June 24, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

NINE DAYS OF REST and recuperation. That’s what awaited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Montclair, New Jersey, twenty miles northwest of New York. He had remarked that the heat and humidity of the big city, along with its incessant crowds, were impairing his health. Today, he’s strolling in the park with friends.

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 2

The rest of the week ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spent in instructing the friends and visitors who flocked to His doors in Montclair and in making a brief trip to Newark. After early morning prayers Abdu’l-Bahá usually went to the market Himself to purchase food for the day; He managed most of the meals Himself, especially if guests were present, as there usually were.

Everything that reaches its zenith undoubtedly begins to decline. 3

After morning prayers of thanksgiving, the Master, with some of these servants, went to the market to purchase food and utensils. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Himself supervised the affairs of the kitchen. During this journey He often cooked and prepared the meals, especially when there were special guests. When there were no guests, He would not permit us to go to the trouble of preparing special meals but instead was satisfied with a piece of bread and some cheese. With all this, His glory and majesty caused many to bow humbly before Him. In fact, it was seldom that many did not sit at His table both mornings and evenings to receive the blessings and honor of His presence. After returning from the market and completing His chores in the kitchen, He spoke of the development of Europe:

The material progress of Europe is approaching its zenith. Everything that reaches its zenith undoubtedly begins to decline. I hope that spiritual progress will be bestowed on them and that they will be protected.

It is obvious that whatever is growing, like a tree, is in the process of development. When we were going from Tihrán to Baghdád, there was not a friend to be found on the way but as the tree of the Cause of God was in its infancy and growing, it was apparent that the divine Cause would surround the East and the West and the reign of Násiri’d-Din Sháh would come to naught. Observe what has become of his sovereignty and consider where we are.

In the afternoon the hall of the building was full of people. Many were standing in adjacent rooms to hear ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. He began by saying:

It is not the place that should be looked at but the illumined faces and hearts of the friends. In Baghdád there was a small room, about one-third the size of this one, in which a number of the believers were living – but under the shade of the kindness of Bahá’u’lláh and they were very happy.

  1. Menon, Jonathan. “June 24, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 24 June 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/06/24/a-day-of-rest/. [return]
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 100. [return]
  3. ’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. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=4#section91 [return]