239 Days in America, Day 227: November 23, 1912 | New York

The Spark That Set Aflame the World: 1912-1918 1

“WILL THE PRESENT WAR in the Balkans,” a New Yorker asked ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “terminate in the world war?’” “No,” he answered, “but within two years a spark will rise from the Balkans and set the whole world on fire.”

One of the main reasons ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had come to the United States was to warn about an imminent European war, and to push Americans to rally to prevent it. “Just now Europe is a battlefield of ammunition ready to spark,” he told a peace forum meeting in New York on May 12, “and one spark will set aflame the whole world.” After he visited Niagara Falls on September 10, the Buffalo Courier recorded him saying, “The continent of Europe is one vast arsenal which only requires one spark at its foundations and the whole of Europe will become a wasted wilderness.” Throughout his journey ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had argued that America, because it had no empire to protect, was uniquely positioned to call other nations to peace. …

‘Abdu’l-Bahá left New York aboard the SS Celtic on December 5, 1912. He arrived in Liverpool, England, on December 13, 1912, traveled through England, France, Austria-Hungary, and Germany for six months, then returned to Egypt. He did not finally arrive home in Haifa until December 5, 1913, a full year after leaving America. Within eight months, Europe was burning.

Final Days in America: New York City 2

The days of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit were passing quickly. A farewell banquet was planned on November 23 at the Great Northern Hotel, where Howard Colby Ives estimated there were six hundred, and Mahmúd, three hundred, present. The banquet hall was regal with festoons, banners, and flowers, the crystal glistening beneath the lights. The Master spoke of the oneness of mankind to the white Bahá’ís. The next night, at the Kinneys’, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the white friends served the black friends whom the hotel management had vehemently excluded the night before. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “‘Today you have shown the Commandments of the Blessed Beauty in your actions and have acted according to the teachings of the Supreme Pen.’”

Saturday, November 23, 1912 3

The friends arranged a banquet in commemoration of the Day of the Covenant and the journey of the beloved of all hearts. Today many came to the Master with bouquets of flowers in their hands. The banquet was held in the ballroom of New York’s Grand Northern Hotel. The hall was decorated similarly to that in Washington with festoons, banners, ornaments and exquisite screens, with the Greatest Name suspended above all on the stage in its customary calligraphy.

In the center of the ballroom were two rectangular tables, between which was another large table exquisitely set. Around these tables on both sides were placed small circular tables bedecked with colorful flowers, a variety of sweets and crystal glassware. The electric lighting reflected the glassware and caused the whole room to shine brilliantly. More than three hundred guests, formally attired, attended. Several friends and specifically Miss Lany Lead served at the banquet.

When the Master appeared, all rose from their seats and with smiling faces cried out, ‘Alláh-u-Abhá!’ Many of the hotel guests saw the banquet and were astonished to see the grandeur of the Master and the sincerity and enthusiasm of the friends. After the Master took His seat, Mr Hoar, on behalf of the Bahá’ís, read an address of welcome expressing obedience and firmness in the Covenant. The Master rose and responded with an address about the divine teachings and the oneness of humanity. He then walked around the tables and perfumed the heads and faces of the friends with attar of rose. When He returned to His chair, the friends, accompanied by the piano, sang songs of praise to Him.

Later the Master spoke about the wars and massacres of the nations and the need for the teachings of the Greatest Name. He encouraged all towards peace, harmony and sincere love for all the people of the world. After His talk, the Consul General, Mr Topakyan, and others gave short speeches praising ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

This evening’s banquet was so grand that the hotel staff were curious to know about the Cause. They came to see the Master to ask about the banquet and why so many distinguished Americans were praising and glorifying a person from the East. Indeed, it was a banquet for a king and a source of awakening to every person of insight.

Two photographs were taken with a good quality glass and special lighting. Although the photographs do not show the entire group, they tell much about the banquet.

Talk at Banquet, Great Northern Hotel, 118 West Fifty-seventh Street, New York 4

This meeting is, verily, the noblest and most worthy of all meetings in the world because of these underlying spiritual and universal purposes. Such a banquet and assemblage command the sincere devotion of all present and invite the downpouring of the blessings of God. Therefore, be ye assured and confident that the confirmations of God are descending upon you, the assistance of God will be given unto you, the breaths of the Holy Spirit will quicken you with a new life, the Sun of Reality will shine gloriously upon you, and the fragrant breezes of the rose gardens of divine mercy will waft through the windows of your souls. Be ye confident and steadfast; your services are confirmed by the powers of heaven, for your intentions are lofty, your purposes pure and worthy. God is the helper of those souls whose aim is to serve humanity and whose efforts and endeavors are devoted to the good and betterment of all mankind.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to Its Spiritual Destiny

A grand banquet in commemoration of the Day of the Covenant

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 23, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “The Spark That Set Aflame the World: 1912-1918.” 239 Days in America, 23 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/23/the-spark-that-set-aflame-the-world-1912-1918/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 187.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=9#section245
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 448. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/32#292746477

239 Days in America, Day 221: November 17, 1912 | New York

An Ethos for a New Age 1

“ALL CREATED THINGS HAVE their degree, or stage, of maturity,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explained. “That which was applicable to human needs during the early history of the race, could neither meet nor satisfy the demands of this day and period of newness and consummation.”

It was the evening of November 17, 1912. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was delivering one of his final public talks in America. The venue was Genealogical Hall, a stately four-story brownstone at 226 West 58th Street on the southern fringe of Central Park in the heart of Manhattan. It was home to the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, an organization devoted to preserving family histories in the region, dating back to the colonial period. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá didn’t address the Society: it was an event arranged by New York’s Bahá’ís. Nevertheless, he framed his talk around the idea of the genealogy of the human family.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá argued that just as an individual moves through various milestones in life, so too does humanity as a whole. Humankind, he explained, had passed through its childhood and youth, and had “entered its long presaged period of maturity, the evidences of which are everywhere visible and apparent.”

Sunday, November 17, 1912 2

Early in the morning ‘Abdu’l-Bahá voiced His thankfulness to the Abhá Kingdom, saying:

“Praise be to God! His divine help and assistance have enveloped us and the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom have surrounded us. The Cause of God has reached every ear and the divine fragrances have spread throughout all regions. The East and the West are illumined with the light of the most great guidance. The foundation of the Cause of God is firmly and securely established. The friends of the Blessed Beauty have risen in faithfulness and occupied themselves in proclaiming the Word of God. The foundation of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is laid. I have no further desire. I wish to reach Haifa and to settle again in the Holy Land. It is now your turn to serve, to render your servitude to the holy threshold. Occupy yourselves day and night in the diffusion of the divine fragrances. All confirmations encircle those who are engaged in rendering services to the court of oneness. Nothing avails except servitude to the Blessed Beauty. If, after the ascension of the Blessed Beauty, I had not risen in servitude to Him, these confirmations would not have descended.”

After a short pause, He continued:

“Had there not been this servitude, constancy and confirmation the affairs would have fallen into the hands of the ambitious and the standard of the Cause would have fallen forever. Unseemly matters would have ensued. The story of Yahyá would have been repeated. Had it not been for the firmness and power of the Ancient Beauty, the mainstay of the Cause would have fallen apart. Nothing would have been witnessed but the propagation of selfish desires and, apart from these, nothing would have been witnessed but the propagation of selfish desires and, apart from these, nothing would have remained but some words and phrases.”

Today He mentioned the passing of Áqá Ridá Ghánad Muhájir and spoke about the greatness of his station, saying, ‘I must go myself to the Holy Land to build his effulgent tomb with my own hands and read there a prayer of visitation.’

From morning until the afternoon every room of the Master’s residence was full of people. All were recipients of His everlasting bounties and bathed in the surging waves of the love of God.

This evening the Master spoke to a gathering of the friends regarding the maturity and perfection of the world and gave an account of Bahá’u’lláh. He concluded His address with the chanting of a prayer in a melodious voice, immersing the hearts in a sea of ecstasy and rapture. Many new people attended the meeting and were impressed and moved by the blessings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. They remained in His presence until He left, expressing their sincerity and reverence.

