Sunday, October 22, 2017

Be thou as a flame of fire to My enemies

Be thou as a flame of fire to My enemies and a river of life eternal to My loved ones...

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Waging a war for righteous purpose can be a praiseworthy thing!

Abdul Baha says :

“A conquest can be a praiseworthy thing, and there are times when war becomes the powerful basis of peace, and ruin the very means of reconstruction. If, for example, a high-minded sovereign marshals his troops to block the onset of the insurgent and the aggressor, or again, if he takes the field and distinguishes himself in a struggle to unify a divided state and people, if, in brief, he is waging war for a righteous purpose, then this seeming wrath is mercy itself, and this apparent tyranny the very substance of justice and this warfare the cornerstone of peace,”

J. E. Esslemont, Bahā’u’llāh and the New Era, p. 172

Purging mankind from the defilement of the outcast and the ungodly!

"God will soon take out from the sleeves of power the hands of strength and dominance and will make the Servant (Bahā’u’llāh) victorious and will cleanse the earth from the filth of every rejected polytheist (deniers of Baha’ism). And they will stand by the cause and will conquer the lands using my mighty eternal name and will enter the lands and they will be feared by all the servants."

Polished (distorted) official translation:

"Erelong shall God draw forth, out of the bosom of power, the hands of ascendancy and might, and shall raise up a people who will arise to win victory for this Youth and who will purge mankind from the defilement of the outcast and the ungodly. These hands will gird up their loins to champion the Faith of God, and will, in My name the Self-Subsistent, the Mighty, subdue the peoples and kindreds of the earth. They will enter the cities and will inspire with fear the hearts of all their inhabitants. Such are the evidences of the might of God; how fearful, how vehement is His might, and how justly doth He wield it!"

One who accepts Baha'u'llah will never die!

"Whoso hath been re-born in this Day, shall never die; whoso remaineth dead, shall never live."

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Baha'i Scholarship !

On October 19, 1993, the Universal House of Justice addressed a letter to an individual believer "inquiring about the term 'Bahá’í scholarship.'"

The Universal House of Justice states that

"In the simultaneous endeavor to pursue their studies and to delve deeply into the Bahá’í Teachings, believers are enjoined to maintain a keen awareness that the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh is the standard of truth against which all other views and conclusions are to be measured."

Monday, October 16, 2017

Baha'u'llah strictly forbade association with the Covenant-breakers, and even warned the friends against entering if possible a city where Covenant-breakers resided...

On October 15, 1960, the Hands of the Cause of God in the Holy Land sent a letter to all the National Spiritual Assemblies refuting Mason Remey's claim of being the second Guardian, noting that "The glorious Báb forbade association with Covenant-breakers. Bahá'u'lláh strictly forbade association with the Covenant-breakers, and even warned the friends against entering if possible a city where Covenant-breakers resided, as their poison polluted the entire area. 'Abdu'l-Bahá's teaching with regard to shunning and having no contact whatsoever with the Covenant-breakers is contained in hundreds of Tablets. The beloved Guardian forbade all association with Covenant-breakers and warned that their poison was so deadly, that it was not permissible to have even their literature in one's possession. The Chief Stewards of the Faith, mindful of their paramount responsibility to protect the believers, have taken action to expel from the Faith Mason Remey and his supporters because of their Covenant-breaking activities, and to forbid all association with them."

Polygamy and Tact and Wisdom

This principle (of tact and prudence) has been applied by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi in the case of Bahá'í teachings on monogamy. The Kitab-i Aqdas appears to allow bigamy when it states: "Beware that ye take not unto yourselves more wives than two."[33] In an untranslated letter 'Abdu'l-Bahá gave a believer permission to take a second wife. He also indicated that the law concerning taking no more than two wives cannot be abrogated. He also noted that this law was conditional upon justice which was a condition virtually impossible to fulfill, but that 'Abdu'l-Bahá would not prevent believers from marrying a second wife if they were certain they would act with justice.[34] Both during the ministry of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá bigamy was practiced in Bahá'í communities within the Middle East. Yet in another Tablet 'Abdu'l-Bahá stated:

Know thou that polygamy is not permitted under the law of God, for contentment with one wife hath been clearly stipulated. Taking a second wife is made dependent upon equity and justice being upheld between the two wives, under all conditions. However, observance of justice and equity towards two wives is utterly impossible. The fact that bigamy has been made dependent upon an impossible condition is clear proof of its absolute prohibition. Therefore it is not permissible for a man to have more than one wife.[35]

Shoghi Effendi later determined that this statement of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's would be considered normative within the Bahá'í community.[36] A letter from the Research Department of the World Centre on this topic suggests that 'Abdu'l-Bahá "introduced the question of monogamy gradually in accordance with the principles of wisdom and the progressive unfoldment of His purpose."[37] As we have seen, the term wisdom in Bahá'í writings whether it refers to inscrutable divine wisdom or the caution and tact with which Bahá'ís are urged to conduct themselves for the protection of the Faith usually carries with it the connotation of foresight. In practice, the word could be used within the community to refer to acts which seemingly contradicted some of the basic principles of the Faith but which in the long term were seen as serving its best interest. Especially included among such acts have been the willingness on the part of believers to deny their Bahá'í identity under persecution, the temporary exercise of censorship, and compromises made in regards to gender issues.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

We are seeking to build up a New World Order

We Bahá'ís are one the world-over, we are seeking to build up a New World Order, Divine in origin.

(Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance, Vol. 1, p. 123)

Baha'i participation in public demonstrations involving controversial issues

The Universal House of Justice, Department of the Secretariat:

…You state that there are large-scale demonstrations…and you inquire about the appropriateness of Bahá'ís participating in demonstrations for peace.…while these activities are generally carried out in the name of peace, such occasions are motivated by highly political and controversial sentiments at a time of turmoil and confusion in the world.… to become associated with such activities, it could also be harmful to the interests of the Faith internationally. … As you can no doubt understand, Bahá'í participation in public demonstrations involving controversial issues would undermine the Faith's essential purpose of promoting unity in all aspects of human affairs…

(2003 Mar 27, Participation in Anti-War Demonstrations)

To remain a member of the Church is not proper for us

… we, as Baha'is, must not have any affiliations with churches or political parties. ... We, as Baha'is, can never be known as hypocrites or as people insincere in their protestations and because of this we cannot subscribe to both the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh and ordinary church dogma. The churches are waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ; we believe He has come again ... The churches teach doctrines - various ones in various creeds - which we as Bahá'ís do not accept... In other words there is no Christian church today whose dogmas we, as Bahá'ís can truthfully say we accept in their entirety - therefore to remain a member of the Church is not proper for us, for we do so under false pretences. …Very much the same reasons motivate us in withdrawing from all political movements, however close some of their ideals may be to ours.

(Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance, Vol. 1, p. 123)

UHJ lied about the meaning of "proselytizing"

It is true that Bahá'u'lláh lays on every Bahá'í the duty to teach His Faith. At the same time, however, we are forbidden to proselytize, so it is important for all believers to understand the difference between teaching and proselytizing. It is a significant difference and, in some countries where teaching a religion is permitted, but proselytizing is forbidden, the distinction is made in the law of the land. Proselytizing implies bringing undue pressure to bear upon someone to change his Faith. It is also usually understood to imply the making of threats or the offering of material benefits as an inducement to conversion. In some countries mission schools or hospitals, for all the good they do, are regarded with suspicion and even aversion by the local authorities because they are considered to be material inducements to conversion and hence instruments of proselytization.
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 513)

This quote, no more than 150 words, is sufficient to refute the supposed infallibility of the UHJ and therefore, dismiss the Faith altogether. I'm not making "molehills into mountains". You claim that the UHJ is infallible and in fact, would excommunicate and shun any Baha'i who claims otherwise. So tell me, how on earth did the UHJ not lie about the meaning of "proselytizing"? How on earth did the UHJ not deceive millions of Baha'is that they're not proselytizing because they don't coerce?

Also see this video:

Best way to serve ones country is to convert it to Baha'ism.

The best way for a Bahá'í to serve his country and the world is to work for the establishment of Bahá'u'lláh's World Order, which will gradually unite all men and do away with divisive political systems and religious creeds.

(Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance, Vol. 1, p. 124)

We must build up our Baha'i system, and leave the faulty systems of the world to go their own way.

Because love for our fellowmen and anguish at their plight are essential parts of a true Bahá'í's life, we are continually drawn to do what we can to help them. It is vitally important that we do so whenever the occasion presents itself, for our actions must say the same thing as our words -- but this compassion for our fellows must not be allowed to divert our energies into channels which are ultimately doomed to failure, causing us to neglect the most important and fundamental work of all. There are hundreds of thousands of well-wishers of mankind who devote their lives to works of relief and charity, but a pitiful few to do the work which God Himself most wants done: the spiritual awakening and regeneration of mankind.

(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 127)

"We must build up our Bahá'í system, and leave the faulty systems of the world to go their own way. We cannot change them through becoming involved in them; on the contrary they will destroy us."

(Bahá'í News, No. 215, p.1) (The Universal House of Justice, Wellspring of Guidance, pg 134-135)

The solution given to the world's problems by Baha'u'llah

...the solution given to the world's problems by Bahá'u'lláh is the only solution -- being Divine in origin -- and most desperately needed; therefore we, the few who have caught the vision, should not waste our energies beating up and down the paths pursued by humanity, and which are not solving its ghastly present-day problems. We should concentrate on the Cause, because it is what is needed to cure the world. This is a sound attitude, for if we don't devote ourselves to the Bahá'í work and teaching, who will?

(5 July 1949 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)
(The Compilation of Compilations Vol II, p.273)

All men will adhere to one religion, will have one common faith.

One of the great events which is to occur in the Day of the manifestation of that Incomparable Branch is the hoisting of the Standard of God among all nations. By this is meant that all nations and kindreds will be gathered together under the shadow of this Divine Banner, which is no other than the Lordly Branch itself, and will become a single nation. Religious and sectarian antagonism, the hostility of races and peoples, and differences among nations will be eliminated. All men will adhere to one religion, will have one common faith, will be blended into one race and become a single people. All will dwell in one common fatherland, which is the planet itself. Universal peace and concord will be established among all nations.

('Abdu'l-Bahá. Some Answered Questions. On the Influence of the Prophets. 12. Commentary of the Eleventh Chapter of Isaiah. Paragraphs. 4-7. Pgs. 73-75)

Baha'i faith will embrace both religious and political issues.

Regarding the question raised in your letter, Shoghi Effendi believes that for the present the Movement, whether in the East or the West, should be dissociated entirely from politics. This was the explicit injunction of `Abdu'l-Bahá... Eventually, however, as you have rightly conceived it, the Movement will, as soon as it is fully developed and recognized, embrace both religious and political issues. In fact Bahá'u'lláh clearly states that affairs of state as well as religious questions are to be referred to the House of Justice into which the Assemblies of the Bahá'ís will eventually evolve.

