18 Mar

Ali Yazdi’s Recollections of Ramleh

I recently came across a thin book called Blessings Beyond Measure: Recollections of `Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi. It contains the memoirs of Ali Yazdi who was only 11 at the time of the Master’s second stay in Egypt.  It is delightful to find details and photographs related to His stay in Ramleh as they are so scarce.

Villa occupied by the Master in Ramleh in 1912

Of all the places in the world, He happened to choose Ramleh as His headquarters for His trips to Europe and America during the period 1910-1913. […] I went [to His villa] often, sometimes on the way home from school, sometimes on weekends. When I was not in school I spent most of my time in His garden. I would wait to catch a glimpse of Him as He came out for His customary walk, or conversed with pilgrims from faraway places. To hear His vibrant and melodious voice ringing in the open air, to see Him, somehow exhilerated me and gave me hope. Quite often, He came to me and smiled and talked. There was a radiance about Him, an almost unlimited kindness and love that shone from Him. Seeing Him, I was infused with a feeling of goodness. I felt humble and, at the same time, exceedingly happy.

I had many opportunities to see the Master — as we always called Him — at meetings and on festive occasions. I especially remember the first time He came to our house to address a large gathering of believers. The friends were all gathered, talking happily, waiting. Suddenly all grew quiet. From outside, before He entered the room, I could hear the voice of `Abdu’l-Bahá, very resonant, very beautiful. Then He swept in, with His robe flowing! He was straight as an arrow. His head was thrown back. His silver-gray hair fell in waves to His shoulders. His beard was white; His eyes were keen; His forehead, broad. He wore a white turban around an ivory-colored felt cap.

He looked at everyone, smiled and welcomed all with Khushámadíd! Khushámadíd! (Welcome! Welcome!) I had been taught that in the presence of `Abdu’l-Bahá, I should sit or stand with my hands crossed in front of me, and look down. I was so anxious to see Him that I found myself looking up furtively now and then. He often spoke — I was privileged to hear Him speak on many subjects. For nine months it seemed like paradise. Then He left us and sailed for Europe. How dismal everything became. But there was school and there were duties. Exciting news came from Europe, and there were memories!

`Abdu’l-Bahá came back four months later. Paradise returned. He spoke to me on several occasions, calling me Shaykh `Alí, the name He Himself had given me, after my uncle who was the first member of the family to join the Faith. When `Abdu’l-Bahá spoke tro me, I would look into His eyes–blue, smiling and full of love.



Blessings Beyond Measure: Recollections of `Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi, p. 14-20


  • beautiful! Just reading this makes me smile and be happy – a trace of that time; what must it have been to be there! And yet, the Master says “I am with you always”…..

  • Thank you! This is beautiful and rare reading