September 29, 2016

Shoghi Effendi’s Introduction to Dawn-Breakers, its Footnotes, and Genealogy of the Báb

Outstanding as an example of his historical perspective is the Introduction to the Dawn-Breakers. It contains a concise and brilliant history of Islam, to inform the reader concerning the forms and elements which concurred to set the stage on which the deeply moving drama of the Báb's Revelation was played. Many a time, during his table conversation, to illustrate some points, he would accurately quote from that particular book, or from God Passes By, or some other of his writings, often showing surprise or perplexity at the limited information, or lack of it, of some of his listeners. The footnotes of The Dawn-Breakers, some of which are in French, are another example of his talent in the field of historical research. To appreciate the tremendous background of knowledge he possessed at the time of his translation of that book, it suffices to glance at the titles and authors of the fifty-five books he consulted, as listed in the Appendix. In addition, one finds in his own handwriting the genealogy of the Báb, showing connection with Bahá'u'lláh's descendants, and presented on a fivefold sheet of paper twenty-six inches long.  The genealogy is prepared with scrupulous care, and shows the ramifications of the families, including names known to every Bahá'í as well as names unknown to the average believer, but which Shoghi Effendi brought to mind with great facility. Always amazing was his inexhaustible memory and the ease with which he recalled episodes, placing personages in their proper positions, with all their particulars of names, backgrounds and degrees of relationship. It was like reliving the spellbound days of my childhood when my aged and learned tutor would narrate the legendary feats of Greek mythology, with gods and people brought alive by his fascinating word pictures. 
- Hand of the Cause Ugo Giachery  ('Shoghi Effendi – Recollections’)

September 27, 2016

“…it shall turn the earth into paradise”

The Báb told Mulla Husayn an exciting prospect concerning future: “A secret lies hidden in that city [Tihran]. When made manifest, it shall turn the earth into paradise.” (‘The Dawn-Breakers’) 
(Adapted from ‘Robe of Light, vol. 1’, by David Ruhe)

September 25, 2016

1933 Budapest Hungry: Women's League for Peace and Freedom

From right to left: unknown, Howard Carpenter, Martha Root, Marzieh Carpenter, Eugenia Muller

September 22, 2016

2007: Hand of the Cause of God Dr. Varqa with the members of the Universal House of Justice

Hand of the Cause of God Dr. Varqa (sitting at the center) with the members of the Universal House of Justice, 2007.

September 20, 2016

The Purpose of Teaching

Teaching the Faith embraces many diverse activities, all of which are vital to success, and each of which reinforce the other. Time and again the beloved Guardian emphasized that expansion and consolidation are twin and inseparable aspects to teaching that must proceed simultaneously yet one still hears believers discussing the virtues of one as against the other. The purpose of teaching is not complete when a person declares that he has accepted Bahá'u'lláh as the Manifestation of God for this age; the purpose of teaching is to attract human beings to the Divine Message and so imbue them with its spirit that they will dedicate themselves to its service, and this world will become another world and its people another people. Viewed in this light a declaration of Faith is merely a milestone along the way -- albeit a very important one. Teaching may also be likened to kindling a fire, the fire of faith, in the hearts of men. If a fire burns only so long as the match is held to it, it cannot truly be said to have been kindled; to be kindled it must continue to burn of its own accord. Thereafter more fuel can be added and the flame can be fanned, but even if left alone for a period, a truly kindled fire will not be extinguished by the first breath of wind. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter to all National Spiritual Assemblies, May 25, 1975; compilation: ‘Lights of Guidance’)

September 18, 2016

Bahá'u'lláh acknowledges that the Báb is “the Primal Point, the Divine Mystery, the Unseen Essence, the Day-Spring of Divinity”, and the “Manifestation” of God’s “Lordship”

