December 19, 2010

First National Baha'i Convention of the Leeward, Windward and Virgin Islands, April 23-24, 1967

First National Baha'i Convention of the Leeward, Windward and Virgin Islands, April 23-24, 1967, with Hand of the Cause Dr. Ugo Giachery (Baha'i News, June 1967)

December 16, 2010

Approximate Number of Localities where Bahá'ís Resided as of 1950 -- in Leading Bahá'í Communities throughout the World

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
(The Bahá'í Faith, 1844-1950: Information Statistical and Comparative, Compiled by Shoghi Effendi. Wilmette, IL Bahá'í Publishing Committee, 1950, p.19)

December 12, 2010

The Apostles of Baha'u'llah -- "Pillars of the Faith" -- identified by Shoghi Effendi

1. Mirza Musa: the only true brother of Baha’u’llah, surnamed “Kalim.”

2. Mirza Buzurg: youthful martyr, bearer of Baha’u’llah’s Tablet to Nasiri’d-Din Shah, surnamed “Badi.” [Wonderful]

3. Siyyid Hasan: one of the martyred brothers of Isfahan, surnamed “Sultanu’sh-Shuhada.” [King of the Martyrs]

4. Mulla Abu’l-Hasan: faithful steward of Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha, surnamed “Amin.”

5. Mirza Abu’l-Fadl-i-Gulpaygani: Foremost and authoritative expounder of the Baha’i Revelation.

6. Mirza ‘Ali Muhammad: poet, teacher, and martyr of te Faith, surnamed “Varqa.”

7. Mirza Mahmud: an indomitable spirit and jealous defender of the Faith.

8. Mulla ‘Ali Akbar: a flame of zeal and devotion.

9. Mulla Muhammad: learned and steadfast exponent of the Baha’i Revelation, surnamed “Nabil-Akbar.”

10. Haji Mirza Muhammad Taqi: cousin of the Bab and chief builder of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar of Ishqabad, surnamed “Kabir-i-Afnan.”

11. Haji Mirza Muhammad Taqi: prominent teacher.

12. Mulla Muhammad: poet, historian, and teacher of the Faith, surnamed “Nabil-i-A’zam.”

13. Shaykh Kazim: a flame of the love of God, favored of Baha’u’llah, surnamed “Samandar.”

14. Muhammad Mustafa: brave and vigilant custodian and bearer of the remains of the Bab.

December 10, 2010

First Local Assembly formed in Iceland, April 1965

The historic, first local spiritual assembly was established last Ridvan in the capital city of Reykjavik, Iceland, the first of three assemblies required for the Nine Year Plan. The signatories of the original document were: Asgeir Einarsson, Kirsten Bonnevie, Florence Grindlay, Jessie Echevarria, Carl John Spencer, Charles Grindlay, Liesel Becker, Barbel Thinat and Nicholas Echevarria. One of the earliest traveling teachers in Iceland was Eskil Ljunberg and the first pioneer, Marguerite Allman, arrived in 1956, during the Ten Year Crusade.

Mrs. Amelia Collins, late Hand of the Cause was the first to visit Iceland, in L924. During these few hours spent in Reykjavik she was able to make friends with an Icelandic lady with whom she corresponded about the Faith for many years. This same lady was then able to open many doors for Martha Root, the renowned traveling teacher, who came in July of 1935 to make the Faith known in that land.

December 9, 2010

Signs in Heavens during the Appearance of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh

It is said in Scripture and Tradition that at the time of the birth or announcement of every Messenger of God, a star or a sign appears in the heavens. Nimrod was warned of the star that told of the coming of Abraham. The soothsayers warned Pharaoh of the star in the heavens that foretold the coming of Moses. The Magi informed Herod of the new star that guided them to the throne of the "spiritual king," Jesus. The same legend is told of Buddha, Zoroaster, Muhammad and Krishna.

What were the signs in the heavens during the appearance of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh? The holy Scriptures of all faiths had spoken of Twin-Revelations that would appear at the "time of the end." Now that the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh had appeared, fulfilling these prophecies, what were the signs in the heavens? Signs, not for one, but for two Messengers of God, Who would appear almost simultaneously?

Some of us know the story of the great comet of 1843which foreshadowed the coming of the Báb. Sir James Jeans, late British astronomer and mathematician, stated in his book Through Space and Time, "oddly enough, many of the most conspicuous appearances of comets seem to have coincided with, or perhaps just anticipated, important events in history." [Sir James Jeans, Through Space and Time, pp. 102, 154]

December 5, 2010

Mother of the Guardian announces his marriage

Cablegrams:

"Announce Assemblies celebration marriage beloved Guardian stop Inestimable honor conferred upon handmaid of Baha’u’llah Ruhiyyih Khanum Miss Mary Maxwell stop Union of East and West proclaimed by Baha'i Faith cemented. (Signed) Ziaiyyih, mother of the Guardian." (Baha’i News, April 1937)

25 March 1937
ANNOUNCE ASSEMBLIES CELEBRATION MARRIAGE BELOVED GUARDIAN IMPERISHABLE HONOUR BESTOWED UPON HANDMAID OF BAHÁ'U'LLÁH RUHIYYIH KHANUM MISS MARY MAXWELL. (Sgd. ZIAIYYIH, MOTHER OF THE GUARDIAN) (Unfolding Destiny, p. 115)


Ruhiyyih Khanum explains in the Priceless Pearl (p. 151) that her marriage with the Guardian took place on 25 March, 1937

December 4, 2010

Baha’u’llah’s Tablet presented to President Roosevelt

During 1936 the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada “caused to be delivered to President Roosevelt a beautifully engrossed copy of Baha’u’llah’s Tablet to the Presidents and Rulers of the American Republics, together with two Prayers revealed by 'Abdu'l-Baha for America.” 
(Baha’i News, August 1936)

November 27, 2010

Historic Rug

Some members of the famous Ahmadpur family had been in the presence of the beloved Master when the Shrine of the Bab had almost been completed. In their longing to have a share in that great and historic enterprise, they asked the Master if they could make a special carpet for the floor and send it to Haifa. He accepted their request and gave instructions as to what design they should choose for the carpet. This photo was taken after its completion and before its dispatch to the Holy Land. The people sitting in front are from the family of Haji Ahmad, in whose silk factory the Bab's body had been kept after being taken from the edge of the moat outside the city of Tabriz. This rug is now placed in the Shrine of the Bab. (Baha’i News, October 1964)

November 26, 2010

Korea's First National Convention, April 22-25, 1964

Some of the 65 Baha'is who attended Korea's First National Convention, April 22-25, 1964, in Taegu, Korea. Hand of the Cause, Dr. Rahmat'llah Muhajir (holding the Greatest Name) also attended this historic event. (Baha'i News July 1964)

November 21, 2010

The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in 'Ishqabad, extensively damaged by violent earthquakes in 1948, was demolished in 1963 by the Russian authorities for safety reasons

A message from the Universal House of Justice:

To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'í World

Dear Bahá'í friends,

The whole Bahá'í World will be grief-stricken at the news of the sad fate which has overtaken the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in 'Ishqabad, the first Temple raised to the glory of Bahá'u'lláh. [The temple was located in Turkmenistan, near the Iranian border, north of the Iranian province of Khurasan ] Due to its unsafe condition, resulting from earthquakes, the building has been entirely demolished and the site cleared.

The building of this edifice, the only structure of its kind to be raised and completed in the lifetime of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, was described by the beloved Guardian as "a lasting witness to the fervour and the self-sacrifice of the Oriental believers." This "enterprise," the Guardian further wrote, "must rank not only as the first major undertaking launched through the concerted efforts of His followers in the Heroic Age of His Faith, but as one of the most brilliant and enduring achievements in the history of the first Bahá'í century."[GPB, p. 300. The first Bahá'í century ended in 1944.]

