December 31, 2011

The first Baha’i from the outside world who met Baha’u’llah in ‘Akka

Mulla Abu'l-Hasan-i-Ardikani, who is known as Haji Amin or Amin-i-Ilahi, was the first Baha’i from the outside world to be able to meet Baha’u’llah in ‘Akka (in the public baths). 
(Adapted from ‘A Basic Baha’i Dictionary’, by Wendi Momen)

December 29, 2011

The 19-member delegation that represented the Baha’i International Community on January 29, 1982 at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Countries of Europe in Strasbourg, France

The 19-member delegation that represented the Baha’i International Community on January 29, 1982 at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Countries of Europe in Strasbourg, France. Countries represented are Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Spain, United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Germany, and Switzerland. 
(Baha’i News, June 1982)

December 21, 2011

1907: The First Baha'i in the West visits Baha'is in the East

Thornton Chase (seated second from the right), the First Baha'i in the West, meets Baha'is in the East, Cairo, Egypt, April 1907. Also present are Mirza Abu'l-Fadl (seated to the right of Thornton Chase) and Haji Niaz (seated to his left).

December 15, 2011

The Last Tablet Revealed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá for the Bahá'ís in America

To all the friends of God in America - The Glory of God rest upon them!

He Is God!

O ye friends of God!

'Abdu'l-Bahá is day and night thinking of you and mentioning you, for the friends of God are dear to him. Every morning at dawn I supplicate the Kingdom of God and ask that you may be filled with the breath of the Holy Spirit, so that you may become brilliant candles, shine with the light of guidance and dispel the darkness of error. Rest assured that the confirmations of the Abha Kingdom will continuously reach you.

Through the power of the Divine springtime, the downpour of the celestial clouds and the heat of the Sun of Reality, the Tree of Life is just beginning to grow. Before long it will produce buds, bring forth leaves and fruits and cast its shade over the East and the West. This Tree of Life is the Book of the Covenant.

In America, in these days, severe winds have surrounded the lamp of the Covenant, hoping that this brilliant light may be extinguished and this Tree of Life may be uprooted. Certain weak, capricious, malicious and ignorant souls have been shaken by the earthquake of hatred, of animosity, have striven to efface the divine Covenant and Testament, and render the clear water muddy so that in it they might fish(1). They have arisen against the Center of the Covenant like the people of the Bayan [The Book of the Báb] who attacked the Blessed Beauty (Bahá'u'lláh) and every moment uttered a calumny. Every day they seek a pretext and secretly arouse doubts, so that the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh may be completely annihilated in America.

December 10, 2011

First National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Bophuthatswana, May 1981

The members of the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Bophuthatswana are (standing left to right) Alan Moore (treasurer), Jane Khunou, Stephen Lekhonkhobe, Stanlake Kukama, Cornelius Khunou (vice chairman), Wright Lekhonkhobe, Judy Worth (recording secretary), and (kneeling left to right) Steve Worth (corresponding secretary), Ephens Senne (chairman). The first National Convention of Bophuthatswana was held on May 1-3, 1981. 
(Baha'i News, February, 1982)

December 9, 2011

1932: The First Haziratu'l-Quds (Baha'i Center) for the Baha'is of India and Pakistan

The First Haziratu'l-Quds (Baha'i Center) for the Baha'is of India and Pakistan was officially opened in Karachi in March of 1932.

December 6, 2011

1894: The first woman in the West to become a Baha’i

Kate Cowan Ives (1863-1927) was the first woman in the Occident to accept the Baha'i Faith and to remain steadfast in her newfound religion. Originally from Newfoundland, her parents had settled in the "Boston States." Kate Ives moved from Massachusetts to Chicago and, from the moment of her conversion in 1894 at the age of twenty-one, remained steadfast. Like many other Canadians who came to the movement later, she would contribute to the development of the Green Acre Baha'i School in Eliot, Maine 
(Robert Stockman, Baha’i Faith in America, vol. 1, pp. 36-37).(Will C. van den Hoonaard, ‘The Origins of the Baha'i Community of Canada, 1898-1948’)

November 26, 2011

November 26, 1901: The first commemoration of a Baha’i Holy Day in North America

On 26 November 1901 the House and the Women's Assembly of Teaching [of Chicago] sponsored a celebration of 'the Master's Day'. Today this is known as the Day of the Covenant. It was the first definite commemoration in the United States of a Baha’i Holy Day. 'Abdu'l-Baha had asked the Baha'is to hold a commemoration of the Baha'i covenant rather than a celebration of His birthday because He had been born on the same day that the Báb had declared His mission and that day should be devoted to the Báb's anniversary. On 26 November the Chicago House of Justice sent telegrams of greeting to other Baha'i communities but since it had not informed them of the Holy Day ahead of time, no observances are known to have occurred elsewhere. Chicago's festivities represented a harmonious blend of Baha'i and Protestant practices. In the Minutes of the Chicago House of Justice, dated 1 December 1901 we read:

November 23, 2011

First National Convention of Alaska

Delegates and guests at the first National Convention of Alaska in 1957 with the Hand ofthe Cause Paul Haney (back row center) (Baha'i News October 1981)

November 22, 2011

November 1849: The Báb sends His representative to make a pilgrimage on His behalf to the graves of Quddus and Mulla Husayn

"The Báb was heart-broken," His amanuensis, Siyyid Husayn-i-'Aziz, subsequently related, "at the receipt of this unexpected intelligence.[the news of the tragic fate which had befallen the heroes of Tabarsi] He was crushed with grief, a grief that stilled His voice and silenced His pen. For nine days He refused to meet any of His friends. I myself, though His close and constant attendant, was refused admittance. Whatever meat or drink we offered Him, He was disinclined to touch. Tears rained continually from His eyes, and expressions of anguish dropped unceasingly from His lips. I could hear Him, from behind the curtain, give vent to His feelings of sadness as He communed, in the privacy of His cell, with His Beloved. I attempted to jot down the effusions of His sorrow as they poured forth from His wounded heart. Suspecting that I was attempting to preserve the lamentations He uttered, He bade me destroy whatever I had recorded. Nothing remains of the moans and cries with which that heavy-laden heart sought to relieve itself of the pangs that had seized it. For a period of five months He languished, immersed in an ocean of despondency and sorrow."

