July 14, 2017

April 1970: Total number of National Spiritual Assemblies reaches 94

BAHA'I WORLD COMMUNITY ENTERING SEVENTH YEAR NINE YEAR PLAN HAS AMPLY DEMONSTRATED ABILITY SCALE HEIGHTS DEVOTION SACRIFICE WIN ASTONISHING VICTORIES WORLD-REDEEMING WORLD-HEALING WORLD-UNITING FAITH. AT THIS RIDVAN EXTEND LOVING WELCOME ELEVEN NEW NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES NOW FORMING SEVEN IN AFRICA ONE IN AMERICAS ONE IN ASIA TWO IN AUSTRALASIA RAISING TO NINETY-FOUR NUMBER SUPPORTING PILLARS UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE….  
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a cable dated Ridvan 1970; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

July 10, 2017

1970: Centenary of the martyrdom of the Purest Branch, Mirza Mihdi – the Universal House of Justice called for special worldwide prayer

25 March 1970
To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

In commemoration of the centenary of the martyrdom of the Purest Branch, which falls on 23 June 1970, we call upon the Baha'is of the world to unite in prayer for "the regeneration of the world and the unification of its peoples."

During those days one hundred years ago Baha'u'llah was enduring His imprisonment in the Barracks of 'Akka. Upon the tribulations which weighed Him down was heaped the fatal accident which befell His young son, His companion and amanuensis, Mirza Mihdi, the Purest Branch, whose dying supplication to his Father was to accept his life "as a ransom for those of His loved ones who yearned for, but were unable to attain, His presence." In a Tablet revealed in that grievous hour Baha'u'llah sorrows that "This is the day whereon he that was created of the light of Baha has suffered martyrdom, at a time when he lay imprisoned at the hands of his enemies." Yet He makes clear that the youth passing has a far profounder meaning than His acceptance of the simple request, declaring that "Thou art, verily, the trust of God and His treasure in this land. Erelong will God reveal through thee that which He hath desired." In a prayer revealed for His son He proclaims the purpose underlying the tragedy: "I have, O my Lord, offered up that which Thou hast given Me, that Thy servants may be quickened, and all that dwell on earth be united."  Thus upon a youth of consummate devotion who demonstrated such beauty of spirit and total dedication was conferred a unique station in the Cause of God.

In your recalling the bereavement of Baha'u'llah upon the loss of His loved son, and honouring a highly significant event in the Faith, we leave it to the discretion of the Assemblies whether they choose to hold special gatherings of prayer. In the Holy Land at the World Centre on Mount Carmel there will be an observance at the grave of Mirza Mihdi, at which time his pure example and sacrifice for all mankind will be remembered through the words of his glorious Father.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice
(‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

July 2, 2017

1970: The Baha’i World attained consultative status at United Nations Economic and Social Council

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE BAHA'I WORLD ATTAINMENT CONSULTATIVE STATUS UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL THEREBY FULFILLING LONG CHERISHED HOPE BELOVED GUARDIAN AND WORLD CENTRE GOAL NINE YEAR PLAN.+F192  SUSTAINED PERSISTENT EFFORTS MORE THAN TWENTY YEARS ACCREDITED REPRESENTATIVES BAHA'I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY UNITED NATIONS DEVOTED SUPPORT BAHA'I COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT WORLD FINALLY REWARDED.  SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT ADDS PRESTIGE INFLUENCE RECOGNITION EVER ADVANCING FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH.  OFFERING PRAYERS GRATITUDE HOLY SHRINES.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
(‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’)

June 27, 2017

World situation worsened during 1968 and 1969

In the worsening world situation, fraught with pain of war, violence and the sudden uprooting of long-established institutions, can be seen the fulfilment of the prophecies of Baha'u'llah and the oft-repeated warnings of the Master and the beloved Guardian about the inevitable fate of a lamentably defective social system, an unenlightened leadership and a rebellious and unbelieving humanity. Governments and peoples of both the developed and developing nations, and other human institutions, secular and religious, finding themselves helpless to reverse the trend of the catastrophic events of the day, stand bewildered and overpowered by the magnitude and complexity of the problems facing them. At this fateful hour in human history many, unfortunately, seem content to stand aside and wring their hands in despair or else join in the babel of shouting and protestation which loudly objects, but offers no solution to the woes and afflictions plaguing our age. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 16 November 1969; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’)

