House of the Master
The Master's House in Haifa, Israel
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Who was eager to complete the construction of the Shrine of the Báb, felt He should personally supervise the erection of the building to expedite the work. He therefore considered the possibility of establishing a house in Haifa where He could be near the building project.
He was delighted when the maidservant of God, Mrs Jackson, a Western believer, volunteered funds for its construction. A plot of land was purchased and the Master designed the plan.
Immediately after the completion of the House, He moved a part of the family, including Shoghi Effendi who was then a young boy, from 'Akká to the new home in Haifa. The Master's sister also joined Him there.
When in September 1910, 'Abdu'l-Bahá left the Holy Land and embarked upon His world travels, His family continued to live in this House. It was here that Shoghi Effendi grew up as an adolescent. It was this House which became 'Abdu'l-Bahá's official residence after His return to the Holy Land in 1913. It was here that He received the pilgrims, from East and West.
It was here, after the war, that Shoghi Effendi served as his Grandfather's secretary. It is touching to recall that during this time the beloved Master often went to Shoghi Effendi's room at midnight and urged him to stop writing and rest.
As one enters the House, the room on the right is the one where 'Abdu'l-Bahá took His flight to the Abhá Kingdom. After he was appointed Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi continued the Master's practice of receiving guests in the room on the left, and holding weekly meetings there.
The large central hall of the building is of special significance in that it was the venue of the gathering which heard the public reading of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá announcing the exalted office occupied by Shoghi Effendi as Guardian of the Faith, and also because it was the place where the first International Convention in 1963 elected the Universal House of Justice.
At the south-western end of the garden adjoining this house, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá built a small structure, and He had the inner walls, the ceiling and the floor of one of its upper rooms covered with wood, as a protection against humidity. It was in this room that He slept at nights during the period immediately before His passing.
"...the Master came in from the solitary room in the garden, which he had occupied of late, and said:
"'I dreamed a dream and behold the Blessed Beauty, (Bahá'u'lláh) came and said unto me, "Destroy this room!"'
"The family, who had been wishing that he would come and sleep in the house, not being happy that he should be alone at night, exclaimed, " Yes Master, we think your dream means that you should leave that room and come into the house." When he heard this from us, he smiled meaningly as though not agreeing with our interpretation. Afterwards we understood that by the "room" was meant the temple of his body.
"His good and faithful servant, Ismá'il-Áqá, relates the following:
""Some time, about twenty days before my Master passed away I was near the garden when I heard him summon an old believer saying:
"'Come with me that we may admire together the beauty of the garden. Behold, what the spirit of devotion is able to achieve! This flourishing place was, a few years ago, but a heap of stones, and now it is verdant with foliage and flowers. My desire is that after I am gone the loved ones may all arise to serve the Divine Cause and, please God, so it shall be. Ere long men will arise who shall bring life to the world.'"
(The Passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, pp. 4 and 6)