Monthly Archives: April 2010

Ridvan, the KING OF FESTIVALS. Declaration of Baha’u’llah.

A few days ago I wrote about this most wonderful festival, a gift from God…but realized that perhaps I didn’t emphasize the magnitude of the event that took place during this 12 day period: the Declaration of Bahá’u’lláh.
This post is dedicated exclusively to describe personal influences of the Baha’i Faith in my life as well as select Writings that glorify this Blessed Day.

Being a Baha’i is the most important influence of my life. I had the blessing to be born into a Baha’i home (both my parents were Baha’is) thus, got to know the Faith from a young age. Of course, as any human being, I had questions regarding God and religion. What fascinated me about the Baha’i Faith was that there really were logical answers to all my questions. I was given such clarity in matters of the spirit that after studying various other religions of the world, I decided to choose the Baha’i Faith as my personal path in life. From that day on, the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh definitely influence my everyday life and I will forever be grateful to God for this wonderful blessing.

Manions of Bahji where Bahá'u'lláh passed away. Photo by Kamran Granfar 2004, taken from the bahai.org website

The declaration of Bahá’u’lláh meant the beginning of the Cycle of Fulfillment. Ok, a bit complicated to explain on this post but will be coming up soon, promise! Bahá’u’lláh brought the Healing Message of God for this specific day and age. Each Messenger of God from Abraham to Jesus Christ, to Muhammad has done this according to humanity’s needs as well as capacity of understanding. Bahá’u’lláh in 1863 declared that:

“I am the One…Whom the tongue of Isaiah hath extolled, the One with Whose name both the Torah and the Evangel were adorned.”

The World order of Bahá’u’lláh, p.109.

Furthermore, every person has the capacity to know God, oh this Bahá’u’lláh states in the Kitab-i-Iqan, p.199-200:

When the channel of the human soul is cleansed of all worldly and impeding attachments, it will unfailingly perceive the breath of the Beloved across immeasurable distances, and will, led by its perfume, attain and enter the City of Certitude.
…That city is none other than the Word of God revealed in every age and dispensation…. All the guidance, the blessings, the learning, the understanding, the faith, and certitude, conferred upon all that is in heaven and on earth, are hidden and treasured within these Cities.

If there is only one true then with detachment from our idle fancies, vain imaginings and our pre-conceptions we can all attain this one truth.

The whole duty of man in this Day is to attain that share of the flood of grace which God poureth forth for him. Let none, therefore, consider the largeness or smallness of the receptacle. The portion of some might lie in the palm of a man’s hand, the portion of others might fill a cup, and of others even a gallon-measure.

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p.7-9

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Ridván – the Most great Festival. What is it? Baha’i Faith

Some of you may have heard from friends, online or somewhere else about the Festival of Ridván. Now…what does it really mean and what happened that this is regarded as the Most Great Festival amongst Baha’is all over the world?

Ok, this is again, my limited understanding:

Ridván is a festival comprising of 12 days, from the 21st of April until the 2nd of May every year. These were 12 VERY important days in the Baha’i Faith where Bahá’u’lláh declared the glorious news to those present that He was the One, He was whom The Bab and all the Messengers from the past had been announcing for so many centuries: that He was the Manifestation of God for this day and age.
This all happened on the 21st of April 1863.
From the Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1983), III, pp. 10-11

Verily I say, this is the Day in which mankind can behold the Face, and hear the Voice, of the Promised One. The Call of God hath been raised, and the light of His countenance hath been lifted up upon men. It behoveth every man to blot out the trace of every idle word from the tablet of his heart, and to gaze, with an open and unbiased mind, on the signs of His Revelation, the proofs of His Mission, and the tokens of His glory.

Great indeed is this Day! The allusions made to it in all the sacred Scriptures as the Day of God attest its greatness. The soul of every Prophet of God, of every Divine Messenger, hath thirsted for this wondrous Day. All the divers kindreds of the earth have, likewise, yearned to attain it. No sooner, however, had the Day Star of His Revelation manifested itself in the heaven of God’s Will, than all, except those whom the Almighty was pleased to guide, were found dumbfounded and heedless.

Ridván (a name given by Bahá’u’lláh which in Arabic means “paradise”) was a garden where Bahá’u’lláh stayed during these 12 days on the outskirts of Baghdad, on the banks of the river Tigris. He camped there for 12 days and 3 of these days are regarded as Baha’i holy days: the 1st – when He arrived there, the 9th – when His family arrived, and the 12th, when they all left to exile.

Historical view of Baghdad and the Tigris river

Historical view of Baghdad and the Tigris river. Effie Baker, c.1930. From: http://www.bahai.org

The Greatness of this Festival and the magnitude of Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation is far beyond any human words; even least mine. The most adequate thing I can do is to directly quote from the Baha’i writings. The following excerpt is from the book: The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 106-109, which I got from the http://www.bahai.org website.

