Holy Mother Lady Munira Khanum
Posted: February 13, 2013 Filed under: Uncategorized
Extract from Memories of Badiullah
Holy Mother Lady Munira Khanum
(Wife of Abudl Baha)
A Historical Analysis.
Ibn-al-Baha Badiullah’s sensational revelations in the memoirs regarding Abbas Effendi and his wife Munira Khanum
Lady Munira & Her Entry Into Baha’s Household
Before proceeding to furnish summaries or excerpts from the memoirs, the following information is provided concerning Sir Abbas Effendi’s wife Lady Munira. According to Dr J. E. Esslemonts Bahaullah and the New Era, revised edition, first printing, March 1937, PP.67-68, “the following particulars regarding the marriage of [Sir] Abdul Baha [Abbas Effendi] was kindly supplied to the writer by an Iranian historian of the Bahai faith [i.e. Mirza Abd-al-Husayn Ayati surnamed Awara before his abjuration of Bahaism and return to the fold of Islam:
When the BÂB was in Isfahan, Mirza Muhammad Ali [Nahri] had no children, but his wife was longing for a child. On hearing of this, the BÂB gave him a portion of his food and told him to share it with his wife. After they had eaten of that food, it soon became apparent that their long cherished hopes of parenthood were to be fulfilled, and in the course a daughter was born to them, who was given the name of Munira Khanum. Later a son was born to them to whom they gave the name Sayyid Yahya. Persecution of the Bahais followed. Baha then permitted Munira Khanum and her brother Sayyid Yahya to come to Acre for protection. Baha and his wife Nawab, the mother of Abdul Baha, showed such kindness and favour to Munira Khanum that others understood that they wished her to become the wife Abdul Baha. The wish of his father and mother became the wish of Abdul Baha too and ere long they became united in marriage. Munira Khanum’s birth came about through the blessing which the BÂB gave to her parent in
Similar account is given by Mirza Abd-al-Husayn Ayati surnamed Awara in his Al-Kawakib-al-Durraya, Vol. II., PP.14-15, Awara was one of the Hands of the Cause.”
Lady Munira’s self made miracles’ Story.
According to Lady Munira’s own account quoted by Lady Blomfield in her Chosen Highway, wherein the learned authoress speaks of the former as the ‘Holy Mother’ (P. 73),: P.84: “When I
was a young girl, I loved to think over the two lives of the Holy Ones, the Lord Christ, Muhammad, and the other prophets of God. I used to weep and lament that I had not lived in their time.” “My father went to Baghdad to visit Baha when I was about Nine years old. Once a dream came to me, of which, even now, I retain the impression. In my dream, I carried many things in my arms; wearily I walked, dragging my feet across the endless desolation of
desert sand. My strength seemed to be ebbing away, and my burden too heavy to hold. I was oh! so tired, almost unable to walk one more step. When suddenly, to my surprise, I came to two rivers, a bridge connected these two rivers. Leaning against the wall of the bridge, I saw in my dream one of the disciples, as old Sayyid. He came forward to me and asked: ‘What dost thou want?
Where dost thou wish to go?’
I replied earnestly: ‘I desire greatly to go to the blessed cities of Jerusalem-Love-and-Baha.'”
At the Sayyid’s suggestion “I let fall the things of my burden. The old Sayyid took me by the arm and plunged me into the rivers, first into the one, then into the other. When I emerged I suddenly found myself flying without effort, as it were floating over amazingly beautiful country. I arrived at a radiant city of shining glory. On its wall were written in Arabic in letters of brilliant light:
“Love, Baha, Jerusalem.”
“Jerusalem, Love, Baha.”
“Baha, Jerusalem, Love.”
In the Great temple of the city were all the Holy Ones, the prophets of God, in whose presence I had so ardently longed to stand. His Holmes the Lord Christ, Moses, Isiah, and even every other
prophet of whom I knew.” “At one altar was Muhammad; He gave me a radiant necklace of
diamond, this I handed to my mother, and trying to fly, I awoke.” “And now came the never-to-be-forgotten days, when Shaykh Salman arrived at Isfahan, bringing word from Baha that he wished me to come to him.”
