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Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era

  • Author:
  • J. E. Esslemont

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 edition
  • Pages:
  • 286
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Page 55

Center of the Covenant

Bahá’u’lláh indicated in many ways the ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was to direct the Cause after His own ascension. Many years before His death He declared this in a veiled manner in His Kitáb-i-Aqdas. He referred to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on many occasions as “The Center of My Covenant,” “The Most Great Branch,” “The Branch from the Ancient Root.” He habitually spoke of Him as “The Master” and required all His family to treat Him with marked deference; and in His Will and Testament He left explicit instructions that all should turn to Him and obey Him.
After the death of the “Blessed Beauty” (as Bahá’u’lláh was generally called by His family and believers) ‘Abdu’l-Bahá assumed the position which His father had clearly indicated for Him as head of the Cause and authoritative Interpreter of the teachings, but this was resented by certain of His relatives and others, who became as bitterly opposed to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as Subh-i-Azal had been to Bahá’u’lláh. They tried to stir up dissensions among the believers, and, failing in that, proceeded to make various false charges against ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to the Turkish Government.
In accordance with instructions received from His father, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was erecting a building on the side of Mount Carmel, above Haifa, which was intended to be the permanent resting-place of the remains of the Báb, and also to contain a number of rooms for meetings and services. They represented to the authorities that this building was intended as a fort, and that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and His followers meant to entrench themselves there, defy the Government, and endeavor to gain possession of the neighboring region of Syria.