February 22, 2012

Baha’u’llah reminds us that as an aspect of our belief in the “Unity of God” we acknowledge the fact that the “works and acts” of everyone of God’s Manifestations, “nay whatever pertaineth unto them, and whatsoever they may manifest in the future, are all ordained by God, and are a reflection of His Will and Purpose.”

Beware, O believers in the Unity of God, lest ye be tempted to make any distinction between any of the Manifestations of His Cause, or to discriminate against the signs that have accompanied and proclaimed their Revelation. This indeed is the true meaning of Divine Unity, if ye be of them that apprehend and believe this truth. Be ye assured, moreover, that the works and acts of each and every one of these Manifestations of God, nay whatever pertaineth unto them, and whatsoever they may manifest in the future, are all ordained by God, and are a reflection of His Will and Purpose. Whoso maketh the slightest possible difference between their persons, their words, their messages, their acts and manners, hath indeed disbelieved in God, hath repudiated His signs, and betrayed the Cause of His Messengers. (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah)

February 19, 2012

“The Baha’i Teachings … raise marriage to the status of a divine institution”

The Bahá'í Teachings do not only encourage marital life, considering it the natural and normal way of existence for every sane, healthy and socially-conscious and responsible person, but raise marriage to the status of a divine institution, its chief and sacred purpose being the perpetuation of the human race -- which is the very flower of the entire creation -- and its elevation to the true station destined for it by God. (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, dated 15 April 1939; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Preserving Baha’i Marriages)

February 15, 2012

The unique process through which the Canadian National Spiritual Assembly of was incorporated was hailed by the Guardian as "an act wholly unprecedented in the annals of the Faith in any country, in either East or West" (Messages to Canada, p. 13)

When in 1949 the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada was formed it was able to secure formal recognition of its status under civil law through a special Act of Parliament -- a victory which Shoghi Effendi hailed as "an act wholly unprecedented in the annals of the Faith in any country, in either East or West". (Adapted from ‘Century of Light’, a statement prepared at the Baha’i World center, commissioned by The Universal House of Justice)

February 14, 2012

Advice from ‘Abdu’l-Baha to keep in mind when giving a talk …

Rest assured that the breathings of the Holy Spirit will loosen thy tongue. Speak, therefore; speak out with great courage at every meeting. When thou art about to begin thine address, turn first to Bahá'u'lláh, and ask for the confirmations of the Holy Spirit, then open thy lips and say whatever is suggested to thy heart; this, however, with the utmost courage, dignity and conviction. It is my hope that from day to day your gatherings will grow and flourish, and that those who are seeking after truth will hearken therein to reasoned arguments and conclusive proofs. I am with you heart and soul at every meeting; be sure of this. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 269)

February 12, 2012

The tomb housing the sacred remains of the Báb constitute the heart and center of “nine concentric circles” --”the spot round which the Concourse on high circle in adoration”

For, just as in the realm of the spirit, the reality of the Báb has been hailed by the Author of the Bahá'í Revelation as "The Point round Whom the realities of the Prophets and Messengers revolve," so, on this visible plane, His sacred remains constitute the heart and center of what may be regarded as nine concentric circles, paralleling thereby, and adding further emphasis to the central position accorded by the Founder of our Faith to One "from Whom God hath caused to proceed the knowledge of all that was and shall be," "the Primal Point from which have been generated all created things."

The outermost circle in this vast system, the visible counterpart of the pivotal position conferred on the Herald of our Faith, is none other than the entire planet. Within the heart of this planet lies the "Most Holy Land," acclaimed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá as "the Nest of the Prophets" and which must be regarded as the center of the world and the Qiblih of the nations. Within this Most Holy Land rises the Mountain of God of immemorial sanctity, the Vineyard of the Lord, the Retreat of Elijah, Whose return the Báb Himself symbolizes. Reposing on the breast of this holy mountain are the extensive properties permanently dedicated to, and constituting the sacred precincts of, the Báb's holy Sepulcher. In the midst of these properties, recognized as the international endowments of the Faith, is situated the most holy court, an enclosure comprising gardens and terraces which at once embellish, and lend a peculiar charm to, these sacred precincts. Embosomed in these lovely and verdant surroundings stands in all its exquisite beauty the mausoleum of the Báb, the shell designed to preserve and adorn the original structure raised by 'Abdu'l-Bahá as the tomb of the Martyr-Herald of our Faith. Within this shell is enshrined that Pearl of Great Price, the holy of holies, those chambers which constitute the tomb itself, and which were constructed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Within the heart of this holy of holies is the tabernacle, the vault wherein reposes the most holy casket. Within this vault rests the alabaster sarcophagus in which is deposited that inestimable jewel, the Báb's holy dust. So precious is this dust that the very earth surrounding the edifice enshrining this dust has been extolled by the Center of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, in one of His Tablets in which He named the five doors belonging to the six chambers which He originally erected after five of the believers associated with the construction of the Shrine, as being endowed with such potency as to have inspired Him in bestowing these names, whilst the tomb itself housing this dust He acclaimed as the spot round which the Concourse on high circle in adoration. (Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith)