P.86: “Accordingly, I set forth with my brother and Shaykh Salman on the journey from Isfahan to Acre. Extreme caution was necessary, we refrained from interacting with any of the friends,
specifically we took care that, not through any word or action of ours, should it became known that the two devoted brothers, Mirza Hasan, and Mirza Husayn of Isfahan, were Babis. These two dear first cousins of mine were always a great help to any of the friends who were in trouble. The tragedy of their martyrdom in 1878, when they were given the names of “King of the Martyrs” and “Beloved of the Martyrs…”
Shaykh Salman had brought direction from Baha for our journey. We gave out that we were going to Mecca. On our return from the holy shrine, we were directed to stay at Jedda.
“At length we left Jedda; my brother and myself, Shaykh Salman, and one servant, such was the little party of four who were permitted to make this pilgrimage to Acre. Always exercising the
greatest discretion we proceeded on our way. We embarked at Alexandria for Acre; a telegram came; ‘Do not land until fetched’. Permission to enter the city [of Acre] was obtained. ‘Abdul, an
[Arab] Christian merchant, landlord of the ‘little house,’ as it came to be called, where Baha and his family were then living, had stated that he expected some friends to visit him, as his friends we entered Acre, and went straightaway to his house.” “In a few days I went to stay at the house of Mirza Musa, the brother of Baha; here I remained for six months.”
P.88: “Many beautiful daughters were offered from time to time by parents anxious that their child should have the honor of becoming the wife of the Master [i.e. Sir Abbas Effendi].
He refused to consider any of them until I arrived; we met each other once, and our marriage was arranged.” “On the day of my wedding Baha spoke wonderful words to me: “Oh Munira! My heart!
I have destined you for the wife of my greatest branch. This is the bounty of God to you. In earth or in Heaven there is no greater gift. Many have come, but we have rejected them and chosen you. Be worthy of him, and of our generosity to you.”
P.89: “For fifty years my beloved and I were together.”
P.90: “When my darling little son Husayn passed away, Baha wrote the following: “The knowledge of the reason why your sweet baby has been called back in the mind of god, and will be manifested in his own good time. To the prophets of God the present and the future are as one.’ Therefore I understand how that wisdom has ordained the uniting of the two families, that of Baha and of the BÂB, in the person of Shoghi Effendi, eldest son of our daughter Ziyaiyya Khanum, by her marriage with Aqa Mirza Hadi Afnan.”
To sum up:
Lady Munira’s parents were childless. They partook of a morsel blessed by the BÂB. The BÂB’s morsel worked wonders. The mother of the ‘Holy Mother’ conceived and in due time gave birth to the ‘Holy Mother’. In her dream, the ‘Holy Mother’ visited “a radiant city of shining glory. Written on its walls were Love- Baha-Jerusalem.” In the temple of the city, the ‘Holy Mother’ met with the Holy Ones. Muhammad presented her “a radiant neckless of diamonds. Baha “wished the ‘Holy mother’ to come to him.” Arrived at Acre, the ‘Holy Mother stayed in the house of Baha’s brother Mirza Musa for six months. The ‘Holy Mother’ and Sir Abbas Effendi “met each other once, and our marriage was arranged,” by Baha. There was no need for the ‘Holy Mother’ to grieve over the death of her little son, therein lay a wisdom which ordained the uniting of the two families, that of Baha and of the BÂB, in the person of Shoghi
Effendi.” The ‘Holy Mother’s’ rosy and embellished account of her own self is not however shared by Baha. The considerations which according to the somewhat different account in the memoirs necessitated the removal of ‘Holy Mother’ from Isfahan to Acre will be seen infra.
These was spiritual and physical journey of Holy Mother’s side now let us see what Bahullah has said to his house hold.
