March 26, 2022

1848: First "systematic campaign" against the Faith by civil and ecclesiastical powers combined

…when Muhammad Sháh finally succumbed to his illness, precipitating by his death the downfall of his favorite and all-powerful minister, Hájí Mírzá Áqásí, who, soon stripped of the treasures he had amassed, fell into disgrace, was expelled from the capital, and sought refuge in Karbilá. The seventeen year old Násiri’d-Dín Mírzá ascended the throne, leaving the direction of affairs to the obdurate, the iron-hearted Amír-Nizám, Mírzá Taqí Khán, who, without consulting his fellow-ministers, decreed that immediate and condign punishment be inflicted on the hapless Bábís. Governors, magistrates and civil servants, throughout the provinces, instigated by the monstrous campaign of vilification conducted by the clergy, and prompted by their lust for pecuniary rewards, vied in their respective spheres with each other in hounding and heaping indignities on the adherents of an outlawed Faith. For the first time in the Faith’s history a systematic campaign in which the civil and ecclesiastical powers were banded together was being launched against it, a campaign that was to culminate in the horrors experienced by Bahá’u’lláh in the Síyáh-Chál of Ṭihrán and His subsequent banishment to ‘Iráq. Government, clergy and people arose, as one man, to assault and exterminate their common enemy. 

- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

March 17, 2022

1848-1850: “the bloodiest and most dramatic of the Heroic Age of the Bahá’í Era”

The Báb’s captivity in a remote corner of Ádhirbáyján, immortalized by the proceedings of the Conference of Badasht, and distinguished by such notable developments as the public declaration of His mission, the formulation of the laws of His Dispensation and the establishment of His Covenant, was to acquire added significance through the dire convulsions that sprang from the acts of both His adversaries and His disciples. The commotions that ensued, as the years of that captivity drew to a close, and that culminated in His own martyrdom, called forth a degree of heroism on the part of His followers and a fierceness of hostility on the part of His enemies which had never been witnessed during the first three years of His ministry. Indeed, this brief but most turbulent period may be rightly regarded as the bloodiest and most dramatic of the Heroic Age of the Bahá’í Era. 

- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

February 7, 2022

January 12, 2022

1992: The Baha’i Faith "is represented in every country on earth”

The Faith of Bahá’u’lláh is represented in every country on earth. The sudden change in the political climate, no doubt by intervention of God’s Major Plan, opened vast regions to the penetration of the divine teachings, primarily in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries. The opportunities created by this change made possible the settlement of Knights of Bahá’u’lláh in the last virgin territories that remained from Shoghi Effendi’s Ten Year World Crusade. They also impelled the launching at Ridván 1990 of the subsidiary Two Year Plan for those regions. This supplementary Plan was a spectacular success, not only in terms of expansion in the many countries involved, but also in the diversity of the strata represented by the new believers in these countries, in the volume and variety of Bahá’í literature published and in the array of Bahá’í institutions established during that short time. The Bahá’í world was highly stimulated by these developments, and a number of countries elsewhere recorded significant successes in the teaching work… 

- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan 1992 message)

December 30, 2021

1990: Formation of Local Spiritual Assemblies in Soviet Union, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia

12 November 1990:

To the Followers of Bahá’u’lláh throughout the World

SEVEN MONTHS AFTER LAUNCHING SUPPLEMENTARY TWO YEAR PLAN REJOICE ANNOUNCE FOURTEEN LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES IN SOVIET UNION, PLUS SIX IN ROMANIA WHERE THERE ARE NOW OVER 600 BELIEVERS, AND ONE LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY EACH IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA, HUNGARY AND YUGOSLAVIA. DEVELOPMENT FAITH IN ALL THESE COUNTRIES AS WELL AS IN ALBANIA, BULGARIA, MONGOLIA AND POLAND GOING FORWARD WITH EXTRAORDINARY SPEED, FORMATION MORE LOCAL ASSEMBLIES IN PROCESS OR EXPECTED SHORTLY.

The Universal House of Justice

(Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1986-2001)

December 20, 2021

1991: German Federal Constitutional Court “affirmed the right of the Bahá’í community to gain legal capacity in the very shape ordained in the scriptures of the Bahá’í Faith”

Another illustration of the rising authority of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh in the public mind emerges from Germany, where the Federal Constitutional Court, the highest legal authority in the land, rendered a decision of capital importance to the recognition of the Faith. A series of lower courts had refused to register the by-laws of a Local Spiritual Assembly on the grounds that the authority granted to the National Spiritual Assembly in that document violated the legal principle requiring the autonomy of all legally incorporated associations. The issues involved are indeed complex and cannot be elaborated here. Suffice it to say that the Federal Constitutional Court upheld the appeal of the Local Spiritual Assembly in a long, closely reasoned decision in which, among other things, it affirmed the right of the Bahá’í community to gain legal capacity in the very shape ordained in the scriptures of the Bahá’í Faith and stated that its nature as a recognized religion was unquestionably confirmed by its inherent character, by public knowledge, and by the testimony of scholars of comparative religion. So significant was the verdict in the Court’s own estimation that it took the rare step of issuing a statement to the press explaining its decision. This outstanding act will have implications for the Bahá’í community far beyond the borders of a united Germany. 

- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan 1991 message; Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1986-2001)

December 10, 2021

1988-1990: “almost one million souls entered the Cause”

Over the last two years, almost one million souls entered the Cause. The increasing instances of entry by troops in different places contributed to that growth… 

- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan 1990 message; Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1986-2001)

November 16, 2021

1990: Establishment of "The Bahá’í Chair for World Peace"

12 February 1990

To the Bahá’ís of the World

With feelings of thankfulness and joy we announce an achievement of immense importance to the accelerating progress of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. The University of Maryland and the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States recently signed a memorandum of understanding, establishing "The Bahá’í Chair for World Peace" at that University's Center for International Development and Conflict Management. The stated purpose of the Chair is "to conduct and publish research, design courses and conduct seminars in the field of Bahá’í studies and world peace within an interdisciplinary context; to initiate public forums for discussing the issues proposed in the Statement of the Universal House of Justice entitled The Promise of World Peace; and to establish academic linkages with and provide technical assistance to Bahá’í institutions in the fields of peace education and international development."

This first initiative by a well-founded, significant institution of higher learning to formulate such a serious program of Bahá’í studies is a direct response to the Peace Statement, as is borne out by a letter addressed to us by the Director of the Center for International Development and Conflict Management in which he said: "With this letter I am answering on behalf of CIDCM and the University of Maryland your call: 'If the Bahá’í experience can contribute in whatever measure to reinforcing hope in the unity of the human race, we are happy to offer it as a model for study.'"

November 2, 2021

Events witnessed during the “last three and most eventful years of the Báb’s ministry”

The last three and most eventful years of the Báb’s ministry had, as we have observed in the preceding pages, witnessed not only the formal and public declaration of His mission, but also an unprecedented effusion of His inspired writings, including both the revelation of the fundamental laws of His Dispensation and also the establishment of that Lesser Covenant which was to safeguard the unity of His followers and pave the way for the advent of an incomparably mightier Revelation. It was during this same period, in the early days of His incarceration in the fortress of Chihríq, that the independence of the new-born Faith was openly recognized and asserted by His disciples. The laws underlying the new Dispensation had been revealed by its Author in a prison-fortress in the mountains of Ádhirbáyján, while the Dispensation itself was now to be inaugurated in a plain on the border of Mázindarán, at a conference of His assembled followers. 

- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

October 15, 2021

July 1974: Members of Continental Pioneer Committees “will henceforth be appointed by the Universal House of Justice”

22 July 1974

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

In view of the ever-increasing number of pioneers and travelling teachers now arising from various countries to serve the Cause of God in widely scattered lands throughout all continents the Universal House of Justice has considered ways of deriving maximum benefit from the services of these devoted believers, co-ordinating their efforts and anticipating the needs of the future.

The Continental Boards of Counsellors will soon be approaching you about the need for pioneers and travelling teachers for the period ending Ridvan 1976.

The functions of the Continental Pioneer Committees have been reviewed and developed in a way that will enable them to operate in closer collaboration with the Continental Boards of Counsellors and the National Spiritual Assemblies of their areas. A copy of the statement outlining the functions of the Continental Pioneer Committees as now revised is attached for your information. As you will note, the members of these Committees will henceforth be appointed by the Universal House of Justice. Nothing in the functions now assigned to the Continental Pioneer Committees in any way detracts from the primary responsibility of National Spiritual Assemblies to foster and promote pioneering and travelling teaching.

It is our hope and prayer that as the Five Year Plan unfolds evidences of closer ties of co-operation among the various institutions of the Faith will be increasingly witnessed in every land.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

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

October 1, 2021

June 1845 - Shiraz: First direct interaction between the Báb and the clergy

Shaykh Abú-Turáb, the Imám-Jum’ih of Shíráz, who was present at that meeting [between the Báb and the Governor of Fars, Husayn Khan] and who strongly disapproved of the conduct of Husayn Khán, ordered that the Báb’s turban be replaced upon His head, [1] and invited Him to be seated by his side. Turning to the governor, the Imám-Jum’ih explained to him the circumstances connected with the revelation of the verse of the Qur’án [2] which the Báb had quoted, and sought by this means to calm his fury. “This verse which this youth has quoted,” he told him, “has made a profound impression upon me. The wise course, I feel, is to enquire into this matter with great care, and to judge him according to the precepts of the holy Book.” Husayn Khán readily consented; whereupon Shaykh Abú-Turáb questioned the Báb regarding the nature and character of His Revelation. The Báb denied the claim of being either the representative of the promised Qá’im or the intermediary between Him and the faithful. “We are completely satisfied,” replied the Imám-Jum’ih; “we shall request you to present yourself on Friday in the Masjid-i-Vakíl, and to proclaim publicly your denial.” 

