Course: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: His Life and Ministry (2020)
Faculty: William Collins, Necati Alkan
I wanted to take this opportunity to prepare myself for 2021, which will commemorate the centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s ascension.
This course gave me an opportunity to learn about Abdu’l-Bahá’s life, his journey from childhood to exile in Akka, his sacrifices for Bahá’u’lláh, and how he served Him through very difficult times. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá recognised Bahá’u’lláh’s station when he was only an adolescent. He served Him and took the responsibility of looking after the family from an early age of 10 years old. Although he didn’t have any official school education and was home schooled by Bahá’u’lláh, he memorized so many of the Báb’s writing and had a very good understanding of the Qu’ran and Islamic verses.
I learned that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá played a big role in arranging and organizing trips to Istanbul. He was also knighted by the British Government for his role in humanitarian efforts during World War II – including sending Bahá’í farmers to Jordan to have them start agricultural projects and save the harvests. I also learned more about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s travels to Europe and North America. Despite his poor health, he was willing to travel and establish the cause in North America and Europe (from late 1910-1913). Finally, I learned more about the Tablets of the Divine Plan, the 14 tablets penned by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, which were sent during the war to America to empower and guide the believers in their teaching activities.
After this course, I created a 37 slide presentation to share with the community, family, and friends. I have since been meditating and reflecting upon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s life. His travels, selfless services, and the sacrifices that he made – in spite of his poor health – taught me to be more resilient, to have faith, to be certain that I am not alone, and that he is with me on this path.