October 16, 2017

Shoghi Effendi – ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Eldest Grandson & His Chief Secretary

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)

October 15, 2017

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s commentary on this well-known Islamic tradition concerning God and His creation: “I was a Hidden Treasure. I wished to be made known, and thus I called creation into being in order that I might be known.”

“O wayfarer in the path of the Beloved! Know thou that the main purpose of this holy tradition is to make mention of the stages of God’s concealment and manifestation within the Embodiments of Truth, They who are the Dawning-places of His All-Glorious Being. For example, before the flame of the undying Fire is lit and manifest, it existeth by itself within itself in the hidden identity of the universal Manifestations, and this is the stage of the “Hidden Treasure”. And when the blessed Tree is kindled by itself within itself, and that Divine Fire burneth by its essence within its essence, this is the stage of “I wished to be made known”. And when it shineth forth from the Horizon of the universe with infinite Divine Names and Attributes upon the contingent and placeless worlds, this constituteth the emergence of a new and wondrous creation which correspondeth to the stage of “Thus I called creation into being”. And when the sanctified souls rend asunder the veils of all earthly attachments and worldly conditions, and hasten to the stage of gazing on the beauty of the Divine Presence and are honoured by recognizing the Manifestation and are able to witness the splendour of God’s Most Great Sign in their hearts, then will the purpose of creation, which is the knowledge of Him Who is the Eternal Truth, become manifest.” 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (Quoted in the ‘Notes” section of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice)

October 14, 2017

1953: Enoch Olinga with Elsie Austin, Knight of Baha’u’llah for Morocco

Enoch Olinga, later to be appointed a Hand of the Cause of God (second left), and Elsie Austin (right) with other Baha'is at the African Intercontinental Baha'i Conference, Kampala, Uganda, 1953. 
(Baha’i World News Service)

October 13, 2017

Baha’u’llah’s "Most Great Tablet" - the "Crimson Book"

To direct and canalize these forces let loose by this Heaven-sent process, and to insure their harmonious and continuous operation after His ascension, an instrument divinely ordained, invested with indisputable authority, organically linked with the Author of the Revelation Himself, was clearly indispensable. That instrument Bahá'u'lláh had expressly provided through the institution of the Covenant, an institution which he had firmly established prior to His ascension. This same Covenant He had anticipated in His Kitáb-i-Aqdas, had alluded to it as He bade His last farewell to the members of His family, who had been summoned to His bed-side, in the days immediately preceding His ascension, and had incorporated it in a special document which He designated as "the Book of My Covenant," and which He entrusted, during His last illness, to His eldest son 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Written entirely in His own hand ... this unique and epoch- making Document, designated by Bahá'u'lláh as His "Most Great Tablet," and alluded to by Him as the "Crimson Book" in His "Epistle to the Son of the Wolf," can find no parallel in the Scriptures of any previous Dispensation, not excluding that of the Báb Himself. For nowhere in the books pertaining to any of the world's religious systems, not even among the writings of the Author of the Báb' Revelation, do we find any single document establishing a Covenant endowed with an authority comparable to the Covenant which Bahá'u'lláh had Himself instituted. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, The Covenant)

October 12, 2017

1989: Hand of the Cause of God Collis Featherstone and his wife, Madge, with some friends in Thailand

The Hand of the Cause of God Collis Featherstone and his wife, Madge, are pictured with some of the friends at a refugee camp in Thailand during their tour of Southeast Asia in 1989. Mr. Featherstone was taken ill while visiting Nepal in September and passed away on September 29 in Kathmandu. 
(Baha'i News, September/October 1990)

October 11, 2017

Worldwide Plans by the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice

... we should never forget that the beloved Guardian's Ten Year Crusade, the current Nine Year Plan, other plans to follow throughout successive epochs of the Formative Age of the Faith, are all phases in the implementation of the Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, set out in fourteen of His Tablets to North America. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan 1971 message to the Baha’i World; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’)

October 10, 2017

October 8, 2017

The “Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and of the Tablets of the Divine Plan” are “the two charters provided by the Master for the administration and the teaching of the Cause of God.”

As we contemplate the fruits of the Master's Ministry harvested during the first fifty years of the Formative Age, a period dominated by the dynamic and beloved figure of Shoghi Effendi, whose life was dedicated to the systematic implementation of the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and of the Tablets of the Divine Plan -- the two charters provided by the Master for the administration and the teaching of the Cause of God - we may well experience a sense of awe at the prospect of the next fifty years. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From Ridvan 1971 message to the Baha’i World; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’) 

October 7, 2017

Dr. Furutan - One of the Principals of Tarbiyat School, Secretary of Iranian National Spiritual Assembly for 24 years, One of the Nine Custodial Hands of the Cause

Hand of the Cause Dr. 'Ali-Akbar Furutan
In the face of sustained persecution, Dr. Furutan's family left their native city of Sabzivir in Khurasan, Persia, in 1914 and settled in Ashkhabad, Russia. As a youth he became an active member of the local Baha'i community and, whilst still in his teens, became a teacher in its school. In 1926 he won a scholarship to the University of Moscow to study education and child psychology. In 1930 he returned to Iran where he established a school for Baha'i children in one of the villages. Dr. Furutan was appointed as principal of the Tarbiyat School for boys until its closure in 1934, and wrote study books for Baha’i children’s classes which are still in use. In April 1934 he was elected to the newly formed National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran and served as its secretary until the passing of Shoghi Effendi in November of 1957. Dr. Furutan was appointed a Hand of the Cause by Shoghi Effendi, in the first contingent of Hands, in December 1951. In 1957 he became one of the nine custodial Hands of the Cause in Haifa. Dr. Furutan’s Persian publications are extensive, and several have been translated into English. 
(Adapted from ‘A Concise Encyclopedia of the Baha’i Faith’, by Peter Smith)

