5 Great Resources for your Ruhi Book

Photo courtesy: Morris Salahifar

As most of you already know, Bahá’ís and their friends around the world participate in what is known as study circles, and these study circles use a sequence of books which are mainly based on the Bahá’í Writings, and they were developed by the Ruhi Institute in Colombia, so the books are often referred to as Ruhi books.

I often get asked by a lot of friends about different ideas or resources they can use for their study circle, and there’s no doubt that there are a bunch of great initiatives and resources out there for us all to use.

Using different ideas and accompanying resources is encouraged, and it’s a great way to enhance the study circle experience and really bring the Ruhi books to life, so I thought it would be a good idea to share five of them with you so you can benefit from them too.
So here they are: Continue reading

Baha’i Blog Turns One!

Baha’i Blog has just turned one, and we’d like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone from around the world for their wonderful and continued support during our first year!

It’s been an exciting year for Baha’i Blog, as we’ve had over 60,000 visits from 191 different countries (out of 195 in the world) so that’s pretty AWESOME!

The top countries were mostly the English speaking ones (this blog is in English after all!) but places like Malaysia, Germany and Romania were in the top 20!

Some 16,000 visits came from Google with people searching for things like “bahai test and difficulties”, “2011 baha’i conference”, “bahai jewelry” and “baha’i music”.

Our biggest source of traffic however was our Facebook page, which makes sense since we have almost 1,800 followers there now! Twitter also sent a couple thousand visits, and blogs like bahaithought.com and designthefaith.com also sent over some small doses of traffic.

Over 600 people stopped in to read our page on “What is the Baha’i Faith“. Over 5000 visited the directory and calendar facilities, where we’ve added 110 items to our Resource Directory and 28 events to our Calendar of Events, and our mailing list reaches over 430 people so far, so sign on if you want to be notified of our new posts.

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Naw Ruz: Spiritual Springtime

Image by Bert Kaufmann (Flickr)

Every year, on March 21st, Baha’is from all over the world and of all cultural backgrounds celebrate Naw Ruz.

Naw Ruz has its origins as a Zoroastrian observance in ancient Iran and, to this day, is celebrated as a cultural festival by Iranians of all religious backgrounds. In addition to being celebrated by Iranians and members of the Iranian diaspora, the observance of Naw Ruz has also spread to many other parts of the world, and is celebrated a a cultural holiday in India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iraqi Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Naw-Ruz, which means “New Day”, is celebrated at the vernal equinox, on the first day of spring. It is a time of joy and celebration, with the darkness of winter coming to an end and the reappearance of light, warmth and the beauty of spring’s flowers. It is a day of new beginnings – of change and hope.

However, for Baha’is, Naw Ruz also has deep spiritual significance. Naw Ruz marks the end of the 19-day Baha’i Fast, which is a period of reflection and profound spiritual reinvigoration for Baha’is. Naw-Ruz was ordained by Baha’u'llah as a celebration of humanity’s “spiritual springtime”: the Baha’i dispensation.

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Fasting In Other Religions

The fasting period is a special time for Bahá’í’s, but Bahá’í’s of course are not the only ones who fast. Fasting is also observed in various ways by other religions and belief systems as well, so I thought it would be interesting to take a brief look at how some of these religions and belief systems practice fasting.

Please keep in mind that this is only a mere glimpse of some of the belief systems of the world, and I am aware that there are many, many more not included here. Each one could definitely have its own dedicated article (which we may do in future), however, for the time being and for the purposes of this article, I’m just going to give you all a quick overview of a handful of fasting practices. Continue reading

The Fast and Sacrifice

Image by Paul Stevenson (Flickr)

What is sacrifice? As Baha’is, we believe that it is – in short – the act of giving up something for something of greater value.

Sacrifice has always been a concept of great fascination to me. It is fundamental to the progress and consummation of the human soul. Consequently, it is a practice that I try to apply in all aspects of my life.

As you would already know from previous posts, Baha’is are currently observing the Fast. In this time, I find myself asking: how does the concept of sacrifice tie in with the act of fasting? Continue reading

Five Tips for a Healthy, Happy Fast

Photo by iainsimmons

We’re a few days into the Baha’i Fast and as always for me, the first days are kind of hard! These early days are when your body is adjusting to its new routine and regime, and here in the southern hemisphere it’s also when the daylight hours are the longest.

While the Fast is ultimately spiritual, and this is a time of prayer and reflection, I find it helps to put some thought into the material aspects of Fasting. Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different ideas for what to eat and drink, and how to go about the days. I have come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is to be moderate, consistent and embrace the Fast.

Here are my personal tips for a healthier, happier fast. What are your tips? What works for you? Add them in the comments! Continue reading

The Baha’i Fast

The Baha'i Fast 620x412
The Baha’i Fast falls during the month of Ala – the last month of the Baha’i calendar. During these 19 days, Baha’is – with the exception of women who are nursing or pregnant, the elderly, children, the sick, those travelling and those engaged in heavy labour – abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset.

While this abstention from food and drink is a test of one’s will and discipline, the Fast is not just about abstaining from food. The Fast is, primarily, a spiritual practice.

For 19 days, those observing the Fast partake in a rich spiritual experience. The Fast is a time of joy and invigoration of our lives. It is an opportunity that comes once a year for us to take a step back and reconnect with what truly matters to us. It is a period of respite from the daily routines and hectic schedules that so often consume and overwhelm us.

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The ‘Fast in a Day’ Video Project

The Fast is fast approaching – no pun intended – so put down your plate of food and grab your video cameras, your web cam, or just use your camera phone – it doesn’t really matter, but get behind (or in front) of a camera and share your thoughts or experience on what The Bahá’í Fast means to you.

That’s the latest call out from Media Makes Us, a group of filmmakers based in the UK, who have put together a video initiative called ‘Fast in a Day’.

The “Fast in a Day” project is a global attempt to crowd source the feelings and emotions that surround The Bahá’í Fast (2nd-20th March).


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Celebrating Ayyam-i-Ha Imaginatively!

Image by Camdiluv (Flickr)

Every year, between February 26 and March 1, Baha’is celebrate Ayyam-i-Ha. These four days (or five, during leap years) are known as the Intercalary Days, beginning at the end of the 18th month of the Baha’i calendar, and ending right before the start of the 19th month of the Baha’i calendar, which is also the month of the Fast.

The Intercalary Days (or Ayyam-i-Ha, meaning “Days of Ha”) are days of preparation for the Fast; days of hospitality, enjoyment, charity, paying special attention to the plight of the poor and sick, and giving presents. They do not mark any particular event, but the way they are celebrated is, in some ways, similar to the way Christmas is observed worldwide. Continue reading