October 30, 2016

The criteria that God uses to accept “every goodly deed” – Baha’u’llah explains

Blessed is the man that hath acknowledged his belief in God and in His signs, and recognized that “He shall not be asked of His doings”. Such a recognition hath been made by God the ornament of every belief and its very foundation. Upon it must depend the acceptance of every goodly deed. Fasten your eyes upon it, that haply the whisperings of the rebellious may not cause you to slip. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘The Kitab-i-Aqdas’)

October 27, 2016

An amazing road map for one’s journey in life…

O thou dear servant of God!

Thy letter was received and its contents noted. As to instructions which thou desirest, they are as follows:

Believe in God; turn unto the Supreme Kingdom; be attracted unto the Beauty of Abha; remain firm in the Covenant; yearn for ascending unto the heaven of the sun of the universe; be disinterested in the world; be alive with the fragrances of holiness in the Kingdom of the Highest; be a caller to love; kind to the human race; gentle with humanity; interested in all the people of the world; wish for harmony and seek friendship and honesty. Be a healing for every wound, a remedy for every sick, a source of harmony among the people; chant the verses of guidance; pray to God; arise for the guidance of the people; let thy tongue explain and thy face illumine with the glowing of the love of God. Rest not a moment and breathe not a breath of repose until thou becomest a sign of God’s love and a banner of God’s favor. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, vol. 1)

October 26, 2016

Mishkin-Qalam's Calligraphy

The first verse of Baha’u’llah’s The Hidden Words (Arabic) arranged and written in three different styles of calligraphy by Mishkin-Qalam. (The Baha’i World 1968-1973)

October 21, 2016

“True religion… is the fruit of the creative Word of God…” It “transforms human thought and action”

A Bahá'í who has studied the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, who has accepted His claim to be the Manifestation of God for this Age, and who has seen His Teachings at work in his daily life, knows as the result of rational investigation, confirmed by actual experience, that true religion, far from being the product solely of human striving after truth, is the fruit of the creative Word of God which, with divine power, transforms human thought and action. 
(Memorandum from the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice on Baha’i Scholarship, accompanied by a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice dated 3 January 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 19, 2016

1979: “the signs of universal anarchy”

The decline of religious and moral restraints has unleashed a fury of chaos and confusion that already bears the signs of universal anarchy. Engulfed in this maelstrom, the Bahá'í world community, pursuing with indefeasible unity and spiritual force its redemptive mission, inevitably suffers the disruption of economic, social and civil life which afflicts its fellowmen throughout the planet. It must also bear particular tribulations. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 17, 2016

Baha’u’llah quotes passage from the Qur’an concerning the “Divine Presence” and explains its meaning

Ponder a while upon the verses concerning the Divine Presence, which have been sent down in the Qur’án by Him Who is the Lord of the kingdom of names, perchance thou mayest discover the Straight Path, and be made an instrument for the guidance of His creatures. Such a one as thou must needs in this day arise to serve this Cause. The abasement of this Wronged One as well as thy glory shall both pass away. Strive thou, that haply thou mayest achieve a deed the fragrance of which shall never fade from the earth.

Concerning the Divine Presence there hath been sent down what no denier hath been or is now able to refute or repudiate.
  • He—blessed and exalted be He—saith: “It is God Who hath reared the heavens without pillars thou canst behold; then mounted His throne, and imposed laws on the sun and moon: each traveleth to its appointed goal. He ordereth all things. He maketh His signs clear, that ye may have firm faith in the Presence of your Lord.”
  • He also saith: “To him who hopeth to attain the Presence of God, the set time of God will surely come. And He is the Hearer, the Knower.”
  • And further He—exalted be He—saith: “As for those who believe not in the signs of God, or that they shall ever attain His Presence, these of My mercy shall despair, and these doth a grievous chastisement await.”
  • And likewise He saith: “And they say, ‘What! when we shall have lain hidden in the earth, shall we become a new creation?’ Yea, they deny that they shall attain the Presence of their Lord.”

October 16, 2016

The implication of the Baha’i principle of the harmony of science and religion

It has become customary in the West to think of science and religion as occupying two distinct -- and even opposed -- areas of human thought and activity. This dichotomy can be characterized in the pairs of antitheses: faith and reason; value and fact. It is a dichotomy which is foreign to Bahá'í thought…. The principle of the harmony of science and religion means not only that religious teachings should be studied with the light of reason and evidence as well as of faith and inspiration, but also that everything in this creation, all aspects of human life and knowledge, should be studied in the light of revelation as well as in that of purely rational investigation. In other words… when studying a subject, [one] should not lock out of his mind any aspect of truth that is known to him. 
(Memorandum from the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, accompanied by a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice dated 3 January 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 13, 2016

“The Doors of the Kingdom are opened…”

O People! The Doors of the Kingdom are opened; The Sun of Truth is shining upon the world; the Fountains of Life are flowing; the Daysprings of Mercy have appeared; the Greatest and Most Glorious Light is now manifest to illuminate the hearts of men.

Wake up and hear the Voice of GOD calling from all parts of the Supreme World -- "Come undo Me, O ye children of men; come unto Me, O ye who are thirsty, and drink from this sweet Water which is descending in torrents upon all parts of the globe.”

