December 10, 2017

Baha’u’llah’s Tablet presented to President Roosevelt

During 1936, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada arranged “to be delivered to President Roosevelt a beautifully engrossed copy of Baha’u’llah’s Tablet to the Presidents and Rulers of the American Republics, together with two Prayers revealed by 'Abdu'l-Baha for America.”

(Baha’i News, August 1936)

December 9, 2017

Historic Rug

Some members of the famous Ahmadpur family had been in the presence of the beloved Master when the Shrine of the Bab had almost been completed. In their longing to have a share in that great and historic enterprise, they asked the Master if they could make a special carpet for the floor and send it to Haifa. He accepted their request and gave instructions as to what design they should choose for the carpet. This photo was taken after its completion and before its dispatch to the Holy Land. The people sitting in front are from the family of Haji Ahmad, in whose silk factory the Bab's body had been kept after being taken from the edge of the moat outside the city of Tabriz. This rug is now placed in the Shrine of the Bab. 
(Baha’i News, October 1964)

December 8, 2017

1964: Korea's First National Convention, April 22-25

Some of the 65 Baha'is who attended Korea's First National Convention, April 22-25, 1964, in Taegu, Korea. Hand of the Cause, Dr. Rahmat'llah Muhajir (holding the Greatest Name) also attended this historic event. 
(Baha'i News July 1964)

December 7, 2017

2002: The emerging culture in the Baha’i world community -- identified by the Universal House of Justice

The culture now emerging is one in which groups of Bahá’u’lláh’s followers explore together the truths in His Teachings, freely open their study circles, devotional gatherings and children’s classes to their friends and neighbours, and invest their efforts confidently in plans of action designed at the level of the cluster, that makes growth a manageable goal… Where Bahá’í communities are unable to free themselves from an orientation to Bahá’í life that has long outlived whatever value it once possessed, the teaching work will lack both the systematic character it requires, and the spirit that must animate all effective service to the Cause. To mistakenly identify Bahá’í community life with the mode of religious activity that characterizes the general society—in which the believer is a member of a congregation, leadership comes from an individual or individuals presumed to be qualified for the purpose, and personal participation is fitted into a schedule dominated by concerns of a very different nature—can only have the effect of marginalizing the Faith and robbing the community of the spiritual vitality available to it. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 22 August 2002 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)

December 5, 2017

November 1845: Article appears in London Times concerning the very initial persecution of the Bábis in Shiraz

The London Times of Wednesday, November 19th 1845, carried this item of news on its third page, taken from the Literary Gazette of the preceding Saturday:
MAHOMETAN SCHISM. -- A new sect has lately set itself up in Persia, at the head of which is a merchant who had returned from a pilgrimage to Mecca, and proclaimed himself a successor of the Prophet. The way they treat such matters at Shiraz appears in the following account (June 23): -- Four persons being heard repeating their profession of faith according to the form prescribed by the impostor, were apprehended, tried, and found guilty of unpardonable blasphemy. They were sentenced to lose their beards by fire being set to them. The sentence was put into execution with all the zeal and fanaticism becoming a true believer in Mahomet. Not deeming the loss of beards a sufficient punishment, they were further sentenced the next day, to have their faces blacked and exposed through the city. Each of them was led by a mirgazah[Mir-Ghadab] (executioner), who had made a hole in his nose and passed through it a string, which he sometimes pulled with such violence that the unfortunate fellows cried out alternately for mercy from the executioner and for vengeance from Heaven. It is the custom in Persia on such occasions for the executioners to collect money from the spectators, and particularly from the shopkeepers in the bazaar. In the evening when the pockets of the executioners were well filled with money, they led the unfortunate fellows to the city gate, and there turned them adrift…. 
(H.M. Balyuzi, ‘The Báb - The Herald of the Day of Days’)

December 4, 2017

1992: The Second World Congress is held in New York city

The Second World Congress, called for by the Universal House of Justice, took place in November 1992, during the Holy Year, commemorating the centenary of the Ascension of Baha'u'llah. It was held in the Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York City -- the "City of the Covenant' -- and commemorated the centenary of the Covenant of 'Abdu'l-Baha. Nearly 30,000 Baha'is made it the largest ever Baha'i gathering, and the total number of Baha'is participating was increased enormously by satellite conferences, held simultaneously in Apia, Western Samoa; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Sydney, Australia; New Delhi, India; Nairobi, Kenya; Panama City, Panama; Bucharest, Romania; Moscow, Russia; and Singapore.

The First World Congress was called to commemorate the centenary of the Declaration of Baha'u'llah (Ridvan 1963), the conclusion of the Ten Year Crusade, and the election of the Universal House of Justice. Shoghi Effendi had hoped that it would be possible to have it in Baghdad, but the situation in 'Iraq was such that the Hands of the Cause of God changed the venue to London and were able to hire the Albert Hall, which was filled to capacity by more than 7,000 Baha'is.

