An Interview with Ghusn-i-Akbar

By Shua Ullah Behai and Mohammed Ali Bahai

 This formal interview of Mohammed Ali Bahai by his son Shua Ullah, originally titled “My Interview with Ghusni Akbar Mohammed Ali Behai,  The Eldest Living Son of Beha ’U’llah,” was published in the United States in the First and Second Quarter 1937 issue of Behai Quarterly magazine. This is presumably a translation of the dialogue that took place, since the elder Mr. Bahai was not fluent in English. Some excerpts from this interview also appear in the younger Mr. Behai’s book manuscript.

In Behai Quarterly, Shua Ullah Behai appended to the transcript of the interview a letter he wrote to ‘Abdu’l-Baha in 1912 with the approval of his father, as evidence supporting Mohammed Ali Effendi’s statement that he attempted to seek dialogue to resolve the religious differences that had divided the sons of Baha’u’llah. This letter is omitted from this chapter but is reproduced in Chapter 30 of the book ‘A Lost History of The Baha’I Faith’ as part of Shua Ullah Behai’s memoirs, since that is where he included it in his book.

Mohammed Ali Effendi passed away only a few months after this interview. These are the last statements he made that were published for an English-speaking audience during his lifetime.

(Mohammed Ali’s surname was sometimes spelled “Behai.” The family now uses “Bahai” as the standard English spelling; only Shua Ullah’s name contin­ues to be spelled Behai, because this was his legally registered name as an American citizen.)

Q&A

Q: [Shua Ullah Behai]: I come from the United States of America bringing to your Excellency greetings, love and best wishes, from the members of the Society of Behaists,  and assuring you of their devotion to the teachings of our Great Master Baha’u’llah, and their steadfastness in his cause which you so nobly advocate.

Ans: [Mohammed Ali Effendi]: O confessors of the Oneness of God! Your sincere message which explains of your steadfastness in the cause of Baha’u’llah, Glory be to Him, and of your devotion to His teachings, brings me happiness….

Original scanned copy of Bahai Quarterly is available on the below link. Please visit:-

https://shuaullahbehaiblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/23/behai-quarterly/

 

 Q: [Shua Ullah Behai]: For the satisfaction of the past questioners, and the enlightenment of the readers of the Behai Quarterly, I have some important questions to ask your Excellency. Will you kindly grant my humble request?

A: [Mohammed Ali Effendi]: I am very happy to answer them, pro­ceed.

 

Q: A lengthy document has been printed and circulated in the United States of America entitled the “Will of Abdul Baha, Abbas,” your late brother; have you read the same?

A: I have read the copy in the original language.

 

Q: In the said will you are accused of unpardonable crimes, or hos­tilities against him, of interpolating and falsifying the words and verses of the [Baha’i scriptural] text?

A: All the accusations in the said will and by other individuals to­wards me are hearsay, gross misrepresentation, and without founda­tion. I have always lived in accordance with the commands of Baha’u’l- lah, Glory be to Him, and thus fulfilled my duties. I devoted my entire life to the service of the cause and the promulgation of His teachings. I have faced my enemies with a smile, hardships and calamities with en­durance, and for those who wronged, misjudged, and accused me falsely, I bear no feeling of animosity, but sincerely pray that God may forgive and guide them to the truth; He is the Merciful, the Forgiver.

 

Q: Mrs. Ruth White, a rebel member of [the Baha’i organization led by] the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Can­ada, in her published book entitled The Bahai Religion and Its Enemy, the Bahai Organization, emphatically denies the authenticity of the Will of Abdu’l-Baha, and with firm conviction states that your Excel­lency assisted Shoghi Effendi in fabricating the said will?

A: Shoghi has never been in my presence, and I do not know him personally. Mrs. Ruth White’s accusations are untrue. It is indeed sur­prising to observe that progressive Occidentals satisfied themselves with hearsay, and passed judgment without investigation.

 

Q: It is evident that a dissension existed between you and ‘Abdu’l-Baha after the departure of Baha’u’llah. What was the cause, material or spiritual?

A: The cause of our misunderstanding was on account of the prin­ciples of our religion, and not for earthly possessions. It grieves me to state that ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s teachings are not in accordance with the com­mands of Baha’u’llah, Glory be to Him, and by comparing his writings with the utterances of Baha’u’llah you will agree with me.

 

Q: After the misunderstanding occurred, did your Excellency endeavor to eliminate the cause by private or public conferences?

A: I regret that my numerous requests met with resistance. I pleaded with him time after time, for a conference to discuss our differ­ences, and to solve the problems in accordance with the teachings of Baha’u’llah, as we are commanded, but unfortunately my requests were not granted and my pleadings were in vain.

Reference:- ‘A Lost History Of The Baha’i Faith’

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