Pidar-Ján sold socks in Bagdad
The late Pidar-Ján was among those believers who emigrated to Baghdad. He was a godly old man, enamored of the Well-Beloved; in the garden of Divine love, he was like a rose full-blown. He arrived there, in Baghdad, and spent his days and nights communing with God and chanting prayers; and although he walked the earth, he traveled the heights of Heaven.
To obey the law of God, he took up a trade, for he had nothing. He would bundle a few pairs of socks under his arm and peddle them as he wandered through the streets and bázárs, and thieves would rob him of his merchandise. Finally he was obliged to lay the socks across his outstretched palms as he went along. But he would get to chanting a prayer, and one day he was surprised to find that they had stolen the socks, laid out on his two hands, from before his eyes. His awareness of this world was clouded, for he journeyed through another. He dwelt in ecstasy; he was a man drunken, bedazzled.
For some time, that is how he lived in Iraq. Almost daily he was admitted to the presence of Bahá’u’lláh. His name was ‘Abdu’lláh but the friends bestowed on him the title of Pidar-Ján—Father Dear—for he was a loving father to them all. At last, under the sheltering care of Bahá’u’lláh, he took flight to the “seat of truth, in the presence of the potent king.”1
May God make fragrant his sepulcher with the outpouring rains of His mercy and cast upon him the eye of Divine compassion. Salutations be unto him, and praise.
Nabíl of Qá’in peddled needles in Nazereth with 'Abdul-Baha's help
Nabil was one who recognized Baha'u'llah before the declaration of the Báb.
His means of livelihood was his business partnership with me. That is, I provided him with a capital of three krans;3 with it he bought needles, and this was his stock-in-trade. The women of Nazareth gave him eggs in exchange for his needles and in this way he would obtain thirty or forty eggs a day: three needles per egg. Then he would sell the eggs and live on the proceeds. Since there was a daily caravan between ‘Akká and Nazareth, he would refer to Áqá Riḍá each day, for more needles. Glory be to God! He survived two years on that initial outlay of capital; and he returned thanks at all times. You can tell how detached he was from worldly things by this one fact: the Nazarenes used to say it was plain to see from the old man’s manner and behavior that he was very rich, and that if he lived so modestly it was only because he was a stranger in a strange place—hiding his wealth by setting up as a peddler of needles.
‘Abdu’r-Raḥmán, the Coppersmith
Abdu’r-Raḥmán was among the prisoners exiled to Mosul, and later he fairly dragged himself to the fortress at ‘Akká. Here he lived, blessed by Bahá’u’lláh. He carried on a small business, trifling, but he was content with it, happy and at peace. Thus, walking the path of righteousness, he lived to be eighty years old, at which time, serenely patient, he soared away to the Threshold of God. May the Lord enfold him there with His bounty and compassion, and clothe him in the garment of forgiveness. His luminous grave is in ‘Akká.
Áqá Muḥammad had a fine poetic gift, and he would create verses like stringed pearls. In Zawrá—that is, Baghdad, the Abode of Peace—he was on amicable terms with friend and stranger alike, ever striving to show forth loving-kindness to all. He brought his brothers from Persia to Baghdad, and opened a shop for arts and crafts, applying himself to the welfare of others. He, too, was taken prisoner and exiled from Baghdad to Mosul, after which he journeyed to Haifa, where day and night, lowly and humble, he chanted prayers and supplications and centered his thoughts on God.
He remained a long time in Haifa, successfully serving the believers there, and most humbly and unobtrusively seeing to the travelers’ needs. He married in that city, and fathered fine children. To him every day was a new life and a new joy, and whatever money he made he spent on strangers and friends. After the slaying of the King of Martyrs, he wrote an elegy to memorialize that believer who had fallen on the field of anguish, and recited his ode in the presence of Bahá’u’lláh; the lines were touching in the extreme, so that all who were there shed tears, and voices were raised in grief.
Siyyid Muḥammad-Taqí Manshádí opened a small shop in Haifa
In the early days he opened a small shop in Haifa and carried on some trifling business. God’s blessing descended upon it, and it prospered. That little corner became the haven of the pilgrims. When they arrived, and again at their departure, they were guests of the high-minded and generous Muḥammad-Taqí. He also helped to manage the affairs of the believers, and would get together their means of travel. He proved unfailingly reliable, loyal, worthy of trust. Ultimately he became the intermediary through whom Tablets could be sent away and mail from the believers could come in. He performed this service with perfect dependability, accomplishing it in a most pleasing way, scrupulously despatching and receiving the correspondence at all times. Trusted by everyone, he became known in many parts of the world, and received unnumbered bounties from Bahá’u’lláh. He was a treasury of justice and righteousness, entirely free from any attachment to worldly things. He had accustomed himself to a very spare way of life, caring nothing for food or sleep, comfort or peace. He lived all alone in a single room, passed the nights on a couch of palm branches, and slept in a corner. But to the travelers, he was a spring in the desert; for them, he provided the softest of pillows, and the best table he could afford. He had a smiling face and by nature was spiritual and serene.