Abdu’l‐Baha giving a souvenir of the Baha’i Temple Dedication to Charles Greenleaf (age 17). Photo courtesy of the Baha'is of the United States.
I think it goes without saying that Abdu’l-Baha communicated the principles of the Baha’i Faith through His actions: generosity, for example, was articulated when coins were placed in the hands of destitute men at the Bowery Mission in New York City and social justice was demonstrated when Louis Gregory, who had been excluded from a luncheon owing to his race, was personally invited to the table by Abdu’l-Baha and given the seat of honor.
This year, as we commemorate the centenary of His Passing, I have been thinking about the Westerners who were in His presence and I often wonder about the logistics of language for those who did not speak Persian, Arabic or Turkish as He did.
I have read accounts of His travels to Europe and North America that describe how there were interpreters in His entourage and that for the most part His communications were translated to those around Him. Stanwood Cobb describes the unique experience of what it was like to hear Abdu’l-Baha speak via a translator: Continue reading
Angelina Diliberto Allen has penned a new historical book called When the Moon Set Over Haifa. This book shares the stories of six Westerners who were in Haifa at the time of the Passing of Abdu’l-Baha on November 28, 1921. There were five pilgrims: John Bosch and Louise Stapfer Bosch, Dr. Florian Krug and Grace Krug, and Fraulein Johanna Hauff. The only other Western believer present was Curtis Kelsey from New York, who was there to install electrical power plants to light the Shrines of the Bab and Baha’u’llah.
This book tells the story of these six Baha’is and explores how their experiences at the time of the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha shaped their lives. Angelina’s book is such a gift, especially in this special commemorative year when we reflect on the Life of Abdu’l-Baha. You can hear Angelina talk about her book, and many other fascinating topics, in this episode of the Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson but in this interview, we hear specifically about When the Moon Set Over Haifa. Here’s what Angelina graciously shared with us:
Nestled within a greater initiative called The Utterance Project, Violetta Zein has produced an informative, visually-rich online project titled “The Extraordinary Life of Abdu’l-Baha” in honor of the centenary of His Passing. It’s an interactive and illustrated nine-part chronology of the Life of Abdu’l-Baha and you may find it useful and inspiring, particularly in this special year as we strive to reflect profoundly on His Life.
I am so grateful to Violetta for sharing with us all about this initiative. Here’s what she shared with the Baha’i Blog team: Continue reading
Portrait of Abdu’l-Baha in Paris, France, October 1911. Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community.
Ever since I was little I have been interested in historical clothes and I have often wondered what Abdu’l-Baha looked like. What did He wear? And how were His clothes and His physical appearance a manifestation of qualities such as cleanliness, purity, grace and a deep abiding love for everyone?
In this article, I’ve gathered a small collection of historical accounts on the beauty of Abdu’l-Baha and stories that describe what He looked like. I am so grateful for these historical recollections, even though they only offer us a glimpse of Him.
The first story relates to cleanliness and it’s found in Vignettes from the Life of Abdu’l-Baha:
The Master considered cleanliness of vital importance. He was indeed ‘the essence of cleanliness’ even as Baha’u’llah had taught His followers. Florence Khanum bore witness to this, for she found Him ‘dazzlingly, spotlessly shining, from snowy turban-cloth, to white, snowy hair falling upon his shoulders, to white snowy beard and long snowy garment. Although it was high noon, in summer His attire was crisp and fresh-looking, as though He had not been visiting the sick, and in prison, and toiling for mankind since early morning. Often a deliciously fresh rose was tucked in His belt.’
I have been reflecting on my connection to the natural world. As we commemorate the centenary of Abdu’l-Baha’s Passing and reflect on His Life, here are some stories and personal thoughts about Abdu’l-Baha and nature. Continue reading
In preparation for the release of his new album in honor of the centenary of the Passing of Abdu’l-Baha, Home of Light, singer-songwriter Luke Slott took viewers on a 19 day journey of storytelling and music during the month of the Baha’i Fast.
Luke’s wonderful recounting of the events and stories of the history of the Baha’i Faith, coupled with his beautiful music, was captured in a series of 20 videos called ‘A Story of Light’. I wanted to connect with my dear friend Luke to find out more about this wonderful initiative and to share it with our readers. Here’s what he had to say: Continue reading
Greenwich Village has historically been an attractive place for writers, scientists, artists and politicians, including during the time of Abdu’l-Baha’s visit to New York City in 1912, when He spoke in churches, temples, universities and at a peace conference. This article is an attempt to shine light on this neighborhood blessed by the footsteps of the Master, and to focus particularly on the relationships between Abdu’l-Baha and two artists living there, Juliet Thompson and Khalil Gibran. Continue reading
As this is a special year marking the centenary of the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha — a year in which the Universal House of Justice asks us all to reflect profoundly on the Life of Abdu’l-Baha — Baha’i author Michael V. Day has just published a photographic book about the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha titled Fragrance of Glory.
Michael V. Day is a dear friend and we currently live in the same city in Australia and I must say that I am personally delighted by his contributions to the world of Baha’i literature. He is the author of a trilogy of historical books about the Shrine of the Bab, which you can learn more about from his website: www.michaelvday.com. So when Michael told me about this new book in honor of the centenary of the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha, I had to find out more. Here’s what he shared: Continue reading
Co-author Adib de Vries reflecting on what has been learned about Johanna (Jo) Sophia Goudsmit and her encounters with Abdu'l-Baha.
On Saturday 13 August 1921, the Dutch national newspaper Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant (N.R.C.) printed a scoop, or exclusive: a letter of Abdu’l-Baha. It read: Continue reading