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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.
I came across a webpage that has collected many Bahai stories and categorized them under different headings such as courage, trust, generosity etc. It is an impressing collection of stories (www.bahaistories.com). Here is a story about trust in God.
One day a woman came to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá with her sorrows. As she told her story, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá tried to calm her and said, “Don’t be sad now, don’t be sad.” The Woman said, “My brother has been in prison for three years. He should not have been imprisoned because it was not his fault. He was weak and followed others. He will be in prison for four more years. My mother and father are full of sorrow all the time. My brother in law used to take care of us, but he has just died.” The Master could see the whole human story.
Here was a family which was experiencing every form of misery-they were poor, they were weak, they were sad, disgraced, and without any hope whatsoever. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “You must trust in God.”
“But,” the woman cried, “the more I trust, the worse things become!”
“You have never trusted,” said ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
“But my mother is reading the Bible all of the time,” she said. “She does not deserve that God should leave her so helpless! I read the Bible myself; I say the 91st Psalm and the 23rd Psalm every night before I go to bed. I pray too.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá looked at her lovingly and said, “To pray is not to read the Bible. To pray is to trust in God and accept His Will. You must be patient and accept the Will of God, then things will change for you. Put your family in God’s hands. Trust in God and love His Will. Strong ships are not conquered by the sea; they ride the waves! Now be a strong ship, not a battered one.”
(Gloria Faizi, Stories About ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)
I want to tell you something that `Abdu’l-Bahá said in order to make clear what I mean about being empty of self and from all selfish desires, passion and ego. You know `Abdu’l-Bahá traveled in Europe after He had been released from prison, and he traveled in America too, to propagate the Faith of His Father. One of the greatest and cruellest enemies, one of the princes of Persia, was in Europe at the same time as `Abdu’l-Bahá. One day he went to `Abdu’l-Bahá and said, “I have come to ask you one question. Look at me, my hat is covered with diamonds, my garments have all sorts of jewels, and yet when I walk in the streets, nobody looks at me or pays any attention to me. And yet, when you walk in the streets and you have the simplest garment in the world, everyone makes way for you. They come to you. There are always hundreds of people at your door. I want to know why.”
`Abdu’l-Bahá knew him and knew that because of him many of the Bahá’ís had been put to death. Therefore he told him, “Your Highness, will you sit down a little and I will tell you a story.” The prince sat down. The name of that prince was Zillu’s Sultán, the son of Násiri’d-Dín Sháh. The Master said: “Once a wise man passed the square of a certain town and found one of the richest people of that town gloomy and sad, brooding over his sorrows in the corner of the square. He went to him and asked, `What is the matter with you?’ He answered, `I have enough money to be the greatest merchant in this town, but I am not satisfied. I want to be greater than that.’ The wise man said, `For instance, what would you like to be?’ The merchant replied, `I want to be the governor of this town.’ The wise man said, `If I make you the governor of this province, not the town, but the whole province, will you be satisfied? Please search your heart and give me the true answer.’ The man pondered and then said: `Honestly, I will not be satisfied. I want to be a minister.’ `I will make you a Minister, but give me another honest answer, will you be satisfied?’ After that, he wanted to be King of the country, and the wise man said, `I will make you the king, will you then be happy and satisfied? Do you want anything beyond that?’ The man replied, `After that there is nothing.’ `Abdu’l-Bahá then said to the prince, “Your Highness, I am that nothing.”
Hand of the Cause of God A.Q. Faizi, Austrialia 1969