A summary of worsening events that took place in the world in 1968 and 1969 – by Geoffry Marks
The years 1968 and 1969 were racked with war, violence, terrorism, and civil unrest around the world. Wars raged in Vietnam and Nigeria; Soviet and Chinese troops skirmished in a continuing border dispute; Soviet troops entered Czechoslovakia to quell a movement toward liberalization; and El Salvador invaded Honduras. Coups d'etat toppled governments in 'Iraq, Syria, Sierre Leone, Dahomey, the Congo, Mali, the Sudan, Libya, the Netherlands Antilles, Peru, Panama, and Bolivia; states of emergency were declared in Spain, Malaysia, and Chile; violent unrest occurred in West Germany, Spain, Bombay, Pakistan, Argentina, Kenya, and the United States; and student protests erupted in Paris, Mexico City, Czechoslovakia, Argentina, and the United States. United States and Israeli airliners were hijacked, and two Israeli airliners were attacked by terrorists.  Moreover, a number of leaders were assassinated, including Somalian president Abdirascid Ali Scermarche; US civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.; US presidential candidate Robert E. Kennedy; US ambassador to Guatemala John Gordon Mein; and Mozambique Liberation Front leader Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane. 
- Geoffry Marks  (Footnotes to “Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’)

June 19, 2017

Consequences of rejecting the Message of God brought by Bahá’u’lláh: Napoleon III – “the foremost monarch of his day in the West”

…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…

Napoleon III, the foremost monarch of his day in the West, excessively ambitious, inordinately proud, tricky and superficial, who is reported to have contemptuously flung down the Tablet sent to him by Bahá’u’lláh, who was tested by Him and found wanting, and whose downfall was explicitly predicted in a subsequent Tablet, was ignominiously defeated in the Battle of Sedan (1870), marking the greatest military capitulation recorded in modern history; lost his kingdom and spent the remaining years of his life in exile. His hopes were utterly blasted, his only son, the Prince Imperial, was killed in the Zulu War, his much vaunted empire collapsed, a civil war ensued more ferocious than the Franco-German war itself, and William I, the Prussian king, was hailed emperor of a unified Germany in the Palace of Versailles. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

June 12, 2017

1969: Total number of Continental Boards of Counsellors increased to thirty-eight

With great joy we announce that we have decided to increase the total number of members of the Continental Boards of Counsellors for the Protection and Propagation of the Faith to thirty-eight… 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 10 July 1969; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’)

June 5, 2017

1944: Centenary Exhibition, England

Centenary Exhibition held in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, 1944, showing exterior view of shop window on one of the main streets. 
(The Baha'i World 1944-1946)

May 27, 2017

1945: First Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Guayaquil, Ecuador

Photographed with the members of the Spiritual Assembly are the two teachers who helped in the establishment of this Assembly.
(The Baha'i World 1944-1946)

May 16, 2017

Date of the publication of the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh

The subject you had raised with regard to the date of the publication of the writings of Bahá’u’lláh is interesting as it is important… The earliest published writings of Bahá’u’lláh date from the nineties of the last century. Over forty years ago the Aqdas, a volume of general Tablets including Tarazát, Ishráqát, and others were published in Ishqábád (Russia) and Bombay respectively and copies of these though rare are still procurable. Simultaneously with these, if not earlier, some of the writings of Bahá’u’lláh were published by the Oriental Department of the Imperial Russian University at St. Petersburgh under the supervision of its director Baron Rosen (and more particulars about these could be found in the books of E. G. Browne) and these of course are not undated like some of those published in Bombay.

