Sep 29, 2022

Shoghi Effendi’s heart was like a mirror… it seemed to reflect all parts of the world

Shoghi Effendi completely dedicated his whole life to the Cause of God. He had no other thought. He ate, he slept, he was awake, he worked, every minute, day and night, was for the Cause of God. He thought of nothing else. Nothing else was of any interest to him. He didn’t talk about anything else. He talked about the conditions of the Plan. He talked about the services of the friends. And he was like a barometer. When any word came from any part of the world about successes of the believers in the teaching work they did, he was joyous and he was happy. But when word came of difficulties within the Faith, of persecutions of the some of the Baha’is, of difficulties that the pioneers were meeting with, the suffering of the believers, he became very sad. His heart was like a mirror, and it seemed reflect all parts of the world. And wherever he turned his heart, he saw what was there. He saw pictured before him the exact conditions of the believers themselves. So that if any of you, especially the pioneers, especially those of you who came into new areas to teach, and those of you who have been carrying on the teaching work in the new areas, have any idea that you are alone, that God is not with you, that the power of the Holy Spirit is not with you, dispel that from your mind, because the Power of God and the power of the Holy Spirit is with you all the time, every minute day and night. And the Guardian himself, even in his physical form, pledged to those things in the Holy Land, and he talked to us about them day after day and night after night. 

- Hand of the Cause of God Leroy Ioas  (He was one of the Guardian’s secretaries, from a talk in Johannesburg, South Africa, 1958, ‘In the Days of the Guardian’)

Sep 27, 2022

The Báb's schoolmaster

The principal of the school that the Báb attended when He was almost five years old has left the following description about Shaykh ‘Abid, the Bab’s schoolmaster. It should be noted that in those years in Persia, the schools basically taught students how to read and write passages from the Qur’an.

“The honored Shaykh ‘Abid, a man of many qualities, was the schoolmaster and taught the children of the noblemen, the affluent, the merchants and other distinguished citizens. He was tall, ever-dignified man with a long beard. A follower of the late Shaykh Ahmad Ahsa’i and Siyyid Kazim Rashti, he ranked among the leading figures and divines in Shiraz. …. Those wishing for their youngster to receive tuition from him, had to come beforehand and meet with him in person. They would ask the Shykh for a place either through a letter or through a distinguished intermediary. This was because the Shaykh did not accept the children of just anyone and was particularly reluctant to accept lads from the bazzari shopkeepers, because of all their ill manners and dirty clothing.”

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

Sep 26, 2022

Heart of the Arc on Mount Carmel

Did you know that the “far-flung arc” on mount Carmel that accommodates the buildings of the Universal House of Justice, the International Teaching Center, the Center for the Study of the Text, and the International Archives:

“surround(s) the resting-places of the Greatest Holy Leaf, ranking as foremost among the members of her sex in the Bahá'í Dispensation, of her Brother, offered up as a ransom by Bahá'u'lláh for the quickening of the world and its unification, and of their Mother, proclaimed by Him to be His chosen "consort in all the worlds of God". (Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Baha’i World 1950—57; the Compilation of Compilations vol. I).

This really highlights the incredible spiritual stations of these

“three incomparably precious souls who, next to the three Central Figures of our Faith, tower in rank above the vast multitude of the heroes, Letters, martyrs, Hands, teachers and administrators of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh …” (Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America; the Compilation of Compilations, vol. I)

Sep 24, 2022

Tenderness and attention shown by ‘Abdu’l-Baha towards little children

It is beautiful to see the Master with the little children and observe his consideration for their childish troubles. One morning his tiny granddaughter, about two years old, was talking to the Master in the most serious way, telling him with expressive gesticulations her difficulty. Something had gone crosswise with her. The Master without a smile listened most attentively. This was a great lesson. When we consider what the Master has to bear — a man of ordinary strength could not endure it one hour — yet when a little child comes and confides in him her trouble, how tender, how loving he is! How forgetful of self!

Shall I ever forget the heavenly smile and love expressed in that beautiful face when this tiny maiden was chanting for him a Tablet! Every now and then she would forget a word, and he would gently chant it for her, while he drank his tea, seated in the corner of the divan. How the little children love him!

