Son of a Zanján
martyr and himself decapitated for his faith in that city.
23 May 1844 — 28 November 1921
Servant of Bahá
: the title assumed by ‘Abbas Effendi, eldest son and appointed successor of Bahá’u’lláh
and the Centre of His Covenant
Upon Bahá’u’lláh’s ascension in 1892, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá became Head of the Bahá’í Faith in accordance with provisions revealed by Bahá’u’lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
and the Book of the Covenant
Among the titles by which He is known are the Centre of the Covenant, the Mystery of God
, the Master
, the Perfect Exemplar of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings, the “Most Mighty Branch”, and the Authorised Interpreter of Bahá’u’lláh’s Teachings.
, in God Passes By, Chapter XIV, beginning from page 240, explains and elucidates the unique station of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
The ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is celebrated on November 28. One of the Bahá’í Holy Day
s, but work is not suspended.
21/22 September 1842 — 10 February 1918
Sulṭán of the Ottoman Empire
, 1876-1909. He and his uncle, Sulṭán ‘Abdu’l-‘Azíz
, who preceded him, were responsible for forty-six of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
’s fifty-six years of imprisonment and exile and for Bahá’u’lláh
’s banishments to Constantinople
, and ‘Akká
The Young Turks Rebellion in 1908 forced ‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd to reinstate the constitution he had suspended and to free all political and religious prisoners. As a result, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was released from house arrest in September 1908. ‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd was deposed the following year.
? — 25 June 1942
A distinguished Bahá’í of Egypt whom Shoghi Effendi
named “one of the Hands of the Cause of God
.” He embraced the Faith in the days of Abu’l-Faḍl
, who was his teacher.
He served for many years as a member of the National Spiritual Assembly
of the Bahá’ís of Egypt and the Sudan, translated The Dawn-Breakers
and Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era
into Arabic, and played an instrumental role in upholding the freedom of all religions in Egypt and in securing legalization of the National Bahá’í constitution in that country.
For a brief account of his life and service to the Faith, see The Bahá’í World 9: 597-99.
A famous Muslim
ecclesiastic of the Sunní sect.
The father of the Prophet Muḥammad
. He belonged to the family of Háshim, the noblest tribe of the Quraysh section of the Arabian race, directly descended from Ishmael.
A prominent opponent of Muḥammad
; called “the prince of hypocrites.”
A powerful Arabian tribe, destroyed, like the Thamúd
, for its idolatry.
A four-thousand-year-old seaport and prison city in northern Israel surrounded by fortress-like walls facing the sea. In the mid-1800s ‘Akká became a penal colony to which the worst criminals of the Ottoman Empire
In 1868 Bahá’u’lláh
and His family and companions were banished to ‘Akká by Sulṭán ‘Abdu’l-Azíz
. Bahá’u’lláh was incarcerated within its barracks for two years, two months, and five days. Restrictions were gradually relaxed, and He lived in a series of houses within ‘Akká until June 1877, when He moved outside the city walls to the Mansion of Mazra‘ih
Bahá’u’lláh named ‘Akká “the Most Great Prison
‘Alí-Muḥammad Shírází, Siyyid
‘Alíy-i-Bárfurúshí, Mullá Muḥammad
A compilation of Shí‘íh
The Spring of the Cow. An ancient spring in ‘Akká
A believer to whom the Báb
revealed the name and the advent of Bahá’u’lláh
. (God Passes By
, “in the year of the Hegira”; used to indicate that a date falls within the Islamic era, which began in a.d.
622 with the emigration of Muḥammad
. It is the basis for Muḥammadan chronology.
The Great Announcement, The Exalted News or The Greatest News of the Day of the Lord regarding the Promised One (Bahá’u’lláh).
Dynastic regime descended from Muḥammad
’s uncle Abbas, which in ad
749 overthrew the Umayyad Caliphate
, to rule from its newly built capital city of Baghdád
The Pen of the Most Glorious; that is, the power of the Holy Spirit
manifested through the Prophet’s writings.
“Most Glorious” Kingdom: the spiritual world beyond this world.
