The friends must overlook their shortcomings and faults and speak only of their virtues…This is the conduct …of the real Baha’is. I hope that all the believers will attain to this lofty station. – ‘Abdu’l-Baha
But before leaving Baghdad, Bahá’u’lláh and his companions camped in a garden outside the city for 12 days. In this garden, which is called the Garden of Ridvan (or Paradise), Bahá’u’lláh announced to his followers that he was the Great Prophet that the Báb had spoken of earlier. He also told them that he was the Promised One of all religions. He was the prophet foretold by all the Holy Books of the past religions, the one who would bring teachings that would help humanity live in peace and unity. In Istanbul, Bahá’u’lláh’s wisdom and loving personality attracted many people. His jealous enemies again decided to send him away to another place called Adrianople. From there, the government sent him and his family and a few of his followers to the Prison City of ‘Akká in the Holy Land, then called Palestine, and today known as Israel.
At that time, the city of ‘Akká was a very filthy place with an unhealthy climate. The whole city was a prison reserved for murderers and thieves who would spend the rest of their lives there. For nine years, Bahá’u’lláh could not leave this Prison City. But gradually everything changed and, as Bahá’u’lláh once again touched the hearts of the people, he was allowed to leave ‘Akká. Altogether, he spent 40 years of his life in exile. Bahá’u’lláh loved children and was always very kind to them. The following story describes a young boy’s encounter with Bahá’u’lláh when He was in the mountains of Sulaymániyyah:
While living on a mountain named Sar-Galu above Sulaymániyyah, Bahá’u’lláh encountered one day a student from the school in Khaniqah sitting by the road and weeping bitterly. When asked the reason for his sadness, the boy explained: ‘Today, our schoolmaster gave all the other boys a copy to practice their writing, but me he dismissed and I have no copy.’ ‘If you will bring your paper and pen,’ Bahá’u’lláh suggested kindly, ‘I shall set a copy for you.’ When, on returning to his school, the child showed this specimen of Bahá’u’lláh‘s exquisite penmanship to the teachers and students, everyone was astonished…
Like all the former prophets, Bahá’u’lláh taught his followers, who are called the Bahá’ís, to live a holy life. He told them to be kind, generous, forgiving, caring, patient, honest, confident, strong, happy, and loving. He told them to respect their parents, to care for the poor, to visit the sick, and to pray and meditate every day. He taught them to love the great prophets of the past and to be kind, friendly, and respectful to their followers. He told them to study science, the arts, music, and, above all, to learn about God and to know why He created them. Bahá’u’lláh said that the reason for our lives here on earth is to learn the virtues. This will help us live a better life on earth and after we die. He also said that the education of children is very important. He told his followers to strive to remove all kinds of prejudice from their lives. The teachings of Bahá’u’lláh that are revealed in his many books and tablets (letters) are aimed at bringing about peace, harmony, and unity among all the people of the world (From the Story of the Prophets, pp. 42-44).
- Where did Baha’u’llah and His companions camp before leaving Baghdad? How long did they stay there?
- What did Baha’u’llah announce to His followers there?
- Where was Baha’u’llah sent from Baghdad?
- Why was He sent to Adrianople?
- Where was He sent from Adrianople?
- Describe the city of Akka at the time of Baha’u’llah.
- How long was Baha’u’llah in exile?
- What are some of teachings of Baha’u’llah?
Spiritual Teachings of Baha’u’llah
Importance of music in the Baha’i Faith
It is incumbent upon each child to know something of music. -‘Abdu’l-Baha
We have permitted you to listen to music and singing…We have made music a ladder by which souls may ascend to the realm on high. –Baha’u’llah
‘Abdu’l-Bahá too has praised music and singing, in several Tablets. In one of these He writes:
Singing and music are the spiritual food of the hearts and souls. In this dispensation, music is one of the arts that is highly approved and is considered to be the cause of the exaltation of sad and desponding hearts.
-The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh vol. 3, p. 368
A Story about ‘Abdu’l-Baha
Being with ‘Abdu’l-Baha made a person very happy. It also helped to make one a better person. One of the pilgrims to ‘Akka felt that she could never again feel anything but love for another human being. Yet one afternoon, while she was in the Holy Land in her room with two of her friends, she spoke unkindly about another friend.
While they were sitting together, ‘Abdu’l-Baha returned from visiting the poor and the sick. Immediately He sent for one of the people who had heard the unkind words spoken. He told her that while He was away someone had spoken unkindly about another person. And He told her it made Him sad that Baha’is should not love one another, or that they should speak against any one. He told her, too, not to speak of it, but to pray.
A little later everyone went to supper. The unkind friend was not aware of the wrong she had spoken until her eyes met those of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, so full of gentleness an kindness. His eyes spoke to her. Suddenly, she was aware that she had done wrong, and she burst into tears. He did not take notice of her for a while. Supper continued while she wept over what she had done.
After a few moments, ‘Abdul-Baha turned and smiled at her and spoke her name several times as though He were calling her to Him. In an instant she was filled with sweet happiness. In her heart she felt sure He would forgive her and help her to become more loving toward others. (Stories About ‘Abdu’l-Baha, p. 9)
Children giving to the Baha’i Fund
It was the Birthday of Baha’u’llah and the Baha’is of Nagpur, in India, who had gathered to celebrate the occasion, were in high spirits. There was special excitement among the children who were waiting for the time when the chairman would announce that their turn had come.The children had been waiting for this day for a long time, to see how much money they had collected for the House of Worship. They had each been given a small earthen pot with a slit on top and asked to put money in it for the Temple Fund. They were also told that they could break their pots on the Birthday of Baha’u’llah to see how much money they had collected.
When the time came for the pots to be broken, each child came forward in turn and banged his or her pot on the ground. Almost every pot had been completely filled, and the scattered coins were eagerly collected and piled up. Excitement rose as pot after pot was broken, the adults enjoying the fun as much as the children. At the end, the older children helped to count the money and all of them were proud to know they had collected so much for the Temple.
Virtue of the week: Love
Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.’ -Baha’u’llah
O Friend, in the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love. –Hidden Words of Baha’u’llah
By the exercise of love, love strengthens and enmities dwindle away. -Abdu’l-Baha.
For hate is not conquered by hate; hate is conquered by love. This is a law eternal. –The Buddha
- How can we show love for others?
- How can we overcome feelings of animosity that we may have for someone?