January 1994: First worldwide fireside on Internet takes place in New York City Baha’i Center

The first worldwide fireside on the Internet, ‘Pioneering in Cyberspace – The Baha’i Faith and the Internet’, is held, with a live audience in the Baha’i Center in New York City communicating electronically with people all over the United States and in two other countries. (A Basic Baha’i Chronology, by Glenn Cameron)

January 2000: Adib Taherzadeh, member of the Universal House of Justice, passes away

HAIFA, Israel - Mr. Adib Taherzadeh, member of the Universal House of Justice, passed away on 26 January 2000 after some months of illness. He was 78.

Born in Yazd, Iran, Mr. Taherzadeh studied electrical engineering at Teheran University and then pursued advanced studies in the United Kingdom. During the 1960s and 1970s, he served on various national governing councils for the Bahá'í communities of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1976, he was appointed to the Continental Board of Counsellors for Europe, a high level Bahá'í advisory body.

An accomplished author, Mr. Taherzadeh published a number of books on Bahá'í history, including a four-volume series on the life and writings of Bahá'u'lláh, the Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, entitled The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh.
In 1988, he was elected to the Universal House of Justice, the international governing body of the Bahá'í Faith, which is headquartered in Haifa, Israel.

"We recall with admiration his devoted and unremitting services to the Cause of God for over half a century," wrote the Universal House of Justice in a message about his passing. "[A]s a member of the National Spiritual Assemblies of the British Isles and of the Republic of Ireland, as a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors in Europe, and as a member of the Universal House of Justice, he evinced complete consecration, unshakeable faith, and unyielding resolve."

January 2009: 1,800 Baha’is from Mongolia, Russia, and other nations gather in a regional conference in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, convened by the Universal House of Justice

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia — The coldest capital city on earth was the gathering place last weekend for 1,800 Baha’is from Mongolia, Russia, and other nations – called together to celebrate achievements in community-building work and make plans for future activities at the local level. Temperatures reached minus 30 C a day or two before the conference as people made their way to the gathering. Some of the Baha’is from eastern Mongolia had to get special permission from the government to travel during a major snowstorm, but they made it safely to Ulaanbaatar and were pleased to be part of the gathering, the first of its kind to be held in the country. The event was one of 41 such conferences convened by the Universal House of Justice, the head of the Baha’i Faith, in cities around the world over a four-month span. (Baha’i World News Service)

January 1976: First annual meeting of the Association for Baha’i Studies is held in Canada

At Naw-Ruz 1974, the Universal House of Justice called upon the Canadian Baha’i community as one of their goals in the Five Year Plan to:

'Cultivate opportunities for formal presentations, courses and lectureships on the Baha'i Faith in Canadian universities and other institutions of higher learning.'

In January, 1975, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Canada invited some thirty individuals to a 'policy conference', a device which the Assembly had frequently and successfully used to find a way of meeting various new challenges. The participants were from various backgrounds and from all parts of Canada, and were selected because it was felt they might contribute effectively to an examination of this particular subject. The conference, which was held at the University of Ottawa …The first and second annual meetings were held at Cedar Glen in Bolton, Ontario from 2-4 January 1976 and 31 December 1976-2 January 1977 respectively, and each was attended by more than one hundred individuals. The third annual meeting took place in Surrey, British Columbia from 30 December 1977-1 January 1978 and the fourth at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in Toronto from 26-27 January 1979, This latter meeting was open to the public … (The Baha’i World, volume 15, 1976-1979, pp. 197-198)

January 1973: The Universal House of Justice announces the completion of the ‘Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas' -- to be published in Ridvan 1973

Cable from the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assembly:

