Celebrating the Birth of Baha’u’llah in London

Last week Baha’is around the world celebrated the Birth of Baha’u’llah, and some of the Baha’is in London celebrated this special event in a unique and creative way. The team at Media Makes Us attended the holy day celebration at Hackney and captured a taste of some of the unique artistic installations which were on show on the night!

The celebration took place in an East London artists’ studio, which was transformed into an exhibition space that aimed to tell the story of the life of Baha’u’llah by providing a multi-sensory experience for viewers. Participants were invited to discover the history and Writings of the Faith for themselves through touch, smell and taste – by becoming part of the exhibition and walking around to discover clues and to immerse themselves in the rich imagery and historical details of the Faith and its holy Scriptures.

What a fascinating way to commemorate a Holy Day. A big thanks to the folks at Media Makes Us for allowing Baha’i Blog readers from all over the world to witness this amazing celebration!

 

Remembering Clara Dunn

Clara Dunn 12 May, 1869 – 18 Nov, 1960 (Photo: Baha’i Media Bank)

“Oh what an enormous duck! Oh what a wonderful duck! How splendid was this great big glorious duck!”

Clara Dunn was present on the occasion that ‘Abdu’l-Baha recounted a story of a person who spoke in such a manner.

Her humility and spiritual receptivity, combined with the fact that the Master was looking directly at her throughout the story, lead her to understand that the Master was counseling her to refrain from exaggeration and to speak with honesty and accuracy.

Clearly she learnt this spiritual lesson well, and many more, for in 1939 Shoghi Effendi gifted a copy of The Advent of Divine Justice to Clara Dunn and her husband Hyde Dunn, accompanied by a personal letter written by his secretary:

The tribute so abundantly and yet so deservedly paid by the Guardian in this unique epistle to your magnificent teaching services is assuredly destined to transmit to future Bahá’í generations, and in particular to the Bahá’í teachers & pioneers of succeeding centuries, such measure of inspiration and such example of the pioneer service as cannot but inspire and guide them to follow in your footsteps and emulate your noble example.

When ‘Abdu’l-Baha asked the Baha’is of North America to travel to remote climes to spread the Faith of Baha’u’llah, Clara and Hyde Dunn’s response was immediate. On 10 April 1920, Clara and Hyde Dunn arrived in Australia with the single purpose of establishing the Baha’i Faith in an area explicitly mentioned by the Master in the Tablets of the Divine Plan. So determined were they to go despite their age and lack of funds, that when challenged on the wisdom of their decision Hyde replied that “he would sooner die than not respond to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s call”. Continue reading

An Interview with Karim of Baha’i R’n’B Hip-Hop duo Nabil & Karim

Karim left, and Nabil to the right. (Image courtesy: Matts Vai)

What happens when two good friends living in Canada decide to get together and collaborate on creating music which brings the Baha’i Writings to life in a fresh and contemporary way? The answer is simple: Nabil & Karim.

The smooth grooves of music duo Nabil & Karim were born when Nabil (a Persian-Canadian Baha’i who was raised in Portugal), and Karim (an Egyptian-Irishman born in Haiti and raised in India and Canada) were studying audio production in Canada together, and with the encouragement of their local Baha’i community, they started working on putting the Sacred Writings to music for community events.

I’ve got both of their albums, and I know tons of Baha’is around the world who love their music too, so I was super-excited to be able to catch up with Karim and ask him a few questions about himself and the duo!

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell me a little bit about yourselves and how you guys got together?

We met in college, it was a rainy day, the sun had just fallen behind the horizon… but seriously we studied audio production at Metal Works Institute in Mississauga. The Baha’i community at Mississauga strongly encouraged us to perform at Holy Day events and that was a big reason why we started making songs together. We both come from pioneering families, Nabil’s family pioneered to Portugal and mine to Haiti and India. Nabil plays guitar and sings and I rap and beatbox. Nabil is health conscious and fit and I am the opposite of that. But we both try our best to be spiritually fit. We have very different tastes in music but when we come together… Continue reading

Baha’i Trivia: The Birth of Baha’u’llah

Okay evereyone, it’s time for another Baha`i Blog Trivia Quiz!

Today’s quiz is to celebrate The Birth of Baha`u`llah, so join us in celebrating by take the quiz, and see how much you know about the life of the founder of our wonderful Faith!

Don’t forget that these quizzes are a great resource for community activities as well, so feel free to use them and share them with your friends and the community.

Enjoy!

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A Birthday Like No Other: The Birth of Baha’u’llah

By most measures, November 1817 was a decidedly ho-hum month in world history. On November 5, the Third Anglo-Maratha War broke out between the British and Indians at the Battle of Khadki. On November 20, the first Seminole War began in the American state of Florida. Historical almanacs show the parade of 19th century thinkers and doers marching on and a subtle passing from a world of crushing conventionality (Jane Austen died that year) to a world of intense questioning and social and philosophical mischief (Henry David Thoreau and Frederick Douglass were born that year).

