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5 Great Online Sources to Help You Study the Baha’i Faith

If you’re looking for a place to deepen and study about the Baha’i Faith online, here is a list of five great places to start:

1. The Wilmette Institute: www.wi.bahai.us

The Wilmette Instituteis an online Baha’i Learning Centre that just celebrated its 20th birthday. They offer more than 50 unique courses on the web to an average of 30 students per course and some 7,000 students residing in almost 100 countries have participated in Wilmette courses. Upcoming classes for 2015 include topics such as Abdu’l-Baha: His Life and Ministry, An Introduction to Shaykhism, Exploring the Baha’i Calendar, Economics and the Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah’s Early Mystic Writings, World Federation, and many others.

The average course is 7 weeks long, but some are as long as 17 weeks and each course typically requires about 5 hours of study per week. Faculty members instruct the courses, mentors assist the students with questions, and online forums permit students to enrich each other’s learning. Continue reading

Haji Mirza Haydar Ali – The Delight of Hearts

Haji Mirza Haydar Ali

Haji Mirza Haydar Ali is regarded as one of Baha’u’llah’s most outstanding disciples yet very few people know of his servitude towards the Baha’i Faith. A staunch Baha’i, Haydar Ali went above and beyond to defend the Covenant of Baha’u’llah and later championed the Faith during Abdu’l-Baha’s Ministry, protecting it from the onslaught of Covenant breakers.

But it was Haji Mirza Haydar Ali’s distinct sense of humour and wit, which I believe was his distinguishing characteristic. It is no wonder that he was given the title ‘The Delight of Hearts’, for delighting hearts was indeed his forte. The following story is just one example of his humorous persona:

“One day we were outside the city of Isfahan in a very pleasant place where there was a mosque and a stream and a few trees. We had taken provisions to spend the night. We went to the mosque, where we planned to stay. A few of the inhabitants were curious, so they entered the mosque and someone asked me where I was from. I had a slight Isfahani accent, but I said that I was from Shiraz.

“Why are you lying?” the man replied. “It is obvious that you are from Isfahan. Seventy thousand angels will curse a liar.” Continue reading

“Gladden My Spirit” by Michelangelo Benedetti [Audio Track]

Baha’i Blog’s “Studio Sessions” is an initiative where we invite Baha’is and their friends from around the world to come into a studio and share the Baha’i Writings put to music.

In this Baha’i Blog Studio Session, Michelangelo Benedetti sings “Gladden My Spirit”, based on a prayer by Abdu’l-Baha. Continue reading

A Nightingale’s Cry: A New Album by Mea

A couple of years ago, Baha’i Blog featured a great Baha’i-inspired musical initiative out of Finland called Refuge, and now one of the participants of that initiative, Mea Karvonen, has just released her very own debut album entitled A Nightingale’s Cry.

A Nightingale’s Cry is an instrumental album of piano pieces inspired by the Baha’i Faith, and the tracks comprise of both original pieces composed by Mea, and also ones inspired by songs composed by other Baha’i musicians such as Tom Price, Jean Rebstock Murday and others which have touched her in one way or another, like the piece called Grace & Favor, based on an Iranian Baha’i song she’s been singing since she was a child. Additionally, Mea has also included a download of the sheet music to these songs as well, which is always great!

I recently caught up with Mea to find out more about her music and her debut album: Continue reading

How losing everything is the perfect opportunity to win anything | Arash Aazami | TEDxLancasterU

In his talk Arash shares about his personal journey and how losing everything can give the opportunity to win anything.

Arash Aazami founded the world’s first energy interdependence company: BAS – Benefit to All Stakeholders, which quickly grew into a serious alternative to conventional energy companies and became one of The Netherlands fastest growing companies and whose business model, the Path to Zero, won two categories at 2014 MIT Climate CoLab Challenge. He recently resigned from the board of his company to dedicate his time to empower people and organisations to find and utilise their full potential.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

3 Ways to Become a Better Listener

Listening isn’t easy. There is so much more to it than allowing sound waves to tickle their way into your ears. How can we become better listeners? In reflecting on this question, I have the following three suggestions:

1. A Gentle Silence is Golden

Baha’u’llah says that “the tongue is a smoldering fire and excess of speech a deadly poison.” I have grappled with these striking and powerful words for a long time but I know it to be true from all those times I found myself in conversation just itching to put forward my ideas and ignoring what others were saying. My excess of speech consumed me and deafened me and I am slowly learning that the way to be a better listener is to simply. Stop. Talking. Howard Colby Ives, an early Baha’i, describes this feeling perfectly and he explains how Abdu’l-Baha was the perfect listener. Ives writes: Continue reading

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