Abdu’l-Baha’s British knighthood

Abdu’l-Baha’s knighthood has never been a matter of importance to Bahais themselves, who have many much weightier reasons to admire and follow Abdu’l-Baha as the successor to his father, Baha’u’llah, as the authorised interpreter of the Bahai scripture and teachings, as the Centre of the Covenant that unites Bahais across the world, and as the best exemplar of the Bahai life. However the photograph of Abdu’l-Baha, seated at the ceremony to confer on him the honour of Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, is one of the stock images on Iranian and Islamic anti-Bahai sites that seek to present the Bahai Faith as a Western invention, foreign to the Middle East. These anti-Bahai sites have also presented quite scandalous speculations about the reasons for the British award, such as Abdu’l-Baha spying for the British during the period of Ottoman rule, or supplying the British army during the war. So it will be useful to have a blog page that gathers documented evidence of Abdu’l-Baha’s activities before and during the British Mandate in Palestine, and the circumstances of his knighthood. What I have is incomplete: feel free to use the comments section to add more. I have selected what appear to me the more illuminating documents published in Moojan Momen’s The Babi and Bahai Religions: Some Contemporary Western Accounts, beginning on page 332, and supplemented these from other sources. To avoid a metres-long page, in some case I have put references and brief summaries on this page, with links to the full documents and their sources in the comments section.

Full story...