Seven Days in Remembrance of Seven Years in Prison for the Seven Baha’i Leaders

On May 14, the five men and two women that once comprised the unofficial Iranian Bahá’í leadership group known as the Yárán mark the completion of seven long years of imprisonment―difficult years that represent less than half of the manifestly unjust 20-year sentences they received in court proceedings that were not a trial but a travesty. Their continuing incarceration is but one facet of a ceaseless campaign of harassment, deprivations, and violent attacks the Bahá’ís of Iran have been forced to endure for well over three decades, a campaign of hate and repression unashamedly sponsored by the Iranian regime.

 Seven Days in Remembrance of Seven Years in Prison for the Seven Baha’i Leaders


Seven Days in Remembrance of Seven Years in Prison for the Seven Baha’i Leaders

Arlington Bahá’ís are joining people around the world in a global campaign from 14 May through 21 May to mark the seventh anniversary of the arrest and imprisonment of the seven Iranian Baha’i leaders. Among them is Mahvash Sabet – a schoolteacher and mother of two – whose prison poetry we share:

Please remember Sabet and her companions, and join us in raising awareness of the persecution of the Bahá’ís of Iran.

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Celebrate with us the Twelfth Day of Ridván

The Baha’i Community warmly invites you to celebrate with us the The Twelfth Day of Ridván, concluding the annual Bahá’í festival commemorating the historic events during which Bahá’u’lláh declared Himself to be God’s Messenger to the age of humanity’s collective maturity, foretold in all the world’s scriptures.

The celebration will take place on Saturday, May 2, 2015 at the picnic shelter to the right of the Amphitheater at Lubber Run Park, 200 N Columbus St., Arlington, VA 22203.

A potluck picnic lunch starting at noon will precede a devotional program starting at 1:30 pm and featuring live music, story telling, activities for children and adults alike.

All are welcome!

"Ridván" means paradise, and is named for the Garden of Ridván outside Baghdad, where Bahá'u'lláh stayed for twelve days after the Ottoman Empire exiled him from the city and before commencing his journey to Constantinople.

“Ridván” means paradise, and is named for the Garden of Ridván outside Baghdad, where Bahá’u’lláh stayed for twelve days after the Ottoman Empire exiled him from the city and before commencing his journey to Constantinople.

“Verily, all created things were immersed in the sea of purification when, on that first day of Ridvan, We shed upon the whole of creation the splendours of Our most excellent Names and Our most exalted Attributes. This, verily, is a token of My loving providence, which hath encompassed all the worlds. Consort ye then with the followers of all religions, and proclaim ye the Cause of your Lord, the Most Compassionate; this is the very crown of deeds, if ye be of them who understand.”
(Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 47)

 

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An interfaith prayer gathering for a departed Arlington neighbor

“God got a gift for Christmas and it was my Daddy…”

These were the words my 7 year old neighbor told his family and there was not a dry eye at the gathering to mourn the departure of his father.  This and many other stories of that family’s unshakable faith were shared with me when several ladies — grandmother, sisters, aunts — stop by to thank me for taking care of their little boy the night when his daddy’s soul winged its flight from this mortal world.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
~ Christianity, Holy Bible, John 14:1-3

Prayer Station for Bobby

Interfaith Prayer Station “Back to the Father”. Photo courtesy of Baha’i Writings as Art: http://www.bahaiwritingsasart.com/psalm56_13

As the ladies embraced me I started singing the song “Back to the Father” which Van Gilmer taught me:

“I’m going back to the father, thank Him for my journey, live in a mansion, Feast on milk and honey, shout troubles over, join the heavenly choir, rest from my labor, give God the glory, I’m going back to the father.”

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Celebrating the birth of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh’s herald

“The path to guidance is one of love and compassion, not of force and coercion.”
— The Báb

On Monday, October 20, 2014, from noon till 4 pm, the Bahá’is of Arlington, VA will join neighboring communities in celebrating the Birth of the Báb, with a picnic and devotional program hosted by the Bahá’i community of Falls Church, at Cherry Hill Park.

Annual Birth of the Bab Celebration - Oct. 20 - Cherry Hill Park, Falls Church, VA

Annual Birth of the Bab Celebration – Oct. 20 – Cherry Hill Park, Falls Church, VA

The Bahá’í Faith traces its origin to 1844 and the announcement by a young man, Siyyid ‘Ali-Muhammad, in Shiraz, Persia. He took the title of the Báb (meaning “Gate” in Arabic). On May 22, 1844, in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran)— the Báb announced that He was the bearer of a Divine Revelation, which would prepare humanity for the advent of the Promised One foretold by all the world’s religions.

The Báb’s role can be compared to John the Baptist in the founding of Christianity. The Báb was Bahá’u’lláh’s herald: His primary mission was to prepare the way for Bahá’u’lláh’s coming.

“Harbinger of the Most Great Light” as extolled by Abdu’l-Bahá, the Bab describes Himself as:

the “Primal Point from which have been generated all created things”,
one of the “sustaining pillars of the Primal Word of God”,
the “Mystic Fane”,
the “Great Announcement”,
the “Flame of that supernal Light that glowed upon Sinai”,
the “Remembrance of God”,
the “Qa’im” promised to the Shi’ahs,
the “Mihdi” awaited by the Sunnis,
the “Return of John the Baptist” expected by the Christians,
the “Ushidar-Mah” referred to in the Zoroastrian scriptures, and
the “Return of Elijah” anticipated by the Jews.

As Baha’is all over the world come together to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of this Glorious Figure, we can reflect on the words of the Báb:

“Issue forth from your cities, O peoples of the West and aid God ere the Day when the Lord of mercy shall come down unto you in the shadow of the clouds with the angels circling around Him [cf.Qur’an 2:206], exalting His praise and seeking forgiveness for such as have truly believed in Our signs. Verily His decree hath been issued, and the command of God, as given in the Mother Book, hath indeed been revealed…

Become as true brethren in the one and indivisible religion of God, free from distinction, for verily God desireth that your hearts should become mirrors unto your brethren in the Faith, so that ye find yourselves reflected in them, and they in you. This is the true Path of God, the Almighty, and He is indeed watchful over your actions.”

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