October 28, 2018

1972: Number of worldwide localities where Baha’is reside reached 56,645

14 February 1972
To all National Spiritual Assemblies

OVERJOYED ANNOUNCE FRIENDS EVERY LAND NUMBER LOCALITIES NOW 56645 EXCEEDING BY OVER 2500 ORIGINAL GOAL NINE YEAR PLAN. OFFERING PRAYERS THANKSGIVING SACRED THRESHOLD FOR DIVINE BOUNTIES SURROUNDING SACRIFICIAL EFFORTS LOVE-INTOXICATED SUPPORTERS HIS BLESSED NAME.  URGE BELIEVERS THOSE AREAS WHOSE TEACHING GOALS ARE STILL OUTSTANDING EXERT UTMOST EFFORT COURSE SWIFTLY PASSING REMAINING MONTHS PLAN WIN THEIR GOALS ENABLING THEM JOIN RANKS THEIR VICTORIOUS BRETHREN WHO ARE URGED CONTINUE THEIR VIGOROUS BRILLIANT EXPLOITS IN SERVICE GOD'S INFINITELY GLORIOUS CAUSE.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
(Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’)

October 23, 2018

The “conclusion of the Primitive, the Apostolic Age of the Faith of Baha'u'llah”

With 'Abdu'l-Baha's ascension, and more particularly with the passing of His well-beloved and illustrious sister the Most Exalted Leaf -- the last survivor of a glorious and heroic age -- there draws to a close the first and most moving chapter of Baha'i history, marking the conclusion of the Primitive, the Apostolic Age of the Faith of Baha'u'llah. It was 'Abdu'l-Baha Who, through the provisions of His weighty Will and Testament, has forged the vital link which must for ever connect the age that has just expired with the one we now live in -- the Transitional and Formative period of the Faith -- a stage that must in the fullness of time reach its blossom and yield its fruit in the exploits and triumphs that are to herald the Golden Age of the Revelation of Baha'u'llah. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a message dated 8 February 1934, printed as ‘The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah’ in ‘The World Order of Baha'u'llah’)

October 10, 2018

Delivery of Epistles to "the several rulers and crowned heads of the world" – Baha’u’llah explains

From Our Most Great Prison We were moved to address to the several rulers and crowned heads of the world Epistles in which We summoned them to arise and embrace the Cause of God. To the Shah of Persia We sent Our messenger Badi', into whose hands We entrusted the Tablet. It was he who raised it aloft before the eyes of the multitude and, with uplifted voice, appealed to his sovereign to heed the words that Tablet contained. The rest of the Epistles likewise reached their destination. To the Tablet We addressed to the Emperor of France, an answer was received from his minister, the original of which is now in the possession of the Most Great Branch. To him We addressed these words: 'Bid the high priest, O Monarch of France, to cease ringing his bells, for, lo! the Most Great Bell, which the hands of the will of the Lord thy God are ringing, is made manifest in the person of His chosen One.' The Epistle We addressed to the Czar of Russia, alone failed to reach its destination. Other Tablets, however, have reached him, and that Epistle will eventually be delivered into his hands. 
- Baha’u’llah  (Quoted by Nabil in ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

October 1, 2018

Persia: September 1848 – First time that the combined forces of the civil and ecclesiastical powers started a systematic campaign against the Bábís

One of Tehran's gates, circa 1920s
This fierce, nation-wide controversy had assumed alarming proportions when Muhammad Sháh finally succumbed to his illness, precipitating by his death the downfall of his favorite and all-powerful minister, Ḥájí Mírzá Aqásí, 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 Náṣiri’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. In remote and isolated centers the scattered disciples of a persecuted community were pitilessly struck down by the sword of their foes, while in centers where large numbers had congregated measures were taken in self-defense, which, misconstrued by a cunning and deceitful adversary, served in their turn to inflame still further the hostility of the authorities, and multiply the outrages perpetrated by the oppressor. In the East at Shaykh Tabarsí, in the south in Nayríz, in the west in Zanján, and in the capital itself, massacres, upheavals, demonstrations, engagements, sieges, acts of treachery proclaimed, in rapid succession, the violence of the storm which had broken out, and exposed the bankruptcy, and blackened the annals, of a proud yet degenerate people. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

