The baha’i world


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SACRED 

BAHA’f HssToRsC Ssvns  



In its capacity as heir and trustee of the sacred history of the Dispensation of the 

Bab, 


and the early years of the 

Dispensation of Bahá’u’llah, the Assembly of Iran began some years ago, under the Guardian’s direction, to acquire, 

restore and maintain properties associated with the Persons of the 

 

CURRENT BAHA’t ACTIVITIES 



 

79 


 

Faith and its important historical events.  

This subject receives due emphasis in the  

Assembly’s report covering the present  

period.  

“Of especial interest is the steady acquisition by the Bahâ’is of places sacred in the history of the Cause. A letter from the Guardian 

(dated 

1927) 


defines these sacred areas as follows: ‘All places which were adorned by the footsteps of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh and 

‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The burial-places of companions and saints; the places where martyrs met their death; prisons and places of banishment 

of the heroes of the Cause; fortresses which in the early days of the Manifestation were the refuge and center of the defense measures 

of the companions; buildings and places which were the sanctuary of prisoners and exiles; and the homes and birth-places of the great 

and the renowned of the companions in the dispensation of the Bayãn and the day of the Bahá’is.’  

The sites acquired since the previous issue of THE BAHA’i WORLD appeared include: 

 

Public bath in the Street of the SwordMaker, Shirãx.  



Caravansary of the Maymandis in Bfishihr.  

Nineteen burial places of martyrs at Manshád.  

All Bahá’i historic properties at Kirmán.  

Three of the gardens of Badasht.  

House of the Beloved of Martyrs, I1fáhán.  

House of IIáj Mirza Jáni, Káshán.  

Burial place of 1-Iáji ‘Arab, ‘Iraq.  

House of Mini Husayn-’Ali Nir, Tihrán.  

House of E[áj Ahmad-i-Miláni, Milan.  

House of the mayor of Tihrán.  

Burial place of Quddfls, Bábul.  

House in Najafábád.  

House of Mullá Nasru’lláh, Shahmirzád.  

“Exact restoration of the House of Bahá’u’lláh in Tákur, as directed by the Guardian some years ago is, through the 

devoted efforts of Siyyid Mulsin Asási, almost completed; the exterior and iuterior ornamentation is soon to be done. 

Aqãy-i-Asási has also had a well-constructed dam built across the village water-course and the Hizãr River, to protect 

the building against threatened floods.” 

 

THE PASSING OF MAY MAXWELL  



tV 

BDU’L-BAHA’S beloved handmaid, (the) distinguished disciple, May Maxwell, (is) gathered (into the) glory (of 

the) Abha Kingdom” the Bahá’is learned in a cablegram received from Shoghi Effendi on March 3, 

1940.  

Mrs. Maxwell passed from this life while engaged in teaching in the great new field of Latin America. She died at 

Buenos Aires. A monument commemorating this Bahá’i martyr is to be placed at the grave in that city. “Southern 

outpost (of) Faith,” the cable continued, “(has been) greatly enriched through association (with) her historic resting 

place, (which is) destined (to) remain (a) poignant reminder (of the) resistless march (of the) triumphant army (of) 

Bahi’u’lláh.”  

Bahâ’is throughout North and South America joined in memorial gatherings on Friday evening, April 

26, 

the largest 

meeting being held at Temple Foundation Hall, Wilmette, Illinois, during the Annual Convention of that year. The 

believers of both 

 

the Americas thus united for the first time in one action, the observance of gratitude and reverence for the sacrifice 



consecrating their mutual effort to serve the Cause.  

The events of her rich and varied career as a Bahá’i are set forth in the tribute paid her by Marion Holley elsewhere in 

the present volume. Here we may recall certain events and accomplishments in her life which combined to make her 

such a distinguished figure in the community.  

Mrs. Maxwell accompanied the first party of pilgrims who traveled from North America to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in ‘Akka 

and learn of Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation. She was a pioneer believer and teacher of the Cause in Canada, in many cities of 



the United States and in the city of Paris. She made pilgrimage to the Holy Land a few years after the Ascension of 

‘Abdu’l-Bahá to visit the Guardian. Mrs. Maxwell served also in the capacity of member of the American National 

Spiritual Assembly. Her daughter, neé Miss Mary Maxwell, is Ruhiyyih 

 

The house of Siyyid Yahyã Dáráhi, surnamed Vahid, which has recently been acquired by the Bahá’is  



of Iran as an historical site in the town of Nayriz. 

 

-1 J  



 



 

I  


 

- - 4— & _&&& & 



 

 

 



pict34.jpg

 

CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES 



 

81 


 

Khánum, the Guardian’s wife. Despite illness and arising above the burden of advancing years, May Maxwell responded immediately 

and whole-heartedly to the call for pioneer teachers resounded by Shoghi Effendi in launching the Seven Year Plan as climax to the 

first Bahá’i Century.  

In publishing the Guardian’s cablegram, the National Spiritual Assembly added a few words, some of which are cited here:  

“There are events in a spiritual Cause which have the special characteristic that they seem luminous with the light of inner 

significance. They shine through the twilight of our ignorance and incapacity. They are revealing of the vital importance of intention 

as well as of truth.  

“Such an event has now transpired in the Bahá’i community of America. Let us endeavor to rise above the inevitable human feeling of 

grief and seek to apprehend it through the higher understanding that comes to us from the Manifestation and 

 


from those whose mission was created by Him.  

“Concerning those who leave their country to teach in foreign lands, Bahâ’u’llãh has said: ‘They that have forsaken their country for 

the purpose of teaching Our Cause— these shall the Faithful Spirit strengthen through its power 

. . . 


How great the blessedness that 

awaiteth him that hath attained the honor of serving the Almighty.’  

“Again, we have these gemlike words from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: ‘If you plant a seed in the ground a tree will become manifest from that 

seed. The seed sacrifices itself to the tree that will come from it.’ 

