Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 30th in Baha'i History

1911 - Discourse of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá given at the Theosophical Head Quarters

1912 – Abdul-Baha was in Salt Lake City, en route to California

The Master left the Keynon Hotel in Salt Lake City to continue His journey to California. He spoke on various subjects. The following are some of His words:

The Cause of God is penetrating. It will encompass the whole world. Now as I observe the wilderness of America, I see it full of Bahá'ís. Formerly, when we asserted in the East that international peace and unity of nations was a necessity, the people laughed at us. Now behold the congresses of peace that have come into existence. The law of God is the panacea for all ills because it is in accordance with the needs of the realities of creation. Legislators have devoted considerable discussion to this point. The most distinguished of them concluded that the laws must be derived from the necessary relations inherent in the reality of things. But the divine Manifestation asserted that to institute such laws is beyond human capacity, for human intelligence cannot encompass the realities of things, nor can it comprehend the essential relationships of such realities. Therefore, divine law is necessary, as it embraces the realities and penetrates all things.

In the afternoon He spoke about spiritual education and intellectual training:

Peter was devoid of all schooling and so untrained that he could not remember the days of the week. He would tie up seven loaves of bread and open one each day. When he opened the seventh parcel he would know that it was the seventh day and that he had to go to the synagogue. However, under Christ his spiritual education was such that he became the cause of the enlightenment of the world. Indeed, what holy beings are raised up under the shadow of the Word of God!
(Mahmud's Diary)

1912: death of Disciple of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Hand of the Cause Thornton Chase

O ye two faithful and assured souls! The letter was received. Praise be to God, it imparted good tidings. California is ready for the promulgation of the Teachings of God. My hope is that ye may strive with heart and soul that the sweet scent may perfume the nostrils....
Convey on my behalf to Mrs. Chase respectful greetings and say: 'Mr. Chase is a twinkling star above the horizon of Truth, but at present it is still behind the clouds; soon these shall be dispersed and the radiance of that star shall illumine the state of California. Appreciate thou this bounty that thou hast been his wife and companion in life.'
Every year on the anniversary of the ascension [1] of that blessed soul the friends must visit his tomb on behalf of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and in the utmost lowliness and humility should with all respect lay on his grave wreaths of flowers and spend all the day in quiet prayer, while turning their faces toward the Kingdom of Signs and mentioning and praising the attributes of that illustrious person. [1 30 September 1912 ] (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 195)

1951 - He suggests that you daily pray to Bahá'u'lláh to let you meet a soul receptive to His Message. The power of prayer is very great, and attracts the Divine confirmations. He, also, will pray for your teaching work there.(30 September 1951 to an individual believer) (Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How are we doing? First Quarter recap

Officially the first full quarter of a year has passed since I started blogging this day in Baha’i History.
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September 29th in Baha'i History

1880- 'Abdu'l-Ghaffar-i-Isfahani, Aqa rejoins Baha’u’llah in Akka

'Abdu'l-Ghaffar was a trader of Isfahan who became a believer whilst on a journey to Baghdad. He was one of the companions of Bahá'u'lláh in His exile to Adrianople. He was sent by Bahá'u'lláh to Istanbul, where he was arrested and sentenced to exile in Cyprus. When the ship carrying Bahá'u'lláh and His fellow-exiles reached Haifa, he threw himself into the sea, unable to bear separation from Bahá'u'lláh, but was rescued and sent on to Cyprus. However, he succeeded in escaping from the island on 29 September 1870 and rejoined Bahá'u'lláh in 'Akká, where he settled down in the Khan-i-Afranj. In order to conceal his presence from the authorities he changed his name to Aqa 'Abdu'llah. After the ascension of Bahá'u'lláh, he went to live in Damascus where he died. (See Memorials of the Faithful, pp. 59-61.)
(H.M. Balyuzi, Baha'u'llah - The King of Glory, p. 467)

1906 - Birth of Universal House of Justice member Charles Wolcott.

1911 - Farewell words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá London

1911 – the Italo-Turkish War which broke out on September 29,1911.
On the occasion of the Battle of Benghazi, 'Abdu'l-Bahá said: --

The news of the Battle of Benghazi grieves my heart. I wonder at the human savagery that still exists in the world: How is it possible for men to fight from morning till night, killing each other, shedding the blood of their fellowmen? And for what object? To gain possession of a part of the earth! Even the animals when they fight have an immediate and more reasonable cause for their attacks. How terrible is it that men who are of the higher kingdom can descend to slaying and bringing misery to their fellow beings for the possession of a tract of land -- the highest of created beings fighting to obtain the lowest form of matter, earth.

Land belongs not to one people but to all people. The earth is not man's home but his tomb. However great the conqueror, however many countries he may reduce to slavery, he is unable to retain any part of these devastated lands but one tiny portion -- his tomb. If more land is required for the improvement of the condition of the people, for the spread of civilization ... surely it would be possible to acquire peaceably the necessary extension of territory. But war is made for the satisfaction of men's ambition. For the sake of worldly gain to the few terrible misery is brought to numberless homes, breaking the hearts of hundred of men and women. ...

I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of his heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love
.

When soldiers of the world draw their swords to kill, soldiers of God clasp each other's hands. So may all the savagery of men disappear by the mercy of God, working through the pure in heart and the sincere of soul.

Do not think the peace of the
world an ideal impossible to attain. Nothing is impossible to the divine benevolence of God. If you desire with all your heart friendship with every race on earth, your thought, spiritual and positive will spread; it will become the desire of others, growing stronger until it reaches the minds of all men.
(Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Baha'u'llah and the New Era, p. 161)

1912 – Abdul-Baha was in Salt Lake City

In the morning several newspaper reporters who had heard of His arrival came to see the Master. They were fascinated with `Abdu'l-Bahá's words concerning the history and teachings of the Cause of God. To one of them He said:
When I entered this city, I saw there was quite a stir. I asked the reason and was told that an agricultural convention was being held. I remarked that Bahá'u'lláh, too, organized a convention in Persia. The difference is that your congress is of this world but Bahá'u'lláh's is divine. Great persons have come to the congress but their motive is earthly as they have assembled to consider questions concerning agriculture. But in that other congress holy ones have gathered who irrigate the field of hearts with the water of eternal life, as their motive is heavenly. This congress is decorated with earthly lamps while that is embellished with heavenly lights. The music of this is terrestrial while the strains of that are celestial. This convention meets in a private hall while that gathering is held under the tent of the unity of mankind and international peace. The queen of this congress is a lady bedecked with ornaments and embellishments of this mortal world but the king of that congress is the King of the Throne of Eternity, Whose sovereignty is divine. When I compared these two congresses I became extremely glad and prayed that God may bless your farming and bestow upon you spiritual strength and capacity for life everlasting. (Mahmud's Diary)

1966 Iceland recognizes the Faith as a Religious Organization -article

1990 - Death of prominent Australian Bahá’í and Hand of the Cause Collis Featherstone

1998 – London Times - Iran Offers No Mercy to Baha'i ' Heretics' - article

1998 – BBC - Baha'i death sentences in Iran - article

Monday, September 28, 2009

September 28th in Baha'i History

1912 – Abdul-Baha was En route to Salt Lake City

The train passed through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Some of these rose precipitously like walls from the railway bed, formidable and immense. Gazing at their summits one felt as if the mountains would fall down. There were some special roofless observation cars on the train so that passengers might have a full view of the majestic mountains. In these observation cars the passengers could see the mountains on the right and the serene river on the left. As the train passed through these beautiful scenes, the Master said:

Dear friends, the waves of the bounties of the Blessed Beauty are surging. As I look I see the ocean of His favor swelling and saying, `I am with you.' Truly, were it not for these glad tidings and His assistance, what could I have done? Just one person alone in the east and west of America, in the mountains and wilderness --it is no light matter. It is easy to say these things but it was unimaginable that they would let us into these churches. See how His aid and favor descend upon us. This trip fills us with wonder! Offer thanks to the Blessed Beauty that He has bestowed such confirmations upon us.

Later, the Master told stories about the time of Muhammad, the Messenger of God, and mentioned the cave and His words, `God is indeed with us'.

