‘Abdu’l-Bahá as a Young Man
From earliest childhood, ‘Abbas Effendi, the eldest son of Bahá’u’lláh, shared His father’s sufferings and banishments. He took as His title ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the “servant of Bahá.” Bahá’u’lláh appointed Him the one authorized interpreter of the Bahá’í teachings and as Head of the Faith after His own passing.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá was seen a perfect example of the Bahá’í way of life.
While ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was still a prisoner of the Ottomans the first Bahá’í pilgrims from the western world arrived in Acre in 1898. After His release in 1908, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá set out on a series of journeys which, in 1911-1913, took Him to Europe and America. There He proclaimed Bahá’u’lláh’s message of unity and social justice to church congregations, peace societies, the members of trade unions, university faculties, journalists, government officials, and many public audiences.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá passed away in 1921, having consolidated the foundations of the Bahá’í Faith and greatly expanded its reach. The northern rooms of the Shrine of the Báb, where He is interred, are a place of pilgrimage for Bahá’ís visiting the World Centre of their Faith.
A Description of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
“Seldom have I seen one whose appearance impressed me more. A tall strongly-built man holding himself straight as an arrow, with white turban and raiment, long black locks reaching almost to the shoulder, broad powerful forehead indicating a strong intellect combined with an unswerving will, eyes keen as a hawk’s, and strongly-marked but pleasing features—such was my first impression of ‘Abbas Effendi, ‘the master’ as he par excellence is called…. One more eloquent of speech, more ready of argument, more apt of illustration, more intimately acquainted with the sacred books of the Jews, the Christians, and the Muhammadans, could, I should think, scarcely be found even amongst the eloquent, ready, and subtle race to which he belongs. These qualities, combined with a bearing at once majestic and genial, made me cease to wonder at the influence and esteem which he enjoyed even beyond the circle of his father’s followers. About the greatness of this man and his power no one who had seen him could entertain a doubt.