239 Days in America, Day 220: November 16, 1912 | New York

The Struggle to Be Fully Human 1

During his [‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s] travels in Europe and America, he relentlessly promoted the idea of a human race that is distinct from the animal kingdom, defining both intellectual and spiritual capacities as fundamentally different than natural instincts. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá didn’t deny humankind’s nearly unlimited capacity for self-interest, but he rejected the reductionist view of human beings that considers our nature as consisting of little else.

“Man is in the highest degree of materiality, and at the beginning of spirituality,” he would often argue. “That is to say, he is the end of imperfection and the beginning of perfection. He is at the last degree of darkness, and at the beginning of light . . . he is the sum of all the degrees of imperfection, and . . . he possesses the degrees of perfection.” Human beings, he said, are capable of both the most degraded behavior, and the most saintly. “Not in any other of the species in the world of existence,” he added, “is there such a difference, contrast, contradiction and opposition as in the species of man.”

At Stanford University on October 8, 1912, and again two days later at the Open Forum in San Francisco, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had defined humanity based on the qualities that differentiate us from animals — abstract thought, scientific advancement, the impulse for discovery, the capacity to struggle in the face of adversity, and moral reasoning among them. Yet these intellectual endowments, he frequently told audiences, must ultimately serve higher spiritual faculties such as justice, love, compassion, and generosity.

Saturday, November 16, 1912 2

After morning prayers and meditation, the Master spoke of the afflictions and persecutions of the believers in the East and their perseverance and steadfastness in the Cause of God. He spoke graciously of the family of Hadrát Samandarí and other old Persian friends. Later, at a gathering of the friends, He spoke these words:

“The holy Manifestations endured great afflictions and persecutions and at every moment accepted torment and oppression. Christ suffered violent persecutions, accepting the suffering of the Cross and the most glorious martyrdom. The results of these persecutions were eleven disciples who were truly blessed souls. They became luminous and heavenly; they became the cause of the enlightenment of the people of the world.

“I hope that you, too, may reach such a station, that it will be said that you are the fruit of the revelation of Bahá’u’lláh; that it will be said, ‘It is these people who are the aim of this new revelation; they are the jewels of existence; they are illumined, divine, spiritual and heavenly.’ If someone asks what Bahá’u’lláh has done, they will be told, ‘He has educated these people.’”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá then spoke about the divine laws and religions:

“Divine religions consist of two parts. One aspect is that of spiritual laws which constitute the foundation of all divine religions. They are immutable and unalterable. The second aspect consists of social laws and relates to material affairs, and changes according to the exigencies of the time.”

To a new group He said:

“Gracious God! Although people see with their own eyes that in the dispensation of Christ the eleven disciples were ordinary men who, because of their faith in Him, found eternal life and shone from the horizon of perpetual honor; and that the Jews, with all their worldly honor, became contemptible; and that Caiaphas, the greatest enemy of Christ, was, together with his whole family, obliterated from the face of the earth while a simple fisherman, because of his belief in Christ, became the great Peter, yet, despite all this, still they take no heed.”

In the afternoon meeting His address on the reality of God and the victory of the Manifestations of God threw the entire audience into an extraordinary state of excitement and attraction, especially the friends from New Jersey, who with Mr [William] Hoar, after the meeting went to the Master’s room and became the recipients of His grace and special bestowals.

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York 3

Wherever the mention of Bahá’u’lláh rises up, that is the paradise of Abhá. Wherever purified, severed and illumined souls are found, that is the paradise of Bahá. Ṭihrán is the paradise of Bahá’u’lláh, for souls are found there you cannot call human; they are angels. In reality, the Bahá’í friends in that city are of the heavenly host. Whenever I think of them, I become happy.

The Blessed Perfection suffered innumerable ordeals and calamities, but during His lifetime He trained in all regions many souls who were peerless. The purpose of the appearance of the Manifestations of God is the training of the people. That is the only result of Their mission, the real outcome. The outcome of the whole life of Jesus was the training of eleven disciples and two women. Why did He suffer troubles, ordeals and calamities? For the training of these few followers. That was the result of His life. The product of the life of Christ was not the churches but the illumined souls of those who believed in Him. Afterward, they spread His teachings.

It is my hope that you all may become the product of the life of Bahá’u’lláh and the outcomes of His heavenly training. When the people ask you, “What has Bahá’u’lláh accomplished?” say to them, “He has created these; He has trained us.”

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to Its Spiritual Destiny

Striving to become “… the fruit of the revelation of Bahá’u’lláh”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 16, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “The Struggle to Be Fully Human.” 239 Days in America, 16 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/16/the-struggle-to-be-fully-human/.
  2. ’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=9#section238
  3. 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, 437. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/32#317807173

239 Days in America, Day 219: November 15, 1912 | New York

Winning Suffrage, Losing Equal Rights: 1912-1920 1

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from the moment he arrived in America, had argued that transforming America’s gender regime would require more than a legal victory. Although he supported suffrage, he told reporters that the underlying problem was not legal, but ideological. “The chief cause of the mental and physical inequalities of the sexes,” he argued, “is due to custom and training, which for ages past have molded women into the ideal of the weaker vessel.” “It has been objected by some that woman is not equally capable with man and that she is deficient by creation,” he told a gathering of suffragists. “This is pure imagination.”

Even as his steamship was still crawling up New York Harbor to its pier on April 11, 1912, he was already laying out a far broader agenda for women’s equality than what the progressive suffragists envisioned. Women, he argued, must have the same educational and occupational opportunities as men, and they must march forward into the front ranks of the sciences and the arts. “If women were given the same advantages as men, their capacity being the same, the result would be the same.” It was more important to educate girls than boys, he said, and if a family could not afford to educate both its sons and its daughters, they should give the priority to the girls. “When women participate fully and equally in the affairs of the world,” he declared, “when they enter confidently and capably the great arena of laws and politics, war will cease; for woman will be the obstacle and hindrance to it.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá visualized not merely a society of equal legal and political rights, but an entirely different kind of civilization built on feminine ideals. “The world in the past has been ruled by force,” he stated, “and man has dominated over woman by reason of his more forceful and aggressive qualities of both body and mind. But the scales are already shifting — force is losing its weight and mental alertness, intuition, and the spiritual qualities of love and service, in which woman is strong, are gaining ascendancy. Hence the new age will be an age less masculine, and more permeated with the feminine ideals — or, to speak more exactly, will be an age in which the masculine and feminine elements of civilization will be more properly balanced.”

Final Days in America: New York City 2

One of the few speaking invitations ‘Abdu’l-Bahá accepted was that, on November 15, to address the Divine Knowledge Club, comprised mostly of women, the leader of whom claimed clairvoyance and sat with her eyes closed most of the time to receive inspiration. On the way home,‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “‘Behold: what superstition and vain thoughts are yet prevalent in America!’”

Friday, November 15, 1912 3

Mr [Roy C.] Wilhelm and other friends heard these words from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

“Education and training are the most important issues in the world of existence. Without an educator, little progress can be made in material affairs, still less in spiritual affairs and divine morals. How can humanity find composure and eternal happiness without an educator? Apart from the human world observe the rest of creation, how each and every created things is in need of training by an educator. Without education they will not attain perfection. For instance, this flower cannot by itself reach this perfection and attain this charm, color and loveliness. Thus, there are two great blessings in the world of existence: one is innate capacity which is bestowed by the Creator; and the other, acquired perfections which depend upon training by a teacher and educator.”

The Master went downstairs to join the assembled friends. Among His words were these: ‘The whole world is like a physical body and the power of Bahá’u’lláh may be regarded as the main artery in the body of existence.’

Today He called on Mr [Howard] MacNutt and spoke to him in strong terms about his relationship with the Covenant-breakers and showed him a letter Mr MacNutt had written to Chicago offering help to and praising Dr [William Frederick] Nutt, a friend of [Ibrahim George] Kheiralla. The Master asked, ‘Is this your writing?’ Mr MacNutt replied, ‘Yes, but my intention was something else.’ He tried to give a different angle to his purpose but could not. The Master was saddened about Mr MacNutt but His purpose was to admonish and warn him against his own conduct.

