?Abd Al-Baha? (1844–1921)?

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ABD AL-BAHA˒ (1844–1921)

˓Abd al-Baha˒ ˓Abbas, also known as ˓Abbas Effendi, was the son of Baha˒allah (Mirza Husayn ˓Ali, 1817–1892), the founder of the Baha˒i religion. In his final will and testament, Baha˒allah designated him as his successor and authoritative expounder of his teachings. Born in Tehran on 23 May 1844, he grew up in the household of a father committed to the teachings of the Babi movement and consequently shared his father's fate of exile and intermittent imprisonment until the Young Turk revolution of 1909.

As a result, ˓Abd al-Baha˒ received little formal education and had to manage the affairs of his father's household at a very early age. Despite these setbacks, he demonstrated a natural capacity for leadership and a prodigious knowledge of human history and thought.

˓Abd al-Baha˒ corresponded with and enjoyed the respect of a number of the luminaries of his day, including the Russian author Leo Tolstoy and the Muslim reformer Muhammad ˓Abduh. He left behind a small portion of what is a large corpus of still-unexplored writings that include social commentaries, interpretations, and elaborations of his father's works, mystical treatises, and Qur˒anic and biblical exegeses.

Upon his release from house imprisonment in 1909, ˓Abd al-Baha˒ traveled to North Africa, Europe, and North America advocating a number of reforms for all countries, including the adoption of a universal auxiliary language, global collective security, mandatory education, and full legal and social equality for women and minorities. He also warned of a coming war in Europe and called for a just system of global government and international courts where disputes between nations could be resolved peacefully.

˓Abd al-Baha˒ died on 28 November 1921. According to his will and testament, his eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, became the head of the Baha˒i community and the sole authorized interpreter of his grandfather and great-grandfather's teachings.

See alsoBaha˒allah ; Baha˒i Faith .

William McCants