September 16, 2018

1934: Last day of Tarbiyat school and the shocking effect of its closure on 1500 students – excerpt from a letter by Clara and Adelaide Sharp from Tehran

The closing of the school was a great shock although we had expected that it might happen. The Bab’s Martyrdom in this country is kept by the Arabic calendar and came this year on December 6. ... Saturday afternoon a policeman came with an order from the Board of Education to close the schools. They said Tarbiyat had been closed for no reason Thursday and the license for Tarbiyat School existed no longer. The order came after school had been dismissed and there was no time to tell all the children, so Adelaide and her assistant went to school the next morning at 6:30 A.M., before the policeman could get there, and as the children came to enter the school they had to be turned back. This was very hard as many of the little ones did not understand and called to Adelaide to tell the policeman to let them in, and many cried. ... The Baha’i children have not gone to other schools. ... The Muhammadan children of course went to other schools but they are not satisfied and happy. Tarbiyat School was far ahead of the other Persian schools, in their text books, character training and everything else. All the schools say this. The educated Muhammadans are with the Baha’is. One important Muhammadan said he knew it was a Baha’i School when he sent his children there and said that was no reason for closing the school. ... We had many of the best families in town sending their children and they are feeling very badly about it. There were nearly 1500 pupils in both schools and about 50 teachers. ... This has advertised the school and called attention to the Cause and what they are working for more than anything else that could have happened. ... Shoghi Effendi has written for us to be patient and not make any disturbance but persevere and keep trying to gain religious liberty, that the school will again open and things will be better than ever. 
(Baha’i News, no. 96, December 1935)

September 6, 2018

Progressive unfoldment of the Bábi Revelation

[in 1844] the Author of the Bábí Revelation had declared His mission to Mullá Ḥusayn in the privacy of His home in Shíráz. Three years after that Declaration, within the walls of the prison-fortress of Máh-Kú, He was dictating to His amanuensis the fundamental and distinguishing precepts of His Dispensation. A year later, His followers, under the actual leadership of Bahá’u’lláh, their fellow-disciple, were themselves, in the hamlet of Badasht, abrogating the Qur’ánic Law, repudiating both the divinely-ordained and man-made precepts of the Faith of Muḥammad, and shaking off the shackles of its antiquated system. Almost immediately after, the Báb Himself, still a prisoner, was vindicating the acts of His disciples by asserting, formally and unreservedly, His claim to be the promised Qá’im, in the presence of the Heir to the Throne, the leading exponents of the Shaykhí community, and the most illustrious ecclesiastical dignitaries assembled in the capital of Ádhirbayján. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

September 5, 2018

circa 1935: Mount Carmel

View taken by Miss Effie Baker to show the general area of land surrounding the Shrine which has come under Baha’i ownership and control. 
(Baha’i News, no. 97, January 1936)

September 3, 2018

On closing of Tarbiyat schools in 1934 by government – the Guardian explains

With regard to the closing of the Tarbiyat Schools: the school authorities have, in enforcing the observance of Baha’i anniversaries, acted on the advice and direction of the Guardian. These Schools, being independent and official Baha’i institutions, could not very well ignore, much less violate the express provisions and laws of the Aqdas. Had they any connection with government institutions, or had their ownership and control been shared by non-Baha’is, the situation would have been different. This distinction between institutions that are under full or partial Baha’i control is of a fundamental importance. Institutions that are entirely managed by Baha’is are, for reasons that are only too obvious, under the obligation of enforcing all the laws and ordinances of the Faith, especially those whose observance constitutes a matter of conscience. There is no reason, no justification whatever, that they should act otherwise, and any restriction should also take into consideration the rights and interests of their non-Baha’i partners and associates, and not to force these to stop working when they are under no moral or religious obligation to do so.

