January 26, 2020

“Love is the standard which must govern the conduct of one believer towards another.”

... If between the friends true love - based on the love of God - could become manifest, the Cause would spread very rapidly. Love is the standard which must govern the conduct of one believer towards another. The administrative order does not change this, but unfortunately sometimes the friends confuse the two, and try to be a whole spiritual assembly, - with the discipline and justice and impartiality that body must show, - to each other, instead of being forgiving, loving and patient to each other as individuals. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, March 18, 1950; compilation: ‘Lights of Guidance’)

January 24, 2020

Baha’u’llah’s station: “the Hidden Secret, the Impenetrable Mystery, Whose advent hath been foretold in the Book of God and hath been heralded by His Prophets and Messengers”

God testifieth that there is none other God but Him and that He Who hath come from the heaven of divine revelation is the Hidden Secret, the Impenetrable Mystery, Whose advent hath been foretold in the Book of God and hath been heralded by His Prophets and Messengers. Through Him the mysteries have been unravelled, the veils rent asunder and the signs and evidences disclosed. Lo! He hath now been made manifest. He bringeth to light whatsoever He willeth, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, invested with transcendent majesty and power.

Blessed is that strong one who will shatter the gods of vain imaginings through the potency of the Name of his Lord, He Who ruleth over all men. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Tablets of Baha’u’llah’ revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas')

January 21, 2020

The Báb’s Words of assurance to Mulla Husayn: “The essence of power is now dwelling in you”

“The hosts of the invisible Kingdom, be assured, will sustain and reinforce your efforts. The essence of power is now dwelling in you, and the company of His chosen angels revolves around you. His almighty arms will surround you, and His unfailing Spirit will ever continue to guide your steps. He that loves you, loves God; and whoever opposes you, has opposed God. Whoso befriends you, him will God befriend; and whoso rejects you, him will God reject.” 
- The Bád  (Addressing Mullá Husayn; quoted by Nabil, Chapter 3 of The Dawn-Breakers’)

January 18, 2020

Who are the “Blessed”? – Baha’u’llah identifies

  • Blessed the slumberer who is awakened by My Breeze.
  •  Blessed the lifeless one who is quickened through My reviving breaths.
  • Blessed the eye that is solaced by gazing at My beauty.
  •  Blessed the wayfarer who directeth his steps towards the Tabernacle of My glory and majesty.
  • Blessed the distressed one who seeketh refuge beneath the shadow of My canopy.
  •  Blessed the sore athirst who hasteneth to the softflowing waters of My loving-kindness.
  • Blessed the insatiate soul who casteth away his selfish desires for love of Me and taketh his place at the banquet table which I have sent down from the heaven of divine bounty for My chosen ones.
  •  Blessed the abased one who layeth fast hold on the cord of My glory; and the needy one who entereth beneath the shadow of the Tabernacle of My wealth.
  • Blessed the ignorant one who seeketh the fountain of My knowledge; and the heedless one who cleaveth to the cord of My remembrance.
  • Blessed the soul that hath been raised to life through My quickening breath and hath gained admittance into My heavenly Kingdom.
  • Blessed the man whom the sweet savours of reunion with Me have stirred and caused to draw nigh unto the Dayspring of My Revelation.
  • Blessed the ear that hath heard and the tongue that hath borne witness and the eye that hath seen and recognized the Lord Himself, in His great glory and majesty, invested with grandeur and dominion.
  • Blessed are they that have attained His presence.
  • Blessed the man who hath sought enlightenment from the Day-Star of My Word.
  •  Blessed he who hath attired his head with the diadem of My love.
  • Blessed is he who hath heard of My grief and hath arisen to aid Me among My people.
  • Blessed is he who hath laid down his life in My path and hath borne manifold hardships for the sake of My Name.
  • Blessed the man who, assured of My Word, hath arisen from among the dead to celebrate My praise.
  • Blessed is he that hath been enraptured by My wondrous melodies and hath rent the veils asunder through the potency of My might.
  • Blessed is he who hath remained faithful to My Covenant, and whom the things of the world have not kept back from attaining My Court of holiness.
  • Blessed is the man who hath detached himself from all else but Me, hath soared in the atmosphere of My love, hath gained admittance into My Kingdom, gazed upon My realms of glory, quaffed the living waters of My bounty, hath drunk his fill from the heavenly river of My loving providence, acquainted himself with My Cause, apprehended that which I concealed within the treasury of My Words, and hath shone forth from the horizon of divine knowledge engaged in My praise and glorification. Verily, he is of Me. Upon him rest My mercy, My loving-kindness, My bounty and My glory. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Tablets of Baha’u’llah revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas’)

