The Power and Majesty of Bahá’u’lláh

The Sultán Salím Mosque in Edirne (Adrianople)

Reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community.

The proof of the claims of a Manifestation of God is through His person and His divinely revealed utterance.  The power and majesty of Bahá’u’lláh’s presence could have a remarkable effect even on those who were not among His followers and who seldom or never saw Him. This is demonstrated during the incident in Adrianople (now Edirne in Turkey) in September 1867 when Bahá’ulláh accepted a challenge from and publicly confronted His foolish brother, Mirza Yahyá (also known as Azal), and once and for all exposed Mirza Yahyá’s preposterous claims of leadership. Excerpted from:

The Revelation of  Bahá’ulláh, Volume 2

by Adib Taherzadeh  

Mirza Aqa Jan mentions that when Bahá’u’lláh left for the mosque with Mir Muhammad, he himself was not in the house, as he had gone to attend to some business in town. He heard the news and hastened back. On his way he saw a large crowd on both sides of the street and they told him that Bahá’u’lláh had just gone to the mosque of Sultan Salim. Mirza Aqa Jan immediately went to the mosque, where he found Bahá’u’lláh uttering the verses of God in majestic tone and in great profusion. None of the companions of Bahá’u’lláh was permitted by Him to accompany Him except Mir Muhammad and Mirza Aqa Jan who followed. Those members of the public who were in the mosque were amazed by what they saw. So powerful were the words of Bahá’u’lláh that a Persian man who heard them was awestruck; he was trembling all over and tears flowed from his eyes. Bahá’u’lláh at one point ordered Mir Muhammad to go and call Mirza Yahya to come with all his sins and transgressions and face his Lord. Bahá’u’lláh remained in the mosque till near sunset, while Mirza Yahya and Siyyid Muhammad stayed at home and gave some excuses to Mir Muhammad for not attending.

Haji Mirza Haydar-‘Ali, who was in Adrianople at the time, has written the account of that day. This is a translation of some of his reminiscences:

The meeting was to be on Friday at the mosque of Sultan
Salim at the time of the congregational prayer when the  
Muslims gather inside in great numbers… Mir Muhammad-i-Mukari
from Shiraz who was a Bábí … could not
imagine that Azal had broken the Covenant. So he begged
the Blessed Beauty to enlighten him. Bahá’u’lláh said to him
that if ever Azal came face to face with Him at a meeting
place, then he could consider Azal’s claims to be true. Mir
Muhammad accepted this statement as a criterion for distinguishing
between truth and falsehood, and he endeavoured
to bring this meeting about.

The news and date of the confrontation became known
among the peoples of Muslim, Christian and Jewish religions
in the city. All of them had heard of the miracles of Moses
and the story of His confrontation with Pharaoh. And now
they were expecting the meeting face to face in the mosque
between His Holiness the Shaykh Effendi (a designation by
which the people called Bahá’u’lláh to express their reverence
for Him) and Mirza Ali who had denied Him. (For fear of
being recognized, Azal had called himself by this name.)
Therefore, from the morning of Friday until before noon, a
large multitude drawn from the followers of these three
religions had thronged the area between the house of
Amru’llah … and the entrance to the mosque. The crowd
was so large that it was difficult to move about. Bahá’u’lláh,
the Day-Star of Glory, emerged from His home … and as
He passed through the crowd, people showed such reverence
as is difficult to describe. They greeted Him with salutations,
bowed and opened the way for Him to pass. Many of them 
prostrated themselves at His feet and kissed them. Bahá’u’lláh,
the Countenance of majesty and omnipotence, in
acknowledgement greeted the crowd by raising His hands
(as was customary among the Ottomans), and expressed His
good wishes. This continued all the way to the mosque. As
soon as He entered the mosque, the preacher, who was
delivering his discourse, became speechless or perhaps he
forgot his words. Bahá’u’lláh went forward, seated Himself
and then gave permission to the preacher to continue.
Eventually the preaching and prayers came to an end. But
Azal did not turn up. We heard that he had feigned illness
and asked to be excused.

In every city in the Ottoman Empire, there are Mawlavis,
who are dervishes and followers of Mawlavi, the author of
Mathnavi. Every Friday they hold their services in their
takyihs (centres of congregation) when they whirl around
their master and chant certain words in unison. Inside its
chambers some play music and sing delightful melodies.
When Bahá’u’lláh was about to leave the mosque He said:
‘We owe a visit to the Mawlavis. We had better go to their
takyih.’ As He rose to go, the Governor of Adrianople and
other dignitaries, together with the divines, availed themselves
of the opportunity to be in His presence and so they
accompanied Him. As a token of their humility and courtesy,
the Governor, the Shaykhu’l-Islam, the Ulama and other
dignitaries walked four or five steps behind Bahá’u’lláh
while the stream of His utterance was flowing. Sometimes,
through His grace and loving-kindness, Bahá’u’lláh would
stop and beckon the Governor and the others to walk in
front. But they would refuse to do so. In this way, with  
majesty and glory born of God, Bahá’u’lláh arrived in the
takyih. At that time the Shaykh of the Mawlavis was standing
in the centre and the dervishes were circling around and
chanting. As soon as their eyes beheld Him, they all stopped
their service without any reason. They bowed and showed
their respect for Him and became absolutely silent. Bahá’u’lláh
then seated Himself, permitted others who were with
Him to be seated. He then gave permission to the Shaykh to
resume his service again.

The news was widely circulated in Adrianople that when
Shaykh Effendi had entered the mosque the preacher was
unable to deliver his sermon and when he went to the taykih,
the dervishes and their leader forgot their words and stopped
their service. The following evening some believers attained
His presence and I was among them… Bahá’u’lláh made
these remarks: ‘When We entered the crowded mosque, the
preacher forgot the words of his sermon, and when We
arrived inside the takyih, the dervishes were suddenly filled
with such awe and wonder that they became speechless and
silent. However, since people are brought up in vain imaginings,
they foolishly consider such events as supernatural acts
and regard them as miracles!’

Haji Mirza Haydar-‘Ali then describes how much he was touched by these words of Bahá’u’lláh. Through these words he clearly saw the difference between the ways of God and those of man. He recalls his meetings with men of eminence, leaders of religion and outstanding personalities who, without exception, were eager to publicize their slightest achievements and to exploit every opportunity through which they could enhance their fame and consolidate their positions. But this is not so with the Manifestations of God. Bahá’u’lláh, in this instance, by refuting the claims of the people who attributed miracles to Him, demonstrated that His glory does not depend upon the praise of men and their actions. He stands far above the human world and is its Ruler.


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