Archive for March, 2009

Land of Tá

Tehran in 1930 by Effie Baker, a great Handmaiden of Bahá'u'lláh from New Zealand

           Photo reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community, http://media.bahai.org

 

 

Tehrán

          “mother of the world”

                                   

                                              “Day-spring of the Cause of God”

                                                             “fountain of His Revelation”

          “holy and shining city”

                                      “Abode of supreme blissfulness”

    

                                                        “land of resplendent glory”                 

          “source of the joy of all mankind”

 

             from Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh (Vol. 1), p. 47 by Adib Taherzadeh

 

 

The time will come when the followers of Bahá’u’lláh will live in peace in our spiritual homeland.

Let nothing grieve thee, O Land of Ta (Tihran), for God hath chosen thee to be the source of the joy of all mankind. He shall, if it be His Will, bless thy throne with one who will rule with justice, who will gather together the flock of God which the wolves have scattered. Such a ruler will, with joy and   gladness, turn his face towards, and extend his favors unto, the people of Baha. He indeed is accounted in the sight of God as a jewel among men. Upon him rest forever the glory of God, and the glory of all that dwell in the kingdom of His revelation.

Rejoice with great joy, for God hath made thee “the Day Spring of His light,” inasmuch as within thee was born the Manifestation of His Glory. Be thou glad for this name that hath been conferred upon thee — a name through which the Day Star of grace hath shed its splendor, through which both earth and heaven have been illumined.

Ere long will the state of affairs within thee be changed, and the reins of power fall into the hands of the people. Verily, thy Lord is the All-Knowing. His authority embraceth all things. Rest thou assured in the gracious favor of thy Lord. The eye of His loving-kindness shall everlastingly be directed towards thee. The day is approaching when thy agitation will have been transmuted into peace and quiet calm. Thus hath it been decreed in the wondrous Book.

                                                                                                                                  Bahá’u’lláh

The Festivals of Ridván

Entrance to the Ridván Gardens outside of Akká, Israel

This pleasant garden spot outside of Akká was occasionally visited by Bahá’u’lláh and referred by Him as “Our Verdant Isle.” The river that once flowed around it is long gone, but at that time this was the entry point. The Universal House of Justice has plans to restore this Holy Place so that it is once again surrounded by water.

 

Join Bahá’ís in your area for Ridván Celebrations !

The Holy Days are:

The First Day of Ridván        April 21st

The Ninth Day of Ridván      April 29th

The Twelfth Day of Ridván   May 2nd

All Feasts have attained their consummation in the two Most Great Festivals, and in the two other Festivals that fall on the twin days — the first of the Most Great Festivals being those days whereon the All-Merciful shed upon the whole of creation the effulgent glory of His most excellent Names and His most exalted Attributes, and the second being that day on which We raised up the One Who announced unto mankind the glad tidings of this Name, through which the dead have been resurrected and all who are in the heavens and on earth have been gathered together. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Ordainer, the Omniscient.  

                                                                  Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas

 

This passage establishes four great festivals of the Bahá’í year. The two designated by Bahá’u’lláh as “the two Most Great Festivals” are, first, the Festival of Ridvan, which commemorates Bahá’u’lláh’s Declaration of His Prophetic Mission in the Garden of Ridvan in Baghdad during twelve days in April/May 1863 and is referred to by Him as “the  King of Festivals” and, second, the Báb’s Declaration, which occurred in May 1844 in Shiraz. The first, ninth and twelfth days of the Festival of Ridvan are Holy Days … as is the day of the Declaration of the Báb. The “two other Festivals” are the anniversaries of the births of Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb. In the Muslim lunar calendar these fall on consecutive days, the birth of Bahá’u’lláh on the second day of the month of Muharram 1233 A.H. (12 November 1817), and the birth of the Bab on the first day of the same month 1235 A.H. (20 October 1819), respectively. They are thus referred to as the “Twin Birthdays” and Bahá’u’lláh states that these two days are accounted as one in the sight of God…  

Commentary from The Kitab-i-Aqdas

 

The passing to the Abhá Kingdom of Mary J. Langrall came to the Webmaster’s attention in the latest edition of The American Bahá’í (March/April 2009). Her passing was noted in the In Memoriam section, where it listed her passing as being on November 8, 2008, in Orange Park, Florida.  This must be a reference to Mary Jane Langrall, who I knew at the Bahá’í World Centre in the mid-1980’s. She served there for about a year as the secretary at the Purchasing Office, and then departed, telling us that she had received an offer to type the manuscript of a book for a member of her family. She was, so I was told, the aunt of actress Joanne Woodward and the in-law of Paul Newman. My memory of Mary Jane is that she was was most cheerful person I ever met. She was effusively, wonderfully cheerful. Cheerfulness radiated from her soul in her words, her tone of voice, and her demeanor. She was almost sunshine incarnate. If someone with a black cloud over their head met Mary Jane, just a minute in her presence would burn it away.  