In the afternoon, after seeing Mr [Haigazoun Hohannes] Topakyan, the Persian Consul General, and other prominent people, the Master went to a meeting of the Divine Knowledge Club, whose members are mostly women. The president of the club is an educated woman who claims divine knowledge and heavenly inspiration through Bahá’u’lláh. Spiritualists, astrologers and Christian Scientists frequent her club meetings. She spoke with closed eyes, as if she were sleeping and receiving inspiration. She appeared to be in a trance and in a state of total absorption. Because she is known among the Bahá’ís for her sincerity and is a supporter of the Cause of God, the Master was very kind to her.

Today, at this lady’s request, the Master went to a meeting of her club and delivered an address concerning the circumstances of the time and the different seasons in the contingent world. He said:

The day of the Manifestation of God is the divine and spiritual springtime when the trees of human souls become green and flourishing, new beauty and freshness are brought to the gardens of the hearts and new inspiration and fresh bounties are bestowed.

His talk commanded their complete attention and all bowed their heads in humility and respect. On the way home, He remarked, ‘Observe what idle fancies and vain imaginings are still prevalent in America!’ The Master’s guidance on removing the superstitions and vain imaginings of these people is as follows:

“Man explains things in two ways. One explanation originates from his personal feelings, thoughts and understanding. This cannot stand as proof or criterion for all and does not satisfy the hearts. The other is a statement supported by proofs. It produces significant results and promulgates momentous matters which are necessary to the world of man. It is like the explanations and proofs of the Bahá’ís, who invite all to the oneness of humanity and to universal peace. This explanation has proofs and is effective.”

The Master continued with a story of the Jewish rabbis:

“In Jerusalem every now and then they broadcast a promise giving a specific time based on the holy scriptures and say that on such a date the Promised One will appear to deliver the Jews. They say, ‘We have derived these from the holy texts.’ But when that time and day approach they cast a doubt over their promise and give another. Thus they keep the Jews under the influence of their wish and desires and deprive them of the truth. Now they refer to the time of Daniel [Dan. 12:12] and hold out a promise that the Promised One will appear in the year 1335 [AH, i. e. 1963].”

There was a public meeting in the evening at the home of Miss Juliet Thompson. The Master spoke about the greatness of this cycle, the victory of the Cause and the influence and importance of the teachings and laws of Bahá’u’lláh. His talk was delivered in such awe-inspiring tones that the minds were dazzled and the hearts captivated by the grandeur and majesty of the Center of the Covenant. Both before and after the meeting many people were honored to visit with Him in a separate room.

Talk at Home of Miss Juliet Thompson, 48 West Tenth Street, New York 4

First among the great principles revealed by Him is that of the investigation of reality. The meaning is that every individual member of humankind is exhorted and commanded to set aside superstitious beliefs, traditions and blind imitation of ancestral forms in religion and investigate reality for himself. Inasmuch as the fundamental reality is one, all religions and nations of the world will become one through investigation of reality. The announcement of this principle is not found in any of the sacred Books of the past.

A second characteristic principle of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is that which commands recognition of the oneness of the world of humanity. Addressing all mankind, He says, “Ye are all the leaves of one tree.” There are no differences or distinctions of race among you in the sight of God. Nay, rather, all are the servants of God, and all are submerged in the ocean of His oneness. Not a single soul is bereft. On the contrary, all are the recipients of the bounties of God. Every human creature has a portion of His bestowals and a share of the effulgence of His reality. God is kind to all. Mankind are His sheep, and He is their real Shepherd. No other scriptures contain such breadth and universality of statement; no other teachings proclaim this unequivocal principle of the solidarity of humanity. As regards any possible distinctions, the utmost that Bahá’u’lláh says is that conditions among men vary, that some, for instance, are defective. Therefore, such souls must be educated in order that they may be brought to the degree of perfection. Some are sick and ailing; they must be treated and cared for until they are healed. Some are asleep; they need to be awakened. Some are immature as children; they should be helped to attain maturity. But all must be loved and cherished. The child must not be disliked simply because it is a child. Nay, rather, it should be patiently educated. The sick one must not be avoided nor slighted merely because he is ailing. Nay, rather, he must be regarded with sympathy and affection and treated until he is healed. The soul that is asleep must not be looked upon with contempt but awakened and led into the light.

Bahá’u’lláh teaches that religion must be in conformity with science and reason. If belief and teaching are opposed to the analysis of reason and principles of science, they are not worthy of acceptance. This principle has not been revealed in any of the former Books of divine teaching.

Another fundamental announcement made by Bahá’u’lláh is that religion must be the source of unity and fellowship in the world. If it is productive of enmity, hatred and bigotry, the absence of religion would be preferable. This is a new principle of revelation found only in the utterances of Bahá’u’lláh.

Again, Bahá’u’lláh declares that all forms of prejudice among mankind must be abandoned and that until existing prejudices are entirely removed, the world of humanity will not and cannot attain peace, prosperity and composure. This principle cannot be found in any other sacred volume than the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh.

Another teaching is that there shall be perfect equality between men and women. Why should man create a distinction which God does not recognize? In the kingdoms below man sex exists, but the distinction between male and female is neither repressive nor restrictive. The mare, for instance, is as strong and often more speedy than the horse. Throughout the animal and vegetable kingdoms there is perfect equality between the sexes. In the kingdom of mankind this equality must likewise exist, and the one whose heart is purest, whose life and character are highest and nearest to the divine standard is most worthy and excellent in the sight of God. This is the only true and real distinction, be that one man or woman.

Bahá’u’lláh has announced the necessity for a universal language which shall serve as a means of international communication and thus remove misunderstandings and difficulties. This teaching is set forth in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (“Most Holy Book”) published fifty years ago.

He has also proclaimed the principle that all mankind shall be educated and that no illiteracy be allowed to remain. This practical remedy for the need of the world cannot be found in the text of any other sacred Books.

He teaches that it is incumbent upon all mankind to become fitted for some useful trade, craft or profession by which subsistence may be assured, and this efficiency is to be considered as an act of worship.

The teachings of Bahá’u’lláh are boundless and without end in their far-reaching benefit to mankind. The point and purpose of our statement today is that they are new and that they are not found in any of the religious Books of the past. This is in answer to the question, “What has Bahá’u’lláh brought that we have not heard before?” Therefore, it is conclusive and evident that the Manifestation of God in this day is distinguished from all former appearances and revelations by His majesty, His power and the efficacy and application of His Word.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to Its Spiritual Destiny

The importance of education and training

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 15, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Winning Suffrage, Losing Equal Rights: 1912-1920.” 239 Days in America, 15 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/15/winning-suffrage-losing-equal-rights/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 187.
  3. ’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=9#section237
  4. 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, 433-435. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/32#451466439

239 Days in America, Day 218: November 14, 1912 | New York

The Trial of the Century 1

ON JULY 16, 1912, at approximately 2 a.m., “Lefty Louie” Rosenberg, “Whitey” Lewis, “Dago Frank” Cirofici, and “Gyp the Blood” Horowitz loitered outside the Hotel Metropole at 147 West 43rd Street, just off Times Square. When a slightly overweight man in a black striped suit emerged from the hotel, they reached into their pockets, each took out a revolver, and they shot him dead. Their victim had barely hit the sidewalk when the four gunmen jumped into a big white car, which had been waiting for them up the block, and raced off toward Sixth Avenue.

That same evening, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had returned to Manhattan from Brooklyn to attend a wedding ceremony. Although he didn’t comment on the murder case itself, he had written about preventing crime, not by reforming laws or inventing new methods of punishing criminals, but through the education and moral development of society. …

To prevent criminal behavior, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá argued, the community should “endeavor to educate the masses,” so that “day by day knowledge and sciences would increase, the understanding would be broadened, the sensibilities developed, customs would become good, and morals normal; in one word, in all these classes of perfections there would be progress, and there would be fewer crimes.”

Final Days in America: New York City 2

On the same day [November 12] he recorded that Abdu’l-Bahá, as before, was invited to the homes of many socially prominent New Yorkers. But Abdu’l-Bahá refused, saying, “‘I have work with the poor and not with the rich. I love all with heart and soul yet I am not here to visit the homes of the rich.’” When Andrew Carnegie implored Him to come, however, He did bestow upon him the honor of His presence.

