Jun 29, 2022

Source of evil thoughts

Question: What is the source of evil thoughts that disturb those who do not wish to entertain them?

Answer [by 'Abdu'l-Baha]: “They come from other minds; they are reflected. One should not become a mirror for them - to reflect them; neither should one try to control them, for this is impossible; it only aggravates the difficulty, causing more to appear.

One should constantly turn the mirror of his heart squarely toward God so that the Light of the Sun of Truth may be reflected there.

This is the only cure for attacks of evil thoughts. The face of the mirror should be turned toward God, and the back of the mirror toward the evil thoughts.”

- "Abdu'l-Baha  (Utterances of 'Abdu'l-Baha, quoted by Helen Goodall and Ella Goodall Cooper in ‘Daily Lessons Received at Akka January 1908') 

Jun 28, 2022

Shoghi Effendi's Birth: March 1, 1897

At the time of Shoghi Effendi's birth [ March 1, 1897] 'Abdu'l-Bahá and His family were still prisoners of the Sultan of Turkey, Abdu'l Hamid; … In 1897 they were all living in a house known as that of Abdullah Pasha … It was in this home that the first group of pilgrims from the Western World visited the Master in the winter of 1898-9 …

- Ruhiyyih Khanum  ('The Priceless Pearl')

Jun 26, 2022

The re-opening to pilgrims Baha’u’llah’s Cell in the Most Great Prison - by Hartmut Grossman

The Universal House of Justice views the re-opening of the Cell of Baha’u’llah as being a very significant event, so much so that prior to the pilgrims’ visit, all of the members went to the Cell as a Body to say special prayers. 

We should remember the suffering that occurred at this prison - the prison designated by Him as the Most Great Prison, which is deeply significant considering the conditions under which He suffered in the ‘Black-Pit’, the Siyah-Chal, in Tehran. He had just arrived when he was forced to sell His carpet, the carpet He used to sleep on, to pay for the funeral expenses of one of the members of His entourage. Even after paying the expenses, the body was still treated very disrespectfully, but He had to make the attempt. It was while confined to this Cell that He sacrificed His son. Many, many other afflictions were faced by Him there.

Many events of note also took place in this Cell, one of which was His giving the Tablet to the Shah of Persia to Badi for its delivery. Baha’u’llah had written the Tablet prior to His arrival in Acco, but there was not a believer at that time who exhibited the necessary levels of devotion and sacrifice. So to give the Tablet to Badi, He bound the eyes of the guards so that Badi could be smuggled into His presence and safely back out again. The second Tablet to Napoleon and the Tablet to Queen Victoria were also written from this Cell.

Jun 25, 2022

Bahá'u'lláh’s dream at a young age

At the age of five or six the Blessed Beauty [Bahá'u'lláh] had a dream which He described to His father. In the dream He found Himself in a garden. Huge birds were attacking Him from every side, but were unable to inflict any harm. He then went to the sea and, as He was swimming, the birds of the air and the fish of the sea attacked Him, but He was not harmed. His father summoned a famous seer to interpret the dream. 'This dream-indicates', replied the seer, 'that the Child shall be the founder of a great Cause, and that all the leaders and learned men throughout the world will attack Him, but, like the birds and the fish, they shall do no harm. He will be victorious over all.’

- ‘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)

Jun 24, 2022

June 24, 2022: The Báb's letter to His wife

The first letter of the Báb to His wife, sent from Bushihr before His departure as a pilgrim to Mecca

Jun 23, 2022

The Master arrives in America! Oh day of days! -- by Juliet Thompson

I was wakened this morning [April 11, 1912] while it was yet dark by something shining into my eyes.  It was a ray from the moon, its waning crescent framed low in my windowpane.

Symbol of the Covenant, was my first thought. How perfectly beautiful to be wakened today by it!  But at once I remembered another time when I had seen the waning moon hanging, then, above palm trees. I was on the roof of the House in ‘Akká with the Master and Munavvar Khánum. The Master was pointing to the moon.  “The East. The moon. No!”  He said.  “I am the Sun of the West.”

At dawn, kneeling at my window, I prayed in the swelling light for all this land, now sleeping, that it would wake to received its Lord; conscious, as I prayed, of an overshadowing Sacred Presence:  a great, glorious, burning Presence—the Sun of Love rising. This fiery dawn was but a pale symbol of such a rising.

