April 12, 2021

1851 Karbilá, Iraq: A disciple of the Báb becomes the first person to whom Baha’u’llah confided His Divine Mission – as foreordained by the Báb in 1848

It was during Bahá’u’lláh’s nine-month exile to Karbilá in 1851 (on the order of the Persian Prime Minister) that He “encountered, as He was walking through the streets, Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunúzí, to whom He confided the secret He was destined to reveal at a later time in Baghdád. He found him eagerly searching after the promised Husayn, to whom the Báb had so lovingly referred and whom He had promised he would meet in Karbilá. (Nabil, ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

Shaykh Hasan-i-Zunúzí was an elderly Babi, quietly went about his life as a scribe and quite unknown to the community of Babis in Karbila. He had been an early disciple of Siyyid Kazim and one who during his days among the Shaykhis in Karbila had fleetingly encountered the Báb, not yet known to be the One awaited, visiting Him with Siyyid Kazim when first He had arrived from Shiraz. During Shaykh Hasan’s first months of conversion as a Bábi he had journeyed to Chihriq to join the Báb in that distant prison, there to act as transcriber of His works. It was then 1848 and Shaykh Hasan was moved to join the valiant defenders of Fort Shaykh Tabarsi, for the mustering summons had gone forth to the faithful. He expressed his wish to the Báb, only to be startled by His countermanding the intention.

The Báb told him: “Participation in that struggle is not enjoined upon you. You should proceed to Karbila and should abide in that holy city, inasmuch as you are destined to behold, with your own eyes, the beauteous countenance of the promised Husayn. As you gaze upon that radiant face, do also remember Me. Convey to Him the expression of My loving devotion!” And then He added, “Verily I say, I have entrusted you with a great mission! Beware lest your heart grow faint, lest you forget the glory with which I have invested you.” (Nabil, ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

April 5, 2021

1845: “the first to be persecuted on Persian soil for the sake of their Faith” - The “hideousness and the barbaric cruelty which characterised the torture inflicted upon Quddús and Mullá Sádiq”

That cruel and impious ruler [Husayn Khán, the governor of Fars] was sorely displeased with such an answer [from Mulla Sádiq]. He reviled and cursed him, ordered his attendants to strip him of his garments and to scourge him with a thousand lashes. He then commanded that the beards of both Quddús and Mullá Sádiq should be burned, their noses be pierced, that through this incision a cord should be passed, and with this halter they should be led through the streets of the city. “It will be an object lesson to the people of Shíráz,” Husayn Khán declared, “who will know what the penalty of heresy will be.” Mullá Sádiq, calm and self-possessed and with eyes upraised to heaven, was heard reciting this prayer: “O Lord, our God! We have indeed heard the voice of One that called. He called us to the Faith—‘Believe ye on the Lord your God!’—and we have believed. O God, our God! Forgive us, then, our sins, and hide away from us our evil deeds, and cause us to die with the righteous.” With magnificent fortitude both resigned themselves to their fate. Those who had been instructed to inflict this savage punishment performed their task with alacrity and vigour. None intervened in behalf of these sufferers, none was inclined to plead their cause. Soon after this, they were both expelled from Shíráz. Before their expulsion, they were warned that if they ever attempted to return to this city, they would both be crucified. By their sufferings they earned the immortal distinction of having been the first to be persecuted on Persian soil for the sake of their Faith. Mullá ‘Alíy-i-Bastamí, though the first to fall a victim to the relentless hate of the enemy, underwent his persecution in ‘Iráq, which lay beyond the confines of Persia. Nor did his sufferings, intense as they were, compare with the hideousness and the barbaric cruelty which characterised the torture inflicted upon Quddús and Mullá Sádiq. 

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

March 18, 2021

1952: Members of the National Spiritual Assembly of South America

Standing, left to right: Bolivar Plaza of Ecuador; Rangvald Taetz of Montevideo, Uruguay; Edmund Miessler of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Manuel Vera of Lima, Peru; Guillermo Aguilar of Lima, Peru. Seated, left to right: Gayle Woolson of Bucaramanga, Colombia; Eve Nicklin of Lima, Peru; Mercedes Sanchez of Lima, Peru; and Margot Worley of Bahia, Brazil. 

