December 1848: Baha’u’llah sets out to visit the Bábis at Shaykh Tabarsi

In December 1848, to fulfill His promise to visit Shaykh Tabarsi for a second time, Baha'u'llah set out with a number of the Bábis intending to visit the besieged fortress. Those who went with Him included
·        Haji Mirza Janiy-i-Kashani,[The merchant who had acted as host to the Báb in Kashan, and the first chronicler of His Faith, who was martyred in August 1852.]
·        Mulla Baqir-i-Tabrizi (one of the Bab's Letters of the Living),
·        Shaykh Abu-Turab-i-Ishtahardi,
·        Aqa Siyyid Hasan-i-Khu'i,
·        Aqa Siyyid Husayn-i-Turshizi (one of the Seven Martyrs of Tihran),
·        'Abdu'l-Vahhab Big,
·        Muhammad-Taqi Khan-i-Nuri and
·        Mirza Yahya, Subh-i-Azal.
But Baha'u'llah did not succeed in fulfilling His intention, for He and His companions were arrested and detained when they reached a village some nine miles from Shaykh Tabarsi. (Balyuzi, Baha’u’llah King of Glory, p.56)

November 1901: The first commemoration of a Baha’i Holy Day in North America

On 26 November 1901 the House and the Women's Assembly of Teaching [of Chicago] sponsored a celebration of 'the Master's Day'. Today this is known as the Day of the Covenant. It was the first definite commemoration in the United States of a Baha’i Holy Day. 'Abdu'l-Baha had asked the Baha'is to hold a commemoration of the Baha'i covenant rather than a celebration of His birthday because He had been born on the same day that the Báb had declared His mission and that day should be devoted to the Báb's anniversary. On 26 November the Chicago House of Justice sent telegrams of greeting to other Baha'i communities but since it had not informed them of the Holy Day ahead of time, no observances are known to have occurred elsewhere. Chicago's festivities represented a harmonious blend of Baha'i and Protestant practices. In the Minutes of the Chicago House of Justice, dated 1 December 1901 we read:

November 1817: The Birth of Baha'u'llah

Mirza Husayn Ali, Who afterwards assumed the title of Bahá'u'lláh (i.e. Glory of God), was the eldest son of Mirza Abbas of Nur, a Vazir or Minister of State. His family was wealthy and distinguished, many of its members having occupied important positions in the Government and in the Civil and Military Services of Persia. He was born in Tihran (Teheran), the capital city of Persia, between dawn and sunrise on the 12th of November, 1817 (2nd of Muharram, 1233 A.H.) He never attended school or college, and what little teaching He received was given at home. Nevertheless, even as a child He showed wonderful wisdom and knowledge. While He was still a youth His father died, leaving Him responsible for the care of His younger brothers and sisters, and for the management of the extensive family estates.

On one occasion 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, related to the writer the following particulars about His Father's early days:  --

November 1957: The passing of Shoghi Effendi

Before the time came to return to Haifa in November Shoghi Effendi went to London to purchase a few more things for the furnishing of the now completed Archives building and in anticipation of transferring after his arrival all the precious historical materials he had exhibited and stored in the six rooms in which they had previously been housed. While we were there the great epidemic of Asiatic influenza was sweeping Europe and we both fell ill with it. We had an excellent physician, whom the Guardian liked and trusted, and the attack was not a particularly severe one, though he did have quite a high fever for a few days. The doctor insisted that Shoghi Effendi should not arrange to leave London until he had been without any abnormal temperature for a week and to this he consented. In spite of his fever he read a great deal in bed and attended to his mail and cables. His illness at no time incapacitated him in any way, though it left him weak and with almost no appetite.

November 1866: An extraordinary event took place in the sky

The spectacular shower of meteors in the early hours of the morning of 14 November 1866 was observed all over Europe. It was an extraordinary event exciting comment from professional astronomers and laymen alike. The following sample account is from The Times Saturday, 17 November 1866:

The Rev. Robert Main, the Radcliffe Observer at Oxford, gives the following account of the meteorological phenomenon of Tuesday night last:  --

'...This great display began about 13h. (or 1 o'clock in the morning), and reached its maximum at about 13h.24m., after which time it gradually began to slacken. The watch, however, was kept up till 18h., though after 15h., there were not many meteors seen. In all there were observed not fewer than 3,000 during the night, of which about 2,000 fell between 13h. and 14h., or between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. As to the general appearance of the meteors, it was noticed that the majority of them were of a whitish or yellowish colour. Some, however, were reddish or orange-coloured, and one meteor was noticed to be bluish. The brightest left generally a train behind them, which was to be seen for a few seconds after the meteor disappeared.' (Adapted from ‘The Revelation of Baha’u’llah', by Adib Taherzadeh, vol. 2, p. 422)

October 1912: Observing the Feast with the Master

The evening of 16 October will never be forgotten, because of the memorable feast, held at the home of Mrs. Goodall, in Oakland. The beautiful rooms were filled with tables, adorned with yellow chrysanthemums and pyramids of fruit. The friends gathered quietly and talked in low but joyous tones. All seemed to feel the evening to be one set apart from all other evenings, for at this feast it was our great privilege to have 'Abdu'l-Bahá with us. There were one hundred and ten present, friends from the Bay Cities and also from Portland and Seattle.

When all were seated at table, 'Abdu'l-Bahá requested that we partake of the food so bountifully provided, while he walked about speaking words of wisdom and love, giving us the spiritual food, for which we hungered. Then, from the stairs, he pronounced a benediction upon all assembled, and soon the friends quietly withdrew. It was the most spiritual meeting. Gathered under one roof were people of different nations and various nationalities, the young and old, all meeting in love and fellowship, and in devotion to the Servant of God in this day. (Star of the West, Vol. III, No. 13, November 4, 1912)

October 680: The martyrdom of Imam Husayn

Imam Husayn's martyrdom took place on the 10th day of Muharram, 61 A.H. (October, A.D. 680) The first ten days of Muharram are observed by Shi'ih Muslims as a period of mourning for the Imams, ending on the tenth day with the Ashura, the commemoration of the martyrdom of the Imam Husayn. A grandson of Prophet Muhammad, Husayn was born to 'Ali and Fatimah (Muhammad’s daughter) in January 626. (Adapted from ‘The Prince of Martyrs’, by Abu'l-Qasim Faizi; ‘A Basic Baha’i  Dictionary’, by Wendi Momen; and ‘Muhammad and the Course of Islam’, by Balyuzi)

October 1957: The Guardian appoints third Contingent of the Hands of the Cause of God

Third Contingent of the Hands of the Cause of God were appointed by Shoghi Effendi: -- cables were sent on 2, October 1957
Hasan Balyuzi 7 Sept. 1908 12 Feb. 1980
Abu'l-Qasim Faizi, 1906 19 Nov. 1980
H. Collis Featherstone 13 May 1913 29 Sept. 1990
John Ferraby 9 Jan. 1914 5 Sept. 1973
Rahmatu'llah Muhajir, 1923 29 Dec. 1979
Enoch Olinga, 24 June 1926 16 Sept. 1979
John Robarts, 2 Nov. 1901 18 June 1991
William Sears 28 Mar. 1911 25 Mar. 1992
(The Ministry of the Custodians 1957-1963, p. xxiii)

October 13 to 16, 1912: The Master is a guest of Phoebe Hearst

October 13 to 16, 1912, were the dates when the Master and His suite spent a weekend as Mrs. Phoebe Hearst's guests at the Hacienda. She rode up to San Francisco and escorted Him to her home, invited prominent guests to meet Him, then escorted Him back to San Francisco. All this in spite of her estrangement from the Faith, which originated, Hasan Balyuzi writes, in her having been victimized by one or two individuals. On the way back 'Abdu'l-Bahá 'warned her not to consider anyone a true Bahá'í who was covetous of the goods of others and who tried to extort money from them'. Like the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh before Him, the Master always exemplified complete detachment from possessions, harking back like the Báb in His farewell to the Letters of the Living, to the words of Christ that when a disciple left a city he should carry away nothing, not even its dust on his feet. (Marzieh Gail, Arches of the Years, p. 94)

October 1844: Millerites expect the coming of the Lord

William Miller of New England was a man of ordinary education who had been an army captain and a justice of the peace. Prolonged study of dates in the Bible had convinced him that all prophetic time except the Millennium would inevitably run out by 1844, perhaps as late in that year as October 22. A shy, unassuming man, he felt no urge to spread this belief until one day a voice within him said: 'Go and tell it to the world.' He struggled against the voice but was defeated; by the end of 1843 he had delivered 3,200 lectures on the coming of the Lord. Tens of thousands of Millerites were, in that year, proclaiming that the Lord would come in a cloud, that every eye would see Him, and that He would come as a thief in the night; the fact that these prophecies were contradictory bothered no one. (Marzieh Gail, Dawn Over Mount Hira, p. 159)

October 1848: Mulla Husayn along with hundreds of his fellow believers march to Mazindaran to rescue Quddus

Mulla Husayn began his long march to Mazindaran to rescue Quddus, accompanied by many of the Bábís who had scattered after the incident in Niyala, and some of the newly-converted who ranged themselves behind the Black Standard. Their numbers, on that journey, swelled into hundreds. On their way they raised the call of the New Day, finding eager supporters, but also such venomous hostility that they could not take residence in any town or village. Yet they did not intend to engage in combat with anyone, let alone the forces of the State. They were only demonstrating their belief and their vision.

