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not be better for you to forsake your room in
the college and come to live with us in our home; I have a sister, and if agreeable to you, I will be more than happy to
arrange a marriage between you, so the bond of love and affection may thus be strengthened between you and our
family.’ My father readily consented to this wise suggestion, and Háj I Aga Muhammad, after consulting with his
mother, found that she not only had no objections, but was most eager to bring about the union. His mother said: ‘Last
night I saw, in the world of dreams, a nobleman (Siyyid) with luminous face visit our home. He carried in his hands
two lamps. Now that Siyyid must be this personage, and unquestionably you must hasten the consummation of this
“Then Haji Aga Mul?ammad invited
many friends to a betrothal feast, and his sister, who is my mother, was affianced to my father. It was well known that my father had
no children from his first wife. Two years passed after his marriage with my mother, but no child was born. Then His Holiness the
Báb, traveling from Shiráz, arrived in 1sf Than, and took up his abode in the home of Imám-Jum’ih. My uncle, Mirzá Ibráhim, the
father of the King of the Martyrs and the Beloved of the Martyrs, was appointed by Imám-Jum’ih as host to His Holiness the Mb, to
be ready at all times to serve Him under all circumstances. One night he invited to dinner His Holiness the Mb, who graciously
accepted this invitation.
. . .
Those present at that glorious feast received the bounties and favors of the Mb, and hstened to His Words
until supper was served. Then they all sat down to a spiritual and material feast. While partaking of the supper, His Holiness the Bâb
turned to one of those present and made inquiries about the children of my father. That person answered that, although he had been
twice married, no children were born to him. His Holiness the Mb then offered my father a spoonful of sweets. He ate, and at that
moment it occurred to his mind that the blessed will of the Lord had at last destined the birth of a child for him. When the feast was
over and he had returned to his home, he mentioned this fact to my mother. Having kept a little of the sweets, he gave it to her. After
eight months and nine days I was born into the world.”
“In compliance with the command of the Blessed Perfection (Bahã’u’lláh) Siyyid Mihdi Dhaji arrived in Persia, and later passed
through Ifãhán to promulgate the Cause of God. A great feast was prepared for him, and all the believers clustered around inquiring
eagerly the news of the Holy Land, and all the details concerning the Blessed Family and an account of the imprisonment of the
believers in the barracks of ‘Akká. Among the inquirers was Shms os Zoha, the wife of my uncle, and a member of the household of
the King of the Martyrs. She asked of Siyyid Mihdi:
‘While you were in the Presence of Bahá’u’lláh, did you ever hear whether any girl
THE BAHA’i WORLD
had been spoken of or selected for the Master ‘Abdu’l-Bahá?’ He answered, ‘No, but one day the Blessed Perfection was walking in
the men’s apartment and speaking. Then He turned His face to me and said, ‘Aga Siyyid Mihdi! I had a remarkable dream last night. I
dreamt that the face of the beautiful girl who is living in Tihrán, whose hand in marriage we asked from Mirzá Hasan for the Greatest
Branch, became dark and obscure. At the same moment, the face of another girl appeared on the scene whose countenance was
luminous and whose heart enlightened. We have selected her to become the wife of the Greatest Branch.’ Except for the above talk
from the lips of the Blessed Perfection, I have heard nothing.
“When my aunt returned to the house and saw me, she declared by the One God that the very moment when Siyyid Mihdi was relating
to us the dream of Bahá’u’lláh, it had occurred to her mind that, without question, I was that girl, and ere long we would realize that
she was right. I wept and answered: ‘Far be it, for I am not worthy of such a bounty. I beg of thee never let another word concerning
the matter issue from thy lips; do not speak about it.’
Munirih Khánum continues the story of how she traveled to the Holy Land through successive instructions from Bahá’u’lláh to her
relatives. En route to their destination they met many friends who tried to prevent them from going to the Holy Land, saying that in
these days no one is permitted to go to ‘Akkã because some sad and unfortunate events had caused anew the incarceration of the
friends, and the authorities did not permit any Bahã’i to enter the city of ‘Akká. “This news disturbed us a great deal, and we
wondered what we should do, but Shaykh Salman assured us that these conditions did not apply to us, and made us feel confident that
we should enter the Holy Land with the utmost ease and tranquillity, even if all the believers were thrown into prison and under
chains.” After many trials and difficulties on the way, they finally arrived in ‘Akká.
“. . .
members of the Blessed Family came to visit and welcome us. I returned with them, and for the first time stood in the Presence of
the Blessed Perfection. The
state of ecstasy and rapture that possessed me was beyond description. The first words of Bahá’u’llah were these: ‘We have brought
you into the Prison at such a time when the door of meeting is closed to all the believers. This is for no other reason than to prove to
everyone the Power and Might of God.’ I continued to live in the house of Kalim for nearly five months. I visited Bahá’u’llãh many
times and then returned to my abode. Whenever Kalim returned from his visit to the Blessed Perfection he would tell me of His
infinite bounties, and bring a material gift from Him for me. One day he arrived with a great happiness in his face. He said:
‘I have brought a most wonderful gift for you. It is this—a new name has been given you and that name is Munirih (illumined).’
