Abdu’l-Baha the Exemplar – A Talk by Dr. Vahid Rafati

In this talk, given at the Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference (Phoenix, USA) in December, 2012, Dr. Vahid Rafati explores the life, achievements and works of Abdu’l-Baha.

Dr. Vahid Rafati received his B.A degree in Psychology from Tehran University. He subsequently completed his PhD in Islamic Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Rafati has been serving at the Research Department of the Baha’i World Centre in Haifa, Israel since 1980 and is the author of numerous articles and books in both Persian and English. Continue reading

Following the Example of Abdu’l-Baha – A Talk by Tom Price

A couple of weeks ago Baha’i Blog sponsored our very first event at the Baha’i Centre in Sydney, Australia.

It was a talk by Tom Price called Following the Example of Abdu’l-Baha and we wanted to take advantage of the fact that he was passing through Australia on his way back to the US after speaking at the two recent summer schools in New Zealand.

Baha’i Blog has posted some of Tom Price’s other talks such as The Five Year Plan (which is still one of our most popular posts), and more recently Recreating Ourselves in the Image of the Master.

Abdu’l-Baha, (also referred to as the Master) was Baha’u’llah’s eldest son and appointed successor, and He is considered the perfect example of how to live according to the Baha’i teachings.

You can listen to Following the Example of Abdu’l-Baha by either streaming it live or by downloading it – and best of all, it’s completely free! Continue reading

12 Wonderful Resources about the Life of Abdu’l-Baha

Over the last several days, Baha’is around the world have observed two Baha’i holy days related to Abdu’l-Baha, the eldest son of Baha’u’llah who led the Baha’i community after Baha’u’llah’s passing. Abdu’l-Baha is often referred to by Baha’is as ‘the Master’, but the title “Abdu’l-Baha” is Arabic for “Servant of Baha”, and He is considered the perfect example of how to live according to the Baha’i Teachings.

The first of the two recent Baha’i holy days is known as ‘The Day of the Covenant‘, observed on 4 Qawl according to the Baha’i calendar. It signifies the establishment of Baha’u’llah’s Covenant with humanity. The second holy day was two days later on 6 Qawl, and is known as ‘The Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha’, commemorating the passing of Abdu’l-Baha.

So in honor of Abdu’l-Baha, and in the interest of helping us learn more about His wonderful personage, I thought it would be useful to list a small selection of resources which may assist us in learning more about His fascinating life. Continue reading

“What I Saw of Abdu’l-Baha”: Vignettes by Laura Barney

Abdu’l-Baha on the steps of 7 Haparsim Street, His home in Haifa, May 1921. Photo: courtesy of the Baha'i International Community

May 16, 1909, New York City: a group has gathered to hear Laura Clifford Barney speak. Her name is familiar to the audience from Some Answered Questions, which was published last year. This book brought Abdu’l-Baha’s commentary on subjects ranging from the New Testament to criminal justice to the newborn Baha’i community in the United States.

Barney, the book’s compiler and translator, has spent most of the past decade far from this, her homeland, living in Paris and Akka. She lived for months at a time in Abdu’l-Baha’s household—a “village” bustling with Baha’is of all ages, as she fondly recalls—from 1904 to 1906, when she compiled Some Answered Questions. During these Akka sojourns, she had many opportunities to interact with and observe Abdu’l-Baha.

“It is not what I think [that] is of much importance but what I saw…of the characteristics and habits of Abdu’l-Baha,” she tells her New York audience. One attendee has a pen poised above a stack of lined paper, ready to transcribe Barney’s words. Thanks to this unnamed scribe, we have a record of Barney’s comments that day. For this post, passages have been arranged by topic: first, anecdotes of Abdu’l-Baha; second, reminiscences of life in His household; and third, reflections on His attributes and guidance. These excerpts have been lightly edited for readability.  Continue reading

‘The Apostle of Peace’: A New Reference Book about Abdu’l-Baha

George Ronald has recently released the first in a fascinating historical two-volume set by Amin Egea. It’s called The Apostle of Peace: A Survey of References to Abdu’l-Baha in the Western Press, 1871-1921 and it offers a comprehensive look at the news headlines and press articles featuring Abdu’l-Baha. The first volume, which has been printed and is now available for purchase here on Amazon, covers the years 1871-1912 and ends with Abdu’l-Baha’s return to Europe after His travels in North America.

It is difficult to imagine what it would have been like to see Abdu’l-Baha’s name appearing in all the major Western papers but thankfully Amin Egea dove into that time period in order to put together these books for us. Here is a little bit of the story behind how The Apostle of Peace came to be:  Continue reading

Visiting Abdu’l-Baha: A New Two Volume Series by Earl Redman

Earl Redman is a master storytelling and his books captivate my imagination. He’s the author of Abdu’l-Baha in Their Midst, Shoghi Effendi Through the Pilgrim’s Eye (Volumes I and II), and The Knights of Baha’u’llah. George Ronald recently released a new book, called Visiting Abdu’l-Baha, that makes up the first volume in a two volume series. The books feature stories illustrating how Abdu’l-Baha taught the principles of the Baha’i Faith to others and how He embodied those principles in His interactions. I was eager to catch up with Earl and here’s our conversation:

Baha’i Blog: It’s wonderful to hear from you again, Earl! What have you been up to since we last interviewed you?

Since 2014, my wife Sharon and I have been traveling extensively from Tasmania, through the Pacific, the US, Canada and Alaska, to Iceland, Europe, Tunisia and Israel sharing stories from the two volumes of Visiting Abdu’l-Baha, mostly in small communities who do not get many visitors. And it has been amazing to see the reactions of both Baha’is and their friends to these stories.

Continue reading

New English Translations of Prayers, Tablets, Extracts and Talks by Abdu’l-Baha

In honor of the Day of the Covenant (the day when Baha’is celebrate the appointment of Abdu’l-Baha as the Centre of Baha’u’llah’s Covenant), we thought it would be a perfect time to bring our readers’ attention the exciting news of the newly translated prayers, tablets, extracts and talks by Abdu’l-Baha, recently made available on the Baha’i Reference Library. Continue reading

New Letter from the Universal House of Justice About Abdu’l-Baha

In these precious hours between the Day of the Covenant and the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha, when our hearts and our minds are turning towards Him, the Baha’i world has been gifted with a letter from the Universal House of Justice (this letter can be read in full or downloaded from the Baha’i Reference Library here). For ease of reference, we have quoted it in full below:  Continue reading

Mirza Ali-Akbar-i-Nakhjavani: With Newly Translated Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha

A literary gem has just been released: it is brilliant not only because it tells the life story of an incredible person and is written by an incredible person, but, most significantly, it includes newly translated tablets of Abdu’l-Baha. Mirza Ali-Akbar-i-Nakhjavani: With Newly Translated Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha is a loving tribute by Mr. Ali Nakhjavani about his illustrious father who translated many Baha’i tablets and letters into Russian. Mirza Ali-Akbar-i-Nakhjavani also had the great honor of traveling with Abdu’l-Baha as part of His entourage on His journey through North America in 1912. Abdu’l-Baha’s fondness for this young man is evident not only in the details of their interactions but in the many tablets that the Master addressed to him.

Mr. Ali Nakhjavani is also distinguished in the services he has rendered the Baha’i Faith over the years: Mr. Ali Nakhjavani has served on the Universal House of Justice, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Central and East Africa, as an Auxiliary Board member, and in the 1950’s, as a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran.

Mr. Ali Nakhjavani shared some precious words with us about his new book. To say that we are deeply honoured and immensely grateful for this would be the understatement of the year. We hope you cherish this interview as much as we do:  Continue reading