(Written in July and August, 1902.)
Signed and sealed by me Augt. 29th, 1902. New York City.
(S.) Anton F. Haddad.
AN OUTLINE OF THE BAHAI MOVEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES
A sketch of its promulgator [Ibrahim Kheiralla] and why afterwards denied his Master, Abbas Effendi.
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I believe it to be important at this time to give people in general, and Bahais in particular, a historical sketch of the introduction of Bahaism into the United States of America. Having been one of the foremost adherents of this religion in the Western world, I would like to give the following information to all whom it may concern.
In 1886 I went to Syria from Cairo, Egypt, and there, through the kindness of some friends, made the acquaintance of a certain Syrian, known by the name of Ibrahim Kheiralla, from Bahamdoan, a village nine miles distant from Oin Zahatta, my own village on Mount Lebanon, Syria. We became friends at the first meeting, and from that time on our friendship strengthened daily, until at last we were like brothers. The greater part of our time was spent in each other's company and not a single day passed without calling on each other. These felicitous relations caused our friends to envy us.
I was employed as a translator in the Egyptian Ministry of war in 1887, which was then and still is controlled by English officers, such as Gernerfell Pasha, Parr Pasha, Kitchiner Pasha, and Wingate Pasha.
Ibrahim Kheiralla, though a contractor of public works, was at that time ambitious to achieve proficiency in the art of black magic, hoping that he might be able to attain whatever he desired. He occupied the greater part of his time in calling on magicians and hunting after old books and papers which might give him the necessary information for his purpose, and satisfy his passion. According to Kheiralla's statement to me at that time, he had already collected some books and papers which gave him the method of practicing "black magic." It became a predilection with him to investigate and hunt after everything that, according to his own ideas, might assist him to achieve the highest proficiency in this art. His long and earnest search at last brought him to a black magician who confessed to Kheiralla that his art was not lucrative, and advised Kheiralla to give up all ideas which are harmful and injurious. Thereupon he directed him to call on Abdul Kerim, who is notable for his white magic and other extraordinary.
This information put Kheiralla in an ecstasy of joy, for he had not believed the time would ever come when he would have the honor
of meeting such a grand and remarkable man.
This expectation gave him a new hope and encouragement for the attainment of his long-desired end, and accordingly he took every step in his power to reach the said Abdul Kerim. He besought some of his friends to serve him as intermediators to bring him nigh the goal of his aims - - - Abdul Kerim. Not many weeks passed, after struggling, beseeching and entreating, when he came into the presence of Abdul Kerim, who received him cordially but complaisantly. Then Abdul Kerim began to talk to Kheiralla, inquiring about his object in visiting him and whether he could do anything for him. This question gave Kheiralla the desired opportunity to speak of his ambition. Abdul Kerim then commanded him to return to his home and destroy all the papers he had collected for the practice of "black magic." He instructed Kheiralla, also, to eradicate from his mind all such injurious and chimerical ideas which might lead him to destruction. To recompense him for the loss of his papers on "black magic", Abdul Kerim promised to aid him to attain greater powers which would make his words effective and convincing - - powers which would never be given except to those whom God had desired should accomplish whatever he wishes.
Abdul Kerim promised also that he should be a great man if he would only listen to his admonitions and instructions, and endeavor, to the extent of his ability, to submit himself to the commands of God.
However, Abdul Kerim made it well known to Kheiralla that Spiritual Powers could not be acquired in an instant, and only through a process of moral and spiritual development.
After long associations with Kheiralla in Cairo and America, I came to understand that the sole aim and purpose of his researches, and his anxiety to be recognized as a pupil of Abdul Kerim in one place or another, was merely an expression of his worldly ambitions and cravings, for name and fame - - - longing for authority and dominion over people, and other selfish motives. The promises of Abdul Kerim might have been fulfilled and Kheiralla have become a great man by this time had he humbled his pride and subjected himself to His Lord and Master, Abbas Effendi. But as it is, he has lose ever what power he had acquired, and is now acting recklessly, and leading people to erring thoughts and astray into the waterless desert of despair and aberration. Yet, the "dead shall bury their dead."
Kheiralla called daily upon Abdul Kerim for more than two years. During that time he was instructed in all the Behai teachings - - - both its religious tenets and its historical facts. Abdul Kerim interpreted for Kheiralla many obscure passages of the Bible, notably the miracles, prophecies and signs. It astonished me that Kheiralla now denies all these facts, forgetting that he is refuting his own earlier statements made in a little pamphlet entitled, "The Identity of God."
While in Cairo, before coming to the United States, Kheiralla made no effort to spread the Behai teachings to the natives there. Therefore he kept to himself the good news of Behaism, hoping that he might some day become a leader of the Cause.
Kheiralla's haughtiness and ambitions caused bitter enmity between him and his brother-in-law, Elias Bey Manassa[s], who was also ambitious along the same lines, for Manassa[s], too, had learned of the Behai teachings from Abdul Kerim.
I am reluctant to refer to this incident which occurred between two brothers who were, apparently, seeking to know the same Truth of God. Circumstances forced me to know all of Kheiralla's intentions and now circumstances make it expedient for me to make
them public, particularly to those who believe in the purity and soundness of Behaism.
Kheiralla continually accused Elias Bey Manassas to Abdul Kerim, for more than a year, of being insincere, hoping in this way to disparage Elias Bey Manassas and prevent Abdul Kerim from teaching him further. But Abdul Kerim outgeneraled Kheiralla, both in strategy and in wisdom, and continued to welcome Elias Bey and to treat him kindly.
Notwithstanding Abdul Kerim's endeavors to reconcile the brothers, they avoided meeting each other, and when Kheiralla left Cairo for Europe he refused to bid good by to Manassas. Elias Bey Manassas died about a year later. When the news of his death reached Kheiralla in America, instead of regretting or lamenting either the death or the previous relations, as any true Christian would, he rejoiced publicly and said, "Thus ends the life of those who oppose me and do not submit to me!" Besides, he attributed the death of Elias Bey Manassas to the mysterious occult powers which he thought he possessed.
I wish to reader to understand that what I have already stated in this paper, and all the facts which follow, became known to me personally during my close associations with Kheiralla, and from what he told me on various occasions.
I have hesitated to make these statements public, fearing it may seem that I am betraying the confidence once reposed in me by Kheiralla; but since he has publicly denied his Master and mine, Abbas Effendi, I feel it a duty I owe to the Cause of Behaism to reveal the true character of Kheiralla by stating the facts. I have in my possession several autograph letters from Kheiralla which prove the main points of what I say. God forbid that I should state anything but the truth.
I intend no harm to Kheiralla through this paper, but wish to caution the Behais in America, as well as others, who may not yet heard of him, that should they come in contact with him to be cautious and guard themselves from injury by him.
Kheiralla acquainted me with all his movements and transactions because I was so constantly with him and because of the close and sincere friendship that then existed between us. One day, when we were alone, I said to him, "I wish you would tell me what is the secret in the frequent trips to Abdul Kerim, and what is your object?"
Kheiralla then related to me the details of every incident of his relations with Abdul Kerim as they had occurred, from beginning to end, and how he was expecting to become a great man through Abdul Kerim.
"Abdul Kerim," he further said, "Is the head of the Behai Society in Egypt and is next to the Master, and is regarded as one of the wisest men in Egypt; he is one of the four beasts referred to in the Revelation of Saint John. From this you may draw your own conclusion as to what my object is, and what powers and greatness I expect to derive from his teachings. Know also, " he continued, "that his society is large and its membership spreads throughout the world: but no one can become one of its members until he has been initiated by the leaders and heads - - - especially by the four beasts of whom Abdul Kerim is one."
Kheiralla further stated that no one could be accepted even as a follower unless he was a married man and had undergone a spiritual preparation calculated to fit him to receive a higher truth. All this stimulated my desire to know the full particulars about this great matter, and I therefore entreated Kheiralla to intercede for me with Abdul Kerim that I might become a member of the Society, should I be so fortunate as to be found worthy of this distinguished honor. He promised me that he would grant the favor I asked and
take me into the presence of Abdul Kerim for a trial. This promise cheered me considerably and I began to prepare myself by supplicating God, the Almighty, to permit me to pass the trial before Abdul Kerim and appear acceptable before him.
A few days later, Kheiralla came to me and said, "I have good news for you! Glad tidings! Be happy, for Abdul Kerim has listened to my entreaties and agreed to see you at my house! But as I told you before, "Kheiralla continued, "Abdul Kerim is not an ordinary man - he is not a man who can be seen or approached by everybody - but he is a man of great wisdom, great power, great intelligence and great spirituality. So be careful not to omit any act of deference when you enter his presence, but show him every homage and respect. Bow down before him; then kiss his hand, if not the train of his garment; and do not seat yourself unless he commands you to do so. If you do otherwise the result will not be favorable to you."