“  

The culmination of her unusual gifts, capacities and blessings, martyrdom in the city which must constitute a strong pillar of the future 



Bahi’i community of South America, has been the planting of the seed, and from this sacrifice the souls of the believers have been 

inspired for more ardent service. 

 

THE BAHA’i FAITH IN THE BRITISH ISLES  



ErHE 

BRITISH Bahá’is in the period 193 8-1940, were the only Bahá’i community possessing administrative 

institutions and permitted to function by the civil authorities which has endured the psychological and material damage 

of war. Bahâ’is there were in other warring countries but lacking the institutions of the Bahá’i community or prevented 

by the state from exercising the duties of their religion.  

Their collective experience has thus been deeply significant of the power of the Bahá’i Faith to maintain confidence of 

spirit and endow a community with social attitudes which open doors to a future be— yond the onslaught of any human 

conqueror.  

Four items appear to stand out as most important in the available records and reports.  

First, the incorporation of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahâ’is of the British Isles. This notable document is 

reproduced elsewhere in the present volume. Concerning the nature of the legal status acquired, the British Assembly 

itself writes as follows: 

 

“The effect of this document will be to give the National Spiritual Assembly legal personality and rights. It may enter 



contracts, receive bequests, hold property under certain restrictions, and exercise all the rights and privileges accorded 

by law. In addition its constitution has been defined exactly according to Bahã’i Administration; the principles 

governing its operation according to the explicit commands of Bahã’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have been written into the 

memorandum; and its powers in relation to local Spiritual Assemblies and to the Faith in the British Isles have been 

defined. The method of Bahá’i elections has been preserved and provision made for the annual Convention. The 

enterprise is non-profit making and has no share capital. Liability is accepted by the individual members of the N. S. A. 

in equal proportions, and provision has been made for the transferring of this liability when new members are elected.  

“This is undoubtedly one of the most important steps in the history of the Faith in the British Isles, and in spite of the 

primary disappointment, will, we know, delight the heart of our beloved Guardian, whose con- 

 

82 



 

THE BAHA’i WORLD 

 

tinual encouragement has lightened the task.”  



Second, the establishing of a Publishing Trust as a powerful organ of teaching. Its record of activity, as reported by the 

British Assembly, has been impressive:  

“The Publishing Trust is now established as the chief subsidiary of the N. S. A. and its right hand in teaching. It was 

started with the sum of £234 Os. 8d. specially contributed for that purpose, and in addition has taken possession of all 

books and literature previously held by the N. S. A. It acts as distributor for all Bahá’i literature, and publishes 

whatever the N. S. A. requires. The chief publications this year have been a revised edition of Dr. Esslemont’s 

pamphlet BahcI’u’lldh and His Message and a brief life of Bahá’u’lláh by H. M. Balyuzi. Both these publications have 

been purchased abroad and have made a good impression. In addition a small calendar, showing the Bahá’i Feasts and 

Anniversaries, has been printed.”  

“The establishment of the Publishing Trust has proven to be a sound and invaluable undertaking. It must surely be 

included in ‘the unassailable foundation’ of which the Guardian speaks. With the incorporation of the N. S. A., the 

three original Trustees resigned their office, and the N. S. A. became Trustee. The chief work this year has been the 

following publications:  

“A new edition of Bahd’u’lljh and the New Era, Dr. Esslemont’s standard work on the Faith. With the permission of 

Mrs. Esslemont a few alterations and some slight additions were made.  

“The Heart of the Gospel. A brilliant and scholarly work by the author of The Promise of All Ages.  

“A Bahd’i Prayer Book, published in a complete and abridged form. The abridged copy has been found very acceptable 

by non-Bahá’is.  



“The Ba/ba?! Faith. Five thousand more copies of the penny pamphlet, which every Bahá’i needs frequently.  

“New World Order. A reproduction, with a few alterations, of the December number of the N. S. A.’s periodical New 

World Order.  

“In addition the publication of Lady 

 

Blomfield’s book, 



The Chosen Highway, 

is well advanced and copies should be available by the end of June.”  



TEACHING WORK  

“First and foremost of our activities has been Teaching. At the last Convention it was recommended that we should concentrate on 

five cities with a view to establishing communities there whenever possible. The National Spiritual Assembly adopted this plan but 

only two of the cities mentioned by the delegates, Leeds and Bournemouth, were included in the list. Other places, Nottingham and 

Brighton, presented better opportunities through the presence of resident believers, so these were included. One city, Newcastle, where 

there are no Bahá’is at all, has been given special attention.  

“In Leeds the Bradford Spiritual Assembly has continued teaching work throughout the year, and there is every prospect of success 

here. Mr. and Mrs. Peter Wilkinson have made their home there, bringing the number of resident believers up to four. Meetings have 

been held, and the Military Tribunal there granted the application of a Bahá’i for exemption from combatant service, which resulted in 

some publicity.  

“Th believers have moved to Bournemouth and the Group there now numbers ten. The Feasts and Anniversaries are observed and it is 

hoped to have a Center as the chief aid to a teaching campaign.  

“In Nottingham excellent work has been done through the efforts of the resident believer, Esther Richardson. She has arranged 

meetings with the Esperantists and the Theosophists which have been addressed by visiting teachers, and has gathered together a 

number of her friends and aroused their keen interest. It is expected that a few of them will come to Summer School.”  

“New ground has been broken in Newcastle and much interest aroused. A teacher spent five weeks there before Christmas, and three 

months after Christmas. Many clubs and societies were addressed, and a series of public lectures given from the platform of the 

Theosophical Society. Contacts were made in the University, a number of study meetings were held, a good deal of literature 

 

CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES 



 

83 

 

has been purchased by interested inquirers and it is hoped that some of them will come to Summer School.”  



