Messages 1963 to 1986 (Part 6)

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409

Safeguarding the Letters of Shoghi Effendi

26 August 1984

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

409.1 In December 1967 the Universal House of Justice wrote to all National Spiritual Assemblies requesting them to send to the World Centre originals or photocopies of letters from the beloved Guardian, or written on his behalf, and addressed to Baha'i institutions or individual believers. The response to this request and to one issued in May 1975 was encouraging, but it is now clear that the originals and photocopies held at the World Centre represent only a portion of the letters the Guardian is known to have written.+F721

[F721. See letter dated 14 May 1975 (no. 161).]

409.2 The House of Justice is eager to pursue, as swiftly as possible, the task of tracing such vitally important documents, and has therefore given the Archives Office the urgent duty of collecting information which will enable it to work towards the completion of the collection held at the World Centre.

409.3 In order to avoid giving institutions and believers a great deal of unnecessary labour, the Archives Office will be directing letters with specific guidelines to certain National Assemblies and individuals who are known to have received large numbers of letters from the Guardian, sending a list of the letters of which originals or satisfactory photocopies are already held at the World Centre. The recipient will then be able to check whether he has any which have not been supplied to the World Centre.

409.4 National Assemblies which have in their national archives only a small number of letters written by the Guardian, or on his behalf, could assist greatly by sending to the Archives Office at the World Centre immediately a list of such letters, specifying in each case the name of the addressee and the date.

409.5 Although the majority of National Spiritual Assemblies have come into being since the passing of Shoghi Effendi, they may well have within their jurisdiction Local Spiritual Assemblies and individual believers who corresponded with the Guardian, or the children and grandchildren of such believers, who may have the letters in their possession. Therefore, all National Spiritual Assemblies are asked to publish a statement in their newsletters, requesting all Local Spiritual Assemblies and individuals who have in their possession original letters from the Guardian, or written on his behalf, to notify the World Centre of that fact either directly or through their National Assembly. They should be asked to state the number of letters that they have and, if these are only a few, to list the date and the exact name of the addressee of each one.

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409.6 In this announcement the National Assembly should stress the point made in earlier appeals: that any such letter is the property of the person to whom the beloved Guardian wrote, and that that person is perfectly entitled to keep the original or to pass it down in his family. He does not have to give it up to any Baha'i Archives. In such a case, however, the Archives needs to have a good photocopy, and arrangements will be made for this to be done. Alternatively, if the individual wishes to give the original document into the safekeeping of the Archives, but would like to have a photocopy, this can be sent to him. It should also be mentioned that whenever the contents of a letter are seen to be confidential that confidentiality is respected.

409.7 Since many believers may have already sent such letters to their National Archives, National Assemblies are requested to send to the World Centre a list of the names of those persons and other institutions, such as committees, for whom they hold originals or photocopies. This list will be checked here and the Archives Office will write in due course to inquire further as appears necessary.

409.5 In closing, the House of Justice asks us to stress that it is not asking for any of the Guardian's letters to be sent now. It merely wishes to collect information so that the Archives Office can systematically work to trace those letters which are lacking from the World Centre collection.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

 

410

Call for Pioneers

2 October 1984

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

410.1 The Universal House of Justice has asked us to convey the following with respect to settlement of pioneers since the opening of the third phase of the Seven Year Plan.

410.2 Of a total number of 298 pioneers called for in the last phase of the Plan, 23 posts have so far been filled. Although many additional pioneers have also settled around the world, 275 pioneers are still needed to fill the posts originally assigned.

410.3 Furthermore, since the announcement last Ridvan of these pioneering goals, the Universal House of Justice has received reports of the need for additional pioneers to reinforce the Baha'i work in many countries.

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410.4 In consultation with the International Teaching Centre, outstanding goals have been reviewed, pioneer needs have been considered, and a supplementary pioneer call has been prepared and is attached.+F722 These additional assignments, which call for 88 pioneers to be sent by 18 National Spiritual Assemblies to 29 national communities, raise the total number of pioneer goals for this last phase of the Plan to 386. Those pioneers now preparing to leave for their posts should, of course, proceed with their plans.

[F722. The list is too lengthy to be included in this volume.]

410.5 As you are aware, less than two years remain in the current Plan. The countries assigned to supply pioneers are urged to send the quota of pioneers to the territories named as quickly as circumstances permit. It is the hope of the Universal House of Justice that these goals may be filled for the most part by the end of the first year of the last phase, thereby helping to usher in the triumphant conclusion of the Seven Year Plan.

410.6 We have also been asked to emphasize that the pioneer goals, as announced at Ridvan and in this supplementary call, represent the minimum needs of some younger national communities. Settlement of pioneers above and beyond the goals assigned would be highly meritorious.

410.7 The Continental Pioneer Committees stand ready to do all in their power to collaborate with you in the fulfilment of these important goals, and you should feel free to call upon them for any assistance you may find necessary.

410.8 You may be assured that the Universal House of Justice will supplicate the Almighty that you may succeed in discharging your sacred responsibilities.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

 

411

Martyrdom of Iranian National Spiritual Assembly Member Shapur Markazi; Death of Aminu'llah Qurbanpur in Prison

11 October 1984

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

411.1 WITH HEAVY HEARTS ANNOUNCE MARTYRDOM SHAPUR MARKAZI OUTSTANDING SERVANT FAITH IN IRAN MEMBER PREVIOUS NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY AND AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBER. HE SUFFERED CRUEL TORTURE PAST FEW MONTHS. PURPOSE THESE TORTURES WAS FORCE HIM TO ADMIT FALSE CHARGES IMPLICATING BAHA'I INSTITUTIONS AS NETWORK ESPIONAGE AND HIMSELF AS SPY. HIS GROWING RESISTANCE INCREASED INTENSITY TORTURES WHICH MAY HAVE CAUSED HIS DEATH 23 SEPTEMBER. HE WAS BURIED 25 SEPTEMBER WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE RELATIVES FRIENDS.

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411.2 REGRET ANNOUNCE ALSO PASSING AWAY IN PRISON OF AMINU'LLAH QURBANPUR 60 YEAR OLD MASON ON 25 AUGUST 1984. CAUSE DEATH UNKNOWN. HOWEVER BLOOD-STAINED CLOTHES RETURNED TO FAMILY TOGETHER WITH HIS RECENTLY WASHED SHOES MAKE CIRCUMSTANCES HIS DEATH SUSPICIOUS. HIS BODY WAS ALSO BURIED BY AUTHORITIES WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE RELATIVES. ...

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

412

The Universal House of Justice's Power of Elucidation

25 October 1984

To an individual Baha'i

Dear Baha'i friend,

412.1 The Universal House of Justice has received your letter dated 4 September 1984 in which you seek further clarification about the qualitative difference between the Guardian's prerogative of interpretation and the power of elucidation of the Universal House of Justice, and raise questions about other aspects of the Teachings. We are directed to convey the following comments.

412.2 As you are aware, the Universal House of Justice has written three major messages which explain, among other things, the duties and functions shared by the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice, and those functions that are unique to each specific Institution. These messages are published in Wellspring of Guidance, pp. 44- 56, and pp. 81-91, and in Messages of the Universal House of Justice: 1968-1973, pp. 37-44.+F723 In relation to their specific functions, Shoghi Effendi explained that "it is made indubitably clear and evident that the Guardian of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the Word and that the Universal House of Justice has been invested with the function of legislating in matters not expressly revealed in the teachings."+F724

[F724. WOB, pp. 149-50.]

[F723. The three messages are included in this volume; see 9 March 1965 (no. 23), 27 May 1966 (no. 35), and 7 December 1969 (no. 75).]

412.3 The use of the term "elucidation" by the Universal House of Justice and the process by which it is implemented are based on passages in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha and statements in the writings of the Guardian. For example, in the Will and Testament, 'Abdu'l-Baha states:

412.3a It is incumbent upon these members (of the Universal House of Justice) to ... deliberate upon all problems which have caused difference, questions that are obscure and matters that are not expressly recorded in the Book ... and bear upon daily transactions, ... (p. 20)

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412.3b Further, in response to a question raised by the American National Spiritual Assembly about the Universal Court of Arbitration, the Guardian in a letter dated 9 April 1923, defined such explanation as being in the domain of the Universal House of Justice and anticipated its function of elucidation:

412.3c ... regarding the nature and scope of the Universal Court of Arbitration, this and other similar matters will have to be explained and elucidated by the Universal House of Justice, to which, according to the Master's explicit Instructions, all important fundamental questions must be referred. ... (Baha'i Administration, p. 47)

412.4 In a letter dated 9 March 1965, the Universal House of Justice stresses the "profound difference" that exists between the "interpretations of the Guardian and the elucidations of the House of Justice in exercise of its function to 'deliberate upon all problems which have caused difference, questions that are obscure, and matters that are not expressly recorded in the Book.'" (Wellspring of Guidance, p. 52) Among these is the outlining of such steps as are necessary to establish the World Order of Baha'u'llah on this earth. The elucidations of the Universal House of Justice stem from its legislative function, while the interpretations of the Guardian represent the true intent inherent in the Sacred Texts. The major distinction between the two functions is that legislation with its resultant outcome of elucidation is susceptible of amendment by the House of Justice itself, whereas the Guardian's interpretation is a statement of truth which cannot be varied.

412.5 Shoghi Effendi has given categorical assurances that neither the Guardian nor the Universal House of Justice "can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other."+F725 Therefore, the friends can be sure that the Universal House of Justice will not engage in interpreting the Holy Writings. ...

[F725. WOB, pp. 149-50.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

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413

Execution of Member of Disbanded Iranian National Spiritual Assembly and of Baha'is from Karaj and Mashhad

8 November 1984

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

413.1 WITH SORROWFUL HEARTS WE ANNOUNCE EXECUTION OF THREE MORE BAHA'IS IN IRAN, MR AHMAD BASHIRI, MEMBER NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DISBANDED 29 AUGUST 1983, MR YUNIS NAWRUZI-IRANZAD, MEMBER LOCAL ASSEMBLY KARAJ.

413.2 THESE TWO EXECUTED BY HANGING AND THE THIRD, MR FIRUZ PURDIL, AN ENGINEER FROM MASHHAD DETAILS OF WHOSE EXECUTION NOT YET KNOWN. IT IS CERTAIN THAT MR BASHIRI IN HIS FIFTEEN MONTHS' IMPRISONMENT SUFFERED CRUEL INHUMAN TORTURES DESIGNED TO OBTAIN FALSE DECLARATION FROM HIM IMPLICATING DISBANDED BAHA'I ADMINISTRATION IN IRAN AS ESPIONAGE NETWORK. HIS ENDURANCE, STEADFASTNESS, LIKE THAT OF HIS HEROIC FELLOW BELIEVERS, THWARTED INFAMOUS DESIGNS. MR BASHIRI AND MR NAWRUZI-IRANZAD ALONG WITH MR SHAPUR MARKAZI PREVIOUSLY REPORTED WERE INCLUDED IN LIST BAHA'IS ALREADY CONDEMNED TO DEATH. THIS CAUSES GRAVE CONCERN FATE REMAINING VALIANT SOULS LANGUISHING IN PRISON. ...

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

414

Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Shu'a'u'llah 'Ala'i

18 November 1984

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

414.1 GRIEVED ANNOUNCE PASSING HAND CAUSE SHU'A'U'LLAH 'ALA'I 16 NOVEMBER THUS ENDING MORE THAN 70 YEARS UNINTERRUPTED DEDICATED SERVICES THRESHOLD BAHA'U'LLAH.+F726 HE WAS TOWER STRENGTH CRADLE FAITH WHERE HE SERVED EMINENTLY, DEVOTEDLY IN ITS EMERGING ADMINISTRATIVE INSTITUTIONS SINCE THEIR INCEPTION. HIS MEMBERSHIP MANY DECADES NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, FREQUENTLY AS CHAIRMAN, BEARS WITNESS TRUST BAHA'IS IRAN PLACED HIS NOBLE PERSON. HIS EXEMPLARY COURAGE REPRESENTING INTERESTS FAITH HIGH <p648> PLACES, HIS INTEGRITY PERFORMING OFFICIAL DUTIES ENHANCED PRESTIGE BELOVED FAITH HE SO DILIGENTLY SINCERELY CHAMPIONED ENTIRE LIFE. HIS MANIFOLD ACHIEVEMENTS CROWNED HONOUR APPOINTMENT HAND CAUSE 29 FEBRUARY 1952. THIS ENABLED HIM EXTEND SERVICES FAITH INTERNATIONAL ARENA. SUPPLICATING SACRED THRESHOLD PROGRESS RADIANT SOUL ABHA KINGDOM. ADVISE HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERINGS BAHA'I WORLD INCLUDING ALL MASHRIQU'L-ADHKARS.

[F726. For an account of the life and services of Shu'a'u'llah 'Ala'i, see BW 19:593.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

415

Invitation to Participate in the Formulation of the Next Plan

25 November 1984

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

415.1 At the Fifth International Convention held at Ridvan 1983, the delegates consulted on the challenging needs and opportunities of the Faith during the remaining years of this century. Since then, some National Spiritual Assemblies have continued this consultation within the framework of their respective communities. As the Seven Year Plan draws to a close, the Universal House of Justice, with the aid of the International Teaching Centre, is beginning to consider the next stage in the development of the Baha'i world community, and the results of your consultation on the subject carried over from the Convention will be valuable to the formulation of the objectives of the next Plan. The House of Justice therefore invites your participation in the process of formulating a new Plan, and we are asked to request each of your Assemblies to send it your comments on the following points in view of the prevailing situation in the area under your jurisdiction.

415.2 1. Current status and specific needs of the Baha'i community. What distinctive strengths and weaknesses do you see in your community? Are there any unusual features of the condition of the Faith in your community which must be taken into account in the formulation of the next Plan?

415.3 2. Condition of the nation. Do the social, political and economic trends indicate any unusual opportunities or difficulties for the development of the Baha'i community in the immediate years ahead?

415.4 The House of Justice would appreciate concise but adequate comments, which it would like to receive at your earliest convenience, but no later than

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31 March 1985. Kindly send a copy of your comments to the Continental Board of Counsellors.

415.5 The House of Justice anticipates with gratitude your co-operation in this matter.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

 

416

Execution of Six Baha'is in Tihran

17 December 1984

To National Spiritual Assemblies

416.1 REGRETFULLY ANNOUNCE SAD NEWS EXECUTION OF SIX BAHA'I FRIENDS IN TIHRAN: DR RUHU'LLAH TA'LIM FROM KIRMANSHAH, MR FIRUZ ATHARI, MR 'INAYATU'LLAH HAQIQI, MR JAMSHID PUR-USTADKAR, MR JAMAL KASHAMI, MR GHULAM HUSAYN FARHAND. THE LAST FIVE PREVIOUSLY NOTIFIED TO YOU AS AMONG THOSE CONDEMNED TO DEATH. FATE OF REMAINING 19 IN BALANCE. ALL EXECUTIONS TOOK PLACE ON ONE DAY, 9 DECEMBER. DETAILS ARE UNKNOWN AS NEITHER RELATIVES FRIENDS WERE INFORMED. FACT OF EXECUTIONS DISCOVERED 8 DAYS LATER. ...

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

417

Execution of Dr Farhad Asdaqi after Four Months of Torture; Death of Two Baha'is in Tabriz after More Than Two Years' Imprisonment

18 December 1984

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

417.1 FURTHER OUR TELEX 17 DECEMBER WE SORROWFULLY ANNOUNCE NEWS EXECUTION BY HANGING OF DR FARHAD ASDAQI ON 19 NOVEMBER AFTER FOUR MONTHS IMPRISONMENT AND TORTURE. MR DIYA'U'LLAH MANI'I-USKU'I AND MR 'ALI- RIDA NIYAKAN DIED IN TABRIZ PRISON 13TH AND 11TH NOVEMBER RESPECTIVELY AFTER TWO AND A HALF YEARS IMPRISONMENT. CAUSE DEATHS NOT ESTABLISHED.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

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418

Adoption of Another Oppressive Measure by the Iranian Government

3 January 1985

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

418.1 DISTRESSED INFORM YOU THAT RECENTLY IRANIAN GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCED ANOTHER OPPRESSIVE MEASURE AGAINST BAHA'I PRISONERS. IN ORDER TO BE RELEASED PRISONER MUST SIGN FOLLOWING UNDERTAKING: "I THE UNDERSIGNED [DETAILS OF PERSONAL STATUS INCLUDING RELIGION] UNDERTAKE NOT TO HAVE IN MY POSSESSION ANY BOOK, PAMPHLET, DOCUMENT, SYMBOL OR PICTURE OF THIS MISGUIDED, ZIONIST, ESPIONAGE GROUP OF BAHA'IS. IF ANY OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED ARTICLES BELONGING TO THIS HATED UNDERGROUND MOVEMENT IS FOUND ON MY PERSON OR IN MY HOME, THIS WILL BE TANTAMOUNT TO MY BEING OF THOSE 'WHO WAR AGAINST GOD' AND THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL WOULD BE FREE TO DECIDE AGAINST ME IN THE MANNER HE DEEMS FIT." THE TERMINOLOGY "WHO WAR AGAINST GOD" IS A TERM USED BY PRESENT REGIME TO SIGNIFY A CRIME DESERVING SENTENCE OF DEATH. BAHA'I PRISONERS HAVE REFUSED SIGN SUCH AN INFAMOUS DOCUMENT FALSELY IMPUGNING THEIR FAITH. MOREOVER SIGNING SUCH A DOCUMENT WOULD LEAVE BAHA'IS OPEN TO HAVING SUCH ITEMS PLANTED ON THEIR PERSON OR IN THEIR HOMES. WAVE OF RECENT ARRESTS OF BAHA'IS SUGGESTS THAT AUTHORITIES PLAN EXERT PRESSURE ALL BAHA'IS TO SIGN SUCH AN IMPOSSIBLE UNDERTAKING. OBVIOUSLY FAITHFUL FRIENDS WILL REFUSE SUCCUMB SUCH CONTEMPTIBLE PLAN. ...

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

419

Renewed Call for Support of International Funds

3 January 1985

To the followers of Baha'u'llah in every land

Dearly loved friends,

419.1 Twelve months have passed since we addressed to the devoted followers of the Blessed Beauty throughout the world a message in which we outlined the major challenges which face the Cause of God and the thrilling opportunities which are presenting themselves for us to use in His Service.+F727

[F727. See message no. 385.]

419.2 There was an immediate and heart-warming response in offers of service, in plans of action put promptly into effect, and in contributions to the Fund.

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419.3 The activities of the friends are still increasing, and evidences of rich harvests are appearing. In India alone, over 150,000 new believers have joined the Baha'i community; in Samoa the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar has been dedicated amidst unprecedented recognition of the Cause; in Canada, at the conference held in London, Ontario, an upsurge of activity among the Baha'i youth has started a movement which has caught the imagination of the friends far and wide.+F728 In relation to the Fund, however, the rate of contributions during the second six months of the year has slowed seriously, and we feel it is timely to draw to your attention that our letter of 2 January 1984 was not an appeal for a one-time Herculean effort, but was intended to inform the whole world community of the present great challenges and opportunities which are not only immediate but require also a long-range, sustained increase in the efforts and self- sacrifices of the friends, both in service and in contributing from their financial resources to the advancement of the Faith.

[F728. For the dedication of the House of Worship in Western Samoa, see message dated August 1984 (no. 403). For the message to the youth conference in London, Ontario, see telex dated 23 August 1984 (no. 408).]

419.4 The challenges which we enumerated then are by no means met, nor the opportunities wholly seized. The Indian Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, a building of great size and beauty, is still unfinished; plans for the further development of the World Centre, for the design and erection of the three remaining buildings on the Arc must be laid in full confidence that the funds for their completion will be made available;+F729 projects for social and economic development, for the establishment of Baha'i schools and radio stations, for agricultural advancement, and a wide range of other urgently needed activities are multiplying; world-wide attention to the Faith has increased during the past year with even greater rapidity than before, demanding new measures to co-ordinate public information services and contacts with governments and leaders of thought; and last, but near to the hearts of all, is the need of funds to assist in the relief of those hard-pressed believers who have been forced to leave Iran, often penniless and in great distress, seeking to build a new life in other parts of the world.

[F729. The Indian Temple was dedicated on 23-27 December 1986. The three buildings yet to be constructed on the Arc on Mount Carmel are the International Baha'i Library and the seats for the International Teaching Centre and the Centre for the Study of the Texts.]

419.5 Last April we were deeply touched by receiving a petition from the delegates gathered at the National Convention of the Baha'is of the United States, requesting that the Law of Huququ'llah be made binding on all the believers in that country.+F730 Although it is not yet the time to take this far-reaching step, <p652> we were moved to decide that, as a preliminary measure, the texts relating to the Law of Huququ'llah will be translated into English for general information against the time when this law will be applied more widely.+F731

[F731. The compilation was sent to selected National Spiritual Assemblies with the 4 July 1985 message (no. 430). For a copy of the compilation, see CC I:489-527.]

[F730. For information on the law of Huququ'llah, see the Glossary. For information on the introduction of Huququ'llah to the West, see message dated 6 August 1984 (no. 404). In its Ridvan message of 1991, the Universal House of Justice noted the "exceptional confluence" of a number of imminent achievements (the publication of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the progress of the building projects on Mount Carmel, the conclusion of the Six Year Plan, and the inception of the Holy Year 1992, and announced that, as of Ridvan 1992, the law of Huququ'llah would become universally applicable to "all who profess their belief in the Supreme Manifestation of God."]

419.6 However, important as is the Law of Huququ'llah, the devoted followers of Baha'u'llah have, even without it, every opportunity to contribute regularly and sacrificially to the work of the Cause. It is to a greater realization of the privilege and responsibility of supporting the multiple activities of our beloved Faith that we call you all at this critical time in world history, and remind you that to support the Baha'i funds is an integral part of the Baha'i way of life. The need is not only now, but throughout the years to come, until our exertions, reinforced by confirmations from on high, will have overcome the great perils now facing mankind and have made this world another world -- a world whose splendour and grace will surpass our highest hopes and greatest dreams.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

420

International Year of Peace

23 January 1985

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

420.1 1986 has been named the International Year of Peace by the United Nations. Considering the dangers surrounding mankind and the remedial prospects of the Lesser Peace to which Baha'u'llah has summoned the nations, we embrace this God-sent opportunity to proclaim ever more widely and convincingly the vitalizing principles upon which, as our Teachings emphatically assert, a lasting peace must be founded.+F732 The nature and variety of the proclamation activities which the Baha'i community will undertake, during 1986 and beyond, will be outlined in detail later. We wish now to indicate some of the ideas we are contemplating, so that you may sense what to expect and how to prepare for your own participation.

[F732. For a discussion of the Lesser Peace, see the Glossary.]

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420.2 In addition to projects to be initiated at the World Centre, these ideas include:

420.2a - Calling upon local and national Baha'i communities to sponsor a wide range of activities which will engage the attention of people from all walks of life to various topics relevant to peace, such as: the role of women, the elimination of racism, the eradication of prejudice, the promotion of education, the extension of social and economic development, the adoption of a world auxiliary language, the establishment of world government;

420.2b - Mounting a publicity campaign which will make use of such themes as "world peace through world religion," "world peace through world education," "world peace through world language," "world peace through world law" -- a campaign which could lead to discussion of these subjects in small or large gatherings, at local or national levels, and perhaps in collaboration with organizations promoting such ideas;

420.2c - Urging the publishing within and without the Baha'i community of a wide assortment of literature, posters and other graphic materials on peace;

420.2d - Requesting Baha'i magazines -- children, youth, adult -- whether intended for internal or external circulation, to carry special features on peace;

420.2e - Inviting Baha'i radio stations to devote particular attention to this theme;

420.2f - Asking the Associations for Baha'i Studies to conduct programmes on peace;

420.2g - Encouraging Baha'i artists and musicians to contribute, and consider inviting their non-Baha'i colleagues to contribute, to the effectiveness of such activities by giving expression through the various arts to important themes relating to world peace.

420.3 In effect, we envision a proclamation campaign which will not only involve large public events and the use of the mass media, but will also engage people at the grassroots and at all other levels of society in a broad range of profoundly effective activities through which they will interact with the Baha'i community in a sustained, world-wide effort to attend to the fundamental issues of peace, aided by the unique insights provided by the Teachings of Baha'u'llah.

420.4 As you contemplate what possibilities these and similar ideas suggest for your own plans, we advise you to take preparatory steps to hold within your jurisdiction, during 1986, local and national peace conferences to which public officials and other prominent persons should be invited. In those places where <p654> national conferences may not be possible, local conferences should certainly be held.

420.5 In some regions, neighbouring National Assemblies may find it convenient to pool their resources and hold regional conferences instead of national ones. These need not be very large, but should be effective enough to make a good impression on the public as well as on the national Baha'i communities involved. It is left to the initiative of the National Assemblies, in consultation with Continental Counsellors, to hold such conferences.

420.6 Simultaneously as you make initial arrangements for the conferences, you will also want to find out what plans are being made by the governments and organizations in your respective countries, so that you will know beforehand how to co-ordinate your own programmes with the programmes of others in ways most conducive to the proclamation of the Faith and the mutual benefit of all concerned.

420.7 We would welcome any thoughts and suggestions you may have on the activities to be undertaken by you during the International Year of Peace.

420.8 Your planning efforts for 1986 must not, of course, interrupt the work of the Seven Year Plan. Indeed, the activities associated with the economic and social development of the Baha'i community, the observance during 1985 of International Youth Year, and the anticipated activities for the peace campaign to begin a year hence are mutually reinforcing and go far to enhance the teaching opportunities necessary to the successful completion of the Plan. We have every confidence that your continuing exertions to meet the new challenges resulting from the emergence of the Faith from obscurity will be richly rewarded by the Blessed Beauty; and we shall renew our supplications at the Holy Threshold that your brightest expectations may be surpassed by resounding triumph.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

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421

Execution of Ruhu'llah Hasuri in Yazd; Confirmation of Death in Prison of Rustam Varjavandi

29 January 1985

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

421.1 JUST RECEIVED NEWS EXECUTION YAZD, RUHU'LLAH HASURI, 35 YEARS OLD. HE WAS SHOT IN PRISON. NEWS DEATH IN PRISON TIHRAN RUSTAM VARJAVANDI 15 SEPTEMBER CONFIRMED. THIS BRINGS TO 178 NUMBER THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES FOR FAITH. SINCE 3 SEPTEMBER 16 BAHA'IS HAVE BEEN KILLED OR HAVE DIED IN PRISON, 101 IMPRISONED AND 79 RELEASED, SOME OF WHOM HAD NOT PREVIOUSLY BEEN REPORTED IMPRISONED. TOTAL NUMBER NOW IN PRISON, AS FAR AS CAN BE ASCERTAINED, IS 707. GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES WHO WERE DISMISSED OR THEIR PENSIONS STOPPED BECAUSE OF THEIR FAITH ARE NOW BEING SUMMONED BY ATTORNEY-GENERAL AND COMPELLED PAY BACK ALL THE SALARIES RECEIVED FOR MANY YEARS, EVEN DECADES, FAILING WHICH THEY WILL BE IMPRISONED. CAUSE MANY RECENT IMPRISONMENTS IS INABILITY TO PAY BACK SALARIES BAHA'IS HAD RECEIVED WHILE LAWFULLY EMPLOYED BY GOVERNMENT. ...

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

422

Elucidation of the Lesser Peace and the Supreme Tribunal

31 January 1985

To an individual Baha'i

Dear Baha'i friend,

422.1 The Universal House of Justice has received your letter of 13 December 1984 inquiring about the Lesser Peace and the Supreme Tribunal referred to in the writings of the Faith. We are asked to convey the following comments.

422.2 Baha'u'llah's principal mission in appearing at this time in human history is the realization of the oneness of mankind and the establishment of peace among the nations; therefore, all the forces which are focused on accomplishing these ends are influenced by His Revelation. We know, however, that peace will come in stages. First, there will come the Lesser Peace, when the unity of nations will be achieved, then gradually the Most Great Peace -- the spiritual as well as social and political unity of mankind, when the Baha'i World Commonwealth, operating in strict accordance with the laws and ordinances <p656> of the Most Holy Book of the Baha'i Revelation,+F733 will have been established through the efforts of the Baha'is.

[F733. The Kitab-i-Aqdas, Baha'u'llah's Book of Laws.]

422.3 As to the Lesser Peace, Shoghi Effendi has explained that this will initially be a political unity arrived at by decision of the governments of various nations; it will not be established by direct action of the Baha'i community. This does not mean, however, that the Baha'is are standing aside and waiting for the Lesser Peace to come before they do something about the peace of mankind. Indeed, by promoting the principles of the Faith, which are indispensable to the maintenance of peace, and by fashioning the instruments of the Baha'i Administrative Order, which we are told by the beloved Guardian is the pattern for future society, the Baha'is are constantly engaged in laying the groundwork for a permanent peace, the Most Great Peace being their ultimate goal.

422.4 The Lesser Peace itself will pass through stages; at the initial stage the governments will act entirely on their own without the conscious involvement of the Faith; later on, in God's good time, the Faith will have a direct influence on it in ways indicated by Shoghi Effendi in his "The Goal of a New World Order."+F734 In connection with the steps that will lead to this latter stage, the Universal House of Justice will certainly determine what has to be done, in accordance with the guidance in the Writings, such as the passage you quoted from Tablets of Baha'u'llah, page 89. In the meantime, the Baha'is will undoubtedly continue to do all in their power to promote the establishment of peace.

[F734. See WOB, pp. 29-48.]

422.5 The Universal House of Justice is greatly pleased with the initiative you have taken with others to start an organization through which youth can contribute their considerable energies and creative abilities towards fostering world peace. It fully appreciates the wisdom of your approach in not affiliating your organization directly with the Faith and finds your leaflet describing the aims of Youth for World Peace most impressive. Since 1986 has been designated the International Year of Peace by the United Nations, your efforts are timely and will blend with the activities to be undertaken by the Baha'i community during that year and beyond.

422.6 In your worthy endeavours to pursue your goal to create a peace movement of youth around the world which would draw non-Baha'i youth within the influence of Baha'i concepts, you should seek the advice of your National Spiritual Assembly, which is in a position to give you necessary advice.

422.7 Regarding your question about the Supreme Tribunal, enclosed are a few extracts from statements by 'Abdu'l-Baha and letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi on this subject; also included is a statement on the Lesser Peace.

<p657>

422.8 We are asked by the House of Justice to assure you of its ardent prayers in the Holy Shrines that your noble efforts may contribute significantly to the upraising of the banner of peace in the world.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

 

From the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha

422.9 So long as these prejudices survive, there will be continuous and fearsome wars.

422.10 To remedy this condition there must be universal peace. To bring this about, a Supreme Tribunal must be established, representative of all governments and peoples; questions both national and international must be referred thereto, and all must carry out the decrees of this Tribunal. Should any government or people disobey, let the whole world arise against that government or people.

(Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, [Rev. ed.] [Haifa: Baha'i World Centre, 1982], p. 249)

422.11 For example, the question of universal peace, about which Baha'u'llah says that the Supreme Tribunal must be established: although the League of Nations has been brought into existence, yet it is incapable of establishing universal peace.+F735 But the Supreme Tribunal which Baha'u'llah has described will fulfil this sacred task with the utmost might and power. And His plan is this: that the national assemblies of each country and nation -- that is to say parliaments -- should elect two or three persons who are the choicest of that nation, and are well informed concerning international laws and the relations between governments and aware of the essential needs of the world of humanity in this day. The number of these representatives should be in proportion to the number of inhabitants of that country. The election of these souls who are chosen by the national assembly, that is, the parliament, must be confirmed by the upper house, the congress and the cabinet and also by the president or monarch so these persons may be the elected ones of all the nation and the government. The Supreme Tribunal will be composed of these <p658> people and all mankind will thus have a share therein, for every one of these delegates is fully representative of his nation. When the Supreme Tribunal gives a ruling on any international question, either unanimously or by majority rule, there will no longer be any pretext for the plaintiff or ground of objection for the defendant. In case any of the governments or nations, in the execution of the irrefutable decision of the Supreme Tribunal, be negligent or dilatory, the rest of the nations will rise up against it, because all the governments and nations of the world are the supporters of this Supreme Tribunal. Consider what a firm foundation this is! But by a limited and restricted League the purpose will not be realized as it ought and should. This is the truth about the situation, which has been stated. ...

[F735. The League of Nations was an organization for international co-operation established at the initiative of the Allied powers in 1919 at the end of World War I. It was based on a covenant calling for joint action by League members against an aggressor, arbitration of international disputes, reduction of armaments, and open diplomacy. The League was weakened by the United States' failure to join as a result of the Congress's rejection of membership and by the dissatisfaction of Japan, Italy, and Germany with the terms of the Versailles Treaty following World War I. Moreover, the League had no power to enforce its covenant apart from the ability of member states to take united and determined action against a belligerent state. Thus its failure to prevent Japanese expansion in Manchuria and China, Italy's conquest of Ethiopia, or Hitter's repudiation of the Versailles Treaty thoroughly discredited the League and rendered it powerless to avert World War II.]

(Tablet to the Executive Committee of the Central Organization for a Durable Peace, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, pp. 306-7)

422.12 A Supreme Tribunal shall be established by the peoples and Governments of every nation, composed of members elected from each country and Government. The members of this Great Council shall assemble in unity. All disputes of an international character shall be submitted to this Court, its work being to arrange by arbitration everything which otherwise would be a cause of war. The mission of this Tribunal would be to prevent war.

(Paris Talks: Addresses Given by 'Abdu'l-Baha in Paris in 1911-1912, 11th ed. [London: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1979], p. 155)

 

From letters written on behalf of the Guardian to individual believers

The Supreme Tribunal

422.13 The Universal Court of Arbitration and the International Tribunal are the same. When the Baha'i State will be established they will be merged in the Universal House of Justice.

(17 June 1933)

422.14 As regards the International Executive referred to by the Guardian in his "Goal of a New World Order", it should be noted that this statement refers by no means to the Baha'i Commonwealth of the future, but simply to that world government which will herald the advent and lead to the final establishment of the World Order of Baha'u'llah. The formation of this International Executive, which corresponds to the executive head or board in present-day national governments, is but a step leading to the Baha'i world government of the future, and hence should not be identified with either the institution of the Guardianship or that of the International House of Justice.

(17 March 1934) (refers to pp. 40-41 of The World Order of Baha'u'llah)

<p659>

422.15 1 and 2 The Supreme Tribunal is an aspect of a World Super-state; the exact nature of its relationship to that State we cannot at present foresee.

(19 November 1945)

422.16 The above statement was in reply to the following questions:

1. Is the Supreme Tribunal the world court or world tribunal referred to in "The Unfoldment of World Civilization", p. 43, and "Goal of a New World Order", p. 20? [See The World Order of Baha'u'llah, pp. 203 and 41.] Is it part of the world Super-State just as our Supreme Court is part of the federal government at Washington?

2. Will the Supreme Tribunal (a world court) exist apart from the world government?

The Lesser Peace

422.17 With reference to the question you have asked concerning the time and means through which the Lesser and Most Great Peace, referred to by Baha'u'llah, will be established, following the coming World War:+F736 Your view that the Lesser Peace will come about through the political efforts of the states and nations of the world, and independently of any direct Baha'i plan or effort, and the Most Great Peace be established through the instrumentality of the believers, and by the direct operation of the laws and principles revealed by Baha'u'llah and the functioning of the Universal House of Justice as the supreme organ of the Baha'i super-state -- your view on this subject is quite correct and in full accord with the pronouncements of the Guardian as embodied in "The Unfoldment of World Civilization."+F737

[F737. See WOB, pp. 161-206.]

[F736. World War II.]

(14 March 1939)

<p660>

423

Passing of Lloyd Gardner, Continental Counsellor

7 March 1985

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

423.1 DEEPLY GRIEVED UNTIMELY PASSING ESTEEMED LLOYD GARDNER STALWART DEFENDER INTERESTS FAITH AMERICAS.+F738 HIS DISTINGUISHED LONG-TIME SERVICE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CANADA AND MEMBERSHIP BOARD COUNSELLORS AMERICAS SINCE INCEPTION MARKED BY INDEFATIGABLE LABOURS ALL ASPECTS TEACHING WORK AND COMMUNITY LIFE, NOTABLY YOUTH ACTIVITIES. HIS STERLING CHARACTER, HIGH INTEGRITY, WARM-HEARTED NATURE, TOTAL DEDICATION FAITH WORTHY EMULATION. FERVENTLY PRAYING HOLY SHRINES PROGRESS HIS LUMINOUS SPIRIT ABHA KINGDOM AND SOLACE HIS SORROWING FAMILY. ADVISING ALL COMMUNITIES AMERICAS OFFER PRAYERS IN HIS NAME. REQUESTING NATIONAL ASSEMBLY UNITED STATES HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERING TEMPLE WILMETTE.

[F738. For an account of the life and services of Lloyd Gardner, see BW 19:663-65.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

424

Execution of Ruhu'llah Bahramshahi in Yazd and Nusratu'llah Subhani in Tihran

14 March 1985

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

424.1 RECENTLY SAD NEWS OF FURTHER EXECUTIONS OF TWO BAHA'IS IN IRAN RECEIVED. MR RUHU'LLAH BAHRAMSHAHI, AGE 50, EXECUTED YAZD 25 FEBRUARY, MR NUSRATU'LLAH SUBHANI IN TIHRAN 5 MARCH. ...

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p661>

425

Human Suffering and the Reconstruction of society

14 March 1985

To an individual Baha'i

Dear Baha'i friend,

425.1 Your letter of 16 January 1985 in which you share the anguish of your heart and express deep concern for the fate of the suffering masses of mankind has been received by the Universal House of Justice. We are instructed to convey this reply to you.

425.2 The world is clearly beset by ills and is groaning under the burden of appalling suffering. The trials of the innocent are indeed heartrending and constitute a mystery that the mind of man cannot fathom. Even the Prophets of God Themselves have borne Their share of grievous afflictions in every age. Yet in spite of the evidence of all this suffering, God's Manifestations, Whose lives and wisdom show Them to have been far above human beings in understanding, unitedly bear testimony to the justice, love and mercy of God.

425.3 To understand the condition of the world it is necessary to step back, so to speak, to gain a clearer view of the panorama of God's great redemptive Major Plan, which is shaping the destiny of mankind according to the operation of the divine Will.+F739 It should not be surmised that the calamitous events transpiring in all corners of the globe are random and lack purpose, though individually they may be difficult to comprehend. According to the words of our beloved Guardian: "The invisible hand is at work and the convulsions taking place on earth are a prelude to the proclamation of the Cause of God."+F740 We can confidently anticipate therefore, the arrival of the "new life-giving spring" once the destructive icy blasts of winter's tempests have run their course.+F741

[F741. SAQ, p. 74.]

[F740. From an unpublished letter.]

[F739. God's Major Plan is the plan for humanity that He Himself directs, that is tumultuous in its progress, that works through humanity as a whole and welds humankind into a unified body through the fires of suffering and tribulation. Its first goal is the Lesser Peace, the political unification of the world (see Glossary). Its ultimate object is the Kingdom of God on earth.]

425.4 As Baha'is, we know that the "sovereign remedy" for each and every one of these ills lies in turning and submitting to the "skilled," the "all-powerful" and "inspired Physician." Baha'u'llah has assured us in His Writings that God has not forsaken us. He is the All-Seeing and All-Knowing, the "prayer-hearing, prayer- answering God" to those who turn to Him in supplication, and He intervenes actively in human history by sending His Manifestations, Sources of knowledge and spiritual truth to "liberate the children of men from <p662> the darkness of ignorance" and to "ensure the peace and tranquillity of mankind."+F742 In this Age, God has determined to establish His everlasting Kingdom among men, and so, to this end, He sent us the spirit and message of the New Day through two successive Manifestations, Who alas, were rejected by the generality of people.

[F742. GWB, p. 255; BP, p. 163; GWB, pp. 79-80.]

425.5 When we contemplate the fate of mankind, it is important to reflect on the very complex arena in which man plays out the drama of his existence. There are a number of elements involved. For example, man, is a spiritual being located within the material creation; hence he is subjected to opposing forces, and has to live in accordance with values which refer to two worlds, the material world with all its imperfections and the spiritual world with its perfections. Tension derives from the fact that "In man there are two natures; his spiritual or higher nature and his material or lower nature. In one he approaches God, in the other he lives for the world alone."+F743 Man's actions then have both a material and spiritual consequence. While the material effect of his actions is usually clearly perceptible, their spiritual effect can only be determined by reference to spiritual principles revealed by the Manifestation of God. Suffering and trials, sent by God to test and perfect His creatures, are another integral part of life. They contain the potential for man's progress or retrogression, depending on the individual's response. As 'Abdu'l-Baha explains:

[F743. PT, p. 60.]

425.5a The souls who bear the tests of God become the manifestations of great bounties; for the divine trials cause some souls to become entirely lifeless, while they cause the holy souls to ascend to the highest degree of love and solidity. ...+F744

[F744. TABA 2:324.]

425.5b In addition to the factors associated with man's station and nature, the Writings indicate that man's soul "is independent of all infirmities of body or mind," and not only continues to exist "after departing from this mortal world," but progresses "through the bounty and grace of the Lord."+F745 Therefore, an evaluation of man's material existence and achievements cannot ignore the potential spiritual development stimulated by the individual's desire to manifest the attributes of God and his response to the exigencies of his life, nor can it exclude the possibility of the operations of God's mercy in terms of compensation for earthly suffering, in the next life.

[F745. GWB, p. 154; SAQ, p. 240.]

425.6 God in His bounty has endowed every created thing, however humble, "with the capacity to exercise a particular influence, and been made to possess a distinct virtue."+F746 And, reminiscent of the parable of the talents (Matthew

[F746. GWB, p. 189.]

<p663>

25:14-30), Baha'u'llah, in the Gleanings (page 149), draws our attention to the need to make efforts to develop and demonstrate in action our God-given potential:

425.6a All that which ye potentially possess can, however, be manifested only as a result of your own volition. Your own acts testify to this truth. ...

425.6b Is it not an evidence of the justice of God that each of us, whether materially comfortable or struggling for physical survival, is assessed in terms of the efforts we have made to seize whatever opportunities existed in our lives, to develop and use our allotted talent, be it large or small? "Each shall receive his share from thy Lord," is Baha'u'llah's assurance.+F747 Thus, if we bestir ourselves, we will all have access to the rewards of this life and the next.

[F747. GWB, p. 170.]

425.7 In the same passage from the Gleanings, Baha'u'llah also raises the possibility that possessing free will, human beings may well commit evil and "wittingly" break "His law." By the exercise of his free will, man either affirms his spiritual purpose in life or chooses to perpetuate evil by living below his highest station. The question is asked: "Is such a behaviour to be attributed to God, or to their proper selves?" And concludes:

425.7a Every good thing is of God, and every evil thing is from yourselves. ...+F748

[F748. GWB, p. 149.]

425.8 The amelioration of the conditions of the world requires the reconstruction of human society and efforts to improve the material well-being of humanity. The Baha'i approach to this task is evolutionary and multifaceted, involving not only the spiritual transformation of individuals but the establishment of an administrative system based on the application of justice, a system which is at once the "nucleus" and the "pattern" of the future World Order, together with the implementation of programmes of social and economic development that derive their impetus from the grass roots of the community.+F749 Such an integrated approach will inevitably create a new world, a world where human dignity is restored and the burden of inequity is lifted from the shoulders of humanity. Then will the generations look back with heartfelt appreciation, for the sacrifices made by Baha'is and non-Baha'is alike, during this most turbulent period in human history.

[F749. WOB, p. 144.]

425.9 With regard to your concern that certain remote geographical regions have historically been deprived of Divine Revelation, the following extracts indicate that there are many other Prophets Who have appeared in the world, but Whose names are not mentioned in the Scriptures with which we are familiar, for example:

<p664>

425.9a And to every people have we sent an apostle (Qur'an, XVI:38)

425.9b God hath raised up Prophets and revealed Books as numerous as the creatures of the world, and will continue to do so to everlasting. (Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 125)

425.9c Know thou that the absence of any reference to them [Prophets before Adam] is no proof that they did not actually exist. That no records concerning them are now available, should be attributed to their extreme remoteness, as well as to the vast changes which the earth hath undergone since their time. (Gleanings, p. 172)

425.9d While Asia has clearly been blessed as the birthplace of many Manifestations of God, we have found nothing in the Writings to suggest exactly where in the world these Messengers of God in the remote past, may have arisen. In a letter written on behalf of the Guardian, we have the promise that "... there always have been Manifestations of God, but we do not have any record of Their names."+F750

[F750. LG, p. 503.]

425.10 We are instructed to assure you that the Universal House of Justice will offer prayers at the Holy Shrines that your faith may be deepened and your perplexities resolved, and we share with you these solacing words of Baha'u'llah:

425.10a O My servants! Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes. You are destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits, to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of the sustaining grace. To each and every one of them you will, no doubt, attain. (Gleanings, p. 329)

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

<p665>

426

Responsibilities of Youth at the Age of Maturity

11 April 1985

To an individual Baha'i

Dear Baha'i friend,

426.1 The Universal House of Justice received your very thoughtful letter and instructs us to convey the following answer to you.

426.2 While some opportunities for service in the Administrative Order are clearly reserved for those who are over twenty-one years of age, the importance of attaining spiritual maturity at the age of fifteen is that it marks that point in life at which the believer takes firmly into his own hands the responsibility for his spiritual destiny. At age fifteen, the individual has the privilege of affirming, in his own name, his faith in Baha'u'llah. For while the children of Baha'i parents are considered to be Baha'is, they do not automatically inherit the Faith of their parents. Therefore, when they come of age, they must, of their own volition, express their belief.

426.3 Having reached the age of fifteen, Baha'i youth are personally responsible for certain spiritual activities such as observing the obligation of daily prayer, keeping the Fast, and they are invited to participate in Baha'i youth activities. The significance of the age of maturity, however, goes far beyond the fulfilment of responsibilities. The following extract from a Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Baha links the attainment of maturity with the deepening of one's understanding and comprehension of the realities of life, and the enhancement of one's very capacity for understanding:

426.3a Know thou that before maturity man liveth from day to day and comprehendeth only such matters as are superficial and outwardly obvious. However, when he cometh of age he understandeth the realities of things and the inner truths. Indeed, in his comprehension, his feelings, his deductions and his discoveries, every day of his life after maturity is equal to a year before it.

426.4 The signing of a card is simply the means by which the individual indicates his desire to be registered as a Baha'i youth, as a member of the Baha'i community, and it enables the National Spiritual Assembly to keep an accurate record of the membership of the community. ...

426.5 The Universal House of Justice assures you that it will offer prayers at the Holy Shrines that you will strive to become an active and enlightened servant of the Cause of God.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

<p666>

427

Ridvan Message 1985

Ridvan 1985

To the Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

427.1 As we enter the final year of the Seven Year Plan, confidence of victory and a growing sense of the opening of a new stage in the onward march of the Faith must arouse in every Baha'i heart feelings of gratitude and eager expectation. Victory in the Plan is now within sight, and at its completion the summation of its achievements may well astonish us all. But the great, the historic feature of this period is the emergence of the Faith from obscurity, promoted by the steadfast heroism of the renowned, the indefatigable, dearly loved Baha'i community of Baha'u'llah's and the Bab's native land.+F751

[F751. Iran.]

427.2 This dramatic change in the status of the Faith of God, occurring at so chaotic a moment in the world's history when statesmen and leaders and governors of human institutions are witnessing, with increasing despair, the bankruptcy and utter ineffectiveness of their best efforts to stay the tide of disruption, forces upon us, the Baha'is, the obligation to consider anew and ponder deeply the beloved Guardian's statement that "The principle of the Oneness of Mankind -- the pivot round which all the teachings of Baha'u'llah revolve -- ... implies an organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has riot yet experienced."+F752

[F752. WOB, pp. 42-43.]

427.3 Intimations in the non-Baha'i world of a rapidly growing realization that mankind is indeed entering a new stage in its evolution present us with unprecedented opportunities to show that the Baha'i world community is not only "the nucleus but the very pattern" of that world society which it is the purpose of Baha'u'llah to establish and towards which a harassed humanity, albeit largely unconsciously, is striving.+F753

[F753. WOB, p. 144.]

More Involvement in the Life of Society

427.4 The time has come for the Baha'i community to become more involved in the life of the society around it, without in the least supporting any of the world's moribund and divisive concepts, or slackening its direct teaching efforts, but rather, by association, exerting its influence towards unity, demonstrating its ability to settle differences by consultation rather than by confrontation, violence or schism, and declaring its faith in the divine purpose of human existence.

<p667>

427.5 Baha'i Youth are taking advantage of the United Nations' designation of 1985 as the Year of Youth to launch their own campaign of active co-operation with other youth groups, sharing with them Baha'i ideals and a vision of what they intend to make of the world. The Baha'i community will be strongly represented at the culminating event of the United Nations' Decade of Women in this same year. 1986 has been named the Year of Peace, and the Faith will be far from silent or obscure on that issue. Even now the House of Justice is making plans for the presentation of the Baha'i concepts on peace to the governments and leaders of the world and, through the Baha'i world community, to its national and local authorities and to all sections of the variegated world society.+F754 But it is in the local Baha'i communities that the most widespread presentation of the Faith can take place. It is here that the real pattern of Baha'i life can be seen. It is here that the power of Baha'u'llah to organize human affairs on a basis of spiritual unity can be most apparent. Every Local Spiritual Assembly which unitedly strives to grow in maturity and efficiency and encourages its community to fulfil its destiny as a foundation stone of Baha'u'llah's World Order can add to a growing ground swell of interest in and eventual recognition of the Cause of God as the sole hope for mankind.

[F754. See message dated 4 July 1985 (no. 429) announcing the completion of the peace statement and the October 1985 statement of the Universal House of Justice addressed to the peoples of the world (no. 438).]

427.6 Such considerations as these are now occupying the earnest attention of the Universal House of Justice. Their specific implementation will form a large part of the next Plan which will follow immediately on the completion of the present one and will be of six years' duration. By winning the Seven Year Plan, by consolidating our local communities, and above all by strengthening and deepening our understanding of the purpose of Baha'u'llah's Revelation we shall be preparing ourselves to play our part in bringing about that transformation of human life on this planet which must take place ere it becomes fit to receive the bounties and blessings of God's own Kingdom.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p668>

428

Message to Youth -- Scaling the Heights of Excellence

8 May 1985

To the Baha'i youth of the world

Dear Baha'i friends,

428.1 We extend our loving greetings and best wishes to all who will meet in youth conferences yet to be held during International Youth Year. So eager and resourceful have been the responses of the Baha'i youth in many countries to the challenges of this special year that we are moved to expressions of delight and high hope.

428.2 We applaud those youth who, in respect of this period, have already engaged in some activity within their national and local communities or in collaboration with their peers in other countries, and call upon them to persevere in their unyielding efforts to acquire spiritual qualities and useful qualifications. For if they do so, the influence of their high-minded motivations will exert itself upon world developments conducive to a productive, progressive and peaceful future.

428.3 May the youth activities begun this year be a fitting prelude to and an ongoing, significant feature throughout the International Year of Peace, 1986.

428.4 The present requirements of a Faith whose responsibilities rapidly increase in relation to its rise from obscurity impose an inescapable duty on the youth to ensure that their lives reflect to a marked degree the transforming power of the new Revelation they have embraced. Otherwise, by what example are the claims of Baha'u'llah to be judged? How is His healing Message to be acknowledged by a sceptical humanity if it produces no noticeable effect upon the young, who are seen to be among the most energetic, the most pliable and promising elements in any society?

428.5 The dark horizon faced by a world which has failed to recognize the Promised One, the Source of its salvation, acutely affects the outlook of the younger generations; their distressing lack of hope and their indulgence in desperate but futile and even dangerous solutions make a direct claim on the remedial attention of Baha'i youth, who, through their knowledge of that Source and the bright vision with which they have thus been endowed, cannot hesitate to impart to their despairing fellow youth the restorative joy, the constructive hope, the radiant assurances of Baha'u'llah's stupendous Revelation.

428.6 The words, the deeds, the attitudes, the lack of prejudice, the nobility of character, the high sense of service to others -- in a word, those qualities and actions which distinguish a Baha'i must unfailingly characterize their inner life and outer behaviour, and their interactions with friend or foe.

<p669>

428.7 Rejecting the low sights of mediocrity, let them scale the ascending heights of excellence in all they aspire to do. May they resolve to elevate the very atmosphere in which they move, whether it be in the school rooms or halls of higher learning, in their work, their recreation, their Baha'i activity or social service.

428.8 Indeed, let them welcome with confidence the challenges awaiting them. Imbued with this excellence and a corresponding humility, with tenacity and a loving servitude, today's youth must move towards the front ranks of the professions, trades, arts and crafts which are necessary to the further progress of humankind -- this to ensure that the spirit of the Cause will cast its illumination on all these important areas of human endeavour. Moreover, while aiming at mastering the unifying concepts and swiftly advancing technologies of this era of communications, they can, indeed they must also guarantee the transmittal to the future of those skills which will preserve the marvellous, indispensable achievements of the past. The transformation which is to occur in the functioning of society will certainly depend to a great extent on the effectiveness of the preparations the youth make for the world they will inherit.

428.9 We commend these thoughts to your private contemplation and to the consultations you conduct about your future.

428.10 And we offer the assurance of our prayerful remembrances of you, our trust and confidence.

The Universal House of Justice

 

429

Announcement of Completion of a Statement on Peace

Addressed to the Peoples of the World

4 July 1985

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

429.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE COMPLETION STATEMENT ON PEACE ADDRESSED TO PEOPLES WORLD.+F755 ARRANGEMENTS BEING MADE PRESENTATION WORLD LEADERS BEGINNING 24 OCTOBER. STATEMENT BEING SENT NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES SHORTLY. OUR HEARTS FILLED GRATITUDE BAHA'U'LLAH FOR UNPRECEDENTED OPPORTUNITY ENABLING HIS SERVANTS OFFER HIS HEALING MESSAGE AT THIS CRITICAL TIME FORTUNES MANKIND.

[F755. See the statement dated October 1985 (message no. 438).]

Universal House of Justice

<p670>

430

Release of a Compilation on the Law of Huququ'llah

4 July 1985

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

430.1 At the request of the Universal House of Justice, the Research Department has prepared a compilation of texts on the subject of Huququ'llah. A copy of this compilation is attached for your information.+F756 You may share its contents with the friends under your jurisdiction as you see fit.

[F756. See CC I:489-527.]

430.2 As you are aware, the law of Huququ'llah is not applicable universally. Study of these extracts by the friends in communities where this law is not yet binding will help them to prepare themselves for the day when the House of Justice will decide to apply the law progressively to all communities in the Baha'i World.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

 

431

Message to International Youth Conference, Columbus, Ohio

11 July 1985

To the International Youth Conference in Columbus, Ohio

431.1 OUR HEARTS UPLIFTED HIGH SPIRIT, LOFTY PURPOSES, MULTIFARIOUS FEATURES, REMARKABLE IMPACT INTERNATIONAL YOUTH CONFERENCE COLUMBUS, OHIO, PARTICULARLY DISTINGUISHED BY IMPRESSIVE EXAMPLES SELFLESS SERVICE ITS PARTICIPANTS. THEIR UPRIGHT BEHAVIOUR, NOBLE DEEDS, CREATIVE VIGOUR HEIGHTENED PRESTIGE OUR GLORIOUS CAUSE INSPIRED JOY HEARTS BELEAGUERED BRETHREN CRADLE FAITH. OFFERING PRAYERS THANKSGIVING, BESEECHING BLESSED BEAUTY GUIDE, PROTECT, CONFIRM YOUTH IN THEIR EARNEST ENDEAVOURS MOVE WORLD TOWARDS UNITY PEACE.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p671>

432

Inauguration of Public Information Office at the World Centre

11 July 1985

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

432.1 GREATLY PLEASED ANNOUNCE INAUGURATION PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE WORLD CENTRE WITH BRANCH OFFICE SOON TO BE ESTABLISHED NEW YORK. THIS NEW AGENCY BAHA'I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO EXTEND SCOPE CO-ORDINATE WORLD-WIDE ACTIVITIES DESIGNED INCREASE PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE AIMS ACHIEVEMENTS CAUSE BAHA'U'LLAH.+F757 PROFOUNDLY GRATEFUL BLESSED BEAUTY FURTHER DEVELOPMENT INSTRUMENTS HIS UNIQUE ORDER.

[F757. The Baha'i International Community is the name under which the Baha'i world community conducts its relations on the international level with the United Nations, governmental agencies, the media, and international non-governmental organizations. For this purpose offices of representation have been established in New York, Geneva, and elsewhere. For messages regarding the role of the Baha'i International Community in relation to the United Nations, see messages dated 17 October 1967 (no. 49), 18 February 1970 (no. 78), 28 December 1980 (no. 272), and 26 May 1981 (no. 283).]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

433

Election of Delegates to National Conventions

21 July 1985

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

433.1 As you are aware, some national communities elect their delegates to the National Convention on the basis of areas which have Local Spiritual Assemblies, while in other, larger, national communities delegates are elected on the basis of electoral units in which all adult believers have the vote.

Electoral Units

433.2 In view of the growth of the Faith and the developing life of the Baha'i communities, the Universal House of Justice has decided that, notwithstanding that in some countries the number of believers and of Local Spiritual Assemblies is still small, the time has come for delegates to National Conventions everywhere to be elected on the basis of electoral units, but with the option of introducing certain differences from the procedures followed to date. These differences are explained below and are designed to make the system <p672> adaptable to the variations in the make-up of the many Baha'i communities and in the geography of the lands in which they are situated.

433.3 The House of Justice has decided that the number of delegates to each National Convention will remain unchanged for the present. However, if a National Assembly finds that under the new system a change would be advisable, it should feel free to write to the World Centre stating the reasons for its view.

433.4 When establishing the electoral unit basis for the election of delegates, a National Spiritual Assembly should divide the territory under its jurisdiction into electoral units, based on the number of adult Baha'is in each area, in such a way that each unit will be responsible for electing preferably one delegate only.

Unit Conventions

433.5 In addition to the voting, the opportunity for consultation with the delegates is important. Hitherto this has been achieved by calling a convention in each unit to which all the believers in that electoral unit are invited. The voting for delegates has then taken place at the unit conventions with provision for voting by mail for those who do not attend. In some areas these meetings have been very fruitful and have helped to foster collaboration among the believers in the unit. However, in other areas, no doubt for a number of reasons, attendance at unit conventions has been very low, as has been the voting by mail, and this has meant that the delegates have been elected by a relatively small proportion of the electorate. National Assemblies are free to call unit conventions if they find they are successful, but if they find problems of attendance they may follow the alternative method described below.

Alternatives to Unit Conventions

433.6 Where holding unit conventions has proved ineffective, or does not seem to be a viable procedure, a National Assembly may divide each electoral unit into sub-units of a convenient size. A meeting could then be held in each sub-unit to which all the adult believers residing therein would be invited. This should result in the participation of a large number of the believers. It is important to remember, however, that the delegate to be elected represents the entire unit and therefore, although the voting may be carried out in sub-units, each voter has all the adult believers resident in the entire unit to choose from in voting for the delegate.

433.7 In some countries, it may even be too difficult to expect the believers throughout a sub-unit to gather together at a certain time, and so it would not be practical to hold sub-unit meetings. In such places a central point in each sub-unit could be chosen for the establishment of a polling station to which the friends would come to leave their ballots on the voting day as and when they can do so.

<p673>

433.8 When one considers that there are now national Baha'i communities varying in size from India to a single small island, some established in highly industrialized thickly populated countries, some in widely scattered archipelagos, others covering equatorial jungles and still others embracing icebound arctic wastes, one can appreciate that a great deal of discretion must be accorded to each National Spiritual Assembly to establish the most effective means for the election of the delegates to its National Convention within the general principles outlined above.

Details to be Worked Out by National Spiritual Assemblies

433.9 Each National Spiritual Assembly should study and master the broad outlines of this system. All matters of detail should be decided by the National Assembly which should ensure that the friends are fully informed and thoroughly understand what they are expected to do. The help and advice of the Counsellors and their Auxiliary Board members and assistants could be sought in working out these details and in educating the friends. It may also be desirable for the National Assembly to appoint a special national committee to organize the elections and to oversee them through unit or sub-unit committees or representatives. Such matters of detail could include the following:

433.9a - The number of delegates to be allocated to each unit. Although one for each unit is preferable, this may not be practicable in certain instances, such as in a unit which contains one or more very large local communities. In such cases it may be necessary to make the unit large enough to be the electoral base for two or possibly three delegates.

433.9b - The number and size of sub-units. These could be as many as there are Local Spiritual Assemblies in a unit, the boundaries being so delineated as to include the surrounding isolated believers and Baha'i groups. It may even be necessary in some remote areas to have sub-units in which there are no Local Spiritual Assemblies.

433.9c - The body to be responsible for organizing a unit convention or sub-unit meeting or for establishing and supervising a polling station. This could be a centrally located, firmly established Local Spiritual Assembly or a committee.

433.9d - The day or days on which the elections should take place. Elections could be carried out in different sub-units on different days, extended over a reasonable period of time, if this is felt to be desirable.

433.9e - The manner in which ballots are to be cast, collected, counted, and consolidated with other ballots from the same unit.

433.9f - Procedures to be followed in consultation, if the procedure chosen allows for consultation.

433.9g - A method for monitoring the balloting to ensure that proper Baha'i procedures are followed, that the ballots are safeguarded, and that a Baha'i voter cannot cast more than one ballot.

<p674>

433.9h - The procedure for holding a second ballot should there be a tie vote for the delegate.

433.9i - The means for announcing to the friends in all units the names of their elected delegates.

433.10 It is the hope of the Universal House of Justice that the implementation of these instructions this year and thereafter will promote Baha'i solidarity, broaden the basis of representation at the National Conventions and that thereby the work of the Faith in each country will be characterized by greater efficiency and enhanced harmony.

433.11 As this further step in the onward march of the Faith of Baha'u'llah is taken, you are assured of the prayers of the House of Justice at the Holy Shrines that you will be granted vision and wisdom to carry out your task and be enabled to extend the range of your dedicated services to His Cause.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

 

434

Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., and Baha'i Peace Activities

5 August 1985

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

434.1 In its letter of 23 January 1985 concerning the International Year of Peace, the Universal House of Justice urged Baha'i communities to reach out to the non-Baha'i public by finding ways of discussing the important issues of peace with others. One way to make such discussions relevant and effective is for the friends to know and acknowledge and pay just tribute to persons whose lives were dedicated to peaceful means of bettering social conditions.

