Arising To Serve: An Interview with Max Weigert

MAX WEIGERT 371x557While Max Weigert was volunteering at the Baha’i World Centre, he realized that there was so much talent amongst his fellow volunteers, that he thought it was a shame not to share it with the rest of the world. So he got together with a group of artists who wanted to put together a collaborative album of Baha’i prayers, Baha’i inspired music and Baha’i inspired poetry, and the result is Arising to Serve!

Arising to Serve is a seven track compilation album of Baha’i music and poetry that Max and his friends (including Andrea Hope, who we interviewed here on Baha’i Blog as well) put together. They not only want to showcase their art, but they want everyone to be able to use it as an inspiration and as a resource for your devotional gatherings, events and other activities. Best of all, it’s completely free!

I decided to catch up with Max to ask him a few questions about this wonderful service that he and his fellow artists put together. Continue reading

Universal House of Justice Letter to the Baha’is of Iran (1 October, 2014)

placeit Letter to Bahai Iran 1 OCT 2014On October 1st, 2014, the Universal House of Justice published a letter to the Baha’is of Iran and the authorised English translation is now available as well.

Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution took place in Iran, the Baha’is there continue to face systematic and institutionalised persecution, which includes execution, imprisonment, harassment and the denial of education. You can read more about the background to the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran here, and you can also read a previous letter from the Universal House of Justice to the Baha’is of Iran dated 2 March, 2013, and some of their other letters and statements here.

For your convenience, we’ve included a copy of the authorized English translation of the 1st October 2014 letter to the Baha’is of Iran in the body of this post below. Continue reading

21 Practical Baha’i Blog Posts for You and Your Community

21 Practical Baha'i Blog Posts for You and Your CommunityMany friends and various Baha’i communities often ask for suggestions relating to more “practical” resources and ideas relating to the Faith. Even in Baha’i Blog’s recent survey, one of the things a lot of the survey participants asked for more of, were posts about the types of resources available for individuals and communities to use.

So I’ve compiled a list of 21 “Practical” resource-related Baha’i Blog posts which you may find useful: Continue reading

The Bab: The Harbinger of the Most Great Light

The Bab The Harbinger of the Most Great LightI hold in my heart two memories that moved me deeply from my visit to the International Archives Building during my Pilgrimage in the Holy Land. The first was the handful of pebbles that was found in the pocket of the Purest Branch, Mirza Mihdi, after his tragic and fatal fall from the skylight of a rooftop in the prison-city of Akka; and the second was the exquisite, hand-stitched clothing of His Holiness the Bab. The latter captured my attention and imagination because of its delicate beauty and ornate craftsmanship, the elaborate attention given to detail and the painstakingly fine stitching. In my mind I could only imagine how each single stitch must have been sewn with such love and precious care for the Owner of the attire.

The Bab was born on October 20, 1819 in Shiraz, Iran, and whilst we know very little of the early days of the Person of the Bab, Shoghi Effendi describes Him as:

…infinite in His tenderness, irresistible in His charm, unsurpassed in His heroism, [and] matchless in the dramatic circumstances of His short yet eventful life.

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Persian Calligraphy with a Twist: The Works of Reza Mostmand

Reza Mostmand 864x575Reza Mostmand has been practicing and developing the art of Persian Calligraphy since he was a young student in Shiraz, Iran.

Years later while volunteering at the Baha’i World Centre in Israel as a Digital Imaging Restoration Specialist, he had the unique opportunity of being exposed to marvellous works of early masters of Persian calligraphy. This exposure to those historic pieces along with the teachings of the Baha’i Faith are his continuous source of inspiration and motivation.

Now based in Toronto, Canada, Reza works as a senior designer at 19gale, a design, web and multi-media agency which he co-founded over 3 years ago. But that hasn’t stopped Reza from putting ink to paper and continuing the tradition of Persian calligraphy while adding his own unique spin to the art form. His work has been featured in local exhibitions and conferences, and he offers calligraphy workshops for youth and adults where they explore the history of calligraphy through drama, and are taught the basic rules followed by hands-on practice.

I’ve been following Reza’s artwork for quite some time now, and I was finally able to corner him and ask him some questions about his wonderful art: Continue reading

Check Out the New bahai.org Website!

New_Bahai.orgAs most of you know, bahai.org is the official website of the worldwide Baha’i community, and whenever someone asks me what website they should use to find out more about the Baha’i Faith, I always give them the bahai.org address.

bahai.org has just gone through a beautiful redesign with new menu options and catagories to choose from. It’s still in its final stages of testing and development, and you can choose to revert to the old design as well, but the new design is refreshing and straightforward, helping you and your friends easily find out What Baha’is Believe, What Baha’is Do and making the Baha’i Reference Library easily accessible.

Have a look at the new bahai.org site by clicking here.

17 Majestic Photos of the Baha’i Gardens in Israel

The Baha’i World Centre in Haifa, Israel is home to vast terraced gardens, sloped magnificently down the side of Mount Carmel. Centred in these iconic gardens is the Shrine of the Bab, one of the twin manifestations of God that Baha’is follow. The shrine’s dome is covered in gold, and lights up at night to create a beautiful beacon on the mountainside. In the surrounding gardens and terraces are buildings of the Baha’i World Centre, including the seat of the Universal House of Justice, the supreme body of the worldwide Baha’i community.

Every year Baha’is from around the world visit the Shrine and other Baha’i holy places on pilgrimage, often taking photographs to remember their experiences. Thanks to the photographers of 500px, we’ve pulled together some of the most stunning photographs from these magical gardens and buildings. Here they are:

Photograph Gardens of Bahá'í by nitzan gur on 500px

Gardens of Bahá'í by nitzan gur on 500px

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4 Things to Help You Develop Your Relationship with God

4 Things to help you Develop Your Relationship with GodIt recently struck me that becoming more spiritual requires both effort and volition, that it isn’t something that will just happen unless I do my part for it. This realisation came while I was reflecting on the following quote from Baha’u’llah:

Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee.

I realised that I needed to focus more on the first part of the quote, “Love Me…”, which I had previously almost overlooked. Many of us know that at times this command requires effort, and at other times it can seem like the most natural thing in the world. However, at least for me, loving God is not always something that comes easily, and I have to consciously remind myself of it ever so often, so here are four ways.
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The Importance of Education in the Baha’i Faith

A classroom in Battambang, Cambodia (Photo: Baha’i World Centre)

A classroom in Battambang, Cambodia (Photo: Baha’i World Centre)

Education is a fundamental right to which every child is entitled. An education is fundamental to the development of individuals and their continued wellbeing. It allows individuals to realize their full human capacities and to live rich and meaningful lives. Beyond that, however, education also has the potential to shape entire communities. Continue reading

‘Towards a Better Society’ – A New Video about Junior Youth

Towards a Better Society is a new 53 minute documentary from the Baha’i Community of the United Kingdom which follows the movement of youth; before, during and after the London Youth Conference in 2013.

The London Youth Conference was one of 114 Youth Conferences announced by the Universal House of Justice across the globe, and the documentary captures the personal stories of young people from Camberwell (London), Sheffield and Ennis (Republic of Ireland) as they strive to work towards building a better society.

Hopefully this film will serve as an inspiring resource and tool for furthering the community building efforts at the grassroots.

Happy viewing everyone!