June 22, 2017

Successive Stages in the Transfer of the Remains of the Bab from Persia to the Holy Land and the Erection of His Mausoleum on Mount Carmel

  • Execution of the Bab in Tabriz and the exposure of His mangled body on the edge of the moat outside the city, July 9, 1850.
  • Wrapping of His remains in a cloak, their secret removal to the silk factory owned by one of the believers of Milan and their deposition in a small wooden casket, July 11, 1850.
  • Transportation, in accordance with Baha'u’llah's instructions, of the casket to Tihran and its concealment in the shrine of Imam-Zadih Hasan.
  • Removal of the remains to the home of Haji Sulayman Khan and their subsequent transfer to the shrine of Imam-Zadih Ma’sum.
  • Instructions issued by Baha'u'llah, while in Adrianople, to Mulla-'Ali Akbari-Sahmirzadi and Jaml-i-Burujirdi, to transfer the casket to a safer hiding place, and its temporary concealment within a wall of the Masjid-i-Masha’u’llah outside the gates of the capital, 1867-1868.
  • Detection of the hiding place of the casket and its smuggling into Tihran and its deposition in the house of Mirza Hasan-i-Vazir, a believer and- son-in-law of Haji Mirza Siyyid 'Aliy-i-Tafrishi, the Majdu'l-Ashraf.

June 21, 2017

Years 1843-1844 were a Time of Great Expectation Worldwide

Around the world, believers of different faiths -- Hindus, Buddhists, Zoroasrrians, Jews, Christians, Muslims, American Indians – all, expected the coming of a Great World Teacher. Many Christians expected the return of Christ, and these very years --1843-1844-were a time of great expectation. Bible scholars studying independently in different parts of the world had arrived at the same exciting conclusion: This was the time promised for Christ’s return!

"Now is the hour!" was announced from pulpits in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Australia. "Christ may come at any moment," was the message. "Watch, therefore, and pray." The message of Christ's return and the coming of the judgment hour was written in pamphlets and reported in the press. More than a thousand ministers in Great Britain and America alone preached the news. One of these was the eloquent evangelist Harriet Livermore [1], who not only preached throughout the United States, but also at the seat of power -- the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.

Livermore, who was the daughter of a former Congressman, had persuaded the Speaker of the House to allow her to address Congress on more than one occasion. Increasingly her attention had become more focused on her belief in the imminent return of Christ. In 1843, from the Speaker's chair in the House of Representatives, she shared her passion with an estimated crowd of a thousand -- so many that the doors were left open for spectators, who lined up outside the hall and into the street. Harriet Livermore herself would travel five times to Jerusalem, for it was there, she felt that Christ would appear.

June 20, 2017

Agnes Alexander reaches Japan in November 1914

Born into a Hawaiian Christian missionary family in 1875, Agnes became a Baha'i during a visit to Italy in 1900. She returned to Hawaii in December 1901 as the first Baha'i on the islands, and become instrumental in the growth of a Baha'i community there. After the deaths of her parents she moved to the American mainland, and then, at the request of 'Abdu'l-Baha, moved to Japan, reaching there in November 1914. She worked with George Augur and his wife to establish a Baha'i community, spending much of the rest of her life in Japan. Agnex Alexander was also the first Baha’i to present the Baha'i teachings in Korea (1921). Shoghi Effendi appointed her a Hand of the Cause on 27 March 1957. She died in Hawaii in 1971. 
(Adapted from ‘A Concise Encyclopedia of the Baha’i Faith’, by Peter Smith)

June 19, 2017

Permission given to Auxiliary Boards to appoint Assistance

In October 1973, the Universal House of Justice gave the “Continental Board of Counsellors the discretion to authorize individual Auxiliary Board members to appoint assistants … The exact nature of the duties and the duration of the appointment of the assistants is also left to each Continental Board to decide for itself. Their aims should be to activate and encourage Local Spiritual Assemblies, to call the attention of Local Spiritual Assembly members to the importance of holding regular meetings, to encourage local communities to meet for the Nineteen Day Feasts and Holy Days, to help deepen their fellow-believers' understanding of the Teachings, and generally to assist the Auxiliary Board members in the discharge of their duties. Appointments may be made for a limited period, such as a year or two, with the possibility of reappointment. Believers can serve at the same time both as assistants to Auxiliary Board members and on administrative institutions.” 
- The Universal House of Justice  (Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963 to 1986)

June 18, 2017

Jan. 1960: Horace Holley Left U.S. for Holy Land after Thirty-Six Years Service on U.S. National Spiritual Assembly

On March 12, 1923, the beloved Guardian addressed a letter to the Baha'is throughout America, Great Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, and Australia emphasizing the responsibility of believers in spreading the Teachings and in establishing local assemblies in all cities having nine or more adult Baha'is. In the same letter the institution of the National Spiritual Assembly was presented in detail.

