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)

February 15, 2017

1925: National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada opens a central office at Green Acre - Horace Holley devotes his entire time at central office

Since the establishment of the National Spiritual Assembly by the Guardian of the Cause, the activities of the believers throughout the United States and Canada have centered around that body more and more. The responsibility placed upon the members, already considerable, will increase steadily, with the growth of the Cause itself.

For some time it has been apparent to those in touch with this phase of the work that there is urgent need for a central office with a secretary able to devote all of his time to the correspondence and other duties incumbent upon the National Spiritual Assembly.

The difficulty of finding a person with the necessary qualifications and at the same time so situated that he could enter upon this service with the compensation which could be voted at the present time, has been a serious obstacle to the establishment of this necessary office.

The National Spiritual Assembly is happy to announce that arrangements have been made whereby, early in October, a central office will be opened at Green Acre, South Eliot, Maine.

February 11, 2017

“Bahá’u’lláh’s lengthiest epistle to any single sovereign” -- Lawḥ-i-Sulṭán, (the Tablet to Náṣiri’d-Dín Sháh)

Of the various writings that make up the Súriy-i-Haykal, one requires particular mention. The Lawḥ-i-Sulṭán, the Tablet to Náṣiri’d-Dín Sháh, Bahá’u’lláh’s lengthiest epistle to any single sovereign, was revealed in the weeks immediately preceding His final banishment to ‘Akká. It was eventually delivered to the monarch by Badí‘, a youth of seventeen, who had entreated Bahá’u’lláh for the honour of rendering some service.  His efforts won him the crown of martyrdom and immortalized his name. The Tablet contains the celebrated passage describing the circumstances in which the divine call was communicated to Bahá’u’lláh and the effect it produced.  Here, too, we find His unequivocal offer to meet with the Muslim clergy, in the presence of the Sháh, and to provide whatever proofs of the new Revelation they might consider to be definitive, a test of spiritual integrity significantly failed by those who claimed to be the authoritative trustees of the message of the Qur’án. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (Introduction to ‘The Summons of the Lord of Hosts’)

February 9, 2017

The House of 'Abbúd – some historical background

What is known as the House of 'Abbúd in 'Akká in two parts: the eastern part which was known as "the house of 'Údí Khammár", and the western part, which was the house of 'Abbúd.

The eastern section was so insufficient to the needs of Bahá'u'lláh and His family that no less than thirteen persons of both sexes had to accommodate themselves in one of its rooms.

Bahá'u'lláh had one room of the eastern section to Himself, and it was there that He revealed His Book of Laws, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (circa 1873). At the time of the wedding of 'Abdu'l-Bahá one room, which is now situated between the two sections of the House, was built by 'Abbúd, and the wedding took place there. Subsequently, 'Abbúd turned over the western part to Bahá'u'lláh. Bahá'u'lláh then gave His room in the eastern part to 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and occupied one of the rooms of the western section, which pilgrims are now able to visit.

February 7, 2017

1912: ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s journey to America

'Abdu'l-Bahá's journey across America was remarkable. He was 68 years old and had been a prisoner most of His life. When He set out from Egypt He was unwell and planned only to travel to the American East coast and to Chicago. However, the American Bahá'ís begged Him to visit their communities and He undertook the strenuous three thousand-mile journey across the continent by train, sitting up most nights in a chair rather than spend money on a sleeping compartment. He spoke at public meetings nearly every day, sometimes three times a day, and gave hundreds of private interviews. His hectic and exhausting schedule is well-documented by Mírzá Mahmúd, who frequently alludes to the anxiety of the Master's companions over His health. Mahmúd's telling references to the simplicity of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's lifestyle -- `For dinner, 'Abdu'l-Bahá ate only a little bread and cheese and went to bed' -- contrast with the opulent lives lived by many of the Americans who visited Him. 
(Preface to 'Mahmud’s Diary', published by George Ronald, 1997)

February 2, 2017

November 1866: An extraordinary event took place in the sky

The spectacular shower of meteors in the early hours of the morning of 14 November 1866 was observed all over Europe. It was an extraordinary event exciting comment from professional astronomers and laymen alike. The following sample account is from The Times Saturday, 17 November 1866:

The Rev. Robert Main, the Radcliffe Observer at Oxford, gives the following account of the meteorological phenomenon of Tuesday night last:  --

'...This great display began about 13h. (or 1 o'clock in the morning), and reached its maximum at about 13h.24m., after which time it gradually began to slacken. The watch, however, was kept up till 18h., though after 15h., there were not many meteors seen. In all there were observed not fewer than 3,000 during the night, of which about 2,000 fell between 13h. and 14h., or between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. As to the general appearance of the meteors, it was noticed that the majority of them were of a whitish or yellowish colour. Some, however, were reddish or orange-coloured, and one meteor was noticed to be bluish. The brightest left generally a train behind them, which was to be seen for a few seconds after the meteor disappeared.' 
(Adapted from ‘The Revelation of Baha’u’llah', by Adib Taherzadeh, vol. 2)