Thursday, November 14, 1912 3

After granting private interviews to some of the friends, the Master came downstairs to the gathering. Among His statements were these words:

“The most blessed moments of my life are those which I spend in the company of the friends of God. These are the best times. Therefore, I am extremely happy to be with you now. Praise be to God that your faces are illumined, your hearts and souls are rejoicing and all are turned toward the Abhá Kingdom. This is the utmost happiness for me.

“I pray to the threshold of Bahá’u’lláh that He may grant all of you eternal happiness, honor you in His Kingdom and bestow upon you everlasting life. Thus, the friends of New York may be freed from all limitations and become the cause of the enlightenment of the world of man. This is my greatest wish and Bahá’u’lláh will assuredly assist you.”

Most of the evening meetings were at the home of Mrs Kinney and while the daytime meetings were at Mrs Krug’s home. There was always a crowd of visitors at His residence and whether He was in or out, a multitude was always there waiting.

At the meeting this afternoon at Mrs Krug’s home, He spoke of the exalted station of the people of Bahá given them through the bounties and confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom, which can turn black dust into a brilliant ruby, a grain into a harvest, a fisherman into a Peter and a village woman into a Mary Magdalene, the pride of men.

As they passed before Him one by one, they received His bestowals and blessings. He returned to His residence on foot. Near Central Park a gentleman approached Him and said, ‘I have heard much about you and have been waiting for the moment to see you. I am thankful that now I have attained the honor of meeting your Excellency.’ He followed the Master to His residence, greatly interested in His explanations and the wonderful Bahá’í teachings.

This evening friends and seekers immensely enjoyed and benefited from hearing the Master’s explanations of the mysteries of the Books of God and other important issues. He was asked about music and singing in the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. He replied, ‘Singing and chanting of scripture and prayers in verse or in prose should be used but I do not interfere in matters not expressly stated in the Text. Whenever and whatever the Universal House of Justice ordains, that will be the criterion.’

Later in the evening He spoke at length to a Christian Science lady who was quite fanatical in her beliefs. The Master explained to her the meaning of the assertion that there is no evil in existence. He said:

“By saying there is no evil in existence is meant that what has come from the Origin of existence and being is good and useful. It is good in its time and place and not evil. For example, I can say that there is no darkness in the sun because darkness is the absence of light and has no existence in itself. Oppression is the absence of justice and ignorance is the lack of knowledge. Hence, the imperfections and defects of the world of creation, the contingent world, are merely the absence of virtues and the lack of perfections. These defects have not come from the Source; rather, the essential properties of the world of matter which are change and transformation cause the training of all things and the manifestation of perfections of realities and spirits.”

9 November 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons, 1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D. C. 4

Furthermore, this immortal human soul is endowed with two means of perception: One is effected through instrumentality; the other, independently. For instance, the soul sees through the instrumentality of the eye, hears with the ear, smells through the nostrils and grasps objects with the hands. These are the actions or operations of the soul through instruments. But in the world of dreams the soul sees when the eyes are closed. The man is seemingly dead, lies there as dead; the ears do not hear, yet he hears. The body lies there, but he—that is, the soul—travels, sees, observes. All the instruments of the body are inactive, all the functions seemingly useless. Notwithstanding this, there is an immediate and vivid perception by the soul. Exhilaration is experienced. The soul journeys, perceives, senses. It often happens that a man in a state of wakefulness has not been able to accomplish the solution of a problem, and when he goes to sleep, he will reach that solution in a dream. How often it has happened that he has dreamed, even as the prophets have dreamed, of the future; and events which have thus been foreshadowed have come to pass literally.

Therefore, we learn that the immortality of the soul, or spirit, is not contingent or dependent upon the so-called immortality of the body, because the body in the quiescent state, in the time of sleep, may be as dead, unconscious, senseless; but the soul, or spirit, is possessed of perceptions, sensations, motion and discovery. Even inspiration and revelation are obtained by it. How many were the prophets who have had marvelous visions of the future while in that state! The spirit, or human soul, is the rider; and the body is only the steed. If anything affects the steed, the rider is not affected by it. The spirit may be likened to the light within the lantern. The body is simply the outer lantern. If the lantern should break, the light is ever the same because the light could shine even without the lantern. The spirit can conduct its affairs without the body. In the world of dreams it is precisely as this light without the chimney glass. It can shine without the glass. The human soul by means of this body can perform its operations, and without the body it can, likewise, have its control. Therefore, if the body be subject to disintegration, the spirit is not affected by these changes or transformations.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to Its Spiritual Destiny

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s greatest wish for New York believers: That they “…become the cause of the enlightenment of the world of man.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 14, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “The Trial of the Century.” 239 Days in America, 14 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/14/the-trial-of-the-century/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 186.
  3. ’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=9#section236
  4. 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, 416-417. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/30#436836201

239 Days in America, Day 217: November 13, 1912 | New York

Triumph and Tragedy in a Vast and Progressive Nation 1

‘“HAVING TRAVELED FROM COAST to coast,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá announced on Election Day in Cincinnati, “I find the United States of America vast and progressive, the government just and equitable, the nation noble and independent.”

During his eight months in America, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had engaged a vast, diverse audience of Americans in conversation about the issues they felt were central to the future of their nation. He had praised “the optimism of this great country,” and the “quick perception, intelligence and understanding,” of the American people. “They are not content to stand still. They are most energetic and progressive.” “I find religion, high ideals, broad sympathy with humanity, benevolence and kindness widespread here,” he said, “and my hope is that America will lead in the movement for universal peace.”

Final Days in America: New York City 2

On November 12 Mahmúd recorded that the newspapers were filled with accounts of the war between the Balkan States and Turkey. He added, “the people looked upon us with eyes full of prejudice whenever they saw us in the market in Persian gowns. We were even refused accommodation in large hotels as they thought we were Turks.”

Wednesday, November 13, 1912 3

The Master described for the friends His journey to California and His talks at the university and at gatherings in San Francisco. He said:

“As they were delivered in scientific terms and with rational arguments, none could deny them and not a single voice was raised in opposition. In fact, in the gatherings like that at the university where one hundred and eighty professors and teachers and eighteen hundred students were present together with other notable people, if one had spoken using religious terminology and expressing religious opinions and imitations which are wholly contrary to science and reason, none would have paid any attention; rather, they would have scorned and mocked us.

“One reason that people despair of the world of religion is this very matter of superstitions and imitations practiced by religious leaders. When intelligent and learned people see these imitations and customs as being contrary to reason and knowledge they forsake the divine religion and are not aware that these are idle fancies of the leaders and have nothing to do with divine principles. The foundations of divine religion do not negate sound reason and true science. The principles of divine religion do not contradict knowledge and insight, except for some principles and minutiae of the law which were given according to the exigencies of the time and age. Of course, the second or social laws suited to the Mosaic dispensation and useful for the Jewish people at that time are now purposeless and ineffective and seem futile, but they were pertinent and useful at the time.

“Now, praise be to God, Bahá’u’lláh has solved these difficulties. All His teachings and laws are in keeping with the spirit of this age and the needs of the people. And greatest of all is the abandonment of religious superstitions and dogmas and the conformity of spiritual matters with scientific and rational arguments.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá spent the afternoon at the home of Mr Kinney. As was His daily custom, the Master went for a walk in the morning and afternoon in the gardens along the bank of the river on Riverside Drive.

His public talk at Mr Kinney’s home concerned the immersion of the friends in the sea of bounty and favor. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá encouraged them to remain firm and constant in the Covenant of God. After the meeting another group came to visit. He also encouraged them to arise, teach and spread the fragrances of God and inspired them to render service to the world of humanity so that others might arise from among the friends, girding their loins to bring about unity and harmony among the nations.

When some of the friends requested that the verses of the holy writings and divine Tablets be translated into English, He said: ‘A committee consisting of experts in several languages is essential for the translation of the Sacred Writings.’

Several friends brought their children to Him. He took the little children in His arms and showered them with His kindness and affection. Among them was the little daughter of Mr Jones, who ran to the Master in all the meetings and did not wish to leave His side. She was always sad when she had to leave Him.

The Master spoke this evening on the importance of the friends striving to detach themselves from earthly passions and worldly desires and to remain aloof from the doubts of selfish persons who outwardly appear faithful but who are inwardly the cause of confusion to others. He gave a lengthy discourse on firmness in the Covenant of God, obedience to the Center of His Covenant, the unity of the believers, the afflictions and tribulations of the Abhá Beauty and the martyrdom of the Manifestations in order that unity and harmony might be brought to the nations of the world.

