Tag Archives Baha’i History

William Sutherland Maxwell: Distinguished Architect

William Sutherland Maxwell, November 14th, 1874 - March 25th, 1952 (Photo: courtesy of the Baha'i International Community)

William Sutherland Maxwell, November 14th, 1874 - March 25th, 1952 (Photo: courtesy of the Baha'i International Community)

William Sutherland Maxwell was a distinguished soul whose life is best summarized in the words of Shoghi Effendi. The Guardian cabled the following obituary to the Baha’is of the world on March 26, 1952:

With sorrowful heart announce through national assemblies that Hand of Cause of Baha’u’llah, highly esteemed, dearly beloved Sutherland Maxwell, has been gathered into the glory of the Abha Kingdom. His saintly life, extending well nigh four score years, enriched during the course of Abdu’l-Baha’s ministry by services in the Dominion of Canada, ennobled during the Formative Age of Faith by decade of services in Holy Land, during darkest days of my life, doubly honoured through association with the crown of martyrdom won by May Maxwell and incomparable honor bestowed upon his daughter, attained consummation through his appointment as architect of the arcade and superstructure of the Bab’s Sepulchre as well as elevation to the front rank of the Hands of Cause of God.

Continue reading

Ellen “Mother” Beecher: A Sheaf of Light

Ellen Tuller Beecher known affectionately as "Mother Beecher" (1840-1932)

Ellen Tuller Beecher known affectionately as "Mother Beecher" (1840-1932)

In 1844 Siyyid Ali Muhammad, known to the world as the Bab, spent a quiet evening in His home, with Mulla Husayn. That evening, outwardly unnoticed, signified the birth of a new dispensation, era, and cycle in humanity’s history. Four years earlier, in the United States, a woman was born who was destined to become one of the spiritual progeny of the energy released into the world from that momentous conversation.

When, at the end of the 19th century, Ellen Tuller Beecher declared her belief in Baha’u’llah as the Manifestation of God for this Day, she was nearly 60 years old. At the time she was one of only several hundred individuals in the United States who were registered members of the Baha’i community. She immediately entered into correspondence with Abdu’l-Baha. Some of the letters from Him to Mother Beecher, as she came to be known, contain many well-known passages from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha regarding the importance of unity:  Continue reading

The Queen, the Journalist and the Book: Tribute to Marie of Romania

Queen Marie of Romania (29 October 1875 – 18 July 1938)

Queen Marie of Romania (29 October 1875 – 18 July 1938)

O Queen in London!… We have been informed that thou hast forbidden the trading in slaves, both men and women. This, verily, is what God hath enjoined in this wondrous Revelation. God hath, truly, destined a reward for thee, because of this.

This passage is part of a Tablet that Baha’u’llah addressed around 1867 to the “renowned” Queen Victoria, “whose sovereignty” Shoghi Effendi characterized as “[extending] over the greatest political combination the world has witnessed.” Baha’u’llah likewise praises Queen Victoria for having “entrusted the reins of counsel into the hands of the representatives of the people,” and even includes in His Tablet advice on how the members of her Parliament should represent the people, should be trustworthy and just. What distinguishes this Tablet and another, written about the same time to “the omnipotent Czar of the vast Russian Empire,” Alexander II, from others Baha’u’llah addressed to the political and ecclesiastical rulers of His time, including Napoleon III, Pope Pius IX, William I, Francis Joseph, Abdu’l-‘Aziz, and Nasiri’d-Din Shah, is His commendation of acts the British and Russian monarchs had each performed during their reigns, directly or indirectly, that He indicated were well-pleasing to God.  Continue reading

The Dawning Place: A Book by Bruce Whitmore

The-Dawning-Place-425x500

Every single one of the world’s seven (soon to be eight) Baha’i Houses of Worship is unique – unique in history, in design and in surroundings. But the one thing they all share in common is that they are The Dawning Places of the Mention of God.

