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)

November 13, 2016

September 2007: Passing of Last Hand of the Cause - Dr. Varqa

23 September 2007

To the Bahá’ís of the World

In the early hours of last night, revered, greatly admired, well-loved Hand of the Cause of God Dr. ‘Alí-Muhammad Varqá departed this earthly plane after a period of outstanding, consecrated service to the Blessed Beauty that spanned many decades. With grieving hearts we bid farewell to the last of that noble company, the Chief Stewards of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Commonwealth, into which he is now gathered in realms of deathless delight and joy. The fervor of his love for the teaching work inspired countless believers across the globe, whether at the events he attended as the representative of the Guardian or of the Universal House of Justice, or in his extensive travels to promote the goals of the Master’s Divine Plan. In such activities he contributed mightily to the progress of the Ten Year Crusade and subsequent global teaching plans. Until his final days, he was leonine in his determination to protect the Faith. He wore with marked distinction the mantle of Trustee of Huqúqu’lláh that fell to him from the shoulders of his illustrious father, impressing a record of imperishable achievement on the annals of the Formative Age—achievement which has set a pattern that secures important features for the operation into the future of that divinely ordained institution. Throughout the many years of his valiant endeavor to maintain the integrity of the two offices of so high a rank to which he was simultaneously elevated, his manner was imbued with a luminous gentleness, a genuine kindliness and a natural dignity which combined to reflect the character of a saintly personality. For these exemplary traits he will ever be remembered. Our heartfelt sympathy reaches out to the members of his dear family in their sad loss, which is shared by the entire Bahá’í community. With deeply held trust in the bounties of the Gracious Lord, we pray at the Sacred Threshold for the progress of his resplendent soul throughout the divine worlds.

We advise the friends in all lands to commemorate his passing and request befitting memorial services in his honor at all Houses of Worship.

The Universal House of Justice

October 31, 2016

June 1968: The Universal House of Justice establishes the Continental Boards of Counsellors

Initially eleven Boards of Counsellors have been appointed, one for each of the following areas: North-western Africa, Central and East Africa, Southern Africa, North America, Central America, South America, Western Asia, South-eastern Asia, North- eastern Asia, Australasia and Europe. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated June 24, 1968; ‘Messages from the House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 29, 2016

circa 1900: Shiraz, Persia

Approaching the city of Shiraz from the north through the Gate of Allah'u'Akbar (God is Great)

October 27, 2016

October 1967, Panama: Laying the Foundation Stone of the Mother Temple of Latin America

Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum laid the Foundation Stone of the Mother Temple of Latin America on behalf of the Universal House of Justice. 
(Adapted from a message from the Universal House of Justice dated 23 October 1976 to all National Spiritual Assemblies; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 25, 2016

November 1921: Mourners attending the funeral of ‘Abdu’l-Baha

A view of the long train of mourners attending the funeral of ‘Abdu’l-Baha. (The Baha’i World 1968-1973). To see additional pictures please visit ‘Abdu’l-Baha in the Holy Land.

October 20, 2016

April 1983: The House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha is opened to pilgrims

The House in 'Akká that served as the residence of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and His family from 1896 until their move to Haifa between 1907 and 1910. The House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha was restored under the direction of Hand of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum and was opened to pilgrims in April 1983. 
(Footnote to the message from the Universal House of justice dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 17, 2016

1979-1986 – Compilations from the Writings prepared by the Baha’i World Centre

During the Seven Year Plan [1979-1986] the Universal House of Justice sent to the Bahá'í world compilations on the following subjects:
  • Inspiring the Heart (24 October 1979)
  • Divorce (18 January 1980)
  • The Importance of Prayer, Meditation, and the Devotional Attitude (31 March 1980)
  • Attendance at National Spiritual Assembly Meetings (26 October 1980);
  • The Assistance of God (24 August 1981)
  • Prayers and Passages from the Holy Writings (16 September 1991)
  • Excellence in All Things (23 November 1981)
  • Family Life (18 February 1982)
  • The Importance of Deepening Our Knowledge and Understanding of the Faith (13 January 1983)
  • The Law of Huququ'lláh (4 July 1985)
  •  Peace (9 August 1985)
  • Women (1 January 1986)
  • The Epochs of the Formative Age (5 February 1986)
  • Translations: The Long Healing Prayer and the Fire Tablet (13 August 1980)
  • Translations: A prayer of 'Abdu'l-Bahá for martyred Bahá'ís and their relatives (11 January 1983).
All of the compilations except those on Inspiring the Heart, Attendance at National Spiritual Assembly Meetings, and Prayers and Passages from the Holy Writings, can be found in The Compilation of Compilations. 
(Footnote to the message from the Universal House of justice dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 15, 2016

1878 & 1882: Bahá’u’lláh responds to questions raised by Mánikchí Sáhib, a prominent Indian Zoroastrian

An able diplomat and devoted adherent of his ancestral religion, Mánikchí Sáhib was appointed, in 1854, as an emissary on behalf of the Parsees of India to assist their coreligionists in Iran, who were suffering under the repressive policies of the Qájár monarchs. Sometime after this he attained the presence of Bahá’u’lláh in Baghdad. Although maintaining to the end of his life allegiance to his Zoroastrian faith, he was attracted to the teachings of the new religion and, moved by the sacrifice of its early martyrs, became a lifelong admirer. Years after their meeting he posed a series of questions to Bahá’u’lláh’s which led to the revelation of two Tablets of far-reaching significance, the first of which was sent to him in 1878.

