Aug 18, 2022

Not “to show kindness to a person who is a tyrant, a traitor or a thief”

The foundation of the Kingdom of God is laid upon justice, fairness, mercy, sympathy and kindness to every soul. Then strive ye with heart and soul to practice love and kindness to the world of humanity at large, except to those souls who are selfish and insincere. It is not advisable to show kindness to a person who is a tyrant, a traitor or a thief because kindness encourages him to become worse and does not awaken him. The more kindness you show to a liar the more he is apt to lie, for he thinks that you know not, while you do know, but extreme kindness keeps you from revealing your knowledge. 

- ‘Abdu'l-Baha  (‘Baha'i World Faith’)

Aug 17, 2022

Spiritual mother of the Canadian Bahá’í community

May Ellis Maxwell -- spiritual mother of the Canadian Bahá'í community became a believer in 1898, visited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Haifa in 1899 and returned to Paris to found the First Bahá’í centre on the European continent, married Sutherland Maxwell and settled in Montreal in 1902, achieved “the priceless honour” of a “martyr’s Death” in Argentina in 1940. 

(Footnotes in ‘Messages to Canada’)

Aug 16, 2022

Human soul is God’s Sanctuary -- reason is God’s Throne

The soul is the Sanctuary of God; Reason is His Throne. 

-' Abdu'l-Baha  (Utterances of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, recorded by Julia Grundy during her pilgrimage, ‘Ten Days in the Light of Acca’)

Aug 14, 2022

Two references from Jesus concerning continuation of divine Revelation after Him

To them that are endowed with understanding, it is clear and manifest that when the fire of the love of Jesus consumed the veils of Jewish limitations, and His authority was made apparent and partially enforced, He the Revealer of the unseen Beauty, addressing one day His disciples, referred unto His passing, and, kindling in their hearts the fire of bereavement, said unto them: “I go away and come again unto you.” And in another place He said: “I go and another will come Who will tell you all that I have not told you, and will fulfil all that I have said.” Both these sayings have but one meaning, were you to ponder upon the Manifestations of the Unity of God with divine insight. 

- Baha’u’llah  ('The Kitab-i-Iqan [The Book of Certitude])

Aug 13, 2022

October 1896 - last month 'Abdu'l-Baha and family stayed in House of Abbud

After Baha’u’llah left the barracks (4 November 1870), He lived in a succession of houses in various parts of the city [of Akka] (the houses of Malik, Khawwam and Rabi'a) before moving into a house belonging to ‘Udi Khammir, a Christian merchant (also the owner of the mansion of Bahji) in September 1871. It was here that ‘Abdu’l-Baha was married and the Kitab-i-Aqdas revealed. The larger adjoining house of 'Abbud was later rented and openings made to join the two houses together, the whole complex becoming known as the House of 'Abbud. 'Abdu'l-Baha and His family remained resident until about October 1896. The room of Baha'u'llah became a place of pilgrimage during His lifetime. With the marriages of 'Abdu'l-Baha's daughters (1896 onwards) the House of 'Abbud was no longer adequate for the growing family, and parts of the complex of buildings known as the House of 'Abdu’llah Pasha were rented. This is where Shoghi Effendi was born (March 1897) and the early Western pilgrims met 'Abdu'l-Baha (from December 1898). After ‘Abdu’l-Baha moved to Haifa the house was no longer in Baha’i hands, and eventually fell into disrepair. It was purchased by the Baha'is in 1975, and after extensive restoration was opened to Baha'i pilgrimage in 1983. 

- Peter Smith  (‘A Concise Encyclopedia of the Baha’i Faith’)

Aug 12, 2022

How to become free from material attachments

Question: How must we cut our hearts from the World?

‘Abdu’l-Baha: “The hearts that are directed towards God, the love that burns in them, that love will separate them from all other things; that love will be the wall that will come between them and every other desire.”

“The nearer to God the farther from the world; the nearer to the fire, the farther from the cold; the nearer to life, the farther from death. This is the balance, this is the balance!” 

- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (Utterances of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, recorded by Anne Apperson Flint during her pilgrimage, February 1899, Akka)

Aug 11, 2022

Virtues a teacher of the Cause should strive for

The aim is this: The intention of the teacher must be pure, his heart independent, his spirit attracted, his thought at peace, his resolution firm, his magnanimity exalted and in the love of God a shining torch. Should he become as such, his sanctified breath will even affect the rock; otherwise there will be no result whatsoever. 

