Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pioneering and Deputizing

Those who cannot pioneer or do travel teaching will want to participate by contributing to the International Deputization Fund. Let them remember Bahá'u'lláh's injunction: "Center your energies in the propagation of the Faith of God. Whoso is worthy of so high a calling, let him arise and promote it. Whoso is unable, it is his duty to appoint him who will, in his stead, proclaim this Revelation . . ." Let the Bahá'ís of the world join in the true spirit of universal participation and win all the victories while there is yet time. Let each assume his full measure of responsibility that all may share the laurels of accomplishment at the end of the Plan.

No appeals against the decision of the National Assembly.

Neither the general body of the believers, nor any Local Assembly, nor even the delegates to the Annual Convention should be regarded as having any authority to entertain appeals against the decision of the National Assembly.

The station of the "Hands of the Cause of God"

Recorded in the following pages are personal recollections of meetings with several of the Hands of the Cause of God – those "Chief Stewards of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Commonwealth ..." In each Dispensation there are a few individuals – a small handful - amongst the early followers of the Manifestation who are endowed with a special station and function. History records the ‘Disciples’ or ‘Apostles’ of Christ whose lives spanned the first and perhaps second generation of the early Christian community; Muhammad was succeeded by the Caliphate and a hereditary line of Imams whose lives spanned some 260 years of that Dispensation.

During His lifetime Bahá’u’lláh appointed four individuals as Hands of His Cause – creating thereby an appointed institution of individuals whose station and functions were clarified in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, with further appointments flowing from the pen of Shoghi Effendi during his 36 years ministry – some named posthumously, some appointed during their lifetime, 27 of whom were carrying out their vital duties at the time of his passing in 1957. These individuals continued to serve the Cause with unremitting energy during the next half-century – until the eventual passing of the last of the Hands, Dr Ali-Muhammad Varqá, in September 2007 – B.E. 163.

The Babi Uprisings

On September 10, 1844, the Báb departed Shiraz for the Hajj pilgrimage, accompanied by a black slave and Quddús (Mullá Muḥammad ‘Alí-i-Bárfurúshí), who was the eighteenth believer in the Báb. In Mecca the Báb declared his claim to the Sharif of Mecca.

On March 20, 1848, Mullá Ḥusayn-i-Bushru'i, who in 1844 had become the first person to become a follower of the Báb, visited the Báb at Maku prison, where the Báb was incarcerated. Subsequent to his visit, Mullá Ḥusayn-i-Bushru'i became involved in the Bábi uprisings. Under instructions from the Báb, Mullá Ḥusayn-i-Bushru'i unfurled a Black Standard in Mashhad, fulfilling an Islamic prophecy, and began a march with other Bábis. They were rebuffed at Barfurush and therefore made defensive fortifications at the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsí. Quddús arrived at the Shrine and became the commander of the Bábís upon his arrival. Mullá Ḥusayn-i-Bushru'i would die at the battle of Shaykh Tabarsí on February 2, 1849. Quddús himself became a prisoner and was being escorted to Tehran when, in Barfurúsh, the local population lynched him. The Báb was later executed on July 9, 1850.

The troublemaker Baha'is

On September 10, 1965, Mona Mahmudnizhad (spelled Muná Mahúdnizhád in the Bahá'í orthography) was born in Iran.

Born on September 10, 1965 to Bahá’í pioneer parents in Sana'a, Yemen, the Mahmudnizhad family returned to Iran when the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen expelled all foreigners in 1969. Mona's father, Yad'u'llah, was a Secretary of the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Shiraz and in 1981 had been appointed an Auxiliary Board Member for the Province of Pars. Mona, being a member of the Bahá’í Education Committee, was arrested along with her father and other leading Bahá’ís of Shiraz on October 23, 1982. Mona's father was executed on March 12, 1983, and Mona was executed on June 18, 1983.

The collective arrest and subsequent execution of the Shiraz Bahá'í leadership became a cause célèbre­. Mona Mahmudnizhad herself has become the subject of several hagiographic works, including a book, The Story of Mona:1965-1983; a music video, Mona With the Children; a play, A Dress for Mona; and a movie, Mona's Dream.

Punitive sanction for thoughtcrimes, whether by civil authorities or religious hierarchies, is reprehensible. While I abhor persecution and condemn it, I am skeptical of the hagiographic perspective of the Bahá'í martyrs. There are a number of reasons for my skepticism...

