Northern Illinois Bahá'ís

Bahá'í Blogs

What Happened When Baha’u’llah Was Born

Baha'i Teachings.org - Tue, 10/29/2019 - 1:12pm

Most of the world’s great Faiths observe the birthdays of their prophets and founders. Today, the worldwide Baha’i community celebrates the birth of Baha’u’llah, and you’re invited to the party!...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

What is the Baha’i Faith? An Introduction by Rainn Wilson

Baha'i Teachings.org - Mon, 10/28/2019 - 10:00am

In the Baha’i Faith, an introductory discussion about the Faith, its teachings, concepts, truths and mysteries, is called a “fireside.”  I’ve attended hundreds of Baha’i firesides in my day. I’ve...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

The Birth of the Bab: 200 Years Ago Today

Baha'i Teachings.org - Mon, 10/28/2019 - 8:36am

The Baha’i Faith, revealed by two successive messengers of God – the Bab and Baha’u’llah – observes the bicentenary of the Bab’s birth today. All around the world, Baha’is will joyously...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

The Bittersweet Love Story of The Bab and His Beloved Wife

Baha'i Teachings.org - Sun, 10/27/2019 - 10:58am

As an intense romantic, I love nothing more than reading a compelling love story – and when the story is true, that’s even better!  One of my favorite stories chronicled...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

The Bab, Gateway to the Age of Fulfillment

Baha'i Teachings.org - Sun, 10/27/2019 - 8:00am

Led by European philosophers and brilliant thinkers such as Francis Bacon, René Descartes, and Immanuel Kant, humanity passed from the Age of Reason, also known as the Age of Enlightenment,...

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Live Streaming of Bicentenary Celebrations at Temples Around the World

Baha'i Blog - 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 Spiritual Journey from Selfishness to Selflessness

Baha'i Teachings.org - Sat, 10/26/2019 - 10:17am

Have you ever met a narcissist? You may not know the answer to that question, but here’s a clue: they tend to think quite highly of themselves, and very little...

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The Woman Who Tried to Kill the Prophet

Baha'i Teachings.org - Sat, 10/26/2019 - 9:00am

In the 19th Century, the Persian male protected his chief possession by secreting it away and surrounding its merits with mystery. He veiled his wife with stone and iron as...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

I’m So Sorry: Making Meaningful Amends

Baha'i Teachings.org - Fri, 10/25/2019 - 10:00am

We all inevitably mess up and hurt those around us sometimes. While a simple “I’m sorry” sometimes works wonders, what can we do when sorry isn’t enough? Making up for...

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The Impact of Islam on World Civilization

Baha'i Teachings.org - Fri, 10/25/2019 - 8:00am

Every major new religion that has propagated itself across the planet has also generated a huge impact on human civilization – regardless of whether or not that civilization adopts the...

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UN Day: Let’s Celebrate the End of World Wars

Baha'i Teachings.org - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 8:00am

Each year since its founding in 1945 the United Nations and its member countries have observed October 24th as UN Day – so today the planet’s nations celebrate 74 years...

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Baha’i Social Principles First Proclaimed by the Bab

Baha'i Teachings.org - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 8:00am

Did you know that certain fundamental ethical and social principles proclaimed by the Baha’i Faith today were first taught by the Bab? In the same basic way that Christianity repeated...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Interracial Dating: Struggle and Success Stories

Baha'i Teachings.org - Wed, 10/23/2019 - 10:30am

For a long time, interracial couples like Thom and Dorothy faced great danger in the United States, but their belief in the greater Baha’i principle of unity sustained them. Thom...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

5 Accepted Climate Change Facts – and a Few Unaccepted Ones

Baha'i Teachings.org - Wed, 10/23/2019 - 9:34am

When I first started personally studying and writing about climate change two decades ago, many skeptics and deniers existed. Now the skepticism has diminished – but not entirely. A reminder...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

An Educator’s Journey from Iran to Harlem

Baha'i Teachings.org - Tue, 10/22/2019 - 10:00am

During my early years in the United States as a poor immigrant, I worked shoulder-to-shoulder with black Americans and got a glimpse into their lives and struggles.  A foreigner struggling...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

How Spiritual Education Can Change the World

Baha'i Teachings.org - Tue, 10/22/2019 - 8:30am

Recently we moved from California to the Czech Republic. Some of our friends, baffled by this big change, wondered why.  Here’s the short answer: we committed to this major, bi-continental...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

The Martyrdom of the Bab: An Oratorio by Keivan Towfigh

Baha'i Blog - 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

Normalizing Girls – and their Bodies – in Every Culture

Baha'i Teachings.org - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 10:54am

Simply because they menstruate, women and girls are often denied the basic resources that enable them to reach their full potential as protagonists in the establishment of an egalitarian civilization....

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Does College Really Teach Us How to Work as a Team?

Baha'i Teachings.org - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 9:33am

Most institutions of higher education highly encourage teamwork, but in the West, we still have an undercurrent of individualism in every team setting. How can we move past it? We...

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Overshoot and Collapse: Have We Hit Our Planet’s Limits?

Baha'i Teachings.org - Sun, 10/20/2019 - 10:00am

With all the science fiction books and movies out there, you may find yourself dreaming of escaping from this planet and going to other worlds.  Science fiction is full of...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

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