- Mary L. Lucas  (‘A Brief Account of My Visit to Acca’, published by Chicago Baha'i Publishing Society in 1905)

Sep 23, 2022

Baha’u’llah’s Ancestral Place

Baha’u’llah’s family came from Nur, a district in the Iranian province of Mazandaran, the province in north Iran at the south end of the Caspian Sea. This province has high mountain peaks in the south descending to the northern coastal plain bordering the sea. Because of the dense sub-tropical jungles of the lower parts of the province (a stark contrast to the dry desert conditions in much of the rest of Iran), it was always difficult area for invaders to penetrate.

The Zoroastrian royalty and nobility fled to these parts after the Arab Islamic invasion of Iran in the seventh century and Baha’u’llah’s family are said to have been descended from the last Zoroastrian monarch of Iran. Even when the people of this area finally converted to Islam centuries after that invasion, they mainly converted to the Zaydi form of Shi’i Islam as distinct from the Sunni Islam of most of the rest of Iran. It was only when the Safavid monarchs imposed Twelver Shi’i Islam [those who believed in the succession of Imams after the passing of Muhammad] on the whole country that Mazandaran fell into line with the rest of Iran. 

- Moojan Momen  ('Baha’u’llah: A Short Biography')

Sep 22, 2022

Mount Carmel as it appeared to the first American pilgrims in 1898

The building at the foot and on the left marks the place where Elijah, the Prophet, found shelter. On the summit is a convent. (Baha'i News, December 1971)

Sep 21, 2022

A suggested quote to memorize: Attributes to exemplify

The companions of God are, in this day, the lump that must leaven the peoples of the world. They must show forth such trustworthiness, such truthfulness and  perseverance, such deeds and character that all mankind may profit by their example. 

- Baha’u’llah  (Quoted by Shoghi Effendi in ‘The Advent of Divine Justice’)

Sep 20, 2022

Tellers report at a National Convention - Normal Convention procedure

Normal Convention procedure would call for a tellers' report announcing the names of the nine believers elected to the National Spiritual Assembly plus statistical information as to the balance of the votes cast. However, if the Convention votes to have the complete report of the tellers, or any part of it, the Convention is entitled to have the information which will thereupon be presented by the tellers accordance with the vote of the Convention. 

- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, December 16, 1965; compilation:’ Lights of Guidance’)

Sep 18, 2022

We should search for “people of capacity”

Basically, "people of capacity" are those individuals, no matter in what walk of life they are found, and no matter what their level of education, who demonstrate capacity in various ways. For example, among any group of people there are those who are outstanding because they show a capacity for understanding, for work, for efficient action, for leadership, for drawing other people together, for self-sacrificing and devoted service -- for any number of qualities which enable them to respond actively to the needs of their environment and make a difference to it. In some cases this capacity has already been demonstrated; in others it is still latent but can be developed. It is for such people that we should search, since they can quickly become either devoted and active Bahá'ís or valued collaborators in the work of promoting Bahá'í ideals. 

- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 6 November 1994, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly; compilation ‘Agriculture and Rural Life’, prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice)

Sep 17, 2022

Mrs. Thornburgh-Cropper (d.1938) - the first Baha'i in England

Mrs. Thornburgh-Cropper was the first Baha'i in England and one of the first Western people to recognize the Revelation of Baha'u'llah. She received the name "Maryam Khanum" from 'Abdu'l-Baha. She put her car at the Master's disposal during His visits to London. Her tall, graceful figure with her serene angel face shining beneath a crown of silver hair, her blue eyes, and the soft blend of blues and purples in her dress, gracious to all, and ready to be of constant service to her exalted Guest.

In a letter to Lady Blomfield, now published in The Chosen Highway, Mrs. Thornburgh-Cropper tells how she became aware of the new Revelation. "Early in 1900 I received a letter from Mrs. Phoebe Hearst, my life long friend from California, telling me of a wonderful new religious teaching she had contacted. She said that she felt it would be of great interest to me, and that when she came to London, she would tell me all about it. A short time later I was searching in the encyclopedia for some information about King David, about whom I had had an argument. In turning over the pages, my eye was caught by a name "Báb." . . . There was something so moving in this story of a martyr for His faith, that so moved me that I went to the British Museum to search for further information regarding Him and His teaching."

