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One of the serious downsides of the globalization process involves the endangerment and disappearance of “mother” languages—especially for indigenous peoples. In fact, prepare to be shocked: every two weeks an...
The post Why Do We Have an International Mother Language Day? appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.
On a chilly, calm spring morning in Denver, my 8th-grade friends and I headed downtown for a service project to feed the homeless. On this day, I met Mary. Mary...
The post How My Conversation with a Homeless Woman Changed My Life appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.
In our spiritual journey to attain the attributes of God, our souls either consciously or unconsciously seek their Creator—instinctively, the soul searches for its source. Deep within us there is...
As Baha’is around the world gather together to celebrate Ayyam-i-Ha, the team at Baha’i Blog would like to wish all of our readers a very happy Ayyam-i-Ha!
Quizzes are a great activity to do with your friends and your community, so we’ve prepared a second quiz about Ayyam-i-Ha for you all to enjoy! (You can find the first Ayyam-i-Ha quiz here on Baha’i Blog!)
A small hint: All the answers to this quiz can be found in our article “An Introduction to Ayyam-i-Ha”.
Most parents want to give their children a solid moral and spiritual framework for life. What do you do to educate your children spiritually? If you’re already part of a...
It turns out that other Faiths beyond Judaism and Christianity contain ten commandments for living a spiritual life—including the Lakota belief system brought by White Buffalo Calf Woman. In this...
I live in New York City, which not only booms with art, music, culture and diversity, but attracts many who come to learn in ever-evolving educational spaces. A plethora of...
The post How a Film Student is Infusing Her Education with Baha’i Principles appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.
An American congressman once asked Abdu’l-Baha “How can I best serve my country?” The answer he received—which probably surprised him, and might surprise you—can apply to us all: Abdu’l-Baha’s counsel...
You’ve heard this one, right? “Can God create a rock He cannot lift?” It’s meant to disprove the concept of an omnipotent God. The reasoning goes like this: “If God...
Every morning I check the weather forecast—not only for the current day, but also for future days. Depending on the prediction, I might change my plans, my clothes, or both....
The post How to Be Spiritually Prepared for Whatever Comes Your Way appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.
I first collaborated with Susan Engle when we showcased her tiny prayer book and her tiny introduction on the Baha’i Faith — truly, they’re really tiny books! I was excited to see that Susan, an accomplished writer of stories, poems and songs for children, has a new book out! It’s called Robert Sengstacke Abbott: A Man, a Paper, and a Parade. I’m afraid to admit I had never heard of Robert Sengstacke Abbott so I was happy to learn a little bit about him, and to hear about the book, from Susan herself! Here’s what she shared with us:Baha’i Blog: Hi Susan! It’s great to interview you again! To begin, what inspired you to put this book together? A friend of mine who lives in the Chicago area, Bonnie Taylor, went to a presentation about Robert Sengstacke Abbott given by his great niece, Myiti Sengstacke Rice. Bonnie has a special passion for race unity (she compiled the book Pupil of the Eye), and when Ms. Rice hoped that someone would write a biography for young people about his life, Bonnie got in touch with me to help make Ms. Rice’s wish come true. There is a very large parade in Chicago every year that Mr. Abbott began especially for African American kids. Millions of kids have attended the parade over the years, but they don’t know much about the man who started it all. I was just retiring from work with Brilliant Star children’s magazine and was feeling in need of creative projects. I’d written several two- and three-page biographies for the magazine over the years, but not a full-length book. I felt a little nervous about taking it on. Bonnie had confidence that I could do a good job, so I said I’d give it a try. Baha’i Blog: What was the writing process like? It took about a year to do the research and write the manuscript. I read what I could find and took a trip to his birthplace about halfway through — St. Simons Island, Georgia. I’ve never lived in the South and wanted to get a feel for his beginnings. It really sparked my imagination to see his first surroundings, and I began to feel a great love in my heart for his courage and his service to his fellow African Americans and, by extension, to all humankind. Baha’i Blog: What’s something that you learned during the process of putting this book together? I read quite a bit about what it takes to wake up Black in America. Having been born so close to the end of the Civil War, having lived in the Jim Crow era, it’s really amazing that Mr. Abbott was able to publish a paper to give African Americans a voice, a way to express the many injustices they faced in their daily lives, to give people encouragement and knowledge, and to celebrate being Black in a hostile environment. Though I knew that his paper, the Chicago Defender, helped bring about the Great Migration of about a million and a half African Americans out of the South to the North and West in the U.S., I didn’t know about Mr. Abbott’s having met Abdu’l-Baha, or the story of how he announced that he became a Baha’i. Baha’i Blog: What do you hope people will take away from this book?
My hope is that people, old and young alike, will become curious about heroes, inventors, scientists, actors, musicians, writers and others in our nation’s history, especially people who are not yet mentioned in the books used in our schools. We’re missing so many stories of Native Americans, African Americans, Latin Americans and others who had a positive impact on our nation, hidden from our understanding of history simply because of the color of their skin. The stories are out there to be brought to light. It’s a little like a treasure hunt. May we all search for stories that aren’t yet discovered.Baha’i Blog: What projects are you working on next? I’m currently researching the life of John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie. Most of his story isn’t much of a secret, but it hasn’t been told for young readers. He had a profound effect on the development of jazz, and, toward the end of his life, wished only to be remembered as a helpful humanitarian. The biggest problem in relating his story is that he accomplished so much! It’s a challenge to not write a 500-page book. Baha’i Blog: Is there anything else you’d like to add or share? Robert Sengstacke Abbott: A Man, a Paper, and a Parade is the first of a series of “Change Maker” books being planned by Bellwood Press, an imprint of the Baha’i Publishing Trust. One way to connect with people is to tell stories of the lives of inspiring Baha’is that teachers and librarians will use in public institutions. If parents and teachers would be well served in their work with poetry, especially for kids and families, my website, Iambic Nana, is up and running. Poetry can be downloaded for free for use in classrooms, and living rooms, for study circles, children’s classes, junior youth classes, and even, with some of the poems, in devotions. Tiny books for proclamation and personal teaching can also be ordered at https://iambicnana.com. Baha’i Blog: Thank you so much, Susan, for sharing this with us! You can purchase a copy of ‘Robert Sengstacke Abbott: A Man, a Paper, and a Parade‘ here.
The post Book About Robert Sengstacke Abbott for Young Readers by Susan Engle appeared first on Bahai Arts, Stories, Media & Bahai Religion.
How does spirituality affect our friendships with others? A new Baha’i video, “Refresh and Gladden My Spirit” tells an inspirational story about two friends who turned their life around—together. The...
The post How Prayer Inspired Two Women to Take Action in Their Community appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.
In middle school, I was a social nerd, to put it simply. My life revolved around school, homework, occasional hangouts with friends, and Baha’i activities. At that time, I never...
The ultimate purpose of life is often difficult to fathom—that’s why faith has played such a significant role in the human experience. We may say, as a matter of faith,...
The post Why Our Life on Earth is a lot like Being in the Womb appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.
I know. I'll grab the nearest book about the Bab, Hour of Dawn, flip to a random page and see what comes up.
Siyyid Yahya, and his first meetings with the Bab.
Well, Siyyid Yahya was a very famous and influential Mulla in Iran in the 1840s. The Shah had such faith and trust in him that when the news of the Bab began to spread, it was Siyyid Yahya that the Shah sent to investigate the claims. Three interviews were arranged.
At the first one, after courteous greetings, he spoke for two hours asking the Bab about the most difficult and obscure teachings in Islam he could think of. The Bab listened to this entire discourse very calmly, and then, when the Siyyid had finished, replied. Siyyid Yahya was astonished at the simple and clear answers the Bab gave. He was overcome by a sense of shame, feeling his own lowliness before the Bab. He, who had been the centre of attention for so long, now only felt his own mis-placed sense of pride and presumption.
