May 31, 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’)

May 30, 2022

1910: Some early believers in the United States

Standing (left to right) -- Mr. Windust, Mr. Remey, Mrs. True, Mr. Lesch Mrs. Brush, Mr. Hall, Mr. Brush, Mr. Chase, Mr. Jacobsen. Seated (left to right) -Mr.Scheffler, Mr. Struven, Mr. Agnew, Mr. Woodworth, Mr. Fuller

May 28, 2022

As a child, Baha’u’llah was a little short in stature

It is related that one day, when Baha’u’llah was seven years old, as He was walking His parents were watching Him, and His mother remarked that He was a little short in stature. His father replied: 'That matters not. Do you not know how intelligent He is and what a wonderful mind He has!'  

- Balyuzi  (‘Baha’u’llah, The King of Glory’)

May 27, 2022

What people “of insight” and those with “discerning eye” can perceive

Every man of insight confesseth Thy sovereignty and Thy dominion, and every discerning eye perceiveth the greatness of Thy [God's] majesty and the compelling power of Thy might.

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

May 26, 2022

The world of dream is a proof of the existence of the soul

… the human soul is exalted above all egress and regress. It is still, and yet it soareth; it moveth, and yet it is still. It is, in itself, a testimony that beareth witness to the existence of a world that is contingent, as well as to the reality of a world that hath neither beginning nor end. Behold how the dream thou hast dreamed is, after the lapse of many years, re-enacted before thine eyes. Consider how strange is the mystery of the world that appeareth to thee in thy dream. Ponder in thine heart upon the unsearchable wisdom of God, and meditate on its manifold revelations.... 

- Baha’u’llah  ('Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah'; Compilation ‘Reincarnation and the Nature and Progress of the Soul’, prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice) 

May 25, 2022

“Love manifests its reality in deeds, not only in words”

Love manifests its reality in deeds, not only in words—these alone are without effect. In order that love may manifest its power there must be an object, an instrument, a motive.

There are many ways of expressing the love principle; there is love for the family, for the country, for the race, there is political enthusiasm, there is also the love of community of interest in service. These are all ways and means of showing the power of love. Without any such means, love would be unseen, unheard, unfelt—altogether unexpressed, unmanifested!... it is necessary to have an instrument, a motive for love’s manifestation, an object, a mode of expression.

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk; ‘Paris Talks: Addresses given by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Paris in 1911-1912’)

May 24, 2022

Individual preparation for teaching the Faith

... become ye sanctified above and purified from this world and the inhabitants thereof; suffer your intention to become for the good of all; cut your attachment to the earth and like unto the essence of the spirit become ye light and delicate. Then with a firm resolution, a pure heart, a rejoiced spirit, and an eloquent tongue, engage your time in the promulgation of the divine principles... 

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

May 23, 2022

Mulla Husayn

Mulla Husayn, the first Letter of the Living, surnamed the Bábu'l-Báb (the Gate of the Gate); designated as the "Primal Mirror;" on whom eulogies, prayers and visiting Tablets of a number equivalent to thrice the volume of the Qur'án had been lavished by the pen of the Báb; referred to in these eulogies as "beloved of My Heart;" the dust of whose grave, that same Pen had declared, was so potent as to cheer the sorrowful and heal the sick; whom "the creatures, raised in the beginning and in the end" of the Bábí Dispensation, envy, and will continue to envy till the "Day of Judgment;" whom the Kitáb-i-Íqán acclaimed as the one but for whom "God would not have been established upon the seat of His mercy, nor ascended the throne of eternal glory;" to whom Siyyid Kazim had paid such tribute that his disciples suspected that the recipient of such praise might well be the promised One Himself …

- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes’)

May 22, 2022

Condition of Persia at the time of the appearance of the Báb

Entrance to ancient city of Saveh, circa 1900
Persia, the birthplace of the Bahá’í Revelation, has occupied a unique place in the history of the world. In the days of her early greatness she was a veritable queen among nations, unrivaled in civilization, in power and in splendor. She gave to the world great kings and statesmen, prophets and poets, philosophers and artists. Zoroaster, Cyrus and Darius, Háfiz and Firdawsí, Sa‘dí and ‘Umar Khayyám are but a few of her many famous sons. Her craftsmen were unsurpassed in skill; her carpets were matchless, her steel blades unequaled, her pottery world famous. In all parts of the Near and Middle East she has left traces of her former greatness.