- ‘Abdu’l-Bahá  (‘Tablets of the Divine Plan’)

Aug 9, 2022

“Badi (Wonderful)”; “Pride of Martyrs”; Apostle of Baha’u’llah

Born Aqa Buzurg-i-Nishapuri, the son of a devoted Babi, he was later given the title Badi' (unique, wonderful) by Baha’u’llah. Reputed to be a wild, unruly youth, he had no interest in his father's affairs until, during the visit to his home of a traveling teacher, Mulla Muhammadi-Zarandi (Nabil-i-A'zam), he listened to some verses from a long poem by Baha’u’llah and was so entranced that he devoted the balance of his life to serving Him. After his conversion he set out to visit Him, traveling on foot from Mosul to 'Akka. It was during this visit that he was chosen to deliver a letter (Tablet) from Baha’u’llah to Nasiri'd-Din Shah . (‘The A to Z’ of the Baha’i Faith by Hugh Adamson)

 Shoghi Effendi describes these events in the following passage:

Aqa Buzurg of Khurasan, the illustrious "Badi" (Wonderful); converted to the Faith by Nabil; surnamed the "Pride of Martyrs"; the seventeen year old bearer of the Tablet addressed to Nisiri'd-Din Shah; in whom, as affirmed by Baha’u’llah, "the spirit of might and power was breathed," was arrested, branded for three successive days, his head beaten to a pulp with the butt of a rifle, after which his body was thrown into a pit and earth and stones heaped upon it. After visiting Baha’u’llah in the barracks, during the second year of His confinement, he had arisen with amazing alacrity to carry that Tablet, alone and on foot, to Tihran and deliver it into the hands of the sovereign. A four months' journey had taken him to that city, and, after passing three days in fasting and vigilance, he had met the Shah proceeding on a hunting expedition to Shimiran. He had calmly and respectfully approached His Majesty, calling out, "O King! I have come to thee from Sheba with a weighty message"; whereupon at the Sovereign's order, the Tablet was taken from him and delivered to the mujtahids of Tihran who were commanded to reply to that Epistle - a command which they evaded, recommending instead that the messenger should be put to death. That Tablet was subsequently forwarded by the Shah to the Persian Ambassador in Constantinople, in the hope that its perusal by the Sultan's ministers might serve to further inflame their animosity. For a space of three years Baha'u'llah continued to extol in His writings the heroism of that youth, characterizing the references made by Him to that sublime sacrifice as the "salt of My Tablets." (Shoghi Effendi, ‘God Passes By’)

Aug 8, 2022

The “emergence of His [Baha’u’llah’s] embryonic World Order…has ‘deranged the equilibrium of the world and revolutionized mankind’s ordered life’”

To what else can the observant eye or the unprejudiced mind, acquainted with the signs and portents heralding the birth, and accompanying the rise, of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh ascribe this dire, this planetary upheaval, with its attendant destruction, misery and fear, if not to the emergence of His embryonic World Order, which, as He Himself has unequivocally proclaimed, has “deranged the equilibrium of the world and revolutionized mankind’s ordered life”?

- Shoghi Effendi  (Preface to ‘God Passes By’)

Aug 7, 2022

The Guardian undertook the translation of the first part of Nabil’s narrative – published in 1932 as ‘The Dawn-Breakers’

Concurrent with the period when these first illuminating letters on such major subjects were streaming from the pen of Shoghi Effendi, he undertook the translation of two books. In a letter written on 4 July 1930 Shoghi Effendi says "I feel exceedingly tired after a strenuous year of work, particularly as I have managed to add to my labours the translation of the Íqán, which I have already sent to America." This was the first of his major translations, Bahá'u'lláh's great exposition on the station and role of the Manifestations of God, more particularly in the light of Islamic teachings and prophecies, known as the Kitáb-i-Íqán of Book of Certitude. It was an invaluable adjunct to the western Bahá'ís in their study of the Faith they had embraced and infinitely enriched their understanding of Divine Revelation.

During that same year [1929-1930] the Guardian began work on the second book published during this period, a work that was neither a translation of Bahá'u'lláh's words nor one of Shoghi Effendi's general letters, but which must be considered a literary masterpiece and one of his most priceless gifts for all time. This was the translation of the first part of the narrative compiled by a contemporary follower of both the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh known as Nabil, which was published in 1932 under the title The Dawn-Breakers.

- Hand of the Cause Ruhiyyih Khanum  (‘The Priceless Pearl’)

Aug 5, 2022

A prayer for believers: - protection; receiving God's nourishment

Glorified art Thou, O Lord my God! Every man of insight confesseth Thy sovereignty and Thy dominion, and every discerning eye perceiveth the greatness of Thy majesty and the compelling power of Thy might. The winds of tests are powerless to hold back them that enjoy near access to Thee from setting their faces towards the horizon of Thy glory, and the tempests of trials must fail to draw away and hinder such as are wholly devoted to Thy will from approaching Thy court.

Methinks, the lamp of Thy love is burning in their hearts, and the light of Thy tenderness is lit within their breasts. Adversities are incapable of estranging them from Thy Cause, and the vicissitudes of fortune can never cause them to stray from Thy pleasure.