 

Here is a prayer from Bahá’u’lláh in honor of Mary Jane.

Glory to Thee, O my God! One of Thy handmaidens, who hath believed in Thee and in Thy signs, hath entered beneath the shadow of the tree of Thy oneness. Give her to quaff, O my God, by Thy Name, the Manifest and the Hidden, of Thy choice sealed Wine that it may take her away from her own self, and make her to be entirely devoted to Thy remembrance, and wholly detached from any one beside Thee.

Now that Thou hast revealed unto her the knowledge of Thee, O my Lord, deny her not, by Thy bounty, Thy grace; and now that Thou hast called her unto Thyself, drive her not away from Thee, through Thy favor. Supply her, then, with that which excelleth all that can be found on Thine earth.  Thou art, verily, the Most Bountiful, Whose grace is immense.

Wert Thou to bestow on one of Thy creatures what would equal the kingdoms of earth and heaven, it would still not diminish by even as much as an atom the immensity of Thy dominion. Far greater art Thou than the Great One men are wont to call Thee, for such a title is but one of Thy names all of which were created by a mere indication of Thy will.

There is no God but Thee, the God of power, the God of glory, the God of knowledge and wisdom.

                                                                                                                                       Bahá’u’lláh

There are many paths of service.

There lay concealed within the Holy Veil, and prepared for the service of God, a company of His chosen ones who shall be manifested unto men, who shall aid His Cause, who shall be afraid of no one, though the entire human race rise up and war against them. These are the ones who, before the gaze of the  dwellers on earth and the denizens of heaven, shall arise and, shouting aloud, acclaim the name of the Almighty, and summon the children of men to the path of God, the All-Glorious, the All-Praised. Walk thou in their way, and let no one dismay thee. Be of them whom the tumult of the world, however much it may agitate them in the path of their Creator, can never sadden, whose purpose the blame of the blamer will never defeat.

                                                                                                                         Bahá’u’lláh

The Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh

 

George Bowers (England), Phil Trutza (USA and Samoa), and Denver Morgan (Wales), inspect work being done on the roof over the ante-chamber beside the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh.

 

 

 

 

Therefore we also must strive in this pathway of love and service, sacrificing life and possessions, passing our days in devotion, consecrating our efforts wholly to the cause of God, so that, God willing, the ensign of universal religion may be uplifted in the world of mankind and the oneness of the world of humanity be established.

                                                                                                                 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

The Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh

 

Carpenter Wolfgand Nieland (Germany and Canada), standing in the middle, helping to restore the roof above the ante-chamber to the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh.

 Wolfgang Nieland

 

 

 

Immerse me, O my God, in this most bounteous, rolling Ocean; give me to drink of this sweet, abundant Water; cause me to enter this Gateway of Righteousness; ordain me for this praiseworthy Station; cause me to obtain this Cup which is overflowing with the living water; light in the crystal of my heart this Lamp which is giving forth its illuminating, brilliant radiance; and strengthen me for the service of Thy Cause, O my Lord, the Forgiver!

                                                                                                               ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

The Haram-i-Aqdas, Bahji

 

Daryoush Hadjiyoussef (Germany), head of the ironshop, standing on the ladder, re-installs a refurbished lamp at Bahji.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wert thou to consider this world, and realize how fleeting are the things that pertain unto it, thou wouldst choose to tread no path except the path of service to the Cause of thy Lord. None would have the power to deter thee from celebrating His praise, though all men should arise to oppose thee.

Go thou straight on and persevere in His service. Say: O people! The Day, promised unto you in all the Scriptures, is now come. Fear ye God, and withhold not yourselves from recognizing the One Who is the Object of your creation. Hasten ye unto Him. Better is this for you than the world and all that is therein. Would that ye could perceive it!

                                                                                                                 Bahá’u’lláh

 

The Workshop

 

Blaine Reed (Alaska), right, inventory controller and keeper of the supplies used by the Operatons Office (and bought by the Purchasing Office), fulfills an order by Daryoush Hadjiyoussef.

 

 

 

 

O army of God! Whensoever ye behold a person whose entire attention is directed toward the Cause of God; whose only aim is this, to make the Word of God to take effect; who, day and night, with pure intent, is rendering service to the Cause; from whose behaviour not the slightest trace of egotism or private motives is discerned — who, rather, wandereth distracted in the wilderness of the love of God, and drinketh only from the cup of the knowledge of God, and is utterly engrossed in spreading the sweet savours of God, and is enamoured of the holy verses of the Kingdom of God — know ye for a certainty that this individual will be supported and reinforced by heaven; that like unto the  morning star, he will forever gleam brightly out of the skies of eternal grace.

                                                                                                                  ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

 

The Workshop

 

Gaston Mattheus (Belgium), head of the paint shop, installs gold leaf as a finishing touch on a beautiful iron gate manufactured by our ironworkers according to the architect’s plans, just prior to its installation. 

 

 

 

 

Bahá’u’lláh proclaims in the Hidden Words that God inspires His servants and is revealed through them. He says, “Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation.” Therefore, we learn that nearness to God is possible through devotion to Him, through entrance into the Kingdom and service to humanity; it is attained by unity with mankind and through loving-kindness to all; it is dependent upon investigation of truth, acquisition of praiseworthy virtues, service in the cause of universal peace and personal sanctification. In a word, nearness to God necessitates sacrifice of self, severance and the giving up of all to Him. Nearness is likeness.

                                                                                                                      ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

 

The Workshop

 

Zhena Goharriz-Zainy (England), secretary of the Operations Office, keeping tight control over all of those male craftsmen who came from around the world to serve at the World Center of their Faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The words thou hadst written have, as soon as they were read in My Presence, caused the ocean of My fidelity to surge within Me, and the breeze of My forgiveness to be wafted over thy soul, and the tree of My loving-kindness to overshadow thee, and the clouds of My bounty to rain down upon thee their gifts. I swear by the Day Star that shineth above  the horizon of eternity, I sorrow for thee in thy grief, and lament with thee in thy tribulation…. I bear witness to the services thou hast rendered Me, and testify to the various troubles thou hast sustained for My sake. All the atoms of the earth declare My love for thee.

                                                                                                               Bahá’u’lláh

 

The Worksop

 

Painter Tony Verderosa (United States), right, restoring windows from one of our holy places.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We must partake of the bounty and grace of the Lord, for the Báb has admonished us to arise in service to the Cause of God, to be absolutely severed from all else save God during the day of the Blessed Perfection, Bahá’u’lláh, to be completely attracted by the love of Bahá’u’lláh, to love all humanity for His sake, to be lenient and merciful to all for Him and to upbuild the oneness of the world of humanity.

                                                                                                             ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

 

 

The Workshop

 

Painter Gerhard Gross (Austria) applies gold leaf to ironwork made by our ironworkers at the workshop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today there is no greater glory for man than that of service in the cause of the Most Great Peace.

                                                                                                                    ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

 

 

The Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh

 

Carpenter David Simons (Canada) and Aziz Ghalili (Iran and the USA), work on the restoration of the roof over the ante-chamber to the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh.

 

 

 

 

Senses and faculties have been bestowed upon us, to be devoted to the service of the general good; so that we, distinguished above all other forms of life for perceptiveness and reason, should labor at all times and along all lines, whether the occasion be great or small, ordinary or extraordinary, until all mankind are safely gathered into the impregnable stronghold of knowledge.

                                                                                                             ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

 

 

 

The Arc Path below the Seat of the Universal House of Justice

 

Bonnie Reed (Alaska) serves on her day off by doing some weeding in the Monument Gardens.

 

 

 

 

You, too, may be of service to Bahá’u’lláh, by serving at the Bahá’í World Center in Haifa, Israel, at your National Office or any of its agencies, or by serving the Faith in your own community.

 

Staff members off shore of Eilat

 

Staff members from the Bahá’í World Centre enjoying a boat trip in the gulf off of Eilat. 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos circa 1984/85 by the Webmaster

I’m here for the Naw Rúz breakfast. Is this the place? Do you have waffles? Tell me this is the place !

Moose are beautiful !

THESE are the days of Naw-Ruz. I am always thinking of those kind friends! I beg for each and all of you confirmations and assistance from the threshold of oneness, so that those gatherings may become ignited like unto candles, in the republics of America, enkindling the light of the love of God in the hearts; thus the rays of the heavenly teachings may begem and brighten the states of America like the infinitude of immensity with the stars of the Most Great Guidance.

                                                                                                                               ‘Abdu’l-Baha

 

 

We hope that you can join us for our annual Naw Rúz breakfast, this Saturday, March 21st, at 10:00 a.m. Tim and Deb are hosting their breakfast on behalf of the Tacoma Bahá’í Community for the 15th year! Hooray!

 

As usual, it’s a semi-potluck:  we’ll have ham, quiche, and waffles.  Please bring a breakfast item to share such as fruit, a side dish (potatoes, rice, veggies, or casserole), or bread (biscuits, cinnamon rolls, bagels, etc), or whatever you’d like to share for breakfast.

 

Out of respect for our special guest, there will no moose meat.

 

Photo by John K. Slone

A legal victory for the Bahá’ís in Egypt

 

egypt-bahais1

 

Thornton Chase (seated right under the umbrella), the first American Bahá’í, visits Bahá’ís in Cairo, Egypt, in April 1907 on the occasion of his pilgrimage.

From Eminent Bahá’ís in the time of Bahá’u’lláh by H.M. Balyuzi, courtesy of George Ronald, Publisher.

 

 

Here is welcome news from the Bahá’í World News Service about a victory for the Faith from an Egyptian Court.

GENEVA (16 March 2009) – A court in Egypt today removed any grounds for preventing Baha’is from receiving proper official identity documents, clearing the way for an end to years of deprivation for Egyptian Baha’is – and opening the door to a new level of respect for religious privacy in Egypt.

The Supreme Administrative Court dismissed an appeal by two Muslim lawyers that sought to prevent implementation of a lower court ruling last year that said Baha’is can leave blank the religious classification field on official documents, including all-important identity cards and birth certificates.

“We are pleased that the court has finally put this matter to rest, removing any possible excuse that would prevent the government from issuing official
documents to Egyptian Baha’is,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations.

“Our expectation now is that the government will move swiftly to bring this
ruling into practice and, at long last, grant Baha’is the essential right that
all citizens have of possessing proper documents.”

Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), said the ruling actually goes far beyond the issue of rights for Egyptian Baha’is.

“This is the first time that the Supreme Administrative Court has found that any Egyptian has the right to keep their religious convictions private, even if the state does not recognize their belief system,” said Mr. Bahgat, whose
organization handled legal representation for Baha’is in court.

“The final ruling is a major victory for all Egyptians fighting for a state where all citizens enjoy equal rights regardless of their religion or belief,” he said.

Mr. Bahgat said that because the Supreme Administrative Court is the highest court on such matters, there can be no further appeal to this case – and that, therefore, there should be no delay in the government’s implementation of the new policy.

“The government policy that justified mistreatment of Egyptian Baha’is has now been firmly and finally struck down,” he said.

For nearly five years, since the government began introducing a computerized identity card system that locked out all religious classifications except Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, Baha’is have been unable to get documents essential to day-to-day life. Among other things, they have been blocked from obtaining education, financial services, and even health care in government hospitals.

In April 2006, a lower administrative court upheld the right of Baha’is to be
explicitly identified on official documents. But in December that year, the
Supreme Administrative Court reversed that decision.

In a compromise, Baha’is proposed using a dash or the word “other” on documents, instead of being forced to list themselves as Muslim, Christian, or Jewish, and, on 29 January 2008, a lower court again ruled in their favor. But then two Muslim lawyers, who oppose anything that might be seen as even tacit recognition of the Baha’i Faith, filed an appeal.

In response, government officials took a “go slow” attitude on implementing the lower court ruling, saying they wanted to wait until all legal issues were
cleared up.

The ruling today came in the case of 14-year-old twins Imad and Nancy Rauf Hindi who have been deprived of birth certificates and were unable to legally attend school in Egypt.

In recent weeks, several other cases involving Baha’is have been likewise
resolved in their favor. But the Rauf Hindi twins’ case was the final case to be
settled.

To view the Baha’i World News Service home page: http://news.bahai.org

The gate of boundless grace is opened wide

Sdeh Boker, Israel - in the Negev Desert 

Release yourselves from this world’s life, and at every stage long ye for non-existence; for when the ray returneth to the sun, it is wiped out, and when the drop cometh to the sea, it vanisheth, and when the true lover findeth his Beloved, he yieldeth up his soul.

Until a being setteth his foot in the plane of sacrifice, he is bereft of every favour and grace; and this plane of sacrifice is the realm of dying to the self, that the radiance of the living God may then shine forth. The martyr’s field is the place of detachment from self, that the anthems of eternity may be upraised. Do all ye can to become wholly weary of self, and bind yourselves to that Countenance of Splendours; and once ye have reached such heights of servitude, ye will find, gathered within your shadow, all created things. This is boundless grace; this is the highest sovereignty; this is the life that dieth not. All else save this is at the last but manifest perdition and great loss.

Praise be to God, the gate of boundless grace is opened wide, the heavenly table is set, the servants of the Merciful and His handmaids are present at the feast. Strive ye to receive your share of this eternal food, so that ye shall be loved and cherished in this world and the next.

                                                                                                                               ‘Abdu’l-Baha