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Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era

  • Author:
  • J. E. Esslemont

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 edition
  • Pages:
  • 286
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Pages 52-53


From that time onwards, He became His father’s closest companion and, as it were, protector. Although a mere youth, He already showed astonishing sagacity and discrimination, and undertook the task of interviewing all the numerous visitors who came to see His father. If He found they were genuine truth seekers, He admitted them to His father’s presence, but otherwise He did not permit them to trouble Bahá’u’lláh. On many occasions He helped His father in answering the questions and solving the difficulties of these visitors. For example, when of the Súfí leaders, named ‘Alí Shawkat Páshá, asked for an explanation of the phrase: “I was a Hidden Mystery,” which occurs in a well-known Muḥammadan tradition, 1 53 Bahá’u’lláh turned to the “Mystery of God,” Abbás, and asked Him to write the explanation. The boy, who was then about fifteen or sixteen years of age, at once wrote an important epistle giving an exposition so illuminating as to astonish the Páshá. This epistle is now widely spread among the Bahá’ís, and is well known to many outside the Bahá’í faith.
About this time Abbás was a frequent visitor to the mosques, where He would discuss theological matters with the doctors and learned men. He never attended any school or college, His only teacher being His father. His favorite recreation was horseback riding, which He keenly enjoyed.
After Bahá’u’lláh’s Declaration in the Garden outside Baghdád, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s devotion to His father became greater than ever. On the long journey to Constantinople He guarded Bahá’u’lláh night and day, riding by His wagon and watching near His tent. As far as possible He relieved His father of all domestic cares and responsibilities, becoming the mainstay and comfort of the entire family.
During the years spent in Adrianople, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá endeared Himself to everyone. He taught much, and became generally known as the “Master.” At ‘Akká, when nearly all the party were ill with typhoid, malaria, and dysentery, He washed the patients, nursed them, fed them, watched with them, taking no rest, until utterly exhausted, He Himself took dysentery, and for about a month remained in a dangerous condition. In ‘Akká, as in Adrianople, all classes, from the Governor to the most wretched beggar, learned to love and respect Him.
1. The tradition is quoted in a Tablet of Bahá’u’lláh; see Chapter 5 of this book.   [ Back To Reference]