A Tribute to ‘Abdu’l-Baha (Abbas Effendi)

By Kamar Bahai -Granddaughter of Baha’u’llah

This short essay is a circular letter or pamphlet that Kamar Bahai wrote in early 1953 called “Abdul Baha Abbas.”

Mrs. Bahai praises ‘Abdu’l-Baha effusively and does not mention his long-term unresolved feud with Mohammed Ali Effendi. She al­leges that the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha was forged and ex­presses concern that the content of the will, if accepted as his own, would undermine his reputation. In light of the conflict between her uncles which she ignores in this essay, her rejection of the purported testamentary document seems motivated in part by a desire to protect ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s image and that of the Baha’i faith, since he was a much- admired public figure who spoke for the new religion.

Kamar Bahai claims that “certain persons looking after their own private material benefit” wrote the will attributed to ‘Abdu’l-Baha, but she does not identify these persons. According to her daughter Negar Bahai Emsallem, the story passed down in their family is that the ap­pointment of Shoghi Effendi Rabbani to a position of “Guardianship” was the idea of his grandmother, Munirih Khanum, the wife of ‘Abdu’l- Baha. It is conceivable that she, perhaps along with her daughter Ziaiyya Khanum (the mother of Shoghi Effendi) or other close relatives, could have forged all or part of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha with the intention to become powers behind the throne in Shoghi Effendi’s ministry, sinca as Kamar Bahai points out, he was just a boy when the will was written.

The Life of Abbas Effendi

‘Abdu’l-Baha Abbas was born at midnight on the 23rd of May, 1844, in Tehran, the same year that “The Bab” proclaimed his mission to the world.

When Abbas Effendi was scarcely nine years old, his father was ar­rested and imprisoned in Tehran. The mob attacked his house and looted it; the family was stripped of its property and left to suffer the sting of hardship and poverty.

Abdu’l-Baha Abbas was so attached to his father that he almost ap­peared to act as his bodyguard. Being constantly around him, his father educated him as he wished and brought him up as he saw fit, sowed in him the seeds of his principles, built in him a strong personality, im­bibed him with the spirit of humanitarianism, and taught him that those who serve humanity achieve victory in the end. He told him that to be a good Baha’i, he should love the world and humanity in general and try to serve it and labor for universal peace and brotherhood.

Abdu’l-Baha Abbas graduated from his father’s school a strong spiritual personality; he was wise and generous, a father to the needy and a guide to those who went astray. He drew his sublime principles and humanitarian ideals from the school of life and the hardships of experience.

The despotic rule of Abdul Hamid having terminated in 1908 and the then young Turkey having extended a general amnesty for all pris­oners, ‘Abdu’l-Baha Abbas was released [in his mid or late 60s] from the prison which he had entered as a boy.

At that age Abbas Effendi took upon himself the responsibility to propagate his father’s mission, proceeded to Egypt, Switzerland, France, Germany, Hungary, Great Britain, the United States of Amer­ica, and Canada, and there preached his father’s principles and. hu­manitarian ideals which were deeply rooted in him. In the course of his visits to those countries, thousands of people heard him preach the principles of his father, in churches and in every type of religious insti­tution, and millions of people read about the teachings of Baha’u’llah in the local newspapers; and so in virtue of his magnetic personality he was able to attract men and women of every belief and religion.

His followers loved him greatly and he reciprocated their love, he lifted their standards morally, spiritually, and materially to the limit of his capacities, and he endeavored with all his might to come to the res­cue of those who were materially in need as well as to those who sought moral assistance.

The Young Turk Revolution overthrew Sultan Abdul Hamid II, who had im­prisoned many people in the Ottoman Empire who were regarded as political and social reformists. ‘Abdu’l-Baha, along with the rest of Baha’u’llah’s family, had been confined for decades to the vicinity of Acre in present-day Israel (then under Ottoman control), and at times in the prison-fortress in that city. The age of ‘Abdu’l-Baha when he was released is either 64 or anywhere from 67 to 69, depending on which of several purported years of birth is accurate.

Ref:- ‘A Lost History Of The Baha’i Faith’

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