“At its first meeting the National Spiritual Assembly considered this matter and pledged itself to carry out the Guardian’s wish, 

determining that all activities should be considered in the light of teaching. Bradford and Torquay were selected as the two most 

promising places for the establishment of new Assemblies. The believers in those centers were consulted and plans of campaign 

mapped out. We are happy to report that owing to the persistent efforts of the resident believers, to the work of visiting teachers, to the 

sacrifices of all who have contributed to the Fund, and to the unfailing assistance of the Holy Spirit, Spiritual Assemblies were elected 

in both places on April 21st. Both communities are represented by delegates at this Convention. We take this opportunity of 

conveying, through them, our welcome and sincere congratulations.”  

“The local communities have maintained fireside and other teaching meetings. A series of regular study meetings was held in 

Altrincham during the summer by the Manchester Spiritual Assembly, and a successful meeting was arranged with the Rover Scout 

Crew by Miss Ada Williams, when the interest of about twenty young men was aroused. The first extension work of the Torquay 

Spiritual Assembly was in Exeter when Mrs. Stevens addressed the Psychology Club.”  

“The Bahá’i Summer School is the most important institution in England for teaching the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. More ambitious in 

every way than the three previous ones, the fourth Summer School brought correspondingly greater and more encouraging results. 

More than a hundred people visited it, indicating its steadily increasing interest to both believers and enquirers. The spirit of real 

friendship, sympathy, and understanding engendered amongst such a widely diverse group of individuals, was convincing proof of the 

unifying power of the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh.  

“The School was opened by Lady Blomfield, who, as always, brought the spirit of the Master close to each one of us by her 

 

vivid and beautiful descriptions of many of the precious incidents which occurred during His stay in her house in 



London. A cable was then sent to our beloved Guardian, to which he sent an inspiring reply.  

“The lectures were of high standard and though comprehensive, followed an orderly course, beginning with a survey of 

the nature of the present world struggle, then tracing the growth and development of man as an individual and mankind 

as a collective body, presenting the main problems confronting the world today and offering the solutions of 

Bahâ’u’lláh, outlining the Bahá’i vision of a New World Order and culminating in the presentation of the Word of 

Bahá’u’lláh as the focus of all power.  

“Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have emphasised the importance of art in the life of man. Bahá’u’lláh tells us that the 

sanctified and detached souls “constitute the animating force through which the arts and wonders of the world are made 

manifest,” and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá tells us that the Sun of Truth, shining on the mind of the artist, is mirrored forth in great 

works of art. Therefore an experiment was made this year in inviting a larger number of nonBahá’i speakers than 

previously, to lecture on their own specialized branches of art— the dance, drama, music and the crafts. The result was 

strikingly significant. At least four different lecturers came to the conclusion that in their particular field art had 

reached a standstill owing to the poverty of human creativeness—a convincing proof that the artistic spirit needs the 

new creative impulse of Bahá’u’lláh.  

“The peak of Summer School was reached at bank holiday week-end, August 5-7, when the greatest attendance was 

recorded and the radiance of the gathering was so apparent as to arouse comment. It was during this week-end that the 

National Spiritual Assembly received its Incorporation Certificate. Archdeacon Townshend’s challenging book The 

Heart of the Gospel appeared at this time and the author himself was present. Dr. All, a member of the National 


Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’is of India and Burma, Mr. W. 

J. 


Grant, late editor of the Rangoon Times and a proven 

friend 


 

84 


 

THE BAHA’i WORLD 

 

of the Faith, Chief Jono Kenyatta of Kenya, the eminent anthropologist, were among the distinguished visitors. Mr. Kenneth Christian 



and Miss Virginia Setz were welcome visitors from America. Mr. Christian gave an interesting description of the Summer Schools in 

America.  

“The setting of School was most delightful. Beautiful spacious grounds, with ample facilities for games, in the heart of a lovely 

countryside; an ideal place for relaxation and for study.  

“Most of those present must have been conscious of the nearness of the final stages of the world struggle. They must have had too, 

intimations of the greatness of the privilege, and of the responsibility, of being identified with a nascent world faith in an age of doubt 

and fear. Summer School is a growing, consolidating institution, becoming established in a rapidly crumbling world. It has provided 

once again an incentive to activity and cooperation among the Bahá’i communities. We shall make efforts to maintain it.”  

EXEMPTION FROM COMBAvANT SERVICE  

“Increasing tension in world affairs made it necessary for the N. S. A. to define the attitude of Bahá’is to the various military measures 

being undertaken by the country. The Guardian’s instruction was obtained and published in Bahã’i 

Journal. 

It was to the effect that 

while we should do everything to obtain exemption from active combatant service, we should volunteer for all services of a 

humanitarian nature, such as Red Cross, A. R. P., stretcher-bearing, etc. Within the last three days Conscription has been introduced 

by the Government, and it is recommended that the incoming N. S. A. should consider the position of Bahá’i Youth in relation to 

this.”  


“Shortly after the outbreak of war, a young believer from Bradford, Philip Hams- worth, having registered in accordance with the N. 

S. A.’s request, was summoned to appear before a tribunal in Leeds. The following is an account of the proceedings as accurately as 1 

remember them; it was written down shortly after leaving the Court.  

“Peter Wilkinson and Mr. Hurst were there and we heard the proceedings in about 

 

a dozen cases. Hardly any of the applicants were clear or definite as to what their consciences demanded, and certainly had very little 



conception of their relationship to society. When Philip was called the Judge asked me to step up, and who and what I was. I said 

secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahi’is of the British Isles. A minute or two were spent in writing it down correctly 

and spelling ‘Bahá’i.’ They had never heard of it.  

“To me:  

‘What is Bahã’i?  

‘It’s a world religion sir.  

‘Is it Christian?  

‘We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  

‘Then it is Christian?  

‘We believe that all the revealed religions are the Word of God.  

‘What do you think of Buddha?  

‘His Revelation is the Word of God.  

‘Confucius?  

‘A very wise man.  

‘Muhammad?  

‘He is the Prophet of God.  

‘It’s a sort of comprehensive omnibus. (slightly amused but kindly).  

