September 10, 2017

A “few instances that eloquently testify to the unique” contributions that Baha’u’llah made during the early years of the Bábí Dispensation – summarized by the Guardian

The first incarceration to which He was subjected as a result of the helping hand He had extended to the captives of Qazvín; the ability with which He achieved the deliverance of Táhirih; the exemplary manner in which He steered the course of the turbulent proceedings in Badasht; the manner in which He saved the life of Quddús in Níyálá; the wisdom which He showed in His handling of the delicate situation created by the impetuosity of Táhirih, and the vigilance He exercised for her protection; the counsels which He gave to the defenders of the fort of Tabarsí; the plan He conceived of joining the forces of Quddús to those of Mullá Ḥusayn and his companions; the spontaneity with which He arose to support the exertions of those brave defenders; the magnanimity which prompted Him to offer Himself as a substitute for His companions who were under the threat of severe indignities; the serenity with which He faced the severity inflicted upon Him as a result of the attempt on the life of Náṣiri’d-Dín Sháh; the indignities which were heaped upon Him all the way from Lavásán to the headquarters of the imperial army and from thence to the capital; the galling weight of chains which He bore as He lay in the darkness of the Síyáh-Chál of Ṭihrán—all these are but a few instances that eloquently testify to the unique position which He occupied as the prime Mover of the forces which were destined to reshape the face of His native land. It was He who had released these forces, who steered their course, harmonised their action, and brought them finally to their highest consummation in the Cause He Himself was destined at a later time to reveal. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘The Dawn-Breakers’, by Nabil; translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

September 4, 2017

1979-1982: Resolutions adopted by various governments on behalf of the persecuted Baha'is in Iran

  • Canadian Parliament (2)
  • House of Representatives, Australia
  • Senate, Australia
  • German Federal Parliament
  • A meeting held in a committee room of the House of Commons, United Kingdom
  • United Nations General Assembly, Third Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Religious Intolerance
  • United Nations Sub-commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, Commission on Human Rights (2)
  • European Parliament (2)
  • Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (2)
  • House of Representatives of the State of Alaska, USA.
  • House of Representatives, State of Illinois, USA.
  • International Association for Religious Freedom
(Prepared by the Baha’i International Community and accompanied a letter from the Universal House of Justice to the Baha’is of the World, 26 January 1982; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

August 24, 2017

A Message from ‘Abdu’l-Baha to the American People – “An Appeal for Peace”, published in San Francisco Chronicle, October 4, 1912

Praise be to God: The United States has in reality made extraordinary progress; day by day they are advancing toward the ultimate goal! The material virtues of the people are many; now they must think of the ideal virtues, so that the highest of the perfections of humanity may illumine the regions of America.

Among the highest virtues is universal peace, the oneness of humanity. The chief ailment of humanity today is international strife; this militates against the advancement of the material and ideal virtues.

The continent of America is isolated so far as other countries are concerned; the government is not thinking of making conquests, of enlarging the circle of colonization. They are not thinking to contend with other nations so far as financial, commercial and political supremacy is concerned. They are not the rival of any other nation. Their utmost desire is this: That the continent of America be protected.

They are engaged in the amelioration of internal conditions; they are not engaged in warfare with any nation. Therefore, they have the time and ability to raise the standard of universal peace and spread the doctrine of the oneness of God. May their influence spread and permeate to all parts of the world.

August 20, 2017

Consequences of rejecting the Message of God brought by Bahá’u’lláh: Francis Joseph, emperor of Austria and king of Hungary

Franz Joseph in c. 1905
Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary
…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 arbitrary and unyielding Francis Joseph, emperor of Austria and king of Hungary, who had been reproved in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, for having neglected his manifest duty to inquire about Bahá’u’lláh during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, was so engulfed by misfortunes and tragedies that his reign came to be regarded as one unsurpassed by any other reign in the calamities it inflicted upon the nation. His brother, Maximilian, was put to death in Mexico; the Crown Prince Rudolph perished in ignominious circumstances; the Empress was assassinated; Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife were murdered in Serajevo; the “ramshackle empire” itself disintegrated, was carved up, and a shrunken republic was set up on the ruins of a vanished Holy Roman Empire—a republic which, after a brief and precarious existence, was blotted out from the political map of Europe. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

