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  • The Equality of Men and Women

    When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá talked about the problems and challenges humanity must deal with during His travels in Europe and the United States and Canada from 1910 to 1913, He brought up the equality of men and women—a question that, where it has been unaddressed, is causing a crisis in society (and families) and consequently a threat to the social structure.

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    Knowledge of the truth is the goal of religions. Its progressive revelation in pro- portions corresponding to human spiritual capacity should not be a cause for discord and strife between people.

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    In December 1911, ‘Abdu’l- Bahá returned from His tour in London and Paris to spend the winter months in the city of Alexandria and prepare for His journey to America and Canada the following year. The flow of visitors to His residence continued all through the months of the winter…

  • The Springtime of the Soul Returns

    ‘A bdu’l-Bahá’s stay in Paris for the months of October and November 1911 afforded His hearers the pleasure of daily talks in which He discussed various topics related to the principles of Bahá’u’lláh. At the beginning of His visit, on 15 October, He gave a talk about the regularity of the renewal of the divine […]

  • Universal Love

    ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, while on visit to the city of Paris in 1911, more than once addressed the subject of the soul in His public talks. He pointed out in particular its spiritual nature and its essential effect on material life, with emphasis too on its role in establishing a unity of mankind for whose realization in this enlightened age all past religions participated in preparing the way.

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The Master’s Visit to London (continued)

During the month of His visit to London He delivered many talks, both to small groups and the public, in which He treated the basic problems that touch the future of all human beings and of every place on the globe. He drew the attention of the various populations to the fact that the world is entering a new phase in its development; that the great changes that occurred in the nineteenth century must continue their influence until they gradually change the whole world and establish a new one in which humanity will unite, repression and despotism will disappear, and the spirit of love and brotherhood will prevail.

The words of ’Abdu‘l-Bahá were permeated with a certitude in the veracity of the vision they revealed. They gave His listeners faith in the imminent implementation of the principles of unity, friendship and peace, penetrated the hearts of all who heard Him, and instilled a new spirit into their consciences. However, He warned of failure to act: “We cannot bring love and unity to pass merely by talking of it,” said the Master. ”Knowledge is not enough.“ Emphasizing again that words alone are not sufficient, He added: “How can there be a result without action?“2

From what He said about religion it became clear that religion has two aspects—in His words: “the spiritual (the real) and the formal (the outward).” “The formal side changes, as man changes from age to age. The spiritual side, which is the Truth, never changes.” “The Truth is easy to understand although the outward forms in which it is expressed bewilder the intelligence.” “Each time God sends a Great One to us we are given new life, but the Truth each Manifestation brings is the same. The Truth never changes but man’s vision changes.” “[A]t first men cling to the Truth but after a time they disfigure it. The Truth is distorted by man-made outward forms and material laws. The veil of substance and worldliness is drawn across the reality of Truth.” “As men grow they see the futility of man-made forms and despise them. Therefore many leave the churches, because the latter often emphasize the external only.” “Many worship idols although their teaching forbids it.”3

In describing the follower of the Bahá’í Faith He said: “A Bahá’í denies no religion; he accepts the Truth in all, and would die to uphold it. He loves all men as his brothers, of whatever class, of whatever race or nationality, of whatever creed or colour, whether good or bad, rich or poor…. He commits no violence…. [H]e does not drink wine or spirits. Bahá’u’lláh has said it is not good for a sane man to take that which will destroy his health and sense.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá inferred that if a person who had never heard of Bahá’u’lláh lives the life according to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh he is already a Bahá’í. “On the other hand a man may call himself a Bahá’í for fifty years and if he does not live the life he is not a Bahá’í. An ugly man may call himself handsome, but he deceives no one, … not even himself!”4

‘Abdu’l-Bahá explained further the relationship between science and religion: that “If any religion rejected Science and knowledge, that religion was false. Science and Religion should go forward together; indeed, they should be like two fingers of one hand.” “[A] very great importance was given to Science and knowledge in the writings of Bahá’u’lláh, who wrote that, if a man educated the children of the poor, who could not themselves afford to do so, it was, in the sight of God, as if he had educated the Son of God.”5

Talking about peace He observed, “During the last six thousand years nations have hated one another, it is now time to stop. War must cease. Let us be united and love one another and await the result. We know the effects of war are bad. So let us try, as an experiment, peace, and if the results of peace are bad, then we can choose if it would be better to go back to the old state of war!” “For six thousand years we have been walking on the left-hand path; let us walk on the right-hand path now. We have passed many centuries in darkness, let us advance towards the light.”6

These examples highlight a few of the subjects ‘Abdu’l-Bahá treated while He was in London. Other subjects will very soon be recalled in greater detail on this site, in particular through the cited account of some of the experiences of His forty years of imprisonment, as published by one of the London newspapers on 23 September 1911.


The London photograph is from Svensk världsatlas (1930), page 214, unknown photographer, via the Wikimedia commons, which notes that the copyright has expired. The picture, a view from Victoria Tower, depicts the position of London on both sides of the Thames. The big dome-shaped building near the pictures upper right corner is St. Paul’s Cathedral.

1. Lady Blomfield, The Chosen Highway (London: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1940), p. 150.
2 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, Addresses and Notes of Conversations (London: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1987), p.54.
3. Ibid., pp. 56-57, 63.
4. Ibid., pp. 56, 106.
5. Ibid., p. 71.
6. Ibid., pp. 61-62.