Dec 31, 2021

Names and Attributes of God have penetrated “the degrees of existence”

Praise be to God Who hath ever caused His Names and Attributes to penetrate the degrees of existence; Who hath made the effects of those Names and Attributes to shine resplendent and their signs to be firmly established in both the hidden and manifest worlds. By them He hath made the holy realities that are informed by His grace and are the recipients of His outpourings to be the sole revealers of all that pertaineth unto Him, and hath caused them to move through the firmament of perfection in arcs of descent and ascent. He hath ordained these Names and Attributes to be the first and foremost origin and cause of being in the world of creation and the source of the different grades of realities in the degrees of existence. When, through its power of attraction and propagation, the Day-Star of Names and Attributes shone upon the hidden realities in the heart of the unseen realm, they issued forth, were spread abroad, scattered about, set in order, became the recipients of the grace of God and His outpourings, and were made to be the sole manifestations of the Divine conditions and Eternal signs. Emerging from behind the veils, they appeared clothed in raiments of light, moving in the firmament of the unity of God, in orbits of sanctity and circles of glorification.

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From ‘Tablet of Universe’; provisional translation)

Dec 29, 2021

The spiritual benefits of reading the Dawn-Breakers

The reading of the Dawn-Breakers is sure to arouse the friends to renewed zeal and added perseverance in spreading the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. Consider to what extent the Báb and those early leaders of the Faith suffered. It was not through a blind religious zeal but because they desired to bring about for the future generations that promised era that the Faith of the Báb promised to start -- an era of peace, good-will and full realization of the spiritual significance of the life of man upon the earth. They suffered that we may be happy. They died that we may live in perfect bliss. What a sacred debt, therefore, we owe to them! How much we ought to labour to repay them for their sacrifices, and how willing and earnest we should be in consecrating our life in the path they trod!

- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, January 27, 1933; compilation: ‘Lights of Guidance’)

Dec 28, 2021

Resurrection of Jesus Christ

'Abdu'l-Baha said:

Jesus Christ had two bodies -- one spiritual and one material.

The material body is of no importance; it changes and changes and changes always. An old person's body is not the same, as that of the same individual when young.

The visible world does nothing but change, and change leads to annihilation.

We must be sure that when the soul of man leaves his body, it never returns to that body again.

In the Gospel record, when Jesus Christ was crucified and ascended, Mary Magdalene and the other disciples had fallen into such a state of excitement and agitation, that during three days the cause of God was annihilated for them. After three days their agitation having abated, they realised that the cause of Jesus Christ, and His teaching was everlasting in the world. The disciples would not at first write to the other believers openly that Jesus was crucified till Mary Magdalene said to them what does it matter; His soul is with us. When Jesus was crucified, some said "His religion is annihilated and gone." Mary Magdalene said "Matter is gone, and flesh -- but the soul of the religion is forever."

Thomas was a feeble character who believed the cause was lost: after a little time he saw that though Jesus was killed, the cause of God still continued, and then he realised and believed.

Dec 26, 2021

Signs of of the approaching birth of Christ

… when the hour of the Revelation of Jesus drew nigh, a few of the Magi, aware that the star of Jesus had appeared in heaven, sought and followed it, till they came unto the city which was the seat of the Kingdom of Herod. The sway of his sovereignty in those days embraced the whole of that land.

These Magi said: “Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east and are come to worship Him!” [Matthew 2:2] When they had searched, they found out that in Bethlehem, in the land of Judea, the Child had been born. This was the sign that was manifested in the visible heaven. As to the sign in the invisible heaven—the heaven of divine knowledge and understanding—it was Yahya, son of Zachariah, who gave unto the people the tidings of the Manifestation of Jesus. Even as He hath revealed: “God announceth Yahya to thee, who shall bear witness unto the Word from God, and a great one and chaste.” [Qur'án 3:39] By the term “Word” is meant Jesus, Whose coming Yahya foretold. Moreover, in the heavenly Scriptures it is written: “John the Baptist was preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Matthew 3:1-2]  By John is meant Yahya.

- Baha’u’llah  ('The Book of Certitude')

Dec 25, 2021

The Master

"My name is 'Abdu'l-Bahá. My qualification is 'Abdu'l-Bahá. My reality is 'Abdu'l-Bahá. My praise is 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Thraldom to the Blessed Perfection is my glorious and refulgent diadem, and servitude to all the human race my perpetual religion... No name, no title, no mention, no commendation have I, nor will ever have, except 'Abdu'l-Bahá. This is my longing. This is my greatest yearning. This is my eternal life. This is my everlasting glory."

- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (Quoted by Shoghi Effendi in 'The World Order of Baha'u'llah') 

Dec 24, 2021

The Báb's Pilgrimage to Mecca

During October 1844 the Báb, accompanied by Quddus, left Shiraz on pilgrimage to Mecca. He returned to Bushihr sometime in late April or early May of 1845.

Dec 23, 2021

This is Faith -- a poem by Hand of the Cause Ruhiyyih Khanum

To walk where there is no path,

To breathe where there is no air,

To see where there is no light-

This is Faith.

To cry out in the silence,

The silence of the night,

And hearing no echo believe

And believe again and again

This is Faith.

To hold pebbles and see jewels

To raise sticks and see forests

To smile with weeping eyes

This is Faith.

To Say: 'God, I believe' when others deny,

'I hear' when there is no answer,

'I see' though naught is seen-

This is Faith.

And the fierce love in the heart,

The savage love that cries Hidden

Thou art yet there!

Veil thy face and mute thy tongue

Yet I see and hear Thee, Love,

Beat me down to the bare earth,

Yet I rise and love Thee, Love!

This is Faith. 

- Ruhiyyih Khanum  (Written on April 4th, 1954; quoted by Violette Nakhjavani in ‘A Tribute to Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum')  

Dec 22, 2021

story for children: - A Prayer for Mirza Ja'far

The August sun burned down on the stone walls of 'Akka as the sailboat rocked roughly into the harbor. The Baha'is had come a long way. They were hot, hungry, and thirsty. But Mirza Ja'far was happy - he was with Baha'u'llah!

The townspeople yelled at them from the streets, from windows and doorways, as they passed. Mirza Ja'far had walked through hateful mobs before. He had been hungry, tired, and hot before. These things did not matter. He was happy.

The guards at the mighty stone prison gave them little to eat and drink. But Mirza Ja'far thanked God. His dark, narrow cell seemed like a sweet-smelling rose garden with Baha'u'llah close by.

Then, one day, Mirza Ja'far fell sick. How could it be? They had crossed deserts and climbed mountains together. Eager always to help, Mirza Ja'far never complained, and he never seemed to need rest. He was the one who went with 'Abdu'l-Baha to find supplies while others rested.

Now Mirza Ja'far grew more and more sick. The doctor turned away. He knew of nothing that would help his patient. Mirza Ja'far drew in his last breath.

Baha'u'llah's secretary rushed to tell Baha'u'llah that their beloved Mirza Ja'far was dead.

"Chant the prayer ... O Thou, the Healer," said Baha'u'llah, "and Mirza Ja'far will come alive."

Quickly, the Baha'is obeyed. Soon Mirza Ja'far's lifeless body grew warm. Next he began to move. Then he sat up, laughing and joking with his friends.

"Praise be to God!" Mirza Ja'far cried. He would live to serve Baha'u'llah for a long time to come! 

(Retold by Gail Radley from a story by 'Abdu'l-Baha, ‘Memorials of the Faithful’; The Central Figures, Baha’u’llah, US Core Curriculum, vol.1) 

From the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha

Blessed souls whether Moses, Jesus, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Confucius, or Muhammad were the cause of the illumination of the world of humanity. How can we deny such irrefutable proof? How can we be blind to such light?... 

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Extracts from the Baha’i Writings on Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster and related subjects) 

Dec 20, 2021

The Guardian explains that ‘Abdu’l-Baha had “sure and clear knowledge that His end was nigh”

Bedroom of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, where He passed away
How well I remember when, more than two years ago, the Beloved Master turning to a distinguished visitor of His, who was seated by Him in His garden, suddenly broke the silence and said: -- "My work is now done upon this plane; it is time for me to pass on to the other world." Did He not in more than one occasion state clearly and emphatically: -- "Were ye to know what will come to pass after me, surely would ye pray that my end be hastened"? In a Tablet sent to Persia when the storm raised years ago by that Committee of Investigation was fiercely raging around Him, when the days of His incarceration were at their blackest, He reveals the following: -- "Now in this world of being, the Hand of Divine Power hath firmly laid the foundations of this all-highest Bounty and this wondrous Gift. Gradually whatsoever is latent in the innermost of this Holy Cycle shall appear and be made manifest, for now is but the beginning of its growth and the dayspring of the revelation of its Signs. Ere the close of this Century and of this Age, it shall be made clear and manifest how wondrous was that Springtide and how heavenly was that Gift!"

With such assuring Utterances and the unmistakable evidences of His sure and clear knowledge that His end was nigh... 

- Shoghi Effendi  (From a message dated January 21st, 1922; ‘Baha'i Administration’)

Dec 19, 2021

The “sons of the Kingdom are of two kinds. One is the real son and the other is the material one.”

