Archive for the ‘Bahá’í Community’ Category

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

5 May ― 8 Jamál   Leave a comment

A chaotic international society, torn by conflicting perceptions and interests, is assailed by rising terrorism, lawlessness and corruption, and eroded by economic failure, poverty and disease. In its midst the Bahá’í community is becoming increasingly visible, inspired by a divinely revealed vision, building on solid foundations, growing in strength through the processes that are now in place, and undaunted by seeming setbacks. An example of the capacity of the Bahá’í world to respond to unexpected conditions occurred a year ago, when multiple dangers required the cancellation of the International Bahá’í Convention; the election of the Universal House of Justice was duly held and the Plan went forward without a missed step. Concurrently, despite the disruption and chaos of life in Iraq, it was possible to contact the Bahá’ís in that land and reconstitute their Local Spiritual Assemblies. Now we announce with great joy the election, this Riḍván, of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Iraq, restored after more than thirty years of stifling oppression, to take its rightful place in the international Bahá’í community. What the Divine Plan requires at this stage is for us to continue confidently and dynamically in the present direction, undeterred by storms battering the world of humanity. Be sure that the Blessed Beauty will guide your steps and the Hosts of the Supreme Concourse will reinforce your every effort for the progress of His Faith.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Riḍván 161 2004

 

MORNING:

Know thou, moreover, that He it is Who hath, by His own behest, created all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. How can, then, the thing that hath been created at His bidding prevail against Him? High is God exalted above what ye imagine about Him, ye people of malice! If this Cause be of God, no man can prevail against it; and if it be not of God, the divines amongst you, and they that follow their corrupt desires and such as have rebelled against Him will surely suffice to overpower it.

 —His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pp: 220-221

EVENING:

Say: God hath made My hidden love the key to the Treasure; would that ye might perceive it! But for the key, the Treasure would to all eternity have remained concealed; would that ye might believe it! Say: This is the Source of Revelation, the Dawning-place of Splendour, Whose brightness hath illumined the horizons of the world. Would that ye might understand! This is, verily, that fixed Decree through which every irrevocable decree hath been established.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶ 15

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

By the word religion I do not mean the present dogmatic and theological superstitions which are in the hands of the people. By religion I mean the world of celestial attributes. After the moral aspect of humanity becomes readjusted, then the greatest unity will be realized; but without this moral readjustment it is impossible to establish harmony and concord, for it is a fact that war, conflict, friction and strife are but the visible results of deterioration of morality and corruption of character. But when the morality of humanity is beautified with praiseworthy virtues there will be an end to war.

Divine Philosophy, pp:176-177

16 July ― 4 Kalimát   Leave a comment

Significantly, it was also on the initiative of a political leader of one of the Western hemisphere nations which had been addressed by Bahá’u’lláh, that His summons to collective security — first reflected in the nominal sanctions voted by the League of Nations against Fascist aggression in Ethiopia — was at long last given practical effect. In November 1956, Lester Bowles Pearson, then External Affairs Minister and later Prime Minister of Canada, secured the creation by the United Nations of its first international peacekeeping force, an achievement which won its author the Nobel Prize for Peace. The full nature of the authority contained in such a mandate would steadily emerge as a major feature of international relations during the second half of the century. Beginning with the policing of agreements worked out between hostile states, the principle of collective action in defence of peace gradually took on the form of military interventions such as that of the Gulf War, in which compliance with Security Council resolutions was imposed by force on aggressor factions and states.

Along with the establishment of the new United Nations’ system and steps to enforce its sanctions, a second major breakthrough occurred. Even before hostilities had ended, public audiences throughout the world were stunned by film coverage of the liberation of Nazi death camps, which exposed for all to see the horrific consequences of racism. What can adequately be described only as a profound sense of shame at the depths of evil that humanity had shown itself capable of committing shook the conscience of humankind. Through the window of opportunity thus briefly opened, a group of dedicated and far-sighted men and women, under the inspired leadership of figures like Eleanor Roosevelt, secured the United Nations’ adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The moral commitment it represented was institutionalized in the subsequent establishment of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. In due course, the Bahá’í community itself would have good cause to appreciate, at firsthand, the system’s importance as a shield protecting minorities from the abuses of the past.

