Universal House of Justice Letter Marking the Dedication of the Battambang Temple

The Universal House of Justice wrote a letter to those gathered to celebrate the inauguration of the world’s first local House of Worship (also called a Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, or temple) in Battambang, Cambodia on September 1st, 2017. 

The letter highlights the physical, geographical and spiritual context in which the temple was built. The letter can be read in full on the website for the Universal House of Justice here, and we have also quoted it in-full below. Continue reading

Celebrating the Upcoming Bicentenary of Baha’u’llah’s Birth

The Bab and Baha’u’llah were Twin Manifestations in a spiritual sense, as they both unfurled the Baha’i Dispensation, but also in a temporal sense, due to the closeness of their ages and birthdays. The anniversaries of their birthdays fall on consecutive days; this year, they occur on Saturday, October 21 (the Birth of the Bab), and Sunday, October 22 (the Birth of Baha’u’llah). The Twin Birthdays are always commemorated as Holy Days, anniversaries when Baha’is are asked to suspend work in honor of the occasion’s sanctity.

Early last year, Baha’is around the world were reminded by the Universal House of Justice, the international Baha’i administrative body, that two bicentennial anniversaries were approaching: the 200th birthday of Baha’u’llah, born in 1817 in Tehran, Iran, and the 200th birthday of the Bab, born in 1819 in Shiraz, Iran. Baha’is around the world are taking the opportunity afforded by this year’s Bicentenary to reflect on how our communities can share the teachings of the Bab and Baha’u’llah. Continue reading

Twin Witnesses – A New Book about the Bab and Baha’u’llah by Tom Lysaght

To help Baha’is with their personal bicentennial goals and to help share the story of the Bab and Baha’u’llah, award-winning playwright Tom Lysaght has just published a new short book called Twin Witnesses. Just 35 pages, and only $5, Twin Witnesses is a concise and inexpensive dramatic narrative which looks at the history of the Founders of the Baha’i Faith, the Bab and Baha’u’llah, and it is ideal for sharing with others.

Professor Nader Saiedi wrote that Twin Witnesses is “A captivating account of a dramatic summer that questioned traditionalism and patriarchy, and celebrated the resurrection of the human spirit,” and actor Rainn Wilson wrote, Twin Witnesses is an expertly written look into the parallel histories of the founders of the Baha’i Faith, the Bab and Baha’u’llah. It evokes the spiritual passion and political complexity of mid-nineteenth century Persia in beautiful prose. Makes a GREAT gift for friends of the Faith. I can’t recommend it more highly.”

As soon as I received my copy, I decided to catch up with Tom Lysaght to find out more about the book and why he decided to write it:  Continue reading

Purity of Motive in Worship and Service

(Photo courtesy: Baha'i International Community)

“It’s the thought that counts” is a common English expression. Perhaps we give someone a present that we think they will love, and either they already have it, or they just don’t like it. The person is (hopefully) pleased anyway because they know that we meant well.

Abdu’l-Baha says that purity of motive is extremely important:

Your hearts must be pure and your intentions sincere in order that you may become recipients of the divine bestowals… This is the day when pure hearts have a portion of the everlasting bounties and sanctified souls are being illumined by the eternal manifestations.

So, in regards to the “failed” present, it doesn’t matter so much that the present was not loved or needed by the recipient. It is that we gave it out of the goodness of our heart.  Continue reading

Equality: A Persian Hip-Hop Album by Pouya Ebrahimi

As someone who’s a huge fan of hip-hop and rap, and someone who listens to a lot of international hip-hop too, I was so excited to hear the beats and rhymes of Persian rapper Pouya Ebrahimi as he took the stage at the Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference last year in Arizona, USA.

Pouya moved to the U.S. two years ago as a Baha’i refugee from Iran, and he recently released an album called Tasaviye Hoqooq which in Persian means ‘Equality.’ I decided to catch up with Pouya to find out more about him and his music, and because he was more comfortable speaking in Persian, I interviewed him in Persian and then translated it into English. Here’s the interview: Continue reading