January 15, 2020

1952 India: Centenary Commemoration of Tahirih's Martyrdom

Dr. Sushil Nayya, Health Minister of Delhi State, on her way to preside over the Centenary Commemoration of Tahirih's Martyrdom. (The Baha'i World 1950-1954)

January 10, 2020

1951: Fourth World Congress for World Federal Government held in Rome, Italy

The three Baha'i representatives appear in second row, far left (left to right): Prof. Mario Fiorentini, Dr. Giachery, Prof. Alessandro Bausani. (The Baha'i World 1950-1954)

January 8, 2020

How is one impressed by meeting ‘Abdu'l-Baha? – by Arthur Cuthbert *, London, 25 September, 1911

To see, hear, or meet Him can never, it seems to me, be a shock, a startling surprise, or an overwhelming impression. It is a perfectly natural and simple experience, and may even, at first seem rather disappointing; but ‘Abdu'l-Baha will ever grow upon yon, even if the meeting is only once. Gradually, you will realize, more and more, what it is you have been in the presence of and made contact with. Not a personality, nor a dazzling individual, but so wonderful a state of perfect detachment and consecration have you encountered that it seems as if you are being lovingly addressed by the Holy Spirit Itself. It is a great lesson to us of a man's perfect attainment. We see before our eyes the attitude towards God each one of its ought to assume, so that each one in his place may be fully enabled to love all mankind abundantly, and act with the greatest wisdom, always shedding round him joy and happiness.

For the remainder of the account please see Vignettes about 'Abdu'l-Baha

January 7, 2020

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s response to the news of the formation of the Spiritual Assembly of San Francisco

Through the maid servant of God, Mrs. Helen S. Goodall, to the Members of the Assembly of ‘Abdu'l-Baha, San Francisco, California.

He is God!

O ye faithful friends!

The maid servant of the Kingdom of Baha’u’llah has written the joyful news that the friends in that region have established an Assembly, have engaged in the spreading of the teachings of God and have arisen with the utmost endeavor, sincerity of intention, and enkindling with the fire of the Love of God so that that country may become a main spring of the signs, and that city become illumined, and a number of souls like stars of the Horizon of Holiness may shine in the assemblage of the Kingdom of man (humanity).

This Assembly was organized at the right time. It is my hope that it may become a magnet of confirmation. If it remains firm and steadfast this Assembly will become so illumined that it will be a full, refulgent moon in the Horizon of everlasting Glory.

Report and write to me the services which are accomplished by this Assembly so that they may become the cause of spiritual happiness and joy to the heart.

Upon thee be the Glory of God!

(Signed) ‘Abdu’l-Baha Abbas
(Star of the West vol, 2, no. 10, September 8, 1911)

January 5, 2020

Consequences of humanity not “seeking out God’s Manifestation for this age and accepting Him”

It is quite natural for anyone, observing the present state of the world, to feel very depressed and apprehensive of the future. Any intelligent person must be wondering what you are wondering. It is indeed hard to see what lies ahead of us in the near future—but we, as Bahá’ís, unlike most people, have absolute assurance that the distant future is serene and bright. We do not know if there will be another Great War; what we do know is this: that unless people become spiritually awakened in time, great suffering, maybe in the form of war, will come upon them, for humanity must be unified, must be redeemed. If men refuse absolutely to take the easier road of faith, of seeking out God’s Manifestation for this age and accepting Him, then they will bring upon themselves a fresh crisis in human affairs and very great affliction. What we, as Bahá’ís, must do is our duty; we cannot do other people’s duty for them, alas, but we can fulfil our own sacred responsibilities by serving our fellow-men, living a Bahá’í life, teaching the Faith, and strengthening its budding world order.

