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PUBLISHED NINETEEN TIMES A YEAR
In the Interest of the BAHAI MOVEMENT
By the BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, 515 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, 111., U. S. A. Publishers: ALBERT R. WINDUST—GERTRUDE BUIKEMA—DR. ZIA M. BAGDADI
Entered as second-class matter April 9, 1911, at the postoffice at Chicago, III, under the Act
of March 3, 1879.
TERMS: $3.00 per year; 20 cents per copy.
Two copies to same name and address, $5.00 per year.
Make Money Orders Payable to BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, P. O. Box 283, Chicago, 111., U. S. A.
To personal checks please add sufficient to cover the bank exchange.
Address all communications to BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, P. O. Box 283, Chicago, 111., U.S.A.
WORDS OF ABDUL-BAHA
"Great importance must be given to the development of the Star Of The West. The circle of its discussion must be widened; in its columns must be published the essential problems pertaining to the Bahai life in all its phases. Its contents must be so universal that even the strangers may subscribe to it. Articles must be published, dealing with the universal principles of the Cause, the writers proving that this Cause takes a vital interest in all the social and religious movements of the age and is conducive to the progress of the world and its inhabitants. In short, the Star Of The West must promote the aspirations and the ideals that will gather little by little around these general Tablets, bringing into the light of day all the historical, religious and racial knowledge which will be of the utmost value to the Bahai teachers all over the world." From Unveiling of the Divine Plan.
Vol. 12 CONTENTS No. 18
Abdul-Baha visiting Pilgrim House where pilgrims from the West were
entertained as his guests 274
"The beloved Master knew beforehand when he would leave us" 275
Letter from Monever Khanum to Ruth Wales Randall.
"The shock of his death was indeed as an earthquake" 276
Letters from Louise Bosch to Ella S. Cooper.
"You must not injure yourselves or commit suicide" 280
Letter from Ahmad Tabkizi to Dr. Zia M. Bagdadi.
PERSIAN SECTION—Fac-simile of Arabic newspaper published in Haifa,
Palestine, giving details of the funeral of His Holiness Abdul-Baha 288-284
Cablegram from Shoghi Rabbani to American Bahais
Haifa, Palestine, January 22, 1922.
WlLHELMITE, N. Y.:
Holy Leaves [women Of The Holy Household] Comforted By Amer Icans' UNSWERVING LOYALTY AND NOBLE RESOLVE. DAY OF STEADFASTNESS. ACCEPT MY LOVING CO-OPERATION.
I'hotoirrupli taken shortly before his ascension. Sent by II. S. FuReta to Mrs. Corinne True.
"We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations; that all nations shall become one in faith and all men as bro hers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men shall be strengthen-d, that diversity of religion shall cease and differences of race be annulled. So it shall be; these fruitless strifes; these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the 'Most Great Peace' shall come."—BAHA 'ULLAH.
Vol. 12 Mulk 1, 77 (February 7, 1922) No. 19*
"The beloved Master knew beforehand when
he would leave us"
Letter from Monevee Khanum, daughter of His Holiness Abdul-baha,
to Ruth Wales Randall, Boston.
Haifa, Palestine, December 22, 1921.
My beloved sister:
Though overwhelmed by grief, yet we are confirmed in the Covenant, assured of His nearness and loyal to His blessed Cause and to His Love.
We are spending these wonderful days of our greatest sorrow in utmost resignation to His holy will—for we know death can never separate us from Him nor can it affect our strong faith in Him.
We beg our beloved sisters and brothers and implore them to arise with us in perfect union and love to serve Him—obeying every single command in His Holy Testament with utmost devotion. For, dear sister, today is the day in •which we must prove our sincerity, love and loyalty. For I feel we especially who have lived with Him, and you who have seen and known Him personally—as well as all the Bahais in general, have a great responsibility now. Therefore we must first throw away the self and sacrifice everything for the sake of His Cause—we must wish for nothing but the welfare of the Cause.
The beloved Master knew exactly beforehand when he would leave us. The reason I know this so certainly is on account of a dream which he had about two weeks before the end (the dream was that Baha 'ullah appeared to him and said: "Destroy this room in which you are" the "room" being his blessed body), and also because he requested us to send for Shoghi Effendi to come back from Oxford, England, "for a very great and important reason," as he said. He also gave us many hints of his approaching departure.
