Archive for the ‘Most Great Prison’ Category

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

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19 September ― 12 ‘Izzat   1 comment

MORNING:

IMG_2207Knowledge is one of the wondrous gifts of God. It is incumbent upon everyone to acquire it. Such arts and material means as are now manifest have been achieved by virtue of His knowledge and wisdom which have been revealed in Epistles and Tablets through His Most Exalted Pen—a Pen out of whose treasury pearls of wisdom and utterance and the arts and crafts of the world are brought to light.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1988, p. 39

EVENING:

IMG_2208O people of the earth! Whoso obeyeth the Remembrance of God and His Book hath in truth obeyed God and His chosen ones and he will, in the life to come, be reckoned in the presence of God among the inmates of the Paradise of His good-pleasure. Knowledge is as wings to man’s life, and a ladder for his ascent. Its acquisition is incumbent upon everyone. The knowledge of such sciences, however, should be acquired as can profit the peoples of the earth, and not those which begin with words and end with words. Great indeed is the claim of scientists and craftsmen on the peoples of the world…. In truth, knowledge is a veritable treasure for man, and a source of glory, of bounty, of joy, of exaltation, of cheer and gladness unto him. Thus hath the Tongue of Grandeur spoken in this Most Great Prison.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1988,, pp. 51–52)

FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSICE:

With the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Apostolic Age of the Cause reached its end. The Divine intervention that had begun seventy-seven years earlier on the night the Báb declared His mission to Mulla Ḥusayn—and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Himself was born—had completed its work. It had been, in the words of Shoghi Effendi, “a period whose splendours no victories in this or any future age, however brilliant, can rival….” 1 Ahead lay the thousand or thousands of years in which the potentialities that this creative force has planted in human consciousness will gradually unfold.

Contemplation of so great a juncture in the history of civilization brings into sharp focus the Figure whose nature and role have been unique in this six-thousand-year process. Bahá’u’lláh has called ‘Abdu’l-Bahá “the Mystery of God”. Shoghi Effendi has described Him as “the Centre and Pivot” of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant, the “perfect Exemplar” of the teachings of the Revelation of God for the age of human maturity, and “the Mainspring of the Oneness of Humanity”. No phenomenon in any way comparable to His appearance had accompanied any of the Divine Revelations that had given birth to the other great religious systems in recorded history; all of these had been essentially stages preparing humanity for its coming of age. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was Bahá’u’lláh’s supreme Creation, the One that made everything else possible. An understanding of this truth moved a perceptive American Bahá’í to write:

Hand of the Cause of God Horace HolleyNow a message from God must be delivered, and there was no mankind to hear this message. Therefore, God gave the world ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá received the message of Bahá’u’lláh on behalf of the human race. He heard the voice of God; He was inspired by the spirit; He attained complete consciousness and awareness of the meaning of this message, and He pledged the human race to respond to the voice of God. …to me that is the Covenant—that there was on this earth some one who could be a representative of an as yet uncreated race. There were only tribes, families, creeds, classes, etc., but there was no man except ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as man, took to Himself the message of Bahá’u’lláh and promised God that He would bring the people into the oneness of mankind, and create a humanity that could be the vehicle for the laws of God.*

*Religion for Mankind (London: George Ronald, 1956), pp. 243–244.

Century of Light

Bahá’í World Centre, 2001 edition, pp: 39-40

Photograph of Hand of the Cause of God Horace Holly [1887-1960]

12 September ― 5 ‘Izzat   Leave a comment

MORNING:

IMG_2088The time is at hand when whatsoever lieth hid in the souls and hearts of men will be disclosed. This Day is the Day whereof Luqmán spoke unto his son, the Day which the Lord of Glory announced and with which He acquainted Him Who was His Friend (Muḥammad) through these, His words—exalted be He:—“O my son! Verily, God will bring everything to light, though it were but the weight of a grain of mustard-seed, and hidden in a rock or in the heavens or in the earth; for God is Subtile, informed of all.” This Day the deceitful of eye, and all that men’s breasts conceal, are made known and laid bare before the throne of His Revelation. Nothing whatsoever can escape His knowledge. He heareth and seeth, and He, in truth, is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing. How very strange that they discern not between the trustworthy and the treacherous!

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 107

EVENING:

IMG_2084We have enabled thee to hear the melodies of the Nightingale of Paradise, and unveiled to thine eyes the signs which God, by His all-compelling behest, hath sent down in the Most Great Prison, that thine eye might be cheered, and thy soul be well-assured. He, verily, is the All-Bounteous, the Generous. Arise thou through the power of His testimony to serve the Cause of God, thy Lord, the God of Mercy. If thy faith be fearful, seize thou My Tablet, and preserve it in the bosom of trust. And when thou enterest into the place of resurrection, and God asketh thee by what proof thou hast believed in this Revelation, draw forth the Tablet and say: “By this Book, the holy, the mighty, the incomparable.” Thereupon all will lift up their hands towards thee, and will seize the Tablet, and will press it to their eyes, and will inhale therefrom the fragrance of the utterance of God, the Lord of the worlds. Were God to torment thee for having believed in His signs in this Revelation, for what reason could He then torment such as have disbelieved in Muḥammad, the Apostle of God, and before Him in Jesus, the Son of Mary, and before Him in the One Who conversed with God (Moses), and before Him in the One Who is the Friend of God (Abraham), and as far back as the One Who was the First Manifestation, Who was created by the will of thy Lord, the Potent, the All-Encompassing. Thus have We sent down Our verses unto one before thee, and recalled them unto thee, in this day, that thou mayest understand, and be of them who are well assured. O thou who assumest the voice of knowledge! This Cause is too evident to be obscured, and too conspicuous to be concealed. It shineth as the sun in its meridian glory. None can deny it unless he be a hater and a doubter.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp: 103-104