(Baha’i News, August 1952)


 

March 10, 2021

The First American “distinguished martyr”: - Keith Ransom-Kehler (1876-1933)

Keith’s precious life offered up in sacrifice to beloved Cause in Bahá’u’lláh’s native land. On Persian soil, for Persia’s sake, she encountered, challenged and fought the forces of darkness with high distinction, indomitable will, unswerving, exemplary loyalty. The mass of her helpless Persian brethren mourns the sudden loss of their valiant emancipator. American believers grateful and proud of the memory of their first and distinguished martyr. Sorrow stricken, I lament my earthly separation from an invaluable collaborator, an unfailing counselor, an esteemed and faithful friend. I urge the Local Assemblies befittingly to organize memorial gatherings in memory of one whose international services entitled her to an eminent rank among the Hands of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. 

- Shoghi Effendi  (Cablegram October 30, 1933; ‘Messages to America’)

March 2, 2021

1979-1986: Emergence of the Faith from obscurity and the Statement on Peace by the Universal House of Justice in 1985

The opening of that Plan coincided with the recrudescence of savage persecution of the Baha'i community in Iran, a deliberate effort to eliminate the Cause of God from the land of its birth.  The heroic steadfastness of the Persian friends has been the mainspring of tremendous international attention focused on the Cause, eventually bringing it to the agenda of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and, together with world-wide publicity in all the media, accomplishing its emergence from the obscurity which characterized and sheltered the first period of its life.  This dramatic process impelled the Universal House of Justice to address a Statement on Peace to the Peoples of the World and arrange for its delivery to Heads of State and the generality of the rulers. 

- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan 1986 message to the Baha’is of the World; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

February 24, 2021

The “conspicuous achievements” of the Seven Year Plan: 1979-1986

This progress has accelerated notably during the Seven Year Plan, witnessed by the achievement of many important enterprises throughout the Baha'i world and vital developments at the heart of the Cause itself. 

  • The restoration and opening to pilgrimage of the southern wing of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha; 
  • the completion and occupation of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice; 
  • the approval of detailed plans for the remaining edifices around the Arc; 
  • the expansion of the membership and responsibilities of the International Teaching Centre and the Continental Boards of Counsellors; 
  • the establishment of the offices of Social and Economic Development, and of Public Information; 
  • the dedication of the Mother Temple of the Pacific, and dramatic progress with the building of the Temple in India; 
  • the expansion of the teaching work throughout the world, resulting in the formation of twenty-three new National Spiritual Assemblies, nearly 8,000 new Local Spiritual Assemblies, the opening of more than 16,000 new localities and representation within the Baha'i community of 300 new tribes; 
  • the issuing of 2,196 new publications, 898 of which are editions of the Holy Text and the enrichment of Baha'i literature by productions in 114 new languages; the initiation of 737 new social and economic development projects; 
  • the addition of three radio stations, with three more soon to be inaugurated-- 
these stand out as conspicuous achievements in a Plan which will be remembered as having set the seal on the third epoch of the Formative Age. 

- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan 1986 message to the Baha’is of the World; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

February 17, 2021

17 November 1985: The “re-interment of the remains of Mirza Muhammad-Quli, the faithful half-brother and companion in exile of Baha'u'llah and of eleven members of his family, in a new Baha'i cemetery”

Mirza Muhammad-Quli-circa 1868
Beloved friends,

It is with a feeling of joy and gratitude that we inform the Baha'i world of the befitting re-interment of the remains of Mirza Muhammad-Quli, the faithful half-brother and companion in exile of Baha'u'llah, and of eleven members of his family, in a new Baha'i cemetery on a hillside looking across Lake Kinneret and the hills of Galilee towards the Qiblih of the Faith. This historic event, coinciding fortuitously with the first formal presentation of The Promise of World Peace to a Head of State, is of especial significance in the annals of the Cause of Baha'u'llah.

On 12 November 1952 the beloved Guardian jubilantly cabled the Baha'i world his announcement of the acquisition of vitally needed property surrounding the Most Holy Shrine and the Mansion of Bahji in exchange for land donated by the grandchildren of Mirza Muhammad-Quli.

The land referred to in this cable had been in the possession of Mirza Muhammad-Quli on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, at a place called Nuqayb. He and his family lived there and farmed the land for many years and on his passing, at the instruction of 'Abdu'l-Baha, his remains were buried there, as were subsequently those of members of his family.

