At the time when Bahá’u’lláh was in `Akká, an Egyptian merchant by the name of `Abdu’l-Karím wrote a letter and asked for permission to attain the holy presence. Sometime later the reply came as follows: “When you have paid all your debts, you can come.”
`Abdu’l-Karím, whose wish was attaining the presence of Bahá’u’lláh, decided to pay all his debts so that he may fulfil this wish. It took five years for `Abdu’l-Karím to pay all his debts. A very small amount of money was left over for him. He left some of that money for his family so that during his own travels, their life expenses may be provided for. With the rest of the money he was able to buy a ticket on a cargo ship. Previously, he always used to travel in the best passenger ships. In this cargo ship, there was neither room for sitting, or for resting. On the way he kept thinking to himself: “Now that I am going on pilgrimage to the presence of Bahá’u’lláh, these things are not important any more.” Eventually the ship reached the port of Haifa. Just at that time, Bahá’u’lláh sent someone to Haifa and said: “I am expecting a dear guest.” The driver of the carriage did not know `Abdu’l-Karím. He looked at all the passengers of the ship, but could not recognise the one Bahá’u’lláh had intended. So he returned to `Akká and said: “Your guest was not among the passengers.” Bahá’u’lláh knew that `Abdu’l-Karím had arrived, but the driver had not recognised him. So He then sent `Abdu’l-Bahá to Haifa. Meanwhile, `Abdu’l-Karím had disembarked from the ship and since he knew no one and nowhere, sat on a bench in a state of disappointment. `Abdu’l-Bahá immediately recognised him and introduced Himself. He then asked `Abdu’l-Karím whether he wanted to go to `Akká on the same night or the following morning. `Abdu’l-Karím wanted to go in the morning. He did not have any money for a hotel and did not want anyone else to pay his hotel bill, so he decided to stay the night, there on the bench. It was a cold night. `Abdu’l-Karím’s cloak had fallen into the sea. `Abdu’l-Bahá sat beside him on the bench and lifted one side of His cloak and placed it round `Abdu’l-Karím and engaged in prayer and meditation with him throughout the whole night.
The following morning, `Abdu’l-Karím, with a heart full of love and faith, accompanied `Abdu’l-Bahá to `Akká, and thus, after five hard years of tests and trials, he attained the presence of Bahá’u’lláh.
~Tarániy-i-Omíd, year 28, no 1
This story is from “Light of Faith” and posted with the permission of the authors.