The main bulk of the writings of Bahá’u’lláh however are to be found in manuscript form written by noted scribes after the fashion of orientals. These scribes did not leave all their manuscripts undated and Jinábí Zain, a very noted Bahá’í scribe, always dated his copies of the writings of Bahá’u’lláh at the end of the volume in what E. G. Browne calls ‘colophenes’ and the description of some of these colophenes could be found in the works of the Cambridge Professor.

The son of the above-mentioned scribe is still living in Haifa and does very much the same work as his father. He claims that as early as 1868 his father used to write copies of the Íqán for the Bahá’ís in Persia as a source of livelihood, and that after 1885 when he went to Akká to join Bahá’u’lláh’s party his entire work and time was devoted to copying the sacred writings for sale among Bahá’ís. These copies are to be found all throughout the East and are almost invariably dated. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 9 February 1930 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; ‘Unfolding Destiny’)

May 10, 2017

Consequences of rejecting the Message of God brought by Bahá’u’lláh: --> Násiri’d-Dín Sháh – the “Prince of Oppressors”

…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…

The vain and despotic Náṣiri’d-Dín Sháh, denounced by Bahá’u’lláh as the “Prince of Oppressors”; of whom He had written that he would soon be made “an object-lesson for the world”; whose reign was stained by the execution of the Báb and the imprisonment of Bahá’u’lláh; who had persistently instigated his subsequent banishments to Constantinople, Adrianople and Akká; who, in collusion with a vicious sacerdotal order, had vowed to strangle the Faith in its cradle, was dramatically assassinated, in the shrine of Sháh ‘Abdu’l-‘Aẓím, on the very eve of his jubilee, which, as ushering in a new era, was to have been celebrated with the most elaborate magnificence, and was to go down in history as the greatest day in the annals of the Persian nation. The fortunes of his house thereafter steadily declined, and finally through the scandalous misconduct of the dissipated and irresponsible Aḥmad Sháh, led to the eclipse and disappearance of the Qájár dynasty. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

May 2, 2017

Five Hands of the Cause of God passed away between December 1979 and November 1980

Enoch Olinga (17 September 1979); Rahmatu'llah Muhajir (30 December 1979); Hasan M. Balyuzi (12 february 1980); Adelbert Muehlchlegel (29 July 1980); and Abu'l-Qasim Faizi (20 November 1980) 
(Adapted from ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’)

April 26, 2017

1978: Resurgence of persecution of Baha’is

The resurging persecution of the Bahá'ís of Iran, the country in which the Bahá'í Faith originated, began in 1978 and came into full force following the fall of the Shah on 17 January 1979 and the declaration of the Islamic Republic on 1 April 1979. 
(Adapted from footnotes in ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’)

April 20, 2017

Consequences of rejecting the Message of God brought by Bahá’u’lláh: --> Sultán ‘Abdu’l-‘Azíz -- the “throne of tyranny”

…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…

Sulṭán ‘Abdu’l-‘Azíz, who with Náṣiri’d-Dín Sháh was the author of the calamities heaped upon Bahá’u’lláh, and was himself responsible for three decrees of banishment against the Prophet; who had been stigmatized, in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, as occupying the “throne of tyranny,” and whose fall had been prophesied in the Lawḥ-i-Fu’ád, was deposed in consequence of a palace revolution, was condemned by a fatvá (sentence) of the Muftí in his own capital, was four days later assassinated (1876), and was succeeded by a nephew who was declared to be an imbecile. The war of 1877–78 emancipated eleven million people from the Turkish yoke; Adrianople was occupied by the Russian forces; the empire itself was dissolved as a result of the war of 1914–18; the Sultanate was abolished; a republic was proclaimed; and a rulership that had endured above six centuries was ended. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

April 10, 2017

The fortress of Chihriq

The fortress of Chihriq where the Báb was imprisoned for almost all of the last two years of His life is located in north-western Iran in the region of Urumiyyih of the province of Azerbaijan.