Talk at Genealogical Hall, 252 West Fifty-eighth Street, New York 3

Bahá’u’lláh, the Sun of Truth, has dawned from the horizon of the Orient, flooding all regions with the light and life which will never pass away. His teachings, which embody the divine spirit of the age and are applicable to this period of maturity in the life of the human world, are:

The oneness of the world of humanity

The protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit

The foundation of all religion is one

Religion must be the cause of unity

Religion must accord with science and reason

Independent investigation of truth

Equality between men and women

The abandoning of all prejudices among mankind

Universal peace

Universal education

A universal language

Solution of the economic problem

An international tribunal.

Everyone who truly seeks and justly reflects will admit that the teachings of the present day emanating from mere human sources and authority are the cause of difficulty and disagreement amongst mankind, the very destroyers of humanity, whereas the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh are the very healing of the sick world, the remedy for every need and condition. In them may be found the realization of every desire and aspiration, the cause of the happiness of the world of humanity, the stimulus and illumination of mentality, the impulse for advancement and uplift, the basis of unity for all nations, the fountain source of love amongst mankind, the center of agreement, the means of peace and harmony, the one bond which will unite the East and the West.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to Its Spiritual Destiny

“Nothing avails except servitude to the Blessed Beauty”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 17, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “An Ethos for a New Age.” 239 Days in America, 17 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/17/an-ethos-for-a-new-age/.
  2. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=9#section239
  3. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 440. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/32#118365223

239 Days in America, Day 216: November 12, 1912 | New York

‘Abdu’l-Bahá Returns to the City 1

‘SOMETIME AFTER MIDNIGHT, THE glow of Manhattan appeared over the eastern horizon. The train carrying ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on the final leg of his long trip back east slowed as it approached the city limits of Jersey City, and finally stopped at the Pennsylvania Railroad Terminal on the western shore of the Hudson River. The passengers disembarked and boarded the 23rd Street Ferry, which pulled away from the ferry terminal, turned against the Hudson’s current, and pushed north for four miles along the middle of the channel. Off to starboard the towers of lower Manhattan pricked the night sky with a thousand points of light.

Juliet Thompson stood at the end of the pier at the West 23rd Street Ferry terminal in Manhattan, tracking the chain of lights that embossed the small steamship on its dark watery approach. She made out Dr. Fareed, the translator, standing on deck, and, next to him, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá seated on a deck chair. He stood, stepped into the ship’s bright cabin, and, a few minutes after 1 a.m., walked down the gangplank to meet her. …

From the ferry terminal ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s automobile went north, although we don’t know the route. They may have set out east along West 23rd Street toward Broadway, and then north through the glowing canyons of the boulevard past the theatres, through brightly lit Times Square, around the statue of Columbus at the corner of the black expanse of Central Park, and then up past the Hotel Ansonia into the Upper West Side. Or the driver may have turned left out of the ferry terminal, skirted the dark flowing Hudson on 13th and then 12th Avenue, skipped inland at West 59th Street around the locomotives parked at the south end of the New York Central & Hudson River Railway, and then up West End Avenue to Mrs. Champney’s house on West 78th Street, where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would again take up residence for his final three weeks in America.

Final Days in America: New York City 2

From November 12 until December 5 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stayed in New York and could be said to have conducted a month-long deepening class on every aspect of the Faith. Although invitations to speak poured in, He now refused most of them, for He preferred instead to visit the homes of the friends or to have them come to His house. Day and night, in this last face-to-face effort, he prepared them, as part of the army of God, for the things they must do, for the sacrifices they must make, for the spirituality they must attain, for the lessons they must learn, for the total integration and oneness thy must achieve, and for the service they would be called upon to render to their fellowmen in the path of Bahá’u’lláh.

To know the events of these days fully would be to know the weaving in and out of each human experience, as each person emerged from all his past experiences, entered Abdu’l-Bahá’s presence, and went again into the world. To see how the fabric of the new World Order was being woven, in that rented house on Riverside Drive, those thousands of threads, along with their effects on other lives, would have to be followed from beginning to end.

Tuesday, November 12, 1912 3

Early in the morning, Mrs Champain, the owner of the house, and her relatives came to see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and to receive His blessings. They were at a loss to know in what language they could express their gratitude for the fact that their home had become the residence of the Master and the point of adoration for His lovers. The house is located on Riverside Drive near the Hudson River. Each morning and evening the Master walks in the gardens on the banks of the river.

As there is a war raging between the Balkan states and Turkey, it is the main topic in all the newspapers and people look upon these visitors in their Persian garments with eyes full of prejudice. We have even been refused accommodation in some of the large hotels because they thought we were Turks. The Master remarked, ‘Observe how much enmity and hatred prejudices have produced among various parties and peoples and what suffering and hardship have been caused by them.’ But whenever those who feel enmity towards us have been informed of the Cause of God and entered ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s presence, they become humble and are honored to meet Him.

’Abdu’l-Bahá had been repeatedly asked by some of the New York Bahá’ís to see some of the wealthy people who wanted Him to visit them in their homes, but each time He said:

“I deal with the poor and visit them, not the rich. I love all, especially the poor. All sorts of people come here and I meet them all with sincere love, with heart and soul. Yet I have no intention of visiting the homes of the rich.”

On another occasion, a famous man, Mr Andrew Carnegie, humbly requested an interview with the Master. Although he was one of the millionaires of America, his request was granted and is recorded in one of His writings.

In the afternoon was the usual weekly meeting of the Bahá’í women at the home of Mrs [Grace] Krug. When the Master arrived, Mrs Krug was reciting a prayer. When she finished, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke:

“He is God!

“This is the assemblage of my daughters in the home of my daughter, Mrs Krug. Therefore I am very happy with this gathering. It is a good gathering, very illumined. It is a spiritual assembly, a heavenly assemblage, the glances of favor surround this meeting and the Supreme Concourse looks down upon it. They heard the prayer that you read and it made them joyous. They thank Bahá’u’lláh saying, ‘We thank Thee, O Bahá’u’lláh, that these maidservants are attracted to Thee and are turned to Thy Kingdom. They have no purpose but Thy Will; they wish for no station but that of service to Thy Cause.’

“O Bahá’u’lláh! Assist these noble maidservants; make these worldly daughters heavenly; inspire their hearts and gladden their souls.

“O Bahá’u’lláh! Make these bodies as light-giving candles, these beings the envy of flower gardens and fill their souls with a melody which will enrapture the Supreme Concourse and make them dance for joy. Make each of them a brilliant star so that the world of existence may be illumined with their light.

“O Bahá’u’lláh! Give them heavenly power, bestow on them the inspiration of the Kingdom and vouchsafe to them divine assistance so that they may be enabled to render service unto Thee.

“Thou are the Compassionate, the Merciful and the Lord of Bounty and Favor.”

There was a gathering in the evening at the home of Mr [Edward] Kinney which was attended mostly by black people. At the meeting the Master likened the faith of Mr [Arthur] Dodge to that of Peter and expressed His admiration for that sincere and true servant who was so firm in the Covenant. The Master showed similar kindness to Mr [Hooper] Harris who was permitted to speak to the public gathering before the Master’s address. The Master’s talk was a confirmation of Mr Harris’s speech, an explanation of the prophecies of the Book of Daniel concerning the Most Great Manifestation and the statement in the New Testament about the Promised One.