All these instructions were carefully rehearsed by me lest I should forget them at the critical moment.
When the appointed day arrived for my meeting with Abdul Kerim at Kheiralla's house I went there with a throbbing heart and excited nerves, as a result of my expectations and preparations for the meeting and trial. When I entered the presence of Abdul Kerim I behaved as I had been instructed to do, and remained standing before him until he commanded me to be seated before him until he commanded me to be seated. Before I sat down, however, Abdul Kerim scrutinized me from head to foot; then he turned to Kheiralla and said, "He looks to me to be like unto a piece of pure gold that only needs to be cleaned and polished." At this, Kheiralla turned to me and said, "I congratulate you; be happy, for Abdul Kerim has accepted you as one of his pupils."
I thanked them both for conferring upon me this great honor. From that time on, Kheiralla would now and then disclose a part of the knowledge which he had received and which he regarded as a sacred mystery. But summing up all the knowledge I had gained from Kheiralla up to the time of my departure from Cairo to America was that god manifested Himself in the person of Beha'Ullah; and new interpretations of certain prophecies were given me. But in conversation with me, Kheiralla laid great stress on the importance of Abdul Kerim's spiritual station, enumerating his miraculous feats after he embraced the Behai teachings. It was Kheiralla's constant desire that the day would come when he would have equally great powers, with the ability to exercise authority over people.
To prove to me how beloved and favored by Abdul Kerim he was, and how much higher a spiritual station he had gained since he had been taught by him, Kheiralla one day said to me, "Today I have received from Abdul Kerim something that is priceless, and which is beyond my power to describe."
"Is it possible for me to know what it is," I asked.
"Not now," he said, "but the day will come when, if you prove yourself worthy of it, you will also have it given to you, but to put you at ease, I will tell you that it is a word, which, when pronounced a certain number of times, will enable you to obtain whatever you desire, and especially to exercise power over people and make them humble and submissive to you. Do not think that I am telling you stories or fables. Nay, Nay! Rather, I am telling you facts --- realities. I have already tried some of these powers and proved their success.
"What do you mean and what was the trial?" I asked.
"Yesterday", he replied, "I was obligated to call on a prominent merchant about business matters. He was accustomed to greet me sternly and coldly. Before I entered the house I repeated the mystic word according to instructions, and as soon as I entered his presence
he rose up and came forward and shook hands and gave me a most cordial reception. So you can now imagine the effect of this word and the power I possess."
"Now that I have proved my power to you, I wish," continued Kheiralla, "owing to your friendship with Mr. M --- and Mr. S. --- (people of influence and wealth) you would call on them and try to place me favorably before them, advising them at the same time to obey me in all things as I desire."
Kheiralla was in straightened circumstances financially at this time. As I did not then know Kheiralla's real motive, and wishing to comply with his request, I called on the two persons referred to and praised Kheiralla highly to them and suggested that they endeavor to meet Kheiralla and investigate the things he possessed so profound a knowledge of.
Kheiralla wished me to feel under obligations to him because he had introduced me to Abdul Kerim.
"Do you realize the importance of the favor Abdul Kerim conferred on you through me? Are you aware that here in this big city of Cairo you have been the preferred of many Syrians and men of other nationalities who were begging day and night to attain to this spiritual and great station which you have now attained and they have not?"
Kheiralla said that Z --- Pasha, a high official in the Egyptian Ministry of war, was one of those who supplicated Abdul Kerim several times to honor him by assisting him to attain to this station. But the Pasha was refused on the ground of his unworthiness.
Kheiralla related to me several other incidents of a similar character by which he hoped to prove to me that a great honor had been conferred upon me by Abdul Kerim through his intercession.
A few months later, Kheiralla received word from Abdul Kerim that through spiritual development, many of the mysteries of nature would soon be disclosed to him, and this news made Kheiralla feel himself to be a very important personage. He had greater than ever of knowing things that nobody else knew of. The first material produce of Kheiralla's imagination was a design for a new theatrical ticket with a coupon attached, and with sufficient space for a commercial or professional advertisement. He submitted the design to Abdul Kerim and asked him if he would be successful if he applied for a patent in the United States. Kheiralla said to me that Abdul Kerim has promised him it would be a great success, and had advised [him] to hasten in taking the necessary steps to secure a patent. Thus full of hopes of success, Kheiralla revealed his secret to me and asked me to cooperate with him in the matter. We succeeded in obtaining a patent in the United States through the assistance of some friends in Cairo, and the legal aid of Forbes Beale, Es., an attorney of Washington, D. C. The patent was taken out in our joint names. When we had actually received it many of our friends in Cairo envied us, believing our success sure, and that thousands of dollars would accrue to us as profits, especially as Kheiralla hoped the new ticket would be used at the world's Fair at Chicago.
Kheiralla's first invention, as he called it, made him yearn to produce another, so he brought his mysterious powers into play by concentrating his thought on the ""lane of discoveries and inventions."" To his joy and astonishment, he succeeded in capturing another inventive idea, which he quickly added to his now increasing list. This time the mystery was a new sort of neck tie which would render a lasting and invaluable service to the world of economics forced him to await the hoped-for-returns from his first invention
before patenting the second one.
But Kheiralla's lack of success with his first and second invention did not deter him from discovering a third "mystery". This was, he told me and others of the Behaists, a machine to accelerate speed in walking. Kheiralla hoped much for this machine --- he even hoped that it would be adopted by the Russians, German, French and English armies for use of their soldiers when on long marches in time of war. Kheiralla claimed that an army equipped with his walking machines would defeat any army not so equipped. But as Kheiralla was an orthodox Greek Catholic, he decided to give the preference to the Czar of Russia's army, that they might have an advantage over every other army.
Then Kheiralla concentrated his mind "on the plane of inventions" again, and this time caught the idea of a flying machine, or air ship, constructed after the form of birds, and operated according to the principles of their flight. But this last and fourth invention remained a dream in the brain of Kheiralla and was never destined to enter the realm of realities.
But Kheiralla's love and tenderness and compassion (?) for his fellowmen would not permit his inventive mind to rest, so he conceived a fifth invention. This time it was something to save people from death in shipwreck. His idea was a machine that would support the wrecked ship on both sides and thus prevent it from sinking, however terrific the storms encountered. This idea proved an abortive one and was no more successful than the others.
On more than one occasion Kheiralla told me he had received his ideas of inventions directly from God - that they were given to him in visions, and that these visions were becoming plainer and plainer, so that at last he should receive a perfect description of the inventions as they were revealed. He laid great stress on seeing visions, and claimed that he would be able to solve the mysteries of nature, facilitate commercial success, and predict future events.
Kheiralla then began to make preparations for a trip to the West in order to carry out the ideas he had conceived on the "mystic plane of inventions". However, before he departed from Cairo he consulted Abdul Kerim, asking his leave and begging his opinion of the success of his prospective journey. Abdul Kerim consented to Kheiralla's going and promised him a great success.
Kheiralla wanted me to give up my position with the Egyptian government and go with him to America to work out the ticket invention. I protested that I would hazard my future livelihood by embarking in so uncertain a venture. Kheiralla said, "Success is sure - inevitable - but to give you more certainty, let us go some day to the master, Abdul Kerim, and you will hear from him what he thinks of the success of my important invention. And you must know, also, that what Abdul Kerim says will be, will be."
Kheiralla made an appointment with Abdul Kerim, and I had the pleasure of conferring with him later, and heard from his own lips that he believed the ticket invention was as great and wonderful as Kheiralla had represented it to me. Then I broached the subject of Kheiralla's proposition to have me accompany him to America, and asked Abdul Kerim if he could be sure of the success of the undertaking, and to tell me what he knew about it, that I did not wish to give up my office in the Ministry of War if nothing but failure awaited me in America.
"Go ahead; fear nothing; success is certain, and what better proof can you expect from me than that I say I am willing to be a partner," said Abdul Kerim.
My courage increased and my own judgment gave way before the statements of Kheiralla and Abdul Kerim. Then it was planned that
Kheiralla should first go to Russia for the purpose of favoring the Russian government with his walking machine, and I was suppose to go to America to work out his theatrical ticket and introduce it at the World's Fair at Chicago.