The train reached Salt Lake City in the afternoon. The Master decided to stay in the city for one night. By chance, even as the city was being blessed by His footsteps, a large national agricultural convention was being held and the entire city was festively decorated. (Mahmud's Diary)

1939 - Death of prominent Bahá’í and "foremost travel teacher in the first Bahá’í Century", Martha Root

she died, on September 28, 1939, and brought to its close a life which may well be regarded as the fairest fruit as yet yielded by the Formative Age of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh. (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 388)

1941 - Purpose of Spiritual Assemblies
"... These bodies have the sacred obligation to help, advise, protect and guide the believers in every way within their power when appealed to -- indeed they were established must for the purpose of keeping order and unity and obedience to the law of God amongst the believers.
"You should go to them as a child would to its parents... ."
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, September 28, 1941: The Local Spiritual Assembly, compiled by the Universal House of Justice)(Lights of Guidance, p. 2)

1981 – The UHJ writes of The Worsening Situation in Yazd

SITUATION PERSECUTION FRIENDS YAZD ENTERING NEW PERILOUS PHASE: FURTHER INFORMATION CONVEYED TO YOU OUR CABLE 11 AUGUST ABOUT RADIO SUMMONS ISSUED PROMINENT YAZD BAHÁ'ÍS THESE FRIENDS ARE AGAIN BEING CALLED PRESENT THEMSELVES BEFORE REVOLUTIONARY COURTS. 14 OF THEM HAVE SO FAR REPORTED. WHILE FATE THESE IN BALANCE TEN OTHER BELIEVERS YAZD WHO HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY DETAINED HAVE JUST BEEN TRANSFERRED TO PRISONS DIRECTLY ASSOCIATED REVOLUTIONARY COURTS. FOUR OF THESE ARE WOMEN. ONE OF THEM IS 75 YEARS OLD, THE OTHER THREE IN THEIR LATE FIFTIES. TRANSFER NEW PRISON OMINOUS SIGN THAT LOCAL REVOLUTIONARY COURT INTENDS ISSUE ITS FINAL VERDICT. FRIENDS IN CAPITAL HAVE REPEATEDLY IN PAST APPEALED WITHOUT SUCCESS FOR VINDICATION RIGHTS BAHÁ'ÍS TO CENTRAL AUTHORITIES TIHRAN. IN RECENT WEEKS HIGH-RANKING AUTHORITIES EVEN REFUSE GIVE AUDIENCE TO BAHÁ'ÍS AS SOON AS THEY LEARN SUBJECT MATTER. OFFICIALS IN LOWER RANKS SO FAR CONTACTED HAVE IN RECENT MONTHS WARNED BELIEVERS OF GRAVE PERSECUTIONS IN STORE FOR BAHÁ'ÍS. ONE GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVE HAS UNOFFICIALLY INFORMED BAHÁ'ÍS THAT DEVELOPMENTS IN YAZD MAY WELL FORM PATTERN FOR TREATMENT BAHÁ'ÍS ELSEWHERE IN COUNTRY, THAT AUTHORITIES ARE FULLY AWARE ALL MEASURES TAKEN BY BAHÁ'ÍS IN INTERNATIONAL CIRCLES, AND CONSIDER THESE AS ANTI-GOVERNMENT ACTIONS, THAT GOVERNMENT IRAN HAS NO REGARD FOR INTERNATIONAL OPINION, THAT BAHÁ'ÍS ARE ENEMIES ISLAM, AND BAHÁ'Í TEACHINGS SUCH AS EQUALITY SEXES AND REMOVAL VEIL CONSTITUTE VIOLATION ISLAMIC PRINCIPLES, AND THAT GOVERNMENT CAPABLE ORGANIZE MOBS TO PUBLICLY DEMAND EXPULSION, EXECUTION, EXTERMINATION BAHÁ'ÍS. THESE THREATS SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY. ...

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE ( Messages 1963 to 1986, p.506)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

September 27th in Baha'i History

Feast of Mashíyyat

1912-Abdul-Baha was in Glenwood Springs

After morning tea, the Master left the hotel for a walk. Three magnificent mountains stood in the distance on three sides, each crowned with trees and adorned with flowers of many hues. They were like peacock feathers and had a unique beauty from every viewpoint. `Abdu'l-Bahá strolled in the spacious garden and boulevard adjacent to the hotel until He reached the river where there were bath houses and hot springs. ….
As the Master viewed the clear, transparent waters of the river shining like pure pearls and the majestic mountains and parks, He said, `May God not have mercy on the tyrants who kept the Blessed Beauty imprisoned between four walls in `Akká. How such scenes were loved by Him! Once He said that He had not seen greenery for several years.'
In the afternoon `Abdu'l-Bahá took a walk in the garden and to some shops. While we were crossing a bridge, a messenger approached with some telegrams for us. One of them informed the Master that Mr [Thornton] Chase was seriously ill in a Los Angeles hospital. This made the Master and us very sad. He repeatedly mentioned the faithfulness of Mr Chase. Later He said:

To turn to the Covenant is to obey the Blessed Beauty which is a cause of gathering together the people of Bahá. Let me explain clearly. The command to the people of Islam to prostrate before the black stone was simply a command to obey the Prophet of God and to prove the influence of the Cause of God. Now, were it not for the Word of the Blessed Beauty, we would be like everyone else and not different in the least.

The Master and His party left Glenwood Springs at about midnight. (Mahmud's Diary)

1926 – Appreciation of the Faith published in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

At first we all conceive of God as something or somebody apart from ourselves. We think He is something or somebody definite, outside of us, whose quality, meaning and so-to-say "personality" we can grasp with our human, finite minds, and express in mere words.
This is not so. We cannot, with our earthly faculties entirely grasp His meaning -- no more than we can really understand the meaning of Eternity.
God is certainly not the old Fatherly gentleman with the long beard that in our childhood we saw pictured sitting amongst clouds on the throne of judgment, holding the lightning of vengeance in His hand.
God is something simpler, happier, and yet infinitely more tremendous. God is All, Everything. He is the power behind all beginnings. He is the inexhaustible source of supply, of love, of good, of progress, of achievement. God is therefore Happiness.
His is the voice within us that shows us good and evil.
But mostly we ignore or misunderstand this voice. Therefore did He choose his Elect to come down amongst us upon earth to make clear His word, His real meaning. Therefore the Prophets; therefore Christ, Muhammad, Bahá'u'lláh, for man needs from time to time a voice upon earth to bring God to him, to sharpen the realization of the existence of the true God. Those voices sent to us had to become flesh, so that with our earthly ears we should be able to hear and understand.
Those who read their Bible with "peeled eyes" will find in almost every line some revelation. But it takes long life, suffering or some sudden event to tear all at once the veil from our eyes, so that we can truly see....
Sorrow and suffering are the surest and also the most common instructors, the straightest channel to God -- that is to say, to that inner something within each of us which is God.
Happiness beyond all understanding comes with this revelation that God is within us, if we will but listen to His voice. We need not seek Him in the clouds. He is the All-Father whence we came and to whom we shall return when, having done with this earthly body, we pass onward.
If I have repeated myself, forgive me. There are so many ways of saying things, but what is important is the truth which lies in all the many ways of expressing it.
(From the Philadelphia "Evening Bulletin," Monday, September 27, 1926.)
Appreciations of the Baha'i Faith, p. 12

1951 – The Passing of Philip G. Sprague

Heart filled with sorrow at premature passing of staunch, exemplary, greatly admired, dearly loved Sprague. Memory of his notable services as teacher and administrator in North and Latin America imperishable, recompense in Abha Kingdom bountiful. Praying ardently for progress of his soul.
[September 27, 1951] (Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, p. 169)

1967
– Hands of the Cause visit House of Baha’u’llah in Adrianople –

In the 1965 Ridvan Message from the Universal House of Justice we announced that in September 1967, on the Feast of Mashiyyat, a few appointed representatives of the Bahá'í world would visit the site of the House of Bahá'u'lláh in Adrianople where the Suriy-i-Mulúk was revealed. We have decided that the six Hands of the Cause of God who will represent the Universal House of Justice at the Intercontinental Conferences in October are the ones to make this visit. Immediately following this historic act they will proceed to their respective Conferences.+F115
[F115. The Hands of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, Ugo Giachery, Tarazu'llah Samandari, 'Ali-Akbar Furutan, Paul Haney, and Abu'l-Qasim Faizi visited Adrianople on 27 September 1967 (the Feast of Will) to mark Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation of His Tablet to the Kings (Suriy-i-Mulúk), referred to by Shoghi Effendi as "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Bahá'u'lláh" (GPB, p. 171). See PB, pp. 7-12, 47-54, and 102-03, for passages from the Suriy-i-Mulúk that have been translated into English.] (The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 98)
Celebration of the centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's proclamation to the Kings 27 September 1967

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

Saturday, September 26, 2009

September 26th in Baha'i History


The Kenya Hotel and a photo of Attendees at the 1976 International Teaching Conference, Nairobi, Kenya - picture taken by my wife Irene who was in attendance.



1912 – Abdul-Baha was in Denver
As He intended to leave Denver, His talks with the believers became exhortations. He said:



I hope that you will be under the protection of God, will succeed in rendering service to humanity and will always be a source of happiness to every heart. The best person is he who wins all hearts and is not the cause of grief to anyone. The worst of souls is he who causes hearts to be agitated and who becomes the cause of sadness. Always endeavor to make people happy and their hearts joyful so that you may become the cause of guidance to mankind. Proclaim the Word of God and diffuse the divine fragrances.



