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A Tribute to Mr. Ali Nakhjavani

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 7:04am

On 11 October, 2019 the Universal House of Justice shared with the world the news of the passing of one of its former members, Mr. Ali Nakhjavani. The Universal House of Justice wrote:

We mourn the loss of an extraordinary figure who leaves behind a distinguished legacy of uninterrupted service to the Cause of God. In the course of a singularly remarkable life that began in the closing years of the Heroic Age and extended to the very fringes of the second century of the Formative Age, he shone in the firmament of selfless devotion to Baha’u’llah and was called upon to be involved in many a major development in the rise of the Administrative Order, whether as a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran, as an intrepid pioneer to Africa in the Ten Year Crusade, as a member of the African Auxiliary Board when it was first created, as a member of the Regional National Spiritual Assembly of Central and East Africa at its inception, and as a member of the International Baha’i Council when it was first elected, a prelude to his membership on the Universal House of Justice when it was established in 1963. He brought to his decades of monumental service absolute fidelity to his beloved Guardian, an exceptional depth of knowledge of the Cause, leonine commitment to the defence of the Covenant, intense ardour for the teaching work, rare spiritual acuity, and a radiant heart brimming with love for everyone who crossed his path. His was a life of profound spiritual attainment lived at the hinge of history. May his utter consecration, his adamantine faith, and his unswerving dedication to duty inspire generations to come.

I cannot even begin to imagine the thousands of lives he has touched in 100 fully lived years. I was honoured to witness just a glimpse of the love, the respect and immense esteem which a myriad of people have for him and which we will carry throughout our lives, through our difficulties and our days of joy.

One of the interesting qualities of Mr. Nakhjavani is that he never seemed old. I started to know him better when he left Haifa in 2003 when he was already 84 years old – and yet it actually never occurred to me that he was old. There was something quite extraordinary about the way he spoke. He would literally light up, speak with so much enthusiasm, laugh with so much joy, and hug with so much strength, that one would forget everything else.

It’s amazing how even in the last few days of his life, his spirit was strong and his soul sharp, as ever before.

All the years I’ve known him he dedicated his life to young people: to nurture the youth, to strengthen them, and he would take no rest in order to be available, to encourage, support and love the youth in their services and in studying in-depth the Faith. He took this as his mission.

And it was amazing how he would attract the youth just by his presence. In the world we live in today where society easily absorbs the youth in a whirlpool of negative dynamics, it was incredible to witness how Mr. Nakhjavani had the capacity to attract the youth. I remember when he and his beloved wife, Violette, would be in gatherings for Baha’i courses in Acuto. Even after the program had finished and they would just be sitting quietly to rest in a corner of the reception, the youth would slowly, slowly trickle in and sit around them on the carpet and one by one it would become a whole group glued to every word and story, like many kids around the fire listening to the wisdom of the elderly.

Mr. Nakhjavani was tireless. He had indefatigable strength. In all the years in Acuto, day after day, he would encourage the youth to study the Writings, to defend the Cause, but to also stand in unity, to help each other, and to delve into the details and profound ocean of the teachings of the Faith. He was always ready to answer, at any time of the day and night, any question, any query, any doubt, any hesitation to ensure that the younger generations could carry the torch of the Faith forward with certainty and dignity.

He demonstrated in his way of living, in his writing of books and in his daily life, such self-discipline, eye for detail, and meticulous precision and concentration, but also a powerful vision for the future and the capacity to analyze and see profound meaning beyond what the eye could see.

He used to connect the Writings and the spiritual reality of things with everything happening in society, whether with the news or everyday dynamics – uplifting our level of understanding and helping us to discover new meanings, encouraging us to look beyond. It was a continuous search for inner meaning throughout his whole life which really is extraordinary – it is indeed what the House of Justice called his “rare spiritual acuity.”

One of the most cherished parts of his life was spent in Africa. The 10 years he lived there, he travelled throughout the continent in various countries, he sacrificed his comforts, he loved its people, its culture, its spiritual openness, its dignified and simple but powerful response to the message of unity and faith. The years in Africa stayed with him until his last days on this earth, and the times I had the chance to visit him after travelling from Africa, I could see that the love shown to me was truly directed towards the African continent and its people. His heart was in Africa, his thoughts, his preoccupations, his pure love was for the many people he crossed paths with in his years in that torn yet wonderful continent. He loved the genuine character of the people he met, their purity, their joy and their happiness despite their difficulties. His work and tireless service in Uganda, in the remote villages and rural areas, his extraordinary travels with a small car through the crazy muddy roads to traverse various countries with his beloved wife to bring Mr. Olinga to the other side of the continent, the adventures, the crisis, the victories – all of these made his soul fall in love with Africa and created a special bond with the continent which will endure forever.

There are so many people who carry his name in Africa because, as per tradition, if you touch someone’s life, their children are given your name as a tribute, so you will find many people whose first name is Nakhjavani. Most importantly they carry his spirit: the spirit of service and dedication that he has shone forth all these years.

He smiled and laughed aloud when he was told that there are hundreds of little “Nakhjavaniens” in the Congo, at a school which carries his name. The school has even established a Nakhjavani day of rest to pay tribute to his passing into the next world. I received so many messages from friends from various African countries who had never met him, and yet are so inspired by his life.

If one wants to remember Mr. Nakhjavani, one cannot help but also think of his beloved companion throughout his life, dear Mrs. Violette Nakhjavani – together they represented an example of unity, respect and love which is rarely seen.

I still remember how all the youth were so touched when he would stand up, despite his old age, out of respect when Mrs. Nakhjavani was called to speak or would enter the room. It is these actions, demonstrated day after day and with constancy, which are the greatest lessons for all of us.

Mr. Nakhjavani would never want to be remembered without mentioning his beloved parents and his dear brother Jalal. His immense love for his father and especially for his mother is indescribable. Every service, every victory, every success of his life was not claimed by him. He would always mention the blessings of his parents and how grateful he was to them for all their love. I can only imagine the joy of reuniting with them, after so many years of longing.

I will always remember his firmness and yet loving kindness, his detachment and capacity to focus, the incredible strength and convictions. I will remember the patience and humility, the profound calmness and capacity for forgiveness, the self-discipline and tireless efforts and yet the constant encouragement towards others, especially the youth in which he invested day after day, minute after minute. He has been like a compass in my life, with his calmness and forgiveness, with his love and encouragement, to always look ahead and try to do better. He made everyone feel loved and special, despite any failures.

Mr. Nakhjavani used to say “finita la musica” at the end of every talk but as I reflect on his earthly life, so close to the celebration of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, it is timely to think that he has just joined the beginning of a musical piece, a beautiful spiritual concert in the next world.

The post A Tribute to Mr. Ali Nakhjavani appeared first on Baha'i Arts, Stories and Media.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

19 Glimpses of the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab Celebrations Around the World!

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 3:28pm

It’s been so exciting to see the thousands of celebratory initiatives and activities happening around the world in honor of the Bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, the Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith!

Many of these initiatives and activities have been featured on bicentenary.baha.org/the-bab/glimpses, a page created by the Baha’i World Centre in honor of this special occasion, so we thought we’d share 19 glimpses of bicentenary celebrations and events from around the world, found on the bicentenary page. Here they are listed in alphabetical order, and if you click on the country or image, it’ll take you to more related images:

1. Benin

Communities in Benin, commemorate the bicentenary with processions on the streets, inviting local residents to the upcoming historic celebrations. Gatherings are infused with prayers, songs, dance, and presentations by children and youth about the life of the Bab and His teachings.

2. Brazil

At a celebration in Brasilia, Brazil, a large group of families and friends enjoyed music and viewed displays showing images of the Shrine of the Bab.

3. El Salvador

In a beautiful outdoor setting, people in the community in Sonsonate, El Salvador, gathered together to celebrate the birth of the Bab. A special bicentenary sign hung to welcome the attendees, adorned palm tree branches framed the entrance, and other decorations created an uplifting atmosphere for this gathering. They celebrated by saying prayers, sharing stories of the life of the Bab, and watching the film Dawn of the Light.

4. Ghana

A marching band passes through Tema, Ghana, announcing the news of the bicentenary of the birth of the Bab. This is just one of the many ways communities around Ghana marked the historic occasion. In a part of Accra, youth and children prepared a song for a local celebration, while in Asesewa a joyful community enjoyed the festivities.

5. Haiti

In Haiti, friends come together in a myriad of spaces to honor the life of the Bab. Prayers and vibrant songs fill the air as part of bicentenary celebrations.

6. Japan

Bicentenary celebrations in Japan, now underway, follow many months of preparations that have inspired creative endeavors around the country. A group in Utsunomiya penned wishes for their own lives and the progress of society, including the Bab’s inspiring Words, on origami paper. In Hachioji, families met for prayers and a clean-up project in the nearby forest. And at many joyful gatherings, people are telling stories of the life of the Bab and reflecting on His message of spiritual renewal.

7. Korea

About 100 people attended a screening of Dawn of the Light, a feature film produced for the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Bab, at a movie theatre in Seoul, Korea.

8. Macau

Uplifting celebrations throughout Macau mark the bicentenary of the birth of the Bab. The celebrations include prayerful family gatherings in homes and activities such as a puppet show and Chinese calligraphy art.

9. Malaysia

Visitors to a botanical garden in Malaysia celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of the Bab by painting in portions of a banner created for the occasion. Centered on the theme of unity, the two-day art project took shape after a viewing of the film about the Bab, Dawn of the Light.

10. Mongolia

In Mongolia, bicentenary celebrations are bringing the participation of people of all ages in gatherings with prayer, song, and artistic activities.

11. Namibia

A joyous and vibrant gathering in Windhoek, Namibia, brought together scores of families and friends to commemorate the bicentenary.

12. Norway

A bicentenary celebration in Hurum, Norway, included music and puppetry, as well as a performance portraying Táhirih—an early believer of the Báb who was renowned for her poignant prose and poetry that advocated for the transformation of society.

13. Peru

The Baha’i community in Puno, Peru, comes together in various settings to celebrate the bicentenary in gatherings characterized by prayer, songs, and fellowship.

14. Romania

A group of young people in Bucharest, Romania, have been gathering to study The Dawn-Breakers in the year of the bicentenary. Upon learning the stories of the early heroes of the Faith the group was moved to create a play. Through their performance the group celebrates the story of the young woman Babi, Zaynab, and explores the concept of being a true seeker through the story of Mulla Ḥusayn.

15. Russian Federation

To prepare their community for the bicentenary, young people in Kazan, Russia, invited their friends to help beautify the area by painting a mural.

16. Timor-Leste

In Dili, Timor-Leste, youth and children gather in a spirit of joy to celebrate the bicentenary. An art activity prepared for the children depicts a story from the Bab’s childhood.

17. Tonga

On the Pacific island of Tongatapu, Tonga, friends and family from a few neighboring localities join together for a night of festivities. The children, who attend classes for spiritual and moral education, also give presentations to the community about what they had learned.

18. United Kingdom

People of all ages and backgrounds come together in Sheffield, United Kingdom, for a lively evening of prayer, music and discussions about the developments in the world over the past 200 years in light of the teachings of the Bab and Bahá’u’lláh.

19. Vanuatu

In Vanuatu, the community arranged bouquets of flowers bursting with color, they baked cookies and joined in song to bring joy to the hearts of their friends and neighbors on the bicentenary of the birth of the Bab. The children carefully colored in cards on which an opening gate was depicted, recalling the station of the Bab as the Gate and Herald of Bahá’u’lláh.

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

New Letter from the Universal House of Justice Following the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 5:32pm

What a bounty to have a new letter from the Universal House of Justice released to the Baha’is of the world! Dated 8 November, 2019, this letter outlines what occurred in the months leading up to and during the bicentenary celebrations of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith. You may already have caught a glimpse of the celebrations that were held around the world from the official bicentenary website, www.bicentenary.bahai.org. This letter, however, describes what the future holds; it is quoted in full below. You can also read it online, or download it, here from the Baha’i Reference Library.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

8 November 2019

To the Baha’is of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

The measure of what you have achieved—not only in the last few weeks, but during a two-year period of remarkable advance now brought to a stunning climax—compels us to address you who are the visible hosts of a movement that has proved itself irrepressible. Far from being merely a memorable event, the celebration of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab was the fruit of eight cycles of devoted effort, carried out in unity and with a sense of undaunted initiative. We rejoiced to see the friends so assured in their response to the call to service. Local communities, neighbourhoods, and villages became arenas for intensified activity of all kinds, as the knowledge of what the community could accomplish—witnessed at the last bicentenary—prompted a release of tremendous energy and enterprise, supported by a sound process of preparation and reflection. There are so many highlights to acknowledge. Celebrations within families and among families featured prominently; gatherings organized by youth for their peers were likewise a strength. Opportunities for animated retellings of the lives of the Bab and His early disciples were eagerly seized. Festivities were given added depth through conversations on the needs of society, often begun by the parents of young children. The bicentenary elicited artistic works of beauty and feeling, creative expressions of devotion too numerous and diverse to describe. And the way that each avenue of activity became a natural invitation to engage with the institute was especially noticeable. We were much encouraged by the capacity shown to bring the broadest possible spectrum of people into the embrace of the community’s activities. Surely, this illustrates how moments sacred in human history and commemorated at Holy Days have immense power to uplift individual souls and to weld a people together through shared experience. What great promise for advances at the level of culture lies in the universal celebration of such Festivals in place after place in the years to come.

