Archive for the ‘‘Akká’ Category

12 August ― 12 Kamál   Leave a comment

MORNING:

Ponder then in thine heart: Matters being such as thou dost witness, and as We also witness, where canst thou flee, and with whom shalt thou take refuge? Unto whom wilt thou turn thy gaze? In what land shalt thou dwell and upon what seat shalt thou abide? In what path shalt thou tread and at what hour wilt thou find repose? What shall become of thee in the end? Where shalt thou secure the cord of thy faith and fasten the tie of thine obedience? By Him Who revealeth Himself in His oneness and Whose own Self beareth witness to His unity!

Should there be ignited in thy heart the burning brand of the love of God, thou wouldst seek neither rest nor composure, neither laughter nor repose, but wouldst hasten to scale the highest summits in the realms of divine nearness, sanctity, and beauty. Thou wouldst lament as a soul bereaved and weep as a heart filled with longing. Nor wouldst thou repair to thy home and abode unless God would lay bare before thee His Cause.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 13

EVENING:

Yea, the seeker reacheth a station wherein that which hath been ordained for him knoweth no bounds. The fire of love so blazeth in his heart that it seizeth the reins of constraint from his grasp. At every moment his love for his Lord increaseth and draweth him nearer unto his Creator, in such wise that if his Lord be in the east of nearness, and he dwell in the west of remoteness and possess all that earth and heaven contain of rubies and gold, he would forsake it all and rush forth to the land of the Desired One. And shouldst thou find him to be otherwise, know assuredly that such a man is a lying impostor. We, verily, all belong unto Him Whom God shall make manifest in the latter Resurrection, and through Him shall we be raised again to life.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gems of Divine Mysteries, pp. 75-76

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE COVENANT  ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

There is not one soul whose conscience does not testify that in this day there is no more important matter in the world than that of Universal Peace. Every just one bears witness to this and adores that esteemed Assembly because its aim is that this darkness may be changed into light, this bloodthirstiness into kindness, this torment into bliss, this hardship into ease and this enmity and hatred into fellowship and love. Therefore, the effort of those esteemed souls is worthy of praise and commendation.

But the wise souls who are aware of the essential relationships emanating from the realities of things consider that one single matter cannot, by itself, influence the human reality as it ought and should, for until the minds of men become united, no important matter can be accomplished. At present Universal Peace is a matter of great importance, but unity of conscience is essential, so that the foundation of this matter may become secure, its establishment firm and its edifice strong.

Therefore His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh, fifty years ago, expounded this question of Universal Peace at a time when he was confined in the fortress of ‘Akká and was wronged and imprisoned. He wrote about this important matter of Universal Peace to all the great sovereigns of the world, and established it among his friends in the Orient. The horizon of the East was in utter darkness, nations displayed the utmost hatred and enmity towards each other, religions thirsted for each other’s blood, and it was darkness upon darkness. At such a time His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh shone forth like the sun from the horizon of the East and illumined Persia with the lights of these teachings.

Tablet to the Hague, pp: 3-4

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15 June ― 11 Núr   Leave a comment

MORNING:

Cast away all that is on earth, and attire the head of thy kingdom with the crown of the remembrance of thy Lord, the All-Glorious. He, in truth, hath come unto the world in His most great glory, and all that hath been mentioned in the Gospel hath been fulfilled. The land of Syria hath been honoured by the footsteps of its Lord, the Lord of all men, and North and South are both inebriated with the wine of His presence. Blessed is the man that inhaled the fragrance of the Most Merciful, and turned unto the Dawning-Place of His Beauty, in this resplendent Dawn. The Mosque of Aqsá vibrateth through the breezes of its Lord, the All-Glorious whilst Batha (Mecca) trembleth at the voice of God, the Exalted, the Most High. Whereupon every single stone of them celebrateth the praise of the Lord, through this Great Name.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Proclamation of Baha’u’llah, p. 33

Night view of Bahá’í Gardens on Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel

EVENING:

Thou hast mentioned thine intention to stay in Damascus until spring, then to proceed to Mosul, should the means be forthcoming. This lowly servant entreateth God — exalted is His glory — to provide such means as is deemed expedient, and to aid thee. He is Potent and Powerful.

