Rúḥíyyih Khánum
By Hussein Ahdieh & Hillary Chapman
For Youth &
Young Adults!

Sample Reading from Ruhiyyih Khanum

Chapter 8

Shoghi Effendi married Ruhiyyih Khanum in a very simple ceremony like that of ‘Abdu’l‐Bahá. The marriage took place with no advance notice because Shoghi Effendi knew that any big event would draw unwanted attention to the Bahá’ís in Haifa. So the servants in the house were surprised when the car drove Shoghi Effendi and the young Canadian lady to the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh on the afternoon of 25 March 1937.

Ruhiyyih Khanum dressed in black. This was the custom in that part of the world. Shoghi Effendi wanted Ruhiyyih Khanum to fit into the culture of the household which was Middle Eastern. While she had grown up in a very different culture, she was more than happy to do as Shoghi Effendi wished.

The couple entered the Shrine. Shoghi Effendi asked his bride for the ring which she had been wearing hidden around her neck. He placed the ring on her right hand’s ring finger. Then he stepped into the inner shrine under which Bahá’u’lláh’s body was interred. He picked up dried rose petals with a handkerchief that the keeper of the Shrine always put in a silver bowl at the feet of Bahá’u’lláh. Shoghi Effendi chanted the Tablet of Visitation. The couple returned to Haifa and had the marriage ceremony in the room formerly lived in by the Greatest Holy Leaf. His parents signed the marriage certificate showing that they gave their consent to the union.

Ruhiyyih Khanum then went to Western Pilgrim House to be with her parents. Because of the culture of Palestine, the Eastern pilgrims and the Western pilgrims were kept in separate houses. At dinner time, Shoghi Effendi joined them. He took out the handkerchief and unfolded it with a warm smile and gave May Maxwell the petals telling her they were from the Holy Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh. Ruhiyyih Khanum’s parents then signed the marriage certificate showing their consent. After dinner, Shoghi Effendi and Ruhiyyih Khanum went off together to the home of ‘Abdu’l‐Bahá where he had his rooms.

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Mary Maxwell, 1934
Mary Maxwell, 1934

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