Failure…You’re Doing It Wrong

Failure...You're Doing It Wrong

A young Baha’i couple has an imaginative eight-year-old daughter who spends her birthday each year painting a picture of her family on a large canvas, which they proudly display above the dining room table. Throughout the years, the couple has helped her to experiment with different artistic mediums and taken her to community workshops and classes.

For the last six months, this same couple has been hosting a junior youth group. They start with seven youth, but eventually only four come regularly, and the couple is disheartened that they must go around the neighborhood each week to invite them to attend. Alas, they report at an annual reflection meeting that they are failing to find receptive youth and are not sure that the group should continue.

In situations such as this, what motivates the couple to support their daughter’s artwork year after year, yet become disheartened by the group after six months? Surely they have come across challenges in encouraging their daughter’s developing interest.

The answer, in one word, is “perspective”. Continue reading

Nabilinho Vol.III: An Interview with Nabil

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Many Baha’is around the world have listened to the smooth and funky sounds of Baha’i RnB/Hip-hop duo Nabil & Karim, but perhaps many haven’t heard the solo albums of these two great artists!

One half of the well known Baha’i duo Nabil & Karim is Nabil Moghaddam – or ‘Nabilinho’ as he’s known by his Portuguese friends and fans. Of Persian descent, Nabil was raised in both Portugal and Canada and he’s a musician, sound engineer and producer who’s passionate about using the arts and music to serve the Faith and to celebrate the Revelation of Baha’u’llah. I’ve spent hours on Skype with him, and I really love his dedication and passion for the Faith, the arts, and life in general.

Nabil has just released his third solo album called Nabilinho Vol.III, where he continues to serve up smooth RnB tracks based on the Baha’i Writings, so I thought it was time to do a Baha’i Blog interview with him to find out more about his new album and the man behind the music: Continue reading

A Prayer to Power Up Your Day: The Long Obligatory Prayer

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Whenever I face a long afternoon of work with pressing deadlines, I decide to put off knuckling down and getting on with it.

But this reaction is not one of those inevitable procrastinations that nearly all of us are prone to at various times. I see it rather as an important decision which leads me to undertake a major refuelling, without which my afternoon might just splutter on in an unsatisfactory manner.

The reason I don’t start immediately on the nitty gritty of work, is that it is my time to say the long obligatory prayer as revealed by Baha’u’llah. Yes, that prayer may be said at any time, but for me, when the day is on the verge of waning, I opt for revival.

I find this prayer to be a daily energy source, the equivalent of plugging into the essence of reality for about 15 minutes to obtain the force that comes with it, a power that can mysteriously inspire and direct the rest of the day. Baha’u’llah did say, after all, that through obligatory prayer we may draw “nigh unto God.” That will do me. Continue reading

Brilliant Star – A Baha’i-Inspired Magazine and Website for Children

Pictured above is the Brilliant Star team and key contributors at their 2013 Annual Meeting. From left to right is Annie Reneau, Susan Engle, Lisa Blecker, C. Aaron Kreader, Amethel Parel-Sewell, Amy Renshaw, Donna Price, and Foad Ghorbani.

Pictured above is the Brilliant Star team and key contributors at their 2013 Annual Meeting. From left to right is Annie Reneau, Susan Engle, Lisa Blecker, C. Aaron Kreader, Amethel Parel-Sewell, Amy Renshaw, Donna Price, and Foad Ghorbani.

In the Baha’i Faith we know that “Children are the most precious treasure a community can possess, for in them are the promise and guarantee of the future”, so there’s no doubt that coming up with creative and meaningful ways to support our children is important, and that’s why I couldn’t wait to do a post about Brilliant Star!

Brilliant Star is an award-winning Baha’i-inspired children’s magazine and website aimed at children of all faiths, and invites them to explore concepts based on principles central to the teachings of the Baha’i Faith, like encouraging their development as world citizens, their appreciation for cultural and racial diversity, peace among all religions and nations, the equality of women and men, and the elimination of prejudices.

The magazine really had a profound effect on me when I was a child, and I remember how I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it whenever a new issue came out. Now, some 45 years on (yep, Brilliant Star first started in 1969 as Child’s Way and then became Brilliant Star in 1983), Brilliant Star continues to publish six times per year with subscribers in over 40 countries, coming from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and faiths.

