Verily I say, the creation of God embraceth worlds besides this world, and creatures apart from these creatures. In each of these worlds He hath ordained things which none can search except Himself, the All-Searching, the All-Wise.
By: Emad Talisman
For 30 years the Baha’i community of Iran has faced all forms of injustice with dignity and a posture of non-violence. Yet, in 2008 seven Baha’i leaders were sentenced to 20 years in Evin Prison and in 2011 the administrators for the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education were given 4-5 year sentences. These individuals were incarcerated solely due to their religious beliefs.
For the past 7 years, the international community has appealed the Iranian government to release its Baha’i prisoners. For 7 years, these appeals have fallen on deaf ears. Therefore, from May 14 – 20th, people from around the world will be commemorating Seven Days in Remembrance of Seven Years for the Seven Baha’i Leaders.
As a personal contribution, I have created this infographic that summarizes the injustice suffered by the Iranian Baha’i community. Please feel free to share on whatever social media platform you wish. Spread the word. Let’s ensure Iran knows that the world is still paying attention.
[thanks to PM and DJ and others for creative input and edits]
By: Borna Safai
With the books of the Ruhi Institute increasing in number, it is getting harder to keep track of all the books, units and sections. Going through the first sequence of the books, I took my headings of the sections and turned it into this overview. These are my notes based on my understanding of the topics of the sections, hopefully it will be useful!
May 29th is a Holy Day for Bahá’ís as we commemorate the passing of the Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah. I wanted to share a beautiful video that a friend of mine, Glenn Franco Simmons, created for this particular Holy Day. I am honored that he chose to use one of my pieces called ‘The Power of Thy Name’ from my album, ‘Fire and Gold’. Thank you Glenn for the beautiful photographs and the carefully selected quotations.
By: Laura Mostmand
On the last day of the #7Bahais7Years global campaign, I dedicate this video to the seven Baha’i leaders in Iran who are in prison because of their beliefs. This week’s campaign marked the seventh anniversary of their arrest.
By: Borna Safai
I had the bounty of serving in the Holy Land during the time of the restoration and unveiling of the Shrine of the Báb. As the scaffolding and tarp was taken down over the course of a couple of days, I was able to go take a picture from the same place at the same time, capturing the progress. I would like to offer this little gift for the Declaration of the Báb. Watch and enjoy:
By: Borna Safai
In a Message dated 10 July 2014 the Universal House of Justice “call[ed] upon the Bahá’ís of the East and West to adopt, on that auspicious occasion [21 March 2015], the provisions that will unite them in the common implementation of the Badí‘ calendar.”
Many questions have been raised about the upcoming changes; the answers to some have been put together in a presentation which you can download here.
The adoption of a new calendar in each dispensation is a symbol of the power of Divine Revelation to reshape human perception of material, social, and spiritual reality. Through it, sacred moments are distinguished, humanity’s place in time and space reimagined, and the rhythm of life recast. Next Naw-Rúz will mark yet another historic step in the manifestation of the unity of the people of Bahá and the unfoldment of Bahá’u’lláh’s World Order.
This presentation is neither complete nor exhaustive; it is only a beginning which I hope will be as useful for others to read as it was for me to put together.
By: Borna Safai and Shadi Shams Formoso
This year’s Ridván message from the Universal House of Justice had a beautiful paragraph, inspiring courage and giving hope to the Bahá’ís around the world:
We wish to address some additional words to those of you in whose surroundings marked progress is yet to occur and who long for change. Have hope. It will not always be so. Is not the history of our Faith filled with accounts of inauspicious beginnings but marvellous results? How many times have the deeds of a few believers—young or old—or of a single family, or even of a lone soul, when confirmed by the power of divine assistance, succeeded in cultivating vibrant communities in seemingly inhospitable climes? Do not imagine that your own case is inherently any different.
I thought a simple picture taken by Shadi with the words “have hope” would serve as inspiration.
The message of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís in Iran, dated 18 December 2014, contained a beautiful paragraph on what prayer is. Based on the paragraph, I split each sentence into a separate slide, used some beautiful photographs taken by Chad and made a small slideshow. This can be used as an inspiration for devotional meetings, Ruhi book 1, or just as a personal reflection.
Here is the extract:
The Twin Luminaries of this resplendent age have taught us this: Prayer is the essential spiritual conversation of the soul with its Maker, direct and without intermediation. It is the spiritual food that sustains the life of the spirit. Like the morning’s dew, it brings freshness to the heart and cleanses it, purifying it from attachments of the insistent self. It is a fire that burns away the veils and a light that leads to the ocean of reunion with the Almighty. On its wings does the soul soar in the heavens of God and draw closer to the divine reality. Upon its quality depends the development of the limitless capacities of the soul and the attraction of the bounties of God, but the prolongation of prayer is not desirable. The powers latent in prayer are manifested when it is motivated by the love of God, beyond any fear or favour, and free from ostentation and superstition. It is to be expressed with a sincere and pure heart conducive to contemplation and meditation so that the rational faculty can be illumined by its effects. Such prayer will transcend the limitation of words and go well beyond mere sounds. The sweetness of its melodies must gladden and uplift the heart and reinforce the penetrating power of the Word, transmuting earthly inclinations into heavenly attributes and inspiring selfless service to humankind.
You can download the What is prayer PDF.
By: Chloë Filson
In my last post, I shared images from the Baha’i prayer book that I’ve been illustrating over the past ten years or so. In this one, I’ll share some more.
Here’s a nice way to begin the day:
And here’s the complimentary Evening section:
Sometimes, simple suffices. The dots below loosely symbolize people (who are having a meeting or gathering):
The next one isn’t a great image (it’s out of focus), but you get the idea: browns and curly queues for this prayer for forgiveness:
Up next is a mish-mash of jewel tones and pink lines. The lines pattern was inspired by my sister; it’s a pattern she often uses when decorating birthday cards and other things with her own illustrations. The mish-mash, on the “Aid and Assistance” page, is meant to remind the reader that assistance and support (the brightly coloured swoops) can come to us even from out of the murky blackness of turmoil. This is one of the more dramatic sections of the book (the other pages of this section are similarly coloured), and it makes me think about the concurrence of disintegration and integration—both within one’s own life and in the world at large.
Below is the Unity section. I like what I’ve got going, but I think it needs a little more embellishment.
Did you know that there are specific prayers for Canada? ‘Abdu’l-Bahá revealed prayers for North-American countries in Tablets of the Divine Plan.
The Tablets of Visitation (which are prayers to be read when visiting the Shrines of Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb) have been simply decorated with bougainvillea and rose petals from the vicinities of those Shrines. I pressed the petals dry and then used Mod Podge, in case you’re wondering.
Let’s end with a bang—or, rather, a spark. One of my favorite pages opens the Fire Tablet:
I hope you’ve enjoyed looking through some of the pages of my prayer book!