March 31, 2017

Some historical facts about ‘Akka - by Hand of the Cause Mr. Furutan

…I would like to mention some of the historical facts connected with this ancient city. The Master related to pilgrims that 'Acco (Accho, later Acre or 'Akka or 'Akko) was first built by Phoenicians. (‘Acco in Phoenician means 'curved triangle'.) Egyptian inscriptions of the fifteenth to thirteenth centuries BC indicate that 'Acco was a part of the ancient Egyptian Empire. It is also mentioned in Judges I:31.

Afterwards Assyrians and then Persians conquered this area. They were followed by Alexander the Great, the Seleucids of Syria and the Armenian king, Tigranes the Great, who, one after the other, took over this region until the Roman Empire became its ruler.

In 636 AD it was conquered by the Arabs, in 969 by the Fatimid caliphs of Egypt, in 1079 by the Seljuks, and in 1099 by the Crusaders, who ruled Acre (as the Christians called it) with only brief interruption for two centuries.

Baldwin I seized Acre in 1104 and it became a part of the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem. In 1187 Saladin raised the banner of Islam on the towers of Acre, but it was soon recovered for the Christians in the Third Crusade and remained their capital until the Mamluks of Egypt conquered and destroyed the city in 1291.

March 28, 2017

1889 Persia: Qajar Kings maintained the threefold functions of government, legislative, executive, and judicial – observations by Lord George Curzon during his six-month travels in Persia

Painting of Fath-Ali Shah and his sons
“In theory the king may do what he pleases; his word is law. The saying that ‘The law of the Medes and Persians altereth not’ was merely an ancient periphrasis for the absolutism of the sovereign. He appoints and he may dismiss all ministers, officers, officials, and judges. Over his own family and household, and over the civil or military functionaries in his employ, he has power of life and death without reference to any tribunal. The property of any such individual, if disgraced or executed, reverts to him. The right to take life in any case is vested in him alone, but can be delegated to governors or deputies. All property, not previously granted by the crown or purchased—all property, in fact, to which a legal title cannot be established—belongs to him, and can be disposed of at his pleasure. All rights or privileges, such as the making of public works, the working of mines, the institution of telegraphs, roads, railroads, tramways, etc., the exploitation, in fact, of any of the resources of the country, are vested in him, and must be purchased from him before they can be assumed by others. In his person are fused the threefold functions of government, legislative, executive, and judicial. No obligation is imposed upon him beyond the outward observance of the forms of the national religion. He is the pivot upon which turns the entire machinery of public life.

March 23, 2017

circa 1848: Shaykh Sálih, an Arab resident of Karbilá, became the “first to shed his blood in the path of the Faith, in Tihrán”

Among the men who in Karbilá eagerly embraced, through the efforts of Táhirih, the Cause of the Báb, was a certain Shaykh Sálih, an Arab resident of that city who was the first to shed his blood in the path of the Faith, in Tihrán. She was so profuse in her praise of Shaykh Sálih that a few suspected him of being equal in rank to Quddús. 
- Nabil  (‘The Daw-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

March 21, 2017

November 1980: The Universal House of Justice announces the zones of the Continental Boards of Counsellors and the start of their five-year terms

In June 1979 we were moved to announce that the duration of the terms of office of Continental Counsellors would be five years, to start on the Day of the Covenant of this year. As this date approaches, we have decided that the time is ripe for a further step in the development of the institution itself that will, at one and the same time, accord greater discretion and freedom of action to the Continental Boards of Counsellors in the carrying out of their duties, and widen the scope of each Board to embrace an entire continent. In accordance with this decision, the zones of the Continental Boards of Counsellors will, from the Day of the Covenant of the year 137 (26 November 1980), be as follows:

1. Africa, comprising the areas of the four present zones of that continent.
2. The Americas, comprising the present zones of North, Central and South America.
3. Asia, comprising the present zones of Western, South Central and South-eastern Asia, together with the present zone of North-eastern Asia without the Hawaiian Islands and Micronesia.
4. Australasia, comprising the present zone of Australasia plus the Hawaiian Islands and Micronesia.
5. Europe.
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 3 November 1980 to the Baha’is of the World; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)