9 November 1912, Talk at Bahá’í Banquet, Rauscher’s Hall, Washington, D. C. 4

O Lord! Confirm and aid this assemblage. Confirm these souls through the breaths of Thy Holy Spirit. Enlighten the eyes by the vision of these radiant lights, and make the ears joyful through the anthems of Thy call to service. O God! Verily, we have gathered here in the fragrance of Thy love. We have turned to Thy Kingdom. We seek naught save Thee and desire nothing save Thy good pleasure. O God! Let this food be Thy manna from heaven, and grant that this assemblage may be a concourse of Thy supreme ones. May they be the quickening cause of love to humanity and the source of illumination to the human race. May they be the instruments of Thy guidance upon earth. Verily, Thou art powerful. Thou art the Bestower. Thou art the Forgiver, and Thou art the Almighty.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to Its Spiritual Destiny

The Master’s host receives His blessing

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 12, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá Returns to the City.” 239 Days in America, 12 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/12/abdul-baha-returns-to-the-city/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 185-186.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=9#section234
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 419. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/31#533139068

239 Days in America, Day 215: November 11, 1912 | Baltimore

November 11, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ LEFT THE nation’s capital at 9 a.m. this morning on a train bound for Baltimore, arriving at Camden Station shortly afterward. He and his party checked into the Hotel Rennert to rest before making their way to Baltimore’s First Unitarian Church where he is scheduled to speak later today. He will step back onto his train at 3 p.m. for the final leg of his long eastern trip.

In the week ahead, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá returns to New York after almost four months away, the Progressive Movement reaches a triumphant climax with Woodrow Wilson’s aggressive reform agenda, and, New York’s first big Mafia trial comes to a close, after filling the city’s newspapers with sensational gangland stories for two months.

The Journey East: Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., Baltimore 2

Abdu’l-Bahá traveled to Baltimore on Monday, November 11, went to a hotel, granted interviews to the press, spoke at a Unitarian Church, and went for a late breakfast at the Struvens’ home.

He wired the friends in Philadelphia, who had been asking Him to come, that His train would be passing through their city and that He would see them at the station, They were on the platform when He arrived and rushed joyously to Him. Most got on the train and rode with Him to the next station, They were joyful, enthusiastic, and departed weeping, a sight which so amazed the other people on the train that they came to find out who these people were. Abdu’l-Bahá talked to them and, at their request, gave them the addresses of Bahá’ís whom they could ask for further information.

Monday, November 11, 1912 3

The believers were so eager to see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that they began to arrive at His residence from early morning. Their hearts were burning with the fire of separation and each craved His assistance and bestowals.

The believers had already assembled when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived at the railway station at 9:00 a.m. To the amazement of onlookers, they gathered around Him, their hearts filled with sorrow and anguish. This happened in every city of America when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived and departed. Onlookers were at a loss to understand how a person from the East in Iranian dress had won the veneration and respect of the men and women of America.

Some of the friends accompanied the Master to Baltimore where He stayed at a hotel. Among the many visitors who came to see Him was a newspaper reporter who was given a detailed discourse on universal peace and the ability of the American people and government to enforce it. The Master’s words were noted down for publication.

Later, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke at the Unitarian Church of Baltimore regarding the oneness of the world of man, the immutability of the principles of the divine religions and the changing of the social laws according to the demands of the time.

When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left the church He went to lunch at the home of Mr [Howard] and Mrs [Hebe] Struven. The Baltimore believers were overjoyed to see their Master. In one of His talks to the friends He said:

“Praise be to God! I have spent time with you in utmost happiness. I am very pleased with you and will not forget you. I pray that you may daily become more illumined and more spiritual. When I reach the Holy Land, I shall lay my head on the threshold of the Blessed Shrine and, weeping, I shall supplicate on your behalf for assistance and heavenly favors, eternal honor and everlasting joy.”

The Master and the friends then left for the station in two automobiles. On the way ‘Abdu’l-Bahá embraced Mr Struvens as a kind father embraces a son and with the utmost kindness thanked him for his many services to the Cause in such glowing terms that the others were astonished.

A message from the friends in Philadelphia was relayed to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá expressing their hope and expectation that since it was on His way, He might be able stop in their city. He replied, ‘We have been there once. Now we have neither time nor possibility. Send them a telegram saying that they may come to the station so that we can meet for a few minutes.’

At 6:00 p.m. when the train reached the station, the friends, both men and women, were on the platform. When the train stopped, they immediately rushed towards the Master’s seat and fell upon His feet, fulfilling their hearts’ desire. With great eagerness and enthusiasm, many of them accompanied the Master to the next station, honored to be in His presence. They begged His assistance that they might render service to the Cause of God and then, weeping, left Him. When the other passengers saw these 30 or so friends from Philadelphia hovering near the Master with such heartfelt emotions, their curiosity to know more was aroused. Fascinated by His majesty and grandeur, they surrounded the Master to hear explanations of the divine teachings. They were transformed and attracted to the teachings and asked for the addresses of the friends and assemblies. Teaching the Cause of the God and guiding the people along the road gives so much joy and excitement that there are no words to describe it.

At about 1:00 a.m. the city of New York was once more graced with the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. He stayed at the same house which had previously been rented at His instruction. Thus for the second time this house became the court of the Center of the Covenant and the threshold of bounty and favor. The owners of the house and their relatives had joined the group of sincere and devoted believers and were counted among the lovers of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

10 November 1912, Talk at 1901 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D. C. 4

I am greatly pleased with the friends in Washington and experience real happiness in meeting them. Likewise, I am pleased with the friends from Baltimore, for I have observed that their hearts are attracted to the love of Bahá’u’lláh. Their vision is extended toward the Kingdom of Bahá. Their spirits are rejoicing in the glad tidings of Abhá. Verily, they are servants of the Cause of God. All are engaged in service, and the perfection of their desire is to enter into the Kingdom of Abhá and draw near unto God. For that reason I am very happy and well pleased with them. I pray for you all. May the favors of the Blessed Beauty, Bahá’u’lláh, encompass you, and may the lights of the Sun of Reality be your illumination. May you all become united and assured. May you serve the Cause of God as one single, united force. I give you the glad tidings that the confirmations of God will descend upon you. Be ye assured of this. Ye will become illumined. Ye will become conquerors.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to Its Spiritual Destiny

Chicago believers gathered at the train station to see the Master off

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 11, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “November 11, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 11 Nov. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/11/11/november-11-1912-the-week-ahead/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 183-184.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=9#section233
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 428. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/31#309517566

239 Days in America, Day 196: October 23, 1912 | San Francisco

“The Great Educator of Man Is Woman” 1

“I AM DELIGHTED TO speak before this gathering of revered ladies,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá began, “who have met for the purpose of investigating the realities of life.” On Tuesday, October 16, 1912, he addressed the Century Club of California, a private social club for women founded in 1888, which devoted its energies and financial resources to the advancement of women. Phoebe Hearst had been its first president. Julia Morgan, the architect of Ms. Hearst’s estate in Pleasanton, had also designed the club’s illustrious Edwardian mansion. Ella Cooper, who had traveled in Mrs. Hearst’s party to ‘Akká in 1898, in the first group of Americans to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, sat in on the gathering, scribbling down ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s words as they were translated.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá made his position on gender equality unequivocal. “Some believe that man is the greater and preferable member of the body politic,” he told the women, “that he is created with certain superior virtues, and that woman, however great may be her attainment, can never reach man’s level, because she is not endowed with equal faculties.” He refuted this position, noting instead that in the eyes of growing majority, and surely in the eyes of God, “perfect equality already exists.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá turned to the role of mothers in the development of society. “The great educator of man is woman,” he argued, “for it is the mother who is the first teacher.” “In the world of humanity the most productive and useful member, after all, is woman,” he said to reinforce his point, “for it is woman who educates man, not the reverse. She rears the children; she cares for the home upon which the body politic is founded; she gives birth to mighty leaders.”

It is, therefore, men’s duty to be “grateful” to womankind, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá argued. It would be impossible for men to progress without women, he pointed out, yet “when woman demands her rights she is refused. . . .”

California 2

But the crowds kept coming, and round of public meetings continued to the last moment.

Wednesday, October 23, 1912 3

Today there was a public meeting in Oakland at the home of Mrs Cooper and Mrs Goodall. The Master spoke kindly about the devotion and steadfastness of His hostesses and praised the firmness and enthusiasm of the California Bahá’ís. As these were the last days of His stay, the friends’ hearts were moved and their enthusiasm and affection increased. He had lunch and dinner there.

