October 17, 2016

1979-1986 – Compilations from the Writings prepared by the Baha’i World Centre

During the Seven Year Plan [1979-1986] the Universal House of Justice sent to the Bahá'í world compilations on the following subjects:
  • Inspiring the Heart (24 October 1979)
  • Divorce (18 January 1980)
  • The Importance of Prayer, Meditation, and the Devotional Attitude (31 March 1980)
  • Attendance at National Spiritual Assembly Meetings (26 October 1980);
  • The Assistance of God (24 August 1981)
  • Prayers and Passages from the Holy Writings (16 September 1991)
  • Excellence in All Things (23 November 1981)
  • Family Life (18 February 1982)
  • The Importance of Deepening Our Knowledge and Understanding of the Faith (13 January 1983)
  • The Law of Huququ'lláh (4 July 1985)
  •  Peace (9 August 1985)
  • Women (1 January 1986)
  • The Epochs of the Formative Age (5 February 1986)
  • Translations: The Long Healing Prayer and the Fire Tablet (13 August 1980)
  • Translations: A prayer of 'Abdu'l-Bahá for martyred Bahá'ís and their relatives (11 January 1983).
All of the compilations except those on Inspiring the Heart, Attendance at National Spiritual Assembly Meetings, and Prayers and Passages from the Holy Writings, can be found in The Compilation of Compilations. 
(Footnote to the message from the Universal House of justice dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 15, 2016

1878 & 1882: Bahá’u’lláh responds to questions raised by Mánikchí Sáhib, a prominent Indian Zoroastrian

An able diplomat and devoted adherent of his ancestral religion, Mánikchí Sáhib was appointed, in 1854, as an emissary on behalf of the Parsees of India to assist their coreligionists in Iran, who were suffering under the repressive policies of the Qájár monarchs. Sometime after this he attained the presence of Bahá’u’lláh in Baghdad. Although maintaining to the end of his life allegiance to his Zoroastrian faith, he was attracted to the teachings of the new religion and, moved by the sacrifice of its early martyrs, became a lifelong admirer. Years after their meeting he posed a series of questions to Bahá’u’lláh’s which led to the revelation of two Tablets of far-reaching significance, the first of which was sent to him in 1878.

The first Tablet, known as the Lawh-i-Mánikchí Sáhib, is celebrated for its striking and well-known passages epitomizing the universality of Bahá’u’lláh’s prophetic claim. Revealed, at Mánikchí Sáhib’s bold request, in pure Persian, the Tablet responds to the questions he had raised and proclaims some of the central tenets of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh: “Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and centre your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.” “Turn your faces from the darkness of estrangement to the effulgent light of the daystar of unity.” “Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.” “[W]hatsoever leadeth to the decline of ignorance and the increase of knowledge hath been, and will ever remain, approved in the sight of the Lord of creation.”

October 13, 2016

October 13, 2016 – Conclusion of a century-long process of raising up continental Baha’i Houses of Worship around the world

The dedication of the Baha’i House of Worship taking place in Santiago, Chile, signifies a historic conclusion to a century-long process of raising up continental Baha’i Houses of Worship around the world.

A House of Worship is a pivotal institution of Baha’i community life, ordained by Baha’u’llah as a sacred structure open to all and referred to as “Mashriqu’l-Adhkar”, which translates to “Dawning Place of the Mention of God.”

The first Baha’i House of Worship was completed in 1908 in the city of Ishqabad in Russian Turkistan (now Ashgabat, Turkmenistan).  The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar complex included the central Temple, a travellers’ hospice, schools, medical and other facilities. After being expropriated by the Soviet authorities, the House of Worship was seriously damaged in an earthquake and eventually demolished in 1963.

