February 9, 2017

The House of 'Abbúd – some historical background

What is known as the House of 'Abbúd in 'Akká in two parts: the eastern part which was known as "the house of 'Údí Khammár", and the western part, which was the house of 'Abbúd.

The eastern section was so insufficient to the needs of Bahá'u'lláh and His family that no less than thirteen persons of both sexes had to accommodate themselves in one of its rooms.

Bahá'u'lláh had one room of the eastern section to Himself, and it was there that He revealed His Book of Laws, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (circa 1873). At the time of the wedding of 'Abdu'l-Bahá one room, which is now situated between the two sections of the House, was built by 'Abbúd, and the wedding took place there. Subsequently, 'Abbúd turned over the western part to Bahá'u'lláh. Bahá'u'lláh then gave His room in the eastern part to 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and occupied one of the rooms of the western section, which pilgrims are now able to visit.

It was during the period of Bahá'u'lláh's stay in the House of Údí Khammár that a group of Bahá'ís, defying Bahá'u'lláh's specific command, murdered three Azalís who had been sent to 'Akká with Bahá'u'lláh. The animosity and slander against the exiles after this incident reached such a pitch that the children of the exiles were stoned on sight, while 'Abbúd himself, whose residence was next door to that of Bahá'u'lláh, was so influenced by what he heard against his now suspected Neighbour, that he reinforced the partition that separated his house from the dwelling of Bahá'u'lláh.

Bahá'ú'lláh stayed in this house, in both parts, for seven years. During the latter years of His life, He also occasionally visited this house.

After the Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá continued to stay in that house, and it was while He was there that the rebellion of the Arch-Breaker of His Father's Covenant began.

The Guardian refers to this house as "the scene of prolonged afflictions sustained by Founder of Faith, as well as supreme crisis suffered by 'Abdu'l-Bahá at hands of Covenant-breakers." 
(Compilation: ‘Holy Places at the Bahá'í World Centre’, prepared by Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, 1968)