He urges you, just as you have surmounted the crisis in your own life, through faith and courage, to now go out and serve the Cause with that same faith and courage. We must leave to God the final reckoning with His creatures today—but meantime we must give them His Message. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 20 September 1948 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; ‘Unfolding Destiny’)

January 1, 2020

The unfoldment of “a divinely-conceived Order”

We observe how the Báb, the Forerunner, announced the impending inception of a divinely-conceived Order, how Bahá’u’lláh, the Promised One, formulated its laws and ordinances, how ‘Abdu’lBahá, the appointed Center, delineated its features, and how the present generation of their followers have commenced to erect the framework of its institutions. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (Preface to God Passes By)

December 27, 2019

The Báb’s parting words to the Letters of the Living

Having sent forth Mullá ‘Alí on his mission, the Báb summoned to His presence the remaining Letters of the Living, and to each severally He gave a special command and appointed a special task. He addressed to them these parting words:

“O My beloved friends! You are the bearers of the name of God in this Day. You have been chosen as the repositories of His mystery. It behoves each one of you to manifest the attributes of God, and to exemplify by your deeds and words the signs of His righteousness, His power and glory. The very members of your body must bear witness to the loftiness of your purpose, the integrity of your life, the reality of your faith, and the exalted character of your devotion. For verily I say, this is the Day spoken of by God in His Book: [the Qur’an] ‘On that day will We set a seal upon their mouths yet shall their hands speak unto Us, and their feet shall bear witness to that which they shall have done.’ Ponder the words of Jesus addressed to His disciples, as He sent them forth to propagate the Cause of God. In words such as these, He bade them arise and fulfil their mission: ‘Ye are even as the fire which in the darkness of the night has been kindled upon the mountain-top. Let your light shine before the eyes of men. Such must be the purity of your character and the degree of your renunciation, that the people of the earth may through you recognise and be drawn closer to the heavenly Father who is the Source of purity and grace. For none has seen the Father who is in heaven. You who are His spiritual children must by your deeds exemplify His virtues, and witness to His glory. You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? Such must be the degree of your detachment, that into whatever city you enter to proclaim and teach the Cause of God, you should in no wise expect either meat or reward from its people. Nay, when you depart out of that city, you should shake the dust from off your feet. As you have entered it pure and undefiled, so must you depart from that city. For verily I say, the heavenly Father is ever with you and keeps watch over you. If you be faithful to Him, He will assuredly deliver into your hands all the treasures of the earth, and will exalt you above all the rulers and kings of the world.’

December 24, 2019

The Guardian’s depiction of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá

…the vibrant personality of ‘Abdu’lBahá, mysterious in His essence, unique in His station, astoundingly potent in both the charm and strength of His character. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (Preface to ‘God Passes By)

December 20, 2019

The “Maxwell Home in Montreal”: - “should be viewed in the nature of a national Shrine, because of its association with the beloved Master”

The purchase of your national headquarters, he feels, was an important milestone in the history of the Faith in Canada, and he hopes that it will be put to good use, during the coming years, by your Assembly. To this institution you will soon be adding the Maxwell Home in Montreal, which should be viewed in the nature of a national Shrine, because of its association with the beloved Master, during His visit to Montreal. He sees no objection to having one room in the house being used as a little museum associated with Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 20 June 1953, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the Canadian National Spiritual Assembly’ ‘Messages to Canada’)

December 16, 2019

The Guardian’s depiction of the Báb and Baha’u’llah

… the gentle, the youthful and irresistible person of the Báb, matchless in His meekness, imperturbable in His serenity, magnetic in His utterance, unrivaled in the dramatic episodes of His swift and tragic ministry… the august figure of Bahá’u’lláh, preeminent in holiness, awesome in the majesty of His strength and power, unapproachable in the transcendent brightness of His glory. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘Preface to 'God Passes By')

December 14, 2019

The Báb’s assurance to Mullá Husayn as He sent him to diffuse His Cause: - “Until you have consummated your work, if all the darts of an unbelieving world be directed against you, they will be powerless to hurt a single hair of your head.”