434.2 One such person was the black American Martin Luther King, Jr., whose promotion of non-violent means of achieving racial equality in the United States cost him his life.+F758 The positive effects of his heroic efforts brought encouragement to downtrodden peoples throughout the world and earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Four years later he was assassinated. His aspirations <p675> for a society in which the races can live in harmony are perhaps best expressed in the famous speech he delivered at a gathering of Some 250,000 people in the capital of the United States in 1963. A copy is enclosed.+F759

[F759. The text of the speech, titled "I Have a Dream", though not included here, is well known and widely published elsewhere.]

[F758. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., was a Baptist minister who led the civil rights movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his assassination on 4 April 1968 at the age of thirty-nine. In 1963 he led a march on Washington, DC, to achieve civil rights by non-violent means, and there delivered his celebrated "I Have a Dream" speech. Toward the end of his life he broadened the scope of his efforts to oppose the war in Vietnam and to include poor people of all races.]

434.3 The House of Justice has asked us to call your attention to Dr King for these reasons. His widow, Mrs Coretta Scott King, a non-Baha'i, has written to the House of Justice that a national public holiday has been officially designated in the United States in honour of Dr King. She intends to make an appeal that on 20 January 1986, the first observance of this holiday, "nations and liberation movements all over the world cease all violent actions, seek amnesty and reconciliation both within and outside of their national boundaries, and encourage all of their citizens to recommit themselves to work for international peace, universal justice and the elimination of hunger and poverty in the world." The House of Justice feels that Mrs King has a noble intention to which the friends can lend their moral and spiritual support. Since the date on which action is desired falls within the International Year of Peace, Spiritual Assemblies may consider holding peace conferences on 20 January, or close to that date, and naturally include in the presentations at these conferences references to the life and work of Dr King. An alternative might be to devote the Baha'i programmes on World Religion Day, 19 January, to peace and on these occasions pay tribute to Dr King.

434.4 The thought of the House of Justice in suggesting such action is not to promote the holiday for Dr King, and it does not expect Baha'i communities everywhere to commemorate his life annually; rather, it wishes to indicate to the friends a legitimate occasion, as illustrated by Mrs King' s plan, when the Baha'i peace activities can be associated with the worthy activities of others.

434.5 We are to assure you of the continuing prayers of the House of Justice in the Holy Shrines that your energetic efforts to further the cause of peace throughout the earth may be richly confirmed by the Blessed Beauty.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

<p676>

435

Development of Local and National Baha'i Funds

7 August 1985

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

435.1 This letter and the annexed memorandum of comments are addressed primarily to those National Spiritual Assemblies whose communities include large numbers of materially poor people but inasmuch as the principles expressed, as distinct from some of the procedures suggested, are of universal application, they are being sent to all National Assemblies.

435.2 There is a profound aspect to the relationship between a believer and the Fund, which holds true irrespective of his or her economic condition. When a human soul accepts Baha'u'llah as the Manifestation of God for this age and enters into the divine Covenant, that soul should progressively bring his or her whole life into harmony with the divine purpose -- he becomes a co-worker in the Cause of God and receives the bounty of being permitted to devote his material possessions, no matter how meagre, to the work of the Faith.

435.3 Giving to the Fund, therefore, is a spiritual privilege not open to those who have not accepted Baha'u'llah, of which no believer should deny himself. It is both a responsibility and a source of bounty. This is an aspect of the Cause which, we feel, is an essential part of the basic teaching and deepening of new believers. The importance of contributing resides in the degree of sacrifice of the giver, the spirit of devotion with which the contribution is made and the unity of the friends in this service; these attract the confirmations of God and enhance the dignity and self-respect of the individuals and the community.

435.4 To re-emphasize the spiritual significance of contributing to the Faith by all members of the Baha'i community, we quote the following extract from a letter of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Central and East Africa dated 8 August 1957:

435.4a All, no matter how modest their resources, must participate. Upon the degree of self-sacrifice involved in these individual contributions will directly depend the efficacy and the spiritual influence which these nascent administrative institutions, called into being through the power of Baha'u'llah, and by virtue of the Design conceived by the Centre of His Covenant, will exert. A sustained and strenuous effort must henceforth be made by the rank and file of the avowed upholders of the Faith ...

<p677>

435.5 We assure you of our prayers at the Sacred Threshold for your guidance and

confirmation as you labour to develop this aspect of Baha'i life in your communities.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

Development of the Local and National Funds of the Faith

Some Comments and Suggestions

435.6 While the friends have the sacred obligation and privilege to contribute to the Fund, each Local and National Assembly also has the inescapable duty of educating itself and the believers in the spiritual principles related to Baha'i contributions, to devise simple methods to facilitate the flow and receipt of contributions, and to formulate effective procedures to ensure the wise expenditure of the funds of the Faith. The following comments and suggestions have been compiled at the request of the Universal House of Justice and are being shared with National Spiritual Assemblies to assist them in these important tasks.

435.7 A primary requisite for all who have responsibility for the care of the funds of the Faith is trustworthiness. This, as Baha'u'llah has stressed, is one of the most basic and vital of all human virtues, and its exercise has a direct and profound influence on the willingness of the believers to contribute to the Fund.

435.8 Conditions vary from country to country and, therefore, in educating the believers and developing the Fund, each National Spiritual Assembly needs to tailor its actions to the conditions of its area of jurisdiction.

435.9 In many parts of the world gifts of produce and handicrafts may be a large potential source of regular donations and could well be encouraged, proper arrangements being made for their collection and sale and the disposition of the proceeds.

435.10 Pledges can be useful as a means of encouraging contributions, and of bringing the financial needs of the Cause to the attention of the friends. This method can be particularly helpful in a situation where a Spiritual Assembly has a major task to perform, such as the building of a Haziratu'l-Quds or the establishment of a tutorial school,+F760 and needs to have some idea in advance of whether the funds for the project will be available. However, it would be entirely contrary to Baha'i principles to bring any pressure to bear when calling for pledges or when endeavouring to collect them. Once a pledge has been <p678> given it is permissible to remind the donor, privately, of his expressed intention to contribute and to inquire courteously if it would be possible for him to honour his pledge, but Assemblies must be aware that such pledges are not an obligation in any legal sense; their redemption is entirely a matter of conscience. Lists of those making pledges must not be publicized.

[F760. A simple school, usually in a rural area where no formal education is available, that often consists of one teacher and a group of students who learn Baha'i moral and ethical teachings and basic reading, writing, and computation skills.]

435.11 The beloved Guardian has explained that the general and national interests of the Cause take precedence over local ones; thus contributions to local funds are secondary to those to national funds. However, the stability of the National Assembly rests on the Firmness of the Local Spiritual Assemblies, and in the matter of educating the friends in the importance of the Fund, it is often most practical and efficacious to concentrate at first on the development of the local funds and the efficient operation of the Local Spiritual Assemblies. Then, once the friends understand the principle and learn from experience at a local level, they will the more easily understand the importance of the national fund and the work of the National Spiritual Assembly.

435.12 Regarding the local funds, it is suggested that until such time as the friends have developed the habit of contributing regularly and freely, any Local Spiritual Assembly which has a large community might appoint a small committee to assist the local treasurer in the discharge of his responsibilities. Such committees could be appointed after consultation with the Auxiliary Board member or assistant for the area. Great care must be taken in the appointment of the members of the committees; they must be both trustworthy and conscientious and must be imbued with awareness of the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of contributions to the funds. It is envisaged that these Treasury Committees would serve a number of functions:

435.12a - To render general assistance to the treasurer, as needed; for example, members of the committee could assist with issuing receipts or keeping accounts.

435.1 2b - To arrange for inspirational talks and discussions at Nineteen Day Feasts or at specially called meetings for the education of the friends in the spiritual and practical importance of contributing to the funds.

435.12c - To receive donations of money on behalf of the local treasurer and transmit these to him.

435.12d - To receive gifts of produce and handicrafts. The committee would be responsible for arranging for their sale and for handing over the proceeds to the local treasurer.

435.12e - To receive from the friends written pledges of their hope or intention of making a contribution to the local or national funds, whether in cash or in kind, and to assist in collecting them.

435.13 As to the national fund, in those areas where there are problems as a result of lack of banking facilities, unreliable mail systems and general difficulties of <p679> communication, it would be desirable for the National Spiritual Assembly to appoint a national committee to assist the national treasurer in a manner similar to that outlined above for Local Spiritual Assemblies. Further, it may even be necessary to subsidize, from the national fund, one or more trusted individuals, depending on the size of the national community, who would travel to rural areas to meet with the local Treasury Committees, assist them in the execution of their functions, explain the needs of the national fund, collect the donations to the national fund from the local areas and transmit them to the national treasurer.

435.14 In considering the above suggestions and their applicability to its national community, each National Assembly should also bear in mind the following points:

435.14a - It may find it valuable to study the methods being used already in those rural areas where notable success has been achieved in bringing about participation in sacrifice and giving.

435.14b - Voluntary service for the Faith could also be stressed. It has an effect on the Fund by reducing the cost of carrying out the work of the Faith, and should be undertaken with joy by the friends.

435.14c - It can be useful and helpful for both National and Local Spiritual Assemblies to make plans for financial self-sufficiency, set goals for levels of contributions, and share the news of progress towards such goals.

435.14d - Assemblies should take the members of their communities into their confidence and regularly inform them of the uses to which the Fund is put and the projects for which money is needed.

 

436

Release of a compilation on peace

9 August 1985

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

436.1 The Universal House of Justice has asked us to send you the enclosed copy of a compilation on Peace prepared from the Baha'i Writings and the letters of the House of Justice by the Research Department.++F761

[F761. See CC II:151-200.]

436.2 As indicated in our letter of 2 July 1985,+F762 it is intended that the compilation be used to aid study by the friends of the Baha'i concepts on peace and to facilitate their understanding of the House of Justice's statement on peace <p680> recently mailed to you. The House of Justice requests you to disseminate the compilation to the friends along with any advice you may have for its use. It should become a regular reference at summer schools and at other gatherings in which Baha'i adults and youth study the Teachings. Moreover, the compilation should become a ready resource for those preparing summaries and commentaries on the statement addressed by the House of Justice to the peoples of the world.

[F762. The letter contained "additional information and advice" to facilitate preparing for activities in observance of the International Year of Peace.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

 

437

Execution of Two More Baha'is; Baha'i Students Pressured

19 September 1985

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

437.1 AFTER FEW MONTHS' CESSATION OF EXECUTIONS OF BAHA'IS IN IRAN, GRIEVED ANNOUNCE TWO FURTHER EXECUTIONS. VALIANT SOULS ARE MR 'ABBAS AYDIL-KHANI AND MR RAHMATU'LLAH VUJDANI. FORMER WAS EXECUTED ON 1 AUGUST IN PRISON WITHOUT ANY NOTIFICATION HIS FAMILY. HIS GRAVE WAS ACCIDENTALLY DISCOVERED NEAR TIHRAN. HE HAD BEEN IMPRISONED ON 26 APRIL 1982 IN ZANJAN WHERE HE REMAINED UNTIL APRIL 1985 WHEN HE WAS TAKEN TO TIHRAN. HE WAS 45 YEARS OLD AND WAS AN AIR-CONDITIONING TECHNICIAN. MANNER HIS EXECUTION STILL UNKNOWN. HIS WIFE IS ALSO IN PRISON IN ZANJAN.

437.2 MR RAHMATU'LLAH VUJDANI WAS ARRESTED IN JULY 1984 IN BANDAR- 'ABBAS, WHERE HE WAS EXECUTED BY FIRING SQUAD ON 28 AUGUST 1985. HE WAS 57 YEARS OLD. HIS BODY WAS DELIVERED, AND HIS FUNERAL TOOK PLACE IN PRESENCE HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS. HE WAS A TEACHER BY PROFESSION.

437.3 FROM THE END JANUARY TO SEPTEMBER 1985, 63 BAHA'IS WERE ARRESTED AND 39 RELEASED. TOTAL NUMBER PRISONERS NOW 741. THIS FIGURE INCLUDES 39 PRISONERS RELEASED DURING PERIOD. BAHA'I STUDENTS OF ALL LEVELS HAVE TO COMPLETE ADMISSION FORMS WHICH INCLUDE SPACE FOR ONLY FOUR OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED RELIGIONS. BAHA'I STUDENTS WHO STATE THEY ARE BAHA'IS ARE DENIED SCHOOLING OR IF ADMITTED FACE TREMENDOUS PRESSURE AND HARASSMENT. OTHER FORMS PERSECUTION INNOCENT BAHA'IS PERSIST. ...

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p681>

438

The Promise of World Peace+F763

[F763. This statement on peace was published in the United States under the title The Promise of World Peace (Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1985). It has been published in many editions around the world.]

October 1985

To the Peoples of the World

438.1 The Great Peace towards which people of goodwill throughout the centuries have inclined their hearts, of which seers and poets for countless generations have expressed their vision, and for which from age to age the sacred scriptures of mankind have constantly held the promise, is now at long last within the reach of the nations. For the first time in history it is possible for everyone to view the entire planet, with all its myriad diversified peoples, in one perspective. World peace is not only possible but inevitable. It is the next stage in the evolution of this planet -- in the words of one great thinker, "the planetization of mankind."+F764

[F764. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Future of Man, Ch. 7 (New York: Harper and Row, 1964).]

438.2 Whether peace is to be reached only after unimaginable horrors precipitated by humanity's stubborn clinging to old patterns of behaviour, or is to be embraced now by an act of consultative will, is the choice before all who inhabit the earth. At this critical juncture when the intractable problems confronting nations have been fused into one common concern for the whole world, failure to stem the tide of conflict and disorder would be unconscionably irresponsible.

438.3 Among the favourable signs are the steadily growing strength of the steps towards world order taken initially near the beginning of this century in the creation of the League of Nations, succeeded by the more broadly based United Nations Organization;+F765 the achievement since the Second World War of independence by the majority of all the nations on earth, indicating the <p682> completion of the process of nation building, and the involvement of these fledgling nations with older ones in matters of mutual concern; the consequent vast increase in co- operation among hitherto isolated and antagonistic peoples and groups in international undertakings in the scientific, educational, legal, economic and cultural fields; the rise in recent decades of an unprecedented number of international humanitarian organizations; the spread of women's and youth movements calling for an end to war; and the spontaneous spawning of widening networks of ordinary people seeking understanding through personal communication.

[F765. The League of Nations was an organization for international co-operation established at the initiative of the Allied powers at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 following the end of World War I. It was based on a covenant calling for joint action by League members against an aggressor, arbitration of international disputes, reduction of armaments, and open diplomacy. The lack of political will of member states to intervene in acts of aggression by one state against another discredited the League and rendered it powerless to prevent World War II. 'Abdu'l-Baha recognized that the League of Nations was "incapable of establishing universal peace." However, He perceived "the dawn of universal peace" in the fourteen points put forth by United States President Woodrow Wilson in 1918 that included the establishment of a League of Nations (SWAB, pp. 306, 311). The United Nations was formally inaugurated on 24 October 1945, near the end of World War II, at the initiative of the Allied powers following the United Nations Conference on International Organization that convened in San Francisco on 25 April 1945.]

438.4 The scientific and technological advances occurring in this unusually blessed century portend a great surge forward in the social evolution of the planet, and indicate the means by which the practical problems of humanity may be solved. They provide, indeed, the very means for the administration of the complex life of a united world. Yet barriers persist. Doubts, misconceptions, prejudices, suspicions and narrow self-interest beset nations and peoples in their relations one to another.

438.5 It is out of a deep sense of spiritual and moral duty that we are impelled at this opportune moment to invite your attention to the penetrating insights first communicated to the rulers of mankind more than a century ago by Baha'u'llah, Founder of the Baha'i Faith, of which we are the Trustees.

438.6 "The winds of despair," Baha'u'llah wrote, "are, alas, blowing from every direction, and the strife that divides and afflicts the human race is daily increasing. The signs of impending convulsions and chaos can now be discerned, inasmuch as the prevailing order appears to be lamentably defective."+F766 This prophetic judgement has been amply confirmed by the common experience of humanity. Flaws in the prevailing order are conspicuous in the inability of sovereign states organized as United Nations to exorcise the spectre of war, the threatened collapse of the international economic order, the spread of anarchy and terrorism, and the intense suffering which these and other afflictions are causing to increasing millions. Indeed, so much have aggression and conflict come to characterize our social, economic and religious systems, that many have succumbed to the view that such behaviour is intrinsic to human nature and therefore ineradicable.

[F766. GWB, p. 216.]

438.7 With the entrenchment of this view, a paralyzing contradiction has developed in human affairs. On the one hand, people of all nations proclaim not only their readiness but their longing for peace and harmony, for an end to the harrowing apprehensions tormenting their daily lives. On the other, uncritical assent is given to the proposition that human beings are incorrigibly selfish and aggressive and thus incapable of erecting a social system at once progressive and peaceful, dynamic and harmonious, a system giving free play to individual creativity and initiative but based on co-operation and reciprocity.

<p683>

438.8 As the need for peace becomes more urgent, this fundamental contradiction, which hinders its realization, demands a reassessment of the assumptions upon which the commonly held view of mankind's historical predicament is based. Dispassionately examined, the evidence reveals that such conduct, far from expressing man's true self, represents a distortion of the human spirit. Satisfaction on this point will enable all people to set in motion constructive social forces which, because they are consistent with human nature, will encourage harmony and co-operation instead of war and conflict.

438.9 To choose such a course is not to deny humanity's past but to understand it. The Baha'i Faith regards the current world confusion and calamitous condition in human affairs as a natural phase in an organic process leading ultimately and irresistibly to the unification of the human race in a single social order whose boundaries are those of the planet. The human race, as a distinct, organic unit, has passed through evolutionary stages analogous to the stages of infancy and childhood in the lives of its individual members, and is now in the culminating period of its turbulent adolescence approaching its long-awaited coming of age.

438.10 A candid acknowledgement that prejudice, war and exploitation have been the expression of immature stages in a vast historical process and that the human race is today experiencing the unavoidable tumult which marks its collective coming of age is not a reason for despair but a prerequisite to undertaking the stupendous enterprise of building a peaceful world. That such an enterprise is possible, that the necessary constructive forces do exist, that unifying social structures can be erected, is the theme we urge you to examine.

438.11 Whatever suffering and turmoil the years immediately ahead may hold, however dark the immediate circumstances, the Baha'i community believes that humanity can confront this supreme trial with confidence in its ultimate outcome. Far from signalizing the end of civilization, the convulsive changes towards which humanity is being ever more rapidly impelled will serve to release the "potentialities inherent in the station of man" and reveal "the full measure of his destiny on earth, the innate excellence of his reality."+F767

[F767. GWB, p. 340.]

I

438.12 The endowments which distinguish the human race from all other forms of life are summed up in what is known as the human spirit; the mind is its essential quality. These endowments have enabled humanity to build civilizations and to prosper materially. But such accomplishments alone have never satisfied the human spirit, whose mysterious nature inclines it towards transcendence, a reaching towards an invisible realm, towards the ultimate reality, that unknowable essence of essences called God. The religions brought to <p684> mankind by a succession of spiritual luminaries have been the primary link between humanity and that ultimate reality, and have galvanized and refined mankind's capacity to achieve spiritual success together with social progress.

438.13 No serious attempt to set human affairs aright, to achieve world peace, can ignore religion. Man's perception and practice of it are largely the stuff of history. An eminent historian described religion as a "faculty of human nature."+F768 That the perversion of this faculty has contributed to much of the confusion in society and the conflicts in and between individuals can hardly be denied. But neither can any fair- minded observer discount the preponderating influence exerted by religion on the vital expressions of civilization. Furthermore, its indispensability to social order has repeatedly been demonstrated by its direct effect on laws and morality.

[F768. A. Toynbee, in John Cogley, Religion in a Secular Age (New York: Praeger, 1968), p. ix.]

438.14 Writing of religion as a social force, Baha'u'llah said: "Religion is the greatest of all means for the establishment of order in the world and for the peaceful contentment of all that dwell therein." Referring to the eclipse or corruption of religion, he wrote: "Should the lamp of religion be obscured, chaos and confusion will ensue, and the lights of fairness, of justice, of tranquillity and peace cease to shine."+F769 In an enumeration of such consequences the Baha'i Writings point out that the "perversion of human nature, the degradation of human conduct, the corruption and dissolution of human institutions, reveal themselves, under such circumstances, in their worst and most revolting aspects. Human character is debased, confidence is shaken, the nerves of discipline are relaxed, the voice of human conscience is stilled, the sense of decency and shame is obscured, conceptions of duty, of solidarity, of reciprocity and loyalty are distorted, and the very feeling of peacefulness, of joy and of hope is gradually extinguished."+F770

[F770. WOB, p. 187.]

[F769. Quoted in WOB, pp. 186, 186-87.]

438.15 If, therefore, humanity has come to a point of paralyzing conflict it must look to itself, to its own negligence, to the siren voices to which it has listened, for the source of the misunderstandings and confusion perpetrated in the name of religion. Those who have held blindly and selfishly to their particular orthodoxies, who have imposed on their votaries erroneous and conflicting interpretations of the pronouncements of the Prophets of God, bear heavy responsibility for this confusion -- a confusion compounded by the artificial barriers erected between faith and reason, science and religion. For from a fair- minded examination of the actual utterances of the Founders of the great religions, and of the social milieus in which they were obliged to carry out their missions, there is nothing to support the contentions and prejudices deranging the religious communities of mankind and therefore all human affairs.

<p685>

438.16 The teaching that we should treat others as we ourselves would wish to be treated, an ethic variously repeated in all the great religions, lends force to this latter observation in two particular respects: it sums up the moral attitude, the peace-inducing aspect, extending through these religions irrespective of their place or time of origin; it also signifies an aspect of unity which is their essential virtue, a virtue mankind in its disjointed view of history has failed to appreciate.

438.17 Had humanity seen the Educators of its collective childhood in their true character, as agents of one civilizing process, it would no doubt have reaped incalculably greater benefits from the cumulative effects of their successive missions. This, alas, it failed to do.

438.18 The resurgence of fanatical religious fervour occurring in many lands cannot be regarded as more than a dying convulsion. The very nature of the violent and disruptive phenomena associated with it testifies to the spiritual bankruptcy it represents. Indeed, one of the strangest and saddest features of the current outbreak of religious fanaticism is the extent to which, in each case, it is undermining not only the spiritual values which are conducive to the unity of mankind but also those unique moral victories won by the particular religion it purports to serve.

438.19 However vital a force religion has been in the history of mankind, and however dramatic the current resurgence of militant religious fanaticism, religion and religious institutions have, for many decades, been viewed by increasing numbers of people as irrelevant to the major concerns of the modern world. In its place they have turned either to the hedonistic pursuit of material satisfactions or to the following of man-made ideologies designed to rescue society from the evident evils under which it groans. All too many of these ideologies, alas, instead of embracing the concept of the oneness of mankind and promoting the increase of concord among different peoples, have tended to deify the state, to subordinate the rest of mankind to one nation, race or class, to attempt to suppress all discussion and interchange of ideas, or to callously abandon starving millions to the operations of a market system that all too clearly is aggravating the plight of the majority of mankind, while enabling small sections to live in a condition of affluence scarcely dreamed of by our forebears.

438.20 How tragic is the record of the substitute faiths that the worldly-wise of our age have created. In the massive disillusionment of entire populations who have been taught to worship at their altars can be read history's irreversible verdict on their value. The fruits these doctrines have produced, after decades of an increasingly unrestrained exercise of power by those who owe their ascendancy in human affairs to them, are the social and economic ills that blight every region of our world in the closing years of the twentieth century. Underlying all these outward afflictions is the spiritual damage reflected in the apathy <p686> that has gripped the mass of the peoples of all nations and by the extinction of hope in the hearts of deprived and anguished millions.

438.21 The time has come when those who preach the dogmas of materialism, whether of the east or the west, whether of capitalism or socialism, must give account of the moral stewardship they have presumed to exercise. Where is the "new world" promised by these ideologies? Where is the international peace to whose ideals they proclaim their devotion? Where are the breakthroughs into new realms of cultural achievement produced by the aggrandizement of this race, of that nation or of a particular class? Why is the vast majority of the world's peoples sinking ever deeper into hunger and wretchedness when wealth on a scale undreamed of by the Pharaohs, the Caesars, or even the imperialist powers of the nineteenth century is at the disposal of the present arbiters of human affairs?

438.22 Most particularly, it is in the glorification of material pursuits, at once the progenitor and common feature of all such ideologies, that we find the roots which nourish the falsehood that human beings are incorrigibly selfish and aggressive. It is here that the ground must be cleared for the building of a new world fit for our descendants.

438.23 That materialistic ideals have, in the light of experience, failed to satisfy the needs of mankind calls for an honest acknowledgement that a fresh effort must now be made to find the solutions to the agonizing problems of the planet. The intolerable conditions pervading society bespeak a common failure of all, a circumstance which tends to incite rather than relieve the entrenchment on every side. Clearly, a common remedial effort is urgently required. It is primarily a matter of attitude. Will humanity continue in its waywardness, holding to outworn concepts and unworkable assumptions? Or will its leaders, regardless of ideology, step forth and, with a resolute will, consult together in a united search for appropriate solutions?

438.24 Those who care for the future of the human race may well ponder this advice. "If long-cherished ideals and time-honoured institutions, if certain social assumptions and religious formulae have ceased to promote the welfare of the generality of mankind, if they no longer minister to the needs of a continually evolving humanity, let them be swept away and relegated to the limbo of obsolescent and forgotten doctrines. Why should these, in a world subject to the immutable law of change and decay, be exempt from the deterioration that must needs overtake every human institution? For legal standards, political and economic theories are solely designed to safeguard the interests of humanity as a whole, and not humanity to be crucified for the preservation of the integrity of any particular law or doctrine."+F771

[F771. WOB, p. 42.]

<p687>

II

438.25 Banning nuclear weapons, prohibiting the use of poison gases, or outlawing germ warfare will not remove the root causes of war. However important such practical measures obviously are as elements of the peace process, they are in themselves too superficial to exert enduring influence. Peoples are ingenious enough to invent yet other forms of warfare, and to use food, raw materials, finance, industrial power, ideology, and terrorism to subvert one another in an endless quest for supremacy and dominion. Nor can the present massive dislocation in the affairs of humanity be resolved through the settlement of specific conflicts or disagreements among nations. A genuine universal framework must be adopted.

438.26 Certainly, there is no lack of recognition by national leaders of the world-wide character of the problem, which is self-evident in the mounting issues that confront them daily. And there are the accumulating studies and solutions proposed by many concerned and enlightened groups as well as by agencies of the United Nations, to remove any possibility of ignorance as to the challenging requirements to be met. There is, however, a paralysis of will; and it is this that must be carefully examined and resolutely dealt with. This paralysis is rooted, as we have stated, in a deep-seated conviction of the inevitable quarrelsomeness of mankind, which has led to the reluctance to entertain the possibility of subordinating national self-interest to the requirements of world order, and in an unwillingness to face courageously the far-reaching implications of establishing a united world authority. It is also traceable to the incapacity of largely ignorant and subjugated masses to articulate their desire for a new order in which they can live in peace, harmony and prosperity with all humanity.

438.27 The tentative steps towards world order, especially since World War II, give hopeful signs. The increasing tendency of groups of nations to formalize relationships which enable them to co-operate in matters of mutual interest suggests that eventually all nations could overcome this paralysis. The Association of South East Asian Nations, the Caribbean Community and Common Market, the Central American Common Market, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, the European Communities, the League of Arab States, the Organization of African Unity, the Organization of American States, the South Pacific Forum -- all the joint endeavours represented by such organizations prepare the path to world order.

438.28 The increasing attention being focused on some of the most deep-rooted problems of the planet is yet another hopeful sign. Despite the obvious shortcomings of the United Nations, the more than two score declarations and conventions adopted by that organization, even where governments have not been enthusiastic in their commitment, have given ordinary people a sense of <p688> a new lease on life. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and the similar measures concerned with eliminating all forms of discrimination based on race, sex or religious belief; upholding the rights of the child; protecting all persons against being subjected to torture; eradicating hunger and malnutrition; using scientific and technological progress in the interest of peace and the benefit of mankind -- all such measures, if courageously enforced and expanded, will advance the day when the spectre of war will have lost its power to dominate international relations. There is no need to stress the significance of the issues addressed by these declarations and conventions. However, a few such issues, because of their immediate relevance to establishing world peace, deserve additional comment.

438.29 Racism, one of the most baneful and persistent evils, is a major barrier to peace. Its practice perpetrates too outrageous a violation of the dignity of human beings to be countenanced under any pretext. Racism retards the unfoldment of the boundless potentialities of its victims, corrupts its perpetrators, and blights human progress. Recognition of the oneness of mankind, implemented by appropriate legal measures, must be universally upheld if this problem is to be overcome.

438.30 The inordinate disparity between rich and poor, a source of acute suffering, keeps the world in a state of instability, virtually on the brink of war. Few societies have dealt effectively with this situation. The solution calls for the combined application of spiritual, moral and practical approaches. A fresh look at the problem is required, entailing consultation with experts from a wide spectrum of disciplines, devoid of economic and ideological polemics, and involving the people directly affected in the decisions that must urgently be made. It is an issue that is bound up not only with the necessity for eliminating extremes of wealth and poverty but also with those spiritual verities the understanding of which can produce a new universal attitude. Fostering such an attitude is itself a major part of the solution.

438.31 Unbridled nationalism, as distinguished from a sane and legitimate patriotism, must give way to a wider loyalty, to the love of humanity as a whole. Baha'u'llah's statement is: "The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens."+F772 The concept of world citizenship is a direct result of the contraction of the world into a single neighbourhood through scientific advances and of the indisputable interdependence of nations. Love of all the world's peoples does not exclude love of one's country. The advantage of the part in a world society is best served by promoting the advantage of the whole. Current international activities in various fields which nurture mutual affection and a sense of solidarity among peoples need greatly to be increased.

[F772. GWB, p. 250.]

<p689>

438.32 Religious strife, throughout history, has been the cause of innumerable wars and conflicts, a major blight to progress, and is increasingly abhorrent to the people of all faiths and no faith. Followers of all religions must be willing to face the basic questions which this strife raises, and to arrive at clear answers. How are the differences between them to be resolved, both in theory and in practice? The challenge facing the religious leaders of mankind is to contemplate, with hearts filled with the spirit of compassion and a desire for truth, the plight of humanity, and to ask themselves whether they cannot, in humility before their Almighty Creator, submerge their theological differences in a great spirit of mutual forbearance that will enable them to work together for the advancement of human understanding and peace.

438.33 The emancipation of women, the achievement of full equality between the sexes, is one of the most important, though less acknowledged prerequisites of peace. The denial of such equality perpetrates an injustice against one half of the world's population and promotes in men harmful attitudes and habits that are carried from the family to the workplace, to political life, and ultimately to international relations. There are no grounds, moral, practical, or biological, upon which such denial can be justified. Only as women are welcomed into full partnership in all fields of human endeavour will the moral and psychological climate be created in which international peace can emerge.