“Then the night of union
. . .
drew nigh. I was dressed in a white robe which had been prepared for me by the fingers of the Greatest
Holy Leaf, and which was more precious than the silks and velvets of Paradise. About nine o’clock.
I was permitted to stand in the
Presence of Bahá’u’llah. Attended by the Greatest Holy Leaf, I listened to the words of the Blessed Perfection.
He said: ‘You are welcome! You are welcome! 0 thou My blessed leaf and maidservant. We have chosen thee and accepted thee to be
the companion of the Greatest Branch and to serve Him. This is from My Bounty, to which there is no equal; the treasures of the earth
and heaven cannot be compared with it.
. . .
Thou must be very thankful, for thou hast attained to this most great favor and bestowal.
. . .
May you always be under the protection of God!’
“If I were to write the details of the fifty years of my association with the Beloved of the world, of His love, His mercy and bounty, I
would need fifty years more of time and opportunity in order to write it; yet, if the seas of the world were turned into ink and the
leaves of the forest into paper, I would not render adequate justice to the subject.”
During the Convention of the Balui’is of the United States and Canada held in the year nineteen hundred and thirty-eight in the
Foundation Hall of the Mashriqu’l
THE PASSING OF MUNIRIH KHANUM
Adhkár in Wilmette, a cable from Shoghi Effendi was read announcing the death of Munirih Khánum, better known to most of us as
the Holy Mother, the beloved wife of ‘Abdu’l-Babá.
The gathering was unprepared for the shock the reading of the cable produced. Many of us knew that Munirih Khánum had looked
forward with eagerness to the time when she would rejoin her beloved ‘Abdu’l-Bahã and we were aware she had reached a venerable
age; but this knowledge did not mitigate the deep sense of loss experienced by the departure of this noble and inspiring woman. We
realized one of the great souls of the Heroic Age of the Cause had passed on. The atmosphere of the gathering became instantly altered
and in the influx of the spirit that enveloped us, our hearts and our sympathetic thoughts became focused in Haifa with the Guardian
and the Holy Family.
During the springtime of nineteen hundred and thirty-seven when our family had the honor of being the guests of Shoghi Effendi in
the Pilgrim House in Haifa, I took several informal snapshots of members of the Holy Family. These were shown to Munirih Khánum
and apparently interested her. Later on word was conveyed to me that she would be pleased to have me take her photograph.
On a subsequent afternoon I was asked to go to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s home, across the street from the Pilgrim House. There I had the honor
of being received by Zia Khánum
and of being presented to the Holy Mother and to the other ladies present who were gathered in the reception room in
the rear of the home. There during certain afternoons it is the custom of Zia Khánum and other ladies of the Holy
Family to receive Bahá’i ladies of Haifa and visiting pilgrims. On this occasion, as is usual at these gatherings, tea was
served, and the conversation related to Bahá’i matters.
For the photographs taken that afternoon a small camera lent by Ruhiyyih Khánum was mostly used and they are, in
reality, snapshot group pictures from which enlargements of Munirih Khánum were made.
The photographs have a historic value due to their being the only ones taken during the later years of her life. It was
almost unbelievable that at the time they were made Munirih Khánum had reached the venerable age of ninety-five.
On occasions during the meeting the Holy Mother spoke treasured words and chanted for us in a clear voice of great
beauty; it was indeed a great soul to whom we had the honor of listening. The rigors of a life in which great sufferings
and hardships had been experienced side by side with her beloved ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, had failed to dim the sweetness of
character and sympathetic personality of this noble woman, the surviving member in the immediate article of the Holy
Family, of that great period in which the “Faith” had its inception.
October 1st, 1939.
IN MEMORY OF MUNIRIH KHANUM A Tribute B
WAS in Februa7 of 1907 that I made my first trip to Palestine to visit ‘Abdu’lBahá while He was still confined in
the “Most Great Prison” at ‘Akká.
Our steamer arrived in the Bay of Haifa and we were taken to the quay in big boats propelled by Arab oarsmen. After
passing through the Turkish Customs we went by carriage to the Carmel House, a very old hotel kept by German
At Port Said on our way to Haifa, Ahmad
Effendi Yazdi came aboard our ship bringing with him an English lady, a Bahá’i, then living in Brittany, Madam
Scaramucci, who was also on her way to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. She and my daughter (Ama) and I finished the journey
together. We became the dearest of friends and were associated together in all the precious experiences of this
Shortly after our first meal in the German Hospice in Haifa in the early evening, a
Monument erected on the site of the grave of Munirih Khánum, the wife of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, on Mt. Carmel, and beneath
the shadow of the resting place of Bahiyyih Khánum,
The Greatest Holy Leaf.