Yet, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries she had sunk to a condition of deplorable degradation. Her ancient glory seemed irretrievably lost. Her government was corrupt and in desperate financial straits; some of her rulers were feeble, and others monsters of cruelty. Her priests were bigoted and intolerant, her people ignorant and superstitious. Most of them belonged to the Shí‘ih sect of Muhammadans, but there were also considerable numbers of Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians, of diverse and antagonistic sects. All professed to follow sublime teachers who exhorted them to worship the one God and to live in love and unity, yet they shunned, detested and despised each other, each sect regarding the others as unclean, as dogs or heathens. Cursing and execration were indulged in to a fearful extent. It was dangerous for a Jew or a Zoroastrian to walk in the street on a rainy day, for if his wet garment should touch a Muhammadan, the Muslim was defiled, and the other might have to atone for the offense with his life. If a Muhammadan took money from a Jew, Zoroastrian or Christian he had to wash it before he could put it in his pocket. If a Jew found his child giving a glass of water to a poor Muhammadan beggar he would dash the glass from the child’s hand, for curses rather than kindness should be the portion of infidels! The Muslims themselves were divided into numerous sects, among whom strife was often bitter and fierce. The Zoroastrians did not join much in these mutual recriminations, but lived in communities apart, refusing to associate with their fellow countrymen of other faiths.

May 20, 2022

Hand of the Cause: Mulla Sadiq-i-Muqaddas-i-Khurasani, surnamed Ismu’lláhu’l-Asdaq

Among the Hands of the Cause of God who have departed this life and ascended to the Supreme Horizon was Jináb-i-Ismu’lláhu’l-Asdaq. Another was Jináb-i-Nabíl-i-Akbar. Still others were Jináb-i-Mullá ‘Alí-Akbar and Jináb-i-Shaykh Muhammad-Ridáy-i-Yazdí. Again, among others, was the revered martyr, Áqá Mírzá Varqá.

Ismu’lláhu’l-Asdaq was truly a servant of the Lord from the beginning of life till his last breath. When young, he joined the circle of the late Siyyid Kázim and became one of his disciples. He was known in Persia for his purity of life, winning fame as Mullá Sádiq the saintly. He was a blessed individual, a man accomplished, learned, and much honored. The people of Khurásán were strongly attached to him, for he was a great scholar and among the most renowned of matchless and unique divines. As a teacher of the Faith, he spoke with such eloquence, such extraordinary power, that his hearers were won over with great ease.

After he had come to Baghdád and attained the presence of Bahá’u’lláh, he was seated one day in the courtyard of the men’s apartments, by the little garden. I was in one of the rooms just above, that gave onto the courtyard. At that moment a Persian prince, a grandson of Fath-‘Alí Sháh, arrived at the house. The prince said to him, “Who are you?” Ismu’lláh answered, “I am a servant of this Threshhold. I am one of the keepers of this door.” And as I listened from above, he began to teach the Faith. The prince at first objected violently; and yet, in a quarter of an hour, gently and benignly, Jináb-i-Ismu’lláh had quieted him down. After the prince had so sharply denied what was said, and his face had so clearly reflected his fury, now his wrath was changed to smiles and he expressed the greatest satisfaction at having encountered Ismu’lláh and heard what he had to say.

May 19, 2022

Mission of Christ & Acquiring spiritual qualities – a talk by ‘Abdu’l-Baha, 12 April 1912, New York

This is a most happy visit. I have crossed the sea from the land of the Orient for the joy of meeting the friends of God. Although I am weary after my long journey, the light of the spirit shining in your faces brings me rest and reward. In this meeting the divine susceptibilities are radiant. This is a spiritual house, the home of the spirit. There is no discord here; all is love and unity. When souls are gathered together in this way, the divine bestowals descend. The purpose of the creation of man is the attainment of the supreme virtues of humanity through descent of the heavenly bestowals. The purpose of man's creation is, therefore, unity and harmony, not discord and separateness. If the atoms which compose the kingdom of the minerals were without affinity for each other, the earth would never have been formed, the universe could not have been created. Because they have affinity for each other, the power of life is able to manifest itself, and the organisms of the phenomenal world become possible. When this attraction or atomic affinity is destroyed, the power of life ceases to manifest; death and nonexistence result.

