The written works of Shoghi Effendi make up an important part of Baha’i literature as I believe they provide vital insights into the history and development of Baha’i communities, contextual information and interpretation of the Writings, and inspired insights about how one can participate in Baha’i community efforts. In this article I would like to provide a look at some resources that can assist us in beginning to read, relate to, and learn from Shoghi Effendi’s works. It should also be noted that I am considering the works Shoghi Effendi himself authored, and not his masterful translation work. Continue reading
Translating anything from one language to another is a complex and intricate exercise. For example, in her Baha’i Blog article “Why Do the English Translations of the Baha’i Writings Use Elevated Language?” Layli explores some aspects of how the Baha’i Writings are translated into English.
Violetta Zein and Adib Masumian are personally interested in the sounds and musicality of the Baha’i Writings in their original languages of Arabic and Persian so they have created an online project that allows non-Arabic and non-Persian speakers to experience this first-hand.
We know that the transformative power of the Baha’i Writings can be felt no matter what language they are accessed in and that the teachings of the Baha’i Faith are for everyone on this whole linguistically diverse planet. Violetta and Adib’s project offers us a unique and thoughtful way of encountering the Baha’i Writings that delights the ear, as well as the heart.
Violetta and Adib were keen to share more about the Utterance Project. Here’s what they told the Baha’i Blog team: Continue reading
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Australia has just released a new publication called Light & Mercy.
Light & Mercy is a compilation of extracts about mental health and tests and difficulties from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha, and letters of Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice.
In its 25 November 2020 message to the Baha’is of the world, the Universal House of Justice wrote that:
…the friends everywhere have sought with characteristic creativity and determination to minister to the needs of an ailing world.
The physical and mental impact of the continuing pandemic is evident around us, and the members of the Baha’i community are not immune. The National Assembly of the Baha’is of Australia wrote that it hopes this publication will be of assistance and support to the friends both individually and collectively, and trusts it will be a source of wisdom and comfort for Baha’is and those whom we come into contact with. Continue reading
Dr. Lameh Fananapazir recently authored A Companion to the Study of the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf. If you are unfamiliar with The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf (which you can read on the Baha’i reference library here) it is the last tablet of Baha’u’llah and it is addressed to a wealthy cleric who made it his life’s mission to destroy the Baha’i Faith and its followers. Shoghi Effendi translated the work into English and encouraged every Baha’i to study it.
Dr. Fananapazir’s work shares a wealth of sources from other religious texts that will help us to understand the significance of Baha’u’llah’s epistle, which Shoghi Effendi described as a library in of itself.
I am honoured that Dr. Fananapazir agreed to tell us a little bit about the companion he has put together. Here is what he shared with us:
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born during a teaching trip my parents made to Zahedan, a southern eastern province of Iran and spent my youth in Africa, Gambia, Morocco, and Kenya.
I am a graduate of Edinburgh Medical School and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. I trained in cardiovascular diseases and specialized in electrophysiology at Duke Medical Center, following which I was recruited to study causes of sudden death in athletes and patients with familial cardiomyopathies at the National Institutes of Health where I became the chief of the section of inherited heart diseases. I spent two and half years in Haifa, Israel where I was the director of the health services at the Baha’i World Centre and a visiting professor of molecular genetics at Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.
I retired recently. Following 9/11, I authored a book Islam at the Crossroads, published by George Ronald. This examines the religious and sectarian hostilities, the many issues that Islam and its sister religions, Judaism and Christianity, increasingly face, and their potential solutions in the light of Baha’u’llah’s teachings.
My dear friend Sonbol Taefi has created a new multi-language devotional album called Coral & Pearls. Her voice on its own is rich and her compositions are uplifting, but on this album her music is also adorned by singers from various parts of the globe; the album features Luke Slott, Elika Mahony and Nasime Wattiaux.
With the exception of the title song, the tracks were recorded in New Zealand with acoustic instruments: piano, guitar, santour, percussion and strings ,as well as backing vocals and choral arrangements. The enchanting title song is based on the marriage prayer revealed by Abdu’l-Baha in Persian, and it was developed for a full ensemble piece for recording with the Czech National Symphony.
It’s been many years since we interviewed Sonbol about her album Sea of Mystery (which you can read here), so I was glad for the chance to hear from her again, and to learn more about her latest album. In this interview she tells us how it came together, and offers some words of encouragement to other musicians, or anyone who is beginning to set the Baha’i Writings to music: Continue reading
Turn My Steps is the debut album of Siria Rutstein, and many of you may remember hearing her voice on two Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions called “Make Them to Grow” and “Immerse”.
Siria is a thoughtful and joyful singer-songwriter currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. I have to admit that I have a soft spot for her as when she was a child, her family was in Papua New Guinea with me and my family, and I have so many fond memories of the times I spent with her parents. I was delighted when I heard that she had released her debut album, so I got in touch with her to find out more about her music and why it was important for her to create this album. Here’s what she shared:
We’re excited to share that a selection of 26 prayers prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice and released in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Abdu’l-Baha’s passing has just been made available online on the Baha’i Reference Library.
The Baha’i Reference Library offers downloadable and searchable Writings from Baha’u’llah, the Bab, Abdu’l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi, letters and publications of the Universal House of Justice and compilations, such as the recently released compilation on the Universal House of Justice. You can click on “Recent Additions” to see what’s been added to the Baha’i Reference Library.
If you haven’t already, you may wish to subscribe to the Baha’i World News Service, which often reports when new translations are released, as well as documents the activities of the worldwide Baha’i community.
The Baha’i World Centre has recently released a new compilation about the Universal House of Justice which can be read online at the Baha’i Reference Library here. Continue reading
If you’ve ever wondered what the most important book of Baha’u’llah is—the one from which you might gain a better understanding of the basic beliefs and spiritual significance of the Baha’i Faith—then look no further than the Kitab-i-Iqan (“The Book of Certitude”). Continue reading
Baha’u’llah’s The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys are often found translated together in English, however, they are two distinct mystical texts, or tablets. I wrote about the significance of The Seven Valleys in this Baha’i Blog article and while both texts “basically convey the same truth”, I’d like to share a brief introduction to The Four Valleys in this piece and explore what makes it distinct. Continue reading