Talk Given by Abdu’l-Baha in Port Sa’id on 19 June 1913

What follows is a provisional translation (in other words, not official or authorized; see here for more) of a talk that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave under a tent pitched on the roof of the Hotel Sulṭání in Port Sa‘íd, Egypt, on 19 June 1913. A transcript of the original Persian text of this talk has been published in Khiṭábát-i-Ḥaḍrat-i-‘Abdu’l-Bahá, vol. 3, pp. 7678

As the first few sentences of the original Persian text of this talk are recorded in the second volume of Mírzá Maḥmúd Zarqání’s chronicle (see p. 357), it seems reasonable to assume that he was the one who transcribed the full talk.

He is God

It is wonderful indeed that a gathering as grand as this one has been convened in Port Sa‘íd. It would be good if the kings [of ages past] were to lift up their heads from beneath the dust to behold how the ensigns of truth have been hoisted high and the banners of oppression hauled down! In Baghdád, a mujtahid by the name of Shaykh ‘Abdu’l-Ḥusayn [Ṭihrání] would secretly impart certain things whenever the opportunity presented itself, but the Blessed Beauty would respond. Among the things that man imparted was the following:

One night, he said to his close companions, “I saw in a dream that the king of Iran was sitting beneath a dome. He said to me, ‘Jináb-i-Shaykh, rest assured that my sword will exterminate the Bahá’ís.’ On that dome was inscribed ‘the Verse of the Throne’[1] in Latin characters.”

Through Zaynu’l-‘Ábidin Khán (the Fakhru’d-Dawlih), the Blessed Beauty relayed this message: “This was a veridical dream, for the Verse of the Throne was that same verse, even though it was written with Latin characters. That is, the Bahá’í Cause is that same divine Cause of Islám, but its script has changed—which is to say that the words have been altered, but their truth and meaning are unchanged. As to that dome, it represents the Cause of God. It encompasses and is ascendant over the king, who is himself in its shadow, and it will certainly prevail.”

Where now are that king and that shaykh, that they might behold how in the city of Port Sa‘íd, in the country of Egypt, a gathering such as this has come together underneath this tent, and see what a fine tent it is! It is most exquisite. Our opposers wished to wipe out the Cause of God, but that Cause only grew more exalted. “Fain would they put out the light of God with their mouths! But God hath willed to perfect His light,”[2] for God manifests His Cause, reveals His light, and perfects His bounty.

To continue, Baghdád was quickly thrown into a frenzy. A number of mujtahids—including Mírzá ‘Alí-Naqí, Siyyid Muḥammad, Shaykh ‘Abdu’l-Ḥusayn, and Shaykh Muḥammad-Ḥusayn—selected a well-known individual named Mírzá Ḥasan ‘Amú and sent him to meet with Bahá’u’lláh, Whose presence he attained through [the intermediation of] Zaynu’l-‘Ábidin Khán. He first posed scholarly questions and received sufficient answers. He then said, “When it comes to scholarly matters, it [Your knowledge] is indisputably clear. No one has any objection; all the clerics admit to it and are satisfied. However, these clerics have sent me to elicit things which are supernatural, in order to set their minds at ease.” “Very well,” Bahá’u’lláh replied, “But the Cause of God is not the plaything of children, just as it was revealed in the Qur’án through the tongue of cavillers, ‘They say: “By no means will we believe in Thee [Muḥammad] till Thou cause a fountain to gush forth for us from the earth . . . or Thou have a house of gold,”’[3] and elsewhere, ‘Or bring Thou God and the angels to vouch for Thee,’[4] and again, ‘Or Thou ascend to heaven, but [even then] we shall not believe in Thine ascent until thou send down to us a book.’[5] The response to all this was thus: ‘Say: Praise be to My Lord! Am I more than a man, an apostle?’[6] And yet I say, ‘Very well.’ You all, however, must reach a consensus and choose one thing which, if demonstrated, would leave no room for doubt on your part. Put this in writing, seal it, and submit it. I will then send someone to perform that thing.”

Mírzá Ḥasan ‘Amú was satisfied, and he remarked, “I have nothing more to say.” With difficulty, he kissed the hand of Bahá’u’lláh, took his leave, and informed the clerics—but they did not consent [to Bahá’u’lláh’s proposal], suspecting that He might be a sorcerer. However much Mírzá Ḥasan ‘Amú said, “O clerics! You are the ones who sent me, you are the ones who wanted this, and now you have disgraced us,” it was of no avail. All are aware of this episode.

