April 28, 2017

Believers identified by the Guardian as the Disciples of Abdu'l-Baha -- "Heralds of the Covenant"

1. Dr. J.E.Esslemont: distinguished Baha'i author
2. Mr. Thornton Chase: "first Baha'i in America"
3. Mr. Howard MacNutt: noted Baha'i teacher
4. Miss Sarah Farmer:Founder of Green Acre
5. Monsieur Hippolyte Drefus-Barney: author, translator, and international promoter of the Faith
6. Miss Lillian Kappers: noted teacher of the Tarbiyat school, Tihran, Persia
7. Mr. Robert Turner: first Baha'i of the Negro race in America
8. Dr. Arthur Brauns: pioneer worker for the Faith in Germany
9. Mr. W.H. Randall: eloquent upholder of the Baha'i Cause in America
10. Mrs Lua M. Gestinger: renowned and devoted international Baha'i teacher
11. Mr. Joseph Hannan: indefatigable servant of the Cause
12. Mr. C.I. Thacher: zealous Baha'i worker
13. Mr. Ch. Greenleaf: firm supporter of the Faith
14. Mrs. J.D. Brittingham: trusted and energetic sower of the Seed
15. Mrs. Thornburgh: a pioneer of the Fith in England
16. Mrs. Helen S. Goodall: ardent establisher of the Cause in America
17. Mr. Arthur P. Dodge: staunch advocate of the Cause
18. Mr. William H. Hoar: prominent Baha'i teacher
19. Dr. J.G. Augur: pioneer of the Faith in the Pacific islands
(The Baha'i World 1928-1930)

April 27, 2017

There were 9 National Spiritual Assemblies as of 1925

*NSA of the Baha’is of Persia
* NSA of the United States and Canada
* NSA of the Baha'is of Germany
* NSA of the Baha’is of Great Britain and Ireland
* NSA of the Baha’is of India and Burma
* NSA of the Baha’is of Egypt
* NSA of the Baha’is of Turkistan
* NSA of the Baha’is of Caucasus
* NSA of the Baha’is of Iraq
(Baha’i Year Book 1925-1926)

April 26, 2017

How November 26th became known as the ‘Day of the Covenant’

The believers in the West, at the time of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, wanted to commemorate His birthday that took place on the same day that the Bab declared His Mission. ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, however, didn’t approve of this and told them that this day was not, under any circumstances, to be celebrated as His day of birth and that it should be exclusively associated with the Bab. But as the Bahá'ís begged for a day to be celebrated as His, He gave them November 26th, to be observed as the day of the appointment of the Centre of the Covenant. It was known as Jashn-i-A'zam (The Greatest Festival), because He was Ghusn-i-A'zam -- the Greatest Branch. In the West it is known as the Day of the Covenant.
(Adapted from the book, ‘The Centre of the Covenant’ by Hand of the Cause Balyuzi)

April 25, 2017

Hands of the Cause were authorized by the Guardian to appointment Auxiliary Board Members

In October 1957 Shoghi Effendi implemented this duty to safeguard the Faith, shortly before his passing, by creating an additional Auxiliary Board, whose function was to be, under the direct guidance of the Hands of the Cause, "watching over the security of the Faith". He had already stated, only five months before he passed away, in a general communication addressed to both the Hands and the National Spiritual Assemblies, that the divinely appointed Institution of the Hands of the Faith was entering a new phase in the unfoldment of "its sacred mission", and that to their other functions was now added the "primary obligation" to watch over and ensure the protection of the Bahá'í World Community "in close collaboration" with the National Assemblies.
('The Ministry of the Custodians, 1957-1963')

April 24, 2017

'Abdu'l-Baha's initial impression of New York upon His arrival in 1912

I am greatly pleased with the city of New York. Its harbor entrance, its piers, buildings and broad avenues are magnificent and beautiful. Truly, it is a wonderful city. As New York has made such progress in material civilization, I hope that it may also advance spiritually in the Kingdom and Covenant of God so that the friends here may become the cause of the illumination of America, that this city may become the city of love and that the fragrances of God may be spread from this place to all parts of the world.
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (From a talk, 11 April 1912 at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Kinney, New York; ‘The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912’)

