Collection 1

April 13, 2017

Baha'u'llah and the Money Belt - by Ali M. Yazdi

Baha'u'llah had sent my father and his friends to Egypt as pioneer settlers. When they arrived in Egypt, they did not have much money. Money was not in abundance among the Baha'is. For one thing, it was taken away from them and they were persecuted. For example, my grandfather was a rich man when he became a Babi, but all he had was seized. Not having money did not stop my father from pioneering. He and the others got notions - spools of thread, needles, thimbles, ribbons - and they went to the European homes up and down the Mediterranean coast from Alexandria to Ramleh, like peddlers. People invited them in and bought those things. My father became very popular. He was honest, as were all the Baha'is. People were not used to that. And so the pioneers became famous. People told their friends about them, and gradually they prospered. They would meet at the end of the day and pool their resources, put their money together, and work in a truly Baha'i fashion.

Before too long they had enough capital to open a store. They called themselves the "SociĆ©t Ruhaniyyih”, meaning "Spiritual Company,'' and the store, the "Grand Bazar Persan.” It became bigger and bigger until it was the largest and best department store in all of Egypt. The Faith had prospered also, in spite of the restrictions, and was well established in Alexandria, Cairo, and Port Said.

My father and his friends wanted to show their gratitude to Baha'u'llah and also help the Faith. So they took a wide belt, a money belt, stuffed it with gold, large gold coins, and sent it to Baha'u'llah. A tablet was received from Baha'u1lah expressing His appreciation.

In the 1880's, there was a rebellion. An Egyptian general by the name of Ahmed Arabi Pasha arose, and he wanted to destroy all the Europeans in Alexandria. There were riots. All the European people left in ships. My father and the friends took the last ship out of the harbor. When the rebellion was over they came back and went to the site of their business. There was nothing there but rubble and ashes -- absolutely nothing. They were desperate. People asked when they would open a new store, and they had no answer. Their credit had been good, but now they needed some down payment, and they did not have it.

One day they were meeting together, consulting and praying, when unexpectedly the postman came with a card - a notice of a package at the post office. They went to the post office, got the package, took it home, and opened it. There was the belt they had sent to Baha'u1lah, untouched and full of gold. They reestablished credit and started their business again. It flourished more than ever. 
(Brilliant Star Magazine – Baha’u’llah, His Life and Station)