March 15, 2018

1927: Third National Baha’i Convention of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada was held in Montreal, Canada

The invitation of the Montreal Spiritual Assembly, extended by them for three successive years, and twice graciously withdrawn in favor of Green Acre and San Francisco, has been gratefully accepted by the National Assembly, and the friends are informed that the Nineteenth Annual Baha’i Convention and Congress will be held in that city during Ridvan. The exact date and other details will be announced at a later time. Meanwhile we should not overlook two significant facts: first, that the forthcoming Convention will be the first held in Canada; and second, that with the fulfilment of the Baha’i number, nineteen, a new spiritual cycle will unfold in the history of the Cause in America. 
(Baha’i News, no. 14. November 1926)

March 13, 2018

Fall of 1925: The first issue of “The Herald of the South” magazine is published for Australia and New Zealand

From Auckland, New Zealand comes the first issue of a newly established Baha’i magazine for Australia and New Zealand. Its title is “The Herald of the South” and this constructive service on the part of our Australian and New Zealand brothers contains every evidence of wide-spread future success. It is issued by Mrs. A.E. Dewing, 5 Aldred Road, Remuera, Auckland. New Zealand. 
(Baha’i News, no. 8, November 1925)

March 9, 2018

Summer of 1849 to summer of 1850: “one of the most glorious chapters ever recorded” in the bloodstained history of the Bábí Faith

The… year from the summer of 1849 to the summer of 1850, witnessed a number of signal events in the ministry of the Báb:
  • May 1849 had marked the termination of the eleven-month-long Mazindaran upheaval at Shaykh Tabarsi and the martyrdom of Quddus, the last Letter of the Living and the foremost disciple of the Báb.
  • Persecution of the Babis erupted with unprecedented ferocity in the opening months of 1850:
    • In Tihran occurred the episode of the Seven Martyrs.
    • In Yazd, Siyyid Yahyay-i-Darabi (Vahid) became embroiled in agitation against the Faith of the Báb and had to leave, but in Nayriz (in the province of Fars in the south of Persia), he and his companions were surrounded, and fell eventually to treachery on the part of his opponents.
    • At Zanjan, in the north, the Shi'ih 'ulama incited the people against the redoubtable Mulla Muhammad Ali (Hujjat), a conflict that was to continue to the end of the year, with an outcome equally tragic.
  • Finally, the Báb, Himself, was martyred in July 1850 in Tabriz. 
(Adapted from ‘Baha’u’llah, the King of Glory’, by Hand of the Cause Hassan Balyuzi)

March 4, 2018

Baha’i community in the United States – as of Sept. 2015

There are about 175,000 Bahá’ís in the United States (less than one percent of the nation’s population), residing in more than 9,000 localities. The makeup of the faith’s adherents is very diverse. The largest communities are in California, Georgia, Illinois, South Carolina, and Texas. There are Bahá’í communities in every state. 
(From ‘Information about the Bahá'í Faith for Funeral Directors’, a document available at US National website)

February 28, 2018

1921 to about 1946: World convulsions synchronized with Plans of the Faith

The series of world convulsions with which the Plans synchronized included World War II, the outbreak of which threatened the security of the World Centre itself. The German Baha'is faced grave danger throughout the Nazi period; their activities as a community were banned, and some of their members were killed. Instances of crises within the Faith were those instigated by the relatives of Shoghi Effendi who rebelled against his authority as Guardian of the Cause of God and were ultimately expelled from the Faith as Covenant-breakers. Also troublesome during the 1930s and 1940s were the activities of a former secretary to 'Abdu'l-Baha, Ahmad Sohrab, who also violated the provisions of Baha'u'llah's Covenant and was expelled from the Faith by Shoghi Effendi. 
(Source: footnote to a message from the Universal House of Justice to the friends gathered at the Baha'i International Conference in Montreal, 5 September 1982; Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986)

February 25, 2018

Victories by North American Baha’is include…

Foremost among the victories won by the North American Baha'is during the first and second Seven Year Plans (1937-44 and 1946-53) was the establishment of the Administrative Order in Central and South America and Europe. The North American Baha'is have also played a major role in establishing the Administrative Order in Africa, Asia, and Australasia. 
(Source: footnote to a message from the Universal House of Justice to the friends gathered at the Baha'i International Conference in Montreal, 5 September 1982; Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986)

February 22, 2018

circa 1930: Public Bath in Shiraz

Views of the public bath in Shiraz where the Báb went as a child
(The Dawn-Breakers)

February 17, 2018

Mirzá Muhammad-Báir - the first in Mashhad, Persia, to embrace the Cause of the Báb; - builder of Bábíyyih, the first Baha’i center; designer of structural reinforcement of Fort Tabarsi; lieutenant and trusted counsellor of Quddús

