5 Baha’i Books About Marriage

In the Baha’i Writings we are told that marriage is “a fortress for well-being” and preparation for a lasting union is something we can all benefit from. So whether you’re single and hoping to find a partner, or already investigating someone’s character, I thought it would be useful to put together a short list of books to help you get started in your own preparation to building that fortress. Continue reading

How Marriage Consciously Creates a Better Future

Horns honk, text messages ding, there’s a new deadline to meet, college assignment to complete, a relative needing attention, a service commitment to carry out, or sadness to process with a friend who just got divorced. Our minds get so full of noise that becoming conscious of something can be difficult. I find it takes me a lot of quiet, alone time to even focus on something for a short time.

I recently re-read a quotation that I’ve read countless times before, and the phrase “acutely conscious” struck me. The passage relates to how young people can consciously create a better future, but I think it’s worth everyone’s time and attention. The Universal House of Justice tells us (the bolding is mine):  Continue reading

5 Modern Myths About Love & Marriage | Nura Mowzoon

In this talk produced by Bahaiteachings.org, relationship coach and university professor, Dr. Nura Mowzoon takes apart five modern myths about love, dating and marriage and she recommends ways to build truly lasting spiritual relationships. She explores the concepts of love at first sight, sexual compatibility and the idea that it’s better to live together before marriage. Presenting studies that counter the conventional wisdom about contemporary couples, she maps a path toward the spiritual aspects of love and marriage, and the practices that foster real and lasting love.  Continue reading

73 Books & Literary Works Featured on Baha’i Blog So Far

Over the years, we’ve highlighted new Baha’i-inspired books and we’ve had the privilege of getting to know so many brilliant and creative writers! We’ve also been honoured to write about volumes of the Baha’i Writings, or about statements and books written by the Universal House of Justice. In honour of International Literary Day, we thought we’d celebrate all the books we’ve featured on Baha’i Blog so far. We hope this list, and the snippets of their accompanying articles or interviews, inspires you to add some of these titles to your reading lists!  Continue reading

5 Thoughts About Oneness

I find that sometimes having a question in the forefront of my mind can make certain answers more apparent — like when you close your eyes, think of the colour blue, and then open them again. Everything blue pops out in sharper contrast than before. What was muted becomes vibrant, and impossible to ignore.

These days I am wondering about oneness and am trying to keep the question in the fore of my personal deepening. What does “oneness” truly mean? The Merriam-Webster dictionary tells us that it is “the state of being completely united with or a part of someone or something” but what does that mean in practical terms? What effect does it have on our spiritual lives?

I have often explained the Baha’i Faith in terms of believing in the three onenesses: the oneness of humanity (that we are all equal despite differences in culture, ethnicity, gender, and our physical bodies), the oneness of the Manifestations (that They are all divine in origin), and the oneness of God (regardless of whether we call Him Dieu, Allah or Jehovah, He is one in essence). These words have rolled off my tongue without deeper, significant thought but recently I have been contemplating these five points: Continue reading

Uniting the World, Two Hearts at a Time

“Each sees in the other the Beauty of God reflected in the soul, and finding this point of similarity, they are attracted to one another in love. This love will make all men the waves of one sea, this love will make them all the stars of one heaven and the fruits of one tree. This love will bring the realization of true accord, the foundation of real unity.” -Abdu’l-Baha

In 1904, Florence Breed and Ali-Kuli Khan married in Boston. Breed was American and Khan was Iranian; their union symbolized East and West uniting in the Baha’i Faith. When Abdu’l-Baha visited the US in 1912, the Khans hosted a luncheon for Him in Washington, D.C. There, Abdu’l-Baha defied social convention by giving Louis Gregory, an African-American Baha’i, the seat of honor.  Continue reading

14 Books About the Baha’i Faith and Christianity

As many friends of Baha’is around the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and in the spirit of celebrating the divine origin of Christianity, we thought we’d share a short list of books about Christianity and the Baha’i Faith. The list includes titles written by Abdu’l-Baha and by early Baha’is as well as some fresh off the printing press; you’ll find books about the fulfilment of prophecy, and books that examine the Sacred Writings of both faiths.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but we hope it gives you a glimpse of some of the titles out there on this subject. Continue reading

New Books About the Hands of the Cause for Children & Youth

Two new biographies are available about the lives of the Hands of the Cause for young readers! These books, published by the Baha’i Publishing Trust of India, are the result of true team-effort and international collaboration between Elika and Tarrant (Tarry) Mahony and Vered Ehsani. The first volume describes the lives and heroic acts of service of Amelia Collins, Dorothy Baker and Tarazu’llah Samandari, the second; Martha Root, Enoch Olinga and Rahmatu’llah Muhajir. A third volume is currently in progress. All are meant for a young audience — which makes them all the more special!  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

Susan Engle’s Tiny Baha’i Books

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is fascinated by tiny things. When I heard about Susan Engle’s work, I was delighted. Her first project was a book called The Baha’i Faith: A Tiny Introduction, and tiny is exactly what it is! It fits in the palm of your hand. Recently, A Tiny Book of Prayers also became available and it is equally enchanting. Susan was happy to tell us more about her little books and I’m so glad she did!  Continue reading

#7Bahais7years – A Glimpse of the Global Campaign

The seven day global campaign (14–21 May, 2015) called #7Bahais7years which set out to create awareness and a show of solidarity for the Baha’is being persecuted in Iran, has witnessed a wonderful show of support from the around the world.