‘No sir. An independent world religion. Its central theme is the oneness of mankind.  

‘When was it founded?  

‘The original declaration was made in  

1844.  

‘Is this name Indian?  



‘No sir; Persian.  

‘Is it a Persian religion?  

‘No sir, it’s a world religion for all mankind.  

‘The Founder was Persian?  

‘Yes sir.  

“To Philip:  

‘What do you object to?  

‘I seek exemption from combatant military service, as it is inconsistent with the teaching of Bahá’u’lláh to kill my fellow men.  

‘Do you recognize any duty to the State?  

‘Yes, of course. We are commanded to obey our governments.  

‘Well, this seems an opportunity of obeying by accepting military service.  

‘I’m obeying the government by registering as a conscientious objector. 

 

CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES 



 

85 

 

‘Supposing you were in Germany?  



‘There are Bahá’is in Germany. They are suppressed and some of rhem are in the army.  

‘There you are then.  

‘The Government allows me to apply for exemption.  

“To me:  

‘Have you a branch in Bradford? ‘Yes sir.  

‘How many members?  

‘Abont seventeen.  

‘Your Faith recognizes civil authority? ‘Yes. 

 

‘It asks you to obey the law? 



 

‘Yes. 


 

‘It does not ask you to refuse military service?  

‘It asks us to uphold certain principles.  

‘Naturally.  

‘One of these is to refrain from killing our fellow men by seeking exemption from combatant military service. We are 

ready to serve in any non-combatant capacity.  

‘Suppose exemption is refused?  

‘Then we are in the same position as anyone else. 

 

‘Do you believe in transmigration?  



‘No sir.  

“To Philip:  

‘Are your parents of the same religion as you?  

‘Not yet.  

‘You hope they will be.  

‘Yes, they are very interested.  

‘IH[ow long have you known about this?  

‘Just over a year.  

‘What have you done about it?  

‘I investigated the teachings, declared myself a Bahá’i, and am trying to propagate the Faith. I was an absolute pacifist before.  

‘You were absolute?’ (with some astonishment)  

‘Yes. I had to give up many of my ideas to conform with Bahá’i teaching.’  

“The tribunal were unanimous in granting exemption from combatant service, and made the applicant liable for non-combatant 

service.  

“The local newspapers contained various accounts, one having a large headline which read: 

Persian Religion Modifies Man’s 

Padfism.”  

—Report by DAvJD HOFMAN. 

 

CONSOLIDATION OF THE FAITH IN EGYPT  



OVER a number of years the Bahi’i  

munity of Egypt has been the instrument through which the independent status of the Bahã’i Faith has been estabhshed in relation to 

the prevailing and official religion of Islam. In previous volumes the origin and development of this remarkable historic process has 

been described. Between 1938 and 1940 the irresistible power of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh has been further demonstrated.  

Lands were purchased for the construction of a Haziratu’l-Quds, a national Bahá’i center for administrative activities and meeting 

place for Bahá’i gatherings. In a number of countries during recent years the National and local Assemblies have taken steps to 

provide such centers, which strengthen and coordinate the direction of activities and symbolize the existence of the Faith as 

community and not merely as doctrine. “The N. S. A. has finally decided to buy a 

 

plot of land in one of the most important quarters of Cairo quite near Maleka Nazli Street,” it was reported in the Egyptian 



Baha?l 

News 

of March-April, 1940, after consideration had been given to the fact that on account of war conditions it might be preferable to 

purchase a house rather than construct one. A fund was then instituted for the cost of construction, contributions to which have been 

made by Bahá’i Assemblies in other countries.  

After further difficulty with the Muslim clergy, the National Spiritual Assembly obtained authorization from the government to 

establish a Bahá”i cemetery in Cairo, Alexandria and Port Said.  

A Fatwa (a judgment made by a Mushm judge in a religious matter on the basis of doctrine or custom derived from the Qur’an) issued 

by a Grand Mufti decreed that Bahá’is could no longer be permitted burial in a Muslim cemetery. After submit- 

 


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ting full information to the government, the Bahã’i authorities were granted the necessary permission to proceed with 

their own independent burial places and the observance of their own burial rites. Since cemeteries in Egypt are public 

property not subject to sale or transfer, the government set aside a plot of land just outside Cairo for use as a Bahá’j 

place of burial.  

Such an episode has great significance in a Muslim country, where the lack of a civil code surrounds every religious 

transaction with an official atmosphere and a ceremonial importance not felt in western lands since feudal days. Indeed, 

public violence has been manifested against the Bahá’is in Egypt in connection with their effort to give proper Bahá’i 

burial to their own dead. The publication of the government’s action in the public press made a powerful impression.  

HE services rendered by the Bahá’is of ‘Iraq during this period are not to be measured by the information available in 

the form of bulletins and reports. We know, however, that their achievement has been great from the fact that the 

National Spiritual Assembly of the believers of that country was able to construct a large Haziratu’l-Quds, or 

headquarters, in a modern suburb of Baghdad. Behind efforts of such scope stand a great many contributing factors, 

unity and sacrifice for the Cause, coordination of effort, vigorous teaching work and administrative efficiency.  

From reports on hand the following citations are of particular interest:  

“The most vital activity of the ‘Iraq Bahá’is during these two years has been the construction of the new Haziratu’l-

Quds. Where the former center was located in the dark, winding alleys of old Baghdad, the new edifice stands in its 

own beautiful gardens in a modern suburb. Total expenditures on the building alone have amounted to 3,500 pounds, 

while the whole property, that is, the building and the site of land (40 m. x 60 m.), is now estimated at 6,000 pounds.”  

“It is with great pleasure and overflowing joy that we report the completion of build- 

 

A notable service to the entire Arabic- speaking world has been rendered by the Bahá’is of Egypt through their action 



in translating The Dawn-Breakers: Nabil’s Narrative of the Early Days of the Bahd’I Revelation into the Arabic 

language. The translation was made by Judge Abdul Jalil Saad, and the printed work contains over six hundred pages, 

with many illustrations.  

