August 19, 2015

1911: Some of the prominent individuals who visited ‘Abdu’l-Baha in England and Scotland

Among those who called on Him during the memorable days He spent in England and Scotland were the Reverend Archdeacon Wilberforce, the Reverend R. J. Campbell, the Reverend Rhonddha Williams, the Reverend Roland Corbet, Lord Lamington, Sir Richard and Lady Stapley, Sir Michael Sadler, the Jalálu’d-Dawlih, son of the Zillu’s-Sultán, Sir Ameer Ali, the late Maharaja of Jalawar, who paid Him many visits and gave an elaborate dinner and reception in His honor, the Maharaja of Rajputana, the Ranee of Sarawak, Princess Karadja, Baroness Barnekov, Lady Wemyss and her sister, Lady Glencomer, Lady Agnew, Miss Constance Maud, Prof. E. G. Browne, Prof. Patrick Geddes, Mr. Albert Dawson, editor of the Christian Commonwealth, Mr. David Graham Pole, Mrs. Annie Besant, Mrs. Pankhurst, and Mr. Stead, who had long and earnest conversations with Him. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

August 16, 2015

1911: ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s varied speaking engagements in Britain

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s first public appearance before a western audience significantly enough took place in a Christian house of worship, when, on September 10, 1911, He addressed an overflowing congregation from the pulpit of the City Temple. Introduced by the Pastor, the Reverend R. J. Campbell, He, in simple and moving language, and with vibrant voice, proclaimed the unity of God, affirmed the fundamental oneness of religion, and announced that the hour of the unity of the sons of men, of all races, religions and classes had struck. On another occasion, on September 17, at the request of the Venerable Archdeacon Wilberforce, He addressed the congregation of St. John the Divine, at Westminster, after evening service, choosing as His theme the transcendental greatness of the Godhead, as affirmed and elucidated by Bahá’u’lláh in the Kitáb-i-Íqán. “The Archdeacon,” wrote a contemporary of that event, “had the Bishop’s chair placed for his Guest on the chancel steps, and, standing beside Him, read the translation of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s address himself. The congregation was profoundly moved, and, following the Archdeacon’s example, knelt to receive the blessing of the Servant of God—Who stood with extended arms—His wonderful voice rising and falling in the silence with the power of His invocation.”

August 14, 2015

Circa 1845: The Shah of Persia sends “one of the most erudite, eloquent and influential of his subjects” to independently investigate the claims of the Báb

Muhammad Shah
The commotion [in Shiraz] had assumed such proportions that the Sháh, unable any longer to ignore the situation, delegated the trusted Siyyid Yahyáy-i-Darábí, surnamed Vahíd, one of the most erudite, eloquent and influential of his subjects a man who had committed to memory no less than thirty thousand traditions to investigate and report to him the true situation. Broad-minded, highly imaginative, zealous by nature, intimately associated with the court, he, in the course of three interviews, was completely won over by the arguments and personality of the Báb.

Their first interview centered around the metaphysical teachings of Islám, the most obscure passages of the Qur’án, and the traditions and prophecies of the Imáms. In the course of the second interview Vahíd was astounded to find that the questions which he had intended to submit for elucidation had been effaced from his retentive memory, and yet, to his utter amazement, he discovered that the Báb was answering the very questions he had forgotten. During the third interview the circumstances attending the revelation of the Báb’s commentary on the súrih of Kawthar, comprising no less than two thousand verses, so overpowered the delegate of the Sháh that he, contenting himself with a mere written report to the Court Chamberlain, arose forthwith to dedicate his entire life and resources to the service of a Faith that was to requite him with the crown of martyrdom during the Nayríz upheaval. He who had firmly resolved to confute the arguments of an obscure siyyid of Shíráz, to induce Him to abandon His ideas, and to conduct Him to Tihrán as an evidence of the ascendancy he had achieved over Him, was made to feel, as he himself later acknowledged, as “lowly as the dust beneath His feet.” Even Husayn Khán, [the governor of Fárs] who had been Vahíd’s host during his stay in Shíráz, was compelled to write to the Sháh and express the conviction that his Majesty’s illustrious delegate had become a Bábí. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

August 12, 2015

The collection of the Sacred Writings at the Baha’i World Center – as of June 2013

…the Research Department… notes that the collection and collation of the Sacred Writings is an ongoing process, and the numbers are continually being revised. The estimates of the numbers of unique works can be given as follows:
  • For Bahá’u’lláh, nearly 20,000 unique works have been identified. Most of these Writings have been collected; however, 865 are known to have been revealed, but the texts are not available. Close to 15,000 of the collected works have been authenticated by the Archives Office to date.
  • For the Báb, over 2,000 unique works have been identified. Most of these Writings have been collected; however, 74 are known to have been revealed, but the texts are not available. Nearly 1,600 of the collected works have been authenticated.
  • For ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, over 30,000 unique works have been identified. All of these Writings have been collected and over 27,000 of them have been authenticated.
  • For Shoghi Effendi, over 22,000 unique works have been identified. All of these documents have been collected and the majority of them have been authenticated.
It is estimated that approximately ten per cent of the documents described above are in photocopied form. A fraction of the total numbers of unique works have been published in the original languages or translated into Western languages. However, citing exact numbers would be misleading since much of the unpublished and untranslated material consists of day-to-day correspondence and personal guidance and encouragement, which is less likely to be of general interest. The World Centre is actively pursuing a publication programme for the as yet unpublished major works of the Central Figures of the Faith and Shoghi Effendi. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 6 June 2013 written by the Department of the Secretariat of the Universal House of Justice to and individual believer)