Between seven and eight I went to the pier with Marjorie Morten and Rhoda Nichols. The morning was crystal clear, sparkling. I had a sense of its being Easter: of lilies, almost seen, blooming at my feet.

All the believers of New York had gathered at the pier to meet the Master’s ship.  Marjorie and I had suggested to them that the Master might not want this public demonstration, but their eagerness was too great to be influenced by just two, and so we had gone along with them—only too glad to do so, to tell the truth.

During the morning the harbour misted over. At last, in the mist we saw:  a phantom ship!  And at that very moment some newsboys ran through the crowd, waving Extras. “The Pope is dead! The Pope is dead!” they shouted. The Pope was not dead. The Extras had been printed only on a rumour; but what a symbol, and how exactly timed!

Jun 22, 2022

“In the innate nature of things there is no evil—all is good.”

In the innate nature of things there is no evil—all is good. This applies even to certain apparently blameworthy attributes and dispositions which seem inherent in some people, but which are not in reality reprehensible. For example, you can see in a nursing child, from the beginning of its life, the signs of greed, of anger, and of ill temper; and so it might be argued that good and evil are innate in the reality of man, and that this is contrary to the pure goodness of the innate nature and of creation. The answer is that greed, which is to demand ever more, is a praiseworthy quality provided that it is displayed under the right circumstances. Thus, should a person show greed in acquiring science and knowledge, or in the exercise of compassion, high-mindedness, and justice, this would be most praiseworthy. And should he direct his anger and wrath against the bloodthirsty tyrants who are like ferocious beasts, this too would be most praiseworthy. But should he display these qualities under other conditions, this would be deserving of blame.

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (Table talks in Akka, authenticated by ‘Abdu’l-Baha; ‘Some Answered Questions’ – 2014 revised translation by the Baha’i World Centre)

Jun 21, 2022

Law-i-Liqá’ (Tablet of the Divine Presence) – by Baha’u’llah

-- provisional translation by Nima Rafiei

He is the Eternal! Lo, We made this epistle to be the attainment of Our presence for such as have turned unto God in these days, wherein the nations have been made to tremble. Whosoever gazeth upon that which hath been sent down from the Throne of glory in this Tablet and findeth himself in doubt as to whether he hath attained the presence of his Lord, he is of them who have turned away from God, the One Who causeth the dawn to break.

O ye birds of the most exalted paradise! Give ear unto the call of the Beloved in these days wherein the feet of men have slipped. The Concourse on high have rejoiced by reason of your acceptance of this Cause, and the voice of the denizens of the cities of eternity hath been raised aloud in grief and lamentation by virtue of your remoteness from Him and your burning thirst, notwithstanding your nearness to the Ocean of His presence!

O how glorious is this blissful joy, this bitter anguish! Methinks both have embraced in the Day of God, the Powerful, the Almighty, and the Omnipotent!

Jun 20, 2022

“Love is the secret of God's holy Dispensation”

Know thou of a certainty that Love is the secret of God's holy Dispensation, the manifestation of the All-Merciful, the fountain of spiritual outpourings.

- 'Abdu'l-Baha  ('Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha')

Jun 19, 2022

"The ego is the animal in us"

The ego is the animal in us, the heritage of the flesh which is full of selfish desires. By obeying laws of God, seeking to live the life laid down in our teachings, and pray and struggle, we can subdue our egos. We call people "saints" who have achieved the highest degree of mastery over their egos. 

- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi published in ‘Unfolding Destiny’)

Jun 17, 2022

The Father of the Báb describes the extraordinary qualities of his Son when He was just a young Child

The principal of the school that the Báb attended when He was almost five years old has left an account concerning the meeting that took place between the father of the Báb, Aqa Mirza Muhammad Rida and His teacher, Shaykh Anam, before the Báb started His first day at school.

“‘After forty years, the Exalted Lord has graced me with a Child who has caused me to wonder over His behavior.’ The Shaykh asked him to explain further, but he only replied. ‘It is hard to say.’ [The Shaykh] insisted, to which [the father] offered:

O venerable Shaykh! Which of His amazing conditions should I recount? Such peculiar characteristics are manifest in Him that the people are astonished. Now, when He is five years old, He sometimes raises His hands to the threshold of the One God, and recites prayers. He wakes in the middle of the night and stands to offer His obligatory prayers, in the midst of which He weeps. Sometimes He is sad, on other occasions He is happy, or immersed in rapture, or preoccupied with the imaginary world. My astonishment and bewilderment prevents me from describing further. Were I to recount all that I have observed from the time of His birth until the present, it would make a thick book.