November 16, 2010

Baha’u’llah requested a ten-minute meeting with the Ottoman Sultan

“ … in the Lawh-i-Ra'ís, Bahá'u'lláh, recalling His conversation with the Turkish officer charged with the task of enforcing His banishment to the fortress-town of 'Akká, has written: "There is a matter, which, if thou findest it possible, I request thee to submit to His Majesty the Sultan, that for ten minutes this Youth be enabled to meet him, so that he may demand whatsoever he deemeth as a sufficient testimony and regardeth as proof of the veracity of Him Who is the Truth. Should God enable Him to produce it, let him, then, release these wronged ones, and leave them to themselves." "He promised," Bahá'u'lláh adds in that Tablet, "to transmit this message, and to give Us his reply. We received, however, no news from him. Although it becometh not Him Who is the Truth to present Himself before any person, inasmuch as all have been created to obey Him, yet in view of the condition of these little children and the large number of women so far removed from their friends and countries, We have acquiesced in this matter. In spite of this nothing hath resulted. Umar himself is alive and accessible. Inquire from him, that the truth may be made known unto you." 
(Shoghi Effendi, 'The Promised Day is Come')

November 15, 2010

First National Convention of the Baha'is of Finland, April 1962

First National Convention of the Baha'is of Finland, April 1962 (Baha'i News August 1962)

November 13, 2010

Ridvan 1961: Newly Elected International Baha'i Council Holds First Meeting

Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land meeting with the International Baha'i Council. From left: A. Furutan, Charles Wolcott, William Sears, Leroy Ioas,  Sylvia loas, lan Semple, John Ferraby, PauI E. Haney, Lotfullah Hakim, A. Q. Faizi, Ruhiyyih Khanum, Jessie Revell, 'Ali Nakhjavani, Ethel Revell, Mildred Mottahedeh, H. Borrah Kavelin, Jalal Khazeh.

International Baha'i Council

An institution created by Shoghi Effendi in 1951 as the forerunner of the Universal House of Justice. It was invested with three functions: to forge links with the authorities in the State of Israel, to assist Shoghi Effendi in the erection of the superstructure of the Shrine of the Bab, and to conduct negotiations related to matters of personal status with the civil authorities. To these were added further functions as the Council developed. The members of the first Council were appointed by Shoghi Effendi: its President was Charles Mason Remey and its Vice-President Amelia Collins. The Council was enlarged to eight members in 1952 and to nine in 1955. Following the passing of Shoghi Effendi the Council continued to perform its duties at the World Centre under the direction of the Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land. At Ridvan 1961 the Council was elected for the first time. Its nine members were elected by the members of all the national and regional spiritual assemblies in the Baha'iworld by postal ballot. The Hands of the Cause ruled that they themselves were not eligible for election to this body. The following people were elected: Jessie Revell, 'Ali Nakhjavani, Lutfu'llah Hakim, Ethel Revell, Charles Wolcott, Sylvia Ioas, Mildred Mottahedeh, Ian Semple and H. Borrah Kavelin. These members served until the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963. (Baha’i Dictionary by Wendi Momen)

November 12, 2010

Tablets Revealed by Baha’u’llah during the Baghdad Period (January 1852 – April 1863) – listed alphabetically: Part 1

[Source for the list of Tablets: Geoffry Marks, ‘Call for Remembrance, Connecting the Heart to Baha’u’llah’, pp. 279-280)

Az-Bágh-i-Iláhí (From the Garden of Holiness)

It is an ode revealed not long before the Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh. It is one of His most joyous odes, composed in an exalted style. Each Persian verse is followed by one in Arabic, and the combination of the two creates a rich melody of unsurpassed beauty and enchantment. Its theme is the advent of the Promised Day of God, but to describe its contents is not an easy task, especially in the absence of an English translation.

In each and every line Bahá'u'lláh alludes to Himself and extols His own attributes. He unveils the splendours of His exalted station and, among other designations, refers to Himself as the Lord of all mankind, the Day-star of Truth, the Promise of all ages, the Youth of Paradise, the Quickener of men and the Essence of the Spirit of Truth. This poem is an eloquent description of Bahá'u'lláh's stupendous station, the character of His Mission and the outpourings of His Revelation.

The chanting of this beautiful ode creates an atmosphere of ecstasy and joy. It moves the heart and evokes a feeling of awe and excitement within the soul. No wonder that the companions of Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdad, who chanted it in their gatherings, were carried away into the realms of spirit, completely oblivious of this world and all its peoples. (Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 1, p. 218)

November 10, 2010

The Most Great Prison as seen in 1907

The Most Great Prison in Akka, Israel. This photo was taken by the late Hand of the Cause, Roy C. Wilhelm in 1907 (Baha'i News, January 1965)

November 7, 2010

Auxiliary Board Members in Africa, February 1960

Hand of the Cause Musa Banani held a meeting for the Auxiliary Board members for Northeast and Central and East Africa at Nairobi from February 26 to 28, 1960. Front row, left to right: Gilbert Robert, Abdu'l-Rahim Yazdi, Musa Banani, and Jamshid Munajjim. Back row, left to right: Aziz Yazdi, Ali Nakhjavani, Max Kenyerezi, and Jalal Nakhjavani (Baha'i News, June 1960)

November 6, 2010

Auxiliary Board Members in North America, January 1960

Hand of the Cause William Sears with the North American members of the Auxiliary Board of the Hands of the Cause, at their meeting in Wilmette, Ill., on January 9 and 10, 1960. Front row: Velma Sherrill, Katherine McLaughlin, William Sears, Rowland Estall, and Curtis Kelsey. Back row: Hushang Javid, Mildred Muttahedeh, Amoz Gibson, Margery McCormick, William deForge, Sarah Pereira, Peggy Ross, and Florence Mayberry (Baha'i News, April 1960)

October 30, 2010

First NSA on European continent elected on April 26, 1958

First National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of France, elected on April 26, 1958 (Baha'i News July 1958)

October 28, 2010

‘Abdu’l-Baha left Holy Land for Egypt, August 29, 1910

[A portion of a letter from Sydney Sprague to Isabella Brittingham.]

Mount Carmel, August 29, 1910.

Dear Sister in the Holy Cause: I have a very big piece of news to tell you. ‘Abdu’l-Baha has left this Holy Spot for the first time in forty two years, and has gone to Egypt. Think of the vast significance and importance of this step! By it many prophecies of the sacred Scriptures are fulfilled. The Light and Life of Acca has departed and we feel as though we were now left in obscurity while Egypt is illumined, and that ancient country which has seen the prophets Joseph and Moses and even the infant Christ is now to see the Consummation of all the prophets. Will it appreciate and realize this Bounty? Everyone was astounded to hear of ‘Abdu’l-Baha's departure, for no one knew until the very last minute that he had any idea of leaving. The afternoon of the day he left, he came to Mirza Assad’u’llah's home to see us and sat with us awhile beside a new well that has just been finished and said that he had come to taste the water. We did not realize that it was a good-bye visit. Then he took a carriage and went up the hill to the Holy Tomb (of the Bab). That night, as usual, the believers gathered before the house of ‘Abdu’l-Baha to receive that blessing, which every day is ours, of being in his presence, but we waited in vain, for one of the sons in-law came and told us that ‘Abdu’l-Baha had taken the Khedivial steamer for Port Said. We could hardly believe it was true, so great was this news. Think how happy we must be that after forty two years in this cage, the Divine Bird has spread His wings and in perfect freedom flown away.  
(Star of the West, Vol. 1, October 16, 1910)

