One of the wisdoms and reasons for the Bahai Fast is to experience the state in which ones beloved is in. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says;

“For every sincere soul who has a beloved longs to experience that state in which his beloved is. If his beloved is in a state of sorrow, he desires sorrow; if in a state of joy, he desires joy; if in a state of rest, he desires rest; if in a state of trouble, he desires trouble.”

Maybe this story about the Master, while in Akka, will serve to give us a small reminder.

Living in Akka was very difficult. When Bahaullah was exiled to the prison city of Akka, the situation was horrific. Although the situation improved, it was still a very difficult place to be and live in. There were various fatal epidemics that took many lives. In addition, living with the many fleas, flies and mosquitoes, was not easy at all.

During these conditions, there was also the Islamic fast during the month of Ramadan. The Bahais of Akka also observed the Islamic fast. In particular, these periods were very difficult for the Master. The fast was not very difficult for residents, as they would often switch their nights and days so as to sleep during daytime and be up during the nighttime, all to often gathering in the Masters living room until dawn. The Master, who had many tasks to complete and would on occasions not find the time to eat breakfast and would end the day without dinner.

Dr. Youness Afroukhteh, in Memories of Nine Years In Akká, recounts one of these occasions. He writes;

On one such day He summoned me to His presence in the biruni [living room] area. As He spoke, signs of melancholy and weariness were apparent in His voice. He slowly paced the floor and then began to climb the stairs with difficulty. The symptoms of fatigue gave way to expressions of displeasure and weariness:

“I don’t feel well. Yesterday I did not eat any breakfast and when the time came to break the fast I had no appetite. Now I need a bit of rest.”

As He spoke, His face was so ashen that I became alarmed for His Well-being. So I boldly exclaimed, “It is better for the Master to break the fast.

No, it is not proper,” was ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s replyI persisted. “With the way the Master feels, fasting itself is not proper either.

It is not important, I will rest awhile” responded ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. “The believers cannot endure to see the Master in such a state of physical weakness and exhaustion,” I remained unyielding.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave an effective and moving explanation in the hope of convincing me to relent. It did not work. In fact, it increased my ardour, and I continued to try to persuade Him to break the fast. As He would not yield, my words became mixed with tears and lamentations. But He would not let up.

Suddenly I realized that I had found a new quality in myself which did not allow me to give in, despite all the reasons that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had offered. And so, stubbornly holding my ground, I told myself, “Regardless of what may come of this, I will continue to beg, plead and implore until I achieve my purpose, for I can no longer behold the Beloved of the world in such a condition.

While begging and supplicating, strange thoughts crowded my mind. It was as if I wished to discover in what light my servitude and devotion to that Threshold was regarded in the sight of God. As such, I would consider success in this to be a good omen. And so from the very depths of my heart I entreated the Most Holy Shrine for assistance.

Spontaneously these words flowed from my lips, “So may I make a suggestion?
What do you want me to do?” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá replied.
Tears streaming from my eyes, I begged Him, “Come and for this once break your fast, to bring happiness to the heart of a sinful servant of Bahá’u’lláh.
God be praised, I know not where those words came from, but they brought such joy to the heart of that quintessence of kindness and love that quite loudly He exclaimed, “Of course, of course, of course.

Immediately He called for Nasir and told him, “Put some water in the pot and boil it and make a cup of tea for me.” And then He put His blessed hand on my shoulder and said,” Are you pleased with me now? If you wish, you can go back to your tasks now and I will drink the tea and pray for you.
Such feelings of joy and ecstasy flooded my being at that moment that I was rendered incapable of a reasonable response. Looking at me, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá remarked, “Do you want to be present to see with your own eyes when I break my fast? Very well, come and sit down.” He then withdrew to His small office, took up the pen and began to write, as I watched. Aqa Rida now came into the presence of the Master for some particular purpose. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá remarked, “Today I do not feel well and in response to the request of one of the loved ones of God I want to break my fast.

As Aqa Rida left the room, the teapot with a single glass and a bowl of sugar were brought in. Addressing me, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, Jinab-i-Khan, you have performed a praiseworthy service. May God bless you. If I had not broken the fast now; I would surely have fallen ill and would have been forced to break the fast.” And with every sip of the tea, He bestowed on me other kind and loving words. After that He arose and said, “Now that I feel better, I will go after my work and will continue to pray for you.

And then He started down the stairs. In the biruni reception room there was no one except the late Aqa Siyyid Ahmad-i-Afnan (the same Afnan upon whom the rank of martyr was bestowed posthumously). Addressing him, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “Jinab-i-Afnan, today I was not feeling well and intended to rest, but at the request of a beloved friend I have broken my fast. I am happy to have done so, for otherwise I would have fallen ill. But now I feel well and can continue the work of the Cause.” Having said this, He walked out of the room.
Jinab-i-Afnan, his eyes shining with the light of pure joy and delight, said, “God Almighty, who was that ‘beloved friend‘, so that I can sacrifice my life for him?” And I, drunk with manifest victory, exclaimed, “It was I, it was I”

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