438.34 The cause of universal education, which has already enlisted in its service an army of dedicated people from every faith and nation, deserves the utmost support that the governments of the world can lend it. For ignorance is indisputably the principal reason for the decline and fall of peoples and the perpetuation of prejudice. No nation can achieve success unless education is accorded all its citizens. Lack of resources limits the ability of many nations to fulfil this necessity, imposing a certain ordering of priorities. The decision-making agencies involved would do well to consider giving first priority to the education of women and girls, since it is through educated mothers that the benefits of knowledge can be most effectively and rapidly diffused throughout society. In keeping with the requirements of the times, consideration should also be given to teaching the concept of world citizenship as part of the standard education of every child.

438.35 A fundamental lack of communication between peoples seriously undermines efforts towards world peace. Adopting an international auxiliary language would go far to resolve this problem and necessitates the most urgent attention.

438.36 Two points bear emphasizing in all these issues. One is that the abolition of war is not simply a matter of signing treaties and protocols; it is a complex task requiring a new level of commitment to resolving issues not customarily associated with the pursuit of peace. Based on political agreements alone, the idea of collective security is a chimera. The other point is that the <p690> primary challenge in dealing with issues of peace is to raise the context to the level of principle, as distinct from pure pragmatism. For, in essence, peace stems from an inner state supported by a spiritual or moral attitude, and it is chiefly in evoking this attitude that the possibility of enduring solutions can be found.

438.37 There are spiritual principles, or what some call human values, by which solutions can be found for every social problem. Any well-intentioned group can in a general sense devise practical solutions to its problems, but good intentions and practical knowledge are usually not enough. The essential merit of spiritual principle is that it not only presents a perspective which harmonizes with that which is immanent in human nature, it also induces an attitude, a dynamic, a will, an aspiration, which facilitate the discovery and implementation of practical measures. Leaders of governments and all in authority would be well served in their efforts to solve problems if they would first seek to identify the principles involved and then be guided by them.

III

438.38 The primary question to be resolved is how the present world, with its entrenched pattern of conflict, can change to a world in which harmony and co-operation will prevail.

438.39 World order can be founded only on an unshakeable consciousness of the oneness of mankind, a spiritual truth which all the human sciences confirm. Anthropology, physiology, psychology, recognize only one human species, albeit infinitely varied in the secondary aspects of life. Recognition of this truth requires abandonment of prejudice -- prejudice of every kind-race, class, colour, creed, nation, sex, degree of material civilization, everything which enables people to consider themselves superior to others.

438.40 Acceptance of the oneness of mankind is the first fundamental prerequisite for reorganization and administration of the world as one country, the home of humankind. Universal acceptance of this spiritual principle is essential to any successful attempt to establish world peace. It should therefore be universally proclaimed, taught in schools, and constantly asserted in every nation as preparation for the organic change in the structure of society which it implies.

438.41 In the Baha'i view, recognition of the oneness of mankind "calls for no less than the reconstruction and the demilitarization of the whole civilized world -- a world organically unified in all the essential aspects of its life, its political machinery, its spiritual aspiration, its trade and finance, its script and language, and yet infinite in the diversity of the national characteristics of its federated units."+F773

[F773. WOB, p. 43.]

<p691>

438.42 Elaborating the implications of this pivotal principle, Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, commented in 1931 that: "Far from aiming at the subversion of the existing foundations of society, it seeks to broaden its basis, to remould its institutions in a manner consonant with the needs of an ever-changing world. It can conflict with no legitimate allegiances, nor can it undermine essential loyalties. Its purpose is neither to stifle the flame of a sane and intelligent patriotism in men's hearts, nor to abolish the system of national autonomy so essential if the evils of excessive centralization are to be avoided. It does not ignore, nor does it attempt to suppress, the diversity of ethnical origins, of climate, of history, of language and tradition, of thought and habit, that differentiate the peoples and nations of the world. It calls for a wider loyalty, for a larger aspiration than any that has animated the human race. It insists upon the subordination of national impulses and interests to the imperative claims of a unified world. It repudiates excessive centralization on one hand, and disclaims all attempts at uniformity on the other. Its watchword is unity in diversity."+F774

[F774. WOB, pp. 41-42.]

438.43 The achievement of such ends requires several stages in the adjustment of national political attitudes, which now verge on anarchy in the absence of clearly defined laws or universally accepted and enforceable principles regulating the relationships between nations. The League of Nations, the United Nations, and the many organizations and agreements produced by them have unquestionably been helpful in attenuating some of the negative effects of international conflicts, but they have shown themselves incapable of preventing war. Indeed, there have been scores of wars since the end of the Second World War; many are yet raging.

438.44 The predominant aspects of this problem had already emerged in the nineteenth century when Baha'u'llah first advanced his proposals for the establishment of world peace. The principle of collective security was propounded by him in statements addressed to the rulers of the world. Shoghi Effendi commented on his meaning: "What else could these weighty words signify," he wrote, "if they did not point to the inevitable curtailment of unfettered national sovereignty as an indispensable preliminary to the formation of the future Commonwealth of all the nations of the world? Some form of a world super-state must needs be evolved, in whose favour all the nations of the world will have willingly ceded every claim to make war, certain rights to impose taxation and all rights to maintain armaments, except for purposes of maintaining internal order within their respective dominions. Such a state will have to include within its orbit an international executive adequate to enforce supreme and unchallengeable authority on every recalcitrant member of the commonwealth; a world parliament whose members shall

be elected by the <p692> people in their respective countries and whose election shall be confirmed by their respective governments; and a supreme tribunal whose judgement will have a binding effect even in such cases where the parties concerned did not voluntarily agree to submit their case to its consideration.

438.45 "... A world community in which all economic barriers will have been permanently demolished and the interdependence of Capital and Labour definitely recognized; in which the clamour of religious fanaticism and strife will have been forever stilled; in which the flame of racial animosity will have been finally extinguished; in which a single code of international law -- the product of the considered judgement of the world's federated representatives -- shall have as its sanction the instant and coercive intervention of the combined forces of the federated units; and finally a world community in which the fury of a capricious and militant nationalism will have been transmuted into an abiding consciousness of world citizenship -- such indeed, appears, in its broadest outline, the Order anticipated by Baha'u'llah, an Order that shall come to be regarded as the fairest fruit of a slowly maturing age."+F775

[F775. WOB, p. 41.]

438.46 The implementation of these far-reaching measures was indicated by Baha'u'llah: "The time must come when the imperative necessity for the holding of a vast, an all-embracing assemblage of men will be universally realized. The rulers and kings of the earth must needs attend it, and, participating in its deliberations, must consider such ways and means as will lay the foundations of the world's Great Peace amongst men."+F776

[F776. GWB, p. 249.]

438.47 The courage, the resolution, the pure motive, the selfless love of one people for another -- all the spiritual and moral qualities required for effecting this momentous step towards peace are focused on the will to act. And it is towards arousing the necessary volition that earnest consideration must be given to the reality of man, namely, his thought. To understand the relevance of this potent reality is also to appreciate the social necessity of actualizing its unique value through candid, dispassionate and cordial consultation, and of acting upon the results of this process. Baha'u'llah insistently drew attention to the virtues and indispensability of consultation for ordering human affairs. He said: "Consultation bestows greater awareness and transmutes conjecture into certitude. It is a shining light which, in a dark world, leads the way and guides. For everything there is and will continue to be a station of perfection and maturity. The maturity of the gift of understanding is made manifest through consultation."+F777 The very attempt to achieve peace through the consultative action he proposed can release such a salutary spirit among the peoples of the earth that no power could resist the final, triumphal outcome.

[F777. See CC I:93.]

<p693>

438.48 Concerning the proceedings for this world gathering, 'Abdu'l-Baha, the son of Baha'u'llah and authorized interpreter of his teachings, offered these insights: "They must make the Cause of Peace the object of general consultation, and seek by every means in their power to establish a Union of the nations of the world. They must conclude a binding treaty and establish a covenant, the provisions of which shall be sound, inviolable and definite. They must proclaim it to all the world and obtain for it the sanction of all the human race. This supreme and noble undertaking -- the real source of the peace and well-being of all the world -- should be regarded as sacred by all that dwell on earth. All the forces of humanity must be mobilized to ensure the stability and permanence of this Most Great Covenant. In this all-embracing Pact the limits and frontiers of each and every nation should be clearly fixed, the principles underlying the relations of governments towards one another definitely laid down, and all international agreements and obligations ascertained. In like manner, the size of the armaments of every government should be strictly limited, for if the preparations for war and the military forces of any nation should be allowed to increase, they will arouse the suspicion of others. The fundamental principle underlying this solemn Pact should be so fixed that if any government later violate any one of its provisions, all the governments on earth should arise to reduce it to utter submission, nay the human race as a whole should resolve, with every power at its disposal, to destroy that government. Should this greatest of all remedies be applied to the sick body of the world, it will assuredly recover from its ills and will remain eternally safe and secure."+F778

[F778. SDC, pp. 64-65, and WOB, pp. 37-38.]

438.49 The holding of this mighty convocation is long overdue.

438.50 With all the ardour of our hearts, we appeal to the leaders of all nations to seize this opportune moment and take irreversible steps to convoke this world meeting. All the forces of history impel the human race towards this act which will mark for all time the dawn of its long-awaited maturity.

438.51 Will not the United Nations, with the full support of its membership, rise to the high purposes of such a crowning event?

438.52 Let men and women, youth and children everywhere recognize the eternal merit of this imperative action for all peoples and lift up their voices in willing assent. Indeed, let it be this generation that inaugurates this glorious stage in the evolution of social life on the planet.

IV

438.53 The source of the optimism we feel is a vision transcending the cessation of war and the creation of agencies of international co-operation. Permanent peace among nations is an essential stage, but not, Baha'u'llah asserts, the ultimate <p694> goal of the social development of humanity. Beyond the initial armistice forced upon the world by the fear of nuclear holocaust, beyond the political peace reluctantly entered into by suspicious rival nations, beyond pragmatic arrangements for security and coexistence, beyond even the many experiments in co-operation which these steps will make possible lies the crowning goal: the unification of all the peoples of the world in one universal family.

438.54 Disunity is a danger that the nations and peoples of the earth can no longer endure; the consequences are too terrible to contemplate, too obvious to require any demonstration. "The well-being of mankind," Baha'u'llah wrote more than a century ago, "its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established."+F779 In observing that "mankind is groaning, is dying to be led to unity, and to terminate its age-long martyrdom," Shoghi Effendi further commented that: "Unification of the whole of mankind is the hallmark of the stage which human society is now approaching. Unity of family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have been successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving. Nation-building has come to an end. The anarchy inherent in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax. A world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize the oneness and wholeness of human relationships, and establish once for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life."+F780

[F780. WOB, pp. 201, 202.]

[F779. GWB, p. 286.]

438.55 All contemporary forces of change validate this view. The proofs can be discerned in the many examples already cited of the favourable signs towards world peace in current international movements and developments. The army of men and women, drawn from virtually every culture, race and nation on earth, who serve the multifarious agencies of the United Nations, represent a planetary "civil service" whose impressive accomplishments are indicative of the degree of co-operation that can be attained even under discouraging conditions. An urge towards unity, like a spiritual springtime, struggles to express itself through countless international congresses that bring together people from a vast array of disciplines. It motivates appeals for international projects involving children and youth. Indeed, it is the real source of the remarkable movement towards ecumenism by which members of historically antagonistic religions and sects seem irresistibly drawn towards one another. Together with the opposing tendency to warfare and self-aggrandizement against which it ceaselessly struggles, the drive towards world unity is one of the dominant, pervasive features of life on the planet during the closing years of the twentieth century.

<p695>

438.56 The experience of the Baha'i community may be seen as an example of this enlarging unity. It is a community of some three to four million people drawn from many nations, cultures, classes and creeds, engaged in a wide range of activities serving the spiritual, social and economic needs of the peoples of many lands. It is a single social organism, representative of the diversity of the human family, conducting its affairs through a system of commonly accepted consultative principles, and cherishing equally all the great outpourings of divine guidance in human history. Its existence is yet another convincing proof of the practicality of its Founder's vision of a united world, another evidence that humanity can live as one global society, equal to whatever challenges its coming of age may entail. If the Baha'i experience can contribute in whatever measure to reinforcing hope in the unity of the human race, we are happy to offer it as a model for study.

438.57 In contemplating the supreme importance of the task now challenging the entire world, we bow our heads in humility before the awesome majesty of the divine Creator, who out of His infinite love has created all humanity from the same stock; exalted the gemlike reality of man; honoured it with intellect and wisdom, nobility and immortality; and conferred upon man the "unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Him," a capacity that "must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation."+F781

[F781. GWB, p. 65.]

438.58 We hold firmly the conviction that all human beings have been created "to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization"; that "to act like the beasts of the field is unworthy of man";+F782 that the virtues that befit human dignity are trustworthiness, forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-kindness towards all peoples. We reaffirm the belief that the "potentialities inherent in the station of man, the full measure of his destiny on earth, the innate excellence of his reality, must all be manifested in this promised Day of God."+F783 These are the motivations for our unshakeable faith that unity and peace are the attainable goal towards which humanity is striving.

[F783. GWB, p. 340.]

[F782. GWB, p. 215.]

438.59 At this writing, the expectant voices of Baha'is can be heard despite the persecution they still endure in the land in which their Faith was born. By their example of steadfast hope, they bear witness to the belief that the imminent realization of this age- old dream of peace is now, by virtue of the transforming effects of Baha'u'llah's revelation, invested with the force of divine authority. Thus we convey to you not only a vision in words: we summon the power of deeds of faith and sacrifice; we convey the anxious plea of our co-religionists everywhere for peace and unity. We join with all who are the <p696> victims of aggression, all who yearn for an end to conflict and contention, all whose devotion to principles of peace and world order promotes the ennobling purposes for which humanity was called into being by an all-loving Creator.

438.60 In the earnestness of our desire to impart to you the fervour of our hope and the depth of our confidence, we cite the emphatic promise of Baha'u'llah: "These fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the 'Most Great Peace' shall come."+F784

[F784. BNE, p. 40.]

The Universal House of Justice

 

439

Appointment of Continental Boards of Counsellors

24 October 1985

To the Baha'is of the World

Dear Baha'i friends,

439.1 It gives us great happiness to announce the membership of the Continental Boards of Counsellors as from the Day of the Covenant, 26 November 1985. The number of Counsellors has been increased from 63 to 72 and adjustments have been made in their geographical distribution in consonance with the development of the Faith around the world.

439.2 The membership of the Continental Boards of Counsellors as now appointed is:

439.2a Africa (18 Counsellors): Mr Hushang Ahdieh (Trustee of the Continental Fund), Mr Husayn Ardikani, Mrs Beatrice O. Asare, Mr Gila Michael Bahta, Mr Friday Ekpe, Mr Oloro Epyeru, Mr Shidan Fat'he-Aazam, Mr Kassimi Fofana, Mr Zekrullah Kazemi, Mr Muhammad Kebdani, Mrs Thelma Khelghati, Mr Roddy Dharma Lutchmaya, Mr Daniel Ramoroesi, Dr Mihdi Samandari, Mrs Edith Senoga, Mr Peter Vuyiya, Mrs Lucretia Mancho Warren, Mr Mabuku Wingi.

439.2b The Americas (17 Counsellors): Dr Hidayatu'llah Ahmadiyyih, Mr Eloy Anello, Dr Farzam Arbab (Trustee of the Continental Fund), Dr Wilma Brady, Mrs Isabel p. de Calderon, Mr Rolf von Czekus, Mr Robert Harris, Mrs Lauretta King, Dr Peter McLaren, Mr Shapoor Monadjem, Mrs Ruth Pringle, Mr Donald O. Rogers, Mr Fred Schechter, Dr Arturo Serrano, Mr Alan Smith, Dr David R. Smith, Mr Rodrigo Tomas.

439.2c Asia (19 Counsellors): Dr Sabir Afaqi, Mr Burhani'd-Din Afshin, Dr Iraj Ayman, Mr Bijan Fareed, Dr John Fozdar, Mr Zabihu'llah <p697> Gulmuhammadi, Mr Bharat Koirala, Mr Ruhu'llah Mumtazi, Mr S. Nagaratnam, Dr Perin Olyai, Mrs Rose Ong, Mr Khudarahm Payman (Trustee of the Continental Fund), Mr Masih Rawhani, Mr Vicente Samaniego, Dr Ilhan Sezgin, U Soe Tin, Mrs Zena Sorabjee, Dr Chellie J. Sundram, Mr Michitoshi Zenimoto.

439.2d Australasia (9 Counsellors): Mr Suhayl 'Ala'i, Mr Ben Ayala, Justice Richard Benson, Dr Kamran Eshraghian, Mrs Tinai Hancock, Mr Lisiate Maka, Mrs Gayle Morrison, Dr Sirus Naraqi, Mrs Joy Stevenson (Trustee of the Continental Fund).

439.2e Europe (9 Counsellors): Dr Agnes Ghaznavi, Mr Hartmut Grossmann, Mr Louis Henuzet (Trustee of the Continental Fund), Mrs Ursula Muehlschlegel, Dr Leo Niederreiter, Mrs Polin Rafat, Mr Adib Taherzadeh, Mr Adam Thorne, Mr Sohrab Youssefian.

439.3 The following nineteen devoted believers who are now being relieved of the onerous duties of membership on the Boards of Counsellors, will, as distinguished servants of the Cause, continue through their outstanding capacities and experience to be sources of stimulation and encouragement to the friends.

439.4 Mr A. Owen Battrick, Mr Erik Blumenthal, Mrs Shirin Boman, Mrs Carmen de Burafato, Mr Athos Costas, Mr Angus Cowan, Mrs Dorothy Ferraby, Mr Aydin Gueney, Dr Dipchand Khianra, Mr Artemus Lamb, Mr Kolonario Oule, Dr Sarah Pereira, Mrs Betty R. Reed, Dr Manuchihr Salmanpur, Mrs Velma Sherrill, Mr Hideya Suzuki, Mrs Bahiyyih Winckler, Mr Donald Witzel, Mr Yan Kee Leong.

439.5 We express to each and every one of these dear friends our heartfelt gratitude and assure them of our prayers in the Holy Shrines for the confirmation of their highly meritorious and self-sacrificing services to the Cause of Baha'u'llah.

439.6 At this time when the Baha'i world is facing the challenge of the International Year of Peace, on the point of completing the Seven Year Plan and standing on the threshold of a new Six Year Plan, we have felt it important to call upon the Counsellors from all the continents to gather at the World Centre for a conference to deliberate on the tasks and opportunities of the years immediately ahead. This conference will take place from 27 December 1985 through 2 January 1986 and is yet one more sign of the rapid advance and consolidation of the institutions of the Cause of God.

439.7 We are profoundly grateful to the Blessed Perfection for His bountiful confirmations which are enabling His strenuously labouring servants in every part of the world to witness the growing influence of His glorious Cause, and to take part in the vitalizing unfoldment of His Administrative Order.

<p698>

439.8 It is our fervent prayer at the Sacred Threshold that the followers of Baha'u'llah

in every land will arise with increased determination and self-abnegation to mirror forth

the standards upheld by His potent Faith.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

440

Reinterment of Baha'u'llah's Faithful Half-Brother

17 November 1985

To the Baha'is of the world

Beloved friends,

440.1 It is with a feeling of joy and gratitude that we inform the Baha'i world of the befitting re-interment of the remains of Mirza Muhammad-Quli, the faithful half-brother and companion in exile of Baha'u'llah, and of eleven members of his family, in a new Baha'i cemetery on a hillside looking across Lake Kinneret and the hills of Galilee towards the Qiblih of the Faith.+F785 This historic event, coinciding fortuitously with the first formal presentation of The Promise of World Peace to a Head of State, is of especial significance in the annals of the Cause of Baha'u'llah.+F786

[F786. Dr Rudolph Kirchlaeger, the President of Austria, was the first head of state to receive The Promise of World Peace (see message no. 438).]

[F785. The Qiblih for Baha'is is the Most Holy Tomb of Baha'u'llah at Bahji, outside of 'Akka.]

440.2 On 12 November 1952 the beloved Guardian jubilantly cabled the Baha'i world his announcement of the acquisition of vitally needed property surrounding the Most Holy Shrine and the Mansion of Bahji in exchange for land donated by the grandchildren of Mirza Muhammad-Quli.

440.3 The land referred to in this cable had been in the possession of Mirza Muhammad-Quli on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, at a place called Nuqayb. He and his family lived there and farmed the land for many years and on his passing, at the instruction of 'Abdu'l-Baha, his remains were buried there, as were subsequently those of members of his family.

440.4 In 1937 Kibbutz Ein Gev was established just to the north of the farm, and the two groups of settlers lived as amicable neighbours until the war of 1948 forced the family to leave the land which, lying on the troubled frontier of the new State of Israel, was expropriated by the Government. The grandchildren of Mirza Muhammad-Quli gave their rights in the land to the Faith which received in exchange the much needed land in Bahji. Thus the little cemetery passed out of Baha'i hands. It remained untouched until 1972 when <p699> the decision was made to approach the authorities with a view to embellishing the site and maintaining it as a place of historic significance for the Faith. However, plans had already been made for the extension of the plantings of the kibbutz and the eventual development of the land in a way that would not permit the permanent re-establishment of the cemetery in that place. Negotiations were then entered into, as a result of which another plot of land in the immediate neighbourhood, but slightly farther from the shore of the Lake on the slope of Tel Susita, was officially designated a Baha'i cemetery and given over to the Baha'i Community. The work of fencing it and planting suitable shrubs and trees was then put in hand and preparations were made to re-inter the precious remains of this family.

440.5 On the morning of Friday 18 October 1985, as the final stage in this process, the remains of Mirza Muhammad-Quli himself were ceremoniously conveyed from the old cemetery to the new and were re-interred there in the presence of the Hands of the Cause Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum and 'Ali-Akbar Furutan, members of the Universal House of Justice and of the International Teaching Centre, and a large gathering of World Centre friends as well as representatives of the Israeli authorities and of Kibbutz Ein Gev. Mrs Husniyyih Baha'i, the granddaughter of Mirza Muhammad-Quli, who is now pioneering in St. Lucia in the West Indies, accompanied by members of her family, had been especially invited to attend the ceremony in honour of her illustrious forebear, to whom 'Abdu'l-Baha paid eloquent tribute in Memorials of the Faithful.+F787

[F787. MF, pp. 70-71.]

The Universal House of Justice

 

441

Execution of 'Azizu'llah Ashjari by Firing Squad

24 November 1985

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

441.1 WITH DEEP SORROW ANNOUNCE EXECUTION BY FIRING SQUAD ON 19 NOVEMBER 1985 OF 'AZIZU'LLAH ASHJARI, A BAHA'I PRISONER IN TABRIZ. HE WAS FIFTY YEARS OLD AND HAD BEEN IMPRISONED FOR OVER FOUR YEARS. UNLIKE MANY OTHER EXECUTED BAHA'IS, HIS BODY WAS GIVEN TO THE FAMILY, AND BURIAL TOOK PLACE 22 NOVEMBER. NO OTHER DETAILS AVAILABLE. LATEST INFORMATION RECEIVED INDICATES 767 BAHA'IS ARE STILL IN PRISON. ...

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p700>

442

Presentation of Peace Statement to the Secretary-General of the United Nations

25 November 1985

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

442.1 ON EVE DAY COVENANT WE ANNOUNCE WITH PROFOUND GRATITUDE SUCCESSFUL PRESENTATION TO SECRETARY-GENERAL UNITED NATIONS STATEMENT PEACE ADDRESSED TO PEOPLES WORLD.+F788 PRESENCE AMATU'L-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM AS HEAD DELEGATION BAHA'I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY INVESTED THIS EVENT WITH SIGNIFICANCE THAT WILL WARM HEARTS EVOKE ADMIRATION INSPIRE APPRECIATION FUTURE GENERATIONS. PRESENTATION 22 NOVEMBER TO SECRETARY-GENERAL IN CONJUNCTION ONGOING PRESENTATIONS STATEMENT TO HEADS STATE THROUGHOUT WORLD PRESAGES NEW STAGE IN RELATIONSHIP BAHA'I COMMUNITY TO UNITED NATIONS. IT IMMEDIATELY LENDS ADDED IMPETUS TO ACTIVITIES INTERNATIONAL YEAR PEACE BEING UNDERTAKEN WITH EXEMPLARY VIGOUR EFFICIENCY BY NATIONAL LOCAL BAHA'I COMMUNITIES.

[F788. The presentation of The Promise of World Peace took place on 25 November, the eve of the Day of the Covenant.]

442.2 WE TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY INFORM FRIENDS THAT OF MORE THAN FIFTY HEADS STATE WHO HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED PEACE STATEMENT TWO THUS FAR HAVE DIRECTLY ADDRESSED TO US THEIR POSITIVE THOUGHTFUL RESPONSES, NAMELY, PRESIDENTS COLOMBIA MARSHALL ISLANDS. REPORTS REACHING WORLD CENTRE INDICATE INCREASINGLY SYMPATHETIC INTEREST BEING AROUSED BY STATEMENT AMONG PEOPLE ALL LEVELS SOCIETY. WARMLY APPRECIATE ADMIRE CREATIVE ENERGY WHICH FRIENDS EVERYWHERE ARE APPLYING TO STUDY AND DISSEMINATION THE PROMISE OF WORLD PEACE.

442.3 REMARKABLE RANGE ACTIVITIES THAT HAVE OCCURRED JUST ONE MONTH SINCE RELEASE STATEMENT IMBUES US WITH FEELINGS SATISFACTION JOY. GRATEFULLY RECOGNIZE BLESSINGS BEING SHOWERED COMMUNITY GREATEST NAME AS DERIVING FROM WORLD-AWAKENING SACRIFICES CHARACTERIZING LIVES OUR BELOVED HEROIC BROTHERS SISTERS WHOSE SPIRITUAL RESOURCES INDOMITABLE COURAGE HAVE WITHSTOOD NO LESS THAN SEVEN YEARS UNRELENTING ASSAULTS UNPRECEDENTED UPHEAVALS PERVADING BAHA'U'LLAH'S NATIVE LAND.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p701>

443

Presentation of Peace Statement to the President of the United States

12 December 1985

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

443.1 PROFOUNDLY GRATEFUL PRESENTATION PEACE STATEMENT PRESIDENT UNITED STATES RONALD W REAGAN. THAT THE PRESENTATION OCCURRED AS PART PUBLIC EVENT MARKING HUMAN RIGHTS DAY+F789 AND THAT CHIEF EXECUTIVE GREAT REPUBLIC WEST OPENLY CHAMPIONED RIGHTS UNEQUIVOCALLY PROCLAIMED INNOCENCE OUR SORELY WRONGED BRETHREN IN IRAN HAVE INVESTED THIS ACHIEVEMENT WITH SIGNIFICANCE THAT CAN BE APPRECIATED ONLY WITHIN CONTEXT GLORIOUS PROMISES YOUR COUNTRY'S DESTINY RECORDED OUR SACRED SCRIPTURES. ON THIS PORTENTOUS OCCASION WE RECALL WITH HOPE AND JOY PROPHETIC WORDS BELOVED MASTER ADDRESSED YOUR ILLUSTRIOUS COMMUNITY: "THE PRESTIGE OF THE FAITH OF GOD," HE ASSERTED, "HAS IMMENSELY INCREASED. ITS GREATNESS IS NOW MANIFEST THE DAY IS APPROACHING WHEN IT WILL HAVE CAST A TREMENDOUS TUMULT IN MEN'S HEARTS. REJOICE, THEREFORE, O DENIZENS OF AMERICA, REJOICE WITH EXCEEDING GLADNESS!"+F790

[F790. Quoted in WOB, p. 79.]

[F789. Human Rights Day, 10 December, was established by the United Nations to commemorate the General Assembly's adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

444

Adoption of Resolution in Support of Iranian Baha'is by the United Nations General Assembly -- Affirmation of Emergence from Obscurity

17 December 1985

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

444.1 WITH JOYFUL GRATEFUL HEARTS WE ACCLAIM UNPRECEDENTED RECOGNITION BAHA'I COMMUNITY THROUGH ADOPTION BY UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF RESOLUTION MAKING SPECIFIC REFERENCE PERSECUTED FRIENDS IRAN. FOR FIRST TIME NAME PRECIOUS FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH MENTIONED HIGHEST MOST WIDELY REPRESENTATIVE INTERNATIONAL FORUM YET ESTABLISHED THUS FULFILLING LONG-CHERISHED WISH BELOVED GUARDIAN. SIGNIFICANCE THIS MOMENTOUS DEVELOPMENT ALSO UNDERSCORED BY FACT THAT ONLY IN THREE INSTANCES BEFORE HAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY ITSELF ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS <p702> CENSURING PARTICULAR COUNTRIES FOR BAD HUMAN RIGHTS RECORDS. PROCESS WHICH RESULTED SUCH A REMARKABLE OUTCOME BEGAN TWO YEARS AGO WITH DECISION UNITED NATIONS COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS TO SEND REPRESENTATIVE IRAN INVESTIGATE VIOLATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS INCLUDING THOSE DIRECTLY AFFECTING BAHA'I COMMUNITY. THE COMMISSION DETERRED IN ITS INTENTION BY IRANIAN AUTHORITIES REFERRED ISSUE TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY WHERE MATTER WAS DISCUSSED FIRST IN THIRD COMMITTEE WHEN INTERESTS FAITH WERE VIGOROUSLY UPHELD BY REPRESENTATIVES VARIOUS COUNTRIES AND RESOLUTION WAS PROPOSED AND THEN IN PLENARY SESSION WHICH RATIFIED RESOLUTION ON 13 DECEMBER. NOTABLE CONSEQUENCE IS RETENTION ISSUE AGENDA GENERAL ASSEMBLY THUS PERMITTING INTENSIFICATION EFFORTS RELIEVE SITUATION SUFFERING BELIEVERS IRAN IN ANTICIPATION DAY COMPLETE EMANCIPATION FAITH GOD THAT LAND. WARMLY COMMEND ACKNOWLEDGE UNTIRING EFFORTS UNITED NATIONS REPRESENTATIVES BAHA'I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY RESOLUTELY SUPPORTED BY NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES ALL CONTINENTS.

444.2 OCCURRING IN CONJUNCTION WITH PRESENTATION PEACE STATEMENT BY AMATU'L-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM TO SECRETARY-GENERAL UNITED NATIONS ONLY FEW WEEKS BEFORE,+F791 WITH ONGOING DELIVERY SAME STATEMENT TO HEADS STATE THROUGHOUT WORLD AND WITH UNEQUIVOCAL PUBLIC DEFENCE IRANIAN BAHA'IS BY PRESIDENT UNITED STATES AT HUMAN RIGHTS DAY CEREMONY, THIS INESTIMABLE ACHIEVEMENT DEFINITELY AFFIRMS EMERGENCE FAITH OBSCURITY HERALDS NEW PHASE IRREPRESSIBLE UNFOLDMENT DIVINELY APPOINTED WORLD ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH.

[F791. See message dated 25 November 1985 (no. 442).]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

445

Message to Conference of Counsellors in the Holy Land

27 December 1985

To the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors

Beloved friends,

445.1 With all the warmth of our hearts we welcome you to this historic Conference, to discuss the challenges and opportunities so swiftly devolving upon the struggling Faith of God.+F792

[F792. The Conference was held at the Baha'i World Centre in Haifa, Israel, 27 December 1985 through 2 January 1986.]