October 10, 2016

Naw-Ruz 1979: Some of the countries where the Bahá'í Administration couldn’t operate or had been disbanded

Even in those countries where the Bahá'í Administration cannot operate or has had to be disbanded, countries to which have now been added Afghanistan, the Congo Republic, Niger, Uganda and Vietnam, the believers, while obedient to their governments, nevertheless staunchly keep alive the flame of faith. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 8, 2016

French historian A. L. M. Nicolas comments on the condition of Persia at the time of the appearance of the Báb and the gradual unfoldment of His Divine Mission

Everyone agrees in acknowledging that it would be absolutely impossible for him to proclaim loudly his doctrine or to spread it among men. He had to act as does a physician to children, who must disguise a bitter medicine in a sweet coating in order to win over his young patients. The people in the midst of whom he appeared were, and still are, alas, more fanatical than the Jews were at the time of Jesus, when the majesty of Roman peace was no longer there to put a stop to the furious excesses of religious madness of an over-excited people. Therefore, if Christ, in spite of the relative calm of the surroundings in which He preached, thought it necessary to employ the parable, Siyyid ‘Alí-Muḥammad, [the Báb] a fortiori, was obliged to disguise his thought in numerous circuitous ways and only pour out, one drop at a time, the filter of his divine truths. He brings up his child, Humanity; he guides it, endeavoring always not to frighten it and directs its first steps on a path which leads it slowly but surely, so that, as soon as it can proceed alone, it reaches the goal pre-ordained for it from all eternity.
- A. L. M. Nicolas  (Introduction to volume I of “Le Bayán Persan” (pp. 3–5); inserted footnote by Shoghi Effendi in ‘The Dawn-Breakers’)

October 6, 2016

Naw-Ruz 1979: “In the world at large the Bahá'í community is now firmly established.”

- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 4, 2016

Naw-Ruz 1979: Worldwide –> 96,000 Localities, 22,000 Local Spiritual Assemblies, 125 National Spiritual Assemblies

The teaching victories in that Plan have been truly prodigious; the points of light, those localities where the Promised One is recognized, have increased from sixty- nine thousand five hundred to over ninety-six thousand; the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies has grown from seventeen thousand to over twenty-five thousand; eighteen new National Spiritual Assemblies have been formed. The final report will disclose in all their manifold aspects the magnitude of the victories won. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 2, 2016

1979: Violent disturbances in Persia

Destruction of the House of the Báb
The violent disturbances in Persia, coinciding with the gathering in of the bountiful harvest of the Five Year Plan, [1974-1979] have brought new and cruel hardships to our long-suffering brethren in the Cradle of our Faith and confronted the Bahá'í world community with critical challenges to its life and work. As the Bahá'í world stood poised on the brink of victory, eagerly anticipating the next stage in the unfoldment of the Master's Divine Plan, Bahá'u'lláh's heroic compatriots, the custodians of the Holy Places of our Faith in the land of its birth, were yet again called upon to endure the passions of brutal mobs, the looting and burning of their homes, the destruction of their means of livelihood, and physical violence and threats of death to force them to recant their faith. They, like their immortal forebears, the Dawn-Breakers, are standing steadfast in face of this new persecution and the ever-present threat of organized extermination. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

September 28, 2016

1974-1979: Outpouring of pioneers and funds by Persian believers

…during the Five Year Plan [1974-1979] the Persian friends far surpassed any other national community in their outpouring of pioneers and funds…
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

September 25, 2016

January 1978: First International Bahá'í Women's Conference in South America

3 January 1978
To the First International Bahá'í Women's Conference in South America


(Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986)

September 20, 2016

February 1925: American Baha’is assist Persian believers -- Flood destroyed 500 Baha’i homes in Nayriz

On February 6, the National Spiritual Assembly received the following cablegram from Shoghi Effendi: “Flood destroyed 500 Baha’i homes in Nayriz. Grave disaster. May America contribute her share.” In response to this urgent appeal, the National Treasurer transmitted to Shoghi Effendi by cable within a few days, the sum of fifteen hundred dollars. Telegrams were immediately sent to the ten largest Assemblies asking them to make a special contribution to the National Fund by wire, if possible, in behalf of our Persian brothers and sisters. Up to February 22nd, nearly three thousand dollars had been received.