November 21, 2011

Bermuda's first National Convention, April 1981

Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum and honored guests at Bermuda's first National Convention, April 1981 (Baha'i News, July 1981)

November 20, 2011

The cornerstone of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar (House of Worship) of Ishqabad was laid on 26 November, 1902

Laying the foundation stone of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Ishqabad. General Krupatkin is at the center front.
November 1902

“O people of the world! Build ye houses of worship throughout the lands in the name of Him Who is the Lord of all religions. Make them as perfect as is possible in the world of being, and adorn them with that which befitteth them, not with images and effigies. Then, with radiance and joy, celebrate therein the praise of your Lord, the Most Compassionate. Verily, by His remembrance the eye is cheered and the heart is filled with light.” (Baha’u’llah, the Kitab-i-Aqdas)

During the lifetime of Baha'u'llah, obeying this command was impossible because the Middle Eastern Baha'is were persecuted. In order to escape oppression, many Persian Baha'is fled north, to the lands that formed part of the Russian Empire. Situated twenty-five miles from the border of Iran was the town of 'Ishqabad, in the modern Turkmenistan. By the turn of the century a large and prosperous Baha'i community had developed there, protected by the tsarist government from persecution. In the autumn of 1902 the 'Ishqabad Baha'is set out to build the first House of Worship in the Baha'i world.

November 17, 2011

November 13, 1898: ‘Abdu’l-Baha ends the period of mourning for Baha’u’llah by opening His tomb to pilgrims for the first time

This event which took place on 13 November 1898 was in commemoration of the arrival of Ibrahim Kheiralla(Khayru’llah) to Akka on 11 November 1898 – “the same year that this precious Trust [the precious remains of the Báb] reached the shores of the Holy Land and was delivered into the hands of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He, accompanied by Dr. Ibrahim Khayru'llah, whom He had already honored with the titles of "Baha's Peter," "The Second Columbus" and "Conqueror of America," drove to the recently purchased site which had been blessed and selected by Bahá'u'lláh on Mt. Carmel, and there laid, with His own hands, the foundation-stone of the edifice, the construction of which He, a few months later, was to commence. About that same time, the marble sarcophagus, designed to receive the body of the Báb, an offering of love from the Bahá'ís of Rangoon, had, at 'Abdu'l-Bahá's suggestion, been completed and shipped to Haifa.” (God Passes By, p. 274)

Kheiralla (who later became a Covenant-breaker) and his wife Marion were among of the first group of American pilgrims who left New York on 22 September 1898. Phoebe Hearst, Robert Turner, and Lua and Edward Getsinger were also in that historic group. In Paris they were joined by May Bolles and Hearst’s two relatives.

From Paris Kheiralla went to Egypt in early October, where he had children to visit. His wife went to England to invite her aunt to accompany them to Akka. After twenty-one days in Egypt Ibrahim Keiralla proceeded to Akka and was first to arrive on 11 November 1898. Anxious to reach Akka, Edward and Lua Getsinger left Paris for Cairo in November. About mid-December Phoebe Hearst also arrived in Cairo. Accompanying her were her butler, Robert Turner; her maid, Amalie M. Bachrodt; her little niece, Agnes Lane; her niece's governess, Julia Pearson; another niece, Anne Apperson; and an old friend, Mrs. Thornburgh. All nine Westerners could not visit ‘Abdu’l-Baha simultaneously, for they would stir up too much suspicion. While Hearst and her relatives and employees remained in Egypt, the Gestingers proceeded to Akka. They arrived on 10 December 1898 and were the first North American Baha’is to visit ‘Abdu’l-Baha. 
(Adapted from ‘The Baha’i Faith in America’, vol. 1, by Robert Stockman)

November 14, 2011

The first North American pilgrims

The first North American Baha’is to visit ‘Abdu’l-Baha in Akka were Lua and Edward Getsinger. They arrived on 10 December 1898. 
(The Baha’i Faith in America, vol. 1, Robert Stockman)

November 4, 2011

Number of LSA’s and Groups in USA and Canada in 1925

By the end of 1925 there were 63 Local Spiritual Assemblies and Groups in the United States and Canada. 
(Baha’i News December 1925-January 1926)

October 31, 2011

Hand of the Cause Enoch Olinga, his wife and three of their children were slain by unknown gunmen September 16, 1979, outside their home in Kampala, Uganda

The Hand of the Cause of God Enoch Olinga, "The Father of Victories", and his wife Elizabeth during a Baha'i conference in Brazil in 1977.

Cable from the Universal House of Justice:


September 17, 1979

October 29, 2011

1978: First National Baha'i Youth Committee of Papua New Guinea

The first National Baha'i Youth Committee of Papua New Guinea with Auxiliary Board member Dr. Sirus Naraqi (standing at the left).
For the first time in the history of the Faith in Papua New Guinea, a National Baha'i Youth Conference was held in October 1978 near the capital, Port Moresby. The two-day conference was planned and conducted by the country's first National Baha'I Youth Committee, appointed in July l978 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Papua New Guinea. More than 100 believers from 19 communities, the majority of them youth, attended the conference. Publicity included two announcements on Papua New Guinea's national radio station. The conference included deepenings on Baha’i administration, Baha’i consultation, teaching the Faith, Baha’i principles, and the significance of the Faith in today's troubled world. Although pioneers from Port Moresby and Kwikila assisted in the program, most of the talks were given by the youth themselves. During an evening social meeting, traditional dances were performed and slides of Baha’I Holy Places shown. As a result of the conference, four persons in Port Moresby declared their belief in Baha'u'llah. 
(Baha’i News, June, 1979)