On Saturday, November 26th, he had fever, which left him entirely by the next morning. As soon as he felt the fever he called me and said: '' This is very serious. This is the beginning now." On Sunday (the 27th) he seemed quite natural and at 5 p. m. received several visitors. The last of these was an Englishman and he gave him a present of Persian handkerchiefs. He retired to rest . about 8:30 and at mid-night was resting quietly. At a quarter past one he felt difficulty in breathing and at 1:30 a. m., Monday morning (the 28th), everything was over. There was not the least agitation or agony. It was so calm that we could not realize that he was going. The funeral took place on Tuesday, the 29th, at 9 a. m. Everyone who could possibly do so came from Acca and Haifa and walked in the procession. The High Commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel, came up especially from Jerusalem to attend and insisted on walking the whole way to the Tomb of the Bab, where is the present resting place of the body of our Beloved One. The Governor of Jerusalem, the Governor of Haifa and many
people of all faiths—Mohammedans, Christians, Jews and Druses—were present, a representative of each of these great faiths gave an address beside the Tomb. These speeches were really the embodiment of His own teaching. These men spoke so highly of the beloved Master and said so much that there was nothing left for the Bahais to add.
*( He has written His last instructions enclosed in an envelope addressed to Shoghi Effendi—therefore we cannot open it until he arrives, which will be, we hope, about the end of this month, as he is now on his way here.
Dear sister, we ought to prepare ourselves in order to obey every single word which these instructions contain—and if we are assisted from the Kingdom of Abha to do this then His departure will be no loss to the Cause but rather a gain, as His spirit will now be free to help us universally!
Best greetings from my aunt, my mother and sisters to you and to all the dear friends, with great appreciation of your letters of condolence and sympathy. Yours affectionately in His Name,
P. S. You can send copies of this letter to friends for they would like to hear about it all and no time to write to each separately now.
"The shock of his death was indeed as an earthquake"
Letters from Louise Bosch to Ella G. Cooper.
Haifa, Palestine, December 5, 1921. Beloved sister in God:
Your cablegram to the holy household was received, and the one to my husband, too. Both were appreciated and later on you will hear more about it.
This is not the moment that I want to engage in writing, but inasmuch as you have cabled my husband saying that you were longing for news, I make an effort to write you. I have not written to Geyserville (Calif.), to Tahiti, or to Switzerland, and I know not what our friends there will think of us for not writing and telling them all about this great occurrence and happening.
As it is, I do not even know what to write you. I can only tell you that with the departure of our Lord our former state of spirit has departed also, and as far as I myself am concerned I feel as though I were a new born babe, in a new world of which I know at present nothing.
Our beloved Abdul-Baha passed from this earth early Monday morning. It was at half-past one o'clock—that is to say, one and one-half hours after midnight on Sunday. He had no illness in bed. His departure from this world was a rather sudden occurrence. It was half an hour before he closed his benign eyes forever that he said to Rouha Khanum [his daughter], who was alone in the room with him,'' I am dying.'' There was no one else in the room with him, as all were in their respective beds asleep, no one imagining on awakening that such could be the case. Notwithstanding the fact that our blessed Abdul-Baha was not so well that day, and in truth had not been well for a long time, but in consideration of his work which he did each day, and the care that he took to carry out his work every day, and the attention which he paid to matters great and small, and the visitors which he received up to the last, and his inquiries after the welfare of the pilgrims present and the sick in the village, and the requirements of the holy family—in short, notwithstanding the fever which Ahdul-Baha had that day and several days previous, which fever would come and go and was designated as malarial—the members of the household were not aware of the approaching departure.