(Letter written on behalf of the Guardian in response to queries from individual believers, 30 November 1930)

Establishment of a Baha'i State

The Bahá'ís must remain non-partisan in all political affairs. In the distant future, however, when the majority of a country have become Bahá'ís then it will lead to the establishment of a Bahá'í State.

(Letter written on behalf of the Guardian in response to queries from individual believers, 19 April 1941)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Baha'i Faith is the sole panacea for the innumerable ills afflicting our present-day world.

“In connection with your teaching work: What the Guardian wishes you to particularly emphasize in all your talks is the supreme necessity for all individuals and nations in this day to adopt in its entirety the social program given by Bahá’u’lláh for the reconstruction of the religious, economic and political life of mankind. He wishes you to explain and analyze the elements that help in raising this Divine World Order in the light of the present-day events and conditions in the world. Special stress, he feels, should be laid on the impending necessity of establishing a super-national, and sovereign world state, as the one described by Bahá’u’lláh. With the world becoming increasingly subject to tumults and convulsions never experienced before, the realization of such a necessity is entering into the consciousness of not only the wise and learned, but of the common people as well. The believers should, therefore, seize this opportunity to make a supreme effort to present, in convincing and eloquent language, those social and humanitarian teachings of the Faith which we believe to constitute the sole panacea for the innumerable ills afflicting our present-day world.”

Fundamentalism in the Baha'i Faith

We are accustomed to religious fundamentalists saying, incessantly and even stridently, that the only solution to the problems that the individual person will encounter, or, for that matter, that the family, the neighborhood and municipality, the province, the nation, the world will face, can only be solved by God, and by a particular faith tradition – God's religion. Most Bahá’ís are accustomed to thinking of themselves as progressives, liberals, and not fundamentalists of any kind. How astonishing it may be then, for Bahá’ís and their friends to discover that this doctrine is found in the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh.

(Peter Terry, The Sovereign Remedy: A Study of Bahá'í Sources)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Soon will all that dwell on earth be enlisted under these banners.

‘Soon will all that dwell on earth be enlisted under these banners.’

- God Passes By

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Obedience to the regulations and orders of the state is indeed, the sacred obligation of every true and loyal Bahá'í.

On February 11, 1934, Shoghi Effendi addressed a letter to a German Bahá'í stating about the Nazi government that "obedience to the regulations and orders of the state is indeed, the sacred obligation of every true and loyal Bahá'í" and that "our German friends are under the sacred obligation to whole-heartedly obey the existing political regime, whatever be their personal views and criticisms of its actual working. There is nothing more contrary to the spirit of the Cause than open rebellion against the governmental authorities of a country, specially if they do not interfere in and do not oppose the inner and sacred beliefs and religious convictions of the individual. And there is every reason to believe that the present regime in Germany, which has thus far refused to trample upon the domain of individual conscience in all matters pertaining to religion will never encroach upon it in the near future, unless some unforeseen and unexpected changes take place. And this seems to be doubtful at present."
11 February 1934
Dear Bahá'í Brother,
I am charged by the Guardian to thank you for your letter of Jan. 30th as well as for the enclosed pamphlet containing the address delivered by Herr Hitler on Oct. 14th, 1933, on the subject of Germany's attitude towards peace, all of which he read with deepest care and sustained interest. He wishes me to convey to you and to all the members of your German National Assembly and through them to all the followers of the Faith in Germany his views on the present conditions in that land, and particularly in their relation to the nature and scope of the Bahá'í activities of our German believers.
At the outset it should be made indubitably clear that the Bahá'í Cause being essentially a religious movement of a spiritual character stands above every political party or group, and thus cannot and should not act in contravention to the principles, laws, and doctrines of any government. Obedience to the regulations and orders of the state is indeed, the sacred obligation of every true and loyal Bahá'í. Both Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá have urged us all to be submissive and loyal to the political authorities of our respective countries. It follows, therefore, that our German friends are under the sacred obligation to whole-heartedly obey the existing political regime, whatever be their personal views and criticisms of its actual working. There is nothing more contrary to the spirit of the Cause than open rebellion against the governmental authorities of a country, specially if they do not interfere in and do not oppose the inner and sacred beliefs and religious convictions of the individual. And there is every reason to believe that the present regime in Germany which has thus far refused to trample upon the domain of individual conscience in all matters pertaining to religion will never encroach upon it in the near future, unless some unforeseen and unexpected changes take place. And this seems to be doubtful at present.
For whereas the friends should obey the government under which they live, even at the risk of sacrificing all their administrative affairs and interests, they should under no circumstances suffer their inner religious beliefs and convictions to be violated and transgressed by any authority whatever. A distinction of a fundamental importance must, therefore, be made between spiritual and administrative matters. Whereas the former are sacred and inviolable, and hence cannot be subject to compromise, the latter are secondary and can consequently be given up and even sacrificed for the sake of obedience to the laws and regulations of the government. Obedience to the state is so vital a principle of the Cause that should the authorities in Germany decide to-day to prevent the Bahá'ís from holding any meeting or publishing any literature they should obey and be as submissive as our Russian believers have thus far been under the Soviet regime. But, as already pointed out, such an allegiance is confined merely to administrative matters which if checked can only retard the progress of the Faith for some time. In matters of belief, however, no compromise whatever should be allowed, even though the outcome of it be death or expulsion
There is one more point to be emphasized in this connection. The principle of obedience to government does not place any Bahá'í under the obligation of identifying the teachings of his Faith with the political program enforced by the government. For such an identification, besides being erroneous and contrary to both the spirit as well as the form of the Bahá'í message, would necessarily create a conflict within the conscience of every loyal believer.
For reasons which are only too obvious the Bahá'í philosophy of social and political organization cannot be fully reconciled with the political doctrines and conceptions that are current and much in vogue to-day. The wave of nationalism, so aggressive and so contagious in its effects, which has swept not only over Europe but over a large part of mankind is, indeed, the very negation of the gospel of peace and of brotherhood proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh. The actual trend in the political world is, indeed, far from being in the direction of the Bahá'í teachings. The world is drawing nearer and nearer to a universal catastrophe which will mark the end of a bankrupt and of a fundamentally defective civilization.
From such considerations we can well conclude that we as Bahá'ís can in no wise identify the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh with man-made creeds and conceptions, which by their very nature are impotent to save the world from the dangers with which it is being so fiercely and so increasingly assailed.
The Guardian hopes that these brief explanations will be sufficient to guide our German National Assembly in their efforts to safeguard and promote the interests of the Faith, and that through them they will be given a new vision of the Cause and a fresh determination to carry forward its message to the world at large.
With greetings and best wishes to you and to all the friends in Germany,...
In the Guardian's own handwriting:
Dear and valued co-worker:
I wish to add a few words in loving appreciation of your strenuous, your intelligent and devoted efforts for the spread and consolidation of our beloved Faith. May the Almighty bless your endeavours, deepen your understanding of the essentials and requirements of our beloved Cause, and enable you in these difficult and challenging days to promote its interests and consolidate its institutions,
Your true brother,