During this talk two large rooms at Mr Kinney’s were filled to capacity. At first the Master sat on a chair between the two rooms but He later arose in a majestic and dignified manner, speaking with such forceful tones that everyone was delighted and full of admiration.

9 November 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons, 1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D. C. 4

Every composition is necessarily subject to destruction or disintegration. For instance, this flower is a composition of various elements; its decomposition is inevitable. When this composed form undergoes decomposition—in other words, when these elements separate and disintegrate—that is what we call the death of the flower. For inasmuch as it is composed of single elements, the grouping of multitudinous cellular atoms, it is subject to disintegration. This is the mortality of the flower. Similarly, the body of man is composed of various elements. This composition of the elements has been given life. When these elements disintegrate, life disappears, and that is death. Existence in the various planes, or kingdoms, implies composition; and nonexistence, or death, is decomposition.

But the inner and essential reality of man is not composed of elements and, therefore, cannot be decomposed. It is not an elemental composition subject to disintegration or death. A true and fundamental scientific principle is that an element itself never dies and cannot be destroyed for the reason that it is single and not composed. Therefore, it is not subject to decomposition.

Another evidence or proof of the indestructibility of the reality of man is that it is not affected by the changes of the physical body. These changing conditions of the bodily composition are definite and continual. At one time it is normal, at another time abnormal. Now it is weak, now strong. It suffers injury, a hand may be amputated, a limb broken, an eye destroyed, an ear deafened or some defect appear in a certain organ, but these changes do not affect the human spirit, the soul of man. If the body becomes stout or thin, decrepit or strong, the spirit or soul is unaffected thereby. If a part of the bodily organism be destroyed, even if it be dismembered completely, the soul continues to function, showing that no changes of the body affect its operation. We have seen that death and mortality are synonymous with change and disintegration. As we find the soul unaffected by this change and disintegration of the body, we, therefore, prove it to be immortal; for that which is changeable is accidental, evanescent.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to Its Spiritual Destiny

“…conformity of spiritual matters with scientific and rational arguments.” – One of Bahá’u’lláh’s Teachings

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 13, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Triumph and Tragedy in a Vast and Progressive Nation.” 239 Days in America, 13 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/13/triumph-and-tragedy-in-a-vast-and-progressive-nation/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 186.
  3. ’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=9#section235
  4. 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, 415-416. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/30#764695301

239 Days in America, Day 216: November 12, 1912 | New York

‘Abdu’l-Bahá Returns to the City 1

‘SOMETIME AFTER MIDNIGHT, THE glow of Manhattan appeared over the eastern horizon. The train carrying ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on the final leg of his long trip back east slowed as it approached the city limits of Jersey City, and finally stopped at the Pennsylvania Railroad Terminal on the western shore of the Hudson River. The passengers disembarked and boarded the 23rd Street Ferry, which pulled away from the ferry terminal, turned against the Hudson’s current, and pushed north for four miles along the middle of the channel. Off to starboard the towers of lower Manhattan pricked the night sky with a thousand points of light.

Juliet Thompson stood at the end of the pier at the West 23rd Street Ferry terminal in Manhattan, tracking the chain of lights that embossed the small steamship on its dark watery approach. She made out Dr. Fareed, the translator, standing on deck, and, next to him, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá seated on a deck chair. He stood, stepped into the ship’s bright cabin, and, a few minutes after 1 a.m., walked down the gangplank to meet her. …

From the ferry terminal ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s automobile went north, although we don’t know the route. They may have set out east along West 23rd Street toward Broadway, and then north through the glowing canyons of the boulevard past the theatres, through brightly lit Times Square, around the statue of Columbus at the corner of the black expanse of Central Park, and then up past the Hotel Ansonia into the Upper West Side. Or the driver may have turned left out of the ferry terminal, skirted the dark flowing Hudson on 13th and then 12th Avenue, skipped inland at West 59th Street around the locomotives parked at the south end of the New York Central & Hudson River Railway, and then up West End Avenue to Mrs. Champney’s house on West 78th Street, where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would again take up residence for his final three weeks in America.

Final Days in America: New York City 2

From November 12 until December 5 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stayed in New York and could be said to have conducted a month-long deepening class on every aspect of the Faith. Although invitations to speak poured in, He now refused most of them, for He preferred instead to visit the homes of the friends or to have them come to His house. Day and night, in this last face-to-face effort, he prepared them, as part of the army of God, for the things they must do, for the sacrifices they must make, for the spirituality they must attain, for the lessons they must learn, for the total integration and oneness thy must achieve, and for the service they would be called upon to render to their fellowmen in the path of Bahá’u’lláh.

To know the events of these days fully would be to know the weaving in and out of each human experience, as each person emerged from all his past experiences, entered Abdu’l-Bahá’s presence, and went again into the world. To see how the fabric of the new World Order was being woven, in that rented house on Riverside Drive, those thousands of threads, along with their effects on other lives, would have to be followed from beginning to end.

Tuesday, November 12, 1912 3

Early in the morning, Mrs Champain, the owner of the house, and her relatives came to see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and to receive His blessings. They were at a loss to know in what language they could express their gratitude for the fact that their home had become the residence of the Master and the point of adoration for His lovers. The house is located on Riverside Drive near the Hudson River. Each morning and evening the Master walks in the gardens on the banks of the river.

As there is a war raging between the Balkan states and Turkey, it is the main topic in all the newspapers and people look upon these visitors in their Persian garments with eyes full of prejudice. We have even been refused accommodation in some of the large hotels because they thought we were Turks. The Master remarked, ‘Observe how much enmity and hatred prejudices have produced among various parties and peoples and what suffering and hardship have been caused by them.’ But whenever those who feel enmity towards us have been informed of the Cause of God and entered ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s presence, they become humble and are honored to meet Him.

’Abdu’l-Bahá had been repeatedly asked by some of the New York Bahá’ís to see some of the wealthy people who wanted Him to visit them in their homes, but each time He said:

“I deal with the poor and visit them, not the rich. I love all, especially the poor. All sorts of people come here and I meet them all with sincere love, with heart and soul. Yet I have no intention of visiting the homes of the rich.”

On another occasion, a famous man, Mr Andrew Carnegie, humbly requested an interview with the Master. Although he was one of the millionaires of America, his request was granted and is recorded in one of His writings.

In the afternoon was the usual weekly meeting of the Bahá’í women at the home of Mrs [Grace] Krug. When the Master arrived, Mrs Krug was reciting a prayer. When she finished, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke:

“He is God!

“This is the assemblage of my daughters in the home of my daughter, Mrs Krug. Therefore I am very happy with this gathering. It is a good gathering, very illumined. It is a spiritual assembly, a heavenly assemblage, the glances of favor surround this meeting and the Supreme Concourse looks down upon it. They heard the prayer that you read and it made them joyous. They thank Bahá’u’lláh saying, ‘We thank Thee, O Bahá’u’lláh, that these maidservants are attracted to Thee and are turned to Thy Kingdom. They have no purpose but Thy Will; they wish for no station but that of service to Thy Cause.’

“O Bahá’u’lláh! Assist these noble maidservants; make these worldly daughters heavenly; inspire their hearts and gladden their souls.

“O Bahá’u’lláh! Make these bodies as light-giving candles, these beings the envy of flower gardens and fill their souls with a melody which will enrapture the Supreme Concourse and make them dance for joy. Make each of them a brilliant star so that the world of existence may be illumined with their light.

“O Bahá’u’lláh! Give them heavenly power, bestow on them the inspiration of the Kingdom and vouchsafe to them divine assistance so that they may be enabled to render service unto Thee.

“Thou are the Compassionate, the Merciful and the Lord of Bounty and Favor.”

There was a gathering in the evening at the home of Mr [Edward] Kinney which was attended mostly by black people. At the meeting the Master likened the faith of Mr [Arthur] Dodge to that of Peter and expressed His admiration for that sincere and true servant who was so firm in the Covenant. The Master showed similar kindness to Mr [Hooper] Harris who was permitted to speak to the public gathering before the Master’s address. The Master’s talk was a confirmation of Mr Harris’s speech, an explanation of the prophecies of the Book of Daniel concerning the Most Great Manifestation and the statement in the New Testament about the Promised One.

