“I have heard thy cries and am conscious of thy tears. Remember at all times and in all places that God is faithful and do not doubt this. Be patient even though great calamities may come upon thee. Yet fear not! Be firm in the path of thy Lord; as a mountain unmoved, unchanging in thy steadfastness.”
These words were written by Baha’u’llah to Mirza Haydar Ali to strengthen him during great persecutions. In his early days Mirza Haider Ali traveled from city to city in Persia proclaiming with great wisdom and love the glad tidings of the new and divine day which was dawning upon the earth. But the fanatical religious leaders to whom the vision of universal brotherhood and peace was too bright to be endured soon persecuted him with terrible bitterness. At one time he was beaten and driven through the streets of a city by a wild and howling mob. During this experience he cried out, “This is my triumphal procession.” Again he was transported from one prison to another in a very cruel fashion. His hands and feet were tied and he was put in a bag, head downward, and flung across the back of a donkey. Another Baha’i was put in a bag on the donkey’s other side. The head of each of the prisoners dragged on the sand as the donkey was driven the long journey over the desert. Mirza Haider Ali sang gaily as they went along. The guard whipped him unmercifully, saying, “Now, will you sing?” Mirza Haider Ali replied, “I will sing more gladly than ever because you have given me the pleasure of enduring something for the sake of God.”
For twelve years Mirza Haider Ali was a prisoner in Khartoum, Egypt. The dungeon-room in which he was confined had a tiny window through which the sun shone but one hour a day. For one precious hour every day Mirza Haider Ali read with glowing heart the Tablets of Baha’u’llah. The rest of the day he was in the twilight. But he concentrated his spirit upon the glory of God so perfectly that each day he grew more saintly.
When, in later years, he was asked by Miss Stevens why the Baha’is all looked so happy (she was thinking especially of the radiant joy in his face), he replied, “Sometimes we have surface troubles, but that cannot touch our happiness. The hearts of those who belong to the Kingdom are like the sea. When the wind is rough it troubles the surface of the water; but two meters down there is perfect calmness.”