It is so, likewise, in the spiritual world. That world is the Kingdom of complete attraction and affinity. It is the Kingdom of the One Divine Spirit, the Kingdom of God. Therefore, the affinity and love manifest in this meeting, the divine susceptibilities witnessed here are not of this world but of the world of the Kingdom. When the souls become separated and selfish, the divine bounties do not descend, and the lights of the Supreme Concourse are no longer reflected even though the bodies meet together. A mirror with its back turned to the sun has no power to reflect the sun's effulgence. Praise be to God! The purpose of this assembly is love and unity.

May 18, 2022

A Baha’i Teaching: Each human being is like a mine rich in gems of inestimable value

The Great Being saith: Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom. 

- Baha'u'llah  (‘Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah’)

May 16, 2022

1910 - Temple delegates and friends viewing Lake Michigan

Delegates and friends viewing the intake from Lake Michigan (drainage canal northeast of the Temple site).

May 15, 2022

“There is a difference between chanting a prayer collectively and congregational prayer”

You have asked whether it is permissible for the friends to chant a prayer collectively. There is a difference between chanting a prayer collectively and congregational prayer. The latter is a formal prayer usually led by an individual using a prescribed ritual. Congregational prayer in this form is forbidden in the Faith except in the case of the Prayer for the Dead. While reciting prayers in unison and spontaneously joining in the recitation of the Words of God is not forbidden, the friends should bear in mind the advice of the beloved Guardian on this subject when he stated that:

“although the friends are thus left free to follow their own inclination, ... they should take the utmost care that any manner they practice should not acquire too rigid a character, and thus develop into an institution. This is a point which the friends should always bear in mind, lest they deviate from the clear path indicated in the Teachings." [Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas]

- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, dated 6 February 1975; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Extracts on Baha’i Burial)

May 14, 2022

Shoghi Effendi brought forth a vast array of emotions

William and I had the privilege of visiting the Guardian for the first time in 1953. We came away with the realization that Shoghi Effendi brought forth a vast array of emotions, and that whoever met him came away with stronger feelings than could be aroused by anyone else on the face of the earth. 

- Marguerite Sears  (From Introduction to ‘About Shoghi Effendi, Our Beloved Guardian by Lowell Johnson’, by Lowell Johnson)

May 13, 2022

story for children: Dream of many fishes

When Baha'u'llah was a child, His father had a dream about Him. He saw Baha'u'llah swimming in a huge ocean. Baha'u'llah's face was so full of light that it glowed. The whole ocean glowed with the light from Baha'u'llah's face.

His hair was long and dark, and it flowed out in the water around Him as He swam. Suddenly many fishes appeared and each fish took one strand of Baha'u'llah's hair in its mouth and followed Baha'u'llah as He kept swimming.

The fish did not hurt Him, or slow Him down. When Baha'u'llah turned one way, so did every fish. When He turned the other way, the fish followed that way.

The fishes were following Baha'u'llah's light - the light of God in His heart.

Baha'u'llah's father asked a wise man what his dream meant, and the wise man said that the ocean was like the world, and the fishes were the people. All the people would be attracted to the light of God in Baha'u'llah and would follow Him. They would attach their hearts to Him like the fishes in the dream attached themselves to His hair. The people would follow Baha'u'llah wherever He led them.

Now we know that this wise man was talking about the Baha'is. We are the people who follow Baha'u'llah. Every day more people in the world find Baha'u'llah and follow Him.

We can be like the fishes by following Baha'u'llah. If we do what Baha'u'llah teaches us, we will be full of God's light which He reflected on us.

