Holy Day

Commemoration of the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh

shrine-of-bahaullahFriday, May 29, 2009 is a Holy Day for Bahá’ís. Early in the morning of May 29, 1892, Bahá’u’lláh passed away in Bahji, just north of Acre in what is today Israel. Bahá’u’lláh was laid to rest on this same property, and his gravesite constitutes the holiest place in the world for all Bahá’ís.

At time of His death, He was 74 years old and was still a prisoner of the Turkish government. He was exiled and imprisoned for His teachings of love and unity towards all mankind. In His own words He stated:

“That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith.”

All over the world Bahá’ís will be gathering in the early hours of May 29th to say prayers to commemorate the Anniversary of His passing. Here in Arlington we will get together Thursday evening (May 28th) at 10 pm for fellowship, refreshments and to reflect on His life. We will be showing a selection of movies such as “The Promise of All Ages” – a documentary about the life of Bahá’u’lláh and “Pilgrimage: A Sacred Experience” – a beautiful video meditation on the sacred experience of Bahá’í pilgrimage. We will continue with a devotional program of Holy Writings, Prayers and Sacred Songs starting at 3 am and culminating with the reading of the Tablet of Visitation at 4 am early Friday morning. If you are interested in joining us in Arlington please contact us.

Declaration of the Báb

On May 22, 1844 two hours after sunset, Siyyid ‘Alí-Muhammad announced that He was the bearer of a new Divine Revelation which would prepare humanity for the coming of the Promised One of all religions. Siyyid ‘Alí-Muhammad took the title “the Báb” which means “the Gate”. The Báb stated that His purpose was to prepare mankind for this next Divine Messenger who would usher in a time where peace and harmony would be established on earth and humankind will live in prosperity.

The Declaration of the Bab took place in this room (pictured) in Shiraz, Iran in 1844 Bahá’u’lláh, announced in April 1863 that He was the Divine Messenger the Báb had promised. Today Bahá’ís all over the world celebrate the anniversary of the Báb declaration of His mission on the evening of May 22 and during the day of May 23. May 23 is one of the nine holy days Bahá’ís suspend work or school.

Here in Arlington, we will be commemorating this very important date with friends in Fairfax East and Mount Vernon on Friday May 22. To find out more about these celebrations or to join us, please contact us. Everyone is welcome to attend these celebrations.

Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

On November 28 at 1:00am, members of the Baha’i Faith throughout the world will commemorate the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the eldest son of Bahá’u’lláh. He was born on May 23, 1844 in Tehran and given the name `Abbás. Yet the name that he preferred was ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ which means ‘Servant of Bahá’. As a young child he accompanied his Father in exile and was a prisoner for most of his life. In 1908, as a result of the Turkish revolution, all political and religious prisoners of the Ottoman Empire including ‘Abdu’l-Bahá were released. In 1911 and 1912 he traveled to Europe and North America to spread his Father’s teachings concerning the coming of a new day and the unity of all mankind. He was knighted by Queen Victoria for his humanitarian services and spent his life caring for the sick and the needy.

Before Bahá’u’lláh passed away in 1892 He appointed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as the Center of His Covanent and the sole interpreter of His writings. Abdu’l-Bahá died in his house in Haifa (pictured) on November 28, 1921 at the age of 77. Over 10,000 mourners, representing every class, religion and race in Palestine attended his funeral. Excerpts of some of the speeches given at his funeral by the various religious leaders can be read here.

We invite you to join us here in Arlington as we commemorate his passing. Starting at 9:00pm on Thursday November 27th, we will be showing two films, including the new full-length documentary “The Promised One of All Ages.” The commemoration with prayers and devotional readings will be at 1 am. Please contact us for more information or for directions to this commemoration. Some of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s writings are available here.

The Day of the Covenant

A covenant is a binding agreement between two parties. In the religious sense a covenant is an agreement between God and man, whereby God requires of man to behave in a certain way in return for which He guarantees certain blessings. Bahá’ís recognize two kinds of covenants, a Greater Covenant and a Lesser Covenant.
The Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing body of the Bahá’í Faith, describes the two covenants in the following manner:

“There is, for example, the Greater Covenant which every Manifestation of God makes with His followers, promising that in the fullness of time a new Manifestation will be sent, and taking from them the undertaking to accept Him when this occurs. There is also the Lesser Covenant that a Manifestation of God makes with His followers that they will accept His appointed successor after Him. If they do so, the Faith can remain united and pure. If not, the Faith becomes divided and its force spent. “

Bahá’ís believe that Bahá’u’lláh is the latest Messenger of God, and through Him, God’s promise to mankind, His Greater Covenant is renewed. When Bahá’u’lláh passed away on May 29, 1892, in His will and testament He appointed His eldest son `Abdu’l-Bahá as the center of His covenant and the sole interpreter of His writings. In addition to being the center of his Father’s covenant, `Abdu’l-Bahá was the embodiment of every Bahá’í ideal, the incarnation of every Bahá’í virtue and provide a perfect example of how to live according to the Bahá’í teachings. Therefore every year on November 26th, Bahá’ís all over the world celebrate The Day of the Covenant. This is a day for us to celebrate the life of `Abdu’l-Bahá as well as the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh which has ensured the unity of the Bahá’í Faith.