It will be interesting right here to mention that upon our departure from Cairo, Abdul Kerim extended his kindest wishes, and showered upon us his heartfelt blessings from the "heaven of his favor and bounty." He gave me the long promised mystical word; it was the Greatest Name, which is well know[n] to all Bahais. More than this, Abdul Kerim asked one of his scribes to copy two or three short tablets by the Blessed Perfection, (Beha'U'llah) which he then gave to me. He also gave some tablets to Kheiralla, who had them bound in leather. Of course we both prized these tablets and believed that such evidences of our favor with Abdul Kerim would prove that we were among those who had answered the "Call of the Trumpet."
Kheiralla and I left Cairo together on or about the 9th of June, 1892. A few days previous to this (May 28th) the sorrowful event of the death of the Blessed Perfection at Acca, Syria, made our hearts heavy with grief. He was the Manifestation of God on earth, and at His death all the earth and the heavens wailed and lamented.
Kheiralla and I arrived at Alexandria about the 10th of June, and remained there nine days. On the 19th of June both of us left Alexandria, he for Petersburg, Russia, and I for America.
Kheiralla was not able to induce the Russian government to adopt his walking machine even after his hard struggle in presenting it to the Ministry of War. Then he went to Germany, with no better result. Under such strenuous circumstances, Kheiralla wrote me that he wished o come o America to help me work out the theatre ticket project.
I immediately wrote to Kheiralla that although I had made every possible effort to introduce the ticket, I had so far only the promises of lawyers and others of making anything out of it. However, Kheiralla came here from Germany, arriving, I think, in the month of February, 1893. For three or four months he worked with me to promote the use of our theatre tickets. But is was a failure.
With such a disappointment, Kheiralla was forced to look about him for some other means of livelihood for himself, and his wife and children who were still living in Cairo, on the generosity and under the care of Abdul Kerim.
Kheiralla made the acquaintance of a number of Syrians in New York, among them Ibrahim Dohroaje from Mount Lebanon. Kheiralla and this Syrian entered into a partnership under the condition that Dohroaje should purchase a stock of oriental embroideries, silks and so forth, when they were to leave New York and travel to attract the people to purchase the goods. They stopped for a few weeks at Grand Rapids and Petoski, Michigan, where Kheiralla lectured on Syria and Egypt, following the custom of Oriental venders of silks and embroideries.
This partnership terminated about the time that the World's Fair was closed, when Kheiralla went to Chicago and Dohroaje came back to New York.
At that time Kheiralla began to heal by the laying on of hands. He claims to have been very successful. He thus made the acquaintance of some persons who were investigating religions, or searching after some religion that satisfied or appealed to them. Here was Kheiralla's chance to exhibit his mystical powers in healing diseases, which he believed, had come to him as a result of his acceptance of the religious teachings of Behaism. This claim of Kheiralla's caused his listeners to follow hime about from place to place with a good deal of persistence and perseverance in finding out all that he
knew about Behaism. In several months Kheiralla had gathered about him a following who were grateful for the knowledge he gave them about Behaism, and loyal and devoted friends.
Kheiralla began to feel his greatnes, and he longed to be addressed by a title that would indicate his proper place among learned people, or professional people. Such a title would increase his influence over his followers, and it was always Kheiralla's object to gain power over people.
Through some underhanded manipulations of regulations governing the conferring of titles, a certain medical university in Chicago conferred on Kheiralla the degree of Doctor of Divinity.
Kheiralla immediately wrote of this to me at New York, requesting me to congratulate him, and at the same time to circulate an account of this event in the East, and particularly in Beyrout, where his children lived. Then he claimed to be expecting to receive the degree of L.L.D. In another letter he wrote: "I have spoken to the president of the university about you, and have assured him that you are learned in the same subjects that I am and that you have an excellent character. The president was much interested in you and was anxious to meet you. He has agreed to confer on you the title of Doctor of Divinity upon my testimony, which I hope will please you, especially under the present straightened circumstances, and which he offers to procure for you the sum of thirty dollars, and will send you the diploma to New York." Kheiralla had paid this amount for his title; that is, he had paid ten down and still owed twenty dollars.
I was curious to know what sort of a diploma it was and wrote to Kheiralla to send it to me. Upon receiving it I showed it to Dr. Hall, President of the Central Park Museum to translate it for me, for it was written in Latin. To my astonishment I learned that the grantee of the diploma was a medical university, and that it purported to have been given me for passing a thorough examination in the subjects concerned, and was signed by medical doctors only. I became suspicious of the methods of Kheiralla had used in securing such diplomas. Later, when I became acquainted with one of the believers in Behaism, I brought the subject up before him. This man was the second person to be become an adherent to Behaism through the teachings of Kheiralla, and what was his surprise, upon examining the diploma, to find that one of the signers was a behest, and others whom he was acquainted with.
"This diploma," he declared, "Is a bogus one, and those who have signed it were expelled from the university for conferring just such diplomas, not only to you and Kheiralla, but to others as well." I was ashamed of the whole transaction and my part in it, and asked this man to hold it in his possession as I had no use for it.
From that time I did not mention this subject to my friends and never used the title. But Kheiralla uses his "title" up to the present day and is known to all his acquaintances as "Dr. Ibrahim G. Kheiralla", and boasts of it. These facts I am able to prove by the diploma given to me, and by Kheiralla's letters now in my possession.
I went to Antwerp, Belgium, in 1894, were a fair was opened. Kheiralla and I continued to correspond. While there, Kheiralla wrote me that owing to some development of affairs, he had great hopes for the success of the theatre ticket he had invented and patented, and requesting me to give him a power of attorney because he could not act alone, as the patent had been taken out in our joint names. This I did through the American Consul at Antwerp.
I went to Syria from Antwerp, and remained there two years. During all this time Kheiralla was in Chicago, teaching the art of mystical healing, and preaching Behaism.
Then I thought of coming to this country again, and received a letter from Kheiralla, saying he hoped before I left Syria that I would not forget to go to Acca and Haifa and visit Abbas Effendi and give him an accurate account and description of the Master because he needed it to teach the American Behaists.
Accordingly, I visited Abbas Effendi, and when I returned to New York I wrote Kheiralla a full description of the Master, of Haifa and Acca, and this description was typewritten and copies given to many of the believers, so that the facts stated therein became generally known. He also wrote to me from Chicago, begging me, if I should ever be asked by anyone of the believers, not to reveal the fact to them that he had never seen Beha'U'llah, for the reason that he taught them that he saw Beha'U'llah in order to make his teachings more effective.
Time passed, and then Kheiralla went to Acca himself, in company with some American believers, and visited Abbas Effendi. On the eve of his departure from New York, Kheiralla called a meeting of the Behaists and admonished them to remain steadfast and firm in the Cause, saying, "For this is the Truth, and you must not let anything come between this Truth and your faithfulness and steadfastness to it - not even if you should hear that I, your teacher, have become a backslider.
Prior to the exposure of the falseness of Kheiralla's teachings, he wrote, urging me to make haste and make a translation of his book and send it at once to him so that he could get the Master's approval of it before publishing. But when he became fully cognizant of the ignorance and falsity displayed by him in what he had been teaching as Behaism to people who were trusting him, he wrote me another letter, asking me not to send the translation of his book to Acca as he had discovered some mistakes in it which he wanted to correct before it was submitted to the Court of His Holiness. Some American believers started to Acca before I had received his second letter about the book and I found it a convenient opportunity to send the translation to them instead of sending it by mail.
When the American[s] arrived ar Acca they handed the translation to Kheiralla, but he never submitted it to the Master because his pride and conceit prevented him from allowing his mistakes to become known.
While Kheiralla was in Acca he wrote me a letter in which he spoke of the greatness of the spiritual station of the Master and of the love, honor, kindness and benevolence shown him. A translation of this letter is attached herewith.
There arose considerable trouble and dissension between the American believers who were visiting Aca and the children of Kheiralla by his first wife who lived in Syria and who were also in Acca with their father.
While Kheiralla was visiting Abbas Effendi he behaved disrespectfully towards two American believers and the Master, and showed considerable ill temper and arrogance, all of which Abbas Effendi never resented in any way, but continued to treat Kheiralla lovingly, kindly and affectionately. But as Kheiralla's motives were base and impure, the goodness of Abbas Effendi was ineffective, and although he instructed Kheiralla to be loving and kind to everybody, even to his enemies, he persisted in seeking to place himself high in the regard of people and as next in importance to the Master.
Kheiralla's fourth wife, Marian Miller Kheiralla, joined Kheiralla in Acca in spite of his desire that she should not go there with him, and Kheiralla treated her very badly while there, although he pretended to love her and had her accompany him wherever he went.