October 28, 2011

First Eastern woman to speak in public in the East

Dr. and Mrs. K. M. Foujdar, of Bombay, who were married, Feb.2, 1925. Mrs. Foujdar was Miss Shirin M. Irani. She holds a unique position as the first Eastern woman to be able to speak in public in the East. Shoghi Effenndi, Guardian of the Baha’i Cause, in a recent letter, said of her: “The pioneer work undertaken by our dear friend, Shirin, for the emancipation of her Indian sisters, is highly praiseworthy, and will in time yield abundant fruit." 
(Star of the West, vol.16, no. 3, June 1925)

October 25, 2011

First Baha'i National Teaching Conference for Bangladesh, Feb. 1979

The first Baha'i National Teaching Conference for Bangladesh was held on February 23-25, 1979. More than 150 persons participated. The conference theme was 'The Oneness of Mankind.' The opening address was delivered by Emran Ali Sarkar, a member of the national parliment and chairman of Rajshahi municipality, who warmly welcomed the Baha'is and wished them success in their spiritual understanding. (Baha'i News, July 1979)

October 22, 2011

First Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Zaloadgy, Burma, Feb. 1978

The first Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Zaloadgy, Burma. The Assembly was elected in February 1978, shortly after a visit by Mrs. Marguerite Birger that resulted in 35 enrollments in that previously unopened community. Mrs. Birger, from Collinsville, Illinois, was a member of an international Baha'i teaching team in Thailand in January 1978 when she was asked by the Continental Board of Counselors in South East Asia to spend a week in Burma. She was the first foreigner ever to visit the village of Zaloadgy. 
(Baha’i News, May 1979)

October 20, 2011

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s first public talk in the West -- City Temple, London, England, Sunday, September 10th, 1911

‘Abdul-Baha attended the evening service at the City Temple on Sunday. No announcement of the visit was made, and, although the sight of the Persians and other members of the suite in the congregation excited curiosity, very few people were aware that the Baha’i leader was expected. The service proceeded as usual until the hymn immediately preceding the sermon. Whilst this was being sung a venerable figure, clad in Persian robes, was seen slowly ascending the stairs of the pulpit. When the hymn was finished Mr. Campbell placed the distinguished visitor in his own chair, and then, addressing the crowded congregation, said:

"I propose to shorten my sermon this evening, because we have a visitor in the pulpit whose presence is somewhat significant of the spiritual drawing-together of East and West, as well as of the material drawing-together which has long been going on, and I think you would like to hear his voice, if only for a few moments."

October 18, 2011

West African Baha'i Women Conference, December 28, 1978, Monrovia, Liberia

West African Baha'i Women Conference, December 28, 1978, Monrovia, Liberia. Sixteen countries sent delegates to the conference. The United States, Germany and Spain's representatives joined those of the West African nations. The conference was conducted in English, with French, Mano and Pelle translations; a total of 23 languages were spoken by the 150 women and 50 men who attended the conference. 
(Baha'i News, April 1979)

October 17, 2011

June 1973: First meeting of the International Teaching Center

First meeting of the International Teaching Center, Bahji, June 1973. Members included Hands of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, 'Ali Akbar Furutan, Paul E. Haney, and Abu'l-Qasim Faizy, and Counsellors Hooper Dunbar, Florence Mayberry, and 'Aziz Yazdi. (Baha'i News April 1979)

October 16, 2011

First Baha'i wedding in Scotland without a civil ceremony

The newly-acquired Baha'i Center in Edinburgh, Scotland, was the scene Saturday, June 10, of the first Baha'i wedding ever to take place in Scotland without a civil ceremony. The bride, is Pamela McClure, the groom Brian O'Toole. Both are from Glasgow. The wedding officer, one of three Baha'is in Scotland authorized to carry out weddings, was Surgeon-Commander John More-Nisbet of Edinburgh. Since this was the first non-Christian or non-Jewish marriage ceremony to be recognized in Scotland, news of it was published in one national, two Scottish and one local newspaper. BBC Radio-Scotland even recorded and broadcast a part of the ceremony and gave an, accurate outline of the Faith. Three weeks after the wedding Brian O'Toole pioneered to Guyana were he soon was joined by his wife. 
(Baha’i News, January 1979)

October 13, 2011

Two of the first Baha'i International Community's official representatives

Ugo Giachery and Mildred Motahedeh were two of the first official representatives of the Baha'i International Community. This picture was taken in 1948, at the first United Nations Conference that the International Community ever attended. (Baha'i News, March 1979)

October 5, 2011

The first pilgrims were received by Baha’u’llah in Adrianople in the House of Amru’llah

During the exile period in Adrianople “the first pilgrimages were made to the residence [House of Amru’llah, ‘the House of God's Command’] of One Who was now the visible Center of a newly-established Faith -- pilgrimages which by reason of their number and nature, an alarmed government in Persia was first impelled to restrict, and later to prohibit, but which were the precursors of the converging streams of Pilgrims who, from East and West, at first under perilous and arduous circumstances, were to direct their steps towards the prison-fortress of 'Akká -- pilgrimages which were to culminate in the historic arrival of a royal convert at the foot of Mt. Carmel, who, at the very threshold of a longed-for and much advertised pilgrimage, was so cruelly thwarted from achieving her purpose. 
(Shoghi Effendi, 'God Passes By')

October 3, 2011

During certain part of His Ministry Baha’u’llah revealed “the equivalent of a thousand verses” “within the space of an hour”!!

Shoghi Effendi explains that toward the latter part of His stay in Adrianople "a period of prodigious activity ensued. ..." "Such are the outpourings ... from the clouds of Divine Bounty," Bahá'u'lláh Himself wrote, "that within the space of an hour the equivalent of a thousand verses hath been revealed." "I swear by God! In those days the equivalent of all that hath been sent down aforetime unto the Prophets hath been revealed" (God Passes By, pp. 170-70).