Mrs. Thornburgh-Cropper accompanied Mrs. Hearst to 'Akka in 1902, and later made another pilgrimage in 1906, both times being received by the Master. Of her first encounter with Him she says: "Someone went before us with a small piece of candle which cast strange shadows on the walls of this silent place. Suddenly the light caught a form that at first seemed a vision of mist and light. It was the Master the candle light had revealed to us. His white robe, and silver flowing hair, and shining blue eyes, gave the impression of a spirit, rather than of a human being. We tried to tell Him how deeply grateful we were at His receiving us. "No," he answered, "you are kind to come." This was spoken in a very careful English. Then He smiled, and we recognized the Light which He possessed in the radiance which moved over His fine and noble face. It was an amazing experience. We four visitors from the Western world felt that our voyage, with all its accompanying inconveniences was a small price to pay for such treasure as we received from the spirit and words of the Master Whom we had crossed mountains and seas and nations to meet. This began our work 'to spread the teaching,' to 'mention the Name of Baha'u'llah, and acquaint the world with the Message'."

Sep 16, 2022

The attribute of God as the “Creator” necessitates the continuing existence of creation

If we acknowledge that there is a beginning for this world of creation, we acknowledge that the sovereignty of God is accidental -- that is, we admit a time when the reality of Divinity has been without dominion. The names and attributes of Divinity are requirements of this world. The names the Powerful, the Living, the Provider, the Creator require and necessitate the existence of creatures. If there were no creatures, Creator would be meaningless. If there were none to provide for, we could not think of the Provider. If there were no life, the Living would be beyond the power of conception. Therefore, all the names and attributes of God require the existence of objects or creatures upon which they have been bestowed and in which they have become manifest. If there was a time when no creation existed, when there was none to provide for, it would imply a time when there was no existent One, no Trainer, and the attributes and qualities of God would have been meaningless and without significance. Therefore, the requirements of the attributes of God do not admit of cessation or interruption, for the names of God are actually and forever existing and not potential. Because they convey life, they are called Life-giving; because they provide, they are called Bountiful, the Provider; because they create, they are called Creator; because they educate and govern, the name Lord God is applied. That is to say, the divine names emanate from the eternal attributes of Divinity. Therefore, it is proved that the divine names presuppose the existence of objects or beings. 

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk, 5 July 1912, New York; ‘The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912’)

Sep 15, 2022

The Most Great Branch

'Abdu'l-Baha during 1860's

"O Thou Who art the apple of Mine eye! My glory, the ocean of My loving-kindness, the sun of My bounty, the heaven of My mercy rest upon Thee."

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

Sep 14, 2022

How we can each contribute to the building of a new social order that is shaped by the truths of the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh - Paul Lample

“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. 

- Paul Lample  (Excerpt from a plenary talk given by Paul Lample at the 32nd annual conference of the Association for Bahá’í Studies – North America, 29 August to 1 September 2008)

[1]. Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
[2]. Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán

...read the entire talk

Sep 13, 2022

Need to free our souls from the “bondage of self”

Deliver your souls, O people, from the bondage of self, and purify them from all attachment to anything besides Me. Remembrance of Me cleanseth all things from defilement, could ye but perceive it.

- Baha’u’llah  (‘Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh’; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. II, The Importance of Prayer, Meditation, and the Devotional Attitude)

Sep 11, 2022

“trials and tribulations”

Know ye that trials and tribulations have, from time immemorial, been the lot of the chosen Ones of God and His beloved, and such of His servants as are detached from all else but Him, they whom neither merchandise nor traffic beguile from the remembrance of the Almighty, they that speak not till He hath spoken, and act according to His commandment. Such is God's method carried into effect of old, and such will it remain in the future.... 