The Assembly itself has made only modest references to the teaching work carried on in Egypt during the current 

period, feeling that most of its energies have been expended in carrying out the important matters already mentioned. In 

the Sudan, however, the progress of the teaching work has been very satisfactory, and this area has become an 

important part of the Bahá’i community whose affairs are administered by the National Spiritual Assembly.  

ing operations on the new Uniratu’l-Quds of Baghdad, which have been proceeding during the last thirteen months. 

The meeting for the inauguration of this edifice took place on Saturday afternoon, September 23, 1939, and was 

attended by believers representing almost every Bahá’i community in this country. Deeply impressed by the imposing 

grandeur, and with hearts cherishing the fondest hopes for the future of our beloved Faith in this blessed land the 

friends joyously offered thanks and praise to Bahá’u’llfh, Who has graciously confirmed and assisted them in the 

discharge of their glorious task.  

“The meeting opened with the chanting of a Tablet. Then Munir Wakil, chairman of the N. S. A., delivered the opening 

speech in which he summarized the various stages and developments that accompanied the construction of the edifice, 

and made a brief statement showing roughly the total expenditures, the debts incurred, and the contributions received to 

date.  

“At the close of the inaugural meeting, which ended with the chanting of another Tablet of Bahá’u’llIh, the N. S. A. 



met and approved the sending immediately of the following telegram to the Beloved  

Guardian: 

 

BAHA’i ACTIVITIES TN ‘IRAQ  



CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES 

 

87 



 

‘Bahã’is assembled now occasion inauguration k1airatu’l-Quds express deepest gratitude divine confirmation 

completion building. Supplicate continuation prayers.’”  

“Much as has already been done, there still remains as much to be achieved. The spacious assembly hall together with 

the adjoining guest-house, which constitute no less essential parts of the plan already approved by the Guardian, now 

await construction. In fact, the full beauty of this Bahá’i Center and the effective functioning of the various Bahá’i 

administrative bodies cannot reach their climax and reveal their full beneficent effect until the two remaining 

component parts are built and completed. The Guardian, lovingly assuring us of his ‘fervent, unceasing prayers,’ now 



directs and urges us to make ‘sustained, united, unremitting efforts’ so that ‘this vitally-urgent, divinely-appointed task’ 

may be successfully carried forward to a glorious consummation.’  

“It is worthy to note that this noble undertaking has not only been responsible for enhancing the dignity and the good 

reputation of the Cause in ‘Iraq but has proved a powerful factor in reinforcing the spiritu a 

 

ties and genuine love uniting the members of the Bahá’i community. In fact, this kla4ratu’l-Quds can rightly be 



regarded as the sign of our unity and the center of our cooperation and sacrifice in our attempt to carry out the guiding 

instructions of our beloved Guardian.”  

“From Shoghi Effendi, through his secretary, the following message was received:  

‘The region of ‘Iraq will be an arena where lights will shine, and the first connecting link between Iran, which is the 

cradle of the Faith, and the Holy Land, the Point of Adoration of the people of Bahá. This momentous institution, 

therefore, is to be regarded as the first of the great preliminaries and glorious institutions which will be established in 

that blessed land, culminating in the recovery of the House of God, the hoisting of the Banner of His Faith, and the 

proclamation of His Dispensation in that region. It is, therefore, incumbent upon you to double your perseverance, 

steadfastness, vigor, tenacity, cooperation and mutual assistance, that thereby may become manifest what our Lord has, 

both in secret and openly, promised us in His wondrous Book.’” 

 

PERSECUTION AND DEPORTATION OF THE BAHA’IS OF CAUCASUS AND 



TURKISTAN  

HE construction of the first Bahã’i House of Worship in ‘Ishqábád, Southern Russia, nearly forty years ago, may be realized as the 

first portentous symbol of the power of BahI’u’lláh’s Dispensation in Europe. Its spiritual meaning and implication could not but 

present a challenge to the forces of darkness existing in that land. It was not until after 

1930, 

however, that the flourishing Bahã’i 



community centered around the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in Ishqãbád felt the weight of official persecution.  

In previous issues of THE BAHA’i WORLD successive chapters of this tragic but glorious story have been told. Now there remains to 

recount the final chapter of dispersal, deportation and internment of the Bahá’is by the Soviet authorities, and their seizure of the holy 

House of Worship as the extreme actions of a materialistic civiliza tio 

 

approaching the hour of its own destined punishment.  



The available information no longer comes to us from the BahI’i community of Southern Russia but from their fellow- believers of 

Iran with whom the survivors of persecution found refuge. The full report will be found in the Report of the National Spiritual 

Assembly of the Bahá’is of Iran published at the end of this international review. Excerpts from that Report follow:  

“On the eve of February 



5, 

1938, all the members of the Local Spiritual Assembly of ‘Ishqabad, and a great number of the Friends 

were arrested by order of the authorities and that same night the houses of the Friends were searched, and all Tablets, Bahã’i records 

and other articles were confiscated. Some of the women, more active than the rest in 

 

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Bahá’i administrative affairs, were also led away to prison.  



“According to those who have been freed from prison and have emigrated to I ran, the officials treated the prisoners with extreme 

harshness, and all Bahá’is were condemned by the Government on political grounds, it being openly said to them: ‘On Soviet land you 

are, and have been, working to the advantage of foreigners.’ A written charge to this effect was made out for each prisoner and each 

was ordered to sign it. When the Friends, innocent, denied the charge, they were subjected to every type of persecution. Some were 

even obliged, more than once, to dig graves for themselves, it being told them that they were to be killed on the spot; then, hoping to 

acquire the signed document, the authorities would defer their sentence.  

“Wives and children of the captives lived meanwhile in the greatest wretchedness. A woman believer wrote to her sister from 

‘Ishqábád: ‘Here many young men believers die in the prison. No one knows of what sickness they died, or what they asked for in 

their last agony, or in what place their bodies are laid. One of the women believers, because of her grieving and anguish and the sight 

of her orphaned children, set fire to herself and after sixteen days in the hospital she passed away.’  