Someone asked Him about eating meat. He replied:



God has appointed provision for every living creature. To birds He has given beaks so that they pick up seeds. To animals such as cows and goats He has given teeth like scythes in order that they may eat grass. To carnivores He has given claws like forks and canine teeth so that they may prey because they cannot eat grass. Their food is meat. But man's food is not meat for he has not been created with means to eat flesh. God has given him beauty of form and has created him blessed and not rapacious and bloodthirsty.


(Mahmud's Diary)



1976 - Message to the International Teaching Conference, Nairobi, Kenya --



The flames of enthusiasm which ignited the hearts of the followers and lovers of the Most Great Name in Helsinki, in Anchorage and in Paris are now being kindled in a city which occupies a central and envied position at the very crossroads of the vast African mainland and are destined to illumine its horizons. This Conference marking the imminent approach of the midway point of the Five Year Plan which coincides with the anniversary of the birth of the Blessed Báb, will no doubt go down in Bahá'í history as a further landmark in the irresistible march of events which have characterized the impact of the Faith of God upon that continent.




Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986

Friday, September 25, 2009

September 25th in Baha'i History

1912 –Abdul- Baha gave a Talk at Second Divine Science Church Denver

1912-Abdul-Baha was in Denver

After the meeting the Master took a walk. His heart was filled with joy as He said:

Did you see what a fire was set aglow in the hearts? A person must first be happy and attracted himself to be in a position to transform others. He himself must be impressed in order to impress others. You must act in a way that will make me happy, then you will see what will happen.

To one who visited Him at the hotel, He remarked:

I have come to your city and found tall buildings and advancement in material civilization. Now I will lead you to my own city which is the world above. Its administration is the oneness of humanity, its law is international peace, its palaces are ever shining with the lights of the Kingdom, its season is always spring, its trees are ever green, its fruits are fresh and sweet, its sun is ever ascending, its moon is always full, its stars are ever brilliant and its planets are ever circling. That is our city and the Founder is Bahá'u'lláh. We have enjoyed the pleasures of this city and now I invite you to that city. I hope that you will accept this invitation.

To another He said:

Man must take flight from the cage of the body and become pure spirit, for the body is a cage which causes difficulties for man and makes him the captive of nature and involves him in all types of misfortunes. But when a person discards all his physical habits, he is freed from all fetters. As physical powers attract the world of nature, so spiritual powers must break these chains. This condition is not realized by thought alone. The powers of nature are ever alert to allure man. The eye is fascinated by beautiful scenery; the ear is entranced by music; the heart is attracted by delights and human passions. A man may be rich but still he wants more because he is attracted by the world of nature; he has means of livelihood yet he desires more. Therefore, the spiritual powers must dominate so that he may be freed from these fetters and attain salvation. Man is like a bird in a cage. A bird cannot attain freedom merely by knowing that in the free world there are pure breezes, spacious skies, beautiful gardens, pleasant parks and fountains; rather, the bird must find a power to break the cage and soar into the wide firmament.

He then narrated a story about detachment:

The Persian friends travel mostly on foot. They sleep whenever they get tired. They rest wherever they see a shady tree. Once a person came to an Amír. The Amír wished to present him with a gift and with insistence gave him a robe. Later, when he became tired, he lay down under a tree in the forest with the robe folded under his head. But he could not sleep as he repeatedly imagined that a thief was crouching nearby to take away the robe. At last he rose, threw the robe away and said, `As long as this robe is with me, I shall not find rest. To find rest I must give it up.' How long will you desire a robe for your body? Release your body that you may have no need for a robe.

In brief, the Master's talk that afternoon was to say farewell to the friends, to encourage them in their endeavors to diffuse the fragrances of God and to explain issues related to teaching. They were all set ablaze by His words.

1933 - The Guardian has also read with deep interest all the enclosed papers. He is firmly convinced that through perseverance and concerted action the cause of Peace will eventually triumph over all the dark forces which threaten the welfare and progress of the world today. But such purely human attempts are undoubtedly ineffective unless inspired and guided by the power of faith. Without the assistance of God, as given through the message of Bahá'u'lláh, peace can never be safely and adequately established. To disregard the Bahá'í solution for world peace is to build on foundations of sand. To accept and apply it is to make peace not a mere dream, or an ideal, but a living reality. This is the point which the Guardian wishes you to develop, to emphasize again and again, and to support by convincing arguments. The Bahá'í peace programme is, indeed, not only one way of attaining that goal. It is not even relatively the best. It is, in the last resort, the sole effective instrument for the establishment of the reign of peace in this world. This attitude does not involve any total repudiation of other solutions offered by various philanthropists. It merely shows their inadequacy compared to the Divine Plan for the unification of the world. We cannot escape the truth that nothing mundane can in the last resort be enduring, unless supported and sustained through the power of God.

(25 September 1933 to an individual believer) (The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 192)

1975 - Release of a Compilation of Prayers and Tablets for Children and Youth
We are very happy to send you the enclosed selection of prayers revealed by Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá for children, together with some Tablets of the Master intended for children and youth, translated into English
[ The compilation was published under the title Let Thy breeze refresh them ... by the Bahá'í Publishing Trust of the United Kingdom (1976) and under the title Bahá'í Prayers and Tablets for the Young by the Bahá'í Publishing Trust of the United States (1978).]
The raising of children in the Faith of God and the spiritualization of their lives from their earliest years is of prime importance in the life of the Bahá'í community, and the firm establishment of activities to promote these aims is one of the vital goals of the Five Year Plan.
The Universal House of Justice (Messages 1963 to 1986, p.320)

1994 -Bahá'ís Killed in South Africa

Here is a press release from the National Spiritual Assembly of South Africa dated 26 September 1994.
THE NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLYOF THE BAHÁ'ÍS OF SOUTH AFRICA
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE
MEMBERS OF THE BAHÁ'Í FAITH MURDERED AND SERIOUSLY INJUREDAT THE BAHÁ'Í CENTRE UMTATA
Deeply shocked and with hearts filled with grave sorrow the Bahá'í community of South Africa learnt of the inhuman incident that happened to two members of the Bahá'í community in Umtata, Transkei, at around 7:30pm, on Sunday 25 September 1994.
In the evening of Sunday 25th September 1994, Mr. Esfandiar Bassari and his wife Mrs. Forough Bassari went to the Bahá'í Centre situated at 11 Deans Lane, Umtata, to assist with the physical arrangements and hospitality, needed for some of the Bahá'ís who had come from Mdantsane and other villages in Transkei to participate in a religious activity. According to the eyewitnesses who were present at the Centre at the time the couple spent a short while at the Centre and after finishing their part of responsibility left the Centre at around 7:30pm. An eyewitness reports that as the victims were getting into their car two men rushed from a corner and shot both the husband and wife. It was too dark to see what kind of firearm the suspects were carrying. The suspects were then seen driving off in Mr. and Mrs. Bassari's car. Mr. Bassari was shot three times in the chest area and two in the right arm, and Mrs. Bassari was shot once in the abdominal area. The victims were taken to the hospital immediately. Mr. Bassari passed away within a few minutes and Mrs. Bassari is presently under intensive care. The motives surrounding this shocking incidence are yet unknown.
Mr. and Mrs. Bassari arrived in Transkei from Canada with their youngest son, Faraz in 1989. Mr. Bassari, born in Iran, and a Canadian citizen, was a principal hydro-geologist working with the Department of Agriculture and Forestry in Umtata. The three children are presently in North America.
The Bahá'í Faith is an independant world religion with adherents in virtually every country. The Bahá'í world community is a cross section of humanity, including almost all nationalities, races, classes and religious backgrounds, working towards establishing peace and unity in the world.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Great Photo of the Seat of the UHJ

http://tinyurl.com/y9mprwc

Click to view! enjoy

September 24th in Baha'i History

1912 –Abdul-Baha gave a Talk at Home of Mrs. Roberts Denver

1912 – Abdul-Baha was in DenverToday the newspapers published `Abdu'l-Bahá's picture along with those of His companions, as well as articles describing His talks.

After the meeting He went for a walk and strolled through parks and boulevards. As the Master passed by the government buildings, monuments and statutes of American heroes, He remarked:
`Their victories are trifling in comparison with the first victories of Islam, yet they are famous and a source of honor to all who know them. But these great victories have been completely forgotten.'

All eyes were attracted to `Abdu'l-Bahá, to His glory, dignity and grandeur, as He walked with His companions dressed in their kuláhs and Persian clothes. One of the Master's companions remarked that the people viewed this picturesque sight as an amusing comedy. He replied, `Yes, it is a heavenly act, a performance of the Kingdom, a wonderful pageant.'

In the afternoon He was invited to the suburban home of Mrs Clark. As we rode on the train some passengers were seen to be whispering about us. He said,

`Tell them we are neither Turks nor Arabs, neither of the East nor of the West, rather we are of heaven and of God.' One of the companions said, `Being of that is good but being of God is better.'
The Master said:
Thank God, because the first self-conceited one was Satan. A man must never consider himself greater than others. Rather, he must always be humble and self-effacing. The bird, as long as it sees itself at a low level, is given impetus to soar and progress; but the moment it fancies itself high in the air, it begins to descend.
Someone in the audience asked, `What shall I do to become a true servant?' He replied:

Act in accordance with the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. Do not only read His teachings but put into practice in your lives the Hidden Words and the other holy writings. Whatever I say is not even a drop from the ocean of the Supreme Pen and the treasure-filled sea of the bounty and favor of the Abhá Beauty.