9 November 1912, Talk at Bahá’í Banquet, Rauscher’s Hall, Washington, D. C. 4

O Lord! Confirm and aid this assemblage. Confirm these souls through the breaths of Thy Holy Spirit. Enlighten the eyes by the vision of these radiant lights, and make the ears joyful through the anthems of Thy call to service. O God! Verily, we have gathered here in the fragrance of Thy love. We have turned to Thy Kingdom. We seek naught save Thee and desire nothing save Thy good pleasure. O God! Let this food be Thy manna from heaven, and grant that this assemblage may be a concourse of Thy supreme ones. May they be the quickening cause of love to humanity and the source of illumination to the human race. May they be the instruments of Thy guidance upon earth. Verily, Thou art powerful. Thou art the Bestower. Thou art the Forgiver, and Thou art the Almighty.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to Its Spiritual Destiny

The Master’s host receives His blessing

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 12, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá Returns to the City.” 239 Days in America, 12 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/12/abdul-baha-returns-to-the-city/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 185-186.
  3. ’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=9#section234
  4. 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, 419. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/31#533139068

239 Days in America, Day 215: November 11, 1912 | Baltimore

November 11, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ LEFT THE nation’s capital at 9 a.m. this morning on a train bound for Baltimore, arriving at Camden Station shortly afterward. He and his party checked into the Hotel Rennert to rest before making their way to Baltimore’s First Unitarian Church where he is scheduled to speak later today. He will step back onto his train at 3 p.m. for the final leg of his long eastern trip.

In the week ahead, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá returns to New York after almost four months away, the Progressive Movement reaches a triumphant climax with Woodrow Wilson’s aggressive reform agenda, and, New York’s first big Mafia trial comes to a close, after filling the city’s newspapers with sensational gangland stories for two months.

The Journey East: Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., Baltimore 2

Abdu’l-Bahá traveled to Baltimore on Monday, November 11, went to a hotel, granted interviews to the press, spoke at a Unitarian Church, and went for a late breakfast at the Struvens’ home.

He wired the friends in Philadelphia, who had been asking Him to come, that His train would be passing through their city and that He would see them at the station, They were on the platform when He arrived and rushed joyously to Him. Most got on the train and rode with Him to the next station, They were joyful, enthusiastic, and departed weeping, a sight which so amazed the other people on the train that they came to find out who these people were. Abdu’l-Bahá talked to them and, at their request, gave them the addresses of Bahá’ís whom they could ask for further information.

Monday, November 11, 1912 3

The believers were so eager to see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that they began to arrive at His residence from early morning. Their hearts were burning with the fire of separation and each craved His assistance and bestowals.

The believers had already assembled when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived at the railway station at 9:00 a.m. To the amazement of onlookers, they gathered around Him, their hearts filled with sorrow and anguish. This happened in every city of America when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived and departed. Onlookers were at a loss to understand how a person from the East in Iranian dress had won the veneration and respect of the men and women of America.

Some of the friends accompanied the Master to Baltimore where He stayed at a hotel. Among the many visitors who came to see Him was a newspaper reporter who was given a detailed discourse on universal peace and the ability of the American people and government to enforce it. The Master’s words were noted down for publication.

Later, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke at the Unitarian Church of Baltimore regarding the oneness of the world of man, the immutability of the principles of the divine religions and the changing of the social laws according to the demands of the time.

When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left the church He went to lunch at the home of Mr [Howard] and Mrs [Hebe] Struven. The Baltimore believers were overjoyed to see their Master. In one of His talks to the friends He said:

“Praise be to God! I have spent time with you in utmost happiness. I am very pleased with you and will not forget you. I pray that you may daily become more illumined and more spiritual. When I reach the Holy Land, I shall lay my head on the threshold of the Blessed Shrine and, weeping, I shall supplicate on your behalf for assistance and heavenly favors, eternal honor and everlasting joy.”

The Master and the friends then left for the station in two automobiles. On the way ‘Abdu’l-Bahá embraced Mr Struvens as a kind father embraces a son and with the utmost kindness thanked him for his many services to the Cause in such glowing terms that the others were astonished.

A message from the friends in Philadelphia was relayed to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá expressing their hope and expectation that since it was on His way, He might be able stop in their city. He replied, ‘We have been there once. Now we have neither time nor possibility. Send them a telegram saying that they may come to the station so that we can meet for a few minutes.’

At 6:00 p.m. when the train reached the station, the friends, both men and women, were on the platform. When the train stopped, they immediately rushed towards the Master’s seat and fell upon His feet, fulfilling their hearts’ desire. With great eagerness and enthusiasm, many of them accompanied the Master to the next station, honored to be in His presence. They begged His assistance that they might render service to the Cause of God and then, weeping, left Him. When the other passengers saw these 30 or so friends from Philadelphia hovering near the Master with such heartfelt emotions, their curiosity to know more was aroused. Fascinated by His majesty and grandeur, they surrounded the Master to hear explanations of the divine teachings. They were transformed and attracted to the teachings and asked for the addresses of the friends and assemblies. Teaching the Cause of the God and guiding the people along the road gives so much joy and excitement that there are no words to describe it.

At about 1:00 a.m. the city of New York was once more graced with the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. He stayed at the same house which had previously been rented at His instruction. Thus for the second time this house became the court of the Center of the Covenant and the threshold of bounty and favor. The owners of the house and their relatives had joined the group of sincere and devoted believers and were counted among the lovers of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

10 November 1912, Talk at 1901 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D. C. 4

I am greatly pleased with the friends in Washington and experience real happiness in meeting them. Likewise, I am pleased with the friends from Baltimore, for I have observed that their hearts are attracted to the love of Bahá’u’lláh. Their vision is extended toward the Kingdom of Bahá. Their spirits are rejoicing in the glad tidings of Abhá. Verily, they are servants of the Cause of God. All are engaged in service, and the perfection of their desire is to enter into the Kingdom of Abhá and draw near unto God. For that reason I am very happy and well pleased with them. I pray for you all. May the favors of the Blessed Beauty, Bahá’u’lláh, encompass you, and may the lights of the Sun of Reality be your illumination. May you all become united and assured. May you serve the Cause of God as one single, united force. I give you the glad tidings that the confirmations of God will descend upon you. Be ye assured of this. Ye will become illumined. Ye will become conquerors.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to Its Spiritual Destiny

Chicago believers gathered at the train station to see the Master off

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 11, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “November 11, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 11 Nov. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/11/11/november-11-1912-the-week-ahead/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 183-184.
  3. ’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=9#section233
  4. 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, 428. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/31#309517566

239 Days in America, Day 214: November 10, 1912 | Washington, D.C.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey So Far: Month Seven 1

WE HAVE REACHED THE end of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s seventh month in America. We’ll take this opportunity to look back at some of the highlights of the past thirty-one days. …

There are now just twenty-five days left until ‘Abdu’l-Bahá bids farewell to America.

The Journey East: Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., Baltimore 2

On Sunday [November 10] the entire day was occupied with interview after interview, until He went to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Hannen, 1252 Eighth Street, N.W., for a meeting. He looked at the interracial gathering and said:

“This is a beautiful assembly. I am very happy that white and black are together. This is the cause of my happiness, for you all are the servants of one God and, therefore, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. In the sight of God there is no distinction between whites and blacks; all are as one. Anyone whose heart is pure is dear to God—whether white or black, red or yellow.” 3

Sunday, November 10, 1912 4

This was the last day of the Master’s stay in Washington. An enthusiastic crowd assembled early at His residence. His talk covered various subjects. He encouraged the friends by assuring them that divine assistance and confirmations would descend upon them; then He counseled them to show firmness in the Cause of God. He also mentioned the book written by Mírzá Abu’l-Fadl in answer to the objections of a Christian minister.

The friends and seekers continued to come to see Him until noon, at which time Mrs Parsons invited a number of them to dine with Him. Private interviews were granted in the afternoon on the second floor. He responded to questions about the interpretation of dreams, firmness and steadfastness in the Cause of God, the futility of opposition, the teachings of the Abhá Beauty, economic issues and so on.