August 10, 2015

The International Archives on Mount Carmel

...the International Archives of the Faith… was completed in the summer of 1957 as one of the last major achievements of Shoghi Effendi's Guardianship and… set the style for the remaining structures which, as described by him, were to be raised in the course of time in the form of a far-flung arc on the slope of Mount Carmel. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 5 June, 1975; Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’)

August 7, 2015

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s enormously varied speaking engagements in USA in 1912

They included presentations… in synagogues and churches; the International Peace Forum and various peace societies; Columbia, Howard, and Stanford Universities; the Reading Room for the Blind in San Francisco; the Chicago Athletic Association; theosophical societies; Esperantist groups; the Green Acre Institute in Maine; the Commercial Club in Minneapolis; the Japanese YMCA in Oakland; the Persian-American Society in Washington; the Bethel Literary and Historical Society; the Bowery Mission; and the Atheist’s Club in San Francisco. He was the featured speaker for the Unitarians’ national conference; shared the platform with Samuel Gompers, President of the American Federation of Labor, at the D.A.R. Continental Memorial Hall in Washington, D.C.; and addressed gatherings in the Town Hall in Fanwood, New Jersey, in the Persian Embassy and the Turkish Embassy in Washington, and in hotel assembly rooms and banquet halls across the country. He visited William Jennings Bryan’s home in Lincoln, Nebraska, to repay a visit Bryan had tried to make to ‘Abdu’l-Baha in ‘Akka, and had tea with Mrs. Bryan and her daughter. He was invited by Admiral Peary, then recently acknowledged as discoverer of the North Pole, to address the Unity Club in Brooklyn; was sought out by former President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt; was honored with a farewell breakfast by the Treasurer of the United States, Lee McClung; and visited the home of another official who “took Him [‘Abdu’l-Baha] in his embrace and wept for joy and happiness.” (Mahmud’s Diary) 
- Allan Ward  (‘Abdu’l-Baha: Speaking in America; World Order magazine, Winter 1971-72)

August 6, 2015

1912: The effect of the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Baha in Washington D.C.

Such was the effect of ‘Abdu’l-Baha that a noted columnist of the day, Elbert Hubbard, later wrote (New York American, 1 Mar. 1915), “When he went to Washington and swept through the Capitol even the Supreme Court of the United States saw fit to adjourn; the House the same, and the Senate, for a while, at least, forgot matters of investigation.” 
- Allan Ward  (‘Abdu’l-Baha: Speaking in America’; World Order magazine, Winter 1971-72)

August 4, 2015

“…nothing in the Texts to indicate that the election of the Universal House of Justice could be called only by the Guardian.”

The friends should realize that there is nothing in the Texts to indicate that the election of the Universal House of Justice could be called only by the Guardian. On the contrary, 'Abdu'l-Bahá envisaged the calling of its election in His own lifetime. At a time described by the Guardian as "the darkest moments of His [the Master's] life, under 'Abdu'l-Hamid's regime, when He stood ready to be deported to the most inhospitable regions of Northern Africa," and when even His life was threatened, 'Abdu'l-Bahá wrote to Haji Mirza Taqi Afnan, the cousin of the Báb and chief builder of the 'Ishqabad Temple, commanding him to arrange for the election of the Universal House of Justice should the threats against the Master materialize. The second part of the Master's Will is also relevant to such a situation and should be studied by the friends. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 9 March 1965; Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

August 2, 2015

Tablet of Carmel is “the Charter of the World Spiritual and Administrative Centres of the Faith”

Shoghi Effendi called the Tablet of Carmel "the Charter of the World Spiritual and Administrative Centres of the Faith". ('Messages to the Baha’i World’) In a message dated Naw-Ruz 111 (1954) to the Baha’is of the East, Shoghi Effendi wrote:

In this great Tablet [of Carmel] which unveils divine mysteries and heralds the establishment of two mighty, majestic and momentous undertakings -- one of which is spiritual and the other administrative, both at the World Centre of the Faith -- Bahá'u'lláh refers to an "Ark", whose dwellers are the men of the Supreme House of Justice, which, in conformity with the exact provisions of the Will and Testament of the Centre of the Mighty Covenant, is the body which should lay down laws not explicitly revealed in the Text. In this Dispensation, these laws are destined to flow from this Holy Mountain, even as in the Mosaic Dispensation the law of God was promulgated from Zion. The "sailing of the Ark" of His laws is a reference to the establishment of the Universal House of Justice, which is indeed the Seat of Legislation, one of the branches of the World Administrative Centre of the Bahá'ís on this Holy Mountain .... 
(Naw Ruz 111-1954 to the Bahá'ís of the East -- translated from the Persian; published in "The Bahá'í World", vol. XIV, p. 438; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Establishment of the Universal House of Justice)