The Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Baha: readings and music

 

‘Abdu’l-Bahá Date taken: 1912. Image used with permission. Copyright © Bahá'í International Community
‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Date taken: 1912. Image used with permission. Copyright © Bahá’í International Community

On November 28, members of the Baha’i Faith throughout the world commemorate the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, the eldest son and successor of Baha’u’llah, 95 years ago.

 

The Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Baha´ commemorates the death—and, retrospectively, the life — of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’, who passed away quietly in his home on November 28, 1921, in Haifa, Palestine (now Israel), at the age of 77.  More than 10,000 mourners, representing every one of the diverse religions and ethnic communities in the Holy Land, attended His funeral.

 

He was eventually laid to rest in a vault adjoining that in which He had laid the remains of the Bab on Mount Carmel in 1909.

 

Baha’is observe the Holy Day of the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Baha at 1:00 a.m., about the time of His death. There are no prescribed ceremonies but gatherings usually involve prayers and devotional readings.

 

 

    “To the doves of faithfulness, ever since that most grievous of disasters, the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, this world of dust has become a cage, and a place of torment; and to the unrestrained nightingales it is only a prison, narrow and dark.
     “Certainly, a pure soul will not bind his heart to this passing show, and the gems of spiritual love will yearn only to be let go, out of this world. Nevertheless, the all-compelling will of God and His all-encompassing and irresistible purpose has desired that this dark earth should become as the Abha Kingdom, and this heap of dust be changed until it becomes the envy of the rose gardens of Heaven.
     “This is why the Manifestations of God, the Day-springs of that all-glorious Sun, have willingly accepted to bear, and take upon Their own sacred and immaculate Selves, every trial and tribulation and calamity and hurt. And They have established laws and ordinances, that assure the flourishing and freedom and joy and salvation of all the human race. In this way that primal purpose will be revealed, and that subtle mystery divulged.

    “Thus too, have They trained certain souls, and reared them with the hands of loving-kindness, that these should arise to perform the noble and exalted task, and should devote their efforts toward carrying out this duty, watering the Tree of life and serving all mankind.
    “Praise be to God, you are confirmed and flourishing in the Faith, and partaking of your portion from that heavenly table, and are receiving your benefits in both worlds.”  (Compilations, Bahiyyih Khanum, p. 139)

The Day of the Covenant: Children’s Programhere

The Passing of Abdu’l-Baha – PDF available here

 

“The Passing of -Abdu’l-Baha was compiled by Lady Blomfield and Shoghi Effendi and is a great resource for developing readings for a program.

 

The following is an excerpt from this compilation:

 

“And now, what appeal more direct, more moving, with which to close this sad yet stirring account of his last days, than these his most touching, most inspiring words?

 

   

 “Friends! The time is coming when I shall be no longer with you. I have done all that could be done. I have served the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh to the utmost of my ability. I have laboured night and day, all the years of my life. O how I long to see the loved ones taking upon themselves the responsibilities of the Cause! Now is the time to proclaim the Kingdom of Bahá! Now is the hour of love and union! This is the day of the spiritual harmony of the loved ones of God! All the resources of my physical strength I have exhausted, and the spirit of my life is the welcome tidings of the unity of the people of Bahá. I am straining my ears toward the East and toward the West, toward the North and toward the South that haply I may hear the songs of love and fellowship chanted in the meetings of the faithful. My days are numbered, and, but for this, there is no joy left unto me. O how I yearn to see the friends united even as a string of gleaming peals, as the brilliant Pleiades, as the rays of the sun, as the gazelles of one meadow!
     “The mystic Nightingale is warbling for them all; will they not listen? The Bird of Paradise is singing; will they not heed? The Angel of Abhá is calling to them; will they not hearken? The Herald of the Covenant is pleading; will they not obey?
     “Ah me I am waiting, waiting, to hear the joyful tidings that the believers are the very embodiment of sincerity and truthfulness, the incarnation of love and amity, the living symbols of unity and concord. Will they not gladden my heart? Will they not satisfy my yearning? Will they not manifest my wish? Will they not fulfil my heart’s desire? Will they not give ear to my call?
     “I am waiting, I am patiently waiting.”

 PDF file for sharing and download. The Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Baha

 

I have included  video songs (video 1 – 3) and one narrated video (video 4) for accompanying the readings.

  1.  The Portrait:  A song dedicated to the centenary of the Beloved Master’s travels to the West
    Music and words: Alan McKay/Sonbol Taefi
    Arrangements: Stephen Small
    Voices: Grant Hindin Miller. Sonbol Taefi, Elika Mahony, Luke Slott
    Choir: The Masque Choir – Auckland New Zealand
    Produced by Sonbol Taefi
  2. Baha’i – Dastam Begir Abd’ulBaha (Hold Thou My Hand …) with photos and subtitles to learn words
    Narges Nouhnejad (solo)
    Baha’i World Congress Choir & Orchestra
    Conducted by Tom Price
    Words: Habib Moyaed Music: Niki Manavi Arr: Tom Price
    New York City, November 24, 1992
  3. Hold Thou My Hand – a song about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Poem by Dr. Habíb Mu’ayyid
    Melody by Gloria Faizi
    Arrangement, piano and vocals by Elika Mahony
    Mixed and mastered by Jarome Matthew
  4. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá – Glimpses of perfection Part 3, Stories of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s trip to US