At such a [young] age, He tells whether an unborn child is a boy or a girl, for the whole clan. After the birth, it is as He foretold.

Jun 16, 2022

Shoghi Effendi: A unique figure in history who has had an impact on the entire planet over a third of a century

Shoghi Effendi's divine and indefeasible right to assume the helm of the Cause of God had been fully vindicated through thirty-six years of unremitting, heartbreaking toil. It would be hard indeed to find a comparable figure in history who, in a little over a third of a century, set so many different operations in motion, who found the time to devote his attention to minute details on one hand and on the other to cover the range of an entire planet with his plans, his instructions, his guidance and his leadership. He had laid the foundations of that future society Bahá'u'lláh had fathered upon the mind of the Master, and which He in turn had gestated to a point of perfection, passing it upon His death into the safe hands of His successor. 

- Ruhiyyih Khanum  (‘The Guardian of the Baha'i Faith’)

Jun 15, 2022

"in the Bahá'í Faith the spiritual and administrative aspects are complementary”

In many cases of breach of marriage laws the believers apparently look upon the law requiring consent of parents before marriage as a mere administrative regulation, and do not seem to realize that this is a law of great importance affecting the very foundations of human society. Moreover they seem not to appreciate that in the Bahá'í Faith the spiritual and administrative aspects are complementary and that the social laws of the Faith are as binding as the purely spiritual ones.

- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, August 29, 1965: Canadian Bahá'í News, No. 265, February 1973, compilation: ‘Lights of Guidance’)

Jun 14, 2022

Keith Ransom-Kehler with Zikrullah Khadem

Keith Ransom-Kehler with Zikrullah Khadem (right) and Salim Nounou. Mrs. Ransom-Kehler is holding a picture of Shoghi Effendi, whom she and Zikrullah Khadem both served with exemplary devotion.

Jun 13, 2022

Need to understand meanings behind symbols in Christianity

Some Christians claim that the Holy Ghost descended after the resurrection of the Christ and that Christ is alluding to this. But as the Holy Ghost was always with …Christ, is this logical? Again he says, "He will guide you unto truth," “He will be better for you than I”, He adds, "Until I go, he cannot come." Endeavor to understand the divine words, otherwise difficulties will arise. Had the Jews understood symbology, they would have understood the Christ. The holy books are full of significance and must never be taken literally. Elijah also was expected to come from heaven, and … Christ said, "Elijah is none other than John the Baptist." The reality of John was in the supreme concourse. It is essential to have divine perception in order to see the truth, to hear the call, and obey -- liberating the hearts from all earthly attachment. 

- ‘Abdu'l-Baha  (From a talk, ‘Divine Philosophy’)

Jun 12, 2022

Creating stories from the Dawn-Breakers for children

With "The Dawn-Breakers" in your possession you could also arrange interesting stories about the early days of the Movement which the children would like to hear. There are also stories about the life of Christ, Muhammad and the other prophets which if told to the children will break down any religious prejudice they may have learned from older people of little understanding.

Such stories regarding the life of different prophets together with their sayings will also be useful to better understand the literature of the Cause for there is constant reference to them. It is however the work of experienced people to bring together such materials and make of them interesting text books for the children.   

- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 19 October 1932 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a Local Spiritual Assembly and a State Teaching Committee; The Compilation of Compilations vol. I)

Baha’i Stories for Children

Jun 11, 2022

“a fermentation in the general life of mankind”

Itself [the Faith] undergoing a period of incubation during its primitive age, it has, through the emergence of its slowly-crystallizing system, induced a fermentation in the general life of mankind designed to shake the very foundations of a disordered society, to purify its life-blood, to reorientate and reconstruct its institutions, and shape its final destiny. 

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

Jun 10, 2022

Bahá'u'lláh's ancestral home in Takur, in the district of Nur

Baha’u’llah usually spent His summers as a boy at his ancestral home in Takur. He also visited it later in life before being exiled from Iran. 