Munira’s Character on The Authority of Baha (extract from Memories of Badiullah youngest Son of Bahullah titled Most Luminous Branch)
In his autograph letter, addressed to his wife Asiya Khanum, surnamed Nawab, and to his daughter Samadiyya Khanum, and his son Mirza Ziyaullah and Mirza Badiullah, who were vacationing at Haifa, Baha refers to the ‘Holy Mother’ as “the She of Isfahan”, namely Munira, who oblivious of her compact with Samadiyya Khanum [to wait on her as a main-servant] has stuck to the Most Great Branch, like a tick of Edirne,” in allusion to parasitic acaroids with which Edirne was infested at the time of Baha’s sojourn there. This was Baha’s considered opinion of “the She of Isfahan” before her marriage with the “beloved”, who died in Haifa on November
Munira’s Ulterior Motive as per Bahaullah
“During the last years preceding the ascension [i.e. Baha’s death], he [i.e. Baha] declared with the utmost clarity, time after time, the ulterior motives of the wife of the Most Mighty Branch Abbas [i.e. Munira Khanum]. Also he disclosed secret intentions of her as well as of her dependents aiming at guardianship (Walayat) and executorship (Wasayat). Most of the times this servant [i.e. Badiullah] was forbidden by him [i.e. Baha] to go to Acre. And sometimes when his permission was forthcoming, I was strictly enjoined upon by him to guard myself against foul play on the part of the afore-mentioned[i.e. Munira Khanum] and against eating or drinking anything from her hands. Whenever the Most Mighty Branch [i.e. Abdul Baha was
received in audience [by Baha] at the palace at Bahja, he would invite this servant [i.e. Badiullah] to visit Acre. Upon submission [of the matter to] and request for permission [from
Baha], he [i.e. Baha] would say: “In order to please me, he [i.e. Abdul Baha] invites you to go to Acre. I am averse to your going to Acre because they are out to lay snares for you. Through her influence on the Most Mighty Branch [i.e. Abdul Baha], the woman of Isphahan [Isphahaniyya-i, i.e. Munira Khanum] is out to translate her ulterior motives into action through the instrumentality of him.” On account of her, the displeasure of the Blessed Beauty [Jamal-i
Mubarrak of Baha] waxed high day by day, and he explained her wicked motives.
Munira’s Influence on Abbas Effendi
In the latter years preceding his death, Baha “stated with clarity” the secret thoughts of Sir Abbas Effendi’s wife [i.e. Lady Munira], her influence on him, and ulterior motives to set up guardianship and executorships.” On many occasions I was not permitted by Baha to go to Acre [Baha, his wife Mahd-i-Ulya and his children by her lived in the Bahja, a few miles away from town of Acre. Sir Abbas Effendi, his mother Nawab, and his sister lived in Acre]. Occasionally when permission was forthcoming I was enjoined by him “to be wary and chary of attempt upon my life on her part and not to eat or drink anything effected by her.”
Baha Revealing Munira’s Intentions
One day this servant [i.e. Badiullah] applied to him for permission to Acre. Indignantly I was forbidden [to proceed]. Mirza Habib, son of Aqa Rida, the confectioner, was in audience at the time. Owing to his tender age, he was perturbed. After he was allowed to leave, I was summoned [by Baha]. After being caressed and soothed, he told me: Take a seat, I will give you an elucidation of the circumstances of this evil genies of Isphahaniyya [i.e. Munira Khanum] to enable you to guard yourself against her at all times: This woman was the wife of Sayyid Kazim, brother of Sultanash- Shuhada, in Isphahan; for a time; This poor fellow was overtaken by afflictions caused by this friend [i.e. Munira Khanum]; as no intimacy was established between them and as she failed to tempt him” “Her feminine wiles failed to lure him into having a desire for her. In the end she rid herself of him by administering hot poisonous drugs to him. She had a daughter by him who died. Afterwards, she endeavored for a time to become the wife of
a [Bahai] missionary. Owing to her villainous actions, and association with her paternal aunt Qanita. No missionary she could ensnare. She came to Acre as a sweeper, and for service
in the Harem. She petitioned for acceptance, we put her up in the house of Kalim [the brother, namely, Baha’s full brother Mirza Musa] to wait on the Leaf Samadiyya [Baha’s daughter
married to Mirza Musa’s son Mirza Majd-al-Din].” “In those days the most Great branch [Sir] (Abbas) [Effendi] was a seeker after a wife exceedingly, and expressed [his intension] to the Harem. In his first meeting with the She of Isfahan, he took a liking to her. Letter by letter, she allured him with her womanly wiles in such wise that he became a frequenter of the Kalim’s house. Owing to her villainous actions we viewed with disfavor that he should take her to
wife. For a time we refused to entertain the solicitation and entreaties of the Most Great Branch (Abbas), put forward through some [members] of the Harem, and withheld permission. In the end, the affair reached the pitch that there was no other remedy for it but submit to it.”