- Baha’u’llah  (‘Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh’; The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, Crisis and Victory)

Sep 10, 2022

Louise and John Bosch

John David Bosch was born at Neu-St. Johann, Canton St. Gall, Switzerland, on August 1, 1855. His parents were Michael Johann Bosch and Maria Biegmann; he had three brothers and three sisters, and was his parents' fifth child. When he was nine, his mother died, and he was then brought up by his oldest sister, whom he loved all his life. After attending elementary and “repletitionary" school in Neu-St. Johann, he left Switzerland with a sister and her husband (the Zuberbuhlers), arrived in America in 1879, and went to Amboy, Nebraska where on arrival the Zuberbuhlers purchased a farm. He practised his trade of cooper, "helped with the building of the railroad, and also farmed." He was in Los Angeles, California between 1884 and 1889, and became a citizen of the United States in Los Angeles County in 1887, the document also being registered in Sonoma County in 1892. He married Kathe Krieg in '85 or '86, the marriage ending in divorce around '89. It was about this period that he went to Germany, France and Spain to study winemaking. After holding various good positions in the Valley of the Moon, he purchased the thirty-five acres constituting the original extent of his Geyserville property on October 26, 1901 from Emily B. Smith of Geyserville.

In 1905, John became a Baha'i, his teachers being Mrs. Beckwith, Mrs. Goodall, Mrs. Cooper and Thornton Chase. John was delegate from California and Honolulu to the first Baha'i Temple Unity Convention, Chicago, March 21, 1906. In April, 1912, when superintendent of the Northern Sonoma County Wineries, he went East to be with ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and on his return was instrumental in appealing to the Master to visit the West. He was Thornton Chase's literary executor. On January 19, 1914 he married Louise Sophie Stapfer of Zurich, Switzerland, in San Francisco. In 1920, with Louise, he left for Tahiti in March, pioneering there and leaving in September. In November, 1921, he and Louise were present in Haifa at the time of the Master's passing. Appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly with two other to locate a place for thee establishment of a center "along the lines of Green Acre" John offered his property for this purpose, the institution beginning its functions in 1927. From this period on, he continued to serve in many ways until his long, final illness. He passed away July 22, 1946, and was buried in Olive Hill cemetery, Geyserville, following a befitting memorial service held July 24 in the Baha’i Hall, Geyserville School. Under the auspices of the National Spiritual Assembly, memorial service was also held for him in the Baha'i House of Worship, November 24. 

- Marzieh Gail  (Baha’i News July, 1974)

Sep 8, 2022

Early Christians – “their hearts were pure and attracted by the fires of the Divine Spirit”

Jesus Christ gave His life upon the cross for the unity of mankind. Those who believed in Him likewise sacrificed life, honor, possessions, family, everything, that this human world might be released from the hell of discord, enmity and strife. His foundation was the oneness of humanity. Only a few were attracted to Him. They were not the kings and rulers of His time. They were not rich and important people. Some of them were catchers of fish. Most of them were ignorant men, not trained in the knowledge of this world. One of the greatest of them, Peter, could not remember the days of the week. All of them were men of the least consequence in the eyes of the world. But their hearts were pure and attracted by the fires of the Divine Spirit manifested in Christ. With this small army Christ conquered the world of the East and the West. Kings and nations rose against Him. Philosophers and the greatest men of learning assailed and blasphemed His Cause. All were defeated and overcome, their tongues silenced, their lamps extinguished, their hatred quenched; no trace of them now remains. They have become as nonexistent, while His Kingdom is triumphant and eternal. 

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk, 12 April, 1912, New York; ‘The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912’)

Sep 6, 2022

Bahá'u'lláh didn’t attend any schools

The education and instruction which Bahá'u'lláh received was limited both in nature and extent, as He Himself states in the Tablet addressed to Nasir’d-Din Shah: "The learning current amongst men I studied not; their schools I entered not. Ask of the city wherein I dwelt, that thou mayest be well assured that I am not of them who speak falsely."

In those days, the scions of noble houses were taught such matters as befitted their station in life, such as riding, handling a gun, wielding a sword, calligraphy, acquaintance with the works of the great classical poets of the land, a good reading knowledge of the Holy Book, the Qur'an, and hardly ever anything more. They were given such instruction by tutors, specially engaged by the parents, who were also required to teach them good manners.

- Balyuzi  (‘Bahá'u'lláh, The King of Glory’)

Sep 5, 2022

circa 1910: The Baha'i Board of Council in Isfahan, Iran

The gentleman in the middle of the second row is Haji Siyyid Zeinu’l Abedin, a veteran believer for 50 years. In 1901 his house was pillaged by a mob and his belongings taken. Then for a year or more he travelled to different parts of Iran and spread the Glad-Tidings. In 1905 he made a pilgrimage to Akka and visited Abdu'l-Baha returning with added zeal.