April 23, 2017

Baha'u'llah's Lineage

He [Baha'u'llah] derived His descent, on the one hand, from Abraham (the Father of the Faithful) through his wife Katurah, and on the other from Zoroaster, as well as from Yazdigird, the last king of the Sasaniyan dynasty. He was moreover a descendant of Jesse [1], and belonged, through His father, Mirza Abbas, better known as Mirza Buzurg -- a nobleman closely associated with the ministerial circles of the Court of Fath-'Ali Shah -- to one of the most ancient and renowned families of Mazindaran.
- Shoghi Effendi  ('God Passes By')
[1] This is not Jesse the father of David, but Jesse referred to in Isaiah 11:1,10 – (David Hofman in ‘Baha'u'llah the Prince of Peace’)

April 22, 2017

1910: Some believers in America

Some believers in America in 1910:
1. Dr. Augur; 2. Mrs. Augur's maid; 3. Mrs. Coombs; 4. Miss Fletcher of NY City; 5. Mr. Remey; 6. Mrs. Sutherland; 7. Mrs. Rowland; 8. Mr. Struven; 9. Mrs. Augur; 10. Agnes Alexander; 11. Miss Johnson; 12. Virginia Rowland

April 21, 2017

The Guardian’s last absence from Haifa

On October 20th, 1957, the beloved Guardian arrived in London, accompanied by Ruhiyyih Khanum, for the purpose of ordering some furniture and objects for the interior of the International Archives Building and the Gardens above it. He chose London because it is an international centre where objects from every country can be found at much cheaper prices than probably in any other one city of the world. He planned to remain a few days and then proceed to Haifa. As was the invariable custom of the beloved Guardian during his absence from Haifa, no contact was made with any Bahá'í. Ruhiyyih Khanum attended to his mail and carried out his orders as she always did.
- Ruhiyyih Khanum  ('The Passing of Shoghi Effendi')

April 20, 2017

Baha’u’llah’s Parents

The noble families of the Nur district, including Baha’u’llah’s family, had for generations provided the kings of Iran with well-educated government officials: civil servants who would collect taxes, keep accounts, pay the army and generally administer the government. Bahalu’llah’s father, Mirza Buzurg Nuri, rose in the ranks of these civil servants to become the minister to a royal prince who was the commander of the royal guards. He was later a vizier (minister), an official responsible for the collection of taxes, in a province. He was given the village of Takur in the Nur region in lieu of salary and he built a fine mansion there by the side of the Nur river as a family home. … Baha’u’llah’s father was also renowned as a calligrapher. Indeed, his real name was ‘Abbas and he had been given the designation Buzurg (meaning “great”) by the king because of his calligraphic prowess. Read more…

- Moojan Momen  ('Baha’u’llah: A Short Biography')

April 19, 2017

Baha’u’llah’s last outstanding Tablet

We are told by the beloved Guardian that the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf is "the last outstanding Tablet revealed by the Pen of Bahá'u'lláh." (Shoghi Effendi, ‘God Passes By’)

Shoghi Effendi gave the western believers his fifth and last book of translations of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, undertaken during the winter of 1939-40 … ‘The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf’ was Bahá'u'lláh's last major work and contains a selection from His own Writings made by Himself (surely a unique occurrence in religious history!) during the last two years of His life and has therefore a special position of its own in the literature of our Faith. In a cable shortly prior to its publication Shoghi Effendi said "Devoutly hope its study may contribute further enlightenment deeper understanding verities on which effective prosecution teaching administrative undertakings ultimately depend..." 
- Ruhiyyih Khanum  (‘The Priceless Pearl’)

April 18, 2017

There are Three Versions of the Torah – ‘Abdu’l-Baha explains

…the Torah, held to be the most ancient of histories, existeth today in three separate versions: the Hebrew, considered authentic by the Jews and the Protestant clergy; the Greek Septuagint, which was used as authoritative in the Greek and other eastern churches; and the Samaritan Torah, the standard authority for that people. These three versions differ greatly, one from another, even with regard to the lifetimes of the celebrated figures.  Read more…
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (Authorized translation of unpublished Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Baha to Ethel Rosenberg in 1906 in reply to her questions about the Tablet of Wisdom. Research Department, Baha'i World Centre)