19 January 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE COMPLETION SYNOPSIS CODIFICATION KITAB-I-AQDAS FOR PUBLICATION RIDVAN SYNCHRONIZING CELEBRATION HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY REVELATION MOST HOLY BOOK FULFILLING WORLD CENTRE GOAL NINE YEAR PLAN. CONFIDENT RELEASE THIS PUBLICATION ENVISAGED BY BELOVED GUARDIAN AND WHOSE MAIN FEATURES HE OUTLINED WILL CONSTITUTE ANOTHER SIGNIFICANT STEP PATH LEADING BAHÁ'Í COMMUNITY FULL MATURITY ESTABLISHMENT WORLD ORDER BAHÁ'U'LLÁH. (The Universal House of Justice, Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986, p. 231)

January 1979: Construction begins for the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkar in Western Samoa

The foundation stone for the first Baha’i House of Worship in Western Samoa was laid on 27 January 1979 by His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II, King of Western Samoa. The opening to the public and dedication took place on 1 September 1984. (Adapted from ‘A Concise Encyclopedia of the Baha’i Faith’, by Peter Smith)

January 2000: The passing of Hand of the Cause Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum -- “the Baha'i world's last remaining link with the family of 'Abdu'l-Baha”

Born in Canada in 1910 to William Sutherland Maxwell and May Ellis Bolles Maxwell, Mary (later to become known as Ruhiyyih Khanum) had the most illustrious of Baha'i parents. From her earliest childhood she was active in teaching the Faith. She was two years old when 'Abdu'l-Baha was a guest in her parent's home, 716 Pine Avenue, Montreal, Canada (now 1548 Pine Avenue). At the age of nine she was one of several youths chosen to read portions of the first and second Tablets to Canada of the ‘Tablets of the Divine Plan’ to the 1919 Annual Convention in New York.

Mary Maxwell made two pilgrimages, once in 1923 with her mother and again three years later with friends of her mother. She made a third life-changing pilgrimage in 1937. It was during this visit that Shoghi Effendi asked Mrs. Maxwell for her daughter's hand in marriage. The marriage took place on 25 March 1937. Ruhiyyih Khanum describes it in these words:

January 2001: The Universal House of Justice announces that the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh enters the Fifth Epoch of its Formative Age

As the time for the Conference[of the Counsellors and Auxiliary Boards from 172 countries that was held at the World Center] drew near, there were signs that the Faith had arrived at a point in its development beyond which a new horizon opens before us. Such intimations were communicated in our report last Ridvan of the change in culture of the Bahá'í community as training institutes emerged, as the construction projects on Mount Carmel approached their completion, and as the internal processes of institutional consolidation and the external processes towards world unity became more fully synchronized. They were elaborated in the message we addressed to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors a few days ago. But the extraordinary dynamics at work throughout the Conference crystallized these indications into a recognizable reality. With a spirit of exultation we are moved to announce to you: the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh now enters the fifth epoch of its Formative Age. (The Universal House of Justice, 16 January 2001 message to the Baha’is of the World)

January 1986: The Universal House of Justice announces the inception of the Fourth Epoch of the Formative Age

This new process, whereby the national goals of the next Plan are to be largely formulated by National Spiritual Assemblies and Boards of Counsellors, signalizes the inauguration of a new stage in the unfoldment of the Administrative Order. Our beloved Guardian anticipated a succession of epochs during the Formative Age of the Faith; we have no hesitation in recognizing that this new development in the maturation of Bahá'í institutions marks the inception of the fourth epoch of that Age. (The Universal House of Justice, A Wider Horizon, Selected Letters 1983-1992, p. 41)

January 1898: Eighteen individuals join the Baha’i Faith in Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA

Ibrahim Kheiralla’s weekly visits to Kenosha, Wisconsin, during Fall of 1897 resulted in eighteen Baha’is on January 1, 1898 -- the Kenosha Baha'i community, the third in North America, was born. Its establishment was celebrated by the purchase of a circular seal reading "The Assembly of Beha'ists in Kenosha, Wis. * 1897. *." The new community purchased a treasurer's book in January 1898 and presumably chose a treasurer. To continue the teaching work Kheiralla appointed Byron Lane to be Kenosha's teacher. Probably a weekly meeting for worship and study of the Baha'i Faith also began that month; records showing that it was taking place in May 1899. (Adapted from ‘The Baha’i Faith in America’, Robert Stockman, volume 1, p. 110)