As they approached Barfurush, its leading divine, Sa'idu'l-'Ulama, was so vituperative in denouncing Mulla Husayn that the whole town rose up to oppose the Bábís. Clashes and casualties were inevitable. It was during this battle that Mulla Husayn cut through the trunk of a tree and the barrel of a gun in one stroke of his sword. [1] The people of Barfurush were worsted and asked for a truce, and because of their unrest, their leaders begged Mulla Husayn to leave on the morrow for Amul. 'Abbas-Quli Khan-i-Larijani, whom historian Nicolas names as 'the chief military personage of the province,' gave Mulla Husayn a solemn promise, fortified by an oath on the Qur'án, that Khusraw-i-Qadi-Kala'i and his horsemen would escort the Bábís to safety through the forests. This military chief impressed on Khusraw the need to do his duty by Mulla Husayn, and to show him respect and consideration. (Adapted from ‘The Báb - The Herald of the Day of Days’, by Balyuzi)
[1] The fame of this feat spread far and wide. Later, when the Grand Vizier reprimanded Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza, commander of an army sent against the defenders of Shaykh Tabarsi, because he had fled before them, the Prince sent him pieces of the musket-barrel smashed by the sword of Mulla Husayn, with this message: 'Such is the contemptible strength of an adversary who, with a single stroke of his sword, has shattered into six pieces the tree, the musket, and its holder.'

October 1910: ‘Abdu’l-Baha attended a meeting in Egypt commemorating the Martyrdom of Imam Husayn which took place on October 10, 680 AD

'Abdu'l-Bahá's sojourn in Alexandria, Egypt, coincided with the Muslim lunar month of Muharram. This is the month that witnessed the martyrdom of Husayn, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and the third apostolic Imam of His Faith, together with many others of the House of the Prophet. That tragedy occurred on the tenth day of Muharram, 61 A.H., which corresponded to October 10th A.D. 680. The Shí'ah world has mourned his martyrdom ever since. Throughout the month of Muharram and the succeeding month of Safar, wherever Shí'ahs are, their grief is given some form of expression. They arrange gatherings at which the sufferings and the heroism of the Family of Muhammad, the treachery and the brutality of the foe are recited. Persians of Alexandria invited 'Abdu'l-Bahá to their meeting. He went and was received with every mark of respect. He gave a robe to the reciter of the heart-rending story of Karbila, rewarding him richly for his talent and devotion. He also left money with the hosts to hold a commemorative meeting on His behalf and to feed the poor. (H.M. Balyuzi, Abdu'l-Baha - The Centre of the Covenant)

October 1912: 'Abdu'l-Bahá arrives in San Francisco

'Abdu'l-Bahá arrives in San Francisco on 1 October 1912. (Juiete Thompson, ‘Diary of Juliete Thompson’)

October 1911: An article in praise of ‘Abdu’l-Baha is published by the editor of Egyptian Arabic newspaper “al-Mu'ayyad”

After a month's stay in Port Said, 'Abdu'l-Bahá once again took ship, without previous intimation. He intended to go to Europe, but it became evident that the state of His health did not permit the strenuous work involved. He landed in Alexandria. It was in that ancient city that a sudden change occurred. Journalists in Egypt, who had hitherto shown open hostility, asked to meet 'Abdu'l-Bahá and perceptibly changed their tone. Even more, they wrote in terms of high praise. Shaykh 'Ali Yusuf, the editor of the Arabic paper, al-Mu'ayyad, had previously made harsh attacks on Bahá'ís and the Bahá'í Faith, urging severe counter-measures against them. He visited 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and in the October 16th issue of his paper he published an article under the heading: 'Al-Mirza 'Abbas Effendi'. These are the opening lines of that remarkable article: 'His Eminence Mirza 'Abbas Effendi, the learned and erudite Head of the Bahá'ís in 'Akká and the Centre of authority for Bahá'ís throughout the world, has reached the shores of Alexandria.' At first, related the writer, 'Abdu'l-Bahá stayed in the Victoria Hotel, but after a few days moved to a rented house. Then he went on to say:

He is a venerable person, dignified, possessed of profound knowledge, deeply versed in theology, master of the history of Islam, and of its denominations and developments . . . whosoever has consorted with Him has seen in Him a man exceedingly well-informed, Whose speech is captivating, Who attracts minds and souls, dedicated to belief in the oneness of mankind . . .   His teaching and guidance revolve round the axis of relinquishing prejudices: religious, racial, patriotic. (H.M. Balyuzi, ‘Abdu'l-Baha - The Centre of the Covenant’)

October 1952: Holy Year is observed from October 1952 to October 1953

The 'Year Nine' is an abbreviation of 1269 A.H. The beginning of the Year Nine occurred about two months after His (Bahá'u'lláh's) imprisonment in that dungeon. We do not know the exact time He received this first intimation... We therefore regard the entire Year Nine as a Holy Year, and the emphasis should be placed ... on the entire year, which started in October, 1852. This means our Centenary Year of Celebration will be from October, 1952 to October, 1953." (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, ‘Directives from the Guardian’)

October 1852: The Báb’s predicted year nine commences

The Báb repeatedly gave the year nine as the date of the appearance of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. The declaration of the Báb took place in the year 1260 AH (AD 1844). The year nine is 1269 AH, which began about the middle of October 1852 when Bahá'u'lláh had already been imprisoned for about two months in the Siyah-Chal of Tihran, the scene of the birth of His Revelation. The following are a few passages concerning the year nine:

“In the year nine ye will attain unto all good.' On another occasion He saith: 'In the year nine ye will attain unto the Presence of God.” (The Báb, quoted by Bahá'u'lláh in ‘Epistle to the Son of the Wolf’, p. 141)

“Ere nine will have elapsed from the inception of this Cause, the realities of the created things will not be made manifest. All that thou hast as yet seen is but the stage from the moist germ until We clothed it with flesh. Be patient, until thou beholdest a new creation. Say: 'Blessed, therefore, be God, the most excellent of Makers!” (The Báb, quoted by Bahá'u'lláh in ‘Epistle to the Son of the Wolf’, p. 152) (Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, p. 102)

October 1923: NSA of Britain has its first meeting

The first meeting of the elected "National Spiritual Assembly" [of Britain] took place in London on 13 October 1923. (The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha'i Community, p. 13, footnote)

October 1844: The Báb left Bushihr on pilgrimage to Mecca

He [the Báb] embarked from Bushihr on the 19th of Ramadan (October, 1844) on a sailing vessel, accompanied by Quddus whom He was assiduously preparing for the assumption of his future office. Landing at Jaddih after a stormy voyage of over a month's duration, He donned the pilgrim's garb, mounted a camel, and set out for Mecca, arriving on the first of Dhi'l-Hajjih (December 12). Quddus, holding the bridle in his hands, accompanied his Master on foot to that holy Shrine. (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 9) 