September 24, 2011

Manuchihr-Khan, the Mu'tamidu'l-Dawlih, the Governor of Isfahan

Manuchihr-Khan, the Mu'tamidu'l-Dawlih, the Governor of Isfahan, who extended his protection to the Bab in Isfahan, Psersia. (Refer to Dawn-Breakers chapter X) (The Baha'i World 1932-1934)

September 17, 2011

National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Central African Republic, elected at Ridvan 1972

National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Central African Republic, elected at Ridvan 1972. From left to right, standing: Michel Toleque-Koy, Recording Secretary, Sebastien Tchientson, Raymond Ousmann, Albert Lincoln, Corresponding Secretary, Rene Jean-Baptiste, Chairman, Hubert Katossi-Simani, Vice-Chairman. Seated: Agnes Katossi-Simani, Treasurer, Janet Mughrabi and Turlia Jean-Baptiste. (Baha'i News, August 1972)

September 10, 2011

First National Spiritual Assembly of Sweden, elected April 1962

First National Spiritual Assembly of Sweden, elected April 1962.
Left to right, seated: Lotus Nielsen, Elizabeth Bevan (recording secretary), Jean Bonn, Marianne Pickens. Standing: John Nielsen (Secretary), Hans Ademyr (chairman), Rouhollah Golmahammadi (treasurer), Hadi Afsahi (vice-chairman), and Sven Mards. (Baha'i News, August 1962)

September 9, 2011

The only talk given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá to a Japanese audience – Oakland, California, October 1912

[Mr. Yamamoto, the first Japanese Bahá'í, arranged for 'Abdu'l-Bahá to speak at the Japanese Independent Church, in Oakland, California.]

It is a great happiness to be here this evening, especially for the reason that the members of this Association have come from the region of the Orient. For a long time I have entertained a desire to meet some of the Japanese friends. That nation has achieved extraordinary progress in a short space of time; a progress and development which have astonished the world. Inasmuch as they have advanced in material civilization they must assuredly possess the capacity for spiritual development. For this reason I have an excessive longing to meet them. Praise be to God! this pleasure is now afforded me, for here in this city I am face to face with a revered group of the Japanese. According to report the people of the Japanese nation are not prejudiced. They investigate reality. Wherever they find truth they prove to be its lovers. They are not attached tenaciously to blind imitations of ancient beliefs and dogmas. Therefore it is my great desire to discourse with them upon a subject in order that the unity and blending together of the nations of the east and the nations of the west may be furthered and accomplished. In this way religious, racial and political prejudice, particularly bias and sectarianism will be dispelled amongst men. Any kind of prejudice is destructive to the body-politic.

When we review history from the beginning of human existence to the present age in which we live, it is evident all war and conflict, bloodshed and battle, every form of sedition has been due to some form of prejudice, whether religious, racial or national, to partisan bias and selfish prejudice of some sort. Even today we witness an upheaval in the Balkans, a war of religious prejudice. Some years ago when I was living in Roumelia, war broke out among the religious peoples. There was no attitude of justice or equity whatever amongst them. They pillaged the properties of each other, burning each other's homes and houses, slaughtering men, women and children, imagining that such warfare and bloodshed was the means of drawing near to God. This clearly proved that prejudice is a destroyer of the foundations of the world of humanity whereas religion was meant to be the cause of fellowship and agreement.

September 3, 2011

April 1972: First National Spiritual Assembly in Afghanistan

Members of the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Afghanistan, April 1972. Standing, left to right: Khalil Akhavan, Houshang Rashidi, Mohamad Aslam Omary, Golagha Ahmadi, Mohamad Aslam Amiry, Hooshang Mohebee, Bazmohamad Noorzei. In fron: Mohamad Ibrahimzadeh, Ziaoullah Mahboobipoor. (Baha'i News, August 1972)

August 14, 2011

The book entitled ”The Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh” was presented to Heads of State during the centenary of Baha’u’llah’s Own Proclamation in Adrianople

A hundred years ago Bahá'u'lláh Himself addressed the kings, rulers, religious leaders and peoples of the world. The Universal House of Justice feels it its bounden duty to bring that Message to the attention of the world's leaders today. It is therefore presenting to them, in the form of a book, the essence of Bahá'u'lláh's announcement. Entitled The Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, a special edition will be presented to Heads of State during the opening of the proclamation period and a general edition will be available to the friends in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. 
(The Universal House of Justice, excerpt from a message dated Ridvan 1967, ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963 to 1986’) 
(To read the entire letter please visit Messages to the Baha’i World Community—by the Universal House of Justice)

August 9, 2011

April 1962: First National Convention of the Baha'is of Sweden

First National Convention of the Baha'is of Sweden, April 1962 (Baha'i News, August 1962)

August 8, 2011

1929: Certificate of the United States Federal Government to the Declaration of Trust entered by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada

Certificate of the United States Federal Government to the Declaration of Trust entered by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada. (The Baha'i World 1932-1934)

July 28, 2011

The second Asian Baha’i Women’s Conference, India, October 1977

More than 1,000 Baha'i women from all over Asia, with observers and speakers from Europe and America, gathered at Vigyan Bhavan Auditorium in New Delhi, India, October 13-16, 1977 for the Asian Baha'i women's conference.The presence of the Hand of the Cause Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum as the most distinguished guest and principal speaker for the event was a source of great joy and happiness for the believers. Ruhiyyih Khanum shared with the gathering a cablegram, sent in December 1930 by Shoghi Effendi to the first Asian Women's Conference: “convey to Indian Asian women's conference behalf Greatest Holy Leaf and myself expression our genuine profound interest in their deliberations. May Almighty guide bless their high endeavour." 
(Baha’i News February 1978)

July 21, 2011

September 1976: Western Samoa king visits the resting place of Shoghi Effendi

His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II of Western Samoa (third from the left), together with Hands of the Cause 'Ali-Muhammad Varqa and Dhikru'llah Khadem (second and third from the right) and the National Spiritual Assembly of the United Kingdom and othe Baha'is, visited the resting place of Shoghi Effendi, Great Northern London Cemetery, New Southgate, on September 12, 1976. (Baha'i News December 1976)

