As early as 1907, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had begun moving His
family to Haifa, across the bay from ‘Akká, where He
had built a house at the foot of Mount Carmel. In
1908, turmoil in the Ottoman capital culminated in
the Young Turk Revolution. The Sultan released all
of the empire’s religious and political prisoners
and, after decades of imprisonment and exile,
‘Abdu’l-Bahá was free.
Despite tremendous challenges, work on a tomb for
the Báb had proceeded, midway up the mountain, in a
spot designated by Bahá’u’lláh Himself. In March
1909, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was able to place the Báb’s
remains in the Shrine He had constructed.
The following year, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá departed Haifa for
Egypt, where He stayed one year, spending His days
meeting diplomats, intellectuals, religious leaders
and journalists. In the late summer of 1911, He
sailed for Europe, stopping at the French resort of
Thonon-les-Bains before traveling to London.
On 10 September 1911, from the pulpit of the City
Temple church in London, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave a public
address for the first time in His life. His
subsequent month-long stay in England was filled
with ceaseless activity, promoting Bahá’u’lláh’s
teachings and their application to many contemporary
issues and problems, through public talks, meetings
with the press and interviews with individuals. The
days in London, and then Paris, set a pattern that
He would follow throughout all of His travels.
In the spring of 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá journeyed to the
United States and Canada for nine months. He
travelled from coast to coast, addressing every kind
of audience, meeting people of all ranks and
stations. At the end of the year, He returned to
Britain and early in 1913, to France, from where He
proceeded to Germany, Hungary and Austria, returning
in May to Egypt, and on 5 December 1913, to the Holy
‘Abdu’l-Bahá glimpsed on board the “S.S. Celtic”
as He sailed from New York City bound for
Liverpool, England, 5 December 1912.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá and His travel companions beneath
the Eiffel Tower in Paris, in 1912.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s travels in the West contributed
significantly to the spread of Bahá’u’lláh’s
teachings and the firm establishment of Bahá’í
communities in Europe and North America. On both
continents, He received a highly appreciative
welcome from distinguished audiences concerned about
the condition of modern society, devoted to such
concerns as peace, women’s rights, racial equality,
social reform and moral development.
During His travels, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s message was the
announcement that the long-promised age for the
unification of humanity had come. He frequently
spoke of the need to create the social conditions
and the international political instruments
necessary to establish peace. Less than two years
later, His premonitions of a world-encircling
conflict became a reality.