October 1835: Baha'u'llah's marriage with Asiyih Khanum

When Bahá'u'lláh was nearly fifteen years old, His elder sister Sarih Khanum and Mirza Mahmud, the son of Mirza Isma'il-i-Vazir of Yalrud, were married. This Mirza Mahmud, who never espoused the new Faith, had a younger sister, Asiyih Khanum: winsome, vivacious and exceedingly beautiful. As soon as she came of age, and Bahá'u'lláh was nearly eighteen, Sarih Khanum requested her father, Mirza Buzurg, to ask the hand of this sister-in-law for her Brother, Mirza Husayn-'Ali. Their marriage took place in Jamadiyu'l-Ukhra (Jamadiyu'th-Thani) AH 1251 (about October 1835). Asiyih Khanum was the mother of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. (H.M. Balyuzi, Baha'u'llah - The King of Glory)

September 1933: Keith Ransom-Kehler left Tihran

The night preceding her departure from Tihran a large meeting was held in the Haziratu’l-Quds; the friends, deeply moved by her words of farewell, voiced their thanks and appreciation and love through a member of the Spiritual Assembly. On Friday, September 22 a large escort of friends accompanied her to the Baha'i village of Hasan-Abad, a few miles out of town on the road to Qum; refreshments were served, many pictures taken, and after a last farewell Keith and her party continued on to Qum, escorted by a number of Tihran friends and a delegate from the Tihran Spiritual Assembly. That night was spent in Qum, and a meeting was held of the Qum Baha'is and the delegation of welcome that had come on ahead from Kashan; Keith further met several Qum officials and discussed the teachings with them. (The Baha’i World 1932-1934)

September 1916: Five of the Fourteen Tablets of the Divine Plan were first published in the Star of the West magazine

Fourteen Tablets revealed by 'Abdu'l-Baha during the First World War, addressed to the Baha'is in North America and received by them in 1919, which Shoghi Effendi has called the 'mandate' and 'the supreme charter for teaching'. They are addressed either to the Baha'is of the United States and Canada as one body or to one of five regional areas of North America.

The 'mandate' was to carry the 'fame of the Cause of God' to the East and to the West and to spread the Glad Tidings of the coming of Baha'u'llah throughout the five continents of the world. In all, 'Abdu'l-Baha mentioned some 120 territories and islands to which the message of Baha'u'llah was to be carried.

The first eight Tablets were revealed between 26 March and 22 April 1916, and the final six between 2 February and 8 March 1917. Of the first group, five Tablets reached America and were published in the 8 September 1916 issue of Star of the West. After that, communication with the Holy Land was cut off and the rest of the Tablets remained in the vault under the Shrine of the Báb until the end of the war. They were dispatched to America and unveiled in a ceremony during the 'Convention of the Covenant' held at the Hotel McAlpin in New York in April 1919.

An immediate response to the Tablets was made by Martha Root who began her world travels, and by Mr. and Mrs. Hyde Dunn, who arose to move to Australia. However, it was not until 1837 when Shoghi Effendi gave the American believers the First Seven Year Plan that the Divine Plan began to be generally implemented. (Wendi Momen, A Basic Baha’i Dictionary)

September 1939: The Passing of Hand of the Cause Martha Root

Martha Root, Hand of the Cause, whom, in 1942, Shoghi Effendi called ‘that archetype of Baha'i itinerant teachers and the foremost Hand raised by Baha'u'llah since 'Abdu'l-Baha's passing' and to whom he awarded the title of 'Leading Ambassadress of His Faith and Pride of Baha'i teachers, whether men or women, in both the East and the West.’

Martha Root was the first to arise in response to the call of 'Abdu'l-Baha in The Tablets of the Divine Plan. She travelled around the world four times over a period of twenty years, travelling four times to China and Japan, three times to India, and visiting every major city in South America. She spoke of the Baha'i Faith to 'kings, queens, princes and princesses, presidents of republics, ministers and statesmen, publicists, professors, clergymen and poets, as well as a vast number of people in various walks of life, and contacted, both officially and informally, religious congresses, peace societies, Esperanto associations, socialist congresses, Theosophical societies, women's clubs and other kindred organizations . . . '. Her eight successive audiences with Queen Marie of Rumania resulted in the Queen becoming a Baha'i. Her death in Honolulu in September 1939 'brought to a close a life which may well be regarded as the fairest fruit as yet yielded by the Formative Age of the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah .' (Wendi Momen, A Basic Baha’i Dictionary)

September 1848: Muhammad Shah issues an edict for the arrest of Baha’u’llah. News of the death of the Shah cancelled the decree.

Bahá'u'lláh states in one of His Tablets that after leaving Badasht, He travelled to Nur by easy stages. He visited Shah-rud, the district of Hizarjarib, Jaz (Gaz) - to the south of Bandar-Jaz (Bandar-Gaz) on the Caspian Sea - and Ashraf - 'village by village, town by town' - until He arrived at Nur. It was probably while Bahá'u'lláh was at Bandar-Jaz during the course of this journey that the following incident occurred. 'Abdu'l-Bahá has related that when Bahá'u'lláh arrived at Bandar-Jaz, He was taken ill. In this sea-town lived a Bábí, named Mirza Masih, a man of superior qualities. 'Abdu'l-Bahá describes him as 'spirit personified', one who, 'having read just one verse from the pen of the Primal Point, observed: "Just let this Báb be mine; you may have everyone else"'. At this very time, while Bahá'u'lláh was at Bandar-Jaz, Mirza Masih passed away. Bahá'u'lláh held a memorial meeting for him, and also wrote a prayer of visitation for this, wonderful man.

It was while Bahá'u'lláh was at Bandar-Jaz that the edict came from Muhammad Shah ordering His arrest. Bahá'u'lláh was at this time the  guest of some of the notables of the town, and these, together with the Russian agent at Bandar-Jaz, who was a Persian, came to Bahá'u'lláh offering Him a passage in a Russian ship which was at anchor there. But Bahá'u'lláh did not accept it and did not run away. Next day, Bahá'u'lláh was the guest of a notable of that area. The Russian agent had also been invited to that banquet. Many of the prominent men of that district of Mazindaran were there to meet Bahá'u'lláh. Then a courier arrived, bringing news of Muhammad Shah's demise. The edict of Muhammad Shah for Bahá'u'lláh's arrest had lost its authority. (H.M. Balyuzi, Baha'u'llah – ‘Baha’u’llah, The King of Glory’; The Baha’i World, vol. 18)

September 1846: The Báb is arrested in the dead of night, all His books and documents confiscated and subsequently released on condition of His leaving Shiraz

Husayn Khan [the governor of Shiraz], vindictive, relentless, exasperated by the reports of his sleepless agents that his Captive's power and fame were hourly growing, decided to take immediate action. It is even reported that his accomplice, Haji Mirza Aqasi, had ordered him to kill secretly the would-be disrupter of the state and the wrecker of its established religion. By order of the governor the chief constable, Abdu'l-Hamid Khan, scaled, in the dead of night, the wall and entered the house of Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, where the Báb was confined, arrested Him, and confiscated all His books and documents. That very night, however, took place an event which, in its dramatic suddenness, was no doubt providentially designed to confound the schemes of the plotters, and enable the Object of their hatred to prolong His ministry and consummate His Revelation. An outbreak of cholera, devastating in its virulence, had, since midnight, already smitten above a hundred people. The dread of the plague had entered every heart, and the inhabitants of the stricken city were, amid shrieks of pain and grief, fleeing in confusion. Three of the governor's domestics had already died. Members of his family were lying dangerously ill. In his despair he, leaving the dead unburied, had fled to a garden in the outskirts of the city. Abdu'l-Hamid Khan, confronted by this unexpected development, decided to conduct the Báb to His own home. He was appalled, upon his arrival, to learn that his son lay in the death-throes of the plague. In his despair he threw himself at the feet of the Báb, begged to be forgiven, adjured Him not to visit upon the son the sins of the father, and pledged his word to resign his post, and never again to accept such a position. Finding that his prayer had been answered, he addressed a plea to the governor begging him to release his Captive, and thereby deflect the fatal course of this dire visitation. Husayn Khan acceded to his request, and released his Prisoner on condition of His quitting the city.