October 22, 2010

Local Spiritual Assemblies worldwide, as of 1928

Australia: Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
Brazil: Bahia
China: Shanghai
Egypt: Port Said
England: London, Manchester, Dorset
France: Paris
India and Burma: Burma, Mandalay, Rangoon; India: Bombay, Calcutta, Camp Karachi, Poona
Japan: Robe
Korea: Seoul
Palestine: Haifa
Persia: Hamadan, Kirman, Kashan, Mashhad, Sultan-Abad (Aragh)
Russia: Moscow
South Africa: Pretoria
Switzerland: Assembly of Lausanne
Syria: Alexandretta, Beirut
Tasmania: Hobart
Turkey: Constantinople

October 17, 2010

There were 1,280 Baha'is and 24 Assemblies in USA in 1906

According to the Government Census Bureau statistics gathered in 1906, dealing with the religious life of the United States, and now in press at Washington, D.C., Baha'is have twenty-four assemblies, aggregating a membership of 1,280. 
(Star of the West, vol. 1, No. 9, August 20, 1910)

October 3, 2010

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s younger brother, Mirza Mihdi, known as the Purest Branch, was about 12 years old when he was reunited with the Holy Family in Baghdad in 1860

Mirza Mihdi was taken to Baghdad to join the Family in the year AH 1276 (circa AD 1860). It was in that city that this pure and holy youth, noted for his meekness, came in touch with the Divine Spirit and was magnetized by the energizing forces of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation. From that time on, he devoted every moment of his life to the service of his heavenly Father. He was Bahá'u'lláh's companion in Baghdad, Adrianople and 'Akká, and served Him as an amanuensis [It must be noted that although Mirza Aqa Jan was Bahá'u'lláh's amanuensis, there were also others who were engaged in this task from time to time] towards the end of his life, leaving to posterity some Tablets in his handwriting. The last ten years of his life were filled with the hardship and suffering inflicted on Bahá'u'lláh and His companions in the course of the three successive banishments from Baghdad to 'Akká.

The Purest Branch resembled 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and throughout his short and eventful life he displayed the same spiritual qualities which distinguished his illustrious Brother. The believers loved and venerated him as they did 'Abdu'l-Bahá. (Adib Taherzadeh, 'The Revelation of Baha'u'llah')

September 23, 2010

Mid-July 1920: Shoghi Effendi arrived in the United Kingdom

Shoghi Effendi arrived in the United Kingdom in mid-July 1920 and was welcomed by a community of devoted believers and admirers of the Faith who had been nurtured by their loving Master. Prominent among the believers and admirers of the Master were Lady Blomfield, Major Tudor-Pole and Lord Lamington.

Lady Blomfield, one of the pillars of the Cause in England, had been among the first to recognize the new revelation. She was a woman whose considerable influence traced back to her father-in-law, Dr Charles James Blomfield (1786-1857), the Bishop of London and the tutor of Queen Victoria. Lady Blomfield and her daughter Mary had been introduced to the Faith at a reception in Paris in 1907. Their teacher was Miss Bertha Herbert. Both had embraced the Faith upon their return to England and were nurtured by a Baha'i community comprising two people: an American believer living in London, Mrs. Thornburgh-Cropper, and Miss. Ethel Rosenberg, the first British woman to accept the new Earth of God.

September 14, 2010

Baha’i Magazines in circulation in 1923

With reference to the following excerpt from a letter written by the beloved Guardian on 12 March, 1923, the following Baha’i magazines were in circulation in 1923:

In America: “Star of the West” and the “Magazine of the Children of the Kingdom”;
India: the “Bahá’í News” of India;
Turkestan: the “Sun of the East” (Khurshid-i Khavar);
Japan: the “Star of the East”; and in
Germany: the “Sun of Truth”.

“They [Assemblies] must encourage and stimulate by every means at their command, through subscription, reports and articles, the development of the various Bahá’í magazines, such as the “Star of the West” and the “Magazine of the Children of the Kingdom” in the United States of America, the “Bahá’í News” of India, the “Sun of the East” (Khurshid-i Khavar) in Turkestan, the “Star of the East” in Japan, the “Sun of Truth” in Germany.” 
(Shoghi Effendi, letter dated 12 March, 1923, to the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout America, Great Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Japan and Australasia; Baha’i Administration, p. 38)

September 8, 2010

Baha’u’llah rented a house in Baghdad

Baha'u'llah arrived in Baghdad on 8 April 1853. The journey from Tehran had been very difficult and had lasted three months. After a few days in Baghdad, Baha'u'llah moved to Kazimayn, a Shi'i shrine city which at that time was some five kilometers north-west of Baghdad (it has since become incorporated into the city). The Iranian consul suggested to him that since Kazimayn tended to be full of rather fanatical elements, it would be safer for Baha'u'llah if he lived in Baghdad itself in the mainly Persian-speaking quarters on the west bank of the Tigris river. Baha'u'llah consented to this and rented a house there. 
(Moojan Momen, 'Baha’u’llah A Short Biography')

August 28, 2010

Green Acre in Eliot, Main, USA becomes one of the first Baha’i summer schools in the Western Hemisphere

Sanctified by a native peace pipe ceremony in 1894, the Sarah Farmer Inn, near the banks of the Piscataqua river in Eliot, Maine, became a conference facility for a variety of courses, including transcendentalism, evolution and comparative religion. Its open-minded atmosphere attracted people of many religions, cultures, and races. It provided a peaceful setting for fostering fellowship, understanding and unity.

After her pilgrimage to ‘Akka in 1900, Sarah Farmer, made the facilities at the disposal of the followers of the Faith which she had herself recently embraced. The center attracted many Baha’i speakers including some very famous like, Mirza Abu’l-Fadl in 1902. In 1912 Green Acre became specially blessed by the footsteps of 'Abdu'l-Bahá Who spent a week there and gave a number of talks. In one of them on August 17 He indicated that “In the future, God willing, Green Acre shall become a great center, the cause of the unity of the world of humanity, the cause of uniting hearts and binding together the East and the West. This is my hope. (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 264). It is reported that ‘Abdu’l-Baha further indicated that one day Green Acre would become the site of the first Baha'i University and the second Baha'i Temple in the United States. The room in which ‘Abdu’l-Baha stayed is reserved nowadays for prayers and meditation.

Green Acre was the site of America’s earliest conferences on racial unity. It was also at Green Acre that the first election of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada took place. On 12 August 1929, the NSA of US and Canada obtained legal title to the property. Green became the site for the first office of the National Spiritual Assembly and the residence of its secretary, Horace Holley.

August 18, 2010

First Canadian Teaching Committee, December 1946

Standing, left to right: Siegfried Schopflocker, John A Robarts, Victor Davis, Rowland Estall, and Emeric Sala; Seating, left to right: Laura R Davis, and Doris Richardson (Baha'i News, no. 192, February, 1947)

August 9, 2010

Khadijih Bagum & Asiyih Khanum were born in the same year

The wife of the Bab, Khadijih Bagum and the wife of Baha’u’llah, Asiyih Khanum (Navvab), both were born in the same year – the year 1820. Baha’u’llah was 2 years older than the Bab. 
(A Basic Baha’i Chronology, by Glenn Cameron and Wendi Momen)

August 3, 2010

Ruhiyyih Khanum’s links with Africa

The first time she touched African soil was in July 1923, when she accompanied her mother, May Maxwell, on pilgrimage. During that summer, when she was just thirteen, they spent a few months in Egypt in the north of Africa. But the first time Amatu'l-Baha actually travelled in this continent was in 1940 with Shoghi Effendi himself and with her father. Mr. Maxwell had been invited by the beloved Guardian to live in Haifa after the passing of his wife, but soon after he joined them in Rome they were cut off from the Holy Land by the events of World War II. The Mediterranean Sea was closed to the Allies and Shoghi Effendi decided to sail to South Africa; from here he and Ruhiyyih Khanum drove overland most of the way from Cape Town to Cairo and so on to the Holy Land. It was this historic journey, in the company of the beloved Guardian himself, which was her first real introduction to Africa.