Kheiralla, his wife Mariam, his children by his wife Syrian wife, and the visiting American believers, started for America. The Americans were detained in Paris a few days, and Kheiralla and his children reached New York ahead of them.
Upon his arrival, Kheiralla immediately called a meeting of the believers in New York and talked to them about the beauties of Acca and the divinity of the Master, and spent much time and many words in praising his own children, much to the disgust of his hearers.
Kheiralla had taken a dislike to two of the American believers who were in Acca with him, a man and his wife, and when they returned to New York from Paris he did all he could to injure their reputation.
"Such actions are not wise," I said to Kheiralla, "and neither is such an attitude toward people in accordance with the Spirit of Truth as lived and taught by the Master."
"You do not know what they have done to me," Kheiralla replied, and then related all that had taken place between them, and how they, the Americans, as Kheiralla assumed, had tried to disparage him before the Master, and belittle his knowledge and teachings, and how they were to seeking to rob him of his literary laurels by using some underhanded means of publishing his book in their name. He also said these Americans had written from Acca to some of the American believers here that Kheiralla's teachings were not correct, and that, according to the teachings of Beha'U'llah, a teacher of Behaism is not llowed to take money for his instruction.
"This being the case," said Kheiralla, "lest some of the believers believe what they say, I want to down them in the sight of their few friends here so that when they speak they will have no listeners - not even any friends - and in this way I shall protect myself from the injury of their statements."
"You had better wait until they come, and then if they speak against you you will have time enough to refute what they say," I advised. "Suppose you speak against them now to the people here, and when they come they speak well of you, what would be the result? It would cause the people to lose confidence in you and they would accuse you of an injustice and oppression."
"You haven't had sufficient experience yet to be able to judge. I am sure they will not speak well of me," said Kheiralla.
"You had better hear my advice and not be stubborn, and time will prove that my view of the case is correct," I answered.
So Kheiralla took the offensive and began to spread false reports against the Americans. This disgusted those who heard him. When the maligned Americans reached New York they were immediately informed by their friends of what Kheiralla had been saying, but instead of retaliating they returned good for evil, and at one of the Behai meetings they praised Kheiralla to the sky, and thus gained the sympathy of the people. Kheiralla was more indignant and angry than he would have been had they assailed him, and he became furious when reminded of the correctness of my advice.
Kheiralla was undoubtedly in an awkward position before the Behais, especially for the spirit of revenge and malice which he had exhibited since his return from the presence of his Master.
Just at this time Kheiralla was expecting Ameer Hani Shehab to marry his daughter, Nabeeha, a child by his first wife, and Kheiralla was troubled and despondent at the turn of affairs with the believers because he wanted his prospective to be favorable impressed with his importance.
"I want you to help me and stand by me against these difficulties in which I am entangled," he said.
"With pleasure," I replied, "if it within my power."
"I know," said Kheiralla, "that the Master, Abbas Effendi, loves you and will believe your statements, so I wish to write him a letter in which I will describe to him my present conditions, and beg him to write to the rich people in this country to help me return for the invaluable service I had rendered the Cause, and that now my family is with me and my daughter ought to be given a dowry when she is married. I would also like the Master to authorize me to publish my book as a fundamental basis of the Behai teachings in America. I wish that Abbas Effendi would send me some tablets in which he praises me and my work, and commands the believers to listen to what I say and obey me and not listen to other people who are only people of sedition and strife. I want you to sign the letter with me, and by so doing you will render me a great service and which I shall never forget."
Such were the motives and designs of Kheiralla which made me suspicious of all he said and did, and showed his character to be unscrupulous and a dangerous man to the Cause. I never signed that letter and began to shun the society of Kheiralla more and more. Eventually, Kheiralla signed the letter himself and forwarded it to the Master. A translation of that letter is herewith attached
Kheiralla was too shrewd to show any displeasure or dissatisfaction at my not signing the letter and complying with his various requests, but continued to express his love and friendship for me, all the time scheming to play another game on me.
"Haddad, now, after I have returned from Acca, it is necessary that I look out for my material affairs. I must make money and help my family (Syrian family) live in comfort and happiness. I have done enough work for this Cause and Behaism and for Abbas Effendi, and now I want to work for myself and enjoy life after the hard struggle I have had. But this comfort and happiness that I seek I wish to share with you, for I want you to be able to bring your family from Syria so that we may live together again as we did in Egypt. By way of gaining what I need, I have made certain propositions to some of the believers by which I hope to obtain enough money to start a Shiekjana, or tea house, for Ameer Hani, my daughter's financee. This business would insure your family andmine a good income. In order to get hold of the necessary money to start such a tea house I must, by some means or other, get complete control of the minds of a few of the wealthy American believers. So I have figured out that the best and only way is for you to go to Mr. and Mrs. M---, Mr. D---, Mr. K---, Miss O---, Mr. H---, Mr. H---, and others and explain to them what extraordinary occult powers I have, and that anyone who does not obey me and comply with my demands will surely suffer all sorts of afflictions, if not death, and their money will be lost and they will suffer poverty."
"I never knew that you had developed such remarkable powers as these you speak of," I replied.
"Have you forgotten what happened to my brother-in-law, Elias Bey Manasseh, and Sheik Abdul Matak Bey? They opposed me and tried to injure me and I destroyed them. Do you not see that death came to them mysteriously? And was it not through my powers and because my wrath was upon them? Do you not remember what I told you in Cairo, that by repeating some of the Psalms of David, especially the one hundred and ninth, certain times, I can ruin the man who opposes me? Did I not write to you while I was in Acca that the Master had given me the 'Lost Word', which had only been given to three persons besides myself? This word is so powerful and effective that I dare not breathe it to anyone because they could not stand hearing it."
The attached translation of one of Kheiralla's letters will make
this matter very plain to the reader.
These direful revelations of Kheiralla's intentions and designs confounded me not a little. Here was (he) preaching the Truth of God and urging people to love one another and to be sincere, truthful and faithful! How could I account for it?
"It seems to me," I said, "that your faith in the Master is beginning to waver, for you must know that he is cognizant of all that you do and all you intend to do. I see a change in you from what you have asked me to do, for it is all in opposition to the Behai teachings and contrary to the commands of Abbas Effendi. Do you not know that He will never approve of such doings. You will injure yourself by opposing Him more than you will injure anyone else."
"I will tell you the truth about it all," he said. "As I said before, I have come to America this time for the purpose of making money, and for no other. I have not come for the sake of the Truth, for I have done enough for that, as God is my witness. I know very well that Abbas Effendi is the Master of the Behais, and is the one appointed by the Blessed Perfection as the Center of His Covenant, and also that He is the greatest Branch extended from the Ancient Root, and that Mohammed Ali is an usurper and not fit to even be one of Abbas Effendi's servants. Mohammad Ali and his brother Bedia, are dissipated and leading a licentious life, and are squandering the money and valuables left them by their father, Beha'U'llah, in bribing the officials of the Turkish government so that they may have the power and opportunity to injure the Master. But notwithstanding my knowledge of all this concerning the spiritual station of the Master, Abbas Effendi, I tell you I will ignore Him, denounce Him and replace Him by His brother, Mohammed Ali, unless I can get the financial aid from the believers that I need. If Abbas Effendi, in whose hands is the power to ameliorate both my moral and financial conditions, is overlooking my past services to His Cause and the Cause of God, and will appoint me the head of the American believers so that no one can ever communicate with Him except through me, or does not approve of my publishing the book I have prepared, and does not approve of its being translated into Persian, and if He does not write to the wealthy American believers telling them to give me financial aid; or if He does not repudiate the statements of those who have refuted my teachings, I will do as I declare against Him. I will do this and will not fear the result, whatever it may be. I will take my chance on dying, as Samson did, in the temple, "along with my enemies."
This sounded like blasphemy to me, and the threats seemed ridiculous. "But you must know that it will be impossible for you to carry out these threats because you have already taught the people one thing about the Truth of Behaism, and now you cannot turn around and teach the opposite. And, remember, that before you sailed for Acca --- on the very eve of your departure --- you warned the American believers against wavering in their faith, but to remain firm and steadfast. You even went so far as to say that if they hould ever hear that you yourself had become a backslider they were not to weaken for the Cause. How can you dare, in the face of these facts, to refute your own statements, or what means do you intend to use to make your followers believe in you afterwards?"
"How weak and simple you are," Kheiralla replied, "do you not know that the majority of the believers have implicit confidence in me and will believe whatever I say instead of thinking for themselves? The Americans are the most gullible people on earth, and I have only to show them their ignorance and my superiority and I shall
control them. So you not see that I have already been able top twist the Americans around my finger by my power of logic and argument, and turning and twisting my interpretations of the Holy Books as I please, especially those which refer to Abbas Effendi to make them suit Mohammed Ali?
