Mirzá Ahmad Nayrizi Vahidi

Mirzá Ahmad Nayrizi, who later chose Vahidi as his last name, is my grandfather from my mother's side. He was a descendant of the most distinguished calligrapher in the recent Persian history, Mirzá Ahmad Khoshnevis, whose calligraphy and designs of the Qur'án are known worldwide. Bibi Bigum, the granddaughter of Mirzá Ahmad Khoshnevis married Mirzá Husayn Shallfurush from Nayriz. Their son was Mirzá Ahmad Vahidi.

He had the good fortune to travel to Haifa, Palestine then, Israel now, for Pilgrimage during the time when ‘Abdu'l-Bahá placed the remains of the Báb to rest on Mount Carmel. The day after the internment, Mirzá Ahmad Vahidi related that ‘Abdu'l-Bahá was clearly agitated, judging from the expression on his face and the tone of his voice. ‘Abdu'l-Bahá said three times to the assembled pilgrims, “the sea is stormy while the water was very quiet” and “the tree of the Faith needs to be watered by the blood of the martyrs (in tribute) for the resting of the remains of the Báb”. ‘Abdu'l-Bahá ordered the three pilgrims from Nayriz to cut short their pilgrimage and return home immediately.

Tahereh's grandfather Mirzá ‘Abdu'l Husayn, tried to secure permission from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá for his business partner, Mullá Hasan to visit the Holy Land but ‘Abdu'l-Bahá responded emphatically that Mullá Hasan has accomplished his pilgrimage. Those who heard the response were surprised, as they knew that Mullá Hasan had not been to Haifa. Later on, when they returned to Nayriz it was discovered that Mullah Hassan, along with 17 others had been martyred. It was then that they realized the wisdom of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's statement.

Mirzá Ahmad Vahidi received many tablets from Abdu'l-Bahá and some from Shoghi Effendi, but unfortunately most of them are lost. In one of the tablets, ‘Abdu'l-Bahá had referred to him as a “Mighty Brave Man”. His obedience to Bahá'í law was strong as illustrated in the following: before he became a Bahá'í, Mirzá Ahmad had two wives. However, after the Guardian's instruction that Bahá'ís cannot have more than one wife, Mirzá Ahmad immediately separated from one of them, yet continued to support her throughout the rest of her life.

He was known for having a keen sense of wisdom and ability to compromise. He had more than once managed, through his good judgment to save the lives of some of the Bahá'ís of Nayriz. The story of a rebel leader, Shaykh Javad, who was bent on attacking the Bahá'ís of Nayriz, is noteworthy. Mirzá Ahmad and a handful of Bahá'ís walked a long way to meet him. Mirzá Ahmad told the rebel, “If you have come here to kill Bahá'ís, then kill me, for I am the famous one, and if you have come here to collect money and ransom, I will give you as much as you want”.

Mirzá Ahmad became a Bahá'í through the efforts and patience of a shopkeeper in Nayriz, a story he told many times. Early in his life, because he was a Moslem and Moslems considered Bahá'ís to be infidels, he avoided contact with Bahá'ís, abused them, and harmed them at every opportunity.

One day, when he was passing a small store, the shopkeeper who happened to be a Bahá'í, Karbelai Husayn invited him to come in. He reluctantly accepted the invitation. The shopkeeper asked him “Have you heard of a Hadith (Islamic tradition) stating that if you hear that the Promised One has appeared in the East, and you are in the West, it is your obligation to go and meet him and investigate his claim? One has to do it even if he has to crawl on his stomach. One has to do it even if he has to break one's prayer in order to meet the Promised One: The Qa'im”. The shopkeeper then turned to my grandfather and said: “Has it ever occurred to you to inquire from the Bahá'ís, about the return of the Promised One?”

Mirza Ahmad now being quite curious asked the local mullá about this particular Hadith. The mullá insulted him and asked him to avoid the shopkeeper. The reaction of the mullá made him more anxious to pursue the matter further. My grandfather and the shopkeeper studied together, had more discussions, met some other Bahá'ís and eventually Mirzá Ahmad became a Bahá'í. He always regretted the fact that before becoming a Bahá'í, he had treated the Bahá'ís so discourteously.

After his pilgrimage to Haifa at the time of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, Mirzá Ahmad returned to Nayriz and resumed his tireless efforts to defend the Bahá'í Community. Meanwhile his business thrived and he became one of the richest landowners in town. He believed the more money one spent for the Cause, the more blessings God granted one in return.

He was granted permission to visit the Guardian on two occasions. During his second pilgrimage, the Guardian asked him to pioneer to Arabia. Mirzá Ahmad moved to Arabia in 1950 and stayed there for two years until he was forced to return.

He gave freely to the Faith. One of his significant contributions was the gift of all of the Persian carpets for the Shrines of the Báb and of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, which Mirzá Ahmad had custom-woven by a famous carpet maker of Yazd, using material he hand picked. New identical carpets recently replaced the original ones that have been deposited into the Archives.

Mirzá Ahmad Vahidi died in Shiraz at the age of 86. He was buried in a beautiful spot in the Bahá'í cemetery. About 20 years before his death he had become ill with a painful incurable disease. Mr. Samandari, a Hand of the Cause, implored the Guardian to pray for him. The Guardian asked Mr. Samandari to assure Jenab Hájí Mirza Ahmad Vahidi that he would recover completely, which he did. My grandfather used to say in jest, “If I have not been living the life as I should during all the years the Gaurdian extended my life, it was the fault of Mr. Samandari because he asked for the extension!”

Tablets to Mirzá Ahmad Nayrizi Vahidi


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