Baha'is are religiously obligated to follow the laws of the country

If Bahá'ís are religiously obligated to follow the laws of the country in which they reside, after the banning of the Bahá'í Administrative Order, why was there a new administrative structure in the form of the Yaran established in Iran?

In the past, when the Bahá'í Administrative Order was banned in other countries, say the Soviet Union or the Congo, there was no attempt at establishing new administrative structures and the prohibition on the religious administration was fully complied with.

For some background...

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."
To all National Spiritual Assemblies

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.

For the next eight years Chicago had two parallel Bahá’í organizations, one confined to men, the other to women.

On September 16, 1912, 'Abdu’l-Bahá spoke at the home of Corinne True, who would later be appointed a Hand of the Cause of God by Shoghi Effendi. She had written 'Abdu’l-Bahá a letter on February 25, 1902 about the exclusion of women from the Chicago Bahá’í governing body, noting that "many" felt it should be a "mixed board" because "women in America stand so conspicuously for all that is highest & best in every department." In his response 'Abdu’l-Bahá stated that while "in the sight of God, the conduct of women is the same as that of men" and there was "no difference" between the sexes, nevertheless the "House of Justice" had to consist only of men and that the "reason will presently appear, even as the sun at midday." True accepted 'Abdu’l-Bahá’s ruling–which also affirmed the equality of the sexes–and poured her energy into the Chicago Bahá’í women’s organization, which 'Abdu’l-Bahá highly praised. For the next eight years Chicago had two parallel Bahá’í organizations, one confined to men, the other to women.

Whether women will eventually be allowed to serve on local houses of justice (which the current local spiritual assemblies will one day evolve into) remains a contentious issue which generated a discussion on reddit as well.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Baha’u’llah declares the absolute equality of the sexes

Baha’u’llah declares the absolute equality of the sexes... Why should woman be deprived of exercising the fullest opportunities offered by life? Whosoever serves humanity most is nearest God — for God is no respecter of gender.

- Abdu’l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, pp. 82-83.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Two months before his death, Shoghi Effendi sent a cablegram announcing "Purification of Haram-i-Aqdas."