July 18, 2011

April 1967: Baha’i literature available in 397 languages and 311 territories opened to the Faith

As of April 1967, the list of those languages in which the Bahá'í literature is available reached 397, and the number of territories opened to the Faith increased to 311. 
(Adapted from the Ridvan 1967 message of the Universal House of Justice, ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

July 11, 2011

May 1, 1931: The first picture taken on the Chicago Temple steps after the completion of the superstructure

The first picture taken on the Chicago Temple steps after the completion of the superstructure, May 1, 1931.(Baha'i News February 1976)

July 1, 2011

Members of first Togo National Spiritual Assembly, 1975

The members of first National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Togo assemble with the Hand of the Cause of God Rahmatu'llah Muhajir, seated second from left. The Togo National Spiritual Assembly was elected at the first National Convention, April 1975. The members are, from left, Kawku Negble Attigah, vice chairman; Amevor Amernatchron; George Allen, secretary; and, standing, Yao Azikpati; Kodjo Honsou; Maylo Murday, treasurer; Komi Koussanta, assistant treasurer; Baban Soga Kamoe, assistant secretary; and Amru'llah Khelghati, chairman. (Baha'i News, October 1975)

June 30, 2011

First National Spiritual Assembly of Finland, April 1962

First National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Finland, elected April 1962. Left to right, seated: Mavlys Tulvenhumo, Gurun Opategaard (treasurer), Josephine Kruka, Sirkka Salmi (secretary), Greta Jankko. Standing: Maija Ravola (recording secretary), Mark Namdar (vice-chairman), Ghodrat Bidardel, K.H. Zalrhian (chairman) (Baha'i News, August 1962)

June 25, 2011

June 17, 1975: Excavation begins at site of Universal House of Justice Building

Joyfully announce commencement excavation site Universal House of Justice Building arc Mount Carmel. Contract removal forty thousand cubic meters rock and earth at cost approximately two hundred thousand dollars. Invite all believers contribute unstintingly building fund ensure uninterrupted progress historic undertaking.
Universal House of Justice
June 17, 1975
(Baha'i News, July 1975)

Work started on the construction of the Universal House of Justice Building in the heart of Mount Carmel. In the left background is the Archives Building and in the right background is the Shrine of the Bab.

June 19, 2011

As of 1966: The largest number of Baha’is ever to arise to pioneer beyond their homelands in any one year in the entire history of the Cause – was in 1965-1966

The Fiftieth Anniversary of the revelation by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in March and April 1916, of the first Tablets of the Divine Plan, has witnessed the conclusion of a feat of pioneering unparalleled in the annals of the Cause. A year ago the call was raised for four-hundred-and-sixty-one pioneers to leave their homes within twelve months and scatter throughout the planet to broaden and strengthen the foundations of the world community of Bahá'u'lláh. There is every hope that with the exception of thirty-four posts whose settlement is dependent upon favourable circumstances all the pioneer goals will be filled by Ridvan or their settlement will be assured by firm commitments. The gratitude and admiration of the entire Bahá'í world go out to this noble band of dedicated believers who have so gloriously responded to the call. These pioneers, who have arisen for the specified goals, have been reinforced by a further forty-five believers who have settled in the goal territories, while sixty-nine more have left their homes to reside in twenty-six other countries already opened to the Faith. All told, in the course of the year, five-hundred-and-five Bahá'ís have arisen to pioneer beyond their homelands, the largest number ever to do so in any one year in the entire history of the Cause. 
(The Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 1966 message)

June 18, 2011

Bahamas National Haziratu'l-Quds Acquired, January, 1975

Negotiations for the acquisition of a building which is considered a landmark by Bahamian citizens were completed in Nassau at the end of January [1975], during a visit by Glenford Mitchell, Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States. The structure, built by a former prime minister of the country, will serve as the National Haziratu'l-Quds of the Bahamas. Ideally located in the heart of downtown Nassau, the building is situated on a spacious lot which also includes a number of smaller buildings. It is well-landscaped and attractive, with a covered archway leading along the side of the building from the front to the back area. The visit of Mr. Mitchell also provided an opportunity for extensive proclamation of the Faith, with a half-hour program taped by Carl Bethel, program director of the government-owned radio station, WZNS, and an hour-long visit with Leon Turnquest, editor of the Nasseu Guardian.(Baha’i News, February, 1975)

June 17, 2011

Chicago Temple Foundation Hall as it appeared in 1922-1930

Chicago Temple Foundation Hall as it appeared in 1922-1930 (Baha'i News, November, 1974)

June 13, 2011

In September/October, 1867, Bahá'u'lláh proclaimed His Message to the kings and rulers of the world -- "Never since the beginning of the world hath the Message been so openly proclaimed." (Baha’u’llah)

[Extract from a 1965 Ridvan message of the Universal House of Justice announcing plans for a befitting celebration of that historic event:]

The fourth challenge is to prepare national and local plans for the befitting celebration of the centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's proclamation of His Message in September/October, 1867, to the kings and rulers of the world, celebrations to be followed during the remainder of the Nine Year Plan by a sustained and well-planned programme of proclamation of that same Message to the generality of mankind.