(1) In the community I was a member of, even in the lifetime of Khomeini, there were Iranian Bahá’ís who would regularly travel to Iran during their summer holidays to visit family. When I would ask them how that was possible, their response was always along the lines that the arrested Bahá’ís were those who were administratively and politically active, almost to the point of referring to them as "troublemakers."

I question the degree to which simply "being Bahá’í" was and is criminalized in Iran if individual Bahá’ís could so readily travel for leisure purposes.

(2) The reasons the Bahá’í Administrative Order gives for Bahá’í persecutions lend themselves to doubt. For example, The Story of Mona:1965-1983 recounts an interrogation...
The Assistant to the Public Prosecutor said, 'You are accused of being a member of the Zionist movement, who are spies.' In reply, I told him that Baha'is have nothing to do with politics. On the other hand, the state of Israel was founded only 32 years ago, while the Baha'i Faith was founded 139 years ago. We only have spiritual organizations which have nothing to do with politics. He said, 'There remains only one way for you, you should either recant the Faith or you will be executed.' I said I would rather be executed."
Later, in a court appearance, the book quotes a judge telling Mona, "You are accused of misleading youth with your beautiful voice and chanting."

These reasons appear absurd, but they are not dissimilar to reasons given, for example, for the arrest of Bahá’ís in Yemen in a Bahá’í World News Service article from April 21, 2017...
The baseless and nonsensical accusations levelled against the Baha'is include showing kindness and displaying rectitude of conduct in order to attract people to their Faith.
I question the reasons recounted for Bahá’í arrests in official publications of the Bahá’í Administrative Order.

(3) As dismissive as many Bahá’ís are regarding accusations of their coreligionists' being tied to national intelligence agencies, the examples are plenty. Perhaps the most famous example that comes to mind is that of David Kelly, a Bahá’í employed by the British Ministry of Defence who served as a weapons inspector with the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq, providing intelligence of Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction in the lead up to the Iraq War. David Kelly's suspicious death by suicide subsequent to his appearance before the British House of Commons' Foreign Intelligence Committee in 2003 was famously investigated by the Hutton Inquiry.
Bahá’ís often lament their being associated with Zionism for no other reason than the presence of the Bahá’í World Centre in Israel, which is a coincidence resulting from Bahá'u'lláh's ultimate exile to Acre, then a prison city in Ottoman Palestine, subsequent to internecine fighting between Bahá’ís and Azalis in Adrianople.

However, the Bahá’í connection to Zionism is not merely conspiratorial.

On February 23, 1914, at the eve of World War I, 'Abdu'l-Bahá hosted Baron Edmond James de Rothschild, a member of the Rothschild banking family who was a leading advocate and financier of the Zionist movement, during one of his early trips to Palestine. This event was reported in "Star of the West" magazine.

On September 8, 1919, subsequent to the British occupation of Palestine, at a time when tens of thousands of Jewish settlers were arriving under the auspices of the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association, an article in the "Star of the West" quoted 'Abdu'l-Bahá praising the Zionist movement, proclaiming that "There is too much talk today of what the Zionists are going to do here. There is no need of it. Let them come and do more and say less" and that "A Jewish government might come later."

Shoghi Effendi had a close relationship with Herbert Samuel, the British High Commissioner for Palestine. This relationship is alluded to in Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum's The Priceless Pearl, in the chapters titled The Passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Its Immediate Consequences and The Heart and Nerve Centre. As High Commissioner, Herbert Samuel was the first Jew to govern the historic land of Israel in 2,000 years, and his appointment was regarded by the Muslim-Christian Associations as the "first step in formation of Zionist national home in the midst of Arab people." Herbert Samuel welcomed the arrival of Jewish settlers under the auspices of the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association and recognised Hebrew as one of the three official languages of the Mandate territory.
After the establishment of the State of Israel, the Bahá’í Administrative Order had close relations with the new government, facilitating the acquisition of numerous properties. For example, on November 12, 1952, a cablegram sent by Shoghi Effendi announced the "acquisition of vitally-needed property" of the Mansion of Bahji and the area around it from "the Development Authority of the State of Israel...The exchange of said property, including land and houses, was made possible by the precipitate flight of the former Arab owners."

The Universal House of Justice has continued to have close connections with some of the most right-wing elements of the Israeli political establishment, such as Moshe Sharon, who is Professor Emeritus of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he serves as Chair in Bahá'í Studies. Moshe Sharon holds some very extreme views.