Magnify Thou, O Lord my God, Him Who is the Primal Point, the Divine Mystery, the Unseen Essence, the Day-Spring of Divinity, and the Manifestation of Thy Lordship, through Whom all the knowledge of the past and all the knowledge of the future were made plain, through Whom the pearls of Thy hidden wisdom were uncovered, and the mystery of Thy treasured name disclosed, Whom Thou hast appointed as the Announcer of the One through Whose name the letter B and the letter E have been joined and united, through Whom Thy majesty, Thy sovereignty and Thy might were made known, through Whom Thy words have been sent down, and Thy laws set forth with clearness, and Thy signs spread abroad, and Thy Word established, through Whom the hearts of Thy chosen ones were laid bare, and all that were in the heavens and all that were on the earth were gathered together, Whom Thou hast called Ali-Muhammad in the kingdom of Thy names, and the Spirit of Spirits in the Tablets of Thine irrevocable decree, Whom Thou hast invested with Thine own title, unto Whose name all other names have, at Thy bidding and through the power of Thy might, been made to return, and in Whom Thou hast caused all Thine attributes and titles to attain their final consummation. To Him also belong such names as lay hid within Thy stainless tabernacles, in Thine invisible world and Thy sanctified cities.

September 14, 2016

Only “a faint reflection” of God’s Reality within Baha’u’llah was revealed to humanity

O My Well-Beloved! Thou hast breathed Thy Breath into Me, and divorced Me from Mine own Self. Thou didst, subsequently, decree that no more than a faint reflection, a mere emblem of Thy Reality within Me be left among the perverse and envious. Behold, how, deluded by this emblem, they have risen against Me, and heaped upon Me their denials! Uncover Thy Self, therefore, O My Best-Beloved, and deliver Me from My plight.

Thereupon a Voice replied: “I love, I dearly cherish this emblem. How can I consent that Mine eyes, alone, gaze upon this emblem, and that no heart except Mine heart recognize it? By My Beauty, which is the same as Thy Beauty! My wish is to hide Thee from Mine own eyes: how much more from the eyes of men!”

I was preparing to make reply, when lo, the Tablet was suddenly ended, leaving My theme unfinished, and the pearl of Mine utterance unstrung. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah’)

September 12, 2016

1994: Celebration of the International Year of Family in Macau

Baha'i youth in Macau dance during an activity organized in August 1994 to celebrate the International Year of the Family 
(The Baha'i World 1994-1995)

September 9, 2016

Purpose of Baha’i Administration

First Local Spiritual Assembly of the 

Baha'is of Yaounde, Cameroon, 1968

The friends must never mistake the Bahá'í administration for an end in itself. It is merely the instrument of the spirit of the Faith. This Cause is a Cause which God has revealed to humanity as a whole. It is designed to benefit the entire human race, and the only way it can do this is to re-form the community life of mankind, as well as seeking to regenerate the individual. The Bahá'í Administration is only the first shaping of what in future will come to be the social life and laws of community living. As yet the believers are only just beginning to grasp and practise it properly. So we must have patience if at times it seems a little self-conscious and rigid in its workings. It is because we are learning something very difficult but very wonderful -- how to live together as a community of Bahá'ís, according to the glorious teachings. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 14 October 1941 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to two believers; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. 1)

September 6, 2016

The spiritual heart of a country – an insight by Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum

Whenever one thinks of Canada one thinks of cultivation. Out of her virgin forests, her wildernesses, her barren North lands and lakes, has already been wrung a great and promising nation. The darkness of nature, as the Master said, has given way to cultivation and out of imperfection has arisen the splendour of government, industry, trade, settlement, and the arts and sciences of human life. But spiritually the land is still dark, promising, but dark. Primarily the measure of spirituality radiated by your national body will be the measure of Bahá’u’lláh’s light directly available for Canada. For He created the concept of your institution. You exist because of the functions He desired you to perform, and your fundamental function is to be the spiritual heart of Canada. 
- Ruhiyyih Khanum  (From an address to the first national convention assembled in the drawing room of her girlhood home in Montreal; published in the forward section of “Messages to Canada”)

September 2, 2016

Ten Year Crusade – 1953-1953: “the greatest spiritual drama the world has ever witnessed”

We are embarked upon the greatest spiritual drama the world has ever witnessed; and it is going to require the sacrifice of every individual, every community and every Assembly, whether local or national, in order to reach the goals. The Guardian feels they can be reached if we will concentrate, and not allow our attention to be diverted for a moment for any purpose whatsoever. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a message dated 6 May 1954 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, ‘Messages to Canada’)