The reality that there is abundant receptivity in the world at large is not in doubt. Progress depends on developing the capacity to extend the community-building process further still. And so all eyes turn to the months ahead. The devotion to the Twin Divine Luminaries and to the well-being of humanity which inspired your noble exertions thus far must sustain you in the coming six cycles. We urge everyone who worked to bring about this success to hasten now and gather again to reflect and to consult, and to determine how best to apply, in each unique setting, all that your experience has taught you: how an expanding nucleus of friends can cultivate a growing pattern of activity; how children can advance to the next grade and junior youth to the succeeding text, further developing their moral and spiritual qualities; how institute courses can yield much-needed skills and capacities; how the path of service can widen to accommodate large numbers; how real hope for the betterment of society can be demonstrated in action; and how all of God’s peoples can be enabled to take inspiration from His new Revelation, and souls who are receptive can be invited to identify with the Cause of the Abha Beauty. In this continuing period of special potency, at an hour when the world seems powerless in the face of overwhelming peril and souls have succumbed to dismay and despair, Baha’u’llah has shown us another glimpse of what the community that bears His name can accomplish through courage—even heroism—in the discharge of its God-given mission. We will pray earnestly in the Holy Shrines for His unfailing confirmations to surround every child and every youth, every woman and every man, every family and every community that treasures His love in their hearts.

signed: The Universal House of Justice

 

You can read this message, as well as many others, online on the Baha’i Reference Library.

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

An Introduction to the Baha’i Faith by Rainn Wilson – A New Animation!

Wed, 11/06/2019 - 7:00am

I’m super excited to let everyone know about a new animation called An Introduction to the Baha’i Faith by Rainn Wilson that Baha’i Blog had the pleasure of working on with our dear friends at BahaiTeachings.org, SwissVBS, and of course, actor Rainn Wilson.

When Rainn first called to chat about the idea of making an animated introduction to the Baha’i Faith, I was excited because of what was learned when Baha’i Blog made this short video about the Baha’i Faith, and because sadly, there’s still not that much out there when it comes to introductory Baha’i materials online. Seeing as how 57 percent of the world are actively online these days, there’s definitely a need for videos like this.

Over the last year or so while working on this project, I’ve had a number of conversations with friends about what goes into the making of an animation about the Baha’i Faith, and because here at Baha’i Blog we’re passionate about the creation of Baha’i-inspired content, and exploring the processes involved, I thought perhaps it would be a good opportunity to share a little bit about some of the considerations made, and the questions we asked ourselves, during the process of creating an animation which introduces the Baha’i Faith to a wide audience.

Action Through Consultation and Collaboration

This animation was the result of many months of consultation, and the collaborative efforts of Rainn Wilson, Baha’i Blog, SwissVBS, and BahaiTeachings.org. So who are these collaborators? Let me tell you:

Rainn Wilson is an actor, a Baha’i, and a dear friend, who’s passionate about the Baha’i Faith and service to humanity. He and his wife Holiday, co-founded a not-for-profit called LIDE, which focuses on the education of girls in Haiti. Rainn and I have worked on several projects together, and we even have our own podcast series on Baha’i Blog called the Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson, so check it out when you get a chance.

SwissVBS is an e-learning company based in Toronto, Canada, and you may have seen their beautiful animated works in the recent film commissioned by the Universal House of Justice called Dawn of the Light.

Hopefully, you’re all familiar with our friends BahaiTeachings.org, a resource-rich website from the United States, full of articles, videos, and podcasts all relating to the Baha’i Faith.

This animation was approximately a year in the making, and it involved not only time and resources, but it came together because of the collaborative efforts and contributions of all those involved, and it was truly the fruit of regular consultation – an important principle of the Baha’i Faith.

The Script

As a well-known actor, Rainn Wilson is often asked about the Baha’i Faith, and he’s also given a lot of talks about the Faith, so he wrote the script based on some of the explanations he’s given over the years, and he shares more about this here in this article about the animation.

Let there be no mistake that we completely understand that the Revelation of Baha’u’llah and the Teachings of the Baha’i Faith are grand in every sense of the word, and trying to present something so awe-inspiring and transformative in a short and succinct way is extremely challenging. Nevertheless, we all need to try our best in explaining the Baha’i Faith to others and this script is based on what has worked for Rainn. Over time, I personally hope to see many more initiatives like this which come from a diversity of voices, cultures, styles, and explanations.

Aesthetics, Design, and Sound

When it came to choosing a style of illustration, our first iterations were a little corporate looking and cartoon-like, but we wanted to avoid this, so after exploring different illustrative styles of what the animation could look like, we decided to go back to the drawing board and try something completely different. We wanted to try and scale the illustrations way back and make them a lot more simple, elegant, and inspired by shadow puppetry. The end result reflects our aim to showcase a style that is less of a colorful illustrated story, and more of a simple design that doesn’t distract or take away any emphasis from what Rainn is saying. The final version of the video is simple, minimalistic and monochromatic (with a splash of red here and there), however, it still took us a while to finalize the style of the animation and determine exactly what images and graphics we wanted to share.

An important consideration when creating visuals about the Baha’i Faith is the fact that we do not depict any Manifestations of God such as Christ, Buddha, the Bab or Baha’u’llah out of a sense of reverence. Even the image of a hand, never mind an entire figure, cannot, in any way, represent a Manifestation of God, and this creates a really unique challenge when you’re doing any kind of visual explanation. For example, what do you depict when speaking about Baha’u’llah or Christ in a way that isn’t a depiction of Them? For instance, when Rainn speaks about Jesus Christ in the animation, and a manger is shown, it was really important to us that a child is not seen in the manger, and would be contrary to the spirit of this law.

Even though we wanted the narration to remain personal in its delivery, we spent a lot of time exploring ways to effectively communicate the ideas presented, without being overly casual with the illustrations being used. For example, when Rainn talks about the crucifixion of Christ, we consulted about the visual of seeing the two nails in the cross, one after the other. We wanted to convey an important point, without belittling its significance. Not only did we consult about how this was portrayed visually, but we also worked together to decide what sound effects should be included that were dignified and effective.

Deciding on what type of music and sound effects to use also took a lot of time and consultation. During the course of the project, we experimented with a variety of musical styles and sounds. Ultimately, we wanted to keep the emphasis on Rainn’s words, so it was important that both the music and the sound effects did not distract from the narration, and you’d be surprised how having too many sound effects, for instance, can change the entire tone of a video, or even the choice in what sort of sound effect used in a certain segment, as there are literally thousands of variations to choose from, and a slight difference in certain sound can make a video go from sounding somber, to comical.

There’s so much more that could be said about the making of this animation, and I can go on-and-on about it, but ultimately, much of it boils down to what viewers thought about it, and whether they actually found the video easy to watch and informative.

Here’s the animation again incase you missed it, or would like to watch it again. We hope you find it useful and share it with your friends:

The post An Introduction to the Baha’i Faith by Rainn Wilson – A New Animation! appeared first on Baha'i Arts, Stories and Media.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Bicentenary Events at Baha’i Houses of Worship Around the World: A Roundup of Live-stream Recordings

Sun, 11/03/2019 - 3:10am

As celebrations in honour of the bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith, unfolded around the planet special events held at the Baha’i Houses of Worship were live-streamed from the official website for the Bicentenary, bicentenary.bahai.org. The majority of these events were recorded and can now be watched at any time on the Baha’i World Centre’s YouTube channel and we definitely encourage you to take a journey around the world by watching them!

Here are the videos currently available, listed in the order the events occurred:

The Baha’i House of Worship for Australasia (Sydney, Australia)

The Baha’i House of Worship for Africa (Kampala, Uganda)

The Baha’i House of Worship for North America (Wilmette, United States)

The Baha’i House of Worship in Colombia (Norte del Cauca)

The Baha’i House of Worship for South America (Santiago, Chile)

The Baha’i House of Worship for the Indian Subcontinent (New Delhi, India)

The Baha’i House of Worship for Central America (Panama City, Panama)

The Baha’i House of Worship for Cambodia (Battambang)

You can find out more about Baha’i Houses of Worship (also known as Baha’i temples or Mashriqu’l-Adhkar’s) from this page on Bahai.org: The Mashriqu’l-Adhkar

If you’re curious to know more about Baha’i Houses of Worship, you might find this Baha’i Blog article helpful: Baha’i Temples: A Brief Introduction

If you haven’t been checking them out already, we definitely recommend following these official platforms that have published stories, photos, and videos from or related to the bicentenary:

  1. The Baha’i World News Service: bwns.org
  2. YouTube: youtube.com/thebahaifaith
  3. Instagram: @twinbirthdays
  4. Facebook: facebook.com/twinbirthdays

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Bicentenary Website Showcases Artistic Expression from Around the World

Tue, 10/29/2019 - 8:55pm

At Baha’i Blog, we’re huge fans of artistic expressions so we wanted to make sure everyone was aware of the wonderful section on the official bicentenary website dedicated to artistic expressions from around the world in honour of the 200th anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith.

From Bolivia to Iraq, and from Singapore to the Netherlands, this website showcases various artistic initiatives and activities created by individuals and communities, and the page is constantly being updated too!

You can check out all the various creative initiatives at once, or choose from the following categories:

* Visual Arts
* Performing Arts
* Music
* Film & Video
* Poetry & Storytelling

Be sure to visit the site repeatedly in the coming days and hours as more and more content is added!

To stay up-to-date with news about bicentenary celebrations around the world, you might wish to visit and/or follow these official websites and accounts:

  1. The Baha’i World News Service: bwns.org
  2. YouTube: youtube.com/thebahaifaith
  3. Instagram: @twinbirthdays
  4. Facebook: facebook.com/twinbirthdays
  5. Official bicentenary website: bicentenary.bahai.org

And you can find out more about the Bab here, and read selections from the Writings of the Bab here.

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Live Streaming of Bicentenary Celebrations at Temples Around the World

Sat, 10/26/2019 - 8:48pm

The official website of the bicentenary celebrations of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith, has just added a broadcast schedule of events occurring at many Baha’i Houses of Worship around the world.

The schedule, which can be seen in full here, includes a useful indicator of how many hours remain until the broadcast from a specific House of Worship. These celebrations, occurring at Houses of Worship, or Temples, in India, Australia, Samoa, Panama, Cambodia, the United States, Germany, Uganda, Colombia and Chile will be live streamed directly from the bicentenary website: bicentenary.bahai.org

If you’re curious to know more about Baha’i Houses of Worship, you might find this Baha’i Blog article helpful: Baha’i Temples: A Brief Introduction

The website also features collective and individual artistic expressions in honor of this historic occasion and will be updated in the coming days and hours in order to share glimpses into the celebrations in more than 100 countries.

Currently, the site features articles on the lives and teachings of the Bab and Baha’u’llah, a special letter from the Universal House of Justice about the historic anniversary, and Dawn of the Light, the film commissioned for the bicentenary.

The website is available in 10 languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swahili.

In addition to the website, we definitely recommend checking out or following these official platforms that will publish stories, photos, and videos from or related to the bicentenary:

  1. The Baha’i World News Service: bwns.org
  2. YouTube: youtube.com/thebahaifaith
  3. Instagram: @twinbirthdays
  4. Facebook: facebook.com/twinbirthdays

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

The Martyrdom of the Bab: An Oratorio by Keivan Towfigh

Mon, 10/21/2019 - 8:01pm

As Baha’is and their friends begin to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of the Bab, artistic expressions in all sorts of media are emerging that testify to the connection between people’s hearts and the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith. Keivan Towfigh’s oratorio, The Martyrdom of the Bab, is one such example in a style we don’t often see or feature here on Baha’i Blog. What’s an “oratorio” you ask? An oratorio is a large-scale musical work for orchestra and voices, like Handel’s Messiah. It usually tells a religious story and is performed without costumes or staging.

I was curious to hear all about this special oratorio and how it came into being, so I connected with Keivan Towfigh to find out more:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little bit about the album and the initiative?

As a child of 7 or 8, I was taught to memorize the story of the Martyrdom of the Bab, and recited it at Holy Day Commemorations. It was burned into my mind, and when I grew older, I started to understand more deeply the significance of this story, which for me is really about the Bab’s ultimate triumph.

