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’)

January 6, 2018

Spring of 1845: The Báb assured Quddus of his meeting Baha’u’llah – “the Beloved of their hearts”, and foretold their own tragic ends

The Báb’s visit to Medina marked the conclusion of His pilgrimage. Regaining Jaddih, He returned to Búshihr, where one of His first acts was to bid His last farewell to His fellow-traveler and disciple, [Quddus] and to assure him that he would meet the Beloved of their hearts. He, moreover, announced to him that he would be crowned with a martyr’s death, and that He Himself would subsequently suffer a similar fate at the hands of their common foe. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

January 4, 2018

Queen Marie of Rumania’s planned pilgrimage to Baha’i World Center

…the widely publicized yet sadly frustrated visit of a noble Queen, who, at the very threshold of the city of her heart’s desire, was compelled, according to her own written testimony, to divert her steps, and forego the privilege of so priceless a benefit. 
-Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

January 2, 2018

Revolutionary changes in the world during the ministry of ‘Abdu’l-Baha – summarized by Shoghi Effendi

…the revolutionary changes in the great world which that ministry [‘Abdu’l-Baha’s] has witnessed… —most of them flowing directly from the warnings which were uttered by the Báb, in the first chapter of His Qayyúmu’l-Asmá, on the very night of the Declaration of His Mission in Shíráz, and which were later reinforced by the pregnant passages addressed by Bahá’u’lláh to the kings of the earth and the world’s religious leaders, in both the Súriy-i-Mulúk and the Kitáb-i-Aqdas.
  • The conversion of the Portuguese monarchy and the Chinese empire into republics;
  • the collapse of the Russian, the German and Austrian empires, and the ignominious fate which befell their rulers;
  • the assassination of Násiri’d-Dín Sháh, the fall of Sultán ‘Abdu’l-Hamíd—
  • these may be said to have marked further stages in the operation of that catastrophic process the inception of which was signalized in the lifetime of Bahá’u’lláh
    • by the murder of Sulṭán ‘Abdu’l-‘Azíz,
    • by the dramatic downfall of Napoleon III, and the extinction of the Third Empire, and
    • by the self-imposed imprisonment and virtual termination of the temporal sovereignty of the Pope himself.
  •  Later, after ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing, the same process was to be accelerated
    •  by the demise of the Qájár dynasty in Persia,
    •  by the overthrow of the Spanish monarchy,
    •  by the collapse of both the Sultanate and the Caliphate in Turkey,
    •  by a swift decline in the fortunes of Shí’ah Islám and of the Christian Missions in the East, and
    •  by the cruel fate that is now overtaking so many of the crowned heads of Europe. 
- Shoghi Effendi  ('God Passes By')

December 30, 2017

1982: Progress of the Faith in Africa --> 37 NSAs, 4990 LSAs, 29,000 localities, and representations from 1152 African tribes

Today [1982], after the lapse of a little over three decades, we stand in awe as we view with admiration one of the most valiant contingents of the Army of Light, guided by its own Board of Counsellors, led and administered by 37 National Spiritual Assemblies and 4990 Local Spiritual Assemblies, privileged to serve an eager and radiant community of believers drawn from 1152 African tribes residing in 29,000 localities. 
-The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 19 August 1982 addressed to the friends gathered at the Baha'i International Conference at Lagos; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

December 28, 2017

The “catastrophes that befell the monarchies of the world through the neglect of Bahá’u’lláh’s warnings conveyed in the opening passages of His Súriy-i-Mulúk”

But the rapid dissolution of the Ottoman, the Napoleonic, the German, the Austrian and the Russian empires, the demise of the Qájár dynasty and the virtual extinction of the temporal sovereignty of the Roman Pontiff do not exhaust the story of the catastrophes that befell the monarchies of the world through the neglect of Bahá’u’lláh’s warnings conveyed in the opening passages of His Súriy-i-Mulúk. The conversion of the Portuguese and Spanish monarchies, as well as the Chinese empire, into republics; the strange fate that has, more recently, been pursuing the sovereigns of Holland, of Norway, of Greece, of Yugoslavia and of Albania now living in exile; the virtual abdication of the authority exercised by the kings of Denmark, of Belgium, of Bulgaria, of Rumania and of Italy; the apprehension with which their fellow sovereigns must be viewing the convulsions that have seized so many thrones; the shame and acts of violence which, in some instances, have darkened the annals of the reigns of certain monarchs in both the East and the West, and still more recently the sudden downfall of the Founder of the newly established dynasty in Persia—these are yet further instances of the infliction of the “Divine Chastisement” foreshadowed by Bahá’u’lláh in that immortal Súrih, and show forth the divine reality of the arraignment pronounced by Him against the rulers of the earth in His Most Holy Book. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

December 25, 2017

April 1972: Total number of National Spiritual Assemblies reached 110

- The Universal House of Justice  (Excerpt from a cable dated 11 February 1971 to all National Spiritual Assemblies'; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

December 22, 2017

Consequences of rejecting the Message of God brought by Bahá’u’lláh: Pope Pius IX