During Ridvan of that year there were elected for the first time local and national institutions having the functions of spiritual assemblies as we now recognize them in East and West. Horace Holley was elected a member of the New York Local Spiritual Assembly and of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada that year. He has continued his services on the National Spiritual Assembly for thirty-six years without interruption, and has been its secretary since 1924. He has therefore been an active participant in the evolution of the Baha'i community throughout all its stages of administrative development following the ascension of 'Abdu'l-Baha, including the two seven-year teaching plans formulated by the Guardian, the celebration of tine Centenary of the Bab, the celebration of the Centenary of Baha'u'llah, and the Guardian's World Crusade up to the present hour.  Read more
-U.S. National Spiritual Assembly (Baha’i News, January 1960)

June 17, 2017

June 17, 2017 - First Baha’i to live in Vancouver, Canada

In April of 1920, Marion Jack [then 56 years old] moved to Vancouver and was the first Baha'i to live there. She worked with Mrs. Laura Luther of Seattle to arrange for the visit of Jenab-i-Fadl Mazandarani to Vancouver. He spent seven days there in January and February of 1921. As a result of the teaching efforts made during this visit, four people became Baha’is. Marion stayed a few months longer in order to deepen the new believers and in 1922 returned to New Brunswick …
('Marion Jack Immortal Heroine', publication Baha’i Canada, 1985) (For a brief write-up about Marion Jack, please visit Baha’i Heroes and Heroines)

June 16, 2017

Socrates, Hippocrates and other Greek philosophers visited Palestine and acquired wisdom from the Jewish prophets

This unique Personage [Moses], single and alone, rescued the children of Israel from bondage through the power of religious training and discipline. He led them to the Holy Land and founded there a great civilization which has become permanent and renowned and under which these people attained the highest degree of honor and glory. He freed them from bondage and captivity. He imbued them with qualities of progressiveness and capability. They proved to be a civilizing people with instincts toward education and scholastic attainment. Their philosophy became renowned; their industries were celebrated throughout the nations. In all lines of advancement which characterize a progressive people they achieved distinction. In the splendor of the reign of Solomon their sciences and arts advanced to such a degree that even the Greek philosophers journeyed to Jerusalem to sit at the feet of the Hebrew sages and acquire the basis of Israelitish law. According to eastern history this is an established fact. Even Socrates visited the Jewish doctors in the Holy Land, consorting with them and discussing the principles and basis of their religious belief. After his return to Greece he formulated his philosophical teaching of divine unity and advanced his belief in the immortality of the spirit beyond the dissolution of the body. Without doubt, Socrates absorbed these verities from the wise men of the Jews with whom he came in contact. Hippocrates and other philosophers of the Greeks likewise visited Palestine and acquired wisdom from the Jewish prophets, studying the basis of ethics and morality, returning to their country with contributions which have made Greece famous. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk, 12 October 1912, San Francisco, California; ‘The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912’)

June 15, 2017

“The Báb wrote a letter containing three hundred and sixty derivatives of the root Baha” – Baha’u’llah’s name

The Báb announced that the greater Manifestation would take place after Him and called the Promised One "Him Whom God shall make manifest," saying that nine years later the reality of His own mission would become apparent. In His writings He stated that in the ninth year this expected One would be known; in the ninth year they would attain to all glory and felicity; in the ninth year they would advance rapidly. Between Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb there was communication privately. The Báb wrote a letter containing three hundred and sixty derivatives of the root Baha. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk, 18 April 1912, New York; ‘The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912’)