World Congress is a large gathering of Baha’is from all parts of the world called to commemorate special events. 
(Adapted from ‘Historical Dictionary of the Baha’i Faith’ by Hugh Adamson, and from ‘A Basic Baha’i Dictionary’, by Wendi Momen)

December 3, 2017

The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in 'Ishqabad, extensively damaged by violent earthquakes in 1948, was demolished in 1963 by the Russian authorities for safety reasons

A message from the Universal House of Justice:

August 25, 1963

To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'í World

Dear Bahá'í friends,

The whole Bahá'í World will be grief-stricken at the news of the sad fate which has overtaken the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in 'Ishqabad, the first Temple raised to the glory of Bahá'u'lláh. [The temple was located in Turkmenistan, near the Iranian border, north of the Iranian province of Khurasan ] Due to its unsafe condition, resulting from earthquakes, the building has been entirely demolished and the site cleared.

The building of this edifice, the only structure of its kind to be raised and completed in the lifetime of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, was described by the beloved Guardian as "a lasting witness to the fervour and the self-sacrifice of the Oriental believers." This "enterprise," the Guardian further wrote, "must rank not only as the first major undertaking launched through the concerted efforts of His followers in the Heroic Age of His Faith, but as one of the most brilliant and enduring achievements in the history of the first Bahá'í century." 

The Bahá'í centre in 'Ishqabad was founded in the days of Bahá'u'lláh. Already during His lifetime preliminary steps had been adopted by the friends of that community to build, in accordance with the provisions of the Most Holy Book, a Mashriqu'l- Adhkar.

December 1, 2017

Bahá'u'lláh's intelligence and perception as a child surpassed mature men

When Bahá'u'lláh was seven years old, one day His mother was watching the elegance of His bearing as He paced to and fro, and remarked 'He is somewhat short of stature.' but His father answered: 'It is of no importance. Are you not aware of His capacity and His abilities? Such intelligence! And such perception! He is as a flame of fire. Even at this young age He surpasses mature men.'
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (Quoted by Ishraq-Khavari in Risaliy-i-Ayyam-i-Tis’ih; in ‘Stories of Baha’u’llah’, compiled by Ali-Akbar Furutan)

November 30, 2017

Shoghi Effendi’s immense faith and complete reliance on the efficacy of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation

Of all the characteristics that Shoghi Effendi possessed, the one that I believe was at the very core of his personality and was deeply rooted in his soul was the immense faith he had, his complete reliance on the efficacy of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation. He clung to His Teachings with a tenacity that cannot be likened to anything. His whole being was permeated with the power of the Revelation, and this is the reason that all who came near him or in contact with him felt so safe, so assured, so regenerated.
- Hand of the Cause Ugo Giachery  (‘Shoghi Effendi – Recollections’)

November 29, 2017

January 1898 -- The first Baha'is in Kenosha, Wisconsin

The first eighteen Baha'is in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kheirall completed his first series of lessons on 1 January 1898 and brought into being the third Baha'i group in North America Byron Lane, the first Baha'i in Kenosha, is seated in the center of the second row 
(The Baha'i Faith in America)

November 28, 2017

November 1907: Representatives from various parts of America meet in Chicago to initiate the “stupendous undertaking” of erecting a House of Worship

… inspired by the example set by their fellow-disciples in Ishqabad, who had already commenced the construction of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the Bahá'í world, and afire with the desire to demonstrate, in a tangible and befitting manner, the quality of their faith and devotion, the Bahá'ís of Chicago, having petitioned 'Abdu'l-Bahá for permission to erect a House of Worship,  and secured, in a Tablet revealed in June 1903, His ready and enthusiastic approval, arose, despite the smallness of their numbers and their limited resources, to initiate an enterprise which must rank as the greatest single contribution which the Bahá'ís of America, and indeed of the West, have as yet made to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. The subsequent encouragement given them by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and the contributions raised by various Assemblies decided the members of this Assembly to invite representatives of their fellow-believers in various parts of the country to meet in Chicago for the initiation of the stupendous undertaking they had conceived. On November 26, 1907, the assembled representatives, convened for that purpose, appointed a committee of nine to locate a suitable site for the proposed Temple. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

November 27, 2017

November 1898: ‘Abdu’l-Baha ends the period of mourning for Baha’u’llah by opening His tomb to pilgrims for the first time