January 1975: The House of ‘Abdu’llah Pasha is purchased

Cable from the Universal House of Justice:

9 January 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

JOYOUSLY ANNOUNCE SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION LENGTHY DELICATE NEGOTIATIONS RESULTING ACQUISITION BY PURCHASE HOLY HOUSE CENTRE COVENANT 'ABDU'L-BAHÁ BIRTHPLACE BELOVED GUARDIAN SHOGHI EFFENDI. HISTORIC PROPERTY ADJACENT BARRACKS MOST GREAT PRISON COMPRISES LAND AREA APPROXIMATING SEVEN THOUSAND SQUARE METRES INCLUDES OTHER STRUCTURES WITHIN COMPLEX ASSURING PERMANENT PROTECTION HOUSE VISITED BY MANY PILGRIMS TURN CENTURY SCENE HISTORIC VISIT FIRST GROUP WESTERN PILGRIMS. PLANS BEING PREPARED RESTORATION HOLY HOUSE BEAUTIFICATION GROUNDS AS ADDITIONAL PLACE PILGRIMAGE WORLD CENTRE WHEN CIRCUMSTANCES FUNDS PERMIT. OFFER HUMBLE THANKSGIVING BAHÁ'U'LLÁH THIS GREAT BLESSING.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
(Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986, p. 288)

January 1913: ‘Abdu’l-Baha pays a visit to Woking mosque at Surrey, England

On January 18th, 'Abdu'l-Bahá went to the mosque at Woking, Surrey, to speak. Sir Richard and Lady Stapley escorted Him there in their automobile. First He had luncheon with a number of Muslim and Christian notables. The mosque itself could not hold the very large number of people gathered, comprising Turks, Indians, Egyptians, as well as British. He had to speak in the court outside. He was followed by Ameer Ali Syed, member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council,[And author of The Spirit of Islam, and other works.] who paid Him high tribute. Lord Lamington had been unable to be present, and a deputy spoke on his behalf in terms of praise. (H.M. Balyuzi, Abdu'l-Baha - The Centre of the Covenant, p. 370)

January 1849: Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza arrives in the vicinity of Fort Tabarsi with 3000 royal troops

As the signs of the reassembling of the forces which had been commanded by Abdu'llah Khan became apparent, Quddus bade his companions dig a moat around the fort as a safeguard against a renewed attack. Nineteen days elapsed during which they exerted themselves to the utmost for the completion of the task they had been charged to perform. They joyously laboured by day and by night in order to expedite the work with which they had been entrusted. Soon after the work was completed, it was announced that Prince Mihdi-Quli Mirza was advancing towards the fort at the head of a numerous army, and had actually encamped at Shir-Gah. A few days later, he had transferred his headquarters to Vas-Kas [near Fort Tabarsi]. On his arrival, he sent one of his men to inform Mulla Husayn that he had been commanded by the Shah to ascertain the purpose of his activities and to request that he be enlightened as to the object he had in view. "Tell your master," Mulla Husayn replied, "that we utterly disclaim any intention either of subverting the foundations of the monarchy or of usurping the authority of Násiri'd-Dín Sháh. Our Cause concerns the revelation of the promised Qá'im and is primarily associated with the interests of the ecclesiastical order of this country. We can set forth incontrovertible arguments and deduce infallible proofs in support of the truth of the Message we bear." The passionate sincerity with which Mulla Husayn pleaded in defence of his Cause, and the details which he cited to demonstrate the validity of his claims, touched the heart of the messenger and brought tears to his eyes. "What are we to do?" he exclaimed. "Let the prince," Mulla Husayn replied, "direct the ulamas of both Sari and Barfurush to betake themselves to this place, and ask us to demonstrate the validity of the Revelation proclaimed by the Báb. Let the Qur'án decide as to who speaks the truth. Let the prince himself judge our case and pronounce the verdict. Let him also decide as to how he should treat us if we fail to establish, by the aid of verses and traditions, the truth of this Cause." The messenger expressed his complete satisfaction with the answer he had received, and promised that before the lapse of three days the ecclesiastical dignitaries would be convened in the manner he had suggested.