Miraculously preserved by an almighty and watchful Providence, the Báb proceeded to Isfahan (September, 1846), accompanied by Siyyid Kazim-i-Zanjani. (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 12)

August 1868: Baha’u’llah arrives in Haifa

Baha’u’llah first landed in Haifa on 31 August 1868 after His journey of eleven days from Gallipoli by steamer. He and His companions were transferred from the steamer to a sailing vessel which carried them to 'Akka. Baha’u’llah visited Haifa three more times: in August 1883, in April 1890, and in the summer of 1891 for about three months. It was during this last visit that He revealed the Tablet of Carmel and pointed out to 'Abdu’1-Baha “the site which was to serve as the permanent resting-place of the Báb, and on which a befitting mausoleum was later to be erected.” (Wendi Momen, A Basic Baha’i Dictionary)

August 1910: ‘Abdu’l-Baha moves to His House in Haifa

This house which was designed by ‘Abdu’l-Baha, was built under His direction in the German colony at the foot of Mount Carmel in Haifa on a lane later to be called Persian (Haparsim) Street. It was completed in 1908, although from 1907 ‘Abdu’l-Baha began the transfer of the Holy Family to it. In the next few years all the Holy Family moved from 'Akka, including the Greatest Holy Leaf and Shoghi Effendi, and in August 1910 'Abdu'l-Baha Himself moved to the house and it became His official residence. On His return from His travels in the West, this house became the place of reception of pilgrims. The Master ascended to the Abha Kingdom in the room on the right as one enters the house. An apartment was built on the roof in the early 1920s for Shoghi Effendi, and this was expanded in 1937 after his marriage to Ruhiyyih Khanurn. More recently, the reception room directly opposite the entrance door was used by Ruhiyyih Khanum to receive pilgrims and guests.(Adapted from ‘A Basic Baha’i Dictionary, by Wendi Momen)

August 1968: First Oceanic Baha’i Conference was held in Palermo, Sicily

In August, the first Oceanic Bahá'í Conference, held in Palermo, commemorated Bahá'u'lláh's voyage on the Mediterranean Sea on His way to the Most Great Prison. Attendants at this Conference came immediately afterwards to the Qiblih [‘point of adoration’: the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahji] of their Faith to pay homage at the Shrine of its Founder and to commemorate with deep awareness of its spiritual import the long prophesied arrival of the Lord of Hosts on the shores of the Holy Land. This gathering of more than two thousand believers presented an inexpressibly poignant contrast to the actual arrival of Bahá'u'lláh one hundred years before, rejected by the rulers of this earth and derided by the local populace. Such is the conquering power of His Message, such is the undefeatable might of the King of Kings. (From Ridvan 1969 message of the Universal House of Justice) (To read the entire message please visit Messages to the Baha’i World Community – by the Universal House of Justice)

August 1842: The Báb and Khadijih-Bagum were married in Shiraz, Persia

Siyyid Ali-Muhammad [the Bab], and Khadijih Bagum were neighbors and playmates as children in Shiraz. Before their betrothal Khadijih-Bagum dreamed that Fatimih, daughter of Prophet Muhammad, asked for her hand in marriage to her son, the Imam Husayn. The Báb and Khadijih-Bagum were married in the House of the Báb in Shiraz in August 1842. They had one child, a son Ahmad, who died in infancy.

The Báb revealed to Khadijih-Bagum His station as the Qa'im even before making His Declaration to Mulla Husayn. Nabil writes: “The wife of the Báb, unlike His mother perceived at the earliest dawn of His Revelation the glory and uniqueness of His Mission and felt from the very beginning the intensity of its force. No one except Tahirih, among the women of her generation, surpassed her in the spontaneous character of her devotion nor excelled the fervour of her faith. To her the Báb confided the secret of His future sufferings, and unfolded to her eyes the significance of the events that were to transpire in His Day.” The Bab revealed for her the prayer known as the 'Remover of Difficulties' and directed her to recite it before going to sleep, promising He Himself would appear to her to banish her anxiety.

When Khadijih-Bagum learned Baha'u'llah had declared Himself to be the Promised One of the Bayan, Whose advent the Báb had foretold, she gave Him her allegiance instantly. She died in 1882. (Wendi Momen, ‘A Basic Baha’i Dictionary)

August 1863: Baha’u’llah arrives in Constantinople

Constantinople, currently known as Istanbul, is in Turkey and was the former capital of the Ottoman Empire, to which Baha’u’llah went from Baghdad at the request of the Ottoman government in 1863. He arrived in Constantinople on 16 August and remained there for about four months, after which time He was exiled to Adrianople. (Adapted from ‘A Basic Baha’i Dictionary’, by Wendi Momen)

August 1911: First recorded burial took place at the Baha’i cemetery in Haifa

The Baha'i cemetery in Haifa is situated at the tip of the promontory of Mount Carmel as its northern face plunges to the plain. It is a six-acre plot purchased at the behest of 'Abdu'l-Baha. Its first recorded burial was in August 1911. Several early Baha'is are buried there including Haji Mirza Haydar-'Ali and many Hands of the Cause. (A Basic Baha’i Dictionary, by Wendi momen)

July 1847: The Báb arrives at the prison fortress of MahKu

Haji Mirza Aqasi [The Persian Priminister] finally persuaded Muhammad Shah, to send the Báb to a remote fortress called Mahku.

According to one historian, the king had been suffering from illness for some time. The Báb had promised to heal him if He were permitted to come to Tihran. Haji Mirza Aqasi feared that if the Báb should bring about such a cure, the king would no longer be under his thumb.[Nabil, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 232, footnote]

He induced the king to write to the Báb as follows: "Much as we desire to meet you, we find ourselves unable, in view of our immediate departure from our capital, to receive you befittingly in Tihran. We have signified our desire that you be conducted to Mahku."[Nabil, The Dawn-Breakers, pp. 230-231]

The Báb had written earlier to the king asking for an audience with him. He had requested permission to come to the capital so that before the king and all the religious leaders of the land, He might present the proofs of His Mission. He agreed to leave the decision of its truth or falsehood entirely in the hands of the king. He said that He would accept the judgement of the king as final; and in case of failure, was ready to sacrifice His head.[Comte de Gobineau, Les Religions et Philosophies dans l’Asie Centrale, p. 124]

July 1848: The chief painter of Urumiyyih’s Governor renders the Báb’s only portrait from life

After the Báb had been imprisoned for three months in fortress Chihriq, during which time the Bábis flooded the nearby tiny Kurdish community, Prime Minister Aqasi ordered Him to Tabriz to stand trial on charges of heresy. It was July when He was conducted to the town of Urumiyyih, the reputed birthplace of Zoroaster, on the huge salt lake of that name. It was a city slowly recovering from the wounds of the great earthquake of 1840. There He was respectfully welcomed by the Governor, Prince Malik Qasim, who accepted Him in his home as a guest, then took the opportunity to test the powers of this reputed great new Teacher of so commanding a spiritual presence. The Báb's spontaneous winning of a particularly fractious and hostile horse given Him for His ride to the public bath evoked the enthusiasm of all and the conversion of many as His fame spread like wildfire throughout the region. Here, too, the Governor's chief painter, Aqa-Bala Big, rendered His only portrait from life. [The original of the Báb's portrait is now held in the Ihternational Baha'i Archives in Haifa] (David Ruhe, The Robe of Light, p. 98)

July 1898: Parents of future Hand of the Cause Leroy Ioas become Baha'is in Chicago

Charles and Maria Ioas were born in Germany, on 23 March 1859 and 6 December 1865 respectively. Both acquired professions in the United States, Charles as a lawyer and certified public accountant, Maria as a photographer. They were living in Chicago in 1890’s. Charles had been born a Lutheran, Maria a Catholic, but in the United States both joined a Methodist church and "were continually seeking something else to satisfy their spiritual needs." Neither of them investigated any of America's "new" religions, for as Maria put it, "'My husband never cared for, as he called them, "isms" and cults ... .''' But the Ioases were interested in the subject of Christ's return, Charles having been told by his mother while yet a child that he would live to see Christ come again.

July 1831: Birth of Mulla Muhammad-i-Zarandi, surnamed Nabil-i-A'zam, an Apostle of Baha’u’llah and the author of the Dawn-Breakers

Mulla Muhammad-i-Zarandi, surnamed Nabil-i-A'zam, was one of Baha’u’llah’s outstanding Apostles who played a great role in the propagation of His Message and the dissemination of His words. He is immortalized by his detailed narratives, a part of which, The Dawn-Breakers, mainly dealing with the story of the Báb, has been translated into English by Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Faith. The other part dealing with the ministry of Bahá'u'lláh remains to be published.

