Centenary Year ~ Reflecting on the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Baha

*Champion of Justice *Ambassador of Peace *Advocate for Racial Unity & Equality *Personification of Humanitarianism

Abdu’l-Bahá was known as ʻAbbás Effendi. Baha’is called Him “The Master”, a title given to Him by Baha’u’llah. After the passing of Baha’u’llah, ‘Abdu’l-Baha chose for himself the title of ʻAbdu’l-Bahá (servant of Bahá).| This song, Everlasting Glory, includes ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s words regarding this title.

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Call for Race Unity in America 1912 | Prayer for America by ‘Abdu’l-Baha | ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Initiative in Establishing Race Amity Conventions 1921

From April 20, 2021 to April 21, 2022, the Baha’is of the world held a year of reflection on the life of Abdu’l-Baha, with the centenary of His Ascension taking place in November 2021. This page was created to honor the life of ‘Abdu’l-Baha with special emphasis on his eight month journey across America from April 11, 1912 to December 5, 1912. 

Abdu’l-Baha (1844-1921), eldest son of Baha’u’llah and His chosen successor, was known as an ambassador of peace, a champion of justice, and the leading exponent of a new Faith. He was awarded a knighthood by the British Mandate of Palestine for his humanitarian efforts during WWI. Through a series of epoch-making travels to Africa, North America and Europe,`Abdu’l-Baha–by word and example–proclaimed with persuasiveness and force the essential principles of his Father’s religion. Today more than 5 million Bahai’s from more than 2,112 different ethnic and tribal groups look to ‘Abdu’l-Baha as “the embodiment of every Baha’i ideal”, the perfect Exemplar of what it means to be a Baha’i. See also: ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Unique Station in Religious History

The Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Baha
“The news of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing…inspired an unprecedented event of unity among the Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Druze communities of Haifa. The funeral of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, ‘a funeral the like of which Palestine had never seen,’ drew ‘no less than ten thousand people… representing every class, religion and race in that country.” (The Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Baha) A local Haifa newspaper, Annafir, published an obituary that carried the headline: “The Most Great Calamity—The Departure of the Personification of Humanitarianism, Abdul-Baha Abbas”.

Artistic rendering of the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Baha Design concept for the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Baha Unveiled | September 20, 2019. Updates on construction of Shrine of ‘Abdu’l‑Baha.

Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Baha 
At the time of the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Baha His mortal remains were laid to rest within a vault of the Mausoleum of the Báb. It was envisaged by Shoghi Effendi that this would be a temporary arrangement. A Shrine was to be erected, of a character befitting the unique station of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, at the appropriate time. “It seeks to manifest ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s selflessness, wisdom, openness, acceptance, and kindness towards all people, to embody His love for gardens and nature, and to reflect His progressive and forward-looking approach.” ~ Hossein Amanat, architect Baha’i World New Service Sept. 20, 2019

Abdu’l-Baha’s Historic Journeys
Following the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, ‘Abdu’l-Baha was freed after more than half a century of exile and imprisonment. Immediately, He began to plan how to present, in person, the Baha’i teachings to the world beyond the Middle East. Despite His advanced age, ‘Abdu’l-Baha set out in August 1910 to present Baha’u’llah’s teachings about the dawning of a new age of peace and unity, to high and low alike. These historic journeys launched a fledgling faith on its way to becoming a world religion…”With the inauguration of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s travels to the West, the Cause of Baha’u’llah, hemmed in for more than half a century by the hosts of enmity and oppression, burst its restraints.”…His words and actions during His travels…offer “an abundance of inspiration and manifold insights” for meeting the challenges of the present day.: Read the full article: 100 years ago, historic journeys transformed a fledgling faith ~ Baha’i World New Service August 30, 2010

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Eight Month Sojourn in America
During His eight month sojourn in America (April 11 – December 5, 1912), `Abdu’l-Bahá spoke at churches and synagogues, universities and missions for the poor, women’s clubs and peace conferences; He was a keynote speaker at the Fourth Annual Conference of the NAACP; He addressed the entire assemblage of the faculty and student body of Stanford University; He met with diplomats, rabbis, ministers, Senators and Supreme Court justices; He was the guest of Alexander Graham Bell at his home; and He had a portrait done by Khalil Gibran.