Jun 9, 2022

Nabil: - the Author of Dawn-Breakers

He was born on the 18th day of the month of Safar of the year 1247 A. H. in the village of Zarand in Persia. He was thirteen years old when the Báb declared Himself. Though still young he himself was preparing to leave for Shaykh Tabarsi and join the companions of Mulla Husayn when the news of the treachery and massacre of the besieged companions reached him. He met Bahá'u'lláh in Kirmanshah and Tihran before the latter's banishment to Iraq. He was a close companion of the Báb's amanuensis Mirza Ahmad. He subsequently met Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdad, Adrianople and 'Akká and was commissioned by Bahá'u'lláh to journey several times to Persia in order to promote the Cause and encourage the scattered and persecuted believers.

He was present in 'Akká when Bahá'u'lláh passed away in 1892 and soon after was so overcome with grief that he drowned himself in the sea. His body was found along the shore and was buried in the cemetery of 'Akká. 'Abdu'l-Bahá is reported to have been struck with deep sorrow at the manner of his death. He states in his narration that he met the maternal uncle of the Báb, Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali who had visited his nephew in the Castle of Chihriq and had recently returned to Tihran. He started writing his narrative in 1305 A.H. four years before the passing of Bahá'u'lláh. It took him about a year and half to write it. His chief informants were Mirza Ahmad the amanuensis of the Báb and Mirza Musa the brother of Bahá'u'lláh. Parts of his narrative were read in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh and approved by Him. 'Abdu'l-Bahá also went over sections of his narrative....

- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 30 November 1930, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi; 'The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha'i Community')

Jun 8, 2022

Who is a "saint"?

We call people "saints" who have achieved the highest degree of mastery over their egos. 

- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, ‘Unfolding Destiny’)

Jun 7, 2022

The date of the Báb’s birth fulfilled a saying attributed to Imám ‘Alí

The date of His birth confirmed the truth of the saying attributed to the Imám ‘Alí, the Commander of the Faithful: “I am two years younger than my Lord.” The mystery of this utterance, however, remained unrevealed except to those who sought and recognised the truth of the new Revelation. It was He, the Báb, who, in His first, His most weighty and exalted Book, revealed this passage concerning Bahá’u’lláh: “O Thou Remnant of God! I have sacrificed Myself wholly for Thee; I have consented to be cursed for Thy sake; and have yearned for naught but martyrdom in the path of Thy love. Sufficient witness unto Me is God, the Exalted, the Protector, the Ancient of Days!”

- Nabil  (‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

Jun 6, 2022

1912: ‘Abdu’l-Baha in Washington D.C., USA

'Abdu'l-Baha with Yusuf Diya Pasha, the Turkish Ambassador left, and Siyyid Asadu'llah-i-Qumi, center

Jun 5, 2022

Purpose of Religion

Religion should be the means of good fellowship and love. It must upraise the standard of harmony and solidarity. If religion is conducive to hatred and enmity, its existence is harmful to the welfare of the community.

- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (Utterances of ‘Abdu’l-Baha recorded by Isabel Fraser Chamberlain; ‘Divine Philosophy’, 1928)

Jun 4, 2022

The significance of twin things in the Cause

I remember the time I was in the presence of Shoghi Effendi when he spoke about the significance of twin things [1] in the Cause. In fact, he sent a cable about this to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the British Isles. In this cable, he told us about the significance of twin occurrences in this Cause. He told the Assembly that we have twin cities – holy cities -'Akka and Haifa; twin houses - the House of Shiraz and the House of Baghdad; twin Manifestations - the Manifestation of the Bab and that of Baha'u'llah. He continued, telling us everything is twin: twin festivals- the birthday of the Bab and that of Baha'u'llah; twin monuments - of the brother and mother of 'Abdu'l-Baha. During this time I was in his presence, the beloved Guardian was so exhilarated and happy. It gave me the courage to mention to him that we have two gardens: the garden of Ridvan and the garden of Firdaws. Then, the beloved Shoghi Effendi smiled and said, "You've noted that, but you have forgotten to say twin vistas: the view of the sea and the view of the mountain." After explaining these things, he paused and looked at me deeply and said, "In the Cause of God everything is twin." I have no doubt that he meant two Manifestations and two Interpreters: The Bab and Baha'u'llah, the two Manifestations of God; and 'Abdu'l-Baha and the beloved Shoghi Effendi, the two Interpreters.