In his early days Nabil was a shepherd. He had a great love of nature and would often spend the night lying on the ground in contemplation of the stars and in solitary communion with his Creator. While following his flock over the fields he would chant the verses of the Qur'án and pray to God that He might enable him to find the truth during this life.

One day in 1847 he overheard two men telling the story of the Báb. His heart was immediately attracted to the new Message and soon afterwards he came in contact with a believer who taught him the Faith. He became an ardent follower of the Báb and, in spite of many obstacles which were placed in his path, remained active in the promotion of His Message.

July 1848: Following the Báb’s instruction, Mulla Husayn raised the Black Standard and marched towards Mazindaran along with two- hundred and two of his fellow Bábís

During the Conference of Badasht Mulla Husayn was in Mashhad, Khurasan, guest of a brother of Muhammad Shah and the Governor-General of Khurasan - where he was treated with courtesy and consideration. After leaving the camp of the Governor-General, he intended to go to Karbila, but a messenger arrived from the Bab with a Tablet which totally changed his plans. In it the Báb had conferred on him a new name, Siyyid 'Ali, had sent him a green turban of His own to wear, and had directed him to go to Mazindaran to aid and support Quddus [who was under house-arrest], with a black standard unfurled and carried before him. This black standard would be that of which the Prophet Muhammad had given tidings: 'Should your eyes behold the Black Standards proceeding from Khurasan, hasten ye towards them, even though ye should have to crawl over the snow, inasmuch as they proclaim the advent of the promised Mihdi, the Vicegerent of God.'

June 1870: The Great Sacrifice: the great tragedy of the death of the Purest Branch -- Mirza Mihdi, a son of Baha'u'llah

Mirza Mihdi, designated Ghusnu'llahu'l-Athar (The Purest Branch) by his Father, was the second surviving son of Baha'u'llah. He was the full brother of 'Abdu'l-Baha (Ghusnu'llahu'l-A'zam: The Most Great Branch) having the same mother, Navvabih Khanum. In 1870, he was twenty-two years old. It was his wont to go in the evening to the roof-top of the citadel to pray and meditate. There one gets a wonderful view of the pellucid blue of the Mediterranean, with the silhouette of Mount Carmel beyond the seascape; and to the other side lies stretched the plain of 'Akka with the majestic peak of Mount Hermon in the background. One evening, Mirza Mihdi, pacing up and down that roof-top engrossed with his thoughts and meditations, did not notice an open skylight and plunged through it to the floor below, falling upon a crate which pierced his chest. The injury proved fatal.

June 1931: The Guardian explains that “Temple and teaching work should be continued to be regarded as the twin outstanding activities of the Believers in America.”

Shoghi Effendi believes that the Temple and teaching work should be continued to be regarded as the twin outstanding activities of the Believers in America. Everything else should be subordinated to this urgent need. The work of applying the exterior ornamentation to the completed structure should proceed steadily and as speedily as possible. Shoghi Effendi feels that the full effect and influence of the Temple can be revealed only when the work in its entirety it accomplished. All the beauty and glory of the Temple depends upon the exterior garment of stone with which it is to be adorned, while the consummation of the task will in itself act as a magnet that will draw the promised blessings of the Master. Nothing short of continued self-sacrifice can achieve this end. In fact, the greater the obstacles in our way, the greater will be the reward we are destined to reap. The present financial depression should be regarded both as a challenge and an opportunity to prove the reality and potency of our faith. Shoghi Effendi will continue to pray for the American Believers who are destined to render still more glorious services to the Cause in the future. (Message dated June 20, 1931 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi; Baha’i News, August 1931)

June 1926: The Spiritual Assembly of Montclair, NJ is elected for the first time

The Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Montclair, NJ, came into existence in June of 1926 – about 14 years after the historic visit of the Master. (Adapted from Baha’i News, September 1926)

June 1845: The Message of the Báb is proclaimed publically for the first time

After his return to Shiraz from Mecca (his pilgrimage with the Báb), Quddus met a believer by the name of Ismu'llahu'l-Asdaq, Mulla Sadiq-i-Khurasani. Quddus entrusted him with a copy of one of the Báb’s Tablet, the Khasa'il-i-Sab'ih, and stressed the necessity of putting into effect immediately all its provisions. Among its precepts was the emphatic injunction of the Báb to every loyal believer to add the following words to the traditional formula of the adhan:[Muslim call to prayer] "I bear witness that He whose name is Ali-Qabl-i-Muhammad [‘Ali preceding Muhamad, meaning the Báb] is the servant of the Baqiyyatu'llah."[The Remenant of God, one the Titles of Baha’u’llah] Mulla Sadiq, who in those days had been extolling from the pulpit-top to large audiences the virtues of the imams of the Faith, was so enraptured by the theme and language of that treatise that he unhesitatingly resolved to carry out all the observances it ordained. Driven by the impelling force inherent in that Tablet, he, one day as he was leading his congregation in prayer in the Masjid-i-Naw, suddenly proclaimed, as he was sounding the adhan, the additional words prescribed by the Báb. The multitude that heard him was astounded by his cry. Dismay and consternation seized the entire congregation. (Adapted from the Dawn-Breakers, by Nabil; and The Báb, by Balyuzi]

June 1912: While in New York, ‘Abdu’l-Baha declares His own station as the ‘Center of the Covenant’ – New York becomes the City of the Covenant

The next day, June 19th, was an historic day for the Bahá'ís of New York, for on that day 'Abdu'l-Bahá named their city the City of the Covenant. He spoke in their gathering of the Tablet of the Branch, revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in Adrianople, and declared His own station: the Centre of the Covenant. In New York He had made this emphatic, authoritative statement in public, and therefore New York was invested with that distinction. On the same day He received the manuscript of The Brilliant Proof which He greatly admired, and arranged for its translation and publication in the United States. (Balyuzi, 'Abdu'l-Baha - The Centre of the Covenant, p. 219)

May 1944: Model of the superstructure of the Shrine of the Báb was completed and displayed

Under the Guidance of the Guardian, Sutherland Maxwell completed the model of the superstructure for the Shrine of the Báb in May 1944. (Adapted from the ‘Historical Dictionary of the Baha’i Faith’ by Hugh Adamson)

May 1897: Lua Moore (Getsinger) accepts the Faith

Louisa (Lua) Moore accepted the Faith of Baha’u’llah on 21 May 1897. A year later, she married Edward Getsinger, a professional lecturer with a degree in homeopathic medicine. Within a few months, Edward had also become a Baha'i. In the spring of 1898, the Getsingers went to California to teach, where they introduced Phoebe Hearst to the Faith. When Mrs. Hearst decided to visit 'Abdu'l-Baha in 1898, she invited the Getsingers to travel with her. 'This first pilgrimage by American Baha’is completely transformed the Getsingers and pushed them to the forefront of the Faith in Arnerica.
Both Edward and Lua were deeply involved in the project to build the Temple in Chicago and in the efforts to save the American Baha'I community from the Covenant-breaking activities of Ibrahim Kheiralla, despite the fact that Kheiralla had originally been their teacher. The Getsingers travelled extensively across America at the behest of the Master, teaching in small towns and areas that rarely received Baha’i teachers. Lua also travelled to Paris and Haifa, where she stayed for a year, in 1902.
When 'Abdu'l-Baha arrived in America, Lua had been in California, at the request of the Master, for over a year and was a bit disheartened, writing that 'I have no permission to leave Cal. as yet. . .' But she was soon allowed to travel east. While Lua awaited permission to travel, Edward was busily occupied with the Master's arrangements, working from seven in the morning until eleven at night. Since 'Abdu'l-Baha moved only as directed by the spirit, Edward's job was doubly difficult.
In 1913 Lua and Edward visited 'Abdu'l-Baha in Egypt, then travelled at His request to India. Edward returned to America in July 1914, but Lua carried on until November, when she sailed to Haifa and stayed in 'Abdu'l-Baha household for seven months. He finally told her to return to America and teach, so in September 1915 she left Haifa with war refugees on the American navy ship Des Moines. When she reached Egypt, she was too ill to continue, so she stayed, continuing to teach in spite of her illness until her heart failed on I May 1916.(Earl Redman, ‘Abdu’l-Baha in Their Midst)

May 1926: Toronto Daily Star, May 4, 1926, prints Queen Marie’s testimony concerning the Baha’i Faith