On September 6, 1957, two months before his death, Shoghi Effendi sent a cablegram announcing "Purification of Haram-i-Aqdas." This purification would be completed by the Universal House of Justice with the removal of the remains of Bahá'u'lláh's son Mirza Díyá'u'lláh, which had laid beside his father.
Purification of Haram-i-Aqdas
Announce to Hands and all National Assemblies that following the loss of the appeal to the Supreme Court, the Government expropriation order has been implemented, resulting in the complete evacuation of the remnant of Covenant-breakers and the transfer of all their belongings from the precincts of the Most Holy Shrine, and the purification, after six long decades, of the Haram-i-Aqdas from every trace of their contamination. Measures under way to effect transfer of title deeds of the evacuated property to the triumphant Bahá'í community.
[Cablegram, September 6, 1957]
The "purification" is described in pages 248 and 249 of The Bahá'í World: Volume 13 (1954-1963)...
In April, 1957 Shoghi Effendi announced to the Bahá'í world that an expropriation order relating to the "entire property owned by Covenant-breakers within the Haram-i-Aqdas" had been issued by the Treasury Department of the Government of Israel and published in the Israel Official Gazette. Behinds this lay a hard and protracted struggle, waged in the Guardian's name by Leroy Ioas, Hand of the Cause in Haifa and Secretary-General of the International Bahá'í Council. An appeal against the appropriation order was made by the Covenant-breakers to Israel's Supreme Court, but on June 3, 1957 Shoghi Effendi cabled the triumphant news that the order had been upheld, "enabling the civil authorities to enforce the original decision and proceed with the eviction of the wretched remnants of the once redoubtable adversaries . . ." On September 6, 1957 a further cable announced their "complete evacuation . . . and the purification . . . of the Haram-i-Aqdas from every trace of their contamination." At long last the Qiblih of the Bahá'í world had been cleansed and the way opened to fulfill, in future decades, the Guardian's vision for the construction of a "stately and befitting Mausoleum designed to enshrine the holiest Dust the earth ever received into its bosom."
It had been Shoghi Effendi's wish to direct in person the razing of the buildings evacuated by the enemies of the Cause, but this was not to be, and it fell to the Hands of the Cause in Haifa to carry out this task. It was their first endeavour, and by December, 1957 no trace of the buildings was left. They then proceeded to enlarge the gardens of the Haram-i-Aqdas according to the Guardian's plan, covering the site of the buildings entirely, and raising the third terrace he had planned toward the east, above the two he himself had completed. To the east of the Mansion a long strip of garden was planted, comprising four thousand square metres, also part of the Guardian's plan.
The Hands succeeded, moreover, in effecting the Guardian's purpose to transfer the title deeds of this evacuated property "to the triumphant Bahá'í community." In a deed of sale from the State of Israel, thirteen separate titles for the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh , the Mansion of Bahjí, and all the newly-acquired properties were transferred to the name of the Israel Branch of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States.
Thus did the Sign of God on earth achieve ascendancy in his last hours, glorifying his ministry, and fulfilling one stage of his own promise for the World Centre of the Faith: "Resistlessly will this Divine institution flourish and expand, however fierce the animosity which its future enemies may evince, until the full measure of its splendour will have been disclosed before the eyes of all mankind."
It should be noted that in this text Shoghi Effendi is called "the Sign of God on earth," which is what the term "Ayatollah" means.
Also, the "thirteen separate titles" include some property that a November 12, 1952 cablegram sent by Shoghi Effendi announced as "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 "purification" would continue under the Universal House of Justice, who on November 11, 1965 sent a cable announcing the "removal from immediate precincts (of the) holy shrine (of) Bahá'u'lláh remains (of) Mirza Díyá'u'lláh."
26 Purification of the Most Holy Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, the Qiblih of the Bahá'í World 11 NOVEMBER 1965
To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Covenant-Breaking in Chile

Since our last letter to you, news has reached us of the activities of the supporters of Mason Remey in Latin America. A cablegram was received from the National Spiritual Assembly of Chile informing us that Fabienne Guillon, long-time member of the Chilean and Regional Assembly, and the other members of the Local Assembly of Loncoche, Chile, had accepted the claims of Remey...

...We must all redouble our vigilance and intensify our efforts to combat the spread of their evil influence wherever we find it.

We are preparing a letter to all National Spiritual Assemblies on this subject, and the significance of that June 4, 1957 cable of Shoghi Effendi. We are sending a special letter to Latin America including the above, but also giving them some background to share with the friends on the significance of Covenant-breaking so they will be better able to resist their insidious efforts.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

UHJ asking funds from Baha'is

It is impossible at this stage to give an accurate estimate of the cost of these projects. All that we can now say is that in the immediate future two objectives have to be met: to accumulate rapidly a reserve of fifty million dollars on which plans for the construction can realistically begin to be implemented, and to provide an income of between twenty and twenty-five million dollars for the Bahá’í International Fund for each of the next ten years. As the work proceeds, contracts are signed and costs can be accurately determined, further information will be announced.

The great work of constructing the terraces, landscaping their surroundings, and erecting the remaining buildings of the Arc will bring into being a vastly augmented World Center structure which will be capable of meeting the challenges of coming centuries and of the tremendous growth of the Bahá’í community which the beloved Guardian has told us to expect.

Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in Samoa was built at a cost of $6,500,000 !!!

On September 1, 1984, the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in Samoa was dedicated. Built at a cost of $6,500,000, it was one of the achievements of the Seven Year Plan.

Concerning Hindu prophecies of the coming of Baha'u'llah

"Concerning Hindu prophecies of the coming of Bahá'u'lláh and the relationship of the Hindu and Bahá'í Faiths, nothing authentic and specific is available at the World Centre, apart from the Guardian's statement in God Passes By that 'To Him the Bhagavad-Gita of the Hindus had referred as the "Most Great Spirit," the "Tenth Avatar", the "Immaculate Manifestation of the Krishna"', (p. 95); and a brief reference to Bahá'u'lláh as 'to the Hindus the reincarnation of Krishna . . .' (p. 94). Bahá'í teachings on progressive revelation do, of course, bear on the relationship of these Faiths. In a letter written on behalf of the beloved Guardian it is also written that 'We cannot be sure of the authenticity of the scriptures of Buddha and Krishna . . . ' (November 25, 1950); and in reply to a question as to whether Brahma is 'to be considered as referring to absolute diety' and Krishna 'as the Prophet of the Hindu Religion', his secretary wrote '. . . such matters, as no reference occurs to them in the Teachings, are left for students of history and religion to resolve and clarify.' (April 14, 1941)"

(From a letter dated September 1, 1977 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)

The Hidden Words

The Hidden Words was written around 1857, after Bahá'u'lláh's two year study with Sufi sheikhs. Bahá'u'lláh had left Baghdad for the mountains of Kurdistan on April 10, 1854, and returned to Baghdad on March 19, 1856. He spent those two years using the name Darvish Muhammad-i-Irani studying with various Sufi sheikhs. His studies with the Sufis led to his writing the Four Valleys in 1857 and Seven Valleys in 1860. Both books are usually published together and their contents are largely based on the experiences he had as Darvish Muhammad-i-Irani. Similarly, the Kitáb-i-Íqán, written in 1861, contains many themes common to Sufi teaching. Finally, Bahá'í cosmology is largely a reflection of Sufi cosmology.