Mullá Husayn, who anticipated being the chosen companion of the Báb during His pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, was, as soon as the latter decided to depart from Shíráz, summoned to the presence of his Master, who gave him the following instructions:

“The days of our companionship are approaching their end. My Covenant with you is now accomplished. Gird up the loins of endeavour, and arise to diffuse My Cause. Be not dismayed at the sight of the degeneracy and perversity of this generation, for the Lord of the Covenant shall assuredly assist you. Verily, He shall surround you with His loving protection, and shall lead you from victory to victory. Even as the cloud that rains its bounty upon the earth, traverse the land from end to end, and shower upon its people the blessings which the Almighty, in His mercy, has deigned to confer upon you. Forbear with the ‘ulamás, and resign yourself to the will of God. Raise the cry: ‘Awake, awake, for, lo! the Gate of God is open, and the morning Light is shedding its radiance upon all mankind! The promised One is made manifest; prepare the way for Him, O people of the earth! Deprive not yourselves of its redeeming grace, nor close your eyes to its effulgent glory.’ Those whom you find receptive to your call, share with them the epistles and tablets We have revealed for you, that, perchance, these wondrous words may cause them to turn away from the slough of heedlessness, and soar into the realm of the Divine presence. In this pilgrimage upon which We are soon to embark, We have chosen Quddús as Our companion. We have left you behind to face the onslaught of a fierce and relentless enemy. Rest assured, however, that a bounty unspeakably glorious shall be conferred upon you. Follow the course of your journey towards the north, and visit on your way Isfáhán, Káshán, Qum, and Tihrán. Beseech almighty Providence that He may graciously enable you to attain, in that capital, the seat of true sovereignty, and to enter the mansion of the Beloved. A secret lies hidden in that city. When made manifest, it shall turn the earth into paradise. My hope is that you may partake of its grace and recognise its splendour. From Tihrán proceed to Khurásán, and there proclaim anew the Call. From thence return to Najaf and Karbilá, and there await the summons of your Lord. Be assured that the high mission for which you have been created will, in its entirety, be accomplished by you. Until you have consummated your work, if all the darts of an unbelieving world be directed against you, they will be powerless to hurt a single hair of your head. All things are imprisoned within His mighty grasp. He, verily, is the Almighty, the All-Subduing.” 
(Chapter 3, of ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, by Nabil, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

December 11, 2019

Táhirih attracted attention from childhood – by A. L. M. Nicolas (1864-1939), French historian and orientalist

Mullá Sálih had among his children a daughter, Zarrín-Táj (Crown of Gold), [later known as Táhirih] who had attracted attention from early childhood. Instead of taking part in games and amusements like her companions, she passed hours at a time listening to her parents discuss religious matters. Her keen intelligence quickly perceived the fallacies of Islámic science without succumbing to it and soon she was able to discuss points which were most obscure and confusing. The Hadíths (traditions) held no secrets for her. Her reputation soon became widely known in the city and her fellow-citizens considered her a prodigy, and justly so. A prodigy in science, also a prodigy of beauty, for the child, as she grew to girlhood, possessed a face which shone with such radiant beauty that they named her ‘Qurratu’l-’Ayn’, which M. de Gobineau translates as ‘The Consolation of the Eyes.’ Her brother ‘Abdu’l-Vahháb-i-Qazvíní who inherited the learning and reputation of his father, himself relates, in spite of the fact that he remained, at least in appearance, a Muhammadan: ‘None of us, her brothers or her cousins dared to speak in her presence, her learning so intimidated us, and if we ventured to express some hypothesis upon a disputed point of doctrine, she demonstrated in such a clear, precise and conclusive manner that we were going astray, that we instantly withdrew confused.’

She was present at her father’s and uncle’s classes, in the same room with two or three hundred students, but always concealed behind a curtain, and more than once she refuted the explanation that these two elderly men offered upon such and such a question. Her reputation became universal throughout all Persia, and the most haughty ‘Ulamás consented to adopt some of her hypotheses and opinions. This fact is all the more extraordinary because the Shí’ite Muḥammadan religion relegates the woman almost to the level of the animal. They consider that she has no soul and exists merely for reproduction.

