Photo courtesy: Morris Salahifar
As most of you already know, Bahá’ís and their friends around the world participate in what is known as study circles, and these study circles use a sequence of books which are mainly based on the Bahá’í Writings, and they were developed by the Ruhi Institute in Colombia, so the books are often referred to as Ruhi books.
I often get asked by a lot of friends about different ideas or resources they can use for their study circle, and there’s no doubt that there are a bunch of great initiatives and resources out there for us all to use.
Using different ideas and accompanying resources is encouraged, and it’s a great way to enhance the study circle experience and really bring the Ruhi books to life, so I thought it would be a good idea to share five of them with you so you can benefit from them too.
Baha’i Blog has just turned one, and we’d like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone from around the world for their wonderful and continued support during our first year!
It’s been an exciting year for Baha’i Blog, as we’ve had over 60,000 visits from 191 different countries (out of 195 in the world) so that’s pretty AWESOME!
The top countries were mostly the English speaking ones (this blog is in English after all!) but places like Malaysia, Germany and Romania were in the top 20!
Some 16,000 visits came from Google with people searching for things like “bahai test and difficulties”, “2011 baha’i conference”, “bahai jewelry” and “baha’i music”.
Our biggest source of traffic however was our Facebook page, which makes sense since we have almost 1,800 followers there now! Twitter also sent a couple thousand visits, and blogs like bahaithought.com and designthefaith.com also sent over some small doses of traffic.
Over 600 people stopped in to read our page on “What is the Baha’i Faith“. Over 5000 visited the directory and calendar facilities, where we’ve added 110 items to our Resource Directory and 28 events to our Calendar of Events, and our mailing list reaches over 430 people so far, so sign on if you want to be notified of our new posts.
Every year Baha’is from all over the world and of all cultural backgrounds celebrate Naw-Ruz on the day of the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, with Tihran, the birthplace of Baha’u’llah, as its standard.
Naw-Ruz has its origins as a Zoroastrian observance in ancient Iran and, to this day, is celebrated as a cultural festival by Iranians of all religious backgrounds. In addition to being celebrated by Iranians and members of the Iranian diaspora, the observance of Naw-Ruz has also spread to many other parts of the world, and is celebrated as a cultural holiday in India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iraqi Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Naw-Ruz, which means “New Day”, is celebrated at the vernal equinox, on the first day of spring. It is a time of joy and celebration, with the darkness of winter coming to an end and the reappearance of light, warmth and the beauty of spring’s flowers. It is a day of new beginnings, of change and hope.
However, for Baha’is, Naw-Ruz also has deep spiritual significance. Naw-Ruz marks the end of the 19-day Baha’i Fast, which is a period of reflection and profound spiritual reinvigoration for Baha’is. Naw-Ruz was ordained by Baha’u’llah as a celebration of humanity’s “spiritual springtime”: the Baha’i dispensation.
The fasting period is a special time for Baha’i’s, but Baha’i’s of course are not the only ones who fast. Fasting is also observed in various ways by other religions and belief systems aswell, so I thought it would be interesting to take a brief look at how some of these religions and belief systems practice fasting.
Please keep in mind that this is only a mere glimpse of some of the belief systems of the world, and I am aware that there are many, many more not included here. Each one could definitely have its own dedicated article (which we may do in future), however, for the time being, and for the purposes of this article, I’m just going to give you all a quick overview of a handful of fasting practices. Continue reading
Image by Paul Stevenson (Flickr)
What is sacrifice? As Baha’is, we believe that it is – in short – the act of giving up something for something of greater value.
Sacrifice has always been a concept of great fascination to me. It is fundamental to the progress and consummation of the human soul. Consequently, it is a practice that I try to apply in all aspects of my life.
As you would already know from previous posts, Baha’is are currently observing the Fast. In this time, I find myself asking: how does the concept of sacrifice tie in with the act of fasting? Continue reading
Photo by iainsimmons
We’re a few days into the Baha’i Fast and as always for me, the first days are kind of hard! These early days are when your body is adjusting to its new routine and regime, and here in the southern hemisphere it’s also when the daylight hours are the longest.
While the Fast is ultimately spiritual, and this is a time of prayer and reflection, I find it helps to put some thought into the material aspects of Fasting. Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different ideas for what to eat and drink, and how to go about the days. I have come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is to be moderate, consistent and embrace the Fast.
Here are my personal tips for a healthier, happier fast. What are your tips? What works for you? Add them in the comments! Continue reading
The Baha’i Fast falls during the month of Ala – the last month of the Baha’i calendar. During these 19 days, Baha’is – with the exception of women who are nursing or pregnant, the elderly, children, the sick, those travelling and those engaged in heavy labour – abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset.
While this abstention from food and drink is a test of one’s will and discipline, the Fast is not just about abstaining from food. The Fast is, primarily, a spiritual practice.
For 19 days, those observing the Fast partake in a rich spiritual experience. The Fast is a time of joy and invigoration of our lives. It is an opportunity that comes once a year for us to take a step back and reconnect with what truly matters to us. It is a period of respite from the daily routines and hectic schedules that so often consume and overwhelm us.
The Fast is fast approaching – no pun intended – so put down your plate of food and grab your video cameras, your web cam, or just use your camera phone – it doesn’t really matter, but get behind (or in front) of a camera and share your thoughts or experience on what The Bahá’í Fast means to you.
That’s the latest call out from Media Makes Us, a group of filmmakers based in the UK, who have put together a video initiative called ‘Fast in a Day’.
The “Fast in a Day” project is a global attempt to crowd source the feelings and emotions that surround The Bahá’í Fast (2nd-20th March).
A parody of stuff Baha’is say. Baha’i humor at its best. Directed by Laheeb Quddusi, Written by Ashkon Ataee, Laheeb Quddusi, Taeed Quddusi. Starring Farahmand Ataee, Feeruze Quddusi, Milad Asdaghi, Karolina Drabik, Ashkon Ataee, Laheeb Quddusi, Yashar Roohi, Nasim Switzer, Roya Yazdamehr, Nathan Ryhard, Taeed Quddusi.
“Everyone has the right to education”, says article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Unfortunately, the reality is very different: many young people in Iran today are being denied this right. They might have gotten the grades to pursue higher education – they might even be among the top students in the country. Yet, when they submit their application forms, they are told that their files are incomplete, that they do not fulfil the necessary entry requirements; in short: that they cannot attend higher education.
The reason why they are denied this basic human right, in spite of their academic ability, is that they are members of political opposition groups, human rights or women’s rights activists or members of religious minorities, such as the Bahá’ís. In the case of the Bahá’ís, even the community’s attempt to educate their youth by setting up the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) has been criminalised, and many of the educators supporting the project have been imprisoned.
The world, however, is not going to simply watch as many young people’s dreams of serving society are being destroyed, with the mere education of many young people being declared a crime in Iran. Continue reading