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The Promised Day Is Come

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 revised edition
  • Pages:
  • 124
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Pages 60-62

What of Turkey and Persia?

Already in the lifetime of Bahá’u’lláh, and later during the ministry of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the first blows of a slow yet steady and relentless retribution were falling alike upon the rulers of the Turkish House of Uthmán and of the Qájár dynasty in Persia—the archenemies of God’s infant Faith. Sulṭán Abdu’l-’Aziz fell from power, and was murdered soon after Bahá’u’lláh’s banishment from Adrianople, while Náṣiri’d-Dín Sháh succumbed to an assassin’s pistol, during ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s incarceration in the fortress-town of ‘Akká. It was reserved, however, for the Formative Period of the Faith of God—the Age of the birth and rise of its Administrative Order—which, as stated in a previous communication, is through its unfoldment casting such a turmoil in the world, to witness not only the extinction of both of these dynasties, but also the abolition of the twin institutions of the Sultanate and the Caliphate.
Of the two despots Abdu’l-’Aziz was the more powerful, the more exalted in rank, the more preeminent in guilt, and the more concerned with the tribulations and fortunes of the Founder of our Faith. He it was who, through his farmáns, had thrice banished Bahá’u’lláh, and in whose dominions the Manifestation of God spent almost the whole of His forty years’ captivity. It was during his reign and that of his nephew and successor, ‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd II, that the Center of the Covenant of God had to endure, for no less than forty years, in the fortress-town of ‘Akká, an incarceration fraught with so many perils, affronts and privations.
“Hearken, O king!” is the summons issued to Sulṭán Abdu’l-’Aziz by Bahá’u’lláh, “to the speech of Him that speaketh the truth, Him that doth not ask thee to recompense Him with the things God hath chosen to bestow upon thee, Him Who unerringly treadeth the Straight Path…. Observe, O king, with thine inmost heart and with thy whole being, the precepts of God, and walk not in the paths of the oppressor…. Place not thy reliance on thy treasures. Put thy whole confidence in the grace of God, thy Lord…. Overstep not the bounds of moderation, and deal justly with them that serve thee…. Set before thine eyes God’s unerring 61 Balance, and, as one standing in His presence, weigh in that Balance thine actions, every day, every moment of thy life. Bring thyself to account ere thou art summoned to a reckoning, on the Day when no man shall have strength to stand for fear of God, the Day when the hearts of the heedless ones shall be made to tremble.”
“The day is approaching,” Bahá’u’lláh thus prophesies in the Lawḥ-i-Ra’ís, “when the Land of Mystery [Adrianople], and what is beside it shall be changed, and shall pass out of the hands of the king, and commotions shall appear, and the voice of lamentation shall be raised, and the evidences of mischief shall be revealed on all sides, and confusion shall spread by reason of that which hath befallen these captives at the hands of the hosts of oppression. The course of things shall be altered, and conditions shall wax so grievous, that the very sands on the desolate hills will moan, and the trees on the mountain will weep, and blood will flow out of all things. Then wilt thou behold the people in sore distress.”
“Soon,” He, moreover has written, “will He seize you in His wrathful anger, and sedition will be stirred up in your midst, and your dominions will be disrupted. Then will ye bewail and lament, and will find none to help or succor you…. Several times calamities have overtaken you, and yet ye failed utterly to take heed. One of them was the conflagration which devoured most of the City [Constantinople] with the flames of justice, and concerning which many poems were written, stating that no such fire had ever been witnessed. And yet, ye waxed more heedless…. Plague, likewise, broke out, and ye still failed to give heed! Be expectant, however, for the wrath of God is ready to overtake you. Erelong will ye behold that which hath been sent down from the Pen of My command.”
“By your deeds,” He, in another Tablet, anticipating the fall of the Sultanate and the Caliphate, thus reproves the combined forces of Sunní and Shí’ih Islám, “the exalted station of the people hath been abased, the standard of Islám hath been reversed, and its mighty throne hath fallen.”
And finally, in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, revealed soon after Bahá’u’lláh’s banishment to ‘Akká, He thus apostrophizes the seat of Turkish imperial power: “O Spot that art situate on the shores of the two seas! The throne of tyranny hath, verily, been stablished upon thee, and the flame of hatred hath been kindled within thy bosom…. Thou art indeed filled with manifest pride. Hath thine outward splendor made thee vainglorious? 62 By Him Who is the Lord of mankind! It shall soon perish, and thy daughters, and thy widows, and all the kindreds that dwell within thee shall lament. Thus informeth thee, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.”
Indeed, in a most remarkable passage in the Lawḥ-i-Fu’ád, wherein mention has been made of the death of Fu’ád Páshá, the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, the fall of the Sulṭán himself is unmistakably foretold: “Soon will We dismiss the one who was like unto him, and will lay hold on their Chief who ruleth the land, and I, verily, am the Almighty, the All-Compelling.”
The Sulṭán’s reaction to these words, bearing upon his person, his empire, his throne, his capital, and his ministers, can be gathered from the recital of the sufferings he inflicted on Bahá’u’lláh, and already referred to in the beginning of these pages. The extinction of the “outward splendor” surrounding that proud seat of Imperial power is the theme I now proceed to expose.