These days are the days of Faith and Deeds -- not the days of words and lip service: Let us arise from the sleep of negligence, and realize what a great feast is prepared for us; first eating thereof ourselves, then giving unto others who are thirsting for the Water of Knowledge, and hungering for the Bread of Life.

These Great Days are swiftly passing; and once gone they can never be recalled. So, while the Rays of the Sun of Truth are still shining and The Center of The Covenant of GOD is manifest, let us go forth to work.
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  ('Star of the West', vol. 5, no.1, March 21, 1914)

October 11, 2016

“Rectitude of Conduct” - The Guardian delineates its ramification in one’s life

“Such a rectitude of conduct
  • must manifest itself, with ever-increasing potency, in every verdict which the elected representatives of the Bahá’í community, in whatever capacity they may find themselves, may be called upon to pronounce.
  • It must be constantly reflected in the business dealings of all its members, in their domestic lives, in all manner of employment, and in any service they may, in the future, render their government or people.
  • It must be exemplified in the conduct of all Bahá’í electors, when exercising their sacred rights and functions.
  • It must characterize the attitude of every loyal believer towards nonacceptance of political posts, nonidentification with political parties, nonparticipation in political controversies, and nonmembership in political organizations and ecclesiastical institutions.
  • It must reveal itself in the uncompromising adherence of all, whether young or old, to the clearly enunciated and fundamental principles laid down by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His addresses, and to the laws and ordinances revealed by Bahá’u’lláh in His Most Holy Book.
  • It must be demonstrated in the impartiality of every defender of the Faith against its enemies, in his fair-mindedness in recognizing any merits that enemy may possess, and in his honesty in discharging any obligations he may have towards him.
  • It must constitute the brightest ornament of the life, the pursuits, the exertions, and the utterances of every Bahá’í teacher, whether laboring at home or abroad, whether in the front ranks of the teaching force, or occupying a less active and responsible position.
  • It must be made the hallmark of that numerically small, yet intensely dynamic and highly responsible body of the elected national representatives of every Bahá’í community, which constitutes the sustaining pillar, and the sole instrument for the election, in every community, of that Universal House whose very name and title, as ordained by Bahá’u’lláh, symbolizes that rectitude of conduct which is its highest mission to safeguard and enforce.” 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated December 25, 1938, published as ‘The Advent of the Divine Justice’)

October 9, 2016

The “magnet which will attract the masses to the Cause of God”

Beyond the expansion of the community, vital as it is, the Five Year Plan [1974-1979] witnessed great progress in the spiritual development of the friends, the growing maturity and wisdom of Local and National Assemblies, and in the degree to which Bahá'í communities embody the distinguishing characteristics of Bahá'í life and attract, by their unity, their steadfastness, their radiance and good reputation, the interest and eventual wholehearted support of their fellow citizens. This is the magnet which will attract the masses to the Cause of God, and the leaven that will transform human society. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 6, 2016

How to get nearer to God – advice from ‘Abdu’l-Baha

If you desire the nearness of God, you must sever yourself from everything and become purified and sanctified from the dross of this transitory world. You must become submerged in the sea of the love of God. You must occupy your time with His mention and praise. Bahá'u'lláh alone must be the Beloved of the world. Observe: until the disciples of Christ renounced themselves they did not resuscitate the world. Thus, you must always be occupied with the mention of God and in spreading the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh.  
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, from a talk, October 19, Los Angeles, USA, recorded by Mahmud Zarqani; ‘Mahmud’s Diary’)

October 4, 2016

A touching response from the Guardian to a contribution by a youth

Haifa, Israel
August 1, 1954
Baha'i Youth of Springfield, N. J.

Dear Baha'i Youth:

The beloved Guardian was very touched by your kind contribution to the International Fund.

Your gift is a testimonial to the strength of the Baha'i Faith; that everyone, young and old alike, are joining in the great work of the Ten Year Crusade. The beloved Guardian prays that you will grow into strong and vigorous adults; and that each and everyone of you may be guided and confirmed in your work for the Faith. He hopes you may be able to teach many of your playmates, and, as you grow older, your associates.

The Guardian assures you of his prayers in your behalf. He sends you his loving greetings.

Faithfully yours,

(signed) Leroy Ioas

Assistant Secretary
(Child’s Way Magazine, January 1955)

October 2, 2016

The “three conditions of teaching the Cause of God”

Today the magnetic power that attracts heavenly blessings is teaching the Cause of God. Whoever arises to perform this service the armies of the angels will grant him victory. The three conditions of teaching the Cause of God are the science of sociability, purity of deeds and sweetness of speech. I hope each one of you may become confirmed with these three attributes.

Therefore, one must be wholly cleansed from desire and self and passion, be abstracted (drawn apart) from the world of nature, become embodied light and visualized spirit and then be engaged in teaching the Cause of God. Then the fire of the love of God will flame so high as to attract the hearts of all mankind. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a Tablet to believers in Denver, USA, 1914; Star of the West, vol. 12, no. 11, September 27, 1921)