“At first over five hundred men believers were imprisoned but a great number of these have died. The wives and children of the 

victims have gradually been exiled to fran, and dispatched by the Iranian Government to their various birth-places, but here, too, most 

of them cannot find peace. The women grieve over their husbands and sons, the children sorrow for their fathers and brothers. Many 

of the younger ones, well educated and trained, for lack of recommn. dations and other reasons, are refused work in Government 

offices and elsewhere, and pass their days miserably in the little towns where they have been sent.  

“This Assembly has, through the efforts of the Friends, given to these sufferers whatever financial aid was possible and up to now a 

sum has been collected for their urgent daily needs. In response to the Guardian’s emphatic directions we have done all in our power 

to succor these oppressed persons; 

 

nevertheless, their lot has not improved, although they continue thankful, since they are suffering in the path of God. According to 



recent information the prisoners have been freed and exiled in small groups to remote corners of Russia. Fortunately they are 

permitted to write to their relatives and at times word comes from them. This Assembly has applied to the Imperial Government 



seeking their return to fran, and God willing, the desired aim will be realized.  

“From a recent communication as to the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar of ‘Ishqábád: ‘From the day when the Mashriqu’l-Adbkar became part of 

the Government properties, it was rented free to the Baha’i community for five year periods; every five years the lease was renewed, 

and according to separate documents drawn up by the city, necessary repairs were specified to be made during the allotted period. The 

Local Assembly would always carry out these repairs and improvements with dispatch, to give the authorities no pretext for 

complaint, also regularly renewing the insurance and paying the taxes. In 1933, however, although the specified period had not run 

out, certain repairs which were not urgent nor important, and which were very expensive—amounting to some 20,000 manát—were 

imposed, and the Government broke the contract and forced the Assembly to renew it and make the repairs. A year had not elapsed 

when the Government officials renewed their complaints and it became obvious that their purpose was to create difficulties and oblige 

the Friends to relinquish the Temple and give it over to them. Fearing that the holy edifice would be lost, the Assembly communicated 

the whole matter to the Guardian. Shortly thereafter, through the Iranian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Iranian Embassy in 

Moscow, the Iranian Consulate-General in 

‘Ishqábad 

made an inquiry as to the status and tenants of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar. This 

investigation proved beneficial, and for some time the complaints and fault-finding of the authorities were modified. Then, in 193 6, 

the Government stirred up further difficulties, and imposed heavy and unnecessary repairs, thinking the Baha’i community would be 

utterly unable to comply with the requirements and a legal means would thus be 

 

CURRENT BAHA’i ACTIVITIES 



 

89 


 

furnished to take the Temple away from the Bahá’is. The Assembly, however, asked for aid from the believers throughout Turkistân 

and the Caucasus, and as a result of their self-sacrifice the repairs were made.’  

“The authorities then tried another plan, as follows: Surrounding the Temple, the Friends had established schools for boys and girls, a 

library, an office, and Haziratu’lQuds; and a long time since, the authorities had taken over the schools and the library building. Now, 

with the excuse that the children had no playground, they sought to appropriate the main section of the Temple gardens, build a wall 

around the Temple and leave to the Friends only the Temple building itself and the Haziratu’l-Quds; and they planned to close the 

garden gate, which faces the main thoroughfare of the city and has always been opened to believer and non- believer alike, and oblige 

all those desiring entry to the Temple to go around by a side street. The Local Assembly remonstrated with the authorities and after 

considerable effort persuaded them to abandon their plan and continue on the same basis as before. Finally in 1936 after all sorts of 

pretexts and complaints, the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár was given over to the Friends for an unspecified period, on condition that they make 

repairs as required by the city and pay the taxes and insurance. During the past six or seven years the Assembly has been constantly 

negotiating with the authorities as to the Temple, and through Divine Confirmations has been able to protect it in every way. When the 

Friends were imprisoned it became clear to what extent the authorities were displeased with us.”  

“According to Soviet law, every religious community which numbers fifty members of both sexes over eighteen years of age, can 

petition the authorities for recognition, that is, for the right to have a place of worship and administration. Now, if the number of 

Bahá’is in ‘Ishqábád should fall below fifty, the Government can take over the Temple. At present only a few Bahá’is are left, women 

and children and a few old men; and even if there are as many as fifty women left there and two or three old men, yet because of their 

helplessness and ignorance of the law they will be unable to protect the Mashriqu’l-Adhkãr.” 

 

“According to recently received information, the Soviet Government has taken over the Temple, has turned it into an art gallery, and is 



keeping it in its original condition. For there are no longer any BahI’is in ‘Ishqábád.”  

“As to the Caucasus, recent news is that throughout all that region Spiritual Assemblies and all administrative institutions have, as a 

result of terrific pressure from the Government, been done away with, and the Haziratu’l-Quds has been taken over. Only in Báká is 

there a Spiritual Assembly, and the Haziratu’l-Quds there is in the hands of the Friends. The membership of the BIkia Assembly has in 

two years been elected three times, for this reason, that the first members were all arrested and exiled to Siberia, whereupon the 

Friends elected nine more believers and these too were seized and exiled. The third group to be elected, now serving on the Assembly, 

are mostly women. The Friends there are suffering terribly from lack of the means of livelihood and every sort of hardship, and they 

assist one another like members of one household.  

“The persecuted Bahá’is of ‘Ishqábád and elsewhere who at the Guardian’s direction and in spite of every affliction stood firm in 

‘Ishqábád to protect the Bahá’i world’s first Temple, were before the first of the year 



95, 

by the Soviet Government’s refusal to give 

them residence permits, gradually exiled to Iran. In February, 1938, that government imprisoned at least five hundred Bahá’i men 

throughout Turkistán, most of whom have been in prison over fifteen months in ‘Ishqábad, Mary, etc., under terrible conditions. Some 

have died under torture, from starvation and other effects of prison life. No recent news has reached us and we do not know what 

future awaits the survivors.  

