27 February (1922)
It is with regret and sorrow that I enclose at last the long-protracted translations of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s answer to your letter. His sudden passing to the Great Beyond has plunged us all in profound grief and added heavily to our preoccupations and responsibilities. Happily, however, the full answer to your epistle, had been written, and signed by him many days before his passing and were it not for the desire to have it adequately rendered into English and French, it would have reached you far sooner than now. As I am not certain of your address at the present moment, I am enclosing a copy of the original text which bears his signature, hoping to forward the text as soon as I am assured of your true address.
I am sending, too, a copy of the English version to Mr. A. Iṣfahání, a Bahá’í friend of ours who, I understand, has had the pleasure and privilege of meeting you on more than one occasion, and who I am sure will submit it to you, should this letter fail to reach its destination.
The Bahá’ís the world over will be delighted to have copies of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s answer to your letter circulated amongst them, as it is unique in many respects and much appreciated in its nature and comprehensiveness. I have refrained from giving them copies until I hear of your desire to do so.
Being a personal letter I thought it incumbent upon me to inform you and request you on this point.
My very best wishes and kind regards and hoping to hear from you soon,
I am yours very sincerely,
(grandson of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)
5 January 1923
The beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. The glory of the All-Glorious rest upon them! Beloved brethren and sisters in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá!
His honor, Jináb-i ‘Abdu’l-Ḥusayn-í Avárih, fired with the spirit of service and teaching which the passing of our beloved Master has kindled in every heart, is proceeding to Europe and will visit every Bahá’í centre in that great continent, that he may with the aid of the many friends in those regions raise the Call of Yá-Bahá’u’l-Abhá and stimulate interest in the Cause of God. He is indeed qualified for such an eminent noble task and I am confident that by the Grace of God and with the whole-hearted assistance of the loved ones of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, he may be enabled to promote far and wide the universal Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh.
His wide experience and familiarity with the various aspects of the Movement, his profound and extensive knowledge of its history; his association with some of the early believers, the pioneers and martyrs of the Cause will I am sure to appeal to every one of you and will serve to acquaint you still further with the more intimate and tragic side of this remarkable Movement.
May his sojourn in your country lend a fresh impetus to the onward march of the Cause in the West and arouse widespread interest in the history as well as the principles of the Bahá’í Movement!
18 December 1925
An die lieben Bahá’í Geschwister in Esslingen Meine geliebten Bahá’í Geschwister,
Euren schönen Brief vom 9. Kaul hat unser geliebter Hüter, Shoghi Effendi erhalten und grosse Freude dadurch bekommen. Damit strömt die Liebe Gottes und der süsse Duft Eurer Harmonie, Einigkeit, Aufrichtigkeit und Ergebenheit der Wohlfahrt der heiligen Sache.
Unser geliebter Hüter hat mich beauftragt, diese Zeilen an Euch zu schreiben und seine Liebe und herzliche Grússe euch zu übersenden. Er versichert Euch, dass er fúr Euch am heiligen Grabe Unsers Geliebten, ‘Abdu’l-Bahás mit ganzem Herzen betet. Er erwartet immer gute Nachrichten von Eurem Wohlsein und von dem Fortschritte der heiligen Sache in Eurem Land.
Liebe Geschwister, die Angelegenheiten in meiner Heimat haben mich gezwungen, eine Reise nach Persien zu machen. Der geliebte Hüter hat mir Urlaub dáfúr bewilligt. Ich verlasse Haifa binnen drei oder vier Tagen. Da während meiner Abwesenheit von Haifa niemand hier ist, der Deutsch kann, sollen alle die Briefe und Nachrichten, die dem lieben Shoghi Effendi geschickt werden werden, auf Englisch geschrieben werden. Die heilige Familie lassen Euch auch herzliche Grússe.
Mit treuer Liebe, verbleibe ich immer, Euer ergebener Bruder in Seinem heiligen Namen und Dienste unsers geliebten Hüter
[From the Guardian:]
My dearest friends:
This is to assure you personally of my continued and earnest prayers for your happiness, welfare and spiritual advancement. The Esslingen friends are near and dear to my heart. I have great admiration for their steadfastness, their love and devotion and cherish great hopes for their future. They are destined to achieve great things for our beloved Cause.
