May 27, 2017

1945: First Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Guayaquil, Ecuador

Photographed with the members of the Spiritual Assembly are the two teachers who helped in the establishment of this Assembly. 
(The Baha'i World 1944-1946)

May 16, 2017

Date of the publication of the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh

The subject you had raised with regard to the date of the publication of the writings of Bahá’u’lláh is interesting as it is important… The earliest published writings of Bahá’u’lláh date from the nineties of the last century. Over forty years ago the Aqdas, a volume of general Tablets including Tarazát, Ishráqát, and others were published in Ishqábád (Russia) and Bombay respectively and copies of these though rare are still procurable. Simultaneously with these, if not earlier, some of the writings of Bahá’u’lláh were published by the Oriental Department of the Imperial Russian University at St. Petersburgh under the supervision of its director Baron Rosen (and more particulars about these could be found in the books of E. G. Browne) and these of course are not undated like some of those published in Bombay.

The main bulk of the writings of Bahá’u’lláh however are to be found in manuscript form written by noted scribes after the fashion of orientals. These scribes did not leave all their manuscripts undated and Jinábí Zain, a very noted Bahá’í scribe, always dated his copies of the writings of Bahá’u’lláh at the end of the volume in what E. G. Browne calls ‘colophenes’ and the description of some of these colophenes could be found in the works of the Cambridge Professor.

The son of the above-mentioned scribe is still living in Haifa and does very much the same work as his father. He claims that as early as 1868 his father used to write copies of the Íqán for the Bahá’ís in Persia as a source of livelihood, and that after 1885 when he went to Akká to join Bahá’u’lláh’s party his entire work and time was devoted to copying the sacred writings for sale among Bahá’ís. These copies are to be found all throughout the East and are almost invariably dated. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 9 February 1930 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; ‘Unfolding Destiny’)

May 10, 2017

Consequences of rejecting the Message of God brought by Bahá’u’lláh: --> Násiri’d-Dín Sháh – the “Prince of Oppressors”

…the fate that has overtaken those kings, ministers and ecclesiastics, in the East as well as in the West, who have, at various stages of Bahá’u’lláh’s ministry, either deliberately persecuted His Cause, or have neglected to heed the warnings He had uttered, or have failed in their manifest duty to respond to His summons or to accord Him and His message the treatment they deserved, particular attention…

The vain and despotic Náṣiri’d-Dín Sháh, denounced by Bahá’u’lláh as the “Prince of Oppressors”; of whom He had written that he would soon be made “an object-lesson for the world”; whose reign was stained by the execution of the Báb and the imprisonment of Bahá’u’lláh; who had persistently instigated his subsequent banishments to Constantinople, Adrianople and Akká; who, in collusion with a vicious sacerdotal order, had vowed to strangle the Faith in its cradle, was dramatically assassinated, in the shrine of Sháh ‘Abdu’l-‘Aẓím, on the very eve of his jubilee, which, as ushering in a new era, was to have been celebrated with the most elaborate magnificence, and was to go down in history as the greatest day in the annals of the Persian nation. The fortunes of his house thereafter steadily declined, and finally through the scandalous misconduct of the dissipated and irresponsible Aḥmad Sháh, led to the eclipse and disappearance of the Qájár dynasty. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

May 2, 2017

Five Hands of the Cause of God passed away between December 1979 and November 1980

Enoch Olinga (17 September 1979); Rahmatu'llah Muhajir (30 December 1979); Hasan M. Balyuzi (12 february 1980); Adelbert Muehlchlegel (29 July 1980); and Abu'l-Qasim Faizi (20 November 1980) 
(Adapted from ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’)

April 26, 2017

1978: Resurgence of persecution of Baha’is

The resurging persecution of the Bahá'ís of Iran, the country in which the Bahá'í Faith originated, began in 1978 and came into full force following the fall of the Shah on 17 January 1979 and the declaration of the Islamic Republic on 1 April 1979. 
(Adapted from footnotes in ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’)

April 20, 2017

Consequences of rejecting the Message of God brought by Bahá’u’lláh: --> Sultán ‘Abdu’l-‘Azíz -- the “throne of tyranny”

…the fate that has overtaken those kings, ministers and ecclesiastics, in the East as well as in the West, who have, at various stages of Bahá’u’lláh’s ministry, either deliberately persecuted His Cause, or have neglected to heed the warnings He had uttered, or have failed in their manifest duty to respond to His summons or to accord Him and His message the treatment they deserved, particular attention…

