Stories about 'Abdu'l-Bahá

The effectiveness of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Talks

Mahmud's Diary
August 3, 1912
Dublin, NH

While a few of us were discussing the Master’s explanations and the simplicity and decisiveness of His talks, He said to us:

The explanations must be adapted to the capacity of the hearers and suited to the exigency of the time. Beauty of style, moderation in delivery and suitability of words and meanings are necessary. It is not only a matter of uttering words. In ‘Akka, Mirza Muhammad-‘Ali would hear me speak and would repeat my words exactly on other occasions but he did not understand that a thousand wisdoms and ingredients other than speech are necessary. In the days of Baghdad and Sulaymaniyyih, Shaykh ‘Abdu’l-Husayn was told that the Blessed Beauty was attracting the Kurds to Himself by quoting Sufi and gnostic terms.

This poor Shaykh obtained a copy of the Futuhat-i-Makkiyyih [Conquests of Mecca] and committed its passages to memory. But wherever he quoted them, he saw that none lent an ear to him. He was greatly puzzled as to why people did not listen to him. The Blessed Beauty said, ‘Tell the Shaykh that We are not in the habit of reading the Conquests of Mecca (Futuhat-i-Makkiyyih) but We impart to them the verses of True Civilization. We are not propounding the writings of the Shaykh [Ibn al-‘Arabi], we are propounding the Holy Writ.