In the evening the Master spoke of the retirement of the Blessed Beauty and the distress of the believers, speaking at length of Áqá Abu’l-Qásim-i-Hamadání. ‘From the circumstances, as reported,’ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá continued,

“we surmised that because Áqá Abu’l-Qásim-i-Hamadání had previously been with Bahá’u’lláh and had also set out on a journey when the Blessed Beauty disappeared, then Darvish Muhammad was really the Blessed Beauty and must be in the vicinity of Sulaymáníyyih. Thus it was that we sent the friends to petition Him, implore and supplicate Him to return to Baghdád.”

After the meeting the Master went to His room but the friends implored His presence among them. He then returned to the gathering, saying, among other things:

“I have now been for some time in these regions. In any city I have entered I have met with the friends and other people. In all the gatherings and most of the churches I have called out to the Abhá Kingdom and invited people to the Cause of the Blessed Beauty. At night I have implored and supplicated and prayed and asked for assistance, so that the rays of the Sun of Reality may shine on this country, illumine all the regions of America, bestow everlasting life; that its citizens may acquire heavenly civilization and that they may be bountifully favored through the teachings of the Blessed Beauty.

“Praise be to God! This has come to pass through the grace of the Blessed Beauty and the assistance of the Abhá Kingdom. The call of God has been raised in all the cities of America. Accounts of the greatness of the Cause have been published even in the newspapers.”

He also spoke with joy and happiness about the establishment of the Cause in the countries of the East and the firmness and steadfastness of the Persian friends.

One day, as He was strolling, He called to remembrance the days of the Blessed Beauty, referring with sadness to His sojourn in Sulaymáníyyih, to His loneliness and to the wrongs inflicted upon Him. Though He had often recounted that episode, that day He was so overcome with emotion that He sobbed aloud in His grief . . . All His attendants wept with Him, and were plunged into sorrow as they heard the tale of the woeful trials endured by the Ancient Beauty, and witnessed the tenderness of heart manifested by His Son. 4

The Master remained in Oakland for the night.

12 October 1912, Talk at Temple Emmanu-El, 450 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California 5

Praise be to God! The medieval ages of darkness have passed away and this century of radiance has dawned, this century wherein the reality of things is becoming evident, wherein science is penetrating the mysteries of the universe, the oneness of the world of humanity is being established, and service to mankind is the paramount motive of all existence. Shall we remain steeped in our fanaticisms and cling to our prejudices? Is it fitting that we should still be bound and restricted by ancient fables and superstitions of the past, be handicapped by superannuated beliefs and the ignorances of dark ages, waging religious wars, fighting and shedding blood, shunning and anathematizing each other? Is this becoming? Is it not better for us to be loving and considerate toward each other? Is it not preferable to enjoy fellowship and unity, join in anthems of praise to the most high God and extol all His Prophets in the spirit of acceptance and true vision? Then, indeed, this world will become a paradise, and the promised Day of God will dawn. Then, according to the prophecy of Isaiah, the wolf and the lamb will drink from the same stream, the owl and the vulture will nest together in the same branches, and the lion and the calf pasture in the same meadow. What does this mean? It means that fierce and contending religions, hostile creeds and divergent beliefs will reconcile and associate, notwithstanding their former hatreds and antagonism. Through the liberalism of human attitude demanded in this radiant century they will blend together in perfect fellowship and love. This is the spirit and meaning of Isaiah’s words. There will never be a day when this prophecy will come to pass literally, for these animals by their natures cannot mingle and associate in kindness and love. Therefore, this prophecy symbolizes the unity and agreement of races, nations and peoples who will come together in attitudes of intelligence, illumination and spirituality.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Praising the firmness and enthusiasm of the California Bahá’ís

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

October 23, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “‘The Great Educator of Man Is Woman.’” 239 Days in America, 23 Oct. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/10/23/abdul-baha-exalts-the-role-of-mothers/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 170.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=8#section214
  4. Effendi, Shoghi. God Passes By. 1944. Reprint, Wilmette, IL: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1970, 293-294. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/shoghi-effendi/god-passes-by/21#543609895
  5. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 369-370. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/27#302121517

239 Days in America, Day 167: September 24, 1912 | Denver

The World Is Thinking of War 1

“THE PEOPLE OF THIS world are thinking of warfare,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told an audience in Denver, Colorado, on September 24, 1912, “you must be peacemakers.” Two days earlier, in Omaha, Nebraska, news reached ‘Abdu’l-Bahá of the impending conflict in the Balkan Peninsula. By the time he arrived in Colorado, the front pages of every newspaper in the country were trumpeting that the tensions in the Balkans were about to escalate.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá had lamented Italy’s invasion of Tripoli on April 12, 1912, his second day in America. In 1911, Italian troops had landed on the shores of the Ottoman provinces of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, in what is now western Libya. Italy’s victory emboldened the Balkan states in their own military aspirations against the Muslims. During the summer months of 1912, the Christian Balkan states -— Serbia, Greece, Montenegro, and Bulgaria -— created the Balkan League, whose mandate was to rid the area of the Ottomans.

On September 22, in Omaha, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had described how a general European war could be averted. North and South American republics should put pressure on European nations, financiers should refuse to give military loans, railroads should refuse to transport arms. When he arrived in Denver on September 24, he raised the issue of war and peace immediately.

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

After the morning sessions on September 24 He walked through the park. Many people stopped and looked, and some took photographs as He passed by. One of the friends remarked that, with their diversity of Easter and Western clothes, people were looking upon the sight as a comedy. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá laughed, “‘Yea, it is heavenly fun, a performance of the Kingdom and a wonderful theater.’”

When He went by train to the suburban home of Mrs. Clark in the afternoon, again some observers were whispering about them. Abdu’l-Bahá told the friends to tell them, “‘We are neither Turks nor Arabs; neither of the East nor of the West; but we are of heaven and of God.’”

September 24, 1912 3

There was a rush of people from early morning until noon. Friends, seekers, professors, clergymen and philosophers all came to see Him. They each raised questions and were filled with joy on hearing the Master’s words.

He was invited by some clergymen to speak in their churches. He tendered His regrets, saying, ‘My stay here is brief.’

Today the newspapers published ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s picture along with those of His companions, as well as articles describing His talks.

After the meeting He went for a walk and strolled through parks and boulevards. As the Master passed by the government buildings, monuments and statutes of American heroes, He remarked: ‘Their victories are trifling in comparison with the first victories of Islam, yet they are famous and a source of honor to all who know them. But these great victories have been completely forgotten.’ All eyes were attracted to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, to His glory, dignity and grandeur, as He walked with His companions dressed in their kuláhs and Persian clothes. One of the Master’s companions remarked that the people viewed this picturesque sight as an amusing comedy. He replied, ‘Yes, it is a heavenly act, a performance of the Kingdom, a wonderful pageant.’

Those who had read the newspapers about the arrival of the Master were heard saying to each other, ‘He is the Prophet of the East, the Messenger of Peace. Those who had cameras took the Master’s photograph as He walked by.

In the afternoon He was invited to the suburban home of Mrs Clark. As we rode on the train some passengers were seen to be whispering about us. He said, ‘Tell them we are neither Turks nor Arabs, neither of the East nor of the West, rather we are of heaven and of God.’ One of the companions said, ‘Being of that is good but being of God is better.’

When the Master arrived at Mrs Clark’s home, several of the friends had already gathered to see Him. He spoke to them about the confirmations of the Abhá Beauty and the power and influence of the Word of God. ‘See how He has made the Easterner and the Westerner friends’, He said, ‘and has bestowed sincere love and true friendship. Otherwise, what connection would there be between us and Americans, between this Japanese youth and Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání? Mrs Clark said: ‘I have frequently dreamt that my home would become honored with the footsteps of the Beloved Master. I am extremely thankful and grateful that my dreams have come true. My heart is now freed from ego, whereas before I used to consider myself better than anyone else.’ The Master said:

“Thank God, because the first self-conceited one was Satan. A man must never consider himself greater than others. Rather, he must always be humble and self-effacing. The bird, as long as it sees itself at a low level, is given impetus to soar and progress; but the moment it fancies itself high in the air, it begins to descend.”