Keivan Towfigh

Several years ago, I was reading the section in Nabil’s Narrative that describes the Amir Kabir’s edict to execute the Bab. I reflected on how sure of himself the Amir Kabir sounded, how arrogant, how impervious he was to the protestations of his ministers. Throughout history, those in power have thought that by persecuting the Manifestations of God, they could stop the growth of a new Faith, of new ideas. But we know that ultimately, the Amir Kabir’s effort to extinguish the Faith of the Bab was entirely unsuccessful. In fact, the Bab opened the door to a new and glorious age for all of humanity. I decided to write a piece of music about the edict. Writing it inspired me to expand the piece into a full oratorio in nine parts, telling the story of the Martyrdom of the Bab in the year 1850.

The oratorio is intended to show the powerful forces at play in this well-documented historical episode. It must be said that portraying any one of the Central Figures of the Faith is strictly forbidden. Therefore, the oratorio tells the story as seen through the eyes of Nabil, quoting the Bab, not the Bab Himself.

After a tone-setting prelude comes the edict. Although a minister pleaded with the Amir Kabir to change his mind, he issued his orders anyway. Needless to say, his speech was venomous. To counterbalance that, I wrote the third movement to show just the opposite. It sets to music Tahirih’s poem of divine love for the Bab. The next section is devoted to the Bab’s address to His followers: “Tomorrow will be the day of My martyrdom. Would that one of you might now arise and, with his own hands, end My life. I prefer to be slain by the hand of a friend rather than by that of the enemy.”

A painting of the barracks square in Tabriz by Patricia Towfigh which is included inside the CD cover.

Then comes Sam Khan, the Armenian commander chosen to perform the execution. He approached the Bab: “I profess the Christian Faith and entertain no ill will against you. If your Cause be the Cause of Truth, enable me to free myself from the obligation to shed your blood.” Sam Khan’s regiment, 750 in number, lined up in three tiers, and one after another, they fired. This can all be heard in the music. When the smoke settled, the Bab was nowhere to be seen, and His companion, a youth who had volunteered to be with Him, was standing unharmed in the barracks square. Officials searched the area and found Him back in His cell, dictating His last directives. Another regiment of soldiers was called in as Sam Khan refused. Immediately following the Martyrdom, a dust storm swept the city of Tabriz and blocked the sun. The final section quotes from the Tablet of Visitation, “I bear witness that the eye of creation hath never gazed upon one wronged like Thee.”

Baha’i Blog: Why was it was important for your family to make this happen, and what was the inspiration behind the album?

When I was 16, my uncle took my cousins, siblings and me on a trip—my first outside of Tehran. We visited the House of the Bab. I remember the beauty of that House: the stained glass windows, the quality of light, the Persian carpets. The atmosphere of the House made me feel elated and energized. It was the 1950s—less than a century after the Martyrdom of the Bab. He felt so close. It seemed that you could almost hear the voice of the Bab Himself speaking in those rooms. This experience brought a feeling of connection with the Bab, and stories of Him have always had a profound impact on me. Although I have composed quite a bit of music in my life, this oratorio felt different. I do not know where the music came from, other than this deep connection to the Bab that I feel in my heart.

Baha’i Blog: What’s something that really touched you and those involved, or that you personally learned during the process of making this album?

In writing this piece, I learned that if you make a sincere effort to accomplish something, it will most definitely happen, especially with the support of family and friends. Between the composition, orchestra, chorus and soloists, producers, conductors, engineers and designers, some 70 people from many diverse backgrounds contributed to this piece. There were Armenians, Turks, Greeks, Singaporeans, African Americans, Albanians, Italians, Persians, Mauritians and others; people of the Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Baha’i and other beliefs; and teenagers to octogenarians. I feel they understood the powerful meaning and spirit of the story and helped bring it to life.

As for a story:

I wrote “Tahirih’s Lament” expressly for our dear friend, Shadi Ebrahimi. Shadi, an early BIHE graduate and music teacher in Boston, was a soprano, equally adept at singing Western opera as well as Persian classical music. Very sadly, in 2014, Shadi discovered she was seriously ill, and she passed away at 44.

WGBH Studios Boston.

A wonderful soprano, Victoria Avetisyan, agreed to sing the piece in Shadi’s place. We recorded the majority of the oratorio at WGBH in Boston, except “Tahirih’s Lament”. On the morning of a huge snowstorm, we traveled to a far-away studio to record this one section. As Victoria was singing, the recording engineer in the booth asked, “What language did you say this is?” We said, “Persian.” The engineer got a far-away look in his eye, and said, “I had a very dear friend who was Persian. Sadly, she passed away recently.” We looked at each other and asked, “What was your friend’s name?” “Shadi Ebrahimi,” he said. All present, including the engineer, got tears in our eyes. He told us that everyone he knew loved Shadi dearly, and that she had recorded her own CDs in that very studio. Although Shadi passed away before she could record this piece and was not physically present, we feel that she attended the recording and was palpably supporting and encouraging our efforts from the next world. The fact that “her” piece was the only part to be recorded in what we discovered was “her” studio was astonishing to us.

The “Shadi Ebrahimi” studio where “Tahirih’s Lament” was recorded.

Baha’i Blog: What has the response to the music and album been like so far, and how has it been received?

As far as we know, the oratorio has reached people in about 60 countries. Friends have told us that they love to listen to the oratorio all the way through, and play the music on Holy Days related to the Bab. Multiple communities are employing the piece at upcoming bicentenary celebrations.

Baha’i Blog: Thank you so much, Keivan, for sharing this with us, and congratulations on creating such a beautiful album.
You can purchase and download the oratorio, ‘The Martyrdom of the Bab’, here on 9 Star Media.

 

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

30 Books Relating to the Bab

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 2:29am

In honor of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith, we thought we’d share an updated post of books relating to the Bab, His station, His ministry, His family and His early believers. This list of 30 books is in no particular order and it describes titles written for a variety of audiences and in a diversity of styles, including some creative non-fiction. We hope you find this list useful in these days leading up to the bicentenary and beyond!

1. Selections from the Writings of the Bab

There is currently only one volume of the Bab’s Writings translated into English. This collection of excerpts from books and Tablets revealed by the Bab, including the Commentary on the Surih of Joseph, the Persian Bayan, the Seven Proof), the Book of Names, and various other Writings. It was first published in an authorized English translation in 1976. This volume can be read, in full, on the Baha’i Reference Library.

2. Immortal Youth – A Compilation in Honor of the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab

Immortal Youth: A Tribute to the Life and Station of the Bab is a new volume released in honor of this year’s bicentennial anniversary of His Birth. Initiated and compiled by the editorial department of the US Baha’i Publishing Trust, this softcover book offers some sacred and authoritative texts of the Baha’i Faith that pertain to the life and station of the Bab.
 
 

3. A Traveller’s Narrative: Written to Illustrate the Episode of the Bab

This simple, moving narrative recounts the events in the lives of the Bab and His followers, and illustrates the character of the Baha’i revelation by quoting passages from Baha’u’llah’s Writings. It was written by Abdu’l-Baha around 1886 and first published anonymously in Persian in 1890. The English translation was prepared by Professor Edward G. Browne and first published by Cambridge University Press in 1891. You can read it, in its entirety, on the Baha’i Reference Library.

4. The Primal Point: A New Book of Tributes to the Bab and His Followers

The Primal Point is a significant and timely paperback volume recently published by George Ronald that contains testimonials and tributes to the Bab and some of His early followers. The anthology was put together in honor of the bicentennial anniversary of the Birth of the Bab and rather than capture a comprehensive chronological account of His life, it focuses on the importance of His station and the impact of His Revelation.

5. The Dawn-Breakers: Nabil’s Narrative of the Early Days of the Baha’i Revelation

The Dawn-Breakers, or Nabil’s Narrative as it’s often called, is the most comprehensive and authoritative eyewitness account of the beginnings of the Baha’i era. It is also distinguished for being the only work of its kind completed in the time of Baha’u’llah, who approved portions of the manuscript. Translated by Shoghi Effendi, and originally published in English in 1932, this book continues to offer a priceless resource for those wishing to better understand early Baha’i history, its connection to the Babi religion, and the implications of this history for today. You can read an introduction to The Dawn-Breakers here on Baha’i Blog.

6. Journey to a Mountain: The Story of the Shrine of the Bab (Volume I)

Michael Day has written a new trilogy that describes the construction of the Shrine of the Bab. Volume one tells for the first time in detail the thrilling story of how the sacred remains of the Bab were taken from Tabriz to Tehran and hidden for nearly 50 years. It then moves on to describe how Abdu’l-Baha achieved the impossible. Although a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire until 1908, He managed to fulfill Baha’u’llah’s directive to bring the casket to Mount Carmel to build a Shrine in the place indicated by His Father, and to inter the sacred remains. Read an interview about the book with author Mr. Day here.

7. ‘Stories From the Dawn-Breakers’ Read by William Sears

Zoe Meyer originally wrote Stories from the Dawn-Breakers and William Sears’ reading of it is warm, captivating and charming — which makes it a fantastic resource for children and junior youth. Restored and remastered in honor of the upcoming bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, the the four disc set is now available for purchase.
 

8. Awakening: A History of the Babi and Baha’i Faiths in Nayriz

Many Baha’is are familiar with the events described in the book The Dawnbreakers, where followers of the Bab were under attack and siege by the Persian army, but aside from these descriptions in the Dawnbreakers, very little is known about the many events which took place during this turbulent period of our Faith’s early history. That is why the new book Awakening: A History of the Babi and Baha’i Faiths in Nayriz by Dr. Hussein Ahdieh and Hillary Chapman is so important. Read an interview with the book’s co-author Mr. Ahdieh here.

9. Did You Ever Wonder: A Story About the Bab as a Child’

Dr. Will van den Hoonaard recently published a children’s book about the Bab when He was a child. The book is titled Did You Ever Wonder: A Story About the Bab as a Child. Children love to hear stories about other children and I think the approach Will has taken is brilliant. Read an interview with the book’s co-author, Dr. Will van den Hoonaard here.

10. God Passes By

God Passes By is a historical review by Shoghi Effendi of the first century of the Baha’i Faith, published in 1944 on the occasion of the one-hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of the Bab. In can be read, in full, online at the Baha’i Reference Library.

 

11. Amazing Stories from the DawnBreakers

Jacqueline Mehrabi recasts some of the episodes from The Dawn-Breakers in a simple language for children. This book is divided into short chapters that give brief accounts of such figures as Shakh Ahmad, Siyyid Kazim, Mulla Husayn, Tahirih, Quddus, Vahid, Khadijih Bagum, and others.
 
 

12. Hour of the Dawn: The Life of the Bab

Shoghi Effendi described the period of the Bab as “unique in the whole range of man’s religious experience”. This book makes this gripping and extraordinary story accessible to people of all ages.
 
 
 

13. The Herald and His Heroes: Stories about the Bab

This fascinating and inspiring history is written in an easy-to-read format, accessible for youth and adults.
 
 
 
 
 

14. The Green Years

Authored in Persian during his youthful years by Fariburz Sahba, the renowned architect and writer, as a series of articles for the Baha’i Children’s magazine “Varqa”, The Green Years is a translated version of these articles compiled into a book. This children’s book portrays the history of the Bab and the heroic stories of His followers during the Babi Dispensation.

 

15. The Bab: The Herald of the Day of Days

This is probably the most comprehensive book about the life of the Bab and the author, H.M. Balyuzi, is not only considered one of the foremost scholars of the Baha’i Faith, but he’s also actually related to the Bab. In this easy-to-read biography of the Bab, Balyuzi makes good use of many official historical documents and cites material gathered from family archives.
 

16. Gate of the Heart: Understanding the Writings of the Bab

Understanding the Bab’s Writings and their context can help us understand more about the personage of the Bab, and Dr. Nader Saiedi’s meticulous and insightful analysis identifies the key themes, terms, and concepts that characterize each stage of the Bab’s Writings, unlocking the code of the Bab’s mystical lexicon. Gate of the Heart is a subtle and profound textual study and an essential resource for anyone wishing to understand the theological foundations of the Baha’i religion and the Bab’s significance in religious history. Listen to an interview with Dr. Saiedi here on the Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson.
 

17. The Bab: The King of Messengers

This treatise is not a book of history, but rather it’s the text of an address about the greatness of the revelation of the Bab. It covers highlights of the life of the Bab as well as describing the fate of the persecutors of the Bab and His companions. It also addresses the references in the Revelation of the Bab to the subsequent Revelation of Baha’u’llah.
 

18. Khadijih Bagum, the Wife of the Bab

Written and compiled by H.M. Balyuzi, a relative of the Bab, we are able to gain a better understanding of the life of the Bab through this short account of the life of the wife of the Bab, a “princess of her age”. Read a tribute to Khadijih Bagum here, and listen to an audio version of this article titled The Other Witnesses: Khadijih Bagum and Haji Mubarak at the Declaration of the Bab here.
 