January 1921: Shoghi Effendi enters Oxford’s Balliol College

 Some time in spring of 1920 Shoghi Effendi left Haifa for France and England, to continue his studies at Oxford University from October 1920, entering Balliol College in January 1921. Balliol had a very high standing, being one of Oxford's oldest colleges. Before he left for England Shoghi Effendi acted as 'Abdu'l-Bahá's secretary and translated His Tablets addressed to the Bahá'ís of the West. (Adapted from ‘Abdu'l-Baha - The Centre of the Covenant’, by Balyuzi, p. 433; ‘The Priceless Pearl’, by Ruhiyyih Khanum, p. 34,; ‘Door of Hope’, by David Ruhe, p. 149; and, ‘Shoghi Effendi in Oxford’, by Riaz Khadem, p. 91)

January 1928: Martha Root has her second audience with Queen Marie of Rumania

Martha Root's own illuminating record is given in one of her articles as follows:

For ten years Her Majesty and her daughter, H.R.H. Princess Ileana (now Arch-Duchess Anton) have read with interest each new book about the Bahá'í Movement, as soon as it came from the press... Received in audience by Her Majesty in Pelisor Palace, Sinaia, in 1927, after the passing of His Majesty King Ferdinand, her husband, she graciously gave me an interview, speaking of the Bahá'í teachings about immortality. She had on her table and on the divan a number of Bahá'í books, for she had just been reading in each of them the Teachings about life after death. She asked the writer to give her greeting to ... the friends in Iran and to the many American Bahá'ís, who she said had been so remarkably kind to her during her trip through the United States the year before... Meeting the Queen again on January 19, 1928, in the Royal Palace in Belgrade, where she and H.R.H. Princess Ileana were guests of the Queen of Yugoslavia -- and they had brought some of their Bahá'í books with them -- the words that I shall remember longest of all that her dear Majesty said were these: 'The ultimate dream which we shall realize is that the Bahá'í channel of thought has such strength, it will serve little by little to become a light to all those searching for the real expression of Truth'... Then in the audience in Controceni Palace, on February 16, 1934, when her Majesty was told that the Rumanian translation of 'Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era' had just been published in Bucharest, she said she was so happy that her people were to have the blessing of reading this precious teaching... And now today, February 4, 1936, I have just had another audience with Her Majesty in Controceni Palace, in Bucharest... Again Queen Marie of Rumania received me cordially in her softly lighted library, for the hour was six o'clock... What a memorable visit it was!... She also told me that when she was in London she had met a Bahá'í, Lady Blomfield, who had shown her the original Message that Bahá'u'lláh had sent to her grand-mother, Queen Victoria, in London. She asked the writer about the progress of the Bahá'í Movement, especially in the Balkan countries... She spoke too of several Bahá'í books, the depths of "Íqán," and especially of "Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh," which she said was a wonderful book! To quote her own words: 'Even doubters would find a powerful strength in it, if they would read it alone, and would give their souls time to expand.' .. (Martha Root, quoted by Shoghi Effendi, ‘God Passes By’, p. 393)

January 1922: Shoghi Effendi writes a letter to the Persian believers stating that he would soon establish the Universal House of Justice

Soon after Shoghi Effendi assumed the office of the Guardianship and while there was widespread expectation among the Bahá'ís of the immediate establishment of the Universal House of Justice, some individuals longed to become members of that august institution. One such person in the East was 'Abdu'l-Husayn, entitled by 'Abdu'l-Bahá Avarih (Wanderer). In the West it was Ahmad Sohrab. Both men were prominent teachers of the Faith, in Persia and North America respectively, and both had one thing in common: a passionate love of leadership.