Remember, my dear friend, that I am Kheiralla, and few people can cope with Kheiralla, Abbas Effendi not excepted. May God forgive me!"
"It seems to me," I said, "that you are anxious to commit suicide. No one has ever yet been able to oppose the Word of God. 'It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.'"
From his attitude of craving for money and power I felt sure Kheiralla intended to deny his Master, Abbas Effendi, publicly. He was only waiting to hear from the Master in answer to the letter he sent as cited above.
Now that I had become aware of Kheiralla's intentions, and having heard it from his own mouth, I considered the proper course for me to take was to inform the firm believers as to what Kheiralla was planning to do so that they could be on their guard against his attacks. They all agreed that a question of such vital importance must be submitted to the Master, and I was, therefore, appointed to go at once to Acca and report to Abbas Effendi on the conditions here and to get instructions from Him.
Kheiralla's present loss of prestige among his former followers and benefactors in these matters has thrown him into a state of hatred, malice, and vindictiveness toward them, and even against his Master, Abbas Effendi. I wish to make the matter clear to people's minds generally, and to Behaists particulary, why Kheiralla has denied his Master who was more kind and benevolent to him than his own father would be under the circumstances.
A few days after my departure for Acca, Kheiralla tried to find out my whereabouts. I accidentally met his nephew and neice at the railroad station at Marseilles, France, who were on their way to New York, and they told Kheiralla of our meeting and that I was on my way to Syria.
Kheiralla was furious at my taking such a trip without his permission or knowledge. Knowing that he had revealed to me his intentions and desires, he at once surmised that my trip to Syria was for the purpose of reporting to Abbas Effendi. As Kheiralla has not yet publicly denounced the Master, he planned to frustrate my plans. Kheiralla proposed to some of his friends and believers that they should write a letter to Abbas Effendi, in which they would malign me and thus cause the Master to give no credence to the statements I would make. However, Kheiralla was unable to get anyone to sign such a letter as he proposed. Then Kheiralla sent the attached letter off with no signature but his own. As Kheiralla awaited a reply from the Master, he did not denounce Him then, but now and then made some slight remark that was full of meaning, and which tended to disparage Abbas Effendi as the Master. As an excuse for his remarks, Kheiralla said he had made some discoveries, after honest and sincere investigations, which induced him to speak as he did. In order to fully delude the people, Kheiralla said his daughters, then in Acca, had made these discoveries. He seemed to have forgotten that both he and his daughters had here in New York praised Abbas Effendi as the Master in the highest terms, speaking of his high spiritual station and how glorious and dignified he is, how divine His words, how Godly and holy his character; and how loving, merciful and benevolent in his inner self.
But as Kheiralla failed in attaining his selfish ends in this case, he apparently forgot his letter from Acca and to the Behaists in
and all that he said, at one time and another, in acknowledgement of Abbas Effendi as his Lord and Master.
This letter is herewith attached.
Kheiralla had not been content to write a letter from Acca himself, but had forced his English wife, Mariam, to write another. Kheiralla commanded her to speak favorably of him in such a manner that it would appear to the New York Behaists that she had been instructed by the Master to do so. In this letter, the Behaists were told they ought to look upon Kheiralla as their head and leader in America for they could not reward him enough for all the good he had done for them.
This letter is attached herewith.
If Kheiralla really believed what he stated against Abbas Effendi, and which ideas he circulated among the believers here in America, why did he not make the same statements of his aversion to accepting Abbas Effendi as the Master of the Behaists when he was at Acca? Why did Kheiralla remain silent so long after he returned to New York, if he had really made such unfavorable discoveries regarding Abbas Effendi? Why did he seek to delude the people by his statements in praise and commendation of Abbas Effendi as the Master if he knew otherwise? I will not undertake to give the details of what Kheiralla said in this matter, but will leave it to the common sense of the reader to judge from what I have said as to whether Kheiralla was an honest or truthful man, and a character to be relied upon for doing anything but look out for his own selfish gain.
When I reached Acca I reported at once to the Master, laying the case before Him in all its details. But the Master was so loving and tender-hearted that He felt no anger whatever toward Kheiralla for his intention to denounce Him, but was moved to compassion, and His heart was rent with pity for him, and He sorrowed that Kheiralla was determined to walk in the path of sorrows. For all the malice and hatred that Kheiralla showed to the Master, the Master showed only love and pity toward Kheiralla. The Master said, "I am very sorry for Kheiralla, a most precious crown was prepared for his head in the spiritual kingdom, but now he has covered himself with a great stain and much mud. However, I supplicated God, the Almighty Father, to have mercy on him and to forgive him his sins and to protect him from the vanity of the world and that he will illumine his heart, purify and sanctify his mind, bless his soul, guide him in the right path, and be with him and his children and bring them back into the fold of His sheep. Verily, He is the Merciful, Generous and Clement!"
I remained in Acca about a fortnight, during which time the Master explained to me very clearly and explicitly how we could determine whether a person was a spiritual guide, a teacher, or merely a convert to Behaism. All this was embodied in His Message by me to convert to the Americans. This Message was afterwards printed and distributed to the Behaists here and in Europe.
Abbas Effendi also gave me some of His blessed Tablets for Kheiralla, in which He instructed Kheiralla how to live a spiritual and Godly life, informing him that in Behaism, authority and leadership has no place or part, but the greatest must be willing to be the lowest --- "The first shall be last."
When I had delivered my messages from Acca to the New York believers [published in 1900 as a booklet entitled "Message from Acca"], I went to Baltimore, Chicago and Ithaca to give them copies of the same. I delivered the message to the Chicago believers at a meeting in the Masonic Temple which was attended by from six to seven hundred people, Kheiralla, his children and adherents included. Kheiralla was invited to take the platform but he refused to speak, thus losing an excellent opportunity to set forth his claims. He seemed to realize that it was useless for him to
offer any excuse or claim after the reading of that wonderful message. "What is the body to the Spirit? What is the impotent servant to his Mighty Lord?"
The only effect that message had on Kheiralla was that it increased his enmity, rancour and malice toward the Master and our Lord, especially that part of the message which referred to the duties of the spiritual guides and teachers, as follows:
"He who wishes to deliver the Cause of his Lord must at first deliver it to himself, and then to others, in order to have their hearers attracted to what they say. Otherwise, their words will not have the least effect in the hearts of the Truth seekers.
"O people! Beware of being those who command others to be righteous, and at the same time forget it themselves, for that which comes out of their mouths will disclose them as liars. Not only that, but they will be accused of lying by the facts of things, and by the angels who are near. But if it happens that the words of such guides do take any effect in the hearts of the peoples it is not in reality from them, but from what was pre-ordained in the words by the Almighty, the Wise.
"Such guides will be likened unto a lamp from which the worshippers receive light while it burns in itself, and at last is burned out.
"O ye people! Commit not that which will make you lose your honor and dignity, and the sanctity of the Cause before the worshippers.
"O people! Tell the Truth always, for it is the thing which will adorn you and elevate your names and make your positions high and supreme amongst all the people in this world; and in the world to come a great reward from your God, the Truth.
"Every soul is commanded by God to deliver the Truth and exalt the Cause. Those who comply with His high command would, first, characterize themselves with the best characteristics and attributes, and then try to deliver the Truth to the people.
"Every man wishing to turn his face to the Supreme Horizon must purify himself inwardly and outwardly and abstain from that which is forbidden in the Book of God, the creator of heaven and earth.
"The Kingdom of God is likened unto a garden full of trees. We all know that a garden in order to be beautiful must contain a good number of trees, various in size and different in colors, flowers and fruits. Some of the trees are tall and some short. Some bear good and sweet fruits. Some sour and some bitter; but all these trees are necessary to form a garden. No tree can say to the other, 'I am the most important of all', or, 'I am of more profit than you.' Not so. All the trees in that garden are watered by the same hand, having the same sun and the same breeze passing over them. If any distinction is to be made among them, such distinction must be made by the owner of the garden and not by the trees themselves.
"So is the Kingdom of God. He is the Owner and Lord of the Kingdom, and everything relating to the members of
the Kingdom is in His Hands and belongs to Him alone, although the members are not equal in everything, but different in size, disposition, quality, character, conduct, color and fruit. All of them are necessary to form the Kingdom, but they cannot make any distinction among themselves. High distinction belongs only to the Lord of the Kingdom. No one can prefer himself to others, because all are watered by the same hand, having the same sun, the same breeze of air passing over them; therefore they should be as one, loving and respecting each other and considering themselves as brothers and sisters and even more, for in spirituality, kinship is not to be regarded. Jesus Christ said, 'He who hears My Words is My brother, sister and mother.'
