complaint on his part. For all official papers and legal complaints are preserved in the originals as well as in copies by the Government in its records. But Abbas Efendi would not accept this or agree to it, because he sought by these falsehoods and slanders to give effect to his plans, and if he had appointed such persons and they had gone to the above-mentioned official quarters and made investigations, it would have become plain to all that these accusations were false, and these reports devoid of truth and reality. For it is not hidden that the False loves the darkness and hates the light, lest its evil circumstances and deeds should become apparent.
In short this schism and its results were manifold, but space does not allow more [to be said] than what I have mentioned, so I have contented myself with this summary, having already set forth most of (the facts connected with) it in another treatise.
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(“Materials for the study of Babi Religion”by Renowned historian EDWARD BROWNE.M.A., M.B., F.B.A., F.R.C.P.; Sir Thomas Adams’ Professor of Arabic and Fellow of Pembroke College in the University of Cambridge, Materials for the Study of the Babi Religion (Cambridge: University Press, 1918). Digitally Reprinted: East Lansing, Mi.: H-Bahai, 2002