9 October ― 13 Mashíyyat   Leave a comment

MORNING:

IMG_2202

Knowledge is one of the wondrous gifts of God. It is incumbent upon everyone to acquire it. Such arts and material means as are now manifest have been achieved by virtue of His knowledge and wisdom which have been revealed in Epistles and Tablets through His Most Exalted Pen—a Pen out of whose treasury pearls of wisdom and utterance and the arts and crafts of the world are brought to light.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1988), p. 39

EVENING:

IMG_2200Knowledge is as wings to man’s life, and a ladder for his ascent. Its acquisition is incumbent upon everyone. The knowledge of such sciences, however, should be acquired as can profit the peoples of the earth, and not those which begin with words and end with words. Great indeed is the claim of scientists and craftsmen on the peoples of the world…. In truth, knowledge is a veritable treasure for man, and a source of glory, of bounty, of joy, of exaltation, of cheer and gladness unto him. Thus hath the Tongue of Grandeur spoken in this Most Great Prison.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1988), pp: 51-52

FROM THE EXEMPLAR OF THE FAITH  ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

Make every effort to acquire the advanced knowledge of the day, and strain every nerve to carry forward the divine civilization….

IMG_5124Included must be promotion of the arts, the discovery of new wonders, the expansion of trade, and the development of industry. The methods of civilization and the beautification of the country must also be encouraged; and also to be inculcated is absolute obedience to the Government and total avoidance of any trace of sedition.

(From a Tablet, translated from the Persian)

A Compilation on Scholarship, Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, Bahá’í World Centre, February 1995, p. 1

 IMG_7937

FROM LETTERS WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF THE BELOVED GUARDIAN, SHOGHI EFFENDI:

In connection with the question as to whether Bahá’ís should be familiar with the different sciences and branches of study, Shoghi Effendi wishes me to inform you that both Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have given a very high position to men of culture and knowledge and Bahá’u’lláh says in one of His Tablets that respect shown to such people is incumbent upon all Bahá’ís. Furthermore there is no doubt that familiarity with different branches of study widens one’s point of view and we can then understand and realize the significance of the Bahá’í Movement and its principles much more.

(14 December 1924 to an individual believer)

A Compilation on Scholarship, Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, Bahá’í World Centre, February 1995, p. 4

FROM LETERS WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE:

At this early stage in the development of the Faith, it would not be useful to propound a highly restrictive definition of the term “Bahá’í scholarship”. In a letter written on behalf of the House of Justice to an Association for Bahá’í Studies recently, it is stated that:

IMG_9594The House of Justice advises you not to attempt to define too narrowly the form that Bahá’í scholarship should take, or the approach that scholars should adopt. Rather should you strive to develop within your Association respect for a wide range of approaches and endeavours. No doubt there will be some Bahá’ís who will wish to work in isolation, while others will desire consultation and collaboration with those having similar interests. Your aim should be to promote an atmosphere of mutual respect and tolerance within which will be included scholars whose principal interest is in theological issues as well as those scholars whose interests lie in relating the insights provided by the Bahá’í teachings to contemporary thought in the arts and sciences.

A similar diversity should characterize the endeavours pursued by Bahá’í scholars, accommodating their interests and skills as well as the needs of the Faith. The course of world events, the development of new trends of thought and the extension of the teaching work all tend to highlight attractive and beneficial areas to which Bahá’í scholars might well direct their attention. Likewise, the expansion of the activities of the Bahá’í International Community in its relationship with United Nations agencies and other international bodies creates attractive opportunities for scholars to make a direct and highly valued contribution to the enhancement of the prestige of the Faith and to its proclamation within an influential and receptive stratum of society. As the Bahá’í community continues to emerge inexorably from obscurity, it will be confronted by enemies, from both within and without, whose aim will be to malign and misrepresent its principles, so that its admirers might be disillusioned and the faith of its adherents might be shaken; Bahá’í scholars have a vital role to play in the defence of the Faith through their contribution to anticipatory measures and their response to defamatory accusations levelled against the Faith.

IMG_7897Thus, there should be room within the scope of Bahá’í scholarship to accommodate not only those who are interested in theological issues and in the historical origins of the Faith, but also those who are interested in relating the Bahá’í Teachings to their field of academic or professional interest, as well as those believers who may lack formal academic qualifications but who have, through their perceptive study of the Teachings, acquired insights which are of interest to others….

The House of Justice wishes to avoid use of the terms “Bahá’í scholarship” and “Bahá’í scholars” in an exclusive sense, which would effectively establish a demarcation between those admitted into this category and those denied entrance to it. It is clear that such terms are relative, and that what is a worthy scholarly endeavour by a Bahá’í, when compared to the activities of those with whom he is in contact, may well be regarded as of vastly lesser significance when measured against the accomplishments of the outstanding scholars which the Faith has produced. The House of Justice seeks the creation of a Bahá’í community in which the members encourage each other, where there is respect for accomplishment, and a common realization that every one is, in his or her own way, seeking to acquire a deeper understanding of the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh and to contribute to the advancement of the Faith.

(19 October 1993 to an individual believer)

A Compilation on Scholarship, Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, Bahá’í World Centre, February 1995, pp: 4-5