Sulṭán ‘Abdu’l-‘Azíz, who with Náṣiri’d-Dín Sháh was the author of the calamities heaped upon Bahá’u’lláh, and was himself responsible for three decrees of banishment against the Prophet; who had been stigmatized, in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, as occupying the “throne of tyranny,” and whose fall had been prophesied in the Lawḥ-i-Fu’ád, was deposed in consequence of a palace revolution, was condemned by a fatvá (sentence) of the Muftí in his own capital, was four days later assassinated (1876), and was succeeded by a nephew who was declared to be an imbecile. The war of 1877–78 emancipated eleven million people from the Turkish yoke; Adrianople was occupied by the Russian forces; the empire itself was dissolved as a result of the war of 1914–18; the Sultanate was abolished; a republic was proclaimed; and a rulership that had endured above six centuries was ended. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

April 10, 2017

The fortress of Chihriq

The fortress of Chihriq where the Báb was imprisoned for almost all of the last two years of His life is located in north-western Iran in the region of Urumiyyih of the province of Azerbaijan.

March 31, 2017

Some historical facts about ‘Akka - by Hand of the Cause Mr. Furutan

…I would like to mention some of the historical facts connected with this ancient city. The Master related to pilgrims that 'Acco (Accho, later Acre or 'Akka or 'Akko) was first built by Phoenicians. (‘Acco in Phoenician means 'curved triangle'.) Egyptian inscriptions of the fifteenth to thirteenth centuries BC indicate that 'Acco was a part of the ancient Egyptian Empire. It is also mentioned in Judges I:31.

Afterwards Assyrians and then Persians conquered this area. They were followed by Alexander the Great, the Seleucids of Syria and the Armenian king, Tigranes the Great, who, one after the other, took over this region until the Roman Empire became its ruler.

In 636 AD it was conquered by the Arabs, in 969 by the Fatimid caliphs of Egypt, in 1079 by the Seljuks, and in 1099 by the Crusaders, who ruled Acre (as the Christians called it) with only brief interruption for two centuries.

Baldwin I seized Acre in 1104 and it became a part of the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem. In 1187 Saladin raised the banner of Islam on the towers of Acre, but it was soon recovered for the Christians in the Third Crusade and remained their capital until the Mamluks of Egypt conquered and destroyed the city in 1291.

March 28, 2017

1889 Persia: Qajar Kings maintained the threefold functions of government, legislative, executive, and judicial – observations by Lord George Curzon during his six-month travels in Persia

Painting of Fath-Ali Shah and his sons
“In theory the king may do what he pleases; his word is law. The saying that ‘The law of the Medes and Persians altereth not’ was merely an ancient periphrasis for the absolutism of the sovereign. He appoints and he may dismiss all ministers, officers, officials, and judges. Over his own family and household, and over the civil or military functionaries in his employ, he has power of life and death without reference to any tribunal. The property of any such individual, if disgraced or executed, reverts to him. The right to take life in any case is vested in him alone, but can be delegated to governors or deputies. All property, not previously granted by the crown or purchased—all property, in fact, to which a legal title cannot be established—belongs to him, and can be disposed of at his pleasure. All rights or privileges, such as the making of public works, the working of mines, the institution of telegraphs, roads, railroads, tramways, etc., the exploitation, in fact, of any of the resources of the country, are vested in him, and must be purchased from him before they can be assumed by others. In his person are fused the threefold functions of government, legislative, executive, and judicial. No obligation is imposed upon him beyond the outward observance of the forms of the national religion. He is the pivot upon which turns the entire machinery of public life.

