March 16, 2010

Mirza Abu’l-Fadl Gulpaygani (1844-1914) -- one of 19 Apostles of Baha’u’llah, a “very excellent and erudite Bahá'í teacher”, and recognized as the most outstanding scholar of the Baha’i Faith

                    
“Pure souls, such as Mirza Abu'l-Fadl, upon him be the Glory of God, spend their nights and days in demonstrating the truth of the Revelation, by adducing conclusive and brilliant proofs and expanding the verities of the Faith, by lifting the veils, promoting the religion of God and spreading His fragrances.”
(‘Abdu’l-Baha, from a Tablet to an individual believer; the Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 409)

by Ish’te’a’l Ebn-Kalanter, 1914

Mirza Abu’l-Fadl was born in 1844 in Galpaygan, a small Persian town founded by Humay, the daughter of Darius [an ancient Persian king]. The family to which his parents belonged was one of the most distinguished of that city, and, even to the present time [1914], is well known for learning and knowledge. [His given name at birth was Muhammad, but later in life he became known as Abu'l-Fadl, which means the father of virtue. After he became a Baha’i, Abdu'l-Baha frequently addressed him as Abu'l-Fada'il, which means the father of virtues] His father, Mirza-Reza, was one of the most noted Shi'ite doctors of religion in Persia; he died in 1871, at the age of seventy.

In the prime of youth, Mirza Abu’l-Fadl traveled to Isfahan and Iraq, with the object of perfecting his studies. Even in his boyhood he was noted for intelligence, sound memory, and diligence in discovering subtle scientific points, to such an extent that these qualities seemed to the people supernatural.

Before he was twenty-two years of age, Mirza Abu’l-Fadl had perfected himself in the branches of Arabic learning, such as grammar, rhetoric, etymology and composition; although Arabic is a foreign language to Persians. In accordance with the wishes of his father, he also acquired a perfect knowledge of Mohammedan theology and laws. At the same time he studied mathematic, algebra, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy according to the Ptolemian system. He also mastered the Aristotelian as well as the rational Mohammedan philosophy.
In October, 1873, he left the town of Gulpaygan, and went to Tehran, the capital of Persia, where he took up his residence. A short time after his arrival, he was appointed the superintendent and professor of one of the oldest first Arabic Universities of Teheran, named "School of Hakim-Hashem." There, students of different sciences gathered around him and attended his lectures.

In 1875 he became acquainted with a merchant named Aqa-Abdu’l-Karim of Isfahan, an adherent of the Baha’i Religion. As this merchant found Mirza Abu’l-Fadl sagacious and free from prejudice, he invited him to investigate his religion. Although Aqa-Abdul-Karirn had no schooling, yet he possessed a shrewd, acute mind and an excellent character. He arranged interviews for Mirza Abu’l-Fadl with learned Baha’i teachers, such as his holiness the great Nabil, entitled "The Learned One of Ka’eern," the late Haji Muhammad-Isma’il of Kashan, entitled "Zabih" [sacrificed], Aqa- Mirza Haydar-Ali of Ardistan, and others. They continued the controversy and religious and scientific debate during eight months. Finally, in September, 1876, after this ample discussion and tedious argument, Mirza Abu’l-Fadl, finding himself unable to refute and resist the proofs and demonstrations of the Baha’is, and esteeming the evidences of this movement stronger than the proofs of other religions, acknowledged and embraced the truth of the Religion of Baha’u’llah, and became a convert to it.