August 28, 2018

Total number of National Spiritual Assemblies as of Ridvan 1983 --> 135

Among the outstanding features of the teaching and consolidation work are the continuing effective results of the participation of more than sixteen thousand believers from all parts of the world in the five International Conferences; intensive teaching campaigns carried out with the active support of all levels of the community and drawing upon the enthusiasm and capacity of Baha'i youth; the establishment of a second radio station in South America; the re-formation of the National Spiritual Assemblies of Uganda and Nepal, and the establishment of nine new National Spiritual Assemblies, two of which will be elected during the month of May this year, bringing the total of these secondary Houses of Justice to 135. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan 1983 message of the Universal House of Justice)

August 25, 2018

1979-1982: Passing of five Hands of the Cause

Enoch Olinga (1979), Rahmatu'llah Muhajir (1979), Hasan A Balyuzi (1980), Abu'l-Qasim Faizi (1980), Adelbert Muehlschlegel (1980), and Paul Haney (1982).
(Adapted from explanatory notes included in ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

August 20, 2018

July 1957: Establishment of “a spiritual axis, extending from the Antipodes to the northern islands of the Pacific Ocean”

...The emergence of a new Regional Spiritual Assembly in the North Pacific Area [1], with its seat fixed in the capital city of a country which by reason of its innate capacity and the spiritual receptivity it has acquired, in consequence of the severe and prolonged ordeal its entire population has providentially experienced, is destined to have a preponderating share in awakening the peoples and races inhabiting the entire Pacific area, to the Message of Bahá'u'lláh, and to act as the Vanguard of His hosts in their future spiritual conquest of the main body of the yellow race on the Chinese mainland -- the emergence of such an assembly may be said to have, at long last established a spiritual axis, extending from the Antipodes to the northern islands of the Pacific Ocean -- an axis whose northern and southern poles will act as powerful magnets, endowed with exceptional spiritual potency, and towards which younger and less experienced communities will tend for some time to gravitate. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a message dated 19 July 1957 to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia; ‘Letters from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand’)
[1] National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia, with its seat in Tokyo, Japan.]

August 14, 2018

Some dates associated with three Baha’i Houses of Worship: Ishqabad, India, and Australia

Construction of the first Baha'i House of Worship in 'Ishqabad, Russia, began in 1902 and was completed circa 1921. The House of Worship in India is near New Delhi; it was dedicated 23-27 December 1986. The House of Worship in Australasia, outside of Sydney in Ingleside, was dedicated on 16 September 1961. 
(Explanatory notes included in ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

August 12, 2018

February 12-18, 1953: Hands of the Cause attending the First intercontinental Baha'i Conference in Kampala, Uganda, Africa


Left to right: Musa Banani, Valiyu'llah Varqa, Shu'a'u'llah 'Ala’i, Mason Remey, Horace Holley, Tarazu'llah Samandari, Dhikru'llah Khadem, Leroy Ioas, Dorothy Baker, 'Ali-Akbar Furutan. The Kampala Haziratu'I-Quds is in the background. 
(The Baha’i World 1950-1954)

August 8, 2018

April 1934: First National Baha’i Convention in Iran - First National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran

This Ridvan will go down in the history of Baha’i Persia because during the feast days the first national Baha’i Convention met in Tihran and elected the first National Assembly of Persia, with 84 delegates present from all over the country. Friends in the West will appreciate what achievement such a gathering represents in a country where travel is still a considerable adventure and where even a brief stay in the capital entails a long absence from home.

The delegates made their headquarters at the Haziratu’l-Quds, where the Central Assembly and the Service Committee had made the necessary arrangements for their reception; all kinds of furniture, beds, tables and the like had been requisitioned from Baha’is throughout town, and the fact that the delegates were in a sense the house guests of the Tihran friends added to the pleasure of the Convention. Many of the local friends entertained the delegates, both at the Haziratu’-l-Quds and at their homes; the social aspects of the Convention were highly important because the Persian friends of different centres cannot communicate with one another with the frequency enjoyed in the West. A significant event of this Convention was the sending of representatives by the four women’s committees to report to the delegates and submit their program for the coming year.