December 1, 2019

Not to impose one's views and interpretations of the Scriptures on others

I feel that regarding such interpretations (of verses from the Scriptures) no one has the right to impose his view or opinion and require his listeners to believe in his particular interpretation of the sacred and prophetic writings. I have no objection to your interpretations and inferences so long as they are represented as your own personal observations and reflections. It would be unnecessary and confusing to state authoritatively and officially a dogmatic Bahá’í interpretation to be universally accepted and taught by believers. Such matters I feel should be left to the personal judgement and insight of individual teachers....
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a message dated 6 April 1928 to an individual believer; ‘Unfolding Destiny’)

November 25, 2019

“love amongst the believers is the magnet which will, above all else, attract the hearts and bring new souls into the Cause”

He was very happy to hear from you, and to learn that Green Acre this year was pervaded with a love and harmony that was instrumental in confirming many new souls in the Faith. This love amongst the believers is the magnet which will, above all else, attract the hearts and bring new souls into the Cause. Because obviously the teachings - however wonderful - cannot change the world unless the Spirit of Bahá'u'lláh's love is mirrored in the Bahá'í Communities.
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 27 October 1944 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. II, Living the Life)

November 17, 2019

Baha’i requirements for a “chase and holy life”

Such a chaste and holy life, with its implications of modesty, purity, temperance, decency, and clean-mindedness, involves
  • no less than the exercise of moderation in all that pertains to dress, language, amusements, and all artistic and literary avocations.
  • It demands daily vigilance in the control of one's carnal desires and corrupt inclinations·        
  • It calls for the abandonment of a frivolous conduct, with its excessive attachment to
    • trivial and often
    • misdirected pleasures.
  • It requires total abstinence from all alcoholic drinks, from opium, and from similar habit-forming drugs.
  • It condemns
    • the prostitution of art and of literature,
    • the practices of nudism and of
    • companionate marriage,
    • infidelity in marital relationships, and
    • all manner of promiscuity,
    • of easy familiarity, and
    • of sexual vices.
  • It can tolerate no compromise with
    • the theories,
    • the standards,
    • the habits, and
    • the excesses of a decadent age.
  • Nay rather it seeks to demonstrate, through the dynamic force of its example,
    • the pernicious character of such theories,
    • the falsity of such standards,
    • the hollowness of such claims,
    • the perversity of such habits, and
    • the sacrilegious character of such excesses.
-Shoghi Effendi  (‘The Advent of Divine Justice’; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, A Chase and Holy Life)

November 15, 2019

The effect of meeting the Manifestation of God...

Adib Taherzadeh explains the effect Baha'u'llah had on those believers who came into His presence.

November 14, 2019

Indications of Baha’i “rectitude of conduct”

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 25 December 1938 to the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada, published in ‘The Advent of Divine Justice’; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Excellence in All Things)

November 8, 2019

'Abdu’l-Baha, The Center of the Covenant – by Juliet Thompson

A remarkable, inspiring, and heart-warming article by Juliet Thompson that rekindles one’s love and admiration for ‘Abdu’l-Baha.

November 7, 2019

Limitations of “the application of logical analysis” in individual interpretation of the Writings

As to the question of individual interpretation, while individual interpretation is the fruit of man's rational power and conducive to a better understanding of the teachings, the application of logical analysis has inherent limitations. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stated:

Therefore, if the criterion of reason or intellect constituted a correct and infallible standard of judgment, those who tested and applied it should have arrived at the same conclusions. As they differ and are contradictory in conclusions, it is an evidence that the method and standard of test must have been faulty and insufficient. (The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912, p. 254)

Understanding of the Writings requires belief in the Manifestation of God, for, as the Master states:

. . . the knowledge of God is the cause of spiritual progress and attraction, and through it the perception of truth, the exaltation of humanity, divine civilization, rightness of morals and illumination are obtained. (Some Answered Questions, p. 300)