Sep 4, 2022

“The cause of things is the First Remembrance that God created from nothing. And He made in it the cause of all the creatures.”

The third question thou didst pose is about the meaning of the saying of the philosophers who say: 'From one naught can be created by one.' The essence of this saying is false when the cause referred to the eternal and the absolute essence of God. God hath no connection with anything and never does aught leave his Being. The quality of God (of not engendering and in not being engendered) is proven in all states. If the meaning of the cause is the First Remembrance, that is to say Him Whom God created Himself, then this saying becometh true. What is other than one cannot explain the action of the Essence to be unique. This is the religion of the pure Imams.

It is in this way that God, in the Hadith-i-Quasi, summoned Jonas: 'O Jonas! Dost thou know the Will?' Jonas answered, 'No.' God said: 'The Will is the First Remembrance.' It is not possible that God create a thing from nothing except that thing be unique, for the first rank of the Remembrance is to demonstrate the unity of God. In the beginning of the degree of unity it is not possible to be other than one. Thus the saying of the philosophers that 'the cause of all the existences is the essence of God' is a falsehood. There is no connection between God and His creatures. It is not admissible that the essence of God be a place of change. To be so there must be a similitude between the cause and the effect. Therefore the truth is this: The cause of things is the First Remembrance that God created from nothing. And He made in it the cause of all the creatures. As the Imam revealeth, upon Him be blessings, 'The cause of things is the Handiwork of God and this Handiwork hath no cause.

- The Báb  (From a Tablet to an individual, provisional translation by Keven Brown of Nicholas' French translation in Le Beyan Arabe)

Sep 3, 2022

“'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)

Sep 2, 2022

'Abdu'l-Baha recognized Baha'u'llah when He was only 9 years old

Bahá'u'lláh departed from Tihran for Iraq on 12 January 1853. Among those who accompanied Him in His exile was His eldest son, nine-year-old Abbas, who later assumed the title of Abdu'l-Bahá (Servant of Baha). He had such spiritual insight that, as a young boy, He intuitively recognized the station of His Father. So highly did Bahá'u'lláh esteem Him that in Baghdad He used to address Him, while still in His teens, as the Master -- a designation which Bahá'u'lláh had also used for His own father while in Tihran. 

- Adib Taherzadeh  ('The Revelation of Baha'u'llah vol. 1')

Sep 1, 2022

Significant Ages..

  • The Báb was 25 years old when He declared His Mission.
  • Baha’u’llah was 27 years old when He embraced the religion of the Bab.
  • ‘Abdu’l-Baha was 9 years old when He recognized Baha’u’llah’s station.
  • Shoghi Effendi was 23 years old when he became the Guardian.

Aug 31, 2022

The Báb's schoolmaster

The principal of the school that the Báb attended when He was almost five years old has left the following description about Shaykh ‘Abid, the Báb’s schoolmaster. It should be noted that in those years in Persia, the schools basically taught students how to read and write passages from the Qur’an.

“The honored Shaykh ‘Abid, a man of many qualities, was the schoolmaster and taught the children of the noblemen, the affluent, the merchants and other distinguished citizens. He was tall, ever-dignified man with a long beard. A follower of the late Shaykh Ahmad Ahsa’i and Siyyid Kazim Rashti, he ranked among the leading figures and divines in Shiraz. …. Those wishing for their youngster to receive tuition from him, had to come beforehand and meet with him in person. They would ask the Shaykh for a place either through a letter or through a distinguished intermediary. This was because the Shaykh did not accept the children of just anyone and was particularly reluctant to accept lads from the bazzari shopkeepers, because of all their ill manners and dirty clothing.”

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

Aug 30, 2022

A Baha’i Teaching: Academic schools should also train children in ethical conduct and virtuous character

… schools for academic studies must at the same time be training centres in behaviour and conduct, and they must favour character and conduct above the sciences and arts. Good behaviour and high moral character must come first, for unless the character be trained, acquiring knowledge will only prove injurious. Knowledge is praiseworthy when it is coupled with ethical conduct and virtuous character; otherwise it is a deadly poison, a frightful danger. 