January 1845: The Báb arrives in Medina from Mecca

The last act of the Báb in Mecca was to address a Tablet to the Sharif (Sherif) of Mecca, in which He proclaimed His advent and His Divine mandate. Quddus delivered it together with a volume of the Writings of the Báb. But the Sharif was preoccupied and ignored the communication put in his hands. On the road to the city of the Prophet (Medina) the Báb composed a Tablet known as Sahifiy-i-Baynu’l-Haramayb (The Epistle Between the Two Shrines). It was in answer to the questions posed by Muhammad-Husayn-i-Kirmani, known as Muhit, who had pretensions to leadership of the Shaykhi sect after the death of Siyyid Kazim. From Medina the Báb proceeded to Jiddah, where He took a boat bound for the port of Bushihr. He arrives in Bushihr in about late April early May of 1845. (Adapted from ‘The Bab, Herald of the Day of Days’, by Balyuzi and ‘A  Basic Baha’i Chronology’, by Glenn Cameron)

January 1844: Mulla Husayn returns to Karbala after a journey of two years in Persia

He had been on a mission in Isfahan and Mashhad where he successfully defended the views of his master, Siyyid Kazim, before the leading clerics of those cities. Upon reaching Karbala, Mulla Husayn became aware of the death of his master, Siyyid Kazim. Being told that Siyyid Kazim had left them no Will, Mulla Husayn asked the other students about the last words of their departed master. They told him that Siyyid Kazim had bidden them repeatedly and emphatically to quit their homes, scatter far and wide, purge their hearts from every idle desire, and dedicate themselves to the search for Him to Whose advent Siyyid Kazim had so often alluded.

After a period of mourning and 40 days of prayer and fasting in the vicinity of the shrine in Najaf he sets out for Persia in the company of his brother and his nephew, following last wishes of Siyyid Kazim that his followers quit Karbala and search for the Promised One. The party go to Bushihr and then on to Shiraz. (Adaped from 'A Basic Baha’i Chronology', by Glenn Cameron and 'Mulla Husayn Disciple at Dawn', by R. Mehrabkhani)

January 1901: Lua and Edward Getsinger go to Port Said, Egypt, from Haifa to study with Mirza Abu’l-Fadl

The Lua and Edward Getsinger made a second pilgrimage in the autumn of 1900. They remained in Haifa from September until January 1, 1901, then went to Port Said to study with Mirza Abu'l-Fadl, the foremost Baha'i scholar of the period. They were in Port Said until March 1, when they returned to Haifa by permission of 'Abdu'l-Baha. (Lua Getsinger Herald of the Covenant, p. 38)

January 1961: Dedication of the Baha’i House of Worship in Kampala, Uganda – ‘the mother temple of Africa” and the third Mashriqu’l-Adhkar in the Baha’i World

Message from the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land

Kampala, Uganda
January 14, 1961

To the Hands of the Cause, Auxiliary Board Members, Members of National Assemblies, and believers attending the Dedication of the Mother Temple of Africa and the Africa Teaching Conference.

Beloved Friends:

On the historic occasion of the opening for public worship of the Mother Temple of Africa and the gathering together for the third time in a period of seven years, of so many African believers and Bahá'í guests from other countries, our hearts turn in thanksgiving to our beloved Guardian who made this great victory possible.

At the inception of the Ten Year Plan, coincident with the Centenary celebration of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation, it was Africa which was chosen by Shoghi Effendi as the scene of the first of the four mighty Intercontinental Conferences which constituted part of the inauguration of that long-anticipated intercontinental stage in the administrative evolution of the Faith. On the occasion of that Conference he gave to Africa no less than 77 specific goals, almost all of which have already been achieved, and some far exceeded.