Baha'u'llah's message is thus the only key...

It is through Him, Who is the sole Mouthpiece of God in this age, that spiritual realities and truths have been once more reinterpreted and revealed afresh to mankind. Bahá'u'lláh's message is thus the only key to a true understanding of the mysteries that envelop man's spiritual life.

(From a letter dated 1 September 1935 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

Taraz'u'llah Samandari

On September 2, 1968, Ṭaráẓu’lláh Samandarí, a Hand of the Cause of God, died. Born in Qazvin to a prominent Bahá'í family, he was the son of Kázim-i-Samandar, an Apostle of Bahá’u’lláh, and his grandmother had accompanied Ṭáhirih. In Acre, Ṭaráẓu’lláh Samandarí’s sister, Thurayyá Khánum, was married to Bahá’u’lláh’s younger son Mírzá Díyá’u’lláh, and she and her husband would eventually both be declared Covenant-breakers for their support of Mírzá Muhammad 'Alí in his conflict with 'Abdu'l-Bahá. After his death in 1898, Díyá'u'lláh was initially buried next to his father at the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh at the Mansion of Bahjí. However, having been declared a Covenant-breaker, Díyá'u'lláh's remains were disinterred in a "process" of "purification" through "cleansing" the "inner sanctuary" of the "most hallowed shrine," the "Qiblih" of the "Bahá'í World."

Indigenous North Americans and pre-Columbian Americans were savages...

Consider this Canadian country during the early history of Montreal when the land was in its wild, uncultivated and natural condition. The soil was unproductive, rocky and almost uninhabitable—vast forests stretching in every direction. What invisible power caused this great metropolis to spring up amid such savage and forbidding conditions? It was the human mind. Therefore, nature and the effect of nature’s laws were imperfect. The mind of man remedied and removed this imperfect condition, until now we behold a great city instead of a savage unbroken wilderness. Before the coming of Columbus America itself was a wild, uncultivated expanse of primeval forest, mountains and rivers—a very world of nature. Now it has become the world of man. It was dark, forbidding and savage; now it has become illumined with a great civilization and prosperity. Instead of forests, we behold productive farms, beautiful gardens and prolific orchards. Instead of thorns and useless vegetation, we find flowers, domestic animals and fields awaiting harvest. If the world of nature were perfect, the condition of this great country would have been left unchanged.

If a child is left in its natural state and deprived of education, there is no doubt that it will grow up in ignorance and illiteracy, its mental faculties dulled and dimmed; in fact, it will become like an animal. This is evident among the savages of central Africa, who are scarcely higher than the beast in mental development.

The savage tribes of central Africa

The savage tribes of central Africa are evidences of this. Left in their natural condition, they have sunk to the lowest depths and degrees of barbarism, dimly groping in a world of mental and moral obscurity. If we wish to illumine this dark plane of human existence, we must bring man forth from the hopeless captivity of nature, educate him and show him the pathway of light and knowledge, until, uplifted from his condition of ignorance, he becomes wise and knowing; no longer savage and revengeful, he becomes civilized and kind; once evil and sinister, he is endowed with the attributes of heaven. But left in his natural condition without education and training, it is certain that he will become more depraved and vicious than the animal, even to the extreme degree witnessed among African tribes who practice cannibalism. It is evident, therefore, that the world of nature is incomplete, imperfect until awakened and illumined by the light and stimulus of education.

- Abdul Baha

While Baha'i sources attribute Nabil's death to suicide, other sources claim he was murdered.