August 14, 2017

circa 1845: Before a brilliant assemblage of the most accomplished divines, the Christian governor of Isfahan, Persia, declared his faith in the Prophet of Islám, and the Báb

Manuchihr-Khan, 
the Governor of Isfahan
The tumultuous enthusiasm of the people of Isfáhán [towards the Báb] was meanwhile visibly increasing. Crowds of people, some impelled by curiosity, others eager to discover the truth, still others anxious to be healed of their infirmities, flocked from every quarter of the city to the house of the Imám-Jum’ih. [where the Báb was staying] The wise and judicious Manúchihr Khán [the governor] could not resist the temptation of visiting so strange, so intriguing a Personage. Before a brilliant assemblage of the most accomplished divines he, a Georgian by origin and a Christian by birth, requested the Báb to expound and demonstrate the truth of Muhammad’s specific mission. To this request, which those present had felt compelled to decline, the Báb readily responded. In less than two hours, and in the space of fifty pages, He had not only revealed a minute, a vigorous and original dissertation on this noble theme, but had also linked it with both the coming of the Qá’im and the return of the Imám Husayn—an exposition that prompted Manúchihr Khán to declare before that gathering his faith in the Prophet of Islám, as well as his recognition of the supernatural gifts with which the Author of so convincing a treatise was endowed. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

August 11, 2017

1979-1982: Some of the world leaders and government officials who issued statements concerning the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran

  • Prime Minister's Office of the United Kingdom
  • President Mitterrand of France
  • Offices of the King and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium
  • President and Minister of Cultural Affairs of Luxembourg
  • All three parliamentary parties in Luxembourg
  • Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher of Germany
  • Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India
  • 148 Out of 150 Members of Parliament in the Netherlands
  • Swiss Parliamentarians
  • Western Samoan Government
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs, Australia
  • Governor of the Hawaiian Islands, USA.
  •  Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
(Prepared by the Baha’i International Community, accompanied a letter from the Universal House of Justice to the Baha’is of the World, 26 January 1982; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

August 8, 2017

1863: While in Constantinople, Baha’u’llah introduced the concept of choosing or creating one universal language and script to Kamal Pasha, a former Ottoman Prime Minister who was at that time one of the ministers of the Sultan

c 1870 Constantinople (now called Istanbul)
One day, while in Constantinople, Kamál Páshá visited this Wronged One. Our conversation turned upon topics profitable unto man. He said that he had learned several languages. In reply We observed: “You have wasted your life. It beseemeth you and the other officials of the Government to convene a gathering and choose one of the divers languages, and likewise one of the existing scripts, or else to create a new language and a new script to be taught children in schools throughout the world. They would, in this way, be acquiring only two languages, one their own native tongue, the other the language in which all the peoples of the world would converse. Were men to take fast hold on that which hath been mentioned, the whole earth would come to be regarded as one country, and the people would be relieved and freed from the necessity of acquiring and teaching different languages.” When in Our presence, he acquiesced, and even evinced great joy and complete satisfaction. We then told him to lay this matter before the officials and ministers of the Government, in order that it might be put into effect throughout the different countries. However, although he often returned to see Us after this, he never again referred to this subject, although that which had been suggested is conducive to the concord and the unity of the peoples of the world.