(by Cindy Pacileo, ‘The Brilliant Star', 1991)

May 12, 2022

Opposition to Christ from the learned and the divines of His generation

… call thou to mind the one who sentenced Jesus to death. He was the most learned of his age in his own country, whilst he who was only a fisherman believed in Him. Take good heed and be of them that observe the warning.

- Baha’u’llah  ('Tablets of Baha’u’llah Revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas')

… in the days of Jesus, it was those who were distinguished for their learning, the men of letters and religion, who denied Him, whilst humble fishermen made haste to gain admittance into the Kingdom.

- Baha’u’llah  (Quoted by the Universal House of Justice in the 'Notes' section of 'Kitab-i-Aqdas')

Consider the Dispensation of Jesus Christ. Behold, how all the learned men of that generation, though eagerly anticipating the coming of the Promised One, have nevertheless denied Him. Both Annas, the most learned among the divines of His day, and Caiaphas, the high priest, denounced Him and pronounced the sentence of His death.

- Baha’u’llah  ('Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah')

May 11, 2022

1925: Members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada

Mountfort Mills: Chairman

Roy C. Wilhelm: Vice Chairman

Horace Holley: Secretary

Florence Morton: Treasurer

Amelia Collins

Ali Kuli Khan

Carl Scheffler

Siegfried Schopflocher

Office of the Secretary: 169 Christopher Street, New York City

Office of the Secretary: 169 Christopher Street, New York City

Office of the Treasurer: 5 Wheeler Avenue, Worcester, Mass.

(Baha’i News, no. 6 July-August 1925)

May 10, 2022

Mission of all divine Prophets

The divine Prophets came to establish the unity of the Kingdom in human hearts. All of them proclaimed the glad tidings of the divine bestowals to the world of mankind. All brought the same message of divine love to the world. 

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk; ‘The Promulgation of Universal Peace’)

May 9, 2022

The Mystery of God

'Abdu'l-Baha, portrait taken in Paris 1911
"He is... the "Mystery of God" -- an expression by which Bahá'u'lláh Himself has chosen to designate Him, and which, while it does not by any means justify us to assign to Him the station of Prophethood, indicates how 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."

- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter of 8 February 1934, published in 'The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh - Selected Letters')

May 8, 2022

The "temple of the world" has been "fashioned after the image and likeness of the human body"

…as the human body in this world, which is outwardly composed of different limbs and organs, is in reality a closely integrated, coherent entity, similarly the structure of the physical world is like unto a single being whose limbs and members are inseparably linked together.  Were one to observe with an eye that discovereth the realities of all things, it would become clear that the greatest relationship that bindeth the world of being together lieth in the range of created things themselves, and that co-operation, mutual aid and reciprocity are essential characteristics in the unified body of the world of being, inasmuch as all created things are closely related together and each is influenced by the other or deriveth benefit therefrom, either directly or indirectly.

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, Conservation of the Earth's Resources)

May 7, 2022

Morassa Rawhani - First woman to become a member of the Spiritual Assembly of Alexandria, Egypt

Mrs. Morassa (Yazdi) Rawhani was born in 1887 and named Akkawiya (the one who belongs to 'Akka) by 'Abdu'l-Baha. She was the granddaughter of Haji Abderrehim Yazdi, one of the first bearers of the Sacred Standard. Born in the fortress of 'Akka, she grew up in the Sacred Household under the shelter of the Greatest Holy Leaf.

With her mother, she moved to Alexandria, Egypt where for a few months she was in charge of cleaning the private room of 'Abdu'l-Baha and was asked by Him several times to sew some of His clothes. She was entrusted to be the Early Prayer Reader of His private quarters.

Mrs. Rawhani was the first woman to become a member of the Spiritual Assembly of Alexandria, Egypt, and dedicated her time to deepening the women in her locality.

In February 1957, as authorized by the Guardian, she arrived as a pioneer to Rabat, Morocco. She actively participated in the formation of two Assemblies, that of Rabat and Sale, and although of advanced age, she was occupied in deepening the friends and teaching the children in these two localities.

She remained conscious to the last moment of her life, and passed away on October 6, 1971. Her burial in the Baha'i Cemetery at Rabat, Morocco was attended by a large number of believers of Morocco, the majority native believers; also in attendance was a representative from the Iranian Embassy in Rabat. 

