Lesson 5

Contemplation:

Those who do most good use fewest words concerning their actions. The children of God do the works without boasting, obeying His laws.  -`Abdu’l-Bahá

The Martyrdom of the Báb

 The popularity of the Báb scared some of the religious leaders of Iran who were afraid of losing power and prestige if more people accepted the Báb’s message. These leaders hated the new Faith of the Báb and began killing and torturing thousands of his followers. As for the Báb himself, he was arrested and locked away in prisons in the mountains and was finally put to death on July 9th 1850 at the age of 30. Just like Christ, the Báb also knew that he would be martyred in the path of God. On the morning of the day of his martyrdom, the officer who had been ordered to carry out the execution of the Báb went to bring him out from the prison. The Báb was talking to his secretary, who was writing down the Báb’s last instructions. The officer told the Báb that it was time for him to leave the prison and go to the place of his execution. The Báb said that he had to finish his conversation with his secretary, first. The officer laughed and said that he was a prisoner and that he could not choose to do as he pleased.  As the Báb was being taken to the place of his execution, he told the officer that no power on earth could do him any harm until he had finished what he intended to say to his secretary and had completed his mission on earth. The officer ignored the Báb’s comment and took him to the public square where he was going to be put to death. At that time, one of his followers by the name of Anis came running up to the Báb. He threw himself at his feet and begged to be allowed to die with him. The officer tried to push Anis away but he cried and pleaded so much that the officer took him, also.

Thousands of people had gathered in the public square where the soldiers were waiting to execute the Báb. All of them watched as the Báb and Anis were tied in such a way that the head of Anis rested on the chest of his beloved Master, the Báb. Then the hundreds of soldiers fired their guns.  When the smoke cleared, people saw that Anis was standing there unharmed, and there was no trace of the Báb. People said that a miracle had happened. The officer who had taken the Báb to his place of execution went to look for him and found him sitting calmly in the same place as before, finishing his conversation with his secretary. The Báb looked at the officer and told him that his mission on earth was now completed and that he was ready to die in the path of God. When the Báb was brought to the square for the second time, the commander of the soldiers said that he didn’t want to have anything to do with the Báb’s execution. He ordered his soldiers to leave and swore that nothing would make him take the life of the Báb or his followers.  Another group of soldiers was brought in to carry out the execution. This time, 750 bullets hit their target and the Báb and Anis were killed. The soldiers threw the bodies of the Báb and Anis into a ditch outside the city. But the followers of the Báb managed to place the bodies in a wooden box and hide them for many years. Eventually, they brought these remains to Haifa in the Holy Land and buried them in a shrine on Mount Carmel (From the Story of the Prophets, pp. 33-34).

Questions:

  1. Why did the popularity of the Bab scare some of the religious leaders of Iran?
  2. What is the date of the martyrdom of the Bab? How old was He when He was martyred?
  3. What did the Bab tell the officer who came to take Him to the place of His execution?
  4. Who was Anis? What was his wish?
  5. Why did the people say that a miracle had happened?

Spiritual Teachings of Baha’u’llah

 Work as Worship

Bahá’u’lláh teaches that work done with the spirit of service is worship. Abdu’l-Baha wrote:

“In the Bahá’í Cause arts, sciences and all crafts are counted as worship.” When you work, you worship God. This is a token of God’s bounty (The Garden of Baha’u’llah, p. 74).

Albert Schweitzer

 In 1952 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Albert Schweitzer. He has often been called the ‘greatest man in the world’ and on this occasion the leaders of many nations of the world wrote to congratulate him.

Even in his youth Albert Schweitzer thought of the many unfortunate people of the earth living in faraway places, suffering and dying needlessly for want of proper medical attention. He remembered the words of the Bible, ‘all ye are brethren’, and so in 1914 he left his home in France and went to the place he was needed most -the jungles of  Africa- He learned medicine so that he could treat people who were unwell. He spent his life teaching the people who lived there- He built hospitals, planted trees and made gardens, living his religion in his everyday life. After his daily work was over he would devote his leisure time to his music, and in the heat of the tropical night, the sweetest melodies of Bach, his favorite composer, could be heard.