A review of the historic proclamation by Bahá'u'lláh, as described by Shoghi Effendi in God Passes By, reveals that its "opening notes" were "sounded during the latter part of Bahá'u'lláh's banishment to Adrianople," and that, six years later, it "closed during the early years of His incarceration in the prison-fortress of 'Akká." These "opening notes" were the mighty and awe-inspiring words addressed by Him to the kings and rulers collectively in the Suriy-i-Mulúk, "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Bahá'u'lláh." It was penned some time during the months of September and October, 1867, and was followed by "Tablets unnumbered ... in which the implications of His newly-asserted claims were fully expounded." "Kings and emperors, severally and collectively; the chief magistrates of the Republics of the American continent; ministers and ambassadors; the Sovereign Pontiff himself; the Vicar of the Prophet of Islam; the royal Trustee of the Kingdom of the Hidden Imam; the monarchs of Christendom, its patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, priests and monks; the recognized leaders of both the Sunni and Shí'ah sacerdotal orders; the high priests of the Zoroastrian religion; the philosophers, the ecclesiastical leaders, the wise men and the inhabitants of Constantinople -- that proud seat of both the Sultanate and the Caliphate; the entire company of the professed adherents of the Zoroastrian, the Jewish, the Christian and Muslim Faiths; the people of the Bayan; the wise men of the world, its men of letters, its poets, its mystics, its tradesmen, the elected representatives of its peoples; His own countrymen"; all were "brought directly within the purview of the exhortations, the warnings, the appeals, the declarations and the prophecies which constitute the theme of His momentous summons to the leaders of mankind ..." "Unique and stupendous as was this proclamation, it proved to be but a prelude to a still mightier revelation of the creative power of its Author, and to what may well rank as the most signal act of His ministry the promulgation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas." In this, the Most Holy Book, revealed in 1873, Bahá'u'lláh not only once more announces to the kings of the earth collectively that "He Who is the King of Kings hath appeared" but addresses reigning sovereigns distinctively by name and proclaims to the "Rulers of America and the Presidents of the Republics therein" that "the Promised One hath appeared." Such was the proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh to mankind. As He Himself testified, "Never since the beginning of the world hath the Message been so openly proclaimed." 
(The Universal House of Justice, ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963 to 1986’)

June 11, 2011

Certificate of Incorporation of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of India and Burma

Certificate of Incorporation of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of India and Burma, January, 1933 (The Baha'i World 1932-1934)

June 10, 2011

The number of centers worldwide where Bahá'ís reside increased by almost six thousand in one year -- April 1964 to April 1965

“The most spectacular of these is the increase in the number of centres where Bahá'ís reside from fifteen thousand one hundred and sixty-eight at Ridvan 1964 to twenty-one thousand and six at the present time, an increase of nearly six thousand in one year.” 
(The Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 1965 message)

June 9, 2011

First National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Trinidad and Tobago

Standing, left to right: Joel Caverly, Treasurer; Shamsi Sedaghat, Chairman; Nikou Amarsingh (Raoofian), Recording Secretary; Leopold Fraser, Secretary. Sitting, left to right: Ramdass Ramkissoon; Gloreen Richards; Laciford Rock, Vice Chairman; Alma Lyons; and Lavern Johnson, April, 1971. (Baha'i News, July 1971)

June 1, 2011

The Suriy-i-Mulúk (Tablet to the Kings) -- “the most momentous Tablet revealed by Bahá'u'lláh”

“The Suriy-i-Mulúk, the most momentous Tablet revealed by Bahá'u'lláh (Surih of Kings) in which He, for the first time, directs His words collectively to the entire company of the monarchs of East and West, and in which the Sultan of Turkey, and his ministers, the kings of Christendom, the French and Persian Ambassadors accredited to the Sublime Porte, the Muslim ecclesiastical leaders in Constantinople, its wise men and inhabitants, the people of Persia and the philosophers of the world are separately addressed …” (Shoghi Effendi, 'God Passes By')

The first full English translation of the Súriy-i-Mulúk, that was revealed in Adrianople, is included in the book: “The Summons of the Lord of Hosts”, published at the Baha’i World Center in Haifa.

May 31, 2011

First Message from the Universal House of Justice -- April 30, 1963: Presented by a member of the Universal House of Justice to the Baha’is assembled in Royal Albert Hall, London

"All praise, O my God, be to Thee Who art the Source of all glory and majesty, of greatness and honour, of sovereignty and dominion, of loftiness and grace, of awe and power. Whomsoever Thou wiliest Thou causest to draw nigh unto the Most Great Ocean, and on whomsoever Thou desirest Thou conferrest the honour of recognizing Thy Most Ancient Name. Of all who are in heaven and on earth, none can withstand the operation of Thy sovereign Will. From all eternity Thou didst rule the entire creation, and Thou wilt continue for evermore to exercise Thy dominion over all created things. There is none other God but Thee, the Almighty, the Most Exalted, the All-Powerful, the All-Wise."

Beloved friends:

On this glorious occasion, the celebration of the Most Great Jubilee, we raise our grateful thanks to Bahá'u'lláh for all His bounties showered upon the friends throughout the world. This historic moment marks at one and the same time the fulfilment of Daniel's prophecy, the Hundredth Anniversary of the Declaration of the Promised One of all ages, the termination of the first epoch of the Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l-Bahá designed to establish the Faith of God in all the world, and the successful conclusion of our beloved Guardian's world-encircling Crusade, enabling his lovers and loved ones everywhere to lay this glorious harvest of victory in his name at the feet of the Blessed Beauty. This Most Great Jubilee is the crowning victory of the lifework of Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Cause of God. He it was, and he alone, who unfolded the potentialities of the widely scattered, numerically small, and largely unorganized Bahá'í community which had been called into being during the Heroic Age of the Faith. He it was who unfolded the grand design of God's Holy Cause, set in motion the great plans of teaching already outlined by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, established the institutions and greatly extended the endowments at the World Centre, and raised the Temples of America, Africa, Australasia and Europe, developed the Administrative Order of the Cause throughout the world, and set the Ark of the Cause true on its course. He appointed the Hands of the Cause of God.

May 29, 2011

First Baha'i meeting-place in Australia

Mr. and Mrs. Dunn's first flat in Avoca Street, Randwick, Sydney, N.S.W. First Baha'i meeting-place in Australia. (The Baha'i World, 1932-1934)

May 23, 2011

May 22nd, 1844: The Báb Declares His Divine Mission to Mulla Husayn

The time was the hour before sunset, on the 22nd day of May, 1844. The participants were the Bab, a twenty-five year old siyyid, of pure and holy lineage, and the young Mulla Husayn, the first to believe in Him. Their meeting immediately before that interview seemed to be purely fortuitous. The interview itself was protracted till the hour of dawn. The Host remained closeted alone with His guest, nor was the sleeping city remotely aware of the import of the conversation they held with each other. No record has passed to posterity of that unique night save the fragmentary but highly illuminating account that fell from the lips of Mulla Husayn.

