Stories about 'Abdu'l-Bahá

Juliet: June 23 — Story of a believer who wanted to be always near Bahá’u’lláh

The Diary of Juliet Thompson
June 23, 1912
Montclair, NJ

There was another martyr,” continued the Master after a moment, “Mirza ‘Abdu’llah of Shiraz.” Then He told us that Mirza ‘Abdu’llah had been in the Presence of Bahá’u’lláh only once, “but he so loved the Blessed Beauty” that he could not resist following Him to Tihran, though Bahá’u’lláh had commanded him to remain in Shiraz with his old parents. “Still,” said the Master, His tone exultant, “he followed!”

Mirza ‘Abdu’llah reached Tihran in the midst of that bloodiest of massacres resulting from the attempt on the Shah’s life by two fanatical Bábis. Bahá’u’lláh had been cast into a dungeon. There, in that foul cellar He sat, weighted down by “The Devil’s Chain”, eleven disciples sitting with Him, bound by the same chain. In it were set iron collars which were fastened around the neck by iron pins. Every day a disciple was slaughtered and none knew when his turn would come. The first intimation he had of his immediate death was when the jailer took out the iron pin from his collar.

Mirza ‘Abdu’llah entered Tihran and inquired of the guard at the gate “where Bahá’u’lláh resided.” “We will take you to Him,” said the guard. And some men took ‘Abdu’llah to the dungeon and chained him to Bahá’u’lláh.

So,” the Master said, “he found his Beloved again!”

One day the jailer came into the dungeon and took out the pin from Mirza ‘Abdu’llah’s collar.

Then,” said the Master, “Mirza ‘Abdu’llah stepped joyfully forward. First, he kissed the feet of the Blessed Beauty, and then …”

The Master’s whole aspect suddenly changed. It was as though the spirit of the martyr had entered into Him. With that God-like head erect, snapping His fingers high in the air, beating out a drum-like rhythm with His foot till we could hardly endure the vibrations set up, He triumphantly sang “The Martyr’s Song”.

I have come again, I have come again,

By way of Shiraz I have come again!

With the wine cup in My hand!

Such is the madness of Love!”

And thus,” ended ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “singing and dancing he went to his death, and a hundred executioners fell on him! And later his parents came to Bahá’u’lláh, praising God that their son had given his life in the Path of God.”

This was what the Cause meant then. This was what it meant to “live near Him”! Another realm opened to me, the realm of Divine Tragedy.

The Master sank back into His chair. Tears swelled in my eyes, blurring everything. When they cleared I saw a still stranger look on His face. His eyes were unmistakably fixed on the Invisible. They were filled with delight and as brilliant as jewels. A smile of exultation played on His lips. So low that it sounded like an echo He hummed the Martyr’s Song.

See,” He exclaimed, “the effect that the death of a martyr has in the world. It has changed My condition.” After a moment’s silence, He asked: “What is it, Juliet, you are pondering so deeply?”

I was thinking, my Lord, of the look on Your face when You said Your condition had been changed. And that I had seen a flash of the joy of God when someone dies happily for His Cause.”

There was one name,” the Master answered, “that always brought joy to the face of Bahá’u’lláh. His expression would change at the mention of it. That name was Mary of Magdala.”