Posted by: samandal | December 31, 2009

Memorare: Umm Abíhá, Mother of Her Father

Díyáfat-i-Sharaf, the Feast of Honor

“O thou Greatest and Most Merciful Holy Leaf!”                                               (Shoghí Effendí)

“The contentment of Fátimih is my contentment, her anger is my anger. Whosoever loves my daughter Fátimih loves me. Whosoever makes Fátimih content makes me content. Whosoever makes Fátimih unhappy makes me unhappy. Fátimih is a part of my body. Whosoever hurts her, has hurt me, and whosoever hurts me has hurt God.” (Hadíth)

Shoghí Effendí described Bahíyyih Khánum as a “pure angelic soul” and attributed to her the power of intercession; in direct communion with God, she watches over “the people of Bahá” and takes them under her wings. Although she renounced the idea of marriage, the Guardian compared her station to that of the prophets Sárah, wife of Ibráhím; Ásíyih, wife of Fir‘aun; Máryám, mother of ‘Ísá; Fátimih, wife of ‘Alí; and, of course, Táhirih, herald of Bábism.

Bahá’u’lláh and Bahíyyih Khánum may be described as representants of concurrence: Bahá’u’lláh represents the locus of prophetic mediation, Bahíyyih Khánum the locus of charismatic intercession. The power and presence attributed to the Greatest Holy Leaf are part of the divine plan; a creative communion through symbolic interaction with the greater order, the logos of the universe, which alleviates the sense of alienation that pervades postindustrial society.

“O Most Exalted Leaf! Thou art she who did endure with patience in God’s way from thine earliest childhood and throughout all thy life, and did bear in His pathway what none other hath borne, save only God in His own Self, the Supreme Ruler over all created things, and before Him, His noble Herald, and after Him, His holy Branch, the One, the Inaccessible, the Most High.”                                                           (Shoghí Effendí: Bahíyyih Khánum, page 73)

This prayer to the Greatest Holy Leaf, an adaptation (neither official nor authorized) of the Memorare attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153), derives from the much longer fifteenth-century prayer, Ad sanctitatis tuae pedes, dulcissima Virgo Maria:

Remember, O Most Merciful Holy Leaf, that never was it known, that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, and sought thy intercession was left unaided.

Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of Virgins, my mother. To thee I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Daughter of the Blessèd Beauty, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Ámín.

“Fátimih is the Maiden of Paradise.”                                                               (Hadíth)