I have brought the message of Bahá'u'lláh to this country in order to teach people to investigate truth, to render service to humanity, to endeavor to bring about international peace, to exert every effort to guide humanity, to show kindness to all creatures and to raise the Call of the Kingdom. Man must be endowed with divine attributes and must enter the concourse of the exalted ones. These teachings are only a drop from the sea concealed in the Hidden Words. We must pray for each other. If we act according to the divine teachings, by God besides Whom there is none other God, we shall shine like lamps. But woe betide those people who are aware of the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh and know them to be the cause of eternal salvation and divine nearness but still do not bring their actions into conformity with them. Such is a source of great distress. Thus it is incumbent upon us to endeavor day and night to follow the teachings of God. This is the cause of eternal esteem, this is divine favor, this is the honor of mankind and this is everlasting life.

The Master was asked about His health and comfort, to which He replied:

I have not come for rest and diversion. I have come to raise the call of the Abhá Kingdom in order to diffuse the divine fragrances. Had I desired rest, I would have secured it more easily in the East. Now I must journey to various cities and countries and call people to the divine Kingdom. Suppose I had rested for a few years, what results would it have had?

Early in the evening when He returned to the hotel the Master discovered that the editor of The Post had placed an automobile at His disposal. On the way to the Church of Divine Science, He remarked:
Behold the power and confirmation of the Blessed Beauty: The pastor comes in person with all humility to invite us and the proprietor of a leading journal sends his automobile for our use, so that we may raise the call of God in the church. Truly, such confirmations have never been seen in other dispensations and in no age have the Manifestations of the Cause of God met with such reverence and honor. But these things should be the cause of humility and self-effacement. We must not consider that they are due to our addresses or our eloquence. These shining lights which you see will instantly darken if the origin of their bounty is severed from them.

1920 - Excavation begins for the foundation of the North American House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois.

1924 - "One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely, the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendor of those eternal principles proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh."
(From a letter written by the Guardian to the American believers, dated September 24, 1924, quoted in Bahá'í Administration, p. 66) (The Universal House of Justice, Wellspring of Guidance, Messages 1963-1968, p. 127)

1938 - LOYALTY TO WORLD ORDER OF BAHÁ'U'LLÁH

Loyalty to world order of Bahá'u'lláh, security of its basic institutions, both imperatively demand all its avowed supporters, particularly its champion builders of the American continent, in these days when sinister, uncontrollable forces are deepening the cleavage sundering peoples, nations, creeds, and classes, resolve despite pressure of fast crystallizing public opinion, abstain individually, collectively in word, action, informally as well as in all official utterances and publications from assigning blame, taking sides, however indirectly, in recurring political crises now agitating, ultimately engulfing human society. Grave apprehension lest cumulative effect of such compromises disintegrate fabric, clog channel of grace that sustains system of God's essentially supra-national, supernatural order so laboriously evolved, so recently established.
Cablegram September 24, 1938 (Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America, p. 15)

1951 - Acquisition of Area on Mount Carmel

Announce to National Assemblies of Bahá'í world that prolonged, delicate negotiations involving Ministries of Finance and Religious Affairs and Haifa Municipality have culminated in agreement in principle to purchase approximately twenty-two thousand meter area, estimated value hundred eighteen thousand dollars, situated on slope of Mount Carmel overlooking resting-place of Greatest Holy Leaf and eastern approaches to Báb's Sepulcher.
Acquisition of area extending from heart to ridge of mountain safeguards precincts of sacred Mausoleum now in process of erection, broadens basis of administrative structure of rising World Center of Faith in Holy Land, may induce civil authorities to abandon project construction of arterial road crossing diagonally Bahá'í international endowments, and facilitates extension of terraces ultimately stretching from foot to crown of God's Holy Mountain.
Contemplating transfer part of title deeds of land in question to Israel branches of American, Indian National Assemblies, reserving remainder for future transfer to other National Assemblies following upon incorporation of their respective branches on soil of Holy Land.
-- Shoghi [Cablegram, September 24, 1951](Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Baha'i World - 1950-1957, p. 15)


1968 – Passing of Knight of Baha’u’llah Alvin Blum

Honiara (British Solomon Islands)

Grieved learn passing Knight Bahá'u'lláh Alvin Blum steadfast devoted servant Faith his tireless labors pioneer Solomons unforgettable annals Bahá'í history praying Shrines progress soul Abha Kingdom. Advise hold befitting memorial service Honiara. Requesting National Assembly Australia hold memorial service Mother Temple Antipodes. Convey loving sympathy members family.
UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE (The Universal House of Justice, Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1968-1973, p. 125)

1980 – Announcement - Property Acquisitions in the Holy Land

WITH HEARTS BRIMMING WITH GRATITUDE FOR BOUNTIFUL CONFIRMATIONS BLESSED BEAUTY ANNOUNCE FOLLOWING RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS HOLY LAND:
IN BAHJI JUST ACQUIRED STRIP OF LAND 13,150 SQUARE METRES IN AREA BORDERING DRIVEWAY FROM WESTERN GATE BAHÁ'Í PROPERTY AREA ACQUIRED ADJACENT TO AND SOUTH OF PRESENT BOUNDARY OLIVE GROVE ENABLES SOUTHWEST QUADRANT GARDENS SURROUNDING MOST HOLY SHRINE BE COMPLETED. THIS ACQUISITION WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY EXCHANGE AGAINST PROPERTY ON MAIN ROAD TO NAZARETH DONATED WORLD CENTRE BY DESCENDANTS LATE HUSAYN BAQIR KASHANI.
ALSO PURCHASED NEARLY 50,000 SQUARE METRES AGRICULTURAL LAND ADJACENT TO AND NORTH OF MAZRA'IH PROPERTY AS PROTECTION TO MANSION IN RAPIDLY DEVELOPING AREA.
SHIPMENT OVER 1,000 PIECES COMPRISING 120 CUBIC METRES KATRINA CEDAR WOOD FROM TURKEY JUST CLEARED FROM HAIFA PORT FOR USE RESTORATION HOUSE ABDU'LLAH PASHA IN 'AKKA.
UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE (Messages 1963 to 1986, p.462)

1997 - Treatment of the Baha'is and other minorities in Iran Reuters article

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September 23rd in Baha'i History

1846 - The Báb is arrested in Shíráz at the house of His uncle, and is released on the condition that He leave the area.

One night we were asleep.[1] Suddenly, the chief of police, the accursed 'Abdu'l-Hamid Khan, entered with his men through the roof of the house and seized the Báb, who was clad only in a thin robe. They took Him away without any explanation. I never saw Him again. [1 September 23, 1846] (Misc Baha'i, Munirih - Memoirs and Letters, p. 34)

Abdu'l-Hamid Khan retired to execute his task. He, together with his assistants, broke into the house of Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali [1] and found the Báb in the company of His maternal uncle and a certain Siyyid Kazim-i-Zanjani, who was later martyred in Mazindaran, and whose brother, Siyyid Murtada, was one of the Seven Martyrs of Tihran. He immediately arrested them, collected whatever documents he could find, ordered Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali to remain in his house, and conducted the rest to the seat of government. The Báb, undaunted and self-possessed, was heard to repeat this verse of the Qur'án: "That with which they are threatened is for the morning. Is not the morning near?" No sooner had the chief constable reached the marketplace than he discovered, to his amazement, that the people of the city were fleeing from every side in consternation, as if overtaken by an appalling calamity. He was struck with horror when he witnessed the long train of coffins being hurriedly transported through the streets, each followed by a procession of men and women loudly uttering shrieks of agony and pain. This sudden tumult, the lamentations, the affrighted countenances, the imprecations of the multitude distressed and bewildered him. He enquired as to the reason. "This very night," he was told, "a plague [2] of exceptional virulence has broken out. We are smitten by its devastating power. Already since the hour of midnight it has extinguished the lives of over a hundred people. Alarm and despair reign in every house. The people are abandoning their homes, and in their plight are invoking the aid of the Almighty."[3]

[1 September 23,1845 A.D. See "Tarikh-i-Jadid," p. 204.] [2 Outbreak of cholera.] [3 The Báb refers to this incident in the "Dala'il-i-Sab'ih" in the following terms: "Recall the first days of the Manifestation, how many people died of cholera! That was one of the wonders of the Manifestation yet no one understood it. During four years the scourge raged among the Muhammadan Shiites without anyone grasping its true significance." ("Le Livre des Sept Preuves," translated by A. L. M. Nicolas, pp. 61-62.)]
(Shoghi Effendi, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 195)

1893 - First public mention of the Bahá’í Faith in the West. In a session of the World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago, the Reverend George A. Ford, a Syrian missionary, reads a paper talking about Bahá’u’lláh.