I beseech Thee, O my God, by them and by the sighs which their hearts utter in their separation from Thee, to keep them safe from the mischief of Thine adversaries, and to nourish their souls with what Thou hast ordained for Thy loved ones on whom shall come no fear and who shall not be put to grief.

- Baha’u’llah  (‘Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah’)

Aug 4, 2022

Learning and the Evolution of the Bahá’í Community - by Paul Lample

Plenary talk given at the 32nd annual conference of the Association for Bahá’í Studies – North America

29 August to 1 September 2008

[Before change took place in the current culture of the Bahá’í community ]

“It is incumbent upon every man of insight and understanding,” Bahá’u’lláh states, “to strive to translate that which hath been written into reality and action.”[1] To be a Bahá’í, to “live the life,” means to comprehend the Word of God and act on it, individually and collectively. It is to make the reality of one’s personal life and the pattern of society at large reflect the teachings. Bahá’u’lláh Himself affirms that “the object of every Revelation” is to “effect a transformation in the whole character of mankind, a transformation that shall manifest itself both outwardly and inwardly, that shall affect both its inner life and external conditions.” Otherwise, He observes, “the futility of God’s universal Manifestations would be apparent.”[2]

Collectively, we receive the gift of the Word of God, and through its application we are to raise the Kingdom of God on earth; that is, we are to gradually contribute to the building of a new social order that is shaped by the truths of the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh. This statement appears simple, yet implicit in it is a challenge to reflect deeply about how we are to understand and behave. Achieving Bahá’u’lláh’s intended purpose for the human race requires new morals, new ways of generating knowledge, new ways of communicating, new ways of acting, and new institutions. How do we Bahá’ís, with our diverse, sometimes conflicting, understandings of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings, collaborate to bring about the society that reflects His will? The answer will have to be found in learning, over time, to better understand the text and translate it into efficacious action consistent with its divine intent.

Read more…

Aug 3, 2022

Children to “peruse the divine verses every morn and eve”

Teach ye your children so that they may peruse the divine verses every morn and eve. God hath prescribed unto every father to educate his children, both boys and girls, in the sciences and in morals, and in crafts and professions.... 

- Baha’u’llah  (The Compilation of Compilations, vol. 1, Extracts from the Writings concerning arts and crafts)

Aug 2, 2022

Prayer-beads and rings of Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb

 

Bahá'u'lláh's prayer-beads and ring (right), the Bab's prayer-beads and ring (left), Baha'u'llah's pen-case and tea-glass

Aug 1, 2022

From His childhood the Báb was unlike other children

Even as a very young child the Bab was unlike other children. Those who visited His parents' home were struck by the purity and sweetness of His character, by His serenity and His extreme courtesy. He cared little for the pastimes of other children and chanted His prayers in a melodious, enraptured voice. He was handsome and dignified and his extraordinary knowledge and wisdom astounded all who met Him, yet He was humble and gentle and tender-hearted. He was in every way a remarkable child. 

- Mary Perkins  (‘The Hour of Dawn, The Life of the Báb’, based on works of Nabil-i-A’zam, and H.M. Balyuzi)

Jul 31, 2022

The Garden of Ridvan

Entrance to the Garden of Ridvan where Baha'u'llah declared His Mission in 1863 and after twelve days departed for Constantinople. ... The beauty of this garden is apparent through its service to humanity -- that is, it was a hospital then and two successive governments have used it similarly  ... [as] a center where bodily ailments are healed. 

(The Baha'i World 1926-1928)

Jul 30, 2022

“Verily, the cause of the contingent existences is one creation of God, and it is the Will. God created the Will…”

They (Mulla Sadra and the Sufis) have been mistaken. They have taken the effulgence of the Essence upon the existences to be the very being of God. That is why they have erred when they say that the realities are fixed in the essence. And this they have said to establish the knowledge of God. They say that the Reality of existence is simple to establish the causality of the essence; and they speak of the relation between the Essence and the acts and attributes, and the unity of existence between the Creator and the created. But all this, for the people of God, is naught but absolute association...Even as God hath no need for another besides Himself, likewise He hath no need in His knowledge for the existence of objects of knowledge. In truth, the Essence hath no connection with anything. Verily, the cause of the contingent existences is one creation of God, and it is the Will. God created the Will, from itself without a fire coming to it from the Divine Essence. All of the existences were created by the intermediary of this Will, and this Will always telleth of God's own being and reflecteth nothing but Him. In the contingent existences, however, there is not a single sign which demonstrateth the essence of God, for the Reality of God alienateth all of the contingent existences from His knowledge and the Essence of God rendereth impossible comprehension by all the essences. In truth, the relation of the Will with God is like that of the House (the Ka'bih) with the Supreme Being. This relation is a relation of honour for the creature, but not for the essence, for God is pure.

- The Báb  (From Risaliy-i-Dhahabiyyih, provisionally translated by Keven Brown from Nicholas' French translation in Le Beyan Arabe, pp. 10-12)