“Life in this mortal world will quickly come to an end, and this earthly glory, wealth, comfort and happiness will soon vanish and be no more. Summon ye the people to God and call the souls to the manners and conduct of the Supreme Concourse. To the orphans be ye kind fathers, and to the unfortunate a refuge and shelter. To the poor be a treasure of wealth, and to the sick a remedy and healing. Be a helper of every oppressed one, the protector of every destitute one, be ye ever mindful to serve any soul of mankind. Attach no importance to self-seeking, rejection, arrogance, oppression and enmity. Heed them not. Deal in the contrary way. Be kind in truth, not only in appearance and outwardly. Every soul of the friends of God must concentrate his mind on this, that he may manifest the mercy of God and the bounty of the Forgiving One. He must do good to every soul whom he encounters, and render benefit to him, becoming the cause of improving the morals and correcting the thoughts so that the light of guidance may shine forth and the bounty of His Holiness the Merciful One may encompass.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá - Abbás Effendi

When Bahá’u’lláh passed away in 1892, He left clear and written instructions for the leadership of the Baháʼís and Who to turn to after Him. In His Will and Testament; the ’Kitab-i-‘Ahdi’ - which He wrote in His Own hand-writing - He appointed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, His oldest son, as the Center of the Covenant meaning He was to be the One to guide the affairs of the Baháʼís. Bahá’u’lláh enjoined on all Baháʼís to turn to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá not just as the Expounder and Interpreter of the Faith and its laws and writings, but as the Highest Examplar of the spirit of the Faith and its teachings. Abdu’l-Bahá had a unique vision for mankind, He created a pattern for reform in the early years of the 21st century, He was the first person from the East to carry a message of unity to the West and open the path to establishing world peace.

From an early age, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, along with His Father, was a prisoner. He was continually exiled until He was held in the fortress prison of Akka at the order of the Ottoman Sultan. When the Young Turks uprising happened in 1908, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was released after more than 40 years of imprisonment and exile.

His travels

Even though He was nearly 65 years old when He was released, and with all the physical hardships He had endured during His life that had resulted in the depletion of His health, He undertook a series of journeys to Egypt, Europe and North America between 1910 and 1913.

On these travels ‘Abdu’l-Bahá addressed many great philosophers, scientists, religious leaders, poets, writers, economists and journalists. He spoke from the pulpits and stages in many European capitals and North American cities about the oneness of mankind, the inherent oneness of the religions, the need to eliminate all kinds of racial, religious, social and ethnic prejudice, He called for the urgent need to establish a permanent peace as the highest goal that humanity can reach. The people of the East described Him as ‘The Most Learned Scholar’, ‘The Pious Saint’, ‘the most righteous of all men’. In the west, the leaders of thought called Him ‘The Ambassador of Humanity’.

'Abdu'l-Bahá addresses a large gathering at the Church of Plymouth, Chicago, Illinois, May 5, 1912

His Talks

Abdu’l-Bahá wrote innumerable letters responding to the questions people asked regarding His message and He left a spiritual wealth of writings. In both His writings and talks, He addressed various topics that expressed an enlightened spiritual and social thought, He also explained how to gradually achieve world unity. The solutions that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá proposed are founded upon the principle of oneness and unity through fair human values. He assured us that economic, social, scientific, literary and artistic advancement can only be achieved when society practices justice, high moral standards, placing the common good before personal good and the desire to cooperate with each other by pure and upright actions. Abdu’l-Bahá gave all His time and effort to remove the barriers that still continue to separate people to this day, whether religious, or ethnic and national prejudice. He explained that the role of religion is to open the path towards uplifting humanity and must not be a cause of creating differences between people and there-by, a cause of strife, war and destruction.

Good deeds

All His work did not prevent ‘Abdu’l-Bahá from continuing to serve others; He helped the poor and needy and initiated agricultural projects that provided food during the years of the Great War (WW1) and the famine that was a result of the war. In 1817, at the height of the war, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá instructed a number of Baháʼí farmers living in Adasiya in Jordan to intensify their efforts and plant all types of grains so as to alleviate the effects of the famine that had struck the people of the Levant at that time. The grains were transported to Haifa according to His instructions and stored, then distributed among the needy of Haifa and Akka, regardless of their religious or ethnic background. This process continued until the end of the war.

Al `Adasiyah, Jordan

His gatherings

Many prominent writers, thinkers and Arab religious leaders would attend gatherings at the house of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, among them were: Abbas Mahmoud Akkad the famous author and journalist, Shakeeb Arsalan historian and political commentator, Jibran Khalil Jibran author and poet, Sheikh Ali Yousef leading newspaper journalist, the Grand Mufti of Egypt Sheikh Muhammad Bakheet, to name a few. The house of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was a place where thinkers, writers and religious leaders would gather to discuss and consult on topics that benefitted the people and to find ways to build a civilization that Bahá’u’lláh had envisioned for this age. Abdu’l-Bahá’s reputation spread across the world and many prominent people of the West also sought His presence; Leo Tolstoy the Russian writer, Professor August Forel the Swiss scientist, Arminius Vambary (Hermen) the orientalist and professor in university of Budapest, Grand Minister Med’hat Pasha the leader of political re-form in Turkey.

'Abdu'l-Bahá with a group of Egyptian, Turkish, Indian and British friends in the courtyard of a mosque in Woking, England, January 1913

His passing

At late night of 28th of November, 1921, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá passed away at 77 years of age. Ten thousand mourners of various backgrounds attended His funeral. He was eulogized by many Arab writers and poets who had met Him. On 30th November, 1921, an article in ‘AlMuqattam’ newspaper was written with the following paragraph: ‘.. He was revered by all who had met Him, a majestic and graceful person, of high moral character who was loved and followed by many people… He (may God bless His soul) visited some cities in Europe and North America and was met with veneration. He spoke in gatherings, colleges, institution and churches, He called for peace, harmony and brotherhood, the cessation of wars and to return to the teachings of the Prophets and Messengers.’

To learn more about the life of 'Abdu'l-Bahá

You can watch the film: 'Exempler' which was prepared on the occasion of the centenary of His passing.

Centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing

On the occasion of the centenary of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, we commemorated his passing in the United Arab Emirates, as well as all around the world.