The Promised Day Is Come
What of Turkey and Persia?
Already in the lifetime of Bahá'u'lláh, and later during the ministry of
`Abdu'l-Bahá, the first blows of a slow yet steady and relentless retribution
were falling alike upon the rulers of the Turkish House of Uthmán
and of the Qájár dynasty in Persia--the archenemies of God's infant
Faith. Sultán `Abdu'l-`Azíz fell from power, and was murdered soon
after Bahá'u'lláh's banishment from Adrianople, while Násiri'd-Dín
Sháh succumbed to an assassin's pistol, during `Abdu'l-Bahá's incarceration
in the fortress-town of Akká. It was reserved, however, for the
Formative Period of the Faith of God--the Age of the birth and rise of its
Administrative Order--which, as stated in a previous communication,
is through its unfoldment casting such a turmoil in the world, to witness
not only the extinction of both of these dynasties, but also the abolition
of the twin institutions of the Sultanate and the Caliphate.
Of the two despots `Abdu'l-`Azíz was the more powerful, the more
exalted in rank, the more preeminent in guilt, and the more concerned
with the tribulations and fortunes of the Founder of our Faith. He it was
who, through his farmáns, had thrice banished Bahá'u'lláh, and in
whose dominions the Manifestation of God spent almost the whole of
His forty years' captivity. It was during his reign and that of his nephew
and successor, `Abdu'l-Hamíd II, that the Center of the Covenant of
God had to endure, for no less than forty years, in the fortress-town of
Akká, an incarceration fraught with so many perils, affronts and privations.
"Hearken, O king!" is the summons issued to Sultán `Abdu'l-`Azíz by
Bahá'u'lláh, "to the speech of Him that speaketh the truth, Him that
doth not ask thee to recompense Him with the things God hath chosen to
bestow upon thee, Him Who unerringly treadeth the Straight Path....
Observe, O king, with thine inmost heart and with thy whole being, the
precepts of God, and walk not in the paths of the oppressor.... Place not
thy reliance on thy treasures. Put thy whole confidence in the grace of
God, thy Lord.... Overstep not the bounds of moderation, and deal
justly with them that serve thee.... Set before thine eyes God's unerring
Balance, and, as one standing in His presence, weigh in that Balance
thine actions, every day, every moment of thy life. Bring thyself to
account ere thou art summoned to a reckoning, on the Day when no man
shall have strength to stand for fear of God, the Day when the hearts of
the heedless ones shall be made to tremble."
"The day is approaching," Bahá'u'lláh thus prophesies in the
Lawh-i-Ra'ís, "when the Land of Mystery [Adrianople], and what is
beside it shall be changed, and shall pass out of the hands of the king, and
commotions shall appear, and the voice of lamentation shall be raised,
and the evidences of mischief shall be revealed on all sides, and confusion
shall spread by reason of that which hath befallen these captives at the
hands of the hosts of oppression. The course of things shall be altered, and
conditions shall wax so grievous, that the very sands on the desolate hills
will moan, and the trees on the mountain will weep, and blood will flow
out of all things. Then wilt thou behold the people in sore distress."
"Soon," He, moreover has written, "will He seize you in His wrathful
anger, and sedition will be stirred up in your midst, and your
dominions will be disrupted. Then will ye bewail and lament, and will
find none to help or succor you.... Several times calamities have
overtaken you, and yet ye failed utterly to take heed. One of them was the
conflagration which devoured most of the City [Constantinople] with the
flames of justice, and concerning which many poems were written,
stating that no such fire had ever been witnessed. And yet, ye waxed more
heedless.... Plague, likewise, broke out, and ye still failed to give heed!
Be expectant, however, for the wrath of God is ready to overtake you.
Erelong will ye behold that which hath been sent down from the Pen of
"By your deeds," He, in another Tablet, anticipating the fall of the
Sultanate and the Caliphate, thus reproves the combined forces of
Sunní and Shí'ih Islám, "the exalted station of the people hath been
abased, the standard of Islám hath been reversed, and its mighty throne
And finally, in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, revealed soon after Bahá'u'lláh's
banishment to Akká, He thus apostrophizes the seat of Turkish imperial
power: "O Spot that art situate on the shores of the two seas! The throne
of tyranny hath, verily, been stablished upon thee, and the flame of
hatred hath been kindled within thy bosom.... Thou art indeed filled
with manifest pride. Hath thine outward splendor made thee vainglorious?
By Him Who is the Lord of mankind! It shall soon perish, and thy
daughters, and thy widows, and all the kindreds that dwell within thee
shall lament. Thus informeth thee, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise."
Indeed, in a most remarkable passage in the Lawh-i-Fu'ád, wherein
mention has been made of the death of Fu'ád Páshá, the Turkish
Minister of Foreign Affairs, the fall of the Sultán himself is unmistakably
foretold: "Soon will We dismiss the one who was like unto him, and
will lay hold on their Chief who ruleth the land, and I, verily, am the
Almighty, the All-Compelling."
The Sultán's reaction to these words, bearing upon his person, his
empire, his throne, his capital, and his ministers, can be gathered from
the recital of the sufferings he inflicted on Bahá'u'lláh, and already
referred to in the beginning of these pages. The extinction of the
"outward splendor" surrounding that proud seat of Imperial power is the
theme I now proceed to expose.