Mírzá Muhammad-Báqir, known as Haratí, though originally a resident of Qayin. He was a close relative of the father of Nabíl-i-Akbar, and was the first in Mashhad to embrace the Cause. It was he who built the Bábíyyih, and who devotedly served Quddús during his sojourn in that city. When Mullá Husayn hoisted the Black Standard, he, together with his child, Mírzá Muhammad-Kázim, eagerly enrolled under his banner and went forth with him to Mázindarán… It was Mírzá Muḥammad-Báqir who acted as the standard-bearer of the company, who designed the plan of the fort, its walls and turrets and the moat which surrounded it, who succeeded Mullá Husayn in organising the forces of his companions and in leading the charge against the enemy, and who acted as the intimate companion, the lieutenant and trusted counsellor of Quddús until the hour when he fell a martyr in the path of the Cause. 
- Nabil  (‘The Dawn-Breakers’; translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

February 14, 2018

Mulla Husayn’s brother and nephew were both among the Letters of the Living – they were martyred at Fort Tabarsi

Mírzá Muḥammad-Báqir, the nephew of Mullá Husayn. He, as well as Mírzá Muḥammad-Ḥasan, accompanied Mullá Ḥusayn from Bushrúyih to Karbilá and from thence to Shíráz, where they embraced the Message of the Báb and were enrolled among the Letters of the Living. With the exception of the journey of Mullá Husayn to the castle of Máh-Kú, they continued to be with him until the time they suffered martyrdom in the fort of Tabarsí. 
- Nabil  (‘The Dawn-Breakers’; translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

February 5, 2018

The Dawn-Breakers - the second book the Guardian translated into English

During that same year [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. If the critic and sceptic should be tempted to dismiss the literature of the Bahá'í Faith as typical of the better class of religious books designed for the initiate only, he could not for a moment so brush aside a volume of the quality of Nabil's Narrative , which deserves to be counted as a classic among epic narratives in the English tongue. Although ostensibly a translation from the original Persian Shoghi Effendi may be said to have re-created it in English, his translation being comparable to Fitzgerald's rendering of Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat which gave to the world a poem in a foreign language that in many ways far exceeded the merits of the original. The best and most descriptive comments on this masterpiece of the Guardian are to be found in the words of prominent non-Bahá'ís. The playwright Gordon Bottemley wrote: " with it has been one of the salient experiences of a lifetime; but beyond that it was a moving experience both in itself and through the psychological light it throws on the New Testament narrative." The well-known scholar and humanitarian, Dr Alfred W. Martin of the Ethical Culture Society, in his letter of thanks to Shoghi Effendi for sending him Nabil's Narrative wrote: "Your magnificent and monumental work...will be a classic and a standard for all time to come. I marvel beyond measure at your ability to prepare such a work for the press over and above all the activities which your regular professional position devolves upon you." One of his old professors, Bayard Dodge of the American University of Beirut, after receiving the gift of Nabil's Narrative from the Guardian wrote to him: "...The last book - The Dawn-Breakers - is an especially valuable contribution. In congratulate you heartily for publishing it. You must have worked very hard to produce such a splendid translation, with such very interesting notes and photographs."
- Ruhiyyih Khanum  ('The Priceless Pearl')

February 1, 2018

The first book the Guardian translated into English - The Kitáb-i-Iqán (The Book of Certitude)

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. 
- Ruhiyyih Khanum  ('The Priceless Pearl')

January 28, 2018

Mulla Husayn – The Báb revealed eulogies and prayers concerning him equivalent to thrice the volume of the Qur’án

Mullá Husayn, surnamed the Bábu’l-Báb, the first to recognise and embrace the new Revelation. At the age of eighteen, he, too, departed from his native town of Bushrúyih in Khurásán for Karbilá, and for a period of nine years remained closely associated with Siyyid Kázim. Four years prior to the Declaration of the Báb, acting according to the instructions of Siyyid Kázim, he met in Isfáhán the learned mujtahid Siyyid Báqir-i-Rashtí and in Mashhad Mírzá Askarí, to both of whom he delivered with dignity and eloquence the messages with which he had been entrusted by his leader. The circumstances attending his martyrdom evoked the Báb’s inexpressible sorrow, a sorrow that found vent in eulogies and prayers of such great number as would be equivalent to thrice the volume of the Qur’án. In one of His visiting Tablets, the Báb asserts that the very dust of the ground where the remains of Mullá Husayn lie buried is endowed with such potency as to bring joy to the disconsolate and healing to the sick. In the Kitáb-i-Íqán, Bahá’u’lláh extols with still greater force the virtues of Mullá Husayn. “But for him,” He writes, “God would not have been established upon the seat of His mercy, nor have ascended the throne of eternal glory!”  
- Nabil  (‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)  

