When you hear the title ‘Knight’, different connotations come to mind. Historically speaking, a medieval knight was known for their steadfast honor, their allegiance to God, and their loyalty to their lords and ladies. Their lives were dedicated to religious faith and military action – for example, in the Middle Ages they set out to conquer the Holy Land in the name of Christendom. Shoghi Effendi did not choose his words lightly, and hence the title “Knight of Baha’u’llah” authored by Shoghi Effendi, was a title that was bestowed on those selfless souls who opened 131 specific virgin territories to the Faith during what was known as the Ten Year Crusade.
Even as a child with little knowledge of the development of the Baha’i Faith, the title of “Knight of Baha’u’llah” was connotative to me of the qualities of medieval knights, of spiritual battles and sacrificial heroism. This knightly demeanor is masterfully called for by Shoghi Effendi in a cablegram to the Baha’is of the world sent in 1952 in preparation for the coming Ten Year Crusade which took place between 1953-1963, and which I explain in a little more detail further on. Continue reading
The Shrine of Baha’u’llah (Photo: Baha’i World Centre)
At the hour of dawn on May 29th in 1892, Baha’u’llah, “transcendental in His majesty, serene, awe-inspiring, unapproachably glorious”, passed away in the Masion of Bahji in what is present-day northern Israel. Shoghi Effendi describes the events that followed in God Passes By
The news of His ascension was instantly communicated to Sultan ‘Abdu’l-Hamid in a telegram which began with the words ‘the Sun of Baha has set’ and in which the monarch was advised of the intention of interring the sacred remains within the precincts of the Mansion, an arrangement to which he readily assented. Baha’u’llah was accordingly laid to rest in the northernmost room of the house which served as a dwelling-place for His son-in-law, the most northerly of the three houses lying to the west of, and adjacent to, the Mansion. His interment took place shortly after sunset, on the very day of His ascension.
With His burial, the home of His son-in-law became the most precious spot, the holiest of places, for Baha’is all around the world – a place to which we turn to daily when we recite our obligatory prayers and which we aspire to visit as a pilgrim at least once in our lifetimes. Continue reading
If you’ve never heard of the lyrical medium of what’s known as ‘spoken word’, then in you’re in for a treat! Actually, even if you have heard of it, you’re still in for a treat!
Ladies and gentleman, please welcome to the stage ‘Andrea Hope’!
I first came across an example of Andrea’s spoken word from a video she posted on Youtube based on one of her tracks called ‘World Citizen’ (which I’ve included for everyone to watch further down in this post). According to the Portland Poetry Slam “Andrea journeyed to the center of the Earth and has brought back its heartbeat, carrying the delicate fire on her tongue.” Andrea is co-administrator of the Portland Poets Exchange and she dedicates her time off stage to social progress by teaching community children’s classes, biking in dresses, hosting couch surfers, teaching visual art to men in recovery, and hugging trees.
I got in touch with Andrea to find out more about her and the art of spoken word. Continue reading
Pictured above is the House of the Bab in Shiraz, Iran, where the Bab revealed His message. This house is considered to be one of the holiest sites for Baha’is and it was destroyed by Revolutionary Guards in the 1979 Islamic Revolution. (Photo: Baha’i Media Bank)
On May 22nd
, Baha’is around the world will celebrate the anniversary of the Declaration of the Bab
, the forerunner of Baha’u’llah. In honour of that joyous holy day, let’s take a look at the Bayan, a priceless gift the Bab bequeathed to mankind.
What is commonly referred to as ‘the Bayan’ are in fact two distinct and separate texts: the Persian Bayan and the Arabic Bayan. The word “bayan” means ‘exposition’ or ‘utterance’ in Arabic, and there are also instances in the Writings where it refers to the entirety of the Bab’s revelation. Continue reading
The Baha’is of Kuching, Sarawak in Malaysia gather together. (Photo: Baha’i World Centre)
Ever wondered how to solve the world’s problems? If you haven’t, I’m sure you’ve at least wondered how to solve some of your own, right?
As Baha’is, we’ve actually been told how, and it comes down to this one little word:
Okay, maybe it’s not so little a word. And it’s definitely no small concept. But it can be simple. Continue reading
Nancy Cambell (1906 – 1980)
At the end of the last century Ani Difranco cleverly and accurately sang that…
…every tool is a weapon if you hold it right.