The campaign focused on the seven former Baha’i leaders (also known collectively as ‘the Yaran’ which means ‘friends’ in Persian) who, because of their belief in the Baha’i Faith, were arrested and have now been in prison for seven years. The global campaign was based on the theme “Seven Days in Remembrance of Seven Years for the Seven Baha’i Leaders”, and each of the seven days focused on a different member of the seven arrested Baha’i leaders, who’s names are: Mahvash Sabet, Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm.

During the campaign there were numerous news articles, TV reports, and most moving of all, was to see the large numbers of Baha’is and their friends from across the globe showing their support by holding prayer meetings and gatherings, and posting photos, videos and artwork on social media.

We thought it would be great to share some examples of this wonderful show of support below: Continue reading

Join the Global Campaign to Help Free Imprisoned Baha’is – #7Bahais7years

Unfortunately the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran continues, and it has now been seven years that seven former Baha’i leaders (also known collectively as ‘the Yaran’) have been wrongfully imprisoned in Iran. These seven Baha’is formed the entire membership of the now-disbanded ad hoc group tending to the spiritual and social needs of the Iranian Baha’i community (in the absence of formally elected Baha’i leadership which was banned in 1983), and they were arrested and imprisoned for nothing more than their belief in the Baha’i Faith. Now the Baha’i International Community has launched a global campaign to mark the seventh anniversary of their wrongful imprisonment and to call for their immediate release.

Running for seven days (14 – 21 May, 2015), the global campaign is based on the theme “Seven Days in Remembrance of Seven Years for the Seven Baha’i Leaders”, and each of these seven days will focus on a different member of the seven arrested Baha’i leaders.

Continue reading

4 Spiritual Qualities that Help Unite Marriages

I love being in a happy marriage. I love the quotations from the Baha’i Writings that talk about the wonderfulness of marriage. Sometimes though the guidance is challenging to understand and follow. I’m currently striving to grasp this particular quotation below, especially the second sentence:

Baha’is should be profoundly aware of the sanctity of marriage and should strive to make their marriages an eternal bond of unity and harmony. This requires effort and sacrifice and wisdom and self-abnegation.

These are my thoughts on that sentence, based on my personal experience and my work as a marriage and relationship educator and coach based in the United States and working with couples in many countries.  Continue reading

Raising Children and its Spiritual Effect on Marriage

For Baha’is, the purpose of marriage is to create a divine institution that gives birth to the next generation of teachers who will arise to further proclaim the Cause of God. As Baha’u’llah says:

Enter ye into wedlock, that after you another may arise in your stead.

There are, of course, many factors that influence whether and when to have children, including education, financial stability, career or physical ability. A letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice states:

They should realise, moreover, that the primary purpose of marriage is the procreation of children. A couple who are physically incapable of having children may, of course, marry, since the procreation of children is not the only purpose of marriage. However, it would be contrary to the spirit of the Teachings for a couple to decide voluntarily never to have any children.

Continue reading

Sweet Neighbors Come in All Colors – A New Book by Lisa Blecker

Lisa Blecker is a bit of a celebrity in our household. My three young children have, at various times, all held our board book copy of Blessed is the Spot during prayers and we have read, and sung, The Good in Me from A to Z by Dottie as a family and in our children’s class more times than I can count! When I saw that Lisa had put out a new book called Sweet Neighbors Come in All Colors, I knew it was going to be a hit with our family — and I wasn’t disappointed! It is cheerful, vibrant, sweet, fun and a book the kids ask for over and over and over again!

Because of how much her books have meant to us, I was a little star struck when I approached Lisa to find out more about her book and when I told my six year old that Lisa and I were in touch, she was floored! It was a pleasure to find out more about the book and I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did: Continue reading

Illustrated Prayer Books: An Interview with Constanze von Kitzing

As a new mother and a life-long bibliophile, I get giddy when new Baha’i books for children hit the shelves – in these early days of the Faith, they are so preciously few! You can imagine my excitement when I discovered Constanze von Kitzing’s works. She is a German illustrator of children’s books, and both the American and German Baha’i publishing trusts have already printed her illustrated prayer book for children and her edition of Blessed is the spot…

A book of excerpts from the sacred writings, entitled Pearls of Wisdom, will be available in the near future and I am grateful that my daughter will grow up with Constanze’s playful images in her hands when we share family devotions. Her art is joyful, colourful and delightful. I was intrigued and wanted to find out more about Constanze and she graciously agreed to tell me about herself and her craft. Continue reading

19 Questions I’m Asking Myself for the Baha’i New Year

As I join Baha’is around the world in celebrating the Baha’i New Year known as Naw-Ruz, the last month of the Baha’i Calendar just before Naw-Ruz is the fasting period for Baha’is, and it was a perfect time for me to reflect on, and plan, what goals I want to set myself for the new year.

As we are encouraged by the Universal House of Justice to adopt a humble posture of learning — learning which takes place through prayer, planning, action and reflection — I thought I would create a list of questions to ask myself in order to help me reflect on and plan my own personal New Year resolutions.

I’ve decided to share this list of questions in case it may be of any use to you, (and I’ve left out my answers), but I’d love to hear about the questions you’ve been asking yourself, and/or what learnings you’ve had over the last year and how you hope to work on them if you think it would be appropriate to share (keeping in mind that it’s not about confessions of course). You can leave your comments in the ‘Comments’ section found at the bottom of this article.

Here’s the list: Continue reading