February 22, 2015

National Haziratu’l-Quds of the Baha’is of the United States

The national Haziratu’l-Quds of the Baha'is of the United States is located in Wilmette, Illinois, directly across Sheridan Road from the House of Worship, overlooking Lake Michigan. Construction of the building was begun in 1923 by Louis Bourgeois, architect of the House of Worship, who intended to use it as a private studio and residence. However, Mr. Bourgeois died before the structure was completed, and it was purchased by the National Spiritual Assembly in September 1930.

For nearly a decade the building was used to assist the temple construction and maintenance. In June 1939, at the Guardian's direction and in an effort to consolidate its internal functions and symbolize its responsible character, the National Spiritual Assembly decided to move its national office from West Englewood, New York, to Wilmette, Illinois, and thereby establish a national Haziratu’l-Quds. The Haziratu’l-Quds , whose name means literally "the Sacred Fold," is complementary in its functions to those of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar (Baha'i House of Worship, whose name in Arabic means "Dawning Place of the Praise of God"). The Guardian envisioned a time when the Haziratu’l-Quds will encompass at both local and national levels a wide spectrum of social institutions including a secretariat, treasury, archives, library, publishing office, assembly hall, council chamber, and pilgrims' hostel.

In October 1939 the secretariat of the National Spiritual Assembly was transferred from New York to Wilmette. Shortly thereafter the treasurer's office moved into the property. On January 20, 1940, the National Spiritual Assembly met on its premises for the first time, holding a special gathering to dedicate and commemorate the conjunction of the institutions of the Haziratu’l-Quds and the Mashriqu'lAdhkar….

Today, while the structure on Sheridan Road still serves as the seat and council chamber of the National Spiritual Assembly, it struggles to shoulder the demands placed upon it by our growing community. When the building was occupied in 1939 there were less than one hundred local Baha'i communities in the United States and Canada. Today there are over three thousand Baha'i communities in the United States alone, and that number is growing. Furthermore, the growing prestige of our National Spiritual Assembly and its involvement in the affairs of the world require a facility that reflects the worldwide prominence of the Baha'i Faith and our national community. As people increasingly turn to the Baha'is for counsel, an appropriate facility must be available in which to welcome dignitaries wishing to consult. The current structure is inadequate. The National Spiritual Assembly has set a long-term goal of eventually redesigning the Haziratu’l-Quds to ensure that it will be able to serve as an appropriate meeting place for leaders of thought and other dignitaries. 
(From 162 B.E. 2005-2006 Wall Calendar)