But on November 12, something happened that in time will make all the wars, rises and falls of empires, and even sweeping social and philosophical movements pale by comparison. On that Wednesday, a baby was born in Tehran, a baby Who would grow up to upset the equilibrium of the whole world, indeed whose life would mark the culmination of an age 6,000 years long — our entire known history — and launch us into a turbulent modernity and then into the long-promised but elusive Kingdom of God on Earth. Continue reading

Why Baha’is Don’t Drink Alcohol – A Social Perspective

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post on Baha’i Blog called Why Baha’is Don’t Drink Alcohol – A Medical Perspective, and there was a great response with a lot of really great feedback. As the title suggested, my purpose in that article was to focus on the medical effects of alcohol consumption, but now as a result of all the feedback, I thought it would be interesting to write a follow-up to the article covering the social effects of alcohol. In this post I’m going to focus on criminal behavior, as well as the social effects on the individual, family and society.

Before delving into the various social detrimental consequences of alcohol use and the criminality associated with it, let’s first look at how alcohol affects human behavior, as it is the behavior which has a negative impact on society. A reminder however that this subject is vast, and for the purposes of this article I will try to keep things as to the point as possible, therefore focusing on those behavior’s which have the most impact: aggression and lack of judgment. Continue reading

The Nineteen Day Feast and Why it’s Important

Photo courtesy Baha’i Views/Flitzy Phoebie via Flickr.

When I recall first being told as a child that we were going to “feast” in the evening, I think of how my imagination kicked into overdrive. I envisaged long medieval-style banquet tables overflowing with roast chicken, legs of lamb, mashed potatoes, rice and a slew of decadent desserts as far as my chubby little eyes could see.  Much to my confusion however, we ate dinner at home as usual (not a goblet of orange juice in sight) before arriving at a fellow Bahá’í family’s home: “but I’m so full,” I thought to myself, “How am I expected to eat again?”  As the evening progressed, I came to understand the term “feast” was actually referring to the “Nineteen Day Feast” and it took on a meaning not quite what I was expecting. Continue reading

What are we Willing to Sacrifice?

Photo courtesy wakingphotolife via Flickr.

If ever there were a concept alien to modern Western life, it is sacrifice. Compared to all former times, we scarcely know what it is. Today’s middle class lives in more comfort than the royalty of old. In a few more decades, explaining sacrifice to the modern human may be akin to explaining snow to a 16th century Indonesian, or palm trees to an 17th century Eskimo. At this rate, we might not even have a word for it.

While our men and women in uniform are still all too familiar with the concept, even they are fewer in number than the millions who sacrificed their lives, willingly or unwillingly, in the warfare of yesteryear.

We typically sacrifice little in daily life. When we have a tight financial month, credit card companies are only too happy to facilitate a creature comfort rather than having us sacrifice it.

Of course, the Founders of faith — both ours and every other authentic faith — were intimately familiar with the concept, so much so that they longed for the opportunity to sacrifice in the path of God and Their enemies were all too eager to provide the opportunity. Continue reading

Mama Papa & Me: An Interview with Danielle Pee

Image by Leila Barbaro

When I first heard about Mama Papa & Me, I was excited for so many reasons. The education of children is a tremendously important duty in the Baha’i Faith. In fact, ‘Abdu’l-Baha calls it “among the most meritorious acts of humankind”.

So when I found out that Mama Papa & Me focuses on education during the early years, which is now widely recognised among educators as being the crucial years in which the foundation for a person’s lifelong learning and wellbeing is formed, I was fascinated and wanted to know more about their Early Years Education Programme.

And then, when I discovered that Mama Papa & Me’s focus was not just on the early years, but also on helping parents and caregivers develop the capabilities they need as the first educators of their children, I definitely wanted to know more!

Serendipitiously, a family wedding brought me to London, which is where Danielle Pee, the  amazingly talented founder of Mama Papa & Me, is currently based. And so I jumped on the opportunity to sit down with her and ask all my questions.

What started as a conversation about education, parenting and the work that Mama Papa & Me is doing ended up becoming a deeper conversation about capacity-building and the Baha’i approach to community development, as well as an illuminating discussion about what it means, in very practical terms, for Baha’is to attempt to contribute towards the advancement of civilization.

I gained so much from my conversation with Danielle, not just in terms of my own professional interest in education and community development, but also personally, as I listened to the story of her own inspiring journey and the many lessons she has learned along the way. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!

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Why Baha’is Don’t Drink Alcohol – A Health Perspective

I was reading an interesting article on the BBC news website the other day and it talked about the detrimental health effects and the financial cost of alcohol related hospital admissions to the National Health Service in the UK.  I couldn’t believe it when I read that nearly £2 billion was spent on alcohol related in-patient hospital admissions in just one year.

As a medical doctor from the UK, a country that has an entrenched culture of drinking alcohol, (in moderation and to excess) I thought it would be interesting to write about the health implications of drinking alcohol. Continue reading