445.2 The main features of this spiritually potent occasion are evident. Your entry upon your new term of office+F793 as the Seven Year Plan approaches its concluion, <p703> with the measures to be taken to ensure its success heavy on your shoulders; consideration of the main features of the new Six Year Plan which will terminate on the eve of the Centenary of the Ascension of Baha'u'llah;+F794 the golden opportunities offered by the Year of Peace, which must be seized and fully exploited; the dramatic emergence of the Faith from obscurity into the limelight of the world's highest councils, with the attendant enhancement of its status; a tremendous upsurge of zealous activity in the Baha'i world community as it takes to its heart the recently issued Statement on Peace;+F795 the deep and universal commitment already made by that community to a vast variety of social and economic development programmes; the widespread and growing awareness among the leaders of mankind that a new stage in human history has opened and that the guidance of the past will not carry it through the emergencies of the present; these, together with the invitation extended to the peoples of the world to examine the Baha'i community as a working model for the reorganization of the world,+F796 are some of the pressures forcing themselves upon the attention of those responsible for the direction, propagation and protection of the Cause of God.

[F796. The invitation was extended in the message dated October 1985 (no. 438).]

[F795. See message no. 438.]

[F794. 28 May 1992.]

[F793. In its message dated 24 October 1985 the Universal House of Justice announced the appointment of members of the Continental Boards of Counsellors to a new five-year term of service commencing on the Day of the Covenant, 26 November 1985. See message of 29 June 1979 (no. 229) regarding the setting of terms for five-year periods.]

445.3 Who can doubt that we are now entering a period of unprecedented and unimaginable developments in the onward march of the Faith? Some intimation of what these may be can already be deduced and preparations made to deal with them. We know that the present victories will lead to active opposition, for which the Baha'i world community must be prepared. We know the prime needs of the Cause at the moment: a vast expansion of its numbers and financial resources; a greater consolidation of its community life and the authority of its institutions; an observable increase in those characteristics of loving unity, stability of family life, freedom from prejudice and rectitude of conduct which must distinguish the Baha'is from the spiritually lost and wayward multitudes around them. Surely the time cannot be long delayed when we must deal universally with that entry by troops foretold by the Master as a prelude to mass conversion.+F797 How are we to prepare ourselves for that examination of the Baha'i experience which will undoubtedly be made by shrewd and doubting questioners?

[F797. TABA III:681.]

445.4 These are some of the subjects before you. The role of the Counsellors is all- pervading and vital in the life of the Cause. You must be wise and steadfast, encouraging and brotherly in all your associations with the believers and in your consultation with National Spiritual Assemblies; through your Board members and their assistants you must strengthen and uplift the Local Spiritual Assemblies and rouse the spirits and enlarge the vision of the believers <p704> everywhere. Your prayers in the Sacred Shrines during these few days will strengthen and guide you; be assured of our own prayers for a bountiful outpouring of grace and inspiration as you embark upon the deliberations which will enable you to discharge your sacred and historic duties.

445.5 We wish you a happy, exciting and fruitful conference.

The Universal House of Justice

 

446

Release of a Compilation on Women

1 January 1986

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

446.1 The Universal House of Justice requested the Research Department to prepare a compilation on the subject of women, taking into consideration the Baha'i concepts of the equality of the sexes, the role of education in the development of women, family life, fostering the development of women, etc. The compilation has now been completed and a copy is attached.+F798

[F798. See CC II:355-406.]

446.2 It is left to your discretion to determine how best the contents of this compilation can be shared with the believers in your community.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

 

447

Report from Conference in the Holy Land; the Inception of the Fourth Epoch of the Formative Age

2 January 1986

The Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

447.1 The eager expectation with which we welcomed to the World Centre, on 27 December, sixty-four Counsellors from the five continents to discuss, with the International Teaching Centre, the challenges and opportunities facing the Baha'i world community, has, at the conclusion of their historic conference, been transmuted into feelings of deepest joy, gratitude and love.

<p705>

447.2 Graced by the presence of the Hands of the Cause Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, Ugo Giachery, 'Ali-Akbar Furutan, 'Ali-Muhammad Varqa and Collis Featherstone, the Conference was organized and managed with admirable foresight and efficiency by the International Teaching Centre, whose individual members watched over and served untiringly the needs of the participants and the progress of the Conference itself.

447.3 Convened in the concourse of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice as the Counsellors of the Baha'i world entered upon their new five-year term of office, within months of the termination of the Seven Year Plan and the opening of the new Six Year Plan, its aura heightened by the spiritual potencies of the Holy Shrines and the euphoric sense of victory and blessing now pervading the entire Baha'i world, the Conference attained such heights of consultative exaltation, spirituality and power as only those serving the Blessed Beauty can enjoy.

447.4 The organic growth of the Cause of God, indicated by recent significant developments in its life, becomes markedly apparent in the light of the main objectives and expectations of the Six Year Plan: a vast expansion of the numerical and financial resources of the Cause; enlargement of its status in the world; a world-wide increase in the production, distribution and use of Baha'i literature; a firmer and world-wide demonstration of the Baha'i way of life requiring special consideration of the Baha'i education of children and youth, the strengthening of Baha'i family life and attention to universal participation and the spiritual enrichment of individual life; further acceleration in the process of the maturation of local and national Baha'i communities and a dynamic consolidation of the unity of the two arms of the Administrative Order; an extension of the involvement of the Baha'i world community in the needs of the world around it; and the pursuit of social and economic development in well-established Baha'i communities. These are some of the features of the Six Year Plan which will open on 21 April 1986 and terminate on 20 April 1992.

447.5 Ridvan 1992 will mark the inception of a Holy Year, during which the Centenary of the Ascension of Baha'u'llah will be observed by commemorations around the world and the inauguration of His Covenant will be celebrated, in the City of the Covenant, by the holding of the second Baha'i World Congress.+F799

[F799. The first Baha'i World Congress was held in London during the 1963 Ridvan Festival from 28 April through 2 May. See the first statement from the Universal House of Justice, issued on that occasion and dated 30 April 1963 (message no. 1).]

447.6 The beloved Counsellors, strengthened and enriched by their experience in the Holy Land, will, as early as possible, consult with all National Spiritual Assemblies on measures to conclude triumphantly the current Plan, and on preparations to launch the Six Year Plan. In anticipation of those consultations, <p706> National Spiritual Assemblies will receive the full announcement of the aims and characteristics of that Plan, so that together with the Counsellors they may formulate the national plans which will, for each community, establish its pursuit of the overall objectives.+F800

[F800. See message no. 453.]

447.7 This new process, whereby the national goals of the next Plan are to be largely formulated by National Spiritual Assemblies and Boards of Counsellors, signalizes the inauguration of a new stage in the unfoldment of the Administrative Order. Our beloved Guardian anticipated a succession of epochs during the Formative Age of the Faith; have no hesitation in recognizing that this new development in the maturation of Baha'i institutions marks the inception of the fourth epoch of that Age.+F801

[F801. The Formative Age began in 1921 with the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha and with Shoghi Effendi's assumption of the office of Guardian. The first epoch of the Formative Age spanned the years 1921-46 and included the first Seven Year Plan (1937-44) pursued by the Baha'is of the United States and Canada. The second epoch, 1946-63, embraced the second Seven Year Plan embarked upon by the Baha'is of North America, plans of shorter durations pursued by other national communities, and the Ten Year World Crusade, which for the first time involved the entire Baha'i world in one common programme of expansion and consolidation. The third epoch, 1963-86, encompassed the Nine, Five, and Seven Year Plans inaugurated by the Universal House of Justice. The fourth epoch began in 1986. The epochs of the Formative Age are different from those of the Divine Plan, the first epoch of which began in 1937 and ended in 1963. We continue to be in the second epoch of the Divine Plan. For a fuller explanation of the epochs of the Formative Age, see message no. 451.]

447.8 Shoghi Effendi perceived in the organic life of the Cause a dialectic of victory and crisis. The unprecedented triumphs, generated by the adamantine steadfastness of the Iranian friends, will inevitably provoke opposition to test and increase our strength. Let every Baha'i in the world be assured that whatever may befall this growing Faith of God is but incontrovertible evidence of the loving care with which the King of Glory and His martyred Herald, through the incomparable Centre of His Covenant and our beloved Guardian, are preparing His humble followers for ultimate and magnificent triumph. Our loving prayers are with you all.

The Universal House of Justice

<p707>

448

Women -- Their Role in Society and the Establishment of Peace; Membership on the Universal House of Justice

5 January 1986

To an individual Baha'i

Dear Baha'i friend,

448.1 The Universal House of Justice has directed us to transmit the following in reply to your letter dated 19 December 1985.

448.2 Concerning your request for material relating to the role of women in society and in the establishment of peace, a compilation of extracts from the Writings and Utterances of 'Abdu'l-Baha, and from letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi and the House of Justice, is enclosed.+F802 These extracts concern the equality of women, their role, and, either directly or indirectly, their importance to the attainment of peace.

[F802. Many of the extracts that were enclosed are included in the compilation on the subject of women sent on 1 January 1986 (see message no. 446). See CC II:355-406.]

448.3 Additionally, from one of 'Abdu'l-Baha's previously untranslated Tablets, the following extract is taken:

448.3a The handmaidens of God and the bondsmaids in His divine Court should reveal such attributes and attitudes amongst the women of the world as would cause them to stand out and achieve renown in the circles of women. That is, they should associate with them with supreme chastity and steadfast decency, with unshakeable faith, articulate speech, an eloquent tongue, irrefutable testimony and high resolve. Beseech God that thou mayest attain unto all these bounties. 'Abdu'l-Baha also stated:

448.3b The woman is indeed of the greater importance to the race. She has the greater burden and the greater work. Look at the vegetable and the animal worlds. The palm which carries the fruit is the tree most prized by the date grower. The Arab knows that for a long journey the mare has the longest wind. For her greater strength and fierceness, the lioness is more feared by the hunter than the lion.

448.3c ... The woman has greater moral courage than the man; she has also special gifts which enable her to govern in moments of danger and crisis. ...

('Abdu'l-Baha in London, pp. 102-03)

<p708>

448.3d Consider, for instance, a mother who has tenderly reared a son for twenty years to the age of maturity. Surely she will not consent to having that son torn asunder and killed in the field of battle. Therefore, as woman advances toward the degree of man in power and privilege, with the right of vote and control in human government, most assuredly war will cease; for woman is naturally the most devoted and staunch advocate of international peace.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 375)

A further extract about women and peace is taken from a letter written on behalf of the Guardian on 24 March 1945:

448.4 What 'Abdu'l-Baha meant about the women arising for peace is that this is a matter which vitally affects women, and when they form a conscious and overwhelming mass of public opinion against war there can be no war. The Baha'i women are already organized through being members of the Faith and the Administrative Order. No further organization is needed. But they should, through teaching and through the active moral support they give to every movement directed towards peace, seek to exert a strong influence on other women's minds in regard to this essential matter.

448.5 With reference to the membership of the House of Justice being possible only for men, a compilation on this subject is also enclosed.+F803 The following extracts are contained in this compilation, but have been selected for separate mention. The first is from Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha section 38:

[F803. The extracts are too lengthy to include in this volume.]

448.5a The House of Justice, however, according to the explicit text of the Law of God, is confined to men; this for a wisdom of the Lord God's which will erelong be made manifest as clearly as the sun at high noon.

448.6 And from a letter dated 14 April 1975 written on behalf of the House of Justice to an individual believer, are taken these extracts:

448.6a The Universal House of Justice has asked us to assure you that it appreciates the deep concern you express in your recent letter about the membership of the Universal House of Justice being confined to men, and it understands your feeling of frustration at not being able to find an answer that would help you to accept that this is not an injustice being imposed on womankind. The House of Justice agrees with you that our Sacred Writings are replete with passages affirming the equality of both sexes; that from the spiritual point of view, there is no difference <p709> between women and men. In fact, many statements made by 'Abdu'l- Baha extol women. He has said that "in some respects woman is superior to man." ...+F804

[F804. PT, p. 161.]

448.6b The Universal House of Justice points out that when we accept the Manifestation of God for our time, we must accept what He says though at the moment we may not comprehend the meaning of some of His statements. Some things, such as Baha'u'llah's Teachings regarding life after death, we have to accept on faith.

448.7 May you be guided and sustained in promoting the Word of God at the meetings you are planning and in the opportunities that occur in your daily life.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

 

449

Message to National Youth Conference, Adelaide, Australia

13 January 1986

To the Baha'i Youth of Australia

449.1 ENTRANCE FAITH FOURTH EPOCH FORMATIVE AGE HERALDS ADVENT NEW CHALLENGES OPPORTUNITIES FRIENDS EVERYWHERE EXEMPLIFY DIVINE QUALITIES FIRMLY ESTABLISH BAHA'I COMMUNITY AS MODEL WORTHY EMULATION PEOPLES WORLD INEVITABLY MOVING TOWARD TRANSFORMATION HUMAN SOCIETY AND LAYING FOUNDATIONS WORLD PEACE. CONFIDENT ENERGETIC SPIRIT MEMBERS YOUR GENERATION WILL INSPIRE FELLOW BELIEVERS ALL AGES DISCHARGE THEIR SHARE DUTIES OBLIGATIONS DURING YEAR PEACE AS ALL LABOUR UNITEDLY FOR VICTORY SEVEN YEAR PLAN AND CONTEMPLATE NEW LEVELS ACHIEVEMENT COURSE SIX YEAR PLAN.

449.2 OFFERING OUR PRAYERS SUPPLICATIONS YOUR BEHALF. MAY PROMISED BLESSINGS CONFIRMATIONS BAHA'U'LLAH SUSTAIN YOU DURING YOUR DELIBERATIONS AND CROWN YOUR EFFORTS WITH OUTSTANDING VICTORIES.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p710>

450

Inaugural Broadcast of Radio Baha'i Panama

31 January 1986

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Panama

450.1 DEEPLY GRATIFIED FIRST TRANSMISSION RADIO BAHA'I PANAMA CULMINATION LONG PERIOD TRAINING DEVOTED LABOURS BAHA'I COMMUNITY GUAYMIES MANY INDIVIDUALS. SUGGEST NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SEEK EXTENSION GRADUATED PROGRAMMING PERIOD AT LEAST 6 MONTHS ENABLE NON PROFESSIONAL STAFF ORGANIZE PROCURE MATERIALS GAIN NEEDED TECHNICAL PROFICIENCIES DEVELOP CULTURAL CENTRE. CONGRATULATIONS GREAT ACHIEVEMENT.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

451

Epochs of the Formative Age

5 February 1986

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

451.1 In the letter dated 2 January 1986 written by the Universal House of Justice to the Baha'is of the world, reference was made to the inception of the fourth epoch of the Formative Age.+F805 In response to questions subsequently put to the House of Justice about the periods related to the earlier epochs of that Age, the Research Department was requested to prepare a statement on the subject. This has now been presented, and a copy is enclosed.

[F805. See message no. 447.]

451.2 Kindly share this material of topical interest with the friends, as you deem fit, so that it may be studied in their deepening classes, summer schools, conferences and similar gatherings.

With loving Baha'i greetings, Department of the Secretariat <p711> The Epochs of the Formative Age

Prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice

Introduction:

451.3 In disclosing the panoramic vision of the unfoldment of the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah, Shoghi Effendi refers to three major evolutionary stages through which the Faith must pass -- the Apostolic or Heroic Age (1844-1921) associated with the Central Figures of the Faith;+F806 the Formative or Transitional Age (1921-),+F807 the "hallmark"+F808 of which is the rise and establishment of the Administrative Order, based on the execution of the provisions of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Will and Testament;+F809 and, the Golden Age which will represent the "consummation of this glorious Dispensation."+F810 Close examination of the details of Baha'i history reveals that the individual Ages are comprised of a number of periods-inseparable parts of one integrated whole.+F811

[F811. GPB, p. xv.]

[F810. WOB, p. 156. Letter dated 8 February 1934.]

[F809. CF, p. 5. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Baha'is.]

[F808. WOB, p. 156. Letter dated 8 February 1934.]

[F807. WOB, p. 98. Letter dated 8 February 1934.]

[F806. CF, pp. 4-5. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Baha'is.]

451.4 In relation to the Heroic Age of our Faith, the Guardian, in a letter dated 5 June

1947 to the American Baha'is, specified that this Age consisted of three epochs and described the distinguishing features of each:

451.4a ... the Apostolic and Heroic Age of our Faith, fell into three distinct epochs, of nine, of thirty-nine and of twenty-nine years' duration, associated respectively with the Babi Dispensation and the ministries of Baha'u'llah and of 'Abdu'l- Baha. This primitive Age of the Baha'i Era, unapproached in spiritual fecundity by any period associated with the mission of the Founder of any previous Dispensation, was impregnated, from its inception to its termination, with the creative energies generated through the advent of two independent Manifestations and the establishment of a Covenant unique in the spiritual annals of mankind.+F812

[F812. CF, pp. 4-5. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Baha'is.]

451.5 The Formative Age, in which we now live and serve,+F813 was ushered in with the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha.+F814 Its major thrust is the shaping, development and consolidation of the local, national and international institutions of the Faith.+F815 It is clear from the enumeration of the tasks associated with the Formative Age that their achievement will require increasingly mature levels of functioning of the Baha'i community:

[F815. GPB, p. 324.]

[F814. GPB, p. xiv.]

[F813. WOB, p. 98. Letter dated 8 February 1934.]

<p712>

451.5a During this Formative Age of the Faith, and in the course of present and succeeding epochs, the last and crowning stage in the erection of the framework of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Baha'u'llah -- the election of the Universal House of Justice -- will have been completed, the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Mother Book of His Revelation, will have been codified and its laws promulgated, the Lesser Peace will have been established, the unity of mankind will have been achieved and its maturity attained, the Plan conceived by 'Abdu'l- Baha will have been executed, the emancipation of the Faith from the fetters of religious orthodoxy will have been effected, and its independent religious status will have been universally recognized, ...+F816

[F816. CF, p. 6. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Baha'is.]

451.6 The epochs of the Formative Age mark progressive stages in the evolution of the organic Baha'i community and signal the maturation of its institutions, thus enabling the Faith to operate at new levels and to initiate new functions. The timing of each epoch is designated by the Head of the Faith, and given the organic nature of evolutionary development, the transition from one epoch to another may not be abrupt, but may well occur over a period of time. This is the case, for example, in relation to both the inception of the Formative Age and the end of its first epoch. In relation to the former, the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha is the transitional event most often identified with the close of the Heroic Age and the beginning of the Formative Age.+F817 However, the Guardian also asserts that the Apostolic Age of the Faith concluded "more particularly with the passing [in 1932] of His well-beloved and illustrious sister, the Most Exalted Leaf -- the last survivor of a glorious and heroic age."+F818 With regard to the termination of the first epoch of the Formative Age, Shoghi Effendi has placed this between the years 1944+F819 and 1946.+F820

[F820. MBW, p. 89. Cablegram dated 23 August 1955. See also letter dated 18 January 1953 written on behalf of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States (reference cited in 451-17 below).]

[F819. CF, p. 5. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Baha'is.]

[F818. WOB, p. 98. Letter dated 8 February 1934.]

[F817. GPB, p. xiv.]

451.7 Before describing the individual epochs of the Formative Age, it is important to comment on the use of the term "epoch" in the writings of the Guardian. In a letter date 18 January 1953, written on his behalf to a National Spiritual Assembly, it is explained that the term is used to apply both to the stages in the Formative Age of the Faith, and to the phases in the unfoldment of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan.+F821 We are currently in the fourth-epoch of the <p713> Formative Age+F822 and the second epoch of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan.+F823 (The first epoch of the Divine Plan began in 1937, with the inception of the First Seven Year Plan of the North American Baha'i community, and concluded with the successful completion of the Ten Year Crusade in 1963.+F824 The second epoch of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan commenced in 1964 with the inauguration of the Nine Year Plan of the Universal House of Justice.)

[F824. BN, no. 265 (March 1953): 4. Letter dated 18 January 1953 written on behalf of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States.]

[F823. See message no. 14.]

[F822. See message no. 447.]

[F821. BN, no. 265 (March 1953): 4. Letter dated 18 January 1953 written on behalf of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States.]

451.8 The primary focus of this statement is on the epochs of the Formative Age of the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah.

The First Epoch of the Formative Age: 1921-1944/46

451.9 The first epoch of this Age witnessed the "birth and the primary stages in the erection of the framework of the Administrative Order of the Faith."+F825 The epoch was characterized by concentration on the formation of local and national institutions in all five continents,+F826 thereby initiating the erection of the machinery necessary for future systematic teaching activities. This epoch was further marked by the launching, at the instigation of the Guardian, of the First Seven Year Plan (1937-1944) by the American Baha'i community. This Plan, drawing its inspiration from the Tablets of the Divine Plan, represented the first systematic teaching campaign of the Baha'i community and inaugurated the initial stage of the execution of 'Abdu'l- Baha's Divine Plan in the Western Hemisphere.+F827

[F827. CF, p. 5. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Baha'is.]

[F826. MBW, p. 19. Cablegram dated 24 December 1951.]

[F825. CF, p. 5. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Baha'is.]

The Second Epoch of the Formative Age: 1946-1963

451.10 This epoch extended the developments of the first epoch by calling for the consummation of a laboriously constructed Administrative Order,"+F828 and was to witness the formulation of a succession of teaching plans designed to facilitate the development of the Faith beyond the confines of the Western Hemisphere and the continent of Europe.+F829 This epoch was distinguished, in the first instance, by the simultaneous and often spontaneous prosecution of Baha'i national plans in both the East and the West.+F830 For example, in a letter written at Naw-Ruz 105 [1949] to the Baha'is in the East, the beloved Guardian listed the specific plans undertaken by the United States, British, Indian, Persian, Australian and New Zealand, and 'Iraqi National Spiritual Assemblies, and indicated that this concerted action signalized the transition into the <p714> second epoch of the Formative Age.+F831 The internal consolidation and the administrative experience gained by the National Assemblies was utilized and mobilized by the Guardian with the launching of the Ten Year World Crusade+F832 -- a crusade involving the simultaneous prosecution of twelve national plans. The plans derived their direction from 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan, and the goals were assigned by Shoghi Effendi from the World Centre of the Faith.+F833 A second distinguishing feature of this epoch was the "RISE"+F834 and "STEADY CONSOLIDATION"+F835 of the World Centre of the Faith.

[F835. MBW, p. 13. Cablegram dated 25 April 1951.]

[F834. MBW, p. 13. Cablegram dated 25 April 1951.]

[F833. MBW, pp. 151-53. Letter dated 4 May 1953.]

[F832. CF, p. 140. Letter dated 20 August 1955 to the American Baha'is.]

[F831. Tawqi'at-i-Mubadrakih, BE 102-109 (Tihran: Baha'i Publishing Trust, BE 125), pp. 99-188. Letter dated Naw-Ruz BE 105 to the Baha'is in the East.]

[F830. MBW, p. 13. Cablegram dated 25 April 1951.]

[F829. CF, p. 6. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Baha'is.]

[F828. CF, p. 6. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Baha'is.]

451.11 The second epoch thus clearly demonstrated the further maturation of the institutions of the Administrative Order. It witnessed the appointment of the Hands of the Cause,+F836 the introduction of Auxiliary Boards,+F837 and the establishment of the International Baha'i Council.+F838 The culminating event of the epoch was the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963. It further demonstrated the more effective and co-ordinated use of the administrative machinery to prosecute the goals of the first global spiritual crusade, and the emergence in ever sharper relief of the World Centre of the Faith.

[F838. MBW, pp. 7-8. Cablegram dated 9 January 1951.]

[F837. MBW, p. 44. Cablegram dated 8 October 1952. And, pp. 127-28. Letter dated October 1957.]

[F836. MBW, pp. 18-20. Cablegram dated 24 December 1951.]

The Third Epoch of the Formative Age: 1963-1986

451.12 In addressing the British National Spiritual Assembly in 1951, the Guardian foreshadowed "world-wide enterprises destined to be embarked upon, in future epochs of that same [Formative] Age, by the Universal House of Justice."+F839 In announcing the Nine Year Plan, "the second of those world-encircling enterprises destined in the course of time to carry the Word of God to every human Soul,"+F840 the Universal House of Justice embarked upon the process anticipated by the Guardian and proclaimed the commencement of the third epoch of the Formative Age, an epoch which called the Baha'is to a yet more mature level of administrative functioning, consistent with the expected vast increase in the size and diversity of the community, its emergence as a model to mankind, and the extension of the influence of the Faith in the world at large. The House of Justice, in a letter dated October 1963, stated:

[F840. See message no. 6.]

[F839. UD, p. 261. Guardian's postscript to a letter dated 25 February 1951, written on his behalf to the National Spiritual Assembly of the British Isles.]

<p715>

451.12a Beloved friends, the Cause of God, guarded and nurtured since its inception by God's Messengers, by the Centre of His Covenant and by His Sign on earth, now enters a new epoch, the third of the Formative Age.+F841 It must now grow rapidly in size, increase its spiritual cohesion and executive ability, develop its institutions and extend its influence into all strata of society. We, its members, must, by constant study of the life-giving Word, and by dedicated service, deepen in spiritual understanding and show to the world a mature, responsible, fundamentally assured and happy way of life, far removed from the passions, prejudices and distractions of present day society.+F842

[F842. See message no. 6.]

[F841. The Centre of the Covenant is one of 'Abdu'l-Baha's titles; the Sign of God is one of the titles 'Abdu'l-Baha used in His Will and Testament to refer to Shoghi Effendi the Guardian of the Cause of God.]

451.12b The period of the third epoch encompassed three world plans, involving all National Spiritual Assemblies, under the direction of the Universal House of Justice, namely, the Nine Year Plan (1964-1973), the Five Year Plan (1974-1979), and the Seven Year Plan (1979-1986). This third epoch witnessed the emergence of the Faith from obscurity+F843 and the initiation of activities designed to foster the social and economic development of communities.+F844 The institution of the Continental Boards of Counsellors was brought into existence+F845 leading to the establishment of the International Teaching Centre.+F846 Assistants to the Auxiliary Boards were also introduced.+F847 At the World Centre of the Faith, the historic construction and occupation of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice was a crowning event.+F848

[F848. See message no. 354.]

[F847. See messages nos 132 and 137.]

[F846. See message no. 132.]

[F845. See message no. 58.]

[F844. See message no. 379.]

[F843. See message no. 361.]

The Fourth Epoch of the Formative Age: 1986-2000+F849

[F849. Refer to Universal House of Justice message dated 16 January 2001 to the Baha'is of the World stating that the Faith had entered the fifth epoch of the Formative Age. -- M.W.T.]

451.13 In a letter dated 2 January 1986 written by the Universal House of Justice to the Baha'is of the World, the Supreme Body announced the inception of the fourth epoch of the Formative Age. It highlighted the significant developments that had taken place in the "organic growth of the Cause of God"+F850 during the course of the recently completed third epoch, by assessing the readiness of the Baha'i community to begin to address the objectives of the new Six Year Plan scheduled to begin on 21 April 1986, and, outlined the general aims and characteristics of this new Plan. Whereas national plans had previously <p716> derived largely from the World Centre, in this new epoch the specific goals for each national community will be formulated, within the framework of the overall objectives of the Plan, by means of consultation between the particular National Spiritual Assembly and the Continental Board of Counsellors. As the Universal House of Justice states:

[F850. See message no. 447.]

451.13a This new process ... signalizes the inauguration of a new stage in the unfoldment of the Administrative Order. Our beloved Guardian anticipated a succession of epochs during the Formative Age of the Faith; we have no hesitation in recognizing that this new development in the maturation of Baha'i institutions marks the inception of the fourth epoch of that Age.+F851 Future epochs

[F851. See message no. 447.]

451.14 The tasks that remain to be accomplished during the course of the Formative Age are many and challenging. Additional epochs can be anticipated, each marking significant stages in the evolution of the Administrative Order and culminating in the Golden Age of the Faith.+F852 The Golden Age, itself, will involve "successive epochs"+F853 leading ultimately to the establishment of the Most Great Peace, to the World Baha'i Commonwealth and to the "birth and efflorescence of a world civilization."+F854

[F854. CF, p. 6. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Baha'is.]

[F853. MBW, p. 155. Letter dated 4 May 1953.]

[F852. CF, p. 6. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Baha'is.]

 

452

Plans for the Dedication of the Mother Temple of the Indian Subcontinent, New Delhi

24 February 1986

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

452.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE DEDICATION MOTHER TEMPLE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT WILL BE HELD NEW DELHI 23-27 DECEMBER 1986. AMATU'L-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM WILL REPRESENT UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE THIS HISTORIC OCCASION AND DEDICATE TEMPLE. TEMPLE DEDICATION COMMITTEE FORMED UNDER AEGIS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY INDIA WILL CONVEY NECESSARY INFORMATION.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p717>

453

The Six Year Plan -- Major Objectives and Setting National Goals

25 February 1986

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

The Six Year Plan

453.1 On 2 January 1986, on the closing day of the Counsellors' Conference, the Universal House of Justice announced certain features of the Six Year Plan and the methods by which they national goals were to be worked out in consultation between the Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies.+F855 Before Ridvan you will receive a message from the Universal House of Justice to the entire Baha'i world and also one addressed specifically to the Baha'is within the jurisdiction of each National Spiritual Assembly.+F856

[F856. See message no. 456.]

[F855. See message no. 447.]

453.2 In the meantime the House of Justice wishes you to begin your consultations on the goals of the Six Year Plan for your country. The preliminary steps in goal-setting have already been taken, namely the assessment of each country's strengths and weaknesses which the National Spiritual Assemblies recently made at the request of the Universal House of Justice, and which will undoubtedly be of great assistance to each one of you as you enter the next stage of the process.+F857

[F857. See message no. 415, "Invitation to Participate in the Formulation of the Next Plan" (25 November 1984).]

453.3 The House of Justice has instructed us to send you the following additional guidelines together with the enclosed statement of the major objectives of the plan at the national level, which includes some suggestions for specific goals to provide a basis for your consultations. You should not, however, confine yourselves to those suggestions.

453.4 A special characteristic of the Six Year Plan is that the conceiving of the detailed national goals is itself to be one of the tasks of the Plan, but this fact should not hold up in any way the activities of your communities. With this letter you are being acquainted with the major objectives of the plan, and every believer, every Local Spiritual Assembly, and all the national committees can pursue immediately, with increasing vigour, many projects towards their attainment, both projects already in process and others which will be newly conceived, so that when the specific national goals for each community are announced they will be received by a united company of devoted followers of Baha'u'llah already in the full flood of activity.

<p718>

453.5 It is the hope of the Universal House of Justice that each National Assembly will be able to meet before Ridvan with a representative of the Continental Board of Counsellors so that from this initial consultation a basis will be laid for consultation on the goals at the National Conventions.

453.6 Other consultations will no doubt continue following the Ridvan Festival. Their duration will depend on the condition of each national community, its size and the complexity of its circumstances. As soon as specific goals have been formulated and agreed, they should be immediately sent to the World Centre. They will then be considered by the Universal House of Justice and the International Teaching Centre, and, as soon as possible, the National Assembly will be informed of the approval or modification of its proposal. Each submission will be considered on its arrival; the earlier they arrive the better, and in no case should a submission reach the World Centre later than 1 November 1986.

