Abdu’l-Baha in Paris near the Eiffel Tower in 1913. (Photo: Baha’i Media Bank)
As the world commemorates the centenary of World War I, it is timely to recount the story of one who predicted with sublime accuracy the outbreak of that conflict and who also explained and developed a peace plan highly relevant to humanity today.
Abdu’l-Baha (1844-1921) spoke often about the plan which came from His father, Baha’u’llah (1817-1892), the prophetic figure Who founded the Baha’i Faith and laid out the path to peace in His letters to the kings and rulers of the world.
For example, during His journey throughout North America in 1912, Abdu’l-Baha emphasised the need for international peace, calling it “the most momentous question of the day.”
Newspapers gave Him such labels as the “Persian Peace Apostle” and “the Prophet of Peace”, and their journalists reported how He linked the concept of peace to the need for a world tribunal and collective security. Surprisingly for audiences at that time, He also connected peace to topics like the education and advancement of women. War will cease, He said, when women have full equality because “they will be the obstacle and hindrance to it.” Continue reading
Dreams of Destiny in the Babi and Baha’i Faith is a beautiful new book written by Dr. Amir Badiei and published by the US Baha’i Publishing Trust. It charts the history of the Babi and Baha’i Faiths by examining, in chronological order, over 100 dreams and it highlights the influences of each dream on the dreamer and on their respective time period. Abdu’l-Baha often cites dreams as proof of the existence of the soul and this book highlights the deeply personal and spiritual lives of many historical figures of the Faith.
What I love about Dr. Amir Badiei’s work is that he methodically takes the Writings and historical records and examines them from a completely different perspective, such as dreams or stories. You may have already read Dr. Amir Badiei’s work: Stories Told by Abdu’l-Baha is a compilation that was published in 2003. While there are many historical accounts of the Master, particularly during His travels to the West, this book focuses purely on the stories He told.
I was excited to hear about Dr. Badiei’s newest Baha’i publication and was thrilled when he agreed to be interviewed for Baha’i Blog. Continue reading
I absolutely love discovering new Baha’i-inspired music from different parts of the world, and I was thrilled to hear about a new album from South Africa called The New Era, produced by Walied Jassat – also known as ‘WaJa’ – who’s based in Johannesburg.
The New Era is a collaborative album featuring different musicians and singers who have been working with Walied Jassat over the last few years and all songs are either based on the Baha’i Writings or are Baha’i-inspired.
I caught up with Walied to find out more about this wonderful new album and initiative: Continue reading
When I made the decision to become a Baha’i nearly five years ago, it was definitely a highlight in my spiritual journey. I’d always been interested in matters of spirituality and had been raised in a religious family by parents who placed our faith at the centre of individual and family life.
As such, the year leading up to my decision to become a Baha’i was marked by a period of intense exploration of the proofs of Baha’u’llah, a deep reflection on my personal beliefs and the application of His teachings in my own life. This period of independent investigation, which Baha’u’llah encourages us to undertake, was exhilarating and when I finally took the seemingly enormous step of calling myself a Baha’i, it was merely a personal affirmation of what I believed and an acceptance that Baha’u’llah’s teachings are divinely inspired.
It was the happiest and most challenging decision I’d ever made, but in hindsight I can see how that decision, rather than being a destination, was merely the beginning of an entirely new phase in my spiritual journey. Continue reading
Rehearsal time for Baha’i-inspired choir ‘Perfect Chord’ based in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo: Rachael Dere)
Much has been written in previous Baha’i Blog posts about singing, but mostly in connection with soloists, often combined with instruments. Less has been said here about group singing, which is an important branch of vocal music. Baha’is have been encouraged by the Central Figures, the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice to incorporate music and singing into all aspects of Baha’i community life: Continue reading
Photo: Sergeant Steve Blake RLC (Phot) via Flickr.
One of the key goals of the Baha’i Faith is to help end war and achieve world peace. While this has also been the goal of many thinkers throughout history, thousands continue to die each year from war and its consequences. So what do the Baha’i Writings say about this issue?
To answer this, I use a framework developed by Kenneth Waltz in his classic text Man, the State and War, which begins by asking: “What causes war?” This is an important question because, just as one must understand cancer to cure it, war and its causes must be understood in order to reduce it. In his review of the literature on this question, Waltz finds that there are basically three answers to this question, which he calls “the three images”. These images claim that war is caused by: Continue reading
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Spiritual Mothering: Toward an Ever-Advancing Civilization is new publication compiled and edited by Rene Knight-Weiler.
The book is composed of articles that were published in a magazine called Spiritual Mothering Journal that circulated for 10 years in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Its topics are diverse – from more meditative pieces about the daily struggles and victories of motherhood to concrete step-by-step articles about sibling conflict resolution – and its contributors from around the world vary in their perspectives and writing styles (they are primarily, but not soley, Baha’i).
Rene Knight-Weiler writes, “what all these authors have in common is a love of children, a love of writing and a wealth of ability in both arenas. The wisdom they offer is not limited to one generation. It is timeless, just like parenthood itself.” Continue reading
The Universal House of Justice has just sent an exciting new letter to the Baha’i world community on August 1st, 2014, about the progress of the seven new Baha’i Houses of Worship scheduled to be built over the next several years.
The Universal House of Justice wrote:
Over two years have elapsed since our announcement at Ridvan 2012 of projects to raise two national and five local Houses of Worship, to be pursued in conjunction with the construction in Santiago, Chile, of the last of the continental Mashriqu’l-Adhkars.
Baha’i Houses of Worship are sometimes referred to as “Baha’i Temples” or by the name of “Mashriqu’l-Adhkar” which in Arabic means “Dawning-place of the remembrances of God”, and there are currently seven Houses of worship in the world today located in the nations of Panama, Uganda, the United States of America, Samoa, Australia, India and Germany, with an eighth one currently under construction in Chile. Continue reading
When we try to define Baha’i scholarship, we naturally encounter preconceptions from our cultural surroundings. These arise from how scholarship has affected us over our varied histories of colonisation, conquest, enlightenment, enslavement, liberation, revolution, and materialistic consumerism. Scholarship, in part, refers to the systematic and disciplined study of any subject with the goal of deeper and shared understanding, and has often included appropriate personal characteristics, though these vary by culture and era.
Scholarship starts with assumptions about reality, which it simultaneously tests and pursues by a strict, but ideally not narrowing, set of rules. If done in the spirit of uncovering more of the mysteries of reality with a mix of humility and wonder, its results are ever-changing and open to challenge. It is worth identifying, unedited, our private lists of qualities and processes we ascribe to scholarship before considering scholarship in light of the Faith’s Teachings. In a workshop at the 2013 conference of the Association for Baha’i Studies, such an exercise revealed a fascinating list of praise, contempt, hope, and frustration, often from the same person, and from scholars, themselves. Continue reading