“Six hundred refugees—women, girls, children and a few old men—have successfully reached Iran. Most of these are now in Mash- 

had, while others have dispersed throughout the country. Those who had to travel were given their expenses and a letter of 

introduction to the LocalAssembly at their destination.  

“Their state is pitiful beyond description. All were substantial citizens in their own country. Then the men were taken prisoner and 

they had to sell all they had—houses, 

 

90 



 

THE BAHA’I WORLD 

 


rugs, furniture. Then, obliged to emigrate, they brought in their last trifling possessions and sold them here for bread, 

and are now destitute.” 

 

IN 


the lifetime of many still active Bahá’is the entire course of the development of the Cause in Europe, America 

and Australia and New Zealand has unrolled. They have witnessed, and contributed to, its growth from the first pioneer 

teacher or family through the stages of groups, local communities and finally that of the unified national community 

with its National Spiritual Assembly. Those who first set forth carried in their souls the fiery conviction that the Báb 

had come to this age as a Manifestation to summon the peoples for acceptance of the Promised One of all religions; that 

Bahá’u’llah had come in that mighty Station to unify the races, the nations, the classes and the sects of mankind. Under 

the guidance and protection of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá they achieved oneness in their devotion to Him as the Center of 

Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant. Their kind Shepherd led them along the path of unity as rapidly as they could advance. His 

Will and Testament, however, disclosed the whole path and its consummation in world institutions, the Guardian and 

the House of Justice. Since 1922 the Bahá’js have achieved one of the greatest social adjustments in human history by 

their cooperation in the establishment of the pattern of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh. Nothing short of a miracle 

could have raised up such strong foundations for this order in Australia and New Zealand as the result of the labors of 

two Bahá’is, themselves Americans and therefore of the generation of those who had learned the Message far from its 

Source. Wholly new social attitudes and a new quality of human relationships had to be established before a Bahá’i 

community could come into being. Some background of understanding is necessary before one can perceive in every 

report of Bahá’i activity a sustained victory for the spirit working through the lives of ordinary men and women.  

The following excerpts will convey an 

 

The American Bahá’is made a special contribution for the relief of these unfortunate believers. The friends of Persia, 



however, assumed the real burden of relief. 

 

outline at least of what has been accomplished in this great Western Continent geographically located in the East:  



“The second convention which was held in Sydney, New South Wales, in April, 1937, marked the beginning of a new 

stage of development in the history of the Cause in Australia and New Zealand; so illuminating and instructive were the 

addresses given by the delegates and so powerful was the spirit of dedication animating those present, from that time a 

deeper realization of the responsibility and mission of the Australian and New Zealand Bahá’i community as a 

component part of the world wide Bahá’i community destined in the fullness of time to expand into a glorious new 

civilization, the Bahá’i Commonwealth of nations, intensified the zeal and determination of the believers and lent an 

impetus to their efforts which has produced gratifying results.  

“The teaching field is steadily widening; in all the centers advertised lectures are given regularly; large fireside 

meetings are held by the believers in their homes; opportunities to give the Bahá’i Message on other platforms are 

courted and a wider circulation for our literature is being obtained.  

“In all the centers, increased efforts are being made to gain the attention of the press, and in this we were greatly helped 

by Miss Martha Root on the occasion of her teaching tour of Australia and New Zealand during the first half of 1939. 

Miss Root obtained more press publicity for the Cause than we had had previously; indeed, she gave a much needed 

stimulus to our efforts in this direction and we learned much from her methods.  

“The famous Bahá’i teacher arrived in Perth, Western Australia, on January 1 0th, and was given a warm welcome by 

the believers there. The Perth Spiritual Assembly had arranged a fine program and from the first the work went with a 

swing; many new 

 

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CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES 

 

91 



 

contacts were made and a great deal of interest was aroused; the Perth believers themselves being greatly stimulated 

and uplifted by this soul refreshing season of activity and by Miss Root’s inspiring influence.  

“From Perth, Miss Root went to Adelaide, Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney. In Adelaide, in addition to the radio 

broadcasts and the lectures arranged for and widely advertised by the Spiritual Assembly, Miss Root spoke to the 

Spiritual Mission Church, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the Radiant Health Club, the Theosophical 

Society, at many informal gatherings and at a reception held at the Hotel Grosvenor.  

“Mr. and Mrs. Hawthorne and Miss Hilda Brooks of Adelaide accompanied Miss Root to Tasmania and Melbourne, 

and the little group of four traveling to promote the Bahá’i Faith, awakened considerable interest and gained publicity 

and press notices for the Cause. Miss Gretta Lamprill, sole believer in Tasmania at that time, and Miss Eloise Jensen, 



who became enrolled during the visit, were overjoyed to see them, as never before had there been such a number of 

Bahá’is together in Tasmania. Miss Jensen was enrolled at a httle meeting of the Bahá’is held at the hotel where the 

party was accommodated. The occasion was celebrated with prayers and joyous thanksgiving; this, it was felt, would be 

the turning point of the Cause in Tasmania and the first of many enrollments. That hopes were justified was proved by 

the enrollment some weeks later of Miss Kitty Crowder. Now these three capable workers have commenced teaching 

activities which are gradually gathering momentum.  

“Miss Lamprill had arranged for Miss Root to give several broadcasts and to speak at three High Schools, the 

Spiritualistic Church, the Workers’ Education Association, the Lyceum Club, the Theosophical Society, the Esperantist 

Association, the Rotary Club, the Bellerive, Sandford Country Women’s Association, and two public meetings in 

Hobart and one in Launceston. Great interest was evinced by all who heard the addresses and the little group of 

believers was 

 

delighted with the result of the teaching campaign in Tasmania.  