It was on September 23, 1893, a little over a year after Bahá'u'lláh's ascension, that, in a paper written by Rev. Henry H. Jessup, D.D., Director of Presbyterian Missionary Operations in North Syria, and read by Rev. George A. Ford of Syria, at the World Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago, in connection with the Columbian Exposition, commemorating the four-hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America, it was announced that "a famous Persian Sage," "the Bábí Saint," had died recently in 'Akká, and that two years previous to His ascension "a Cambridge scholar" had visited Him, to whom He had expressed "sentiments so noble, so Christ-like" that the author of the paper, in his "closing words," wished to share them with his audience.
(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 256)

1911 - an Interview given by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to the Weekly Budget London

1912-Abdul-Baha was in [Denver]

The Master reached Denver around two o'clock in the afternoon. ….He announced that during the few days He would be in Denver, He would see anyone who would call upon Him at the hotel between nine and twelve in the morning.
Regarding His health, He said:
In the early stages of our long journey to California my health was affected. But as the journey was made for God and to diffuse the divine fragrances, my longstanding indisposition has been cured without any medicine. The confirmations of Abhá are descending from all sides.
He added:
It is written in the Hadíth [Islamic traditions] that cities shall draw nearer to each other. Besides spiritual nearness and communications between the cities of the hearts and friendships between diverse people in the promised Day, how physically close have the cities and countries also become. Truly, if not for railroads and the power of steam, how could these long distances be traversed with such ease? This is one of the miracles of this promised century of our current age. (Mahmud's Diary)

1918 - ‘Akká is liberated by British and Indian cavalry; ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is again freed.

1984 - Martyrdom of Iranian National Spiritual Assembly Member Shapur Markazi

WITH HEAVY HEARTS ANNOUNCE MARTYRDOM SHAPUR MARKAZI OUTSTANDING SERVANT FAITH IN IRAN MEMBER PREVIOUS NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY AND AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBER. HE SUFFERED CRUEL TORTURE PAST FEW MONTHS. PURPOSE THESE TORTURES WAS FORCE HIM TO ADMIT FALSE CHARGES IMPLICATING BAHÁ'Í INSTITUTIONS AS NETWORK ESPIONAGE AND HIMSELF AS SPY. HIS GROWING RESISTANCE INCREASED INTENSITY TORTURES WHICH MAY HAVE CAUSED HIS DEATH 23 SEPTEMBER. HE WAS BURIED 25 SEPTEMBER WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE RELATIVES FRIENDS.
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 644)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

September 22nd in Baha'i History

1911 - Discourse by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá given at the Unity Meeting of Misses Jack and Herrick London

1912-Abdul-Baha was in Lincoln

Two newspaper reporters came to interview Him and recorded the interview with the utmost courtesy and respect. The Master instructed us to telephone and inquire about Mr Bryan and his wife. Expressing regret that Mr Bryan was not at home, Mrs Bryan said she and her daughter would be pleased to receive `Abdu'l-Bahá in their home. The Master and His entourage hired a large automobile and drove a long distance outside of the city until they reached a large estate which is located in one of the finest places in the region. Mrs Bryan hurried towards the automobile to greet `Abdu'l-Bahá. She and her daughter expressed their joy and happiness for His blessings. After they had had tea and listened to Him, they begged Him to visit some of the rooms of the house, particularly the library and Mr Bryan's study. They showed Him a book compiled by Mr Bryan and asked Him to pray for the success of his endeavors. Mr Bryan was currently on a campaign tour on behalf of [the future] President Wilson and was to lecture in many cities. In honor of the occasion, `Abdu'l-Bahá took a notebook and in His own hand wrote a prayer for assistance. He then said a few words which increased their happiness, devotion, assurance and honor. With that He departed.
Among those visiting the Master at the hotel in the afternoon were some Arabs. They had read about His arrival and His speeches in the newspapers and wished to see Him. The newspaper articles about His arrival and the Manifestations of God were translated and read to Him. It made Him happy to know that a stay in the city of only 12 hours had become the cause of spreading the teachings of God.
At 8:00 p.m., just before leaving the city, the Master came and sat in the lobby of the hotel. A number of people who had read about the new teachings in the newspapers approached and were introduced to Him. They all listened carefully to His explanations and expressed their pleasure. At 11:00 p.m. the train left Lincoln. His companions tried to persuade Him to take Pullman accommodation for Himself but He would not allow it, saying:
We must all be together. The only purpose of this journey is to serve the Cause of God. We have no other aim. We will all sleep in our coach seats.
He spent the night in the chair car with the rest of us, sometimes sleeping and sometimes awake. And in this way His time passed. ( Mahmud's Diary)

1939 - the issuance, on September 22, 1939, of the first Bahá'í Marriage License by the State of Illinois,
(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 373)

2007 - Passing of Dr. ‘Alí-Muhammad Varqá, the longest surviving Hand of the Cause of God.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Accustom to hardship...


Baha'i Graphic #23
By Jack Bush
Click to enlarge.
Picture taken in 2008 at a ranch and BBQ place for tourists in Arizona.

Guidance from the Universal House of Justice

Love demands discipline, the courage to accustom children to hardship, not to indulge their whims or leave them entirely to their own devices. An atmosphere needs to be maintained in which children feel that they belong to the community and share in its purpose. They must lovingly but insistently be guided to live up to Bahá'í standards, to study and teach the Cause in ways that are suited to their circumstances.

(The Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 157, 2000)

September 21st in Baha'i History

1912-Abdul-Baha was in [Omaha -- Lincoln]

In the morning, as we were having tea served by `Abdu'l-Bahá, the latest news from the Balkan war was relayed to Him. He commented, in part:

Our own `war' is good because it conquers all. When a crown of thorns was placed on the head of Christ, He saw with His own eyes the crowns of kings under His feet. Now, when I look, I see all the powers and nations defeated, scattered and lost in the wilderness while the Cause of God is victorious over all and subdues all. All future events are evident and visible to the eyes of the holy Manifestations.

In one of the Tablets revealed by `Abdu'l-Bahá in honor of a friend in Mázindarán, these words were recorded:

The light of Bahá'u'lláh has shone to such a degree on the continent of America that in every city where a number of believers reside, the call of `Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá' has been raised. In great churches and meetings `Abdu'l-Bahá cries out and proves the truth of the Prophet of God [Muhammad] and of the Báb and of the rising sun of Bahá'u'lláh. Most of the newspapers express praise in glowing articles. Where are the Persians, that they may behold the splendors of the Luminary of the World [Bahá'u'lláh] Whose light has shone forth from the horizon of Mount Awrang and now illumines the mountains and plains of America? In spite of all this, the people of Núr are still asleep and do not know what an honor has been showered upon that region.

The train had left just as the Master reached the station. He decided to wait for the next train. A few minutes later, a man who had seen our Persian dress and kuláhs came to us and said, `We received a telegram from the friends in Minneapolis and have been looking for `Abdu'l-Bahá.' He immediately ran to give the news to the other friends and brought them to Him. They were extremely grateful that He had not left by the first train. The Master spoke to them about the major calamities that had befallen the Cause of God, saying:

Up to now, whatever has occurred has had the effect of spreading the Cause of God. When the Blessed Beauty left Tihrán and when He departed from Baghdád for the Holy Land, it was so devastating that the friends shed tears of blood. Now it has become evident what mysteries were concealed in that event and what victories lay in store; even the prophecies of the holy books regarding the Holy Land and the promised Manifestation were fulfilled through that banishment. (Mahmud's Diary)

1921 – Abdul-Baha wrote the Tablet to August Forel

Sunday, September 20, 2009

September 20th in Baha'i History

1876 - Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl, becomes a Baha’i

1912- Abdul-Baha - Talk at Home of Mr. Albert L. Hall – Minneapolis

1912 – Abdul-Baha -Talk at Home of Dr. and Mrs. Clement Woolson – st. Paul

1912 – Abdul-Baha was in [Minneapolis -- Denver]
Today we departed from Minneapolis. In the morning friends and seekers surrounded `Abdu'l-Bahá like moths. He spoke to them in these words:

You must have deep love for one another. Go to see each other and be consoling friends to all. If a friend lives a little distance from the town, go to see him. Do not content yourselves with words only but act according to the commandments of God. Hold weekly meetings and give feasts. Put forth your efforts to acquire spiritual perfections and to spread the knowledge of God. These are the attributes of the Bahá'ís. Otherwise, what use is there in being a Bahá'í in word alone.

At 8:00 a.m., after packing the parcels to be sent to the East, the Master left the hotel for the train station. The assembled friends were sad and dejected owing to His departure from their midst. He consoled them until the train left the station, saying:

I shall never forget you. You are always in my mind. Convey to all the friends my kind regards. I love all. I exhort you to be kind to the poor and love them. Help them, for the poor are broken-hearted. If you sacrifice yourself for the rich, they think you do it because you are obliged to. But if you love the poor, they feel joy and are sincerely grateful. To help the poor is essential. May you be under the protection of God.