June 13, 2017

Fate of those who persecuted the Báb

  • Muhammad Shah, who disregarded the appeal of the Báb  to meet Him in person and plead His Cause, sustained a sudden reverse of fortune, and succumbed, at the age of forty, to a complication of maladies.
  • Nasiri’d-Din Shah, during whose reign the Báb  was executed, and under whose aegis the greatest massacre of the Bábis  took place, was, in the plenitude of his power, dramatically assassinated on the eve of his jubilee. The Qajar dynasty, to which he belonged, was subsequently brought to an ignominious end.
  • Haji Mirza Aqasi, the Grand Vazir of Muhammad Shah and chief instigator of the outrages perpetrated against the Báb , was disgraced by his sovereign, lost his fortune, was expelled to Karbila, and became a victim of disease and poverty.
  • Miza Taqi Khan, the Amir Nizam, the Grand Vazir of Nasiri'd-Din Shah, who was directly responsible for the execution of the Báb , was disgraced and put to death by royal order in the bath of the Palace of Fin, near Kashan.
  • Mirza Hasan Khan, who carried out the execution of the Báb , was subjected, two years after, to a dreadful punishment which ended in his death.
  • Miza ‘Ali-Asghar, the Shaykhu’l-Islam of Tabriz, who inflicted the bastinado on the Báb  with his own hand, was stricken, in that same year, with paralysis, and died a miserable death.
  • The Regiment, which constituted the firing squad that executed the Báb , lost, in that same year, two hundred and fifty of its officers and men in an earthquake near Ardibil, while the remaining five hundred were shot, two years later, in Tabriz, for mutiny. The head of the regiment, Aqa Jan Big, lost his life, six years after the Martyrdom of the Báb , during the bombardment of Muhammarih by the British.
  • The Shi’ih Sacerdotal, which violently opposed the Báb , aroused the populace and instigated the government against Him, was discredited, fell from power, and ceased to exercise its paramount influence on both the people and the government.          
('The Baha’i Faith 1844 -1963, Statistical and Comparative', compiled by the Hands of the Cause Residing in the Holy Land)

June 12, 2017

Baha’u’llah was released from Siyah-Chal in December 1852

It was during the month of December in 1852 that Baha’u’llah was released from the Siyah-Chal (Black Pit) of Tehran. Here is how Baha’u’llah’s daughter, Bahiyyih Khanum, the Greatest Holy Leaf, recalled the circumstances involved many years later:

We listened eagerly to the accounts she [her mother, Asiyih Khanum] gave to my uncle [Baha’u’llah’s faithful brother, Mirza Musa]. This information came through the kindness of a sister of my grandfather, who was married to Mirza Yusif, a Russian subject, and a friend of the Russian Consul in Tihran. This gentleman, my great uncle by marriage, used to attend the courts to find out some particulars as to the victims chosen for execution day by day, and thus was able to relieve to some extent my mother's overwhelming anxiety as these appalling days passed over us.

It was Mirza Yusif, who was able to help my mother about getting food taken to my father, and who brought us to the two little rooms near the prison, where we stayed in close hiding. He had to be very careful in thus defying the authorities, although the danger in this case was mitigated by the fact of his being under the protection of the Russian Consulate, as a Russian subject.

Nobody at all, of all our friends and relations, dared to come to see my mother during these days of death, but the wife of Mirza Yusif, the aunt of my father.

One day the discovery was made by Mirza Yusif that our untiring enemies, the most fanatical of the mullas, were plotting the death of Mirza Husayn 'Ali Nuri [Baha’u’llah], my father. Read more
- Lady Blomfield  ('The Chosen Highway')

June 11, 2017

Queen Marie of Rumania

In his monumental history of the first century of the Baha'i Era, God Passes By, Shoghi Effendi has referred at some length to the conversion of Marie, Queen of Rumania, and her services to the Baha'i Faith. In other works, too, he has strongly emphasized the great importance of these thrilling events.

Marie was born at Eastwell in Kent, England, on 29th October 1875. Her father Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, was the second son of Queen Victoria. Her mother, the former Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna, was the only daughter of Czar Alexander II. On 10th January 1893, Marie married Prince Ferdinand, nephew of King Carol and Queen Carmen Silva of Rumania.
- O.Z. Whitehead  (‘Some Early Baha’is of the West’)

June 10, 2017

1914 -- First group photograph taken of 'Abdu'l-Baha in the Holy Land

'Abdu'l-Baha with some pilgrims and resident Baha'is gathered at the Shrine of the Bab on Mount Carmel

June 9, 2017

Some religious references to the city of 'Akka

'Akká had achieved fame more than once in its long history. It had refused to bow to mighty conquerors. Prophets of Israel as well as the Prophet of Arabia had alluded to it in terms that exalted it above other towns and cities of glittering splendour. Hosea had said that 'Akká was 'a door of hope'. Ezekiel had referred to it as 'the gate that looketh toward the east' to which 'the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east' It was Ptolemais in the days when Jesus walked the Mediterranean shore. And Muhammad had said: 'Blessed the man that hath visited 'Akká, and blessed he that hath visited the visitor of 'Akká . . . A month in 'Akká is better than a thousand years elsewhere.' 
- Hand of the Cause, Balyuzi  (‘Abdu'l-Baha - The Centre of the Covenant’; citations from God Passes By, by Shoghi Effendi. See also Hosea ii. I5, and Ezekiel xliii. I-2. Hosea refers to it as ‘the valley of Achor’)