The ancient Arabic system of allocating a numerical value to letters of the alphabet, so that numbers may be represented by letters and vice versa. Thus every word has both a literal meaning and a numerical value.
Washing the hands and the face.
“Ablutions are specifically associated with certain prayers. They must precede the offering of the three Obligatory Prayer
s, the daily recitation of “Alláh-u-Abhá” ninety-five times, and the recital of the verse prescribed as an alternative to obligatory prayer and fasting for women in their courses.” Bahá’u’lláh, “The Kitáb-i-Aqdas”, page 180, note 34
Designation of the sixth of the Shí‘íh Imám
s, Ja‘far-i-Ṣádiq (the Veridical), great-grandson of Imám-Ḥusayn
. Died A.D. 765, poisoned by Manṣúr, the ‘Abbásid Caliph
ifárí, an illiterate shepherd who became an esteemed disciple of Muḥammad
Literally, “the Father of Folly”; so styled by the Muslim
s. An implacable enemy of the Prophet Muḥammad
Abú-Naṣr Farabi, Persian
philosopher and writer who lived about the 4th Century, a.h.
1844 — 21 January 1914
The most outstanding scholar of the Bahá’í Faith, a distinguished early Persian Bahá’í who devoted his life to teaching, traveling, and writing about the Bahá’í Faith.
In 1901 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
sent him to America, where he spent several years.
He was named by Shoghi Effendi
as one of the nineteen Apostles of Bahá’u’lláh
and is the author of The Bahá’í Proofs
, The Brilliant Proof
, Miracles and Metaphors
, and Letters and Essays, 1886-1913
For a brief account of his life and service to the Faith, see The Bahá’í World 9: 855-60.
? — 26 February 1932
A devoted Bahá’í originally from Kh
urásán, Írán, who was known for his spirit of love, self-abnegation, strenuous efforts, and exemplary loyalty. Chosen by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
to be custodian of the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh
, he was later transferred by Shoghi Effendi
to Haifa to be responsible for the gardens surrounding the Shrine of the Báb
. When Shoghi Effendi decided to create the International Bahá’í Archives
, he chose Abu’l-Qásim as its caretaker.
For a brief account of his devoted service to the Faith, see “Abu’l-Qásim Khurásání by Shoghi Effendi,”, Bahá’í News 61 (Apr. 1932): 3-4.
The international system for the administration of the affairs of the Bahá’í community.
Ordained by Bahá’u’lláh
, it is the agency through which the spirit of His revelation
is to exercise its transforming effects on humanity and through which the Bahá’í World Commonwealth
will be ushered in. Its twin, crowning institutions are the Guardianship
and the Universal House of Justice
The institutions that make it up and the principles by which it operates are set forth in the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
. Its structure was further clarified and raised up by Shoghi Effendi
during his ministry as Guardian of the Faith (1921-57). This process of elucidation continues through guidance from the Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing and legislative body of the Bahá’í Faith, which is supported by National and Local Spiritual Assemblies elected
by members of the Bahá’í community. These local and national bodies are invested with the authority to direct the Bahá’í community’s affairs and to uphold Bahá’í laws and standards. They are also responsible for the education, guidance, and protection of the community.
The Administrative Order also comprises the institutions of the Hands of the Cause of God
, the International Teaching Centre
, and the Continental Boards of Counsellors
and their Auxiliary Boards
and assistants, who bear particular responsibility for the protection and propagation of the Faith and share with the Spiritual Assemblies the functions of educating, counselling, and advising members of the Bahá’í community.
Other institutions of the Administrative Order include Ḥuqúqu’lláh
, the Bahá’í Fund
, the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár
, and the Nineteen Day Feast
The present Bahá’í Administrative Order is the precursor of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh
and is described by Shoghi Effendi as its “nucleus” and “pattern”.
A-Z : Administrative
Arḍ-i-Sirr. The Land of Mystery.
A city in Turkey. Known today as Edirne.
was banished here in 1863, arriving on 12 December. Referred to by Him in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
as the “Land of Mystery”. It was during this time that the greeting Alláh-u-Abhá
was adopted by the Bahá’ís
Bahá’u’lláh left Adrianople for ‘Akká
on 12 August 1868.