When Mirza Abu’l-Fadl acknowledged the truth of this religion, and, on account of the straightforwardness for which he was noted, could not conceal his belief, he openly propounded proofs and arguments of the truth of the Baha’i Faith, in his lectures to the students. Consequently, enemies who were jealous of him, always waiting to accomplish his downfall, availed themselves of this opportunity to speak of him in the presence of the clergy and prominent statesmen of Teheran. The clergy denounced him, and, in December of the same year, first he was arrested and put in chains by the command of Prince Kamran-Mirza, entitled “Nayyebu’l-Sultan (Prince Regent), the third son of the late Nasiri’d-Din Shah, who was then the governor of Teheran, Guilan and Mazandaran. This imprisonment lasted about five months. As a result of this imprisonment he lost all the property which he had inherited from his father. At the end of five months, he and other Baha’is imprisoned with him on account of their faith, were released, owing to the efforts of the late Haji Mirza Husayn-Khan, entitled Mushire-Dawla, who was then Minister of War. Upon his release, the clergy of Teheran tried their utmost to persuade him to verbally acknowledge Mohammedanism, and not to openly uphold the truth of the Baha’i Religion. To this he would not agree, and patiently endured the most violent persecutions and afflictions rather than accede to the clergy and statesmen. Afterward he gained his living by means of his pen, and diligently labored in spreading the Baha’i Religion.

In 1300 A.H (1882 A.D), came a great historical calamity. Large numbers of Baha’is were arrested in various Persian cities, for now this religion had become very prevalent throughout Persia and the Caucasus. A considerable number of the nobility, comprising Mohammedans, Jews, Zoroastrians, Nusseyrites, et al., had embraced it with the utmost sincerity, and even did not recant when in danger of their lives. Consequently the fire of envy and hatred flamed anew in the clergy and statesmen of Teheran, who considered themselves defenders of the first-named religion.

They agreed with the Prince Kamran-Mirza to persecute the Baha’is. So they falsely accused and calumniated them before the Shah. Also in Resht, Isfahan and Mazandaran, most of the clergy and statesmen determined to eradicate the Baha’is, and arrested a great number. Among these was Mirza Abu’l-Fadl, who was arrested in Teheran, along with a multitude of the Baha’is of prominence, merchants, traders, et al. He was confined for about one month in the house of the Prince, and several controversial meetings and debates were held in the presence of the Prince, concerning this Religion.

The opponents of the Baha’is, consisting principally of members of the royal family, religious doctors and statesmen, constantly accused them of sedition and plots. Great efforts were made to alienate the mind of the Shah from them and to persuade him to decree their suppression and slaughter. But as they could not be charged with any violation of the laws of the Government, the Shah became convinced of their innocence, and would not consent to sentence them to death, but commanded them to be put in chains in the royal prison. Thus Mirza Abu’l-Fadl and a number of the stanch Baha’is were imprisoned in chains and fetters for twenty-two months, subject to rigorous distress and hardship. During most of this time, nobody was allowed to see them. Twenty four of them were, for fourteen days, chained to two long, heavy chains in a dark underground dungeon. Mirra Abu’l-Fadl relates that for about six months they received daily news of the plots and intrigues of their enemies, and expected death at any moment, having entirely resigned themselves to the will of God.

After the lapse of twenty-two months, the falseness of the accusations of the enemy was proven to the Shah, and he commanded that the prisoners should be set free.

Released from this rigorous imprisonment Mirza Abul-Fadl took up his residence in the village of Gholo-hak, one of the well-known and delightful summer resorts of Teheran, where he remained about seven months, engagedvin lecturing and writing. Again thevPrince found excuse for his arrest, a third time. He was imprisoned for six months in the royal building named Otake-Nezam (the military department), whence he was released on February 5th. 1886.

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For about thirty years, Mirza Abu’l-Fadl traveled in remote countries. He journeyed northward through Persia, Turkey, the Caucasus,Tartary and Russia, as far Moscow; eastward as far as the confines of China and Kash-Kar; to Syria and Egypt; and in 1901-1902 made a trip through Western Europe and America. During his arduous travels, he everywhere secured a good name for himself and his countrymen; he consorted with the men of learning of different religions, nationalities and schools; and acquired a vast range of knowledge which it would have been impassible to attain without undertaking extensive and toilsome journeys.

In 1303 A.H (1886 A.D), he received the Tablet written by Baha’u’llah in 1300 A.H, in which he was commanded to travel for the purpose of teaching the Word of God; and during his distant journeys, undertaken in compliance with this Command, many holy Tablets were revealed in praise of his strength and fidelity to the Cause.