I have always wanted to visit the Wilmette Temple. I don’t think photos can do justice to its utmost majesty, its intricate ornamentation, and the feeling of awe one must feel when standing in its presence.

American author Bruce Whitmore’s work The Dawning Place explores the very wonders of this House of Worship, providing a chronological account of events from before the Temple’s construction through to the present day. We spoke to Bruce to find out about him and his book, which is now in its second edition. Continue reading

Herald of the Covenant: A Tribute to William Henry (Harry) Randall

William Henry (Harry) Randall (19 April, 1863 - 11 Feb,1929)

William Henry (Harry) Randall (19 April, 1863 - 11 Feb,1929)

Immediately after my plane touched down in Boston, my host whisked me away in her car with a promise that I would love our destination.

We did not head towards the recognised highlights of the city such as the historic Boston Common or Harvard University or the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

We drove instead to the historic suburb of Medford and arrived at a cemetery where, amidst the golden autumn leaves, was the simple grey slate headstone of William Henry (Harry) Randall (1863-1929).

To the outer world Harry Randall was a multi-millionaire Boston businessman who later lost his fortune.

To the Baha’i community Harry Randall is a true hero of the Faith, one loved by Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi. Continue reading

Champions of Oneness: A New Book about Louis Gregory

There are countless heroes and heroines in the Baha’i Faith, all who devoted their very lives for the progress of the Cause. Luckily, we have access to innumerable works of literature which profile these heroic figures and provide inspiration for us to serve the Cause in our own way. One such work, Champions of Oneness: Louis Gregory and His Shining Circle, does just that.

Written by American author Janet Ruhe-Schoen, the book focuses on the years between 1898 and 1921 and portrays the lives of a handful of Baha’i pioneers of race amity in the United States. At great personal sacrifice, these early Baha’is traveled extensively to share the teachings of their newfound Faith, even if it meant facing severe challenges from those resistant to change.

We caught up with Janet to find out more about her work and the inspiration behind her latest book. Continue reading

25th Anniversary of the passing of Hand of the Cause of God Collis Featherstone

Collis Featherstone (5th May, 1913 - 29th September, 1990)

Collis Featherstone (5th May, 1913 - 29th September, 1990)

The telephone rang. It was the Saturday morning of the long October Labor Day weekend in Australia. It was my mother ringing from Kathmandu, Nepal where she and my father, Collis Featherstone, were visiting the Baha’is before flying to Pakistan to attend a Youth Conference. I immediately suspected something was wrong. My father had just passed away following a heart attack. I was stunned, shocked, horrified, deeply deeply saddened and rocked to my very soul. How did this happen, how were we to go to Nepal for the funeral and how were we to arrange ticketing quickly with the Monday being a holiday and no travel agent open (no computer ticketing in those days)? Who was going to look after our four children?

The only answer was prayer. Answers came, and with the help of dear friends, my husband Ho-San and I flew out of Sydney to Kathmandu on Tuesday morning 2nd October, together with Judy Hassall as the representative of the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia. The funeral was held on Friday 5th October, and my father was laid to rest in the Baha’i Cemetery in Kathmandu. Continue reading

The Life & Legacy of Bahiyyih Khanum – A Talk by Dr. Janet Khan

Life & Legacy of Bahiyyih Khanum - Janet Khan 864x486

Here at Baha’i Blog, we love listening to Baha’i-inspired talks, so we were so excited when we heard that the LSA of the Gold Coast had invited Dr. Janet Khan to give a talk at the Gold Coast Baha’i Centre in Australia.

In this talk, Dr. Janet Khan gives a talk on the extraordinary life and legacy of Bahiyyih Khanum, the daughter of Baha’u’llah. Bahiyyih Khanum, given the title the Greatest Holy Leaf, contributed significantly in the early years of the Faith. Her steadfastness during a critical period in the history of the Faith and during her appointment as the head of the Baha’i Faith testifies to the greatness of her character. Continue reading