March 23, 2017

circa 1848: Shaykh Sálih, an Arab resident of Karbilá, became the “first to shed his blood in the path of the Faith, in Tihrán”

Among the men who in Karbilá eagerly embraced, through the efforts of Táhirih, the Cause of the Báb, was a certain Shaykh Sálih, an Arab resident of that city who was the first to shed his blood in the path of the Faith, in Tihrán. She was so profuse in her praise of Shaykh Sálih that a few suspected him of being equal in rank to Quddús. 
- Nabil  (‘The Daw-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

March 21, 2017

November 1980: The Universal House of Justice announces the zones of the Continental Boards of Counsellors and the start of their five-year terms

In June 1979 we were moved to announce that the duration of the terms of office of Continental Counsellors would be five years, to start on the Day of the Covenant of this year. As this date approaches, we have decided that the time is ripe for a further step in the development of the institution itself that will, at one and the same time, accord greater discretion and freedom of action to the Continental Boards of Counsellors in the carrying out of their duties, and widen the scope of each Board to embrace an entire continent. In accordance with this decision, the zones of the Continental Boards of Counsellors will, from the Day of the Covenant of the year 137 (26 November 1980), be as follows:

1. Africa, comprising the areas of the four present zones of that continent.
2. The Americas, comprising the present zones of North, Central and South America.
3. Asia, comprising the present zones of Western, South Central and South-eastern Asia, together with the present zone of North-eastern Asia without the Hawaiian Islands and Micronesia.
4. Australasia, comprising the present zone of Australasia plus the Hawaiian Islands and Micronesia.
5. Europe.
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 3 November 1980 to the Baha’is of the World; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

March 18, 2017

September 1980: Additional land acquired at Bahji and Mazra’ih

24 September 1980

To the Bahá'ís of the world

WITH HEARTS BRIMMING WITH GRATITUDE FOR BOUNTIFUL CONFIRMATIONS BLESSED BEAUTY ANNOUNCE FOLLOWING RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS HOLY LAND:

IN BAHJI JUST ACQUIRED STRIP OF LAND 13,150 SQUARE METRES IN AREA BORDERING DRIVEWAY FROM WESTERN GATE BAHÁ'Í PROPERTY AREA ACQUIRED ADJACENT TO AND SOUTH OF PRESENT BOUNDARY OLIVE GROVE ENABLES SOUTHWEST QUADRANT GARDENS SURROUNDING MOST HOLY SHRINE BE COMPLETED. THIS ACQUISITION WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY EXCHANGE AGAINST PROPERTY ON MAIN ROAD TO NAZARETH DONATED WORLD CENTRE BY DESCENDANTS LATE HUSAYN BAQIR KASHANI.

ALSO PURCHASED NEARLY 50,000 SQUARE METRES AGRICULTURAL LAND ADJACENT TO AND NORTH OF MAZRA'IH PROPERTY AS PROTECTION TO MANSION IN RAPIDLY DEVELOPING AREA.

SHIPMENT OVER 1,000 PIECES COMPRISING 120 CUBIC METRES KATRINA CEDAR WOOD FROM TURKEY JUST CLEARED FROM HAIFA PORT FOR USE RESTORATION HOUSE ABDU'LLAH PASHA IN 'AKKA.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
(‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963 to 1986’)

March 13, 2017

Fall of 1846 – The Báb revealed in a few hours a commentary on the súrih of Va’l-‘Asr – “verses that equalled in number a third of the Qur’án”

It was at the request of this same prelate [the Imám-Jum’ih of Isfahan] that the Báb, one night, after supper, revealed His well-known commentary on the súrih of Va’l-‘Asr. Writing with astonishing rapidity, He, in a few hours, had devoted to the exposition of the significance of only the first letter of that súrih—a letter which Shaykh Aḥmad-i-Ahsá’í had stressed, and which Bahá’u’lláh refers to in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas—verses that equalled in number a third of the Qur’án, a feat that called forth such an outburst of reverent astonishment from those who witnessed it that they arose and kissed the hem of His robe. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

March 9, 2017

Summer of 1846: A “providentially designed” event to protect the Báb in Shiraz – the Guardian explains