His love and compassion for his fellow, but less fortunate, human beings caused him to live deep in the jungle in a very simple house. He brought Western medicine and surgery to people who otherwise would have lived in pain. There were some tribes which looked on twins as bad luck and which turned the mother and babies out into the jungle at the mercy of the wild beasts. Albert Schweitzer made his hospital a refuge for people such as these. Even those who had been cured of their sickness remained near the hospital under the eye of the man who understood that all life is sacred, who saved their lives and freed them from pain. Adapted by Irene Taafaki

Serving With MosesA Story about ‘Abdu’l-Baha  

 In the early 1900s, Abdu’l-Baha lived in Haifa, Palestine. He was already in his sixties, the age when today, most people think about stopping work to retire. But He still did huge amounts of service and work. At that time there was a man in Haifa who did not like Abdu’l-Baha .Whenever he saw Abdu’l-Baha, this man would cross the street to avoid Him. Like many people in Akka, a city near Haifa, this man could speak both Arabic and Persian. So he knew the meaning of Abdu’l-Baha name. Perhaps he did not believe that anyone who was not a member of his own religion could be a true servant of God. Whatever the reason, he must have thought it was a false title, because one day he walked up to Abdu’l-Baha and said, “So! You are called the Servant of God.”! Yes, replied Abdu’l-Baha, that is My name. There was a moment of silence. Then, calmly, Abdu’l-Baha replied, “Very well, Moses…meet Me at this corner tomorrow morning at seven o’clock, and we will go and serve the people like the great Moses did.” The man agreed, and arrived next morning. Abdu’l-Baha took him on his daily routine of serving those who were ill, poor and needy, or who needed counsel and love. Many people in Haifa also asked his advice. In each situation, Abdu’l-Baha personally served and cared for these people, or arranged for their care, advised them, or helped them to make wise choices. By six o’clock that evening, they returned to the same street corner where they had begun. The man was very tired.

Just before they parted that night, Abdu’l-Baha said to him, ” Remember Moses, I will meet you here again tomorrow at seven o’clock.” The following morning, Abdul-Baha took the man through another day of his regular work. Returning again at six o’clock, the man was extremely tired. Once again, Abdu’l-Baha said to him on that second evening,” Remember Moses, tomorrow morning I will meet you here.” At the end of the third day, the man was exhausted. But now he had seen many examples of what meant to be a servant of God. As they parted that evening, he said,” Abdu’l-Baha, tomorrow I will no longer be Moses.”

You see, during those three days, Abdu’l-Baha had also been serving this man. But this man’s need was spiritual. Like many of us, he did not really see the difference between having a spiritual name and living a spiritual life. For Abdu’l-Baha, to serve human beings included recognizing their spiritual needs, as well as all their other needs. When, once, a child asked him why all the rivers of the earth flow into the ocean, he answered, “Because it sets itself lower than all the rivers, and so draws them to itself (Vaqa International Children’s Magazine, June-July 2005 Issue).

Questions 

  1. What did ‘Abdu’l-Baha ask Moses to do?
  2. What did Moses see when he went with ‘Abdu’l-Baha on His daily routine of serving?
  3. What did Moses learn about the meaning of being a servant of God?

 Virtue of the week:

 Happiness

 Eternal happiness is contingent (dependent) upon giving. – The Promulgation of Universal Peace, by `Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 131-132:

Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of God: for without doubt, in the remembrance of God do hearts find satisfaction.      -Qur’an 13:28

A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance.   –The Bible. Proverbs 16:13

Never is it the wish of `Abdu’l-Bahá to see any being hurt, nor will He make anyone to grieve; for man can receive no greater gift than this, that he rejoice another’s heart. I beg of God that ye will be bringers of joy, even as are the angels in Heaven.  -Selections from the Writings of `Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 203-204

Questions: 

  1. How can we be happy?
  2. Why should we try to be happy?
  3. What kind of things will make us happy?
  4. How can we make others happy?

 

 

 

 

 

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