 

19. Release the Sun

Written by Hand of the Cause William Sears, this easy-to-read and gripping book brings to life the early history of the Baha’i Faith conveying the divine magnetism and remarkable radiance of the Bab and the selflessness of the Babis right up through the hour of the martyrdom of the Bab.
 
 

20. Leaves of the Twin Divine Trees

Baharieh Rouhani Ma’ani offer an in-depth study of the lives of women closely related to the Bab and Baha’u’llah. Over two and half decades she worked to gather all the known information about the women whose lives were intertwined with those of the Manifestations of God for this age ־ mothers, wives, sisters, daughters. Looking beyond published sources, she was given permission by the Universal House of Justice to consult original documents in the Baha’i International Archives and to make provisional translations of more than 50 Tablets, letters, memoirs and papers not previously published in English, many never before published in any language.
 

21. The Woman Who Read Too Much

This work of creative non-fiction by the talented Bahiyyih Nakhjavani describes what might have occurred during Tahirih’s house arrest and subsequent martyrdom. You can read an interview with Bahiyyih about this book here on Baha’i Blog.
 
 

22. Central Figures: The Bab

These richly illustrated storybooks on the life and teachings of the Bab enable children of all ages to understand and appreciate His divinely ordained Mission as Herald of the coming of Baha’u’llah. There are three volumes to this set.
 
 

23. Persian Passion: Of Gods and Gargoyles

Written by Tom Lysaght, this is a work of creative non-fiction set in Persia during the time of the Bab. Actor Rainn Wilson said it’s “… an expertly written look into the parallel histories of the founders of the Baha’i Faith, the Bab and Baha’u’llah. It evokes the spiritual passion and political complexity of mid-nineteenth century Persia in beautiful prose…”, and Dr. Nader Saiedi calls it “A captivating account of a dramatic summer that questioned traditionalism and patriarchy, and celebrated the resurrection of the human spirit”. You can read an interview with Tom here on Baha’i Blog.

24. Zanjan: A Graphic Novel Based on Actual Events

Zanjan is a rich fictional work that is based on actual events from one of the many dramatic episodes surrounding the emergence of the Baha’i Faith in mid-nineteenth century Persia. You can read more about Zaynab and the women of Zanjan here.
 
 

25. The Bab and His Heroes: Dawn of a New Revelation

The Bab and His Heroes tells the dramatic story of the Bab and those brave men and women who, abandoning the religious doctrines and superstitions of their varied faiths, accepted His claim to fulfill the prophecies of those faiths and offered up their lives in His path.

 

26: The Bab: Gate to Baha’u’llah – A Teacher’s Guide

Filled with fun, hands-on, kid-tested learning activities, this theme book is the third in a series of easy-to-use teacher’s guides designed for Baha’i children’s classes. Inside you will find a treasure trove of ideas for Baha’i summer and winter schools, Holy Day programs, academic classrooms, home schoolers and weekend retreats. The book has four sections: The Bab: His Birth, Early Life and Station; Declaration of the Bab; Martyrdom of the Bab; The Primal Point.

27. Mulla Husayn: The Story of the Declaration of the Bab for Young Children

A true story written to help children form an understanding of this unique occasion. Written in a simple language with illustrations, this book serves as a wonderful resource for parents and educators to foster a spiritual identity in children from a young age using stories from the history of the Faith. This story of Mulla Husayn’s perseverance and the dawning of a new religion is sure to fill children with wonder. You can read out interview with author, Alhan Rahimi here.

28. Saddlebag: A Fable for Doubters and Seekers

This work of creative non-fiction, also by Bahiyyih Nakhjavani, tells the story of a bag containing the Bab’s Writings that was stolen. Told from a variety of viewpoints, this is a beautifully told, transcendent tale of truth, salvation, and the power of desire.
 
 
 

29. Brilliant Star Magazine: Light of Faith

Created to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Bab, the “Light of Faith” issue features stories and activities about the Bab’s mission and the oneness of religion, including: a two-page illustrated timeline of key events in the Bab’s life; the story of the Bab’s house arrest and His influence on the people of Shiraz; a story and activity about Baha’u’llah’s recognition of the Bab’s divine station; explorations of the Bab’s station and the oneness of religion through puzzles, a drawing activity, interviews with kids, and more.
 

30. Daily Reflections and Stories for Children: Book 4 – Stories of the Bab

A short passage from the Baha’i writings, a simple story and a beautiful painting for each of 19 days all relating to a virtue – promote in children a love for reading daily from the scriptures and enable them to learn about the life of the Bab.
 
 

Well, that completes our list of 30 books relating to the Bab for now! We hope you’ve discovered some new books to add to your reading list, and also some which you may choose to read again.

Please let us know of any books we may have missed in the Comments section below, or about how some of these books may have touched your life.

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Celebration – An Album for the Twin Bicentenary Celebrations of the Births of Baha’u’llah and the Bab

Mon, 10/14/2019 - 7:28pm

A spirit of loving collaboration really shines through the music on Celebration, an album in honor of the bicentenary anniversaries of the Births of Baha’u’llah and the Bab, Founders of the Baha’i Faith. Its 16 original tracks beautifully marry multicultural rhythms and sounds with extracts from the Baha’i Writings. The album was put together by a group of friends in Quebec, Canada, and I was able to ask Pierre Tremblay how it all came together. Here’s what he shared with me: 

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself and the people involved in putting the album together? The people who contributed to the album are Baha’is with a few friends of the Faith who are inspired to put beautiful, culturally diverse music to sacred text. Most of them do not have a platform and several had never previously recorded anything. These artists are friends who we felt deserved to be heard. They all jumped at the opportunity to participate in this tribute to the Twin Bicentennials. I am a semi-retired musician and small-time producer. I have been a Baha’i and a professional musician for close to 50 years. The musician involved included: Somiya Amoroso-Colatosti, Alexandre Evans, Keyvan Peymani, Samia Nakhostine, Jessica Leblanc, Gustaff Besungu, Afaf Sahnoun, Rachel Tremblay and her children Tuesday Rain Leduc and Tao Stone Leduc, Mira-Clair Lepage, Janie Cardinal-Fernandes, Bruno A.R., Allison Wood, Ben Michel, Rachel Luce, Zoutenn Pathé, Jonathan Bouquet, Louise Profeit-LeBlanc, Lien Tremblay, Ophélie Welldon, Sahba Badie, Verna Lindstrom, Albert Beghuis and myself. Baha’i Blog: What inspired you to put this album together?

The contributors inspired me. I felt that the mixture of styles and cultures would make a beautiful bouquet, a loving offering to Baha’u’llah and the Bab.

Baha’i Blog: What was the process like of making this album? The contributors would travel to our home, one hour north of Montreal, to record their piece, in the course of about one year. We then added additional instruments and vocals when required and as opportunity permitted. Then the mixing and mastering went on for a few months. Each song presented its own “production” challenge as the styles and types of instrumentation were mostly very different from one another. We then did the artwork, printed the inserts, burnt and printed the CDs and set the album up for free download on Bandcamp. All of the materials were paid by the Laval Local Spiritual Assembly and Louise Profeit-Leblanc. Baha’i Blog: What’s something that you learned while putting it together? It is always a learning process for me to support artists’ work, especially youth – something I greatly enjoy. I learn to hear their artistic voice and their uniqueness and I strive to join them in growing and supporting it. This was a lovely collaboration. Baha’i Blog: Where can we find the album? We printed a couple of hundred that we give away mostly at Bicentennial celebrations where we are invited to perform. Otherwise it can be downloaded for free at: https://burnthillfunk.bandcamp.com/album/celebration We had a CD launch here in the Laurentians, a free concert involving most of the contributors. Approximately 100 people attended, including many friends of the Faith and others. We will repeat the performance in Laval on November 2nd and a few other performances are in the works. Baha’i Blog: Thank you so much, Pierre! We appreciate you sharing this with us and wish you all the best with your future performances!

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Mulla Husayn: A Book for Young Children by Alhan Rahimi

Fri, 10/11/2019 - 6:48am
Alhan Rahimi is a lovely young mother who saw a need and filled it. She has recently written a book called Mulla Husayn: The Story of the Declaration of the Bab for Young Children. The colorful book includes soft illustrations and thoughtful text. I found myself sitting next to Alhan at this year’s ABS conference and it was wonderful to meet her. Here is what she shared about her book: Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Alhan Rahimi. I’m a Baha’i mother of two young girls (ages three and one). I also work as a medical Arabic interpreter and live in Ontario, Canada.

Baha’i Blog: What inspired you to write this book?

My children were my inspiration. I wanted my 3-year-old to have a better understanding of the Declaration of the Bab celebration. I actually want them both to have a good understanding of all the Baha’i Holy Days!

Baha’i Blog: Who is the book’s target audience?

I aimed for children under the age of five, but older children will benefit from it as well.

Baha’i Blog: What was the process like to put this book together?

Author Alhan Rahimi

Even though I heard this story myself countless times growing up, but it was necessary to go back to the sources and read it a few more times with a closer eye. It was interesting to try to find out what parts of the conversation between Mulla Husayn and the Bab would resonate to a young child. It definitely wasn’t easy as the topic itself is not for such a young age. Then came the writing of the story and, after that, selecting the illustrator. An editor had to go through it as well and finally the National Spiritual Assembly had to approve it.

Baha’i Blog: What’s something that you learned while writing this book?

I think some topics are difficult for young children no matter how much we try to simplify them. So, I look at this book as an introduction for young children to the Declaration of the Bab.

Baha’i Blog: Could you please tell us a little about the illustrations?
The illustrator is Alina Onipchenko. Thanks to technology, I found her online and all our communication was online. I explained to her what I exactly wanted for each illustration and provided her with images. Some images had to be edited once or twice for them to be what I had in mind and she did an amazing job! Baha’i Blog: Where can the book be found? It’s available on Amazon. I was also told that it’s available in the Wilmette House of Worship’s bookstore and some Baha’i schools in the U.S. Baha’i Blog: Are you planning to write more children’s books?

Yes! I’ve just released another book. It’s called The Moon Was There: Glimpses of the Bab’s Childhood for Young Children. And I hope to write more soon!

Baha’i Blog: Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Alhan! You can purchase ‘Mulla Husayn’ here on Amazon.

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Coronation on Carmel by Michael V. Day: The Second Book in a Trilogy About the Shrine of the Bab

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 5:33am

Coronation on Carmel by Michael V. Day is the second book in a trilogy that tells the story of the Shrine of the Bab, the resting place of the Bab, a Messenger of God whose revitalizing message prepared the way for the coming of Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith.

Michael’s skills and talents as a journalist and his deep love for Baha’i history make for an exciting read. I was delighted to hear from Michael about his book, the process of putting it together, and its uniqueness in the trilogy. Here’s what Michael shared with me:

Baha’i Blog: So good to talk to you about this second book in the trilogy, Michael! Can you tell us a little bit about the book?

Coronation on Carmel is the second book in the trilogy I wrote to tell the story of the Shrine of the Bab. It starts just after where Journey to a Mountain finished. It covers the period 1922 to 1963, the time when Shoghi Effendi took on and fulfilled the responsibility given to him by the Abdu’l-Baha to complete the Shrine of the Bab.
The book traces the drama from start to finish. First, it lists the problems in the early years and then shows how by drawing on spiritual resources and through careful planning and attention to practicalities, Shoghi Effendi engaged the brilliant architect, William Sutherland Maxwell, motivated the Baha’is to donate the funds, and with an acute sense of timing, achieved his goal.

The book details the design of the arcade and superstructure, and how it was built. There are lots of descriptions of events in and near the Shrine.

The story is set against the background of the economic depression, communal conflict in the Holy Land, the anxious times of World War 2, and the establishment of the State of Israel.

Baha’i Blog: Can you give some examples of what you found?

One example is the story about the “Man with the Golden Touch,” the stonemason who built the dome.

Another is the answer to how the great columns and other stonework were taken to the site of the Shrine, how they were unloaded and where they were stored.

I was privileged to obtain this information in a face-to-face interview with a gardener for Shoghi Effendi, Abdul-Raouf Rowhani. It was great to be in Mr. Rowhani’s radiant presence as he remembered serving the beloved Guardian.

There are more than 70 pages of photographs, some never published before, including rare photos of the Guardian. When they turned up, I kind of danced on the spot in celebration. Via other photos I figured out where the Shrine’s electrical generator was stored. That took ages.

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little bit about why you felt this was an important undertaking, and why it was important for you to do this personally?

The more I researched about the Shrine, the more fascinated I became and the more I wanted to find out and then describe.

I hope the book depicts the great significance of the Shrine. It is the dynamo that drives the administration of the Faith but I think there is even more to it. Have a look at the wonderful Gate of the Heart by Nader Saeidi.