February 11, 2012

Tributes to the sister, mother, and brother of Mulla Husayn


Sister of Mulla Husayn
She was surnamed “Varaqatu’l-Firdaws” (the Leaf of Paradise) (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 181)

Below is a tribute by her husband, Shaykh Abu-Turab of Qazvin, who was reported to be “a scholar and philosopher such as is rarely met with, and believed with the utmost sincerity and purity of purpose, while such was his love and devotion to the Báb that if anyone did so much as mention the name of His Supreme Holiness (the souls of all beside him be His sacrifice) he could not restrain his tears.” Often he was seen “when engaged in the perusal of the writings of His Supreme Holiness, become almost beside himself with rapture, and nearly faint with joy.”

"I married her three years ago in Karbila. She was then but an indifferent scholar even in Persian, but now she can expound texts from the Qur'án and explain the most difficult questions and most subtle points of the doctrine of the Divine Unity in such wise that I have never seen a man who was her equal in this, or in readiness of apprehension. These gifts she has obtained by the blessing of His Holiness the Supreme and through converse with her holiness the Pure (Qurratu'l-'Ayn)[Tahirih]. I have seen in her a patience and resignation rare even in the most self-denying men, for during these three years, though I have not sent her a single dinar for her expenses and she has supported herself only with the greatest difficulty, she has never uttered a word; and now that she has come to Tihran, she refrains altogether from speaking of the past, and though, in accordance with the wishes of Jinab-i-Babu'l-Bab, she now desires to proceed to Khurasan, and has literally nothing to put on save one well-worn dress which she wears, she never asks for clothes or travelling-money, but ever seeks reasonable excuses wherewith to set me at my ease and prevent me from feeling ashamed. Her purity, chastity, and virtue are boundless, and during all this while no unprivileged person hath so much as heard her voice."

February 5, 2012

We need to “cleanse the eye” of our “heart from the things of the world” so that we may “realize the infinitude of divine knowledge”

Dear friend! Now when the light of God's everlasting Morn is breaking; when the radiance of His holy words: "God is the light of the heavens and of the earth"[Qur'án 24:35] is shedding illumination upon all mankind; when the inviolability of His tabernacle is being proclaimed by His sacred utterance: "God hath willed to perfect His light;"[Qur'án 9:33] and the Hand of omnipotence, bearing His testimony: "In His grasp He holdeth the kingdom of all things," is being outstretched unto all the peoples and kindreds of the earth; it behooveth us to gird up the loins of endeavour, that haply, by the grace and bounty of God, we may enter the celestial City: "Verily, we are God's," and abide within the exalted habitation: "And unto Him we do return." It is incumbent upon thee, by the permission of God, to cleanse the eye of thine heart from the things of the world, that thou mayest realize the infinitude of divine knowledge, and mayest behold Truth so clearly that thou wilt need no proof to demonstrate His reality, nor any evidence to bear witness unto His testimony. (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan)

Baha'is in Paris as of 1901

Paris Baha'is in a photograph taken in 1901: back row, left to right, Marie L. McKay, unknown, May Bolles, Charles Mason Remey; front row, left to right, H. Emogene Hoagg, unknown, Herbert Hopper. (Baha'i News, October 1983)

February 4, 2012

The “hidden springs of celestial strength” feed the Cause of Baha’u’llah, its “reliance” is “solely upon that mystic Source”, and it “propagates itself” by “mysterious” ways

That the Cause associated with the name of Bahá'u'lláh feeds itself upon those hidden springs of celestial strength which no force of human personality, whatever its glamour, can replace; that its reliance is solely upon that mystic Source with which no worldly advantage, be it wealth, fame, or learning can compare; that it propagates itself by ways mysterious and utterly at variance with the standards accepted by the generality of mankind, will, if not already apparent, become increasingly manifest as it forges ahead towards fresh conquests in its struggle for the spiritual regeneration of mankind. (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 51)

February 3, 2012

The institution of Hazíratu'l-Quds -- “the Sacred Fold”

… the institution of the Hazíratu'l-Quds—the seat of the Bahá'í National Assembly and pivot of all Bahá'í administrative activity in future—must rank as one of the most important. Originating first in Persia, now universally known by its official and distinctive title signifying “the Sacred Fold,” ... this institution, still in the early stages of its development, has already lent its share to the consolidation of the internal functions of the organic Bahá'í community, and provided a further visible evidence of its steady growth and rising power. Complementary in its functions to those of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár—an edifice exclusively reserved for Bahá'í worship—this institution, whether local or national, will, as its component parts, such as the Secretariat, the Treasury, the Archives, the Library, the Publishing Office, the Assembly Hall, the Council Chamber, the Pilgrims' Hostel, are brought together and made jointly to operate in one spot, be increasingly regarded as the focus of all Bahá'í administrative activity, and symbolize, in a befitting manner, the ideal of service animating the Bahá'í community in its relation alike to the Faith and to mankind in general. (Shoghi Effendi, ‘God Passes By’, pp. 339-340)