Someone in the audience asked, ‘What shall I do to become a true servant?’ He replied:

“Act in accordance with the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. Do not only read His teachings but put into practice in your lives the Hidden Words and the other holy writings. Whatever I say is not even a drop from the ocean of the Supreme Pen and the treasure-filled sea of the bounty and favor of the Abhá Beauty.

“I have brought the message of Bahá’u’lláh to this country in order to teach people to investigate truth, to render service to humanity, to endeavor to bring about international peace, to exert every effort to guide humanity, to show kindness to all creatures and to raise the Call of the Kingdom. Man must be endowed with divine attributes and must enter the concourse of the exalted ones. These teachings are only a drop from the sea concealed in the Hidden Words. We must pray for each other. If we act according to the divine teachings, by God besides Whom there is none other God, we shall shine like lamps. But woe betide those people who are aware of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and know them to be the cause of eternal salvation and divine nearness but still do not bring their actions into conformity with them. Such is a source of great distress. Thus it is incumbent upon us to endeavor day and night to follow the teachings of God. This is the cause of eternal esteem, this is divine favor, this is the honor of mankind and this is everlasting life.”

Another person asked about telepathy or communication from mind to mind. He replied:

“It is evident. If a lover holds the hand of a beloved, it is obvious what feelings ensue. They communicate face to face and speak heart to heart, as this light is communicating now with human eyes, the sun with the earth, the cloud with the land and the breeze with the tree. This process is found in all things.”

The Master was asked about His health and comfort, to which He replied:

“I have not come for rest and diversion. I have come to raise the call of the Abhá Kingdom in order to diffuse the divine fragrances. Had I desired rest, I would have secured it more easily in the East. Now I must journey to various cities and countries and call people to the divine Kingdom. Suppose I had rested for a few years, what results would it have had?”

The Master was asked about His health and comfort, to which He replied:

“I have not come for rest and diversion. I have come to raise the call of the Abhá Kingdom in order to diffuse the divine fragrances. Had I desired rest, I would have secured it more easily in the East. Now I must journey to various cities and countries and call people to the divine Kingdom. Suppose I had rested for a few years, what results would it have had?”

Early in the evening when He returned to the hotel the Master discovered that the editor of The Post had placed an automobile at His disposal. On the way to the Church of Divine Science, He remarked:

“Behold the power and confirmation of the Blessed Beauty: The pastor comes in person with all humility to invite us and the proprietor of a leading journal sends his automobile for our use, so that we may raise the call of God in the church. Truly, such confirmations have never been seen in other dispensations and in no age have the Manifestations of the Cause of God met with such reverence and honor. But these things should be the cause of humility and self-effacement. We must not consider that they are due to our addresses or our eloquence. These shining lights which you see will instantly darken if the origin of their bounty is severed from them.”

When the Master’s automobile reached the church, a crowd of people was seen standing outside. Immediately the pastor came forward, and taking the Master’s arm, led Him to the pulpit. The pastor reverently introduced the Master to the audience. Then ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stood and delivered an address on the reality and condition of the Manifestations of God. After His talk, the people came to the pulpit to see Him and shake His hand, surrounding Him like moths. Another clergyman, with the utmost humility, asked the Master to speak at his church. He was so persuasive that every tongue was forced to say, ‘All heads are bowed before Him.’ With great courtesy, the Master tendered His apologies because of His limited time but promised to return.

As the Master left the church He was perspiring so much that His companions were concerned about His health and tried to keep Him warm with His ‘abá, shawl and blanket. Indeed, the guidance and protection of the Abhá Beauty prevailed and His assistance bestowed. Everything relating to this journey has been the cause of joy and a sign of the power of the King of Manifestations.

Talk at Home of Mrs. Sidney E. Roberts , Denver, Colorado4

Praise be to God! We are living in a century of light. Praise be to God! We are upon earth in the day of divine effulgence. Praise be to God! We are alive in this time of the manifestation of divine love. Praise be to God that we live in the day of the outpouring of heavenly bounty. Praise be to God! This is a day wherein the lights and splendors have awakened progress throughout the East and the West. Many holy souls in former times longed to witness this century, lamenting night and day, yearning to be upon the earth in this cycle; but our presence and privilege is the beneficent gift of the Lord. In His divine mercy and absolute virtue He has bestowed this upon us, even as Christ declared, “Many are called but few are chosen.” Verily, God has chosen you for His love and knowledge; God has chosen you for the worthy service of unifying mankind; God has chosen you for the purpose of investigating reality and promulgating international peace; God has chosen you for the progress and development of humanity, for spreading and proclaiming true education, for the expression of love toward your fellow creatures and the removal of prejudice; God has chosen you to blend together human hearts and give light to the human world. The doors of His generosity are wide, wide open to us; but we must be attentive, alert and mindful, occupied with service to all mankind, appreciating the bestowals of God and ever conforming to His will.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Many came to see the Master from all walks of life

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 24, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “The World Is Thinking of War.” 239 Days in America, 24 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/24/the-world-is-thinking-of-war/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 152-153.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=7#section184
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 334-335. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/26#063559568

239 Days in America, Day 162: September 19, 1912 | Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Flour Power, and the Ideal Virtues of Man 1

THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER rushed over the half-circled ledges of layered limestone and sandstone, pouring forward on its long journey toward America’s south. St. Anthony Falls was the focal point of a city that was the world leader in flour milling: Minneapolis, Minnesota. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke at the industrial center on September 20, 1912. He talked about the need for moral progress in addition to the material progress so evident in America.

“If we review history,” he told his audience, “we will observe that human advancement has been greatest in the development of material virtues. Civilization is the sign and evidence of this progression.”

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

On September 19, the Minneapolis Journal reported:

Long before the other guests at the Plaza hotel were astir today, Abdul Baha Abbas, head of the Bahaists of the world, who believes and teaches the eventual harmony and unity of religious mankind, … was up and about in parlor 603, pacing quietly across the room and back, and pausing occasionally to look meditatively out across Hennepin avenue into Loring Park. …

… He smiled faintly, and two beautiful, large hazel eyes looked about the room. He rose from the divan on which he had been sitting and walked towards the window, Except that his complexion is dark and he is short of stature, he looked not unlike the portraits of General Robert E. Lee, the contour nose being particularly striking. …

H. S. Fugeta, a Japanese from Cleveland, who had joined the party at Chicago, came in and knelt beside a window chair, where Abdul Baha had seated himself and the leader placed his hands on the head of the kneeling man and uttered prayer in Persian. The syllables were strangely effective and rhythmetrical. Mirza Ahmed Sorab translated it aloud.

“Your spiritual growth is noteworthy; you are becoming stronger; your spirit is awake and you will be happy,” was the less poetic English rendition of part of it.

Thursday, September 19, 1912 3

It was reported to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that the proceedings of the Bahá’í meeting the night before had been published in today’s newspapers. He said:

“Notwithstanding this, the Muslims and the Christians alike are not satisfied with us. They are engaged in pleasurable diversions and enjoyable pastimes in their homes while we are laboring to prove the truths of the divine Manifestations in these great temples. So it is with the mischief-makers and Covenant-breakers. Behold how they are preoccupied with themselves and with the satisfaction of their selfish desires, while I am so wholly occupied with spreading the Cause of God in America that I have not had a moment’s rest.”