In His writings, the Báb alluded to the imminent coming of the Promised One foretold in all the world’s religions — a role claimed by Bahá’u’lláh. “This is the King of Days,” Bahá’u’lláh thus extols the age that has witnessed the advent of His Revelation, “the Day that hath seen the coming of the Best-beloved, Him Who through all eternity hath been acclaimed the Desire of the World.” “I am the One,” He in another connection affirms, “Whom the tongue of Isaiah hath extolled, the One with Whose name both the Torah and the Evangel were adorned.” Of Himself, He wrote: “Naught is seen in My temple but the Temple of God, and in My beauty but His Beauty, and in My being but His Being, and in My self but His Self, and in My movement but His Movement, and in My acquiescence but His Acquiescence, and in My pen but His Pen, the Mighty, the All-Praised. There hath not been in My soul but the Truth, and in Myself naught could be seen but God.”

The festival of Ridván is also called the King of Festivals and The Festival of God. Baha’is all over the world get together to celebrate this great occasion, opening this celebration to the wider community. But that is not all that happens during this day. Baha’is also take the opportunity to elect their 9-member administrative body in their communities. These are called: Local Spiritual Assemblies. During the festival, the National Spiritual Assembly for each country is also elected.

Illuminated calligraphy of verses of Bahá’u’lláh revealed for the Festival of Ridván, displayed in His room at the Mansion of Mazra‘ih.

Illuminated calligraphy of verses of Bahá’u’lláh revealed for the Festival of Ridván. From the Baha'i World Centre archives


The concept of God. Baha’i concept of GOD. Who is God?

The following has been extracted directly from http://www.bahai.org
You can read the whole article here.

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The Bahá’í belief in one God means that the universe and all creatures and forces within it have been created by a single supernatural Being. This Being, Whom we call God, has absolute control over His creation (omnipotence) as well as perfect and complete knowledge of it (omniscience). Although we may have different concepts of God’s nature, although we may pray to Him in different languages and call Him by different names–Allah or Yahweh, God or Brahma–nevertheless, we are speaking about the same unique Being.
Bahá’u’lláh taught that God is too great and too subtle a Being for the finite human mind ever to understand Him adequately or to construct an accurate image of Him. He wrote:

How wondrous is the unity of the Living, the Ever-Abiding God–a unity which is exalted above all limitations, that transcendeth the comprehension of all created things…. How lofty hath been His incorruptible Essence, how completely independent of the knowledge of all created things, and how immensely exalted will it remain above the praise of all the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth!

According to Bahá’í teachings, God is so far beyond His creation that, throughout all eternity, human beings will never be able to formulate any clear image of Him or attain to anything but the most remote appreciation of His superior nature. Even if we say that God is the All-Powerful, the All-Loving, the Infinitely Just, such terms are derived from a very limited human experience of power, love, or justice. Indeed, our knowledge of anything is limited to our knowledge of those attributes or qualities perceptible to us.

Thus for human beings the knowledge of God means the knowledge of the attributes and qualities of God, not a direct knowledge of His essence. But how are we to attain the knowledge of the attributes of God? Bahá’u’lláh wrote that everything in creation is God’s handiwork and therefore reflects something of His attributes. For example, even in the intimate structure of a rock or a crystal can be seen the order of God’s creation. However, the more refined the object, the more completely is it capable of reflecting God’s attributes. Since the Messenger of God or Manifestation of God is the highest form of creation known to us, the Manifestation affords the most complete knowledge of God available to us:

Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth is a direct evidence of the revelation within it of the attributes and names of God, inasmuch as within every atom are enshrined the signs that bear eloquent testimony to the revelation of that Most Great Light…. To a supreme degree is this true of man…. For in him are potentially revealed all the attributes and names of God to a degree that no other created being hath excelled or surpasssed…. And of all men, the most accomplished, the most distinguished, and the most excellent are the Manifestations of the Sun of Truth. Nay, all else besides these Manifestations, live by the operation of their Will, and move and have their being through the outpourings of their grace. -Bahá’u’lláh

Although a rock or a tree reveals something of the subtlety of its Creator, only a conscious being such as man can dramatize God’s attributes in his life and actions. Since the Manifestations are already in a perfected state, it is in their lives that the deeper meaning of God’s attributes can be most perfectly understood. God is not limited by a physical body, and so we cannot see Him directly or observe His personality. Hence our knowledge of the Manifestation is, in fact, the closest we can come to the knowledge of God.

The door of the knowledge of the Ancient Being [God] hath ever been, and will continue to be, closed in the face of men. No man’s understanding shall ever gain access unto His holy court. As a token of His mercy, however, and as a proof of His loving-kindness, He hath manifested unto men the Day Stars of His divine guidance, the Symbols of His divine unity, and hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be identical with the knowledge of His own Self. -Bahá’u’lláh