‘Abdu’l-Baha promotes a new vision of race unity in America
‘Abdu’l-Bahá also spoke at the African-American Howard University and encouraged the interaction between black and white people outside and inside the Bahá’í community. He encouraged interracial marriage, and as a result of his vision, the American Bahá’í community hosted its first racial amity conference in Washington DC in 1921. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá demanded that segregation and any form of prejudice be abolished in the community, and an increasing number of believers took the risks involved in living their beliefs without heeding their society’s mores. [1} ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Radical Approach to Race Unity | Roots of the Race Amity Movement (video:16:11)

We invite you to join us as we follow ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s 239 day journey across America in 1912.
For 239 days [‘Abdu’l-Baha] traveled across America, reaching across political, religious, racial, class, and gender lines to confront Americans with a vision of human nature, social unity, and the nation’s future that was 100 years ahead of its time. 239 Days in America brings to light this important time in American history. [It] offers Americans a new outlook on an important piece of their past, and an opportunity to connect with this unique and unifying voice in American history. (239Days.com) You can follow this journey (see below) with additional links to other resources. We invite you to join our email list for a daily reminder. Email: ysbahai@gmail.com Subject: Join 239 Day Journey

Videos and Articles about ‘Abdu’l-Baha in America:
‘Abdu’l-Baha & NYC Travel back in time to when ‘Abdu’l-Baha set foot on NYC. (video:6:13)
‘Abdu’l-Baha’s visits Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio.
‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Call for Race Unity in America – 1912
President Teddy Roosevelt and the Baha’i Faith
 by Christopher Buck at BahaiTeachings.org
Prayer for America by ‘Abdu’l-Baha
Documentary:  ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Initiative on Race from 1921: Race Amity Conferences
Documentary: Luminous Journey  about ‘Abdu’l-Baha in America (1:15:12) Luminous Journey Part 2 (1:15:26) see: Luminous Journey by chapters
The Journey West Podcast
 dedicated to bringing Abdu’l-Baha’s journey to the West in 1911-1913 to life. Each of these 27 episodes explores Abdu’l-Baha’s talks given at that time.

Videos, Talks and Articles on the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Baha 
Film: Exemplar
 follows the life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the profound effect He had on people both past and present. This film was commissioned by the Universal House of Justice for the Centenary of the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Baha. (55:31)
Video: Abdu’l-Bahá – Walking the Chosen Highway by filmmaker Flavio Azm Rassekh (3:56)
Podcast: Ambassador To Humanity This series produced for the centenary of the passing of Abdu’l-Baha, recounts the life and work of this unique figure in history, celebrating his legacy and enduring influence on humanity.
Who Is Abdul-Baha and Why Is His Station Significant? by Abdu’l -Missagh Ghadirian at BahaiTeachings.org
Recreating Ourselves in the Image of the Master 6 talks by Tom Price

‘Abdu’l-Baha in Brooklyn, New York, June 1912 | Video: ‘Abdu’l-Baha & NYC Travel back in time to when Abdu’l-Baha set foot on NYC. Includes song: Land and Sea by Smith & Dragoman (6:13)

Follow ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey Across America – 1912

For 239 days ‘Abdu’l-Baha traveled across America, reaching across political, religious, racial, class, and gender lines to confront Americans with a vision of human nature, social unity, and the nation’s future that was 100 years ahead of its time. [1]

For each of these days, we bring together daily postings from the following:

  • 239 Days in America  – A social media documentary following `Abdu’l-Bahá’s 1912 journey across North America in real time, exactly 100 years later: April 11 to December 5, 2012. It brings to light this important time in American history. It offers Americans a new outlook on an important piece of their past, and an opportunity to connect with this unique and unifying voice in American history. 
  • Mahmud’s Diary – records daily entries during this 239 day journey (occasional entries from Juliet Thompson and others)  
  • News Clips – ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s  received enthusiastic press coverage from coast to coast. An endless stream of reporters quoted His wit and wisdom. ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s photograph appeared in numerous papers.
  • Promulgation of Universal Peace – a collection of talks given by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in America – He often presented three or more major addresses a day, both to formal audiences numbering one or two thousand and to smaller groups who sought Him out wherever He went.
  • Historical accounts of Early Black Baha’is – many of these are from the series Universal Emancipation Proclamation by historian, Christopher Buck published at BahaiTeachings.org. Most of these early Baha’is either met ‘Abdu’l-Baha, corresponded with Him or heard Him speak.
  • Other related articles of interest

The links below group the daily postings into months.

December, 1912      November, 1912       October, 1912 

September, 1912      August 1912     July, 1912 

June, 1912      May, 1912      April, 1912