After a visit with friends and seekers, the Master went to a museum. Among its many antiques objects were some small tear vials from ancient Phoenicia in which people had preserved their tears at the time of the death of their loved ones and then buried with the dead bodies. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, ‘See how these bottles have outlasted the bodies of men under the earth.’ He continued:

“When people of the West become wealthy, they begin to collect antique objects in order to render a service to the world of art. But when Persians become wealthy, they keep one hundred horses in their stables, give themselves up to pomp and show, engage themselves in satiating their selfish desires. But in comparison with service to the Cause, both attitudes are barren, producing no result. For example, if the effort these people put into gathering these objects, and the millions of dollars spent acquiring them, were employed for the Cause of God, their stars of happiness and prosperity would shine evermore from the horizon of both worlds. If in this city they brought ten persons into the Cause of God, it would gain momentum and would become the cause of eternal honor and happiness as well as the source of everlasting life.”

After returning to the hotel, telegrams reporting the good news were prepared and dispatched to the Assemblies of the East.

Among the friends assembled to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá were several philosophers and clergymen. The Master spoke about the oneness of mankind, universal brotherhood and the teachings of God. Everyone expressed their admiration and sincere appreciation. The friends were delighted to see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s influence and power and pleaded with Him to prolong His stay. He replied, ‘We have little time. We must go everywhere to announce the Cause of God. We have called the people here and now we must hasten to other places until we reach California.’

There was a splendid meeting in the afternoon at the home of Mr Hall. Several people were there, including some philosophers, professors, clergymen and women, all of whom listened to the Master’s words with great pleasure. The Master spoke about the oneness and unity of mankind and the increased capacity of this enlightened century. After He spoke, a number of the guests requested the privilege of having a private interview with Him.

Dr [Clement] Woolson brought his automobile to take the Master to a meeting in St Paul, some 15 miles from Minneapolis. The distance was covered in comfort and at a good speed. The Master praised the cleanliness and beauty of the Mississippi River and the greenness of the hills, plains and gardens along the way. He arrived at Dr Woolson’s home and there addressed the assembled friends who were very taken with His words. His explanation of nature’s lack of perfection and its recreation through divine education gave the audience a new perspective.

The Master took a walk in the garden. Several children approached Him and politely asked Him about His country and the purpose of His visit. He spoke with them kindly. They then followed Him in respectful silence and when He approached the house, they asked permission to come inside. To each He gave some coins and showered them with kindness. One tiny child slipped off his father’s lap and ran to the Master, saying. ‘I love you first and then my father.’

When it was time to leave two automobiles were at the door. One belonged to some enthusiastic women who were new to the Cause. The Master sat in their automobile. Then Dr Woolson came out to say that the automobile meant for the Master was the other one. The Master then went to that automobile and they drove to Minneapolis at full speed to attend the meeting being held in the evening at Mr Hall’s home. The other automobile did not reach its destination and it was later learned than it had broken down on the way and that the women had had to make other arrangements. Because they arrived late, they had the honor of having dinner with the Master.

20 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. Albert L. Hall, 2030 Queen Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 4

Man possesses two types of virtues: One is material, and the other ideal in character. For example, the body of man expresses certain material virtues, but the spirit of man manifests virtues that are ideal. The sense of sight in man is a physical virtue; but insight, the power of inner perception, is ideal in its nature. The sense of hearing is a physical endowment, whereas memory in man is ideal. Among other human forces the power of ideation, or faculty of intellection, is material, but the power of love is spiritual. The acquisition of the realities of phenomena is an ideal virtue; likewise, the emotions of man and his ability to prove the existence of God. Realization of moral standards and the world of discovery involve virtues essentially ideal.

If we review history, we will observe that human advancement has been greatest in the development of material virtues. Civilization is the sign and evidence of this progression. Throughout the world, material civilization has attained truly wonderful heights and degrees of efficiency—that is to say, the outward powers and virtues of man have greatly developed, but the inner and ideal virtues have been correspondingly delayed and neglected. It is now the time in the history of the world for us to strive and give an impetus to the advancement and development of inner forces—that is to say, we must arise to service in the world of morality, for human morals are in need of readjustment. We must also render service to the world of intellectuality in order that the minds of men may increase in power and become keener in perception, assisting the intellect of man to attain its supremacy so that the ideal virtues may appear. Before a step is taken in this direction we must be able to prove Divinity from the standpoint of reason so that no doubt or objection may remain for the rationalist. Afterward, we must be able to prove the existence of the bounty of God—that the divine bounty encompasses humanity and that it is transcendental. Furthermore, we must demonstrate that the spirit of man is immortal, that it is not subject to disintegration and that it comprises the virtues of humanity.

Material virtues have attained great development, but ideal virtues have been left far behind. If you should ask a thousand persons, “What are the proofs of the reality of Divinity?” perhaps not one would be able to answer. If you should ask further, “What proofs have you regarding the essence of God?” “How do you explain inspiration and revelation?” “What are the evidences of conscious intelligence beyond the material universe?” “Can you suggest a plan and method for the betterment of human moralities?” “Can you clearly define and differentiate the world of nature and the world of Divinity?”—you would receive very little real knowledge and enlightenment upon these questions. This is due to the fact that development of the ideal virtues has been neglected. People speak of Divinity, but the ideas and beliefs they have of Divinity are, in reality, superstition. Divinity is the effulgence of the Sun of Reality, the manifestation of spiritual virtues and ideal powers. The intellectual proofs of Divinity are based upon observation and evidence which constitute decisive argument, logically proving the reality of Divinity, the effulgence of mercy, the certainty of inspiration and immortality of the spirit. This is, in reality, the science of Divinity. Divinity is not what is set forth in dogmas and sermons of the church. Ordinarily when the word Divinity is mentioned, it is associated in the minds of the hearers with certain formulas and doctrines, whereas it essentially means the wisdom and knowledge of God, the effulgence of the Sun of Truth, the revelation of reality and divine philosophy.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

‘Abdu’l-Bahá “… so wholly occupied with spreading the Cause of God in America …”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 19, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Minneapolis, Flour Power, and the Ideal Virtues of Man.” 239 Days in America, 19 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/19/minneapolis-flour-power-and-the-ideal-virtues-of-man/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 148-150.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=7#section179
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 325-326. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/24#187189111

239 Days in America, Day 81: June 30, 1912 | New Jersey

Donkeys in Baltimore 1

By this morning, Sunday [June 30], the delegates had voted on an additional fourteen ballots, and the New York Times printed the results of each vote on page two. Governor Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey was slowly breaking down the lead of the frontrunner, Champ Clark, the Speaker of the House.

There weren’t many stories in today’s Times that didn’t have to do with politics, but one of them was about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. “PROPHET’S DASH FOR TRAIN: Abdul Baha in Spectacular Rush from Montclair” described the spectacle on Saturday morning at the Lackawanna station when his attendants had tried to stop the train from departing without him. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was sandwiched between two Roosevelt stories on page six. The column to his left told how TR was gobbling up Republican newspaper endorsements. To his right Teddy chatted with reporters about Baltimore, his clothing still damp after a thunderstorm, which had narrowly missed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s unity feast in West Englewood, New Jersey, and had decided to wash out the Roosevelt family picnic in Oyster Bay instead.

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 2

On Sunday morning, June 30, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left for the home of Mr. Topakyan, the Persian Consul General, in Morristown. On His way there He stopped in Englewood at the home of the minister who had come to see Him the day before, After talking a few minutes, He continued His trip to Morristown. Concerning the afternoon activities, Abdu’l-Bahá’s translator, Dr. Amín Faríd, wrote:

The Consul-General of Persia, Topakyan, gave a barbecue in honor of Abdul-Baha and his Persian suite, at his delightful summer home and garden at Morristown, New Jersey. The journey was accomplished in an automobile from the home of Mr. Roy C. Wilhelm, in West Englewood, through beautiful meadows of New Jersey, and the whole day was spent most pleasantly at the Persian consulate, which is a building in the garden built after the old style of Persian architecture. Among the guests were some prominent men from New York and some society folk to interview him on all sorts of questions. He spoke that forenoon to those persons on the advance of materialism and its evil attendants or concomitants. The dinner was entirely Oriental in character, a barbecue a la Perse. 3

Sunday, June 30, 1912

In the morning, after His obligatory prayer and supplications, the Master invited us into His presence and served us tea with His own hand. He spoke of the blessings and confirmations of the Ancient Beauty, the Greatest Name:

This help and assistance are from Him and these confirmations are through His bounty and favor; otherwise, we are nothing but weak servants. We are as reeds and all these melodies are from Him. We are ants and this dignity of Solomon is from Him. We are servants and this heavenly dominion is from Him. We must, therefore, offer our constant gratitude to Him for His favors and must join heart and soul to praise Him for His blessings.