The Master then came downstairs to a public meeting where He spoke on the oneness of the Divine Essence. At the close of His address, He bade everyone farewell.

A spirit of longing spread over the audience and with the utmost humility and reverence they begged His assistance and blessings. The fire of love blazed within them. After the meeting several people pleaded with Him to grant them private interviews. They were overjoyed when permission to ask a few questions was given. Some brought their children to receive His blessings.

In the evening a meeting attended by both blacks and whites was held at the home of Mr and Mrs Hannen. As this was the last night of His stay, the meeting had a significance of its own and more than ever the hearts were filled with enthusiasm. When the Master arrived He was so tired that He went upstairs to rest for a brief time. When He heard the audience’s restlessness and impatience, He allowed them to come to Him group by group. They came, kissed His hand and requested His assistance and blessings. Even though He was tired, each person received His kindness and blessings. He counseled them to be firm in the Cause of God and to hold fast to the mantle of love and union.

When all these people concluded their visit, grateful for His bestowals, the Master came downstairs and spoke about unity and amity between the blacks and whites, expressing His happiness at seeing both races present in the meeting. During His talk He mentioned the sincerity, honesty and services of Isfandíyár, the black servant of Bahá’u’lláh.

He took supper with a number of the friends. The host and hostess, Mr and Mrs Hannen, were overjoyed beyond measure because their services were accepted by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and He bestowed upon them His special favors.

Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons, 1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D. C. 5

What is the reality of Divinity, or what do we understand by God?

When we consider the world of existence, we find that the essential reality underlying any given phenomenon is unknown. Phenomenal, or created, things are known to us only by their attributes. Man discerns only manifestations, or attributes, of objects, while the identity, or reality, of them remains hidden. For example, we call this object a flower. What do we understand by this name and title? We understand that the qualities appertaining to this organism are perceptible to us, but the intrinsic elemental reality, or identity, of it remains unknown. Its external appearance and manifest attributes are knowable; but the inner being, the underlying reality or intrinsic identity, is still beyond the ken and perception of our human powers. Inasmuch as the realities of material phenomena are impenetrable and unknowable and are only apprehended through their properties or qualities, how much more this is true concerning the reality of Divinity, that holy essential reality which transcends the plane and grasp of mind and man? That which comes within human grasp is finite, and in relation to it we are infinite because we can grasp it. Assuredly, the finite is lesser than the infinite; the infinite is ever greater. If the reality of Divinity could be contained within the grasp of human mind, it would after all be possessed of an intellectual existence only—a mere intellectual concept without extraneous existence, an image or likeness which had come within the comprehension of finite intellect. The mind of man would be transcendental thereto. How could it be possible that an image which has only intellectual existence is the reality of Divinity, which is infinite? Therefore, the reality of Divinity in its identity is beyond the range of human intellection because the human mind, the human intellect, the human thought are limited, whereas the reality of Divinity is unlimited. How can the limited grasp the unlimited and transcend it? Impossible. The unlimited always comprehends the limited. The limited can never comprehend, surround nor take in the unlimited. Therefore, every concept of Divinity which has come within the intellection of a human being is finite, or limited, and is a pure product of imagination, whereas the reality of Divinity is holy and sacred above and beyond all such concepts.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to Its Spiritual Destiny

Saying farewell to friends in Washington

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 10, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey So Far: Month Seven.” 239 Days in America, 10 Nov. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/11/10/abdul-bahas-journey-so-far-month-seven/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 180-181.
  3. 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, 425. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/31#579735117
  4. ’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=9#section232
  5. 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, 421-422. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/31#099625472

239 Days in America, Day 213: November 09, 1912 | Washington, D.C.

Challenging Washington’s Oldest Jewish Congregation 1

ON THE EVENING OF November 8, 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá addressed the Washington Hebrew Congregation, led by Rabbi Abram Simon, at the Eighth Street Temple in the nation’s capital. One month earlier, he had spoken to a similar Reform congregation at the Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco, asking them to consider that just as the Jewish prophets had reclaimed a lost people and turned them into a mighty society, so too had Jesus and Muhammad. His approach in Washington was similar, though this time around his argument was met with less enthusiasm. …

‘Abdu’l-Bahá spent a few minutes preparing his audience for the next phase of the argument. He asked them to be “just and fair in your judgment of the following statements.” He then proceeded to articulate the accomplishments of Jesus, going so far as to ask: “Were it not for Jesus Christ, would the Bible, the Torah have reached this land of America? Would the name of Moses be spread throughout the world?”

“This produced a stir among the people,” Agnes Parsons noted in her account of the evening. She states that Rabbi Simon made an effort through the translator, Dr. Fareed, to stop the address. Mahmúd-i-Zarqání, one of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s secretaries, wrote that the people seated near the pulpit made signs that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s time was up. …

Agnes Parsons telephoned Rabbi Simon the next morning and invited him to visit with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Later that evening, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told a small gathering about the conversation that had transpired between the two men. He had told Rabbi Simon that Jews should be proud of Jesus, a “mighty personage” that they had, in fact, given to the world. “When you express your glory and honor in the recollection of Christ,” he told the Rabbi, “rest assured that the Christians will shake your hands in fellowship.”

Rabbi Simon eventually concurred. But he asked one thing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: “Cannot you tell the Christians to love us a little bit more?”

The Journey East: Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., Baltimore 2

Saturday night, November 9, the friends held a banquet at Rauscher’s Hall. In the center of the room the tables were arranged in a figure nine and decorated with flowers. The walls were hung with flags, festoons, lanterns, and signs, with the Greatest Name above them. To the three hundred people at the banquet Mason Remey read a paper congratulating ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and assuring Him of their obedience and renunciation. After they sang, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá prayed and told everyone to begin eating. While they ate, He walked among them distributing candy and flowers and applying attar of roses. When He finished, the friends again sang songs. Then He spoke to them concerning the living of a Bahá’í life, and afterward they again burst into song.

Saturday, November 9, 1912 3

The Master called on the Jewish rabbi, showered him with kindness and countless blessings, and spoke to him regarding peace and harmony among the Jews, Christians and Muslims as well as the need for respect for the leaders of each other’s religions. The Master said:

“Whenever these people mention each other’s leaders with due reverence then all sufferings and contentions shall cease and instead of hatred there will be love and instead of enmity and disunity there will be harmony and affection. This is my purpose.”

The Master continued to speak in this vein with the rabbi, who left His presence with humility and respect.

Several distinguished persons visited the Master on the second floor of Mrs Parsons’s home, to whom He spoke about various spiritual and important issues. The eternal bounties poured forth like refreshing rain, beautifying the gardens of the hearts and causing the world of the spirit to triumph and to overflow with glad tidings.

In the evening the band of lovers observed the Feast of the Covenant with a magnificent banquet in one of the city’s largest halls. The sounds of their congratulations and praises created a festive and beautiful celebration. Large tables were arranged in the center of the hall in the shape of the figure nine. At the head of the tables was the Master’s chair, on two sides were the chairs of His companions, while the remaining chairs were occupied by the friends. The tables were decorated with flowers and other ornaments and the doors and walls were decorated with screens, flags, festoons, lanterns and banners. Above all of these was the symbol of the Greatest Name. More than three hundred guests were present, apart from those serving as hosts. Almost everyone at the banquet was in formal attire and their attention focused on the Master.

As soon as the Master arrived they all sang with one voice a song in praise of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. When He had taken His seat, Mr Remey stood in the center of the hall facing the Master and devoutly read a paper, afterwards congratulating the Master on behalf of the friends and assuring Him of their obedience and renunciation of the world. Before eating ‘Abdu’l-Bahá rose and recited the following prayer:

“He is God! O Lord! We are assembled here in the utmost love and are turned toward Thy Kingdom. We seek none other but Thee and desire not but Thy good pleasure.

“O Lord! Make this food heavenly and make those assembled here of the hosts of Thy Supreme Concourse so that they may become life-giving and the cause of the enlightenment of the world of man, that they may arise to guide all the peoples of the world.

“Thou art the All-Powerful, the Almighty, the Forgiving and the Kind.”