Although all the inhabitants of this region have been treated with the utmost kindness, yet no evidence of fellowship can be discerned from them. Thou shouldst observe much tact and wisdom, for they seek at all times to cavil at and deny the Cause. May the One true God grant them equity.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 175

FROM THE MYSTERY OF GOD ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

“Shall that which anyone hath of wealth endure unto him, or avail him tomorrow with him who holdeth his forelock? If any should look on those who sleep under slabs and keep company with the dust, can he distinguish the bones of the king’s skull from the knuckles of the slave? No, by the King of Kings! Or doth he know governors from herdsmen, or discern the wealthy and the rich from him who was without shoes or carpet? By God, distinction is removed, save for him who fulfilled righteousness and judged uprightly. Where are the doctors, the scholars, the nobles? Where is the keenness of their glances, the sharpness of their sight, the subtlety of their thoughts, the soundness of their understandings? Where are their hidden treasures and their apparent gauds, their bejeweled thrones and their ample couches? Alas! All have been laid waste, and the decree of God hath rendered them as scattered dust! Emptied is what they treasured up, and dissipated is what they collected, and dispersed is what they concealed: they have become [such that] thou seest naught but their empty places, their gaping roofs, their uprooted beams, their new things waxed old. As for the discerning man, verily wealth will not divert him from regarding the end; and for the prudent man, riches will not withhold him from turning toward [God] the Rich, the Exalted. Where is he who held dominion over all whereon the sun arose, and who spent lavishly and sought after curious things in the world and what is therein created? Where is the lord of the swarthy squadron and the yellow standard? Where is he who ruled Zawra [Baghdád], and where he who wrought injustice in [Damascus] the spacious? Where are they at whose bounty treasures were afraid, at whose openhandedness and generosity the ocean was dismayed? Where is he whose arm was stretched forth in rebelliousness, whose heart turned away from the Merciful One? Where is he who used to make choice of pleasures and cull the fruits of desires? Where are the dames of the bridal chambers, and the possessors of beauty? Where are their waving branches and their spreading boughs, their lofty palaces and trellised gardens? Where is the smoothness of the expanses thereof and the softness of their breezes, the rippling of their waters and the murmur of their winds, the cooing of their doves and the rustling of their trees? Where are their laughing hearts and their smiling teeth? Woe unto them! They have descended to the abyss and become companions to the pebbles; today no mention is heard of them nor any sound; nothing is known of them nor any hint. Will the people dispute it while they behold it? Will they deny it when they know it? I know not in what valley they wander erringly: do they not see that they depart and return not? How long will they be famous in the low countries and in the high, descend and ascend? ‘Is not the time yet come to those who believe for their hearts to become humble for the remembrance of God?’* Well is it with that one who hath said or shall say, ‘Yea, O Lord, the time is ripe and hath come,’ and who severeth himself from all that is. Alas! naught is reaped but what is sown, and naught is taken but what is laid up, save by the grace of God and His favor. Hath the earth conceived Him whom the veils of glory prevent not from ascending into the Kingdom of His Lord, the Mighty, the Supreme? Have We any good works whereby defects shall be removed or which shall bring Us near unto the Lord of causes? We ask God to deal with Us according to His grace, not His justice, and to make Us of those who turn toward Him and sever themselves from all beside Him.

*Qu’rán 57:18

A Traveller’s Narrative, pp. 78-79

FROM THE BELOVED GUARDIAN OF TH E CAUSE ,

SHOGHI EFFENDI:

The initiation in these days of extreme peril in the Holy Land of so great and holy an enterprise, founded by Bahá’u’lláh Himself whilst still a Prisoner in ‘Akká and commenced by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during the darkest and most perilous days of His ministry, recalls to our minds, furthermore, the construction of the superstructure of the Temple in Wilmette during one of the severest financial crises that has afflicted the United States of America, and the completion of its exterior ornamentation during the dark days of the last World War. Indeed, the tragic and moving story of the transfer of the Báb’s mutilated body from place to place ever since His Martyrdom in Tabríz, its fifty-year concealment in Persia; its perilous and secret journey by way of Tihran, Isfahan, Kirmanshan, Baghdád, Damascus, Beirut and ‘Akká to the Mountain of God, its ultimate resting place; its concealment for a further period of ten years in the Holy Land itself; the vexatious and long-drawn-out negotiations for the purchase of the site chosen by Bahá’u’lláh Himself for its entombment; the threats of ‘Abdu’l-Hamid, the Turkish tyrant, the accusations levelled against its Trustee, the plots devised, and the inspection made, by the scheming members of the notorious Turkish Commission of Inquiry; the perils to which the bloodthirsty Jamál Páshá exposed it; the machinations of the arch-breaker of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant, of His brother and of His son, respectively, aiming at the frustration of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s design, at the prevention of the sale of land within the precincts of the Shrine itself, and the multiplication of the measures taken for the preservation and consolidation of the properties purchased in its vicinity and dedicated to it — all these are to be regarded as successive stages in the history of the almost hundred year long process destined to culminate in the consummation of Bahá’u’lláh’s irresistible purpose of erecting a lasting and befitting memorial to His Divine Herald and Co-Founder of His Faith.