We fain would hope that the Persian Government will adopt it and carry it out. At present, a new language and a new script have been devised. If thou desirest, We will communicate them to thee. Our purpose is that all men may cleave unto that which will reduce unnecessary labor and exertion, so that their days may be befittingly spent and ended. God, verily, is the Helper, the Knower, the Ordainer, the Omniscient.
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Epistle to the Son of the Wolf’)

July 23, 2017

Consequences of rejecting the Message of God brought by Bahá’u’lláh: William I, King of Prussia

…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…

William I, the pride-intoxicated newly-acclaimed conqueror of Napoleon III, admonished in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and bidden to ponder the fate that had overtaken “one whose power transcended” his own, warned in that same Book, that the “lamentations of Berlin” would be raised and that the banks of the Rhine would be “covered with gore,” sustained two attempts on his life, and was succeeded by a son who died of a mortal disease, three months after his accession to the throne, bequeathing the throne to the arrogant, the headstrong and short-sighted William II. The pride of the new monarch precipitated his downfall. Revolution, swiftly and suddenly, broke out in his capital, communism reared its head in a number of cities; the princes of the German states abdicated, and he himself, fleeing ignominiously to Holland, was compelled to relinquish his right to the throne. The constitution of Weimar sealed the fate of the empire, whose birth had been so loudly proclaimed by his grandfather, and the terms of an oppressively severe treaty provoked “the lamentations” which, half a century before, had been ominously prophesied. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

July 18, 2017

1912: House at Malden, Massachusetts, where 'Abdu'l-Baha rested

The house at Malden, Massachusetts, where 'Abdu'l-Baha rested in 1912 as guest of Maria P. Wilson (The Baha'i World 1944-1946)

July 14, 2017

April 1970: Total number of National Spiritual Assemblies reaches 94

BAHA'I WORLD COMMUNITY ENTERING SEVENTH YEAR NINE YEAR PLAN HAS AMPLY DEMONSTRATED ABILITY SCALE HEIGHTS DEVOTION SACRIFICE WIN ASTONISHING VICTORIES WORLD-REDEEMING WORLD-HEALING WORLD-UNITING FAITH. AT THIS RIDVAN EXTEND LOVING WELCOME ELEVEN NEW NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES NOW FORMING SEVEN IN AFRICA ONE IN AMERICAS ONE IN ASIA TWO IN AUSTRALASIA RAISING TO NINETY-FOUR NUMBER SUPPORTING PILLARS UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE….  
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a cable dated Ridvan 1970; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

July 10, 2017

1970: Centenary of the martyrdom of the Purest Branch, Mirza Mihdi – the Universal House of Justice called for special worldwide prayer

25 March 1970
To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

In commemoration of the centenary of the martyrdom of the Purest Branch, which falls on 23 June 1970, we call upon the Baha'is of the world to unite in prayer for "the regeneration of the world and the unification of its peoples."

During those days one hundred years ago Baha'u'llah was enduring His imprisonment in the Barracks of 'Akka. Upon the tribulations which weighed Him down was heaped the fatal accident which befell His young son, His companion and amanuensis, Mirza Mihdi, the Purest Branch, whose dying supplication to his Father was to accept his life "as a ransom for those of His loved ones who yearned for, but were unable to attain, His presence." In a Tablet revealed in that grievous hour Baha'u'llah sorrows that "This is the day whereon he that was created of the light of Baha has suffered martyrdom, at a time when he lay imprisoned at the hands of his enemies." Yet He makes clear that the youth passing has a far profounder meaning than His acceptance of the simple request, declaring that "Thou art, verily, the trust of God and His treasure in this land. Erelong will God reveal through thee that which He hath desired." In a prayer revealed for His son He proclaims the purpose underlying the tragedy: "I have, O my Lord, offered up that which Thou hast given Me, that Thy servants may be quickened, and all that dwell on earth be united."  Thus upon a youth of consummate devotion who demonstrated such beauty of spirit and total dedication was conferred a unique station in the Cause of God.

In your recalling the bereavement of Baha'u'llah upon the loss of His loved son, and honouring a highly significant event in the Faith, we leave it to the discretion of the Assemblies whether they choose to hold special gatherings of prayer. In the Holy Land at the World Centre on Mount Carmel there will be an observance at the grave of Mirza Mihdi, at which time his pure example and sacrifice for all mankind will be remembered through the words of his glorious Father.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice
(‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

July 2, 2017

1970: The Baha’i World attained consultative status at United Nations Economic and Social Council

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE BAHA'I WORLD ATTAINMENT CONSULTATIVE STATUS UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL THEREBY FULFILLING LONG CHERISHED HOPE BELOVED GUARDIAN AND WORLD CENTRE GOAL NINE YEAR PLAN.+F192  SUSTAINED PERSISTENT EFFORTS MORE THAN TWENTY YEARS ACCREDITED REPRESENTATIVES BAHA'I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY UNITED NATIONS DEVOTED SUPPORT BAHA'I COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT WORLD FINALLY REWARDED.  SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT ADDS PRESTIGE INFLUENCE RECOGNITION EVER ADVANCING FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH.  OFFERING PRAYERS GRATITUDE HOLY SHRINES.

