`Abdu’l-Bahá was born in Tehran, Iran on 23 May 1844 and was the eldest son of Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet founder of the Bahá’í Faith and His wife Navváb. He was born on the very same night on which the Báb (the founder of the Babi Faith and the forerunner of Bahá’u’lláh) declared his mission. Born with the given name of `Abbás, he was named after his grandfather Mírzá `Abbás Núrí, a prominent and powerful nobleman.
Bahá’u’lláh appointed `Abdu’l-Bahá as the successor and head of the Bahá’í Faith and the authorized interpreter of His teachings. `Abdu’l-Bahá was, in short, the Center of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant –the instrument for ensuring the unity of the Bahá’í community and preserving the integrity of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings.
In his Will and Testament, `Abdu’l-Bahá appointed his eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi (1897-1957), as his successor, Guardian of the Cause of God, and authorized interpreter of the teachings of Baha’u’llah, thus assuring the continued unity of the believers. He was the head of the Baha’i Faith from 1921 until his passing.