July 29, 2010

The Marriage of ‘Abdu’l-Baha

It was in the summer of 1873 that 'Abdu'l-Baha [then 29 years old] was married to Munirih Khanum, the niece of two brothers who were devoted followers of Baha'u'llah in Isfahan [six years later they became King and Beloved of the martyrs] She had been brought to 'Akka by Baha'u'llah in early 1873, at a time when the situation was very difficult due to the murder of the Azalis and all other Baha'i pilgrims had been told to stay away. 'Abdu'l-Baha himself had been reluctant to marry, although a number of spouses had been proposed to him over the years. He felt he could serve his father better if he remained single, as indeed did his sister Bahiyyih Khanum who never married. Although he had turned down the other spouses who had been proposed to him, he was attracted to Munirih Khanum and agreed to marry her. The marriage was put off for a few months however because the tight accommodation in their place of residence meant that the couple could not have a room to themselves. llyas 'Abbud, their neighbor who lived in the other half of the same building and who had been so fearful of the Baha’is earlier, had by this time been won over by 'Abdu'l-Baha. Bahiyyih Khanum [‘Abdu’l-Baha’s sister] went to the wife of Ilyas 'Abbud and told her of the problem. When he was informed, 'Abbud immediately opened up a doorway between his residence and Baha'u'llah's and gave ‘Abdu'l-Baha a room in his house for his use. Once this happened the marriage was able to proceed.

July 19, 2010

An example of God’s wrath when followers of a religion became totally attached to dogmas and blind imitations and gave up the essential foundation and reality of their religion

… when the Jews became fettered by empty forms and imitations, the wrath of God became manifest. When they forsook the foundations of the law of God, Nebuchadnezzar came and conquered the Holy Land. He killed and made captive the people of Israel, laid waste the country and populous cities and burned the villages. Seventy thousand Jews were carried away captive to Babylon. He destroyed Jerusalem, despoiled the great Temple, desecrated the Holy of Holies and burned the Torah, the heavenly book of Scriptures. Therefore, we learn that allegiance to the essential foundation of the divine religions is ever the cause of development and progress, whereas the abandonment and beclouding of that essential reality through blind imitations and adherence to dogmatic beliefs are the causes of a nation's debasement and degradation. After their conquest by the Babylonians the Jews were successively subjugated by the Greeks and Romans. Under the Roman general Titus in A.D. 70 the Holy Land was stripped and pillaged, Jerusalem razed to its foundations and the Israelites scattered broadcast throughout the world. So complete was their dispersion that they have continued without a country and government of their own to the present day [1912].

From this review of the history of the Jewish people we learn that the foundation of the religion of God laid by Moses was the cause of their eternal honor and national prestige, the animating impulse of their advancement and racial supremacy and the source of that excellence which will always command the respect and reverence of those who understand their peculiar destiny and outcome. The dogmas and blind imitations which gradually obscured the reality of the religion of God proved to be Israel's destructive influences, causing the expulsion of these chosen people from the Holy Land of their Covenant and promise. 
(Abdu'l-Baha, from a talk, 'The Promulgation of Universal Peace')

July 14, 2010

“Bahá'u'lláh upraised the standard of His Cause in prison ... -- a prisoner and an exile advancing His Cause and spreading His teachings broadcast so that eventually He became powerful enough to conquer the very king who banished Him.”

Inside prison walls He wrote Epistles to all the kings and rulers of nations, summoning them to arbitration and universal peace. Some of the kings received His words with disdain and contempt. One of these was the Sultan of the Ottoman kingdom. Napoleon III of France did not reply. A second Epistle was addressed to him. It stated, "I have written you an Epistle before this, summoning you to the Cause of God, but you are of the heedless. You have proclaimed that you were the defender of the oppressed; now it hath become evident that you are not. Nor are you kind to your own suffering and oppressed people. Your actions are contrary to your own interests, and your kingly pride must fall. Because of your arrogance God shortly will destroy your sovereignty. France will flee away from you, and you will be overwhelmed by a great conquest. There will be lamentation and mourning, women bemoaning the loss of their sons." This arraignment of Napoleon III was published and spread.

Read it and consider: one prisoner, single and solitary, without assistant or defender, a foreigner and stranger imprisoned in the fortress of 'Akká, writing such letters to the Emperor of France and Sultan of Turkey. Reflect upon this: how Bahá'u'lláh upraised the standard of His Cause in prison. Refer to history. It is without parallel. No such thing has happened before that time nor since -- a prisoner and an exile advancing His Cause and spreading His teachings broadcast so that eventually He became powerful enough to conquer the very king who banished Him. 
(‘Abdu’l-Baha, from a talk, 'The Promulgation of Universal Peace')

July 13, 2010

Dr. Ugo Giachery is appointed by the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, as his personal representative for all the work in Italy associated with the erection of the superstructure of the Shrine of the Bab on Mr. Carmel

Ugo Giachery, born and educated in Palermo, Sicily, pursued a widely varied course of studies, receiving from the Royal University of Palermo a doctorate in chemistry, in which subject he engaged in teaching and research and published a number of papers. He served with distinction in the First World War. After living in the United States for some years, he and & wife returned to Italy in 1947 as pioneer teachers of the Baha'i Faith. From then on his career was one of continuing distinguished services.

In 1948 Dr. Ugo Giachery was appointed by Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, as his personal representative for all the work in Italy associated with the erection of the superstructure of the Shrine of the Bab on Mr. Carmel. It was this service which brought him the immortal honour of having the south-western door of the original Shrine named after him as 'Bab-i-Giachery'. In 1951 Shoghi Effendi appointed Dr. Giachery Hand of the Cause of God, and in 1952 'Member at Large' of the international Baha'i Council, the forerunner of the Universal House of Justice. In 1953 he became chairman of the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Italy and Switzerland.

Dr. Giachery was the Guardian's 'special representative' at the Intercontinental Conferences in Stockholm in 1953 and Chicago in 1958, and for a number of years was Baha'i Observer to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in Geneva. He also translated Baha'i literature into Italian and is the author of several articles on the Baha'i Faith. In 1954, work began on the Baha'i International Archives building on Mt. Carmel, and once again Dr. Giachery became the Guardian's personal representative in Italy. The completion of the building in I957 brought much satisfaction to Shoghi Effendi in the last months of his life. 
(Back cover of the book ‘Shoghi Effendi, Recollections by Ugo Giachery’)

July 7, 2010

Exceptionally cold weather during which Baha’u’llah and His Family were exiled to Adrianople

Pursuant to the peremptory orders issued for the immediate departure of the already twice banished exiles, Bahá'u'lláh, His family, and His companions, some riding in wagons, others mounted on pack animals, with their belongings piled in carts drawn by oxen, set out, accompanied by Turkish officers, on a cold December morning, amidst the weeping of the friends they were leaving behind, on their twelve-day journey, across a bleak and windswept country, to a city characterized by Bahá'u'lláh as "the place which none entereth except such as have rebelled against the authority of the sovereign." "They expelled Us," is His own testimony in the Suriy-i-Mulúk, "from thy city (Constantinople) with an abasement with which no abasement on earth can compare." "Neither My family, nor those who accompanied Me," He further states, "had the necessary raiment to protect them from the cold in that freezing weather." And again: "The eyes of Our enemies wept over Us, and beyond them those of every discerning person." "A banishment," laments Nabil, "endured with such meekness that the pen sheddeth tears when recounting it, and the page is ashamed to bear its description." "A cold of such intensity," that same chronicler records, "prevailed that year, that nonagenarians could not recall its like. In some regions, in both Turkey and Persia, animals succumbed to its severity and perished in the snows. The upper reaches of the Euphrates, in Ma'dan-Nuqrih, were covered with ice for several days -- an unprecedented phenomenon -- while in Diyar-Bakr the river froze over for no less than forty days." "To obtain water from the springs," one of the exiles of Adrianople recounts, "a great fire had to be lighted in their immediate neighborhood, and kept burning for a couple of hours before they thawed out."

