December 31, 2016

1925: Baha'i books in libraries throughout USA

1925: Between 800 and 900 libraries in many parts of the United States were supplied with Baha’i books. 
(Baha’i News, no. 6, July-August 1925)

December 28, 2016

1925: First Annual Report of the NSA of the United States and Canada

The report of the National Spiritual Assembly for the year 1924-5 was read by the secretary, Horace Holley. It was the first of such reports ever rendered in such form and made a profound impression. It was a condensation of the minutes of this great body for eleven meetings covering a period of fourteen months, showing in succinct, graphic and beautiful phrases the strides made by the Cause, the activities of its committees or arms of service, the fields covered by the national teachers, the relief extended Persia, the convention for amity between the races held in Philadelphia, the connection with the various assemblies of the Cause, its reliance upon the Guardian and the spirit of harmony which characterized its deliberations. The convention showed its approval by a vote of thanks. 
(Baha’i News, no. 6, July-August 1925)

December 23, 2016

1925: There were 9 National Spiritual Assemblies in the World

  • The United States and Canada
  • Persia
  • Germany
  • Great Britain
  • India and Burma
  • Egypt,
  • Caucassus
  • Turkestan
  •  Iraq
(Baha’i News, no. 6, July-August 1925) 

December 17, 2016

Naw-Ruz 1980: The number of languages in which Baha’i literature is available - 660

In 88 languages of the world the supply of Bahá'í literature has been enriched, while three new languages have been added to bring to 660 the number of those in which Bahá'í material is available. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From Naw-Ruz 1980 message; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

December 12, 2016

Naw-Ruz 1980: Spread of the Baha’i Faith worldwide – 106,000 localities

“…the establishment of the world-wide community of the Most Great Name in over 106,000 localities…” 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From Naw-Ruz 1980 message; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

December 8, 2016

Public bath of Urumiyyih, Persia

The bath of Urumiyyih where the Bab bathed during His visit to that town. 
(The Baha'i World 1938-1940)

December 2, 2016

1945: First Baha'i Boarding School in India

The New Baha'i Children's Hostel at Panchgani 
(The Baha'i World 1944-1946)

November 25, 2016

1946: National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada

National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada at the 1946 Annual Baha'i Convention, Wilmette, Illinois, USA. (The Baha'i World 1946-1950)

November 13, 2016

September 2007: Passing of Last Hand of the Cause - Dr. Varqa

video
23 September 2007

To the Bahá’ís of the World

In the early hours of last night, revered, greatly admired, well-loved Hand of the Cause of God Dr. ‘Alí-Muhammad Varqá departed this earthly plane after a period of outstanding, consecrated service to the Blessed Beauty that spanned many decades. With grieving hearts we bid farewell to the last of that noble company, the Chief Stewards of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Commonwealth, into which he is now gathered in realms of deathless delight and joy. The fervor of his love for the teaching work inspired countless believers across the globe, whether at the events he attended as the representative of the Guardian or of the Universal House of Justice, or in his extensive travels to promote the goals of the Master’s Divine Plan. In such activities he contributed mightily to the progress of the Ten Year Crusade and subsequent global teaching plans. Until his final days, he was leonine in his determination to protect the Faith. He wore with marked distinction the mantle of Trustee of Huqúqu’lláh that fell to him from the shoulders of his illustrious father, impressing a record of imperishable achievement on the annals of the Formative Age—achievement which has set a pattern that secures important features for the operation into the future of that divinely ordained institution. Throughout the many years of his valiant endeavor to maintain the integrity of the two offices of so high a rank to which he was simultaneously elevated, his manner was imbued with a luminous gentleness, a genuine kindliness and a natural dignity which combined to reflect the character of a saintly personality. For these exemplary traits he will ever be remembered. Our heartfelt sympathy reaches out to the members of his dear family in their sad loss, which is shared by the entire Bahá’í community. With deeply held trust in the bounties of the Gracious Lord, we pray at the Sacred Threshold for the progress of his resplendent soul throughout the divine worlds.

We advise the friends in all lands to commemorate his passing and request befitting memorial services in his honor at all Houses of Worship.

The Universal House of Justice

October 31, 2016

June 1968: The Universal House of Justice establishes the Continental Boards of Counsellors

Initially eleven Boards of Counsellors have been appointed, one for each of the following areas: North-western Africa, Central and East Africa, Southern Africa, North America, Central America, South America, Western Asia, South-eastern Asia, North- eastern Asia, Australasia and Europe. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated June 24, 1968; ‘Messages from the House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 29, 2016

circa 1900: Shiraz, Persia

Approaching the city of Shiraz from the north through the Gate of Allah'u'Akbar (God is Great)

October 27, 2016

October 1967, Panama: Laying the Foundation Stone of the Mother Temple of Latin America

Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum laid the Foundation Stone of the Mother Temple of Latin America on behalf of the Universal House of Justice. 
(Adapted from a message from the Universal House of Justice dated 23 October 1976 to all National Spiritual Assemblies; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 25, 2016

November 1921: Mourners attending the funeral of ‘Abdu’l-Baha

A view of the long train of mourners attending the funeral of ‘Abdu’l-Baha. (The Baha’i World 1968-1973). To see additional pictures please visit ‘Abdu’l-Baha in the Holy Land.

