A history of service to Bahá’u’lláh

Bahá’u’lláh was imprisoned in the Ottoman Empire town of Akká in 1868. The Commander of the Guard was Colonel Ahmad Jarráh, who became a follower of Bahá’u’lláh. Here is that story, courtesy of The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, Volume 3, pp. 68-69, by Adib Taherzadeh (also the source of the photograph) :

“Another person, a resident of ‘Akká who independently recognized the station of Bahá’u’lláh was Ahmad-i-Jarráh, an officer in the Turkish Army. He witnessed the majesty of  Bahá’u’lláh in the barracks, but it was some years later that his heart was touched, when Bahá’u’lláh (Who was then residing in the house of ‘Abbúd) was taken to the Governor’s house and kept in custody for about three days. As we shall see later, this humiliating treatment resulted from the murder of three Azalis in ‘Akká. Ahmad-i-Jarráh was one of the officers present in the case and it was then that the majesty and glory of Bahá’u’lláh made a deep impression upon his soul. The mighty and powerful words He uttered on that occasion enabled Jarrah to realize that the Prisoner in his custody was not an ordinary man but One endowed with divine authority. After reading some of the Writings and becoming fully conscious of the station of Bahá’u’lláh, he entered the rank of the believers.”

“Amín Effendi, a brother of Jarráh and the head of the municipality of ‘Akká, also recognized the truth of the Faith and became a believer. An interesting incident happened which confirmed their faith. One day, Amín and Ahmad sought permission to attain the presence of Bahá’u’lláh. Permission was granted and they came. They wanted particularly to complain and seek advice about a certain superior officer by the name of Áqásí who was a bitter enemy of theirs. Before they were able to utter a word, Bahá’u’lláh turned to them and said, ‘Praise be to God who has rescued you from the evil doings of Áqásí!’ The two brothers were surprised to hear this. Only two days later, the officer was dismissed by the order of the Sultán. A third brother of Ahmad was Khálid. He was a physician, attained the presence of Bahá’u’lláh, and was attracted to Him and to His Cause. He showed much love to the believers and attended them when they were sick.”

Most members of the Jarráh family remain devout Muslims. A few have become steadfast and loyal followers of Bahá’u’lláh. Shown on the right of this 1984 photograph, wearing a suit, is Saleh Jarráh, a descendant of one of the brothers of Ahmad. He provided valuable services to Shoghi Effendi during the Guardian’s lifetime, and in the years following his passing, he served as the attendant of Shoghi Effendi’s grave in London. Also shown in the photograph are Dr. Peter Khan (left, wearing jacket) and Mr. Hasan Sabri (arms folded, to the right of the photo of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá). This photograph was taken during a tour of Akká by about 25 staff members at the Bahá’í World Center. One of the places visited was the Mosque of al-Jazzár, the principle mosque of the city. As the staff members approached the main entrance to the mosque, they stopped for an elderly man sitting by the entrance. He was the gate keeper. Non-muslims must pay a small admission fee to enter the grounds of the mosque. He and Saleh exchanged greetings in Arabic as two old friends who had not met in some time. Out of respect to Saleh and as a courtesy to him, the gatekeeper allowed the entire group to enter without having to pay the entrance fee.

A Thank You note from Saleh Jarráh to the Webmaster for photographs sent to Mr. Jarráh in London.

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