February 10, 2021

1845: The first person, after the Letters of the Living, to embrace the Cause of the Báb – His maternal uncle who had reared Him when His father passed away

Shiraz-1850
Quddús, with feelings of unshakable determination to carry out the expressed wishes of his Master, set out from Búshihr. Arriving at Shíráz, he was affectionately welcomed by Hájí Mírzá Siyyid ‘Alí, who received him in his own home and eagerly enquired after the health and doings of his beloved Kinsman. Finding him receptive to the call of the new Message, Quddús acquainted him with the nature of the Revelation with which that Youth had already fired his soul. The Báb’s maternal uncle, as a result of the endeavours exerted by Quddús, was the first, after the Letters of the Living, to embrace the Cause in Shíráz. 

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

February 2, 2021

1848: The warden of the fortress of Chihríq and the kurds, who lived in the village of Chihríq soon became attracted to the Báb – testimony of a European eye-witness

Though at the outset he [the warden of the fortress of Chihríq] acted with the utmost severity, he was eventually compelled to yield to the fascination of his Prisoner. Nor were the kurds, who lived in the village of Chihríq, and whose hatred of the Shí‘ahs exceeded even that of the inhabitants of Máh-Kú, able to resist the pervasive power of the Prisoner’s influence. They too were to be seen every morning, ere they started for their daily work, to approach the fortress and prostrate themselves in adoration before its holy Inmate. “So great was the confluence of the people,” is the testimony of a European eye-witness, writing in his memoirs of the Báb, “that the courtyard, not being large enough to contain His hearers, the majority remained in the street and listened with rapt attention to the verses of the new Qur’án.” 

- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

January 24, 2021

1848: Mullá Husayn walked about 1800 kilometers to see the Báb in Máh-Kú

Among them [“eager and devout pilgrims”] was the dauntless and indefatigable Mullá Husayn, who had walked on foot the entire way from Mashad in the east of Persia to Máh-Kú, the westernmost outpost of the realm, and was able, after so arduous a journey, to celebrate the festival of Naw-Rúz (1848) in the company of his Beloved. 

- Shoghi Effendi (‘God Passes By’)

January 17, 2021

No one was allowed to see the Báb for the first two weeks at Máh-Kú – other than His amanuensis and his brother

circa 1935 - Mah-Ku
Upon His [Báb] arrival in Máh-Kú, surnamed by Him Jabal-i-Básiṭ (the Open Mountain) no one was allowed to see Him for the first two weeks except His amanuensis, Siyyid Ḥusayn, and his brother. So grievous was His plight while in that fortress that, in the Persian Bayán, He Himself has stated that at night-time He did not even have a lighted lamp, and that His solitary chamber, constructed of sun-baked bricks, lacked even a door, while, in His Tablet to Muhammad Sháh, He has complained that the inmates of the fortress were confined to two guards and four dogs.  

- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

January 9, 2021

The Bab’s first visit to Tabriz created “an intense excitement on the part of the populace”

His [the Prime Minister’s] orders to ‘Alí Khán, the warden of the fortress of Máh-Kú, were stringent and explicit. On His way to that fortress the Báb passed a number of days in Tabríz, days that were marked by such an intense excitement on the part of the populace that, except for a few persons, neither the public nor His followers were allowed to meet Him. As He was escorted through the streets of the city the shout of “Alláh-u-Akbar” resounded on every side. So great, indeed, became the clamor that the town crier was ordered to warn the inhabitants that any one who ventured to seek the Báb’s presence would forfeit all his possessions and be imprisoned. 

- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

January 2, 2021

1961: Elected members of the International Baha'i Council

 
The members of the International Baha'i Council elected in 1961 by members of the National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies. Left to right: Sylvia Ioas (Vice-President), Charles Wolcott (Secretary General), Jessie Revell (Treasurer), Ethel Revell (Western Assistant Secretary), Ian Semple (Assistant Secretary), Borrah Kavelin (Member-at-large), Lotfullah Hakim (Eastern Assistant Secretary), Ali Nakhjavani (President), Mildred Mottahedeh 
('Coronation on Carmel', by Michael Day)

December 22, 2020

1973: The Universal House of Justice establishes the International Teaching Center