"The guides and teachers who are in charge of this field must first deny themselves and love all sincerely and practice chastity, purity, and cut their hearts from the world, caring nothing for the comforts of their bodies or for any worldly thing. And they must eliminate from their minds the word 'ego' or 'I', and be servants of all, faithful and honest shepherds watching very strictly by day and night, exerting all utmost powers in care of their sheep and guarding them safely within the fold. If any of the sheep wander astray, they must not rest until they find it; they must serve the servants of God, for He (Praise be to Him) is in no need of our service, our submissiveness or prayers, our kindness or assistance, but those who are in need of these things are the servants of God, and by rendering this service they will please God the Almighty. Jesus said, 'And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water, only in the name of a disciple, it is as though he had given it to Me. Verily I say unto you, he shall in no way lose his reward.'
"The guides will not receive the confirmation of God unless he is sincere and faithful servant. It might sometimes happen that the insincere guide will be successful for a time, but at last he will fall, even though he be the greatest philosopher and the most learned man."
These quoted words from my message from Abbas Effendi to the American believers irritated Kheiralla and embittered him against the Master, because they hit him at all his vulnerable points of character. Kheiralla has been in such a passion of hatred that he has resorted to sorts of falsehood and contemptible actions in order to revile and insult the Master.
Besides the above quoted words, Abbas Effendi sent Kheiralla a personally written tablet, in which He explicitly explains to Kheiralla that neither he nor any other teacher should expect to have themselves appointed a chief among the Behaists, or an official leader, as the new revelation made by Beha'U'llah does not permit such leadership. The only way by which a Behaist can become [a leader] among the Behaists is by his good deeds, showing forth a true spiritual attainment. Such a teacher will serve his fellow creatures honestly and sincerely.
Notwithstanding all this, Kheiralla preferred to yield to the voice of his own selfish desires and inclinations instead of heeding what the Master had said in regard to love and mercy. Kheiralla could not forego any opportunity to appease his vanity by being recognized as the chief or leader.
"If there can be no chief of the Behaists in America, then there will be no chief of the Behaists in Acca, and I will show Abbas Effendi that I mean what I say and He shall see what I am able to prove it," was the reckless speech of Kheiralla to me and others.
From the time of the receipt of the message which I brought
from Acca, Kheiralla fabricated to suit his own sweet will, accusing the Master as an imposter.
Kheiralla, by his behavior on this matter, has illustrated the natural consequences of assailing one, "the latchet of whose shoes he is not worthy to stoop down and unloose." Kheiralla ignored the fact that falsehood cannot long prevail against Truth; that absurdities cannot face realities; and that "you can deceive all the people some of the time, and some of people all the time, but not all the people all the time."
He has seemed to ignore the possibility of the Americans with whom he came in contact and upon whom he perpetrates his schemes, that they will one day be aware of his perfidy. He has paid no heed to what Jesus said, (Praise be to His Name!) ..."for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known...."But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
"Woe unto the world because of offences: for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh."
Those who know the true character of Kheiralla are astonished at his bold perseverance in assuming to be (still) a sincere and faithful believer in Behaism as the Cause of God, and that nothing can stop him from preaching the Word of God even if he is left to stand alone to face the whole world.
When the fact became known in Egypt that Kheiralla had denounced and reviled the Master, who has refuted his claim to leadership, and also his teachings, Abdul Kerim, who was Kheiralla's first teacher in Behaism, importuned Abbas Effendi to give him permission to come to America and endeavor to persuade Kheiralla to return to what was right and correct in regard to the Master. When Abdul Kerim arrived in New York, Kheiralla, who was then in Chicago, was notified of his old teacher's arrival.
Kheiralla came on to New York, and they discussed and argued for several days before they arrived at any settlement. Abdul Kerim told me that Kheiralla had done his best to make him take sides with him in regard to his teachings, and to sanction the publication of his book, and in return for this favor Kheiralla would declare that Abdul Kerim was the Master instead of Abbas Effendi. Thus united in purpose, they would develop their separate schemes and obtain all the money they wanted from the American people.
Abdul Kerim would not undertake so radical a move. Then Kheiralla tried another way to make Abdul Kerim a confederate and proposed that if he should ever approve of his book and sanction his teachings, he would then recant and acknowledge Abbas Effendi as the Master and only head of the Behaists as appointed by Beha'U'llah in the Book of the Covenant, "Kitab el-Ahd."
It was said by some persons then that Abdul Kerim had consented to Kheirallah's proposition and thus a settlement been arrived at. This, however, was only a supposition on the part of those who were not close enough to the principles to ascertain the real state of affairs.
A special meeting of the New York Behaists was called, at which Kheiralla stood up before the assembled believers and recanted, declaring Abbas Effendi the Master according to the "Kitab El-Ahd," and that they should obey and love Him. It was agreed upon at that meeting that Kheiralla should declare the same things to his students in Chicago on condition that Abdul Kerim not anyone should go to Chicago or write about the subjects to anyone in Chicago until Kheiralla had gone there and smoothed matters over with his students in order to pave the way to his declaration, because they had taken a firm stand on the side of Kheiralla when he had denounced the Master
For some reason or other, Abdul Kerim thought it best to circulate an account of Kheiralla's recantation before he reached Chicago. Because of this, Kheiralla was met with little friendliness and accusing faces. They accused him of being indifferent to their interests and opinions by not consulting them before he recanted, as this last step he had taken seemed to show them and him to be no more than bruised reeds which the wind blew as it listed.
The fact that Abdul Kerim had forestalled him in delivering the news, and its reception by his students, angered Kheiralla, and he considered it a violation of the promise given him. Therefore Kheiralla immediately assured his friends that what they had heard was untrue, and that his deeds and belief were exactly the same as they had been before he went to New York to meet Abdul Kerim. As soon as Abdul Kerim heard of this coup of Kheiralla's, he and his party went to Chicago. But it was impossible to induce Kheiralla to repeat what he had said in New York before six or seven hundred people. After considerable controversy, Kheiralla met his students who formed a committee called "The House of Justice" and drew up a paper, the gist of which was that they would recognize Abbas Effendi as the head of the Behaists throughout the world if he (Kheiralla) should be allowed to sell his book as authorized Bahai teachings. They requested Abdul Kerim to sign this paper but he would not.
Thus all negotiations between the followers of Abbas Effendi and Kheiralla and his followers ended and have never since been renewed.
(Proceedings of all the meetings held in New York and Chicago between Abdul Kerim and Kheiralla were printed in pamphlet form and distributed to those interested. They are now given herewith in an appendix.)
Now, in the summer of 1902, Ibrahim George Kheiralla has only a few followers and students in the United States. He no longer has sufficient influence with people to rally them around his standard, let that standard now be what it will. He has failed to amass the wealth he set out to ogle from the Americans.
Kheiralla has done all he could to over throw the Cause of Abbas Effendi in this country, but Truth survives all his attempts and the gain to himself has been nothing --- worse than nothing --- because he is now a sorely tried and despondent man.
Like Judas long ago who betrayed his Master for thirty pieces of silver and suffered death, so Kheiralla betrayed his Master and goes on to his ignominious end.
(This is a translation of a letter which was written by Ibrahim G. Kheiralla to Anton F. Haddad.)
Acca, Syria. November 17th, 1898.
My dear Anton:
Your first and second letters reached [me] at nearly the same time. This was because I did not arrive at Acca until the 11th of November, and this being also my birthday, was the greatest day of my life. On the same day, the Master (Moula) (May my soul be a ransom to the dust of His feet!) has shown me so much kindness and benevolence that it is beyond my power to express them either in writing or in speech. Not only the Master, but all the believers and the prominent and distinguished guides and grandees have paid me more deference than I am worthy of. This was no other than a Divine gift and a heavenly mercy. Exalted be He who gives to whom He pleaseth without merit.
I now have thoroughly have realized the great station to which I have attained, and the Master has imbued my mind with a spirit of knowledge which I never expected to attain in this world.