Citadel of Faith, pp. 53-54

FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE:

Riḍván 2011

To the Bahá’ís of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

At the opening of this glorious season our eyes are brightened as we behold the newly unveiled brilliance of the gilded dome that crowns the exalted Shrine of the Báb. Restored to the supernal lustre intended for it by Shoghi Effendi, that august edifice once again shines out to land, sea, and sky, by day and by night, attesting the majesty and holiness of Him Whose hallowed remains are embosomed within.

This moment of joy synchronizes with the close of an auspicious chapter in the unfoldment of the Divine Plan. Only a single decade remains of the first century of the Formative Age, the first hundred years to be spent beneath the benevolent shade of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The Five Year Plan now ending is succeeded by another, the features of which have already been made the object of intense study across the Bahá’í world. Indeed, we could not be more gratified by the response to our message to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors and to the Ridván message of twelve months ago. Not satisfied with a fragmentary grasp of their contents, the friends are returning to these messages again and again, singly and in groups, at formal meetings and spontaneous gatherings. Their understanding is enriched through active and informed participation in the programmes of growth being nurtured in their clusters. Consequently, the Bahá’í community worldwide has consciously absorbed in a few months what it needs to propel it into a confident start to the coming decade.

W

13 June – 9 Núr   Leave a comment

Bahá’í Gardens of Haifa, Israel

MORNING:

In the past the divines were perplexed over this question, a question which He Who is the Sovereign Truth hath, during the early years of His life, Himself heard them ask repeatedly: ‘What is that Word which the Qá’im will pronounce whereby the leaders of religion are put to flight?’ Say, that Word is now made manifest and ye have fled ere ye heard it uttered, although ye perceive it not. And that blessed, that hidden, that concealed and treasured Word is this: ‘”HE” hath now appeared in the raiment of “I”. He Who was hidden from mortal eyes exclaimeth: Lo! I am the All-Manifest.’ This is the Word which hath caused the limbs of disbelievers to quake. Glorified be God! All the heavenly Scriptures of the past attest to the greatness of this Day, the greatness of this Manifestation, the greatness of His signs, the greatness of His Word, the greatness of His  constancy, the greatness of His pre-eminent station. Yet despite all this the people have remained heedless and are shut out as by a veil. Indeed all the Prophets have yearned to attain this Day. David saith: ‘Who will bring me into the Strong City?’* By Strong City is meant ‘Akká. Its fortifications are very strong and this Wronged One is imprisoned within its walls. Likewise it is revealed in the Qur’án: ‘Bring forth thy people from the darkness into the light and announce to them the days of God.’**

 * Psalms 59:9; 108:10

** Qur’án 14:5

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá‘u’lláh, pp. 258-259

EVENING:

Blessed art thou inasmuch as the darkness of vain imaginings hath been powerless to hinder thee from the light of certitude, and the onslaught of the people hath failed to deter thee from the Lord of mankind. Appreciate thou the value of this high station and beseech God — exalted is His glory — to graciously enable thee to safeguard it. Imperishable dominion hath exclusively pertained unto the One true God and His loved ones and will continue to pertain unto them everlastingly.

The glory that hath shone forth from the horizon of eternity rest upon thee and upon such as have taken fast hold of the Cord of God that no man can sever.