On September 3, 1892, a few months after Bahá'u'lláh's death, Nabíl-i-A’ẓam, the author of The Dawn-breakers, died. Parts of his body and clothing were found washed up on the coast in Acre. While Bahá'í sources attribute his death to suicide, other sources claim he was murdered.
Sources that allege Nabíl-i-A’ẓam was murdered base their claim on the allegation that he became a victim due to his support of Mírzá Muhammad `Alí in his conflict with 'Abdu'l-Bahá...
According to the memoirs of Baha’s son Mirza Badiullah surnamed the Most Luminous Branch (غصن انور) by Baha: One year after Baha’s death, Nabil visited Badiullah in Haifa. He was distressed. Nabil said to Badiullah: “I can no longer stay at Acre. The situation there has deteriorated. By dint of violence, abusive language and cursing, one has to act against his own faith, has to regard and hold the Most Mighty Branch [Ghusn-i Azam, i.e. Abdul Baha Abbas] superior in station to the Blessed Beauty [Janab-i Mubarak, i.e. Baha] has to write corrupted [versions of] all the holly writings and epistles, and has to vilify and excommunicate [Baha’s] sons, [Baha’s] words and [Baha’s] family [i.e. all the members of Baha’s household in opposition to Abdul Baha Abbas], failing which one is branded as covenant-breaker [Naqiz] or Vacillator [Mutezalzil, i.e. opposed to Abdul Baha Abbas and partisan of Muhammad Ali] and becomes the object of untold calumnies and falsehoods.” Nabil requested Badiullah to find him a suitable room at the foot of Mount Carmel. He went back to Acre to fetch his things. Nothing was heard of him for sometime. Later “limbs of his body and his clothing” were discovered near the see shores at Acre. These were collated together and buried. Abdul Baha Abbas “shed crocodile tears” during the burial service of Nabil, “although he was exceedingly annoyed with him.”
From the Encyclopædia Iranica article titled "NABIL-E AʿẒAM ZARANDI, MOLLĀ MOḤAMMAD"...
NABIL-E AʿẒAM ZARANDI, MOLLĀ MOḤAMMAD (ملّا محمد نبیل اعظم زرندی), Persian Bahai poet, teacher, and chronicler of Babi history (b. Zarand, 18 Ṣafar 1247/29 July 1831; d. ʿAkkā, Palestine, 10 Ṣafar 1310/3 September 1892).
Nabil converted to Babism around 1847 and in 1858 accepted the faith of Bahāʾ-Allāh. Born into a humble family in Zarand, he received traditional education in his childhood and worked as a shepherd in his youth, when he converted to Babism (Zarandi, p. 434). Later in his life, he studied the writings of the Bāb and became well versed in both Islamic and Bahai literature.
During his years as a Babi, Nabil traveled to Lorestan, Kermanshah, Tehran, and Khorasan; he met with the Babis and Babi leaders in those provinces to foster the Babi ideology and inspire the believers to arise, consolidate, and expand the new Babi communities. He also transcribed and distributed Babi literature among the rank and file of the society to promote the Babi faith. He was jailed in Sāva for four months because of his pro-Babi activities. In September 1854, he set out for Baghdad and Karbala, where he stayed until October 1856. During late 1856 to July 1858, he traveled to Hamadan, his hometown Zarand, and many major Babi communities in the capital province and returned to Baghdad on 19 July 1858 (Rafati, pp. 30-31).
Nabil was one of the Babi leaders who claimed to be the promised messianic figure according to the Bāb’s prophecies, but he withdrew his claim when he recognized Bahāʾ-Allāh’s status as the fulfillment of the Bāb’s predictions and the leader of the Babis (Taherzadeh, p. 202). Nabil became one of Bahāʾ-Allāh’s earliest followers, in 1858 in Baghdad.
Nabil’s life as a Bahai is summed up in his extensive travels throughout Iran, Iraq, Turkey, the Caucasus, Egypt, and Palestine. In his early travels as a Bahai, he met with the Babi communities to invite them to the Bahai faith; he attracted the Babi leaders to the recognition of Bahāʾ-Allāh as the fulfillment of the Bāb’s prophecies concerning the promised messianic figure and helped reinforce the belief of the new Bahais in the teachings and principles that were being advanced by Bahāʾ-Allāh. Through these activities, Nabil turned into an outstanding teacher, defender, and promulgator of the Bahai faith.
While Nabil was in Khorasan in spring 1866, at his suggestion, the greeting Allāho abhā (God is the most glorious) was adopted by the followers of Bahāʾ-Allāh, replacing the old salutation of Allāho Akbar (God is the greatest), which was common among the Babis (Shoghi Effendi, p. 176). This was a significant action that gave group identity to the Bahais and was a sign of their independence from the Babis and the Azalis, a Bābi faction that considered Mirzā Yaḥyā Ṣobḥ-e Azal (d. 1912) as the legitimate successor to the Bāb.
Nabil was the first Bahai to perform pilgrimage (ḥajj) to the house of the Bāb in Shiraz in fall 1866, in accordance with the rites prescribed in the Surat al-ḥajj revealed by Bahāʾ-Allāh. He also went to Baghdad and performed the pilgrimage to the House of Bahāʾ-Allāh in spring 1867, according to another sura witten by Bahāʾ-Allāh for that purpose (Rafati, p. 36). Nabil’s pilgrimage to those two houses marked the inception of pilgrimage laws ordained by Bahāʾ-Allāh later in his Ketāb-e aqdas (Shoghi Effendi, pp. 176-77).
Another historic mission undertaken by Nabil under Bahāʾ-Allāh’s instruction was his travel to Egypt to appeal to the officials for the release of several Bahais who had been imprisoned in Cairo at the instigation of their enemies (Shoghi Effendi, p. 178). Nabil’s mission resulted in his own imprisonment for two months in Cairo in spring 1868 and then in the Alexandria jail for a few more months. After being released, Nabil traveled to Cyprus and Beirut, and then he joined Bahāʾ-Allāh’s exiled community in Acre (ʿAkkā) in late October 1869. He spent much of the last two decades of his life in Acre and its surrounding areas.
