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Everyday Human Rights

Just months after the sentencing of the Baha’i leaders in Iran to 20 years imprisonment, Iran has once again come under international scrutiny for its long-standing persecution of Baha’is. On 21 May, a coordinated series of raids were carried out in various locations in Iran on the homes of Baha’is who have been involved with the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE).

The BIHE was established in 1987 as a way of providing an education to young Baha’is who have been systematically denied access to higher education by the Iranian regime. Baha’i Thought has a great article up discussing the raids and the Iranian regime’s violation of a number of universal human rights such as the right to freedom of belief and the right to education.

As Baha’is, it is only natural that the issue of the persecution of Baha’is in Iran weighs heavily on our hearts. It is always distressing to be reminded of how rampant war, persecution and injustice still is in today’s world. In this case, it’s particularly devastating to us – as Baha’is – to see the friends in Iran suffer so terribly for a faith that simply embraces all humanity and affirms the value and worth of each individual. Some of us are even friends or family of those in Iran who have been directly affected, making it all the more heart-wrenching.

A few days ago.,I came across a fantastic essay by Matthew Weinberg (published in 1997) which looks at contemporary human rights discourse from the perspective of the Baha’i Writings. I found it to be a fascinating read and it made me reflect on the way in which I – as a product of the society we live in – talk about and understand human rights.

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Using ‘The Greatest Name’

Image by Lorenia (Flickr)

A few days ago we published a post here on Baha’i Blog featuring 6 Baha’i iPhone Wallpapers, however I noticed a few Facebook and email comments pointing out that perhaps it’s not appropriate to have The Greatest Name or a photo of the door to the shrine of the Bab used in this manner. This seems sensible, so I first wanted to let our readers know that we’ve now updated the post with two fresh wallpapers featuring Baha’i quotes replacing the other two wallpapers. And second of all I thought I’d share some quotes that my fellow Baha’i Blogger Naysan found on the subject of The Greatest Name and its usage. Continue reading

6 Gorgeous Baha’i iPhone Wallpapers

Over the last few years Apple’s iPhone has become rather ubiquitous. But what is a little harder to find are Baha’i wallpapers for the iPhone. Happily there is a lot of great imagery around that is Baha’i related, for example just check out our gallery of Stunning Photos of Baha’i Houses of Worship.

So I spent a little time this afternoon compiling some photos and images into iPhone sized wallpapers for Baha’i Blog readers to deck out their mobile phones with some inspirational background images!

Just browse to this page with your iPhone, press on the image and hold down until a little dialog comes up asking you to Save Image. Once you’ve saved it, go back to the menu and go to Settings > Wallpaper and you should be able to find the image in your Camera Roll.

If you have any of your own iPhone wallpapers to share, or know of more, please do share them in the comments! There are lots of free image hosting services like PhotoBucket where you can upload them to and link up in the comments!

Baha'i iPhone Wallpaper

Baha'i iPhone Wallpaper
Lotus Temple by Peter Davis

Baha'i iPhone Wallpaper
Baha’i House of Worship by Giant Ginkgo

Baha'i iPhone Wallpaper

Baha'i iPhone Wallpaper

Baha'i iPhone Wallpaper

Remembering the Ascension of Baha’u’llah

Every May 29, Baha’is gather to commemorate the Ascension of Baha’u’llah. Customarily (although this is not a requirement), at 3 in the morning of May 29, following an evening of prayer and reflection,  Baha’is stand and face Qiblih as one from amongst them reads the Tablet of Visitation.

It was early in the morning of May 29, 1892 (five minutes past 3, to be precise) that Baha’u’llah passed away in the mansion of Bahji outside Akka (present-day northern Israel), after a brief illness. Following his death, a vast number of mourners from all walks of life and religions, grieved with Baha’u’llah’s family and followers.

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Breaking the Choice Sealed Wine

Image by jamzi (Flickr)

“Immerse yourselves”, Baha’u’llah tells us, “in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths”.