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s last lesson to us on December 3rd, 1901, was as follows:

It is stated in the New Testament that Jesus Christ was once drinking the juice of grapes and said he would drink no more except in the presence of the Father. This means that the spirit needs food for strength as well as the body. The appearance of the Holy Manifestations is for the purpose of causing the heavenly table to descend. This Table means the divine virtues and characteristics and is the means of strengthening the spirit and life. Therefore we hope that as this heavenly table has descended from the Kingdom of Abha in this marvelous period the believers and friends of God will have a great portion of it so that they will be the cause of eternal life and the means of enlightening the hearts of the people of the World.

In short, I hope you will ask God to bless you as being the real sons of the Kingdom. Because the sons of the Kingdom are of two kinds. One is the real son and the other is the material one. Judas Iscariot and Peter were both sons of the Kingdom but Peter was the real son, Judas was the material son. Consequently he was deprived. The real sons of the Kingdom are those souls who act according to the instructions and teachings of Baha’u’llah, the Blessed Perfection. They are drunken with the cup of Providence and are illuminated by the divine Light. They are honored by all the perfections and virtues of humanity, and are characterized with attributes which embellish the essence of man in such a manner that all the people even the enemies testify of their good actions, attractions, separation from the world, purity, sanctity, knowledge and belief.

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a table talk; excerpt from the transcript of a talk given by William Copeland Dodge relating the account of his pilgrimage to ‘Akka in 1901)

Dec 17, 2021

God, His Manifestations, and the “Primal Will of God”

If thou art sailing upon the sea of God's Names, which are reflected in all things, know thou that He is exalted and sanctified from being known through His creatures, or being described by His servants. Everything thou beholdest hath been called into being through the operation of His Will. How can such a created thing, therefore, be indicative of His essential oneness? God's existence in itself testifieth to His Own oneness, while every created thing, by its very nature, beareth evidence that it hath been fashioned by God. Such is the proof of consummate wisdom in the estimation of those who sail the ocean of divine Truth.

If, however, thou art sailing upon the sea of creation, know thou that the First Remembrance, which is the Primal Will of God, may be likened unto the sun. God hath created Him through the potency of His might, and He hath, from the beginning that hath no beginning, caused Him to be manifested in every Dispensation through the compelling power of His behest, and God will, to the end that knoweth no end, continue to manifest Him according to the good-pleasure of His invincible Purpose.

And know thou that He indeed resembleth the sun. Were the risings of the sun to continue till the end that hath no end, yet there hath not been nor ever will be more than one sun; and were its settings to endure for evermore, still there hath not been nor ever will be more than one sun. It is this Primal Will which appeareth resplendent in every Prophet and speaketh forth in every revealed Book. It knoweth no beginning, inasmuch as the First deriveth its firstness from It; and knoweth no end, for the Last oweth its lastness unto It.

In the time of the First Manifestation the Primal Will appeared in Adam; in the day of Noah It became known in Noah; in the day of Abraham in Him; and so in the day of Moses; the day of Jesus; the day of Muhammad, the Apostle of God; the day of the 'Point of the Bayan'; the day of Him Whom God shall make manifest; and the day of the One Who will appear after Him Whom God shall make manifest. Hence the inner meaning of the words uttered by the Apostle of God, 'I am all the Prophets', inasmuch as what shineth resplendent in each one of Them hath been and will ever remain the one and the same sun.

- The Báb  ('Selections from the Writings of the Báb')

Dec 16, 2021

The “soul of man is a ray of light emanating from the Sun of the Word of God”

Therefore, since the reality or soul of man is a ray of light emanating from the Sun of the Word of God, it is capable of manifesting all the perfections of Being. It is then worthy to be the throne upon which may be established the manifestation of the Names, the Qualities and the Attributes of the Ancient Entity. Inasmuch as this entity is capable of expressing the great virtues of Being, and is the greatest and purest of all existing beings on earth, from its earliest rise in the human temple to its resurrection from the grave of the body, it can be likened to a mirror which reveals the seen and the unseen, which possesses the virtues of the world and of the Kingdom. 

- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (From a talk, quoted by Lua Getsinger in her talk in San Francisco on December 17, 1911)

Dec 14, 2021

Did anyone from the West meet the Báb?

The only known record of the Báb's having been seen by a European belongs to the period of His persecution when an English physician resident in Tabriz, Dr. Cormick, was called in by the Persian authorities to pronounce on the Báb's mental condition.