This event which took place on 13 November 1898 was in commemoration of the arrival of Ibrahim Kheiralla(Khayru’llah) to Akka on 11 November 1898 – “the same year that this precious Trust [the precious remains of the Báb] reached the shores of the Holy Land and was delivered into the hands of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He, accompanied by Dr. Ibrahim Khayru'llah, whom He had already honored with the titles of "Baha's Peter," "The Second Columbus" and "Conqueror of America," drove to the recently purchased site which had been blessed and selected by Bahá'u'lláh on Mt. Carmel, and there laid, with His own hands, the foundation-stone of the edifice, the construction of which He, a few months later, was to commence. About that same time, the marble sarcophagus, designed to receive the body of the Báb, an offering of love from the Bahá'ís of Rangoon, had, at 'Abdu'l-Bahá's suggestion, been completed and shipped to Haifa.” (Shoghi Effendi, ‘God Passes By’)

November 26, 2017

Ridvan 1961: Newly Elected International Baha'i Council Holds First Meeting

Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land meeting with the International Baha'i Council. From left: A. Furutan, Charles Wolcott, William Sears, Leroy Ioas,  Sylvia loas, lan Semple, John Ferraby, PauI E. Haney, Lotfullah Hakim, A. Q. Faizi, Ruhiyyih Khanum, Jessie Revell, 'Ali Nakhjavani, Ethel Revell, Mildred Mottahedeh, H. Borrah Kavelin, Jalal Khazeh.

An institution created by Shoghi Effendi in 1951 as the forerunner of the Universal House of Justice. It was invested with three functions: to forge links with the authorities in the State of Israel, to assist Shoghi Effendi in the erection of the superstructure of the Shrine of the Bab, and to conduct negotiations related to matters of personal status with the civil authorities. To these were added further functions as the Council developed. The members of the first Council were appointed by Shoghi Effendi: its President was Charles Mason Remey and its Vice-President Amelia Collins. The Council was enlarged to eight members in 1952 and to nine in 1955. Following the passing of Shoghi Effendi the Council continued to perform its duties at the World Centre under the direction of the Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land. At Ridvan 1961 the Council was elected for the first time. Its nine members were elected by the members of all the national and regional spiritual assemblies in the Baha'iworld by postal ballot. The Hands of the Cause ruled that they themselves were not eligible for election to this body. The following people were elected: Jessie Revell, 'Ali Nakhjavani, Lutfu'llah Hakim, Ethel Revell, Charles Wolcott, Sylvia Ioas, Mildred Mottahedeh, Ian Semple and H. Borrah Kavelin. These members served until the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963. 
('Baha’i Dictionary' by Wendi Momen)

November 25, 2017

Baha’u’llah requested a ten-minute meeting with the Ottoman Sultan

“ … in the Lawh-i-Ra'ís, Bahá'u'lláh, recalling His conversation with the Turkish officer charged with the task of enforcing His banishment to the fortress-town of 'Akká, has written: "There is a matter, which, if thou findest it possible, I request thee to submit to His Majesty the Sultan, that for ten minutes this Youth be enabled to meet him, so that he may demand whatsoever he deemeth as a sufficient testimony and regardeth as proof of the veracity of Him Who is the Truth. Should God enable Him to produce it, let him, then, release these wronged ones, and leave them to themselves." "He promised," Bahá'u'lláh adds in that Tablet, "to transmit this message, and to give Us his reply. We received, however, no news from him. Although it becometh not Him Who is the Truth to present Himself before any person, inasmuch as all have been created to obey Him, yet in view of the condition of these little children and the large number of women so far removed from their friends and countries, We have acquiesced in this matter. In spite of this nothing hath resulted. Umar himself is alive and accessible. Inquire from him, that the truth may be made known unto you." 
- Shoghi Effendi  ('The Promised Day is Come')

November 24, 2017

The Most Great Prison as seen in 1907

The Most Great Prison in Akka, Israel. 
This photo was taken by the late Hand of the Cause, Roy C. Wilhelm in 1907 
(Baha'i News, January 1965)

November 23, 2017

Some Tablets revealed by Baha’u’llah during the Baghdad Period (January 1852 – April 1863)

  • Az-Bágh-i-Iláhí (From the Garden of Holiness)
  • Báz-Áv-u-Bidih-Jámí (Return and grant a chalice)
  • Chihár-Vádí (The Four Valleys)
  • Ghulámu’l-Khuld (The Youth of Paradise)
  • Haft-Vádí (The Seven Valleys)
  • Hálih-Hálih-Yá Bishárat (Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad-Tidings)
  • Húr-i-'Ujáb (The Wondrous Maiden)
Brief descriptions are provided at Baha’i Historical Facts

November 22, 2017

1960: Auxiliary Board Members in North America

Hand of the Cause William Sears with the North American members of the Auxiliary Board of the Hands of the Cause, at their meeting in Wilmette, Ill., on January 9 and 10, 1960. Front row: Velma Sherrill, Katherine McLaughlin, William Sears, Rowland Estall, and Curtis Kelsey. Back row: Hushang Javid, Mildred Muttahedeh, Amoz Gibson, Margery McCormick, William deForge, Sarah Pereira, Peggy Ross, and Florence Mayberry 
(Baha'i News, April 1960)