THE BAHA’I WORLD
note was delivered to us by a messenger from Cook’s Travel Bureau in Haifa. This note requested that we three stroll up the avenue a
few blocks where we were to be met by two Bahá’i brothers who would accompany us to the Master’s Haifa home, some six blocks
up the mountain from our hotel.
Such a night as this was; it was full moonlight, the weather was as balmy as May with flowers blooming everywhere! We met our two
Bahá’i escorts and they quietly guided us to ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s residence where first, as was the Oriental custom, we met a number of
Bahã’i men. They questioned us concerning the progress of the Cause in America and of our visit with the Egyptian Bahá’is whom we
had seen in Alexandria. In a short while these gentlemen excused themselves in order that we might meet the Ladies of the Holy
Household of ‘Abdu’lBahá. At this time one of the daughters of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Ruha Khánum, was living in the Master’s Haifa house
because the enemies had stirred up fresh trouble for ‘Abdu’lBahá in Constantinople, causing Him to be re-confined within the old
Penal Colony of ‘Akká for a period of four years. This was done by order of the Turkish government.
How thoughtful of our beloved Master to send His wife, the revered Munirih Khánum and the little grandson, Shoghi Effendi, together
with some other members of His Household, from ‘Akká to Haifa to welcome us! Those Bahá’is of today who may have known the
Master as a free man, can scarcely comprehend the emotions of the early pilgrims going to Palestine to visit the World’s Greatest
Prisoner, who for forty years had been confined in that terrible Penal Colony of ‘Akká, drawing not one breath of freedom! Had the
local authorities known who we were, our safety might have been in jeopardy. But God mercifully protected us from any harm, and
bestowed upon us the boundless favors of His shelter. We were permitted to have six days of indescribable joy associating with the
members of ‘Abdu’lBahá’s Household, with His wife and with His family. Words fail to depict to those who read what I write, the
emotions of our hearts! Scarcely had our feet walked upon the soil of the sacred Mount of God when we found ourselves the recipients
of ‘Abdu’l Bahá’
fatherly love and tenderness and were made the associates of His Holy Household. His wife had driven all the way from ‘Akká to
Haifa to greet us and to extend to us her most cordial welcome. It was the beloved Holy Mother, Munirih Khánum, who gave us our
The day after our arrival in Haifa we visited the Shrine of the Mb on the slope of Mt. Carmel, accompanied by the holy women, and
afterward we dined with them in the Master’s house.
Early on the second morning after our arrival a Bahá’i messenger came to the door of our room in the hotel and said: “The Master has
sent word from ‘Akkã that the three pilgrims are to hire a carraige and drive around the bay to His prison home in ‘Akká.” For six
days we were guests in this home and daily saw the Holy Mother and the Master’s Sister, the Greatest Holy Leaf, and with them the
Master’s daughters. Very early in the mornings we were permitted to meet in the large reception room where the beloved ‘Abdu’l-
Bahá and His Family would gather together for an hour of communion. The Master would ask different members of the family to
chant the Holy Utterances of Bahá’u’lláh and always the motherly presence of Munirih Rhanum filled the atmosphere of that room
with the benediction of her great mother heart. She seemed the personification of Universal Motherhood—indeed the “Holy Mother.”
When I was standing beside her one morning the dear Master came and placed my hand in hers, and looking into my face said in
English: “She is your Mother.”
When the hour for leaving this sacred prison home of ‘Abdu’l-Bahã came and we had to return to America, it seemed as if our hearts
would break to have to say “good-bye” to these divinely precious members of the Holy Family! We wept, and they wept with us
because of this parting. Through this sacred visit we had found a Heavenly Father in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and a Heavenly Mother in His
wife, Munirih Khanum.
In November 1919, after a period of seven years, I was again permitted to make the pilgrimage to the Holy Land; this time under very
different circumstances. The
THE BAHA’I WORLD
Turkish government had now passed from the hands of the Sultan, having been wrested therefrom by the Young Turk
Party of Progress. One of the first acts of this new government was to give ‘Abdu’l-Bahâ His freedom, which meant
also the liberation of His entire family.
The British forces commanded by General Allenby had but lately delivered Palestine from the hands of the Turks and
the Holy Family had all moved to Haifa, where life was fairly comfortable after the terrific rigors of imprisonment for
so many years.