On the way `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke about teaching the Cause of God in America and remarked:

In this country it is essential to have teachers who are attracted, wholly severed and learned like some of the self-sacrificing Persian teachers. The Cause of God must become firmly established in these regions. The teachers must move continually, one after another, from one place to another to raise the divine call. Then will the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom envelop these nations and wonders will be achieved. This desire of mine has not yet come about. It depends on the confirmations of the all-glorious Kingdom and on the sanctified breaths of the friends. The one true God is my witness! If a person draws only one pure breath in a state of severance, it will be effective for a thousand years. (Mahmud's Diary)

1935 - Birth of founding member of the Association for Bahá’í Studies, William S. Hatcher

1979 - Omission of Bahá'ís as Recognized Religious Minority from Iranian Constitution

FRAMERS NEW CONSTITUTION IRAN APPROVED CLAUSE RECOGNIZING MINORITY RELIGIONS SPECIFYING JEWS CHRISTIANS ZOROASTRIANS BUT OMITTING MENTION BAHÁ'ÍS. ...
UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE (Messages 1963 to 1986 p.426)

1999NSA urges US to Pay UN Debt - Click for article

Saturday, September 19, 2009

September 19th in Baha'i History



1912 – Abdul-Baha was in [Minneapolis -- St Paul]


It was reported to `Abdu'l-Bahá that the proceedings of the Bahá'í meeting the night before had been published in today's newspapers. He said:


Notwithstanding this, the Muslims and the Christians alike are not satisfied with us. They are engaged in pleasurable diversions and enjoyable pastimes in their homes while we are laboring to prove the truths of the divine Manifestations in these great temples. So it is with the mischief-makers and Covenant-breakers. Behold how they are preoccupied with themselves and with the satisfaction of their selfish desires, while I am so wholly occupied with spreading the Cause of God in America that I have not had a moment's rest.


`Abdu'l-Bahá said, `…


When people of the West become wealthy, they begin to collect antique objects in order to render a service to the world of art. But when Persians become wealthy, they keep one hundred horses in their stables, give themselves up to pomp and show, engage themselves in satiating their selfish desires. But in comparison with service to the Cause, both attitudes are barren, producing no result. For example, if the effort these people put into gathering these objects, and the millions of dollars spent acquiring them, were employed for the Cause of God, their stars of happiness and prosperity would shine evermore from the horizon of both worlds. If in this city they brought ten persons into the Cause of God, it would gain momentum and would become the cause of eternal honor and happiness as well as the source of everlasting life. (Mahmud's Diary)


1919Birth of Alí Nakhjavání served as a member of the Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing body of the Bahá'í Faith, between 1963 and 2003


1972 - Martyrdom of Three Iranian Bahá'í Students in the Philippine Islands


With feelings of deep sorrow we relate to the Bahá'í world the distressing circumstances surrounding the murder of three Iranian Bahá'í students, pioneers to the Philippine Islands. Parviz Sadiqi, Faramarz Vujdani and Parviz Furughi were among a number of Iranian Bahá'í youth who answered the call for pioneers. With eleven others they registered at the Universities in Mindanao with the intention of completing their studies and proclaiming the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. These three had conceived the plan of making teaching trips to a rural area inhabited by Muslims. When on 31 July the authorities of Mindanao State University were notified that they had left the campus the previous day and had not yet returned, search parties were immediately formed and the assistance of the police and local authorities obtained. After inquiries and search, led entirely by President Tamano of Mindanao State University, the bodies of the three young men were found in a shallow grave. They had been shot,

grievously mutilated and two had been decapitated. The bodies were removed and given Bahá'í burial in a beautiful plot donated for the purpose.


Immediately upon receipt of the tragic news, Vicente Samaniego, Counsellor in Northeast Asia, in close co-operation with the National Spiritual Assembly of the Philippines, acted vigorously on behalf of the Bahá'ís and was given the utmost co- operation and sympathy by the authorities, police, military and civil. A convocation was called, attended by more than 900 students, faculty members and University officials. Prayers were said in English, Arabic and Persian. The President of the University gave a talk in which he said that the murdered Iranian students are not ordinary students, for with them is the Message of Bahá'u'lláh which is the way to unity. The Council of the Student Body asked that their new Social Hall be renamed Iranian Student Memorial Hall. Three thousand people marched in the funeral procession and six hundred went to the burial site to attend the interment.


A dignified burial was conducted by the Bahá'ís in the presence of University authorities and friends.


The relatives and friends of these three young men, who gave their lives in the service of the Blessed Beauty, are assured of the loving sympathy and prayers of their fellow believers. The sacrifice made by these youth adds a crown of glory to the wonderful services now being performed by Bahá'í youth throughout the world. Bahá'u'lláh Himself testifies:


They that have forsaken their country in the path of God and subsequently ascended unto His presence, such souls shall be blessed by the Concourse on High and their names recorded by the Pen of Glory among such as have laid down their lives as martyrs in the path of God, the Help in peril, the Self- Subsistent.
The Universal House of Justice (The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 226)



1980
- EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT MEETING IN STRASBOURG AND COMPRISING OVER 400 MEMBERS UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTED ON 19 SEPTEMBER HISTORIC RESOLUTION WHICH DENOUNCES SYSTEMATIC CAMPAIGN PERSECUTION IRANIAN BAHÁ'ÍS AND VIOLATION THEIR ELEMENTARY HUMAN RIGHTS, CALLS UPON GOVERNMENT IRAN GRANT BAHÁ'Í COMMUNITY LEGAL RECOGNITION AND PROTECTION, AND UPON FOREIGN MINISTERS EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES MAKE URGENT PRESENTATIONS TO IRANIAN AUTHORITIES CEASE PERSECUTION BAHÁ'ÍS ALLOWING THEM PRACTICE THEIR RELIGION FREELY AND ENJOY FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS, AND REQUESTS MEMBER STATES IMPOSE EMBARGO ON ALL SALES OF SUBSIDIZED SURPLUS AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS TO IRAN UNTIL FULL HUMAN RIGHTS ARE RESTORED TO IRANIAN CITIZENS. THIS REMARKABLE DOCUMENT ENDS WITH STATEMENT THAT EVIDENCE SUGGESTS ARRESTS EXECUTIONS OF BAHÁ'ÍS ARE CONTINUING AND INCREASING ACCORDING TO PREARRANGED PLAN AND ONLY SPEEDY RESPONSE BY EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT CAN STOP THESE DEVELOPMENTS.

(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 461)


1983 - With great sadness the Universal House of Justice announces that many friends in prison are being tortured when they refuse to submit to the will of the authorities to deny their love for Bahá'u'lláh. In addition, while it is true that no Bahá'ís have been executed since the statement calling for the disbanding of the administration of the Faith was made by the Attorney-General on 29 August, it has been reported that on 19 September a Bahá'í farmer in the town of Khuy, Mr Akbar Haqiqi, died as a result of a beating by a mob instigated by the clergy. Moreover, at least 140 Bahá'ís have been arrested in all parts of the country following the Attorney-General's statement, 50 of whom were detained on 30 October in the Caspian Sea area. Although a number of the friends have been released, the total number of Bahá'ís still imprisoned in Iran, according to our records, stands at over 450.

(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 605)

1999 - Iran rejects U.S. report on religious intolerance Click for Article

Friday, September 18, 2009

September 18th in Baha'i History

1912 – Abdul-Baha was in [Minneapolis]


The assembly hall of the hotel became a joyous meeting place for the friends. With great happiness and excitement the friends eagerly listened to the Master's words.

Praise be to God that He has given you a prosperous country. Towns are flourishing, commerce is progressing and the outward evidences of prosperity are displayed with utmost beauty and perfection. But all these things are as nothing when compared to the bounties of God. The whole globe is nothing before one ray of the Sun of Truth. Thus it is said in the Gospel that Satan took Christ to the top of a high mountain, showed Him the world outspread and told Him that he would give Him all these things if he would follow him. But Christ refused.

Later, a Jewish rabbi visited the Master and requested that He speak in his synagogue. `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke with him, saying, `I have come from your original homeland, Jerusalem. I passed forty-five years in Palestine, but I was in prison.' The rabbi said, `We are all prisoners in this world.' The Master added, `But I was imprisoned in two prisons. Even then I was contented and was completely happy and grateful.' The rabbi then said, `The Prophets of God have always been imprisoned and now His Holiness `Abdu'l-Bahá, the chosen one of God, is imprisoned.' The Master stated, `I am but the servant of God; but the practice of people has always been to persecute all the Prophets and the holy ones and then later to prostrate themselves at the mention of their names.' When they finished their conversation, the rabbi expressed his sincere thanks and requested permission to leave. The Master embraced Him and said, `We desire that all religions unite in bonds of brotherhood, to love one another. May they join hands and embrace each other, and honor and respect one another's masters.'