Traveling through rain and storm, at times even making night marches, the weary travelers, after brief halts at Kuchik-Chakmachih, Buyuk-Chakmachih, Salvari, Birkas, and Baba-Iski, arrived at their destination, on the first of Rajab 1280 A.H. (December 12, 1863) 
(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 161)

July 6, 2010

Baha’u’llah Reveals the Station of ‘Abdu’l-Baha – the Suriy-i-Ghusn (Surih of the Branch)

It was in Adrianople that Bahá'u'lláh revealed a Tablet the significance of which cannot be over-estimated. That Tablet was the Suriy-i-Ghusn (Surih of the Branch) addressed to Mirza 'Ali-Riday-i-Mustawfi, a Bahá'í of Khurasan --that province in eastern Persia famed in the Bábí Dispensation and to which some momentous prophecies of Bahá'u'lláh specifically apply. Mirza 'Ali-Rida was a high-ranking official in the service of the government, and his brother, Mirza Muhammad-Rida …also a follower of Bahá'u'lláh, was the Vizier of Khurasan. In the Suriy-i-Ghusn, Bahá'u'lláh thus extols His eldest Son:

June 23, 2010

1927 -- First time delegates from nine leading provinces of Persia convened a conference

With their traditional fidelity and characteristic vigor, notwithstanding the unimaginable hindrances they have to face, they have convened their first historic representative conference of various delegates from the nine leading provinces of Persia, have evolved plans for holding every year as fully representative a convention of Bahá'í delegates in Persia as circumstances permit, and modelled after the method pursued by their brethren in the United States and Canada. 
(Letter written by Shoghi Effendi, dated October 18, 1927; printed in 'Baha'i Administration')

June 22, 2010

Nov. 27, 1924 -- The Guardian approved suggestion by Horace Holley to create Baha’i Year Books

The suggestion made by my dear and able friend, Mr. Horace Holley, as to the compilation of an annual " Bahá'í Year Book" is extremely valuable and timely. I am much impressed by it, and feel that an immediate start should be made. I believe it can best be now undertaken under the direction and supervision of your Assembly until the time should come for the friends in the East and particularly Persia to participate effectually in its development. I trust you will send me a copy of the skeleton of the material you propose to include, and I shall here attempt to fill up any gap and render any assistance I can to make it as comprehensive, as attractive, and as authoritative as possible. (Shoghi Effendi, 'Baha'i Administration')

June 21, 2010

Circa May 1922 – Shoghi Effendi left for a time the affairs of the Cause both at home and abroad in the hands of Bahiyyih Khanum

In the Name of God

This servant, after that grievous event and great calamity, the ascension of His Holiness 'Abdu'l-Bahá to the Abha Kingdom, has been so stricken with grief and pain and so entangled in the troubles (created) by the enemies of the Cause of God, that I consider that my presence here, at such a time and in such an atmosphere, is not in accordance with the fulfilment of my important and sacred duties.

For this reason, unable to do otherwise, I have left for a time the affairs of the Cause both at home and abroad, under the supervision of the Holy Family and the headship of the Greatest Holy Leaf [Bahiyyih Khanum, sister of 'Abdu'l-Bahá] until, by the Grace of God, having gained health, strength, self-confidence and spiritual energy, and having taken into my hands, in accordance with my aim and desire, entirely and regularly the work of service I shall attain to my utmost spiritual hope and aspiration.

The servant of His Threshold,

Shoghi

Haifa, Palestine.
Circa May, 1922 (undated).

(Shoghi Effendi, 'Baha'i Administration')

June 15, 2010

September 1867-August 1868: the most momentous Tablet of Baha’u’llah, The Suriy-i-Mulúk (the Surih of the Kings) was revealed in Adrianople

The first full translation of this Tablet is included in the Summons of the Lord of Hosts. In the Introduction section of that book the Universal House of Justice explains that:

Included in this collection, as well, is the first full translation of the Súriy-i-Mulúk or Súrih of the Kings, which Shoghi Effendi described as “the most momentous Tablet revealed by Bahá’u’lláh in which He, for the first time, directs His words collectively to the entire company of the monarchs of East and West”. It sets forth both the character of His mission and the standard of justice that must govern the exercise of their rule in this Day of God:

“Lay not aside the fear of God, O kings of the earth, and beware that ye transgress not the bounds which the Almighty hath fixed. Observe the injunctions laid upon you in His Book, and take good heed not to overstep their limits. Be vigilant, that ye may not do injustice to anyone, be it to the iii extent of a grain of mustard seed. Tread ye the path of justice, for this, verily, is the straight path.” (Baha’u’llah)

The Tablet introduces some of the great themes that were to figure prominently in the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh over the next two and a half decades: the obligation of those into whose hands God has entrusted civil authority to institute the reign of justice, the necessity for the reduction of armaments and the resolution of conflicts among nations, and an end to the excessive expenditures that were impoverishing these rulers’ subjects.

June 8, 2010

Baha’i Summer Schools Originated in America

The Bahá'í summer schools were originated in America to meet the requirements of the friends. They have been adopted by other Bahá'í Communities the world over, but there is no reason why they should be called "summer schools". There is nothing rigid about the term, it is purely descriptive. 
(From a letter dated 26 December 1941 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New Zealand; The Compilation of Compilations vol. 1)

June 1, 2010

Amazing growth with respect to the administrative order of the Faith

In 1953 there were only 12 National Spiritual Assemblies.

In Ridvan 1964, there were 69 National Spiritual Assemblies!!

In 1953 there were “slightly more than six hundred Local Spiritual Assemblies, the greater part of which were situated in Persia, North America and Europe ..”

In Ridvan 1964, there were “nearly four thousand six hundred Local Spiritual Assemblies scattered throughout the continents and islands of the world.”!! (Adapted from the 1964 Ridvan message of the Universal House of Justice)

May 28, 2010

July 1915 -- First Photo of Baha'is in Japan

July 1915 - The first photograph of Baha'is of Japan with Martha Root and Agnes Alexander. Mr Fukuta, the first Japanese to accept the Faith in Japan, is seated front row, far left, next to Martha Root. Agnes Alexander is second from left in the back row

May 18, 2010

The Guardian’s first letter inserted in the first issue of the Baha’i News, December 1924 (then called Baha’i News Letter)

To my dearly-beloved brothers and sisters in ‘Abdu'l-Baha: care of the American National Spiritual Assembly.

Dearest Friends:

The day is drawing near when, for the third time, we shall commemorate the world over the passing of our well-beloved ‘Abdu’l-Baha. May we not pause for a moment, and gather our thoughts? How has it fared with His little band of followers, since that day? Whither are we marching? What has been our achievement?

