Many years ago there lived in Persia a man who knew a very wonderful secret. Perhaps you would not think it a secret because it was written in a Book, so that everyone might read it. But those who read it did not understand just what it meant. Shaykh Ahmad understood because he had studied this Book a great deal and had prayed to understand. And the secret he found there made him so happy that he wished to tell everyone.
Would you like to know the secret? In this Book, which was called the Qur'an, it told that God would send a new Teacher to the world, a very great Teacher like Jesus and Muhammad. We know only a little about God because He is so much greater than we are, and so very wonderful. Sometimes we are so busy taking care of ourselves and having a good time that we do not even think about God. We forget that we would not even be alive if He did not give us life. So once in a while He sends one of these divine Teachers to the earth to remind people about Himself. These Teachers are like Him and They show us how He wishes us to live.
Jesus was one of these Teachers. Some of us know about Him and read about Him in the Bible. Others know more about Muhammad and read about Him in the Qur'an. It was in the Qur'an, which Muhammad wrote, long ago, that Shaykh Ahmad read about the new Teacher who was coming. He was called the Promised One because God had promised He should come.
Other people read about the Promised One in the Qur'an and knew He was to come. But here is the difference between them and Shaykh Ahmad. When Shaykh Ahmad read the words, he felt very sure that it was time for the Promised One to come right away. The others thought that He would not come for a long, long time.
Shaykh Ahmad felt as he read the words that the Promised One was living on the earth at that very time. He knew that he must go out and find Him and tell others about Him. Surely everyone would wish to know.
To do this he had to leave his home and his family, and travel all over the country. In those days there were no telephones or radios or newspapers. There were not even trains to carry mail. And of course there were no airplanes. So, if anyone had something he wished people to know, he had to go to them.
Let us imagine we are going with Shaykh Ahmad on this journey. We should have to walk much of the way, or ride a horse or donkey. And at night we could not go to a comfortable hotel for food and rest, because there were no such hotels as we have now. At that time they were called caravanserai and we would not think they were very comfortable.
But Shaykh Ahmad did not mind being uncomfortable because he knew he was doing what God wished Him to do. And he was so happy that people wished to know what he knew. Wherever he went they came in great numbers to hear him talk about the Promised One who was to come. Shaykh Ahmad would read to them from the Qur'an because, though they were grownup, many of them could not read. You see, they did not have schools such as we have. After he had read, he would talk about the Promised One and how they would know Him when He came.
News about Shaykh Ahmad traveled all over the country and the Shah, who was the ruler, or king, of the country, invited him to visit him. This made many people jealous and they urged their friends and relatives not to listen to Shaykh Ahmad. And sometimes they tried to quarrel with him and have him put out of their cities.
Do you think this kept Shaykh Ahmad from telling his great News? Not for one moment! Many people believed him and followed wherever he went, so that they might hear more about the Promised One. They knew that He would be a very wonderful person. They knew He would love everyone. He would be kind, and help all who needed Him. How they must have longed to find Him.
After many years of traveling in this way, Shaykh Ahmad knew that he had finished what God wished him to do. Others must now carry on the work he had begun. So he called Siyyid Kazim, his very dear friend, to him. He asked him to travel about in his place and tell the people about the Promised One.
Siyyid Kazim promised to do this for, like Shaykh Ahmad, he wished everyone to hear this wonderful News. And perhaps someday he might see the Promised One for himself.
(by Zoe Mayer, ‘Stories from the Dawn-Breakers’)