As His home is always filled with a continuous stream of visitors, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá did not accept invitations from societies or organizations to speak at public meetings. Instead He spoke to the people gathered in the evenings, gave special audiences during the day and attended to other tasks. This evening He spoke about His long stay in New York. ‘As it is the meeting place of the East and the West,’ He said, ‘I desire to make it a center of signs, and pray that the friends may advance and gain precedence in spirituality.’

Apart from these gatherings, the Master’s movements outside attract everyone and His look of favor captivates all. 4

Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons, 1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 24 April 1912

Praise be to God! I have no personal interests. I have an interest in the Kingdom, and this is a sincere intention. I have perfect love for you; therefore, I have traveled this long distance to meet and greet you. I hope that these gatherings may be productive of great results, and there is no greater result than the love of God. There is no greater result than bonds of service in the divine Kingdom and attainment to the good pleasure of the Lord. Therefore, I desire that your hearts may be directed to the Kingdom of God, that your intentions may be pure and sincere, your purposes turned toward altruistic accomplishment unmindful of your own welfare; nay, rather, may all your intentions center in the welfare of humanity, and may you seek to sacrifice yourselves in the pathway of devotion to mankind. Even as Jesus Christ forfeited His life, may you, likewise, offer yourselves in the threshold of sacrifice for the betterment of the world; and just as Bahá’u’lláh suffered severe ordeals and calamities nearly fifty years for you, may you be willing to undergo difficulties and withstand catastrophes for humanity in general. May you bear these trials and tests most willingly and joyously, for every night is followed by a day, and every day has a night. Every spring has an autumn, and every autumn has its spring. The coming of a Manifestation of God is the season of spiritual spring. 5

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Mahmud: June 30 – Lua’s attempts not to leave the Master for California

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 30, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Donkeys in Baltimore.” 239 Days in America, 30 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/30/donkeys-in-baltimore/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 103.
  3. Dr. Ameen U. Fareed, “Barbecue in Honor of Abdul-Baha,” Star of the West, 3, no. 11 (Sept. 27, 1912), 8.
  4. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=4#section98
  5. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 54-55. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/3#867540848

239 Days in America, Day 79: June 28, 1912 | New Jersey

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s “Feast of Unity” 1

THE ORIENTAL PASSENGER WAVED his arms on the steps of the train parked at Lackawanna station. He had to stall the train. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s attendants, “ten fez-wearing Persians,” as The New York Times put it, had already loaded their baggage on the train headed northeast from Montclair to West Englewood, New Jersey. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had not yet arrived. Missing the train could mean missing the event he had organized in nearby Englewood.

The distressed passenger pulled the bell rope, a job usually reserved for the conductor of the train to indicate an unplanned stop. Then one of the Persians – perhaps accidentally – knocked off the train conductor’s hat, distracting him. At last ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived in his car, the train halted, and his friends hustled him into the coach …

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 2

On Friday [June 28], when He [Abdu’l-Bahá ] took a group of the friends by streetcar to the park in Montclair, He led them to the empty bandstand, and seated them saying, “‘factious persons … are trying to imprison Me again on My return to the Holy Land,.” When the friends suggested it would be better for Him not to return, He replied, “‘My Source is the Holy Threshold. What I have is from that Threshold. And ,my return, too, is to the same. Had to not been for His aid and assistance, would these people sitting on your right and left have had any care for you and Me … What are we and why are we showered with these favors? Where is Persia and where is America? …’”

Friday, June 28, 1912

As the Master had previously invited the friends in New York to a Unity Feast in Englewood, He prepared to leave Montclair in the morning. Although most Americans do not awaken until after sunrise, some friends and their children were waiting an hour before dawn to see Him and to receive His blessings. Then another group arrived and received His bestowals.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá left Montclair at half past eight in the morning, passed through New York, and after changing trams four times and passing twice by the river, He reached Englewood. Tired from the journey and the warm weather, having traveled from morning to noon, He briefly rested at the home of Mr [Roy] Wilhelm. Meanwhile, the friends began to arrive from the surrounding areas and gathered on the lawn adjoining the house. The meeting was arranged in a circle under the trees, with almost two hundred people seated at the table and being served by the Bahá’ís. Everyone enjoyed the delicacies and was extremely happy.

The green lawn under the shade trees was strewn with flowers so that it seemed as if an embroidered carpet had been spread, every design indicative of the power of the Covenant of the Ancient Beauty. To see the Master walking in this green, flower-covered garden, with a gentle breeze blowing, the purity of the air, the cleanliness of the surroundings and the rejoicing of the friends, was most pleasing; all seemed to vie with one another to please the Master.

When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá entered the circle, He delivered a very eloquent address on the greatness of the Cause, the influence of the Word of God, the importance of the meetings of the friends and the need for unity among the friends of God. He counseled them to be truthful and faithful. Afterwards He strolled in the rose garden. “Abdu’l-Bahá gave His permission for His photograph to be taken and was photographed in two groups. In one He is seated in the garden with His Persian servants standing around Him and in the other He is seen with the friends, some of whom are seated while others are standing.

A minister and another important personage came to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. He invited them into Mr Wilhelm’s house and spoke with them until dinner was ready. He later left the house to take a brief stroll. When the friends were seated at the table, He took vials of attar of rose in His hand and anointed, perfumed and blessed them all, one by one. He thus made them the anointed of the Court of Servitude and the recipients of the spirit of devotion to the Threshold of God, for the bounties of the Holy Spirit had descended and the favors of God encompassed all. Standing in the center of this assemblage of lovers, He spoke to them in a voice that was sweeter than honey then returned to Mr Wilhelm’s house.

That the friends were ecstatic today need not be stated, since their Host was the Beloved of the Covenant; their meeting was an assembly of love and amity, and the surroundings were green and verdant with trees in full bloom perfuming the air. There was a pilaf, a very delicious Persian dish that had been prepared for the occasion, sherbet, a Persian drink and many sweets. Everyone was happy at the unity of the gathering. The Master said:

“This meeting will be productive of great results. It will be the cause of attracting a new bounty. This day in which we have come together is a new day, and this hour a new hour. These meetings will be mentioned in the future and their results will be everlasting in all the divine worlds.”

There were two more meetings: one in the afternoon and the other in the evening in Englewood for some of the friends who were not able to take part in the first meeting. They took their seats in the garden adjoining Mr Wilhelm’s house, sitting on chairs and benches in rows. After a short walk, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá joined the visitors, sat down among them and requested the chanting of a prayer. He then spoke eloquently, encouraging the friends to spread the fragrances of God. As He was about to leave, one of the seekers asked Him, ‘What are the new teachings of this Cause that are not to be found in the other great religions?’ The Master stood in the center of the garden and summoned all to come near. They came and stood in two rows. The Master walked between the rows and spoke. His explanation was so magnificent that everyone was astonished. During His discourse a carriage and automobile passed near by. As they neared the gathering and saw ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the carriage passengers stopped, alighted and they, too, heard His speech and were attracted to the teachings. The Master described, one by one, the teachings of the Manifestation: the unity of humankind, universal peace, association with all religions, forgiveness of enemies, the prohibition of cursing foes, the equality of rights of men and women, the establishment of the House of Justice and the International Tribunal, compulsory education for both boys and girls, the prohibition of wars between nations and governments, and the harm of all forms of prejudice, be they racial, religious, sectarian, patriotic, political and so on. He spoke on these teachings extensively and in detail. At the end, He asked the audience whether these principles had been brought by past religious dispensations and recorded in their books. They all responded ‘No’. The inquirer was so overwhelmed that he clapped his hands in delight, expressing his joy and gratitude.