The Master was invited to the Commercial Club this morning. As He drove through the city's parks and boulevards on the way, He remarked:

Tonight when we speak in the Jewish synagogue we shall bring proofs and arguments in support of the Spirit [Christ]. This is the wish and confirmation of the Blessed Beauty. It is as if the Abhá Beauty were present in the Mansion at `Akká and I went into His presence and said that I wished to speak in a Jewish synagogue. It is clear that His wish would be that the truth of Jesus should be demonstrated.

Several newspaper reporters asked Him questions about the principles of the Faith. He told them:

The laws and commandments of God are of two kinds: one set is composed of those essential spiritual principles which are the basis for human prosperity, praiseworthy morals and the acquisition of the virtues and perfections of man. These never change. The other kind are subsidiary laws related to our material life. These are revealed to regulate transactions and to meet the exigencies of the time. These change in keeping with the requirements of the age.

In the evening the Master delivered a brilliant address at the Jewish synagogue, providing decisive proofs of the validity and truth of Christ and the Cause of Muhammad. It was so persuasive that men and women came to `Abdu'l-Bahá with the utmost humility and admiration. One of them said openly that he would no longer be a Jew. (Mahmud’s Diary)



1998 - Baha'i Youths Victims of Racial Incident in Buffalo Click for article



1999 - Baha'i's participate in the San Francisco Culture of Peace Festival Click for Article

2000- Reception Center opens for Baha'i pilgrims to the Holy Land Click for Article

Thursday, September 17, 2009

September 17th in Baha'i History




1961 – Dedication of the House of Worship - Sydney

1911 - Discourse of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá at St. John’s, Westminster

1912 – Abdul-Baha was in [Chicago -- Minneapolis]

The Master bade farewell to the friends and promised to come back to Chicago on His return from California. Here are a few of His remarks to the friends:

I ask the Blessed Beauty to assist you and confirm you. Wherever I go, you will be in my thoughts. I shall not forget any one of you. I beg of God that you may become more enlightened, more severed, more spiritual, more aflame and that you may be humble and submissive, for as long as man does not consider himself to be good but regards himself as weak and deficient, he progresses; but the moment he considers himself good and says, `I am perfect', he falls into pride and retrogresses.

To another gathering, He spoke about socialism:

The principles of socialism are outstripped in the religions of God. For instance, God commands, `But [they] prefer them [the poor] before themselves, although there be indigence among them' [Qur'án 59:9]. That is, the believers spend of their substance and share their possessions and prefer others to themselves willingly and with utmost spirituality. Socialists, however, desire to enforce equality and association by compulsion. Although the preference for others which is the exhortation of God is more difficult because the rich are enjoined to prefer others to themselves, this will become common and will be the cause of tranquillity and an aid to the order of the world, because it depends upon the inclination and willingness of the giver. But socialism and egalitarianism, although easier, as those who have are made equal with others, yet such a system will not become widespread and is the cause of disturbance and tumult because it rests on compulsion and coercion.


In the Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh it is mentioned that if a rich man neglects the duty of educating his children, the House of Justice is authorized to compel him to assist financially and to educate them. But this is a matter for the family of that wealthy man and comes under the jurisdiction of the House of Justice. The point is that there are matters greater than equality and socialism in divine religions. In the Cause of God there were persons like the King of Martyrs [Mírzá Muhammad-Hasan] who, in the days of tribulation, expended all their wealth and property to relieve the sufferings of the poor and the weak. In Persia the Bahá'ís were willing to sacrifice themselves for one another to such a degree that once when one of the Bahá'ís was a guest in the home of another believer, and the authorities demanded the arrest of the guest, the host gave the guest's name as his own and surrendered himself to them, was martyred in his place, thus sacrificing his life for his guest and brother.

Turning to the editor of the Police Journal, `Abdu'l-Bahá said,

A newspaper must in the first instance be the means of creating harmony among the people. This is the prime duty of the proprietors of newspapers, to eradicate misunderstandings between religions and races and nationalities and promote the oneness of mankind.

During this time `Abdu'l-Bahá appeared to be sad and depressed. At one time He said, `I did not sleep at all last night. The ark of the Cause is beset by tempests and storms on all sides. But the confirmations of the Ancient Beauty are with us.'

1996 - Iranian Baha'i Refugees Denied Asylum in Turkey Click link for article.

2000- Baha'is around the world host interfaith prayers for peace Click link for article.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September 16th in Baha'i History

1912 – Abdul-Baha was in Kenosha -- Chicago


After dinner He told us to pack our things to move to the hotel. In the automobile, He seemed to be depressed. He said:

I am bearing the discomforts of this journey with stop-overs so that the Cause of God may be protected from any breach. For I am still not sure about what is going to happen after me. If I could be sure, then I would sit comfortably in some corner, I would not leave the Holy Land and travel far away from the Most Holy Tomb. Once, after the martyrdom of the Báb, the Cause of God was dealt a hard blow through Yahyá. Again, after the ascension of the Blessed Beauty, it received another blow. And I fear that self-seeking persons may again disrupt the love and unity of the friends. If the time were right and the House of Justice were established, the House of Justice would protect the friends.

He then spoke about how disunity began in the Islamic cycle, saying, `Because of certain people who sought to fulfill their personal desires and who yet counted themselves among the supporters of the religion, the foundation of Islam was completely uprooted.' He continued in this vein until the automobile arrived at the hotel. (Mahmud’s Diary)

1912 - TALK AT HOME OF MRS. CORINNE TRUE – CHICAGO

1979 - Death of Enoch Olinga, Hand of the Cause of God and Knight of Bahá’u’lláh for British Cameroon

1997 – Article on the Faith Daily Illini

 
2000 - Personal faith fuels Baha'i (article Olympia, WA)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September 15th in Baha'i History

1882: Khadijih-Bagum, wife of the Báb, dies in Shíráz.


1902: Mirza 'Azizu'llah visits Count Leo Tolstoy and speaks at length about the history, teachings, and station of Bahá’u’lláh.

1912 – Abdul-Baha was in Chicago & Kenosha



On the way we had to change trains. Although we hurried, we missed the second train. The friends were saddened but `Abdu'l-Bahá said, `Oh, it matters not. There is a wisdom in this.' We left by the next train and found that the train we had missed was wrecked and some of the passengers injured. It was clear that it had collided with another train. `Abdu'l-Bahá said, `This, too, was the protection of the Blessed Beauty.' He then narrated the episode of His leaving Alexandria for America:

Some proposed that we leave via London by the S. S. Titanic, which sank on the same voyage. The Blessed Beauty guided us to come direct.

Mahmud’s Diary

1951 - Regarding your question: there are very few people who can get along without eight hours sleep. If you are not one of those, you should protect your health by sleeping enough. The Guardian himself finds that it impairs his working capacity if he does not try and get a minimum of seven or eight hours. (15 September 1951 to two believers) (Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 484)

1984 - Confirmation of Death in Prison of Rustam Varjavandi

NEWS DEATH IN PRISON TIHRAN RUSTAM VARJAVANDI 15 SEPTEMBER CONFIRMED.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE (Messages 1963 to 1986 p.654)

2000 – Washington Post Article on the Saddlebag by Bahiyyih Nakhjavani

2000 - Canadian Baha'is Offer Sacred Words as Gift to Native Peoples

Monday, September 14, 2009

September 14th in Baha'i History

1912 – Abdul- Baha was in Chicago


Among `Abdu'l-Bahá's words were these:

If the Blessed Perfection had not exerted Himself to raise up the Cause of God, the Cause of the Primal Point [the Báb] would have been completely effaced. Similarly, had it not been for the power of the Covenant after the ascension of the Ancient Beauty, it is evident what the people would have done, how they would have spent their time, like Mírzá Yahyá, taking many wives and satisfying their lusts and desires. They would have destroyed the divine standard.

When someone remarked that the Tablet of Ishráqát [Splendors] had been translated and published in German, the Master said:

All the affairs and conditions of the world serve the Cause of God. If they had driven me out of the United States or had refused me entry, it would have been a good thing. Opposition serves to promote the Cause of God, how much more helping the Cause accomplishes!

(Mahmud’s Diary)



1987 – Universal House of Justice releases a compilation on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ compiled by The Research Department



1990: Passing of Hand of the Cause Collis Featherstone

Sunday, September 13, 2009

September 13th in Baha'i History


1911 – Abdul- Baha gave a Discourse at Mrs. Thornburgh-Cropper’s London


1912 – Abdul-Baha was in Chicago

Mrs True prepared tea for us. When some of the Persian friends remarked to `Abdu'l-Bahá that `there was better tea' than this, the Master replied, `This tea is very good because it has been prepared with love.' Referring to His expenses, He said:

Sometimes I give away as much as $1,000, if I have it, but at another time I do not spend even a single dollar. This is so that affairs are regulated. Thus it is that I say that I want the friends to become divine and godly under the shadow of the favor of the Abhá Beauty. Through the teachings and bestowals of the Blessed Perfection happiness and prosperity can be gained. I swear by God, besides Whom there is no other God, that although we might have traversed America from the east to the west, had not His confirmations and favors been with us, no one would have paid any heed to us. It is all through His aid and assistance that these doors have been opened. It is with the power of faith that we ascend to the highest apex and attain honor in the all-glorious Kingdom. So it is that these honorable souls serve us with such love and sincerity.