While travelling, he has written numerous books, being considered a standard writer in ancient and modern Persian, as well as in Arabic. In 1892, Mirza Abu’l-Fadl wrote, in Samarkand, the book entitled Fassl-ul-Khetab (Conclusive Proof), in answer to questions asked by Mirza Heydar-Ali of Tabriz, one of the learned men of Azarbeyjan. This book he wrote in the style of the doctors of theology, and in the introduction is an account of the controversy in Samarkand between himself and Dr. Marcard Assadorian, a Protestant teacher, in a meeting held by men of learning.

In 1898, he wrote the book of El- Fara'id in Persian, in compliance with the command of ‘Abdu’l-Baha. In this work, he answers the objections of Shaykh-Abdus-Salam, entitledvShaykh-El-Islam (a Mohammedan pontiff) of Tiflis. The same year, he wrote the book of ad-Dur-aru’l-Bahiyyih (The Brilliant Pearls), in Arabic, in answer to Dr. Noor-Edin of India [translated in English as Miracles and Metaphors].

During the years 1901 and 1902, while sojourning in America, Mirra Abul-Fazl wrote the al Hujaju’l-Bahaiyyih (The Baha’i Proofs), which was translated into English by Ish'te'a'l Ebn-Kalanter, and publishrd at that time. This work is well known to the scholars and thinkers of the Western world.

As late as December, 1911, he wrote a scholarly answer to an opponent of the Baha’i Cause, known as Burhan Lame (The Brilliant Proof), which was published by The Center of The Covenant, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, while in America.

His other epistles and pamphlets, which are scattered in all parts, are too numerous for mention in this article.

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One of the theories originated by Mirza Abu’l-Fadl was the "Proof of Stability," in demonstrating the Essence of the Self-existent One. This is one of the greatest and clearest logical arguments for proving the Divine validity of the religions and demonstrating the Essence of the Almighty. By a single rational proof, it demonstrates both the existence of God and the truth of the true Prophets. He first propounded this argument in the book of Fassl-ul-Khetab, in 1892, and for the second time, in the book of El- Fara'id, in 1897.

He was the first one of the Baha’is who demonstrated by rational and logical arguments, that miracles are not sufficient to prove the truth of the Manifestations of God. He was the first one who clearly explained the purpose of what was spoken by the Prophets, in the Holy Scriptures, as to the "words being sealed," to he opened at the "last days."* He was also the first to explain that the great religions of the world which have changed and governed the conditions of society, are seven in number; and that the "seven heavens" is a term by which the Prophets have symbolized the Divine religions. Before Mirza Abu’l-Fadl propounded his theory, the point was not understood, for this number was not spoken of in the Divine Books and Tablets, nor in historical works.

He was the first one who demonstrated by rational proofs, why the Pagan religions are considered as polytheism, although they owe their origin to the Almighty, and acknowledge one God. For if by worshipping images, people are to be considered as polytheists, the Greek Church and Roman Catholics must also be considered such, while they are in reality, the "people of the Book," and believers in Divine Unity and true Religion.

Mirza Abu’l-Fadl had a wonderful genius in explaining subtle philosophical points, which skill was his speciality. He himself thought that he received this gift as a fulfillment of the prayer which the Blessed Perfection [Baha’u’llah] made for him in a Tablet written to Haji Muhammad-Kazen of Isfahan. It is as follows:-- "I beg of God to enable Fadl [Mirza Abu’l-Fadl) to teach His Truth, and to unveil that which is hidden and treasured in His Knowledge, with wisdom and explanation. Verily He is the Mighty, the Bestower!" (Star of the West, vol. IV, no.19, March 2, 1914)

A Glimpse of Mirza Abu’l-Fadl at Ramleh, Egypt
by Isabel Fraser, Chicago, February 26, 1914

A glimpse into the last days of Mirza Abu’l-Fadl, as I saw him at Ramleh, a suburb of Alexandria, Egypt, last autumn may be of interest. When Abdu’l-Baha settled at Ramleh, He desired to have his old friend, Mirza Abu’l-Fadl, near Him. To do so he rented the upper part of a two-story house set in a garden of date palms. To have provided a more pretentious place would not have been at all in accordance with Mirza ‘Abu’l-Fadl’s modest habits. Here he lived alone. At first, ‘Abdu’l-Baha secured a cook who was to act as personal caretaker, for Mirza Abu’l-Fadl's health was failing and he needed such an attendant.