The first Tablet, known as the Lawh-i-Mánikchí Sáhib, is celebrated for its striking and well-known passages epitomizing the universality of Bahá’u’lláh’s prophetic claim. Revealed, at Mánikchí Sáhib’s bold request, in pure Persian, the Tablet responds to the questions he had raised and proclaims some of the central tenets of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh: “Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and centre your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.” “Turn your faces from the darkness of estrangement to the effulgent light of the daystar of unity.” “Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.” “[W]hatsoever leadeth to the decline of ignorance and the increase of knowledge hath been, and will ever remain, approved in the sight of the Lord of creation.”

October 13, 2016

October 13, 2016 – Conclusion of a century-long process of raising up continental Baha’i Houses of Worship around the world

The dedication of the Baha’i House of Worship taking place in Santiago, Chile, signifies a historic conclusion to a century-long process of raising up continental Baha’i Houses of Worship around the world.

A House of Worship is a pivotal institution of Baha’i community life, ordained by Baha’u’llah as a sacred structure open to all and referred to as “Mashriqu’l-Adhkar”, which translates to “Dawning Place of the Mention of God.”

The first Baha’i House of Worship was completed in 1908 in the city of Ishqabad in Russian Turkistan (now Ashgabat, Turkmenistan).  The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar complex included the central Temple, a travellers’ hospice, schools, medical and other facilities. After being expropriated by the Soviet authorities, the House of Worship was seriously damaged in an earthquake and eventually demolished in 1963.

October 10, 2016

Naw-Ruz 1979: Some of the countries where the Bahá'í Administration couldn’t operate or had been disbanded

Even in those countries where the Bahá'í Administration cannot operate or has had to be disbanded, countries to which have now been added Afghanistan, the Congo Republic, Niger, Uganda and Vietnam, the believers, while obedient to their governments, nevertheless staunchly keep alive the flame of faith. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 8, 2016

French historian A. L. M. Nicolas comments on the condition of Persia at the time of the appearance of the Báb and the gradual unfoldment of His Divine Mission

Everyone agrees in acknowledging that it would be absolutely impossible for him to proclaim loudly his doctrine or to spread it among men. He had to act as does a physician to children, who must disguise a bitter medicine in a sweet coating in order to win over his young patients. The people in the midst of whom he appeared were, and still are, alas, more fanatical than the Jews were at the time of Jesus, when the majesty of Roman peace was no longer there to put a stop to the furious excesses of religious madness of an over-excited people. Therefore, if Christ, in spite of the relative calm of the surroundings in which He preached, thought it necessary to employ the parable, Siyyid ‘Alí-Muḥammad, [the Báb] a fortiori, was obliged to disguise his thought in numerous circuitous ways and only pour out, one drop at a time, the filter of his divine truths. He brings up his child, Humanity; he guides it, endeavoring always not to frighten it and directs its first steps on a path which leads it slowly but surely, so that, as soon as it can proceed alone, it reaches the goal pre-ordained for it from all eternity.
- A. L. M. Nicolas  (Introduction to volume I of “Le Bayán Persan” (pp. 3–5); inserted footnote by Shoghi Effendi in ‘The Dawn-Breakers’)

October 6, 2016

Naw-Ruz 1979: “In the world at large the Bahá'í community is now firmly established.”

- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 4, 2016

Naw-Ruz 1979: Worldwide –> 96,000 Localities, 22,000 Local Spiritual Assemblies, 125 National Spiritual Assemblies

The teaching victories in that Plan have been truly prodigious; the points of light, those localities where the Promised One is recognized, have increased from sixty- nine thousand five hundred to over ninety-six thousand; the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies has grown from seventeen thousand to over twenty-five thousand; eighteen new National Spiritual Assemblies have been formed. The final report will disclose in all their manifold aspects the magnitude of the victories won. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 2, 2016

1979: Violent disturbances in Persia

Destruction of the House of the Báb
The violent disturbances in Persia, coinciding with the gathering in of the bountiful harvest of the Five Year Plan, [1974-1979] have brought new and cruel hardships to our long-suffering brethren in the Cradle of our Faith and confronted the Bahá'í world community with critical challenges to its life and work. As the Bahá'í world stood poised on the brink of victory, eagerly anticipating the next stage in the unfoldment of the Master's Divine Plan, Bahá'u'lláh's heroic compatriots, the custodians of the Holy Places of our Faith in the land of its birth, were yet again called upon to endure the passions of brutal mobs, the looting and burning of their homes, the destruction of their means of livelihood, and physical violence and threats of death to force them to recant their faith. They, like their immortal forebears, the Dawn-Breakers, are standing steadfast in face of this new persecution and the ever-present threat of organized extermination. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Naw-Ruz 1979; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)