In the spring of 1912 Abdu'l-Baha set off from Alexandria on His historic journey to America. Among his small entourage was Mirza Mahmud- i-Zarqani, who became, in the words of Shoghi Effendii, “the chronicler of His travels”.
Mirza Mahmud went everywhere with ‘Abdu’l-Baha making extensive notes not only of the Master's many public talks and conversations with individuals but also of the new sights and experiences they found in America as well as the daily routines of eating, writing letters and travelling. Mahmud remarks on the novelty of the New York skyscrapers, electric lights and American foods and customs for Abdu'l Baha’s party as well as the picturesque spectacle provided to the Americans by His entourage in their ‘abas and Persian hats.
The result was a unique diary “regarded as a reliable account of Abdu'l-Baha's travels in the West and an authentic record of His utterances, whether in the form of formal talks, table talks or random oral statements. Mirza Mahmud was a careful and faithful chronicler and engaged in assembling and publishing his work with the permission of the beloved Master . . “ (The Universal House of Justice).