Ever since I read two of my favourites books, The Priceless Pearl by Ruhiyyih Rabbani (Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum) and Shoghi Effendi by Hand of the Cause Ugo Giachery, I had been fascinated with Shoghi Effendi and this era, particularly the 1940s and 1950s.

I wanted to write about the design of the arcade and superstructure in a way that would motivate pilgrims to use the book to carefully examine the arcade and superstructure and understand the elements that go to make the Shrine so beautiful.

Baha’i Blog: What’s something you’ve really learned personally on this writing/research journey? Or, how has putting the book together influenced you?

Author Michael V. Day

I had to learn about architecture, and the building process, something I had known very little about.

My love and admiration for the beloved Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, grew every step of the way as I wrote about his period. I pay my personal tribute on pp. 247-9. I wish I had met him.

It was also inspiring to read about the service provided by those who assisted him, especially Hands of the Cause Leroy Ioas, Ugo Giachery and also those not as widely known, like Ben Weeden.

This story also shows how women played a great role in the story of the Shrine— examples include the Greatest Holy Leaf (I liked writing about her funeral), Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, Gladys Weeden and Hand of the Cause Amelia Collins, to whom we all owe so much.

Baha’i Blog: I know there must be so many interesting stories and findings in the book, but what’s something interesting that comes to mind that you can share with us from the book?

I loved including the inspired writing by Ruhiyyih Khanum about the night time centennial celebrations in 1944, when the Guardian decorated the interior with flowers and lights. Check it out but be warned — you will wish you were there.

I worked hard to try to make the written story live up to the drama of the events such as meeting the daunting challenge in Italy of obtaining the marble, having it carved and transporting it to the Holy Land. It was all slotted together on the site to a very tight deadline.

Baha’i Blog: Is there anything further you’d like to share with us?

.

My expressions of gratitude are in the acknowledgments but I just want to say I like the photographs and how graphic artist William McGuire extracted the beauty from old images by new technology. It took ages to get hold of a photo showing the shining dome in color shortly after the completion. Take a look at the exquisite drawings by Sutherland Maxwell.

After this book comes Sacred Stairway (1963-2001), the final volume of the trilogy which covers 1963-2001 and is now available from George Ronald.

Baha’i Blog: Thank you so much, Michael! It’s been inspiring hearing about this book.
Coronation on Carmel is available for purchase here on Amazon.

You can also learn more about Michael and his work from his website: www.michaelvday.com.

If you enjoyed this interview, you might also like our interview with Michael about the first book in the trilogy: Journey to a Mountain: A New Book Telling the Story of the Shrine of the Bab

The post Coronation on Carmel by Michael V. Day: The Second Book in a Trilogy About the Shrine of the Bab appeared first on Baha'i Arts, Stories and Media.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

62 Baha’i Blog Posts and Resources Relating to the Bab

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 8:00pm

As the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab approaches, we thought it might be helpful to gather all the posts we’ve published over the years relating to the Bab, the Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith.

The list below is not in any particular order and there may be some we’ve missed, but among the Baha’i Blog posts listed below, you’ll find contemplative articles, news items, tributes, Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions, talks, videos and image galleries relating to the Bab, His Mission, and His early followers. We hope you find this consolidated list helpful, especially in the coming days.

1. Special Website Dedicated to the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab

To capture the jubilant celebrations occurring all over the planet, the Baha’i World Centre has released a special website dedicated to the Bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Bab, Prophet-Herald of the Baha’i Faith. This official website, bicentenary.bahai.org, aims to inspire and encourage and it will be featuring more and more content in the days surrounding the Birth of Bab –- so it’s definitely worth visiting over and over again! Continue to post…
 

2. Universal House of Justice Releases Film “Dawn of the Light” for the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab

The Universal House of Justice has commissioned a feature film for the joyous and historic bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith. “Dawn of the Light” can be downloaded or watched online from the official bicentennial website: bicentenary.bahai.org  Continue to post…
 

3. Message from the Universal House of Justice Marking the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab

The Universal House of Justice has just released a message marking the occasion of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith. The letter can be found on the Baha’i International Community’s website dedicated to the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab and is available in several languages. Continue to post…
 

4. Audio Reading of Universal House of Justice Message Marking the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab

This is an audio reading of the message from the Universal House of Justice dated October 2019, marking the occasion of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith. The letter can be found on the Baha’i International Community’s website dedicated to the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab and is available in several languages. Continue to post…

 

5. Three Bicentenary Graphics Released by the Baha’i World Centre 

In a recent Baha’i World News Service article, we learned that three graphics that can be used for celebrations of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab were recently shared on the Baha’i Media Bank. Continue to post…
 
 

6. The Bab – The Harbinger of the Most Great Light

Yas shares some tributes to the Bab as well as some of His titles to help us gain an understanding of this Harbinger of the Most Great Light. Continue to post…
 
 
 
 

7. The Bab: The Harbinger of the Most Great Light [Audio Version] 

You can hear Yas read the above mentioned article featuring tributes to the Bab and His titles in this audio recording of her article. Continue to post…
 
 
 
 

8. 30 Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions Based on the Writings of the Bab

In honor of the bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith, we thought we’d showcase all of our Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions whose lyrics are based on His Writings. To date, we’ve shared 30 songs! Continue to post…

 

9. Aerial Footage of the Shrine of the Bab Now Available in Baha’i Media Bank

Five new video clips of aerial footage of the Shrine of the Bab, located in Haifa, Israel, have recently been added to the Baha’i Media Bank. Continue to post…
 
 
 
 

10. The Shrine of the Bab – Aerial Footage with Music

This video shows aerial footage put to music of the Shrine of the Bab located in Haifa, Israel, and this year marks the bicentennial of the Birth of the Bab. Continue to post…
 
 
 
 

11. Immortal Youth – A Compilation in Honor of the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab 

Immortal Youth: A Tribute to the Life and Station of the Bab is a new volume released in honor of this year’s bicentennial anniversary of His Birth. Initiated and compiled by the editorial department of the US Baha’i Publishing Trust, this softcover book offers some sacred and authoritative texts of the Baha’i Faith that pertain to the life and station of the Bab. Continue to post…

 

12. 19 Animated Videos by the Baha’is of Ireland for the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab

The Irish Baha’i Community is creating a series of 19 short animated videos in honor of the bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith. These charming and succinct videos share warmly-told stories about the early days of the Baha’i Faith and about some qualities of the Bab. Continue to post…
 

13. The Primal Point: A New Book of Tributes to the Bab and His Followers 

The Primal Point is a significant and timely paperback volume recently published by George Ronald that contains testimonials and tributes to the Bab and some of His early followers. The anthology was put together in honor of the bicentennial anniversary of the Birth of the Bab and rather than capture a comprehensive chronological account of His life, it focuses on the importance of His station and the impact of His Revelation. Continue to post…
 

14. Remembering the Bab (Parts 1 & 2) – A Talk by Mr. Hooper Dunbar

In this two-part talk given at the Baha’i Winter School, December 2018 in Malaysia, Mr. Hooper Dunbar shares some quotations from the Baha’i Writings and personal reflections to assist us in recognizing the Bab. Mr. Dunbar asks questions such as: How can we summarize the Bab’s Mission? What was He like? What is an overview of His Ministry? What is His Position and Rank? Continue to post…
 

15. The Bab’s Farewell Address

“Arise,” a Baha’i Blog Studio Session by Ethan Crofts, is based on the words of the Bab as quoted in various passages of The Dawn-Breakers. Some of the quotations that inspired the lyrics of Ethan’s song are words the Bab spoke to Anis Zunuzi, a devoted and steadfast youth who was executed by His side. Two of the quotations relate to the Bab’s farewell address to the Letters of the Living, the first 18 people who found the Bab and believed in His Station, which you can read in this Baha’i Blog article. Continue to post…
 

16. 6 Photos of the Bab’s Personal Belongings

In a recent Baha’i World News Service article, we learned that 43 images associated with the life and mission of the Bab have been published online for the first time on the Baha’i Media Bank. From these new photographs now on the Baha’i Media Bank, we thought we’d showcase six photos of personal objects that belonged to the Bab. Continue to post…
 

17. 10 Personal Reflections that Refer to the Bab (Part 1)

“Personal Reflections on the Baha’i Faith from Around the World” is a Baha’i Blog initiative in honor of the bicentenary anniversaries of the Births of Baha’u’llah and the Bab, Prophet-founders of the Baha’i Faith. As the bicentennial celebrations for the Birth of the Bab draw nearer, we wanted to showcase 10 portraits that have shared so far in which the participants speak about the Bab and His Revelation. Continue to post…
 

18. 8 Photos of the House of the Bab

From the collection of photographs now on the Baha’i Media Bank, we thought we’d showcase eight photos of the House of the Bab in Shiraz, which was designated by Baha’u’llah as a place of pilgrimage. Unfortunately, the House was destroyed in 1979 as part of ongoing persecution against the Baha’is, making these photos priceless. Continue to post…
 

19. Twin Birthdays for Twin Manifestations

Kamelia writes about how, with the birth of the Baha’i Faith, the realization of two related but independent religions arising within one age was actualized. Continue to post…
 
 
 

20. The Twin Holy Birthdays of the Bab and Baha’u’llah

In this article, Sam offers some thoughts on the extraordinary historical bond between the Bab and Baha’u’llah. Continue to post…
 
 
 
 

21. “This Newborn Child”: A Song for the Twin Holy Days

“This Newborn Child” is a moving single by Ramine Yazhari. It features the words of Baha’u’llah from a recently translated tablet in honour of the Twin Holy Days. Continue to post…
 
 
 

22. 3 New Tablets for the Twin Holy Days

In this article, we joyously share the news of the release of three newly translated tablets about the Birth of the Bab and the Birth of Baha’u’llah that were revealed by Baha’u’llah. Continue to post…
 
 
 

23. The Declaration of the Bab and His Station

In this article, Naysan explores what happened during the Declaration of the Bab and he quotes from Shoghi Effendi’s The World Order of Baha’u’llah in order to help us understand this Holy Day and its significance to the world. Continue to post…
 
 
 

24. The Declaration of the Bab

Roya offers a historical perspective on what occurred on “one of the greatest and most significant of all festivals” and she draws on quotations from Nabil’s The Dawn-Breakers. Continue to post…
 
 
 

25. An Introduction to the Bayan

In this article, Sonjel provides a brief introduction to both the Persian Bayan and the Arabic Bayan, volumes of the Bab’s prolific and powerful Revelation. The Persian Bayan is considered the Mother Book of the Bab’s Dispensation and it is a book of laws, teachings and traditions. Continue to post…
 
 
 

26. Who Were the Letters of the Living?

The Letters of the Living is the title given by the Bab to His first 18 followers. The Bab was a merchant from Shiraz, Persia. His name was Siyyid Ali-Muhammad Shirazi, but He is known to the world as the Bab, which means “the Gate” in Arabic, and Baha’is believe that He was the symbolic gate between past ages of prophecy and a new age of fulfilment for humanity. When the Bab was 25, He proclaimed to be both a new Prophet, and the herald to “Him Whom God Shall Make Manifest”, Baha’u’llah. Continue to post…
 

27. The Bab’s Revelation

Sonjel reflects and shares historical accounts of the astounding speed at which the Bab revealed Sacred Writings, a speed that was constrained only by the capacity of His ananuencis (or secretary). Continue to post…
 
 
 

28. The Bab’s Revelation [Audio Version]

This is the audio reading of the above article about the swiftness and prolific nature of the Bab’s Revelation here on Baha’i Blog’s YouTube channel. Continue to post…
 
 
 
 

29. A New Era Begins: Reflections on the Declaration of the Bab

Layli ponders on the significance of the Declaration of the Bab by sharing quotations from the recently-translated volume of Baha’u’llah’s Writings on Holy Days, Days of Remembrance. Continue to post…
 
 
 

30. Purity of Heart, Determination and Devotion: A Tribute to Mulla Husayn

The Bab proclaimed His Message to Mulla Husayn, the first Letter of the Living. In this article, Sonjel shares three outstanding qualities that Mulla Husayn demonstrated in the moments leading to and immediately following the birth of the Bab’s Revelation. Continue to post…
 
 
 

31. The Bab – What Was He Like?

Michael looks at some quotations that historically document impressions of those who were able to be in the Bab’s presence. Continue to post…
 
 
 
 

32. 6 Books About the Life of the Bab

Naysan offers a short list of books about the life of the Bab, from The Dawn-Breakers to Release the Sun. These books all explore the short, dramatic and powerful life of the Prophet-Herald of the Baha’i Faith. Continue to post…
 
 
 

33. Baha’i Blog Quiz: The Bab

This short 10 part quiz includes introductory questions about the Bab and His Revelation. Continue to post…
 
 
 
 
 

34. Baha’i Blog Quiz: The Bab (Part II)

Further test your knowledge — or that of you friends and family — with this second quiz about the Bab. Continue to post…
 
 
 
 