…the fate that has overtaken those kings, ministers and ecclesiastics, in the East as well as in the West, who have, at various stages of Bahá’u’lláh’s ministry, either deliberately persecuted His Cause, or have neglected to heed the warnings He had uttered, or have failed in their manifest duty to respond to His summons or to accord Him and His message the treatment they deserved, particular attention…

Pope Pius IX, the undisputed head of the most powerful Church in Christendom, who had been commanded, in an Epistle addressed to him by Bahá’u’lláh, to leave his “palaces unto such as desire them,” to “sell all the embellished ornaments” in his possession, to “expend them in the path of God,” and hasten towards “the Kingdom,” was compelled to surrender, in distressing circumstances, to the besieging forces of King Victor Emmanuel, and to submit himself to be depossessed of the Papal States and of Rome itself. The loss of “the Eternal City,” over which the Papal flag had flown for one thousand years, and the humiliation of the religious orders under his jurisdiction, added mental anguish to his physical infirmities and embittered the last years of his life. The formal recognition of the Kingdom of Italy subsequently exacted from one of his successors in the Vatican, confirmed the virtual extinction of the Pope’s temporal sovereignty. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

December 18, 2017

Early 1950s: The Guardian “ushered in the first African Teaching Plan”

As we review the annals of our Faith we see that since the days of the Blessed Beauty and up to the early 1950s, the activities of the friends in Africa had produced the formation of one National Spiritual Assembly with its seat in Cairo, Egypt, the opening of 12 countries to the light of the Faith, and some 50 localities established throughout its vast lands.  It was at such a time that the beloved Guardian ushered in the first African Teaching Plan, to be followed during the remaining years of his ministry and in subsequent years after his passing, by a series of challenging and bravely executed plans designed to implant the banner of the Faith throughout the length and breadth of that continent and its neighbouring islands.  
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 19 August 1982 addressed to the friends gathered at the Baha'i International Conference at Lagos; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

December 14, 2017

1979-1982: Some Non-Baha'i Individuals and Organizations that Issued Statements, Letters, Cables, or Press Releases, Concerning the Persecution of Baha’is in Iran

  • Human Rights Commission of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Switzerland
  • Amnesty International
  • Trinidad and Tobago Bureau on Human Rights
  • Former Chief Justice, India
  • Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism
  • Pacific Conference of Churches
  • 13 Heads of Colleges in Oxford, U.K.
  • The Master, Balliol College, Oxford, England
  • Iran Committee for Democratic Action and Human Rights (based in the United States)
  • Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (based in France)
  • A large number of Senators and Congressmen of the United States
(Prepared by the Baha’i International Community and accompanied a letter from the Universal House of Justice to the Baha’is of the World, 26 January 1982; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

December 10, 2017

1955: Very intense and widespread persecution against the Baha’is in Iran

It was in April and May of 1955, during the month of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, that the popular preacher Shaykh Muhammad-Taqi, known as Falsafi, began to preach against the Baha'is in a Tihran mosque. These speeches were broadcast nationally by the Government radio and became more fierce and vituperative each day. Throughout the entire country, the passions of the rabble were aroused and further fanned by local religious leaders. The police and the army took over the National Baha’i headquarters in Tihran and destroyed the dome of the building. On 17 May, the Minister of the Interior announced in Parliament that the Government had issued orders for the suppression of the 'Baha'i sect'. Thus the effects of the inflammatory words of the religious leaders compounded by the encouragement given by the Government precipitated an avalanche of persecution: Baha'i holy places were occupied and ransacked, homes and farms looted and burned, Baha'i cemeteries desecrated; adults were beaten, young women abducted and forced to marry Muslims, children expelled from schools, and many dismissed from their employment. Throughout the whole of that summer, the persecutions continued across the entire country. Not only was it entirely unchecked by the Government or police, but, in many areas, it was Government officials who instigated and led the attack on the Baha'is. 
- Moojan Momen  (Forward to ‘The Seven Martyrs of Hurmuzak’, by Muhammad Labib, translated by Moojan Momen)

December 8, 2017

Baha’u’llah spent five years in Europe – first time for a Manifestation of God

Adrianople early 19th Century
In this great Day Europe is blessed as never before in its history, for the Manifestation of God, the Lord of Hosts, spent five years of His exiles within its borders, sending forth from His "remote prison" [1] the first of those challenging, world-shaking addresses to the kings and rulers, six of whom were European potentates. There is no authenticated record of a Manifestation of God ever before setting foot in Europe. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message addressed to the friends gathered at the International Conference in Dublin, 2 June 1982; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)
[1] Baha'u'llah was banished to Adrianople (now Edirne, Turkey), which He called the "remote prison".

December 4, 2017

1979-1982: Number of cables received by the United Nations Secretary-general concerning the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran

118 National Spiritual Assemblies cabled the Secretary-general of the United Nations, as did thousands of Local Assemblies, Baha'i groups and isolated centres.  It was estimated that some 10-15,000 cables reached him, protesting the execution of seven Baha'is in Hamadan.
(From a Summary prepared by the Baha’i International Community and accompanied a letter from the Universal House of Justice to the Baha’is of the World, 26 January 1982; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)