Tag Archives Baha’i History

Fires in Many Hearts

This is the most meaningful interview I have conducted for Baha’i Blog and it’s about a new edition of Fires in Many Hearts, published by George Ronald. This is the memoir of Doris McKay, a spiritual mother to my community on Prince Edward Island, Canada and the creation of this book is deeply tied to my childhood as my parents and many of my spiritual aunts and uncles played a role in its publication.

I am deeply honoured to hear from Paul Vreeland (my father), Ann Boyles (who is like an aunt to me) and from Margaret Tash (a new friend) about a book I will never forget. Paul and Ann were involved in the earlier editions of the memoir, and Margaret helped with this latest edition. Here is what they shared with us about the process of bringing Fires in Many Hearts into the hands of readers: Continue reading

Universal House of Justice Releases Film “Glimpses of a Hundred Years of Endeavour”

The Universal House of Justice has commissioned a feature film called Glimpses of a Hundred Years of Endeavour that reflects on the efforts and learning carried out by a burgeoning Baha’i community since the passing of Abdu’l-Baha in 1921, and it outlines the journey that has led to the community’s current efforts to contribute to the emergence of a world organized around the principle of the oneness of humanity.

The film is available in seven languages and can be streamed or downloaded.

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Abdu’l-Baha in New York – A Book by Hussein Ahdieh & Hillary Chapman

The dynamic duo Hussein Ahdieh and Hillary Chapman have re-released their book Abdu’l-Baha in New York in honor of the centenary of the Passing of Abdu’l-Baha.

Hussein Ahdieh has written about this subject for Baha’i Blog, such as his article “The Spirit of the Age: Abdu’l-Baha, Khalil Gibran & Greenwich Village” and “Juliet Thompson: Champion of the Baha’i Faith in New York City“. This book, however, tells us about the time Abdu’l-Baha spent in New York City in order to bring you closer to this unique figure in spiritual history.

Hussein graciously agreed to tell us about this new edition of his book and here’s what he shared with the Baha’i Blog team:

Baha’i Blog: Could you please tell us a little about your book?

The book is about the beloved Master’s visit to New York during His historic visit to America. The Master spent 85 days in New York, He revealed a prayer for New York beseeching God for the friends here to be kind to one another, and He declared New York City to be the City of the Covenant.

We hope that the book will give readers a deeper understanding of the concepts and principles that Abdu’l-Baha emphasized during His visit to New York and also help readers better understand the social context of the people of New York whom Abdu’l-Baha met during His visit.

The book was extensively researched and includes much detail about people and places along with in-depth background about the Lake Mohonk Peace Conference. It is illustrated with original, contemporary photographs of locations associated with the Master.

The book is 141 pages long and has 20 photographs. Hillary Chapman and I wrote it in a way that it would be of interest to someone who is learning about the Faith and wants to know more about the Master’s connection to the City of the Covenant.

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Voyage of Love – New Edition Released in Honor of the Centenary of the Passing of Abdu’l-Baha

Amy Renshaw wrote a book several years ago about Abdu’l-Baha’s travels. It’s called Voyage of Love and I still remember its attractive and clever cover and the well told stories it contains. As this year commemorates the centenary of Abdu’l-Baha’s passing the US Baha’i Publishing Trust has released a new edition of the book. I was eager to hear from Amy about this new edition and she very graciously agreed to tell us all about it:

Baha’i Blog: To begin, can you tell us a little about yourself?

First of all, thank you so much for reaching out to me. Baha’i Blog is a wonderful resource, and I’m grateful to everyone who makes it happen.

As for me, I’ve always loved books, writing, and learning. I have degrees in English and Sociology, and I work full-time as the Senior Editor at Brilliant Star Magazine and Brilliant Star Online. I’ve been blessed to be part of that team for about 21 years so far.

My free time looks a lot like my work time—I’m usually either reading or writing. I just published my first historical mystery novel, and I hope to write more books. My husband and I live in Wisconsin, where we grew up, and we have two adult children.

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Abdu’l-Baha: The Perfect Exemplar – A New Book by Dariush Lamy

Abdu’l-Baha: The Perfect Exemplar is a new scholarly work by Dariush Lamy. Among its 350 pages, you’ll find an overview of the Life of Abdu’l-Baha. The books also provides us with a glimpse into the profundity and scope of Abdu’l-Baha’s Writings. As this year is a time for profound reflection on Abdu’l-Baha, I’m sure Dariush’s book will be valuable to those who read and study it.