I’m not sure if you feel the same way but when I think about the numerous volumes that Baha’u’llah has revealed, I often find myself vacillating wildly between two states: firstly, awe and curiosity, having been moved by the beauty and wisdom of the Writings; and secondly, complete paralysis from feeling overwhelmed by the sheer immensity and profundity of the Writings. There’s so much to gain from studying the Writings but it’s not always easy!

The Kitáb-i-Íqán is just one of the works by Baha’u’llah that I have attempted – on numerous occasions – to read from start to finish but simply haven’t been able to. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover, just a few months ago, that there is now an online course on the Kitáb-i-Íqán!

Fazel Naghdy, the creator of this online course, has kindly prepared a selection of writings by Shoghi Effendi about the Kitáb-i-Íqán and has also provided some additional information on the course.

I’ve already signed up to do the course and am really excited! If you, like me, have been meaning to get around to really studying the Kitáb-i-Íqán, then this post, which compiles what Shoghi Effendi has to say about the importance of the Kitáb-i-Íqán – is  for you. (A big thanks to Fazel for preparing this for us!)

Read on!

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Waiting for the World to End

Image by krypty (Flickr)

As Baha’is, we believe that the foundation of all the divine religions is one. Ever so often, we’ll be putting up posts for our ‘Changeless Faith Series’, in which we look closer at some of the similarities between the divine religions, in an attempt to more fully understand what Baha’u’llah meant when he said “This is the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future”.

It’s certainly been an exciting weekend!

Around the world, on May 22, Baha’is celebrated the anniversary of the Declaration of the Bab. The Bab was a Messenger of God whose mission was to prepare humanity for the message of Baha’u’llah. The story of the Bab’s life and mission is dramatic and emotion-stirring – filled with persecution, difficulty and, ultimately, triumph. The Bab foretold the coming of a Divine Teacher with a message even greater than His own. Although the Bab’s faith was a religion in itself, the Declaration of the Bab reminds Baha’is of the exciting and remarkable historical events that provided the context for the mission of Baha’u’llah.

The other remarkable historical event that happened this 22 May – or was meant to happen but didn’t – is one that has captured the imagination of many since time immemorial: the end of the world.

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Designing the Faith: Film

Creative design has an important part to play in the Faith. There’s a small army of creative Baha’is who labour hard to communicate the message of the Faith on screen and paper. The Designing the Faith series showcases some of their ingenious work in film, fashion, the internet, architecture and more.

Let’s kick off this series with the moving picture. Films can tell stories; they can inspire; they can educate. So we’ll let them do the talking.

Backbiting

Swedish youth and Malaysian filmmakers Amy Lim and Roshan Ravi got together to bring back the light of the heart. Continue reading

6 Accomplished Baha’is in Film and Television

With some five to six million Baha’is in the world it’s no surprise that some of the most accomplished people in any discipline are bound to be Baha’i. Being a bit of a television and movie junkie I decided to find out if there were any famous Baha’is in Hollywood. Sure enough shows like Heroes and the Office have featured Baha’i actors, as have movies like the Interpreter and the Godfather! Continue reading

Off-Center: An Interview with Aaron Kreader and Dave Rouleau

I’ve always loved the book by Hand of the Cause, William Sears, called “God Loves Laughter“. Something about the statement has just always seemed so right to me. So, I was delighted to stumble on the work of two talented American Baha’is working together at the Baha’i National Center in the US. Dave Rouleau and Aaron Kreader are – respectively – the creator and artist behind a long-running comic strip called Off-Center.

I caught up with Dave and Aaron to learn a bit more about the comic strip, their inspiration and what advice they have for other aspiring Baha’i artists. And for those of you (like me) who aren’t in the US and don’t receive The American Bahá’í magazine, we’ve got a few editions of Off-Center to view embedded here in the post. Continue reading

Bahai Arts, Stories, Media & Bahai Religion