Abdel Karim Effendi:
He Visits America and Sets Aside the False Teachings of Dr. Kheiralla
published in Star of the Magi: A Monthly Journal of Occult Science, Art and Philosophy, 1:9, pages 9-10
1. Text (see PDF below)
He Visits America and Sets Aside the False Teachings of Dr. Kheiralla.
Occultists and mystics all over the civilized world have had their interest drawn of late years to the semi-mystic cult of Bab-ed-Deen in this country. That our occult brethren may be properly informed as to some important developments of the cult in America the STAR gives the following:
It is not our purpose, in the present article, to exploit the peculiar teachings of the Babists, further than to say that they are Oriental “Second Adventists,” who hold that the advent has already taken place. The outcome of this necessarily includes the setting up of Christ’s kingdom and the millennial era. Babism is universal in character, embracing among its fifteen million adherents, some nine million of whom are in Persia, members from all leading religions and countries. The rule of life is the sermon on the mount. Its mission is to teach all who apply for “the truth” without charge or fee. While it has a book of organization and conduct, it has no church, pope, priest or treasury. It is an universal democracy whose members worship in all churches, bow at all shrines and profess all faiths, yet all holding to Christ, his teachings as given in the New Testament, and his present advent on earth to establish his kingdom.
In the year 1894 the seeds of this cult were planted in America, at Chicago, under the name of Babists, from the word Bab, meaning door. The tenets of the Babists were brought from Cairo, Egypt, in the person of a “Dr.” Ibrahim G. Khieralla, who conferred them in a series of “private” lessons, which, to be obtained, had to be assented to by the recipient as they were imparted. By means of this system of teaching the particular doctrines that I. Khieralla promulgated became so many secrets and escaped public criticism. The” Dr.” met, therefore, with practically no opposition and the Babist movement grew, in the course of time, to number some 800, the chief figure of whom naturally was Ibrahim G. Khieralla.
From its naturally broad, universal and democratic basis the new cult gradually assumed an autocratic and “official” character, all of which augmented the influence and affluence of the “Dr.” and he exercised his dictatorial and self-assumed powers for “all there was in it.” It is reported that if the” Dr.” wanted anything, like a new wife for instance, he would have a convenient “revelation” to that effect.
To render himself secure in his position as a sort of “Supreme Pontif,” Kheiralla found it necessary to do violence both to the spirit and letter of the cult he had assumed the leadership of; and, as one lie requires another lie to bolster it up, the “Rev. Dr.” diverged more and more from the moral and authorized Babist code. So glaring became these developments that they became a matter of deep concern to leaders of the cult in the Orient. Efforts to settle matters to rights from there resulted .only in causing a division in the ranks of the Babists in America. A delegation to Persia, headed by a wealthy western lady, brought back incontestable proof of the “Dr’s.” scheming trickery and double-dealing. An expose of the facts deprived the “Dr.” of a majority of his following, those who stood by him for the most part being his “officers” and those not fully aware of his duplicity. The Babists were thus divided into two camps.
Such was the situation up to about the middle of last April. At that time one of the leading heads of the Babist faith, Hadji Abdel Karim Effendi, was on his way from Cairo, Egypt, to personally confront Khieralla in regard to his false teachings.
A representative of the STAR visited the residence of Dr. C. I. Thacher, 51 Aberdeen street, Chicago, and after being cordially greeted by that gentleman was accorded an interview with Abdel Karim, by the aid of M. Bozork, his interpreter.
One is much impressed with the venerable, dignified and kindly appearance of Hadji Abdel Karim. He makes one at ease instantly and you feel as if you were conversing with some old friend rather than with a new acquaintance. He possesses not only an air of sterling honesty, a merciful and brotherly presence, but a simple and unassuming manhood.
In the interview which followed, Abdel Karim, the teacher of Kheiralla, related how he first met him through some connection with Egyptian Masonry: that he had instructed him somewhat in the views of the Babists, which he accepted. Kheiralla claimed to have an improvement in foot wear which he was trying to place on the market, and went to Russia for that purpose, but met with no success. He then visited America for the same purpose, but wrote to Abdel Karim that he had no better success than in Russia, and that he would “teach” ‘the truth,’ and make a living that way.” Abdel Karim wrote back that Kheiralla knew too little of it to be a teacher, yet, he considered it the wisest course to instruct him as much as possible through correspondence.
When Abdel Karim arrived at New York he was met there by Kheiralla, and the latter retracted, over his own signature, the teachings foreign to Babism he had promulgated. He also agreed to do this in Chicago, but later refused to do so, and Abdel Karim thereupon severed Kheiralla’s connection with the cult. All that remains of the Kheiralla following now are some twenty-five, twelve of whom are “officers,” and the “Dr.” is no longer recognized as a Babist by the 780 remaining members here in Chicago. A strong representative gathering from Chicago, New York, Detroit, Cincinnati, and other cities, held at Kenosha, Wis., on the 4th of June, have also repudiated him.