A while thereafter, Mírzá Ḥasan ‘Amú went to Kirmánsháh, where he reported this matter, in full, at a gathering held by the ‘Imádu’d-Dawlih, the governor of that province. When one of those present, the dervish Mírzá Ghawghá—a secret believer [in the Cause] and spiritual mentor to the ‘Imádu’d-Dawlih—heard this account, he wrote [about it] to Baghdád and the other areas in its vicinity. The aforementioned Mírzá Ḥasan [‘Amú] similarly gave a complete report of the matter at a gathering in Ṭihrán held by Mírzá Sa‘íd Khán, the foreign minister—and since the late Mírzá Riḍá-Qulí was in attendance, he wrote down the account.

My object is to show that these kinds of insidious messages [by Shaykh ‘Abdu’l-Ḥusayn] and the opposition of the king bore no fruit; the Cause of God prevailed. Now praised be God that the East is illumined and the West perfumed! When we were departing Ṭihrán for Baghdád, there was not a single believer along the way. On this journey,[7] however, whichever city in the West we passed through, we found Bahá’ís there. In places that had not heard it before—such as Denver, Dublin, Buffalo, Boston, Brooklyn, Montclair, Montreal, and so on—the call of God was raised:

No tumult in the town or city’s there
But for the curling lock of the Friend’s hair
No stir in all the world does one find now
Except the curve of that Companion’s brow[8]

The call of God was raised in such a way that every ear relished it—every soul was stirred by it and every mind astonished at it—inquiring, “What call is this that has been raised? What star is this that is rising?” One soul would be astounded, another would investigate, and yet another would adduce proofs. They would all declare that the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh are truly without peer—that they are the spirit of this age and the light of this century.

At most, one would object that the Gospel includes similar teachings, to which we would reply, “Among these teachings is the oneness of humanity; in which of the Books [of the New Testament] can this be found? Show us! And universal peace—in what Book is this written? And that religion must be the cause of love and fellowship, and that without these the lack of religion would be preferable—in which Book is this stated? And that religion must accord with sound reason and accurate science—in what Book is this mentioned? And equality between men and women—in which Book does one find this? And the abandonment of sectarian, religious, national, political, and racial prejudices—what Book contains this?” And so on and so forth.

That is all!

======================

[1] A reference to Qur’án 2:255, Rodwell’s translation of which reads: “God! There is no God but He; the Living, the Eternal; Nor slumber seizeth Him, nor sleep; His, whatsoever is in the Heavens and whatsoever is in the Earth! Who is he that can intercede with Him but by His own permission? He knoweth what hath been before them and what shall be after them; yet nought of His knowledge shall they grasp, save what He willeth. His Throne reacheth over the Heavens and the Earth, and the upholding of both burdeneth Him not; and He is the High, the Great.”

[2] Qur’án 9:32.

[3] Qur’án 17:90 and 17:93.

[4] Qur’án 17:92.

[5] Qur’án 17:93.

[6] Qur’án 17:93.

[7] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is referring to His travels to the United States and several countries in Europe, which He had just concluded about a week earlier.

[8] A verse from an ode by Sa‘dí.

A typescript of the original Persian text of this talk appears below. 

هوالله

خيلی امر عجيبی است در پورت سعيد چنين مجلس عظيمی عقد شد. خوب است ملوک سر از خاک برون آرند و ببينند که چگونه رايات آيات حقّ بلند گشته و اعلام ظالمان سر نگون شده. در بغداد شيخ عبدالحسين مجتهد هر وقت فرصتی می‌يافت خفيّاً القائاتی می‌کرد، ولی جمال مبارک جواب می‌فرمودند. از جملهٔ القائات او اين بود.

شبی به هم‌رازان خويش گفت که در خواب ديدم که پادشاه ايران در زير قبّه‌ای نشسته، به من گفت جناب شيخ مطمئن باش که شمشير من بهائيان را قلع و قمع نمايد و بر آن قبّه آية الکرسيّ به خطّ انگريزی نوشته شده بود.

جمال مبارک به واسطه زين العابدين خان فخرالدّوله پيغام فرمودند که اين خواب رؤيای صادقه است، زيرا آية الکرسيّ همان آية الکرسيّ بود، و لو به خط انگريزی بود. يعنی اين امر بهائی همان امر الهی اسلام است، و لکن خط تغيير کرده، يعنی لفظ تغییر کرده، و لکن همان حقيقت و معنی است. و امّا آن قبّه؛ اين امراللّه است و آن محيط و مستولی بر پادشاه و پادشاه در ظلّ او و البتّه او غالب است.

حال شاه و شيخ کجاست که ببينند در پورت سعيد اقليم مصر چنين جمعيّتی در زير اين خيمه تشکيل يافته است و تماشا کنند چه خيمه خوبی است خيلی مکمّل است. مخالفين خواستند امر اللّه را محو نمايند، امّا امر الهی بلندتر شد؛ يريدون ان يطفئوا نور اللّه بافواههم و يأبی اللّه إلّا أن يتمّ نوره، زيرا خدا امرش را ظاهر و نورش را باهر و فيضش را کامل می‌نمايد.

