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9 Things I Didn’t Know About Obligatory Prayers

9 Interesting Things Obligatory Prayer 864x549

As Baha’is, most of us are familiar with the main aspects of the Obligatory Prayers: that there are three to choose from, and that one is to be recited, individually, each day. The three prayers, generally referred to as the short, medium, and long Obligatory Prayers, each have specific directions which accompany them, but all should be preceded by ablutions (washing of the hands and face) and are recited facing the Qiblih (Point of Adoration, i.e. Bahji, Akka). The significance of the Obligatory Prayers has been discussed in another Baha’i Blog post here.

As a junior youth, I knew that when I reached the age of 15, I would start to say my Obligatory Prayer every day. But it wasn’t until my late teens, when I read the Kitab-i-Aqdas (The Most Holy Book) for the first time, that I found out about the following exemptions and clarifications, and they added to my understanding of the importance and centrality of the Obligatory Prayers to our lives. Continue reading

Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 8: Leyla and Ryan Haidarian

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Hello and welcome to the Baha’i Blogcast with me your host, Rainn Wilson.

In this series of podcasts I interview members of the Baha’i Faith and friends from all over the world about their hearts, and minds, and souls, their spiritual journeys, what they’re interested in, and what makes them tick.

In this episode, I interview my friends Leyla and Ryan Haidarian who live in Johannesburg, South Africa with their son. We talk about the unexpected way in which they moved to South Africa from Los Angeles, their media company which produces, distributes and develops financing for movies, television shows and creative projects. We talk about the special story of how they met on pilgrimage, about their professional path, their experience in the film industry, and their passion for doing work that has an impact and affects lives. We also look at topics like surrendering to the will of God, the struggle of fame and status, the concept of self, tests and accepting them with radiant acquiescence, and their experience with marriage as a fortress of wellbeing. Continue reading

Remembering God and Forgetting Others

Remembering God and Forgetting Others

The individual stands between the world and God, surrounded by other fellow beings in the same scenario. So should our attention be put on God, ourselves or other people? A Sufi quote says something interesting on the matter:

Act as if there were no one on earth but you and no one in Heaven but God. – al-Antaki

This sounds a bit selfish and even solipsistic but there seems to be some sense in it. It takes us back to the mystery that we all inhabit our own private universes. We can only think, feel, and understand from within our own view-point and can only infer what is happening in other people’s private worlds. The most fundamental relationship is between the individual and God. He is our creator, sustainer and salvation, so naturally our attention should be focused on Him.

This does not mean that other individuals are not important but that they are no substitute for God and should not stand between us and Him. For this reason, in the end, the only relationship that we can fully depend on is our own personal relationship with God. All other relationships stem from this one. And if we lose our connection with our Creator, our relationship with others also suffers – for we do not have the spiritual insight and strength to gain the qualities of love, forgiveness, or generosity on our own.  Continue reading

Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 7: Steven Phelps

Baha'i Blogcast -Steven Phelps 864x486

Hello and welcome to the Baha’i Blogcast with me your host, Rainn Wilson.

In this series of podcasts I interview members of the Baha’i Faith and friends from all over the world about their hearts, and minds, and souls, their spiritual journeys, what they’re interested in, and what makes them tick.

In this episode I interview Dr. Steven Phelps, physicist, philosopher and translator who currently lives Oregon, USA. We talk about his experience growing up as a Baha’i, his studies in physics and philosophy, when his deepest beliefs were challenged, his move to the Baha’i World Centre in Haifa and his experience as an Arabic and Persian translator. We also look into some of the deepest philosophical questions and share thoughts about how the world works, the relativity of religious truth, science and religion, consciousness, and the progress of civilization. Continue reading

Perspectives on Evolution

Perspectives on evolution

The harmony of science and religion is a fundamental principle of the Baha’i Faith. Abdu’l-Baha declares, “if religious beliefs and opinions are found contrary to the standards of science they are mere superstitions and imaginations; for the antithesis of knowledge is ignorance, and the child of ignorance is superstition.”

While conflict between religious doctrine and scientific theory is a recurring theme throughout the history of humanity, a contemporary example of this tension is found in discussions regarding evolution and the origin of our species. Given the centrality of the theory of evolution to the scientific enterprise and the importance of reconciling the teachings of the Faith and the established precepts of science, we thought it beneficial to briefly review some of the Baha’i principles on the subject. Shoghi Effendi cautions us, when studying Abdu’l-Baha’s teachings on the subject, that “these various statements must be taken in conjunction with all the Baha’i teachings; we cannot get a correct picture by concentrating on just one phrase.”

There are points of unequivocal agreement between Abdu’l-Baha and the science of evolution, such as the principle that humans, like all other species, have evolved over time:  Continue reading

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