May 31, 2015

Badí carries the Epistle of Baha’u’llah to the King of Persia – ‘Abdu’l-Baha describes

During the latter days [passed] in Adrianople Bahá’u’lláh composed a detailed epistle setting forth all matters clearly and minutely. He unfolded and expounded the main principles of the sect, and made clear and plain its ethics, manners, course, and mode of conduct: He treated certain political questions in detail, and adduced sundry proofs of His truthfulness: He declared the good intent, loyalty, and sincerity of the sect, and wrote some fragments of prayers, some in Persian, but the greater part in Arabic. He then placed it in a packet and adorned its address with the royal name of His Majesty the King of Persia, and wrote [on it] that some person pure of heart and pure of life, dedicated to God, and prepared for martyr-sacrifice, must, with perfect resignation and willingness, convey this epistle into the presence of the King.

A youth named Mírzá Badí, a native of Khurásán, took the epistle, and hastened toward the presence of His Majesty the King. The Royal Train had its abode and station outside Tihrán, so he took his stand alone on a rock in a place far off but opposite to the Royal Pavilion, and awaited day and night the passing of the Royal escort or the attainment of admission into the Imperial Presence. Three days did he pass in a state of fasting and vigilance: an emaciated body and enfeebled spirit remained. On the fourth day the Royal Personage was examining all quarters and directions with a telescope when suddenly his glance fell on this man who was seated in the utmost respectful attitude on a rock. It was inferred from the indications [perceived] that he must certainly have thanks [to offer], or some complaint or demand for redress and justice [to prefer].

May 24, 2015

The oppressive treatment received by ‘Abdu’l-Baha from the Ottoman Sultan ‘Abdu’l-Hamid

When the deposed Sultán of the Ottoman Empire, 'Abdu'l-Hamíd, arose in tyranny and oppression, 'Abdu'l-Bahá was incarcerated in the prison of 'Akká and was surrounded with the utmost surveillance of police, detectives and men of the Secret Service. The door of communication was entirely closed and the means of correspondence was prevented. If any soul approached the house he was searched; nay, rather, threatened with dire persecution. The affairs reached to such a degree that, not being satisfied with these restrictions, the Sultán sent an oppressive investigating Commission, so that with all kinds of wiles, simulations, slander and fabrication of false stories they might fasten some guilt upon 'Abdu'l-Bahá in order that he might crucify Him, or cast Him into the sea, or banish Him into the heart of the distant and unknown Sahara of Feyzan [Africa]. That oppressive investigating Commission exercised its rights with tyranny and passed the sentence that 'Abdu'l-Bahá merited all kinds of persecution. Finally they decided to send Him to Feyzan, and when they cabled this decision to the palace of 'Abdu'l-Hamíd, an answer was received that the matter of Feyzan was approved by the Imperial Order. Then that unjust investigating Commission returned to Constantinople. They were in the midst of the sea when the cannon of God boomed forth before the palace of 'Abdu'l-Hamíd, a charge of dynamite was exploded, a number of people were killed, 'Abdu'l-Hamíd fled into the interior of his residence, difficulties and trials surrounded him, and incidents and events developed rapidly. Therefore he did not find the opportunity to oppress 'Abdu'l-Bahá; public revolution was started, which ended in his deposition, and the Hand of Divine Power released the neck of 'Abdu'l-Bahá from the chains of the prison of Joseph and the fetters and manacles were placed around the unblessed neck of 'Abdu'l-Hamíd. Be ye admonished, O ye people of insight! 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a Tablet, Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 4, May 17, 1911)

May 15, 2015

Hands of the Cause of God -- Their “strict self-discipline… absolute loyalty and… complete self-abnegation” following the passing of Shoghi Effendi has “no comparable record” in the “entire history of religion”

From the very outset of their custodianship of the Cause of God the Hands realized that since they had no certainty of divine guidance such as is incontrovertibly assured to the Guardian and to the Universal House of Justice, their one safe course was to follow with undeviating firmness the instructions and policies of Shoghi Effendi. The entire history of religion shows no comparable record of such strict self-discipline, such absolute loyalty and such complete self-abnegation by the leaders of a religion finding themselves suddenly deprived of their divinely inspired guide. The debt of gratitude which mankind for generations, nay, ages to come, owes to this handful of grief-stricken, steadfast, heroic souls is beyond estimation. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 9 March 1965; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

May 6, 2015

February 1965: Creation of Continental Pioneering Committees

The National Spiritual Assemblies of Australia, the British Isles, Germany, Persia and the United States were requested by the Universal House of Justice to each appoint a Continental Pioneer Committees for their respective continent. Please see February 8, 1965 message from the Universal House of Justice.

The Universal House of Justice later assumed responsibility for appointing the members of Continental Pioneer Committees and transferred responsibility for directing their work to the International Teaching Centre (please see message dated 19 May 1983 in ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963 to 1986’)

May 4, 2015

November 1964: Auxiliary Board Members were freed from administrative responsibilities

Members of Auxiliary Boards should be freed from administrative responsibilities including serving on Committees and as delegates to conventions. In the event of any member of a National Assembly accepting appointment to a Board, the National Assembly should accept this as valid reason for that member's resignation from the Assembly; should a Board member be elected to a National Assembly, he must choose on which body he will serve. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (from a message dated November 1964 to the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha’i world; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

May 2, 2015

2015: The standing and position of the Bahá’í community in the world today

  • More than 5 million Bahá’ís reside in virtually every country and territory around the world, in well over 100,000 localities.
  • Three National Assemblies have been re-formed in recent years in the Muslim world: those of Egypt, Indonesia and Iraq.
  • There are 182 National Spiritual Assemblies operating around the world. Over 40 percent of the membership of these national councils are women.
  • National Spiritual Assemblies in countries with extended areas of jurisdiction have all established Regional Bahá’í Councils.
  • The number of Continental Counselors has reached 81, with 990 Auxiliary Board members serving under them.
  • The number of countries where Bahá’í marriage certificates are recognized has reached 60.
  • Bahá’í literature is available in 802 languages.
  • Over 27,000 classes for the spiritual and moral education of children and junior youth, open to children of Bahá’ís and those belonging to other denominations or groups, are conducted by Bahá’í communities on a regular basis.
  • More than 600 Bahá’í elementary schools, mostly in rural areas where formal schools do not exist, are operating throughout the world.
  • Seven continental Bahá’í Houses of Worship have been established in virtually all the continents of the globe—all open for prayers and readings for the spiritual upliftment of Bahá’ís and interested friends. The eighth and last continental Temple is being built in Santiago, Chile.
  • Plans for the construction of two national and five local Bahá’í Houses of Worship have been set in motion.
  • Countless devotional gatherings all over the world are held regularly in Bahá’í centers and in Bahá’í homes. These are open to the believers and to the public as well.
  • In all such meetings, whether in Bahá’í Temples or in informal devotional gatherings, Bahá’í prayers and readings are offered as well as appropriate extracts of scriptures of other revealed religions.
(Data prepared by the Statistics Department of the Bahá’í World Center and provided to Mr. Nakhjavani for his article on: Theninth cycle of the Bahá’í calendar and its relationship to the teaching work”)