October 6, 2017

November 12, 1817: Bahá'u'lláh is born

There was born a Child in an ancient and noble family of Núr, whose father was Mirzá Abbás, better known as Mirzá Buzurg, a favoured minister of the Crown. That Child was Bahá'u'lláh. At the hour of dawn, on the second day of Muharram, in the year 1233 A.H. [12 November 1817 A.D.] the world, unaware of its significance, witnessed the birth of Him who was destined to confer upon it such incalculable blessings. 
- Nabil  (‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated. and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

October 5, 2017

Shoghi Effendi - A unique figure in history who has had an impact on the entire planet over a third of a century

Shoghi Effendi's divine and indefeasible right to assume the helm of the Cause of God had been fully vindicated through thirty-six years of unremitting, heartbreaking toil. It would be hard indeed to find a comparable figure in history who, in a little over a third of a century, set so many different operations in motion, who found the time to devote his attention to minute details on one hand and on the other to cover the range of an entire planet with his plans, his instructions, his guidance and his leadership. He had laid the foundations of that future society Bahá'u'lláh had fathered upon the mind of the Master, and which He in turn had gestated to a point of perfection, passing it upon His death into the safe hands of His successor. 
- Ruhiyyih Khanum  (‘The Guardian of the Baha'i Faith’)

October 4, 2017

Nabil submits the finished portions of the Dawn-Breakers to Baha’u’llah in December 1888

Nabil wrote The Dawn-Breakers for Bahá'u'lláh. He started the chronicle in 1888 and finished it in about a year and a half. Mirza Musa helped him with it; some parts of the manuscript were reviewed by Bahá'u'lláh, and some by the Master.

Nabil lived in 'Akká then, and when he had brought his narrative down to the point where the story of the Seven Martyrs was ended, he submitted the finished portions to Bahá'u'lláh, Who sent for him on December 11, 1888, a date Nabil records as one he will never forget. On that occasion, his Lord gave him an account of various historical episodes, including the gathering at Badasht.

He wrote: ‘At this stage of my narrative I was privileged to submit to Bahá'u'lláh such sections of my work as I had already revised and completed. How abundantly have my labours been rewarded by Him whose favour alone I seek, and for whose satisfaction I have addressed myself to this task! He graciously summoned me to His presence and vouchsafed me His blessings. I was in my home in the prison-city of 'Akká, and lived in the neighbourhood of the house of Aqay-i-Kalim, when the summons of my Beloved reached me. That day, the seventh of the month of Rabi'u'th-Thani in the year 1306 A.H., [December 11, 1888 A.D.] I shall never forget.’ (‘The Dawn-Breakers’)

October 3, 2017

December 1843: Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashti passes away

He was a disciple and the chosen successor of Shaykh Ahmad, who together were referred to by Baha’u’llah as the “twin resplendent lights” (Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 65) – both were forerunners of the Báb.

Siyyid Kazim was born in Rasht, Iran, in 1793, and as a boy showed great intellect and spirituality. At the age of twenty-two he went to Yazd, became a disciple of a Shaykh Ahmad and was designated to succeed him and continue the work of preparing his disciples to recognize the Promised Qa'im. After Shaykh Ahmad's death, the tide of opposition to Shayhi doctrines rose and Siyyid Kazim was attacked and denounced by the 'ulama.

Siyyid Kazim knew the identity of the Promised One and alluded to it clearly when Siyyid 'Ali-Muhammad (the Báb) attended his lecture one day in Karbila. Seeing Him, Siyyid Kazim fell silent. When asked to continue his discourse he said: 'What more shall I say? . . . Lo, the Truth is more manifest than the ray of light that has fallen upon that lap!" But none understood his meaning.

Towards the end of his life, feeling that the advent of the Qa'im was at hand, he charged his disciples to scatter and search for the Promised One. One of those who arose in response was Mulla Husayn, the first to find the Báb. Siyyid Kazim died on 31 December 1843, less than six months before the Declaration of the Báb. 
(Adapted from ‘A Basic Baha’i Dictionary’ by Wendi Momen)

October 2, 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. 
(Baha'i Media Bank)

October 1, 2017

1912: ‘Abdu’l-Baha in New York

'Abdu'l-Baha with His entourage and Arthur P. Dodge walking along Riverside Drive, New York

September 30, 2017

1967: Consummation of six Intercontinental Conferenced attended by 9,200 believers

- The Universal House of Justice  (Cablegram from the Universal House of Justice dated 15 October 1967; Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

September 29, 2017

June 1877: Baha’u’llah left the city of ‘Akka

- The Universal House of Justice  (Cablegram from the Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 1977; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

September 28, 2017

The “first Local Spiritual Assembly in Latin America was formed in Mexico City”

Conscious of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's impassioned plea to promulgate the oneness of mankind to a spiritually impoverished humanity, a handful of itinerant Bahá'í' teachers set forth four decades ago, traversed the land bridge connecting the two continents of the Western Hemisphere and carried the healing Message of Bahá'u'lláh to the Spanish-American Republics. Their dedicated efforts were rewarded when, in 1938, the first Local Spiritual Assembly in Latin America was formed in Mexico City. This initial triumph at the inception of the first of the teaching plans formulated by Shoghi Effendi spearheaded other victories leading to the formation of two, then of four Regional Spiritual Assemblies and ultimately to the establishment of National Spiritual Assemblies in each of the republics of Latin America and in the islands of the Caribbean. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated February 1977; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)