December 31, 2013

‘Abdu’l-Bahá's description of Tahirih

And amongst them [“certain persons (that) appeared amongst the Bábís who had a strange ascendancy and appearance in the eyes of this sect”] was she who was entitled Qurratu’l-‘Ayn [Tahirih] the daughter of Hájí Sálih, the sage of Qazvín, the erudite doctor. She, according to what is related, was skilled in diverse arts, amazed the understandings and thoughts of the most eminent masters by her eloquent dissertations on the exegesis and tradition of the Perspicuous Book, and was a mighty sign in the doctrines of the glorious Shaykh of Ahsá. At the Supreme Shrines she borrowed light on matters divine from the lamp of Kázim, and freely sacrificed her life in the way of the Báb. She discussed and disputed with the doctors and sages, loosing her tongue to establish her doctrine. Such fame did she acquire that most people who were scholars or mystics sought to hear her speech and were eager to become acquainted with her powers of speculation and deduction. She had a brain full of tumultuous ideas, and thoughts vehement and restless. In many places she triumphed over the contentious, expounding the most subtle questions. When she was imprisoned in the house of [Mahmúd] the Kalantar of Tihrán, and the festivities and rejoicings of a wedding were going on, the wives of the city magnates who were present as guests were so charmed with the beauty of her speech that, forgetting the festivities, they gathered round her, diverted by listening to her words from listening to the melodies, and rendered indifferent by witnessing her marvels to the contemplation of the pleasant and novel sights which are incidental to a wedding. In short in elocution she was the calamity of the age, and in ratiocination the trouble of the world. Of fear or timidity there was no trace in her heart, nor had the admonitions of the kindly-disposed any profit or fruit for her. Although she was of [such as are] damsels [meet] for the bridal bower, yet she wrested preeminence from stalwart men, and continued to strain the feet of steadfastness until she yielded up her life at the sentence of the mighty doctors in Tihrán. But were we to occupy ourselves with these details the matter would end in prolixity. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, ‘A Traveler’s Narrative’)

December 26, 2013

May 1971 – countries and islands of the Caribbean: 2,500 localities, 500 Local Spiritual Assemblies, and 16 National Spiritual Assemblies

Now Bahá'ís are to be found in over 2,500 localities, more than 500 Local Assemblies and 16 National Spiritual Assemblies have been formed, and there have been hundreds of concrete achievements which have brought about our recognition as an independent Faith. (The Universal House of Justice, excerpt from a message dated May 1971, to the Friends of God gathered in the Caribbean Conference; Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986) (To read the entire message please visit Messages to the Baha’i World Community – by the Universal House of Justice)

December 14, 2013

April 22, 1863: Baha’u’lláh enters the Najíbíyyih Garden in Baghdad -- “subsequently designated by His followers the Garden of Ridván”

Twenty-seven days after that mournful Tablet[“Tablet of the Holy Mariner”] had been so unexpectedly revealed by Bahá’u’lláh, and the fateful communication, presaging His departure to Constantinople had been delivered into His hands, on a Wednesday afternoon (April 22, 1863), thirty-one days after Naw-Rúz, on the third of Dhi’l-Qádih, 1279 A.H., He set forth on the first stage of His four months’ journey to the capital of the Ottoman Empire. That historic day, forever after designated as the first day of the Ridván Festival, the culmination of innumerable farewell visits which friends and acquaintances of every class and denomination, had been paying him, was one the like of which the inhabitants of Baghdád had rarely beheld. A concourse of people of both sexes and of every age, comprising friends and strangers Arabs, Kurds and Persians, notables and clerics, officials and merchants, as well as many of the lower classes, the poor, the orphaned, the outcast, some surprised, others heartbroken, many tearful and apprehensive, a few impelled by curiosity or secret satisfaction, thronged the approaches of His house, eager to catch a final glimpse of One Who, for a decade, had, through precept and example, exercised so potent an influence on so large a number of the heterogeneous inhabitants of their city.

December 1, 2013

Secretaries of Shoghi Effendi

Shoghi Effendi had difficulty in securing suitable secretarial support. At some times family members assisted, while at others, Western Baha’is served as secretaries during extended periods spent in Haifa. They included 'Azizu’llláh S. Bahádur (19241), Soheil Afnán (1924-1930), Rúhí Afnán (1926-1933), H. Rabbáni (1931-1940), Mehrenguiz Rabbáni (1932), J.E. Esslemont (1925), and Ethel J. Rosenberg (1927). Later, secretarial support was given the Guardian by Rúhíyyih Khánum, and in the 1950s, Amelia Collins (1951), Leroy Ioas (1952-1957), and Jessie Revell (1953). 
(Prepared by Graham Hassall, Preface to ‘Messages to the Antipodes, Communications from Shoghi Effendi to the Baha’i Communities of Australasia’)