“It is a wondrous Message that Baha’u’llah and his son 'Abdu'l-Baha have given us. . . . It is Christ's Message taken up anew, in the same words almost, but adapted to the thousand years and more difference that lies between the year one and today. . . . I commend it to you all. If ever the name of Baha’u’llah or 'Abdu'l-Baha comes to your attention, do not put their writings from you." (Toronto Daily Star, May 4, 1926; quoted in ‘The Baha’i Faith, the Emerging World Religion’, by William Hatcher and Douglas Martin)

May 1953: A Knight of Baha’u’llah arrives in Morocco

Austin Elsie Helen was a Baha'i pioneer, diplomat, administrator, and distinguished lawyer. She was the first black woman graduate of the law school at the University of Cincinnati and in 1937 became the first black woman to serve as assistant attorney general in Ohio. She became a Baha'i in the mid-1930s. During these years she rose through positions of increasing responsibility within the District of Columbia and the U.S. government. From 1939 to 1944, she served as national president of Delta Sigma Theta, a public service sorority. Her Baha'i service included membership of the local Spiritual Assembly of Cincinnati. In 1945 she was elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada. In 1953 she went on pilgrimage and met Shoghi Effendi. On returning to the United States she resigned from the National Spiritual Assembly to fulfill a pioneer goal of the Ten Year Crusade. She arrived in Morocco in May 1953 and in so doing earned the title Knight of Baha'u'llah for that country.

May 2001: The Opening of the Terraces on Mount Carmel

Statement of the Universal House of Justice for the Opening of the Terraces on Mount Carmel
Haifa, Israel,
22 May 2001
[Delivered by Dr. Albert Lincoln, Secretary General of the Bahá'í International Community]
With joyful and thankful hearts, we welcome all who have come from near and far to join us on this auspicious occasion for the Bahá'ís of the world. We acknowledge with deep appreciation the presence of so many distinguished guests.
A century and a half have passed since that unspeakable tragedy in the northwest of Persia when the Báb faced the volley fired at Him from the rifles of 750 soldiers. The soldiers had followed the orders of the highest authorities in the land. The Báb's mangled body was then thrown on the side of a moat outside the city, abandoned to what His cold-blooded persecutors thought would be a dishonourable fate. They had hoped thus to put an end to the growing influence of His teachings on masses of people throughout the country. These masses had accepted, in the face of intense persecution, the Báb's claim to prophethood, and their lives were being transformed spiritually and morally as He prepared them for what He said was the dawn of a new age in which a world civilization would be born and flourish. The expectations that stirred countless hearts were heightened even more sublimely by the Báb's announcement that One greater than He would soon arise, One who would reveal the unparalleled character of the promised world civilization that would signify the coming of age of the entire human race.

May 1942: The passing of Hand of the Cause ‘Abdu’l-Jalil Bey Sa’ad

‘Abdu’l-Jalil was an early Egyptian believer and a civil magistrate by profession when he was introduced to the Faith by Mirza Abu'l-Fadl. He was a distinguished judge of the civil courts and as such was able to render significant services to the Faith. He wrote extensively advocating the principle that all religions should be treated equally. In spite of much opposition he was able to ensure that the Baha'i Declaration of Trust for legal recognition of the Faith was accepted. After writing a series of articles in defense of the Faith he was transferred, as a disciplinary measure, to a remote locality in upper Egypt, where he used the opportunity to translate The Dawn-Breakers and Baha’u’llah and the New Era into Arabic. For many years he was the chairman of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Egypt and the Sudan He obtained the permission to build a Haziratu'l-Quds in Cairo and was often found on site supervising the work. He died suddenly on 25 May 1942 and was posthumously appointed as a Hand of the Cause by Shoghi Effendi, in 1943. He was Egypt's first and only Hand of the Cause of God. (Adapted from the ‘Historical Dictionary of the Baha’i Faith’ by Hugh Adamson)

May 1863: Baha’u’llah leaves the Garden of Ridvan

The departure of Bahá'u'lláh from the Garden of Ridvan, at noon, on the 14th of Dhi'l-Qa'dih 1279 A.H. (May 3, 1863), witnessed scenes of tumultuous enthusiasm no less spectacular, and even more touching, than those which greeted Him when leaving His Most Great House in Baghdad. "The great tumult," wrote an eyewitness, "associated in our minds with the Day of Gathering, the Day of Judgment, we beheld on that occasion. Believers and unbelievers alike sobbed and lamented. The chiefs and notables who had congregated were struck with wonder. Emotions were stirred to such depths as no tongue can describe, nor could any observer escape their contagion.
Mounted on His steed, a red roan stallion of the finest breed, the best His lovers could purchase for Him, and leaving behind Him a bowing multitude of fervent admirers, He rode forth on the first stage of a journey that was to carry Him to the city of Constantinople. "Numerous were the heads," Nabil himself a witness of that memorable scene, recounts, "which, on every side, bowed to the dust at the feet of His horse, and kissed its hoofs, and countless were those who pressed forward to embrace His stirrups." "How great the number of those embodiments of fidelity," testifies a fellow-traveler, "who, casting themselves before that charger, preferred death to separation from their Beloved! Methinks, that blessed steed trod upon the bodies of those pure-hearted souls." "He (God) it was," Bahá'u'lláh Himself declares, "Who enabled Me to depart out of the city (Baghdad), clothed with such majesty as none, except the denier and the malicious, can fail to acknowledge." These marks of homage and devotion continued to surround Him until He was installed in Constantinople. (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 155)

May 1844: The Birth of ‘Abdu’l-Baha

'Abdu'l-Baha was born in Tihran, Iran, on 23 May 1844. While still a child, He recognized His Father's station even before it had been openly revealed. He shared Baha’u’llah's banishment and exile and often served as His Father's deputy when dealing with officials and the public. Baha'u'llah described the station of 'Abdu’l-Baha in the Suriy-i-Ghusn (Tablet of the Branch). In the Kitab-i-'Ahdi (Book of the Covenant), He named 'Abdu'l-Baha as His successor and the authorized Interpreter of His Writings.

'[T]hough essentially human and holding a station radically and fundamentally different from that occupied by Baha'u'llah and His Forerunner,' Shoghi Effendi has explained, 'Abdu'l-Baha was 'the perfect Exemplar of His Faith . . . endowed with superhuman knowledge, and to be regarded as the stainless mirror reflecting His light.’ While not regarding 'Abdu'l-Baha as a prophet, Baha'is show special respect to His unique station by capitalizing pronouns referring to Him.

In about 1873 'Abdu’l-Baha married Munirih Khanum. Of their nine children, four daughters lived to adulthood. His eldest daughter Diya’iyyih was the mother of Shoghi Effendi.

April 1853: Baha’u’llah arrives in Baghdad

On January 12, 1853, “Bahá'u'lláh, together with some of the members of His family, and escorted by an officer of the Imperial body-guard and an official representing the Russian Legation, set out on His three months' journey to Baghdad. Among those who shared His exile was His wife, the saintly Navvab, entitled by Him the "Most Exalted Leaf," who, during almost forty years, continued to evince a fortitude, a piety, a devotion and a nobility of soul which earned her from the pen of her Lord the posthumous and unrivalled tribute of having been made His "perpetual consort in all the worlds of God." His nine-year-old son, later surnamed the "Most Great Branch," destined to become the Center of His Covenant and authorized Interpreter of His teachings, together with His seven-year-old sister, known in later years by the same title as that of her illustrious mother, and whose services until the ripe old age of four score years and six, no less than her exalted parentage, entitle her to the distinction of ranking as the outstanding heroine of the Bahá'í Dispensation, were also included among the exiles who were now bidding their last farewell to their native country. Of the two brothers who accompanied Him on that journey the first was Mirza Musa, commonly called Aqay-i-Kalim, His staunch and valued supporter, the ablest and most distinguished among His brothers and sisters, and one of the "only two persons who," according to Bahá'u'lláh's testimony, "were adequately informed of the origins" of His Faith. The other was Mirza Muhammad-Quli, a half-brother, who, in spite of the defection of some of his relatives, remained to the end loyal to the Cause he had espoused.