He then invited everyone to begin their dinner, saying, ‘Tonight I myself wish to serve the friends of God.’ He therefore made several rounds, distributing sweets and flowers and anointing each person with attar of rose. When the Master completed one round, the friends sang songs of praise to the accompaniment of the piano. After supper, the Master rose and spoke about the preeminence and distinction of the gatherings of the friends of God, saying that the actions and services of the people of Bahá would be everlasting. This gave further encouragement to the friends to burst enthusiastically into wonderful songs and melodies, giving renewed joy to the hearts and to the souls a new delight. This was one of those great gatherings that demonstrate the majesty and power of the Center of the Covenant.

The Master then went into another room where a number of people were granted private interviews. Among them was a gentleman who had lost both legs in a railway collision and wore artificial limbs. To him the Master said:

“Mutilation of the body brings no harm to the soul. This is one of the proofs of the immortality of the soul, for death consists of the change and dispersion of the members and elements of the body. As a bodily change does not bring about change in the soul, it is evident that the soul is unchanging and imperishable.”

When the Consul General of Turkey and others came to see Him, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke to them about the Universal House of Justice.

Talk at Bahá’í Banquet, Rauscher’s Hall, Washington, D. C. 4

It is my fond and fervent hope through the favor of God that this present meeting may be instrumental in ushering in the day when the standard of the oneness of the world of humanity shall be held aloft in America. May it be the first real foundation of international peace, having for its object universal service to man. May it be divine philanthropy without distinctions or differentiations in humankind. May you consider all religions the instruments of God and regard all races as channels of divine manifestation. May you view mankind as the sheep of God and know for a certainty that He is the real Shepherd. Consider how this kind and tender Shepherd cares for all His flock; how He leads them in green pastures and beside the still waters. How well He protects them! Verily, this Shepherd makes no distinctions whatsoever; to all the sheep He is equally kind. Therefore, we must follow the example of God and strive in pathways of goodwill toward all humanity. May we endeavor with heart and soul to reconcile the religions of the earth, unify the peoples and races and blend the nations in a perfect solidarity. May we uphold the flag of international agreement and enkindle a light which shall illumine all regions with the radiance of oneness. May our purposes centralize in the earnest desire of attaining the good pleasure of God, and may our supreme energies be directed to welding together the human household. Let us not regard our own respective capacities; nay, rather, let us regard forever the favors and bounties of God. The drop must not estimate its own limited capacity; it must realize the volume and sufficiency of the ocean, which ever glorifieth the drop. The tender and simple seed, solitary though it may be, must not look upon its own lack of power. Nay, rather, its attention must ever be directed to the sun, in the rays of which it finds life and quickening; and it must ever consider the downpour of the cloud of mercy. For the bounty of the cloud, the effulgence and heat of the sun and the breath of the vernal zephyrs can transform the tiny seed and develop it into a mighty tree. And may you remember that a single infinitesimal atom in the ray of the sun through a shining beam of the solar energy becomes glorified and radiant.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to Its Spiritual Destiny

‘Abdu’l-Bahá showers kindness and blessings upon a Jewish rabbi in Washington

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 9, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “Challenging Washington’s Oldest Jewish Congregation.” 239 Days in America, 9 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/09/challenging-washingtons-oldest-jewish-congregation/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 180.
  3. ’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=9#section231
  4. 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, 420. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/31#965527041

239 Days in America, Day 212: November 08, 1912 | Washington, D.C.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Assault on the Color Line 1

Agnes Parsons, whose home near Dupont Circle was one of the centers of social Washington, began 1912 without any contact with the African American life of the city. Her diary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s days in Washington omits mention of most of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s engagement with the issue of race. Yet she opened her home to black guests, and, within a few years, was energetically taking the lead in organizing nationwide Race Unity Conferences, having been asked to do so by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

On November 10, 1912, during his final visit to the capital, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá reprised his theme at a mixed-race gathering at the home of Pauline and Joseph Hannen: “In the sight of God there is no distinction between whites and blacks; all are as one. . . . How then can man be limited and influenced by racial colors? The important thing is to realize that all are human, all are one progeny of Adam. Inasmuch as they are all one family, why should they be separated?”

“Excellence does not depend upon color,” Abdu’l-Bahá argued. “Character is the true criterion of humanity.”

The Journey East: Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., Baltimore 2

… [O]n Friday [November 8] [He [‘Abdu’l-Bahá] spoke] at a synagogue. There He explained with force and clarity the unity of Judaism, Christianity, and Islám. At one point some persons sitting toward the front of the congregation made signs to the interpreter to indicate that the time was up. But ‘Abdu’l-Bahá continued to speak.

Friday, November 8, 1912 3

‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke in the morning to a gathering of the friends:

“I am very happy to have met you. I hope that through the favors of the Blessed Beauty you shall become the instruments for the glorification of the divine Cause and the spread of the Word of God so that this city may take precedence over all the other cities of America. As this city is the capital of America, so shall it, God willing, become the center of divine signs. When you arise to teach the Cause of God it will soon be firmly established and will spread because this city has capacity, as there is resistance and some ministers are opposing the Cause. It has been established by experience that when the cry of opposition is raised by leaders of religion the Cause of God gains strength. I always beg assistance for you and my heart is ever with you. You must trust in the favors of the Blessed Beauty which can change a gnat into a phoenix, a drop into an ocean, a stone into a diamond and an atom into a world-illuminating sun. You must not look to your own capacities but to the bounties of the Abhá Kingdom.”

In the afternoon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took a stroll along the boulevard and remarked that ‘The city of Washington is better planned and laid out than the other cities of America.’ In His view the plan of this city was very pleasing because in other cities the buildings were too high and the population too congested. The buildings in Washington were mostly of four to five stories and its boulevards straight, well-proportioned and exquisitely landscaped. Each house has a front yard with flowers and bushes so that in the springtime the entire city becomes like a beautiful garden. All of the squares there have beautiful parks and gardens. In contrast, some of the streets and boulevards of New York and Chicago, with their tall buildings looming like steep mountain peaks, seem like narrow gorges or deep mountain passes and the crowd of humanity like the files of an army. It is difficult to pass through some of those streets either on foot or in a vehicle.

To resume. The Master’s address at the Jewish synagogue in Washington created a commotion among the listeners and the force of His argument caused the hearts of many to throb. On His arrival He said:

“I shall repeat the same subjects I spoke on in the Jewish synagogue of San Francisco, and I shall illustrate more clearly the evidences to prove the reality of Christ and the strength and truth of Islam. It is therefore not necessary to repeat them here.”

Such was the force of His explanations that both friends and seekers felt that some might take exception and object. ‘If the Jews will not speak,’ they said, ‘the Christians, at least, will not remain silent.’ Some of the Jews sitting near the pulpit actually made signs to the interpreter that the time was over. But the Master ignored this and went on to give detailed, decisive proofs and plain arguments to prove the truth of Christianity and Islam.

After the address, the chairman of the meeting, a person of much integrity and one of the fair-minded rabbis, came to the pulpit to thank the Master for His admonitions and exhortations. He then asked the audience not to become agitated or excited. ‘We must not’, he said, ‘be perplexed at what goes against our own convictions and beliefs. Rather, we must, with perfect composure and sincerity, investigate the truth so that we may discover the reality of everything.’

In brief, the firmness and courage of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the force of His argument were noted by everyone both inside and outside the synagogue.

Talk at Eighth Street Temple, Synagogue, Washington, D. C. 4

God is one, the effulgence of God is one, and humanity constitutes the servants of that one God. God is kind to all. He creates and provides for all, and all are under His care and protection. The Sun of Truth, the Word of God, shines upon all mankind; the divine cloud pours down its precious rain; the gentle zephyrs of His mercy blow, and all humanity is submerged in the ocean of His eternal justice and loving-kindness. God has created mankind from the same progeny in order that they may associate in good fellowship, exercise love toward each other and live together in unity and brotherhood.

But we have acted contrary to the will and good pleasure of God. We have been the cause of enmity and disunion. We have separated from each other and risen against each other in opposition and strife. How many have been the wars between peoples and nations! What bloodshed! Numberless are the cities and homes which have been laid waste. All of this has been contrary to the good pleasure of God, for He hath willed love for humanity. He is clement and merciful to all His creatures. He hath ordained amity and fellowship amongst men.

