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                                  Reflections on the Bahai teachings

Footnote to ‘Muhammad Ali revived (2)’

The story goes as follows:

When the whispering came to an end, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá … asked the Shaykh to recount his story to the assembled friends … which he did in these words: ‘A certain honoured person [one of the dignitaries known to the Master] came to see me in my office this morning… I noticed he was very sad and depressed… After much persuasion on my part he said: “A person [‘Abdu’l-Bahá] whom up to now I considered to be equal to a Prophet of God is, today, in my sight …” He did not finish the sentence.

‘After much insistence on my part, promising that I should keep his story confidential, he continued: “Today I met Mirza Muhammad-‘Ali. He complained bitterly about his brother, ‘Abbas Effendi.[Abdu’l-Baha] He told me many stories which deeply surprised and saddened me… This poor man is now destitute… He is in need of daily bread. Mirza Muhammad-‘Ali told me that his children were today crying for a piece of bread and he could not provide for them… I was so shaken and upset hearing Mirza Muhammad-‘Ali’s story that I was about to give him some money, but decided instead to send him some wheat…”

‘When his story was finished, not wishing to disclose to my friend that Mirza Muhammad-‘Ali had a credit account with me, and that I keep his money for him in my bank, I said to him, “There is no need for you to send wheat or other provisions. Please go and tell Mirza Muhammad-‘Ali that he can come to me for funds up to a thousand liras.” My friend, who did not understand me, said, “Mirza Muhammad-‘Ali is a respectable person, he will never beg for money.”

‘Realizing that my friend could not see that Mirza Muhammad-‘Ali had been lying to him, I decided to disclose to him the true situation. I said to him, “Please go to Mirza Muhammad-‘Alf and tell him that the Shaykh says that he should take a fraction of the 60 liras he received the other day from his office and purchase some bread for his children.” My friend still could not understand. He said, “If Mirza Muhammad-‘Ali had even a piece of bread to eat, he would not have come to me in such a state of degradation and humility.” At this point I opened my safe and showed him a cheque which bore Mirza Muhammad-‘Ali’s signature and which I had cashed for him only the day before. I said, “Now that you have seen the cheque with his signature, go and tell Mirza Muhammad-‘Ali that he should be ashamed of himself feigning poverty and resorting to beggary. Tell him that no one will be deceived by his imposture.”
(Adib Taherzadeh, Child of the Covenant, 181-182)

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