5 June 1973:

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

ANNOUNCE ESTABLISHMENT HOLY LAND LONG ANTICIPATED INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTRE DESTINED EVOLVE INTO ONE THOSE WORLD-SHAKING WORLD-EMBRACING WORLD-DIRECTING ADMINISTRATIVE INSTITUTIONS ORDAINED BY BAHA'U'LLAH ANTICIPATED BY 'ABDU'L-BAHA ELUCIDATED BY SHOGHI EFFENDI. MEMBERSHIP THIS NASCENT INSTITUTION COMPRISES ALL HANDS CAUSE GOD AND INITIALLY THREE COUNSELLORS WHO WITH HANDS PRESENT HOLY LAND WILL CONSTITUTE NUCLEUS ITS VITAL OPERATIONS. CALLING UPON HOOPER DUNBAR FLORENCE MAYBERRY 'AZIZ YAZDI PROCEED HOLY LAND ASSUME THIS HIGHLY MERITORIOUS SERVICE. OFFERING PRAYERS HEARTFELT GRATITUDE SACRED THRESHOLD THIS FURTHER EVIDENCE ORGANIC EVOLUTION ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

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

November 17, 2020

1973: Mansion of Mazra’ih was finally purchased after many years of lease

Aerial view of the Mansion of Mazra'ih
and surrounding gardens-April 1979
(Baha'i Media Bank)

15 March 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

OCCASION NAW-RUZ 130 JOYOUSLY ANNOUNCE BAHA'I WORLD ACQUISITION BY PURCHASE MANSION MAZRA'IH RESULT SEVERAL YEARS PATIENT PERSISTENT DETERMINED NEGOTIATIONS THEREBY ADDING TO BAHA'I ENDOWMENTS HOLY LAND FIRST RESIDENCE BAHA'U'LLAH AFTER NINE YEARS SPENT WALLED PRISON CITY 'AKKA. CONTROL THIS HOLY SITE REACQUIRED BY BELOVED GUARDIAN AFTER LAPSE MORE THAN FIFTY YEARS WHEN HE SECURED LEASE MANSION 1950 EXTENDED TO PRESENT TIME. PURCHASE INCLUDES LAND AREA APPROXIMATING TWENTY-FOUR THOUSAND SQUARE METRES HIGHLY SUITABLE EXTENSION GARDENS CULTIVATION. OFFERING PRAYER THANKSGIVING SACRED THRESHOLD THIS GREATLY CHERISHED BOUNTY.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

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

November 10, 2020

1973: The Universal House of Justice completed the Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas initiated by the Guardian

19 January 1973:

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE COMPLETION SYNOPSIS CODIFICATION KITAB-I-AQDAS FOR PUBLICATION RIDVAN SYNCHRONIZING CELEBRATION HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY REVELATION MOST HOLY BOOK FULFILLING WORLD CENTRE GOAL NINE YEAR PLAN. CONFIDENT RELEASE THIS PUBLICATION ENVISAGED BY BELOVED GUARDIAN AND WHOSE MAIN FEATURES HE OUTLINED WILL CONSTITUTE ANOTHER SIGNIFICANT STEP PATH LEADING BAHA'I COMMUNITY FULL MATURITY ESTABLISHMENT WORLD ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

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

November 1, 2020

1972: Constitution of the Universal House of Justice was adopted – a document referred to by the Guardian as the “Most Great Law of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh”

26 November 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

The following cable has just been sent to the United States Baha'i News for publication.

WITH GRATEFUL JOYOUS HEARTS ANNOUNCE ENTIRE BAHA'I WORLD ADOPTION PROFOUNDLY SIGNIFICANT STEP IN UNFOLDMENT MISSION SUPREME ORGAN BAHA'I WORLD COMMONWEALTH THROUGH FORMULATION CONSTITUTION UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE. AFTER OFFERING HUMBLE PRAYERS GRATITUDE ON DAY COVENANT AT THREE SACRED THRESHOLDS BAHJI HAIFA MEMBERS GATHERED COUNCIL CHAMBER PRECINCTS HOUSE BLESSED MASTER APPENDED THEIR SIGNATURES FIXED SEAL ON INSTRUMENT ENVISAGED WRITINGS BELOVED GUARDIAN HAILED BY HIM AS MOST GREAT LAW FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH. FULLY ASSURED MEASURE JUST TAKEN WILL FURTHER REINFORCE TIES BINDING WORLD CENTRE TO NATIONAL LOCAL COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT WORLD RELEASE FRESH ENERGIES INCREASE ENTHUSIASM CONFIDENCE VALIANT WORKERS HIS DIVINE VINEYARD LABOURING ASSIDUOUSLY BRING MANKIND UNDER SHELTER HIS ALL-GLORIOUS COVENANT.

Please share this joyous news with the friends. It is anticipated that the Constitution will be published at Ridvan.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

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