During the second interview, he had prepared a list of further questions he wished to ask, but upon attaining the presence of the Bab, he discovered that his mind was a complete blank. Bewildered, he found that all he could do was ask some trivial and minor questions. But then he was even more astonished to discover that the Bab was answering, with the same clarity and simplicity, those same questions he had actually wanted to ask.
Vowing to approach the Bab with a more appropriate attitude for the third interview, he decided to ask only a single question. He wanted to know if the Bab would reveal a commentary on the Surih of Kawthar, but he decided to ask this only in his heart. He would not voice the question aloud.
As soon as he entered the room for that third interview, he found himself seized with a great sense of fear. He who had faced the Shah many times without the least trace of concern was now so shaken at the presence of this young Siyyidi merchant, the Bab, that he found himself swaying on his feet.
The Bab rose and took him gently by the hand, saying, "Seek from Me whatever is your heart's desire. I will readily reveal it to you."
Siyyid Yahya could not reply.
The Bab smiled and said, "Were I to reveal for you the commentary on the Surih of Kawthar, would you acknowledge that My words are born of the Spirit of God? Would you recognize that My utterance can in no wise be associated with sorcery or magic?"
At this, Siyyid Yahya began to weep. "O our Lord," he quoted from the Qur'an, "with ourselves have we dealt unjustly; if Thou forgive us not, and have not pity on us, we shall surely be of those who perish."
It was then that the Bab called for His pen-case and began to reveal that commentary.
Siyyid Yahya has left us a beautiful description of that time, describing the majesty of the Bab's presence, and the power of His words. But I'm not going to quote it here.
No. What interests me is what we can learn from this.
So often we find ourselves with some knowledge, and feeling a sense of pride on our little bit of learning. I see this over and over again when people are discussing various issues of which they may have a little bit of knowledge, but refusing to admit that someone with years, or even decades, of experience may know more. We often see this when people are discussing hot topics like vaccines or gun control, or even climate change. Someone may read a headline, or research an issue for a few minutes on Google, and suddenly be filled with the ego to claim themselves some sort of expert on the subject.
But really, if we want to learn, we need to accept a recognized authority on the subject. And we need to be humble enough to approach those without that recognized authority in such a manner that we are willing to listen to them, and judge whether or not their argument makes sense.
Siyyid Yahya was a recognized authority. The Bab was not. And Siyyid Yahya's true character emerged not when he questioned the Bab on obscure and minor details, but when he was willing to actually listen to what the Bab really had to say.
Today, we need to be willing to offer that same courtesy, for that's really what it is, to those with whom we disagree, for who knows? They may be right.
But that also doesn't mean just blindly accepting what they say. Siyyid Yahya questioned the Bab first. He tested to see if the Bab really knew what He was talking about. And then, with great humility, he accepted the Bab's superior knowledge and wisdom.
Why, though, was he filled with fear during that third interview? Possibly because he felt that he had not been humble enough during the first two interviews.
And that, dear Reader, is what really stands out to me. I pray that I do not approach any conversation with such haughtiness that I feel that reason for fear later on.
Whew. I'm so glad that book was nearby.
See you next week, dear Friends.
For over 1400 years, Muslims have believed that Jesus foretold the coming of a messenger after him, to be named Ahmad—undoubtedly a reference to Muhammad: And when Jesus the...
Our media largely represents love as a magical, smooth-sailing phenomenon that somehow appears in the lives of conventionally attractive people. Other times the media depicts love as full of pain,...
This usually surprises my Christian friends: I subscribe to a daily email service newsletter called Bible Quotes from Crosswalk.com. As a Baha’i, each morning when I read a short Bible...
When the European Union formed in 1993, and all the member countries agreed to the concept of open borders, it provoked great fear among many Europeans. In fact, few issues...