October 20, 2016

April 1983: The House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha is opened to pilgrims

The House in 'Akká that served as the residence of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and His family from 1896 until their move to Haifa between 1907 and 1910. The House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha was restored under the direction of Hand of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum and was opened to pilgrims in April 1983. 
(Footnote to the message from the Universal House of justice dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 17, 2016

1979-1986 – Compilations from the Writings prepared by the Baha’i World Centre

During the Seven Year Plan [1979-1986] the Universal House of Justice sent to the Bahá'í world compilations on the following subjects:
  • Inspiring the Heart (24 October 1979)
  • Divorce (18 January 1980)
  • The Importance of Prayer, Meditation, and the Devotional Attitude (31 March 1980)
  • Attendance at National Spiritual Assembly Meetings (26 October 1980);
  • The Assistance of God (24 August 1981)
  • Prayers and Passages from the Holy Writings (16 September 1991)
  • Excellence in All Things (23 November 1981)
  • Family Life (18 February 1982)
  • The Importance of Deepening Our Knowledge and Understanding of the Faith (13 January 1983)
  • The Law of Huququ'lláh (4 July 1985)
  •  Peace (9 August 1985)
  • Women (1 January 1986)
  • The Epochs of the Formative Age (5 February 1986)
  • Translations: The Long Healing Prayer and the Fire Tablet (13 August 1980)
  • Translations: A prayer of 'Abdu'l-Bahá for martyred Bahá'ís and their relatives (11 January 1983).
All of the compilations except those on Inspiring the Heart, Attendance at National Spiritual Assembly Meetings, and Prayers and Passages from the Holy Writings, can be found in The Compilation of Compilations. 
(Footnote to the message from the Universal House of justice dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 15, 2016

1878 & 1882: Bahá’u’lláh responds to questions raised by Mánikchí Sáhib, a prominent Indian Zoroastrian

An able diplomat and devoted adherent of his ancestral religion, Mánikchí Sáhib was appointed, in 1854, as an emissary on behalf of the Parsees of India to assist their coreligionists in Iran, who were suffering under the repressive policies of the Qájár monarchs. Sometime after this he attained the presence of Bahá’u’lláh in Baghdad. Although maintaining to the end of his life allegiance to his Zoroastrian faith, he was attracted to the teachings of the new religion and, moved by the sacrifice of its early martyrs, became a lifelong admirer. Years after their meeting he posed a series of questions to Bahá’u’lláh’s which led to the revelation of two Tablets of far-reaching significance, the first of which was sent to him in 1878.

The first Tablet, known as the Lawh-i-Mánikchí Sáhib, is celebrated for its striking and well-known passages epitomizing the universality of Bahá’u’lláh’s prophetic claim. Revealed, at Mánikchí Sáhib’s bold request, in pure Persian, the Tablet responds to the questions he had raised and proclaims some of the central tenets of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh: “Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and centre your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.” “Turn your faces from the darkness of estrangement to the effulgent light of the daystar of unity.” “Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.” “[W]hatsoever leadeth to the decline of ignorance and the increase of knowledge hath been, and will ever remain, approved in the sight of the Lord of creation.”

October 13, 2016

October 13, 2016 – Conclusion of a century-long process of raising up continental Baha’i Houses of Worship around the world

The dedication of the Baha’i House of Worship taking place in Santiago, Chile, signifies a historic conclusion to a century-long process of raising up continental Baha’i Houses of Worship around the world.

A House of Worship is a pivotal institution of Baha’i community life, ordained by Baha’u’llah as a sacred structure open to all and referred to as “Mashriqu’l-Adhkar”, which translates to “Dawning Place of the Mention of God.”

The first Baha’i House of Worship was completed in 1908 in the city of Ishqabad in Russian Turkistan (now Ashgabat, Turkmenistan).  The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar complex included the central Temple, a travellers’ hospice, schools, medical and other facilities. After being expropriated by the Soviet authorities, the House of Worship was seriously damaged in an earthquake and eventually demolished in 1963.

October 10, 2016

Naw-Ruz 1979: Some of the countries where the Bahá'í Administration couldn’t operate or had been disbanded

Even in those countries where the Bahá'í Administration cannot operate or has had to be disbanded, countries to which have now been added Afghanistan, the Congo Republic, Niger, Uganda and Vietnam, the believers, while obedient to their governments, nevertheless staunchly keep alive the flame of faith. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 8, 2016

French historian A. L. M. Nicolas comments on the condition of Persia at the time of the appearance of the Báb and the gradual unfoldment of His Divine Mission

Everyone agrees in acknowledging that it would be absolutely impossible for him to proclaim loudly his doctrine or to spread it among men. He had to act as does a physician to children, who must disguise a bitter medicine in a sweet coating in order to win over his young patients. The people in the midst of whom he appeared were, and still are, alas, more fanatical than the Jews were at the time of Jesus, when the majesty of Roman peace was no longer there to put a stop to the furious excesses of religious madness of an over-excited people. Therefore, if Christ, in spite of the relative calm of the surroundings in which He preached, thought it necessary to employ the parable, Siyyid ‘Alí-Muḥammad, [the Báb] a fortiori, was obliged to disguise his thought in numerous circuitous ways and only pour out, one drop at a time, the filter of his divine truths. He brings up his child, Humanity; he guides it, endeavoring always not to frighten it and directs its first steps on a path which leads it slowly but surely, so that, as soon as it can proceed alone, it reaches the goal pre-ordained for it from all eternity.
- A. L. M. Nicolas  (Introduction to volume I of “Le Bayán Persan” (pp. 3–5); inserted footnote by Shoghi Effendi in ‘The Dawn-Breakers’)

October 6, 2016

Naw-Ruz 1979: “In the world at large the Bahá'í community is now firmly established.”

- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 4, 2016

Naw-Ruz 1979: Worldwide –> 96,000 Localities, 22,000 Local Spiritual Assemblies, 125 National Spiritual Assemblies

The teaching victories in that Plan have been truly prodigious; the points of light, those localities where the Promised One is recognized, have increased from sixty- nine thousand five hundred to over ninety-six thousand; the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies has grown from seventeen thousand to over twenty-five thousand; eighteen new National Spiritual Assemblies have been formed. The final report will disclose in all their manifold aspects the magnitude of the victories won. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 2, 2016

1979: Violent disturbances in Persia

Destruction of the House of the Báb
The violent disturbances in Persia, coinciding with the gathering in of the bountiful harvest of the Five Year Plan, [1974-1979] have brought new and cruel hardships to our long-suffering brethren in the Cradle of our Faith and confronted the Bahá'í world community with critical challenges to its life and work. As the Bahá'í world stood poised on the brink of victory, eagerly anticipating the next stage in the unfoldment of the Master's Divine Plan, Bahá'u'lláh's heroic compatriots, the custodians of the Holy Places of our Faith in the land of its birth, were yet again called upon to endure the passions of brutal mobs, the looting and burning of their homes, the destruction of their means of livelihood, and physical violence and threats of death to force them to recant their faith. They, like their immortal forebears, the Dawn-Breakers, are standing steadfast in face of this new persecution and the ever-present threat of organized extermination. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

September 28, 2016

1974-1979: Outpouring of pioneers and funds by Persian believers

…during the Five Year Plan [1974-1979] the Persian friends far surpassed any other national community in their outpouring of pioneers and funds…
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

September 25, 2016

January 1978: First International Bahá'í Women's Conference in South America

3 January 1978
To the First International Bahá'í Women's Conference in South America

DELIGHTED GREAT SUCCESS WIDESPREAD ATTENDANCE EXCELLENT PUBLICITY PROCLAMATION FIRST INTERNATIONAL BAHÁ'Í WOMEN'S CONFERENCE SOUTH AMERICA WILL OFFER PRAYERS SACRED THRESHOLD DETERMINATION WIN GOALS PLAN WILL BE CONFIRMED.

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

September 20, 2016

February 1925: American Baha’is assist Persian believers -- Flood destroyed 500 Baha’i homes in Nayriz

On February 6, the National Spiritual Assembly received the following cablegram from Shoghi Effendi: “Flood destroyed 500 Baha’i homes in Nayriz. Grave disaster. May America contribute her share.” In response to this urgent appeal, the National Treasurer transmitted to Shoghi Effendi by cable within a few days, the sum of fifteen hundred dollars. Telegrams were immediately sent to the ten largest Assemblies asking them to make a special contribution to the National Fund by wire, if possible, in behalf of our Persian brothers and sisters. Up to February 22nd, nearly three thousand dollars had been received.

In addition to these telegrams, a letter was sent to the other local Assemblies in order that all the friends might share in the privilege of coming to the assistance of the homeless Baha’is.

September 16, 2016

An English physician resident in Tabríz met the Báb in the Citadel of Tabriz prior to His execution

“He was a very mild and delicate-looking man, rather small in stature and very fair for a Persian, with a melodious soft voice, which struck me much. Being a Siyyid, he was dressed in the habit of that sect, as were also his two companions. In fact his whole look and deportment went far to dispose one in his favour. Of his doctrine I heard nothing from his own lips, although the idea was that there existed in his religion a certain approach to Christianity. He was seen by some Armenian carpenters, who were sent to make some repairs in his prison, reading the Bible, and he took no pains to conceal it, but on the contrary told them of it. Most assuredly the Musulman fanaticism does not exist in his religion, as applied to Christians, nor is there that restraint of females that now exists.” 
- Dr. Cormick  (From a letter to a fellow practitioner in an American mission in Persia, given in Professor E. G. Browne’s ‘Materials for the Study of the Bábí Religion’, quoted by Shoghi Effendi in ‘Introduction to Dawn-Breakers’)

September 12, 2016

While being bastinadoed [a form of punishment or torture that involves caning the soles of someone's feet], a farrásh, whether intentionally or not, struck the Báb across the face with the stick destined for His feet.