He Who leadeth to true victory is come. By the righteousness of God! He is fully capable of revolutionizing the world through the power of a single Word. Having enjoined upon all men to observe wisdom, He Himself hath adhered to the cord of patience and resignation.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá‘u’lláh, pp. 259-260

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FROM THE CENTRE OF THE COVENANT  ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

Strive diligently to acquire virtues befitting your degree and station. Be as lights of the world which cannot be hid and which have no setting in horizons of darkness. Ascend to the zenith of an existence which is never beclouded by the fears and forebodings of nonexistence. When man is not endowed with inner perception, he is not informed of these important mysteries. The retina of outer vision, though sensitive and delicate, may, nevertheless, be a hindrance to the inner eye which alone can perceive. The bestowals of God which are manifest in all phenomenal life are sometimes hidden by intervening veils of mental and mortal vision which render man spiritually blind and incapable, but when those scales are removed and the veils rent asunder, then the great signs of God will become visible, and he will witness the eternal light filling the world. The bestowals of God are all and always manifest. The promises of heaven are ever present. The favors of God are all-surrounding, but should the conscious eye of the soul of man remain veiled and darkened, he will be led to deny these universal signs and remain deprived of these manifestations of divine bounty. Therefore, we must endeavor with heart and soul in order that the veil covering the eye of inner vision may be removed, that we may behold the manifestations of the signs of God, discern His mysterious graces and realize that material blessings as compared with spiritual bounties are as nothing. The spiritual blessings of God are greatest. When we were in the mineral kingdom, although we were endowed with certain gifts and powers, they were not to be compared with the blessings of the human kingdom. In the matrix of the mother we were the recipients of endowments and blessings of God, yet these were as nothing compared to the powers and graces bestowed upon us after birth into this human world. Likewise, if we are born from the matrix of this physical and phenomenal environment into the freedom and loftiness of the spiritual life and vision, we shall consider this mortal existence and its blessings as worthless by comparison.

 

The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 89-90

27 February ― 3 Ayyám-i-Há   Leave a comment

‘The intercalary days are specifically set aside for hospitality, the giving of gifts, etc., Bahá’u’lláh Himself specified that they be used this way, but gave no explanation for it.’

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“In ‘The Bahá’í World’, Vol. XV, p. 691 we read: Bahá’u’lláh designated those days as the ‘Ayyám-i-Há and ordained that they should immediately precede the month of ‘Alá’, which is the month of fasting. He enjoined upon His followers to devote these days to feasting, rejoicing, and charity.’

From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, January 18, 1982
Lights of Guidance, p. 301

MORNING:

Haji Muhammad-Tahir-i-Malmiri* attained the presence of Bahá’u’lláh around 1878-9. When asked by the friends to describe His impressions of the Blessed Beauty, he always recited in answer a Persian poem:

 

*The father of the present author. Adib Taherzadeh

 

And wonder at the vision I have dreamed, A secret by my muted tongue

concealed; Beauty that is beyond the poet’s word By an unhearing world

remains unheard.

The same believer has left to posterity an account of one of the feasts at which he had the honour to be present. These are his words recorded in his memoirs:

In the spring season Bahá’u’lláh used to stay at Mazra’ih for some

time.* Mazra’ih is situated at a distance of about two farsangs [about

12 kilometers] from the city of ‘Akká. To attain His presence I used to

go to Mazra’ih in the daytime and at night I stayed at the Pilgrim House.

On the first day of the Ayyam-i-Ha [Intercalary days] one of the pilgrims

had invited Bahá’u’lláh and all the believers in ‘Akká to lunch. I too

went to Mazra’ih. Early in the morning a large tent was pitched in front

of the entrance to the garden on a delightful open space. That morning

all the believers, numbering almost two hundred, consisting of those who

were living in the Holy Land and the pilgrims, came to Mazra’ih.

*Bahá’u’lláh did not live at Mazra’ih or Bahji all the time. He used to go and stay in ‘Akká sometimes;…

Around the time of noon, the Blessed Beauty came down from the Mansion

and majestically entered the tent. All the believers were standing in

front of the tent. Then Mirza Aqa Jan, standing in the presence of

Bahá’u’lláh chanted a dawn prayer for fasting which had been revealed on

that day. When the prayer was finished the Blessed Beauty instructed all

to be seated. Every person sat down in the place where he was standing.

His blessed Person spoke to us and after His utterances were ended He

asked, ‘What happened to the Feast, is it really going to happen?’

Thereupon a few friends hurried away and soon lunch was brought in. They

placed a low table in the middle of the tent. His blessed person and

all the Aghsán* sat around the table and since there was more room, He

called some by name to join Him. Among these my name was called; He said,

‘Aqa Tahir, come and sit.’ So I went in and sat at the table in His presence.

At some point Bahá’u’lláh said, ‘We have become tired of eating. Those who have had enough may leave.’ I immediately arose and His blessed Person left.

At first the food which was left over on His plate was divided among the friends, and then group after group entered the tent and had their meal. Everyone at this feast partook of both physical and spiritual food. I got the prayer of fasting from Mirza Aqa Jan and copied it for myself. Then in the evening all the friends returned to ‘Akká. But the Master was not present that day.