35. An Introduction to ‘The Dawn-Breakers: Nabil’s Narrative’

Many Baha’is have a copy of The Dawn-Breakers: Nabil’s Narrative of the Early Days of the Baha’i Revelation on their bookshelf. What is this book, and what is its purpose? Why is it important to Baha’is? Who was Nabil? When did he write his narrative, and when was it translated into English? This article provides basic answers to these questions, drawing primarily from Shoghi Effendi’s introduction to the English translation. Continue to post…
 

36. Dr. Nader Saiedi’s Talk “Fire and Light in the Bab’s Tablet”

In this audio recording of a talk by Dr. Nader Saiedi, a scholar on the Bab and His Revelation, we learn about a Tablet revealed by the Bab in which He proclaims to be the Promised Qa’im. Continue to post…
 
 
 

37. Baha’i Blog Studio Session: “I am the Promised One”

In this Studio Session, Carl Brehmer from Phoenix (USA) sings the words of an address by the Bab as it was recorded in The Dawn-Breakers. You can listen to, and watch the recording of this song as a part of Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions song from Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions series. Continue to post…
 
 

38. The Other Witnesses: Khadijih Bagum and Haji Mubarak at the Declaration of the Bab

This article by Layli explores how Khadijih Bagum, the wife of the Bab, and Haki Mubarak, His faithful servant, became aware of the Bab’s station. Continue to post…
 
 
 
 

39. The Other Witnesses: Khadijih Bagum and Haji Mubarak at the Declaration of the Bab [Audio Version]

This is the audio version of the article by Layli which explores how Khadijih Bagum, the wife of the Bab, and Haki Mubarak, His faithful servant, became aware of the Bab’s station. Continue to post…
 
 
 

40. Baha’i Blog Studio Session: “The Bab”

In this Baha’i Blog Studio Session, we’re in Frankfurt, Germany with Naim Zabihi, Naim Schmidt and Negin Zabihi who sing “The Bab” based on a quotation from His Writings. You can listen to, and watch the recording of this song as a part of Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions song from Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions series. Continue to post…
 

41. Baha’i Blog Studio Session: “The Gate of God”

In this Studio Session, we’re with Naim Zabihi, Naim Schmidt and Negin Zabihi again. This time they sing “The Gate of God”, a song also based on a quotation from the Bab. You can listen to, and watch the recording of this song as a part of Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions song from Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions series. Continue to post…
 

42. The Martyrdom of the Bab and Jesus Christ

There are only two Manifestations that we know of in recorded history who have suffered martyrdom: Jesus Christ and the Bab. In this article, Shamim explores numerous other similarities between Them, with regards to Their lives, Their ministries and the events surrounding Their martyrdoms. Continue to post…

 

43. Mulla Husayn: The Unlikely Hero Who Advanced the Cause of Truth

He was frail of form and slender with a fragile frame. He appeared before the great clerics and the learned of his time “an insignificant and negligible figure.” His hand trembled and shook as he wrote. His childhood friend declared him as one not in possession of strength or bodily endurance.Contemporary reports indicate he had been sickly as a child and suffered from epilepsy and heart palpitations. And yet. Continue to post…
 

44. Mulla Husayn: The Unlikely Hero Who Advanced the Cause of Truth [Audio Version]

You can listen to the article mentioned above here on Baha’i Blog’s YouTube channel. <<<INSERT LINKS>>> Continue to post…
 
 
 
 

45. The Shrine of the Bab and Its Significance

Naysan offers an introductory explanation to the commemoration of the Martyrdom of the Bab and some history about the construction of the Shrine of the Bab and its terraced gardens on Mount Carmel. Continue to post…

 

46. A Tribute to Anis Zunuzi

In this tribute to Anis Zunizi, the youth who was executed alongside the Bab, Sonjel shares some details about Anis’ character, his steadfastness and the extraordinary events surrounding his martyrdom at the side of his beloved. Continue to post…
 
 
 

47. Negeen Sobhani’s Stunning Photos of the Shrine of the Bab

Some say that the Shrine of the Bab and its surrounding gardens are so beautiful that it is difficult to take a poor photo of them but Negeen’s photos uniquely capture the serenity, the vibrancy and the elegance of this special place. The physical beauty of the Shrine of the Bab and its terraced gardens are a physical representation, or a hint, of the spiritual beauty of the Bab’s revelation. Continue to post…
 

48. Zaynab and the Women of Zanjan

The women of Zanjan, a city in north-west Persia, who recognised the truth of the claim of the Bab, shone as brilliant stars through the darkness of the “most violent and devastating” of “the great conflagrations” which consumed the followers of the Bab in the East, South, West, and capital of Persia in the middle of the 19th century. Continue to post…
 

49. Journey to a Mountain: A New Book Telling the Story of the Shrine of the Bab

In this interview with Michael Day, we learn about a new trilogy that describes the construction of the Shrine of the Bab. Volume one tells for the first time in detail the thrilling story of how the sacred remains of the Bab were taken from Tabriz to Tehran and hidden for nearly 50 years. It then moves on to describe how Abdu’l-Baha achieved the impossible. Although a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire until 1908, He managed to fulfil Baha’u’llah’s directive to bring the casket to Mount Carmel to build a Shrine in the place indicated by His Father, and to inter the sacred remains. Continue to post…
 

50. Baha’i Blog Studio Session: “Arise”

In this Studio Session recorded in Hluboka nad Vltavou, in the Czech Republic, Ethan Crofts sings “Arise” based on the words of the Bab as quoted in The Dawn-Breakers. Some of these quotations are words the Bab spoke to Anis Zunizi about His Martyrdom and some of the quotations are from the soul-stirring farewell address the Bab shared with the Letters of the Living. Continue to post…
 

51. Tahirih – The Force of a Pure Heart

Born in Qazvin, Persia in 1817, Tahirih lived at a time the Empire had sunk deep into dark savagery and callous brutality. It was against such a dismal and wretched backdrop that our heroine stood apart and stood out. Continue to post…
 
 
 

52. ‘Stories From the Dawn-Breakers’ by William Sears is Available Again

Zoe Meyer originally wrote Stories from the Dawn-Breakers and William Sears’ reading of it is warm, captivating and charming — which makes it a fantastic resource for children and junior youth. Restored and remastered in honor of the upcoming bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, the the four disc set is now available for purchase.  Continue to post…
 
 
 

53. Awakening: A History of the Babi and Baha’i Faiths in Nayriz

Many Baha’is are familiar with the events described in the book The Dawnbreakers, where followers of the Bab were under attack and siege by the Persian army, but aside from these descriptions in the Dawnbreakers, very little is known about the many events which took place during this turbulent period of our Faith’s early history. That is why the new book Awakening: A History of the Babi and Baha’i Faiths in Nayriz by Dr. Hussein Ahdieh and Hillary Chapman is so important. Continue to post…
 
 

54. New Documentary Film ‘The Gate’: An Interview with Steve Sarowitz

The Gate: Dawn of the Baha’i Faith is a visually stunning documentary, rich with interviews and reenactments. It tells the story of the life of the Bab and describes some of His Teachings. Engaging, captivating and creatively put together, this film will be of interest both to those who have heard of the Bab and His Teachings, and those who have never heard of Him. Continue to post…
 

55. Persian Passion: Of Gods and Gargoyles – An New Book by Tom Lysaght

Tom Lysaght is an accomplished playwright with some 30 plays in both English and Spanish to his name. He also founded “El Teatro de Pan y Paz” in rural Peru, where he wrote circus drama plays about economic and health challenges, utilizing masks, stilts, and 15-foot high puppets for open-air performances, and he’s travelled extensively to help launch similar community development theatre projects. While his latest project is not a play, it is nevertheless dramatic. 35 years in the making, his novel, Persian Passion: Of Gods and Gargoyles, is a work of creative non-fiction set in Persia during the time of the Bab. Continue to post…

56. The Life of the Bab

In this article, Shamim provides a brief description of the Bab’s Life and His Dispensation. Continue to post…
 
 
 
 
 

57. Drawing Closer to the Bab in the Bicentenary Year of His Birth: Some Personal Thoughts

Shastri offers some personal reflections on what he has been studying and reflecting on in this historic year. Continue to post…
 
 
 
 

 

58. The Exalted One: A Bicentenary Album by Elika Mahony

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Elika Mahony has released an album in honor of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab and it’s befittingly titled The Exalted One. The 11 songs on the album set the prayers and Writings of the Bab to music with piano, cello, guitar, tiple, cuatro (South American instruments) and soaring voice. Continue to post…
 

59. 6 Ways My Home Community Plans on Celebrating the Bicentenary

Della offers from of the though processes she and members of her community underwent in decided what to do to celebrate the bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of the Bab. Continue to post…
 
 
 

60. Digital Materials for Baha’i Storytelling Performances

Ravi Purushotma has created a unique artistic resource for communities producing dramas or plays about Baha’i history — particularly in the days and weeks leading up to, during and after celebrations for the bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-Herald of the Baha’i Faith. Continue to post…

61. 5 Panels for the Bicentenary Created by the Baha’is of the UK

The Baha’is of the United Kingdom have created five beautiful exhibition panels designed for use during activities commemorating the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-Herald of the Baha’i Faith. The panels offer a historical overview of the Bab’s Revelation, share quotations about His Station, describe His teachings, and offer from excerpts from His Writings. Eye-catching photographs are also included. Continue to post…
 

62. New Book ‘Did You Ever Wonder: A Story About the Bab as a Child’

Dr Will van den Hoonaard recently published a children’s book about the Bab when He was a child. The book is titled Did You Ever Wonder: A Story About the Bab as a Child. Children love to hear stories about other children and I think the approach Will has taken is brilliant. Continue to post…
 
 

That concludes our list of 62 Baha’i Blog posts and resources related to the Bab and His early followers! We hope you’ve found this list useful, and it helps you in your preparations to celebrate the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab!

The post 62 Baha’i Blog Posts and Resources Relating to the Bab appeared first on Baha'i Arts, Stories and Media.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Message from the Universal House of Justice Marking the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 9:30am

The Universal House of Justice has just released a message marking the occasion of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith.

The letter can be found on the Baha’i International Community’s website dedicated to the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab and is available in several languages: bicentenary.bahai.org

Here is the message from the Universal House of Justice in English: Message from the Universal House of Justice Marking the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab

We have also included the message in full below:

 

October 2019

 

To all who have come to honour the Herald of a new Dawn

 

Dearly loved Friends,

 

Consider with us. Whenever a divine Educator appears in the world, a Figure Whose teachings will come to shape human thought and action for centuries thereafter—at such a dramatic, seismic moment, what would we expect?

 

The appearance of every such Educator, as recorded in the Sacred Texts of the world’s great faiths, is a pivotal event that propels the advancement of civilization. The spiritual stimulus each has provided throughout history has enabled the radius of human cooperation to extend from the clan, to the tribe, to the city-state, and to the nation. And each of these great Teachers promised that, in time, another divine Figure would appear, Whose advent should be anticipated and Whose influence would reform the world. No wonder, then, that the coming of the Bab, Whose Birth two centuries ago we now honour, gave rise to unprecedented ferment in the country where He was born. The moment of His appearance, like the appearance of all such Figures, precipitated the release of powerful spiritual forces—but there was no accompanying spectacle. There was instead a late evening conversation, in a modest Persian dwelling, between a student of religion and his youthful Host, during which that Host revealed that He was the Promised One, the divine Educator His guest had been seeking. “Observe attentively,” He remarked, “Might not the Person intended … be none other than I?” It is this Youth, the Bab, that we acclaim as the One Whose coming—after an interval of a thousand years—shed the light of divine guidance once again upon the human world.

 

From this first moment unfolded all that has since come to pass. The Bab’s Writings flowed profusely from His pen, disclosing profound truths, dismissing superstitions that held sway in His day, urging the people to recognize the significance of the times, castigating the hypocrisy of their leaders, and summoning the world to an exalted standard of conduct. “O peoples of the earth!” He declares in one of His major works, “Verily the resplendent Light of God hath appeared in your midst … that ye may be guided aright to the ways of peace and, by the leave of God, step out of the darkness into the light and onto this far-extended Path of Truth.” His influence spread with extraordinary rapidity, reaching beyond the limits of Persia. Observers were astonished alike by the fast-swelling numbers of His followers and by their deeds of unsurpassed bravery and devotion. Accounts of the Bab’s life—the swift arc it traced and the tragic drama that ended it—induced curious souls to travel to Persia and investigate further, and inspired a range of artistic tributes to His Person.