The only known record of the Báb’s having been seen by a European belongs to the period of His persecution when an English physician resident in Tabríz, Dr. Cormick, was called in by the Persian authorities to pronounce on the Báb’s mental condition. The doctor’s letter, addressed to a fellow practitioner in an American mission in Persia, is given in Professor E. G. Browne’s “Materials for the Study of the Bábí Religion.” “You ask me,” writes the doctor, “for some particulars of my interview with the founder of the sect known as Bábís. Nothing of any importance transpired in this interview, as the Báb was aware of my having been sent with two other Persian doctors to see whether he was of sane mind or merely a madman, to decide the question whether he was to be put to death or not. With this knowledge he was loth to answer any questions put to him. To all enquiries he merely regarded us with a mild look, chanting in a low melodious voice some hymns, I suppose. Two other siyyids, his intimate friends, were also present, who subsequently were put to death with him, besides a couple of government officials. He only deigned to answer me, on my saying that I was not a Musulman and was willing to know something about his religion, as I might perhaps be inclined to adopt it. He regarded me very intently on my saying this, and replied that he had no doubt of all Europeans coming over to his religion. Our report to the Sháh at that time was of a nature to spare his life. He was put to death some time after by the order of the Amír-Nizám, Mírzá Taqí Khán. On our report he merely got the bastinado, in which operation a farrásh, whether intentionally or not, struck him across the face with the stick destined for his feet, which produced a great wound and swelling of the face. On being asked whether a Persian surgeon should be brought to treat him, he expressed a desire that I should be sent for, and I accordingly treated him for a few days, but in the interviews consequent on this I could never get him to have a confidential chat with me, as some government people were always present, he being a prisoner. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘Introduction to Dawn-Breakers)

September 7, 2016

January 1925: A Special Period of Supplication and Prayer is called for by the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada: February 19th -- March 9th, 1925

The time has come when all the believers are given the privilege of uniting spiritually to pray and supplicate as one heart, one mind and one soul in behalf of the beloved Guardian of the Cause, in order that new and broader channels may be created through which his unique devotion to the Cause may flow outward ever stronger and more effectively through all parts of the Baha’i world. 

Therefore the members of the National Spiritual Assembly request the friends throughout the United States and Canada to set apart the period of nineteen days beginning February 19th as a time consecrated to daily supplication and prayer, individually and collectively invoking Divine guidance and favor that the hopes of the Guardian of the Cause may be fulfilled.

These hopes are that nine Baha’i helpers may be gathered together at Haifa to assist Shoghi Effendi in the details of his work, especially the translation of the Creative Word. After the period of prayer, any believer who feels the call to this Service may lay his or her name and qualifications before Shoghi Effendi for him to consider. The friends will understand that these nine helpers are desired for specific, temporary services, and are not to be regarded in the light of those nine souls who, in the fulness of time, will be permanently associated with the Guardian of the Cause. It is suggested that the friends unite, during the nineteen days, in the use of Shoghi Effendi’s favorite prayer: --

September 2, 2016

1924: Members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada

Mountfort Mills: Chairman
Horace Holley: Secretary
Florence Morton: Treasurer
Alfred E. Lunt: Assistant Treasurer
Elizabeth Greenleaf
May Maxwell
Agnes S. Parsons
Siegfried Schopflocher
Roy C. Wilhelm
(Baha’i News Letter, No. 1, December 1924)

August 26, 2016

The continuing persecution of the Bearers of the Message of God – summarized by Baha’u’llah

Praise be to Thee, O Lord My God, for the wondrous revelations of Thy inscrutable decree and the manifold woes and trials Thou hast destined for Myself. At one time Thou didst deliver Me into the hands of Nimrod; at another Thou hast allowed Pharaoh’s rod to persecute Me. Thou, alone, canst estimate, through Thine all-encompassing knowledge and the operation of Thy Will, the incalculable afflictions I have suffered at their hands. Again Thou didst cast Me into the prison-cell of the ungodly, for no reason except that I was moved to whisper into the ears of the well-favored denizens of Thy Kingdom an intimation of the vision with which Thou hadst, through Thy knowledge, inspired Me, and revealed to Me its meaning through the potency of Thy might. And again Thou didst decree that I be beheaded by the sword of the infidel. Again I was crucified for having unveiled to men’s eyes the hidden gems of Thy glorious unity, for having revealed to them the wondrous signs of Thy sovereign and everlasting power. How bitter the humiliations heaped upon Me, in a subsequent age, on the plain of Karbilá! How lonely did I feel amidst Thy people! To what a state of helplessness I was reduced in that land! Unsatisfied with such indignities, My persecutors decapitated Me, and, carrying aloft My head from land to land paraded it before the gaze of the unbelieving multitude, and deposited it on the seats of the perverse and faithless. In a later age, I was suspended, and My breast was made a target to the darts of the malicious cruelty of My foes. My limbs were riddled with bullets, and My body was torn asunder. Finally, behold how, in this Day, My treacherous enemies have leagued themselves against Me, and are continually plotting to instill the venom of hate and malice into the souls of Thy servants. With all their might they are scheming to accomplish their purpose.... Grievous as is My plight, O God, My Well-Beloved, I render thanks unto Thee, and My Spirit is grateful for whatsoever hath befallen me in the path of Thy good-pleasure. I am well pleased with that which Thou didst ordain for Me, and welcome, however calamitous, the pains and sorrows I am made to suffer. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah’)

August 20, 2016

July 26, 1868: Sultan ‘Abdu’l-Aziz issues a Farman (Order) banishing Baha’u’llah to ‘Akka