Commissioned by

The Universal House of Justice

Century of Light, pp: 72-73, ¶’s 6.18-6.19

MORNING:

As to the words — “Immediately after the oppression of those days” — they refer to the time when men shall become oppressed and afflicted, the time when the lingering traces of the Sun of Truth and the fruit of the Tree of knowledge and wisdom will have vanished from the midst of men, when the reins of mankind will have fallen into the grasp of the foolish and ignorant, when the portals of divine unity and understanding — the essential and highest purpose in creation — will have been closed, when certain knowledge will have given way to idle fancy, and corruption will have usurped the station of righteousness. Such a condition as this is witnessed in this day when the reins of every community have fallen into the grasp of foolish leaders, who lead after their own whims and desire. On their tongue the mention of God hath become an empty name; in their midst His holy Word a dead letter. Such is the sway of their desires, that the lamp of conscience and reason hath been quenched in their hearts, and this although the fingers of divine power have unlocked the portals of the knowledge of God, and the light of divine knowledge and heavenly grace hath illumined and inspired the essence of all created things, in such wise that in each and every thing a door of knowledge hath been opened, and within every atom traces of the sun hath been made manifest. And yet, in spite of all these manifold revelations of divine knowledge, which have encompassed the world, they still vainly imagine the door of knowledge to be closed, and the showers of mercy to be stilled. Clinging unto idle fancy, they have strayed far from the ‘Urvatu’l-Vuthqá of divine knowledge. Their hearts seem not to be inclined to knowledge and the door thereof, neither think they of its manifestations, inasmuch as in idle fancy they have found the door that leadeth unto earthly riches, whereas in the manifestation of the Revealer of knowledge they find naught but the call to self-sacrifice. They therefore naturally hold fast unto the former, and flee from the latter. Though they recognize in their hearts the Law of God to be one and the same, yet from every direction they issue a new command, and in every season proclaim a fresh decree. No two are found to agree on one and the same law, for they seek no God but their own desire, and tread no path but the path of error. In leadership they have recognized the ultimate object of their endeavour, and account pride and haughtiness as the highest attainments of their heart’s desire. They have placed their sordid machinations above the divine decree, have renounced resignation unto the will of God, busied themselves with selfish calculation, and walked in the way of the hypocrite. With all their power and strength they strive to secure themselves in their petty pursuits, fearful lest the least discredit undermine their authority or blemish the display of their magnificence. Were the eye to be anointed and illumined with the collyrium of the knowledge of God, it would surely discover that a number of voracious beasts have gathered and preyed upon the carrion of the souls of men.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp: 29-31

EVENING:

What “oppression” is greater than that which hath been recounted? What “oppression” is more grievous than that a soul seeking the truth, and wishing to attain unto the knowledge of God, should know not where to go for it and from whom to seek it? For opinions have sorely differed, and the ways unto the attainment of God have multiplied. This “oppression” is the essential feature of every Revelation. Unless it cometh to pass, the Sun of Truth will not be made manifest. For the break of the morn of divine guidance must needs follow the darkness of the night of error. For this reason, in all chronicles and traditions reference hath been made unto these things, namely that iniquity shall cover the surface of the earth and darkness shall envelop mankind. As the traditions referred to are well known, and as the purpose of this servant is to be brief, He will refrain from quoting the text of these traditions.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp: 31-32

FROM HIS HOLINESS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

The spiritual love of God maketh man pure and holy and clotheth him with the garment of virtue and purity. And when man attacheth his heart wholly to God and becometh related to the Blessed Perfection, the divine bounty will dawn. This love is not physical, nay, rather, it is absolutely spiritual.

The souls whose consciences are enlightened through the light of the love of God, they are like unto shining lights and resemble stars of holiness in the heaven of purity.

The real and great love is the love of God. That is holy above the imaginations and thoughts of men.

The beloved of God must each be the essence of purity and holiness; so may they be known by their purity, freedom and meekness in every land; they may drink from the eternal chalice of the love of God, enjoy its ecstasy, and through meeting the Beauty of Abhá, they should be joyful, active, aglow with zeal and wonderful. This is the station of the sincere. This is the quality of those who are firm. This is the illumination of the faces of those who are near.

Therefore, O ye friends of God, ye must in perfect purity attain spiritual unity and agreement to a degree that ye may express one spirit and one life.