January 25, 2018

Quddús recognized the Báb when he was twenty-two years old

First and foremost among them [“those who quaffed the cup of martyrdom while defending the fort of Tabarsí”] stands Quddús, upon whom the Báb bestowed the name of Ismu’lláhu’l-Akhar.  He, the Last Letter of the Living and the Báb’s chosen companion on His pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, was, together with Mullá Ṣádiq and Mullá ‘Alí-Akbar-i-Ardistání, the first to suffer persecution on Persian soil for the sake of the Cause of God. He was only eighteen years of age when he left his native town of Barfurúsh for Karbilá. For about four years he sat at the feet of Siyyid Kázim, and at the age of twenty-two met and recognised his Beloved in Shíráz. Five years later, on the twenty-third day of Jamádiyu’th-Thání in the year 1265 A.H., [May 16, 1849 A.D.] he was destined to fall, in the Sabzih-Maydán of Barfurúsh, a victim of the most refined and wanton barbarity at the hands of the enemy. The Báb and, at a later time, Bahá’u’lláh have mourned in unnumbered Tablets and prayers his loss, and have lavished on him their eulogies. Such was the honour accorded to him by Bahá’u’lláh that in His commentary on the verse of Kullu’t-Tá’am, [Qur’án, 3:93] which He revealed while in Baghdád, He conferred upon him the unrivalled station of the Nuqṭiy-i-Ukhrá, [Literally “The Last Point] a station second to none except that of the Báb Himself. 
- Nabil  (‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)  

January 22, 2018

While in Isfahan, the Báb revealed a Commentary on a Surih of Qur’an – “verses that equalled in number a third of the Qur'án”

The Báb revealed this commentary in October or November of 1846 while He was in Isfahan -- during the time that He was a guest at the residence of the ‘Imam Jum'ih of that city. It was at the request of His host that the “Báb, one night, after supper, revealed His well-known commentary on the surih of Va'l-'Asr. Writing with astonishing rapidity, He, in a few hours, had devoted to the exposition of the significance of only the first letter of that surih -- a letter which Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa'i had stressed, and which Bahá'u'lláh refers to in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas -- verses that equalled in number a third of the Qur'án, a feat that called forth such an outburst of reverent astonishment from those who witnessed it that they arose and kissed the hem of His robe.” Interpreting various parts of the short Qur'ánic surih, the Báb discusses many fundamental issues in religion including how to recognize spiritual truth, the nature of the human being, the meaning of faith, the nature of good deeds, and the preconditions of spiritual journey.
(Adapted from ‘God Passes By’, by Shoghi Effendi; and ‘Gate of the Heart’, by Nader Saiedi)

January 20, 2018

January 1982: Summary of Actions taken by the Baha'i International Community and National and Local Baha'i Institutions in connection with the persecution of the Baha'is of Iran

The Baha'i International Community
  • Issued official statements to the press;
  • kept the Secretary-general and appropriate offices of the United Nations apprised of developments as they occurred;
  • cabled the Ayatollah Khomeini, the President and Prime Minister of Iran, and the President of the Iranian Supreme Court, urging their intervention and refuting accusations made against the Faith;
  • prepared materials and made statements in connection with the adoption of resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Sub-commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, the European Parliament, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe;
  • made statements at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on the Question of Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances;
  • contacted the Iranian representative to the United Nations in New York in order to repudiate falsehoods made about the Faith and provide him with the true facts; and
  • prepared the "White Paper" and "Update" and arranged for their translation in three languages, the "Chronological Summary of Individual Acts of Persecution in Iran," and other documents for submission to high- ranking officials, government and United Nations offices, and world-wide distribution to National Spiritual Assemblies.

January 15, 2018

1950: Approximate number of localities where Bahá'ís reside in leading Bahá'í communities throughout the world

  • Ten European Goal Countries: --> Over thirty localities.
  • Germany and Austria: --> Over forty localities.
  • British Isles: --> Over fifty localities.
  • Australia and New Zealand: --> Over sixty localities.
  • Dominion of Canada: --> Over eighty localities.
  • India, Pakistan and Burma: --> Over eighty localities.
  • Latin America: --> Over one hundred localities.
  • Persia: --> Over seven hundred localities.
  • United States of America: --> Over eleven hundred localities. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘The Bahá'í Faith, The: 1844-1950: Information Statistical and Comparative’, compiled by Shoghi Effendi)

January 12, 2018

World War II – The Guardian’s reference to

A tempest, unprecedented in its violence, unpredictable in its course, catastrophic in its immediate effects, unimaginably glorious in its ultimate consequences, is at present sweeping the face of the earth. Its driving power is remorselessly gaining in range and momentum. Its cleansing force, however much undetected, is increasing with every passing day. Humanity, gripped in the clutches of its devastating power, is smitten by the evidences of its resistless fury. It can neither perceive its origin, nor probe its significance, nor discern its outcome. Bewildered, agonized and helpless, it watches this great and mighty wind of God invading the remotest and fairest regions of the earth, rocking its foundations, deranging its equilibrium, sundering its nations, disrupting the homes of its peoples, wasting its cities, driving into exile its kings, pulling down its bulwarks, uprooting its institutions, dimming its light, and harrowing up the souls of its inhabitants. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 28 March 1941, published as ‘The Promised Day is Come’)