 

The brilliance of the light of the Bab seems the more dazzling when set against the darkness of the social milieu in which He appeared. Nineteenth-century Persia was far removed from its glory days when its civilization was the envy of the world. Ignorance now prevailed; senseless dogmas went unchallenged; inequality was fuelled by rampant corruption. Religion, the foundation of Persia’s former prosperity, had become a body devoid of its animating spirit. Each succeeding year offered the subjugated masses only disillusionment and hopelessness. Oppression was complete. Then, like a spring storm, the Bab came to purge and purify, to uproot the withered and spent customs of a wayward age, and to wash away the obscuring dust from the eyes of those blinded by illusion. But the Bab had a special object in view. He sought to prepare people for the imminent appearance of Baha’u’llah—the second of the Twin Luminaries destined to bring new light to humankind. This was His most insistent theme. “When the Daystar of Baha will shine resplendent above the horizon of eternity”, He instructed His followers, “it is incumbent upon you to present yourselves before His Throne.”

 

Thus did the Bab and, with even greater splendour, Baha’u’llah illuminate a society and an age shrouded in darkness. They inaugurated a new stage in social evolution: the stage of the unification of the entire human family. The spiritual energies They released into the world infused a new life into every sphere of endeavour, the results of which are evident in the transformation that has occurred. Material civilization has advanced immeasurably; astounding breakthroughs in science and technology have been achieved; the gates to the accumulated knowledge of humanity have been flung open. And principles set out by Baha’u’llah for the upliftment and progress of society and for ending systems of domination and exclusion have come to be widely accepted. Consider His teaching that humanity is one people, or that women are equal with men, or that education must be universal, or that rational investigation of the truth must prevail over fanciful theories and prejudices. Across all nations, a large segment of the world’s people now agrees with these fundamental values.

 

Nevertheless, arguments against these values, previously confined to the margins of serious thought, are also resurgent in society—a reminder that ideals require the force of spiritual commitment to cement them. For it is one thing to acknowledge something in principle; it is quite another to embrace it with all of one’s heart, and harder still to refashion society in ways that give collective expression to it. Yet this is the aim of communities emerging across the globe that are patterned on Baha’u’llah’s teachings. These communities are striving to focus the light of those teachings on the chronic problems that afflict the societies around them; they are devising programmes of practical action centred on spiritual precepts. These are communities that champion the education of both girls and boys under all circumstances; that subscribe to an expanded conception of worship which includes work carried out in the spirit of service; that look to spiritual aspirations, rather than self-interest, as the ever-flowing springs of motivation; and that inculcate a resolve to advance individual and social transformation. They seek to bring about spiritual, social, and material progress simultaneously. Above all, these are communities that define themselves by their commitment to the oneness of humanity. They value the rich diversity represented by all the world’s kindreds, while maintaining that one’s identity as a member of the human race has precedence before other identities and associations. They affirm the need for a global consciousness, arising from a shared concern for the well-being of humankind, and they count all the peoples of the earth as spiritual brothers and sisters. Not content with simply belonging to such communities, Baha’u’llah’s followers are making constant effort to invite like-minded souls to join them in learning how to put His teachings into effect.

 

This brings us to the crux of our case. The matter at hand is a challenging one, and requires candour. There are many noble and admirable causes in the world, and they arise from particular perspectives, each with its own merit. Is the Cause of Baha’u’llah merely one amongst them? Or is it universal, embodying the highest ideals of all humanity? After all, a Cause that is to be the wellspring of enduring justice and peace—not for one place or one people, but for all places and all peoples—must be inexhaustible, must possess a heavenly vitality that allows it to transcend all limitations and encompass every dimension of the life of humanity. Ultimately, it must have the power to transform the human heart. Then let us, like the Bab’s guest, observe attentively. Does not the Cause of Baha’u’llah possess these very qualities?

 

If the teachings brought by Baha’u’llah are what will enable humanity to advance to the highest levels of unity, then one must search the soul for the right response. The multitudes who recognized the Bab were summoned to heroism, and their magnificent response is recorded by history. Let every one who is awake to the condition of the world, and to the persistent evils that warp the lives of its inhabitants, heed Baha’u’llah’s call to selfless and steadfast service—heroism for the present age. What else will rescue the world but the efforts of countless souls who each make the welfare of humanity their principal, their dominating concern?

 

– The Universal House of Justice

 

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

With Oars and Compass – A Novel by Hamed Javaheri About Life’s Purpose

Sat, 09/28/2019 - 7:20pm

With Oars and Compass is a book I wish I had read many years ago. Written by Hamed Javaheri, it frames an exploration of the meaning and purpose of life in a narrative that is philosophical, romantic, and mysterious. We meet Jane Luwi Flynn and get to eavesdrop on the meaningful conversations she has with her friends, her growing friendship and attraction to Xavier, and her recurring dreams. The story pulls the reader along and the conversations among its characters make you pause and think. Compelling, informative, engaging, light-hearted, humorous and thought-provoking, With Oars and Compass would have been a book that I read cover to cover as a teenager and young adult when I was asking myself the same questions Jane asks. But really, it’s a novel for anyone and anytime.

Hamed graciously agreed to share what inspired him to write the novel. Here is our conversation:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born and raised in Zambia, Southern Africa, and have lived here for most of my life, with the exception of a brief period in Montreal, Canada, where I pursued my university education. My wife and I married when we were young, and we have three children—the first of which is about to venture off for his year of service before he enters university.

As a Baha’i, I am privileged to witness the impact of the Teachings on the human mind—and on youth in particular—as they come to recognize the potential they have to contribute to the wellbeing of their communities, and to the betterment of the world.

Baha’i Blog: What inspired you to write this novel and to tackle such a big question like the purpose and meaning of life?

Author Hamed Javaheri (left) and his family

We live in a world where our sense of purpose seems to be increasingly lost to us. We are preoccupied with our studies, our jobs, our friends, our social circles, and bombarded with advertising, social media, etc. These often end up defining who we are and can leave us feeling a little disenchanted with life, fumbling through daily routines as we continue to look for a sign of what it might all be about.

The inspiration we receive from the Baha’i Writings, and in particular the direction we get from the guidance of the Universal House of Justice, provide us with tools to recognize the distracting forces around us, and paint a different picture of what the world can be like. It gives us a vision to work towards. And when this vision is founded on core principles that are well understood, we are able to take action and see personal and social change.

This book is an effort to share these thoughts, but to try and do it in an accessible and easy way. It is written in novel form, telling the story of a few friends who begin to explore these questions. The hope is that this will make the subject more approachable, and allow for more people to reflect on the question of purpose.

Baha’i Blog: What was the process like to put this book together?


This project started many years ago. As a young adult, I started to explore the question of ‘transformation’, and what it means at a personal and collective level. I found a wealth of guidance in the Writings of the Baha’i Faith, as well as the letters of the Universal House of Justice. As the research continued, a manuscript began to emerge. But it took on a very academic tone.

In consultation, and in light of its potential target audience, a new idea emerged. What if we were to portray these concepts in the form of a novel, where profound principles were conveyed through the medium of storytelling? Would this appeal to a wider circle of youth, demonstrating the impact a clear sense of purpose and direction can have on the life of young adults? The book that emerged tries to learn about this process.

Baha’i Blog: What’s something that you learned while writing this novel?


I actually have very little experience writing, so this has been a very interesting and steep learning curve. It was also fun to try and break down complex concepts in ‘conversations’ between people in a way that makes it easier to understand.

In terms of content, the process of writing the book helped me to really reflect on the core principles that should direct my life, and how these can help to align my thoughts and actions. Living the different characters through the experience of writing the book allowed me to explore this from different angles, and that was also very enjoyable.

Baha’i Blog: What do you hope readers will take away with them, long after they’ve read the last page?


Well, firstly I hope that they will enjoy the read, and get to know Jane Luwi Flynn and her friends, and that they can relate to their lives — living in a big city and trying to figure out the basic questions of life.

But beyond that, I hope that the book will give the reader a sense that life isn’t some winding unpredictable path — a set of random experiences that end up defining who we are. Instead, life is a conscious journey in which we explore reality and understand who we are meant to be — a path along which principles come into sharp focus, shaping our thoughts and actions, and directing us towards a vision of what can be.

Baha’i Blog: Thank you so much, Hamed, for sharing this with us! You can purchase ‘With Oars and Compass’ here on Amazon.

 

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Mulla Husayn: The Unlikely Hero Who Advanced the Cause of Truth

Wed, 09/25/2019 - 7:57pm

You are destined to exhibit such courage, such skill and heroism as shall eclipse the mightiest deeds of the heroes of old. Your daring exploits will win the praise and admiration of the dwellers in the eternal Kingdom. – The Bab to Mulla Husayn in Mahku before His transference to Chihriq

He was frail of form and slender with a fragile frame. 

He appeared before the great clerics and the learned of his time “an insignificant and negligible figure.”

His hand trembled and shook as he wrote.

His childhood friend declared him as one not in possession of strength or bodily endurance.

Contemporary reports indicate he had been sickly as a child and suffered from epilepsy and heart palpitations.

And yet. 

He was the first person to recognise the station of the Bab, which means “the Gate”, the Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith, and was given the title Jinab-i Bab’u’l-Bab (Gate of the Gate).

He was the first Letter of the Living appointed by the Bab, a title given by the Bab to His first 18 followers.

He appeared before one of the most formidable and outstanding ecclesiastical dignitaries of Persia at that time in the assemblage of scholars and moved the great Haji Siyyid Muhammad Baqir of Isfahan to tears.

He was the man who with a single stroke of his sword cut across the trunk of a tree, shattering it into six pieces, the barrel of a musket, and the body of his adversary in the battle on the outskirts of Barfurush.

He was the man whose name struck fear and terror in the hearts of his adversaries: “They fled at the mention of him; they trembled at his approach.”

His skill and prowess as an unrivalled warrior in battle made him a legend evoking the enthusiasm of poets across Persia, who lavished praise in tributes of him.

He emerged unscathed and triumphant in each of the four major battles he fought in despite the overwhelming forces arrayed against him, “a period rendered memorable by deeds so heroic that even his bitterest foes felt bowed to confess their wonder.”

He distinguished himself in every encounter with acts of valour, of chivalry, of skill and of strength.

He stunned his comrades who were “mute with wonder” by the “display of his stupendous force, his indomitable will and complete intrepidity.” They said, “We were all convinced that he had ceased to be the Mulla Husayn whom we had known, and that in him resided a spirit which God alone could bestow.”

He was the man whom Baha’u’llah in the Kitab-i-Iqan, personally ascribed with these words:

Among them was Mulla Husayn, who became the recipient of the effulgent glory of the Sun of divine Revelation. But for him, God would not have been established upon the seat of His mercy, nor ascended the throne of eternal glory. 

The first time I properly sat down to read about the person of Mulla Husayn was 10 years ago. I was a young mother going through chemotherapy at that time. I was terrified, weak and bald. To stand at the precipice staring into the abyss of one’s own mortality shook me to the core. And yet as I read about the life of Mulla Husayn, his courage, fearlessness and heroism from 200 years ago reached out to me from the pages of The Dawn-Breakers. This was a young man who, by all accounts, was frail and trembling but lived a life of a warrior.

It is said the Heroic Age of Mulla Husayn is over. But I believe with all my heart that the pattern of his life which made him an unexpected and unlikely hero is not. What was Mulla Husayn’s secret? What transformed this seemingly insignificant youth into one of the greatest legends of our Faith?

The Secret of Stopping

He stopped to prepare himself at the start of his holy quest.

As mind boggling and as counter-intuitive as most of us have been conditioned to live, Mulla Husayn deliberately and purposefully stopped. At every pivotal moment of his life, he stopped.

One of the biggest tasks Mulla Husayn set out to do in obedience to the fervent calls of his beloved teacher Siyyid Kazim before his passing, was to search for the Promised One.

We see that the first thing of great significance that Mulla Husayn did after setting out from Karbila was to stop at the Masjid-i-Kufih to spend “forty days in that place, where he led a life of retirement and prayer.”

So wrapt was he in his devotions and so “immersed in contemplation and prayer” he could neither be interrupted nor distracted during that entire period he had set aside. In The Dawn-Breakers, Nabil writes:

By his fasts and vigils he prepared himself for the holy adventure upon which he was soon to embark.

He stopped even though time was of the essence. He stopped when he was besieged and under fire by fierce some enemies. He stopped to inquire of his Lord. He stopped to receive spiritual guidance. He stopped to nourish his inner life with spiritual sustenance for his mission ahead. He stopped to listen. He stopped to purify himself. He stopped to connect to the Source.

The Secret of Submission

He prayed in the midst of battle.

No matter how pressing or urgent the task before him beckoned, even when his own life was under attack, Mulla Husayn never rushed headlong into battle. He neither succumbed to the pressure of his peers nor the pressing expectations of others to retaliate. He was perturbed by neither the furor to charge ahead in defence, nor the fear to retreat.

In that legendary battle on the outskirts of Barfurush, Mulla Husayn and his companions were besieged by enemies whose “savagery rested upon their countenances, and the foulest imprecations fell unceasingly from their lips.”