453.7 Among the elements of the plan which are not covered by the list of major objectives are the goals for international assistance including pioneering, resident teaching projects, travelling teaching, assistance for development projects, and for the acquisition of properties and vehicles. Notes relating to these elements have been provided to the Continental Boards of Counsellors, who will share them with National Assemblies during the process of consultation. Since they are international in nature, these goals will have to be consolidated and approved at the World Centre before being generally announced.

453.8 Though the institutions of the Faith are responsible for planning the goals and activities of the Cause, for stimulating and encouraging the believers to arise, and for supporting and unifying them in their services, it is, in the final analysis, through the spiritual decisions and actions of the individual believers that the Faith moves forward on its course to ultimate victory. It is the ardent hope of the Universal House of Justice that every faithful follower of Baha'u'llah will search his or her heart and turn with full attention and loving self-sacrifice to the consideration of the goals of the Six Year Plan, and determine how to play a part in their achievement.

453.9 The prayers of the Universal House of Justice and the International Teaching Centre at the Sacred Threshold will surround the institutions of the Faith in every continent and nation as you assume your weighty task of conceiving the goals which will guide the national communities of the Faith through the next six years.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat <p719> The Six Year Plan

143-149 * 1986-1992

 

The Major Objectives

453.10 The major objectives of the Six Year Plan include: carrying the healing Message of Baha'u'llah to the generality of mankind; greater involvement of the Faith in the life of human society; a world-wide increase in the translation, production, distribution and use of Baha'i literature; further acceleration in the process of the maturation of national and local Baha'i communities; greater attention to universal participation and the spiritual enrichment of individual believers; a wider extension of Baha'i education to children and youth and the strengthening of Baha'i family life; and the pursuit of projects of social and economic development in well-established Baha'i communities.

453.11 Set out below are suggestions for possible ways of achieving the above objectives to act as a basis for consultation and a stimulus for thinking. National Assemblies should not confine themselves to these points if they feel that there are other matters which deserve attention.

 

453.12 1. Carrying the healing Message of Baha'u'llah to the generality of mankind

* Increase the number of believers from all strata of society, identifying as goals of the plan those specific sectors, minority groups, tribal peoples, etc. which are at present underrepresented in the Baha'i community and which will, therefore, be given special attention during the plan.

* Increase the number of localities where Baha'is reside, opening, in the process, virgin states, provinces, islands or other major civil subdivisions of the country.

* Seize teaching opportunities by planning projects in areas where receptivity is found, aiming at large-scale enrolment and entry by troops where possible.

* Be alert to opportunities for international collaboration with other Baha'i communities in the promotion of the Faith through: border teaching projects; the sending of travelling teachers; and the teaching of special groups such as those temporarily abroad for study or work, particularly those from countries which are difficult of access, such as China or countries in Eastern Europe.

* Raise up home-front pioneers and travelling or resident teachers to assist in the fulfilment of teaching goals and plans.

<p720>

* Utilize mass media systems for greater proclamation.

* Make use of drama and singing in the teaching and deepening work and in Baha'i gatherings, where advisable.

453.13 2. Greater involvement of the Faith in the life of human society

* Develop the proper understanding and practice of consultation among members of the Baha'i community and in the work of Baha'i institutions, and foster the spirit of consultation in the conduct of human affairs and the resolution of conflicts at all levels of society.

* Foster association with organizations, prominent persons and those in authority concerning the promotion of peace, world order and allied objectives, with a view to offering the Baha'i teachings and insights regarding current problems and thought.

* Train suitable Baha'is to undertake public relations activities.

* Foster appreciation of the Faith in scholarly and academic circles by developing Baha'i scholarship, by endeavouring to have the Faith included in the curricula and textbooks of schools and universities, and by other means.

* Encourage Baha'i youth to move towards the front ranks of those professions, trades, arts and crafts necessary to human progress.

* Promote the establishment of Baha'i clubs in universities and other similar educational institutions.

* Foster the practice of the equality of the sexes both in the life of the Baha'i community and in society as a whole and, for this purpose, hold special conferences and training programmes for women and for men.

453.14 3. A world-wide increase in the translation, production, distribution and use of Baha'i literature

* Foster the use of Baha'i literature, especially in local languages, supplemented as need be by tape recordings and visual aids.

* Improve the distribution of Baha'i literature by taking specific steps, such as the establishment of regional depots where necessary, and the education of Local Spiritual Assemblies in the responsibilities to acquaint the friends with Baha'i literature and ensure its easy availability.

* Produce greater supplies of Baha'i literature in accordance with well-thought-out plans of translation, production and distribution.

* Produce, where required for translations into vernacular languages, simplified versions of the Sacred Scriptures, the writings of the Guardian and the statements of the Universal House of Justice.

* Establish Baha'i lending libraries.

<p721>

453.15 4. Further acceleration in the process of the maturation of local and national Baha'i communities

* Adopt specific programmes to assist and encourage the development of isolated centres into groups, and groups into communities with Local Spiritual Assemblies, resulting in a steady increase of such Assemblies.

* Adopt specific goals and programmes to consolidate and strengthen Local Spiritual Assemblies, so that they will:

435.15a - Hold regular meetings with harmonious and productive consultation,

- Properly organize and conduct the work of their secretariat and treasury,

- Appoint and co-ordinate the work of local committees for special aspects of their work, such as teaching, child education, youth activities, literature distribution, etc.,

- Win the respect and confidence of their local communities so that the believers will turn to them for the resolution of problems and advice in their services to the Cause,

- Where appropriate, acquire and develop the use of local centres,

- Obtain incorporation or equivalent recognition as a legal entity,

- Exercise their responsibilities in relation to marriages, births, transfers of membership, marriages and deaths.

- Maintain registers of declarations, births, transfers of membership, marriages and deaths.

* Adopt specific goals and programmes to consolidate communities with Local Spiritual Assemblies so that the believers will be encouraged to:

453.15b - Attend regularly Nineteen Day Feasts and the observances of Baha'i Holy Days, and enhance the spiritual quality of such gatherings,

- Pursue local teaching and deepening activities,

- Foster the realization of the equality of then and women,

- Develop local activities for children and youth,

- Support the fund,

- Carry out extension teaching projects.

* Develop the functioning of National Spiritual Assemblies, adopting specific plans and programmes to:

453.1c - Improve their standard of united, productive, loving consultation,

- Develop efficiently functioning national secretariats,

- Enhance the standard of the functioning of national treasuries and promote the goal of financial independence of the national Baha'i community,

<p722>

- Appoint strong national committees to carry out, under the general supervision of the National Spiritual Assembly, the many specialized aspects of the work of the Cause, including the detailed planning and prompt execution of the work necessary to achieve all the goals of the Six Year Plan.

* Acquire, where needed and feasible, national and local properties, such as Haziratu'l-Quds, teaching institutes, summer schools, Baha'i cemeteries, etc. and ensure their proper care and maintenance.

* Obtain, where legally possible, official recognition for Baha'i marriage and holy days and exemption from the payment of taxes on Baha'i institutions and their activities.

* Ensure the rapid and regular dissemination of news to all believers.

* Hold regular, well-planned and well-run summer and winter schools and conferences at costs and in localities which will permit the largest attendance.

* Encourage collaboration between or amongst Local Spiritual Assemblies in mutually agreed projects.

* Develop and administer correspondence courses for teaching and deepening.

453.16 5. Greater attention to universal participation and the spiritual enrichment of individual believers

* Promote universal participation in the life of the Faith and an increased sense of their Baha'i identity among children, youth and adults.

* Encourage, where feasible, the practice of dawn prayer.

* Encourage individual believers to adopt teaching goals for themselves.

* Carry out activities designed to deepen the believers in both a spiritual and intellectual understanding of the Cause.

* Encourage believers to make greater use of Baha'i' literature.

* Encourage the believers to enhance their command of language to assist them to understand the Baha'i writings ever more clearly.

* Develop and foster Baha'i scholarship and lend support to the Associations for Baha'i Studies.

* Foster obedience to the Baha'i laws of personal behaviour such as abstention from the drinking of alcoholic beverages and from the taking of habit-forming drugs, and inspire the believers to follow the Baha'i way of life.

453.17 6. A wider extension of Baha'i education to children and youth, and the strengthening of Baha'i family life

* Encourage the holding of regular classes for the Baha'i education of children.

<p723>

* Develop systematic lesson plans and other materials for the Baha'i education of children.

* Train believers to teach Baha'i children's classes.

* Establish a programme for the guidance of parents, especially mothers, in the care and training of Baha'i children.

* Sponsor institutes on Baha'i marriage and family life.

* Encourage community activities involving Baha'i families.

453.18 7. The pursuit of projects of social and economic development in well- established Baha'i communities

* Encourage Local Spiritual Assemblies and the rank and file of the believers to consider ways in which they can advance the social and economic development of their communities.

* Establish tutorial schools+F858 and pre-schools where needed and feasible.

[F858. A Baha'i tutorial school is a simple school, usually in a rural area where no formal education is available. It often consists of one teacher and a group of students who learn Baha'i moral and ethical teachings and basic reading, writing, and computation skills.]

* Encourage and sponsor adult literacy programmes where needed, especially for women.

* Foster collaboration with other agencies involved in social and economic development in areas where the Baha'i communities can contribute to the work.

 

454

Passing of Angus Cowan, Continental Counsellor

12 March 1986

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Canada

454.1 HEARTS GRIEF-STRICKEN PASSING OUTSTANDING PROMOTER CAUSE ANGUS COWAN.+F859 HIS SERVICES AS PRE-EMINENT BAHA'I TEACHER OF INDIAN PEOPLES, HIS UNCEASING LABOURS THROUGHOUT LONG YEARS DEVOTION RANGED FROM LOCAL AND NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES TO AUXILIARY BOARD AND BOARD COUNSELLORS. HIS COMPASSION, COURTESY, HUMILITY, MAGNANIMITY UNFORGETTABLE. BAHA'I COMMUNITY CANADA ROBBED OF A DEDICATED NOBLE WORKER WHO BORE HIS SUFFERINGS TO THE VERY END WITH EXEMPLARY FORTITUDE. CONVEY LOVING CONDOLENCES HIS BELOVED WIFE AND FAMILY AND ASSURANCES ARDENT PRAYERS HIS RADIANT SOUL'S PROGRESS THROUGHOUT WORLDS GOD.

[F859. For an account of the life and services of Angus Cowan, see BW 19:703-06.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p724>

455

Women -- Reasons for Exemption from Acts of Worship

17 March 1986

 

To an individual Baha'i

Dear Baha'i friend,

455.1 The Universal House of Justice has received your letter of 4 March 1986 seeking clarification of a statement concerning certain obligations of women found in the Kitab-i- Aqdas. We are directed to convey the following.

455.2 There is nothing in the teachings of the Faith to state that women in their courses are exempt from fasting and from offering the obligatory prayers because they are unclean.

455.3 The concept of uncleanness as understood and practised in the religious communities of the past has been abolished by Baha'u'llah. As you are aware, He says that through His revelation "all created things were immersed in the sea of purification" (God Passes By, page 154). This should, of course, be understood in the context of His clear instructions about the necessity for all to exemplify immaculate cleanliness, especially when engaged in acts of worship.

455.4 We are to confirm that you are quite right in pointing out that the term used in this regard in the Synopsis and Codification of the Laws and Ordinances of the Kitab-i- Aqdas [p. 36, (4) (c)] is "exemption," not prohibition.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

 

456

Ridvan Message 1986

Ridvan 1986

To the Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

456.1 The Divine Springtime is fast advancing and all the atoms of the earth are responding to the vibrating influence of Baha'u'llah's Revelation. The evidences of this new life are clearly apparent in the progress of the Cause of God. As we contemplate, however momentarily, the unfolding pattern of its growth, we can but recognize, with wonder and gratitude, the irresistible power of that Almighty Hand which guides its destinies.

Review of Notable Achievements during the Seven Year Plan

456.2 This progress has accelerated notably during the Seven Year Plan, witnessed by the achievement of many important enterprises throughout the Baha'i world and vital developments at the heart of the Cause itself. The restoration <p725> and opening to pilgrimage of the southern wing of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha; the completion and occupation of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice; the approval of detailed plans for the remaining edifices around the Arc; the expansion of the membership and responsibilities of the International Teaching Centre and the Continental Boards of Counsellors; the establishment of the offices of Social and Economic Development, and of Public Information; the dedication of the Mother Temple of the Pacific, and dramatic progress with the building of the Temple in India; the expansion of the teaching work throughout the world, resulting in the formation of twenty-three new National Spiritual Assemblies, nearly 8,000 new Local Spiritual Assemblies, the opening of more than

16,000 new localities and representation within the Baha'i community of 300 new tribes; the issuing of 2,196 new publications, 898 of which are editions of the Holy Text and the enrichment of Baha'i literature by productions in 114 new languages; the initiation of 737 new social and economic development projects; the addition of three radio stations, with three more soon to be inaugurated -- these stand out as conspicuous achievements in a Plan which will be remembered as having set the seal on the third epoch of the Formative Age.+F860

[F860. The third epoch included the years 1963-86.]

Emergence from Obscurity

456.3 The opening of that Plan coincided with the recrudescence of savage persecution of the Baha'i community in Iran, a deliberate effort to eliminate the Cause of God from the land of its birth. The heroic steadfastness of the Persian friends has been the mainspring of tremendous international attention focused on the Cause, eventually bringing it to the agenda of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and, together with world-wide publicity in all the media, accomplishing its emergence from the obscurity which characterized and sheltered the first period of its life. This dramatic process impelled the Universal House of Justice to address a Statement on Peace to the Peoples of the World and arrange for its delivery to Heads of State and the generality of the rulers.+F861

[F861. See messages nos 429 and 438.]

Maturation of the Institutions of the Cause

456.4 Paralleling these outstanding events has been a remarkable unfoldment of organic growth in the maturity of the institutions of the Cause. The development of capacity and responsibility on their part and the devolution upon them of continually greater autonomy have been fostered by the encouragement of ever closer co-operation between the twin arms of the Administrative Order.+F862 This process now takes a large stride forward as the National Spiritual <p726> Assemblies and Counsellors consult together to formulate, for the first time, the national goals of an international teaching plan.+F863 Together they must carry them out; together they must implement the world objectives of the Six Year Plan as they apply in each country. This significant development is a befitting opening to the fourth epoch of the Formative Age and initiates a process which will undoubtedly characterize that epoch as national communities grow in strength and influence and are able to diffuse within their own countries the spirit of love and social unity which is the hallmark of the Cause of God.

[F863. See messages nos 447 and 453.]

[F862. The twin arms of the Administrative Order are sometimes designated the "rulers" and the "learned". In this context the "rulers" comprise the members of the Universal House of Justice, National Spiritual Assemblies, and Local Spiritual Assemblies; the "learned" comprise the Hands of the Cause of God, the International Counsellors, the Continental Boards of Counsellors, and the Auxiliary Board members and their assistants. Both terms also have a wider usage. For example, the term "learned" also embraces Baha'is who have attained a prominent position in the teaching work in addition to those who are members of the institutions so designated. For an explanation of the roles of and distinctions between these institutions, see message no. 111.]

World Centre Goals

456.5 The goals to be achieved at the World Centre include publication of a copiously annotated English translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas and related texts, education of the Baha'i world in the law of the Huququ'llah, pursuit of plans for the erection of the remaining buildings on the Arc, and the broadening of the basis of the international relations of the Faith.+F864

[F864. The laws and ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas are applied gradually as the Baha'i community matures. For an explanation of this principle, see message no. 27 on the translation and publication of the Kitab-i-Aqdas. For a fuller discussion, see the introduction to A Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy Book of Baha'u'llah. Over the years the Universal House of Justice has taken steps to prepare the Baha'i community for further application of such laws and ordinances by publishing the Synopsis and Codification (see message no. 125) and by releasing a compilation on the Law of Huququ'llah (see messages nos 404 and 430). The publication of annotated translations in English and Persian of the Kitab-i-Aqdas represent further such steps. The buildings to be erected on the Arc are the seats of the International Teaching Centre and the Centre for the Study of the Texts, and the extension of the International Archives Building, which Shoghi Effendi completed in 1957. Terraces leading to the Shrine of the Bab are being constructed from the foot to the crest of Mount Carmel. The International Baha'i Library remains to be built at a later date.]

456.6 The major world objectives of the Plan have already been sent to National Spiritual Assemblies and Continental Boards of Counsellors for their mutual consultation and implementation.

456.7 Dear friends, as the world passes through its darkest hour before the dawn, the Cause of God, shining ever more brightly, presses forward to that glorious break of day when the Divine Standard will be unfurled and the Nightingale of Paradise warble its melody.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

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Glossary

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Glossary

Note: Boldface terms within entries are cross-references to other entries that define or amplify essential terms. A number of entries are based on explanations found in "Definitions of Some of the Oriental Terms Used in Baha'i Literature" in The Baha'i World: An International Record, Volume XVIII, 1979-1983, pp. 8P7-904. Other entries are based on explanations found in the notes and glossary in the Kitab-i-Aqdas. References to Tablets of the Divine Plan cite Tablet and paragraph numbers, e.g., "TDP 6.8." References to messages in the text give the message number e.g., "message no. 222."

A

'ABDU'L-'AZIZ -- Sultan of Turkey, 1861-76. He was responsible for Baha'u'llah's banishments to Constantinople, to Adrianople, and to the prison-fortress of 'Akka, Palestine. Wilful and headstrong, 'Abdu'l-'Aziz was known for his lavish expenditures. Baha'u'llah stigmatized him in the Kitab-i-Aqdas as occupying the "throne of tyranny". His fall was prophesied in a Tablet (circa 1869) addressed to Fu'ad Pasha, Ottoman Foreign Minister while Baha'u'llah was imprisoned in 'Akka. As a result of public discontent, heightened by a crop failure in 1873 and a mounting public debt, he was deposed by his ministers on 30 May 1876.

'ABDU'L-BAHA -- Servant of Baha: the title assumed by Abbas Effendi (23 May 1844 -- 28 November 1921), eldest son and appointed successor of Baha'u'llah and the Centre of His Covenant. Upon Baha'u'llah's ascension in 1892, 'Abdu'l-Baha became Head of the Baha'i Faith in accordance with provisions revealed by Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas and the Book of the Covenant. Among the titles by which He is known are the Centre of the Covenant, the Mystery of God, the Master, and the Perfect Exemplar of Baha'u'llah's teachings. See Tablets of the Divine Plan and Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha.

'ABDU'L-HAMID II -- Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, 1876-1909. He and his uncle, Sultan 'Abdu'l-'Aziz, who 'preceded him, were responsible for forty-six of 'Abdu'l- Baha's fifty-six years of imprisonment and exile and for Baha'u'llah's banishments to Constantinople, Adrianople, and 'Akka. The Young Turks Rebellion in 1908 forced 'Abdu'l-Hamid to reinstate the constitution he had suspended and to free all political and religious prisoners. As a result, 'Abdu'l-Baha was released from house arrest in September 1908. 'Abdu'l-Hamid was deposed the following year.

ABHA -- "Most Glorious". See Allah-u-Abha; Ya Baha'u'l-Abha.

ABHA BEAUTY -- A translation of Jamal-i-Abha, a title of Baha'u'llah.

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ABHA KINGDOM -- "Most Glorious" Kingdom: the spiritual world beyond this world.

ABHA PARADISE -- See Abha Kingdom.

ADAMIC CYCLE -- See Cycle.

ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER -- The international system for the administration of the affairs of the Baha'i community. Ordained by Baha'u'llah, it is the agency through which the spirit of His revelation is to exercise its transforming effects on humanity and through which the Baha'i World Commonwealth will be ushered in. Its twin, crowning institutions are the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice. The institutions that make it up and the principles by which it operates are set forth in the Writings of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha. Its structure was further clarified and raised up by Shoghi Effendi during his ministry as Guardian of the Faith (1921-57). This process of elucidation continues through guidance from the Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing and legislative body of the Baha'i Faith, which is supported by National and Local Spiritual Assemblies elected by members of the Baha'i community. These local and national bodies are invested with the authority to direct the Baha'i community's affairs and to uphold Baha'i laws and standards. They are also responsible for the education, guidance, and protection of the community. The Administrative Order also comprises the institutions of the Hands of the Cause of God, the International Teaching Centre, and the Continental Boards of Counsellors and their Auxiliary Boards and assistants, who bear particular responsibility for the protection and propagation of the Faith and share with the Spiritual Assemblies the functions of educating, counselling, and advising members of the Baha'i community. Other institutions of the Administrative Order include Huququ'llah, the Baha'i Fund, the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, and the Nineteen Day Feast. The present Baha'i Administrative Order is the precursor of the World Order of Baha'u'llah and is described by Shoghi Effendi as its "nucleus" and "pattern".

AFNAN -- "Twigs": the Bab's kindred; specifically, descendants of His three maternal uncles and His wife's two brothers.

AGES -- The Baha'i Dispensation is divided into three Ages: the Heroic, Formative, and Golden Ages. The Heroic Age, also called the Apostolic or Primitive Age, began in 1844 with the Declaration of the Bab and spanned the Ministries of the Bab (1844-53), Baha'u'llah (1852-92), and 'Abdu'l-Baha (1892-1921). The transitional event most often identified with the end of the Heroic Age and the beginning of the Formative Age is the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha in 1921. The Formative Age, also known as the Age of Transition or the Iron Age, began in 1921 when Shoghi Effendi, according to instructions in 'Abdu'l-Baha's Will and Testament, became the Guardian of the Cause of God and began to build Baha'u'llah's Administrative Order. The Formative Age is the second and current Age; it is to be followed by the third and final Age, the Golden Age destined to witness the proclamation of the Most Great Peace and the establishment of the Baha'i World Commonwealth. "The emergence of a world community, the consciousness of world citizenship, the founding of a world civilization and culture," Shoghi Effendi wrote, " -- all of which must synchronize with the initial stages in the unfoldment <p731> of the Golden Age of the Baha'i Era -- should, by their very nature, be regarded, as far as this planetary life is concerned, as the furthermost limits in the organization of human society, though man, as an individual, will, nay must indeed as a result of such a consummation, continue indefinitely to progress and develop." For a discussion of the significance of the Formative Age, see message no. 95; for an explanation of the epochs of the Formative Age, see message no. 451. See also Dispensation; Epochs; Baha'i World Commonwealth.

AGHSAN -- "Branches": the sons and male descendants of Baha'u'llah.

'AKKA -- A four-thousand-year-old seaport and prison city in northern Israel surrounded by fortress-like walls facing the sea. In the mid-1800s 'Akka became a penal colony to which the worst criminals of the Ottoman Empire were sent. In 1868 Baha'u'llah and His family and companions were banished to 'Akka by Sultan 'Abdu'l-'Aziz. Baha'u'llah was incarcerated within its barracks for two years, two months, and five days. Restrictions were gradually relaxed, and He lived in a series of houses within 'Akka until June 1877, when He moved outside the city walls to the Mansion of Mazra'ih. Baha'u'llah named "the Most Great Prison".

ALLAH-U-ABHA -- "God is Most Glorious": the Greatest Name, adopted as a greeting among Baha'is during the period of Baha'u'llah's exile in Adrianople (1863-68).

AMATU'L-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM -- Nee Mary Maxwell (b. 1910), also called Ruhiyyih Rabbani; daughter of May Bolles Maxwell and Sutherland Maxwell of Montreal, and wife of Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith. On 26 March 1952, succeeding her illustrious father, she was appointed a Hand of the Cause of God residing in the Holy Land. Ruhiyyih (meaning "spiritual") is a name given to her by Shoghi Effendi on their marriage. Khanum is a Persian title meaning "lady", "Madame", or "Mrs". The title Amatu'l-Baha (meaning "Maidservant of Baha") was used by the Guardian in a cable to a conference in Chicago in 1953. Rabbani is a surname given to Shoghi Effendi by 'Abdu'l-Baha.

ANCIENT BEAUTY -- A translation of Jamal-i-Qadim, a name of God that is also used as a title of Baha'u'llah, Who is the latest Manifestation of God to humankind. One cannot always say categorically in any passage whether the reference is to God, to Baha'u'llah, or to both.

ANCIENT OF DAYS -- See Ancient Beauty.

APOSTOLIC AGE -- See Ages.

AQDAS -- "Most Holy". See Kitab-i-Aqdas, The.

ARC -- The line of a curved path laid out by Shoghi Effendi on Mount Carmel, stretching across the Baha'i properties near the Shrine of the Bab and centred on the Monument Gardens. On this Arc the seats of the "world-shaking, world-embracing, world-directing administrative institutions" of the World Order of Baha'u'llah are to be located (MA, pp. 32-33). Within the Arc are the resting-places of the Greatest Holy Leaf; her brother, the Purest Branch; and her mother, the Most Exalted Leaf. Edifices already constructed on the Arc include the International Baha'i <p732> Archives building (completed in 1957), which is to be extended, and the Seat of the Universal House of Justice (completed in 1982 and occupied in 1983). Buildings yet to be completed include the International Baha'i Library and the seats for the International Teaching Centre and the Centre for the Study of the Texts. See also Administrative Order; World Order of Baha'u'llah.

ARK -- The word "ark" means, literally, a boat or ship, something that affords protection and safety, or a chest or box. It is used in two senses in the Bible. In the first sense it refers to the Ark of Noah, which He was bidden to build of gopher wood to preserve life during the Flood. In the second sense it refers to the Ark of the Covenant, the sacred chest representing to the Hebrews God's presence among them. It was constructed to hold the Tablets of the Law in Moses' time and was later placed in the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Jerusalem. The Ark, as a symbol of God's Law and the Divine Covenant that is the salvation of the people in every age and Dispensation, appears in various ways in the Baha'i writings. Baha'u'llah refers to His faithful followers as "the denizens of the Crimson Ark"; He refers to the Ark of the Cause and also to the Ark of His Laws. A well-known passage in which this term is used appears in the Tablet of Carmel: "Ere long will God sail His Ark upon thee, and will manifest the people of Baha who have been mentioned in the Book of Names." Shoghi Effendi explains that the Ark in this passage refers to the Baha'i Administrative Centre on Mount Carmel and that the dwellers of the Ark are the members of the Universal House of Justice.

ARMY OF LIGHT -- Generally, the Baha'i community, but more particularly the "heavenly armies" -- "those souls", according to 'Abdu'l-Baha, "who are entirely freed from the human world, transformed into celestial spirits and have become divine angels. Such souls are the rays of the Sun of Reality who will illumine all the continents" (TDP 8.2).

ASIYIH KHANUM -- Navvab (an honorific implying "Grace" or "Highness"); the Most Exalted Leaf -- wife of Baha'u'llah and mother of 'Abdu'l-Baha, Bahiyyih Khanum, and Mirza Mihdi. She was married to Baha'u'llah in 1835, accompanied Him in His exiles, and died in 1886. Baha'u'llah named her His "perpetual consort in all the worlds of God". Her resting-place is in the Monument Gardens on Mount Carmel, next to the tomb of Mirza Mihdi and near that of the Greatest Holy Leaf. Author of the Baha'i Revelation Baha'u'llah.

AUXILIARY BOARDS -- An institution established by Shoghi Effendi in 1954 to act as "deputies, assistants and advisers" to the Hands of the Cause of God as they carry out their twin duties of protection and propagation. With the formation of the Continental Boards of Counsellors in 1968, the Hands of the Cause of God were freed of responsibility for appointing, supervising, and co-ordinating the work of the Auxiliary Boards, and these functions were transferred by the Universal House of Justice to the Continental Boards of Counsellors. There are two Auxiliary Boards, one for protection and one for propagation; members serve on one of the two boards. In a letter dated 7 October 1973 (see message no. 137) the Universal House of Justice authorized the appointment of assistants to Auxiliary Board members.

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B

BAB, THE -- The "Gate": title assumed by Siyyid 'Ali Muhammad (20 October 1819 -- 9 July 1850) after declaring His mission in Shiraz in 1844. The Bab's station is twofold: He is a Manifestation of God and the Founder of the Babi Faith, and He is the Herald of Baha'u'llah. A detailed, moving, and authoritative work titled The Dawn-Breakers (written by Nabil-i-Zarandi and translated by Shoghi Effendi) recounts the Bab's life and His followers' exploits. See Balyuzi, The Bab.

BABIYYIH, THE -- The "Babi place or the centre of the Babis": a house in Mashhad, Iran, that served as a residence for Mulla Husayn (the first of the Letters of the Living) and Quddus (also a Letter of the Living, whose rank was second only to that of the Bab) and as a place to which inquirers came to learn about the Babi Faith. The Baha'i historian Nabil writes that "A steady stream of visitors, whom the energy and zeal of Mulla Husayn had prepared for the acceptance of the Faith, poured into the presence of Quddus, acknowledged the claim of the Cause, and willingly enlisted under its banner. The all- observing vigilance with which Mulla Husayn laboured to diffuse the knowledge of the new Revelation, and the masterly manner in which Quddus edified its ever-increasing number of adherents, gave rise to a wave of enthusiasm which swept over the entire city of Mashhad, and the effects of which spread rapidly beyond the confines of Khurasan. The house of Babiyyih was soon converted into a rallying centre for a multitude of devotees who were fired with an inflexible resolve to demonstrate, by every means in their power, the great inherent energies of their Faith." (DB, p. 267)

BAHA'I ELECTIONS -- See Elections, Baha'i.

BAHA'I FUND -- See Fund.

BAHA'I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY -- An international body made up of Baha'i institutions, local and national, continental and international, all closely interrelated, and comprising the world-wide membership of the Baha'i Faith. Since 1948 the Baha'i International Community has been affiliated with the United Nations' Office of Public Information. In 1967 the Universal House of Justice assumed the function (shouldered for many years by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States) of representing the Baha'i International Community in its capacity as a non-governmental organization at the United Nations. In 1970 the Baha'i International Community was granted consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and in 1976 it became affiliated with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF, formerly named the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund). It is also affiliated with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). In its work with the United Nations, the Baha'i International Community participates in meetings of United Nations bodies concerned with such issues as human rights, social development, the status of women, the environment, human settlement, food, science and technology, population, the law of the sea, crime prevention, substance abuse, youth, children, the family, disarmament, and the United Nations University.

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BAHA'I WORLD CENTRE -- The world spiritual and administrative centres of the Baha'i Faith located in the twin cities of 'Akka and Haifa in Israel. See also Arc; Administrative Order.

BAHA'I WORLD COMMONWEALTH -- The future Baha'i community of nations, Shoghi Effendi explains, that will operate "solely in direct conformity with the laws and principles of Baha'u'llah" and will be animated wholly by His spirit. Its "supreme organ" will be the Universal House of Justice functioning in "the plenitude of its power". Its advent will "signalize the long-awaited advent of the Christ-promised Kingdom of God on earth." It will serve as both "the instrument and the guardian of the Most Great Peace." Within the Baha'i World Commonwealth "all nations, races, creeds and classes" will be "closely and permanently united," and "the autonomy of its state members and the personal freedom and initiative of the individuals that compose them" will be "definitely and completely safeguarded. This commonwealth must, as far as we can visualize it, consist of a world legislature, whose members will, as the trustees of the whole of mankind, ultimately control the entire resources of all the component nations, and will enact such laws as shall be required to regulate the life, satisfy the needs and adjust the relationships of all races and peoples. A world executive, backed by an international Force, will carry out the decisions arrived at, and apply the laws enacted by, this world legislature, and will safeguard the organic unity of the whole commonwealth. A world tribunal will adjudicate and deliver its compulsory and final verdict in all and any disputes that may arise between the various elements constituting this universal system. ... A world metropolis will act as the nerve centre ..., the focus towards which the unifying forces of life will converge and from which its energizing influences will radiate." The world commonwealth will include a system of international communication; an international auxiliary language; a world script and literature; a uniform and universal system of currency, weights, and measures; and an integrated economic system with co-ordinated markets and regulated channels of distribution. See also World Order of Baha'u'llah.