“No sooner had the news reached Iran than the King of the Martyrs [i.e. Mirza Hasan of Isfahan, ‘dear first cousin of mine sent a letter to the Servant [of the presence] [i.e. Baha’s amanuensis Mirza Aqa Jan of Kashan], in which he expressed his considerable amazement at the admittance of this woman into the Harem, so much so that there was a fear for his faith to undergo
abatement. He had written saying: “We were exceedingly pleased when we heard that she had gone to Acre to work as a sweeper, and for service, in the Harem, because these regions
became purged of her deeds and vices, and she might perhaps reform herself. But that she should infiltrate into the Harem and be accepted was absolutely inconceivable.’ We sent an epistle and propitiated the king of the Martyrs.” “three days after she was joined in wedlock with the Most Great Branch, this catastrophe [i.e. Lady Munira] wrought a change into his character to such extent that dealings with other members of the family underwent a change. Night and day she strove, and weaned him entirely from the members of the household. She created such a rift between the Most Great Branch and his mother that she continually suffered from torment, complained and wept.” “And, now she is out to set up guardianship & executorship in her own issue through this man, and to service bygone fancies. But it is impossible that god would leave male issues to the Most Great Branch by this Munira. In as much as the presence of you branches [i.e. Baha’s sons] conflicts with her thoughts for the future. She is striving most strenuously for your annihilation. You always beware of her.”
“Her claim that she is His-Holiness the Supreme’s [i.e. the Point’s] is falsehood and calumny. Never can His-Holiness the Supreme’s Morsel be the cause of procreation of a scoundrel
like her. She bruited about this falsehood, whereby to establish a miracle for herself. She wants to say that from the “day of Am I Not [Yom a-last (a-lastu) = the day of the original covenant between god and man = the day of creation, when the interrogation, Am I Not Your God? Was put to Adam (and with him to his posterity) by the Creator] she was intended for the Most Mighty Branch [i.e. Abdul Baha Abbas]. “She has great skill in diabolical malignity.” The Memoirs of Badiullah the Youngest Son of Baha Page 8 of 28
“Although we have prescribed these fancies, yet she does not desist from them. She has spoken of them to some historians, as for example to [Baha’s historian] Nabil [for incorporation in
their history]. we have ordered them to eliminate [account of her fancies]. She would not restrain herself. In the long run, she will cause a shock more violent than the shock inflicted by Sayyid Muhammad of Isfahan [murdered by Baha’s men at Acre, Materials for the Study of the BÂBi Religion by Prof. Browne, P.55];
“Because her buttress is the Most Great Branch. It is impossible that god would let her fancies gain currency in the world. She may circulate fancies for a few days and such may credit them out of good faith. However, pure and holy souls we have promised in the Epistle, in the Most Holy Book (Al-Aqdas) and in the [Sura-i]-Haykal, will appear and rise up to destroy that which is at variance with the Cause and to set down that which was revealed by the Supreme Pen.” Agreeably to the command, I noted down these directions forthwith.
Baha Admonishing Abbas Effendi on Munira.
