Exile to Akka

When we[*] arrived in Haifa … we were taken to the home of Aqa Muhammad-Ibrahim-i-Kashani. He was directed by Bahá’u'lláh to make his residence in Haifa, to handle the distribution of letters and to give assistance and hospitality to Bahá’í pilgrims. When Bahá’u'lláh was informed that the three of us had arrived, He advised, through Mirza Aqa Jan … that in ‘Akká I should stay with my brother Haji ‘Ali. We were driven from Haifa to ‘Akká in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s carriage. I was taken to Haji ‘Ali’s residence, which was situated in the Khan-i-Suq-i-Abiyad (White Market), in close proximity to the residence of Mirza Musa, Bahá’u'lláh’s brother, and several other Bahá’ís such as Nabil-A’zam… That day I was most happy. Joy and ecstasy filled my soul. The next day, Mirza Muhammad- ‘Ali, accompanied by his two brothers, Mirza Diya’u'llah and Mirza Badi’u'llah, came to Nabil-i-A’zam’s quarters to meet me. Very eagerly my brother and I went there to meet them. But no sooner had I met Mirza Muhammad-’Ali and Badi’u'llah than I became depressed and all the joy in my heart was transformed into sadness and grief. I was distressed … and bitterly disappointed with myself. I was wondering what had happened so suddenly that, in spite of all the eagerness and excitement which had filled my being on arrival in ‘Akká, I had become so utterly gloomy and dispirited. I was convinced at that time that I had been rejected by God…

[*Haji Muhammad-Tahir and two of his fellow pilgrims.]

(Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, p. 131)

That Bahá’u'lláh had enabled Badi’, while in His presence, to see the Kingdom of Revelation is a unique bounty of which we can have no understanding. The only thing we can deduce from observing this illustrious youth is that whatever had happened to him in the presence of Bahá’u'lláh, he was entirely a different person when he left. Before, he was only ‘a handful of dust’, but after his two audiences with Bahá’u'lláh he became a new creation into which ‘the spirit of might and power’ had been breathed. And it is for no light reason that this youth of seventeen is named as one of the nineteen Apostles of Bahá’u'lláh. We are not attempting to compare the station of these Apostles because it is beyond any man to judge the station that God has destined for His chosen ones in the spiritual worlds of God; nevertheless, we observe that he is placed second on the list, the first being Mirza Musa, Aqay-i-Kalim, the most faithful brother of Bahá’u'lláh.

(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha’u'llah v 3, p. 181)

During His stay in the Mansion of Bahji, Bahá’u'lláh often visited ‘Akká and, sometimes, its neighbouring villages. On all these occasions people spontaneously bowed before Him with the utmost reverence whenever He appeared in public. On His visits to ‘Akká He usually stayed at the House of ‘Abbud, and occasionally the homes of His brothers, Mirza Musa entitled Aqay-i-Kalim, or Mirza Muhammad-Quli. In one of His Tablets revealed in the home of Aqay-i-Kalim situated in close proximity to the Suq-i-Abyad (the White Market), Bahá’u'lláh states that on that occasion He had stayed eight days and nine nights in that house as a bounty on His part. During this period Bahá’u'lláh permitted all the believers to attain His presence. Each day and night these lovers of His Beauty sat in His presence spellbound by His utterances and were exhilarated by the outpouring of His loving favours. In this Tablet Bahá’u'lláh prays for His loved ones who had attained His presence in that house. He prays that their hearts may be illumined, their souls sanctified from all attachments save Him, and their steps made firm so that they may remain steadfast and arise to serve His Cause. He also showers His infinite bestowals and blessings upon Aqay-i-Kalim who had served His Lord with the utmost devotion and love during those days.

(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha’u'llah v 4, p. 242)

A dear friend of the family, Jinab-i-Munib, was taken seriously ill. When the boat stopped at Smyrna, Sarkar-i-Aqa (‘Abdu’l-Bahá) and Mirza Musa carried him ashore, and took him to a hospital. The Master brought a melon and some grapes; returning with the refreshing fruit for him — He found that he had died. Arrangements were made with the director of the hospital for a simple funeral. The Master chanted some prayers, then, heartsore, came back to the boat.

Arrived at Alexandria, again came that spectre, the rumour of our immediate separation.

(Lady Blomfield, The Chosen Highway, p. 65)

In a few days I went to stay at the house of Mirza Musa, the brother of Bahá’u'lláh; here I remained for six months.

My brother and I used to stand at a window and watch ‘Abbas Effendi swimming; such a strong and graceful swimmer. Every afternoon about five o’clock the wife of Mirza Musa would go with me to visit Bahá’u'lláh. I cannot describe the wonder and gladness and happiness of being in His presence. My soul was wrapt in an ecstasy of utter joy, and seemed to float in a celestial atmosphere of peace and loving-kindness.

