`Abdu'l-Bahá in Chicago

By Arash Zare

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #113
Louhelen Bahá'í School: Davison, Michigan, USA
October 5–8, 2012
(see list of papers from #113)

    This presentation will be a historical account on 'Abdu'l-Bahá's visit to Chicago based on documents, notes and materials published in newspapers and arranged chronologically and thematically. It will focus on the purpose of His visit in various houses of worship, social groups, and private homes. 'Abdu'l-Bahá 's attention to Chicago was unique for several reasons. Chicago, "the heart of America," was the city where the call of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh was first raised. It was in Chicago that the very first Western Bahá'í House of Worship would be built. His message of peace and equality, though not unique to Chicago, resonated with hundreds of Chicagoans who were involved in various civil right movements. The message of the equality of sexes, the cry of oneness of human race, and fundamental unity of all religions, were among subjects that on many occasions 'Abdu'l-Bahá reiterated. During His visit He met with several prominent Americans who were known for their humanitarian and equal rights efforts. This includes Jane Addams, DeBois who have contributed immensely to the American nation. His focus was not limited to racial or social issues; in addition it centered on moral and ecumenical matters which He announced in churches and theosophical organizations. We shall particularly focus on His visit to the site of the Bahá'í House of Worship in Wilmette, placing its corner stone, and His call to the friends to unite around the common goal of building that "silent teacher."

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