Oh! our divine Lord went as he came; he went out of the world as he came into it—"as a thief in the night." He made no one any trouble nursing him; he did not'wish any soul to give up even one single night's sleep for him. Rouha Khanum, as I said, was all alone in the room with him when he said to her, "I am dying," and she quickly searched her mind what to do to retain his precious life. Assuredly she could not even lose a single second to go out of the room to call for help, much as she had that impulse, but tried some remedies that were at hand left by some physicians who had been in that day to see Abdul-Baha. The holy family, of course, had often supplicated him to allow them to bring in a physician, which was granted, but merely for their sakes, not for his! Even on that Sunday (the night on which he left us) when a physician who had been called made an injection of quinine, Abdul-Baha said afterward to Rouha Khanum, "I am the physician of the ivorld!" He did not want that injection, but to please his family he, like a lamb that unto his shearers is dumb, allowed them to do with him what they wanted. What a lesson! His minutest acts were great lessons to the world. So, for instance, when John [Mr. Bosch] and I first arrived here I saw that Abdul-Baha had a cold. Remembering how Abdul-Baha's cold in Montreal became better from a simple remedy (Homeopathic) I had begged him to take, I persuaded him to take a new one I had with me. I spoke several times about it to Rouhi Effendi and impressed it upon him that it was surely efficacious. As Abdul-Baha did not get better, he sent one day (no doubt urged by Rouhi through my pleadings) for that remedy. It surely did help his cold, and for several days he was better. Some days after Abdul-Baha had deigned to take my medicine, I asked him how much he had taken. His reply, which I did not comprehend then but which I comprehend now, was this: "I took your remedy six times—for your sake." I know now that this means: "Even as I have pleased you and granted your request, so even must you grant the request of others and do their will and wishes."
After Rouha Khanum had given him some medicine, she awakened the holy mother. The others, also Dr. Krug, were sent for. He happened to be (as a pilgrim) on the grounds. He and his wife were lodged, and still are at the present time, in the room which Abdul-Baha had built for himself as an addition to his house—the room to which a stairway leads, in the garden near the entrance. So Dr. Krug was not far and could come quickly; but alas! Abdul-Baha breathed only a few times more and all became still within his holy temple.
At first we were as dumb and speechless, bewildered. We stood or kneeled before the bed. We gazed upon his face and could not trust our eyes. At last the bewilderment subsided and the tnist asserted itself. Was it true that his eyes would open no more? Would he not open his eyes to look upon us again? Would he not open his lips to say that he was not dead ? We asked the doctors if he was dead. They said yes, the heart had ceased to beat; they said it was useless to try to revive him—it could not be done. Then, after awhile, the
mosquito netting over the bed was let down, and this covered from our eyes the earthly remains of our Lord. We got up and went into the adjacent room, and the door of the room out of which we came was closed.
But before this, the blood of the wounds of this blow had begun to flow, and the hurt and the pain and the moans increased with every minute. We five European pilgrims were in the room together with the holy family, and the holy mother held my husband's hand and the Greatest Holy Leaf held mine. After a time we went back to the Pilgrim House, leaving the holy family alone. It was still night—no moon at all. Not long afterward the dawn broke, and at last the sun rose with great effulgence over the scene of this memorable night. Then we went over to the holy household again. We found them nearly exhausted from excessive grief.
After a little more time, many callers came and all wept bitterly. After that new callers came and during the day and night for four or five days. It is an Eastern custom and duty to receive and see them all, to feed them, and to have them stay over night. It was a painful duty for the holy mother and her four daughters—not to speak of the now very feeble Greatest Holy Leaf—to see and to talk with, and to be embraced, kissed and bewailed by all these visitors. But they went through *his, too, the same as through everything else. Throughout the days, Tablets were chanted to the visitors.
The sons-in-law and the grandsons and the six Persian pilgrims from Persia, and all the other Persians who had been like courtiers at the court of Abdul-Baha, were all busy and engaged with the preparations for the interment, and how they could walk and talk and see, with their eyes blind from tears, was a miracle. It seemed that so much weeping was never done since the world began.
The holy funeral took place on Tuesday morning, the casket being borne on the shoulders of men, up and up and up Mount Carmel, until the sacred spot of the Tomb of His Holiness the Bab was reached, and there Abdul-Baha was temporarily buried.
I cannot tell and write you everything in this letter—it is too much. You will read elsewhere of the addresses of the clergy and people on Mount Carmel. I could write books on the procession up the way to the Tomb of the Bab. Also photographs were taken by Curtis Kelsey and Dr. Krug and you will get some later.
