Bahá'u'lláh on many occasions had warned His companions of
their fate and of the calamities which would befall them in future. Now He
predicted dire afflictions in the Lawh-i-Hawdaj (Tablet of the Howdah) revealed
in Arabic in the port of Samsun on His way to Constantinople. At the request of
His amanuensis, Mirza Aqa Jan, He revealed this Tablet as He sighted the Black
Sea from His howdah. As far as we know this was the first Tablet revealed by
Bahá'u'lláh after He left Baghdad. In it He referred to the forthcoming voyage
by sea and stated that it had been foreshadowed in the Tablet of the Holy
Mariner. Thus he linked the Tablet of Hawdaj with the Holy Mariner and
mentioned that the study of these two Tablets would enable the believers to
understand the mysteries of the Cause of God and become strong in faith. The
dire predictions already foreshadowed in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner would
come to pass, He affirmed, and He further warned His companions of the
'grievous and tormenting mischief' which would assail them from
every direction, and would act as a divine touchstone through which the faith
of every one would be severely tested and truth separated from falsehood.
Probably few among His companions realized that this
'grievous and tormenting mischief' would emanate from Bahá'u'lláh's own
half-brother Mirza Yahya, precipitating a crisis of enormous proportions within
the community, or that he would become the embodiment of man's rebelliousness,
the centre of all the forces of darkness, who would arise to battle with the
light of God's Supreme Manifestation.
- Adib Taherzadeh (‘The Revelation of Baha'u'llah vol. 2’)
I think the friends will be interested in hearing of our
finding the Star Tablet of the Báb.
A year ago, while in London, Wanden La Farge and I went
every day to the British Museum to compile a list of original Baha’i
manuscripts. Each morning at ten o’clock we knocked on the little hidden door
of the Oriental room. An iron bar was pulled back from within and we found
ourselves in the midst of impressive Oriental scholars completely absorbed in
poring over ancient manuscripts. So deep and profound was the silence that, to
ask for what was necessary, one was obliged to lower the voice to a shadowy
whisper. After several days of cataloging and not being able to find any trace
of the Tablet to Queen Victoria, the head of the department suggested that we
might ask for an interview with the Curator of the Museum. This was a special
privilege which was granted, the Director receiving us with the utmost
cordiality and showed a lively interest in our quest. He assured us that the
Tablet we so specially sought had never been in the British Museum, but that,
after the death of Prof. E.G. Brown, his heirs had sent one original Baha’i
manuscript to the Museum. This, however, was not written by either Baha’u’llah
or ‘Abdu’l-Baha so it might not be of value to us at this time. This news was a
great disappointment until he added, “It is in the hand of ‘Ali Muhammad, the
Báb.” At this unexpected and wonderful news we asked if it was possible to see
it. It is too valuable to be on view, he replied, but I will send for it. It
proved to be a single sheet of heavy vellum inscribed in the delicate
handwriting of the Báb, illuminated in exquisite colors and so written as to
form a star.
“The Danish people are fine in calibre and have some new and
very good ideas about education and culture for the masses,” writes Miss Martha
Root, who reached Copenhagen, Denmark, on April 28, 1927. Miss Johanna
Sorensen, a beautiful Baha’i and the first believer in Denmark, had arranged a
splendid program of events. April twenty-eighth, the two Baha’is visited the
three largest newspapers and explained about the Cause to the editors and gave
them literature. Miss Sorensen had translated into Danish and published “What
is the Baha’i Movement” and “Baha’u’llah and His Message,” both by Dr.
Esslemont and these attractive booklets were a great help. English books were
also given and a photograph of ‘Abdu’l-Baha. Three articles appeared during the
week, a woman writer came to the hotel and next day published an interview.
Books were placed in the Royal Library which is Denmark’s greatest library. A
letter was written to the King and Queen and Crown Prince of Denmark and left
with three Baha’i books at the palace. Their Majesties were not in Denmark at
Yesterday, I [Martha Root] spent the day with our glorious
Baha’i brother, Dr. August Forel, the European scientist, at his home in
Yvorne. You cannot imagine the importance of his influence in Europe and in
other continents! Though he is now such an invalid, still he is always thinking
of the Baha’i Cause and doing something to promote it. I was astonished at what
he thought of yesterday and he actually wrote it and sent it! Still, the rest
of us may find courage in the fact that Dr. August Forel first heard of the
Teachings from his son-in-law Dr. Arthur Brauns who first knew of the Cause
from a Baha’i lecture which Mr. William Herrigel, I think, gave in Carlsruhe,
Germany. If we faithfully keep on “giving the Message”, this truth of
Baha’u’llah will illumine the world. It was Peter and James and John’s
faithfulness which brought the divine civilization of Christianity to the
From Miss Effie Baker, at the American Pilgrim House, Haifa,
we learn the significant fact that the services held to observe the passing of
Mirza Mohsen Afnan were entirely Baha’i without admixture of Moslem elements --
the first entirely Baha’i funeral service to be held in a Moslem environment.
Thus slowly but surely the Cause asserts itself as an independent Religion
founded upon new laws and teachings and giving rise to new customs and
observances not reflecting superstition and man-made tradition.
A letter dated February 20, 1927, from Martha L. Root states
that she has visited and given public lectures in sixteen cities in Germany.
Shoghi Effendi had told her if she could visit all the Baha’i centres in
Germany it would be very good… She was one of the speakers at a Peace Society
meeting when five hundred people were present.
