'Abbás Effendi, the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh
-Founder of Baha'i Faith
) and appointed by Him as His lawful successor and the authorized interpreter of His teachings. 'Abbás Effendi's great humility is reflected in his choice to be known as 'Abdu'l-Bahá (the Servant
of Glory). He is the third of the three central figures* of the Baha'i Faith. Although he was not a Manifestation of God
like his father, his writings and prayers are revered by Baha'is because of the role that Bahá'u'lláh assigned this son.
Abdu'l-Baha' lived his live in service to God and Mankind. Baha'is look to him as an example of a perfect human life.** Most of his childhood and many years of adulthood were spent as an exiled prisoner of the Persian Government (he was released in 1908) along with his father and much of his family. Once freed Abdu'l-Baha' settled in Haifa, Palestine (now Israel) and spent his days teaching the Baha'i Faith, serving the poor, and traveling (including England, France, Switzerland, Germany, and America), announcing everywhere that once again the heavens had opened and that a new Dispensation had come to bless the sons of men.
He lived simply, seeking little for himself. A number of well-to-do European and American Baha'is often pressed Adbu'l-Baha' to take money to improve his own living conditions. He invariably refused these funds, directing these believers to instead use their money to aid the poor.
He died in November, 1921.
* The Central Figures of the Baha'i Faith are the Bab, Baha'u'llah, & Adbu'l-Baha'.
**Contrary to the saying, "Nobody's Perfect," Baha'u'llah taught that each of us has the potential to be perfect in the capacity given us by God, and that the goal of this earthly life is to develop that perfection.