Husayn Khán, [Governor] vindictive, relentless, exasperated by the reports of his sleepless agents that his Captive’s [The Báb] power and fame were hourly growing, decided to take immediate action. It is even reported that his accomplice, Hájí Mírzá Aqásí, [the Prime Minister] had ordered him to kill secretly the would-be disrupter of the state and the wrecker of its established religion. By order of the governor the chief constable, ‘Abdu’l-Hamíd Khán, scaled, in the dead of night, the wall and entered the house of Hájí Mírzá Siyyid ‘Alí, where the Báb was confined, arrested Him, and confiscated all His books and documents. That very night, however, took place an event which, in its dramatic suddenness, was no doubt providentially designed to confound the schemes of the plotters, and enable the Object of their hatred to prolong His ministry and consummate His Revelation. An outbreak of cholera, devastating in its virulence, had, since midnight, already smitten above a hundred people. The dread of the plague had entered every heart, and the inhabitants of the stricken city were, amid shrieks of pain and grief, fleeing in confusion. Three of the governor’s domestics had already died. Members of his family were lying dangerously ill. In his despair he, leaving the dead unburied, had fled to a garden in the outskirts of the city. ‘Abdu’l-Hamíd Khán, confronted by this unexpected development, decided to conduct the Báb to His own home. He was appalled, upon his arrival, to learn that his son lay in the death-throes of the plague. In his despair he threw himself at the feet of the Báb, begged to be forgiven, adjured Him not to visit upon the son the sins of the father, and pledged his word to resign his post, and never again to accept such a position. Finding that his prayer had been answered, he addressed a plea to the governor begging him to release his Captive, and thereby deflect the fatal course of this dire visitation. Husayn Khán acceded to his request, and released his Prisoner on condition of His quitting the city. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

February 27, 2017

December 1912: Professor E. G. Browne visits ‘Abdu’l-Baha in London

Professor Edward Granville Browne visited 'Abdu'l-Bahá on December 18th [1912]. It is certain that they had not met during 'Abdu'l-Bahá's previous visit to England. A letter from 'Abdu'l-Bahá to Edward Browne, preserved in Cambridge University Library, provides the definite evidence. [Mahmud] Zarqani's Diary mentions only two meetings during 'Abdu'l-Bahá's second visit to London, whereas Lady Blomfield writes: 'Professor Edward Granville Browne, who had written much concerning the Bábís and the Bahá'ís, came from time to time, speaking in Persian with the Master, Who was delighted to see him, and talked over many things, especially the momentous occasion when that intrepid Cambridge Orientalist succeeded in obtaining permission to enter the presence of Bahá'u'lláh.' 
-H.M. Balyuzi  (‘Abdu'l-Baha - The Centre of the Covenant’)

As Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani -- 'Abdu'l-Bahá's secretary in the course of His travels, and the chronicler of those memorable years in the West -- has recorded, Browne during his… visit wished to broach the subject of his writings in the past and offer apologies, but 'Abdu'l-Bahá drew away from this topic and said: 'Let us talk of other matters which would be conducive to amity' 
-H. M. Balyuzi  (‘Edward Granville Browne and The Baha'i Faith’)

February 23, 2017

December 1848: Baha’u’llah sets out to visit the Bábis at Shaykh Tabarsi

In December 1848, to fulfill His promise to visit Shaykh Tabarsi for a second time, Baha'u'llah set out with a number of the Bábis intending to visit the besieged fortress. Those who went with Him included
  • Haji Mirza Janiy-i-Kashani, [The merchant who had acted as host to the Báb in Kashan, and the first chronicler of His Faith, who was martyred in August 1852]
  • Mulla Baqir-i-Tabrizi (one of the Bab's Letters of the Living),
  • Shaykh Abu-Turab-i-Ishtahardi,
  • Aqa Siyyid Hasan-i-Khu'i,
  • Aqa Siyyid Husayn-i-Turshizi (one of the Seven Martyrs of Tihran),
  • 'Abdu'l-Vahhab Big,
  • Muhammad-Taqi Khan-i-Nuri and
  • Mirza Yahya, Subh-i-Azal.
But Baha'u'llah did not succeed in fulfilling His intention, for He and His companions were arrested and detained when they reached a village some nine miles from Shaykh Tabarsi. 
- Balyuzi  (‘Baha’u’llah the King of Glory’)

February 19, 2017

1926: Green Acre comes under direct supervision of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada

The Green Acre Fellowship at its annual meeting in August voted a special resolution, the result of which will be that Green Acre in August, 1926, will come under the direct supervision of the National Spiritual Assembly, and its unique tradition and splendid resources will be joined to the Baha’i Cause in North America. It is the great significance of Green Acre that it brings an opportunity of applying the Baha’i spirit and principles to the most practical problems of daily life, besides affording a most adequate platform for the spread of the Message in a dignified and universal way. This action on the part of the Fellowship is a truly gratifying indication that a new period of expansion has opened for the Cause.

Several Committees are already engaged in planning for an increase of the activities of Green Acre and details will be published in an early number of the News Letter. 
(Baha’i News Issue no. 7, September 1925)