To illustrate a part of His kindness and generosity I would say that on last Sunday we went to pay a visit to the Blessed Roudah (Tomb), where the body of the Blessed Perfection lays, and the same place which you had the honor to visit. Since that Day of Departure, the door of the Tomb was always closed in the faces of the visitors, and was not opened to any of them. But for the sake of my presence there, my Lord, Abdul Baha, opened the inner room, where the remains of the Blessed Perfection are, lighted it with brilliant lights, and took me by the hand, in the presence of all the believers, to the midst of the room; allowing, at the same time some of the believers to enter behind me. With the utmost of reverence and spiritual pleasure which could not be known except to those who had tasted of its sweetness, we remained for more than twenty minutes kneeling, worshipping and enjoying this greatest honor. Then we went out praising and thanking and glorifying His greatness and the Majesty of His Glory. The hearts of the believers soared with joy, and they were moved into the sentiments of servitude and the love of the Blessed Beauty, and, accordingly, there was nothing to be seen but streaming tears and submissive hearts. O how great was that hour, and how blessed it was!
The room was so honored and illumined with His Spiritual Splendor that I thought as if I was in His Supreme Kingdom, and Sublime Heaven before the Glory of His Beauty. In this blessed hour I mentioned my friends, my children and all the believers in America, especially those who are nearer to God, and supplicated Him (Exalted is He!) to kindle them with His love, to confirm them in His Cause, to make them arise to promote His Word amidst the people of the world, to make it possible for them to visit His Sacred House and Holy Tomb, to grant them the Spirit of Truth and Justice, to enable them to enter the heaven of His love which is the highest of all Spiritual degrees, and to make them a leaven which leavens all America, and a tree the branches of which extend to every place in such wise that every American would then take shelter under its shadows and America become the garden of El-Abha and His Blessed Vineyard. Verily He is Powerful over all things.
And to you, El-Moula commanded that you ought to be happy for all that we are in, is only for a short time and for a great wisdom. Await, therefore, all good blessings, for when he promiseth he faithfully fulfilleth that which he promiseth. I shall use the utmost of my power to make you attain more than you expect.
My wife, her aunt, and the Getsingers have not yet arrived but are still in France. I am expecting their arrival at the end of this month or the first of the next, as I supplicated El-Moula for permission, and, praise be to God, he granted it.
Then El-Moula promised to give me a thing, great, great, great, great! I cannot write it or even utter it! How great is His power, and how vast is the Sea of His benevolence! This is no other than a heavenly gift which could not be obtained for the whole world. On my return to America I shall whisper in your ear its power and might. Therefore, my brother, rejoice with your brother Ibrahim, bless him and congratulate him for what he has received from His Supreme Presence.
El-Moula, may my soul be His ransom, said to me, also, that I shall be confirmed in such a way that confounds the minds of all the confirmed ones together. Reconsider this promise and understand what it means. May God, the Exalted, bestow His Gifts upon your people, and upon those who surround you. El-Beha be upon you and upon those who are rightly guided.
On my behalf, give my salutations to the believers and tell them of my longings to see them and meet with them again, and inform them how I mentioned them as I promised, and that El-Moula, may my soul be His ransom, has promised to answer their supplications and entreaties. He is powerful and generous to give that which He promises.
I have not received yet a word from my son, George, neither did he send me the paper which I requested him to send me through the kindness of Mohammed Taki. Why was that? I could not understand the reason! Is he sick? Has anything befallen him? Tell me the truth all about it at once.
My salaams to all my acquaintances and to your brother, Ibrahim.
I spent about twenty-one days at Alexandria with Nabeeha and Labeeba. They are very happy and present you salaams and salutations. One more thing I would like to inform you, that El-Moula has demanded the translation of the book (Kheiralla's) into Arabic. Therefore as soon as this letter reaches you start to translate it, for when He commands anything, it should be complied with. As you know, the book is kept in the custody of Mr. MacNutt.
Abdul Kerim Effendi Tehrani came twice from Cairo to Alexandria especially for the purpose of meeting me. Consider, my brother, what a great kindness and care this is this? Also some of the prominent believers came and visited me. They told me that had my coming become known to the believers throughout Egypt, hundreds of them would have come to meet me. Know, as well, that I have especially supplicated El-Moula for Mr. Dodge and his family, and when an answer is given, I will transmit it to you.
Please give my salaams and greetings to hima nd his wife, and to his children.
May God prolong your life.
If you see it expedient, translate this letter literally and send it at once to Chicago to Mrs. Lamson or to Mr. James.
Haifa, Syria, February, 1899.
To the Believers in Chicago:
....There is just one thing I wish to say before I begin the account of our visit here, and it is this, --- that indeed we cannot thank God enough for sending us the knowledge of this His most great revelation, and that also we ought to indeed honor and respect with a great honor the one through whose instrumentality we have been brought from darkness to light, from misery and confusion to peace and to a great and endless happiness in the Kingdom of Abbas Effendi. Personally, I feel I cannot thank my dear husband enough for bringing me this which is more than all our earthly possessions, for of what use or benefit is all our life without this great knowledge.
....There is no need to speak of the great favors that have been shown by our dear Lord to your beloved teacher who has labored so zealously and untiringly to give the knowledge of their God to those seeking Him. This fact speaks louder than words, so I will only say that time will reveal this, as all other things, that He is the chief head in America to whom we can look for spiritual direction and guidance, and that the greatest gifts and blessings are promised him.
(Signed) Mariam Kheiralla.
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June , 1900.
(A copy of articles submitted to Abdul Kerim by Dr. Kheiralla, which was to have been signed by him and others, and was to constitute the conditions of his retraction and the basis of unity, and which was rejected by Abdul Kerim.)
I believe in the Manifestation of Almighty God, in the person of Beha'U'llah.
I believe that prior to His Departure He appointed His oldest Son, Abbas Effendi, "The Greatest Branch" as head of the Kingdom.
I believe that from the Departure of the Manifestation until the end of one thousand years there shall not be another Manifestation upon the earth, of God. This I understand is the statement of the Manifestation contained in the "Kitab-iAkdas."
I believe "Kitab-i-Akdas" is the commands of the Almighty and is the basis of all the teachings.
I believe that Dr. I. G. Kheiralla in his books and teachings has given us the best opportunity of understanding the teachings, yet devised in the English language.
I believe that it is possible for all the believers to unite upon the basis of these teachings and I am ready to unite with all who will.
I believe that the Manifestation has declared it to be a sin against Himself for believers to speak maliciously, slanderously, or untruthfully against another believer.
I believe it to be a sin against the Manifestation
to backbite a believer, or even to listen to reports unfavorable to one in his absence.
I believe it to be my sacred duty to aid, assist and protect a believer when ever and whenever it is in my power to do so and to guard the reputation of each and all believers as I would my own.
Leaving behind these things which have passed, and which are consistent with the commands of the Almighty, I agree from this time to use my best endeavors to conform my life to the commands of God and to spread His Cause upon the earth.
Certain unfortunate circumstances have happened and misunderstandings have arisen, which has resulted in divisions among the believers in America, which tended to retard the spreading of the Truth of Almighty God, and brought doubt and distrust to many, and
We are earnestly desirous of doing all in our power to spread the Truth and to bring about harmony and unity of action between all believers and that strife and unkindness of every sort shall forever cease among us.
We hereby call upon all believers to unite with us in an earnest effort to that end and we pledge ourselves each with the other to unite upon the principles herein set forth, and to do all in our power to induce others to do so.
At a meeting of the "House of Justice" of the Society of Behaists (incorporated) held Wednesday, May 23d, the above articles of the belief and proposition was presented. Upon motion it was adopted and an invitation was extended to all persons to agree thereto, to become members of this society and for the purpose to meet with the Society next Sunday morning, May 27th, at their Hall R, 200,
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No. 26 Van Buren Street, at eleven o'clock. Said meeting will be an opening meeting to all believers.
(Signed) W. Fred Mutt, Pres.
Louis Getchell, Secy.
(A copy of the above was sent to Dr. Rufus H. Bartlett.)
Seal of Society of American Behaists
Believing this to be possible, we will unite in a call for a mass meeting of all believers held at the Hall No. 200 Athenaeum Building, No. 26 Van Buren Street, at an early date for consummation of this unison.
(Signed) W. Fred Nutt,
Rufus H. Bartlett.
We heartedly agree with the above.
W. Fred Nutt,
52 Auditorium Building.
(This is a supplication sent by Kheiralla to his Master, El-Moula (Abbas Effendi) Several weeks after his return to New York from Acca.)