It was Africa which was once again given the honour of holding the first of the second series of Intercontinental Conferences called by Shoghi Effendi in celebration of the midway point of the World Crusade. It was Africa whose Temple was first ready to have its comer-stone laid, and receive the Sacred Dust from the holy Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh as his last loving gift.

January 1954: Hand of the Cause Dorothy Baker passes away

A brief account of her life is provided at this section of the present Baha’i Calendar.

January 1951: Shoghi Effendi announces the formation of the International Baha’i Council – forerunner of the Universal House of Justice

On 9 January 1951 Shoghi Effendi cabled, through the National Spiritual Assembly of United States, "Proclaim National Assemblies East West weighty epoch-making decision formation first International Baha'i Council, forerunner supreme administrative institution destined emerge fullness time within precincts beneath shadow World Spiritual Center Faith already established twin cities Akka Haifa. . . . Most significant milestone evolution Administrative Order Faith Baha'u'llah course last thirty years. . . . Invested threefold function-first, forge link authorities newly emerged State; second assist me discharge responsibilities involved erection mighty superstructure Bab's Holy Shrine; third, conduct negotiations related matters personal status civil authorities." (Messages to the Baha’i World 1940-1957, p. 7)

With time, other functions were added as the Council evolved and developed. Initially it had six members; two more were added, and then another in 1955, raising the total to nine. During Shoghi Effendi's lifetime, membership came through his appointment. On his death in 1957 the Council continued to function under the guidance of the Hands of the Cause of God, and in April 1961 it became an elected body of nine members. All adult Baha'is in good standing were eligible, and the members of all the Regional and National Spiritual Assemblies elected in 1960 were called upon to cast their votes by mail. Having served its function it was dissolved on the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963. (Historical Dictionary of the Baha’i Faith, by Hugh Adamson)

January 1861: Baha’u’llah reveals the Kitab-i-Iqan (The Book of Certitude)

In a discussion of the exact date of the revelation of the Kitab-i-Iqan, attention has been drawn to a letter dated 17 January 1861 written in Baghdad by Haji Mirza Siyyid Muhammad to his son Vakilu'dDawlih.[‘The Conversion of the Great-Uncle of the Bab’, by Ahang Rabbani] In this letter, Haji Mirza Siyyid Muhammad describes attaining Baha'u'llah's presence. Assuming the accuracy of the date as written, the date of the revelation of the Kitab-i-Iqan can be determined to be just a few days before the writing of the letter, or mid-January 1861. The letter reads in part:

“If you wonder over our state, praised be God and His grace, on the night of the first of Rajab [12 January 1861] we attained the threshold of the Shrines of the twin Imams at Kazimayn.... God willing, the day after next--that is, on the seventh of the month--we will depart this location...

Thank God that one thing I need to write you is that I attained unto the presence of His Holiness Baha [Baha'u'llah], upon Him be God's peace.... He showered us with utmost affection and kindness and asked that we stay for the night, and we remained in His presence. The evident truth is that to be deprived of the blessing of His presence is a mighty and evident loss. May God bestow His grace upon me so that I would everlastingly attain unto the blessing of His presence.[‘The Conversion of the Great-Uncle of the Bab’, by Ahang Rabbani, pp. 34-35.]

January 1899: Lua Getsinger receives her first Tablet from ‘Abdu’l-Baha

Lua received her first Tablet from the hand of 'Abdu'l-Baha dated January 18, 1899. She cherished the copy in the Master's own writing:

Forty-sixth year from the Year of Dawning

HE IS GOD!

O thou shining and spiritual gem!
Glad-tidings to thee from the Generosity of thy Lord. Be
happy on account of the Gift of thy GOD which shall soon
surround thee. And thou art confirmed in the covenant.