But sick or well, the old philosopher was a hermit. He loved his circle of friends, and he also loved his hours of solitude and contemplation. He was not used to having anybody constantly around administering to what he regarded as merely trivial needs; but he soon discovered a way to compromise with the unaccustomed situation. One day when ‘Abdu’l-Baha called, He found his venerable friend waiting upon the servant and treating him as though he were an honored guest. Seeing that was only an added burden to Mirza Abu’l-Fadl, He had the man dismissed.

Mirza Abu’l-Fadl's quarters resembled an un-kept library. There were books on every conceivable shelf and table, and even the floor was littered with volumes and papers. His place was a rendezvous for the learned sheiks and Muhammadan mullahs of the ancient city of Aexandria; for he was looked upon as an authority on history, Persian literature, higher criticism and comparative religions.

His favorite outing was a visit to the house of ‘Abdu’l-Baha's secretaries which was just around the corner, and which beside housing the secretaries, was used as a guest-house for visiting pilgrims to ‘Abdu’l-Baha. Here he would sit on the spacious veranda; the news would go forth and soon a little group would be gathered about him. On Friday afternoons a body of young native students from Alexandria came to him for lessons in the Sacred Books of Baha’u’llah.

To the many who were accorded the rare privilege of meeting this man of letters, both during his stay in America and on their pilgrimages to the East, I need not speak of his peculiar personal charm. With all his book learning he was not at all "bookish." Gifted with one of those rare minds that explore all the channels of life with equal grace and facility -- the same dignity and impressiveness with which he discussed a verse of the Koran with the learned sheiks, he put into the meeting some sojourning American; often finishing with a personal pleasantry, for he was a ready humorist and made his guests instantly at ease. He had the placidness of a child and the air of one who was never in a hurry and had plenty of time to make radiantly happy the place where God had placed him.

That was his attitude toward the world; but in the presence of the Center of The Covenant, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, with head bowed and downcast eyes, he became the essence of humility. Even his voice, in answer to ‘Abdu’l-Baha's questions, became low and subdued. Never have I seen such a perfect and instantaneous agreement of mind and body to express humility.

One day when I was at his house, there were about twenty sheiks who had come over from Alexandria to visit him. One who seemed to be the leader was a very learned and gorgeously attired young sheik, who said with some pride that he had been educated in the oldest university in the world. He was the editor of a magazine in Alexandria and had come to interview Mirza Abu’l-Fadl, who for more than an hour had been listened to with absorbed attention. His talk was interspersed with an occasional jest and his sharp eye would glance from one face to another to see if his point was understood. One might imagine the learned devotees in the early Christian era listening like this to the elequence of St. Paul.

Suddenly ‘Abdu’l-Bah appeared. Mirza Abu’l- Fadl faced the door, the rest of us had our backs to it and did not see Him; there was a moment of silence and Mirza Abu’l-Fadl stood with his head bowed, his whole attitude changed. He immediately became the most humble and respectful of servitors. Then quickly arranging a chair for Abdu’l-Baha, He told him in a low voice, in answer to His questions, the subject under discussion.

‘Abdu’l-Baha continued the subject, which was on the independent search for reality, further emphasizing the great necessity of investigating truth with a mind unbiased by theology or the limitations of other minds.