Ella, when those speeches were made at the Tomb of His Holiness the Bab— the casket containing the holy remains of Abdul-Baha being outside, with the bright sunlight shining upon it—and those thousands of souls listening, that was the earthquake of which it speaks in the Holy Scriptures, and that was the rending of the veil in the temple! They said such things of Abdul-Baha that the earth of the hearts of the people, which had hitherto been stony, was put in motion, and the veil that was before the eyes of their purely human spirits was rent asunder, and they began to know who it was who had dwelt among them. These speeches were made by Moslems and others who were not believers. There has been since a great demand for literature, and the people are greatly aroused and shaken everywhere. The Holy Spirit descended upon many who had hitherto been purely of the human spirit. All existence has taken on a new garment, for the shock of his death was indeed as an earthquake—it could not be described as anything else.
The grief of the holy family is indescribable. They cannot be consoled at all. They say that nothing can console them except the hearing of the news of the unity of the believers everywhere. Between their tears they endeavor to explain what unity is. They have, among themselves, and in that portion of the world in which they move and live, perfect unity. That word has taken on a new aspect for me since the departure of our Lord. Unity is something else than what I thought before. Now that I know what it is, I hope to be able to carry it out, to execute it. It isn't to teach, as so many think—that's nothing. A Persian teacher here said yesterday that a time is coming when not any believer would breathe a single breath for himself. That is unity! This wonderful teaching which we have learnt is only now beginning to be understood, and this is that which Abdul-Baha meant when he said that if we knew what would take place after his departure we would pray for his departure every day.
The holy family awaits the arrival of Shoghi Effendi Rabbani from England. Until that time nothing will be undertaken regarding the reading of the Testament of our Lord, the Center of the Covenant of God. He left a letter addressed to Shoghi Effendi, and this letter he gave for safe-keeping to the holy mother, and gave the order to write to Shoghi to come home. They asked Abdul-Baha if they should cable Shoghi to come, but Abdul-Baha said no, a letter would do. Abdul-Baha said this about two weeks before his departure.
Many instances testify to the fact that Abdul-Baha knew the date of his departure from this world. Also he had a dream in which the Blessed Perfection [baha 'ullah] told him that "this house will be destroyed." Abdul-Baha slept in the addition, in the room before mentioned. When the Krugs came AbdulBaha gave his room to them, and it was made ready for them. When they came Abdul-Baha said to them, "I have given you my room." They felt badly, thinking they had put Abdul-Baha out of his room. When Abdul-Baha perceived their apprehension, he consoled them by saying that Baha 'ullah had told him in a dream to go out of that room. So then they were satisfied to stay there.
When delicacy seemed to dictate to me to leave here soon after the funeral of our Lord, I mentioned it to the daughters, but the holy mother replied that we should stay until after Shoghi's arrival and the reading of the Testament, for, she said, a living carrier is better than the dead mails, and the news has to be carried by the one or by the other sooner or later anyway. And so we were glad for this extra permission to stay here, but we expect to leave soon after Shoghi's arrival. Lady Blomfield will come along, also of course Roughanghis [Shoghi's sister], who was in college. They may arrive this week, perhaps on the 10th or llth of December
0 Ella, we did not have much of a visit with Abdul-Baha during the thirteen days that John and I were here. Abdul-Baha, however, sent once for us and gave us a talk. Praise be to God. that we have that! Then one evening John went to the Persian meeting which our Lord was in the habit of addressing, and, in order to favor John, and because of a remark John made to AbdulBaha, Abdul-Baha had every sentence translated, and so John has that wonderful talk, too.
Abdul-Baha could not come every day to meals; it rained several times and the weather was bad. Then the Krugs arrived, and soon afterward requested Abdul-Baha not to trouble himself to come over to meals on account of us all. Doctor Kmg presented this request from the purely medical standpoint and wished to save Abdul-Baha's strength, and Abdul-Baha granted their request. He said,
(Continued on page 281)
TABLET FROM ABDUL-BAHA O thou Star Of The West!