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a Tablet; ‘Baha’i Education’: A compilation prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice)

Aug 29, 2022

June 17, 1975: Excavation began at site of Universal House of Justice Building

Joyfully announce commencement excavation site Universal House of Justice Building arc Mount Carmel. Contract removal forty thousand cubic meters rock and earth at cost approximately two hundred thousand dollars. Invite all believers contribute unstintingly building fund ensure uninterrupted progress historic undertaking.

Universal House of Justice

June 17, 1975 

(Baha'i News, July 1975)

Aug 28, 2022

A prayer for protection of Baha’is in Iran

O God, my God! Thou seest Thy loved ones turning their hearts to Thee, and holding fast unto the cord of Thy ordinances and laws. I beseech Thee by the waves of the sea of Thine utterance, and by Him through whom Thou didst adorn the heavens of Thy might, to graciously protect them by the aid of Thy hosts.

O God! Thou beholdest Thy lovers in Iran in the clutches of hate and enmity. I beg of Thee, by Thy mercy which hath preceded the contingent world, to raise up from the earth those who will be moved to aid and protect them, and to preserve their rights and the restitution due to them by those who broke Thy Covenant and Testament, and perpetrated such acts as made the inmates of the cities of Thy justice and equity to lament. Thou art, verily, the All-Powerful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

- Baha’u’llah, (‘Fire and Light, Excerpts from the Bahá'í Sacred Writings’, prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice; The Baha’i World 1979-1983)

Aug 27, 2022

The power that is bringing peoples from the East and West together

The Báb and Bahá'u'lláh over sixty years ago proclaimed the glad tidings of universal peace. The Báb was martyred in the Cause of God. Bahá'u'lláh suffered forty years as a prisoner and exile in order that the Kingdom of love might be established in the East and West. He has made it possible for us to meet here in love and unity. Because He suffered imprisonment, we are free to proclaim the oneness of the world of humanity for which He stood so long and faithfully. He was chained in dungeons, He was without food, His companions were thieves and criminals, He was subjected to every kind of abuse and infliction, but throughout it all He never ceased to proclaim the reality of the Word of God and the oneness of humanity. We have been brought together here by the power of His Word -- you from America, I from Persia -- all in love and unity of spirit. Was this possible in former centuries? If it is possible now after fifty years of sacrifice and teaching, what shall we expect in the wonderful centuries coming? 

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk, 12 April, 1912, New York; ‘The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912’)

Aug 26, 2022

In 1844 the Báb “proclaimed God’s hidden Cause and unveiled its well-guarded Pillar”

God beareth Me witness, I was not a man of learning, for I was trained as a merchant. In the year sixty [1] God graciously infused my soul with the conclusive evidences and weighty knowledge which characterize Him Who is the Testimony of God—may peace be upon Him—until finally in that year I proclaimed God’s hidden Cause and unveiled its well-guarded Pillar, in such wise that no one could refute it. “That he who should perish might perish with a clear proof before him and he who should live might live by clear proof.” [2]

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

[1] 1260 A.H. (1844 A.D.)            

[2] Qur’án 8:44

Aug 24, 2022

“Love is… the Holy Spirit's eternal breath”

Love is heaven's kindly light, the Holy Spirit's eternal breath that vivifieth the human soul.

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’)

Aug 23, 2022

“The children must, from their infancy, be raised to be spiritual and godly Bahá'ís.”

O thou teacher of the children of the kingdom! Thou hast arisen to perform a service which would justly entitle thee to vaunt thyself over all the teachers on earth. For the teachers of this world make use of human education to develop the powers, whether spiritual or material, of humankind, whilst thou art training these young plants in the gardens of God according to the education of Heaven, and art giving them the lessons of the Kingdom. The result of this kind of teaching will be that it will attract the blessings of God, and make manifest the perfections of man. 

Hold thou fast to this kind of teaching, for the fruits of it will be very great. The children must, from their infancy, be raised to be spiritual and godly Bahá'ís. If such be their training, they will remain safe from every test.

