Category Archives Holy Days

The Other Witnesses: Khadijih Bagum and Haji Mubarak at the Declaration of the Bab

The House of the Bab, where the Bab declared His mission on 23 May 1844 in Shiraz, Iran, before its destruction in 1979. Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community.

When picturing the scene of the Bab’s Declaration, I think of His house in Shiraz, quiet and dark during a spring night in 1844. I think of an upper room where He converses with Mulla Husayn, revealing His spiritual mission as the Promised One and the Prophet-Herald of a new Manifestation of God, Baha’u’llah. My mind does not travel beyond that upper chamber to explore the house’s other rooms.

But let us wander. We will discover that two other inhabitants are awake physically and spiritually that fateful night: the Bab’s wife, Khadijih Bagum, and servant, Haji Mubarak. Let us meet these two.  Continue reading

What Happened on the 12th Day of Ridvan?

The 12 day Festival of Ridvan signifies the anniversary of the Declaration of Baha’u’llah’s mission to His followers, and in The Most Holy Book Baha’u’llah ordained Ridvan as one of two of the “Most Great Festivals”, the other being the Declaration of the Bab. Although the entire festival is sacred, Baha’is suspend work on three specific days of the Ridvan Festival – the 1st, 9th and 12th days.

I don’t think there is any way to write a blog article that can summarize or make comment on such a momentous and sublime occasion as what took place when Baha’u’llah proclaimed to be the Promised One of all Ages in the Garden of Ridvan. It’s like trying to imagine the infinitude of the universe, or count all the waves in the ocean. And it’s likewise difficult to describe what took place on the 12th Day of Ridvan, when Baha’u’llah left the Ridvan Garden and began the long and arduous exile to Constantinople. Thankfully, we can turn to Baha’u’llah’s descriptions of what occurred in Days of Remembrance. Continue reading

Celebrating Ridvan in Our Garden

Ridvan is the King of Festivals in the Baha’i calendar. The twelve days of the Festival of Ridvan mark the momentous occasion when Baha’u’llah told His supporters that He was the Promised One they had been awaiting. At that time, Baha’u’llah was in a beautiful garden on the Tigris River in Baghdad. The garden was named Ridvan, or Paradise in English, by Baha’u’llah’s followers. Roses in full bloom lined its paths. Nightingales sang throughout the night. Baha’u’llah said:

The Divine Springtime is come, O Most Exalted Pen, for the Festival of the All-Merciful is fast approaching. Bestir thyself, and magnify, before the entire creation, the name of God, and celebrate His praise, in such wise that all created things may be regenerated and made new.

Baha’is around the world reflect on the story of Ridvan each year. One year I realised that the Festival of Ridvan is the perfect time of year for big gardening projects. We live in Sydney, Australia so while the Northern Hemisphere is enjoying spring, we are in the midst of autumn. Each Ridvan I do things such as the mass planting of seeds, building new garden beds, pruning, etc. While I work in my garden, I reflect on the time Baha’u’llah spent in the Ridvan garden.  Continue reading

Seasons of Spirituality: Ayyam-i-Ha, the Fast and Naw-Ruz

As a person of faith, I have always believed that all of us are – as French philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin so succinctly put it – not human beings having a spiritual experience, but rather, spiritual beings having a human experience. It is this duality of existence that has given rise to some of the questions that countless individuals have grappled with over the course of civilizations.

What is my purpose in this world? How do I survive the harsh realities of life and attain comfort and security for myself and those who depend on me? How do I do all this while also abiding by lofty ideals and higher principles of justice and compassion? What does it mean to live a life that is grounded in reality and pragmatism while also honouring the nobility of the human spirit?

If you are reading this blog, it is likely that these are questions that you too struggle with from time to time. That’s why this time of the year – the days spanning the Baha’i observances of Ayyam-i-Ha, the Fast and Naw-Ruz – are some of my favourite in the year. Continue reading

Glimpses of the Bicentenary Celebrations from Around the World

Over the course of the last week, the excitement and delight emanating from Baha’i communities around the world in honour of the Bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, the Prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, has been palpable!

This joy has been captured on bicentenary.bahai.org, the official website for the bicentenary aimed at connecting and sharing some of these wonderful celebrations and initiatives!

Here we share just a few of the stories and images found on bicentenary.bahai.org over the last few days and we highlight a few more in this post, “Glimpses of the Bicentenary from Around the World Part II”. Be sure to check out the official Bicentenary site for a richer and more vibrant experience!  Continue reading

7 Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions Based on the Writings of the Bab

In honour of the anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, we thought we’d showcase all of our Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions whose lyrics are based on His Writings. There are only seven, but they are mighty and powerful nevertheless! This short list both begins and ends with different melodies to one of my favourite prayers revealed by the Bab that begins “I adjure Thee by Thy might, O my God!” 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

A New Era Begins: Reflections on the Declaration of the Bab

The Baha’i Era began 174 years ago, in 1844 CE, when the Bab announced His mission to a young Shaykhi named Mulla Husayn. How exhilarating it must have been to live during a new revelation—to have been a devotee of Buddha, an apostle of Jesus, a disciple of Muhammad, a first believer in any of the Manifestations of God, attuned to the flood of spiritual power that each divine dispensation initiated!

This year, as Baha’is prepare to mark the anniversary of the Declaration of the Bab, we have new access to Baha’u’llah’s Writings on the exhilaration of the new era. In January, Days of Remembrance, translations of Baha’u’llah’s Writings on the Holy Days, was published. The compilation’s preface notes that the Declaration of the Bab and Ridvan were ordained by Baha’u’llah as the two Most Great Festivals.  Continue reading