Most regrettable of all is the state of difference and divergence we have created between each other in the name of religion, imagining that a paramount duty in our religious belief is that of alienation and estrangement, that we should shun each other and consider each other contaminated with error and infidelity. In reality, the foundations of the divine religions are one and the same. The differences which have arisen between us are due to blind imitations of dogmatic beliefs and adherence to ancestral forms of worship. Abraham was the founder of reality. Moses, Christ, Muḥammad were the manifestations of reality. Bahá’u’lláh was the glory of reality. This is not simply an assertion; it will be proved.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to Its Spiritual Destiny

“As this city is the capital of America, so shall it, God willing, become the center of divine signs.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 8, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Assault on the Color Line.” 239 Days in America, 8 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/08/abdul-bahas-assault-on-the-color-line/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 179.
  3. ’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=9#section230
  4. 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, 402-403. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/30#195104194

239 Days in America, Day 211: November 07, 1912 | Washington, D.C.

“These Are, Indeed, United States” 1

AGNES PARSONS GOT DRESSED while it was still dark outside on Wednesday, November 6, 1912, the morning after the election. She had heard that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s train would be pulling into Washington’s Union Station at 6:30 a.m., so she rose early to arrive at the station on time. But the train didn’t come. When she learned that it would be at least an hour and forty-five minutes late, Mrs. Parsons had a long breakfast at the station.

The mercury was rising quickly when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá finally stepped down from the train just before 9 a.m. He got into Agnes Parsons’ carriage and was ferried to the house he had rented at 1901 Eighteenth Street, NW, just a five-minute walk from the Parsons’ home, near Dupont Circle. Every day for the next five days he would speak to large crowds in the Parsons’ bright white and yellow ballroom at 4 p.m. — it sat 150 people — and would welcome guests to his own residence every morning.

At 8:15 p.m. that night, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá rose to speak at the Universalist Church of Our Father, at Thirteenth and L Streets. Back on April 21 the church’s pastor, the Reverend Dr. John van Schaick, had waited on the sidewalk to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and had conducted him through a side door to the chancel. After an introduction, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke on the underlying unity of the world’s religions. This time, he spoke about liberty.

“Praise be God! The standard of liberty is held aloft in this land,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá began. “You enjoy political liberty; you enjoy liberty of thought and speech, religious liberty, racial and personal liberty. Surely this is worthy of appreciation and thanksgiving.”

The Journey East: Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., Baltimore 2

On Thursday [November 7] He [‘Abdu’l-Bahá] spoke at the Church of the Brotherhood …

Thursday, November 7, 1912 3

Each hour people came to receive bounties from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s presence. The Master answered many important questions.

He had lunch at Mrs Parsons’s home. At the table, He joyfully offered thanks for the confirmations and assistance of the Abhá Kingdom. As well giving interviews at Mrs Parsons’s home, He also spoke to a large gathering at the Universalist Church. On behalf of the congregation the pastor thanked the Master for coming and then reminded the audience about the importance of knowing something about all religions and abandoning prejudice, which would broaden their horizons. He then gave an account of the Cause, how it had become the target for the persecution and sacrifice of so many souls in its path and concluded by reading a few passages from the Book of Isaiah. The audience was thus prepared to hear the Master’s discourse.

The Master rose and delivered an impressive address, at the beginning of which He said:

“In truth, I have found much love and justice in the people of America. I have observed that they have complete freedom of thought in all matters, which is deserving of praise. So I am greatly pleased with the pastor and thank him for his expression of love for us. The leaders of religions must be like this so that people may become broad-minded. They must be kind to all nationalities for God is kind to all and His love is infinite. Therefore, the love of His servants must also be universal and without limitation.”

In His address He dealt with brotherhood and the oneness of humanity, explaining some of the teachings and principles of Bahá’u’lláh. The audience was so impressed and moved that the pastor again came to the pulpit to express thanks and praise on their behalf. He was honored that this was the second occasion on which the Master had given an address in the church. He said that the Master’s words would become the cause of honor and happiness to humanity, especially since we are all sheep of God’s flock, each other’s brothers, and that God is our real shepherd and protector. The pastor then requested a prayer which the Beloved recited in Persian.

One by one members of the audience came to shake the Master’s hand, begging for His assistance and blessings.

Such meetings in the churches of Washington and the influence and impact of the Master’s talks have excited envy in the hearts of certain ministers who have neither interviewed nor heard Him and they distributed leaflets full of calumny and criticism to the people coming out of the churches.

Talk at Universalist Church, Thirteenth and L Streets, NW, Washington, D.C. 4

I will read to you from the Arabic text the very words written by Bahá’u’lláh in His Epistle to the Sulṭán of Turkey. They will be translated to you as I read. “O King! Thou hast committed that by reason of which Muḥammad, the Prophet of God, lamenteth in the highest heaven. Verily, the world hath made thee proud so that thou hast turned away from the face of Him by Whose light the people of the supreme assembly are illuminated, and erelong thou shalt find thyself in manifest loss. Thou hast united with the Persian chief in opposition to Me after I came unto you from the rising place of greatness and might with a matter which has consoled the eyes of those near unto God. Verily, this is a day wherein the Fire speaketh through all things, declaring that the Beloved of the two worlds hath come, and on the part of everything an Interlocutor of the matter hath sprung up to listen unto the Word of thy Lord, the Precious, the Knowing. Dost thou imagine that thou canst quench the fire which God hath kindled in the horizons? No! By Himself, the True One, wert thou of those who know. Rather, by that which thou hast done its burning is increased and its blaze augmented; and it shall encompass the earth and whosoever is thereupon. Thus the matter hath been decreed, and whosoever is in the heavens and upon the earth could not withstand His command.

“The day is approaching when the Land of Mystery [Adrianople], and what is beside it shall be changed, and shall pass out of the hands of the king, and commotions shall appear, and the voice of lamentation shall be raised, and the evidences of mischief shall be revealed on all sides, and confusion shall spread by reason of that which hath befallen these captives at the hands of the hosts of oppression. The course of things shall be altered, and conditions shall wax so grievous, that the very sands on the desolate hills will moan, and the trees on the mountain will weep, and blood will flow out of all things. Then wilt thou behold the people in sore distress. Was Pharaoh able to hinder God by exercising his dominion when he rebelled upon the earth and was of the disobedient? We have indeed manifested the Interlocutor [Moses] from his house in spite of his will; verily, we were able to do this. And remember when Nimrod kindled the fire of polytheism whereby he would burn the Friend of God [Abraham]. Verily, we extinguished the fire by the truth and brought upon Nimrod manifest grief. Verily, the oppressor [King of Persia] slew the Beloved of the Worlds [the Báb] that he might thereby extinguish the light of God among His creatures and deprive mankind of the pure water of life in the days of his Lord, the Mighty, the Kind. We have made the matter manifest in the country and elevated His mention among the unitarians. Verily, the Servant hath assuredly come to vivify the world and bring to union whosoever is upon the surface of the whole earth. That which God willeth shall overcome, and thou shalt see the earth as the garden of Abhá. Thus hath it been written by the pen of command in an irrevocable Tablet.”

There are many other prophecies in this book, especially in the Epistle to the Sháh of Persia, all of which prophecies have come to pass. As they are lengthy, we will not have time to quote them.

The purpose of these quotations is to show that Bahá’u’lláh’s great endeavor in the East was to unify mankind, to cause them to agree and become reconciled, thereby manifesting the oneness of the world of humanity, preparing the way for international peace and establishing the foundations of happiness and welfare. But the nations have not hearkened to His summons and message. The Persian and Turkish governments arose against His Cause, and the result is that both these governments have been disintegrated and broken. Had they been attentive to His commands and received His admonitions, they would have been protected. They would have enjoyed happiness and prosperity. They would have been bound together in ties of fellowship and brotherhood, availing themselves of the wonderful bounties of love and unity and dwelling in the delectable paradise of the divine Kingdom. But, alas, the commands and guidance of the Blessed One have been neglected and ignored. Day by day they have followed their own devices and imaginations, until now this fire of war is raging most furiously.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to Its Spiritual Destiny

“In truth, I have found much love and justice in the people of America.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 7, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “‘These Are, Indeed, United States.’” 239 Days in America, 7 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/07/these-are-indeed-united-states/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 179.
  3. ’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=9#section229
  4. 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, 398-399. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/30#030047315