Abdu'l-BahaThe Centre of the Covenant
In His Most Holy Book, Bahá’u’lláh established a covenant with His followers, enjoining them to turn, after His passing, to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Who He describes as “Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s authority as the “Centre of the Covenant” was also established in other texts, including Bahá’u’lláh’s Will and Testament.
The divine religions were founded for the purpose of unifying humanity and establishing universal peace. Any movement which brings about peace and agreement in human society is truly a divine movement; any reform which causes people to come together under the shelter of the same tabernacle is surely animated by heavenly motives.
The Shrine ofAbdu'l-Baha
The close of the first century of the Formative Age is but two and a half years away. It will seal one hundred years of consecrated effort to consolidate and expand the foundation so sacrificially laid during the Faith’s Heroic Age. At that time the Bahá’í community will also mark the centenary of the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, that moment when the beloved Master was released from the confines of this world to rejoin His Father in the retreats of celestial glory. His funeral, which occurred the following day, was an event “the like of which Palestine had never seen”. At its conclusion, His mortal remains were laid to rest within a vault of the Mausoleum of the Báb. However, it was envisaged by Shoghi Effendi that this would be a temporary arrangement. A Shrine was to be erected, of a character befitting the unique station of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, at the appropriate time.
That time has come. The Bahá’í world is being summoned to build the edifice which will forever embosom those sacred remains. It is to be constructed in the vicinity of the Riḍván Garden, on land consecrated by the footsteps of the Blessed Beauty; the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will thus lie on the crescent traced between the Holy Shrines in ‘Akká and Haifa.
The structure that is envisaged in the design seeks to honour 'Abdu'l- Baha's unique position as the Centre of the Covenant, and to reflect at once His lofty station and His humility. It creates a space of immense sacredness, to which pilgrims and visitors will be drawn for the purpose of prayer and meditation.