We have but to turn our eyes to the world without to realize the fierceness and the magnitude of the forces of darkness that are struggling with the dawning light of the Abha Revelation. Nations, though exhausted and disillusioned, have seemingly begun to cherish anew the spirit of revenge, of domination, and strife. Peoples, convulsed by economic upheavals, are slowly drifting into two great opposite camps with all their menace of social chaos, class hatreds, and world- wide ruin. Races, alienated more than ever before, are filled with mistrust, humiliation and fear, and seem to prepare themselves for a fresh and fateful encounter. Creeds and religions, caught in this whirlpool of conflict and passion, appear to gaze with impotence and despair at this spectacle of unceasing turmoil.

Such is the plight of mankind three years after the passing of Him from whose lips fell unceasingly the sure message of a fast-approaching Divine salvation. Are we by our, thoughts, our words, our deeds, whether individually or collectively, preparing the way? Are we hastening the advent the Day He so often foretold?

May 6, 2010

First NSA of Iran was elected in 1934

The First National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Iran, 1934-1935

May 1, 2010

May 1st, 1912 -- ‘Abdu’l-Baha lays the cornerstone of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar in Wilmette

May 1st was a remarkable day, a day of very high distinction: 'Abdu'l-Baha laid the foundation-stone of the Mother Temple of the West. At Wilmette on the shores of Lake Michigan ample land had been purchased. On the site chosen for the construction of the Temple, a large tent had been raised and here, after inspecting the grounds, 'Abdu'l-Baha took His place to speak. He said:

“The power which has gathered you here today notwithstanding the cold and windy weather is indeed mighty and wonderful. It is the power of God, the divine favour of Baha'u'llah which has drawn you together. We praise God that through His constraining love human souls are assembled and associated in this way.

Thousands of Mashriqu’l-Aadhkars, dawning-points of praise and mentionings of God for all religionists will be built in the Orient and Occident, but this being the first one erected in the Occident has great importance. In the future there will be many here and elsewhere; in Asia, Europe, even in Africa, New Zealand and Australia;* but this edifice in Chicago is of especial significance ..." (you can see the entire talk at : http://centerofcovenanttalks.blogspot.com/2010/05/holiest-mashriqul-adhkar-of-bahai-world.html )

Next, Irene Holmes handed 'Abdu'l-Baha a small, gold trowel which she had ordered for this very purpose, and He dug the earth to lay the corner-stone, having chosen for this a fragment of rock brought by Mrs Nettie Tobin as her offering. Having done so, He invited the delegates of various American communities to do likewise. Following them, 'Abdu'l-Baha asked a number of oriental Baha'is present to step forth and take part: Mihtar Ardishir Bahrarn Surush represented Baha'is of Zoroastrian background, Siyyid Asadu’llah stood in for Baha’is of Muslim origin, Dr. Zia Baghdadi represented Arab Baha’is, and Ghodsieh Khanum-i-Ashraf the Baha’I women of the orient. Then the corner-stone was laid in place. (Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, pp. 186-87) (Some pictures are shown at: http://abdulbahawest.blogspot.com/2010/04/abdul-baha-speaking-at-plymouth.html )

April 25, 2010

Baha'i Faith on Signapore's stamps

In commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of Singapore's Inter-Religious Organization, a body formed to promote peace, understanding and good will among people of different faiths, three specially-designed stamps were issued in January 1999, depicting nine of the major religions in Singapore. The Baha'i Faith was honored through its inclusion. 
(The Baha'i World, 1998-99)

April 24, 2010

The First Baha’i Center in Europe Was Formed in 1898

     
The first Baha'i center in Europe was established by May Maxwell (nee Bolles). Born in 1870 in the United States, Mrs. Maxwell spent many years resident in Paris with her mother and brother. In February 1899, she was among the first group of western pilgrims to go to Acre (in what was then Palestine) to visit 'Abdu'l-Baha, the son of Baha'u'llah and leader of the Baha’i Faith, who was still being held as a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire On her return to the French capital, she began to tell others of the new religious movement she had discovered. A significant group of Baha'is emerged around her, among them a number of artists and artisans, and believers of various nationalities, including the early English Baha'i Thomas Breakwell. To mark the centenary of these momentous events, the Baha'i community of France held an ambitious conference in Paris from 27 to 29 November 1998. The celebrations began when more than one thousand Baha'is gathered beneath the Eiffel Tower for a photograph, on the same spot where 'Abdu'l-Baha had been photographed during His historic visit to Paris in 1913. Later, the conference opened with the participation of two thousand people, including more than two hundred guests of the Baha'is and six hundred Baha'is from outside France. The structure of the program, which was modeled on the Second Baha'i World Congress held in New York in 1992, included talks, film and video presentations and theatrical and musical segments. A high point of the conference was the colorful public concert "La Nuit de l'espoir" ("The Night of Hope"), held at the Salle de la MutualitC, one of the largest halls in Paris. Before the event, more than two hundred and fifty special guests, including ambassadors, politicians, religious and civil dignitaries, journalists, and representatives of major non-governmental organizations attended a reception and expressed great interest in and admiration for the work of the Baha’i community. Another highlight of the event was a dedication and reception held immediately after the conference at the Paris apartment where ‘Abdu’l-Baha had stayed.
(The Baha’i World, 1998-99, pp. 122-124)

April 18, 2010

Some prominent western non-Baha’is who hosted receptions for ‘Abdu’l-Baha

From 1911 to 1913 'Abdu'l-Baha journeyed through Europe and North America, visiting the local Baha'i communities, addressing public audiences in peace societies, universities, churches, Negro conferences and synagogues, meeting distinguished personages in government, clerical and educational life and promulgating by example and eloquent speech the principles of universal peace. The roster of these distinguished persons is too extensive to include here, but the character of 'Abdu'l-Baha's reception in the West may be indicated by naming, among many others, Archdeacon Wilberforce, Reverend R. J. Campbell, Lord Lamington, Sir Michael Sadler, the Maharajahs of Jalawar and Rajputana, Professor E. G. Browne, and Professor Patrick Geddes, in London; the Persian Minister, the Turkish Ambassador, "Church dignitaries of various branches of the Christian Tree," in Paris; Professor Arminius Vambery, several members of Parliament, Count Albert Apponyi, Prelate Alexander Giesswein and Professor Ignatius Goldziher, in Vienna; and in America, Dr. David Starr Jordan, Rabbi Stephen Wise, Alexander Graham Bell, Hon. Franklin K. Lane, Mrs. William Jennings Bryan, Andrew Carnegie, Hon. Franklin MacVeagh, Admiral Peary, Rabindranath Tagore.
(Horace Holley, Introduction to The Secret of Divine Civilization)
To see some pictures of this historic visit please go to http://abdulbahawest.blogspot.com/

April 8, 2010

Women in Nineteenth-Century Iran

Women in nineteenth-century Iran were regarded as being much inferior to men, both in regard to their intellectual capacity and their spiritual worth. The religiously devout men looked on them with suspicion and disdain as a potential cause of the loss of their religious purity; women were regarded as having been placed on earth to lead men astray. The less religious would merely think of women as a source of sexual pleasure and domestic management. They were not much above chattels and slaves, certainly not worthy of being consulted about family affairs or entrusted with making any decisions for themselves. Indeed, a woman's temperament was felt to be totally unsuitable for any serious deliberation or rational thought.