"I sat spellbound by His utterance, oblivious of time and of those who awaited me," he himself has testified, after describing the nature of the questions he had put to his Host and the conclusive replies he had received from Him, replies which had established beyond the shadow of a doubt the validity of His claim to be the promised Qá'im. "Suddenly the call of the Mu'adhdhin, summoning the faithful to their morning prayer, awakened me from the state of ecstasy into which I seemed to have fallen. All the delights, all the ineffable glories, which the Almighty has recounted in His Book as the priceless possessions of the people of Paradise -- these I seemed to be experiencing that night. Methinks I was in a place of which it could be truly said: 'Therein no toil shall reach us, and therein no weariness shall touch us;' 'no vain discourse shall they hear therein, nor any falsehood, but only the cry, "Peace! Peace!"'; 'their cry therein shall be, "Glory to Thee, O God!" and their salutation therein, "Peace!", and the close of their cry, "Praise be to God, Lord of all creatures!"' Sleep had departed from me that night. I was enthralled by the music of that voice which rose and fell as He chanted; now swelling forth as He revealed verses of the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá', again acquiring ethereal, subtle harmonies as He uttered the prayers He was revealing. At the end of each invocation, He would repeat this verse: 'Far from the glory of thy Lord, the All-Glorious, be that which His creatures affirm of Him! And peace be upon His Messengers! And praise be to God, the Lord of all beings!'"

May 20, 2011

First National Convention of the Baha'is of Eastern Malaysia and Brunei

Historic first National Convention of the Baha'is of Eastern Malaysia and Brunei held at he "Uma Orang Ulu", Kuching April 28-30, 1972. One hundred and seventy attended from Sabah, Brunei and Sarawak including Hand of the Cause of God Mr Jalal Khazeh representing the Universal House of Justice, Counsellor Dr. C.J. Sundram, and Auxiliary Board member Mrs. Grete Fozdar. (Baha'i News July 1972)

May 16, 2011

1969: Bahji from the air

Bahji from the air looking northeast, 1969 (Baha'i News April 1969)

May 14, 2011

circa 1932: Persian Baha'i Marriage Certificate

Baha'i Marriage Certificate adopted and enforced by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Persia. (The Baha'i World 1932-1934)

May 9, 2011

The Báb announces that “through” God’s “Most Great Name … the hidden secrets of God, the Most Exalted, were divulged and… the essence of all knowledge was revealed” to humanity

Glorified art Thou, O my God! I invoke Thee by Thy Most Great Name through which the hidden secrets of God, the Most Exalted, were divulged and the kindreds of all nations converged toward the focal centre of faith and certitude, through which Thy luminous Words streamed forth for the quickening of mankind and the essence of all knowledge was revealed from that Embodiment of bounty. May my life, my inmost being, my soul and my body be offered up as a sacrifice for the dust ennobled by His footsteps. 
(The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 199)

May 4, 2011

First National Convention of the Baha'is of the Malagasy Republic

During Ridvan 1972, the historic first National Convention of the Baha'is of the Malagasy Republic was held. This is located to the east of Africa, the Island of Madagascar. The photographs were taken in fron of the national Haziratu'l-Quds in Tananarive. The Universal House of Justice was represented by Hand of the Cause Dr. Muhajir. Among those attending were: Continental Counsellor S. Fatheazam; Auxiliary Board member R. Thandrayen, E. Lutchmaya representing the mother Assembly, that of the Indian Ocean, and the Mother-Pioneer of the Island, Mrs. M. Munsif. (Baha'i News, November 1972)

April 29, 2011

Imperial Firman of Nasiri'd-Din Shah, 1265 A.H. (1844 A.D.) commanding Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza to exterminate the Babis of Mazindaran, Persia

Imperial Firman of Nasiri'd-Din Shah, 1265 A.H. (1844 A.D.) with marginal note in his own hand, commanding Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza to exterminate the Babis of Mazindaran, Persia. (Refer to The Dawn-Breakers, Ch. XIX.) (The Baha'i World 1932-1934)

April 24, 2011

Baha’u’llah revealed the Suriy-i-Sabr (Surih of Patience) on the first day upon arrival in the garden of Ridvan

In God Passes By Shoghi Effendi explains that Baha’u’llah revealed “the "Suriy-i-Sabr" (Surih of Patience) … on the first day of Ridvan” in 1863, “on … His arrival in the garden of Ridvan”. In it He affirms "God hath sent down His Messengers to succeed to Moses and Jesus, and He will continue to do so till 'the end that hath no end'; so that His grace may, from the heaven of Divine bounty, be continually vouchsafed to mankind." In the Suriy-Sabr Baha’u’llah “extols Vahíd and his fellow-sufferers in Nayriz”. (Shoghi Effendi, ‘God Passes By’, p. 140 and ‘The World Order of Baha'u'llah’, p. 116).

In the ‘Revelation of Baha’u’llah’, vol. 1, Adib Taherzadeh provides a very interesting explanation about this Tablet, its recipient, Haji Muhammad-Taqi, a native of Nayriz, and the circumstances culminating in the horrendous events that transpired in the town of Nayriz, Persia, during the Ministry of the Bab. Bahá'u'lláh bestowed the title of Ayyub (Job) to Haji Muhammad-Taqi in this Tablet. This Tablet is also known as Lawh-i-Ayyub (Tablet of Job). It is in Arabic and is equal in length to almost one-quarter of the Kitáb-i-Íqán. 