“Twigs”: the Báb
’s kindred; specifically, descendants of His three maternal uncles and His wife’s two brothers.
Age | Period of Transition
The Bahá’í Dispensation
is divided into three Ages: the Heroic, Formative, and Golden Ages.
The Heroic Age, also called the Apostolic or Primitive Age, began in 1844 with the Declaration of the Báb
and spanned the Ministries of the Báb (1844-53), Bahá’u’lláh
(1852-92), and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
(1892-1921). The transitional event most often identified with the end of the Heroic Age and the beginning of the Formative Age is the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in 1921.
The Formative Age, also known as the Age of Transition or the Iron Age, began in 1921 when Shoghi Effendi
, according to instructions in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament
, became the Guardian
of the Cause of God and began to build Bahá’u’lláh’s Administrative Order
The Formative Age is the second and current Age; it is to be followed by the third and final Age, the Golden Age destined to witness the proclamation of the Most Great Peace
and the establishment of the Bahá’í World Commonwealth
“The emergence of a world community, the consciousness of world citizenship, the founding of a world civilization and culture,” Shoghi Effendi wrote, “— all of which must synchronize with the initial stages in the unfoldment of the Golden Age of the Bahá’í Era—should, by their very nature, be regarded, as far as this planetary life is concerned, as the furthermost limits in the organization of human society, though man, as an individual, will, nay must indeed as a result of such a consummation, continue indefinitely to progress and develop.” (“World Order of Bahá’u’lláh”, page 163)
For a discussion of the significance of the Formative Age, see The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, Message 95, page 189; for an explanation of the epochs of the Formative Age, see ibid, Message 451, page 710.
“Branches”: the sons and male descendants of Bahá’u’lláh
1893 — 20 April 1958
A former secretary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
who, despite having served for some time as His interpreter and despite the privilege of accompanying Him during His visit to the United States and Canada in 1912, eventually became a Covenant-Breaker
and a relentless enemy of the Faith in the West.
After ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing, he attempted to create his own sect of the Faith, which he named the “New History Society,” using the name and teachings of the Faith to attract people while denouncing the Guardian
’s efforts to build the Administrative Order
His plans and activities bore no fruit, and when he died in 1958, the movement he had worked so hard to promote disintegrated.
name of God, Avestan
for Lord of Wisdom
Ahura Mazda is not the only god in the universe of Zoroastrianism, and he is not the sole creator of the world. Ahura Mazda is the father of two twin spirits, Spenta Mainyu and Angra Mainyu. The former is the holy spirit, the latter, the destructive one, and is also known as Ahriman.
Literally, “the city,” so called as giving shelter to Muḥammad
The ancient name of the city was Yathrib, which was changed to al-Madínat an-Nabí, the City of the Prophet, or shortly Medina, the city “par excellence”.
The burial place of Muḥammad; second only to Mecca
? — 1937
A distinguished American Bahá’í whose outstanding qualities as a teacher and administrator of the Faith contributed significantly toward building the Administrative Order
in North America.
Among his many contributions were his service as a member of the Spiritual Assembly
of Boston, as a delegate to the National Convention
, and as a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada. He was also a member of the Bahá’í Temple Unity, the first corporation organized to build the House of Worship in Wilmette
A lawyer by profession, he was instrumental in protecting Green Acre
Bahá’í School at a critical time in its development.
For a brief account of his life and service to the Faith, see The Bahá’í World 7: 531-34.
These and other disconnected letters appear at the head of twenty-nine súrih
s of the Qur’án
Expelled in early times from Babylonia, they spread through Arabia to Palestine and Syria and as far as Egypt, to which they gave several of its Pharaohs.
Amatu’l-Bahá Rúḥíyyih Kh
August 8 1910 — January 19, 2000
Image copyright ©
Nee Mary Maxwell, also called Rúḥíyyih Rabbani; daughter of May Bolles Maxwell
and Sutherland Maxwell
of Montreal, and wife of Shoghi Effendi
, the Guardian
of the Bahá’í Faith. On 26 March 1952, succeeding her illustrious father, she was appointed a Hand of the Cause of God
residing in the Holy Land.