I question the degree to which Bahá’ís are dismissive of their co-religionists' and Administrative Order's association with state actors.

I question the degree to which individual Bahá’ís may, in fact, be in the service of various national intelligence agencies.

(4) Bahá'i writings clearly forbid disobedience to one's government unless it involves the renunciation of faith. For example, Soviet policies targeted Bahá’í institutions and administrative structures. On January 1, 1929, Shoghi Effendi wrote a letter, later included in his seminal book Bahá’í Administration with sections titled "Persecutions in Russia" and "Guiding Principle of Conduct". Shoghi Effendi stated...
the varied and numerous Bahá’í institutions established in the past by heroic pioneers of the Faith have been brought into direct and sudden contact with the internal convulsions necessitated by the establishment and maintenance of an order so fundamentally at variance with Russia’s previous regime. The avowed purpose and action of the responsible heads of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics who, within their recognized and legitimate rights, have emphatically proclaimed and vigorously pursued their policy of uncompromising opposition to all forms of organized religious propaganda, have by their very nature created for those whose primary obligation is to labor unremittingly for the spread of the Bahá’í Faith a state of affairs that is highly unfortunate and perplexing...
our Bahá’í brethren in those provinces have had to endure the rigid application of the principles already enunciated by the state authorities and universally enforced with regard to all other religious communities under their sway. Faithful to their policy of expropriating in the interests of the State all edifices and monuments of a religious character, they have a few months ago approached the Bahá’í representatives in Turkistan, and after protracted negotiations with them, decided to claim and enforce their right of ownership and control of that most cherished and universally prized Bahá’í possession, the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of Ishqábád...
To these measures which the State, in the free exercise of its legitimate rights, has chosen to enforce, and with which the Bahá’ís, as befits their position as loyal and law-abiding citizens, have complied, others have followed which though of a different character are none the less grievously affecting our beloved Cause. In Baku, the seat of the Soviet Republic of Caucasus, as well as in Ganjih and other neighboring towns, state orders, orally and in writing, have been officially communicated to the Bahá’í Assemblies and individual believers, suspending all meetings, commemoration gatherings and festivals, suppressing the committees of all Bahá’í local and national Spiritual Assemblies, prohibiting the raising of funds and the transmission of financial contributions to any center within or without Soviet jurisdiction, requiring the right of full and frequent inspection of the deliberations, decisions, plans and action of the Bahá’í Assemblies, dissolving young men’s clubs and children’s organizations, imposing a strict censorship on all correspondence to and from Bahá’í Assemblies, directing a minute investigation of Assemblies’ papers and documents, suspending all Bahá’í periodicals, bulletins and magazines, and requiring the deportation of leading personalities in the Cause whether as public teachers and speakers or officers of Bahá’í Assemblies...
To all these the followers of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh have with feelings of burning agony and heroic fortitude unanimously and unreservedly submitted, ever mindful of the guiding principles of Bahá’í conduct that in connection with their administrative activities, no matter how grievously interference with them might affect the course of the extension of the Movement, and the suspension of which does not constitute in itself a departure from the principle of loyalty to their Faith, the considered judgment and authoritative decrees issued by their responsible rulers must, if they be faithful to Bahá’u’lláh’s and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s express injunctions, be thoroughly respected and loyally obeyed...
Clinging with immovable resolution to the inviolable verities of their cherished Faith, our sorely-tried brethren in Caucasus and Turkistan have none the less, as befits law-abiding Bahá’í citizens resolved, after having exhausted every legitimate means for the alleviation of the restrictions imposed upon them, to definitely uphold and conscientiously carry out the considered judgment of their recognized government.
I question why obedience to one's government, particularly in terms of disestablishing the Bahá’í administrative hierarchy and halting teaching activities, was readily acquiesced to in the past in the Soviet Union but resisted in more modern times in Iran and Yemen.

(5) The Bahá’í Administrative Order uses news stories of persecution very astutely to generate media attention. A Google News search for the term "Bahá’í" shows a predominance of news stories regarding Bahá’í temples and discrimination. Otherwise, the Bahá’í Faith generates little to no interest.

