We visited the mansion of Mazra’ih, Baha’u’llah’s first home outside of His house arrest in Akka. His release was an informal matter as He had already been told that the Akka guards would not stop Him leaving. However Baha’u’llah insisted that the Ottoman Sultan had not removed the ‘firman’ (decree) of His exile to Akka. Eventually, in 1877, the Mufti (head of the Mosque) of the city went to Him, held His hands and pleaded for Him to leave, and continued to plead until Baha’u’llah finally conceded. Mazra’ih is a classic farm mansion which still has substantial orchards – oranges, mandarins, avacados.
Each of these places are considered holy by Baha’is, as the places that sustained the human life of the Manifestation of God. And within each place, the room of Baha’u’llah is considered particularly sacred. In these we only think of prayer, so we don’t take photos that might distract ourselves and each other from our devotion.
From Mazra’ih, we went on to the Mansion of Bahji. Here was Baha’u’llah’s final home. He moved to Bahji in 1879 and lived there until His passing in 1892. He spent these years out of Akka, meeting pilgrims from Persia and occasional visitors such as the orientalist Edward Granville Brown whose description of Baha’u’llah included his awe, “No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emporers sigh for in vain!”
Baha’u’llah was laid to rest in a room of a cottage nearby the Mansion. This place has therefore become the Qiblih (the point of adoration) for Baha’is. From all over the world, Baha’is face the resting place of Baha’u’llah when they say their daily obligatory prayer. After a guided tour of the Mansion of Bahji, we went to pray in the indoor courtyard to the Shrine of Baha’u’llah.