- Hand of the Cause Dhikru’llah Khadem  (‘The Vision of Shoghi Effendi’, Proceedings of the Association for Baha'i Studies, Ninth Annual Conference, November 2-4, 1984, Ottawa, Canada)

[1] Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Bahai' World 1950-1957: "Greatly enhanced international endowments in Holy Land in twin cities of Acre and Haifa, now include twin Holy Shrines situated on plain of Acre and slope of Mount Carmel; twin Mansions of Bahji and Mazra'ih, twin historic Houses inhabited by Baha'u'llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha; twin International Archives adjoining the Bab's Sepulcher and the resting-place of the Greatest Holy Leaf; twin Pilgrim Houses, constructed for Oriental and Occidental pilgrims; twin Gardens of Ridvan and Firdaws, associated with the memory of the Author of the Baha'i Dispensation."

Jun 3, 2022

‘Abdu’l-Baha explains the “four stations” embedded in the Islamic Tradition: "I was a Hidden Treasure and loved to be known. Therefore I created the Creation that I might be known."

Know, O bird of the flower-garden of Divine Unity and nightingale of the garden of detachment! that in order to comprehend this Tradition: "I was a Hidden Treasure and loved to be known Therefore I created the Creation that I might be known", it is necessary to understand four stations. This Tradition is upon the tongues of all people, be they of the generality or of special rank, and is written in all the books and treatises. As for understanding these four stations, the first is "the Hidden Treasure"; the second is the stages and stations of "Love"; the third is the station of "Creation" and similar matters; and the fourth is the station of "Knowledge". 

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Tafsír-i-Hadith-i-Kuntu Kanzan Makhfíyyan’ – provisional translation)

Jun 2, 2022

Book: Selections From The Writings of the Báb

This first authorized source of the Báb’s Writings in English became available in 1976.

In the preface to this book we read:

“The Baha'i Community has long awaited the day when a comprehensive selection from the writings of the Báb would be made available to it. Ever since Shoghi Effendi translated and published Nabil's Narrative, and set forth in his monumental works the exalted station of the Báb, the Baha'is the world over, and particularly those in the West, have, in their longing to draw nearer to the glorious spirit of Him Who was not only the Herald of their Faith but the Bearer of an independent Revelation, eagerly anticipated an authentic compilation of His revealed utterances and writings. This volume, it is hoped, will be an initial and effective step in that direction.

In view of the vastness of the writings of the Bab, a thorough review of His several works was required. The Universal House of Justice entrusted this task to its Research Department. The actual translation was made by Mr. Habib Taherzadeh, who for several years himself served in that Department. With the assistance of a committee which worked with him, this work is now completed, and it is being made available to Baha'is and the general public as a precious addition to the volume of Baha'i literature in the English language.”

The Table of Contents shows the following:

Tablets and Addresses

Excerpts from the Qayyumu’l-Asma

Excerpts from the Persian Bayan

Excerpts from the Dala’il-i-Sab’ih (The Seven Proofs)

Excerpts from the Kitab-i-Asma (The Book of Names)

Excerpts from Various Writings

Prayers and Meditation


The book has 236 pages. It provides a rare and precious opportunity for us to become exposed to the Teachings of the Bab, “the King of the Messengers” (Baha’u’llah, Tablet of Ahmad).

Jun 1, 2022

To “manifest such attributes and ethical conduct as to embody and personify the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh”

… in this cycle of Bahá'u'lláh verbal confessions and acknowledgements, literal faith and certainty and external relations are of no avail. Nay, rather, the beloved of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful must manifest such attributes and ethical conduct as to embody and personify the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. They must promulgate the law of the Kingdom with deeds and not words. Thus may they become the quintessence of being, the signs of the Kingdom of God, standards of the Supreme Concourse. May ye be salutary water for the thirsty, an evidence of guidance for the seeker, protection and support for the helpless, a shelter and home for the wanderers, the treasury of the Kingdom for the poor; the source of hope and happiness for the disappointed; the remedy of the heart and soul for the ailing. May you manifest the utmost of kindness to the human race; to weep with him who mourneth and to laugh with him who rejoiceth; sympathizing with the helpless; in communion with the wanderer; a friend to the friend and foe. 

- ‘Abdu'l-Baha  (Star of the West, vol. 1, no. 4, May 17, 1910)