(Lady Blomfield, The Chosen Highway, p. 87)

They had halted Bahá’u'lláh’s kajavih. When Aqa Rida regained his caravan, the first person he met was Mirza Musa, Aqay-i-Kalim, who informed him that his absence had just been noticed, and that they were about to send some men in search of him.

(H.M. Balyuzi, Baha’u'llah – The King of Glory, p. 181)

Nonetheless, the Most Great Branch said that as soon as He had found another house, He would let the Mutasarrif have the large house he claimed to require. All through this time when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was much concerned and occupied with the worsening condition of His mother, Muhammad-Yusuf Pasha was constantly demanding the occupation of Bayt ‘Abbud. Then, in 1886, Asiyih Khanum passed away. Notables of ‘Akká, as well as Muslim and Christian divines came to follow the funeral cortege which was preceded by muezzins and reciters of the Qur’án. Schoolchildren joined the procession chanting verses and poems expressing their grief. Overwhelming was the sorrow of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and yet the Mutasarrif lacked the grace to desist from pressing his demand. As soon as He could, the Most Great Branch vacated the house and handed it over to him. The following year, the Bahá’í community sustained a great loss in the death of Mirza Musa, Aqay-i-Kalim. He had been indeed a pillar of the Faith always standing ready to serve his Brother, in any capacity.

(H.M. Balyuzi, Baha’u'llah – The King of Glory, p. 369)

The disruption that ensued found her ranged by the side of Him Whom her departed Father had appointed as the Center of His Covenant and the authorized Expounder of His Word. Her venerated mother, as well as her distinguished paternal uncle, Aqay-i-Kalim — the twin pillars who, all throughout the various stages of Bahá’u'lláh’s exile from the Land of His Birth to the final place of His confinement, had demonstrated, unlike most of the members of His Family, the tenacity of their loyalty — had already passed behind the Veil. Death, in the most tragic circumstances, had also robbed her of the Purest Branch, her only brother besides ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, while still in the prime of youth. She alone of the family of Bahá’u'lláh remained to cheer the heart and reinforce the efforts of the Most Great Branch, against whom were solidly arrayed the almost entire company of His faithless relatives. In her arduous task she was seconded by the diligent efforts of Munirih Khanum, the Holy Mother, and those of her daughters whose age allowed them to assist in the accomplishment of that stupendous achievement with which the name of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will forever remain associated.

(Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i Administration, p. 190)

Night fell and the gang plank was raised. We were completely hopeless. Shaykh Sálman bellowed out constantly. Suddenly,`Abdu’l-Ahad’s voice reached us like a trumpet of heaven, or a revelation from the All-Merciful. He came to the steamer in a private boat, the gang plank was lowered, and we descended into the boat. It was very dark, and nobody was on the leading when we arrived there except for Jináb-i-Kálim and Khájih`Abbùd the owner of the house in which the Blessed Beauty lived. Later, The Greatest Holy Leaf told me that the Master, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, had to come to the landing place at Bahá’u'lláh’s instruction, but i did not see Him.

Together with Jináb-i-Kálim we went to Khán-i-Jurayni. The next morning all the women of the Household came to visit us at Jináb-i-Kálim’s house, and we accompanied them into the presence of the Blessed Beauty. With what words can I describe that meeting? His first utterance to me was: “We have recieved you into this prison at a time when the prison door is closed to all the believers, so that the power of God may become clear and evident to all.”

For five months we remained in Jináb-i-Kálim’s house. On some days we would attain His {Bahá’u'lláh’s] presence and then return to our home. Whenever Jináb-i-Kálim visited Bahá’u'lláh, he would return and convey His infinate bounties as well as some gift. One day he returned saying, “I have brought you a wonderful gift. You have been renamed Munírih (Luminous) by Him.”

Instantly I remembered Bahá’u'lláh’s dream related to us in Isfahan by Sayyid Mihdi Dahji. The Blessed Beauty had said: “I dreamt that I saw the daughter of my brother Mirza Hasan become sick. Her color changed, and she gradually became weaker and more faded until she left this world. Then another girl appeared who face was luminous and whose heart was luminous. I have chosen her for the Most Great Branch.”

We continued to live in the house of Jináb-i-Kálim for five months because of a lack of housing. Finally, Khájih`Abbùd questioned Jináb-i-Kálim about this matter and asked why the marriage had been delayed. Jináb-i-Kálim did not give him a clear answer, until `Abbùd himself realized that the problem was the lack of a room. Khájih`Abbùd then opened a room from his own house, which adjoined the private quarters of the holy Household. He furnished the room with the utmost simplicity and purity, and then went to the Blessed Beauty to request him to accept this room as he had prepared it for the Master. His request was accepted, and the night of union-preferable to a hundred thousand years-drew near.

(Khanum Munirih, Munirih Khanum: Memoirs and Letters, p.46)