خلاصه چيزی نگذشت که بغداد به زلزله در آمد. جمعی از علماء از جمله ميرزا علی نقی، سيد محمّد، شيخ عبدالحسين و شيخ محمّد حسين، اين مجتهدين شخصی شهير از علما که مسمّی به ميرزا حسن عمو بود انتخاب کردند، به حضور مبارک فرستادند و بواسطه زين العابدين خان فخر الدّوله مشرّف شد. اوّل سؤالات علميّه نمود، جواب‌های کافی شنيد. عرض نمود که در مسئلهٔ علم مسلّم و محقّق است، هيچ کسی حرفی ندارد، جميع علما معترف و قانعند، لکن حضرات علما مرا فرستادند که امور خارق‌العاده ظاهر شود تا سبب اطمينان قلب آنان گردد. فرمودند بسيار خوب، ولی امر الهی ملعبهٔ صبيان نيست، چنانچه در قرآن از لسان معترضين می‌فرمايد: و قالوا لن نؤمن لک حتّی تفجر لنا من الارض ينبوعا او يکون لک بيت من زخرف و بعضی گفتند: او تأتی باللّه و الملائکه قبيلا و بعضی گفتند: او ترقی الی السّماء و لن نؤمن لرقيّک حتّی تنزّل علينا کتابا. در جواب همه اين‌ها می‌فرمايد قل سبحان ربّی هل کنت الّا بشراً رسولا؟ امّا من می‌گويم خيلی خوب. ولی شماها متّفق شويد و يک مسئله معيّن کنيد که اگر ظاهر شد برای ما شبهه‌ای نمی‌ماند و بنويسيد و مهر کنيد و تسليم نمائيد. آن وقت من يک شخصی را می‌فرستم تا آن معجزه را ظاهر نمايد.

ميرزا حسن عمو قانع شد و گفت ديگر حرف نماند. دست مبارک را به زور بوسيد و رفت و به علما گفت. ولی علما قبول نکردند که شايد اين شخص ساحر باشد. هر چه گفت ای مجتهدين، شما مرا فرستاديد و خود چنين خواستيد ما را رسوا نموديد؛ فائده نبخشيد. جميع از اين قضيّه خبر دارند.

بعد از چندی به کرمانشاه رفت و قضيّه را به تمامه در مجلس عماد الدّوله که حاکم کرمانشاه بود نقل کرد. چون ميرزا غوغای درويش که سرّاً مؤمن بود و عماد الدّوله مريد او و در مجلس حاضر، چون تفصيل را شنيد به بغداد و سائر اطراف مرقوم نمود و همچنين ميرزا حسن مشار اليه در طهران در مجلس ميرزا سعيد خان وزير دول خارجه اين قضيّه را به تمامها نقل نمود و چون ميرزا رضاقلی مرحوم حضور داشت، تفصيل را مرقوم نمود.

مقصد اين است با اينگونه القائات و مقاومت شاه، ثمری نداشت امر اللّه غالب شد. حال الحمد للّه شرق منوّر است غرب معطّر است. وقتی از طهران به بغداد می‌رفتيم يک نفر از احباب در راه نبود. امّا در اين سفر، از هر شهری از بلاد غرب عبور کرديم، احبّائی يافتيم. در جاهائی که از پيش شنيده نشده بود، مثل دنور و دبلين و بفاله و بستن و بروکلين و منتکلر و منتريال و امثال ذلک، ندای الهی بلند شد:

ولوله در شهر نيست جز شکن زلف يار
فتنه در آفاق نيست جز خم ابروی دوست

نداء اللّه چنان بلند شد که جميع گوش‌ها ملتذّ گرديد و همه ارواح مهتزّ و عقول متحيّر که اين چه ندائی است که بلند است، اين چه کوکبی است که طالع است. يکی حيران بود، يکی تحقيق می‌نمود، يکی بيان برهان می‌کرد. جميع می‌گفتند تعاليم حضرت بهاء اللّه فی الحقيقه مثل ندارد، روح اين عصر است و نور اين قرن.

نهايت اعتراض اين بود، اگر نفسی می‌گفت در انجيل هم شبيه اين تعاليم هست، می‌گفتيم از جمله اين تعاليم وحدت عالم انسانی است، اين در کدام کتاب است؟ نشان بدهيد و صلح عمومی است، اين در کدام کتاب است؟ و دين بايد سبب محبّت و الفت باشد، اگر نباشد عدم دين بهتر است، در کدام کتاب است؟ و دين بايد مطابق با عقل سليم و علم صحيح باشد، اين در کدام کتاب است؟ و مساوات بين رجال و نساء، در کدام کتاب است؟ و ترک تعصّب مذهبی و دينی و تعصّب وطنی و تعصّب سياسی و تعصّب جنسی است، و اين در کدام کتاب است؟ و از اين قبيل و السّلام.