Rúḥíyyih (meaning “spiritual”) is a name given to her by Shoghi Effendi on their marriage. Kh
ánum is a Persian title meaning “lady”, “Madame”, or “Mrs”. The title Amatu’l-Bahá (meaning “Maidservant of Bahá”) was used by the Guardian in a cable to a conference in Chicago in 1953. Rabbani is a surname given to Shoghi Effendi by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
The word “amín”, ..., conveys in Arabic a wide range of meanings connected principally with the idea of trustworthiness, but signifying also such qualities as reliability, loyalty, faithfulness, uprightness, honesty, and so forth. Used in legal parlance “amín” denotes, among other things, a trustee, guarantor, custodian, guardian, and keeper. “The Kitáb-i-Aqdas”, page 187, note 46
“Lord,” “prince,” “commander,” “governor.”
1807 — 10 January 1852
Grand Vizier of Írán. Also known as Mírzá
Repressed the followers of the Báb
, regarding them as a threat. Ordered the execution of the Seven Martyrs of Ṭihrán
, and the execution of the Báb.
Was murdered in Káshán on 10 January 1852.
A translation of Jamál-i-Qidam, a name of God that is also used as a title of Bahá’u’lláh
, Who is the latest Manifestation of God
One cannot always say categorically in any passage whether the reference is to God, to Bahá’u’lláh, or to both.
Bahá’u’lláh also refers to the The Báb
as the Ancient Beauty.
A-Z : Ancient
~ Beauty; ~ of Days
Inner or ladies’ quarters.
of the Pacific Islands.
Architect: Ḥusayn Amá’nat.
Image copyright ©
Universal House of Justice
called for its construction in April, 1974. The site for the House of Worship was chosen in November 1975, in the heights of the mountains of Upolu Island, and preparation of the land for construction began in February 1977. Ḥusayn Amá’nat was appointed architect in April 1978.
The cornerstone for the House of Worship was laid by Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili II, the Samoan Head of State, in January 1979, the ceremony also attended by Amatu’l-Bahá Rúḥíyyih Khánum
, who brought with her from the Bahá’í World Centre
a small silver casket containing dust from the Shrine of the Báb
. Once the first concrete was poured, it took three years for the structure to be completed, with the dedication ceremony held in September 1984. (The Bahá’í House of Worship Samoa ( http://www.bahaitemplesamoa.org/ )
name of the Book of Revelation favored by Catholic Christians; Greek for Unveiling
A-Z : Kitáb-i-Aqdas
~ Dispensations, past, relationship
1. Shoghi Effendi
designated nineteen of the distinguished early Bahá’ís as Apostles of Bahá’u’lláh
. They are also termed “Pillars of the Faith” Their names are published in The Bahá’í World
, Volume III, pages 80-81.
, in Tablets of the Divine Plan
, Tablet 8, refers to the followers of Bahá’u’lláh in America and Canada with the words “O ye Apostles of Bahá’u’lláh!,”
Áqá Buzurg-i-Níshápúrí, Mírzá
Of Ábádih. Martyred in Iṣfahán
, October, 1888. Shoghi Effendi
describes it thus in God Passes By
“Mírzá Ashraf was slain in Iṣfahán, his corpse trampled under foot by Shaykh Muḥammad Taqíy-i-Najafí
, the “son of the wolf
,” and his pupils, savagely mutilated, and delivered to the mob to be burnt, after which his charred bones were buried beneath the ruins of a wall that was pulled down to cover them.”
A collection of Shí‘íh
The line of a curved path laid out by Shoghi Effendi
on Mount Carmel
, stretching across the Bahá’í properties near the Shrine of the Báb
and centred on the Monument Gardens
. On this Arc the seats of the “world-shaking, world-embracing, world-directing administrative
institutions” of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh
are to be located .
Within the Arc are the resting-places of the Greatest Holy Leaf
; her brother, the Purest Branch
; her mother, the Most Exalted Leaf
, and Munírih Khánum
, wife of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Edifices already constructed on the Arc include the International Bahá’í Archives
building (completed in 1957), which is to be extended, the Seat of the Universal House of Justice
(completed in 1982 and occupied in 1983), the seats for the International Teaching Centre
(completed 2001), and the Centre for the Study of the Texts
(completed 1999). The building for the International Bahá’í Library has not yet been built.