June 7, 2017

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s eldest grandson became His chief secretary in 1918

Shoghi Effendi was the eldest son of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s daughter Diya’iyyih Khanum (d. 1951) and Mirza Hadi Shirazi Afnan (d. 1955). He was born in ‘Akka on 1 March 1897, the eldest of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s grandsons, named in the Master’s Will as His successor when he was still a child. Educated at first at home with other children of the household, he was later sent to Catholic school in Haifa and Beirut and then to the Syrian Protestant College (the predecessor of the American University) in Beirut, spending his summer holidays as one of his grandfather’s assistants. He gained an arts degree from the college in 1918, and became ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s chief secretary. Then in 1920, he went to Oxford University (Balliol College), where he studied political science and economics, and also sought to perfect his English so as to be better able to translate Baha’i literature into that language. He was still in the midst of his studies when summoned to return to Haifa at the news of his grandfather’s death. 
- Peter Smith  (A Concise Encyclopedia of the Baha’i Faith)

June 6, 2017

First issue of the newsletter 'Baha’i Quarterly' by NSA of Australia

During October 1936, the National Assembly of Australia published the first issue of a newsletter entitled Baha’i Quarterly. As affirmed by his secretary, the Guardian “read it all through with the deepest pleasure and satisfaction.” A message from Father and Mother Dunn addressed to their spiritual children, which appeared in this quarterly, contained these remarks:

Our appeal to the Baha'i world would be to follow the call and desire of our beloved Guardian to read and study the 'Divine Plan' ... It might quicken some . . . to realize that it was the reading of the 'Divine Plan' that caused Mother and this servant to give up everything in America and travel to Australia for the purpose of promoting the Baha'i message on this great continent ... Pioneers must be strong and ready to face all the hardships that may appear on their path. These are as naught compared with the delights of loving response and the confirmation that follow. 
- O.Z. Whitehead  (‘Some Baha’is to Remember’)

June 5, 2017

Albert Hall - President of Bahai Temple Unity and Chairman of Annual Convention of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada – 1910 to 1914

Albert Hall will ever be remembered for his services in the early development of the Bahai Temple Unity, the body entrusted with the building of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar in America.

From 1910 to 1914, Albert H. Hall was selected each year as chairman of the Annual Convention; he was elected a member of the Baha’i Temple Unity during the same period, and was chosen as its president in 1911, which position he held up to and during the year 1914.

At the Convention of 1910, when Mr. Hall was unanimously chosen Chairman, he said: "God chooses the weak things to confound the mighty. You have made the choice of a weak instrument. I feel very weak and lowly, as nothing, and I would not bear the responsibility of this place were I not possessed with the sense of my own emptiness, seeking only the in pouring of His Spirit, strength and wisdom. This Convention but now called to order, has been in conscious, silent session for several hours. There is no need of any introduction. The opening of this Convention was sung in the heart of every one of you who turned his face to the East this morning, and if you did not then catch the message of love and unity in all its fullness, it has beautifully sounded in your ears as the inspiring Tablet has been read [refers to Tablet regarding Mashriqu’l-Adhkar received in March, 1910] There is no other word to be uttered. It is for us now to address ourselves directly to the work in hand. We are here representing the Baha’i Assemblies throughout America and Canada, to bring home the substantial offerings of our sacrifice, to encourage each other with the report of our work not to boast or overstate it. We must face His Truth just as it is. Do not let us delude ourselves. They are the worst deluded in the world who are self deluded. We are not afraid nor ashamed of the situation, but of ourselves that is all. Let us seek knowledge with the light of Truth and the Truth shall make us free." – Read more…
(Star of the West, vol. 11)

June 4, 2017

Shoghi Effendi was more akin physically to his great-grandfather, Bahá'u'lláh

Fine-boned, even as a mature man, shorter than his grandfather had been, Shoghi Effendi was more akin physically to his great-grandfather, Bahá'u'lláh. He told me himself that 'Abdu'l-Bahá's sister, the Greatest Holy Leaf, would sometimes take his hand in hers and say "These are like the hands of my father". They were what I call intellectual hands, more square than tapering, strong, nervous, the veins standing out, very expressive in their gestures, very assured in their motions. 
- Ruhiyyih Khanum  (‘The Priceless Pearl’)