At the meeting `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke about the establishment of the divine civilization through the power of Bahá'u'lláh and about the world's need for the divine teachings:

Without divine civilization the mysteries of the Kingdom are not revealed and the bounties of heaven are not ascertained; supernatural wisdom and power do not manifest themselves; the intelligence of humanity does not reach maturity; the world of humanity does not become the mirror of the world above; spiritual powers fail to overcome animal influences of nature. These perfections are attained through divine civilization of which the world of man is in need.

Today another group, including some of the black believers, visited `Abdu'l-Bahá. Here are some of His words to them:

If a man has spiritual characteristics, be he white or black, he is near to God. Some have protested to me, asking why I seek to cultivate love between the whites and the blacks. Yet what a great error they make. You see people who love their dogs because of their faithfulness and the protection they provide. If but one good trait endears a dog to a human, why shouldn't praiseworthy qualities cause a man to be loved and respected? Why should fellowship with an upright person be avoided? When people are prepared to fondle an animal day and night, why should they shun association with an intelligent human being?


My hope is that you will rid and purify yourselves of imitations so that your thoughts and minds will be broadened and elevated, that you will be seekers of the truth, the lovers of the servants of God and the cause of the oneness of humanity.

This evening the three large rooms on the ground floor of Mrs True's home were filled with so many visitors that people were standing in the hallways. The Master walked among the crowd and spoke about the assistance of the Blessed Beauty, the spread of the Cause of God and the impact of the Word of God on the churches and meetings. The gist of His talk was this:

Look at the history of the world and try to find a parallel instance in which a native of the East has come to the countries of the West, particularly America, and called out to them in the churches and meetings there, raised the divine call in many of the large cities and invited everyone to the Abhá Kingdom, with no one taking exception. Nay, on the contrary, those present at the gatherings have heard him with patience and unbounded joy. These things have been achieved solely through the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom.
(Mahmud's Diary)


1926 -Importance of giving

We must be like the fountain or spring that is continually emptying itself of all that it has and is continually being refilled from an invisible source. To be continually giving out for the good of our fellows undeterred by fear of poverty and reliant on the unfailing bounty of the Source of all wealth and all good -- this is the secret of right living.

(Shoghi Effendi, cited in "Bahá'í News" 13 (September 1926), p. 1) (Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 529)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September 12th in Baha'i History

1912 – Abdul- Baha travels from Buffalo to Chicago


. When He reached the railway station, the driver wanted more money than the usual fare. `Abdu'l-Bahá paid no heed to him, saying, `A man may give $1,000 without minding it but he should not yield even a dollar to the person who wishes to take it wrongfully, for such wrongful behavior flouts justice and disrupts the order of the world.'

As articles from the Buffalo newspapers were being translated for `Abdu'l-Bahá in the train, He again offered thanks for the assistance and protection from the Abhá Kingdom. He said:

The confirmation and assistance of the Abhá Kingdom are more manifest than the sun. No eye or ear has seen or heard of such confirmations. Christ went into the Temple of the Jews where He spoke on the teachings of the Torah prohibiting buying and selling in the house of God. Up to the present time Christians glory in this and rejoice over it. But today through the assistance of the Abhá Beauty the Cause of God is proclaimed with the utmost openness in the churches and assemblies of the West.

After a brief rest, `Abdu'l-Bahá appeared before the gathering. His eyes fell on Mr [Saichiro] Fujita, the Japanese gentleman. He remarked:


So, how is our Japanese Effendi? Recently the government of Japan has undergone a change. A new emperor has come to the throne. The sovereignty of the former Mikado has come to an end; all the hue and cry have ceased, a handful of dust was thrown over him and covered all his imperial regalia. Such was the kingdom of the Mikado. The same is true of all the other kings.


But as you are a believer in God, you have a kingdom which will never collapse and will be everlasting. Offer thanks to God, Who has bestowed upon you such a kingdom, greater than that of the Mikado. The first Bonaparte was a famous man and a great general who conquered most of the countries of Europe and became the emperor of France. The whole of Europe trembled before his command. The star of his prosperity set and it shall never rise again. At last a trifling incident obliterated his dominion and he became a prisoner in a state of extreme hardship in St Helena where he lamented until his death. One day as he was talking with his generals, they said that Christ, too, was a wise man like Napoleon. He replied, `No, you are mistaken. There is a vast difference between Him and me.'


The sovereignty of Napoleon ceased as soon as he died but the Kingdom of Christ is eternal. The former established his mortal kingdom with bloodshed and the sword while Christ established the Kingdom of God with the life-giving breaths of the Holy Spirit. Napoleon established his kingdom through the power of oppression while Christ established His through the power of the love of God. A hundred thousand Napoleons may be effaced but the Kingdom of Christ will remain forever. Such is the Kingdom of God. (Mahmud's Diary)

1950 – Guardian Comforted by Messages of Devotion


My anguished heart is comforted by the unnumbered messages from communities, assemblies, groups, committees and individual American believers, replete with expressions of loving devotion, pledges of loyalty to 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Covenant, prayers on my behalf and assurances of rededication in service to the precious Faith.

The triple cord binding me to the American Community, outstanding in its affectionate and unfailing support in the course of my almost thirty years' stewardship to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, is greatly reinforced. But for America's multitudinous services and unparalleled record of achievements my burden of cares both past and present would be unbearable.

Far from complaining of the added weight of afflictions oppressing me at this hour I feel I cannot but welcome with feelings of thankfulness and humility such tribulations enabling me to taste the cup the Martyr-Prophet of our beloved Faith drained so heroically a hundred years ago.

Much as I desire to acknowledge separately all messages I regretfully find the task beyond the limits of my overtaxed strength. I ask, dearly beloved friends, to regard this message as addressed to each one personally, bearing to each and every one assurance of my constant 89 awareness of their enfolding love and unfailing support as well as my everlasting gratitude and unalterable affection and immense pride in their unrivaled collective share in the world-wide furtherance of the Cause so dear, so precious to us all.

(Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, p. 88)

1976: Malietoa Tanumafili II of Western Samoa visits Shoghi Effendi's grave in London, England.

1985 - Hostility to the Faith is something all Bahá'ís can expect; how we react to it is of great importance. You are urged to avoid confrontation and dissension; these would tend to increase the antagonism. Maintain a dignified and friendly attitude and, in order to put forward well-founded reasoning where indicated, make a point of becoming better informed about issues affecting Christianity and the Bahá'í Faith.


(12 September 1985 to the National Spiritual Assembly of St. Vincent)(Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 185)

2000 - the passing of Bahiyyih Ford Winckler

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11th

Enough said, today!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September 10th in Baha'i History

1911: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gives his first address to a Western audience in City Temple, London. The English translation is spoken by Wellesley Tudor Pole.


1911 - Address given by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá at the City Temple London

1912 –Abdul-Baha was in Buffalo [Buffalo]

At the request of some of His companions, after a short walk He took the trolley to Niagara Falls. It was far away and the round trip fare cost 50 cents per person. We had never seen or heard such huge, magnificent waterfalls. It was a beautiful sight. The great river feeding the falls is flanked on both sides by lakes, fields, mountains and woods. At some places the river falls from a height of a hundred meters. Because of the height of the falls and the crash of the water, small droplets of water form sprays which appear like a great sand storm. Below is a very large lake where people entertain themselves in barges and sailboats.

`Abdu'l-Bahá went to the edge, admired the great falls and recalled the days of the Blessed Perfection:

There were small waterfalls in Mázindarán which Bahá'u'lláh liked so much that He used to camp near them for several days.

Continuing, He said:

So much electricity can be generated from this water that it will suffice the whole town and it is also very good for the health.

While sitting on the bank of the river He ate some pears and grapes and then walked for some time in the park. We suggested that He should stay here a few days but He replied, `Even half a day is not possible. We have no time for amusement. We must keep ourselves engaged in our work.' ( Mahmud’s Diary)

1980 - UNITED NATIONS SUB-COMMISSION ON PREVENTION DISCRIMINATION PROTECTION MINORITIES MEETING IN GENEVA FOLLOWING PRESENTATION MADE BY REPRESENTATIVE BAHÁ'Í INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY DISCUSSED APPROVED ON 10 SEPTEMBER RESOLUTION EXPRESSING PROFOUND CONCERN OVER SAFETY BAHÁ'ÍS IRAN AND REQUESTING UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL CONVEY THIS CONCERN TO AUTHORITIES IRAN AND CALL ON THEM PROTECT FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS BAHÁ'Í COMMUNITY.



(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 460)