The Amazing Race 1

THE GOOD DOCTOR LEAPT onto the caboose of the moving freight train, his hands gripping the steel pole attached to the carriage. Air whipped through his clothing and the trees blurred. Nobody believed he could do it. It was nine o’clock in the evening and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s entourage was set to leave Lake Mohonk at ten o’clock the following morning. This gave Dr. Zia Bagdadi exactly thirteen hours to travel from Lake Mohonk to New York and back again.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá kept several beautiful Persian carpets in his New York apartment. On the final evening of the Lake Mohonk Peace Conference he decided to make a gift of one of them to Mr. Albert Smiley, the conference’s president. Only one thing stood in his way: one hundred and eighty miles. Still, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá entrusted Dr. Bagdadi to the task….

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts 2

The secretary of the International Peace Society, in bidding ‘Abdu’l-Bahá goodbye, said he was sorry religion could not be included in the organization since its members included Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and others, and all would object if others were favored. Abdu’l-Bahá replied,

Your members may be compared to beams of different metals and you are trying to unite them as. You would tie these fingers together with a string. See, no matter how you tie them, still they remain separate. But the only way to make theses metals into one alloy, is to put them into a crucible and apply intense heat to melt them all. For our melting-pot, we use the fire of the love of God. 3

Attracted and ignited by His love 4

Photographs of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá were taken together with His party. Many dignitaries visited Him and were attracted and ignited by His love. He then expressed His intention to return to New York. The president of the conference was reluctant for Him to leave. The Master replied, ‘As I have to see numerous people and speak to many audiences, I must leave.’ The president remained in the presence of the Master with great reverence until He left. The Beloved presented the president with a good quality Persian carpet, for which he was very thankful.

When the Master returned to New York, the friends came to see Him. They were delighted to hear that so many at the conference were attracted and paid attention to the Master’s address. A few days later the talks He had given at the conference were published in a New York newspaper and thus provided guidance to many.

  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “The Amazing Race.” 239 Days in America, May 16, 2012. [return]
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 69. [return]
  3. Zia Bagdadi, “Abdu’l-Bahá’ in America,” Star of the West, 19, no. 6 (Sept. 1928), 181-182. [return]
  4. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. [return]