Shoghi Effendi himself realized the degree of media attention generated by the construction of the Chicago Temple. In a letter dated June 13, 1956 to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New Zealand, he stated...
Repercussions of the Chicago Temple are felt everywhere, and the same is becoming increasingly true of the Shrine. One single edifice, raised to the glory of Bahá'u'lláh, shines like a beacon and attracts the hearts of the people; no doubt many seeds are sown just through the act of people visiting these edifices - seeds which in the future will germinate. It is because of this that he is very eager to have the Australian one commenced as soon as circumstances permit.
I question the degree to which stories of Bahá’í persecution are used to generate media attention.

(6) Despite their rightly condemning persecution for belief, what is further interesting to me, given my past, is the degree to which the Bahá’í Administrative Order itself roots out dissent within its own ranks. Without going into further detail, I will refer you to two articles by Juan Cole, one entitled The Baha’i Faith in America as Panopticon, 1963-1997 and the other titled Fundamentalism in the Contemporary U.S. Baha'i Community.

I question what form and magnitude this behavior would take if the Bahá’í Faith ever became, as Shoghi Effendi described
the State Religion of an independent and Sovereign Power...will the Universal House of Justice attain the plenitude of its power, and exercise, as the supreme organ of the Bahá’í Commonwealth, all the rights, the duties, and responsibilities incumbent upon the world’s future super-state.

Source :

Baha'i Scriptures about America

As you know, the Bahá'í Scriptures proclaim that God has given the United States a spiritual mission to help reshape the world. The Bahá'í Writings state that America will evolve, through purifying tests and trials to become a land of spiritual distinction and leadership, a champion of justice and unity among all peoples and nations, and powerful servant of the Cause of everlasting peace. The Bahá'í Writings promise that this "signally blest" nation will never be defeated and will triumphantly fulfill its God-ordained mission.


Universal permanent Peace will be established in the twentieth century.

September 11. On this date in 1912, The Montreal Daily Star reported the following exchange:

"“Are there any signs that the permanent peace of the world will be established in anything like a reasonable period?” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was asked. “It will be established in this century,” he answered, ‘It will be universal in the twentieth century. All nations will be forced into it.”"

Progress being made towards raising the US$74,000,000 called for in contributions to the Mount Carmel Projects.

On September 12, 1994, a letter from the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies addressed the "progress being made towards raising the US$74,000,000 called for in contributions to the Mount Carmel Projects."
Progress of the Mount Carmel Project Fund 12 SEPTEMBER 1994
To all National Spiritual Assemblies
Dear Bahá’í Friends,
189.1 The Universal House of Justice has asked us to inform you of the progress being made towards raising the US$74,000,000 called for in contributions to the Mount Carmel Projects.
189.2 During the first year of the Three Year Plan, as a result of the self-sacrificing efforts of the friends throughout the world, a total of almost sixteen million dollars was contributed to the Arc Projects Fund, equivalent to nearly 1,800 units of nine thousand dollars each. During the course of the year the volume of contributions grew at a progressively increasing rate, showing the friends' eager response to the letter of 31 October 1993 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice in which mention was made of units of $9,000.
189.3 A total of over $7,500,000 was contributed during the three months of February through April 1994. If the friends can maintain this level of devoted sacrifice during the remaining two years of the Plan, they will triumphantly raise the fifty-eight million dollars which remain to be provided to meet the goal.
189.4 The rate of contributions dropped considerably in the months of May and June, to only just over 40% of the needed monthly average. However, the early months of an administrative year often show a lower level of contributions, and it is the ardent prayer of the Universal House of Justice that the followers of Bahá’u’lláh in every land will keep the high importance and urgency of this great undertaking always in their thoughts and prayers, and will exert every effort to ensure that the goal is met and there will be no cause for a halt in the work.
With loving Bahá’í greetings,

The UHJ is guided by God!?

On September 13, 1968, an individual wrote the Universal House of Justice "making inquiry about instructions which may apply to organ transplants such as the heart or kidney." The Universal House of Justice replied "We have not come across anything specific in the writings on transplants of hearts and other organs or regarding the time of death, and the Universal House of Justice does not wish to make any statements on these points at this time."

Serving in Baha'i Administration is now specified as criminal act.

On September 13, 1983, the Universal House of Justice sent a cable to all National Spiritual Assemblies regarding the Iranian government's banning the Bahá'í Administration on August 29, 1983, noting the government's statement permitted Bahá'ís to "practice beliefs as private individuals provided they do not teach or invite others to join (the) Faith, they do not form Assemblies or have anything to do with Administration. Serving in Bahá'í Administration now specified as criminal act."