February 1, 2017

Some Historical Events During the Month of February

From: Baha'i Calendar -- this month in history

January 20, 2017

1925: Floods destroy five hundred houses belonged to Baha’is in Nayriz, Persia

To this sad tale of unbridled cruelty must be added the devastation caused by the recent floods which have destroyed nearly half of Nayriz including five hundred houses which belonged to the Baha’is of that town. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated March 3, 1925 addressed to ‘the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout the West’; Baha’i News, no. 6, July-August 1925)

January 16, 2017

1925: Praiseworthy qualities exhibited by North American believers - the Guardian identifies

  • “Your steadfastness,  
  • your unsparing devotion,
  • your self-sacrifice in upholding and fostering the institutions of the Cause;
  • the notable advance you have achieved in the coordination of your activities;
  • the remarkable solicitude you have shown, and
  • the magnificent response you have made on behalf of the oppressed and needy among your brethren;
  • the measures you have initiated,
  • the hindrances you have removed and
  • the means and methods you have perfected…”

January 10, 2017

Baha’u’llah tells Napoleon III about his conversation with the Czar of Russia, his dream, and the consequences of his disregard of God’s Message

O King! We heard the words thou didst utter in answer to the Czar of Russia, concerning the decision made regarding the war. [1] Thy Lord, verily, knoweth, is informed of all. Thou didst say: “I lay asleep upon my couch, when the cry of the oppressed, who were drowned in the Black Sea, wakened me.” This is what We heard thee say, and, verily, thy Lord is witness unto what I say. We testify that that which wakened thee was not their cry but the promptings of thine own passions, for We tested thee, and found thee wanting. Comprehend the meaning of My words, and be thou of the discerning. It is not Our wish to address thee words of condemnation, out of regard for the dignity We conferred upon thee in this mortal life. We, verily, have chosen courtesy, and made it the true mark of such as are nigh unto Him. Courtesy is, in truth, a raiment which fitteth all men, whether young or old.  Well is it with him that adorneth his temple therewith, and woe unto him who is deprived of this great bounty. Hadst thou been sincere in thy words, thou wouldst have not cast behind thy back the Book of God, when it was sent unto thee by Him Who is the Almighty, the All-Wise. We have proved thee through it, and found thee other than that which thou didst profess. Arise, and make amends for that which escaped thee. Erelong the world and all that thou possessest will perish, and the kingdom will remain unto God, thy Lord and the Lord of thy fathers of old. It behoveth thee not to conduct thine affairs according to the dictates of thy desires. Fear the sighs of this Wronged One, and shield Him from the darts of such as act unjustly.

December 31, 2016

1925: Baha'i books in libraries throughout USA

1925: Between 800 and 900 libraries in many parts of the United States were supplied with Baha’i books. 
(Baha’i News, no. 6, July-August 1925)

December 28, 2016

1925: First Annual Report of the NSA of the United States and Canada

The report of the National Spiritual Assembly for the year 1924-5 was read by the secretary, Horace Holley. It was the first of such reports ever rendered in such form and made a profound impression. It was a condensation of the minutes of this great body for eleven meetings covering a period of fourteen months, showing in succinct, graphic and beautiful phrases the strides made by the Cause, the activities of its committees or arms of service, the fields covered by the national teachers, the relief extended Persia, the convention for amity between the races held in Philadelphia, the connection with the various assemblies of the Cause, its reliance upon the Guardian and the spirit of harmony which characterized its deliberations. The convention showed its approval by a vote of thanks. 
(Baha’i News, no. 6, July-August 1925)

December 23, 2016

1925: There were 9 National Spiritual Assemblies in the World

  • The United States and Canada
  • Persia
  • Germany
  • Great Britain
  • India and Burma
  • Egypt,
  • Caucassus
  • Turkestan
  •  Iraq
(Baha’i News, no. 6, July-August 1925) 

December 17, 2016

Naw-Ruz 1980: The number of languages in which Baha’i literature is available - 660

In 88 languages of the world the supply of Bahá'í literature has been enriched, while three new languages have been added to bring to 660 the number of those in which Bahá'í material is available. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From Naw-Ruz 1980 message; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

December 12, 2016

Naw-Ruz 1980: Spread of the Baha’i Faith worldwide – 106,000 localities

“…the establishment of the world-wide community of the Most Great Name in over 106,000 localities…” 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From Naw-Ruz 1980 message; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

December 8, 2016

Public bath of Urumiyyih, Persia

The bath of Urumiyyih where the Bab bathed during His visit to that town. 
(The Baha'i World 1938-1940)

December 2, 2016

1945: First Baha'i Boarding School in India

The New Baha'i Children's Hostel at Panchgani 
(The Baha'i World 1944-1946)

November 25, 2016

1946: National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada

National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada at the 1946 Annual Baha'i Convention, Wilmette, Illinois, USA. (The Baha'i World 1946-1950)