* The male descendants of Bahá’u’lláh

Adib Taherzadeh,

The Revelation of Baha’u’llah v 4, p. 8-1

EVENING:

Say, by reason of your remembering Him Whom God shall make manifest and by extolling His name, God will cause your hearts to be dilated with joy, and do ye not wish your hearts to be in such a blissful state? Indeed the hearts of them that truly believe in Him Whom God shall make manifest are vaster than the expanse of heaven and earth and whatever is between them. God hath left no hindrance in their hearts, were it but the size of a mustard seed. He will cheer their hearts, their spirits, their souls and their bodies and their days of prosperity or adversity, through the exaltation of the name of Him Who is the supreme Testimony of God and the promotion of the Word of Him Who is the Dayspring of the glory of their Creator.

Verily, these are souls who take delight in the remembrance of God, Who dilates their hearts through the effulgence of the light of knowledge and wisdom. They seek naught but God and are oft engaged in giving praise  unto Him. They desire naught except whatever He desireth and stand ready to do His bidding. Their hearts are mirrors reflecting whatsoever He Whom God shall make manifest willeth. Thus God will cheer the hearts of those who truly believe in Him and in His signs and who are well assured of the life to come. Say, the life to come is none other than the days associated with the coming of Him Whom God will make manifest.

—His Holiness The Báb

Selections from the Writings of the Báb, pp: 145-146


18 November ― 15 Qudrat   Leave a comment

MORNING:

We have, of old, uttered these words: Spread thy skirt, O Jerusalem! Ponder this in your hearts, O people of Bahá, and render thanks unto your Lord, the Expounder, the Most Manifest.

Were the mysteries, that are known to none except God, to be unraveled, the whole of mankind would witness the evidences of perfect and consummate justice. With a certitude that none can question, all men would cleave to His commandments, and would scrupulously observe them. We, verily, have decreed in Our Book a goodly and bountiful reward to whosoever will turn away from wickedness and lead a chaste and godly life. He, in truth, is the Great Giver, the All-Bountiful.

 —His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 116

 

EVENING:

  

The Breath hath been wafted, and the Breeze hath blown, and from Zion hath appeared that which was hidden, and from Jerusalem is heard the Voice of God, the One, the Incomparable, the Omniscient.

 Lend an ear unto the song of David. He saith: ‘Who will bring me into the Strong City?’ The Strong City is ‘Akká, which hath been named the Most Great Prison, and which possesseth a fortress and mighty ramparts… Peruse that which Isaiah hath spoken in His Book. He saith: ‘Get thee up into the high mountain, O Zion, that bringest good tidings; lift up thy voice with strength, O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings. Lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah: “Behold your God! Behold the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him.”‘ This Day all the signs have appeared. A great City hath descended from heaven, and Zion trembleth and exulteth with joy at the Revelation of God, for it hath heard the Voice of God on every side.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Proclamation of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 90-91

 

FROM THE MYSTERY OF GOD ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

Verily, verily the new heaven and the new earth are come. The holy City, new Jerusalem, hath come down from on high in the form of a maid of heaven, veiled, beauteous, and unique, and prepared for reunion with her lovers on earth. The angelic company of the celestial Concourse have joined in a call that hath rung throughout the universe, all loudly and mightily acclaiming: “Hail, O City of God! Abide Thou, and make Thy habitation with the pure, virtuous and holy servants of Thine; for they are Thy people, and Thou art their Lord.”

He hath wiped away their tears, kindled their light, rejoiced their hearts and enraptured their souls. Death shall no more overtake them, neither shall sorrow, crying and tribulation afflict them. The Lord God Omnipotent hath been enthroned in His Kingdom and hath made all things new. This is the truth, and what truth greater than the Revelation of St. John the divine? He is the Alpha and Omega. He is the One that will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life, and bestow upon the sick the remedy of true salvation. He whom such grace aideth is verily he that receiveth the most glorious heritage from the prophets of God and His holy ones. The Lord will be his God, and he His dearly-beloved son.

Rejoice, then, O ye beloved of the Lord and His chosen ones, and ye the children of God and His people, raise your voice and laud and magnify the Lord, the Most High; for His light hath beamed forth, His signs have appeared, and the billows of His rising ocean have scattered on every shore many a precious pearl.

Bahá’í World Faith, pp: 350-351