“In Melbourne, through the efforts of the indefatigable Secretary, Mrs. Wheeler, doors were magically opened and 

warm invitations for Miss Root to address meetings were received. In addition to broadcasts and informal talks, Miss 

Root lectured to the ‘Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the Australian Church, the Writers’ 

Cultural Club, Trinity Grammar School, Chinese Women’s Society, Esperanto Club, Women’s League of Health, 

Journalists’ Luncheon, Kilvington Girls’ School and the Unitarian Church.  

“The Sydney friends had been eagerly preparing for Miss Root’s visit and had arranged for broadcasts, receptions, 

interviews and public meetings. In addition, Miss Root delivered addresses at the Millions Club, the United 

Association, the English Speaking Union, the Board of Social Study and Training, the Women’s League of Health, the 

Quota Club, Australian League of Nations, Esperanto Society, the Rotary Club, Journalists’ tea, the Newport W.E.A. 

Summer School, the Feminist Club, the Y.M.C.A., the Women’s League of Health, and the Fellowship of Australian 

Writers.  

“In Adelaide, South Australia, a Bahá’i youth group has been formed and steady development maintained, the members 

are enthusiastic and bring their friends to the meetings to hear the Bahá’i Message. Australian youth are excellent 

material for Bahá’i teachers to work upon, for on the whole they are singularly unprejudiced in their outlook and the 

Bahá’i teachings make instant appeal to them.  

“The Summer School held at ‘Bolton Place,’ Yerrinbool, New South Wales, the summer residence of Mr. and Mrs. 

Stanley Bolton of Sydney and lent and dedicated by them for the school sessions, is becoming a source of pride and joy 

and high hopes are entertained for its future development and usefulness.  

“Arrangements are under the direction of a committee and two successful sessions have already been held, the first in 

January, 1938, the second in January, 1939.” 

 

92 


 

THE BAHA’I WORLD 

 

BAHA’i ACTIVITIES IN INDIA AND BURMA  



THE 

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’is of India and Burma has adopted a Six-Year Teaching Plan in order 

to intensify and direct the expansion of the Cause in those countries throughout the remainder of the first century of the 

Bahá’i Era. Indeed, the whole Bahá’i world has become profoundly conscious of the need to enlarge the scope of its 

teaching work and deepen its understanding of the importance of the mission entrusted to the followers of Bahá’u’lláh 

if the believers are to fulfil their collective responsibility to God. The inspiration emanating from the Guardian, as 

given instruments in such works as The Unfoldment of World Civilization and The Advent of Divine Justice, has 

stimulated the Bahá’is and given them clearer realization of the significance of the year 1944 in the evolution of a 

Dispensation that is to have effect through successive cycles of future Manifestations for more than four hundred 

thousand years. Moreover, the Bahá’is have come to realize that there must be growth in all parts of the worldwide 

community, since the future central institutions of the Faith are to rest upon the pillars of the National Spiritual 

Assemblies of East and West.  

The dear friends of India and Burma are associated with both the East and the West, and from this fact they seem 

destined to play a great role in the drama of human unity and universal peace.  

To cite some of the important passages in their bulletins and reports:  

“It was one year after our American brothers and sisters have launched their Seven-Year Plan of Teaching that the N. S. 

A. of India and Burma on a recommendation by the 10th Annual Convention, adopted a Six-Year Plan of Teaching. It 

at first aimed at making each local Assembly responsible to establish another Assembly in a nearby town; but later our 

beloved Guardian suggested that the chief aim of the Plan should be to find volunteer teachers for settlement in places 


where the Divine Faith has not yet been established. These teachers will make these places either their permanent 

places of business or they will stay so long as to form a local Spiritual Assembly or at 

 

least a group of confirmed believers who will evolve themselves into an Assembly in due course. In the 11th Convention therefore the 



two chief aims of the Plan were clearly defined and a Committee was formed to concentrate their whole energy towards the successful 

prosecution of the Plan.  

“Ever since the inauguration of the Six- Year Plan of Teaching the band of the Bahá’is of India and Burma concentrated their efforts 

to carry out the wishes of their beloved Guardian expressed in almost all his epistles. They have been directing all their energy to the 

successful accomphshment of this vital issue. Both the local Spiritual Assemblies and individual believers have been trying their 

utmost, and we are sure that in a short time many of the faithful servants of Bahã’u’lláh will leave their homes and go to live in places 

where the light of the Beloved Faith has not yet penetrated. The number of such souls no doubt is small but we have full belief in the 

might of Bahá’u’lláh, and as the Divine Faith from its very inception has penetrated the world without any material aid, so will it now 

give far greater results than the efforts of the friends would vouchsafe. We are giving below some of the efforts that the friends are 

making in this connection.  

“BoMuAv—An important public meeting was held in the Municipal Hall, Kalyan (an important town in the vicinity), when Mr. 

Ganesh Krishna Phadke, B.A., Member Legislative Assembly, presided. The hall was overflowing, the audience including among 

others Mr. M. P. Oka, President of the Kalyan Municipality, members of the Legislative Assembly, school teachers, professors and 

notables of the town.  

“After the opening prayers by Mr. Ilmi and Miss Penn Boman, Mr. H. M. Manji spoke on the 

New History. 

He was followed by 

Prof. N. K. Bhagwant, M.A., who spoke on 

Essentials of a Universal Religion. 

Mr. M. H. Ilmi gave an explanation of 



Salvation 

or 


Mu/sE 

or 


Nijat. 

Mrs. Shirin Fozdar spoke on 



The Need of the Present Day. 

She said that although many progressive 

movements have sprung up, Bahá’u’lláh stands first to initiate the principles of life. 

 

CURRENT BAHA’t ACTIVITIES 



 

+ + 


 

Recently purchased site of the prospective Haziratu’l-Quds to be erected in Cairo, Egypt. The X in the upper right side 

indicates the actual site. 

 

‘No progressive movement,’ she said, ‘had come into existence before the rise of the Bahi’i Faith in 1844 




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