Always your true brother,
15 February 1926
With regard to your first question on alcohol and drinking Bahá’u’lláh fully aware of the great misery that it brings about, prohibits it as He expressly states that everything that takes away the mind or in other words makes one drunk is forbidden. The Master has promoted the same idea.
In connection with spiritualism, although the Master says that there is some element of truth in what some teach under the subject of auto-suggestion and others, spiritualism as such is not taught by the Bahá’í religion. Our Master has said that religion and true science must go together and most of these things have not been proved by science.
As to your third question Shoghi Effendi would like you to understand that when one believes in one to be divinely inspired and when one is convinced that he has a great mission to the world in his teachings, he must very naturally be ready to accept all that that world-teacher that divinely-inspired man says. It is with this view that he feels that a real Bahá’í would be one who is convinced that Bahá’u’lláh was a world-teacher and a Messenger of God bearing to mankind a great Message, and would therefore be ready to accept all that Bahá’u’lláh has said and the same is true of the Master whom we believe to have been the great propounder of the Bahá’í teachings and the one through whom the Covenant of God was firmly established in the world.
With regard to the differentiation between Bahá’í and Bahá’í friend. This differentiation was not one which Bahá’u’lláh and the Master firmly established but because there are so many people who are attracted to the Bahá’í Cause just as they are attracted to some society and people who have not developed spiritually to look at the world and the spiritual elements of life in the proper light that a Bahá’í would look at it, it has become a habit of differentiating between what you might call beginners in the Bahá’í Movement and those who have studied the Movement thoroughly and who know its teachings exactly and who understand the real spirit that is back of it all. You should not think, however, that a Bahá’í is one who is superior to a Bahá’í friend, but only that he has studied the Movement better and realizes well the great and divine spirit that is at the root of all Bahá’í teachings.
I hope that in spite of the briefness that has been necessary in answering your interesting questions, I have been able to explain to you properly the meaning of each answer. It is always through questioning and mature thought that we can arrive at the root of everything and in the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh there are so many things which though at present seemingly unnecessary will be of great necessity in the future development of mankind.
4 November 1926
The wine mentioned in the Tablets has undoubtedly a spiritual meaning for in the book of Aqdas we are definitely forbidden to take not only wine, but every thing that deranges the mind. In poetry as a whole wine is taken to have a different connotation than the ordinary intoxicating liquid. We see it thus used by the Persian Poets such as Sa’dí and Umar Khayám and Háfiz to mean that element which nears man to his divine beloved, which makes him forget his material self so as better to seek his spiritual desires. It is very necessary to tell the children what this wine means so that they may not confuse it with the ordinary wine.
The books of laws or Aqdas has not yet been properly translated because as you mentioned we do not have any competent person for the work. When the Cause was first introduced to west one of the Arab friends made such an attempt but it was so misleading and confusing that the Master forbade any individual to make another trial. He said that it is the work of a group of competent translators and not of one person. Most of the important subjects mentioned there are, however, quite familiar to the friends through other tablets and there is no pressing need for such a work at present.
[From the Guardian:]
Your welcome letter, indicative of your perseverance in service, despite the great loss you have sustained, was a source of great comfort and strength to me. I hope and pray that your dear children will grow in spiritual understanding, wisdom and virtue and by their life, their conduct and future services to the Cause make the soul of their departed father radiant and joyous and prove a solace to your heart. Rest assured that you all occupy a warm and abiding place in my heart and are the object of my constant and fervent prayers at the holy Shrines.
9 November 1926
He has great hopes for Germany. That country forms the center of a politically and socially troubled country; many an individual are weary of mere palliative measures. They desire a complete reform beginning with the heart and branching into all the different branches of activity.
[From the Guardian:]
This is just a word that I wish to add in person, assuring you and the dear friends in Esslingen of my great love for you and my continued prayers for your welfare and spiritual advancement. I will tenderly remember you at the three holy Shrines and will supplicate for each of you Divine Guidance and Strength.
6 April 1928