(Balyuzi, 'Baha'u'llah, The King of Glory')
Explicit orders had been issued by the Sultan [‘Abdu’l-Aziz] and his ministers to subject the exiles, who were accused of having grievously erred and led others far astray, to the strictest confinement. Hopes were confidently expressed that the sentence of life-long imprisonment pronounced against them would lead to their eventual extermination. The farman of Sultan Abdu'l-'Aziz, dated the fifth of Rabi'u'th-Thani 1285 A.H. (July 26, 1868), not only condemned them to perpetual banishment, but stipulated their strict incarceration, and forbade them to associate either with each other or with the local inhabitants. The text of the farman itself was read publicly, soon after the arrival of the exiles, in the principal mosque of the city as a warning to the population. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

August 15, 2016

1948: First Annual Convention of the Baha'is of Canada

First Annual Convention of the Baha'is of Canada, 1948 
(The Baha'i World 1946-1950)

August 10, 2016

1967: Consummation of six Intercontinental Conferences attended by 9,200 believers

…CONSUMATION SIX INTERCONTINENTAL CONFERENCES ATTENDED BY 9,200 BELIEVERS INCLUDING NEARLY ALL HANDS CAUSE LARGE NUMBER BOARD MEMBERS REPRESENTATIVES ALMOST ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES BAHÁ'Í WORLD OVER 140 TERRITORIES AND HOST OF ASIAN AFRICAN AMERINDIAN TRIBES. 
- The Universal House of Justice (Cablegram dated 15 October 1967; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

August 6, 2016

By 1862 almost 400 “illumined divines”, “men of consummate learning”, and “doctors of mature wisdom” had declared their faith in the Báb – their “names are all inscribed upon the ‘Guarded Tablet’ of God”

In this most resplendent Dispensation, however, this most mighty Sovereignty, a number of illumined divines, of men of consummate learning, of doctors of mature wisdom, have attained unto His Court, drunk the cup of His divine Presence, and been invested with the honour of His most excellent favour. They have renounced, for the sake of the Beloved, the world and all that is therein. We will mention the names of some of them, that perchance it may strengthen the faint-hearted, and encourage the timorous.

Among them was Mulla Husayn, who became the recipient of the effulgent glory of the Sun of divine Revelation. But for him, God would not have been established upon the seat of His mercy, nor ascended the throne of eternal glory. Among them also was Siyyid Yahya, that unique and peerless figure of his age, Mulla Muhammad Aliy-i-Zanjani, Mulla Aliy-i-Bastami, Mulla Sa'id-i-Barfurushi, Mulla Ni'matu'llah-i-Mazindarani, Mulla Yusuf-i-Ardibili, Mulla Mihdiy-i-Khu'I, Siyyid Husayn-i-Turshizi, Mulla Mihdiy-i-Kandi, Mulla Baqir, Mulla Abdu'l-Khaliq-i-Yazdi, Mulla Aliy-i-Baraqani, and others, well nigh four hundred in number, whose names are all inscribed upon the "Guarded Tablet" of God.

All these were guided by the light of that Sun of divine Revelation, confessed and acknowledged His truth. Such was their faith, that most of them renounced their substance and kindred, and cleaved to the good-pleasure of the All-Glorious. They laid down their lives for their Well-Beloved, and surrendered their all in His path. Their breasts were made targets for the darts of the enemy, and their heads adorned the spears of the infidel. No land remained which did not drink the blood of these embodiments of detachment, and no sword that did not bruise their necks. Their deeds, alone, testify to the truth of their words. 
- Baha'u'llah  (‘The Kitab-i-Iqan’)

August 1, 2016

1992: First Regional Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Slovenia and Croatia

1992 - First Regional Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Slovenia and Croatia 
(The Baha'i World 1994-1995)

July 25, 2016

June 1877: Baha’u’llah left the city of ‘Akka

“IN EARLY DAYS OF JUNE 1877 BAHÁ'U'LLÁH LEFT CITY 'AKKA AND TOOK UP RESIDENCE IN MAZRA'IH.” 
(Cablegram from the Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 1977; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

July 20, 2016

1938: The “first Local Spiritual Assembly in Latin America was formed in Mexico City”

Conscious of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's impassioned plea to promulgate the oneness of mankind to a spiritually impoverished humanity, a handful of itinerant Bahá'í' teachers set forth four decades ago, traversed the land bridge connecting the two continents of the Western Hemisphere and carried the healing Message of Bahá'u'lláh to the Spanish-American Republics. Their dedicated efforts were rewarded when, in 1938, the first Local Spiritual Assembly in Latin America was formed in Mexico City. This initial triumph at the inception of the first of the teaching plans formulated by Shoghi Effendi spearheaded other victories leading to the formation of two, then of four Regional Spiritual Assemblies and ultimately to the establishment of National Spiritual Assemblies in each of the republics of Latin America and in the islands of the Caribbean. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated February 1977; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

July 15, 2016

1925-1926: Committees of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada

  • Finance: Northeastern States; Central States, Southern States, Western States, Canada
  • Teaching: Northeastern States, Central States, Southern States, Western States, Canada
  • Publishing
  • Mashriqu'l-Adhkar
  • Contacts
  • Racial Amity
  • Baha'i Magazine
  • Archives
  • Library
  • Legal
  • Press
  • Year Book
  • Compilation of Prayer Book
  • Cooperation between Baha'is of North America and Persia
  • History of the Baha'i Cause in North America
  • Baha'i World Fellowship Combined With The Magazine of the Children of the Kingdom
  • Baha'i Youth Activities
  • Green Acre Trustees
  • Green Acre Program
  • Green Acre Architecture and Grounds
  • Green Acre Young People
(Baha’i News, November 1925)

