Reflections on the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha

The house of Abdu’l-Baha located in Haifa, Israel where He passed away at approximately 1:00a.m. on November 28, 1921. More than 10,000 mourners, representing all the diverse religions and ethnic communities in the Holy Land attended His funeral. (Photo courtesy Baha’i Media Bank)

At the commemoration of the centenary of Abdu’l-Baha’s visit to Montreal in 2012, I witnessed something profound at an event organized at St. James Methodist Church – the last place where the Master spoke publicly during His brief sojourn in Montreal. The current minister talked about the admirable qualities of Abdu’l-Baha and the unifying impact of His visit. I have never seen a person of authority of another religion lovingly praise this Cause at such length in their own place of worship. A feeling of unity between the congregation of the church and all the visiting Baha’is was palpable. I thought, this is what it must have been like in 1912!

Historical accounts of the life of the Master are bursting with similar exaltations and expressions of amity. Everywhere He went, notable religious leaders praised Him publicly and people were united in their love for Him. Perhaps most moving, is the symphony of tributes after His passing on November 28th, 1921 and the common grief everyone felt over losing Him. In his biography on the life of the Master, Hasan Balyuzi writes:

In the land we know as the Holy Land, in all its turbulent history of the last two thousand years, there had never been an event which could unite all its inhabitants of diverse faiths and origins and purposes, in a single expression of thought and feeling, as did the passing of Abdu’l-Baha. Jews and Christians and Muslims and Druzes, of all persuasions and denominations; Arabs and Turks and Kurds and Armenians and other ethnic groups were united in mourning His passing, in being aware of a great loss they had suffered.

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Baha’i Blog Trivia Quiz: The Day of the Covenant

On November 26 of each year, Baha’is around the world celebrate what’s called ‘the Day of the Covenant’, which is a commemoration of Baha’u’llah’s appointment of His eldest son, Abdu’l-Baha as His successor.

Abdu’l-Baha played a crucial role in guiding the early Baha’i community, and Baha’is are consistently encouraged to study and deepen their understanding of the topic of the Covenant of Baha’u’llah, also referred to as “the Baha’i Covenant”, which ensures that the followers of the Baha’i Faith remain united, rather than fragmenting into different sects.

Our Baha’i Blog Trivia Quizzes have been really popular, and our readers keep asking for more, so we thought we’d celebrate the Day of the Covenant by doing a trivia quiz. Continue reading

Dr. Susan Moody: A Dedicated Pioneer Doctor

Dr. Moody with some friends in Tehran, 1920. Photo courtesy of the Baha'is of the U.S. (www.bahai.us)

Seated in the center is Dr. Moody with some friends in Tehran, 1920. (Photo courtesy of the Baha’is of the U.S.)

On November 20th, 1851 a remarkable person was born into this world. Susan Isobel Moody would grow up to dedicate herself wholeheartedly to bringing medical care and education to women and girls in Iran from 1909 to 1934. Born and raised by a respected Protestant family in New York, Susan studied the fine arts and singing. She taught and then attempted to become a doctor but the dissection of cadavers proved too much and she did not complete her training. She was a “spinster-mother” and helped to raise five of her young relatives. While these are all wonderful accomplishments, they pale in comparison to her champion pioneer work in her later years.

In 1903, Susan’s life took a dramatic turn. She became a Baha’i, having learned of the Faith from Isabella Bittingham in New York City (Abdu’l-Baha called Isabella the “Baha’i maker” because of her efficiency at teaching the Faith). In private prayer, Susan vowed: “I hereby devote, consecrate and sacrifice all that I am, and all that I have and all that I hope to be and to have, to Thee, O Divine Father, to be used in accordance with Thy Purpose”. She began teaching children’s classes (the first to be offered in Chicago) and hosting meetings in her home. Bracing herself, she returned to medical school, completed her degree and set up a small practice. She was now a 52-year-old Baha’i doctor. Continue reading

22 Baha’i Blog Posts Related to the Institute Process

Study circle participants in Biharsharif, India (Image courtesy Baha'i World Centre)

Study circle participants in Biharsharif, India (Image courtesy Baha’i World Centre)

Several weeks ago we conducted a Baha’i Blog survey, and many of the survey participants said that they liked the posts relating to the Institute Process and wanted more.

Of the eight articles we publish every month, we always try to have at least one of them relate to the Institute Process in some way, and so here’s a roundup of 22 Baha’i Blog articles we’ve published over the last few years which relate in various ways to the Institute Process. Continue reading

New Book: Steadfastness in the Covenant

Steadfastness in the Covenant 350x540Dr. Abdu’l-Missagh Ghadirian’s latest book, Steadfastness in the Covenant: Responding to Tests and Tribulations, is a weighty tome. Steadfastness to the Covenant is a combination of our recognition of Baha’u’llah and our obedience to His teachings. Dr. Ghadirian says “in this context the Covenant is like a mighty tree and steadfastness is the fruit of that tree”.

There have been several books published about the unique and sacred nature of the Covenant. “Instead,” Dr. Ghadirian writes, “I have chosen to concentrate on the nature of steadfastness and the capacity to acquire it for the defense of the Cause and as our response to tests and tribulations in the path of God.” Although this is the lens with which he compiled the book, he nevertheless provides a context for the Covenant and explains its details and implications – for example, he describes the differences between the Greater and Lesser Covenants and the “twin Covenants” or the respective Covenants of Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha in terms of Their wills and testaments and appointed successors. He also provides metaphors for understanding the Covenant — such as the ocean or a pulsating artery.

Why take this particular perspective of firmness in the Covenant in the face of difficulties? Dr. Ghadirian explains: Continue reading

Baha’i Blog Trivia Quiz: The Birth of Baha’u’llah (Part 2)

On November 12, 1817 in Tehran, Iran, the Prophet Founder of the Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah was born, and Baha’is around the world celabrate this special day.

The team here at Baha’i Blog thought it would be great to celebrate it with everyone by having another Baha’i Blog Trivia Quiz! Continue reading

Serving Humanity on the Job

Serving Humanity on the JobWork is no fun. It’s an almost iron law of modern life. So what should we do about it? The easy answer is “do what you love.” But many of us can testify from our own experience that life isn’t like that. Even when a job involves something a person really enjoys, the end of the workday can’t come soon enough. The excitement wears off. Things that might have once seemed cool and interesting can become tedious and stressful. Work takes up a huge proportion of our time on this earth. So its very dispiriting to see how often and how easily it can detract from attaining a sense of meaning or high purpose in life. We need ways to make it more uplifting. Continue reading

The ABC’s of Parenting

asian parent playing with baby girl in livingroomWe know in the Baha’i Writings that mothers are the first educators of the children:

To the mothers must be given the divine Teachings and effective counsel, and they must be encouraged and made eager to train their children, for the mother is the first educator of the child… So long as the mother faileth to train her children, and start them on a proper way of life, the training which they receive later on will not take its full effect.

But new mothers are often overwhelmed at knowing where to start, particularly when they haven’t had good role models to follow. Fortunately there is lots of guidance in the Writings to take us back to basics!

Let’s start with the ABC’s! Continue reading

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