Tag Archives Persecution

Under the Staircase – A Biography of Fatollah Ferdowsi

Baha’i communities around the world have been founded and are strengthened by heroism and sacrifice. It is an honour to learn about recent publications that offer us glimpses of the indomitable strength of character of Baha’is, both from the early years of the Baha’i Faith’s inception and its more recent history.

Under the Staircase: A Martyr’s Journey is the moving memoir written by a son, Farsheed, about his father, Fatollah Ferdowsi. Fatollah was a remarkable man who was executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran on the morning of January 4, 1982. His only crime was his belief in the teachings of the Baha’i Faith.

Farsheed graciously agreed to tell us about this book, its significance to his family, and he shares some wisdom for aspiring Baha’i writers: Continue reading

When Reason Sleeps – A Story of Hope, Strength, Courage and Faith

When Reason Sleeps is a biography of Manuchihr Farzaneh-Moayyad, as recounted by his wife Mehri to her dear friend Audrey Mellard. It is a compelling narrative of hope, indomitable spiritual strength, courage and faith. It tells the story of Manuchihr’s unjust arrest, imprisonment and execution because of his beliefs, and Mehri’s subsequent time in prison and harrowing escape out of Iran. Audrey has penned their story beautifully and shares with us about her book in this interview:

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

I have thought of myself as a writer since I was seven years old, but it has taken me a long time to find what I wanted to write, apart from press releases, slide show scripts and one very brief TV script. Since I am now 85 years old, my future output is not likely to be massive, but there was a man on Orkney whose story I would like to tell.

I have been married for more than sixty years to Keith, and we were friends for ten years before we married, meeting when I was fourteen and he was thirteen, although my parents did not allow me to have a boyfriend until I was sixteen.

We had four children in slightly less than four years, and I spent 18 years at home with them, after which I joined the civil service as a clerical officer. During the time I was at home with the children, I did all the clerical work for my husband’s business, doing all the bookkeeping, dealing with the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise (VAT) etc. It was difficult at times, because as soon as the telephone rang, every child wanted my immediate attention!!

Since my husband had to give up sculpture last year due to arthritis in his hands, I used his stone and marble stores and started to make a garden alongside his studio. This is my ongoing project at the moment.

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How to Be a Heroic Baha’i Today

A youth studying the spiritual empowerment of junior youth in Montero, Bolivia. (Photo: Baha'i Media Bank)

Oftentimes, I find myself reading chronicles from early Baha’is, immersing myself in their stories of complete selflessness, utter sacrifice, and staunch devotion to the Cause of God.

I find myself thinking that my humble undertakings serving the Baha’i Faith pale in comparison to what they endured in a bid to spread the Message of Baha’u’llah.

Abdu’l-Baha writes:

…ye must in this matter—that is, the serving of humankind—lay down your very lives, and as ye yield yourselves, rejoice.

But what does it mean to lay down our lives? I think that this is one of many metaphorical references found in the Baha’i Writings to giving up one’s life and it makes me ask myself, what does it symbolically look like for me to give up my life to the beliefs I hold dear? And how can I do so rejoicingly?

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Flame of Tests: The Story of Farhang Mavaddat

Mehraeen Mavaddat-Mottahedin’s heartbreaking account of her husband’s suffering of unspeakable persecution, imprisonment and death is now being shared in English from its original in Persian, after 34 years. Flame of Tests: The Story of Farhang Mavaddat is a love story. With courage and tenderness, Mehraeen’s memoir tells the story of her husband, a fifth-generation Baha’i and a chemical engineer respected for his intelligence and upright character, who was arrested, tortured, unjustly tried, and executed simply for his love of Baha’u’llah.

It was my honour to speak with Mehraeen about her book and to learn more about her book.  Continue reading

The Martyrdom of the Bab and Jesus Christ

Photo: Courtesy of the Baha'i International Community

As Baha’is, we believe that the foundation of all the divine religions is one. Ever so often, we’ll be putting up posts for our ‘Changeless Faith Series’, in which we look closer at some of the similarities between the divine religions, in an attempt to more fully understand what Baha’u’llah meant when he said “This is the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future”.

Why do the Prophets of God go through hardships and, in some cases, even martyrdom? Perhaps the real question is: why has humanity persecuted every single Manifestation or Prophet of God throughout history? As a history major with a keen interest in both religion and history, these are two questions that have always fascinated me to the point of utter wonderment.

There are only two Manifestations that we know of in recorded history who have suffered martyrdom: Jesus Christ and the Bab. Apart from this one very important similarity between Jesus Christ and the Bab, there are numerous other similarities between them, with regards to their lives, their ministries and the events surrounding their Martyrdom.

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