‘Who Was She?’ A New Podcast by Tara Jabbari

I was very curious when I heard about a new Baha’i-inspired podcast called “Who was she?” produced by Tara Jabbari; there are few things that I love more than hearing about the stories of early Baha’i women. With a whole first season already available, I reached out to Tara and she graciously agreed to tell us all about her podcast. Here’s what she shared: Continue reading

Thoughts on Bravery and the Spiritual Quest of Baha’i Men

As you survey the spiritual battlefield that is the world, are you prepared to be brave and arise to fight?

There is a compelling call from the Baha’i teachings to be part of “the army of light” that vanquishes “the powers of darkness on the battlefield of the world”. This analogy does not refer to physical abilities, but rather spiritual ones. We amplify the powers of “light” when we champion justice and equality and we promote unity. We become part of the growing movement toward global peace and the oneness of the human family. We draw on bravery, also known as courage, to stay in action, regardless of what challenges arise. Continue reading

An Introduction to The Promulgation of Universal Peace

On April 11, 1912 in New York City, Abdu’l-Baha commenced 239 unforgettable days traversing the North American continent with this warm greeting: “How are you? Welcome! Welcome!” How typical it was of His generosity of spirit that He should be welcoming His devotees as His own guests!

After arriving today, although weary with travel, I had the utmost longing and yearning to see you and could not resist this meeting. Now that I have met you, all my weariness has vanished, for your meeting is the cause of spiritual happiness.

This long voyage will prove how great is my love for you. There were many troubles and vicissitudes, but, in the thought of meeting you, all these things vanished and were forgotten.

Abdu’l-Baha’s loving words of encouragement and guidance continue to ring out more than a century later, inviting readers today to follow in His footsteps through the pages of The Promulgation of Universal Peace, the indispensable collection of talks and discourses He gave during His North American sojourn. Continue reading

Waves of One Sea – A New Global Singalong by Elika Mahony

The music of Elika Mahony holds a special place in my heart and in our family life so we were thrilled when she released a new global collaborative song called “Waves of One Sea”. No matter how often we listen to it, it never fails to rejoice my soul.

We’ve featured Elika on Baha’i Blog before — most recently, I interviewed her about her album The Exalted One in honor of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab. I was curious to learn more about “Waves of One Sea”, and here’s what Elika graciously shared with me: Continue reading

A Tribute to Nora Crossley

Nora Crossley (1893-1977). Photo courtesy of George Ronald.

As a young girl, Nora was admired for her beautiful hair. It was a rich auburn color and so long that it almost reached as far as the hem of her dress. Every night and every morning, Nora’s mother would brush it for an hour until it shone like gold. Artists travelled from across the North of England to paint Nora’s portrait. Into adulthood, she considered her hair her only redeeming feature.

Nora Crossley was born in Old Trafford, Manchester in 1893 into a wealthy family. But her childhood was not a happy one and her adulthood was equally severely difficult. After the First World War, she married her penniless childhood sweetheart against her separated parents’ wishes. War had irrevocably changed her husband. He was later diagnosed as schizophrenic, but at that point his erratic behaviour was beyond any explanation. He refused to return to work, preferring to play the organ and repair hymn books for the church, but never accepting any payment. So began more than 50 years of severe tests at home for Nora, who soon became a mother to two sons. Continue reading

Crossing Frontiers – A Documentary Featuring the Life of Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum

Crossing Frontiers is a documentary on the life of Hand of the Cause of God Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, who was also the wife of Shoghi Effendi. The film explores the frontiers Ruhiyyih Khanum had crossed in her travels to over 185 countries, where she gave countless lectures, met many leading dignitaries, and was interviewed by the press throughout the world, continually promoting the essential teachings of the Baha’i Faith.

Produced by Badiyan Productions in 1997, Baha’i Blog was graciously given the rights to publish Crossing Frontiers on our YouTube channel, and this historical gem of a documentary offers rare footage and interviews with Hand of the Cause of God Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum.