- Nabil  (‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

[1] Qur’án, 49:6 - “If any bad man come unto you with news, clear up the matter at once, lest through ignorance ye harm others, and be speedily constrained to repent of what ye have done.”

[2] The Governor’s attendant had struck the Báb in the face so violently that His turban had fallen to the ground. [adapted from ‘The Dawn-Breakers’]

September 23, 2021

Shiraz - June 1845: The “most unusual spectacle” of the Báb marching “before His escort, which followed Him in an attitude of respectful devotion”

The Báb straightway resumed His journey to Shíráz. Free and unfettered, He went before His escort, which followed Him in an attitude of respectful devotion. By the magic of His words, He had disarmed the hostility of His guards and transmuted their proud arrogance into humility and love. Reaching the city, they proceeded directly to the seat of the government. Whosoever observed the cavalcade marching through the streets could not help but marvel at this most unusual spectacle. Immediately Husayn Khán was informed of the arrival of the Báb, he summoned Him to his presence. 

- Nabil ('The Dawn-Breakers', translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

September 18, 2021

The Báb “never named” a “successor or vicegerent” or “an interpreter of His teachings”

A successor or vicegerent the Báb never named, an interpreter of His teachings He refrained from appointing. So transparently clear were His references to the Promised One, so brief was to be the duration of His own Dispensation, that neither the one nor the other was deemed necessary. All He did was, according to the testimony of ‘Abdu’lBahá in A Travellers Narrative, to nominate, on the advice of Bahá’ulláh and of another disciple, Mírzá Yahyá, who would act solely as a figurehead pending the manifestation of the Promised One, thus enabling Bahá’u’lláh to promote, in relative security, the Cause so dear to His heart. 

- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

September 9, 2021

31 August 1987: The Universal House of Justice announces the initiation of five “closely related projects” on Mount Carmel

31 August 1987

To the Followers of Bahá’u’lláh throughout the world

Beloved Friends,

Nigh on one hundred years ago, Bahá’u’lláh walked on God's Holy Mountain and revealed the Tablet of Carmel, the Charter of the World Center of His Faith, calling into being the metropolis of the Kingdom of God on Earth. Through decades of oppression and expansion, persecution and emancipation, His followers have successfully labored to carry His message to the remotest regions of the earth, to erect the structure of His Administrative Order, and to proclaim to mankind the divinely prescribed cure for all its ills. In the past eight years the agonies suffered by His lovers in Iran have awakened the interest of a slumbering world and have brought His Faith to the center of human attention.

On this same Mount Carmel ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, with infinite pains, raised the Mausoleum of the Báb on the spot chosen by His Father, and laid to rest within its heart the sacred remains of the Prophet Herald of the Faith, establishing a Spiritual Center of immeasurable significance. In accordance with the same divine command, Shoghi Effendi embellished the Shrine with an exquisite shell and then, under its protecting wing, began the construction of the Administrative Center of the Faith, to comprise five buildings in a harmonious style of architecture, standing on a far-flung Arc centering on the Monuments of the Greatest Holy Leaf, her Mother and Brother. The first of these five buildings, the International Archives, was completed in the beloved Guardian's lifetime. The second, the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, now stands at the apex of the Arc. Plans for the remaining three were prepared in fulfillment of a goal of the Seven Year Plan, and are now being detailed.

As indicated in our letter of 30 April 1987, the way is now open for the Bahá’í world to erect the remaining buildings of its Administrative Center, and we must without delay stride forward resolutely on this path.

Five closely related projects demand our attention: the erection of the three remaining buildings on the Arc and, added now to these, the construction of the terraces of the Shrine of the Báb and the extension of the International Archives Building. A brief description of each of these will convey an impression of their significance for the Faith.

August 25, 2021

2021 - Baha'i Houses of Worship in the World

 
Top row: Wilmette, United States; Kampala, Uganda; Sydney, Australia; Frankfurt, Germany

Middle row: Panama City, Panama; Apia, Samoa; New Delhi, India; Santiago, Chile

Bottom row: Battambang, Cambodia; Norte del Cauca, Colombia; Matunda Soy, Kenya; Tanna, Vanuatu