Arch-Breaker of the Covenant
The word “ark” means, literally, a boat or ship, something that affords protection and safety, or a chest or box. It is used in two senses in the Bible. In the first sense it refers to the Ark of Noah
, which He was bidden to build of gopher wood to preserve life during the Flood. In the second sense it refers to the Ark of the Covenant
, the sacred chest representing to the Hebrews God’s presence among them. It was constructed to hold the Tablet
s of the Law in Moses
’ time and was later placed in the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Jerusalem.
The Ark, as a symbol of God’s Law and the Divine Covenant that is the salvation of the people in every age and Dispensation
, appears in various ways in the Bahá’í writings. Bahá’u’lláh
refers to His faithful followers as “the denizens of the Crimson Ark”; He refers to the Ark of the Cause and also to the Ark of His Laws. A well-known passage in which this term is used appears in the Tablet of Carmel
: “Ere long will God sail His Ark upon thee, and will manifest the people of Bahá who have been mentioned in the Book of Names.” Shoghi Effendi
explains that the Ark in this passage refers to the Bahá’í Administrative Centre on Mount Carmel
and that the dwellers of the Ark are the members of the Universal House of Justice
signifying both world war and world peace, Hebrew for Mount Excellence
Generally, the Bahá’í community, but more particularly the “heavenly armies” — “those souls”, according to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
, “who are entirely freed from the human world, transformed into celestial spirits and have become divine angels. Such souls are the rays of the Sun of Reality who will illumine all the continents” (Tablets of the Divine Plan, 8.2, page 49)
Zoroastrian Persian king, author of the bce 457 edict for Ezra the prophet to restart services in the rebuilt Jerusalem Temple
One of two Arab zealots who directly took part in the murder of Imám-Ḥusayn
Navváb (an honorific implying “Grace” or “Highness”); the Most Exalted Leaf — wife of Bahá’u’lláh
and mother of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
, Bahíyyih Khánum
, and Mírzá Mihdí
She was married to Bahá’u’lláh in 1835, accompanied Him in His exiles, and died in 1886. Bahá’u’lláh named her His “perpetual consort in all the worlds of God”.
Her resting-place is in the Monument Gardens
on Mount Carmel
, next to the tomb of Mírzá Mihdí and near that of the Greatest Holy Leaf (Bahíyyih Kh
A coast town in Southern Palestine.
Judges 14, 19
An institution established by Shoghi Effendi
in 1954 to act as “deputies, assistants and advisers” to the Hands of the Cause of God
as they carry out their twin duties of protection and propagation.
With the formation of the Continental Boards of Counsellors
in 1968, the Hands of the Cause of God were freed of responsibility for appointing, supervising, and co-ordinating the work of the Auxiliary Boards, and these functions were transferred by the Universal House of Justice
to the Continental Boards of Counsellors.
There are two Auxiliary Boards, one for protection and one for propagation; members serve on one of the two boards.
In general, Auxiliary Board members perform the function of advisors to Local
and individuals within their area.
In a letter dated 7 October 1973 the Universal House of Justice authorized the appointment of assistants to Auxiliary Board members (See The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, Message 137, page 255).
main Zoroastrian Scripture.
An Arab physician and philosopher born in Persia
, known in the West as Hippocrates and the Aristotle of the Arabs.
Literally, the Days of Há’
. The Intercalary Days.
assigned the Intercalaray Days between the months
of Mulk and ‘Alá. In Paragraph 16
of the The Kitáb-i-Aqdas
, Bahá’u’lláh states: “Let the days in excess of the months be placed before the month of fasting
. We have ordained that these, amid all nights and days, shall be the manifestation of the letter Há, and thus they have not been bounded by the limits of the year and its months.”
In a letter dated 26 December 1941, Shoghi Effendi
wrote: “The intercalary days are specially set aside for hospitality, the giving of gifts, etc. Bahá’u’lláh Himself specified that they be used this way. ….”
The period of Ayyám-i-Há is followed by the month of Fasting