Other important components in this process include an attitude of prayerful humility, acceptance of the statements of the Manifestation, confidence in the knowledge that understanding of their meaning will emerge with meditation, study of the texts and the passage of time, willingness to acknowledge that one's views may be erroneous, and, courage to follow in the direction defined by the authentic sacred texts. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 26 November 1986 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly; ‘Messages from the Universal House of justice 1986-2001’)

November 4, 2019

Shoghi Effendi’s humility and selflessness – a kind not yet known elsewhere

Colorized Photo of Shoghi Effendi
Humility of a kind not yet known elsewhere was one of Shoghi Effendi's many unique virtues, a humility which came from the conviction that man's faculties are not self-created but are a precious trust from God, not to be displayed or used overbearingly or with vanity. And yet he emanated true pride and dignity, such a regal dignity that raised him far above any man I have yet met or known.

When conversing with him, one could strongly sense this feeling of humility, while his ample brow and penetrating eyes reflected an inner light born of faith, courage and determination. One could feel an awareness that was amazing and rendered one speechless.

Shoghi Effendi's selflessness was not only outstanding but exemplary. He never placed his personal interests or desires ahead of his functions as Guardian. Those who were near to him inevitably felt that his life was something to be fully expended in the service of God and humanity, in a dedication unlike that of any other human being. When close to him I always felt the powerful process of his sublimation to the reality of the unseen world, while his body was there, near to me, like a visible, finely-tuned musical instrument whose melodies, imperceptible to the human ear, vibrated unseen through the ether.

He was always ready to give comfort, verbally or in writing, to encourage, to praise and to stimulate to such a degree that one felt the urge to place at his disposal life, time and possessions within the range of one's capacity and emotional exaltation. This was the essence of his detachment from worldly things. The less he thought of himself, the higher he soared in the sphere of spiritual authority and prestige. This was perhaps the secret of his tremendous attraction and influence upon those who came close to him.
- Hand of the Cause Ugo Giachery  (‘Shoghi Effendi – Recollections’)

November 2, 2019

Four things we “must concentrate on”

We must concentrate
  • on perfecting our characters as individual Bahá'ís, and
  • on maturing our still embryonic, and as yet improperly understood, World Order;
  • on spreading the Message, according to the provisions of the Divine Plan; and
  • on building a tightly knit world-wide Bahá'í Community.
We are relatively few in numbers, and have such a precious, unique and responsible task to carry out. We must concentrate our full forces upon it.
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 9 May 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada) – The Compilation of Compilations, vol. II, Living the Life)

October 31, 2019

The “double task of simultaneously building an ideal society and perfecting the behavior of individuals”

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 Baha'u'llah 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 pattern of those institutions which are to evolve into the structure of the divinely purposed world society. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 2 July 1996 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)

October 30, 2019

Prayer to be recited by visitors to the resting-place of Baha’u’llah’s wife, “the saintly Navváb”

O faithful ones! Should ye visit the resting-place of the Most Exalted Leaf, who hath ascended unto the Glorious Companion, stand ye and say: ‘Salutation and blessing and glory upon thee, O Holy Leaf that hath sprung from the Divine Lote-Tree! I bear witness that thou hast believed in God and in His signs, and answered His Call, and turned unto Him, and held fast unto His cord, and clung to the hem of His grace, and fled thy home in His path, and chosen to live as a stranger, out of love for His presence and in thy longing to serve Him. May God have mercy upon him that draweth nigh unto thee, and remembereth thee through the things which My Pen hath voiced in this, the most great station. We pray God that He may forgive us, and forgive them that have turned unto thee, and grant their desires, and bestow upon them, through His wondrous grace, whatever be their wish. He, verily, is the Bountiful, the Generous. Praise be to God, He Who is the Desire of all worlds; and the Beloved of all who recognize Him.
- Baha’u’llah  (Quoted by Shoghi Effendi in a letter dated December 21, 1939; ‘Messages to America’)

October 25, 2019

The eulogy of Baha’u’llah by Quddús “assumed the dimensions of five hundred thousand verses”

…Quddús, although besieged within the fort of Shaykh Tabarsí by the battalions and fire of a relentless enemy, engaged, both in the daytime and in the night-season, in the completion of his eulogy of Bahá’u’lláh—that immortal commentary on the Sád of Samad which had already assumed the dimensions of five hundred thousand verses? 
- Nabil  (‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

Please note:
The combined number of verses in the Qur'an+New Testament+Old Testament is slightly more than 37,000. 

