The observance of this centenary has allowed people everywhere to study and reflect on the remarkable life of Abdu’l-Baha, the leading exponent of the Baha’i Faith in the first decades of the 20th century, renowned as a champion of social justice and an ambassador for international peace, as he wrote in The Secret of Divine Civilization:
… man’s glory and greatness do not consist in his being avid for blood and sharp of claw, in tearing down cities and spreading havoc, in butchering armed forces and civilians.
What would mean a bright future for him would be his reputation for justice, his kindness to the entire population whether high or low, his building up countries and cities, villages and districts, his making life easy, peaceful and happy for his fellow beings, his laying down fundamental principles for progress, his raising the standards and increasing the wealth of the entire population.
Following Baha’u’llah’s passing in 1892, Abdu’l-Baha’s extraordinary qualities of character, his knowledge, and his service to humanity offered a vivid demonstration of the Baha’i teachings in action, and brought great prestige to the rapidly-expanding Baha’i community throughout the world. Despite spending more than half a century as a prisoner and an exile, Abdu’l-Baha, his health impaired by decades of imprisonment, set off on a far-reaching journey to spread the Baha’i message of peace, unity and hope to the world.
Wherever he went, Abdu’l-Baha presented with brilliant simplicity Baha’u’llah’s prescription for the spiritual and social renewal of society. But his message, and the example of his life, was not intended just for the people of his own time. Today, when the planet and its population face such complex issues, what insights can we gain from Abdu’l-Baha’s life, his view of reality, and his writings? How can they help us emulate his character and address the most pressing challenges of the present and the future?
This series of nine podcasts, produced especially for the centenary of the passing of Abdu’l-Baha, recounts the life and work of this unique figure in human history, celebrating his life, his legacy, and his enduring influence on humanity. It includes eyewitness accounts from those who encountered Abdu’l-Baha and commentary from those who have studied his life and example.
Episode One opens at Abdu’l-Baha’s funeral, a funeral unlike any the Holy Land had ever seen. Tens of thousands of people lined the streets of Haifa to pay homage to one they considered as the benevolent father to all. The series recounts Abdu’l-Baha’s early years using the words of his devoted sister Bahiyyih, and tells the story of Baha’u’llah’s acceptance of the message of the Bab, which caused the family’s life to be thrown into turmoil.
Baha’u’llah – cruelly incarcerated for four months in a dark underground dungeon – received the first intimations of his own Divine mission there. Abdu’l-Baha was the first to recognize his father’s station as a messenger of God. For the next 40 years of exile and banishment and thereafter, the personal and tender care for others that was already a part of Abdul-Baha’s personality became a daily, defining feature of the rest of his life. Join us as we explore the powerful life and profound teachings of Abdu’l-Baha.
Featuring the voices of Penn Badgely, James Gillies, and Forouz Masrour
Written and produced by Rob Weinberg and Nathan Rainsford
Assistant Editor: Noah Matthews
Executive producers include Rainn Wilson, Shahin Sobhani, Steve Sarowitz
Maia Reneau and Ford Bowers for Spring Green Media, in collaboration with 239Days.com and BahaiTeachings.org.
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