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

June 27, 2017

World situation worsened during 1968 and 1969

In the worsening world situation, fraught with pain of war, violence and the sudden uprooting of long-established institutions, can be seen the fulfilment of the prophecies of Baha'u'llah and the oft-repeated warnings of the Master and the beloved Guardian about the inevitable fate of a lamentably defective social system, an unenlightened leadership and a rebellious and unbelieving humanity. Governments and peoples of both the developed and developing nations, and other human institutions, secular and religious, finding themselves helpless to reverse the trend of the catastrophic events of the day, stand bewildered and overpowered by the magnitude and complexity of the problems facing them. At this fateful hour in human history many, unfortunately, seem content to stand aside and wring their hands in despair or else join in the babel of shouting and protestation which loudly objects, but offers no solution to the woes and afflictions plaguing our age. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 16 November 1969; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’)

A summary of worsening events that took place in the world in 1968 and 1969 – by Geoffry Marks
The years 1968 and 1969 were racked with war, violence, terrorism, and civil unrest around the world. Wars raged in Vietnam and Nigeria; Soviet and Chinese troops skirmished in a continuing border dispute; Soviet troops entered Czechoslovakia to quell a movement toward liberalization; and El Salvador invaded Honduras. Coups d'etat toppled governments in 'Iraq, Syria, Sierre Leone, Dahomey, the Congo, Mali, the Sudan, Libya, the Netherlands Antilles, Peru, Panama, and Bolivia; states of emergency were declared in Spain, Malaysia, and Chile; violent unrest occurred in West Germany, Spain, Bombay, Pakistan, Argentina, Kenya, and the United States; and student protests erupted in Paris, Mexico City, Czechoslovakia, Argentina, and the United States. United States and Israeli airliners were hijacked, and two Israeli airliners were attacked by terrorists.  Moreover, a number of leaders were assassinated, including Somalian president Abdirascid Ali Scermarche; US civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.; US presidential candidate Robert E. Kennedy; US ambassador to Guatemala John Gordon Mein; and Mozambique Liberation Front leader Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane. 
- Geoffry Marks  (Footnotes to “Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’)

June 19, 2017

Consequences of rejecting the Message of God brought by Bahá’u’lláh: Napoleon III – “the foremost monarch of his day in the West”

…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…

Napoleon III, the foremost monarch of his day in the West, excessively ambitious, inordinately proud, tricky and superficial, who is reported to have contemptuously flung down the Tablet sent to him by Bahá’u’lláh, who was tested by Him and found wanting, and whose downfall was explicitly predicted in a subsequent Tablet, was ignominiously defeated in the Battle of Sedan (1870), marking the greatest military capitulation recorded in modern history; lost his kingdom and spent the remaining years of his life in exile. His hopes were utterly blasted, his only son, the Prince Imperial, was killed in the Zulu War, his much vaunted empire collapsed, a civil war ensued more ferocious than the Franco-German war itself, and William I, the Prussian king, was hailed emperor of a unified Germany in the Palace of Versailles. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

June 12, 2017

1969: Total number of Continental Boards of Counsellors increased to thirty-eight

With great joy we announce that we have decided to increase the total number of members of the Continental Boards of Counsellors for the Protection and Propagation of the Faith to thirty-eight… 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 10 July 1969; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’)

June 5, 2017

1944: Centenary Exhibition, England

Centenary Exhibition held in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, 1944, showing exterior view of shop window on one of the main streets. 
(The Baha'i World 1944-1946)