(Signed) 'Abdu'l-Baha Abbas
(Translated by Anton Haddad) (Lua Getsinger Herald of the Covenant, p. 23)

January 1914: Mirza Abu’l-Fadl passes away in Cairo

"Before attending to the gift of faith, human beings are like the dead; and after attainment of faith, all achieve nothingness at the sacred threshold of the Divine." With these words Mirza Abu'l-Fadl used to turn aside every query about his life story. Speaking at a gathering of the friends on the day news of Abu'l-Fadl's death reached Haifa, 'Abdu'l-Baha said of him "In all this time I never heard him use the word "I" -- 'I said this' or 'I wrote that.'"

This scholar of towering intellect and prodigious erudition, who by any standard may well be considered the most learned man of the first century of the Baha'i Era, was also a model of humility, detachment, service to the Cause, and servitude to his fellow-believers. So highly prized were these qualities by 'Abdu'l-Baha, and so great was His love for Mirza Abu'l-Fadl, that once while in the United States, hearing of Abu'l-Fadl's illness in Egypt, He sent the following cable to the friends in Cairo: "See to the comfort of Abu'l-Fada'il. He consists of my own self."

January 1910: Persian-American Educational Society is inaugurated in Washington, DC

Regular contact with the Persian Baha'i community prompted North American Baha'is to assist them. Sidney Sprague initiated the first effort. The Baha'is in Tehran had established the Tarbiyat School in about 1897. Soon after arriving in Tehran in 1908 Sprague was appointed its principal and after a year of living in Tehran he had become familiar with the economic and educational conditions of the Iranian Baha'i community. In the summer of 1909 he visited the United States to give a series of talks to the Baha'is regarding the needs of their Persian brethren. While in Chicago he spoke to Ahmad Sohrab, who was visiting the city on business. Sohrab became quite excited about the possibility of establishing an association dedicated to the educational, economic and commercial development of Iran and its Baha'i community. Sohrab returned to Washington DC where he was living and spoke to prominent Baha'is there about the idea.

Washington was the ideal headquarters for such an association. Sohrab was young, intelligent, articulate and fluent in the English language. Charles Mason Remey was an excellent organizer and possessed considerable financial means. Joseph Hannen was a capable leader. Louis Gregory was a lawyer who could manage the association's legal affairs and was extremely concerned about questions of educational and economic advancement. Furthermore, Washington was a city filled with embassies and organizations created to foster commercial, educational and cultural ties between countries.

January 1922: In the home of the Greatest Holy Leaf, the Will and Testament of the Master was read aloud to nine men, most of them members of the family of 'Abdu'l-Bahá

From different sources we gather that on the morning of 3 January 1922 Shoghi Effendi visited the Shrine of the Báb and the Tomb of his grandfather; later that same day, in the home of his aunt, but not in his presence, the Master's Will and Testament was read aloud to nine men, most of them members of the family of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and its seals, signatures and His writing throughout, in His own hand, shown to them. The Guardian gave instructions that a true copy should then be made by one of those present - a believer from Persia. In a letter written by Shoghi Effendi himself to an old Bahá'í a few weeks later, he states: "'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will was read on the 7th of January, 1922, at his house in the presence of Bahá'ís from Persia, India, Egypt, England, Italy, Germany, America and Japan..." This gathering was not attended by the Guardian either, no doubt for reasons of ill health as much as delicacy on his part. In conformity with the local customs to hold a memorial gathering on the fortieth day after the death of a person, some Bahá'ís and many notables, including the Governor of Haifa, gathered in the hall of the Master's home, were first served lunch and then held a large meeting in that same hall, at which speeches were made in honour of the departed Master and the provisions of His Will were announced. The guests were most anxious to have Shoghi Effendi address them a few words and one of the friends carried this message to him; Shoghi Effendi, who was with the Greatest Holy Leaf in her room, said he was too distressed and overcome to comply with their request and instead hastily wrote a few words to be read on his behalf in which he expressed the heartfelt gratitude of himself and 'Abdu'l-Bahá's family for the presence of the Governor and the speakers who by their sincere words "have revived his sacred memory in our hearts...I venture to hope that we his kindred and his family may by our deeds and words, prove worthy of the glorious example he has set before us and thereby earn your esteem and your affection. May His everlasting spirit be with us all and knit us together for evermore!" He begins this message: "The shock has been too sudden and grievous for my youthful age to enable me to be present at this gathering of the loved ones of beloved 'Abdu'l-Bahá." (Ruhiyyih Khanum, The Priceless Pearl, pp. 46-47)

