November 21, 2017

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s last day on earth

Till the very last day of His earthly life ‘Abdu’l-Bahá continued to shower that same love upon high and low alike, to extend that same assistance to the poor and the down-trodden, and to carry out those same duties in the service of His Father’s Faith, as had been His wont from the days of His boyhood. On the Friday before His passing, despite great fatigue, He attended the noonday prayer at the mosque, and distributed afterwards alms, as was His custom, among the poor; dictated some Tablets—the last ones He revealed—; blessed the marriage of a trusted servant, which He had insisted should take place that day; attended the usual meeting of the friends in His home; felt feverish the next day, and being unable to leave the house on the following Sunday, sent all the believers to the Tomb of the Báb to attend a feast which a Pársí pilgrim was offering on the occasion of the anniversary of the Declaration of the Covenant; received with His unfailing courtesy and kindness that same afternoon, and despite growing weariness, the Muftí of Haifa, the Mayor and the Head of the Police; and inquired that night—the last of His life—before He retired after the health of every member of His household, of the pilgrims and of the friends in Haifa.

November 20, 2017

1951: Shrine of the Báb

View of the Shrine of the Báb and gardens, from photograph received from the Guardian early in March, 1951. 
(Baha’i News April 1951)

November 15, 2017

1910: Some historic developments in Akka & Haifa

The Ottoman officials have recently opened two large gateways through the thick, solid and ancient walls of the old fort of Acca. Both open out on the green plain in front of Bahji, where the Holy Tomb is located. Wonderful to relate, one of these gates is situated back of the old house of 'Abdu'l-Baha, where he often walked, during the time of his confinement, to the fortress!

Furthermore, official men, architects and masons have come from Constantinople for the express purpose of planning a beautiful city outside of the old prison walls! To live today and witness the actual fulfillment of the old prophecies is verily a blessing for which we cannot be sufficiently thankful.
- Ameen U. Fareed (Star of the West, vol. 1, no. 9, August 20, 1910)

November 12, 2017

November 11, 2017

1979-1982: Cables received by Ayatollah Khomeini concerning the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran

Over 10,000 Local Spiritual Assemblies cabled the Ayatollah Khomeini, urging his intervention regarding the expropriation of Baha'i properties in Iran.
(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’)

November 8, 2017

1944: Three future Hands of the Cause of God

Presiding National Spiritual Assembly officers of the Centenary Convention in Persia. Left to right: Shuallah Ala'i (vice-chairman), Vali'ullah Varqa (chairman) and Ali-Akbar Furutan (secretary). 
(Baha’i News, April 1946)

November 3, 2017

1994: First National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Cambodia

Hand of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum (center) with members of the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Cambodia, Counsellors Lee Lee Ludher (far left) and Shantha Sundram (third from right), and Mrs. Violette Nakhjavani (third from left). 
(The Baha'i World 1994-1995)

October 26, 2017

1994: The New National Spiritual Assemblies in Central Asia

First National Spiritual Assembly of Kazakhstan 1994
Baha'is first settled in Central Asia during Baha'u'llah's lifetime, when the region was known as Turkistan. A flourishing community developed, and the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar (House of Worship) of the Baha'i world was raised in Ashkhabad in the early part of the century. In 1925, the National Spiritual Assembly of Turkistan, with its seat in Ashkhabad, came into being.

The Baha'is of Central Asia obeyed the Soviet government's subsequent ban on Baha'i institutions and religious practice and the National Spiritual Assembly was itself dissolved in 1939, but Baha'is in the region retained their faith as a matter of private belief and conscience. When the policy of glasnost emerged in the 1980s, and then the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, the surviving Baha'is began to share their Faith more openly with the help of fellow Baha' is from other countries who were then allowed to travel to the region. By April 1992, there were approximately 500 Baha' is and eight Local Spiritual Assemblies in Central Asia, and the Regional Spiritual Assembly of Central Asia, with its seat in Ashkhabad, had been re-formed.

October 20, 2017

1995: Oatan Marawa Baha'i School in Kiribati

The Oatan Marawa Baha'i School open in Kiribati in April 1995 
(The Baha'i World 1994-1995)

October 12, 2017

1921: The “birth of the Administrative Order, the nucleus and pattern of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh”

…the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, "an event which signalized at once the end of the Heroic Age of our Faith, the opening of the Formative Age and the birth of the Administrative Order, the nucleus and pattern of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh." 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 15 April 1971, ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 11, 2017

1972: One hundred and ten National Spiritual Assemblies

11 February 1971
To all National Spiritual Assemblies

REJOICE ANNOUNCE ALL FRIENDS FORMATION DURING RIDVAN 1972 NINE ADDITIONAL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES RAISING TOTAL NUMBER PILLARS UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE TO ONE HUNDRED AND TEN. THREE IN AFRICA MALAGASY REPUBLIC REUNION SEYCHELLES THREE IN ASIA EAST PAKISTAN NEPAL SINGAPORE ONE IN AUSTRALASIA NORTHWEST PACIFIC OCEAN COMPRISING GUAM CAROLINES MARIANAS MARSHALLS TWO IN EUROPE ICELAND AND REPUBLIC IRELAND.