April 1848: On the orders of the Persian Grand Vizir the Báb is transferred from the fortress of Mah-Ku to the fortress of Chihriq

The Báb is transferred “to the fortress of Chihriq (about April 10, 1848), surnamed by Him the Jabal-i-Shadid (the Grievous Mountain). There He was consigned to the keeping of Yahya Khan, a brother-in-law of Muhammad Shah. Though at the outset he acted with the utmost severity, he was eventually compelled to yield to the fascination of his Prisoner. Nor were the kurds, who lived in the village of Chihriq, and whose hatred of the Shí'ahs exceeded even that of the inhabitants of Mah-Ku, able to resist the pervasive power of the Prisoner's influence. They too were to be seen every morning, ere they started for their daily work, to approach the fortress and prostrate themselves in adoration before its holy Inmate. "So great was the confluence of the people," is the testimony of a European eye-witness, writing in his memoirs of the Báb, "that the courtyard, not being large enough to contain His hearers, the majority remained in the street and listened with rapt attention to the verses of the new Qur'án." (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 19)

April 1911: Louis Gregory makes a six-day pilgrimage to visit ‘Abdu’l-Baha in Ramleh, Egypt

Louis Gregory, the future Hand of the Cause of God, made a six-day pilgrimage to visit 'Abdu'l-Baha at Ramleh, at the direct invitation of the Master, from the 10th to the 16th of April. As soon as possible after his arrival, Gregory went to a store run by Mirza Hasan Khurasani (Khorassani), where he met several of the local Baha'is. He had a letter of introduction from Edward Getsinger, that had been translated into Persian, which he gave to Muhammad Yazdi. Yazdi asked: ‘"You want to see our Lord?" . . . Upon giving my assent, he agreed to act as guide . . . I reasoned that . . . I had no wish to take him away from his business. But he put my objections aside, saying, “This is spiritual business!”’ Louis Gregory was taken to 'Abdu'l-Baha's meeting where he met several others including Louisa Mathew, an English woman who would figure prominently in his future. Like many others, he wrote a pen-portrait of 'Abdu'l-Baha:

March 1957: The Guardian appoints Agnes Alexander a Hand of the Cause

On the passing of George Townshend, Agnes Alexander was appointed a Hand of the Cause and the Guardian sent the following cablegram to the Baha'i world on 27 March 1957: 

Inform Hands and national assemblies of the Baha'i world of the  passing into Abha Kingdom of Hand of Cause George Townshend, indefatigable, highly talented, fearless defender of the Faith of  Baha'u'llah.  Agnes Alexander, distinguished pioneer of the Faith, elevated  to rank of Hand of Cause. Confident her appointment will spiritually reinforce teaching campaign simultaneously conducted in north, south and heart of Pacific Ocean.(Shoghi Effendi, 27 March 1957, in Messages to the Baha'i World.) 

March 1957: Hand of the Cause George Townshend passes away

George Townshend was born in Dublin, Ireland, and educated at Oxford. Townshend was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1906 in the United States. He first heard of the Baha'i Faith after his return to Ireland when a friend wrote to him from the United States. He soon began to work for the Faith although it was not until 1947 that he formally resigned his orders and became a full member of the Baha'i community. He was among the first group of Hands of the Cause named by Shoghi Effendi in 1951. He wrote a number of books, the most well-known being The Promise of all Ages (1934), The Heart of the Gospel (1939), and Christ and Baha'u'llah (1957). He died 25 March 1957. (Wendi Momen, A Basic Baha’i Dictionary)

March 1922: The Guardian invites a number of well-known believers to the Holy Land for consultation

In March, 1922 Shoghi Effendi called a number of well-known believers to the Holy Land for consultation concerning the advisability of calling for the election of the Universal House of Justice. It became apparent that the election of that body had to wait until such time as local and national spiritual assemblies could be formed in various countries and were fully functioning. (Adapted from ‘The Child of the Covenant’, by Adib Taherzadeh, p. 294)

March 1866: Baha'u'llah changes His residence from the house of Amru'llah, to the house of Rida Big, withdraws from the community and allows only the members of His own family and one servant to attain His presence

At this point [Adrianople, early March 1866] Baha'u'llah decided to formally declare to Mirza Yahya[His half-brother] as the nominee of the Báb, His claim to be the Author of a new Revelation, 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', as foretold by the Báb. Of course, Mirza Yahya was well aware of Baha'u'llah's declaration in the Garden of Ridvan and the Tablets subsequently revealed by Him. But now the time had come for the Supreme Manifestation of God to formally announce His station to the one who was nominated by the Báb to be the leader of His followers until the advent of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. 

In order to communicate this message to Mirza Yahya, Baha'u'llah revealed the Suriy-i-Amr (Surih of Command) in His own handwriting and instructed His amanuensis Mirza Aqa Jan to take the Tablet to Mirza Yahya, read it aloud and demand a conclusive reply from him. On being apprised of the contents of the Tablet and the claims of Baha'u'llah, Mirza Yahya indicated that he needed some time during which to meditate on the subject. The following day he sent a message to Baha'u'llah that he himself had become the recipient of divine Revelation and it was incumbent upon all to obey and follow him. 

March 1848: Mulla Husayn visits the Báb at Maku

On 21 March 1848 Mulla Husayn visits the Báb at Maku. ( Chronology of Principle Events - Dawn Breakers)

In His solitary chamber He was not permitted to have even a lighted lamp. The winter was so severe that the water with which He washed Himself would freeze in drops upon His face. It was during this time that Mulla Husayn decided to visit Him at Maku. He had been teaching the Cause industriously in the city of Mashhad, greatest center of pilgrimage in all Persia. Half of the city derived its living from the flow of visitors. All these people were now joined together against this teacher who might possibly deprive them of their livelihood. To denounce abuses of religion might be all right in any other city, they said, but it was certainly not proper to denounce them in Mashhad where everyone of every class was thriving upon them. It was all very well for the Promised One to come, and perhaps He had the right, but He certainly was a public nuisance. Mulla Husayn was told plainly, by actions as well as words, that it might be very thrilling to undertake the conquest of the world with the Báb, but there was a big risk involved, not to mention fatigue and danger, especially now, while everyone was enjoying perfect peace in a fine city where business was good and one could earn a living with ease and security. Mulla Husayn left Mashhad in disgust. He was hungry for the pure, holy presence of the Báb. He told his friends: "I have resolved to go on foot the entire distance that separates me from my Beloved. I shall not rest until I have reached my destination."

March 1897: The Birth of Shoghi Effendi – the Guardian of the Cause of God

In the course of the fourth year after Baha’u’llah’s passing it became apparent that the portion of the House of Abbud available for occupation was inadequate for His[‘Abdu’l-Baha’s] enlarged family. With characteristic vigour Abdu’l-Baha took action and towards the end of the year (c. October) 1896 arranged to rent the main building of the former Governorate of Abdu’llah Pasha’ in the Mujadalih Quarter in the north-western corner of the city. He established it as His official residence, and as a home also for His daughters, their husbands and families.

Thus it came about that in March 1897, in an upper room of the south wing, a child was born who was ordained to hold the destiny of the Faith in his hands for thirty-six years and to become its ‘beloved Guardian’, the child named Shoghi by his Grandfather, who grew up under His loving and solicitous care and whose family name was to be Rabbani, ‘divine’, a name given by that same knowing Grandparent.

The Guardian’s childhood and upbringing in that house are warmly described by Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum in The Priceless Pearl:

March 1856: Birth of William Hoar – a Disciple of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and probably the fifth North American to become a Baha’i

William H. Hoar, was a Chicago businessman who was born in Nova Scotia on 22 March 1856. He had been in the audience at the World's Parliament of Religions when the Reverend Henry Jessup's paper, which closed with a reference to Baha'u'llah, was read. The reference intrigued William, who searched for more information until he came across a reference to Ibrahim Kheiralla’s Baha’i class. He became a Baha’i in 1895, possibly the fifth North American to do so. While attending Kheiralla's classes, Hoar met Thornton Chase, whose close friend he became. About the end of 1897 William and Anna Hoar moved to Fanwood, New Jersey, a New York suburb, but he continued to communicate with Thornton Chase and eventually formed a business partnership with him.