July 10, 2016

April 1963: The First Election of the Universal House of Justice

To enable the delegates to prepare themselves spiritually for their great responsibility, arrangements had been made by the Hands of the Cause, with the cooperation of the International Baha'i Council, for all to visit the several Holy Places. This was the greatest mass pilgrimage ever to have been made to the World Centre of our Faith.
On the morning of the 21st of April, 1963, delegates proceeded to the Master's House at No.7, Persian Street, to discharge their sacred responsibility in accordance with the text of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha.
They came from all parts of the globe, representing many races, peoples, tongues, and cultural backgrounds.

July 1, 2016

Paris, France: 1899-1902 – a nucleus of 25 to 30 people (some later became Hands of the Cause) who were drawn to the Faith and nurtured by May Bolles (Maxwell)

Merely to register the names of those who, from 1899 to 1902, were drawn by her "personal fascination... so fragile, so luminous... and the most delicate, perfect beauty, flower-like and star-like;" and who, through this spell, attained to its origin in her rapturous love for 'Abdu'l-Baha - is to compel astonishment. The first to believe was Edith MacKaye, and by the New Year of 1900, Charles Mason Remey and Herbert Hopper were next to follow. Then came Marie Squires (Hopper), Helen Ellis Cole, Laura Barney, Mme. Jackson, Agnes Alexander, Thomas Breakwell, Edith Sanderson, and Hippolyte Dreyfus, the first French Baha'i. Emogene Hoagg and Mrs. Conner had come to Paris in 1900 from America, Sigurd Russell at fifteen returned from 'Akka a believer, and in 1901, the group was further reinforced by Juliet Thompson, Lillian James, and "the frequent passing through Paris of pilgrims from America going to the Master... and then again returning from the Holy Land." These are but a few, for "in 1901 and 1902 the Paris group of Baha'is numbered between twenty-five and thirty people with May Bolles as spiritual guide and teacher." 
(The Baha’i World 1940-1944)

June 20, 2016

January 31, 1899: The casket containing the precious remains of the blessed Báb arrives in the Holy Land – fifty lunar years after His death in Tabriz, Persia

Assisted by another believer, Haji Shah Muhammad buried the casket beneath the floor of the inner sanctuary of the shrine of Imam-Zadih Zayd, where it lay undetected until Mirza Asadu'llah-i-Isfahani was informed of its exact location through a chart forwarded to him by Bahá'u'lláh. Instructed by Bahá'u'lláh to conceal it elsewhere, he first removed the remains to his own house in Tihran, after which they were deposited in several other localities such as the house of Husayn-'Aliy-i-Isfahani and that of Muhammad-Karim-i-'Attar, where they remained hidden until the year 1316 (1899) A.H., when, in pursuance of directions issued by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, this same Mirza Asadu'llah, together with a number of other believers, transported them by way of Isfahan, Kirmanshah, Baghdad and Damascus, to Beirut and thence by sea to 'Akká, arriving at their destination on the 19th of the month of Ramadan 1316 A.H. (January 31, 1899), fifty lunar years after the Báb's execution in Tabriz. 
- Shoghi Effendi  ('God Passes By')

June 15, 2016

1944: Lua Getsinger was laid to rest in a Baha'i Cemetery in Cairo, Egypt

Members of the National Spiritual Assembly of Egypt and Local Spiritual Assembly of Cairo gathered to re-inter the remains of Lua Getsinger. Lua Getsinger was originally interred in a Christian cemetery in Cairo. With the help of the US State Department in Washington, the American Consulate in Cairo, and the Egyptian Baha'i Assembly her body was removed to the Baha'i Cemetery on December 19, 1944. (The Baha'i World 1940-1944) 

June 10, 2016

The Barrack in Tabriz, Persia

An old photograph of the Barrack in Tabriz where the Bab was martyred in 1850. 
(The Baha'i World 1940-1944)

June 1, 2016

The Citadel of Tabriz, Persia

The Citadel of Tabriz where the Bab was at one time detained 
(The Baha'i World 1940-1944)

May 21, 2016

February 1958: Introduction of Baha’i News “Supplement”

A Message from US National Spiritual Assembly:

Beginning with this issue, BAHA'I NEWS will henceforth carry as an insert a United States Supplement, which will be devoted to subjects of particular interest and concern to the believers of this country. This action brings BAHA'I NEWS more in conformity with the wishes of the beloved Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, who expressed the hope years ago that BAHA'I NEWS would become "the foremost Baha'i journal of the world."

Up to this time, BAHA'I NEWS has been designed to meet that purpose so far as possible, depending upon the material received from all parts of the world, but in addition it has been the medium of communication between the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and its committees and the individual members of the American Baha'i community.

This new plan means that from now on any information, suggestions, recommendations, and requests that concern the believers in the United States only will be concentrated largely in the Supplement, but the main body of BAHA'I NEWS will continue to carry news and reports of Baha'i activities in the United States which are of interest to the friends throughout the world and which reflect progress in the World Crusade.