Shoghi Effendi from Swiss Alps : Festive anniversaries should be suspended!!!

September 14. On this date in 1932, a letter was addressed to Adelbert Mühlschlegel "regarding [his] question on the subject of holding the usual festivals during this year when we are mourning the loss of the Greatest Holy Leaf," who had passed away on July 15, 1932. The letter notes that "Shoghi Effendi has not yet returned from his summer vacations," as he would leave Haifa for months at a time for rest and relaxation in the Swiss Alps.
14 September 1932
Dear Dr. Muhlschlegel:
I am in receipt of your letter dated September 4th 1932. Regarding your question on the subject of holding the usual festivals during this year when we are mourning the loss of the Greatest Holy Leaf; inasmuch as Shoghi Effendi has not yet returned from his summer vacations I cannot put your question to him and answer you immediately. The friends in America, however, who were confronted with the same problem, put to him the same question by telegram. I could, therefore, do no better than send you a copy of Shoghi Effendi's answer. I believe it will give you the necessary guidance in solving your problem. His cable runs as follows:
Bahá'í New York festive anniversaries should be suspended administrative gatherings including nineteen day feasts should be held with utmost simplicity....

Abdul Baha : Baha'i faith is a Tariqa • UHJ : Baha'i faith is not a Tariqa.

On September 14, 1961, the Custodians wrote that "the Faith has been under attack in Turkey" and that "a court case was brought against the Bahá'ís by the public prosecutor, who claimed that the Faith was a "a court case was brought against the Bahá'ís by the public prosecutor, who claimed that the Faith was a "Tarighat", one of those sects of lslám whose rituals, practices and forms of worship are forbidden by the law of the country." In 1905, in response to a Commission of Inquiry, 'Abdu'l-Bahá wrote the sultan a letter protesting that his followers refrain from involvement in partisan politics and that his tariqa had guided many Americans to Islam.
To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'ís of the United States, Canada, the British Isles, Germany, Italy and Switzerland
September 14, 1961
Dear Bahá'í Friends:
As you know, for the last two years the Faith has been under attack in Turkey, starting with the arrest of a number of believers in Ankara during Naw-Rúz of 1959, when the police imprisoned members of the Local Spiritual Assembly. This incident received wide publicity in the press. Subsequently the friends were released from prison, but a court case was brought against the Bahá'ís by the public prosecutor, who claimed that the Faith was a "Tarighat", one of those sects of lslám whose rituals, practices and forms of worship are forbidden by the law of the country.
Since then this matter has been the subject of lengthy litigation, with the Bahá'ís endeavouring to prove and establish the status of the Faith as an independent world religion, and the prosecuting authorities endeavouring to classify it as a forbidden sect of lslám.
The case is now to go to the high court on appeal, and the National Spiritual Assembly of Turkey has informed us that they believe that representations to the Turkish Ambassador in your respective countries' would be helpful, as these diplomatic representatives will then inform their government of these visits and the proofs which representatives of your Assembly will present showing the completely independent character of the Faith, as well as its world-wide acceptance as a universal religion completely dissociated from Islám or any other revealed religion.
In order that you may thoroughly understand the background of this situation, we share with you the following summary of the development of the case against the Faith in Turkey.
Following the Turkish revolution in the 1920's, church and state were separated, but the major world religions, including the four recognized schools of thought of Sunni lslám-Maliki, Hanbali, Shafei and Hanafi-were left free to follow their beliefs and practices. However, according to Article 163 of the Turkish Criminal Code, the practice of every form of "Tarighat" was forbidden, and those who indulged in the forbidden rituals and practices of these Muslim sects were subject to severe punishment. Among these "Tarighat" are included the Naghshbandi, Molvai, Jalali and Refai sects. The Government of modem Turkey felt that the rituals and practices of these sects of Islam were out of place in modern life and harmful to the people; therefore they were forbidden.
It is clear that identification of the Faith with these forbidden sects would be a very bad blow for the Cause and conversely, if a high court of appeal in a Muslim country were to recognize the independent character of the Faith, it would be a very significant victory for the Cause, not only in Turkey, but throughout the East.
The original arrest of the members of the Local Spiritual Assembly in Ankara and the court case which followed resulted in wide publicity for the Cause, and most of the leading newspapers in the country opposed the action of the public prosecutor, and declared that the Faith was an independent religion. At that time many documents were sent to Turkey from the World Centre and from various National Assemblies to establish and prove the independent character of the Cause. The court requested three experts in comparative religion to study the matter and give their opinion. Two of the three experts appointed expressed the view that the Bahá'í Faith was an independent religion, and one claimed that it was a sect of Islam. After receiving this report, the court then appointed three outstanding religious scholars to review all aspects of the question and advise the court of their views. All three of these scholars agreed in a finding that the Faith was an independent religion, and sent a documented statement containing authenticated proofs to the court on January 17, 1961. In this historic document the panel of experts proved that the Cause has nothing to do with "Tarighat" or forbidden sects of Islam, and that it is an independent religion comparable to Islam and Christianity.
After this document was submitted to the court, everyone was certain that the Court would issue its decree in accordance with the findings of these experts. However, the judges chose to disregard these findings entirely, and suddenly on July 15, 1961, declared that the Bahá'í Faith was a "Tarighat". Following this unexpected decision, the Bahá'ís of Ankara were forgiven, on the grounds that their gathering constituted a criminal case and under the general amnesty provisions of the law they could be released, that is, the case against them dropped. The court did say, however, that its decision could be appealed.
The National Spiritual Assembly of Turkey has decided to make a strong appeal to the higher court, and as indicated previously, this National Assembly believes that proper representations by your bodies to the Turkish Ambassadors in your respective countries will be helpful.
Therefore we request that you appoint without delay a well-qualified delegation composed of Western friends (the effect will be greater if the delegations do not include any of the Persian believers who may be residing in your respective countries) to call upon the Turkish Ambassador, explain your position as national representatives of the Bahá'í Community in your respective countries, indicate your great interest in a proper and just outcome of the pending case in Turkey, and give explanations and appropriate proofs of the independent character of the Faith and its world-wide scope as a separate revealed religion. In view of the highly nationalistic feelings of the Turkish people, particularly Turkish officials, we suggest that the representations to be made by your representatives do not in any way take the form of a protest. In other words, the approach should be a mild and friendly one, emphasizing the great interest which the Bahá'ís in your countries have in this matter.
We shall be very much interested in receiving in due course a report on the steps taken to carry out this request from the National Assembly of Turkey. We shall offer ardent prayers in the holy Shrines that all of these efforts will be divinely guided and assisted and that another great victory for the Faith may be won.
1 It is specifically requested that in the case of the Italo-Swiss National Assembly, the contact be made with the Turkish Ambassador in Switzerland. We do not believe that a visit to the Ambassador in Italy would be advisable at this time.
With warm Bahá'í love,
In the service of the beloved Guardian,