Be thou happy! Be thou happy! Shouldst thou continue to remain firm and eternal, ere long, thou shall become the Star of the East and shall spread in every country and clime. Thou art ihe firsl paper of the Bahais which is organized in the country of America. Although for the present thy subscribers are limited, thy form is small and thy voice weak, yei shouldst ihou stand unshakable, become the object of the attention of the friends and the center of the generosity of the leaders of the faith who are firm in the Covenant, in the future thy subscribers will become hosts after hosts like unto the waves of the sea; thy volume will increase, thy arena will become vast and spacious and thy voice and fame will be raised and become world-wide — and at last thou shalt become the first paper of the world of humanity. Tet all these depend upon firmness firmnett, ftrmnei»!
(Signed) Abdul-baha Abbas.
TABLET FROM ABDUL-BAHA
O ye apostles of Baha 'ullah — May my life be a ransom to you !
. . . . Similarly, the Magazine, the Star Of The West, must be edited in the utmost regularity, but its contents must be the promulcrator of the Cause of God — so that both in the East and the West, they may become informed with the most important events.
Editorial Staff: Albert R. Windust — Gertrude Buikema — Dr. Zia M. Bagdadi
Honorary Member: Mirza Ahmad Sohrab
'You must not injure yourselves or commit suicide'
Letter from Ahmad Tabrizi to Dr. Zia Bagdadi.
Haifa, Palestine, November-29, 1921. My dear brother:
I am grieved to announce to you in brief that the Master, Abdul-Baha, has ascended to the Kingdom by his own will. In some of his writings and Tablets which are not yet made public, he clearly stated in regard to his departure. Also in his talks to the friends, in the meetings and even to the strangers and visitors he made similar remarks. Soon I will write you and send you the details.
His latest advices and admonitions to the friends are to the effect that they must be in perfect unity and harmony.
He said: "There shall not be any separation among the believers because Baha 'ullaii has appointed the House of Justice to be the authority. In the future many false traditions and untrue statements will appear, but the men of the House of Justice will with great power stop the mouths of the liars. All
difficult problems must be referred to the House of Justice."
Mirza Abul Hassan Afnan (a noble gentleman from the family of the Bab, for many years living near Abdul-Baha), realizing the approach of the most great calamity—the Master's ascension—could not wait to see it, and therefore he drowned himself here, in the sea.
The Master, in advising us and all the friends, said: "You must not injure yourselves or commit suicide. It is not permissible to do to yourselves what Mirza Hassan Afnan did to himself. Should anyone at any time encounter hard and perplexing times, he must say to himself, 'This will soon pass.' Then he will be calm and quiet. In all my calamity and difficulties I used to say to myself, 'This will pass away.' Then I became patient. If anyone cannot be patient and cannot endure, and if he wishes to become a martyr, then let him arise in service to the Cause of God. It will be better for him
"The shock of his death was indeed as an earthquake"
(Continued from page 279)
"Very good." Little did they dream that we would see him no more at all at the Pilgrim House. It was three days before the blessed departure that they made the request, and thus we had no more the pleasure of seeing him come. It was because of the stairway, which apparently was fatiguing to him to climb. Also, he ate so little every time he came.
Tomorrow it will be one week since we carried our blessed Lord's earthly temple to Mount Carmel. John had the great privilege that day to assist in carrying the coffin into the room in which our Lord lay, and John also assisted in placing the holy body into the coffin. This is John's everlasting bounty for his services rendered to the Cause, and because of the privilege he had of lifting the holy body of his Lord, John can never be the same being any more. And he is and looks different, too. The holy mother said that we could never in this life appreciate the privilege of having been here at just this time. She said that in our presence here all the other American friends were also present, and in Johanna [Hauf, of Stuttgart j all the German friends were present.
Abdul-Baha is buried under the floor of the room of the Tomb of the Bab
which faces the avenue going down to the landing; that room, I mean, which used to be an assembly room. Only two days before, we all had the feast there and were served fine tea and cakes and fruit and candy. It was the feast of the 26th of November which is called, I think, the day of the appointment of the Center of the Covenant, or Abdul-Baha's day. Abdul-Baha stayed at home, and he was not with us in body. Afterward the Krugs went in to call upon the holy family, and thus they saw Abdul-Baha and he said to them, "I was with you in spirit, though not in body.'' No one thought then or conceived the idea that he would pass out of the body that night.
But now I must assuredly close and finish this letter, although there remains so much more to say. We hope to go verbally over all the details if it is our destiny to reach California again.