March 31, 2010

Symbolic representation of the stages in the Administrative Order by means of a monument designed by Shoghi Effendi

               
This love the Guardian had for the Greatest Holy Leaf, who had watched over him for thirty-five years as far more than a mother, continued to be demonstrated for the remainder of his life. When the news of her death [15 July 1932 at the age of 86] reached him in Switzerland his first act was to plan for her grave a suitable memorial which he hastened to Italy to order. No one could possibly call this exquisitely proportioned monument, built of shining white Carrara marble, anything but what it appears - a love temple, the embodiment of Shoghi Effendi's love, he had undoubtedly conceived its design from buildings of a similar style and, under his supervision, an artist now incorporated his concept in the monument he planned to erect on her resting-place. Shoghi Effendi used to compare the stages in the Administrative Order of the Faith to this monument, saying the platform of three steps was like the local Assemblies, the pillars like the National Assemblies, and the dome that crowned them and held them together like the Universal House of Justice, which could not be placed in position until the foundations and pillars were first firmly erected. After the Greatest Holy Leaf's monument had been completed in all its beauty he had a photograph of it sent to many different Assemblies, as well as to a special list of individuals to whom he wished to present so tender a memento. 
(Ruhiyyih Khanum, 'The Priceless Pearl')

March 24, 2010

The Doors to the Shrine of the Bab – Named after Eminent Believers

        
The main floor of the Shrine of the Bab is made of nine rooms, six of which were created at the time of ‘Abdu’l-Baha and three during the early years of the Guardian’s ministry between 1928 and 1930. Beneath the central room of these nine rooms are precious remains of the Bab and in an adjacent room those of ‘Abdu’l-Baha.

The exterior doors to the eight rooms surrounding the central room were named by both ‘Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi after certain eminent believers:

March 20, 2010

The National Spiritual Assembly of the United States 1939

Seven future Hands of the Cause served on this Assembly!
From left: Louis Gregory, Harlan Obar, Dorothy Baker, Leroy Ioas, Fred Schopflocker, Horace Holley, Amelia Collins, Roy Wilhelm, Allen McDaniel

March 17, 2010

Possibly the first fruit of Baha’u’llah’s Divine Pen and the only preserved Tablet revealed in Iran: -- The Poem of Rashh-i-'Ama [The Mist of Unknown]

To our knowledge Bahá'u'lláh's first Tablet was a poem in Persian, Rashh-i-'Ama [The Mist of Unknown] revealed in the Siyah-Chal of Tihran soon after the descent of the Most Great Spirit upon His radiant soul. It is a song of victory and joy. Although its language is allusive, His divine experience is clearly proclaimed. In every line He extols the glory of God of which He had become the embodiment, and in every phrase He unveils the spiritual worlds which were then manifested within His soul.

Although consisting of only twenty lines, this poem in itself constitutes a mighty book. Within it are contained the potentialities, the character, the power and the glory of forty years of Divine Revelation to come. It announces the glad-tidings of the release of spiritual energies which are described by Bahá'u'lláh in such terms as the wafting of the divine musk-laden Breeze, the appearance of the Ocean of the Cause of God, the sounding of the Trumpet Blast, the flow of the Living Waters, the warbling of the Nightingale of Paradise and the appearance of the Maid of Heaven. In language supremely beautiful and soul-stirring, He attributes these energies to Himself. His choice of words, and the beauty, power, depth and mystery of this poem and, indeed, of others which were revealed later, are such that they may well prove impossible to translate.

March 11, 2010

‘Abdu’l-Baha Hosted a Unity Feast in West Englewood, New Jersey, USA

‘Abdu’l-Baha gave a Unity Feast in West Englewood, N. J., on Saturday, June 29, 1912, to the Baha’is of New York and vicinity. About three hundred were present. In addition to the seven Persians in his party there were guests from Philadelphia, Buffalo, Green Acre, Me., Washington, D. C., Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Portland, Ore.

There in the fragrant pine grove, on a bright June day, ‘Abdu’l-Baha himself the host, smiling joyously and radiating the spirit of good will, welcomed the happy friends. It was indeed a picture, and one of the utmost spiritual significance. Christians, Jews: Mohammedans and the white and black races were represented. ‘Abdu’l-Baha's very presence seemed to fill every soul with love. The bountiful meal was a Persian Feast, the delicious dishes being prepared by members of his Oriental party. He talked to them from the center of the large circle around which the tables were arranged. …After the dinner, Abdu’l-Baha passed around the great circular table and himself blessed each guest, placing rose perfume upon their foreheads.

In the evening a meeting was held on the lawn of the Wilhelm home, ‘Abdu’l-Baha speaking from; the veranda to some one hundred and fifty Englewood guests, who were seated in camp chairs. After this meeting questions were answered while he walked up and down the country road in front of the house. He remained with the Wilhelm family until Sunday morning, when he left to fill an engagement in another part of New Jersey. (Star of the West, vol. III, no. 8)

Please visit http://abdulbahawest.blogspot.com/ to see some pictures of this historic event. To read a transcript of the talk that the Master gave, please visit: Talks of 'Abdu'l-Baha

February 25, 2010

Successive Stages in the Transfer of the Remains of the Bab from Persia to the Holy Land and the Erection of His Mausoleum on Mount Carmel

        
Execution of the Bab in Tabriz and the exposure of His mangled body on the edge of the moat outside the city, July 9, 1850.

• Wrapping of His remains in a cloak, their secret removal to the silk factory owned by one of the believers of Milan and their deposition in a small wooden casket, July 11, 1850.

• Transportation, in accordance with Baha'u’llah's instructions, of the casket to Tihran and its concealment in the shrine of Imam-Zadih Hasan.

• Removal of the remains to the home of Haji Sulayman Khan and their subsequent transfer to the shrine of Imam-Zadih Ma’sum.

• Instructions issued by Baha'u'llah, while in Adrianople, to Mulla-'Ali Akbari-Sahmirzadi and Jaml-i-Burujirdi, to transfer the casket to a safer hiding place, and its temporary concealment within a wall of the Masjid-i-Masha’u’llah outside the gates of the capital, 1867-1868.

• Detection of the hiding place of the casket and its smuggling into Tihran and its deposition in the house of Mirza Hasan-i-Vazir, a believer and- son-in-law of Haji Mirza Siyyid 'Aliy-i-Tafrishi, the Majdu'l-Ashraf.

February 24, 2010

Years 1843-1844 were a Time of Great Expectation Worldwide

Around the world, believers of different faiths -- Hindus, Buddhists, Zoroasrrians, Jews, Christians, Muslims, American Indians – all, expected the coming of a Great World Teacher. Many Christians expected the return of Christ, and these very years --1843-1844-were a time of great expectation. Bible scholars studying independently in different parts of the world had arrived at the same exciting conclusion: This was the time promised for Christ’s return!
"Now is the hour!" was announced from pulpits in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Australia. "Christ may come at any moment," was the message. "Watch, therefore, and pray." The message of Christ's return and the coming of the judgment hour was written in pamphlets and reported in the press. More than a thousand ministers in Great Britain and America alone preached the news. One of these was the eloquent evangelist Harriet Livermore [1], who not only preached throughout the United States, but also at the seat of power -- the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.

February 23, 2010

Fate of Those Who Persecuted the Bab, Who Opposed the Construction of His Shrine and Threatened Its Destruction

Muhammad Shah, who disregarded the appeal of the Bab to meet Him in person and plead His Cause, sustained a sudden reverse of fortune, and succumbed, at the age of forty, to a complication of maladies.

Nasiri’d-Din Shah, during whose reign the Bab was executed, and under whose aegis the greatest massacre of the Babis took place, was, in the plenitude of his power, dramatically assassinated on the eve of his jubilee. The Qajar dynasty, to which he belonged, was subsequently brought to an ignominious end.

