November 15, 2017

1910: Some historic developments in Akka & Haifa

The Ottoman officials have recently opened two large gateways through the thick, solid and ancient walls of the old fort of Acca. Both open out on the green plain in front of Bahji, where the Holy Tomb is located. Wonderful to relate, one of these gates is situated back of the old house of 'Abdu'l-Baha, where he often walked, during the time of his confinement, to the fortress!

Furthermore, official men, architects and masons have come from Constantinople for the express purpose of planning a beautiful city outside of the old prison walls! To live today and witness the actual fulfillment of the old prophecies is verily a blessing for which we cannot be sufficiently thankful.
- Ameen U. Fareed (Star of the West, vol. 1, no. 9, August 20, 1910)

November 12, 2017

November 11, 2017

1979-1982: Cables received by Ayatollah Khomeini concerning the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran

Over 10,000 Local Spiritual Assemblies cabled the Ayatollah Khomeini, urging his intervention regarding the expropriation of Baha'i properties in Iran.
(From a Summary 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’)

November 8, 2017

1944: Three future Hands of the Cause of God

Presiding National Spiritual Assembly officers of the Centenary Convention in Persia. Left to right: Shuallah Ala'i (vice-chairman), Vali'ullah Varqa (chairman) and Ali-Akbar Furutan (secretary). 
(Baha’i News, April 1946)

November 3, 2017

1994: First National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Cambodia

Hand of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum (center) with members of the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Cambodia, Counsellors Lee Lee Ludher (far left) and Shantha Sundram (third from right), and Mrs. Violette Nakhjavani (third from left). 
(The Baha'i World 1994-1995)

October 26, 2017

1994: The New National Spiritual Assemblies in Central Asia

First National Spiritual Assembly of Kazakhstan 1994
Baha'is first settled in Central Asia during Baha'u'llah's lifetime, when the region was known as Turkistan. A flourishing community developed, and the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar (House of Worship) of the Baha'i world was raised in Ashkhabad in the early part of the century. In 1925, the National Spiritual Assembly of Turkistan, with its seat in Ashkhabad, came into being.

The Baha'is of Central Asia obeyed the Soviet government's subsequent ban on Baha'i institutions and religious practice and the National Spiritual Assembly was itself dissolved in 1939, but Baha'is in the region retained their faith as a matter of private belief and conscience. When the policy of glasnost emerged in the 1980s, and then the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, the surviving Baha'is began to share their Faith more openly with the help of fellow Baha' is from other countries who were then allowed to travel to the region. By April 1992, there were approximately 500 Baha' is and eight Local Spiritual Assemblies in Central Asia, and the Regional Spiritual Assembly of Central Asia, with its seat in Ashkhabad, had been re-formed.

October 20, 2017

1995: Oatan Marawa Baha'i School in Kiribati

The Oatan Marawa Baha'i School open in Kiribati in April 1995 
(The Baha'i World 1994-1995)

October 12, 2017

1921: The “birth of the Administrative Order, the nucleus and pattern of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh”

…the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, "an event which signalized at once the end of the Heroic Age of our Faith, the opening of the Formative Age and the birth of the Administrative Order, the nucleus and pattern of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh." 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 15 April 1971, ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

October 11, 2017

1972: One hundred and ten National Spiritual Assemblies

11 February 1971
To all National Spiritual Assemblies



(Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986)

October 8, 2017

1950: First Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Tokyo, Japan

Eight members of the first Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Tokyo, Japan, 1950-1951. 
(The Baha'i World 1950-1954)

October 5, 2017

The Báb’s prison room in Tabriz

The Báb was imprisoned in Tabriz in 1848 in this now (1953) crumbling prison room of the old brick Ark. 
(The Baha'i World 1950-1954)

September 28, 2017

African Baha’i History

African Baha'i history had its beginnings in Egypt, which was opened to the Faith during the period of the ministry of Baha'u'llah; it gathered momentum during the ministry of 'Abdu'l-Baha when Baha'i localities were established in South Africa and Tunisia. But the early effects of these spiritual endowments became more obvious with the remarkable success of the two-year Africa Project (1951-53) when 16 territories were opened, bringing to 25 the total number of countries and islands in which Baha'is resided; this preceded the opening of the 33 virgin territories called for in the beloved Guardian's Ten Year Global Crusade, a period of astonishing development in Africa that evoked the  admiration and praise of Shoghi Effendi as many people from different tribes entered the  Cause, a number of administrative institutions were formed, and it became possible to raise up the Mother Temple of Africa in the heart of the continent. During the course of these rapid developments, the African believers themselves, through sacrificial effort as teachers and pioneers, arose to champion the Cause of God, manifesting the profundity of their response to the Message of the New Day. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Ridvan 153 addressed to the Followers of Baha'u'llah in Africa)

September 20, 2017

The first time Bábís become aware of the true station of Quddus

Mullá Husayn had in the meantime apprised his companions [at Fort Tabasi] of the approach of Quddús, and had enjoined them to observe towards him a reverence such as they would feel prompted to show to the Báb Himself. “As to myself,” he added, “you must consider me as his lowly servant. You should bear him such loyalty that if he were to command you to take my life, you would unhesitatingly obey. If you waver or hesitate, you will have shown your disloyalty to your Faith. Not until he summons you to his presence must you in any wise venture to intrude upon him. You should forsake your desires and cling to his will and pleasure. You should refrain from kissing either his hands or his feet, for his blessed heart dislikes such evidences of reverent affection. Such should be your behaviour that I may feel proud of you before him. The glory and authority with which he has been invested must needs be duly recognised by even the most insignificant of his companions. Whoso departs from the spirit and letter of my admonitions, a grievous chastisement will surely overtake him.” 
- Nabil  (‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

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

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

- 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


(‘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)

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





(‘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)

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)