In addition to these telegrams, a letter was sent to the other local Assemblies in order that all the friends might share in the privilege of coming to the assistance of the homeless Baha’is.

September 16, 2016

An English physician resident in Tabríz met the Báb in the Citadel of Tabriz prior to His execution

“He was a very mild and delicate-looking man, rather small in stature and very fair for a Persian, with a melodious soft voice, which struck me much. Being a Siyyid, he was dressed in the habit of that sect, as were also his two companions. In fact his whole look and deportment went far to dispose one in his favour. Of his doctrine I heard nothing from his own lips, although the idea was that there existed in his religion a certain approach to Christianity. He was seen by some Armenian carpenters, who were sent to make some repairs in his prison, reading the Bible, and he took no pains to conceal it, but on the contrary told them of it. Most assuredly the Musulman fanaticism does not exist in his religion, as applied to Christians, nor is there that restraint of females that now exists.” 
- Dr. Cormick  (From a letter to a fellow practitioner in an American mission in Persia, given in Professor E. G. Browne’s ‘Materials for the Study of the Bábí Religion’, quoted by Shoghi Effendi in ‘Introduction to Dawn-Breakers’)

September 12, 2016

While being bastinadoed [a form of punishment or torture that involves caning the soles of someone's feet], a farrásh, whether intentionally or not, struck the Báb across the face with the stick destined for His feet.

The only known record of the Báb’s having been seen by a European belongs to the period of His persecution when an English physician resident in Tabríz, Dr. Cormick, was called in by the Persian authorities to pronounce on the Báb’s mental condition. The doctor’s letter, addressed to a fellow practitioner in an American mission in Persia, is given in Professor E. G. Browne’s “Materials for the Study of the Bábí Religion.” “You ask me,” writes the doctor, “for some particulars of my interview with the founder of the sect known as Bábís. Nothing of any importance transpired in this interview, as the Báb was aware of my having been sent with two other Persian doctors to see whether he was of sane mind or merely a madman, to decide the question whether he was to be put to death or not. With this knowledge he was loth to answer any questions put to him. To all enquiries he merely regarded us with a mild look, chanting in a low melodious voice some hymns, I suppose. Two other siyyids, his intimate friends, were also present, who subsequently were put to death with him, besides a couple of government officials. He only deigned to answer me, on my saying that I was not a Musulman and was willing to know something about his religion, as I might perhaps be inclined to adopt it. He regarded me very intently on my saying this, and replied that he had no doubt of all Europeans coming over to his religion. Our report to the Sháh at that time was of a nature to spare his life. He was put to death some time after by the order of the Amír-Nizám, Mírzá Taqí Khán. On our report he merely got the bastinado, in which operation a farrásh, whether intentionally or not, struck him across the face with the stick destined for his feet, which produced a great wound and swelling of the face. On being asked whether a Persian surgeon should be brought to treat him, he expressed a desire that I should be sent for, and I accordingly treated him for a few days, but in the interviews consequent on this I could never get him to have a confidential chat with me, as some government people were always present, he being a prisoner. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘Introduction to Dawn-Breakers)

September 7, 2016

January 1925: A Special Period of Supplication and Prayer is called for by the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada: February 19th -- March 9th, 1925

The time has come when all the believers are given the privilege of uniting spiritually to pray and supplicate as one heart, one mind and one soul in behalf of the beloved Guardian of the Cause, in order that new and broader channels may be created through which his unique devotion to the Cause may flow outward ever stronger and more effectively through all parts of the Baha’i world. 

Therefore the members of the National Spiritual Assembly request the friends throughout the United States and Canada to set apart the period of nineteen days beginning February 19th as a time consecrated to daily supplication and prayer, individually and collectively invoking Divine guidance and favor that the hopes of the Guardian of the Cause may be fulfilled.

