‘Abdu’l-Baha recounted the following stories of early believers who exemplified being in constant a state of devotional attitude.

“It is most difficult to stand unshaken during the days of trials. When we were living in Baghdad conditions at one time were such that the friends of God were always in danger of losing their lives. Not a night passed during which they were sure that they would be alive in the morning and not a morning did they arise with any certainty that they would see another night. Yet they lived in the highest state of faithfulness, firmness, spirituality and attraction.

Aga Reza and seven others lived in one small room. They rested, ate and slept in this one room. Every night they had spiritual meetings, chanting prayers and poems till long past midnight. Often their food consisted of a few dates. These Baha’is were peddlers in the bazaars. Some of them sold nothing all day. When in the evening they returned home they all pooled the few piastres which they had made and with that small sum bought their dinner. Some days they made only twenty pares. With this they bought dates and of them made their meal. However, they were the richest men on the face of the earth. They lived in a state of holiness, sanctity, attraction and devotion.

“There was a man, Pedar Jan. I cannot praise him enough. He was the embodiment of spirituality. He used to carry under his arm while walking in the bazaars a dozen pairs of stockings, hoping to sell them. But, forgetting his surroundings, he would slowly chant the communes (prayers). Then someone would come up softly, behind him, and take the stockings from under his arm. If a customer wanted a pair of stockings Pedar Jan would look under his but there would be nothing there. So he thought he would carry the stockings on the palms of his hands. Again he would become absorbed, reading the suppIications, and again the stockings would be stolen without his knowledge

Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha recorded by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab and published in Star of the West, Vol 14, page 166.