After the passing of Bahāʾ-Allāh in 1892, Nabil was chosen by ʿAbd-al-Bahāʾ to prepare a text for recitation in his tomb (Shoghi Effendi, p. 222). Nabil selected four passages from Bahāʾ-Allāh’s own works and composed the text, which is known as the Ziārat-nāma (ʿAndalib 18/71, summer 1999, pp. 19-20). The impact of the passing of Bahāʾ-Allāh on Nabil was so great and inconsolable that he drowned himself in the sea at Acre circa 10 Ṣafar 1310/3 September 1892. He is buried in the Acre cemetery.
Nabil was the recipient of a number of Bahāʾ-Allāh’s best-known works, including Surat al-dam (1866), Surat al-ḥajj, for the house of the Bāb in Shiraz (1866), and Surat al-ḥajj, for the house of Bahāʾ-Allāh in Baghdad (1867).
When Shoghi Effendi (d. 1957) designated nineteen prominent early Bahais as the “Apostles [Ḥawāriyun] of Bahāʾ-Allāh,” Nabil was one of them (The Baháʾí World III, pp. 80-81). The title signifies the recognition of distinguished services that those nineteen loyal and devoted Persian Bahais have rendered to their faith.
Nabil’s works are in poetry and prose. He was a gifted, prolific poet, who devoted most of his poetry to the historical events in the Babi and Bahai faiths. His most famous poem in couplet form (maṯnawi) about the history of the Bahai faith was published as Maṯnawi-e Nabil Zarandi in Cairo in 1924 in 65 pages and reprinted in Langenhain in 1995. In this maṯnawi he describes major historical events from the early days of the Babi movement to the year 1869. His second maṯnawi, in 666 verses, deals with Bahāʾ-Allāh’s banishment from Edirne to Acre. Other historical poetry of Nabil consists of his maṯnawi titled “Maṯnawi-e weṣāl wa hejr” in 175 verses (pub. in Rafati, 2014, Chap. 6; Ḏokāʾi, p. 416) and his maṯnawi on the life of Āqā Moḥammad Nabil Akbar Qāʾeni in 303 verses (Ḵušahā-i az ḵarman-e adab wa honar 13, pp. 108-16). In addition to those maṯnawis, Nabil left behind a great collection of poetry in different forms, only a fraction of which has been published.
Nabil’s works in prose include a treatise on the Babi-Bahai calendar, a treatise on Bahai inheritance laws (Fāżel Māzandarāni, IV pp. 1, 214), and his account on the event of the passing of Bahāʾ-Allāh (Nabil Zarandi, Maṯnawi-e Nabil Zarandi, Langenhain, 1995, pp. 67-108). But Nabil’s most celebrated work is Maṭāleʿ al-anwār, an extensive historical narrative of the Babi faith, written in Acre in 1888-90, which was edited and translated into English by Shoghi Effendi as The Dawn-Breakers. The work was first published in the United States in 1932.
Maṭāleʿ al-anwār, the most authentic and the main primary source on the early history of the Babi movement in Iran, is regarded by the Bahais as the definitive account of the Bāb’s dispensation. The work has been translated into many languages, and it has played a major role in familiarizing the Bahais around the world with the historical background of their faith and helping them understand its link to the socio-religious climate of the Persian society in the early days of its development. The original Persian manuscript of Maṭāleʿ al-anwār, preserved at the International Bahai Archives in Haifa, comprises 1,014 pages of 22-24 lines.
ʿAbd-al-Bahāʾ, Memorials of the Faithful, tr. and annotated Marzieh Gail, Wilmette, 1971, pp. 32-36.
Abu’l-Qāsem Afnān, Ḵušahā-i az ḵarman-e adab wa honar 7, 1996, pp. 58-75.
Bahāʾ-Allāh, Āṯār-e qalam-e aʿlā, Tehran, 1996, IV, pp. 59-67, 75-99.
The Baháʾí World: A Biennial International Record III, New York, 1928-30.
H. M. Balyuzi, Baháulláh the King of Glory, Oxford, 1991 (see index).
Idem, Materials for the Study of the Babí Religion, Cambridge, 1918, pp. 351-57. Neʿmat-Allāh Ḏokāʾi Bayżāʾi, Taḏkera-ye šoʿarā-ye qarn-e awwal-e Bahāʾi,” 4 vols., Tehran, 1970-73, III, pp. 410-35.
ʿAbd-al-Ḥamid Ešrāq Ḵāvari, Tasbiḥ wa taḥlil, Tehran, 1973, pp. 77-90.
Fāżel Māzandarāni, Amr wa ḵalq, Langenhain, 1986.
Hušang Goharriz, Ḥawāriyun-e Ḥażrat-e Bahāʾ-Allāh, New Delhi, 2001, pp. 176-91.
Ḵušahā-i az ḵarman-e adab wa honar 7, 1996, pp. 293-98.
Moojan Momen, “The Apostles of Bahāʾ-Āllāh” in H. M. Balyuzi, Eminent Baháís in the Time of Baháulláh: With Some Historical Background, Oxford, 1985.
Mollā Moḥammad Nabil Zarandi, Maṭāleʿ al-anwār: Tāriḵ-e Nabil Zarandi, ed. and tr. Shoghi Effendi, as The Dawn-Breakers: Nabíl’s Narrative of the Early Days of the Baháʾí Revelation, Wilmette, 1974, pp. 433-45.
Ṣadri Nawwābzāda Ardakāni, “Maṭāleb-i dr bāra-ye tāriḵ-e- Nabil Zarandi,” Moṭālaʿa-ye maʿāref-e Bahāʾi, Tehran, 1977.
Payām-e Bahāʾi, no. 126, May 1990, pp. 13-16.
Vahid Rafati, “Nabíl-e-Aʿẓam Zarandí,” Ḵušahā-i az ḵarman-e adab wa Honar 7, 1996, pp. 29-57. Idem, “Tāriḵ-e Nabil Zarandi,” ibid, pp. 76-87. Idem, “Maṯnawi-e Nabil-e Aʿẓam
Zarandi: Dar šarḥ-e ḥālāt-e Janāb Āqā Moḥammad Nabil Akbar Qāʾeni,” Ḵušahā-i az ḵarman-e adab wa honar 13, 2002, pp. 107-19. Idem, ed., Yād-nāma-ye Ešrāq Ḵāvari / Remembrance of Ishráq Khávarí, Madrid, 2014.
Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, Wilmette, 1999.
Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahaullah, Oxford, 1974, pp. 202-6.
(Vahid Rafati)
Originally Published: June 29, 2016
Last Updated: June 29, 2016
Cite this entry:
Vahid Rafati, “NABIL-E AʿẒAM ZARANDI, MOLLĀ MOḤAMMAD,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2016, available at

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