Another Chicago believer who, like William Hoar, was among the first to move to New Jersey was Arthur Dodge. Arthur was a New Englander and a jack of all trades: a lawyer, magazine publisher, author and inventor. He was described by Thornton Chase as having a 'sweet soul'. Arthur Dodge and William Hoar became two of the most prominent Baha’is in greater New York and they were the first New York Baha'is to visit 'Abdu'l-Baha in the autumn 1900 when they undertook their pilgrimage,along with their wives, Elizabeth and Anna and in the company of Lua and Edward Getsinger. (Adapted from ‘The Baha’i Faith in America’, by Robert Stockman, vol.1, p. 39, and vol. 2, p. 31)

March 1856: Baha’u’llah returns to Baghdad from Kurdistan

Deciding to terminate the period of His retirement Bahá'u'lláh bade farewell to the shaykhs of Sulaymaniyyih, who now numbered among His most ardent and, as their future conduct demonstrated, staunchest admirers. Accompanied by Shaykh Sultan, He retraced His steps to Baghdad, on "the banks of the River of Tribulations," as He Himself termed it, proceeding by slow stages, realizing, as He declared to His fellow-traveler, that these last days of His retirement would be "the only days of peace and tranquillity" left to Him, "days which will never again fall to My lot."

On the 12th of Rajab 1272 A.H. (March 19, 1856) He arrived in Baghdad, exactly two lunar years after His departure for Kurdistan. (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 126)

March 1937: Shoghi Effendi marries Mary Maxwell (Ruhiyyih Khanum)

The marriage of Shoghi Effendi and Mary Maxwell took place on 25 March 1937. For a brief description by Ruhiyyih Khanum, please visit Baha’i Stories. (The Priceless Pearl, p. 137)

February 1980: Hand of the Cause Hasan Balyuzi passes away

Balyuzi, Hasan Munaqqar (1908-1980). (Hand of the Cause of God.) A linguist, historian, author, and BBC Radio announcer by profession, he was born on 7 September 1908 in Shiraz, Iran, into a very distinguished Babi/Baha’i family (his parents were Mirza 'Ali Aqa and Munavvar Khanum). He was related to Shoghi Effendi through a common great-grandfather, Haji Mirza Abul-Qasim, and was therefore a member of the Afnan family. His superb mastery of the English language is perhaps due to the fact that he was brought up from the age of four in a diplomatic environment - his father being at one time the governor of the Gulf Ports and Islands. Two scholarly friends of his father tutored him in Persian, Arabic, and history.

When his father was exiled to India during World War I, he learned Urdu and pursued his studies of English in Bishop's College, Poona. After returning to Iran, where his father died in 1921, he was sent, at the age of 17, to the Preparatory School of the American University of Beirut, where he met Shoghi Effendi. Having taken a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a master's degree in diplomatic history, he left Beirut to take his M.S. (in economics) at the London School of Economics (he achieved this in 1935, but the outbreak of World War II cut short his studies for a doctorate).

February 1876: The birth of Hand of the Cause Keith Ransom-Kehler

Keith was born Nannie Keith Bean on 14 February 1876 in Dayton, Kentucky. She attended a private school in Cincinnati and later graduated from Vassar. She undertook post-graduate work at the Universities of Michigan, Arizona and Chicago and was eventually awarded an MA degree. She taught French at Albion College, later heading the department of English Literature.

In 1903 Keith married Ralph (Guy) Ransom and went with him to Paris, where he studied art for a few years. When Keith was 32 years old, her husband died of tuberculosis. In order to support her daughter, Julia, Keith took an intensive course in design and then became head of the interior decoration section of the Carson, Pirie, Scott department store in Chicago. In 1910 she married James Kehler, a former colleague from Albion College and now an advertising executive from New York. His death in 1923 was a great and lasting sorrow to her.

From 1918 to 1922 Keith was leader of the Liberal Religious Fellowship in Chicago and Chief Counsellor for the Home Beautiful Service. She was involved in Hull House settlement work, prison reform at Sing Sing, and fruit and chicken farm operations. Her work on Municipal Ownership was incorporated in a report of the Federal Bureau of Labour and Statistics. She published articles and lectured on psychology, comparative religions and interior decorating. Under such titles as 'The Divine Adventure--Why be Unhappy?' 'Psychology of Human Relations', 'Making the Most of Ourselves', 'Child Guidance', 'Is Universal Brotherhood Possible?', 'Life's Essential Purpose', 'What is Permanent?', 'Crime and its Remedy', 'A Journey of the Soul', 'Making Houses Homes', 'The Beautiful Necessity' and 'Interior Decorating'.['Presenting Keith Ransom-Kehler', p. 1]

Keith met 'Abdu'l-Baha in London on 13 September 1911; the exact circumstances of the meeting are unknown. It seems, however, Keith did not become a Baha'i until May 1921. She was elected to the Local Spiritual Assembly of Chicago and served as its secretary. A part of Chicago's elite society, Keith gave up her social life when she became a Baha'i, although she retained her sense of beauty and elegance. When she was in Iran in 1933 she impressed the young Zikrullah Khadem as 'the most stylish woman he had ever met'. (Barron Harper, Lights of Fortitude, p. 100)

February 1925: John Esslemont is acting as Shoghi Effendi’s English-language speaking secretary. He also helps the Guardian with the translation of Hidden Words and other passages from the Writings of Baha’u’llah

The Guardian had written to the London Baha'is in January 1923 expressing his need for a 'competent assistant in my translation work'[Priceless Pearl, p. 91] but no one had responded to the appeal. Advised to leave Scotland before the onset of winter, John[Esslemont] received an invitation from the Guardian to come to Haifa, which he gladly accepted. He arrived in the Holy Land on 21 November 1924.

John immediately began Persian lessons. In November he helped the Guardian translate the Tablet of Ahmad and by December he was reading and translating extracts from Nabil's Narrative. In February 1925 he assisted Shoghi Effendi to translate the Hidden Words and other passages from the Writings of Baha'u'llah. Concerned with the burden of work placed on the young Guardian, John was anxious to be of whatever service he could. When the Guardian asked him to make Haifa his home, John quickly agreed. By February 1925 he was acting as Shoghi Effendi's English-language secretary. Shortly afterwards, however, his health deteriorated again. An attack of pleurisy, a complication of his tuberculosis, put him in hospital for more than two weeks in March.

During his illness, Martha Root came to Haifa as a pilgrim. She and Dr Esslemont spent time together studying Esperanto. She found his book to be an excellent teaching tool and she believed him to be a great scholar. (Barron Harper, 'Lights of Fortitude', p. 82)

February 1974: The Universal House of Justice accepts the design of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice submitted by architect Husayn Amanat

In September 1973 Husayn Amanat of Iran was chosen as the architect for the Seat of The Universal House of Justice, a mighty edifice to be erected at the zenith of the arc. In February 1974 his design was accepted and with all speed the process of construction was set afoot, beginning with a massive excavation of the mountain face and proceeding rapidly, but with precision and attention to every detail, in order to erect a monumental building for the centuries. In its message of 5 June 1975 to the followers of Baha’u’llah throughout the world the Universal House of Justice emphasized the timeliness of the work:

“The first of the majestic edifices constituting this mighty Centre, was the building for the International Archives of the Faith which was completed in the summer of 1957 as one of the last major achievements of Shoghi Effendi’s Guardianship and which set the style for the remaining structures which, as described by him, were to be raised in the course of time in the form of a far-flung arc on the slope of Mount Carmel. In the eighteen years since that achievement, the community of the Most Great Name has grown rapidly in size and influence; from twenty-six National Spiritual Assemblies to one hundred and nineteen, from some one thousand to seventeen thousand Local Spiritual Assemblies, and from four thousand five hundred localities to over seventy thousand, accompanied by a corresponding increase in the volume of the work carried on at the World Centre of the Faith and in the complexity of its institutions. It is now both necessary and possible to initiate construction of a building that will not only serve the practical needs of a steadily consolidating administrative centre but will, for centuries to come, stand as a visible expression of the majesty of the divinely ordained institutions of the Administrative Order of Baha’u’llah.” (The Baha’i World, vol. xvi, pp. 397-8)

Classical in its exterior and in harmony with the Inter-national Baha’i Archives, the exterior of the building is graced by a colonnade of fifty-eight pillars; its marble skin is chosen to resist the weathering of a millennium; its interior is simple, open, and adaptable to the evolving functions of a long future in service to the Faith. Memorable for pilgrims are the magnificent concourse in which they meet the Universal House of Justice and the splendid library-banquet room. How fitting the building’s commanding position high on Carmel’s slope, yet still in the shadow of the jewel-like Shrine of the Bab. (David Ruhe, Door of Hope, pp. 173-175)