April 17, 2017

Robert Turner - one of 19 Disciples of ‘Abdu’l-Baha

Robert Turner, one of 19 Disciples of ‘Abdu’l-Baha was born on October 15, 1855 or 1856. He was the first member of the negro race in the Western Hemisphere to embrace the Faith. [Shoghi Effendi God Passes By]. Since it is estimated that Robert was born in Virginia in about 1855-56, it is possible that he was born enslaved. [The American Baha’i, November 23, 2005] He was for some 35 years a butler in the household of Phoebe Hearst, eventually becoming her personal butler -- a position of considerable responsibility. Shortly before 1898, Phoebe Hearst received Lua Getsinger in her San Francisco home. Lua introduced the Faith to her while Robert was in attendance serving tea. Naturally, he overheard the conversation and, like Mrs. Hearst, was touched by what he heard. He was with Phoebe Hearst when, in 1898, she arranged for the first group of Baha’i pilgrims to visit 'Abdu'l-Baha in 'Akka. On 10 December 1898 Robert was warmly received by 'Abdu'l-Baha Who raised him to his feet and embraced him when, on first seeing the Master, he had dropped to his knees calling out, "My Lord! My Lord! I am not worthy to be here. On a later occasion 'Abdu'l-Baha said, "Robert, your Lord loves you.” [Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Baha’] Robert later encountered many difficulties, but remained staunch in his new faith; he died in 1909 not many years after his return from the Holy Land.
(Adapted from ‘The A to Z of the Baha’i Faith, by Hugh Adamson)

April 16, 2017

Bahá'u’lláh was born into an ancient and noble family

On 12 November 1817, a child named Mirzá Husayn-'Ali was born in Tihrán, the capital of Persia. His father was a nobleman and a favored minister of Fath-'Ali Sháh; his mother was Khadijih Khánum. His family's ancestral home was in the village of Tákur in the district of Núr (Light) in the northern province of Mázindarán, which lies along the shore of the Caspian Sea. Though Mirzá Husayn-'Ali received little formal education, He showed signs in childhood of innate knowledge and unusual nobility of character -- signs that foreshadowed the divinely ordained role He would later assume as Bahá'u’lláh, the Glory of God. His revelation would shake Persia to its depths, revolutionize the fortunes of the world, and usher in a new and glorious age in human history.
- Geoffry Marks  (‘Call to Remembrance’)

April 15, 2017

History of philosophers prior to Alexander of Greece

As to what thou didst ask regarding the history of the philosophers: history, prior to Alexander of Greece, is extremely confused, for it is a fact that only after Alexander did history become an orderly and systematized discipline. One cannot, for this reason, rely upon traditions and reported historical events that have come down from before the days of Alexander. This is a matter thoroughly established in the view of all authoritative historians. How many a historical account was taken as fact in the eighteenth century, yet the opposite was proven true in the nineteenth. No reliance, then, can be placed upon the traditions and reports of historians which antedate Alexander, not even with regard to ascertaining the lifetimes of leading individuals. Read more…
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (Authorized translation of unpublished Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Baha to Ethel Rosenberg in 1906 in reply to her questions about the Tablet of Wisdom. Research Department, Baha'i World Centre. Published pp 78-81 in ‘Ethel Jenner Rosenberg, the Life and Times of England's Outstanding Baha'i Pioneer Worker’, by Robert Weinberg (George Ronald,Oxford, 1995)

April 14, 2017

'Abdu'l-Baha's initial impression of New York upon His arrival in 1912

I am greatly pleased with the city of New York. Its harbor entrance, its piers, buildings and broad avenues are magnificent and beautiful. Truly, it is a wonderful city. As New York has made such progress in material civilization, I hope that it may also advance spiritually in the Kingdom and Covenant of God so that the friends here may become the cause of the illumination of America, that this city may become the city of love and that the fragrances of God may be spread from this place to all parts of the world.
- Abdu'l-Baha  (From a talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney, 11 April 1912; ‘The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912’)

April 13, 2017

1903: American Baha’is requested permission from ‘Abdu’l-Baha for construction of a temple

Having heard enthusiastic reports of the building of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkar [Baha’i Temple] in ‘Ishqabad, Russia, the members of the Spiritual committee (better known as the "House of Spirituality") of the Chicago Assembly were inspired to supplicate to the Center of the Covenant, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, to grant permission for the second Mashriqu’l-Adhkar to be built in America. Read more…
(The Baha’i Year Book 1925-1926)

April 12, 2017

Entrance to Bahá’u’lláh's ancestral House in Takur, Persia

Entrance to Bahá’u’lláh's ancestral House in Takur, which was destroyed after the 1979 revolution in Iran.

April 10, 2017

Baha’u’llah’s Ancestral Place

Baha’u’llah’s family came from Nur, a district in the Iranian province of Mazandaran, the province in north Iran at the south end of the Caspian Sea. This province has high mountain peaks in the south descending to the northern coastal plain bordering the sea. Because of the dense sub-tropical jungles of the lower parts of the province (a stark contrast to the dry desert conditions in much of the rest of Iran), it was always difficult area for invaders to penetrate. Read more…
- Moojan Momen  ('Baha’u’llah: A Short Biography')