After paying humbleness and submissiveness to Thy Merciful Threshold, and supplicating for the perfect and good pleasure of the Blessed Presence, I beg to submit that, at the most happy hour, the hands weakness and impotence have received from the Sea of Generosity of the Lover of the World, through the kindness of my teacher, Haji Abdel-Kerim Tehrany, a Tablet revealed from the Heaven of Might and Power. Under these circumstances my heart soared with joy, thanking God for that which He has bestowed upon His humble servant who is in need of His great Mercy and His Heavenly and Merciful Grace. By God, Who is the only God, and there is no God but Him, (El-behi-ul-abha). I shall give up my life and soul for the service of the Blessed Tree of the Covenant, and strive as far as my power is concerned, to follow the commands of my Lord and trace out His Holy Steps in everything which behooves a faithful and humble servant. Then I beg to submit that I have sent to the Court of Thy Holiness, through the kindness of Ahmed Effendi Yazdy, two hundred and forty-nine supplications of those who have lately embraced this true religion, and today I am sending also to the care of Abdul Kerim, fifty-one supplications, the total of which is about three hundred supplications which were submitted since my return to America. If God wishes, and through the very purity of Abd-Ul-Beha, it would not be long before we send the supplications by thousands and not by hundreds. I hope, through this, my Lord will be pleased with His servant; for this is the utmost desire of my hope and that of all the believers.
I have translated that Blessed Tablet and read it to the assembly of the believers in New York. On hearing its contents they became very happy, rejoiced through the fragrance of God, and thanked the bounty of the Lord of the world. The Tablet has done a great deal of good, and has had a beautiful effect on the hearts of the believers in New York, owing to the difference of opinion and imaginations which have taken place through the machinations of the souls of discord, and to the hearing of some people to some different and groundless statements. But the majority of the believers, especially the honorable teacher, Mr. MacNutt, and the firm believers who are on His side, became very happy to such an extent that to describe their joy and happiness is beyond my power.
I beg also to submit to the Threshold of my Lord that I have nearly finished the composition of all the chapters of the book, and within a short time I shall publish it and promulgate it amongst the believers only, until I receive the command of my Lord to the effect of distributing it publicly for the good of all the people.
One more thing I have also to submit to His Threshold, and it is this --- Some of those who have shown detestation against me said to the believers here that my book is not correct, and accordingly I am not allowed to publish it. This seems to me is in contrary to that which was uttered by my Lord when I was before His Blessed Presence, saying, "The book is good, but it lacks some explanations."
At that time He gave me information about the three women, the twelve children, the violation of the Covenant by the Branches, who cast away the words of God behind their backs; revolted against the Lord of the world, and about the return of the soul. All these
were corrected in accordance with His commands. In my book I ignored the other Branches, (The Nakiseen) and did not give them the slightest importance. Nay, rather, I proved to the people from the Holy Books the necessity of the occurrence of such difference (violation of the Covenant) in order that the prophecies of the Prophets and Messengers of God may be fulfilled.
The argument as given by me was so clear that no one who read it could do otherwise than believe in its validity.
Therefore, I beseech my Lord to permit me to mention in the book all that was uttered by Him (and His utterance is true): "That all that was written by me was correct," and if God wishes, the time will not be long before I finish its translation into the Arabic. I have applied for a copyright from the governments of America, and Europe. It was granted to me that I may keep it only in the hands of the believers and protect it from being tampered with by the unbelievers.
I have also translated the "Hidden Words", and they were read to the believers. They had a wonderful effect on the hearts of those who heard them. They were astonished at the inner power contained in them, and they, accordingly, were bowed with humbleness and submissiveness before the one who uttered them. (Worship and Honor be to His Name, the Exalted, El-Ab-ha,)
I also beg to submit that Anton Effendi Haddad has left New York, and on inquiring about his destination and whereabouts, I was told that he left for California; but I understand that it is meant by California, Syria. If this is true, it is left to Al-moula, who is the Knower, the Learned.
I Also beseech Al-moula, if I have any worthiness to be looked upon by Him, to write to_________ to fulfill her promise as to the publication of the book, and to recommend me to her because all the members of my family are now with me, and El-Ameer-Hani has also arrived here in accordance with the command of Al-moula. The marriage of my daughter shall take place within a very few days. Then all of us will leave for Chicago. I therefore beg our Lord to have mercy upon Nabiha and Hani; bless them and make them successful and prosperous.
For seven years I have devoted all my time to the exaltation of the Word of God until (Praise be o Him) the banner of the Truth has waved above the palace of this country. I think I am now worthy to be looked upon by the generosity of Al-moula.
As Mr. Getsinger has incited some of the believers against me I therefore implore my Lord to send some good word of me to them all.
In all respects I am trusting in God and relying upon Him, for I am separating myself from the world and that which is thereupon, for the sake of serving the Creator of the Heaven and the Earth. This is my intended aim and this is my work until the day of my death; I will be a faithful servant to Abd-ul-Beha.
Now I am in the grasp of your hands; do whatsoever you desire and all that you do is for my good.
I am always your obedient servant,
(Signed) Ibrahim Kheiralla
(Translation of an extract of an Arabic letter sent by Kheiralla, December 1[?], 1897, from Chicago, to Anton F. Haddad, at New York,)
My dear Anton Effendi:
May my soul be a ransom to you. Your letter dated December 10th was received by me and all contents noted.
I do hereby assure you that you are my dearly beloved, and that no one is dearer o me than you.
Owing to the love and honor you received from the Presence of our Lord, may my soul be a ransom to the dust of the feet of His friends, my love, respect and reverence to you have been augmented to such an extent that I am now impatient, believing not that the time will ever come when I go to New York to embrace you and scent in you the fragrance of the Beloved (the Master) for He hath embraced you several times at the time of separation.
I was a little remiss in not answering the long letter you sent me concerning your visit to the Holy City. Blessed you are, then blessed you are for the happiness and honor you have attained to by seeing the face of the Beloved. I have lately sent to my Lord and the Lord of the whole world, one hundred and forty supplications of those who have recently joined us and confessed His Oneness and Singleness; His appearance and departure and His delivering the Kingdom to the Greatest Branch, His Dear Son, and His dignified Mystery.
In the same letter I reported to Him your arrival at New York.
I am indeed unable to describe to you the happiness and joy which have overwhelmed the hearts of the believers in Chicago when I read to them your dear letter in regard to your visit to the Holy City, and of the honor which you received from Him and of the special Providence which was shown to you in His Presence.
Two days ago I went to Kenosha and read the same letter to the believers there. They were very glad to hear it and their hearts soared in the happiness and tranquility. It made a great effect on them nd they all present you their kindness and compliments.
As to myself the believers are persuaded that I had paid a visit to the Holy City and seen El-Hakk (the Manifestation) before He departed, and the branches as well, etc. Therefore commit not any mistake when you speak of this with them. Although I had never seen Him but in a vision --- vision is regarded as a reality --- I make this known to them that my words may have a great effect on them. Know, therefore, how you convene with them on the subject if it was all necessary.
It is true, I was married here, but I beg of you to keep it secret and when we meet again I shall tell you all about it. You will see her in New York.
As to Mary, I have divorced her legally, but she does not know of it and God knows.
(Signed) Ibrahim Kheiralla
STATEMENT OF ABDUL KERIM TO ALL THE AMERICAN BEHAIS.
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New York, May 9, 1900.
Dr. Kheiralla repudiated the authority of our Lord, Abbas Effendi, some months ago, for reasons best known to himself, and was inclined to favor Mohammed Ali, the half-brother of our Lord. Kheiralla's denial of his Master, Abbas Effendi, is well known to the Behais in Chicago, and Kenosha, Wisconsin. The rumors of the state of affairs has caused confusion among the Behais in other cities. Our Lord and Master, Abbas Effendi, becoming informed of Kheiralla's denial of Him, commissioned me to come to America to settle these differences and to bring about peace and harmony, and to unite all the Behais.
I argued and discussed our differences with Kheiralla for several days, and succeeded in proving to him that his attitude toward Abbas Effendi was a mistake. Kheiralla then volunteered to make a public retraction of his statements, and to make a written statement of the same to Abbas Effendi. All of which Kheiralla did on Tuesday evening, May 8, 1900, at Genealogical Hall, before an audience of two hundred Behais. A stenographic report of the meeting was taken and copies forwarded to the Council boards. We now hope and pray to God to strengthen Kheiralla's heart and keep him in the path of righteousness and firm and loyal in the interests of his Lord and Master, Abbas Effendi.
God is most merciful and is the greatest Forgiver. We must try to forgive each other because none of us is infallible. We, one and all, should prove our gratitude to Dr. Kheiralla because he was the first person to bring the Behai teachings to this country, and for this the Americans must be forever indebted to him. We should pray that he will keep to the right course now, and we must all look upon him as our spiritual teacher and brother.
(Signed) Abdul Kerim.