Bahá’ís commemorate the centenary of the Ascension of Abdu’l-Bahá’
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November 27, 2021 marks the centenary of the passing of Abdu’l-Bahá’, son and successor of Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá’í religion.
The Bahá’ís of South Africa and the world over remember Abdu’l-Bahá’ as the perfect example of all the Bahá’í teachings. He was the champion of the unity of all peoples, which is the fundamental principle of the Bahá’í Faith. This unity includes the racial harmony and gender equality so much needed in South Africa and the world.
More than 100 years ago, Abdu’l-Bahá’ was insistent that all forms of prejudice must be discarded. He taught that: “We must lay aside all prejudice - whether it be religious, racial, political or patriotic; we must become the cause of the unification of the human race.”
When it came to gender equality, He was equally insistent that, “The world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly.”
Though Abdu’l-Bahá’ recognised the importance of economic development, He also reminded us that a country’s true wealth lies in its people. On learning of the discovery of diamonds in South Africa, He commented, “Although this mine is most valuable, yet after all it is stone. Perchance, God willing, the mine of humanity may be discovered and the brilliant pearls of the Kingdom be found.” Universal education is seen as the means to develop the valuable qualities of all people.
For more than a hundred years, education and racial and gender equality have been central to the Bahá’í message.
This month’s anniversary will be used by Bahá’ís to galvanise the efforts of community building already underway. These activities include prayer gatherings, study groups, activities for children and teens, and more — open to all and taking place in homes and community centres in South Africa and across the globe. After reflection on the life of service of Abdu’l-Bahá’ they, in turn, will strive to serve their families and communities with unity, love, justice and compassion. In this way, they will contribute to a spirit of hope in these turbulent times.
In Abdu’l-Bahá’s words: “Be thou a summoner to love, and be thou kind to all the human race. Love thou the children of men and share in their sorrows. Be thou of those who foster peace. Offer thy friendship, be worthy of trust. Be thou a balm to every sore, be thou a medicine for every ill. Bind thou the souls together.”
After 50 years of imprisonment and exile in the Middle East, Abdu’l-Bahá’ made an extended journey in 1911 to share Bahá’u’lláh’s message in Egypt, Europe and North America .There are many accounts of His travels to the West and of the effect He had on those who met Him. People went to extraordinary lengths to do so, travelling long distances by boat, by foot, or even under trains. Women and men from every race, religion and economic background were welcomed and influenced by Him as He shared the Bahá’í teachings on the unity of all faiths, humanity and the planet, our home.
The Bahá’í community of Cape Town will commemorate this momentous centenary on November 27, 2021 at 10:30 am for 11.00 am at 4 Rye Road, Mowbray.
Due to Covid-19, space is limited and RSVPs are essential. For in person attendance, RSVP via Whattsapp message to Saeid at 084 080 8888.
All Covid-19 protocols to be observed.
For audio-visual, visit https://news.bahai.org/story/1545/