Fred Badiyan

Badiyan Productions are also known for their wonderful The Hands of the Cause documentary series, and Fred Badiyan of Badiyan Productions also happens to be my great uncle. His life of dedicated service to the Baha’i Faith through the medium of film and media had a profound impact on me personally, and it has served as an inspiration and catalyst in my personal pursuit of using media to serve the Faith. I caught up with Fred Badiyan to find out more about this film, and here’s what he shared: Continue reading

A Baha’i Love Story from a Nigerian Princess

Folashade Josiah

My name is Folashade Josiah (née Sule Odu). I am a princess from the Fidipote Ruling House of Ijebu Ode, Nigeria. I was born into a Muslim family and went to a Muslim school where I learnt about Islam and how to recite the Holy Quran in Arabic.

At the age of 27 years I met Alfred Josiah who was from a Christian family. We met in northern Nigeria in a city called Katsina. He was with some of his friends talking in the street, when he saw me passing, followed me and began talking to me. Despite our religious differences, we got to know each other, became friends and fell in love.

I discussed this with my family, as well as our wish to marry. However, my father’s older brother, my uncle, who was head of the family at that time, was clear that this should not happen. He said that love alone was not enough to unite people, but that our religion should also be the same. Continue reading

Juliet Thompson: Champion of the Baha’i Faith in New York City

Juliet Thompson & portrait of Mrs. Coolidge. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

It is always a pleasure to show friends my favorite places when they visit New York City. I first came here when I was 17 years old and sometimes I feel like there is a memory on every street. The two places that I am most excited to show my out-of-town visitors are the Church of the Ascension where Abdu’l-Baha spoke days after His arrival in America and the other is the home of Juliet Thompson at 48 West 10th Street, near 5th Avenue. I believe that in the future these will be the must-visit spots for any visitor to New York City, far surpassing in popularity the Empire State building, Times Square, and other current tourist attractions.

Juliet Thompson was born in Washington DC, on September 23, 1873. She was of Irish descent. She was twelve years old when her father died and she was forced to work as a teenager in order to support the family. Early on, she showed talent for painting and was able to make money selling her pastel portraits. She studied at the Corcoran Art School in Washington DC. Continue reading

6 Questions About the Independent Investigation of Truth

The independent investigation of truth is one of the fundamental teachings of the Baha’i Faith. On the surface the idea that each of us should investigate the truth for ourselves instead of blindly adopting a belief simply because it is held by those around us sounds logical and fairly self-explanatory. It is hard to make one’s faith one’s own without researching the truths upon which it is founded and assessing whether these resonate with who we are and the values that are most important to us. Instead of attempting to explain my elementary understanding of this topic, which I am coming to realize is constantly evolving, I thought perhaps the best approach might be to share my personal process of investigation, and what I have gleaned from my effort to find answers in the Baha’i Writings.

I began with the following six questions:

  1. What is truth and where do we find it?
  2. What tools and methods can we use to investigate truth?
  3. How do we know when we’ve reached the truth?
  4. What if there are contradictions in what we know to be true?
  5. Is independent investigation of truth a single event or a life-long process?
  6. Where can we look to find out more about this teaching?

Continue reading

Ambassador to Humanity – A New Book of Tributes to Abdu’l-Baha

Baha’is around the world are drawing closer to Abdu’l-Baha through their prayers, reflections and actions during this centennial anniversary of His Passing. In honor of this unique year, Robert Weinberg has complied a book of selected testimonials and tributes to Him. Titled Ambassador to Humanity, it is hoped that this paperback George Ronald publication “will serve to increase devotion to Abdu’l-Baha and aid reflection on the qualities to be emulated.”

I’m grateful to Robert Weinberg for taking the time to tell us a little bit about this new book. Here’s what he shared:

Baha’i Blog: Can you please tell us a little bit about this book? For example, whose testimonials and tributes are included?

Continue reading