The members of the National Assembly are as follows:
Jenabi Fazel Mazandarani.
Haji Ghulam Reza Amin Amin.
Mirza Valiullah Khan Varqa.
Dr. Yunis Khan Afrukhtih.
Mirza Shuaullah Khan Alai.
Mirza Ahmed Khan Yazdani.
Mirza Ali Akbar Khan Froutan.
Mirza Mahmud Khan Badiyi.
Mirza Enayatullah Ahmed Poor.
(Baha’i News, no. 86, August 1934)

August 6, 2018

Teachers sent to America by ‘Abdu’l-Baha

The following is the list of the four teachers whom the Master sent to America in order to spread the Cause.... Their names are as follows: ‘Abdu’l-Karim, Haji Mirza Hasan, Mirza ‘Abdu’l-Fadl and Mirza Asadu’llah.
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated December 14, 1933, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the NSA of the United States and Canada; Baha’i News, no. 81, February 1934; also a note in Baha'i News, no. 83, May 1934)

August 1, 2018

Countries Opened to the Faith of Baha'u'liah from 1844 to 1921 – by Shoghi Effendi

Listed alphabetically:

Period of the Báb's Ministry (1844-1853)
  • Iraq 
  • Persia
Period of Bahá'u'lláh's Ministry (1853-1892)
  • Adhirbayjan
  • Armenia
  • Burma
  • Egypt
  • Georgia 
  • India
  •  Israel
  • Lebanon
  •  Pakistan
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
Period of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Ministry (1892-1921)

July 28, 2018

July 24, 2018

The Báb orally assured some of His followers that they would personally meet Baha’u’llah

Some of His disciples the Báb assiduously prepared to expect the imminent Revelation. Others He orally assured would live to see its day. To Mulla Baqir, one of the Letters of the Living, He actually prophesied, in a Tablet addressed to him, that he would meet the Promised One face to face. To Sayyah, another disciple, He gave verbally a similar assurance. Mulla Husayn He directed to Tihran, assuring him that in that city was enshrined a Mystery Whose light neither Hijaz nor Shiraz could rival. Quddus, on the eve of his final separation from Him, was promised that he would attain the presence of the One Who was the sole Object of their adoration and love. To Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunuzi He declared while in Mah-Ku that he would behold in Karbila the countenance of the promised Husayn. On Dayyan He conferred the title of "the third Letter to believe in Him Whom God shall make manifest," while to Azim He divulged, in the Kitáb-i-Panj-Sha'n, the name, and announced the approaching advent, of Him Who was to consummate His own Revelation. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

June 24, 2018

First Baha’i in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Dorothy Sheets was the first Bahá’í to declare her belief in Bahá’u’lláh in Calgary. She later pioneered to Regina, Saskatchewan and to Newfoundland. Dorothy passed away in 1997. 
(Adapted from the Footnotes included in ‘Messages to Canada’)

June 19, 2018

1923: First election of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of England

The first meeting of the elected “National Spiritual Assembly” took place in London on 13 October 1923. 
(Footnote to a message from Shoghi Effendi to 'The beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout London, Manchester and Bournemouth, care of the members of the National Spiritual Assembly, 17 February, 1923'; ‘Unfolding Destiny’)

June 15, 2018

1939: First pioneer to Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Doris Skinner, a Bahá’í from Vancouver, was the first pioneer to Calgary in 1939, until 1949, when she pioneered to Newfoundland. 
(Adapted from the Footnotes included in ‘Messages to Canada’)

June 12, 2018

Siyyah-Chal (The Black Pit) of Tehran – a depiction

Upon Our arrival We were first conducted along a pitch-black corridor, from whence We descended three steep flights of stairs to the place of confinement assigned to Us. The dungeon was wrapped in thick darkness, and Our fellow prisoners numbered nearly a hundred and fifty souls: thieves, assassins and highwaymen. Though crowded, it had no other outlet than the passage by which We entered. No pen can depict that place, nor any tongue describe its loathsome smell. Most of these men had neither clothes nor bedding to lie on. God alone knoweth what befell Us in that most foul-smelling and gloomy place! 
- Baha'u'llah  (‘Epistle to the Son of the Wolf’)