Dariush graciously agreed to tell us about his book and this is what he shared:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Of course! I was raised in a Baha’i family and was fortunate from an early age to be in close proximity with the great scholars of the Faith in Iran. I started reading and researching Baha’i literature and published many articles in different Persian Baha’i and non-Baha’i magazines. I have studied architecture and then continued my graduate studies in Islamic studies at UCLA to help with my research in the Baha’i Writings. Continue reading

Mighty: A Children’s Resource About Abdu’l-Baha by First Valley Books

The dynamic team at First Valley Books that created the vibrant and engaging children’s book Little Champions of Justice have a new project in honor of Abdu’l-Baha as we commemorate the centenary of His Passing.

Mighty: 7 Stories About Abdu’l-Baha for Children Who Want to Serve the World is their latest creation and it’s really a gift to the children of the world: it’s been translated into five languages, it’s available as a free download and you can purchase physical copies of the book on www.firstvalleybooks.com, you can listen to all the stories here on our Soundcloud page, and you can see simple videos of the stories on our YouTube channel.

We’re beyond beyond grateful that the team at First Valley Books gave us permission to share this wonderful resource on Baha’i Blog. We wanted to share with you a little bit more about the book so we asked the team a few questions, and here is what they told us:

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Memorials of the Faithful: Abdu’l-Baha’s Manual for Living and Dying

During the centennial commemorations of the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha, let us remember a precious gift from Him.

That gift is Memorials of the Faithful, a volume the Master wrote in 1915.

Shoghi Effendi published it in 1924, the first book to emerge after he began his ministry.

We can understand why the Guardian made this book his priority when we start to view it as far more than a collection of seventy obituaries of Baha’is who passed away during the lifetime of the Master.

Rather, it is really a collection of parables, true stories that contain within them the lessons we can take from the example of people who were energised by the spiritual power of Baha’u’llah.

In her remarkable introduction, the book’s translator into English, Marzieh Gail points out that Memorials of the Faithful, is “a book of prototypes, a kind of testament of values endorsed and willed to us by the Baha’i Exemplar.” Continue reading

The Prisoner – A Film by Jayce Bartok

Inspired by the early history of the Baha’i Faith, The Prisoner is a new short film by writer and director Jayce Bartok. Set in the 1800s, the film imagines a conversation between two bickering prison guards at the fortress of Chihriq in north-western Iran where the prophet known as the Bab was imprisoned, and where He revealed some of His most notable Writings. The Bab’s message caused a revolution throughout Persia and the two prison guards, each harboring a difficult secret, connect with one another while keeping watch over the Bab. Ultimately this short film is about finding faith in unexpected moments.

I caught up with Jayce Bartok to find out more about The Prisoner and the inspiration behind it. Continue reading

Health in Iran: The Untold Story – A New Animation by Flavio Azm Rassekh

Health in Iran: The Untold Story is the latest animation by filmmaker Flavio Azm Rassekh and inspired by Abdu’l-Baha.

In this collaboration with PersianBMS and Ganje Penhan, Flavio tells the story about the Syyhat Hospital and its adjacent educational facilities in Iran, which were built under the instructions of Abdu’l-Baha and run by American doctors who brought women’s health care and Western medicine to Iran.

In spite of all the great medical achievements in the West at the turn of the 20th century, Iran was still deeply immersed in a fog of superstition and fanaticism, and modern medicine was still looked at with distrust as almost 98% of the population was illiterate. While researching about the first Western-style hospitals in Iran, filmmaker Flavio Azm Rassekh found out that an important part of Iran’s history had been erased from the 20th century – namely, the Syyhat Hospital and its adjacent educational facilities, so he decided to bring this history back through this short animation.

As a follow-up to Flavio’s two previous animations called Breaking the Chains: The Story of the Girls Schools in Iran, and Through Their Eyes – Meeting Abdu’l-Baha, this film is the third animation created which is also inspired by the contributions made to society in Iran by Abdu’l-Baha.

I caught up with my dear friend Flavio, to find out more about his new animation: Continue reading

The Language of Abdu’l-Baha

Abdu’l‐Baha giving a souvenir of the Baha’i Temple Dedication to Charles Greenleaf (age 17). Photo courtesy of the Baha'is of the United States.

I think it goes without saying that Abdu’l-Baha communicated the principles of the Baha’i Faith through His actions: generosity, for example, was articulated when coins were placed in the hands of destitute men at the Bowery Mission in New York City and social justice was demonstrated when Louis Gregory, who had been excluded from a luncheon owing to his race, was personally invited to the table by Abdu’l-Baha and given the seat of honor.

This year, as we commemorate the centenary of His Passing, I have been thinking about the Westerners who were in His presence and I often wonder about the logistics of language for those who did not speak Persian, Arabic or Turkish as He did.

I have read accounts of His travels to Europe and North America that describe how there were interpreters in His entourage and that for the most part His communications were translated to those around Him. Stanwood Cobb describes the unique experience of what it was like to hear Abdu’l-Baha speak via a translator: Continue reading