Collection 1

May 6, 2016

The Good Reward for an Evil Deed

Some of the Governors of 'Akka were very kind to 'Abdu'l-Baha, but others listened more to His enemies than to His friends and did very cruel things. For instance, some enemies of 'Abdu'l-Baha at one time started a rumor that 'Abdu'l-Baha had left 'Akka and gone to Haifa. With the help of His many friends, they said, He was building a strong fort on Mount Carmel. Very soon, He would take over all of Palestine and Syria, and the Turkish Government would be driven out.

It was true that 'Abdu'l-Baha had moved to the fresh air of Haifa with His family, and it was true that He had many friends of all nationalities, but the so-called fort He was building was really the sacred Shrine of the Báb. The Governor, however, believed the stories the enemies told, and 'Abdu'l-Baha's family was brought back to the prison-city of 'Akka once again.

On one occasion an unfriendly Governor who hated the Baha'is decided to take over their shops and leave them with no means of making a living. So he gave orders to the police: "There are fifteen shops owned by Baha'is; go tomorrow morning early, lock them up, and bring the keys to me."

'Abdu'l-Baha called the Baha'is to Him that same evening and said, "Do not open your shops tomorrow, but wait and see what God will send us."

The next morning, the Governor waited for the keys. The police came to him and said that the shops were closed. The Governor sent the police out again, and said, "See if the shops are open now." The police returned and said that the shops were still closed. They waited and waited. At ten 0' clock the shops were still not open, although they were usually open for trade at seven in the morning. However, the Governor knew that the shops must open sometime, so he waited.

In the meantime, the High Priest of the town came to the Governor. "How are you?" asked the Governor. "Quite well," the High Priest answered. "But I am very sad. I have a telegram here from Damascus which fills me with sorrow."

The Governor took the telegram and was shocked to see the message which had been received from the Central Government. It said that the Governor had been removed from his office, and that the police should take him to Damascus immediately.

When 'Abdu'l-Baha heard of the Governor's misfortune, He went to visit him. "You must not be sad because of this," He said. "Everything in this world changes. Can I do anything for you?"

The Governor was surprised at ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s offer, but very grateful. He said, "Now that I am being taken away from my loved ones, there will be no one to take care of them. My dear family will be sad, lonely, and helpless, with no one to advise them and help them in their need."

'Abdu'l-Baha said, "Do not be sad, but tell me where you want your family to go."

"If only they could follow me to Damascus!" he said.

"Now trust in me," said 'Abdu'l-Baha, "and let your heart rest easily. I will gladly send your wife and children to Damascus under very special care. You will find that they will be there soon after you arrive yourself."

And so it was done. When the family arrived in Damascus the Governor was very happy. He asked the guard who had brought them there what was the cost was for the journey. The guard answered, "It is nothing. I am only obeying the command of the Master, 'Abdu'l-Baha."

The Governor then wished to give the guard a present for himself, but he said,” I want no reward. I am only obeying the Master's command. I can accept nothing."

When the Governor invited him to stay the night so he could rest and have some food, the guard said, "I obey the Master's command to return immediately."

"Then please take a letter to 'Abdu'l-Baha," the Governor insisted. And he wrote the following letter:

"O 'Abdu'l-Baha, I pray you pardon me. I did not understand. I did not know you. I have done you great evil. You have rewarded me with great good."
(‘Varqa Children’s Magazine’; Adapted from "Stories About 'Abdu'l-Baha", by Baha'i Publishing Trust, India.)