February 23, 2014

Ayyám-i-Há: A time for feasting, rejoicing, gift giving, hospitality and charity

The exchanging of presents among believers or the giving of gifts to children is not an integral part of any of our nine Bahá'í Holy Days. There is no prohibition against it, and it is, as you say, a custom among Persian believers such as the Bahá'í to whom you spoke, to exchange gifts at Naw-Ruz.

The desire of you and your husband to associate the time of gift giving with your children's involvement in the faith of Bahá'u'lláh is praiseworthy and it is felt that the following extract from a letter written by the secretary of the beloved Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New Zealand on December 26, 1941 will be of value to you:

'The intercalary days are specifically set aside for hospitality, the giving of gifts, etc., Bahá'u'lláh Himself specified that they be used this way, but gave no explanation for it.'

In 'The Bahá'í World', Vol. XV, p. 691 we read: Bahá'u'lláh designated those days as the 'Ayyam-i-Ha and ordained that they should immediately precede the month of 'Ala, which is the month of fasting. He enjoined upon His followers to devote these days to feasting, rejoicing, and charity.' 
(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, January 18, 1982; Compilation: Lights of Guidance)

February 19, 2014

Nature – a high level outline of its inherent qualities, derived from the Baha’i Writings

  • Nature is regulated by God; nature is God's Will. (1)
  • Nature is bound by strict laws from which it cannot deviate. (2)
  • The physical world is a closely integrated, cooperative, coherent entity. (3)
  • Every natural phenomenon "exerteth its influence and is likewise influenced in its turn." (4)
  • The existence of every created thing is dependent on the composition of simple elements; created things are not annihilated, only changed in composition; created things are myriad and numberless. (5)
  • Every atom enshrines the signs of God and passes through all grades of existence. (6)
  • Affinity and attraction produce fruitful results; division and discord result in decomposition and destruction. (7)
  • Man, through science, transcends the laws of nature. (8)
  • Creatures are "attuned to the elements that have gone into the composition" of their environments. (9)
(Prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, Memorandum dated June 8, 1992)

Extracts from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and the Writings and Utterances of 'Abdu'l-Bahá included in the compilation on “Nature”, compiled by Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, 1988)
Extracts 1,5, 6, 9, 12
Extracts 3, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13
Extracts 3, 4, 5, 6
Extracts 4, 5, 8
Extracts 7, 8, 12
Extracts 2, 8, 12
Extracts 7, 13
Extracts 9, 10, 11, 13
Extract 14

February 17, 2014

The “double task of simultaneously building an ideal society and perfecting the behavior of individuals” – the “course set forth by Bahá'u'lláh”

At the very core of the aims of the Faith are the establishment of justice and unity in the world, the removal of prejudice and enmity from among all people, the awakening of compassion and understanding in the hearts of all men and women, and the raising of all souls to a new level of spirituality and behavior through the vitalizing influence of divine Revelation. The course set forth by Bahá'u'lláh for the attainment of these aims is the double task of simultaneously building an ideal society and perfecting the behavior of individuals. For this dual and reciprocal transformation He has not only revealed laws, principles and truths attuned to the needs of this age, but has established the very nucleus and patter of those institutions which are to evolve into the structure of the divinely purposed world society. 
(From a letter dated 2 July 1996 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)

February 12, 2014

The Research Department of the Universal House of Justice – their function and statements

Among the functions assigned to the Research Department at the World Centre is that of preparing statements at the request of the House of Justice. We are to point out that the statement appearing in the current Bahá'i World Centre Manual in connection with the duties of this Department includes the following:

"...To prepare commentaries on various subjects related to the Faith, as requested by the Universal House of Justice."

These commentaries are sent to believers, where applicable, as separate statements, such as those on the Fourth Epoch of the Formative Age, or on Bahá'i scholarship, or as memoranda which are enclosures to letters written on behalf of the House of Justice....

To preclude any possibility of their being confused with letters written by the House of Justice, or on its behalf, it is important that such commentaries be distinctly identified. It is also vital that the believers understand clearly that these Research Department statements should be regarded as representing no more than the views of the members of that Department. While such views are very useful as an aid to resolving perplexities or gaining an enhanced understanding of the Bahá'i teachings, they should never be taken to be in the same category as the elucidations and clarifications provided by the House of Justice in the exercise of its assigned functions.... 
(From a letter dated 16 August 1987 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)

February 1, 2014

How to deal with anger – advice from the Universal House of Justice

You ask how to deal with anger. The House of Justice suggests that you call to mind the admonitions found in our Writings on the need to overlook the shortcomings of others; to forgive and conceal their misdeeds, not to expose their bad qualities, but to search for and affirm their praiseworthy ones, and to endeavour to be always forbearing, patient, and merciful. 
(From a letter dated 19 July 1979 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Preserving Baha’i Marriages)