Category: Alison Marshall's Column
Created: Wednesday, 30 November 2005 22:44
Published: Wednesday, 30 November 2005 22:44
Written by Alison Marshall
Many people have searched my site looking for stories about Baha'u'llah. I am keen on stories about Baha'u'llah too and avidly devour books that give me insight into how he was in his day-to-day dealings with people. I learn much from hearing about how he dealt with various situations. Another question someone asked was about Baha'u'llah's food. I'm not sure what that question was driving at, but I have a story about Baha'u'llah that tells us a little about his food. It is also the story about how Baha'u'llah was poisoned, as told by the Greatest Holy Leaf. It's chilling stuff. Like the story I told the other day about Abdu'l-Baha, it comes from the book The Master in Akka. Much of this book is devoted to recording the recollections of the Greatest Holy Leaf. If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it. The Greatest Holy Leaf gives insights into her family life that you'll not hear anywhere else.
"Sometime afterwards, to celebrate a family festival day, Subh-i Azal invited us all to his house. At this time, also, my father was warned not to take food there, but replied that he must treat Subh-i Azal with kindness and could not refuse it.
This entertainment was looked upon as cementing the family reconciliation, and it is usual on such occasions among Persians for the heads of the two family factions which have been alienated to eat from the same plate. So, now, rice for my father and Subh-i Azal was served to them on one plate. This rice, as well as all the other food used for the meal, had been prepared in Subh-i Azal's house, contrary to the usual custom. Now my father and Subh-i Azal had these well-known peculiarities of taste - that the former was very fond of onions, while the latter could not endure them. The portion of rice intended for my father was accordingly flavoured with onions, while that intended for Subh-i Azal was differently prepared. The servant bringing in the plate placed it, at the direction of Subh-i Azal, with the side upon which was the rice flavoured with onions toward the Blessed Perfection. While he did so Subh-i Azal smilingly remarked, 'Here is rice cooked as you like it!' My father ate some of the rice prepared for him, but fortunately not very much, as for some reason it did not please him. He preferred the rice prepared for Subh-i Azal, and ate of it, and also of the dishes which the others at the table were eating.
Soon after eating the rice my father became ill and went home. About midnight he was seized with severe vomiting and passing blood from the bowels. A physician was summoned, and declared that he had been poisoned."
Quoted in Myron H. Phelps, The Master in Akka (LA: Kalimat Press, 1985) pp 57-58