News clips

Persian Prophet In London

Persian Prophet In London
Boston Evening Transcript
September 9, 1911

High Priest of the Bahá’í Religion, Numbering 3,000,000 Followers, Is ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas

London, Sept. 9 — ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas, the mysterious Persian prophet of the Bahá’í religion, which has, at a moderate estimate, three million followers, will make a short stay in London, and meet his English adherents.

This present journey is the first ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has ventured among Western people. He is the third prophet of the Bahá’ís. The first was Mirza Ali Mohammad, known as the Báb, born in 1819, in Shiraz, a city of Persia, who founded the great Bahá’í religious movement, and was shot at Tabriz, six years after he declared his mission. The mantle of the Báb descended upon a Persian nobleman, the second prophet, who became known as Bahá’u’lláh, the Glory of God. He spent most of his years in banishment from Persia and in prison.

Abdu’l-Bahá is the son of Bahá’u’lláh. Born in prison at Acre, he assumed the leadership of the religious body, on the death of his father in 1892. So rapidly has the religion gained strength that now a third of the Persian people are converts to the Bahá’í faith, and there are many believers in Egypt, India, the United States, France, and England. In the early days of the teaching its followers met with much violent persecution at the hands of their fellow Persian countrymen, and there are records showing that twenty thousand were massacred at different periods.

The Bahá’í faith has been likened to a spiritual Esperanto. “It is a world movement,” said the editor of the Christian Commonwealth yesterday, who has received a telegram of greeting from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. “The characteristic of Bahá’ísm is that it seeks to demonstrate the fundamental unity of all religions, and to trace them all to one single divine source. They seek to unite all faiths and religions as one.”

In London ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the chief of the faith, should attract a large amount of public attention by his personal appearance alone. He is described by an English convert, who has lived at his house at Acre, as tall, with a slow, dignified carriage and kingly presence. His beard is long and white.

His snowy hair he wears doubled below a turban, which surmounts a strong clear-cut face, in which a pair of clear blue eyes are set below heavy eyebrows. The dress he dons is usually gray in color, a flowing tunic robe made of cotton, and sandals. Converts say that when present with him one does not want to talk, it is sufficient just to sit before him, and that his eloquence in addresses is beyond description. He speaks, however, in Persian, as his knowledge of English is limited to a few words.