“The Promulgation of Universal Peace” was presented to
President von Hindenburg of the German Republic. The following letter of thanks
“The President of the German Republic tenders his best
thanks for the book The Promulgation of Universal Peace, which was presented to
him. The President has had the book forwarded to the library of the Foreign
Other Baha’i books were presented to Dr. Gustav Stresemann,
chief of the Foreign Office; Dr. Loebe, President of the Reichstag, and books
were sent to Mr. Bronislaw Huberman, the great violinist. Mr. Huberman wrote
that he would study them.
Miss Root further wrote that she felt there was no city in
the world more important for Baha’i teachers to visit than Berlin. If some very
scholarly Baha’i teacher could go and live for one year in Berlin as Mirza
’Abul’ Fazl came to the United States, it might mean that a thousand great
teachers would eventually go out from Berlin.
The invitation of the Montreal Spiritual Assembly, extended
by them for three successive years, and twice graciously withdrawn in favor of
Green Acre and San Francisco, has been gratefully accepted by the National
Assembly, and the friends are informed that the Nineteenth Annual Baha’i
Convention and Congress will be held in that city during Ridvan. The exact date
and other details will be announced at a later time. Meanwhile we should not
overlook two significant facts: first, that the forthcoming Convention will be
the first held in Canada; and second, that with the fulfilment of the Baha’i
number, nineteen, a new spiritual cycle will unfold in the history of the Cause
From Auckland, New Zealand comes the first issue of a newly
established Baha’i magazine for Australia and New Zealand. Its title is “The
Herald of the South” and this constructive service on the part of our Australian
and New Zealand brothers contains every evidence of wide-spread future success.
It is issued by Mrs. A.E. Dewing, 5 Aldred Road, Remuera, Auckland. New
The… year from the summer of 1849 to the summer of 1850,
witnessed a number of signal events in the ministry of the Báb:
had marked the termination of the eleven-month-long Mazindaran upheaval at
Shaykh Tabarsi and the martyrdom of Quddus, the last Letter of the Living and
the foremost disciple of the Báb.
of the Babis erupted with unprecedented ferocity in the opening months of 1850:
occurred the episode of the Seven Martyrs.
Siyyid Yahyay-i-Darabi (Vahid) became embroiled in agitation against the Faith
of the Báb and had to leave, but in Nayriz (in the province of Fars in the
south of Persia), he and his companions were surrounded, and fell eventually to
treachery on the part of his opponents.
Zanjan, in the north, the Shi'ih 'ulama incited the people against the
redoubtable Mulla Muhammad Ali (Hujjat), a conflict that was to continue to the
end of the year, with an outcome equally tragic.
the Báb, Himself, was martyred in July 1850 in Tabriz.
‘Baha’u’llah, the King of Glory’, by Hand of the Cause Hassan Balyuzi)
There are about 175,000 Bahá’ís in the United States (less
than one percent of the nation’s population), residing in more than 9,000
localities. The makeup of the faith’s adherents is very diverse. The largest
communities are in California, Georgia, Illinois, South Carolina, and Texas.
There are Bahá’í communities in every state.
(From ‘Information about the
Bahá'í Faith for Funeral Directors’, a document available at US National website)
The series of world convulsions with which the Plans
synchronized included World War II, the outbreak of which threatened the
security of the World Centre itself. The German Baha'is faced grave danger
throughout the Nazi period; their activities as a community were banned, and
some of their members were killed. Instances of crises within the Faith were
those instigated by the relatives of Shoghi Effendi who rebelled against his
authority as Guardian of the Cause of God and were ultimately expelled from the
Faith as Covenant-breakers. Also troublesome during the 1930s and 1940s were
the activities of a former secretary to 'Abdu'l-Baha, Ahmad Sohrab, who also violated
the provisions of Baha'u'llah's Covenant and was expelled from the Faith by
(Source: footnote to a message from the Universal House of
Justice to the friends gathered at the Baha'i International Conference in
Montreal, 5 September 1982; Messages from the Universal House of Justice
Foremost among the victories won by the North American
Baha'is during the first and second Seven Year Plans (1937-44 and 1946-53) was
the establishment of the Administrative Order in Central and South America and
Europe. The North American Baha'is have also played a major role in
establishing the Administrative Order in Africa, Asia, and Australasia.
(Source: footnote to a message from the Universal House of Justice to the
friends gathered at the Baha'i International Conference in Montreal, 5
September 1982; Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986)
Mírzá Muhammad-Báqir, known as Haratí, though originally a
resident of Qayin. He was a close relative of the father of Nabíl-i-Akbar, and
was the first in Mashhad to embrace the Cause. It was he who built the
Bábíyyih, and who devotedly served Quddús during his sojourn in that city. When
Mullá Husayn hoisted the Black Standard, he, together with his child, Mírzá
Muhammad-Kázim, eagerly enrolled under his banner and went forth with him to
Mázindarán… It was Mírzá Muḥammad-Báqir who acted as the standard-bearer of the
company, who designed the plan of the fort, its walls and turrets and the moat
which surrounded it, who succeeded Mullá Husayn in organising the forces of his
companions and in leading the charge against the enemy, and who acted as the
intimate companion, the lieutenant and trusted counsellor of Quddús until the
hour when he fell a martyr in the path of the Cause.
- Nabil (‘The
Dawn-Breakers’; translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)