Haji Mirza Aqasi, the Grand Vazir of Muhammad Shah and chief instigator of the outrages perpetrated against the Bab, was disgraced by his sovereign, lost his fortune, was expelled to Karbila, and became a victim of disease and poverty.

Miza Taqi Khan, the Amir Nizam, the Grand Vazir of Nasiri'd-Din Shah, who was directly responsible for the execution of the Bab, was disgraced and put to death by royal order in the bath of the Palace of Fin, near Kashan.

February 17, 2010

Baha’u’llah Released from Siyah-Chal

It was during the month of December in 1852 that Baha’u’llah was released from the Siyah-Chal [1] (Black Pit) of Tehran. Here is how Baha’u’llah’s daughter, Bahiyyih Khanum, the Greatest Holy Leaf, recalled the circumstances involved many years later:

We listened eagerly to the accounts she [her mother, Asiyih Khanum] gave to my uncle [Baha’u’llah’s faithful brother, Mirza Musa]. This information came through the kindness of a sister of my grandfather, who was married to Mirza Yusif, a Russian subject, and a friend of the Russian Consul in Tihran. This gentleman, my great uncle by marriage, used to attend the courts to find out some particulars as to the victims chosen for execution day by day, and thus was able to relieve to some extent my mother's overwhelming anxiety as these appalling days passed over us.

It was Mirza Yusif, who was able to help my mother about getting food taken to my father, and who brought us to the two little rooms near the prison, where we stayed in close hiding. He had to be very careful in thus defying the authorities, although the danger in this case was mitigated by the fact of his being under the protection of the Russian Consulate, as a Russian subject.

February 14, 2010

First Canadian National Spiritual Assembly -- Elected in 1948

Front row, left to right: Rosemary Sala, Siegfried Schopflocher, Laura Davis, Ross Woodman, John Robarts. Back row, left to right: Emeric Sala, Rowland Estall, Doris Richardson, Lloyd Gardner

February 7, 2010

First Public Reference to the Faith in North America

It took place on September 23rd, 1893 in a paper entitled “The Religious Mission of the English Speaking Nations”, by Rev. Henry H. Jessup, a retired missionary from north Syria. It was read by Rev. George A. Ford at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. (A Basic Baha’i Dictionary Chronology, by Glenn Cameron with Wendi Momen)

Below is a portion of what was read on this occasion:

February 2, 2010

The First Disciple of the Bab Martyred at Fort Tabarsi on February 2nd, 1849

The one to whom the Bab declared His mission and the first to believe in the Him as the Promised One fell as a martyr at the Fort of Shaykh Tabarsi on 2 February 1849 at the age of thirty-five. He was the first of the Bab's eighteen disciples who were called the Letters of the Living, and was designated by the Bab as Babu'l-Bab which means the 'Gate of the Gate'.

He was born in the hamlet of Zirak near the small town of Bushruyih in the north-eastern Iranian province of Khurasan. His father appears to have been a wealthy cloth dyer who was also a local cleric. His mother was a respected poet. We know that he had at least one brother and sister. He furthered his own religious studies in Mashhad and Isfahan, and then at the age of eighteen went to Karbali as one of the students of the Shaykhi leader Siyyid Kazim Rashti. He became so highly respected that some thought that he might be his teacher’s successor. One of Mulla Husayn’s major assignments was to meet a preeminent Shi’ih cleric of his age and defend the Shaykhi views.

January 30, 2010

The Garden of Ridvan


Entrance to the Garden of Ridvan where Baha'u'llah declared His Mission in 1863 and after twelve days departed for Constantinople. ... The beauty of this garden is apparent through its service to humanity -- that is, it was a hospital then and two successive governments have used it similarly  ... [as] a center where bodily ailments are healed. (The Baha'i World 1926-1928)

January 25, 2010

Shoghi Effendi – ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Eldest Grandson & His Chief Secretary

Shoghi Effendi was the eldest son of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s daughter Diya’iyyih Khanum (d. 1951) and Mirza Hadi Shirazi Afnan (d. 1955). He was born in ‘Akka on 1 March 1897, the eldest of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s grandsons, named in the Master’s Will as His successor when he was still a child. Educated at first at home with other children of the household, he was later sent to Catholic school in Haifa and Beirut and then to the Syrian Protestant College (the predecessor of the American University) in Beirut, spending his summer holidays as one of his grandfather’s assistants. He gained an arts degree from the college in 1918, and became ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s chief secretary. Then in 1920, he went to Oxford University (Balliol College), where he studied political science and economics, and also sought tp perfect his English so as to be better able to translate Baha’i literature into that language. He was still in the midst of his studies when summoned to return to Haifa at the news of his grandfather’s death.
(Peter Smith, A Concise Encyclopedia of the Baha’i Faith)

January 19, 2010

Mirza Husayn-Ali Nuri Became Known as Baha

In the early summer of 1848, Baha’u’llah hosted a gathering at a village of Badasht in northern Perisa. He “rented, amidst pleasant surroundings, three gardens, one of which He assigned to Quddus, another to Tahirih, whilst the third He reserved for Himself." (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 31) This gathering was called for by the Bab for His most eminent followers, known as Babis, to attend. “The primary purpose of that gathering was to implement the revelation of the Bayan by a sudden, a complete and dramatic break with the past -- with its order, its ecclesiasticism, its traditions, and ceremonials. The subsidiary purpose of the conference was to consider the means of emancipating the Báb from His cruel confinement in Chihriq. The first was eminently successful; the second was destined from the outset to fail.” (ibid, p. 31) It became known as the Badasht Conference. It is estimated that there were 81 Babis in attendance. They were all guests of Baha’u’llah for the entire duration of the conference which lasted about twenty-two days.

“On each of the twenty-two days of His sojourn in that hamlet He [Baha’u’llah] revealed a Tablet, which was chanted in the presence of the assembled believers. On every believer He conferred a new name, without, however, disclosing the identity of the one who had bestowed it. He Himself was henceforth designated by the name Baha. Upon the Last Letter of the Living was conferred the appellation of Quddus, while Qurratu'l-'Ayn was given the title of Tahirih. By these names they were all subsequently addressed by the Báb in the Tablets He revealed for each one of them.” (ibid, p. 31)

January 11, 2010

The Bab’s Imprisonment in the Fortress of Chihriq

The fortress of Chihriq where the Bab 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. This was the second fortress in which the Bab was imprisoned. The first one was called Maku. The Bab called Chihriq the ‘Grievous Mountain’ .. to differentiate it from Maku which He had called the ‘Open Mountain’ -- although the pattern of imprisonment was similar, with initial strictness eventually giving way to comparative freedom, as the warden, Yahya Khan, became devoted to his prisoner. The Bab received large numbers of visitors at Chiriq, more than He had received at Maku. He revealed many of His Writings in Chihriq, including the Arabic Bayan and His powerful Tablet of ‘Sermon of Wrath’ to the then Persian Prime Minister, Haji Mirza Aqas. It was during this period that a very knowledgeable Persian, whom the Bab later gave the title of Dayyan (Judge), became a believer. He is reported to have been unusual for his range of knowledge and learning which included Syriac and Hebrew and was the recipient of the Bab’s ‘Tablet of Letters’ (Lawh-i-Hurufat). It was also during this period that people in the town of Urumiyyih greeted the Bab very enthusiastically when He went to the public bath and vied with each other in taking the water after He had used it because the water was thus assumed to have acquired holiness. 
(Adapted from A Basic Baha’i Dictionary, by Wendi Momen; and A Concise Encyclopedia of the Baha’i Faith, by Peter Smith)