A provisional translation of this Tablet is available at Baha'i Tablets - provisional translations

April 17, 2011

First National Spiritual Assembly Elected in Leeward, Windward and Virgin Islands

National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Leeward, Windward and Virgin Islands, elected April 23, 1967 with Hand of the Cause Dr. Ugo Giachery. Left to right: Thomas Hooper, Ellerton Harmer (treasurer), Lorraine Landau, Jean Desert (vice-chairman), Henrietta Trutza (recording secretary), Hand of the Cause Dr. Ugo Giachery, Katharine Meyer (corresponding secretary), Jeffrey Lewis, Dorothy Schneider, and Edwin Miller (chairman) (Baha'i News June, 1967)

April 16, 2011

First Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Yaounde, Cameroon

First Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Yaounde. the Federal capital of the Republic of Cameroon, 1968. Seated (left to right): Louie Stewart (secretary), Alfred Defang (chairman), and Emmanuel Begoumenie (vice-chairman). Satnding (left o rifgt): David Eyong, Paul Nkono, Jacob Ayukotang, John Ayuk, and Elias Eta (treasurer). Ernest Ayompe was absent (Baha'i News, December 1968)

April 14, 2011

1971: Faith Receives Official Recognition in Chad and the Central African Republic

At the end of January and mid-February 1971 the Baha'i Faith was officially recognized and registered by the authorities in the Republic of Chad, destined to have its First National Spiritual Assembly at Ridvan, and in the Central African Republic, which will also have its own National Spiritual Assembly for the first time at Ridvan, 1971.

The recognition and registration, which is the equivalent to Incorporation, is a vital step forward for the Faith in both these countries, and represents a double victory in each case due to the difficulties which preceded these registrations.

In Chad, where the number of believers in the capital, Fort Lamy alone, had reached more than one thousand, application for registration was submitted during 1970 and was rejected by the authorities on the grounds that no new religion had been registered since the country became independent. As an appeal against this decision, the Baha'is in Fort Lamy immediately began a proclamation campaign by presenting the case and Baha'i literature to different ministers in the Government, many of whom were most sympathetic and receptive to the Faith. However it was found that the matter would have to be submitted for a final decision to the Head of State.

April 6, 2011

The First Black Baha’i who arose “to guide others”

From a Tablet revealed by 'Abdu'l-Baha for Mrs. Pocohontas in Washington, USA:

"Render thanks to the Lord that among that race thou art the first believer,[1] arisen to guide others. It is my hope that through the bounties and favours of the Abha Beauty thy countenance may be illumined, thy disposition pleasing, and thy fragrance diffused, that thine eyes may be seeing, thine ears attentive, thy tongue eloquent, thy heart filled with supreme glad-tidings, and thy soul refreshed by divine fragrances, so that thou mayest arise among that race and occupy thyself with the edification of the people, and become filled with light. Although the pupil of the eye is black, it is the source of light. Thou shalt likewise be. The disposition should be bright, not the appearance. Therefore, with supreme confidence and certitude, say: 'O God! Make me a radiant light, a shining lamp, and a brilliant star, so that I may illumine the hearts with an effulgent ray from Thy Kingdom of Abha....'" 
(‘Abdu’l-Baha, The Compilation of Compilations, vol. II, Women)

[1] This Tablet was addressed to one Mrs. Pocohontas in Washington. According to Fadil Mazandarani, the recipient of the Tablet was a black woman. See Tarikh-i-Zuhuru'l-Haq, vol. 8, part 2, p. 1209 (Tihrán: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 132 B.E.). Additional information provided by the Archives of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States indicates that Mr. Louis Gregory, in a history of the Washington, D.C. Bahá'í community, mentions a black Bahá'í, Mrs. Pocohontas Pope, who is likely the same person. Mrs. Pope learned of the Bahá'í Faith through Alma and Fanny Knobloch and Joseph and Pauline Hannen. There is, at present no other information on Mrs. Pope. (The Compilation of Compilations, vol. II, Women)

March 26, 2011

First National Spiritual Assembly of Sudan -- April 1971

Elected members of the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Sudan. Seated, left to right: Mr. Merghani Osman, Mr. Shakey Hassan Marrei, Mrs. Nawal Marrei, Mr. Hassan El-Said, Mr. Mosa Osman. Standing: Mr. Rashid Ali Hassib, Mr. Said El-Said, Mr. Said Ahmed Shalabi, and Mr. Mohamed Hassan.

March 23, 2011

April 1954: First Auxiliary Boards appointed

In the unfoldment of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause the Guardian instructed the fifteen Hands of the Cause outside the Holy Land to appoint, during Ridvan 1954, "by virtue of their supreme function as chosen instruments for the propagation of the Faith," five auxiliary Boards, one for each of the five continents. This body of the Hands of the Cause was, in the Guardian's words, "now entering (the) second phase (of) its evolution signalized (by) forging (of) ties (with the) National Spiritual Assemblies (of the) Baha'i world (for the) purpose (of) lending them assistance (in) attaining (the) objectives (of the) Ten Year Plan."

The task of the auxiliary Boards was to "increasingly lend (their) assistance (for the) promotion (of the) interests (of the) Ten-Year Crusade." Their function was to act "as deputies, assistants and advisers of the Hands," "working in conjunction" with the National Spiritual Assemblies on each continent. Their duties had been defined by the Guardian in his cablegram of October 8, 1952, launching the World Crusade: to "assist, through periodic systematic visits (to) Baha'i centers (in the) efficient, prompt execution" of the twelve projected National teaching plans.

The five auxiliary Boards appointed by the fifteen Hands of the Cause were announced as follows:

March 17, 2011

April 1970: First National Convention of the Baha'is of Uganda

First National Convention of the Baha'is of Uganda, April 1970 (Baha'i News, February 1971) 

March 13, 2011

August 6-12, 1970: First National Baha'i Youth Institute in Uganda

First National Baha'i Youth Institute held at Kikaaya Hill, Kampala, Uganda August 6-12, 1970. Shown are youth with: Moses Senoga, member of National Spiritual Assembly of Uganda, seated second from left; Zylpha Mapp, American pioneer and secretary of National Education Committee of Uganda, seated fourth from left. Holding the symbol of the Greatest Name is Justine Serunjogi, the first girl to attend the institute. (Baha'i News, November 1970)