1912: A Year Supreme with Possibilities 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ COULD HARDLY have picked a better time than 1912 to join the conversation about America. “Nineteen twelve,” said Eugene Debs, the Socialist Party’s candidate for President, “is a year supreme with possibilities.” That year marked the highpoint of a flurry of new social movements that had begun two decades earlier…

As ‘Abdu’l-Bahá crossed the country in 1912, the national debate around the Presidential election crystallized the forces of change that had been brimming for twenty years. Woodrow Wilson summed up the challenge facing the American people.

“Now this is nothing short of a new social age,” he said, “a new era of human relationships, a new stage-setting for the drama of life.”

New York City 2

Abdu’l-Bahá continued to explain in a multitude of ways so that all might understand, the object and goal of His endless work and teaching. On July 19, for example, He told the friends:

My weak constitution and excessive work are drawbacks. Otherwise it were possible that many extraordinary souls would have arisen among the friends. As along as such souls do not arise, the real object will not be accomplished. Devotion and capacity to work have been created to some extent in these friends. But the persons whom I mean have different qualities…

They [Mullá Hasan and Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Latif] were deputized by the Mujtahids to see the Blessed Beauty at Mázindarán. The moment they approached Him they were so changed and their reality was so transformed and adjusted that they did not remain indifferent for a moment. After undergoing great troubles and persecutions Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Latif was martyred at the altar of sacrifice. Similarly a blind Indian Sheik became so altered after his meeting the Beloved One that he was always found to be inebriated with joy and happiness. Such persons are required to rise for the Cause of God. Such persons are worthy of the field of service and devotion.

The triumph of the Cause of God in the face of opposition from the most powerful enemies 3

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s talk today centered on the persecutions and tribulations of the Blessed Beauty and the triumph of the Cause of God in the face of opposition from the most powerful enemies.

When the Master later expressed His intention to move from New York to Dublin [in New Hampshire], the friends were stirred by emotion and excitement. He said:

My weakened condition and excessive work hamper me, otherwise many extraordinary souls would have arisen among these friends. As long as such souls do not arise, the real object will not have been accomplished. A certain amount of enthusiasm and ability can be discerned among them, it is other persons who are to arise.

He then mentioned the names of Mullá Hasan and Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Latíf, saying:

They were deputized by the mujtahid to see the Blessed Beauty in Mázandarán. The moment they approached Him, they were transformed and became a new creation, not seeking rest for a moment whether by day or night. After undergoing great suffering and persecutions in Mashhad, Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Latíf sacrificed his life in the field of martyrdom and hastened to the Abhá Kingdom. Similarly, a blind Indian Shaykh attained the presence of Bahá’u’lláh in Mázindarán and danced and sang ecstatically from night till morn. Thus are people required to arise for the Cause of God. Such are the people who are worthy of the field of service and sacrifice.

In the evening the Master spoke on the importance of unity and amity among the friends, on the composition and decomposition of elements, and on the existence and disappearance of matter.

  1. Menon, Jonathan. “1912: A Year Supreme with Possibilities.” 239 Days in America, 19 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/19/1912-a-year-supreme-with-possibilities/. [return]
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 113-114. [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=5#section116 [return]