November 27, 2019

1844–1853: High-level summary of events associated with the Faith

The first period (1844–1853), centers around the gentle, the youthful and irresistible person of the Báb, matchless in His meekness, imperturbable in His serenity, magnetic in His utterance, unrivaled in the dramatic episodes of His swift and tragic ministry. It begins with the Declaration of His Mission, culminates in His martyrdom, and ends in a veritable orgy of religious massacre revolting in its hideousness. It is characterized by nine years of fierce and relentless contest, whose theatre was the whole of Persia, in which above ten thousand heroes laid down their lives, in which two sovereigns of the Qájár dynasty and their wicked ministers participated, and which was supported by the entire Shi‘ah ecclesiastical hierarchy, by the military resources of the state, and by the implacable hostility of the masses. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (Preface to ‘God Passes By’)

November 24, 2019

Dr. August Forel and the Baha’i Faith – The Guardian explains

(Wikipedia)
In regard to your father’s spiritual testament, which betrays on the part of the author an inadequate knowledge of the Bahá’í Faith, the Guardian feels that you should make it clear to all the inquirers that the late Dr. Forel, as many other persons who have embraced the Cause, did not have a complete understanding of the fundamentals of the Bahá’í religion. He was particularly interested in the social aspect of the Movement and owing to some psychological reasons he did not lay much emphasis on its doctrinal side. This can be explained by the fact that our lamented doctor being advanced in age at the time of his acquaintance with the Bahá’í teachings was not able to devote all his time to a deep study of the tenets of the Faith.

Shoghi Effendi, however, in his letter addressed personally to your father explained to him that the Bahá’ís should firmly believe in the existence of God and in the immortality of the soul and in many other fundamental teachings which the Bahá’ís share with the adherents of many other religions. Our lamented doctor may have most probably considered it unwise to declare openly that he had rejected all his previous conceptions in regard to the existence of God and such similar ideas and preferred to express in an indirect way the many changes which the knowledge of the Faith had brought in his mind by declaring that he had become a Bahá’í.

November 18, 2019

1844-1944: The “gigantic” and “catastrophic” consequences experienced by various dynasties for rejecting the Divine Summons

What, then—might we not consider—has, in the face of so complete and ignominious a rejection, happened, and is still happening, in the course, and particularly in the closing years, of this, the first Bahá’í century, a century fraught with such tumultuous sufferings and violent outrages for the persecuted Faith of Bahá’u’lláh? Empires fallen in dust, kingdoms subverted, dynasties extinguished, royalty besmirched, kings assassinated, poisoned, driven into exile, subjugated in their own realms, whilst the few remaining thrones are trembling with the repercussions of the fall of their fellows.

This process, so gigantic, so catastrophic, may be said to have had its inception on that memorable night when, in an obscure corner of Shíráz, the Báb, in the presence of the First Letter to believe in Him, revealed the first chapter of His celebrated commentary on the Súrih of Joseph (The Qayyúm-i-Asmá), in which He trumpeted His Call to the sovereigns and princes of the earth. It passed from incubation to visible manifestation when Bahá’u’lláh’s prophecies, enshrined for all time in the Súriy-i-Haykal, and uttered before Napoleon III’s dramatic downfall and the self-imposed imprisonment of Pope Pius IX in the Vatican, were fulfilled. It gathered momentum when, in the days of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Great War extinguished the Romanov, the Hohenzollern, and Hapsburg dynasties, and converted powerful time-honored monarchies into republics. It was further accelerated, soon after ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing, by the demise of the effete Qájár dynasty in Persia, and the stupendous collapse of both the Sultanate and the Caliphate. It is still operating, under our very eyes, as we behold the fate which, in the course of this colossal and ravaging struggle, is successively overtaking the crowned heads of the European continent. Surely, no man, contemplating dispassionately the manifestations of this relentless revolutionizing process, within comparatively so short a time, can escape the conclusion that the last hundred years may well be regarded, in so far as the fortunes of royalty are concerned, as one of the most cataclysmic periods in the annals of mankind. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘The Promised Day Is Come’)

November 10, 2019

The reaction of the monarchs who received direct Tablets from Baha’u’llah

Dear friends! Enough has been said to portray the tribulations which, for so long a time, overwhelmed the Founders of so preeminent a Revelation, and which the world has so disastrously ignored. Sufficient attention has also been directed to the Messages addressed to those sovereign rulers who, either in the exercise of their unconditioned authority, have deliberately provoked these sufferings, or could have, in the plenitude of their power, arisen to mitigate their effect or deflect their tragic course. Let us now consider the consequences that have ensued. The reaction of these monarchs was, as already stated, varied and unmistakable and, as the march of events has gradually unfolded, disastrous in its consequences. One of the most outstanding amongst these sovereigns treated the Divine Summons with gross disrespect, dismissing it with a curt and insolent reply, written by one of his ministers. Another laid violent hold on the bearer of the Message, tortured, branded, and brutally slew him. Others preferred to maintain a contemptuous silence. All failed completely in their duty to arise and extend their assistance. Two of them, in particular, prompted by the dual impulse of fear and anger, tightened their grip on the Cause they had jointly resolved to uproot. The one condemned his Divine Prisoner to yet another banishment, to “the most unsightly of cities in appearance, the most detestable in climate, and the foulest in water,” whilst the other, powerless to lay hands on the Prime Mover of a hated Faith, subjected its adherents under his sway to abject and savage cruelties. The recital of Bahá’u’lláh’s sufferings, embodied in those Messages, failed to evoke compassion in their hearts. His appeals, the like of which neither the annals of Christianity nor even those of Islám have recorded, were disdainfully rejected. The dark warnings He uttered were haughtily scorned. The bold challenges He issued were ignored. The chastisements He predicted they derisively brushed aside. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘The Promised Day Is Come’)