Faced with such a fierce and angry lot, Mulla Husayn’s companions were quick to unsheathe their swords. He restrained them, despite their very justified pleas to defend themselves in the line of fire that had immediately claimed six lives. He replied not once, but twice, saying, “Not yet” and, “The time is not yet come.”

After a bullet pierced the breast of a companion, a Siyyid from Yazd, Mulla Husayn raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, “Faithful to Thy command, I now arise with my companions to resist the attack which they have launched against us.”

It would seem that the bedrock of Mulla Husayn’s heroism was rooted in the fact that his every movement and stillness was wholly directed by Him. His was a wholehearted submission and yielding to a higher Voice.

The Secret of Lowliness

You are the lowly, of whom God has thus spoken in His Book. And We desire to show favour to those who were brought low in the land, and to make them spiritual leaders among men, and to make them Our heirs. – The Bab, addressing the Letters of the Living

We have come to believe that heroes are mighty and strong. But Mulla Husayn’s brand of heroism rests in the fact that he was lowly. It is such a profound statement that God favours the lowly. That the very qualities the world deems unworthy and unlikely for success are the very things that spiritual leaders are made of. The legacy of Mulla Husayn is rooted in his lowliness.

The Secret of Being Faithful

He set out in complete single-mindedness to finish every task instructed of him.

Scattered liberally across The Dawn-Breakers is this phrase that its author, Nabil Zarandi, keeps repeating in his narration of Mulla Husayn’s journey.

With complete severance and noble resolve, he set out to achieve his end.

Mulla Husayn set forth, as bidden by his Master, on his journey to Mazandaran.

Mulla Husayn set out immediately to carry out the instructions he had received.

Alone and with a heart wholly detached from all else but God, Mulla Husayn set out on his journey to Mashad.

His entire life’s mission was one of faithfully carrying out to completion the instructions he had received. He never deviated either in spirit nor in letter. Neither did he tarry nor delay in carrying to completion the task set before him. He didn’t linger a moment longer when it was not part of the plan to stay despite the many occasions where lavish hospitality and comforts were assured.

Over the course of his young life, Mulla Husayn carried out, with single-minded resolution, what was instructed to him by Siyyid Kazim, the Bab, Baha’u’llah and Quddus up to his last breath.

Until the hour of his martyrdom, Mulla Husayn remained faithful to his pledge.

The life of Mulla Husayn cannot be confined within the pages of a historical narrative because such a light cannot be dimmed nor weakened over the passage of time. This light finds new expressions of heroism over the ages. May we continue to be confounded by the insignificant, the unlikely and the lowly because that is where unexpected hidden seeds of heroism are birthed. 

 

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

“Dawn of the Light”: A Film for the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab

Mon, 09/23/2019 - 9:54am

The Universal House of Justice has commissioned a feature film for the joyous and historic bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith. “Dawn of the Light” can be downloaded or watched online from the official bicentennial website: bicentenary.bahai.org 

This wonderful film follows the story of eight people from around the world as they describe their spiritual journeys to discovering the Bab and Baha’u’llah.

“Dawn of the Light” is available in Arabic, English, French, Persian, Russian, Spanish, and Swahili.

More information about the film can be found in this Baha’i World News Story: “Dawn of the Light”: New bicentenary film explores search for truth and meaning

You may also be interested in the film that was commissioned for the bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’allh, “Light to the World”. You can find out more here on Baha’i Blog: “Light to the World”: A Film for the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah. 

Approximate running time: 48 minutes

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

5 Panels for the Bicentenary Created by the Baha’is of the UK

Sun, 09/22/2019 - 5:43am

The Baha’is of the United Kingdom have created five beautiful exhibition panels designed for use during activities commemorating the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-Herald of the Baha’i Faith.

The panels offer a historical overview of the Bab’s Revelation, share quotations about His Station, describe His teachings, and offer from excerpts from His Writings. Eye-catching photographs are also included.

The Baha’is of the UK have offered these panels to anyone who wishes to use them. They can be printed as pull-up exhibition banners or display panels.

The panels can be downloaded from here: https://drive.google.com/…/1bd_ft7sK_Fn1n8EYv8IoK9iBeUUGTbgd.

Should you have any challenges in accessing the designs or printing them, please contact services@bahai.org.uk or visit the Facebook page set up for the Bicentenary: https://www.facebook.com/UKBahaiBicentenary/

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

6 Ways My Home Community Plans on Celebrating the Bicentenary

Wed, 09/18/2019 - 7:58pm

Over 20 years ago, my family left metropolitan life and moved to the Australian regional centre of Ballarat. Located an easy 90-minute drive west of Melbourne, the city is renowned in Australia and abroad for its goldrush history. However, I like to think of its claim-to-fame as being the fact that Australia’s first ever Baha’i woman Effie Baker was raised there, and it was in Ballarat where she received the knowledge and training that would ultimately lead to her serving the Faith as one of its most notable photographers.

With a population of about 100,000, Ballarat is certainly rich in culture, history and heritage. But the reason I love my hometown most of all is because of the strong sense of love, unity and devotion which underpins the Baha’i community. While relatively small (we have less than 30 adult believers and about 15 children and junior youth), we have always managed to work within our means to serve the Faith in a spirit of utmost humility, forging a pattern of collective life that is warm, inclusive and ever-advancing. 

In the lead up to the bicentenaries of the Birth of Baha’u’llah and the Birth of the Bab, the Universal House of Justice sent a message to the Baha’is of the world indicating “the manner in which these highly significant Festivals are to be celebrated.” In its gentle, non-prescriptive and loving tone, the Supreme Body stated that “these Holy Days should be viewed as special opportunities for the friends to reach out to the widest possible cross-section of society and to all those with whom they share a connection.”

And so, the Ballarat Baha’is rose to the occasion alongside their comrades from all around the world, celebrating this “period of special potency” with such love, dignity, creativity, and honour, and sharing Baha’u’llah’s unifying vision with all those who yearned to listen (get yourself a glimpse here and here).

The time now draws near to celebrate the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, with only weeks remaining until we “gird up the loins of thine endeavour” and mark this significant moment in Baha’i history!

Recently, the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia released a message to the believers looking at the nature of these celebrations, referencing also some select messages from the Universal House of Justice. Our community took it upon itself to study these messages and extract some key themes, which we thought would allow us to better plan for the festivities. Here are some of the points we are keeping in mind in the lead up, during, and after the Holy Day itself.

1. Reaching out to the widest cross-section of society

We know the bicentenary should be viewed as a special opportunity for the friends “to reach out to the widest possible cross-section of society”. So, instead of simply thinking of the celebration as one event, we have implemented a number of plans in honour of the anniversary and in order to reach as many people as possible.

These plans include increasing devotional gatherings, intensifying teaching efforts, expanding and strengthening our core activities, and engaging in more heart-to-heart conversations in order to continue expanding our circles of friends, colleagues and acquaintances.

2. Celebrations that are uplifting and reverent

According to the Universal House of Justice:

Such initiatives, coupled with widespread celebrations that are both uplifting and reverent, are also sure to spark the curiosity and wonder of many who may as yet be unfamiliar with the names of the Bab and Baha’u’llah..

In addition to the aforementioned plans, our community will host some one-off events including a dedicated Children’s Festival and a Bicentenary Luncheon. Like most of our Holy Days, we hope these events will be uplifting, reverent and all-embracing so everyone feels comfortable inviting their friends along.

3. Taking a creative approach

The National Spiritual Assembly says that “the friends are encouraged to take creative approaches to the celebrations, drawing on diverse forms of artistic and cultural expression.”

For the bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, our community decided to mark the occasion with a one-hour production which took the audience through the unifying message of Baha’u’llah using the medium of performance. We commissioned local musicians to put Baha’u’llah’s words to song, music and dance and curated a show that was truly mystical, inspiring and informative.

While we won’t be hosting a production of this scale this year, we are still ensuring our plans take on a creative approach and we hope their intimacy will pave the way for some deeper connections to be made. We have once again commissioned artists to assist with our endeavours, and will also be using the artistic talents of our own children!

4. Conversations centred around the Faith’s key Founders

The House of Justice also states that,

Before and after the first bicentenary, the believers engaged family, friends, and acquaintances of all kinds in conversations about the life and teachings of the Blessed Beauty, and the conversations which occur in connection with the upcoming anniversary will in many ways be an extension of these, centring on both of the Faith’s Twin Founders.

In the lead up to the Twin Holy Days, our community is hosting a series of themed devotional gatherings which aim to familiarize people with the Bab, His Station and His Life. Themes are centred around the outstanding heroes and heroines of the Faith, the Bab’s Ministry, and the Personage of Baha’u’llah. These gatherings provide yet another avenue to engage in conversations about the Twin Luminaries.

5. Embracing more people into the community building process

For me, the greatest, most uplifting way to celebrate this momentous time, more powerful than any single event, is to embrace more and more friends into the community building process underway in our very own neighbourhoods. Through regular expansion and consolidation efforts and through the strengthening of friendships both old and new, we are given the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations and share the very essence of Baha’u’llah’s revelation – the oneness of humanity – inviting a greater number of individuals to join us on a path of service towards the betterment of the world.

The Universal House of Justice states that:

…the real transformative power of the Faith is likely to be perceived more readily still if people experience how worship and meaningful service are being woven into the fabric of the lives of Baha’is everywhere. Indeed, from the community-building activities of the Five Year Plan emerges a pattern of collective life within which anyone can discern the vivifying influence of the divine teachings brought by God’s Manifestations.

With this in mind, we have been striving to embrace more people into our “pattern of collective life” with each passing cycle in a bid to showcase the transformative power of the Faith and hopefully provide a glimpse into what unity in diversity can look and feel like.

6. Universal Participation

At the end of the day, the entire premise of our Faith is based on universality and I think it’s vital we all discover our role in contributing towards these festivities. I don’t know about you, but I love thinking of the many thousands of seemingly small initiatives taking place all over the world during this time, and imagining how they join together as one to illuminate the entire earth.

The National Spiritual Assembly says it is its hope for

every individual to engage in some way – to host a devotional, teach the Faith, invite their family and friends, and contribute their own unique talents and capacities to the collective celebrations – thereby facilitating a deeper connection of every believer to the Blessed Bab on the two hundredth anniversary of His Birth.

I’d love to know, what are you individual plans during this period of special potency? And how will your community be celebrating the bicentenary? Please do share!

 

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

30 Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions Based on the Writings of the Bab

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 5:38am

In honor of the bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith, we thought we’d showcase all of our Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions whose lyrics are based on His Writings. To date, we’ve shared 30 songs! You’ll find them listed below, in no particular order.

You can find out more about Studio Session here, watch the Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions series here on our YouTube Channel, and listen to and download the songs from our Soundcloud playlist.

You can find out more about the Bab here, and read selections from the Writings of the Bab here.

We hope highlighting these 30 songs in this manner helps you prepare for this joyous and momentous Holy Day!

1. “No One But Thee” by Calla Kinglit

2. “I Adjure Thee” by Shadi, Hoda & Leif

3. “Vaikeuksien Poistaja” by Alda, Elina & Annika

4. “Unto Thee I Repair for Refuge” by Rosalynd & Pascal

5. “O God My God” by Gary Sterling

6. “Is There Any Remover” by The Licata Brothers

7. “Say God Sufficeth” by Tom Francis

8. “I Adjure Thee by Thy Might” by David Khavari

9. “God Sufficeth” by Beeta Vahdat

10. “O Dieu, Mon Dieu (O God my God)” by Mona, Dibo & Nachidah

11. “Trust in Thee” by Shaun Gould

12. “Refuge” by Elina Kuitunen

13. “The Gate of God” by Naim Z, Naim S & Negin

14. “Gott Genügt (God Sufficeth)” by Colin Shoemaker

15. “Remover of Difficulties” by Ladjamaya

16. “The Bab” by Naim Z, Naim S & Negin

17. “Du vertreibst alle Qual (Remover of Every Anguish)” by Omid & Ariella

18. “Forgiveness Prayer” by Louis & Eleonore

19. “Remover of Difficulties” by Brianna Butler

20. “Say God Sufficeth” by Bill Groetzinger

21. “Arise” by Ethan Crofts

22. “Repair for Refuge” by David Khavari

23. “Dis Dieu suffit (Say God Sufficeth)” by Edelo & Emma

24. “कठिनाइयों को दूर करने वाला (Remover of Difficulties)” by Bhojraj Parmar

25. “Guide My Steps” by Zakiya Johnson

26. “I Am the Promised One” by Carl Brehmer

27. “Qui hormis Dieu” by Mathieu

28. “I Adjure Thee” by Nahal & Bakang

29. “I Repair for Refuge” by Dominique Sylvester

30. “Is There Any Remover” by Isis, Sheida & Sama

We hope you enjoy our Studio Sessions series and find this list useful.

We publish at least one new Baha’i Blog Studio Session every week, so if you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to Baha’i Blog’s YouTube channel for updates!

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