During this second Pilgrimage we were permitted more intimate association with the Greatest Holy Leaf and the Holy
Mother, Munirih Khánum. Almost daily we were received by them in the Master’s garden where questions were asked
and instructions given to us, clearing up many things that had puzzled the American friends. Here we saw this beloved
wife of ‘Abdu’l-Bahã as a most wonderful teacher, and through her we grew in the knowledge of the Cause. In the
early days one of the greatest privileges of the visiting women pilgrims was this intimate association with these two
divine maid- servants of Bahá’u’lláh, Bahiyyih Khánum, the Greatest Holy Leaf, and Munirih Khánum, the Holy
Mother. We seldom saw one without the other.
These holy women had sacrificed everything to be the companions of Bahá’u’lláh
and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their imprisonment. Could we have found in all the world a greater privilege than this: to sit at
the feet of these holy women; to hear from them, first hand, the thrilhng recital of their prison lives, of how God had
sustained them when deprived of the very necessities of life; and to learn that they regarded this prison life with the
Blessed Perfection and ‘Abdu’l-Bahâ as infinitely more valuable to them than all the comforts and luxuries of life!
These women are God’s great heroines and we were indeed conscious of the great privileges that were granted us in
their presence. The seeds of conviction that were born in our souls by this association planted roots of faith that assisted
everyone to return to the outside world and lift the Banner of the Greatest Name before the eyes of all.
On our second visit we saw Munirih Khánum not only as a Universal Mother loving every child of God, but as a great
teacher and expounder of the principles of Bahã’u’lláh. She was a teacher who lived these principles before our eyes.
Religious history has never known greater examples than these of devotion and sacrifice to God’s Holy Messengers!
Should we praise God throughout the coming centuries, we could not render praise sufficient for the priceless spiritual
heritage bequeathed to us by these holy women. They are the archetypes for the Bahá’i womanhood of the world.
A LOVING TRIBUTE FROM AUSTRALIA
UNIRIH KHANUM! How well beloved a name throughout the Bahá’i world! The unique circumstances of
her birth seemed to foretell she was destined to hold an honored position in the history of the Bahã’i Faith. This
prophecy was fulfilled when she was chosen to be the loved and honored wife of our Beloved Master, ‘Abdu’lBahá.
With radiant acquiescence she shared with Him the vicissitudes, trials and tribulations that were His lot during the long
surveillance under the strict ttTurkish Regime” in the “walled City of ‘Akká.” How her heart must have rejoiced when,
through the overthrowing of the Ottoman Government, it was made possible for friends
to come from different lands to freely visit and converse with her.
Pilgrims from East and West, during their sojourn in Haifa, will always remember those happy hours spent in her
company. They will ever picture in their mind their first meeting with her in the Master’s drawing- room. They will see
her seated beside her beloved sister-in-law Bahiyyih Khãnum (the Greatest Holy Leaf) in company with members of
her family and the women and children of the Bahá’i Community; they will recall her sweet eager face as they entered
her presence, and they will hear her melodious voice welcoming and bidding them be seated near her.
THE PASSING OF MUNIRIH KHANUM
Always assuring herself first regarding their physical health and bodily comfort, she would then revert to the theme
uppermost in her mind, and eagerly inquire about the progress of the Bahá’i Faith in the land from whence they came,
and as they related the various activities and spread of the Teachings there, her spiritually illumined face would become
radiant with joy.
She loved to gather the women and children around her, and in her sweet voice chant with them the Holy Words and
the poems written in praise of her Beloved One.
She was a true exemplar of a faithful follower of Bahá’u’lláh, so firm and steadfast was she in His Covenant and
Testament. Her radiant spirit was ever ready for the call of death, and gladly winged its flight to the “Realms of the
Supreme Concourse” to join her loved ones there. The members of her family, those who were so intimately connected
with her, and the many pilgrims whose privilege it was to meet her, found in her passing a very difficult experience to
face. It was as though they were asked to play a chord in the “Great Symphony of
Life” which was too difficult for them. The rhythm seemed suddenly broken, the theme abruptly ended, but in that pause, listening
ears heard the “Great Conductor’s” voice say, “Play on! ‘tis part of the harmony. I have made death a messenger of joy to thee.
Wherefore dost thou grieve?” So once again we take up the theme, and with vibrant strings play sweet harmonious chords, singing in
unison, “There is no death! There is no death!”
On the slopes of Carmel (God’s Holy Mount) the mortal remains of Munirih Khánum were lovingly laid to rest near the tomb of her
loved and revered sister-in-law Bahiyyih Khãnum (the Greatest Holy Leaf), and not far distant from the Holy Tomb where lie the
sacred remains of the Báb and ‘Abdu’l-Bahâ.
Down through the ages thousands of pilgrims will visit her resting place, and standing with bowed heads, reverently and fervently will
pray: “0 God! 0 God! Assist us with the Hosts of the Supreme Concourse, and make us firm and steadfast in the Covenant and
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