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Servant of God Is Headed for America

Servant of God Is Headed for America
The Lexington Herald
April 14, 1912

Abbas Effendi, a wise Persian, with the eye of a hawk, straight as an arrow, tall, strongly built, with white turban and raiment, iron gray hair reaching almost to his shoulder, eloquent with the sacred books of all the religions of the world, will reach New York this month.

Abbas Effendi, better known as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas, “The Servant of God,” leader of the Bahá’í movement and son of its founder, has spent sixty years of his life in imprisonment and exile. He was born in Teheran on May 23, 1844. His father was Mirza Hossein Ali of Nour, styled by the Báb, the reformer of Islam, as Bahá’u’lláh — “The Glory of God.”

At the age of eight ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas entered upon a life of poverty with his father and family, making in winter a month’s journey to Bagdad, where Bahá’u’lláh, with his party and son, remained for eleven years, announcing himself as “The Promised foretold.

Father and son, with their followers, were banished, via Constantinople and Adrianople, to the prison city of Akka in Syria, where the worst criminals of the Turkish lands were sent. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas acted as his father’s secretary and body-guard, seeing many of the visitors who came from the hundreds of thousands of followers to see Bahá’u’lláh. The curiosity seekers were seen by the son and the serious-minded by the father.

When Bahá’u’lláh died in 1892 his mantle fell upon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas. The Young Turks freed the prisoners in Akka, but the leader remained there with his family until 1910, when he went to Egypt and later to London and Paris. He may go around the world. He does not accept costly gifts, but retains for himself the barest necessities. The Turkish Government has made him a small allowance and from this he gives to the poor. His followers say he sets an example of tolerance and love.

It was not until he reached London that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas would allow the photographers to “snap” him. As the wise man is untaught, his believers affirm that his wisdom is most remarkable. He does not claim miraculous powers. The Bahá’í teachings, according to the followers of the movement, went far toward making possible the International Peace Race Congress in London last year. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas sent a paper to the Congress.

The “Servant of God” is married and has four daughters, three of whom are married. He has no sons and after his death the authority of the movement will be vested in boards elected by the believers.

The Son of a Prophet,” as he likes to be called, will deliver addresses in Washington before the Second Annual Conference of the Persian American Educational Society and will speak in New York also.