May 18, 2016

1967: Baha'i Week proclaimed in Indianapolis - marking the 150th anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah

The Indianapolis Spiritual Assembly decided in March, 1967 to proclaim the Baha'i Faith through holding a "Baha'i Week" in November, 1967, marking the 150th anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah and held just one year after the first proclamation week in Indiana (Fort Wayne, November, 1966). Work began immediately and preparations proceeded through the following months. A prelude to the Week was the annual State Fair Baha'i exhibit in August which publicized the coming event to at least 250,000 people. The launching of the Proclamation was in October when the Mayor of Indianapolis, John J. Barton, and a State Senator, Nelson Grills, were present at a tea commemorating the centenary of the messages of Baha’u’llah to the kings and rulers. 
(US National Baha’i Review, February 1968) 

May 15, 2016

June 1968: The Institution of the Continental Boards of Counselors is brought into being by the Universal House of Justice

In June 1968 the Institution of the Continental Boards of Counselors was brought into being, fulfilling the goal of extending the aforementioned functions of the Hands into the future, and this momentous decision was accompanied by the next step in the development of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause: the continental Hands were to serve henceforth on a worldwide basis and operate individually in direct relationship to the Universal House of Justice; the Hands ceased to be responsible for the direction of the Auxiliary Boards, which became an auxiliary institution of the Continental Boards of Counselors; the Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land were given the task of acting as liaison between the Universal House of Justice and the Boards of Counselors; and the working interrelationships between the Hands and the Boards of Counselors were established. Reference was also made to the future establishment by the Universal House of Justice, with the assistance of the Hands residing in the Holy Land, of an international teaching center in the Holy Land. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 24 April 1972; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1968-1973’)

May 11, 2016

1968: One Hundredth Anniversary of Baha'u'llah's Arrival in the Holy Land

In August 1968 nearly two thousand Baha'is from many countries assembled at Bahji to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the arrival of Baha'u'llah in the Holy Land. They then ascended the long stairway from Carmel Avenue to the Shrine of the Báb, around which they walked in respect for the Forerunner and Herald of their Faith. ('The Baha'is and the Holy Land', an audio-visual program prepare by the NSA of the United States, 1971)

May 6, 2016

April 1968: A Baha'i delegation met with Israel's President

At the First International Baha'i Convention held  in the Holy Land in 1968 this delegation was sent to Jerusalem to make a formal call on Israel's President Zalman Shazar, to deliver the greetings of the convention. ('The Baha'is and the Holy Land', an audio-visual program prepare by the NSA of the United States, 1971)

April 25, 2016

Circa 1871: Baha’u’llah reveals Lawh-i-Qad Ihtaraqa'l-Mukhlisun - The Fire Tablet

Towards the end of 1871 Bahá'u'lláh received a letter from one of His devoted followers in Persia, Haji Siyyid 'Ali-Akbar-i-Dahaji, a nephew of Siyyid Mihdi, the Ismu'llah.[1] In answer to his letter, Bahá'u'lláh revealed the Lawh-i-Qad Ihtaraqa'l-Mukhlisun, or the Lawh-i-ihtiraq, translated into English and known in the west as the Fire Tablet. The recipient of this Tablet, Haji Siyyid 'Ali-Akbar was so much loved by Bahá'u'lláh that when he passed away Bahá'u'lláh gave his uncle the name 'Ali-Akbar, in memory of that devoted believer.

The Lawh-i-Qad Ihtaraqa'l-Mukhlisun is one of Bahá'u'lláh's most celebrated Tablets; it is possessed of great powers, and the believers often recite it at times of difficulties and suffering. Of this Tablet Bahá'u'lláh states in the Fire Tablet:

'Should all the servants read and ponder this, there shall be kindled in their veins a fire that shall set aflame the worlds.'

The Fire Tablet is in Arabic rhyming verse; it moves the heart when chanted in the original language. It was revealed at a time when great afflictions and sorrows had surrounded Bahá'u'lláh as a result of the hostility, betrayal and acts of infamy perpetrated by those few individuals who had once claimed to be the helpers of the Cause of God. Bahá'u'lláh pours out His heart in this Tablet and expatiates on His afflictions. For nothing brings more sorrow to the heart of the Manifestation of God than unfaithfulness and treachery from within the community. Imprisonment and all manner of persecution by the outside enemy can do no harm to the Cause. What harms it are the actions of those who bear His name and yet commit deeds contrary to His good-pleasure. These few breakers of the Covenant of the Báb, who followed Mirza Yahya and rose up against Bahá'u'lláh from within, created such havoc in the community and among the inhabitants of 'Akká that the Pen of Bahá'u'lláh lamented in this Tablet in a manner unprecedented in all His Writings.