P.8: One year before his death I was in audience with Baha. The Most Great Branch came to see him. I was about to take my leave when Baha beckoned me to stay. Addressing himself to the Most Great Branch said to him: “Listen to what I say and act accordingly. If you overstep it to one iota it will yield nothing but frustration. Do not heed to the temptations of Munira. Her intention is to create sedition in the cause. She wants to establish guardianship and executorship, and to resuscitate fancies of the past.” “Act agreeably to the document of Command [i.e. Baha’s Will and Testament] and do not forget to be true to the Supreme Pen that has bestowed such a bounty on you. Know that if act contrary to the command, it will produce nothing but blackness of face [i.e. disgrace], commotion and discord. In this dispensation the rule of change in the Divine Intention (Bada) applies not to the commandments revealed by the Supreme Pen.” I saw the Most Great Branch off. He asked me not to disclose these directions. I wrote down these directions promptly.
In short Baha’s displeasure with her and her clique waxed high day by day. When news of the death of her small son was conveyed to Baha, he said: “It is impossible that God would
leave a male child to the Most Great Branch by the She of Isfahan. She is after executorship.”
Inwardly she harbored enmity towards Baha and his family.
She bided her time. Before her death the mother of the Most Great Branch said: “Munira has killed me. I do not know what she will cause to happen to the Khanum [i.e. Sir Abbas Effendi’s full sister Bahiyya]. She provoked such a mischief that the Most Great Branch continually persecuted his mother. Most of the women were aware of this fact. Any one who made mention of it after Baha’s death incurred the wrath of [sir] Abbas Effendi and was accounted a violator [of the covenant].
Baha’s Concern For His Writings
Baha stressed the safeguarding of the writings lest they fall into the hands of the She of Isfahan. Baha reiterated: “Any writing held by the Most Great Branch will fall into her hands and suffer destruction. This woman is a firebrand that has descended on this family. Baha continued: “and the most Great Branch is held in bond of obedience to such extent that no counsels of mine would prevail. May god protect you from her. I have written what is necessary. I have made provision for all.”
Abbas Effendi’s Submission to Munira
Page. 9 :
“and the Most Mighty Branch [i.e. Abdul Baha Abbas] is so kept in leash of submission to her that all my counsels [to him] prove fruitless. May god protect you from her …. The apostle of God [i.e. Muhammad] nominated [no successor], that was a cause of discord …… Had he nominated [one] would there not have been dissension.” …….. The woman of Isfahan [i.e. Munira Khanum] will do her business; She will disrupt the word of divine unity; She will be the cause of trouble and execration for a limited period of time.”
Baha’s Prediction ‘Impending commotions’
In those days traces of anguish were apparent in Baha’s face and he continually referred to impending commotions in the cause. The Bahais were under the impression that his anguish was traceable to the Servant [of the presence, to wit, Baha’s amanuensis Mirza Aqa Jan of Kashan]. Aqa Sayyid Mahdi & Dahaj called on Baha and ascertained from him whether his anguish was caused by the servant. Baha replied: “By the servant; it is absurd. Go and swear that it is not from his. My enemy is lurking in my sleeves.”
Carving of a ‘Calf’
Baha reflected for a while and observed: “The inhabitants of Isfahan are of two categories: one category of extreme degree of faith & and of firm belief, possessed of commendable character, like the king of the martyrs and the beloved of the Martyrs, and one category of extreme degree of Zandaqa (heresy, impiety) and of disbelief malignity, like Sayyid Muhammad of Isfahan, and Munira.” Baha said: “The She of Isfahan is bidding her time. She will cause great mischief, she will carve a calf. She will lead weaklings astray save a handful of my thoughtful creatures. God’s men are in concealment in the unseen. They will appear in the fullness of time. They shall smash the calf, and they shall guide all to the law of the divine unity, love and union.”
Baha’s Concern for His Life
Page. 14 :
Referring to Baha’s illness and to his treatment by Doctors Badiullah writes: “The Most Great Branch [i.e. Muhammad Ali] and Aqa Majduddin, son of Kalim [Musa, brother of Baha],
[Baha’s] son-in-law, were charged with the duty of safeguarding of medicines against being tampered with by self-interested persons expectant of the ascension [i.e. death of Baha] and of administering same [to Baha].”
Badiullah adds: In order to get me out of the way “lest Baha should draw up a fresh Will & Testament”, Abdul Baha Abbas sent me out to Acre on a fool’s errand and “made available
Obituary notices” in anticipation of Baha’s death.
