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A Profile of the Bahá'í Faith and its Worldwide Community

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bullet.gif (837 bytes) The Bahá'ís
bullet.gif (837 bytes) Unity in Diversity
bullet.gif (837 bytes) Bahá'u'lláh
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Social and Moral
Teachings
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Spiritual Beliefs of
the Bahá'í Faith
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) A System for
Global Governance
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) A Century of 
Growth and
Expansion
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) New Approaches
to Old Problems
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Towards the New
World Order

A Century of Growth and Expansion

`Abdu'l-Baha also played a key role in explaining the world-embracing vision of His Father in terms that the Western world could understand, an accomplishment that greatly accelerated the transformation of the Bahá'í Faith from a small, Middle Eastern movement into the worldwide religion it is today.

Following the passing of His Father, `Abdu'l-Bahá remained a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire. Via letters and through direct contact with early Western believers who traveled to Palestine, He guided the Faith's spread outside the Middle East.

After the revolution of the Young Turks, `Abdu'l-Bahá became free to travel. In August 1911, He left the Holy Land on a four-month visit to the Western world, stopping in London and Paris. There He met with early Western believers and gave daily talks on the Bahá'í Faith and its principles.

The following spring, `Abdu'l-Bahá embarked on a year-long tour, again to Europe, and then to the United States and Canada. The visit greatly stimulated the spread of the Bahá'í Faith in those two countries.

During visits to more than 40 cities in North America, He was greeted with respect and acclaim, by both the believers and non-believers alike. In city after city, He was invited to speak at churches and synagogues, and before distinguished groups and organizations.

The net effect was to establish the Bahá'í Faith as a major new force for social reform and religious renewal. The message of Bahá'u'lláh--with its great call for a new and peaceful human society--had been proclaimed in the industrialized world and a new generation of firm believers had been enlisted.

`Abdu'l-Bahá established an on-going plan for the internationalization of the Faith. In a series of letters to believers in North America, He asked them to spread out around the world to promulgate the Bahá'í Faith and its principles.

By the outbreak of World War I, `Abdu'l-Bahá was back in the Holy Land. In His addresses in the West, He had warned about the coming conflagration, and He had spoken unceasingly about the need to establish some form of world commonwealth which might forestall such a war.

During the war, `Abdu'l-Bahá spent His time acting on the principles that He and His father had preached. He personally organized, for example, an extensive agricultural project near Tiberias, which provided an important source of wheat to the region and helped to avert a famine in the area. `Abdu'l-Bahá was knighted by the British Government after the war.   continuescontinues


"Excerpted from The Bahá'ís, a publication of the Bahá'í International Community."


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Photo from page 52
`Abdu'l-Bahá was the guest of honor at a banquet at the Great Northern Hotel in New York City on 13 November 1912. His visit to North America that year was crucial in helping to strengthen the Bahá'í community in the West, laying the groundwork for its expansion worldwide.

Photo from page 53
`Abdu'l-Bahá in Germany in 1913.

Photo from page 54
During his North American tour in 1912, `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke to numerous prominent groups and organizations. In Washington, D.C., for example, He spoke at the Universalist Church, at Howard University, and before such groups as the Bethel Literary Society, and the Theosophical Society. `Abdu'l-Bahá is shown here with a group of Bahá'ís in Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois, on 3 May 1912.
 

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