In Memory of Violette Nakhjavani

It is very difficult to render tribute to a person so precious and outstanding as Violette Nakhjavani, who passed away last month.

She lived a life of service to the beloved Cause, blessed by the years of early pioneering in the continent of Africa and by the unique opportunity to be the tireless companion and devoted friend of the Hand of the Cause, Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, whom she loved and served so dearly.

Words cannot sufficiently describe the manner in which Mrs Nakhjavani and Ruhiyyih Khanum courageously and steadfastly spread the Message of Baha’u’llah. They travelled thousands of kilometers – across villages, cities, countries and oceans – and lovingly encouraged individuals of all origins, race and creed, as well as strengthening their love for the Faith.

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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

Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 36: Kamal Sinclair

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 sit down with the multi-talented Kamal Sinclair, a dancer, percussionist, multi-media producer, and currently the Executive Director of ‘Future Architects’. In this conversation we talk about being in ‘Stomp’, new technology and emerging media, the future of work, meeting Ruhiyyih Khanum, how art generates knowledge and the role beauty plays in the world, the difference between empathy and compassion, and the need to address trauma and abuse in the community. I hope you find this conversation as riveting as I did! Continue reading

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 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.

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Prison Poems by Mahvash Sabet

I recently finished reading Prison Poems, a collection of poetry written by Mahvash Sabet on the fifth anniversary of her incarceration. She is a prisoner of conscience. She was arrested simply for being a Baha’i, along with six other members of the Yaran (the national level group that guided the affairs of the Baha’i community of Iran of which Mahvash served as secretary).

I often find myself sitting in my driveway, with my baby fast asleep in her carseat. I can be found just sitting and waiting. But this week, I read this anthology. It is difficult to imagine Mahvash’s situation today — still imprisoned —  and it is equally difficult to imagine that the words in my hands were written on scraps of paper and smuggled by intermediaries out of her cell until they made their way to French homes of Violette and Ali Nakhjavani and their author daughter, Bahiyyih Nakhjavani. Their adaptation of these poems into English is a labour of love to Mahvash, and all those imprisoned without a voice.

Mahvash Sabet is a 60-year-old former teacher and school principal and a mother of two. After being dismissed from her work during the Revolution, she began informally teaching Baha’i youth who were denied the right to higher education.  She was arrested in 2008 and after three years of show trials on trumped up charges, she was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. She is being held in Evin prison, Iran’s infamous and brutal detention block. Continue reading

We Love Seeing You Wearing Baha’i Blog Apparel! (Part 3)

The Baha’i Blog team is excited to share our third collection of photos of people wearing our t-shirts, and sadly this will be the last of these collections, as the Baha’i Blog Shop is scheduled to close in less than a week, on 10 July, 2019.

You can learn more about why we’re closing down the Baha’i Blog Shop from this article ‘Baha’i Blog Shop Closing – Last Chance to Get Your Baha’i-Inspired T-Shirts!‘, and we’d really like to express A BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who has supported us over the years by buying something from our shop, and for all those who have helped us with the shirts and the shop, and all that goes into making an initiative like this happen!

We love it when we see pictures of people wearing our t-shirts pop up on social media pages, and it’s always great hearing about the impact the shirts are having, so we decided to showcase some of the images shared with us in this third collection called “We Love Seeing You Wearing Baha’i Blog Apparel! (Part 3)”. You can see part one and part two of these collections using these links below:

1. We Love Seeing You Wearing Baha’i Blog Apparel! (Part 1)
2. We Love Seeing You Wearing Baha’i Blog Apparel! (Part 2)

Before we begin the collection, I’d like to give one last reminder that buying our shirts helps Baha’i Blog continue to create all the Baha’i-inspired content we’ve been working on over the last eight years, plus they really do make great gifts for you and your family and friends! All of our shirts are limited editions and are printed by hand, and all orders include FREE GLOBAL SHIPPING, so head on over to the Baha’i Blog Shop to get your last shirts before they’re gone!!

Now on with the collection! Continue reading

Who Are the Knights of Baha’u’llah?

Who were the Knights of Baha'u'llahWhen you hear the title ‘Knight’, different connotations come to mind. Historically speaking, a medieval knight was known for their steadfast honor, their allegiance to God, and their loyalty to their lords and ladies. Their lives were dedicated to religious faith and military action – for example, in the Middle Ages they set out to conquer the Holy Land in the name of Christendom. Shoghi Effendi did not choose his words lightly, and hence the title “Knight of Baha’u’llah” authored by Shoghi Effendi, was a title that was bestowed on those selfless souls who opened 131 specific virgin territories to the Faith during what was known as the Ten Year Crusade.

Even as a child with little knowledge of the development of the Baha’i Faith, the title of “Knight of Baha’u’llah” was connotative to me of the qualities of medieval knights, of spiritual battles and sacrificial heroism. This knightly demeanor is masterfully called for by Shoghi Effendi in a cablegram to the Baha’is of the world sent in 1952 in preparation for the coming Ten Year Crusade which took place between 1953-1963, and which I explain in a little more detail further on. Continue reading