FOUR OF THESE SEYCHELLES EAST PAKISTAN SINGAPORE NORTHWEST PACIFIC CONSTITUTE SUPPLEMENTARY ACHIEVEMENTS NINE YEAR PLAN. URGE PIONEERS SCHEDULED ALL THESE AREAS SETTLE POSTS WITHOUT DELAY. CALL UPON RESPECTIVE COMMUNITIES BRACE THEMSELVES EXERT SUPREME EFFORT FAST FLEETING WEEKS BEFORE COMING RIDVAN ESTABLISH AS MANY ASSEMBLIES AS POSSIBLE THEREBY BROADENING STRENGTHENING FOUNDATIONS PROJECTED NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS. FERVENTLY PRAYING HOLY SHRINES FOLLOWERS MOST GREAT NAME MAY SEIZE UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES PRESENT HOUR AND SPARE NO EFFORT UNTIL GOALS PLAN ARE FULLY ACCOMPLISHED THEREBY ATTRACTING TO THEMSELVES AND THEIR COMMUNITIES INESTIMABLE BLESSINGS ANCIENT BEAUTY.

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

October 8, 2017

1950: First Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Tokyo, Japan

Eight members of the first Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Tokyo, Japan, 1950-1951. 
(The Baha'i World 1950-1954)

October 5, 2017

The Báb’s prison room in Tabriz

The Báb was imprisoned in Tabriz in 1848 in this now (1953) crumbling prison room of the old brick Ark. 
(The Baha'i World 1950-1954)

September 28, 2017

African Baha’i History

African Baha'i history had its beginnings in Egypt, which was opened to the Faith during the period of the ministry of Baha'u'llah; it gathered momentum during the ministry of 'Abdu'l-Baha when Baha'i localities were established in South Africa and Tunisia. But the early effects of these spiritual endowments became more obvious with the remarkable success of the two-year Africa Project (1951-53) when 16 territories were opened, bringing to 25 the total number of countries and islands in which Baha'is resided; this preceded the opening of the 33 virgin territories called for in the beloved Guardian's Ten Year Global Crusade, a period of astonishing development in Africa that evoked the  admiration and praise of Shoghi Effendi as many people from different tribes entered the  Cause, a number of administrative institutions were formed, and it became possible to raise up the Mother Temple of Africa in the heart of the continent. During the course of these rapid developments, the African believers themselves, through sacrificial effort as teachers and pioneers, arose to champion the Cause of God, manifesting the profundity of their response to the Message of the New Day. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Ridvan 153 addressed to the Followers of Baha'u'llah in Africa)

September 20, 2017

The first time Bábís become aware of the true station of Quddus

Mullá Husayn had in the meantime apprised his companions [at Fort Tabasi] of the approach of Quddús, and had enjoined them to observe towards him a reverence such as they would feel prompted to show to the Báb Himself. “As to myself,” he added, “you must consider me as his lowly servant. You should bear him such loyalty that if he were to command you to take my life, you would unhesitatingly obey. If you waver or hesitate, you will have shown your disloyalty to your Faith. Not until he summons you to his presence must you in any wise venture to intrude upon him. You should forsake your desires and cling to his will and pleasure. You should refrain from kissing either his hands or his feet, for his blessed heart dislikes such evidences of reverent affection. Such should be your behaviour that I may feel proud of you before him. The glory and authority with which he has been invested must needs be duly recognised by even the most insignificant of his companions. Whoso departs from the spirit and letter of my admonitions, a grievous chastisement will surely overtake him.” 
- Nabil  (‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

September 10, 2017

A “few instances that eloquently testify to the unique” contributions that Baha’u’llah made during the early years of the Bábí Dispensation – summarized by the Guardian

The first incarceration to which He was subjected as a result of the helping hand He had extended to the captives of Qazvín; the ability with which He achieved the deliverance of Táhirih; the exemplary manner in which He steered the course of the turbulent proceedings in Badasht; the manner in which He saved the life of Quddús in Níyálá; the wisdom which He showed in His handling of the delicate situation created by the impetuosity of Táhirih, and the vigilance He exercised for her protection; the counsels which He gave to the defenders of the fort of Tabarsí; the plan He conceived of joining the forces of Quddús to those of Mullá Ḥusayn and his companions; the spontaneity with which He arose to support the exertions of those brave defenders; the magnanimity which prompted Him to offer Himself as a substitute for His companions who were under the threat of severe indignities; the serenity with which He faced the severity inflicted upon Him as a result of the attempt on the life of Náṣiri’d-Dín Sháh; the indignities which were heaped upon Him all the way from Lavásán to the headquarters of the imperial army and from thence to the capital; the galling weight of chains which He bore as He lay in the darkness of the Síyáh-Chál of Ṭihrán—all these are but a few instances that eloquently testify to the unique position which He occupied as the prime Mover of the forces which were destined to reshape the face of His native land. It was He who had released these forces, who steered their course, harmonised their action, and brought them finally to their highest consummation in the Cause He Himself was destined at a later time to reveal. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘The Dawn-Breakers’, by Nabil; translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

September 4, 2017

1979-1982: Resolutions adopted by various governments on behalf of the persecuted Baha'is in Iran

  • Canadian Parliament (2)
  • House of Representatives, Australia
  • Senate, Australia
  • German Federal Parliament
  • A meeting held in a committee room of the House of Commons, United Kingdom
  • United Nations General Assembly, Third Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Religious Intolerance
  • United Nations Sub-commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, Commission on Human Rights (2)
  • European Parliament (2)
  • Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (2)
  • House of Representatives of the State of Alaska, USA.
  • House of Representatives, State of Illinois, USA.
  • International Association for Religious Freedom
(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’)