Memorials of the Faithful
lyrics and long odes. Almost daily, he was admitted to the presence of the Manifestation.1
This went on until the day Bahá’u’lláh ascended. At that supreme affliction, that shattering calamity, Nabíl sobbed and trembled and cried out to Heaven. He found that the numerical value of the word “shidád”—year of stress—was 309, and it thus became evident that Bahá’u’lláh foretold what had now come to pass.2
Utterly cast down, hopeless at being separated from Bahá’u’lláh, fevered, shedding tears, Nabíl was in such anguish that anyone seeing him was bewildered. He struggled on, but the only desire he had was to lay down his life. He could suffer no longer; his longing was aflame in him; he could stand the fiery pain no more. And so he became king of the cohorts of love, and he rushed into the sea. Before that day when he offered himself up, he wrote out the year of his death in the one word: “Drowned.”3 Then he threw down his life for the Well-Beloved, and was released from his despair, and no longer shut away.
This distinguished man was erudite, wise, and eloquent of speech. His native genius was pure inspiration, his poetic gift like a crystal stream. In particular his ode “Bahá, Bahá!” was written in sheer ecstasy. Throughout all his life, from earliest youth till he was feeble and old, he spent
1 Bahá’í writings emphasize that the “divinity attributed to so great a Being and the complete incarnation of the names and attributes of God in so exalted a Person should, under no circumstances, be misconceived or misinterpreted ... that invisible yet rational God ... however much we extol the divinity of His Manifestations on earth, can in no wise incarnate His infinite, His unknowable, His incorruptible and all-embracing Reality in ... a mortal being.” Cf. Shoghi Effendi, The Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh.
2 According to the abjad reckoning, the letters of “shidád” total 309. 1892, the date of Bahá’u’lláh’s ascension, was 1309 A.H.
3 Gharíq. The letters composing this word total 1310, which Hijra year began July 26, 1892.