April 9, 2016

An ancient inn in Zanjan where the Báb stayed

Views of the dilapidated inn in Zanjan, Persia, where the Báb stayed in a room on the second floor (here marked with an "X"). The inn since then has fallen disrepair and in 1970's was used as a sort of depot for trucks. (source: 'Land of Resplendent Glory', by the International Baha'i Audio-Visual Centre, 1971)

April 6, 2016

The Báb's journey from Shiraz to Isfahan

A famous 300-year-old bridge near Persepolis, Persia, that the Báb crossed on His way from Shiraz to Isfahan in 1846. (source: 'Land of Resplendent Glory', by the International Baha'i Audio-Visual Centre, 1971)

April 3, 2016

1945: National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada

Members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada 1944-1945 (Re-elected for the year 1945-19460) (The Baha'i World 1944-1946)

April 2, 2016

1945: First Baha'i-Sponsored Youth Gathering in Punta Arenas, Magallanes, Chile

First public meeting for Youth held under the auspices of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Punta Arenas, Magallanes, Chile, July, 1945. (The Baha'i World 1944-1946)

March 29, 2016

Percentage of Continental Counsellors who are women – 1980-2010

The table above represents a historical overview of the percentage of women serving as members of the Continental Boards of Counsellors for the period from 26 November 1980—when the number of Boards was fixed at five—until now [2010], including the most recent appointments that took effect on 26 November 2010. Percentages have been calculated on the basis of the appointments made at the beginning of each five-year term; mid-term appointments have not been considered. 
(Included with a letter dated 23 January 2013 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice)

March 26, 2016

1844: Bushihr, Persia - Wooden sailing vessels

An old-time wooden sailing vessel like this was used by the Báb to sail for Mecca in October of 1844. With Him were the Letter of the Living Quddus and an Ethiopian attendant with a large basket of  sweet lemons to make up for the absence of fresh water. The voyage took about two months. They sailed 3,000 miles around Arabia to the Red Sea and to Jaddih, the port of Mecca.(source: 'Land of Resplendent Glory', by the International Baha'i Audio-Visual Centre, 1971)

March 24, 2016

Picture of the original door to the House of the Báb

(source: 'Land of Resplendent Glory', by the International Baha'i Audio-Visual Centre, 1971)

March 19, 2016

Ílkhání Mosque in Shiraz, Persia

The The Ílkhání Mosque in Shiraz, Persia where many of the Letters of the Living were housed during their forty-day-long search for the Promised One. (‘Pilgrimage to the House of the Báb’, 1977)

March 15, 2016

1957: First Conclave of the Hands of the Cause of God - recalled by John Robarts

video
(Excerpt from a talk given by Hand of the Cause John Robarts at the Association for Baha'i Studies in 1980)

March 10, 2016

First Baha’i Temple

The world's first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar was built in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, bordering northern Iran.
A women's meeting shows the interior design of the Ashgabat Temple. The women and girls would take turns reading or chanting prayers.
The front arch of the Ashgabat House of Worship

March 7, 2016

November 14, 2015: Battambang, Cambodia — first groundbreaking for a local Baha'i House of Worship

Some 200 community members attended an event marking the groundbreaking.
Community members participate in the groundbreaking at the spot marking the center of the central edifice.
People from surrounding neighborhoods make their way to the event commemorating the groundbreaking.
Members of the community work together to build a fence around the Temple land.

Some two hundred community members from the region of Battambang in Cambodia gathered to celebrate the momentous occasion, beginning with prayers at dawn. The event coincided with the commemoration of the Twin Holy Birthdays—the Birth of the Bab and the Birth of Baha'u'llah.

Though yet unbuilt, the House of Worship is becoming part of the fabric of community life, and developments related to its construction are viewed as a collective endeavor, galvanizing the surrounding population. It is, as described by the Universal House of Justice, connecting "two essential, inseparable aspects of Baha'i life: worship and service".

The groundbreaking commemorated yesterday marks a milestone—the first of its kind—among the seven locations announced by the Universal House of Justice in 2012 to raise a Baha'i House of Worship in the coming years. 
(Baha’i World News Service)

March 3, 2016

1893 Chicago: World's Parliament of Religions - a letter describing Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i Faith was read

Chicago's World Columbian Exposition in 1893 celebrated the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus. The World's Parliament of Religions was one of many conferences planned to coincide with the fair and was the world's first ecumenical meeting. It met for 17 days in the Hall of Columbus at the Art Institute of Chicago. Clergy from many Christian denominations took part, as well as representatives of other faiths, which included the following: Muslim, Hindus, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Confucians, and Jains… There was no member of the Baha'i Faith present. A Christian missionary in Syria sent a letter describing Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i Faith that was read at a conference session. The Parliament caused a great interest in comparative religions amongst Chicagoans. When a Syrian Baha'i named Ibrahim Kheiralla came to Chicago in 1894 hoping to make his fortune, he initiated classes on spiritual healing, which included some Baha'i prayers and principles. Students in those classes became the early Baha'is of Chicago. 
(‘Images of America – Baha’i Temple’, by Candace Moore Hill)

February 29, 2016

Early 1900's: A Persian Caravansary

A Caravansary or “Hotel” on the road to Shiraz, Persia
Inside its walls is an immense court yard where travelers are herded indiscriminately with their camels and other beasts of burden. These “hotels” are designed to give the caravans a resting place at night protected from marauders. 
(National Geographic 1921)

February 27, 2016

1946: First Baha'i Latin-American Conference, Panama

The first Latin-American Conference was held in Panama, 1946. Baha'i representatives were present from the United States, Nicaragua, Chile, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Venezuela, the Canal Zone and Panama. (The Baha'i World 1944-1946)