When ‘Abbás Effendi was eight years old, his father, Bahá’u’lláh, was thrown into a horrible dungeon in Tihrán, Iran, called the “Black Pit.” Why? Simply because He believed in a new Messenger of God called the Báb (“the Gate” in Arabic).
The Báb promised that another Messenger of God would soon appear. In the Black Pit, Bahá’u’lláh saw a divine vision announcing that He was the Messenger foretold by the Báb. In time, He established the Bahá’í Faith.
While Bahá’u’lláh was in prison, the family feared for His safety and struggled to find enough food to eat. After Bahá’u’lláh was released, He was banished from Iran. The family made a long, dangerous journey to Baghdád, Iraq, over freezing mountains.
From then on, ‘Abbás lived in exile or imprisonment in what are now Iraq, Turkey, and Israel. When Bahá’u’lláh declared His Mission publicly, ‘Abbás devoted himself to sharing the Bahá’í teachings of peace. He later took the name “‘Abdu’l-Bahá,” which means “Servant of Bahá.”
In spite of harsh difficulties and demanding voyages, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá focused on helping others. When his companions fell terribly ill, he spent long hours nursing them back to health. In ‘Akká, Israel, when the conditions of exile eased, he went into the city to help the poor.
When Bahá’u’lláh passed away in 1892, He left a will naming ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as the leader of the Bahá’í Faith. Though still imprisoned, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote inspiring letters and guided Bahá’ís around the world with wisdom and love.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá was a prisoner in ‘Akká for about 40 years. In 1908, he was finally freed. A few years later, at age 67, though in poor health, he made historic journeys to Egypt, Europe, and North America. He gave hundreds of talks, urging everyone to end prejudice, treat people of all religions as friends, andbuild peace.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá passed away in 1921. In his will, he appointed his grandson,Shoghi Effendi, as the leader, or Guardian, of the Bahá’í Faith. Today, Bahá’ís around the globe are inspired by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s example. He said, “Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path.”Bahá’í Faith339 ’Abdu’l-Bahá68 Israel39 ’Akká25 Explore30