“Allah-u-Abha” to be repeated ninety-five times... how?

On September 15, 2003, the Research Department of Universal House of Justice published a memorandum providing additional references concerning the following verse, which is paragraph 18 of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas: "It hath been ordained that every believer in God, the Lord of Judgement, shall, each day, having washed his hands and then his face, seat himself and, turning unto God, repeat “Alláh-u-Abhá” ninety-five times."

Baha'is need not follow yoga or other forms of Hindu mysticism.

It is apparent that you are well aware of the importance of daily prayer and meditation, but we are asked to point out that the manner in which meditation is done need not follow practices such as those advocated by proponents of yoga or other forms of Hindu mysticism. For example, the reading of the “Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh” or other of His Writings, and subsequent meditation on the wisdom they contain, can be an effective way of meditating. Further, the daily study of the writings of our Faith and contemplation of the inspiration to be found therein should prove to be most gratifying and provide the tranquillity that one seeks through meditation.

(From a letter dated 16 September 1982 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)

Baha'i attitudes towards politics and scholarship.

On September 16, 1979, Enoch Olinga was killed. Declared a Knight of Bahá’u’lláh for his pioneering work in the British Cameroons, Shoghi Effendi entitled Olinga "Abd'l-Futuh", an Arabic name meaning "the father of victories" for the successive waves of people becoming Knights of Bahá’u’lláh in Africa after him. A close associate of Ugandan President Idi Amin, who was deposed and exiled on April 11, 1979, Enoch Olinga, his wife, and three of his five children were murdered by unknown gunmen on September 16, 1979, during the administration of President Milton Obote when people affiliated with the Amin regime were being systematically targeted. Denis MacEoin touches on this topic in his 1979 Letter on Bahá'í attitudes towards politics and scholarship.

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