The Stubborn Hide of the Bull Moose 1
‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ WAS CONVERSING IN Phoebe Hearst’s garden in Pleasanton, California, when it happened.
The news “flashed outward along telephone and telegraph wires, jolting every night editor in the country,” writes biographer Edmund Morris, “penetrating even into the Casino Theatre in New York, where Edith Roosevelt sat watching Johann Strauss’s The Merry Countess. She emerged from the side entrance weeping. ‘Take me to where I can talk to him or hear from him at once.’ A police escort whisked her to the Progressive National Headquarters in the Manhattan Hotel, which had an open line to Milwaukee.” The presidential election was only three weeks away.
The former President had strolled out of the Gilpatrick Hotel on Third Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at exactly 8:10 p.m. on Monday, October 14, 1912. He had walked across the pavement, and sat down in his customary back seat on the right-hand side of his car — a roofless, seven-seater that would take him to the Milwaukee Auditorium for his speech. In response to the cheering crowd, which formed a dense mass for a block in every direction, Roosevelt stood and waved his hat. There was a glint of steel; a shot rang out. Seven feet from the car a “weedy little man,” Mr. John. F. Schrank of 370 10th Street, New York, stood holding a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, still smoking from the discharge.
The remainder of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s time in Los Angeles was packed with interviews, for throngs of people continued to seek Him out.
Sunday, October 20, 1912 3
Today more than the usual number of friends and seekers, from all strata of society, came to see Him. There were so many that it was impossible to see them individually, except for a very few who were granted private interviews. Therefore, a public meeting was arranged and one of the many topics, which was a warning to people of insight, was the disgrace and ignominy of the son of the arch Covenant-breaker, the lightless Shu’á’u’lláh.
This man, who is wholly severed from God, is engaged in pursuing worldly desires and deception. When the fame of the Center of the Covenant spread through the city, Shu’á’u’lláh spoke about Bahá’u’lláh and his blood relationship with Him. He persuaded a newspaper editor to write two misleading articles in which he tried to show that because of his biological relationship, he was bound to inherit the station of the Prophets. The Master paid no attention to such nonsensical writings and attached no importance to Shu’á’s pretensions. When a newspaper editor asked the Master about this man’s relationship, He said:
“I will tell you one thing and it will suffice once and for all. Beyond this neither question me nor will I reply. And that is the words of Christ when told that ‘your brothers have come to see you’. He said, ‘They are not my brethren but you are my brethren and kindred’. Christ attached no importance to the original relationship with His brethren. Notwithstanding this, my house is open to all. He who wishes may enter and he who wishes to go out may leave.”
The editor published the Master’s exact words in his newspaper.
The son of the arch Covenant-breaker, who had boasted that he would speak out ‘in the court of the King of the Covenant’ and make his wishes known, was from that time on not heard from again. He had wanted to introduce himself around and to raise himself in the estimation of those who did not know the story but he failed like Kheiralla, who, in Chicago, had sent a message asking to be summoned to see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The Master had answered him in similar terms: ‘Since my arrival in this city,’ He said, ‘I have not requested to see anybody. But should anyone come to me, I will meet him with utmost kindness and regard.’
Despite this, these unjust people have spread various false rumors. They have gone so far in their careers of untruth to say that although the Master had given His word that He would see them, He had broken His promise. God protect us from the wickedness of the envious! All their impostures and connivings have been shattered, for their only hope was to create doubt and disbelief in the hearts of the people; instead they have become the means of warning them.
The Master repeatedly said: ‘These two persons have disgraced themselves once again. Otherwise, I would not have mentioned their names but it is not good for the Cause nor are they worthy of mention or attention.’ He also said:
“If they have good intentions for the Cause of God, they must render some service and they must go out to teach the Cause. If they are able, they should raise the cry of ‘Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá’ in churches and gatherings. What will they reap by sowing doubt and disbelief? They will get nothing but manifest loss in this world and the next. The Blessed Beauty has promised explicitly that the servants and sincere ones who devote themselves to the Cause of God after His ascension shall achieve success and be made victorious. Now see which of the servants are firm and serving and which ones hinder and damage the Cause. One of their misgivings is that the true One has always been oppressed and wronged. What has this to do with the matter? Yes, initially the Cause of God has always been denied but with utmost divine aid and assistance the Lord has ever been the protector and savior of the righteous. The reward of eternity will belong to the God-fearing and honor will belong to the sincere servants of God. Thus He says in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ‘Let not your hearts be perturbed, O people, when the glory of My presence is withdrawn, and the ocean of My utterance is stilled. In My presence amongst you there is a wisdom, and in My absence there is yet another, inscrutable to all but God, the Incomparable, the All-Knowing. Verily, We behold you from Our realm of glory, and shall aid whosoever will arise for the triumph of Our Cause with the hosts of the Concourse on high and a company of our favored angels.’”4
This evening in a large auditorium the Master gave a detailed address to a group of the friends about many issues pertaining to the Cause. He spoke about the tribulations and afflictions of the Blessed Beauty and encouraged the friends to be obedient to the verses of the Supreme Pen, to be firm in the Covenant of God and to live in harmony with one another. He spoke in such explicit terms that those present were made firmly aware of their duties. He also told them about those things which are the means of preserving unity and harmony among the Bahá’ís.
12 October 1912, Talk at Temple Emmanu-El, 450 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California 5
From another horizon we see Muḥammad, the Prophet of Arabia, appearing. You may not know that the first address of Muḥammad to His tribe was the statement, “Verily, Moses was a Prophet of God, and the Torah is a Book of God. Verily, O ye people, ye must believe in the Torah, in Moses and the prophets. Ye must accept all the prophets of Israel as valid.” In the Qur’án, the Muslim Bible, there are seven statements or repetitions of the Mosaic narrative, and in all the historic accounts Moses is praised. Muḥammad announces that Moses was the greatest Prophet of God, that God guided Him in the wilderness of Sinai, that through the light of guidance Moses hearkened to the summons of God, that He was the Interlocutor of God and the bearer of the tablet of the Ten Commandments, that all the contemporary nations of the world arose against Him and that eventually Moses conquered them, for falsehood and error are ever overcome by truth. There are many other instances of Muḥammad’s confirmation of Moses. I am mentioning but a few. Consider that Muḥammad was born among the savage and barbarous tribes of Arabia, lived among them and was outwardly illiterate and uninformed of the Holy Books of God. The Arabian people were in the utmost ignorance and barbarism. They buried their infant daughters alive, considering this to be an evidence of a valorous and lofty nature. They lived in bondage and serfdom under the Persian and Roman governments and were scattered throughout the desert, engaged in continual strife and bloodshed. When the light of Muḥammad dawned, the darkness of ignorance was dispelled from the deserts of Arabia. In a short period of time those barbarous peoples attained a superlative degree of civilization which, with Baghdád as its center, extended as far westward as Spain and afterward influenced the greater part of Europe. What proof of Prophethood could be greater than this, unless we close our eyes to justice and remain obstinately opposed to reason?
’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny
Those who sow “doubt and disbelief”: “They will get nothing but manifest loss in this world and the next.”
Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America
Curated by Anne Perry
- Menon, Jonathan. “The Stubborn Hide of the Bull Moose.” 239 Days in America, 20 Oct. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/10/20/the-stubborn-hide-of-the-bull-moose/. ↩
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 169. ↩
- ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=8#section211 ↩
- Baháʾuʾlláh. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy Book. Haifa: Baháʾi World Centre, 1992, 39. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/bahaullah/kitab-i-aqdas/5#090673716 ↩
- ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 367-368. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/27#055996365 ↩