At the house of Mirza Abu’l-Fadl He was an almost daily visitor. Whenever inquiry was made for Abbas EEendi, as the natives all call ‘Abdu’l-BahaBaha, the conjecture invariably was that He was to be found either at the of house of Mirza Abu’l-Fadl or in the rose garden opposite, dictating Tablets.

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s love for His old friend, who for years had suffered banishment, imprisonment and persecution for his faith, was remarked by all. He said of him one day: "Such men as Mirza Abu’l-Fadl already belong to the Divine Concourse. All his interests are centered on the spiritual horizon rather than on this transitory phantasmagoria. All his efforts are turned toward the heavenly kingdom. He has no other though. Such souls ore aided by heavely confirmations.” (Star of the West, vol. IV, no.19, March 2, 1914)

Mirza Abu’l-Fadl’s Works – in Arabic and Persian
By Moojan Momen

a. Sharh-i-Ayat-i-Mu'arrakhih ("In Explanation of Sacred Verses that Prophesy Dates"), a work on the prophecies in the scriptures of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism about the date of the coming of the Promised One. It was written at the request of Muhammad Mahdi Mirza Mu'ayyadu's-Saltanih in Hamadan in 1888. It was published twice: once on its own in India, and once with the Risalih Ayyubiyyih in Shanghai in 1344/1925.

b. Risalih Ayyubiyyih (Treatise addressed to Ayyub). While Gulpaygani was in Hamadan, a great many Jews inquired about the Baha'i Faith. One Baha'i of Jewish background, Hakim Mirza Ayyub wrote to Gulpaygani from Tehran asking him a number of questions related to the Torah and the prophecies relating to the coming of the Promised One. This treatise was sent in reply in 1305/1887.

c. Faslu'l-Khitab (The Decisive Utterance). This was a large book written by Gulpaygani in Samarqand in 1308/1892 in reply to an attack by a fundamentalist Shi`i cleric of Adharbayjan which was forwarded to Gulpaygani by Mirza Haydar `Ali Usku'i. Much of the subject matter resembles the Fara'id. One of the subjects dealt with is the question of why there are Traditions in the Shi`i books that point both to the persecution and even martyrdom of the Promised One and to his triumph. At present no copy of this is known.

d. Fara'id (The Peerless Gems). This book which is generally considered Gulpaygani's greatest was composed in six months, being completed in February 1898. It was written in reply to an attack on the Book of Certitude (q.v.) by the Shaykhu'l-Islam of Tiflis, Mirza Hasan Tahirzadih `Abdu's-Salam. It was published in Cairo in 1315/1898 and sparked off some seven or eight rebuttals of it by Iranian `ulama. (For a summary of its contents, see "Apologetics and Introductory Literature.1.a.")

e. Al-Duraru'l-Bahiyyih (The Shining Pearls). A collection of essays on the history of religion in Arabic, published in Cairo by Shaykh Faraju'llah Kurdi in 1900. As it was in Arabic, it was responsible for making him generally known as a Baha'i in Egypt. (It has been translated into English by Juan Cole as Miracles and Metaphors.) The "Risaliyyih Iskandaraniyyih" written for Husayn Ruhi, giving proofs for the prophethood of Muhammad from the Christian and Jewish scriptures, and a treatise in explanation of the verse of the Qur'an "Then it is ours to explain it" (Q 75:19), were published together with Ad-Durar al-Bahiyyih (and are included in the English translation).

f. The Kitab-i-Ibrar (Book of Justification). This book is referred to in a few of Gulpaygani's works and evidently dealt with the issue of the Covenant (q.v.). No manuscript of it, however, appears to be extant.

g. Al-Hujaju'l-Baha'iyyih (The Baha'i Proofs). This was the book that Gulpaygani composed in America (see 6 above) in which he gives a defense and exposition of the Faith from a Christian point of view. It was translated by Ali Kuli Khan and published in New York in 1902 as The Behai Proofs. It was for many years, until the publication of Esslemont's Baha'u'llah and the New Era, the standard Baha'i textbook in America. The English translation also includes a short treatise on the history of the Baha'i Faith which Gulpaygani wrote while at Green Acre.

