July, 2008

Baha’i Shrines Named as World Heritage Sites

A United Nations committee meeting has determined that two Bahá’í shrines in Israel possess “outstanding universal value” and should be considered as part of the cultural heritage of humanity.

The decision by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee means that the two most sacred sites for Bahá’ís – the resting places of the founders of their religion – join a list of internationally recognized sites like the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, and Stonehenge.

Like Baha’is around the world, members of the Arlington Baha’i community are celebrating the news. Baha’is visit the shrines as part of pilgrimage to Haifa and Acre.

The World Heritage List also includes places of global religious significance like the Vatican, the Old City of Jerusalem, and the remains of the recently destroyed Bamiyan Buddhist statues in Afghanistan.

The Bahá’í shrines are the first sites connected with a religious tradition born in modern times to be added to the list, which is maintained by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Commemoration of the Martyrdom of The Báb

On July 9 every year, Bahá’ís commemorate the day when the Báb was martyred. The Báb, which is Arabic for the “Gate,” was the title taken by Muhammad-‘Alí, who announced in Shiraz in 1844 that He was the promised one whom the Holy Books of the past had foretold. The Báb had a twofold purpose. His primary mission was to prepare the world for the coming of Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. Yet He also brought His own independent, distinctive religion, the Bábi Faith. In carrying out this mission He called for the spiritual and moral reformation of Persian society, as well as championed improved treatment of women and the poor. The Báb’s ministry lasted 6 years. On July 9, 1850 at 12:00 noon He was executed by firing squad. You can read more about the stunning events of this day here.

The Arlington Baha’i Community will commemorate the Martyrdom of The Báb on Wednesday, July 9, at Bon Air Park located at 850 N. Lexington St., Arlington, VA 22205. Bon Air Park is located off Wilson Blvd. heading west towards Seven corners. Everyone is welcome to join us in commemorating this Holy day. We will meet in the rose garden or the covered pavilion in the event of rain. We will begin with prayers at 11:00am. Light refreshments will be served. You are welcome to just show up, but if you need a ride or have any questions please contact us.