January 1933: The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India and Burma becomes legally incorporated -- The second NSA in the Baha’i world to achieve this status

The incorporation of the American National Spiritual Assembly as a voluntary Trust, a species of corporation recognized under the common law, enabling it to enter into contract, hold property and receive bequests by virtue of a certificate issued in May, 1929, under the seal of the Department of State in Washington and bearing the signature of the Secretary of State, Henry L. Stimson, was followed by the adoption of similar legal measures resulting in the successive incorporation of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India and Burma, in January, 1933, in Lahore, in the state of Punjab, according to the provisions of the Societies Registration Act of 1860; of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Egypt and the Sudan, in December, 1934, as certified by the Mixed Court in Cairo; of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand, in January, 1938, as witnessed by the Deputy Registrar at the General Registry Office for the state of South Australia; and more recently of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles, in August, 1939, as an unlimited non-profit company, under the Companies Act, 1929, and certified by the Assistant Registrar of Companies in the City of London. (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 335)

January 1913: ‘Abdu’l-Baha left London for Paris …

… He[‘Abdu’l-Baha] sailed, on the S.S. Celtic, on December 5, from New York for Liverpool; and landing there He proceeded by train to London. Later He visited Oxford, Edinburgh and Bristol, and thence returning to London, left for Paris on January 21, 1913. On March 30 He traveled to Stuttgart, and from there proceeded, on April 9, to Budapest, visited Vienna nine days later, returned to Stuttgart on April 25, and to Paris on May first, where He remained until June 12, sailing the following day, on the S.S. Himalaya from Marseilles bound for Egypt, arriving in Port Said four days later, where after short visits to Isma'iliyyih and Abuqir, and a prolonged stay in Ramleh, He returned to Haifa …on December 5, 1913.” (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 280)

January 1899: The sacred remains of the Bab arrive in the Holy Land

Fifty lunar years after the Bab’s execution in Tabriz, Persia, His sacred remains were transported, “in pursuance of directions issued by ‘Abdu’l-Baha, …by way of Isfahan, Kirmanshah, Baghdad and Damascus to Beirut and thence by sea to ‘Akka.” They arrived at their destination on 31 January 1899. The Master hid the blessed Dust in the room of the Greatest Holy Leaf in the house of ‘Abdu’llah Pasha until Naw-Ruz of 1909 when He was at last able to inter it with all honors in its permanent resting place in the bosom of Carmel. (Adapted from God Passes By, p. 274, Door of Hope, p. 66, and A Basic Baha’i Chronology)

January 1853: Baha’u’llah and His family leave Iran for Baghdad

On the first day of the month of Rabi'u'th-Thani, of the year 1269 A.H., (January 12, 1853), nine months after His return from Karbila, 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.

January 1870: Birth of May Bolles Maxwell

Born in Englewood, New Jersey, USA, in January 1870, May heard of the Faith from Lua Getsinger while in Paris and was among the first party of Western pilgrims to meet 'Abdu'l-Baha in 1898-9. 'Abdu'l-Baha instructed her to remain in Paris and teach the Faith there. This she did, making Paris the first Baha'i centre on the European continent. In 1902 she married Sutherland Maxwell, the architect of the Shrine of the Bab.

May Maxwell served the Faith selflessly for forty years as a teacher and administrator. In 1940 she responded to an appeal of the Guardian for pioneers to go to South America and went to Buenos Aires where she died shortly after her arrival. Shoghi Effendi elevated her to the rank of a martyr on her death. May Maxwell is the mother of Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum. (Adapted from ‘A Basic Baha’i Dictionary’, by Wendi Momen)