Abdu’l-Baha Abbas, Head of the Baha'i Faith


This book is a study of the life of ‘Abdu’l-Baha ‘Abbas (1844-1921) in its regional and social context – the turbulent, heterogeneous and multilingual Levant that was his home in exile for a half-century. It opens with his role as secretary and shield to his father, Baha’u’llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, after their banishment from Iran and 1868 incarceration in Acre. It traces the rising arc of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s social relations in Ottoman Greater Syria; his writings on contemporary issues; some of the early challenges of his ministry; the themes he raised in Lebanon and Egypt, but also in Europe and North America; his preparations for World War I; and the contacts and correspondence of his last years. ‘Abdul-Baha’s broad, deep and extensive engagement in the region emerges, replete with contacts, friendships and partnerships with leading figures, intellectual exchange, and initiatives in education, agriculture and community life. The study reframes his relations with the Arab world and his orchestration of the global growth of the Baha’i Faith even as it weaves the experience of the early Baha’i community of the Middle East back into the historical tapestry of the region in late Ottoman times.

"A beautifully rich portrayal of ‘Abdu’l-Baha's time in the Near East that reveals his impact on the region’s civil authorities, religious leaders, and ordinary people from all walks of life. Joshua Lincoln's book is essential reading for anyone looking to better understand ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s spiritual, material, and social contributions during the late Ottoman and early British eras." –Hoda Mahmoudi, Baha’i Chair for World Peace at the University of Maryland

"This book offers a richly detailed account of the life of ‘Abdu’l-Baha Abbas, son of the founding prophet of the Baha'i faith. Utilizing a wealth of Baha'i and other sources, Joshua Lincoln masterfully illuminates ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s unique personality, with a special emphasis on his social interactions, primarily in their Near Eastern context, against the background of the waning years of the Ottoman Empire." –Etan Kohlberg, emeritus professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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