People across the world who hold to the Baha’i faith will soon be celebrating the Ascension of Abdu’l-Bahá, one of the key holidays in their calendar. This day was created for all to remember the incredible works that Abdu’l-Bahá performed and his great compassion for all that he met.
The Baha’i faith holds close to its very core Abdu’l-Bahá who was the son of its founder, Baha’u’llah. Born Abbas Effendi, when he was chosen by his father to succeed him in leading those of the faith he was renamed Abdu’l-Bahá which means “Servant of Baha.” This changing of leadership in the Baha’i faith occurred in 1892, and from that point it was Abdu’l-Bahá’s responsibility to carefully interpret his father’s writings and teachings.
Throughout his life Abdu’l-Bahá was constantly imprisoned and exiled due to his religious beliefs. He was imprisoned so often that by the time Abdu’l-Bahá reached sixty four years of age, he had spent forty years of his life in prison. However, in his sixties, Abdu’l-Bahá and his family were released, and he began to travel around the world, taking the teachings of the Baha’i faith with him. He gained a reputation for peace and calm, and of accepting those around him. He was also praised for his focus on justice, and proclaimed that “love is the most great law,” as his father did.
Abdu’l-Bahá died on November 28 1921, and over ten thousand people made the journey to his funeral, and they hailed from many different races and religions. In many ways Abdu’l-Bahá was a servant not only of the Baha’i faith but of the world. His ascension will be marked by Baha’i all over the world – in some cases in solemnity but also in celebration of his life and works.