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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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Pages 65-66

The Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s manifold activities continued with little abatement despite increasing bodily weakness and weariness up till the last day or two of His life. On Friday, November 25, 1921, He attended the noonday prayer at the Mosque in Haifa, and afterwards distributed alms to the poor with His own hands, as was His wont. After lunch He dictated some letters. When He had rested He walked in the garden and had a talk with the gardener. In the evening He gave His blessing and counsel to a loved and faithful servant of the household who had been married that day, and afterwards He attended the usual meeting of the friends in His own salon. Less that three days later, about 1:30 A.M. on Monday, November 28, He passed away so peacefully that, to the two daughters watching by His bedside, it seemed as if He had gone quietly to sleep.
The sad news soon spread throughout the town and was flashed over the wires to all parts of the world. The next morning (Tuesday, November 29) the funeral took place:
… a funeral the like of which Haifa, nay Palestine itself, had surely never seen … so deep was the feeling that brought so many thousands of mourners together, representative of so many religions, races and tongues.
The High Commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel, the Governor or Jerusalem, the Governor of Phoenicia, the Chief Officials of the Government, the Consuls of the various countries, resident in Haifa, the heads of the various religious communities, the notables of Palestine, Jews, Christians, Moslems, Druses, Egyptians, Greeks, Turks, Kurds, and a host of his American, European and native friends, men, women and children, both of high and low 66 degree … all, about ten thousand in number, mourning the loss of their Beloved One. …
“O God, my God!” the people wailed with one accord, “Our father has left us, our father has left us!” … they slowly wended their way up Mount Carmel, the Vineyard of God. … After two hours’ walking, they reached the garden of the Tomb of the Báb. … As the vast concourse pressed round … representatives of the various denominations, Moslems, Christians and Jews, all hearts being ablaze with fervent love of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, some on the impulse of the moment, other prepared, raised their voices in eulogy and regret, paying their last homage of farewell to their loved one. So united were they in their acclamation of him, as the wise educator and reconciler of the human race in this perplexed and sorrowful age, that there seemed to be nothing left for the Bahá’ís to say.—The Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, by Lady Blomfield and Shoghi Effendi, pp. 11, 12.
Nine speakers, all of them prominent representatives of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities, bore eloquent and moving witness to their love and admiration of the pure and noble life which had just drawn to its close. Then the casket was slowly passed to its simple and hallowed resting-place.
Surely here was a fitting tribute to the memory of One Who had labored all His life for unity of religions, of races, of tongues—a tribute, and also a proof, that His lifework had not been in vain, that the ideals of Bahá’u’lláh, which were His inspiration, nay, His very life, were already beginning to permeate the world and to break down the barriers of sect and caste that for centuries had alienated Muslim, Christian, Jew, and the other diverse factions into which the human family has been riven.