Feast of Asma
On August 20th 1901, 'Abdu'l-Bahá celebrated the Anniversary of the Declaration of the Báb (in accordance with the lunar calendar). He observed the festival in the precincts of the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh. When He returned to 'Akká at nightfall, He learned from the Governor that, by decree of the Sultan, He and His brothers would be confined within the city limits of 'Akká and forbidden the freedom of the countryside. Mirza Muhammad-'Ali and Mirza Badi'u'llah were brought in from the Mansion of Bahji, and Mirza Majdi'd-Din was fetched from Tiberias where he resided.
(H.M. Balyuzi, Abdu'l-Baha - The Centre of the Covenant, p. 93)
1912 - Tuesday, August 20, 1912 - [Green Acre]
Among the friends visiting the Master was Fred Mortensen, a youth who, prior to embracing the Cause, had been a fugitive from justice but was now very humble and tranquil.250 Despairing of seeing the Master, who had not made known His plans to visit the West, he traveled from Minneapolis to visit Him. Because he could not afford to pay the price of a ticket from Minneapolis to Green Acre, he had ridden the rods under the train and in this way reached Chicago and Green Acre. He explained everything about his journey to the Master, who then told him, `You are my guest.' Each day the Master bestowed kindness upon him and a few days later He gave him money to pay for his journey home. Unknown to anyone, the Master paid for many such expenses. Twice He sent a speaker from New York to Chicago and adjacent cities and on each occasion, although the person was rich, `Abdu'l-Bahá gave him more than enough money to defray the expenses of his journey. In addition, He liberally contributed to the poor and to the churches [in which He spoke] in every city.
After speaking with the friends, He went to Miss Farmer's temporary residence [in Portsmouth]. When she saw `Abdu'l-Bahá, she fell into such a state of rapture that every heart was moved. After comforting her and the others, at Dr LeRoy's request He went to see places of historic interest, including a yard where battleships were being built [the Navy Yard in Kittery]. This activity did not please the Master. On His return He said:
While the Manifestations of God are still alive, the people do not appreciate their value, they curse and execrate them; but after their ascension they worship them. Such is the case with these tent-dwellers who live outside Green Acre. Even Columbus and some ancient philosophers like Socrates were made to suffer but after a time the people took pride in praising them.
This afternoon, under the Persian pines and cypresses of that lovely plain, three hundred people heard `Abdu'l-Bahá draw a picture of the vista of everlasting life, its spiritual stations and eternal blessings. He then went to the `Bahá'í House' where we were all His guests. Following His walk after supper, the Master stood at the front hall of the house and spoke. People were even standing in the street to listen to Him. He spoke so beautifully about the relationship of the East and the West that passersby stopped to hear what He had to say.251
In the evening there was musical entertainment and dancing in the hall of the Inn. `Abdu'l-Bahá said, `Such gatherings and practices are the cause of the corruption of morals.' He also said this evening, `My thoughts are wholly absorbed by this journey. I can think of nothing else because the outcome of this journey is so great. Up to now in the Cause of the Blessed Beauty a development as great as this has not occurred.'
On 20 August 1945 – The Guardian Cabled:
"Hearts uplifted thanksgiving complete cessation prolonged unprecedented world conflict" and urged the American believers to arise and carry on their work, hailing the removal of restrictions which would now enable them to launch the second stage of the Divine Plan. Nothing could provide a better example of the determination, the enthusiasm and the brilliant leadership of the Guardian than these messages sent on the morrow of the emergence of the world from the worst war in its entire history. (Ruhiyyih Khanum, The Priceless Pearl, p. 185)
20 August 1979 - Release of Bahá'í Prisoners in Baghdad
To all National Spiritual Assemblies
Dear Bahá'í friends,
233.1 The following message has just been telexed by the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'í International Community office in New York:
HIGHLY GRATIFIED NEWS JUST RECEIVED ALL BAHÁ'Í PRISONERS BAGHDAD RELEASED AS PART GENERAL AMNESTY. WE OFFER THANKSGIVING BAHÁ'U'LLÁH HIS BOUNTIFUL GRACE ENABLING HIS STEADFAST FRIENDS DEMONSTRATE THEIR UNWAVERING LOYALTY HIS PRECIOUS FAITH.
233.2 The Universal House of Justice is sure that this news will delight the hearts of the friends.
With loving Bahá'í greetings,
Department of the Secretariat