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Baha’i Education)

Aug 21, 2022

“in this age the speech of the believers of God must be the soul entrancing melody of the Kingdom of Abha”

How long are ye silent and speechless! Although ye are speaking, yet in this age the speech of the believers of God must be the soul entrancing melody of the Kingdom of Abha and the harmony of the Supreme Concourse! Therefore 'Abdu'l-Baha is not satisfied with a meek voice and depressing lamentation! He seeks the passionate tumult and joyous clamor and he roars and cries at the top of his voice so that the realities of things may stir into movement and action and the Beloved of Bounty unveil her Countenance in the world of creation! Those friends must, like unto the stars in heaven, shine and gleam in the horizon of Truth with the Light of Guidance so that the realities of the existent beings and the spirit of humankind may find joy and happiness!  

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha Abbas  (From a Tablet; Star of the West, vol. 1. No. 5, June5, 1910)

Aug 20, 2022

Story for children: Baha’u’llah receives His Mission from God

Baha'u'llah lived in Persia. He was a wonderful person. His hair was black and His beard was black. He had happy, laughing eyes, and He made everybody happy because He loved them so much. He rode on horseback and He was brave and strong. He was just like a king.

His wife was called Navvab. Her hair was black and her eyes were dark blue. She was very beautiful. Her heart was so pure and she was so gentle. She loved everybody and she made them happy too.

Baha'u'llah and His wife were very rich. They had three children. The eldest was a boy named 'Abbas Effendi, and He was nine years old. When He grew up He was called 'Abdu'l-Baha. The next was a little girl named Bahiyyih Khanum, and she was six. When she grew up she was called the Greatest Holy Leaf. And the smallest was a little boy named Mirza Mihdi, and he was two. When he grew up he was called the Purest Branch.

They all lived in a big house that looked like a palace and had many servants. One maid-servant was black. One man-servant was named Isfandiyar. The black maid-servant and Isfandiyar loved Baha'u'llah and His family more than all the others did.

The house was full of beautiful things. There were Persian rugs, and gold ornaments and fine hangings. When Navvab had married Baha'u'llah her wedding treasures were so great that it took forty mules to carry them to the house. Her clothes were so pretty, even the buttons were of gold set with precious stones. The children wore beautiful clothes too.

In those days all the men in Persia wore a special sort of coat, it was called an 'aba, and Baha'u'llah wore an 'aba. He wore a turban too.

In those days all the ladies in Persia wore veils and big, dark cloaks that covered them all up. When Navvab went visiting she wore one of those big cloaks and a veil, and she travelled in a covered seat on the back of a mule. A mule is like a big donkey.

Aug 19, 2022

Book: Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha

In the preface to this book, which was published by the Universal House of Justice in 1978, we read:

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s exposition of the Baha’i Revelation is recorded in His written works, in the many compilations of His recorded utterances, and in His correspondence. The written works such as The Secret of Divine Civilization, A Traveller’s Narrative, the Will and Testament, are available in English translations. Likewise many compilations of His recorded utterances, among which may be mentioned Some Answered Questions, Memorials of the Faithful, Paris Talks, are kept in print. Not for sixty years, however, has any large compilation, in English, of His innumerable letters been made; the three volumes of Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Baha published the United States between 1909 and 1916, although running into second editions, have long been out of print.

The present compilation attempts a much wider selection than was made for those early volumes, and its perusal will give some indication of the vast range of subjects dealt with by the Master in His correspondence. Included are a number of Tablets translated by a Committee at the World Centre using early drafts made by Shoghi Effendi during ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s lifetime, and a large number by Marzieh Gale, sent to her from the World Centre’s collection of more than 19,000 original and authenticated copies. Some famous Tablets, such as the correspondence with Auguste Forel, or the greater part of the Tablet to the Hague, have been omitted since they are available in separate publications.

The happy and blessed recipients of the vast majority of the Tablets here included were the early believers of the east and west, whether individuals, groups, organized committees or assemblies of the friends, and their value to the nascent communities of the west in those days when Baha’i literature in English was meagre in the extreme, cannot be overestimated.

It is believed that publication of these writings of the Master will serve to increase the fervour of His lovers in responding to His call and add to their perception of that wondrous harmony of the human and divine which He, the Mystery of God, so perfectly exemplified.

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)

Jul 29, 2022

Attributes of those who strive for nearness to the Manifestation of God

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. 

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