Because it was a moonlit night, this talk was given in the garden, so it was not recorded but these explanations can be found in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s other addresses. After the meeting, He remarked, ‘If these persons were to be confronted with the question, what new teachings did Christ bring other than changing the laws of the Sabbath and divorce, they would be utterly confounded.’

‘Abdu’l-Bahá stayed in Englewood for the night. 3

Talk at Bowery Mission, 227 Bowery, New York, 19 April 1912

When Jesus Christ appeared, it was the poor who first accepted Him, not the rich. Therefore, you are the disciples of Jesus Christ; you are His comrades, for He outwardly was poor, not rich. Even this earth’s happiness does not depend upon wealth. You will find many of the wealthy exposed to dangers and troubled by difficulties, and in their last moments upon the bed of death there remains the regret that they must be separated from that to which their hearts are so attached. They come into this world naked, and they must go from it naked. All they possess they must leave behind and pass away solitary, alone. Often at the time of death their souls are filled with remorse; and worst of all, their hope in the mercy of God is less than ours. Praise be to God! Our hope is in the mercy of God, and there is no doubt that the divine compassion is bestowed upon the poor. Jesus Christ said so; Bahá’u’lláh said so. While Bahá’u’lláh was in Baghdád, still in possession of great wealth, He left all He had and went alone from the city, living two years among the poor. They were His comrades. He ate with them, slept with them and gloried in being one of them. He chose for one of His names the title of The Poor One and often in His Writings refers to Himself as Darvísh , which in Persian means poor; and of this title He was very proud. He admonished all that we must be the servants of the poor, helpers of the poor, remember the sorrows of the poor, associate with them; for thereby we may inherit the Kingdom of heaven. God has not said that there are mansions prepared for us if we pass our time associating with the rich, but He has said there are many mansions prepared for the servants of the poor, for the poor are very dear to God. The mercies and bounties of God are with them. The rich are mostly negligent, inattentive, steeped in worldliness, depending upon their means, whereas the poor are dependent upon God, and their reliance is upon Him, not upon themselves. Therefore, the poor are nearer the threshold of God and His throne. 4

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Mahmud: June 28 – Unity Feast in West Englewood, NJ

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 28, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s ‘Feast of Unity.’” 239 Days in America, 28 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/28/the-souvenir-of-abdul-baha/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 100.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=4#section96
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 11.https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#141496815

239 Days in America, Day 66: June 15, 1912 | New York

Brooklyn Refuses to Silence ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 1

THE CONTROVERSY JUST WOULDN’T go away. The Reverend Percy Stickney Grant had started it all by seating ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the Bishop’s chair at his Episcopal Church of the Ascension on April 14. It was now June, but the Churchman, the official publication of the Episcopal Church, seemed determined to flog the subject to death.

Reverend John H. Melish had written to the Churchman to defend Grant. The teachings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Melish argued, were essentially Christian, and that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, himself, was “‘by nature Christian,’ as his whole doctrine is that of love.” On June 13, the Church’s response showed up in the daily edition of the Independent.

“The question is,” The Churchman had printed, “What is the law of the Church, not, What is the character of Abdul Baha or the nature of his teaching.”

The Independent agreed. “Dr. Melish cannot defend himself,” its columnist wrote, “except by the bold reply of Peter to the Sanhedrim which forbade him to preach in the temple.” The Independent seemed to be saying that Episcopal pastors who welcomed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to their churches could only justify it if they were willing to claim that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was equal to Christ.

But Brooklyn’s churches didn’t see it that way at all. John Howard Melish was one of their own. He was the Rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, an Episcopal Church on the northwest corner of Clinton and Montague Streets in Brooklyn Heights, a short walk west from Columbus Park and just south of the Brooklyn Bridge. The surrounding churches made their response clear on Sunday, June 16, 1912.

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York 2

I desire distinction for you. The Bahá’ís must be distinguished from others of humanity. But this distinction must not depend upon wealth—that they should become more affluent than other people. I do not desire for you financial distinction. It is not an ordinary distinction I desire; not scientific, commercial, industrial distinction. For you I desire spiritual distinction—that is, you must become eminent and distinguished in morals. In the love of God you must become distinguished from all else. You must become distinguished for loving humanity, for unity and accord, for love and justice. In brief, you must become distinguished in all the virtues of the human world—for faithfulness and sincerity, for justice and fidelity, for firmness and steadfastness, for philanthropic deeds and service to the human world, for love toward every human being, for unity and accord with all people, for removing prejudices and promoting international peace. Finally, you must become distinguished for heavenly illumination and for acquiring the bestowals of God. I desire this distinction for you. This must be the point of distinction among you.

Diary of Juliet Thompson, 15 June 1912 3

On Friday, 15 June, I was with the Master alone for a while, and I brought up the name of Percy Grant. “He didn’t understand You the other day, my Lord. He thinks that You teach asceticism, that the spirit and the flesh are two separate things.”

“That is not what I said,” the Master replied. “I said that the spiritual man and the materialist were two different beings. The spirit is in the flesh.”

Saturday, June 15, 1912

‘Abdu’l-Bahá had been invited to two large churches in Brooklyn and left New York at 10:00 a.m. Some of the Persian and American friends accompanied Him. At 11:00 a.m. the Unitarian Church was graced with His presence. As the carriage approached, we saw outside the church an announcement in large letters saying ‘The Great Persian Prophet, His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, will speak at 11:00 a.m. in this church on the 15th sic of June.’ What created in us such a sense of wonder was that the pastor of the church had placed the sign announcing the prophethood of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on the door of his church! The moment the Master arrived, the pastor came out, and taking ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s arm with great reverence, accompanied Him to the pulpit. The Master’s address was on the degrees of oneness and unity. At the close of His talk, He chanted, with His hands uplifted and in a melodious tone, a prayer in eloquent Arabic that was translated sentence by sentence.

Afterwards, at the request of the pastor, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited the school, which is conducted in connection with the same church. Here, after the children sang and paid their respects to the Master, He encouraged them and spoke to them regarding their education.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá had lunch in Brooklyn at the home of Mr MacNutt. There He spoke to a gathering of the friends about the admonitions and exhortations [of Bahá’u’lláh, saying that they should be thankful for the bestowals and favors of God.

Later that day He went to the Congregational Church in Brooklyn. The gathering and setting of the church were impressive and magnificent and the breaths of the Holy Spirit were felt by all. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left nothing undone in conveying the teachings of the Cause of God. He delivered a comprehensive address, speaking with authority and majesty on the freedom of conscience, the unity of religions, dogmatic imitations, the deprivation of people and the reality of Islam. He concluded by declaring the appearance of the Greatest Name and by explaining the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. Notwithstanding that the address was primarily about the truth of Islam, everyone came to Him to express their gratitude and thankfulness. Each person, pastors and professors, rich and poor, men and women, and especially representatives from the press, praised Him. No one offered a single objection. The pastor of the church was so earnest and overwhelmed by the love of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that he repeatedly requested the promise of another visit. Owing to the Master’s many engagements and little time, the invitation could not be accepted. On the following day, the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper published ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s address and a description of the gathering 4

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Mahmud: June 15 – witnessing the great respect ‘Abdu’l-Bahá received from a pastor

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 15, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Brooklyn Refuses To Silence ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.” 239 Days in America, 15 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/15/brooklyn-refuses-to-silence-abdul-baha/.
  2. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 190. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/14#331882631.
  3. Thompson, Juliet. The Diary of Juliet Thompson. Edited by Marzieh Gail. 1st ed. 1947. Reprint, Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983, 311. https://archive.org/details/diaryofjuliettho0000thom/page/310/mode/2up.
  4. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=4#section83