I decided to touch base with Brilliant Star’s Editor and Creative Director Amethel Parel-Sewell, to find out more about this wonderful resource: Continue reading

Raising Money for Baha’i Projects with Kickstarter and Indiegogo

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Whether it’s an individual initiative or a community-backed idea, projects in the Baha’i Faith often need resources to get off the ground. While the institutions are certainly an option for finding support, a number of Baha’is have begun taking to the web, specifically to crowdfunding sites, to find backers for their projects. And they’re finding success too.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo are the most popular platforms. Here are five recent successfully funded Baha’i-related campaigns. Continue reading

The Baha’i Principle of Progressive Revelation

Progressive Revelation

One of the things we often get asked about as Baha’is is our conviction of the principle of the oneness of religion. As it is one of the central teachings laid down by Baha’u’llah, it is of great importance that we are able to understand the implications of seeing all religions, in essence, as being as one. This way we are able to answer common questions we are asked, such as, “How can all religions be true when they appear to disagree in the ways they are practised?” or, “Sure, different religions can get along, but clearly they advocate for different things, no?”

A response to these questions will be inherently based upon the concept of Progressive Revelation, a core concept that suggests that religious truth is, in essence, one, and that it is progressively revealed by God through a series of divine Messengers. Christ, Muhammad, Moses, Krishna, Baha’u’llah and the Bab are some examples of these Messengers that are like perfect mirrors that reflect and manifest the perfections and attributes of God and reveal His Word. Through the lens of Progressive Revelation we are able to clearly see how all the great religions of the world are divine in origin and regard their founders as divine Manifestations of God. Continue reading

Education Is Not A Crime – Join the Campaign

Education Is Not A Crime 846x454‘Education is Not a Crime’ is a new campaign featuring voices of support for Iran’s Baha’is from around the world.

The campaign centres around the fact that Iran’s government stops Baha’is from teaching or studying at public universities, so the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) was established in 1987 as an informal university to give young Baha’is a chance to learn. Continue reading

9 Unique Aspects of Baha’i Marriage

Beautiful picture of a nice young married couple kissing on a streetEach religion has a set of standards in order for marriages to thrive and develop. You will find that the Baha’i Faith, in particular, offers some very simple, yet profound, directions for the formation of healthy marriages which will contribute to a unified world. These guidelines are available for anyone, regardless of their belief background, to utilize as they prepare for marriage, grow into a couple and struggle through the unavoidable challenges of life together. While so many of the teachings of each religion remain constant, here are nine distinctly unique aspects of Baha’i marriage: Continue reading

Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum

Amatu’l-Baha Ruḥiyyih Khanum, born Mary Sutherland Maxwell Aug. 8, 1910 - Jan. 19, 2000. (Photo: Baha'i World Centre)

Amatu’l-Baha Ruḥiyyih Khanum, born Mary Sutherland Maxwell
Aug. 8, 1910 – Jan. 19, 2000. (Photo: Baha’i World Centre)


15 years ago, on January 19, 2000, Madame Ruhiyyih Rabbani, born as Mary Sutherland Maxwell, and affectionately known by the title Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, passed away from this earthly plain. She was the Handmaiden of Glory; the beloved consort of Shoghi Effendi; his “shield”, his “helpmate”, and his “tireless collaborator”; a Hand of the Cause of God; and the “Baha’i world’s last living link to the family of Abdu’l-Baha”.

On the Sunday afternoon that her precious remains were laid to rest, the sweetness of a chanted Persian prayer reverberated throughout the garden where nearly a thousand friends had gathered from places far-flung across the globe to pay tribute and homage to this beloved personage. A soft rain began to fall gently upon all there; perhaps nature’s own testimony to the grief felt in all the hearts and the tears upon many a cheek.

The beauty of the love story that was to become Ruhiyyih Khanum’s life was one that began long before her birth. Mary Sutherland Maxwell was born on 8 August 1910 in New York City. The beloved only-child of William Sutherland Maxwell and May Ellis Bolles, she was a result of the prayers of Abdu’l-Baha for the fulfillment of May Bolles’ heart’s desire to have a child, and perhaps, the gift of her mother’s complete acquiescence and resignation to the Will of God. Continue reading

When Religion Becomes the Cause of Terror

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If religion becomes the cause of enmity and bloodshed, then irreligion is to be preferred. For religion is the remedy for every ailment, and if a remedy should become the cause of ailment and difficulty, it is better to abandon it. – Abdu’l-Baha

As a non-Muslim living in the West I am expected to bash Islam whenever another paradise-bound youngster shouts “Allah-u-Akbar” whilst unleashing his Kalashnikov in a crazed fit against innocent bystanders. In solidarity to the victims I should at least quip sarcastically about “the religion of peace” once again carrying out “business as usual”. Continue reading