October 12, 2019

Traditions from Prophet Muhammad concerning the city of ‘Akka – quoted by Baha’u’llah

Recent aerial view of 'Akka
  • “Akká is a city in Syria to which God hath shown His special mercy.”
  • “Of all shores the best is the shore of Askelon, and Akká is, verily, better than Askelon, and the merit of Akká above that of Askelon and all other shores is as the merit of Muhammad above that of all other Prophets. I bring you tidings of a city betwixt two mountains in Syria, in the middle of a meadow, which is called Akká. Verily, he that entereth therein, longing for it and eager to visit it, God will forgive his sins, both of the past and of the future. And he that departeth from it, other than as a pilgrim, God will not bless his departure. In it is a spring called the Spring of the Cow. Whoso drinketh a draught therefrom, God will fill his heart with light, and will protect him from the most great terror on the Day of Resurrection.” 
  • “By the shore of the sea is a city, suspended beneath the Throne, and named Akká. He that dwelleth therein, firm and expecting a reward from God—exalted be He—God will write down for him, until the Day of Resurrection, the recompense of such as have been patient, and have stood up, and knelt down, and prostrated themselves, before Him.”
  • “I announce unto you a city, on the shores of the sea, white, whose whiteness is pleasing unto God—exalted be He! It is called Akká. He that hath been bitten by one of its fleas is better, in the estimation of God, than he who hath received a grievous blow in the path of God. And he that raiseth therein the call to prayer, his voice will be lifted up unto Paradise. And he that remaineth therein for seven days in the face of the enemy, God will gather him with Khidr—peace be upon Him—and God will protect him from the most great terror on the Day of Resurrection.”
  • “There are kings and princes in Paradise. The poor of Akká are the kings of Paradise and the princes thereof. A month in Akká is better than a thousand years elsewhere.”

October 10, 2019

Meaning of firmness in the Covenant

Firmness in the Covenant means obedience, so that no one may say, 'this is my opinion,' nay rather he must obey that which proceeds from the Pen and Tongue of the Covenant. 
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (From a Tablet, Star of West, Vol. 8, no. 17, January 19, 1918)

October 8, 2019

Moses alludes to the coming of Jesus and Muhammad: – two passages from the Old Testament

Deuteronomy 18: 15-19
15. The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
16. According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
17. And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
18. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
19. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (King James Old Testament)

Deuteronomy 33: 2
2: And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. (King James Bible, Old Testament)

Explanation by Hand of the Cause George Townshend:
Moses…Prophesied (Dent. xviii 15) to the Israelites that "the Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me." This refers not only to the coming of Jesus Christ, as is usually thought, but more especially to Muhammad. Moses would have used the word "seed" if He had meant to refer to an Israelite, whereas the word "brethren" indicates that He alludes to Isaac's brother Ishmael. He connects Mount Paran explicitly with the Prophetic line when, in His final blessing before His death, He describes the Prophets who will follow Him: "The Lord came from Sinai" (meaning Himself, and rose up from Seir . . . (meaning Jesus Christ); he shined forth from mount Paran (meaning Muhammad), and he came with ten thousands of saints (meaning Bahá'u'lláh)." Deut. xxxiii 2.

On the other hand, Muhammad mentions in the Qur'án the prophecies of His coming made in the Bible (Sura 26 verses 192-199) and states that Abraham prayed for His coming (Sura 2 verses 118-144) and that He was foretold by Moses and described in the Law and the Evangel.

October 6, 2019

The Covenant of Baha’u’llah concerning ‘Abdu’l-Baha

To this same Covenant He ['Abdu'l-Baha] has in His writings referred as the “Conclusive Testimony,” the “Universal Balance,” the “Magnet of God’s grace,” the “Upraised Standard,” the “Irrefutable Testament,” “the all-mighty Covenant, the like of which the sacred Dispensations of the past have never witnessed” and “one of the distinctive features of this most mighty cycle.” 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By)