(Baha’i News, January 1972)

May 6, 2022

“the consciousness of the Oneness of Mankind”

In every Dispensation the light of Divine Guidance has been focussed upon one central theme.... In this wondrous Revelation, this glorious century, the foundation of the Faith of God and the distinguishing feature of His Law is the consciousness of the Oneness of Mankind. 

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

May 5, 2022

Bahá'u'lláh’s mother was so fascinated by Him

House of Baha'u'llah in Tihran
The mother of the Blessed Beauty [Bahá'u'lláh] was so enthralled with Him that she could not contain her amazement at His behaviour. 'This child never cries,' she would say; 'He is so unlike other babies who cry and scream and are forever restless while in the nursing stage . . .'

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (Quoted by Ishraq-Khavari in Risaliy-i-Ayyam-i-Tis’ih; in ‘Stories of Baha’u’llah’, compiled by Ali-Akbar Furutan)

May 4, 2022

Prayer for a group: Protection from all sides

In the Name of God, the Lord of overpowering majesty, the All-Compelling.

Hallowed be the Lord in Whose hand is the source of dominion. He createth whatsoever He willeth by His Word of command ‘Be’, and it is. His hath been the power of authority heretofore and it shall remain His hereafter. He maketh victorious whomsoever He pleaseth, through the potency of His behest. He is in truth the Powerful, the Almighty. Unto Him pertaineth all glory and majesty in the kingdoms of Revelation and Creation and whatever lieth between them. Verily He is the Potent, the All-Glorious. From everlasting He hath been the Source of indomitable strength and shall remain so unto everlasting. He is indeed the Lord of might and power. All the kingdoms of heaven and earth and whatever is between them are God’s, and His power is supreme over all things. All the treasures of earth and heaven and everything between them are His, and His protection extendeth over all things. He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and whatever lieth between them and He truly is a witness over all things. He is the Lord of Reckoning for all that dwell in the heavens and on earth and whatever lieth between them, and truly God is swift to reckon. He setteth the measure assigned to all who are in the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them. Verily He is the Supreme Protector. He holdeth in His grasp the keys of heaven and earth and of everything between them. At His Own pleasure doth He bestow gifts, through the power of His command. Indeed His grace encompasseth all and He is the All-Knowing.

Say: God sufficeth unto me; He is the One Who holdeth in His grasp the kingdom of all things. Through the power of His hosts of heaven and earth and whatever lieth between them, He protecteth whomsoever among His servants He willeth. God, in truth, keepeth watch over all things.

Immeasurably exalted art Thou, O Lord! Protect us from what lieth in front of us and behind us, above our heads, on our right, on our left, below our feet and every other side to which we are exposed. Verily Thy protection over all things is unfailing.

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

May 2, 2022

Explanation of a statement of philosophers concerning “the uncompounded reality is all things”

Concerning what the questioner has asked regarding the statement of the philosophers that "the uncompounded reality is all things", say: know that what is intended by "things" in this context is none other than being and the perfections of being in so far as they are existent [and not privative]; and by "all" is meant the obtainer. This "all" contains no plurality and no part of it can be compared to the whole. The meaning is that the uncompounded reality, insofar as it is uncompounded in all respects, is the obtainer and gatherer of all the infinite and endless perfections. As it has been said: "His works are limitless."

In the Persian language, it may be said that what the philosopher means by the word "things" in the afore-mentioned expression is the perfections of being in so far as these are existent [and not privative]; and by the word "all", is meant possession that is to say obtaining -- the gathering together of all of the limitless perfections, in an uncompounded manner. They have mentioned similar things throughout their discourse on the Divine unity, power, and intensity of existence.

The meaning of the philosopher was not that the Necessarily Existent [God] has become dispersed among the innumerable existent things. No! Praised be He! Exalted is He above that! Even as the philosophers themselves have stated: "The uncompounded reality is all things, but is not any one thing."

- Baha’u’llah  (‘Tablet of the Uncompounded Reality’)

May 1, 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-Bahá’i Faiths in Shiraz and Fars’ translated by Ahang Rabbani)