This idea, that most objects and activities – including all sciences and arts – are neutral in value and can be utilized for good or evil, had also been expressed at the beginning of that century by Abdu’l-Baha. He stated:
All things are beneficial if joined with the love of God; and without His love all things are harmful…
He went on to show how this is particularly true of the arts, stating that:
…a melody sweet to the ear, bringeth the very spirit of life to a heart in love with God, yet staineth with lust a soul engrossed in sensual desires.
If a woman at the Three Arts Club in New York City had not introduced Nancy Campbell to the Baha’i Teachings in 1938, she may have become just another talented artist, using her skills and opportunities to entertain and distract. Instead Nancy Campbell attended ‘firesides’ (informal presentations of the Baha’i Teachings) at the home of New York Baha’is, Saffa and Carrie Kinney. Three years later upon return to her adopted homeland, Canada, Nancy Campbell sought out the Baha’is and formally registered as a member of that community. She was immediately engaged in direct service to the Baha’i community, and became a founding member of the Hamilton (Ontario) Local Spiritual Assembly. Continue reading
As many parts of the world are celebrating ‘Mother’s Day’, I find myself reflecting on the high standard in the Baha’i Writings for our youth, and I can’t help but think about the importance of moral and spiritual education during those precious first years of a child’s life. Abdu’l-Baha wrote:
You must be distinguished amidst men by your sanctity and detachment, loftiness of purpose, magnanimity, determination, noble mindedness, tenacity, the elevation of your aims and your spiritual qualities; that you may become the means of exaltation and glory for the Cause of God and the dawning places of His heavenly bestowals; that you may conduct yourselves in conformity with the counsels and exhortations of the Blessed Beauty — may my life be offered up for His loved ones — and by reflecting Baha’i qualities and attributes, you may stand out distinguished from others.
Society tends to downplay the significance of being a mother. What do you suppose attracts more interest when I answer that typical question at dinner parties: “What do you do?” Lawyer or mother? Usually, when I choose to answer, “I am a mother,” people smile and say, “Oh, that’s nice.” There is never an incredibly interested follow-up question on what kind of exciting parenting I practice. The polite ones never say it, but some of them are probably thinking, “You’re a mom? What do you do all day?” Indeed mothers, myself included, often fail to comprehend the momentousness of the work we do, when in fact, according to Abdu’l-Baha, “no nobler deed can be imagined!” Continue reading
We all know that God has made music as a ladder for our souls, and listening to Baha’i-specific music is indeed a brilliant way for our souls to ascend. Of course, I’m not going to pretend that all styles of music resonate with me, even if they are Baha’i-inspired, but my latest discovery has indeed got my soul soaring to the realms above!
The Divine Spark is a devotional album recorded by U.S. multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Taraz Nosrat. I was lucky enough to meet Taraz while on Pilgrimage in 2007. At the time I had no idea of the talents inherent within him but luckily enough, the likes of social media kept us in contact and I was recently made aware of his debut release. The songs on the record, all inspired by the Writings, combine musical styles and instruments from across the board and are peppered with middle-eastern tones, contemporary melodies, and Taraz’s soothing voice, making for a truly unique yet enjoyable listening experience. I decided to have a chat with Taraz himself in a bid to find out more about the mastery behind his latest creation. Continue reading
I naively and ignorantly thought that because I had been raised a Baha’i that I knew the Writings well. It wasn’t long before I realized that while I knew many of the principles of the Faith, I barely knew its sacred texts at all. Baha’u’llah exhorts us to immerse ourselves in the ocean of His words, and I was merely floating on the surface. In a boat.
I personally find that a small part of diving into the study of a text requires that I figure out its context. Through various deepening classes, I have learned that these 3 questions can prove very useful. Continue reading
Photo courtesy LEOL30 via Flickr.
As we celebrate the Ninth Day of Ridvan (one of the three days of the 12 day Baha’i Festival of Ridvan where work should be suspended) I thought it would be interesting to look at the use and significance of the number nine in the Baha’i Faith.
First of all the Ninth Day of Ridvan is significant to Baha’is because this was the day where Baha’u’llah was joined by the rest of His family in the Najibiyyih Garden (known thereafter as the Garden of Ridvan) in Baghdad, but there are also numerous uses of the number nine in the Baha’i Faith, for example: Baha’i Houses of Worship are built with nine sides and nine entrances; each Baha’i institution, such as Local and National Spiritual Assemblies and the Universal House of Justice all have nine democratically elected members. Continue reading