Jan 24, 2012

The Significance of the House of 'Abdu'lláh Páshá -- an article prepared at the World Center and sent to all National Spiritual Assemblies on 4 March 1975 by the Department of the Secretariat of the Universal House of Justice

Some of the most poignant, dramatic and historically significant events of the Heroic Age of our Faith are associated with this house, which derives its name from the Governor of 'Akká who built it and used it as his official residence during his term of Office, from 1820 to 1832. It stands just inside the north-western corner of the sea wall of 'Akká in the close neighbourhood of the citadel where Bahá'u'lláh was confined. The main building is L-shaped, facing south and cast on its outer prospects. The structure, though chiefly on two stories, is irregular and on the inside angle has balconies, uncovered stairways, a bathhouse and a well. The entire property comprises large courtyards and is bounded on the west, or seaward, side by a wall, which turns due east at its southern angle and continues towards the heart of 'Akká, forming after a few yards, the wall of a narrow street; at the eastern terminus of this wall, and within the property, is an imposing house which was occupied by that Governor of 'Akká whose incumbency coincided with 'Abdu'l-Bahá's residence in the main building, and whose northern windows permitted him to maintain a constant surveillance of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's activities. Beyond this house is a small mosque. The eastern boundary of the property is a row of houses giving directly, on its western aspect, to the courtyard and offering many additional vantage points for observing the Master. A similar row of houses extends from the north-eastern corner along the northern boundary until they terminate at the longitudinal wing of the main building which, at this point, projects northwards into several conjoined buildings, making a large irregular outcrop on the northern boundary. The western end of the northern boundary is a short stretch of wall completing the enclosure at the north-western corner of the west wall. Large stables, coach houses and storerooms line the southern boundary.

In this house, fifty lunar years after the Báb's martyrdom, in January, 1899, the casket containing His sacred and precious remains was received by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Who successfully concealed it until it was possible to inter it, with all honours, in its permanent resting-place in the bosom of Carmel. In this house 'Abdu'l-Bahá was confined during the period of His renewed incarceration. Shoghi Effendi, in God Passes By, testifies to the conditions of His life at that time: