Archive for February, 2009

Happy Ayyám-i-Há !

 Photo by John K. Slone

My God, my Fire and my Light! The days which Thou hast named the Ayyam-i-Ha (the Days of Ha, Intercalary days) in Thy Book have begun, O Thou Who art the King of names, and the fast which Thy most exalted Pen hath enjoined unto all who are in  the kingdom of Thy creation to observe is approaching. I entreat Thee, O my Lord, by these days and by all such as have during that period clung to the cord of Thy commandments, and laid hold on the handle of Thy precepts, to grant that unto every soul may be assigned a place within the precincts of Thy court, and a seat at the revelation of the splendors of the light of Thy countenance.

These, O my Lord, are Thy servants whom no corrupt inclination hath kept back from what Thou didst send down in Thy Book. They have bowed themselves before Thy Cause, and received Thy Book with such resolve as is born of Thee, and observed what Thou hadst prescribed unto them, and chosen to follow that which had been sent down by Thee.

Thou seest, O my Lord, how they have recognized and confessed whatsoever Thou hast revealed in Thy Scriptures. Give them to drink, O my Lord, from the hands of Thy graciousness the waters of Thine eternity. Write down, then, for them the recompense ordained for him that hath immersed himself in the ocean of Thy presence, and attained unto the choice wine of Thy meeting.

I implore Thee, O Thou the King of kings and the Pitier of the downtrodden, to ordain for them the good of this world and of the world to come. Write down for them, moreover, what none of Thy creatures hath discovered, and number them with those who have circled round Thee, and who move about Thy throne in every world of Thy worlds.  

Thou, truly, art the Almighty, the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.


There is no support save Thee, no helper except Thee and no sustainer beside Thee

Shoghi Effendi's room at the mansion at Bahjí

O God! O God! This is a broken-winged bird and his flight is very slow – assist him so that he may fly toward the apex of prosperity and salvation, wing his way with the utmost joy and happiness throughout the illimitable space, raise his melody in Thy Supreme Name in all the regions, exhilarate the ears with this call, and brighten the eyes by beholding the signs of guidance.

O Lord! I am single, alone and lowly. For me there is no support save Thee, no helper except Thee and no sustainer beside Thee. Confirm me in Thy service, assist me with the cohorts of Thy angels, make me victorious in the promotion of  Thy Word and suffer me to speak out Thy wisdom amongst Thy creatures. Verily, Thou art the helper of the weak and the defender of the little ones, and verily Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty and the Unconstrained.


The essence of thanksgiving

Photo by John K. Slone

O thou handmaid of God! In this day, to thank God for His bounties consisteth in possessing a radiant heart, and a soul open to the promptings of the spirit. This is the essence of thanksgiving.

As for offering thanks by speaking out or writing, although this is indeed acceptable, yet when compared with that other thanksgiving, it is only a semblance and unreal; for the essential thing is these intimations of the spirit, these emanations from the deep recess of the heart. It is my hope that thou wilt be favoured therewith.

Regarding one’s lack of capacity and one’s undeserving on the Day of Resurrection, this does not cause one to be shut out from gifts and bounties; for this is not the Day of Justice but the Day of Grace, while justice is allotting to each whatever is his due. Then look thou not at the degree of thy capacity, look thou at the boundless favour of Bahá’u’lláh; all-encompassing is His bounty, and consummate His grace.


We see. We know. We do not forget.

The seven Bahá'í leaders held in prison in Iran

Photo courtesy of

They are Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naemi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm.

They are among the most recent victims in Iran of oppression, intolerance, ignorance, and a self-centered interest by a corrupt, entrenched, and fanatical clergy intent on oppressing a religious minority that has been able to do what no other religion or belief has been able to do in that once great country: succeed – succeed in helping hundreds of thousands of Iranians realize that there is a successor to the Prophet Muhammad, and that His name is Bahá’u’lláh. For 165 years this clergy, with the help of timid governments afraid to challenge their authority, has done whatever it could get away with to eradicate this religious community, those who profess the Bahá’í Faith.

What does our Faith teach us that would cause a just Iranian government to treat Bahá’ís so? Here it is:

In every country where any of this people reside, they must behave towards the government of that country with loyalty, honesty and truthfulness. This is that which hath been revealed at the behest of Him Who is the Ordainer, the Ancient of Days.


What harmful way have the Bahá’ís in Iran been taught to behave toward Muslims and people of other faiths that would justify such mistreatment by the clergy in that land? This is it:

Consort with all religions with amity and concord, that they may inhale from you the sweet fragrance of God. Beware lest amidst men the flame of foolish ignorance overpower you. All things proceed from God and unto Him they return. He is the source of all things and in Him all things are ended.


The followers of Bahá’u’lláh in that land, as in every country, have never varied from these standards. These are our standards. These are our beliefs. These are our practice and our commitment. They have not varied in the past and they will not vary in the future.

The trial of the seven leaders of the Baha’i Faith in Iran could take place this week. They have been charged with spying for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic. These charges are unfounded and no evidence against them has been brought to light. The Baha’i leaders have been held for nearly a year in Evin prison and denied access to their attorney, the Nobel Laureate, Shirin Ebadi. [from]

You can play your role as a citizen of the world to oppose this injustice by asking your own government to complain. Citizens of the United States can contact their Representatives in the House and their Senators to support resolutions condemning this behavior. It is a message that says “We know what you’re doing. We have not forgotten. We will not forget. ” U.S. citizens may do this online at and

How can Iran ever re-establish itself as a proud and great country when it treats its own people with such disregard and disrespect?

We beseech God to aid thee to be just and fair-minded,  and to acquaint thee with the things that were hidden from the eyes of men. He, in truth, is the Mighty, the Unconstrained. We ask thee to reflect upon that which hath been revealed, and to be fair and just in thy speech, that perchance the splendors of the daystar of truthfulness and sincerity may shine forth, and may deliver thee from the darkness of ignorance, and illumine the world with the light of knowledge.



Say: Honesty, virtue, wisdom and a saintly character redound to the exaltation of man, while dishonesty, imposture, ignorance and hypocrisy lead to his abasement.


Shield Thy trusted servants

The Bahá'í Temple in Teheran before its destruction in 1955 by fanatical clergy

A spiritual truth:

This Cause, as very Divine Cause, cannot be effectively established unless it encounters and valiantly triumphs over the forces of opposition with which it is assailed. The history of the Faith is in itself a sufficient proof of that. Trials and persecutions have always been, and will continue to be, the lot of the chosen ones of God. But these they should consider as blessing in disguise, as through them their faith will be quickened, purified and strengthened. Bahá’u’lláh compared such afflictive trials to the oil which feeds the lamp of the Cause of God

From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi in 1936

A prayer for protection:

O God, my God! Shield Thy trusted servants from the evils of self and passion, protect them with the watchful eye of Thy loving kindness from all rancor, hate and envy, shelter them in the impregnable stronghold of Thy Cause and, safe from the darts of doubtfulness, make them the manifestations of Thy glorious Signs, illumine their faces with the effulgent rays shed from the Dayspring of Thy Divine Unity, gladden their hearts with the verses revealed from Thy Holy Kingdom, strengthen their loins by Thy all-swaying power that cometh from Thy Realm of Glory. Thou art the All-bountiful, the Protector, the Almighty, the Gracious!


An assurance of victory:

There is no need to fear opposition from without if the life within be sound and vigorous. Our Heavenly Father will always give us the strength to meet and overcome tests if we turn with all our hearts to Him, and difficulties if they are met in the right spirit only make us rely on God more firmly and completely

 From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi in 1925

Contact your Congressional Representatives to encourage them to take action against the repression of the Bahá’ís in Iran and the lack of religious freedom in that country. This can be done online at and

Photo courtesy of

Prayer and Action for the Friends in Iran

Mirzá 'Alí-Muhammad-i-Varqá and his son, Rúhu'lláh

My God, Whom I worship and adore! I bear witness unto Thy unity and Thy oneness, and acknowledge Thy gifts, both in the past and in the present. Thou art the All-Bountiful, the overflowing showers of Whose mercy have rained down upon high and low alike, and the splendors of Whose grace have been shed over both the obedient and the rebellious.

O God of mercy, before Whose door the quintessence of mercy hath bowed down, and round the sanctuary of Whose Cause loving-kindness, in its inmost spirit, hath circled, we beseech Thee, entreating Thine ancient grace, and seeking Thy present favor, that Thou mayest have mercy upon all who are the manifestations of the world of being, and deny them not the outpourings of Thy grace in Thy days.

All are but poor and needy, and Thou, verily, art the All-Possessing, the All-Subduing, the All-Powerful.

– Bahá’u’lláh

The seven Bahá’ís in Iran who supervised the affairs of the Faith in that country until their arrest in early 2008 will go on trial on charges of “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic.” These spurious charges are the latest in a continuing effort by the clergy and government of that country to harm the entire Iranian Bahá’í community and are an example of the lack of religious freedom and exists with regard to other religions.  How can you help?

Hold your own prayer gatherings.

Organize prayer gatherings in your community, in consultation with your Local Spiritual Assembly, for the safety of these Bahá’í leaders and for the improvement in the deplorable lack of religious freedom in Iran. Contact your Muslim, Christian, and Jewish friends, interfaith groups, and others concerned about religious freedom in Iran. Be sure to avoid discussion or involvement in partisan politics.

Contact your Congressional Representatives. This can be done online at and

Photo courtesy of