In this condition physical bodies play no part; the command and authority are in the hand of the spirit. When the spirit becometh all inclusive, the spiritual union shall be attained. Night and day endeavor to attain perfect harmony; be thoughtful concerning your own spiritual developments and close your eyes to the shortcomings of one another.

By good deeds, pure lives, humility and meekness be a lesson for others.

Abdul-Baha wisheth no one’s heart to feel hurt, nor will he be a source of grief to any one; for there is no greater satisfaction than being a source of joy to the hearts

I ask God that ye may become like angels of heaven, sources of happiness to souls.

Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, pp: 22-23

14 May ― 17 Jamál   Leave a comment

Shoghi Effendi perceived in the organic life of the Cause a dialectic of victory and crisis. The unprecedented triumphs, generated by the adamantine steadfastness of the Iranian friends, will inevitably provoke opposition to test and increase our strength. Let every Bahá’í in the world be assured that whatever may befall this growing Faith of God is but incontrovertible evidence of the loving care with which the King of Glory and His martyred Herald, through the incomparable Centre of His Covenant and our beloved Guardian, are preparing His humble followers for ultimate and magnificent triumph….

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

2 January 1986 to the Bahá’ís of the World

The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p: 168-169

 

MORNING:

Say: The fierce gales and whirlwinds of the world and its peoples can never shake the foundation upon which the rocklike stability of My chosen ones is based. Gracious God! What could have prompted these people to enslave and imprison the loved ones of Him Who is the Eternal Truth? … The day, however, is approaching when the faithful will behold the Day Star of justice shining in its full splendor from the Day Spring of glory. Thus instructeth thee the Lord of all being in this, His grievous Prison.

 

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 341-342

 

EVENING:

Behold how in this Dispensation the worthless and foolish have fondly imagined that by such instruments as massacre, plunder and banishment they can extinguish the Lamp which the Hand of Divine power hath lit, or eclipse the Day Star of everlasting splendor. How utterly unaware they seem to be of the truth that such adversity is the oil that feedeth the flame of this Lamp! Such is God’s transforming power. He changeth whatsoever He willeth; He verily hath power over all things….

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 72

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

The friends of God are supported by the Kingdom on high and they win their victories through the massed armies of the most great guidance. Thus for them every difficulty will be made smooth, every problem will most easily be solved.

Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 279

All who stand up in the cause of God will be persecuted and misunderstood. It hath ever been so, and will ever be. Let neither enemy nor friend disturb your composure, destroy your happiness, deter your accomplishment. Rely wholly upon God. Then will persecution and slander make you the more radiant. The designs of your enemies will rebound upon them. They, not you, will suffer.

Oppression is the wind that doth fan the fire of the Love of God. Welcome persecution and bitterness. A soldier may bear arms, but until  he hath faced the enemy in battle he hath not earned his place in the king’s army. Let nothing defeat you. God is your helper. God is invincible. Be firm in the Heavenly Covenant. Pray for strength. It will be given to you, no matter how difficult the conditions.

Star of the West, vol. 4, no. 5 (5 June 1913), p. 88 – revised translation)

The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, pp: 155-156

 

 

FROM THE BELOVED GUARDIAN OF THE CAUSE OF GOD SHOGHI EFFENDI:

…every apparent trial with which the unfathomable wisdom of the Almighty deems it necessary to afflict His chosen community serves only to demonstrate afresh its essential solidarity and to consolidate its inward strength…  For such demonstrations of the interpositions of an ever- watchful Providence they who stand identified with the Community of the Most Great Name must feel eternally grateful. From every fresh token of His unfailing blessing on the one hand, and of His visitation on the other, they cannot but derive immense hope and courage….

 

Though small in numbers, and circumscribed as yet in your experiences, powers, and resources, yet the Force which energizes your mission is limitless in its range and incalculable in its potency. Though the enemies which every acceleration in the progress of your mission must raise up be fierce, numerous, and unrelenting, yet the invisible Hosts which, if you persevere, must, as promised, rush forth to your aid, will, in the end, enable you to vanquish their hopes and annihilate their forces. Though the ultimate blessings that must crown the consummation of your mission be undoubted, and the Divine promises given you firm and irrevocable, yet the measure of the goodly reward which every one of you is to reap must depend on the extent to which your daily exertions will have contributed to the expansion of that mission and the hastening of its triumph.

From a letter dated 25 December 1938 to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada, published in The Advent of Divine Justice p. 2; p. 16

The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, pp: 158-159