The doctor's letter, addressed to a fellow practitioner in an American mission in Persia, is given in Professor E. G. Browne's "Materials for the Study of the Bábí Religion." "You ask me," writes the doctor, "for some particulars of my interview with the founder of the sect known as Bábís. Nothing of any importance transpired in this interview, as the Báb was aware of my having been sent with two other Persian doctors to see whether he was of sane mind or merely a madman, to decide the question whether he was to be put to death or not. ... He was a very mild and delicate-looking man, rather small in stature and very fair for a Persian, with a melodious soft voice, which struck me much. Being a Siyyid, he was dressed in the habit of that sect, as were also his two companions. In fact his whole look and deportment went far to dispose one in his favour. Of his doctrine I heard nothing from his own lips, although the idea was that there existed in his religion a certain approach to Christianity. He was seen by some Armenian carpenters, who were sent to make some repairs in his prison, reading the Bible, and he took no pains to conceal it, but on the contrary told them of it. Most assuredly the Musulman fanaticism does not exist in his religion, as applied to Christians, nor is there that restraint of females that now exists. 

- Shoghi Effendi  (Introduction to ‘The Dawn-Breakers’)

From the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha

Do ye know in what cycle ye are created and in what age ye exist? This is the age of the Blessed Perfection and this is the time of the Greatest Name! This is the century of the Manifestation, the age of the Sun of the Horizons and the beautiful springtime of His Holiness the Eternal One!

The earth is in motion and growth; the mountains, hills and prairies are green and pleasant; the bounty is overflowing; the mercy universal; the rain is descending from the cloud of mercy; the brilliant Sun is shining; the full moon is ornamenting the horizon of ether; the great ocean-tide is flooding every little stream; the gifts are successive; the favors consecutive; and the refreshing breeze is blowing, wafting the fragrant perfume of the blossoms. Boundless treasure is in the hand of the King of Kings! Lift the hem of thy garment in order to receive it.

If we are not happy and joyous at this season, for what other season shall we wait and for what other time shall we look? 

- 'Abdu'l-Baha  ('Baha'i World Faith – ‘Abdu'l-Baha Section')

Dec 12, 2021

The first twin duties prescribed by God for each human being

The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation. Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed. It behoveth every one who reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Source of Divine inspiration. 

- Baha'u'llah  (‘The Kitab-i-Aqdas’)

Dec 11, 2021

Bahá'u’lláh was born into an ancient and noble family

On 12 November 1817 a child named Mirzá Husayn-'Ali was born in Tihrán, the capital of Persia. His father was a nobleman and a favored minister of Fath-'Ali Sháh; his mother was Khadijih Khánum. His family's ancestral home was in the village of Tákur in the district of Núr (Light) in the northern province of Mázindarán, which lies along the shore of the Caspian Sea. Though Mirzá Husayn-'Ali received little formal education, He showed signs in childhood of innate knowledge and unusual nobility of character -- signs that foreshadowed the divinely ordained role He would later assume as Bahá'u’lláh, the Glory of God. His revelation would shake Persia to its depths, revolutionize the fortunes of the world, and usher in a new and glorious age in human history.

- Geoffry Marks  (‘Call to Remembrance’)

Dec 9, 2021

Shoghi Effendi’s great faith

Of all the characteristics that Shoghi Effendi possessed, the one that I believe was at the very core of his personality and was deeply rooted in his soul was the immense faith he had, his complete reliance on the efficacy of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation. He clung to His Teachings with a tenacity that cannot be likened to anything. His whole being was permeated with the power of the Revelation, and this is the reason that all who came near him or in contact with him felt so safe, so assured, so regenerated.

- Hand of the Cause Ugo Giachery  (‘Shoghi Effendi – Recollections’)

Dec 8, 2021

October 1848: Mulla Husayn and his companions enter the Shrine of Shaykh Tabarsi

Mulla Husayn and his companions entered the Shrine of Shaykh Tabarsi and were attacked that night by a body of horsemen from Qadi-Kula.

- Moojan Momen  (The Baha’i World, vol. 18)

Dec 7, 2021

“'Abdu’l-Bahá should be regarded as God’s ‘exalted Handiwork’”

There is nothing in the Writings that would lead us to the conclusion that what Shoghi Effendi says about himself concerning statements on subjects not directly related to the Faith also applies to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Instead we have assertions which indicate that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s position in the Faith is one for which we find “no parallel” in past Dispensations. For example, Bahá’u’lláh, in addition to His reference to the Center of His Covenant as the “Mystery of God,” states that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá should be regarded as God’s “exalted Handiwork” and “a Word which God hath adorned with the ornament of His Own Self, and made it sovereign over the earth and all that there is therein.” And from Shoghi Effendi we have the incontrovertible statement that the Guardian of the Faith while “overshadowed” by the “protection” of Bahá’u’lláh and of the Báb, “remains essentially human,” whereas in respect of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Shoghi Effendi categorically states that “in the person of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the incompatible characteristics of a human nature and superhuman knowledge and perfection have been blended and are completely harmonized.” 

- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 3 June 1982, written on behalf of the Universal House)

Dec 6, 2021

Prayer: - To "be freed from affliction"

If thou desirest to be freed from affliction, recite thou this prayer which hath been revealed by the Pen of the All-Merciful:

O God, my God! I testify to Thy unity and to Thy oneness. I beseech Thee, O Thou Possessor of names and Fashioner of the heavens, by the pervasive influence of Thine exalted Word and the potency of Thy supreme Pen, to aid me with the ensigns of Thy power and might, and to protect me from the mischief of Thine enemies who have violated Thy Covenant and Thy Testament. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the Most Powerful.

This invocation is an impregnable stronghold and an indomitable army. It conferreth protection and ensureth deliverance. 

- Baha’u’llah  (‘The Tabernacle of Unity’)

Dec 5, 2021

The Báb's early Childhood recalled by His mother

The following story which was narrated by the mother of the Báb, is recorded by Mirza Habibu’llah Afnan, a relative of the Báb, who was born in the House of the Báb in Shiraz and reared by Khadijih Khanum, the widow of the Báb:

“From the moment of birth, it was evident that, unlike other children, He was not rapacious in drinking milk. Normally, He was serene and made no noise. During the twenty-four-hour period, He would desire milk only four times. While nursing He would be most gentle, and no movement was discerned from His mouth. Often I would become anxious and ask myself, ‘Why is this Child not like other children? Perhaps He has some illness that prevents His desiring milk.’ Then I would console myself, saying, ‘If He really had some unknown illness, He would manifest signs of agitation and restlessness.’

Unlike other children, He did not complain or behave in an unseemly manner during the weaning period. I was most thankful that now that the Exalted Lord had granted me this Child, He was gentle and agreeable.”

(The Genesis of the Bábi-Bahá’i Faiths in Shiraz and Fars by Mirza Habibu’llah Afnan, translated by Ahang Rabbani)

Dec 4, 2021

The greatest gift of God

Of all the gifts of God the greatest is the gift of Teaching. 

- ‘Abdu’l-Bahá  (‘The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)

Dec 2, 2021

From the Writings of Baha'u'llah

The Prophets and Messengers of God have been sent down for the sole purpose of guiding mankind to the straight Path of Truth. The purpose underlying their revelation hath been to educate all men, that they may, at the hour of death, ascend, in the utmost purity and sanctity and with absolute detachment, to the throne of the Most High.... 

- Baha’u’llah  (‘Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh’; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. 1. Baha’i Education)

Dec 1, 2021

1970: Centenary of the martyrdom of the Purest Branch, Mirza Mihdi – the Universal House of Justice called for special worldwide prayer

25 March 1970

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

In commemoration of the centenary of the martyrdom of the Purest Branch, which falls on 23 June 1970, we call upon the Baha'is of the world to unite in prayer for "the regeneration of the world and the unification of its peoples."

During those days one hundred years ago Baha'u'llah was enduring His imprisonment in the Barracks of 'Akka. Upon the tribulations which weighed Him down was heaped the fatal accident which befell His young son, His companion and amanuensis, Mirza Mihdi, the Purest Branch, whose dying supplication to his Father was to accept his life "as a ransom for those of His loved ones who yearned for, but were unable to attain, His presence." In a Tablet revealed in that grievous hour Baha'u'llah sorrows that "This is the day whereon he that was created of the light of Baha has suffered martyrdom, at a time when he lay imprisoned at the hands of his enemies." Yet He makes clear that the youth passing has a far profounder meaning than His acceptance of the simple request, declaring that "Thou art, verily, the trust of God and His treasure in this land. Erelong will God reveal through thee that which He hath desired." In a prayer revealed for His son He proclaims the purpose underlying the tragedy: "I have, O my Lord, offered up that which Thou hast given Me, that Thy servants may be quickened, and all that dwell on earth be united."  Thus upon a youth of consummate devotion who demonstrated such beauty of spirit and total dedication was conferred a unique station in the Cause of God.

In your recalling the bereavement of Baha'u'llah upon the loss of His loved son, and honouring a highly significant event in the Faith, we leave it to the discretion of the Assemblies whether they choose to hold special gatherings of prayer. In the Holy Land at the World Centre on Mount Carmel there will be an observance at the grave of Mirza Mihdi, at which time his pure example and sacrifice for all mankind will be remembered through the words of his glorious Father.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

(‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)