The holy family says that although the Lord is not here any more except in spirit, yet all are welcome here the same as before. To see the friends and to receive them is one of the joys of their restricted lives here. But I told them that no doubt soon the doors of travel would open to them, and their life's desire to go to Persia may now soon be fulfilled.
Yesterday one of the Persian teachers said that if it were not for the closing of the doors of suicide and the opening of the doors of martyrdom, many Persian believers would now find life unendurable. As the expenditure of life through martyrdom is accepted before God, so we may soon hear of many Persian Bahais killed; they will throw themselves recklessly into the stream of the consequences of fearless open teaching.
We will send you as soon as we can obtain them some of the newspaper articles. All else for the future.
Love to your mother and all the friends.
Haifa, Palestine, December 9, 1921. Dearest Ella:
Enclosed please find the Arabic newspaper which contains the speeches made at the holy burial of our Lord and Master 011 November 29th. He was buried at 9 a. m.—that is to say, the procession started from the holy household at 9 a. m.
This particular newspaper brings all the speeches that were made by the Mohammedan clergy, as well as a speech made by a Frenchman who is a newspaper correspondent. These speeches are remarkable, inasmuch as the believers had nothing at all to do with these speeches or with any newspaper articles regarding the passing away of our Lord; no, rather all this is the testimony of outsiders and opposers. So you must realize what this means, when even the opposers came and testified to the greatness of Abdul-Baha and to the sublimity of his life, and the purpose of his work, and the magnitude of his aims. The ladies of the holy household were very much pleased with all the speeches when they heard about them, and when they afterward read* them
*See page 261 (English) and page 287 (Arabic).
they said, repeating the Arabic proverb, "The virtue is quite true when it is testified to by the enemy."
Dear Ella, were I to wait until some of the boys had translated this newspaper into English it would no doubt take several years. They have been accustomed to translate tablets and supplications, but that is past now for the present, and they are busy doing other things. So I thought I'd leave it to your brightness of mind to find a way to have it translated, perhaps at the University of California.
As soon as I had mentioned this the other Westerners here thought that they, too, ought to send a copy each one to their respective friends at home to see how best they could have it translated. Mrs. Krug will send one to Anne Boylan of New York, and Johanna one to Germany.
The ladies said that the outsiders and the opposers had said and published so much in honor of Abdul-Baha that nothing whatever remained for the believers to say. It was as though the Holy Spirit spoke out of those clergymen and people, as though they had received open vision right then and there. And many, many other souls began to know more or less suddenly who it was who had been here and gone. Even one of the daughters said to me that it was now as though she had never before known Abdul-Baha (her holy father), as though it were only now that she began to realize who he had been. So you might know what the feelings of others must be if that holy woman feels that way about our Lord. It is sure that I feel as though I had never known or seen him. Mrs. Krug is a flaming torch; she is as though intoxicated with the wine of the love of Abdul-Baha. Abdul-Baha had always favored her much, as her heart is pure and clean like that of a child, and she is not at all selfish, but always had much love for everybody. As far as I am concerned, I am not a flame of fire, but rather ill.
The ladies said that by what the outsiders and the opposers had said and published it could be seen what the ascension of our Lord had done for them, how it had affected them, and how they were feeling from it now. They said they hoped that no one would stop coming here now that our Lord is not here any more, but that the friends all over would realize that they are always welcome here, and that it always would be a great happiness to the holy household to receive and welcome them. During their first days of mourning they cried many times for the friends, and wished that all, all, could be present, that all, all could be here together at the same time, all the friends and believers and near and dear ones, from the Occident and the Orient. They said often: '' 0 how sorry we feel for the grief of the believers all over the world when they hear the sad news. How disappointed the friends will feel!'' From their own sorrow they judged the sorrow of the others. They are holy women, and it is such a privilege for me to learn to know them better every day.
Shoghi sent a cable saying that he cannot be here (on account of passport difficulties) until about Christmas, so we shall not get away from Haifa until the New Year or so, and we do not know when we shall be back home. We shall not endeavor to go to Jerusalem or to Lebanon.
Much love to you and mother and all. More later.
(Signed) Louise Bosch.