Baha’i Houses of Worship (or temples, as they often called) are places of prayer built by Baha’is, but open to people of all faiths, religions and beliefs. In the Baha’i Writings, they are also referred to as Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, which is Arabic for “The Dawning Place of the Mention of God”, and they are not simply buildings, but are considered sacred institutions. Baha’u’llah describes this sacred institution with these words:
O people of the world! Build ye houses of worship throughout the lands in the name of Him Who is the Lord of all religions. Make them as perfect as is possible in the world of being, and adorn them with that which befitteth them […]. Then, with radiance and joy, celebrate therein the praise of your Lord, the Most Compassionate. Verily, by His remembrance the eye is cheered and the heart is filled with light.
The Baha’i Writings often exhort us to live in a state of prayer and meditation. In one passage, Abdu’l-Baha explains that prayer and fasting are “the cause of awakening and mindfulness and conducive to protection and preservation from tests.” In another, Shoghi Effendi talks about a “mystic feeling” that unites us with the Creator, and says that this state “can be brought about and maintained by means of meditation and prayer.” As Baha’is, we can explore the truth of these claims through formal scientific inquiry, as well as through a process of action, reflection, and consultation.
I think the best way to begin on any path of inquiry is to transform claims into questions. For instance, how do prayer and fasting result in “awakening and mindfulness,” and how are these practices conducive to protection and preservation from tests? Continue reading
In today’s world and in my culture, it is often the talkative who are popular and at the centre of attention. Those who don’t speak a lot are considered shy and even boring. It is normal that when people are together, they talk the whole time. Any silence is awkward and has to be filled with chatter.
Of course, speech is a marvellous skill. In another article on Baha’i Blog, I explained the high station that language has in the Baha’i Faith.
But here I would like to discuss the place of silence in the life I am striving to live. Words are useful for certain purposes and if used in the right way (as the before-mentioned article highlights), but beyond that, I think they can be destructive. Continue reading