BAHA'U'LLAH -- "The Glory of God": title of Mirza Husayn-'Ali Nuri (12 November 1817- 29 May 1892), Founder of the Baha'i Faith. For accounts of His life, see Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By; Nabil, Dawn-Breakers; and Balyuzi, Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory. Baha'u'llah is referred to by a variety of titles, including the Promised One of All Ages, the Blessed Beauty, the Blessed Perfection, the Morn of Truth, the Abha Luminary, the Dayspring of the Most Divine Essence, the Ancient Beauty, the Ancient Root, the Ancient of Days, the Author of the Baha'i Revelation, the Mystic Dove, the Sovereign Revealer, the Judge, the Redeemer, the Divine Physician, the Prince of Peace, the Pen of Glory, the Pen of the Most High, the Supreme Pen, the Lord of Hosts, and the Lord of the Age. See also Book of the Covenant; Hidden Words, The; Kitab-i-Aqdas, The.

BAHIYYIH KHANUM -- (1846-1932) The Greatest Holy Leaf; the Most Exalted Leaf saintly daughter of Baha'u'llah and outstanding heroine of the Baha'i Dispensation. Her death in 1932 marked the final end of the Heroic Age of the Baha'i Faith, which had drawn to a close with the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha in 1921. A monument erected in her memory symbolizes the Baha'i World Order; its location is Mount Carmel, within the Arc and in close proximity to the resting-places of her brother, Mirza <p735> Mihdi; her mother, Asiyih Khanum; and the wife of 'Abdu'l-Baha, Munirih Khanum. Her station as "foremost woman of the Baha'i Dispensation" and her rank among women are paralleled only by such heroines of previous Dispensations as Sarah, Asiyih, the Virgin Mary; Fatimih, and Tahirih. For a compilation of Baha'i Writings about Bahiyyih Khanum and for some of her own letters, see Bahiyyih Khanum: The Greatest Holy Leaf (1982).

BAHJI -- "Delight, gladness, joy": the name of the property north of 'Akka where the Shrine of Baha'u'llah is situated and where Baha'u'llah lived from 1880 until His ascension in 1892. Its extensive gardens were created by Shoghi Effendi and expanded by the Universal House of Justice. The Shrine of Baha'u'llah at Bahji is the Qiblih of the Baha'i world.

BAYAN -- "Exposition, explanation, lucidity, eloquence, utterance": the title given by the Bab to two of His major works, one in Persian, the other in Arabic. It is also used sometimes to denote the entire body of His Writings.

B.E. -- Baha'i Era: denotes the nineteen-month Badi' calendar, which is reckoned from 21 March 1844, the year of the Bab's declaration of His mission.

BEST BELOVED -- See Ancient Beauty.

BLESSED BEAUTY -- A translation of Jamal-i-Mubarak, a title of Baha'u'llah. See also Ancient Beauty.

BLESSED PERFECTION -- A translation of Jamal-i-Mubarak, a title of Baha'u'llah. See also Ancient Beauty.

BOOK OF THE COVENANT -- A translation of Kitab-i-'Ahd (sometimes referred to as Kitab-i- 'Ahdi, meaning "the Book of My Covenant"): Baha'u'llah's last will and testament, designated by Him as His "Most Great Tablet" and alluded to by Him as the "Crimson Book". The last Tablet revealed before His ascension, it was written in His own hand and entrusted, shortly before His passing, to His eldest son, 'Abdu'l-Baha. In it Baha'u'llah clearly designates 'Abdu'l-Baha as His successor and as the Centre of His Covenant, providing for the continuation of divine authority over the affairs of the Faith in the future.

 

C

CARMEL -- See Mount Carmel.

CENTRE OF THE COVENANT -- A title of 'Abdu'l-Baha referring to His appointment by Baha'u'llah as the successor to whom all must turn after Baha'u'llah's passing. See also Covenant; Book of the Covenant.

CENTRAL FIGURES -- A collective reference to Baha'u'llah, the Founder of the Baha'i Faith; the Bab, Forerunner of Baha'u'llah and Founder of the Babi Faith; and 'Abdu'l-Baha, authorized Interpreter of the Baha'i Writings.

CHIEF STEWARDS -- See Hands of the Cause of God.

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COMMUNITY OF THE MOST GREAT NAME -- The Baha'i community. See also Greatest Name.

CONCLAVE -- The consultative meetings of the entire body of the Hands of the Cause of God. Following Shoghi Effendi's death in 1957, the meetings were held over a period of several days each autumn from 1957 through 1962, when the Hands were responsible for maintaining the unity of the Baha'i community and for completing the goals of the Ten Year World Crusade. Conclaves continued to be held for a number of years after the election of the Universal House of Justice and were the occasion of consultations between the House of Justice and the body of the Hands on many matters of great significance for the Baha'i Faith.

CONCOURSE ON HIGH -- The company of holy souls of the spiritual world. Constitution of the Universal House of Justice A document adopted by the Universal House of Justice on 26 November 1972. It Consists of two parts: the Declaration of Trust, which sets forth the origins and duties of the Universal House of Justice, and the By-Laws, which specify the terms under which the Universal House of Justice operates and define its relationship to other institutions of the Baha'i Administrative Order.

CONSULTATION-In Baha'i usage, a technical term referring to the process of collective decision-making. The aim of Baha'i consultation is to arrive at the best solution or to uncover the truth of a matter. Among the requisites for consultation that are set out in the Baha'i Writings are love, harmony, purity of motive, humility, lowliness, patience, and long-suffering. Individuals not only have the right to express their views, but they are expected to express them fully and with the utmost devotion, courtesy, dignity, care, and moderation. If unanimity is not achieved, decisions are arrived at by majority vote. Once a decision is reached, all parties, having had the opportunity to express their views fully, are to work together wholeheartedly to implement it. If the decision is wrong, 'Abdu'l-Baha says, through unity the truth will become evident and "the wrong made right".

CONTINENTAL FUND -- See Fund.

CONTINENTAL BOARDS OF COUNSELLORS -- An institution of the Baha'i Administrative Order established by the Universal House of Justice in 1968 to extend into the future the functions of protection and propagation of the Faith assigned to the Hands of the Cause of God by 'Abdu'l-Baha in His Will and Testament. Its members are appointed to five- year terms by the Universal House of Justice and serve in five zones -- Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australasia, and Europe. The International Teaching Centre co- ordinates the work of the Continental Boards of Counsellors, who are assisted in their work by Auxiliary Board members, whom they appoint and supervise. See also Auxiliary Boards; Hands of the Cause of God; International Teaching Centre.

CONTINENTAL PIONEER COMMITTEES -- Responsible for gathering and supplying information for and about pioneers and international travelling teachers. Their work complements the functions of the Continental Boards of Counsellors and <p737> National Spiritual Assemblies. There are five such committees: one each for Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australasia, and Europe. Members are appointed by the Universal House of Justice; their work is directed by the International Teaching Centre.

COVENANT -- Generally, an agreement or contract between two or more people, usually formal, solemn, and binding. The Universal House of Justice explains, in a letter dated 23 March 1975, that a religious covenant is "a binding agreement between God and man, whereby God requires of man certain behaviour in return for which He guarantees certain blessings, or whereby He gives man certain bounties in return for which He takes from those who accept them an undertaking to behave in a certain way." The Universal House of Justice also explains that there are two types of religious covenant: "There is ... the Greater Covenant which every Manifestation of God makes with His followers, promising that in the fullness of time a new Manifestation will be sent, and taking from them the undertaking to accept Him when this occurs. There is also the Lesser Covenant that a Manifestation of God makes with His followers that they will accept His appointed successor after Him. If they do so, the Faith can remain united and pure. If not, the Faith becomes divided and its force spent." In the Baha'i Dispensation the Greater Covenant refers to the renewal of God's ancient Covenant through the appearance of the twin Manifestations of God, the Bab and Baha'u'llah, and the promise of another Manifestation to come in the future after the passage of at least one thousand years. The Lesser Covenant, in this case, refers to Baha'u'llah's Covenant with His followers, which establishes 'Abdu'l-Baha as the Centre of the Covenant. It confers upon 'Abdu'l-Baha the authority to interpret Baha'u'llah's Writings in order "to perpetuate the influence" of the Faith and to "insure its integrity, safeguard it from schism, and stimulate its world- wide expansion." The Lesser Covenant also establishes the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice as the twin successors of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha.

COVENANT-BREAKER -- A Baha'i who attempts to disrupt the unity of the Faith by defying and opposing the authority of Baha'u'llah as the Manifestation of God for this Age, or His appointed successor, 'Abdu'l-Baha, or after Him, the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice. Baha'is who continue, despite remonstrances, to violate the Covenant are expelled from the Faith by the Universal House of Justice. This provision preserves the unity of the Faith, which is essential to achieving its cardinal purpose of uniting humankind. It also preserves the purity of Baha'u'llah's teachings from the disruptive influence of egoistic individuals who, in past Dispensations, have been responsible for dividing every religion into sects, disrupting its mission, and frustrating to a large degree the intention of its Founder. See also Covenant.

CRADLE OF THE FAITH -- Iran, the homeland of the Babi and Baha'i Faiths and of Baha'u'llah, the Bab, and 'Abdu'l-Baha.

CRUSADE, TEN YEAR WORLD -- The international teaching plan inaugurated by Shoghi Effendi in 1953 and completed in 1963, some six years after his death. It was the first global plan in which all national Baha'i communities pursued their respective goals in one co-ordinated effort. It culminated with the first election of the Universal House of Justice at Ridvan 1963.

<p738>

CYCLE -- A unit of time comprising the Dispensations of numerous consecutive Manifestations of God. For example, the Adamic, or Prophetic, Cycle began with Adam and ended with the Dispensation of Muhammad. The Baha'i Cycle began with the Bab and is to last at least five hundred thousand years.

 

D

DANIEL'S PROPHECY -- The prophecy contained in Daniel 12:12: "Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days." 'Abdu'l- Baha comments in a Tablet to a Kurdish Baha'i, "Now concerning the verse in Daniel, the interpretation whereof thou didst ask. ... These days must be reckoned as solar and not lunar years. For according to this calculation a century will have elapsed from the dawn of the Sun of Truth, then will the teachings of God be firmly established upon the earth, and the Divine Light shall flood the world from the East even unto the West. Then, on this day, will the faithful rejoice!" 'Abdu'l-Baha further explains in the same Tablet that the 1,335 years must be reckoned from AD 622, the year of Muhammad's flight from Mecca to Medina. Shoghi Effendi associates Daniel's reference to the 1,335 days and 'Abdu'l-Baha's statements about the prophecy with the centenary of Baha'u'llah's declaration of His mission in 1863 and with the world-wide triumph of the Faith. He stressed that the prophecy refers to occurrences within the Baha'i community, rather than to events in the outside world. While Shoghi Effendi clearly allied the Faith's triumph with the successful completion of the third teaching plan to be undertaken by the Baha'is, in his letters and in those written on his behalf, four specific dates are mentioned as marking the fulfilment of Daniel's prophecy: 1953, 1957, 1960, and 1963. Regarding the year 1960 (derived by a lunar reckoning), Shoghi Effendi anticipated, in God Passes By, p. 151, and in a number of his letters, the successful completion of a third Seven Year Plan that was to be inaugurated. Had there been a third Seven Year Plan, it would have concluded in 1960, one hundred lunar years after Baha'u'llah's declaration. When the Ten Year Crusade (1953-63) was announced in 1952, Shoghi Effendi linked its completion with the fulfilment of Daniel's prophecy. There are also several references in letters written on Shoghi Effendi's behalf that give 1957 as the date of the prophecy's fulfilment. In still other letters Shoghi Effendi allies the "hundred lunar years" after Baha'u'llah's declaration with the year 1953, although the significance of this hundred years is unclear. Thus it seems the prophecy is not fulfilled by a single date but, rather, by a process that extended over a period of time. A letter dated 7 March 1955 written on Shoghi Effendi's behalf says, "In the Ten Year Crusade, we are actually fulfilling the prophecy of Daniel, because with the completion of the Ten Year Crusade in 1963 we will have established the Faith in every part of the globe." Thus the fulfilment of the prophecy coincided with the period of the Ten Year Crusade, a span of time that included 1953, 1957, 1960, and 1963.

DAWN-BREAKERS -- The Babis and early Baha'is, many of whom gave their lives as martyrs.

DAWNING PLACE OF REVELATION -- A title of Baha'u'llah, or of any Manifestation of God.

<p739>

DAY OF THE COVENANT -- 26 November, the day 'Abdu'l-Baha selected for commemorating the inauguration of Baha'u'llah's Covenant. The Baha'is wished to celebrate 'Abdu'l- Baha's birthday, but He did not want this because it coincides with the anniversary of the Declaration of the Bab (23 May), when all attention should be given to that sacred event. He gave them instead the Day of the Covenant to celebrate, choosing a date that is six Gregorian months away from the commemoration of Baha'u'llah's Ascension. See also Covenant.

DAY OF GOD -- An expression used variously, according to context, to refer to the appearance of a Manifestation of God , to the duration of His life on earth, or to the duration of His Dispensation. It is also used to refer specifically to the advent of Baha'u'llah.

DAY OF JUDGEMENT -- The time of the appearance of the Manifestation of God, when the true character of souls is judged according to their response to His Revelation. Also known as the Day of Resurrection.

DAYSPRING OF DIVINE GUIDANCE -- A title of Baha'u'llah.

DISPENSATION -- The period of time during which the laws and teachings of a Prophet of God have spiritual authority. For example, the Dispensation of Jesus Christ lasted until the beginning of the Islamic Dispensation, usually fixed at the year AD 622, the year Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina. The Islamic Dispensation lasted until the advent of the Bab in 1844. The Dispensation of the Bab ended when Baha'u'llah experienced the intimation of His mission in the Siyah-Chal, the subterranean dungeon in Tihran in which He was imprisoned between August and December 1852. The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah will last until the advent of the next Manifestation of God, which Baha'u'llah asserts will occur in no less than one thousand years.

DIVINE ESSENCE -- God.

DIVINE PEN -- A title of Baha'u'llah.

DIVINE PLAN -- The Plan for the dissemination of the Faith of Baha'u'llah throughout the world, conceived by 'Abdu'l-Baha and entrusted to the Baha'is of North America in fourteen letters called the Tablets of the Divine Plan. The Divine Plan was implemented by Shoghi Effendi and is pursued today under the guidance of the Universal House of Justice. Teaching Plans undertaken within the framework of the Divine Plan include the first Seven Year Plan (1937-44); the second Seven Year Plan (1946-53) pursued at first by the Baha'is of the United States and Canada and extended by supplementary plans adopted with the approval or at the behest of Shoghi Effendi by the British Isles, Egypt and the Sudan, Germany, India, Iran, and 'Iraq; and the Ten Year World Crusade (1953- 63), all of which were inaugurated by Shoghi Effendi, and the Nine, Five, Seven, Six, Three, and Four Year Plans launched by the Universal House of Justice. The Divine Plan is divided into epochs. The first epoch included the years 1937-63. We continue to be in the second epoch. The epochs of the Divine Plan are different from those of the Formative Age. See also Crusade, Ten Year World; Epochs; Plans; Tablets of the Divine Plan.

<p740>

DIVINE THRESHOLD -- See Sacred Threshold.

 

E

EASTERN PILGRIM HOUSE -- See Pilgrim House.

ELECTIONS, BAHA'I -- Elections conducted according to Baha'i principles to select individuals to serve as members of Local and National Spiritual Assemblies and the Universal House of Justice. Elections for Local Spiritual Assemblies are generally held on 21 April, the first day of the Ridvan Festival (21 April-2 May), but in certain circumstances can be held on any day during Ridvan. Elections for National Spiritual Assemblies are held annually during Ridvan. Elections for the Universal House of Justice are held every five years. All adult members in good standing in a Baha'i community may vote for the members of their Local Spiritual Assembly; Baha'is in an electoral unit elect one or more delegates who, in turn, elect the members of the National Spiritual Assembly at the national convention. The members of the National Spiritual Assemblies elect the members of the Universal House of Justice at an international convention. Shoghi Effendi advises electors "to consider without the least trace of passion and prejudice, and irrespective of any material consideration, the names of only those who can best combine the necessary qualities of unquestioned loyalty, of selfless devotion, of a well-trained mind, of recognized ability and mature experience." There are no nominations. Campaigning and electioneering are forbidden. Ballots are cast in a prayerful atmosphere, and the nine persons receiving the most votes are considered chosen by God. Members of a minority race or group are given preference when tied for the ninth position; otherwise, ballots are cast to break the tie. A unique and significant aspect of all Baha'i elections is the fact that voters elect with the understanding that they are free to choose whomever their consciences prompt them to select, and they freely accept the authority of the outcome.

EPISTLE -- A formal or elegant letter or treatise; a composition in the form of a letter. In Baha'i usage it refers to certain Writings of Baha'u'llah -- for example, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf.

EPOCHS -- Major units of time used to mark the unfoldment of the Divine Plan and the Formative Age. The first epoch of the Divine Plan included the years 1937-63, for whose execution the machinery of the Administrative Order was erected (1921-37) and during which the Faith was expanded throughout the Western Hemisphere (1937- 1944/46) and then extended beyond the Western Hemisphere and Europe to the rest of the world. We are now in the second epoch of the Divine Plan. The first epoch of the Formative Age (1921-46) began with the passing of 'Abdu'l- Baha in 1921 and ended with the conclusion of the first Seven Year Plan pursued by the Baha'is of North America under Shoghi Effendi's direction. The second epoch of the Formative Age (1946-63) began with the launching of the second Seven Year Plan and the adoption of similar plans by other national communities throughout the Baha'i world and ended with the conclusion of the Ten Year Crusade and the election of the Universal House of Justice. The third epoch of the Formative Age (1963-86) included the Nine, Five, and Seven Year Plans formulated by the Universal House of Justice. The fourth and current epoch of the Formative Age began <p741> in 1986. Its inception was marked by the participation of National Spiritual Assemblies in formulating their own goals for the Six Year Plan (1986-92). For more information on the epochs of the Formative Age, see message no. 451. See also Ages.

 

F

FAST, THE -- A nineteen-day period (2-21 March, the Baha'i month of 'Ala', or Loftiness) of spiritual renewal and development during which Baha'is abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. A symbol of self-restraint, the Fast is a time of meditation, prayer, and spiritual recuperation and readjustment.

FEAST -- See Nineteen Day Feast.

FIRESIDE -- An informal Baha'i gathering held for the purpose of discussing the Baha'i Faith and sharing its teachings.

FOLLOWERS OF THE GREATEST NAME -- Baha'is; followers of Baha'u'llah. See also Greatest Name.

FORMATIVE AGE -- See Ages.

FRIENDS -- Baha'is.

FUND -- The institution of the Baha'i Fund, of which there are four main funds, operates on the international, continental, national, and local levels. The Baha'i International Fund is administered by the Universal House of Justice and is used to support the work of the Faith at the Baha'i World Centre and to sustain national communities unable to meet their own expenses. The International Deputization Fund, a subsidiary of the Baha'i International Fund, supports the work of pioneers and travelling teachers and is administered by the International Teaching Centre. The Persian Relief Fund, originally established by the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran to assist victims of persecution by the Islamic Republic, is also a subsidiary of the Baha'i International Fund and is administered by the Universal House of Justice.

The Continental Baha'i Fund supports the work of the Continental Boards of Counsellors and the work of their Auxiliary Boards.

Each National Spiritual Assembly and Local Spiritual Assembly administers its own National and Local Fund, respectively.

The funds of the Baha'i Faith are managed according to principles laid down by Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi. Foremost among the principles are: (1) Except for the portion of the Baha'i Funds devoted exclusively to charitable, philanthropic, or humanitarian purposes, contributions are accepted only from those who have identified themselves with the Baha'i Faith and are regarded as its avowed and unreserved supporters. (2) Contributing to the Funds is both a spiritual privilege and a responsibility. (3) All contributions to the Baha'i Funds are voluntary. (4) The degree of sacrifice and love of the contributor is more important than the amount given. (5) Appeals for donations must be dignified and general in character. (6) Confidentiality of contributions is to be strictly preserved. (7) Receipts are to be issued. Shoghi Effendi referred to the Funds as "the life-blood" of the Baha'i institutions.

<p742>

G

GOD'S HOLY MOUNTAIN -- See Mount Carmel.

GOD'S MAJOR PLAN -- See Major Plan of God.

GOD'S MINOR PLAN -- See Minor Plan of God.

GOLDEN AGE -- See Ages.

GREATEST HOLY LEAF -- See Bahiyyih Khanum.

GREATEST NAME -- The name Baha'u'llah ("the Glory of God") and its derivatives, such as Allah-u-Abha ("God is Most Glorious"), Baha ("glory", "splendour", or "light"), and Ya Baha'u'l-Abha ("O Thou the Glory of the Most Glorious!"). Also referred to as the Most Great Name.

GUARDIANSHIP -- The institution, anticipated by Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas and established by 'Abdu'l-Baha in His Will and Testament, to which Shoghi Effendi was appointed. Shoghi Effendi explains that the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice constitute the twin pillars of the World Order of Baha'u'llah and are the twin successors of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha. The Guardian's chief functions are to interpret the Writings of Baha'u'llah, the Bab, and 'Abdu'l-Baha and to be the permanent head of the Universal House of Justice. See also Shoghi Effendi.

 

H

HANDS OF THE CAUSE OF GOD -- Eminent Baha'is appointed by Baha'u'llah to stimulate the propagation and ensure the protection of the Faith. 'Abdu'l-Baha in His Will and Testament conferred authority on the Guardian to appoint Hands of the Cause and specified their duties. Shoghi Effendi, in a message dated October 1957 to the Baha'i world, called the Hands of the Cause of God "the Chief Stewards of Baha'u'llah's embryonic World Commonwealth." After his death on 4 November 1957 the Hands of the Cause of God assumed responsibility for preserving the unity of the Baha'i Faith and for guiding the Baha'i world community to the victorious completion of the Ten Year World Crusade planned by Shoghi Effendi. They also called for the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963 and requested the friends not to elect them, leaving them free to discharge their own specific responsibilities. Following the formation of the Universal House of Justice, five Hands of the Cause of God were selected by fellow Hands of the Cause to serve at the Baha'i World Centre, while the rest continued their continental responsibilities, which included overseeing the work of the Auxiliary Board members. Finding itself unable to appoint or legislate in order to appoint additional Hands of the Cause of God, the Universal House of Justice, in a cable dated 21 June 1968 and a letter dated 24 June 1968, announced the establishment of the institution of the Continental Boards of Counsellors to extend the functions of the Hands of the Cause of God into the future. The Hands of the Cause of God were then freed of responsibility for directing the work of Auxiliary Board members and were all given world-wide responsibilities. See also Auxiliary Boards; Conclave; Continental Boards of Counsellors; International Teaching Centre.

<p743>

HARAM-I-AQDAS -- "The Most Holy Court": a designation Shoghi Effendi gave to the north-western quadrant of the gardens surrounding the Shrine of Baha'u'llah in Bahji. It lies immediately outside the entrance to Baha'u'llah's tomb.

HAZIRATU'L-QUDS -- "The Sacred Fold"; official title designating the headquarters of Baha'i administrative activity in a particular country or region.

HIDDEN WORDS, THE -- Baha'u'llah most important ethical work. Revealed circa 1858. Described by Shoghi Effendi as a "marvellous collection of gem-like utterances ... with which Baha'u'llah was inspired, as He paced, wrapped in His meditations, the banks of the Tigris." Originally designated "The Hidden Book of Fatimih", the title of this work is an allusion to the Muslim tradition that the Angel Gabriel revealed a Book to Fatimih to console her following the death of the Prophet Muhammad, her Father, and that this Book remained hidden in the spiritual worlds thereafter.

HEROIC AGE -- See Ages.

HOLY DAY -- A day commemorating a significant Baha'i anniversary or feast. The nine Baha'i holy days on which work should be suspended include:

The Feast of Naw-Ruz (New Year), 21 March

The first day of Ridvan, 21 April

The ninth day of Ridvan, 29 April

The twelfth day of Ridvan, 2 May

The anniversary of the Declaration of the Bab, 23 May

The anniversary of the Ascension of Baha'u'llah, 29 May

The anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Bab, 9 July

The anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, 20 October

The anniversary of the Birth of Baha'u'llah, 12 November

The Day of the Covenant, 26 November, and the Ascension of 'Abdu'l-Baha, 28 November, are commemorated annually but are not days on which work is to be suspended.

HOLY PLACES -- Sites in Iran, 'Iraq, Turkey, and Israel that are associated with significant events in the lives of Baha'u'llah, the Bab, and 'Abdu'l-Baha.

HOLY SHRINES -- See Shrine.

HOLY TEXTS -- See Sacred Scriptures. Holy Threshold See Sacred Threshold.

HOSTS -- 'Abdu'l-Baha explains that "The blessed Person of the Promised One [Baha'u'llah] is interpreted in the Holy Book as the Lord of Hosts-the heavenly armies. By heavenly armies those souls are intended who are entirely freed from the human world, transformed into celestial spirits and have become divine angels. Such souls are the rays of the Sun of Reality who will illumine all the continents" (TDP 8.2).

<p744>

House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha -- The house in 'Akka that 'Abdu'l-Baha rented in 1896 and that served as His residence until He moved to Haifa in 1910. For a discussion of the historical significance of the House, see message no. 157.

HOUSES OF WORSHIP -- See Mashriqu'l-Adhkar.

HUQUQU'LLAH -- "The Right of God": one of the fundamental Baha'i ordinances of the Baha'i Faith, it is a great law and a sacred institution laid down by Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas. It is one of the key instruments for constructing the foundation and supporting the structure of the World Order of Baha'u'llah. Its far-reaching ramifications extend from enabling individuals to express their devotion to God in a private act of conscience that attracts divine blessings and bounties for the individual, promotes the common good, and directly connects individuals with the Central Institution of the Faith, to buttressing the authority and extending the activity of the Head of the Faith. The law prescribes that each Baha'i shall pay a certain portion of his accumulated savings after the deduction of all expenses and of certain exempt properties such as one's residence. These payments provide a fund at the disposition of the Head of the Faith for carrying out beneficent activities. Huququ'llah is administered by the Universal House of Justice, and payments are made to trustees appointed by the Universal House of Justice in every country or region. In providing a regular and systematic source of revenue for the Central Institution of the Cause, Baha'u'llah has assured the means for the independence and decisive functioning of the World Centre of His Faith. The fundamentals of the law of Huququ'llah are promulgated in the Kitab-i-Aqdas. Further elaborations of its features are found in other Writings of Baha'u'llah and in those of 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi, and the Universal House of Justice. The law was codified in 1987 and made universally applicable as of Ridvan 1992 to all who profess belief in Baha'u'llah. For further information, see Huququ'llah: Extracts from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi and The Universal House of Justice (1986).

 

I

INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I ARCHIVES -- An institution at the Baha'i World Centre that preserves the writings and sacred relics of the Central Figures of the Faith and Shoghi Effendi as well as other historical documents and items. The International Archives Building, completed in 1957, was the first of five buildings on the Arc on Mount Carmel to be constructed.

INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I CONVENTION -- An event held every five years in Haifa, Israel, at which members of National Spiritual Assemblies from around the world gather to elect the members of the Universal House of Justice. International Baha'i Council A nine-member body that served as the precursor of the Universal House of Justice and was first appointed by Shoghi Effendi in the closing months of 1950 and announced to the Baha'i world in 1951. After the Guardian's passing, it was elected in 1961 by members of National Spiritual Assemblies. Its threefold function, assigned by Shoghi Effendi, was to forge links with the state of Israel, to assist the Guardian in erecting the superstructure of the Shrine of the Bab, and to negotiate with civil authorities about the application of the Baha'i <p745> laws of personal status for Baha'is residing in the Holy Land. After Shoghi Effendi's passing, the International Baha'i Council, at the request of the Hands of the Cause of God, took responsibility for helping to maintain the World Centre properties and helping to establish the Universal House of Justice. Those whom Shoghi Effendi appointed to the International Baha'i Council were Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, Charles Mason Remey, Amelia Collins, Ugo Giachery, and Leroy Ioas, who were all subsequently appointed Hands of the Cause of God, as well as Jessie Revell, Ethel Revell, Lutfu'llah Hakim, and Sylvia Ioas. Members elected in 1961 by the National Spiritual Assemblies were Jessie Revell, 'Ali Nakhjavani, Lutfu'llah Hakim, Ethel Revell, Charles Wolcott, Sylvia Ioas, Mildred Mottahedeh, Ian Semple, and Borrah Kavelin. The International Baha'i Council ceased to exist upon the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963.

INTERNATIONAL FUND -- See Fund.

INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTRE -- An institution established by the Universal House of Justice in 1973, the members of which are the Hands of the Cause of God and Counsellors appointed by the Universal House of Justice to serve at the Baha'i World Centre. Among the institutions many responsibilities are making reports and recommendations to the Universal House of Justice, co-ordinating and directing the work of the Continental Boards of Counsellors, being fully informed of the Faiths condition throughout the world, watching over the security and ensuring the protection of the Faith, and being alert to possibilities for extending the teaching work and for developing social and economic life both inside and outside the Baha'i community.

 

K

KING OF GLORY -- A title of Baha'u'llah.

KITAB-I-'AHD, THE -- See Book of the Covenant.

KITAB-I-AQDAS, THE -- The Most Holy Book (Kitab means "book"; Aqdas means "Most Holy"): the chief repository of Baha'u'llah's laws and the Mother Book of His revelation, revealed in 'Akka in 1873 and termed by Shoghi Effendi "the Charter of the future world civilization." For a summary of its contents, see GPB, pp. 214-15.

KNIGHTS OF BAHA'U'LLAH -- The title given by Shoghi Effendi to Baha'is who settled in the goal countries enumerated at the outset of the Ten Year World Crusade as having no Baha'is living in them. All those who settled in such territories during the Holy Year October 1952 -- October 1953 and, thereafter, the first to settle in the remaining territories were designated Knights of Baha'u'llah. The names of the Knights of Baha'u'llah are inscribed on a scroll that was laid beneath the floor inside the entrance door of the Shrine of Baha'u'llah in May 1992 during the Holy Year commemorating the centenary of Baha'u'llah's ascension.

 

L

LESSER PEACE -- The first of two major stages in which Baha'is believe peace will be established. The Lesser Peace will come about through a binding treaty among <p746> the nations for the political unification of the world. It will involve fixing every nation's boundaries, strictly limiting the size of armaments, laying down the principles underlying the relations among governments, and ascertaining all international agreements and obligations. Its inception will synchronize with two processes operating within the Baha'i Faith -- the maturation of local and national Baha'i institutions and the completion of specified buildings around the Arc on Mount Carmel and will portend the coming of the Most Great Peace.