h. Burhan-i-Lami` (The Brilliant Proof). A pamphlet written in reply to a Christian clergyman, Peter Easton. It was printed in Chicago in 1912 with English translation.

i. Kashfu'l-Ghita' (The Uncovering of Error). When E.G. Browne published the Nuqtatu'l-Kaf with its Persian and English introductions that contained much material hostile to the Baha'i Faith, a number of Baha'i scholars worked on refutations of this book. Gulpaygani also began to work on such a book, but when heard that work on a similar book in Iran under the guidance of the Hands of the Cause (q.v.) had reached an advanced stage, he suspended work on his book awaiting a manuscript from Iran. Unfortunately he never got back to this book and at his death the manuscript was incomplete. When Mirza Abu'l-Fadl's papers were sent to his cousin Sayyid Mahdi Gulpaygani in Ashkhabad, the latter undertook to complete the work. The final work was published in Ashkhabad. Of the 438 pages of the book some 132 are attributed to Mirza Abu'l-Fadl. The final work, however, has a tone and vehemence completely uncharacteristic of Mirza Abu'l-Fadl and `Abdu'l-Baha instructed that it should not be distributed.

There are numerous shorter epistles of Gulpaygani written in answer to specific questions addressed to him; some of these have been published in a number of compilations of his works:

j. Majmu`iy-i-Rasa'il-i-Hadrat-i-Abi'l-Fadl. Published in Cairo in 1920 by Shaykh Muhiyu'd-Din Kurdi. Contains 16 letters and treatises.

k. Rasa'il wa Raqa'im. Compiled by Ruhu'llah Mihrabkhani and published in Tehran in 1977. It contains 23 treatises, followed by four groups of letters (containing seven letters, thirty-six letters, five letters, and eleven letters respectively). Some of the treatises in this volume have been translated into English by Juan Cole in Letters & Essays. Among these treatises are:

i. Two treatises on the Covenant. In 1329/1911, a work was published in Cairo consisting of two treatises, a longer one, written in 1317/1899, and a shorter one, written in 1314/1896. These deal with the actions of the Covenant-breakers (q.v.), and bring forward proofs from the Bible and Qur'an for the Covenant and the position of `Abdu'l-Baha (Rasa'il 9-28).

ii. "Risalih Iskandariyyih" (Treatise of Alexander). This treatise was written in Samarqand in reply to a request of E.G. Browne (q.v.), that Gulpaygani write something of the history of the life of Baha'u'llah, explain a point that he had made in the Ayyubiyyih, and identify the author of the Tarikh-i-Jadid. Gulpaygani named it in honor of Alexander Tumanski who had also requested information about Baha'u'llah (Rasa'il 48-89; Letters 43-83).

iii. "Al-Bab wa'l-Babiyyih" (The Bab and Babism). After the episode in Egypt following the assassination of Nasiru'd-Din Shah, the editor of the magazine Al-Muqtataf, Dr. Ya`qub Sarruf, commissioned this brief account of the history of the Baha'i Faith (Rasa'il 291-303; Letters 95-109).

iv. "Risalah at-Tarablusiyyih" (Letter to Tripoli). Written in reply to questions regarding the previous treatise (Rasa'il 182-201; Letters 111-34).

v. A treatise that Gulpaygani wrote on the genealogy of Baha'u'llah was confiscated when he was arrested in Tehran 1882 and thus lost, but years later a Baha'i wrote to `Abdu'l-Baha asking about this question and `Abdu'l-Baha referred him to Gulpaygani, who wrote a second, shorter treatise, tracing Baha'u'llah's ancestry to the last Sasanian king, Yazdigird III, a document that was of great importance in the conversion of the Zoroastrians (Rasa'il 41-47).

l. Mukhtarat min Mu'allafat Abi'l-Fada'il. A compilation of works in Arabic (Maison d'Editions Baha'ies, Brussels, 1980), including Al-Hujaj al-Bahiyyih, and twelve other treatises, including "at-Tarablusiyyih," "al-Bab wa'l-Babiyyih," and others mentioned above.