These hopes are that nine Baha’i helpers may be gathered together at Haifa to assist Shoghi Effendi in the details of his work, especially the translation of the Creative Word. After the period of prayer, any believer who feels the call to this Service may lay his or her name and qualifications before Shoghi Effendi for him to consider. The friends will understand that these nine helpers are desired for specific, temporary services, and are not to be regarded in the light of those nine souls who, in the fulness of time, will be permanently associated with the Guardian of the Cause. It is suggested that the friends unite, during the nineteen days, in the use of Shoghi Effendi’s favorite prayer: --

September 2, 2016

1924: Members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada

Mountfort Mills: Chairman
Horace Holley: Secretary
Florence Morton: Treasurer
Alfred E. Lunt: Assistant Treasurer
Elizabeth Greenleaf
May Maxwell
Agnes S. Parsons
Siegfried Schopflocher
Roy C. Wilhelm
(Baha’i News Letter, No. 1, December 1924)

August 26, 2016

The continuing persecution of the Bearers of the Message of God – summarized by Baha’u’llah

Praise be to Thee, O Lord My God, for the wondrous revelations of Thy inscrutable decree and the manifold woes and trials Thou hast destined for Myself. At one time Thou didst deliver Me into the hands of Nimrod; at another Thou hast allowed Pharaoh’s rod to persecute Me. Thou, alone, canst estimate, through Thine all-encompassing knowledge and the operation of Thy Will, the incalculable afflictions I have suffered at their hands. Again Thou didst cast Me into the prison-cell of the ungodly, for no reason except that I was moved to whisper into the ears of the well-favored denizens of Thy Kingdom an intimation of the vision with which Thou hadst, through Thy knowledge, inspired Me, and revealed to Me its meaning through the potency of Thy might. And again Thou didst decree that I be beheaded by the sword of the infidel. Again I was crucified for having unveiled to men’s eyes the hidden gems of Thy glorious unity, for having revealed to them the wondrous signs of Thy sovereign and everlasting power. How bitter the humiliations heaped upon Me, in a subsequent age, on the plain of Karbilá! How lonely did I feel amidst Thy people! To what a state of helplessness I was reduced in that land! Unsatisfied with such indignities, My persecutors decapitated Me, and, carrying aloft My head from land to land paraded it before the gaze of the unbelieving multitude, and deposited it on the seats of the perverse and faithless. In a later age, I was suspended, and My breast was made a target to the darts of the malicious cruelty of My foes. My limbs were riddled with bullets, and My body was torn asunder. Finally, behold how, in this Day, My treacherous enemies have leagued themselves against Me, and are continually plotting to instill the venom of hate and malice into the souls of Thy servants. With all their might they are scheming to accomplish their purpose.... Grievous as is My plight, O God, My Well-Beloved, I render thanks unto Thee, and My Spirit is grateful for whatsoever hath befallen me in the path of Thy good-pleasure. I am well pleased with that which Thou didst ordain for Me, and welcome, however calamitous, the pains and sorrows I am made to suffer. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah’)

August 20, 2016

July 26, 1868: Sultan ‘Abdu’l-Aziz issues a Farman (Order) banishing Baha’u’llah to ‘Akka

(Balyuzi, 'Baha'u'llah, The King of Glory')
Explicit orders had been issued by the Sultan [‘Abdu’l-Aziz] and his ministers to subject the exiles, who were accused of having grievously erred and led others far astray, to the strictest confinement. Hopes were confidently expressed that the sentence of life-long imprisonment pronounced against them would lead to their eventual extermination. The farman of Sultan Abdu'l-'Aziz, dated the fifth of Rabi'u'th-Thani 1285 A.H. (July 26, 1868), not only condemned them to perpetual banishment, but stipulated their strict incarceration, and forbade them to associate either with each other or with the local inhabitants. The text of the farman itself was read publicly, soon after the arrival of the exiles, in the principal mosque of the city as a warning to the population. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

August 15, 2016

1948: First Annual Convention of the Baha'is of Canada

First Annual Convention of the Baha'is of Canada, 1948 
(The Baha'i World 1946-1950)

August 10, 2016

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

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