LETTERS OF THE LIVING -- A translation of Huruf-i-Hayy. The first eighteen people who independently recognized and believed in the Bab. Together with Him, they form the first Vahid ("Unit") of the Babi Dispensation. The word Hayy, which is the Name of God "The Living", has the numerical value of eighteen in the abjad system of notation in which each letter of the Arabic alphabet is assigned a specific numerical value. The word "Vahid" has the numerical value of nineteen.

LIFEBLOOD OF THE CAUSE -- The Baha'i Fund.

LORD OF HOSTS -- A title of Baha'u'llah. 'Abdu'l-Baha explains that "what is meant in the prophecies by the 'Lord of Hosts' and the 'Promised Christ' is the Blessed Perfection [Baha'u'llah] and His holiness the Exalted One [the Bab]." See also Hosts.

LORD OF THE AGE -- A designation of the Manifestation of God in each Dispensation. In Islam it was a title given to the promised Qa'im and, therefore, is applied in Baha'i terminology particularly to the Bab.

 

M

MAJOR PLAN OF GOD -- God's plan for humanity that is tumultuous and mysterious in its progress. Its purpose in this cycle is to unite the human race and to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. See also Minor Plan of God.

MANIFESTATION OF GOD -- Designation of a Prophet "endowed with constancy" Who is the Founder of a religious Dispensation, inasmuch as in His words, His person, and His actions He manifests the nature and purpose of God in accordance with the capacity and needs of the people to whom He comes.

MASHRIQU'L-ADHKAR -- "The Dawning Place of the Praise of God": a title designating a Baha'i House of Worship or Temple. Houses of Worship have been constructed in Wilmette, near Chicago, Illinois; Kampala, Uganda; Ingleside, near Sydney, Australia; Langenhain, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Panama City, Panama; Apia, Western Samoa; and New Delhi, India. The first Baha'i House of Worship, built in 1902 in 'Ishqabad, Turkmenistan, was damaged by an earthquake in 1948 and, following heavy rains, had to be razed in 1963. For a full description of the institution of the Mashriqu'l- Adhkar, see BW 18:568-88.

MASTER -- A title of 'Abdu'l-Baha referring to the virtues He manifested and to His role as an enduring model for humanity to emulate.

<p747>

MAZRA'IH -- country mansion near the village of Mazra'a, several miles north of the prison city of 'Akka and about a half-mile from the Mediterranean Sea. Baha'u'llah lived at Mazra'ih for about two years after leaving 'Akka in 1877. The mansion looks eastward to the hills of Galilee and has a pool and gardens.

MECCA -- The holy city of Islam, the birthplace of Muhammad (AD 570). In Mecca, the principal place of pilgrimage of the Muslim world, stands the Great Mosque surrounding the Ka'bih (Kaaba), the ancient cubical temple believed to have been built by Abraham and Ishmael, which is the Muslim Qiblih.

MIHDI, MIRZA -- The Purest Branch: a son of Baha'u'llah and brother of 'Abdu'l-Baha. He died at the age of twenty-two in 1870 when he fell through a skylight while rapt in prayer on the roof of the prison barracks in 'Akka. He asked Baha'u'llah to accept his life as a ransom so that pilgrims prevented from attaining Baha'u'llah's presence would be enabled to do so. Baha'u'llah, in a prayer, made this astounding proclamation: "Glorified art Thou, O Lord my God! Thou seest Me in the hands of Mine enemies, and My son blood-stained before Thy face, O Thou in Whose hands is the kingdom of all names. I have, O My Lord, offered up that which Thou hast given Me, that Thy servants may be quickened and all that dwell on earth be united." Minor Plan of God The part of God's Plan that is revealed by Baha'u'llah to His followers and is laid out for them in detailed instructions and successive plans by 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi, and the Universal House of Justice. In contrast to the Major Plan of God, it proceeds in a methodical, ordered way, disseminating His teachings and raising up the structure of a united world society.

MOST EXALTED LEAF -- See Asiyih Khanum and Bahiyyih Khanum.

MOST GREAT FESTIVAL -- See Ridvan.

MOST GREAT NAME -- See Greatest Name.

MOST GREAT JUBILEE -- The centenary of the declaration of Baha'u'llah's prophetic mission in the Garden of Ridvan in Baghdad, 22 April -- 3 May 1863. It was commemorated by the first Baha'i World Congress, held in Royal Albert Hall, London, during the Ridvan Festival (28 April -- 2 May) 1963. The Most Great Jubilee coincided with the victorious completion of the Ten Year World Crusade Shoghi Effendi launched in April 1953 (fulfilling the prophecy of Daniel 12:12 regarding the spread of the Baha'i Faith throughout the world) and the establishment of the Universal House of Justice elected a few days earlier in Haifa, Israel. See also Daniel's prophecy.

MOST GREAT OCEAN -- See Ancient Beauty.

MOST GREAT PEACE -- The second of two major stages in which Baha'is believe peace will be established. The Most Great Peace will be the practical consequence of the spiritualization of the world and the fusion of all its races, creeds, classes, and nations. It will rest on the foundation of, and be preserved by, the ordinances of God. See also Lesser Peace.

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MOST GREAT PRISON -- The prison city of 'Akka in which Baha'u'llah, His family, and companions were confined from 31 August 1868 until June 1877.

MOST HOLY BOOK -- See Kitab-i-Aqdas, The.

MOST HOLY SHRINE -- The Shrine of Baha'u'llah in Bahji.

MOTHER TEMPLE -- Refers to the first Baha'i House of Worship to be built in a hemisphere or continent. For example, the Baha'i House of Worship outside of Frankfurt am Main, Germany, is known as the Mother Temple of Europe; the House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, the Mother Temple of the West.

MOUNT CARMEL -- A mountain in Israel on which the Shrine of the Bab and the Baha'i World Centre are located. The home of the prophet Elijah, it is referred to by Baha'u'llah as "the Hill of God and His Vineyard" and was extolled by Isaiah as the "mountain of the Lord" to which "all nations shall flow". On it Baha'u'llah pitched His tent and revealed the Tablet of Carmel, the charter of the world spiritual and administrative centres of the Baha'i Faith. See also Arc; Baha'i World Centre.

MYSTERY OF GOD -- A translation of Sirru'llah, a title Baha'u'llah gave to 'Abdu'l-Baha referring to His unique spiritual station in which the incompatible characteristics of human nature and superhuman knowledge and perfection are blended and completely harmonized.

 

N

NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES -- See Spiritual Assemblies.

NATIONAL CONVENTION -- The institution that elects the members of the National Spiritual Assembly during the annual Ridvan Festival (21 April -- 2 May). At unit or "district" conventions, adult Baha'is elect delegates who, in turn, attend the National Convention. There the delegates vote to elect the members of the National Spiritual Assembly, consult about the affairs of the Faith, and offer recommendations to the National Spiritual Assembly. See also Elections, Baha'i.

NAWNAHALAN -- "Children": the name of a Baha'i-owned commercial investment company founded in 1917 in Iran, through 'Abdu'l-Baha's encouragement, to help Baha'i children learn to plan for the future and live thriftily by depositing a portion of their allowances each week. It later became the financial arm of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran. In 1979 the Nawnahalan Company was seized by Iranian authorities, its assets were confiscated, and its staff were denied their salaries and prevented from working.

NAW-RUZ -- "New Day". Baha'i New Year's Day, the date of the vernal equinox. A Baha'i holy day on which work is suspended, it is celebrated in the West on 21 March, until such time as the Universal House of Justice fixes the standard for the date throughout the world in accordance with astronomical data.

NIGHTINGALE OF PARADISE -- See Ancient Beauty.

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NINE YEAR PLAN -- The first teaching plan launched by the Universal House of Justice. It encompassed the years 1964-73. See also Plans.

NINETEEN DAY FEAST -- A Baha'i institution inaugurated by the Bab and confirmed by Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas. It is held on the first day of every Baha'i month, each consisting of nineteen days and bearing the name of one of the attributes of God. The Feast is the heart of Baha'i community life at the local level and consists of devotional, consultative, and social elements.

 

O

ORDER OF BAHA'U'LLAH -- See World Order of Baha'u'llah.

 

P

PEERLESS BELOVED -- See Ancient Beauty.

PEN OF GLORY, PEN OF THE MOST HIGH -- See Ancient Beauty.

PEOPLE OF BAHA -- Generally, the members of the Baha'i community. Shoghi Effendi explains that in the Tablet of Carmel "the people of Baha" refers to the members of the Universal House of Justice.

PILGRIMAGE -- A journey made with the intention of visiting a shrine or holy place. For Baha'is it is both a privilege and an obligation, although it is only obligatory for men who are able to make the journey. In the Kitab-i-Aqdas Baha'u'llah specifically ordains pilgrimage to the House of Baha'u'llah in Baghdad and to the House of the Bab in Shiraz. On the day of Baha'u'llah's ascension, the room where His Holy Dust was laid became a third centre of pilgrimage-the most holy spot and the Qiblih of the Baha'i world -- for at least the next thousand years. Under current conditions, Baha'is assume that the obligation of pilgrimage is satisfied by a visit to the Shrine of Baha'u'llah and the Shrine of the Bab in the Holy Land.

The first group of Western pilgrims arrived in 'Akka on 10 December 1898 and included Edward and Lua Getsinger; Phoebe Hearst; Mrs Hearst's butler, Robert Turner, who was the first African-American in the West to become a Baha'i; and Mrs Thornburgh.

PILGRIM HOUSE -- A house for visiting pilgrims that Mirza Ja'far Rahmani built, with 'Abdu'l-Baha's permission, near the Shrine of the Bab. 'Abdu'l-Baha composed a dedicatory inscription that appears above its entrance: "This is a spiritual Hostel for Pilgrims, and its founder is Mirza Ja'far Rahmani AH 1327. [1909]." It was completed in 1909 and was known as the Eastern or Oriental Pilgrim House. In 1969 the increasing number of pilgrims led the Universal House of Justice to decide that pilgrims should be accommodated in hotels, thereby enabling it to convert the pilgrim house into a reception centre.

A Western Pilgrim House was built across the street from the House of 'Abdu'l-Baha in Haifa, shortly after His passing, with funds American Baha'is had contributed and in accordance with a design 'Abdu'l-Baha had selected and modified. In 1963 the Universal House of Justice established its offices in the Western Pilgrim House.

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In 1983, after the completion of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, the Western Pilgrim House became the seat of the International Teaching Centre. Another pilgrim house is located at Bahji, near the Shrine of Baha'u'llah.

PILLARS OF THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE -- National Spiritual Assemblies. See also Spiritual Assemblies.

PIONEERS -- Baha'is who leave their hometown or country to reside elsewhere for the purpose of teaching the Baha'i Faith.

PLANS -- Refers to the courses of action devised by Shoghi Effendi and, later, by the Universal House of Justice for expanding and consolidating the Baha'i Faith within the framework of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan. Teaching Plans launched by Shoghi Effendi include the first Seven Year Plan (1937-44) and the second Seven Year Plan (1946-53) pursued by the Baha'is of the United States; a Six Year Plan pursued by the Baha'is of the British Isles (1944-50); plans of varying durations separately pursued between 1947- 53 by the National Spiritual Assemblies of Canada, of Central America, of South America, of Australia and New Zealand, of India, Pakistan, and Burma, of Germany and Austria, of Iran, of 'Iraq, and of Egypt and the Sudan; the Two Year Plan for the development of the Faith in Africa; and the Ten Year World Crusade (1953-63) pursued by the world-wide Baha'i community. The Universal House of Justice has launched the Nine Year Plan (1964-73), the Five Year Plan (1974-79), the Seven Year Plan (1979- 86), the Six Year Plan (1986-92), the Three Year Plan (1993-1996), and the Four Year Plan (1996-2000). See also Major Plan of God and Minor Plan of God.

PROMISED ONE -- A title of Baha'u'llah.

PUREST BRANCH, THE -- See Mihdi, Mirza.

 

Q

QIBLIH -- "That which one faces; prayer-direction; point of adoration". the focus to which the faithful turn in prayer. The Qiblih for Muslims is the Ka'bah in Mecca; for Baha'is it is the Most Holy Tomb of Baha'u'llah at Bahji, "the Heart and Qiblih of the Baha'i world".

 

R

REMOTE PRISON -- The city of Adrianople (now Edirne, Turkey), to which Baha'u'llah was banished from 12 December 1863 through 12 August 1868. Adrianople is in western Turkey, on its border with Greece and Bulgaria.

REVELATION -- The conveying of truth from God to humanity. The word is used to refer to the process of divine communication from God to His Manifestation and from the Manifestation to His people; to the words and acts of such communication themselves; and to the entire body of teachings given by a Prophet of God.

RIDVAN -- The Islamic name of the gardener and custodian of Paradise. In Baha'i terminology the word denotes both "garden", and "paradise"; however, it has also <p751> been used to denote God's good-pleasure and His divine acceptance. The Ridvan Festival, the holiest and most significant of all Baha'i festivals, commemorates Baha'u'llah's declaration of His mission to His companions in the Garden of Ridvan in Baghdad in 1863. It is a twelve-day period celebrated annually, 21 April -- 2 May. It is also called the Most Great Festival. During each Ridvan Festival Local and National Spiritual Assemblies are elected, and, once every five years, the Universal House of Justice is elected.

RUHIYYIH KHANUM, AMATU'L-BAHA -- See Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum.

 

S

SACRED SCRIPTURES, SACRED TEXTS -- The Holy Books of the world's religions. Also refers to the Writings of Baha'u'llah, the Bab, and 'Abdu'l-Baha.

SACRED THRESHOLD -- A term used metaphorically and respectfully to denote approach to the Presence of God and, hence, to the precincts of a holy place such as a shrine. It is also sometimes used literally to denote the actual outer or inner threshold of a holy shrine.

SEAL OF THE PROPHETS -- A title of Muhammad.

SHOGHI EFFENDI -- The title by which Shoghi Rabbani (1 March 1897 -- 4 November 1957), great-grandson of Baha'u'llah, is generally known to Baha'is. (Shoghi is an Arabic name meaning "the one who longs"; Effendi is a Turkish honorific signifying "sit" or "master".) He was appointed Guardian of the Baha'i Faith by 'Abdu'l-Baha in His Will and assumed the office upon 'Abdu'l-Baha's passing in 1921.

SHRINE -- The original meaning of the word is a casket or case for books, but it later acquired the special meaning of a casket containing sacred relics, and thence a tomb of a saint, a chapel with special associations, or a place hallowed by some memory. It is used to denote the latter in Baha'i terminology. The term "Holy Shrines", for example, refers to the burial places of Baha'u'llah, the Bab, and 'Abdu'l-Baha. The House associated with the visit of 'Abdu'l-Baha to Montreal was designated by Shoghi Effendi as a Baha'i shrine. Also, when referring to the All-American Convention held in 1944 to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary, of the inception of the Baha'i Faith, the Guardian wrote of the representatives of the American Baha'i community's being "Gathered within the walls of its national Shrine -- the most sacred Temple ever to be reared to the glory of Baha'u'llah" (GPB p. 400).

SIYAH-CHAL -- "Black Pit": the subterranean dungeon in Tihran in which Baha'u'llah was imprisoned August -- December 1852. Here, chained in darkness three flights of stairs underground, in the company of his fellow-Babis and some 150 thieves and assassins, He received the first intimations of His world mission.

Spiritual Assemblies -- Administrative institutions of Baha'u'llah's World Order that operate at the local and national levels and are elected according to Baha'i principles. They are responsible for co-ordinating and directing the affairs of the Baha'i <p752> community in their areas of jurisdiction. The institution of the Local Spiritual Assembly is ordained by Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas (referred to there as the "House of Justice"); the institution of the National Spiritual Assembly is established by 'Abdu'l- Baha in His Will and Testament. The term "Spiritual Assembly" was introduced by 'Abdu'l-Baha so that, while the Faith is still generally unknown, people will not make the erroneous deduction from the term "House of Justice" that it is a political institution. Regional Spiritual Assemblies have been elected in many areas and are gradually reduced in size and eventually replaced by National Spiritual Assemblies as the Faith expands and consolidates itself. See also Elections, Baha'i.

STEWARDS, CHIEF -- See Hands of the Cause of God.

SUPREME HOUSE OF JUSTICE -- See Universal House of Justice.

SUPREME PEN -- A title of Baha'u'llah.

SURIY-I-MULUK -- Tablet to the Kings: revealed by Baha'u'llah in Adrianople, referred to by Shoghi Effendi as "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Baha'u'llah." In it Baha'u'llah addresses collectively the monarchs of East and West, the Sultan of Turkey, the kings of Christendom, the French and Persian ambassadors to the Ottoman Empire, the Muslim clergy in Constantinople, the people of Persia, and the philosophers of the world. In the Suriy-i-Muluk Baha'u'llah unequivocally and forcefully proclaims His station. See Proclamation of Baha'u'llah (pp. 7-12, 47-54, 102-03) for passages of the Suriy-i-Muluk that have been translated into English.

 

T

TABLET OF CARMEL -- The charter of the world spiritual and administrative centres of the Baha'i Faith, revealed by Baha'u'llah in 1890 during one of His visits to Mount Carmel. See GWB, pp. 14-17, or TB, pp. 3-5.

TABLETS -- Refers to letters revealed by Baha'u'llah, the Bab, and 'Abdu'l-Baha. Tablets of the Divine Plan Fourteen Tablets revealed by 'Abdu'l-Baha in 1916 and 1917 and referred to as the charter for propagating the Baha'i Faith. Addressed to the Baha'is of North America, the Tablets convey His mandate for the transmission of the Baha'i Faith throughout the world. See also Divine Plan.

TEN-PART PROCESS -- A ten-part process of divine revelation described by Shoghi Effendi. It began with Adam and is to end with the erection of the entire machinery of Baha'u'llah's Administrative Order and the suffusion of the light of His Revelation, throughout future epochs of the Formative and Golden Ages of the Faith, over the entire planet.

The ten-part process, Shoghi Effendi writes, began "with the planting in the soil of the divine will, of the tree of divine revelation, and which has already passed through certain stages and must needs pass through still others ere it attains its final consummation. The first part of this process was the slow and steady growth of this tree of divine revelation, successively putting forth its branches, shoots and offshoots, and revealing its leaves, buds and blossoms, as a direct consequence of the light and <p753> warmth imparted to it by a series of progressive Dispensations associated with Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and other Prophets, and of the vernal showers of blood shed by countless martyrs in their path. The second part of this process was the fruition of this tree, 'that belongeth neither to the East nor to the West,' when the Bab appeared as the perfect fruit and declared His mission in the Year Sixty [1844] in the city of Shiraz. The third part was the grinding of this sacred seed, of infinite preciousness and potency, in the mill of adversity, causing it to yield its oil, six years later, in the city of Tabriz [1850]. The fourth part was the ignition of this oil by the hand of Providence in the depths and amidst the darkness of the Siyah-Chal of Tihran a hundred years ago [1852]. The fifth, was the clothing of that flickering light, which had scarcely penetrated the adjoining territory of 'Iraq, in the lamp of revelation, after an eclipse lasting no less than ten years, in the city of Baghdad [1863]. The sixth, was the spread of the radiance of that light, shining with added brilliancy in its crystal globe in Adrianople [1863- 1868], and later on in the fortress town of 'Akka [1868-1877], to thirteen countries in the Asiatic and African continents. The seventh was its projection, from the Most Great Prison, in the course of the ministry of the Centre of the Covenant [1892-1921], across the seas and the shedding of its illumination upon twenty sovereign states and dependencies in the American, the European, and Australian continents. The eighth part of that process was the diffusion of that same light in the course of the first, and the opening years of the second, epoch of the Formative Age of the Faith [1921-1953], over ninety-four sovereign states, dependencies and islands of the planet, as a result of the prosecution of a series of national plans, initiated by eleven national spiritual assemblies throughout the Baha'i world, utilizing the agencies of a newly emerged, divinely appointed Administrative Order, and which has now culminated in the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Baha'u'llah's Mission. The ninth part of this process -- the stage we are now entering [1953] -- is the further diffusion of that same light over one hundred and thirty-one additional territories and islands in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, through the operation of a decade-long world spiritual crusade whose termination will, God willing, coincide with the Most Great Jubilee commemorating the centenary of the declaration of Baha'u'llah in Baghdad. And finally the tenth part of this mighty process [1963-] must be the penetration of that light, in the course of numerous crusades and of successive epochs of both the Formative and Golden Ages of the Faith, into all the remaining territories of the globe through the erection of the entire machinery of Baha'u'llah's Administrative Order in all territories, both East and West, the stage at which the light of God's triumphant Faith shining in all its power and glory will have suffused and enveloped the entire planet" (MBW, pp. 154-55).

TEN YEAR WORLD CRUSADE -- See Crusade, Ten Year World.

TONGUE OF GRANDEUR -- See Ancient Beauty.

TRANSITION, AGE OF OR PERIOD OF -- See Ages.

TWIN HOLY CITIES -- Haifa and 'Akka, Israel.

TWIN HOLY SHRINES -- The Shrines of Baha'u'llah and the Bab. See also Shrines.

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U

UMANA COMPANY -- The Umana ("Trustees") Company was formed in Iran to be the registered owner of all Baha'i properties, both local and national. Within a few months after the Islamic Republic was established in March 1979, agents of the revolutionary government, acting on the authority of an order from the Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Islamic Republic, seized its assets, properties, and furnishings and dismissed its employees. Among the properties the Umana Company held were holy places, including the House of the Bab in Shiraz, houses of Baha'u'llah in Tihran and Takur, a temple site, the national Baha'i headquarters, Baha'i cemeteries, and a Baha'i-operated hospital in Tihran.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE -- The supreme governing and legislative body of the Baha'i Faith. The Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice are the twin, crowning institutions of the Baha'i Administrative Order. Elected every five years at an international Baha'i convention, the Universal House of Justice gives spiritual guidance to and directs the administrative activities of the world-wide Baha'i community. It is the institution Baha'u'llah ordained as the agency invested with authority to legislate on matters not covered in His writings. In His Will and Testament 'Abdu'l-Baha elaborates on its functions and affirms that it is infallibly guided.

 

V

VAKILU'D-DAWLIH -- A state title, meaning deputy or representative of the government, that refers to Muhammad Taqi Afnan, cousin of the Bab and chief builder of the 'Ishqabad Temple.

VICAR OF THE PROPHET OF ISLAM -- The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, alluding to his claim to be the Caliph, or successor of Muhammad within Sunni Islam.

 

W

WESTERN PILGRIM HOUSE -- See Pilgrim House.

WILL AND TESTAMENT OF 'ABDU'L-BAHA -- A document that Shoghi Effendi says is "unique in the annals of the world's religious systems", the Will and Testament is the charter of the Administrative Order of the Baha'i Faith. Written, signed, and sealed by 'Abdu'l- Baha, the Will and Testament consists of three sections written at three different times between 1901 and the year of His passing. The Will and Testament affirms "the two-fold character of the Mission of the Bab", which was to bring an independent revelation from God and to herald the coming of another, greater revelation through Baha'u'llah. It also "discloses the full station of" Baha'u'llah as the "supreme Manifestation of God", declares the fundamental beliefs of the Baha'i Faith, establishes the institution of the Guardianship, and appoints Shoghi Effendi as Guardian. It provides for the election of the Universal House of Justice and defines its scope. It also creates the institution of the National Spiritual Assembly, provides for the appointment of the Hands of the Cause of God and prescribes their obligations, and exposes the conduct of the Covenant-breakers.

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WORLD CENTRE -- See Baha'i World Centre.

WORLD CONGRESS -- See Most Great Jubilee.

WORLD CRUSADE -- See Crusade, Ten Year World.

WORLD ORDER OF BAHA'U'LLAH -- Baha'u'llah's "scheme for world-wide solidarity" that is "destined to embrace in the fullness of time the whole of mankind." The current Baha'i Administrative Order is its nucleus and pattern, providing the "rudiments of the future all-enfolding Baha'i Commonwealth."

 

Y

YA 'ALIYYU'L-A'LA -- O Thou the Exalted, the Most Exalted! A form of the Bab's name that is used as an invocation.

YA BAHA'U'L-ABHA -- O Thou the Glory of the Most Glorious! A form of Baha'u'llah's name (the Greatest Name) that is used as an invocation.

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Bibliography

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Bibliography

Writings of Baha'u'llah

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Epistle to the Son of the Wolf. 1st ps ed. Translated by Shoghi Effendi. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1988.

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The Hidden Words. Translated by Shoghi Effendi. Rev. ed. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1939.

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Writings of the Bab

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Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha

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Foundations of World Unity: Compiled from Addresses and Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1972.

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Paris Talks: Addresses Given by 'Abdu'l-Baha in Paris in 1911-1912. 11th ed. London: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1969.

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Citadel of Faith: Messages to America, 1947-1957. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1965.

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God Passes By. Rev. ed. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1974.

Guidance For Today and Tomorrow: A Selection from the Writings of Shoghi Effendi, the Late Guardian of the Baha'i Faith. London: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1953.

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Messages to the Baha'i World, 1950-1957. Rev. ed. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1971.

Messages to Canada. n.p.: National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Canada, 1965.

The Promised Day is Come. 1st ps ed. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1996. Tawqi'at-i-Mubarakih ["Blessed Letters"]. Vol. I. Tihran: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1972.

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Writings of the Universal House of Justice

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The Promise of World Peace: To the Peoples of the World. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1985.

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Compilations of Baha'i Writings

Baha'i Holy Places at the World Centre. Haifa: Baha'i World Centre, 1968.

Baha'i Scriptures. 2nd ed. Compiled by Horace Holley. New York: Baha'i Publishing Committee, 1928.

Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha. Baha'i Prayers and Tablets for the Young. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1978.

_____. Let Thy breeze refresh them ... [Compiled by the Baha'i Publishing Trust of the United Kingdom.] Oakham, England: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1976.

_____. Tablets Revealed in Honour of the Greatest Holy Leaf. New York: National Spiritual Assembly of the-Baha'is of the United States and Canada, 1933. Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi. Baha'i Meetings/The Nineteen Day Feast. Compiled by the Universal House of Justice. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1976.

_____. Excellence in All Things. Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice. Oakham, England: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1981.

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_____. The Importance of Deepening our Knowledge and Understanding of the Faith. Compiled by The Universal House of Justice. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1983.

_____. The Pattern of Baha'i Life: A Compilation from Baha'i Scripture with some passages from the writings of the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith. Compiled by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United Kingdom. 3rd ed. London: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1963.

_____. Spiritual Foundations: Prayer, Meditation, and the Devotional Attitude: Extracts from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi. Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1980.

Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi, and the Universal House of Justice. Consultation: A Compilation: Extracts from the Writings and Utterances of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi, and The Universal House of Justice. Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice. Thornhill, Ont.: Baha'i Community of Canada, 1980.

Baha'u'llah, the Bab, and 'Abdu'l-Baha. Baha'i Prayers: A Selection of Prayers Revealed by Baha'u'llah, the Bab and 'Abdu'l-Baha. New ed. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1991.

_____. Inspiring the Heart: Selections from the Writings of The Bab, Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha. [Compiled by the Universal House of Justice.] London: Baha'i Publishing Trust, n.d.

[Baha'u'llah, the Bab, 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi, and the Universal House of Justice.] Baha'i Marriage and Family Life: Selections from the Writings of the Baha'i Faith. [Compiled by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Canada.] n.p.: National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Canada, 1983.

Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi, and Bahiyyih Khanum. Bahiyyih Khanum: The Greatest Holy Leaf. Compiled by the Research Department at the Baha'i World Centre. Haifa: Baha'i World Centre, 1982.

The Compilation of Compilations: Prepared by the Universal House of Justice, 1963- 1990. 2 vols. Australia: Baha'i Publications Australia, 1991.

Lights of Guidance: A Baha'i Reference File. New ed. Compiled by Helen Hornby. New Delhi: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1994.

Living the Life. A Compilation. [Compiled by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United Kingdom.] London: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1974.

The Mystery of God. Rev. ed. Compiled by Iran Furutan Muhajir. London: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1979.

Principles of Baha'i Administration: A Compilation. 4th ed. [Compiled by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United Kingdom.] London: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1976.

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Other works

The Baha'i World: A Biennial International Record, Volume IX, 1940-1944. Compiled by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Committee, 1945.

_____, Volume X 1944-1946. Compiled by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Committee, 1949.

_____. Volume XI, 1946-1950. Compiled by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Committee, 1952.

_____. Volume XII, 1950-1954. Compiled by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Committee, 1956.

_____. Volume XIII, 1954-1963. Compiled by the Universal House of Justice. Haifa: The Universal House of Justice, 1970.

_____. Volume XIV, 1963-1968. Compiled by the Universal House of Justice. Haifa: The Universal House of Justice, 1974.

_____. Volume XV, 1968-1973. Compiled by the Universal House of Justice. Haifa: Baha'i World Centre, 1975.

_____. Volume XVI, 1973-1976. Compiled by the Universal House of Justice. Haifa: Baha'i World Centre, 1978.

_____. Volume XVII, 1976-1979. Compiled by the Universal House of Justice. Haifa: Baha'i World Centre, 1981.

_____. Volume XVIII, 1979-1983. Compiled by the Universal House of Justice. Haifa: Baha'i World Centre, 1986.

_____. Volume XIX, 1983-1986. Compiled by the Universal House of Justice. Haifa: Baha'i World Centre, 1994.

Balyuzi, H. M. 'Abdu'l-Baha: The Centre of the Covenant of Baha'u'llah. London: George Ronald, 1971.

_____. Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory. Oxford: George Ronald, 1980.

_____. Edward Granville Browne and the Baha'i Faith. Oxford: George Ronald, 1970.

Blomfield, Lady (Sitarih Khanum). The Chosen Highway. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, n.d.; repr. 1975.

Chase, Thornton. In Galilee. Los Angeles: Kalimat Press, 1985.

Esslemont, J. E. Baha'u'llah and the New Era: An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith. 5th rev. ed. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1980.

Gail, Marzieh. Khanum: The Greatest Holy Leaf. Oxford: George Ronald, 1981.

Garis, M. R. Martha Root: Lioness at the Threshold. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1983.

Maxwell, May. An Early Pilgrimage. 2nd rev. ed. London: George Ronald, 1969.

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Moffett, Ruth J. Du'a: On Wings of Prayer. Revised and edited by Kevin Brown. Happy Camp, Cal.: Naturegraph Publishers, 1984.

Nabil-i-A'zam (Muhammad-i-Zarandi). The Dawn-Breakers: Nabil's Narrative of the

Early Days of the Baha'i Revelation. Translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1932.

Nakhjavani, Bahiyyih. When We Grow Up. Oxford: George Ronald, 1979.

National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States. Articles of Incorporation, Constitution, and By-Laws of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States/By-Laws of a Local Spiritual Assembly. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1996.

_____, comp. The Baha'i Community: A Summary of its Organization and Laws. Rev. ed. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1963.

_____, Declaration of Trust and By-Laws of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States/By-Laws of a Local Spiritual Assembly. Rev. ed. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1975.

Rabbani, Ruhiyyih. The Priceless Pearl. London: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1969.

Ruhe, David S. Door of Hope: A Century of the Baha'i Faith in the Holy Land. Oxford: George Ronald, 1983.

Sears, William. A Cry from the Heart: The Baha'is in Iran. Oxford: George Ronald, 1982.

Whitehead, O. Z. Some Baha'is to Remember. Oxford: George Ronald, 1983.