Tablet of the Branch

In Adrianople, Bahá’u’lláh began the public announcement of his mission; writing to kings and rulers and to followers of the Bab.…

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Tablet of the Branch

In Adrianople, Bahá’u’lláh began the public announcement of his mission; writing to kings and rulers and to followers of the Bab. Also from this period, Bahá’u’lláh was already looking far ahead to the time when he would no longer be in the physical world and he was laying the foundations of the Baha’i Faith after his passing. We have already noted…

Bahá’u’lláh’s first letter to Napoleon III: the Responsibility of Government for Welfare of the People

napoleon III - apartments

We have seen that while Baha’u’llah was in Adrianople he wrote to the rulers of society, individually and collectively. From this period comes Bahá’u’lláh’s first letter to Napoleon III – Emperor of the French – who at the time was at the height of his power and influence. Bahá’u’lláh’s letter announces his mission as do other letters of this period.…

Origins of Racism: the Case of the Count de Gobineau

arthur de gobineau

When we see racism still at work in our world it is important not only to know its current manifestations but also to understand something of how it arose. This article concerns, Count Arthur de Gobineau, a man who is often labelled a “father of racism”. Of course, no one individual is solely responsible – but he was clearly one of…

The religious scholar accused of being a follower of the Bab

religious scholar accused of being a babi - avicenna memorial

In the time of Bahá’u’lláh, there lived in Persia a very erudite and accomplished religious scholar, Aqa Muhammad. Aqa Muhammad was so accomplished that later in life he was awarded the degree of “mujtahid” (recognition as an authority in Islamic law) by his teacher. About the time that Bahá’u’lláh was in the Black Pit (the Siyah-Chal) and there was intense persecution of…

Bahá’u’lláh’s letter to Pope Pius IX

letter to pope pius ix - breach of walls of rome

In 1869, while in Akka, Bahá’u’lláh wrote to the then Pope of the Roman Catholic Church: Pope Pius IX. History does not record any reply. As with other such messages, no reply was expected. The letter is short. It announces Baha’u’llah’s mission in words again unmistakable, although Bahá’u’lláh was a prisoner of the Caliph and Ottoman Sultan. “Rend the veils asunder.…

O Ahmad, be thou so steadfast in my love that thy heart shall not waver …

tablet of ahmad adrianople

  Written in Adrianople in 1865, the Tablet of Ahmad is one of the most powerful of Bahá’u’lláh’s writings. Adrianople, now known as Edirne, was the next place of exile Baha’u’llah was sent after being summoned to Constantinople., and is about 240 kilometres to its north-west. Adrianople was referred to by Bahá’u’lláh in his writings as “the remote prison”. The…

Only Human

only human

Human beings are prone to error. So much so, that often our messages about ourselves are entirely cynical about our capacity as human beings to foster a just, peaceful and prosperous future. Our popular culture is full of negative assessments of humanity. A recently popularised example is the words J.R.R. Tolkien placed in the mouth of the elf Elrond: “Men?…

White Australia Policy

white australia policy

Most us take a multicultural, multiracial reality in our stride – a normal and welcome part of life. It is a very recent development. For a Faith that arrived in Australia when the White Australia policy was the law, it inevitably raised questions for some of the newly enrolled Baha’is. How were they to square their religious beliefs – with…

Constantinople

constantinople

Constantinople was the capital of the 500 year old Ottoman caliphate. And before the Ottomans captured the city and made it their own, it had stood for more than 1000 years as the capital of the Christian Roman Empire. In April 1863 Bahá’u’lláh was exiled again – “summoned” to that capital. As we have seen, the departure from Baghdad was a…

Healing the Wounds of War: a Spiritual Axis

spiritual axis

After World War 2 the world was in ruins. The nations that fought against each other in that war were the last people who you would think would naturally cooperate with each other in a common cause. In Australia, when I was growing up, there was still (if fading) a lingering collective memory among some of the Japanese as a…

The House the Prince Wanted to Build

most great house

After Bahá’u’lláh had returned to Baghdad from his two years of withdrawal to the mountains of Kurdistan, he lived in a house close to the western bank of the Tigris River. This was the period when increasingly the Babi community began to turn to Bahá’u’lláh. Although he had not announced his mission, his writings and presence attracted the remnants of the…