Ziyaiyya’s Marriage to Mirza Hadi
The evil genius, the wife of Abdul Baha Abbas, had promised to give her daughter [Ziyaiyya Khanum] in marriage to Mirza Hadi [Afnan]. The daughter was not willing to give her
consent thereto. Therefore, Badiullah was requested by Bahiyya Khanum, sister of Abdul Baha Abbas to use his good offices, to talk to Ziyaiyya Khanum and to prevail upon her. His good offices aborted. She refused to consent, turned her face to the wall and cried copiously. Badiullah reported his failure to his step-sister Bahiyya Khanum. Later, Ziyaiyya Khanum was prevailed upon to marry Mirza Hadi Afnan “on condition that the guardianship [Walayat]
was to vest in her male issue” after Abdul Baha Abbas, to which prospective information or succession Abdul Baha Abbas “plighted his troth,” in advance. “Failure to conceive” despite all
the means to, inclusive the use of the Hot Springs at Tiberias, coupled with the resultant despair, had driven the evil genius, the wife of Abdul Baha Abbas, to accelerate the marriage of her daughter in a bid “to trump up a guardianship.
The Reward from the Guardian “Shoghi Effendi”.
Lady Munira contributed her mite into the moulding of Shoghi Effendi into a guardian. She incurred his wrath for having allegedly disposed of the cash assets of Sir Abbas Effendi in favor of her daughters and her brother without rendering an account to Shoghi Effendi.
Afflicted with chronic diabetes, turned blind, driven out of her home, she was removed to a room on Mount Carmel, attended by one or two maids. There she remained until the appointed destiny which the lord has decreed overtook her. After her death, Shoghi Effendi provided a permanent resting-place for her in a piece of property situated in the precinct of the ‘Shrine of the BÂB’. There appears to be not the slightest reference in God Passes By to lady Munira’s contribution to the “Cause of God”
Holy Mother (Munira Khanum) narrated the story of her marriage, which is in contradiction with, what Bahaullah has said to his house hold. She spread this story after the death of Bahaullah, while she was not aware that Bahaullah has already told the truth to his sons who penned down his sayings. Later on, after his death, she forged the will and testament of Abdul Baha and appointed her grandson Shoghi Effendi as guardian of the bahai faith. Though, their memoirs were published, all the cries of these members went unheard since Sir Abbas Effendi has excommunicated all these members.
Here is a question.
“As per the Bahai laws for a marriage, the bride and the groom should first agree, then the consent of parents are obtained. Was, the Holy mother, being the wife of Sir Abbas Effendi the most mighty branch not aware of the laws of marriage and forced her daughter Ziyaiyya Khanum to marry Mirza Hadi. Ziyaiyya Khanum, who was refusing to marry Mirza Hadi, was forced to a wedlock, which as per the Baha’i law is prohibited.
It is clear that Bahaullah repeated again and again that the intentions of Munira was to have Willaya and guardianship for her son. When her son died, (in childhood) she started preparing guardianship for her grandson. Now it is clear why Universal House of Justice has hatred against appointing a woman as member of House, they took good lesson from Holy Mother.
As per Will of Bahaullah the mastership should be transferred to Mohd. Ali Effendi after the death of Abbas Effendi. And appointment of Shoghi Effendi was forced to Baha’i’s who later on made a mess of the faith.
Now, when it is clear that the divine successorship of Bahaullah was viciously changed by the Holy mother and Sir Abbas Effendi, it is high time for the true followers of Bahaullah to ponder the faith which they are following. Is this the religion of Bahaullah or of Munira Khanum?
Shoghi was a planned successor, (not chosen by Bahaullah). He amended the faith as per his likes and dislikes to the extent that he ex-communicated his own parents. Which religion in the world or which leaders of faith had denounced their parents. The followers of Bahaullah, turning a blind eye, accepted him as successor of Bahaullah and his self made, modified laws. And if he was a true successor, he should have left a legitimate Will, as Bahaullah did. He left the faith in the hands of those who made it a corporation rather than a Divine Religion.