A number of Gulpaygani's works which are known from references to them in other writings are, however, lost. Among the papers sent to Ashkhabad and subsequently lost were a number of treatises mostly incomplete: a reply to Muhammad Khan Kirmani, the Shaykhi leader who had written a refutation of the Fara'id; and Raddu'r-Rudud (Refutation of the Refutations), a reply to the various refutations of the Fara'id that had been written. Among Gulpaygani's works are also several that are not Baha'i works, including Anjuman-i-Danish, a book of biographies of scholars and litterateurs, which was probably lost when he was arrested in Tehran in 1882; and a history of Iran, which were among the papers sent to Ashkhabad after his death.

Apart from the works already mentioned, he was involved in the composition of The New History of the Bab (Tarikh-i-Jadid). He carried on a vast correspondence, often answering questions on the interpretation of scripture referred to him by `Abdu'l-Baha, and typescripts of his lectures were an important source of information about the Baha'i Faith for the American Baha'i community for the first decade of the twentieth century.
(Religious Studies and Baha'i Studies by Moojan Momen at: http://www.northill.demon.co.uk/relstud/index.htm)


The Death of Mirza Abu’l-Fadl

By Hussein A. Afnan, Egypt, February 2, 1914

"VERILY TH E EYES HAVE SHED TEARS AND TH E HEARTS HAVE BURNED BECAUSE OF THIS GREAT AFFLICTION. BE YE POSSESSED WITH THE BEAUTY O F PATIENCE IN THIS MIGHTY CALAMITY." (Telegram from ‘Abdu’l-Baha referring to the passing of Abu’l-Fadl)

A few days before ‘Abdu’l-Baha's departure from Egypt to the Holy Land, Mirza Abu’l-Fadl went to Cairo. During the month of January, which is the coldest in Cairo, his strength failed rapidly and when finally confined to his bed, he was transferred to the house of one of the friends, Aqa Muhammad Taqi of Isfahan where he was attended by the best physicians and nurses procurable. But he never rallied, and died on Wednesday, January 21, 1914, at four o'clock in the afternoon. The attending nurse said that as he expired she heard him say, "Khoda! Khoda!" [God! God!]. With these words of greeting he joined Him in whose service he bad so long labored.

The doctor pronounced death due to endcarditis – i.e., inflammation of the lining membrane of the heart.

Although he had passed the allotted years of three score and ten, it was hard for us to believe this busy life ended. As no one bad ever met him without hearing him utter a few words of wisdom, it was difficult to realize that the spirit had indeed departed from the body that lay before us, silent and irresponsive, yet smiling and beautiful.

A telegram was sent to ‘Abdu’l-Baha notifying Him of the death of Mirza Abu’l-Fadl, and the answer, quoted above, came immediately.

The body of our beloved teacher was carried on the shoulders of the Baha’is of Egypt, from the house of Aqa Muhammad Taqi to the cemetery on the hill and laid in the tomb owned by Mirza Haji Hasan Khorassani. The tomb is a large room, in the center of which the remains were laid, and fragrant narcissus blossoms were scattered on his resting place. The friends chanted Tablets and many eyes were wet with tears.

And thus, on January 22nd, while the Egyptian people were celebrating the inauguration of the Legislative Council in one end of the city of Cairo, at the other end, on a hill, a group of old and young men, Persians and Egyptians, were mourning the departure of a soul well loved throughout the East.

According to the Moslem custom, a large tent was erected in front of Aqa Muhammad Taqi's house, in memoriam of the deceased, and people gathered there during the night to hear the Koran read by the Shaykhs.

At Port Said, Alexandria and Acca the friends gathered and read Tablets and Communes. Plans are being made to hold a memorial meeting in Cairo on the fortieth day after Mirza Abu’l-Fadl’s departure.
(Star of the West, vol. IV, no.19, March 2, 1914)