Historical "tidbits":

arthra

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I love to study history and so thought it would be good to start a thread on Baha'i history so as we come across something of interest historically we could enter it here... I just found this tidbit about Mount Carmel's history from Ugo Giachery:


Mt. Carmel is about twenty-two miles[*] long and stretches from east to west, coming to an abrupt end on reaching the Bay of Haifa where it presents a steep rampart, falling away to sea level. On the summit of the western end of this rampart the newly-created religious order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel built, in the twelfth century, the monastery Stella Maris, on land granted by King Baldwin of Jerusalem after the conquest of that city in 1099. He was the brother of Godfrey of Bouillon, one of the leaders of the First Crusade. There is no doubt that during all the intervening centuries the voices of those pious monks were raised daily in songs to the Glory of God, invoking the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth. Seven centuries were to elapse before the realization of mankind's hope, with the appearance of Bahá'u'lláh, the Redeemer, on that spot and the establishment of the 'throne' of God on that holy mountain.

* Approximately thirty-five kilometres.

It may also be noted here that in the years to come, on the ridge of that same mountain and very near the monastery, the great Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the Bahá'í Faith will be erected, on land consecrated by the footsteps of the Blessed Beauty, Bahá'u'lláh, land that came into Bahá'í possession through the wise and timely purchase by Shoghi Effendi in 1955, with the munificent assistance of the much-loved and distinguished Hand of the Cause of God and vice-president of the Bahá'í International Council, Mrs. Amelia E. Collins. In the future that holy Temple will be filled with the joyous chants of pilgrims of every race, coming from every continent and from all the lands of the world, singing praise and thanksgiving to the Glory of God.

(Ugo Giachery, Shoghi Effendi - Recollections, p. 209)

___________________________________

After this article I have another one about Mount Carmel that I hope to share.

- Art
 
More about Mount Carmel as quoted from the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

In the fourth century B.C. the neo-Platonic philosopher Iamblicus, in his life of Pythagoras, speaks of Mt. Carmel as "sacred above all mountains and forbidden of access to the vulgar". The great Roman historian, Tacitus, mentions an altar as erected there without temple or image: "tantum ara et reverentia"; and Suetonius, in his "Lives of the Caesars", narrates that before making war against the Jews Vespasian went to Carmel and consulted the oracle of its god. After the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus (A.D. 70), the Jews did not lose sight of the mountain of Carmel and of its connection with Elias.

Source:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03352a.htm
 
Mount Carmel in the Jewish Encyclopaedia:

A well-known mountain ridge in Palestine; ("the garden" or "garden land," with the definite article) is usually given in the Bible. It is known in later Hebrew as , and in modern Arabic as "Kurmul," but more usually "Jabal Mar Elyas." Extending from the plain of Esdraelon to the Mediterranean, it terminates in a steep promontory in that sea, about nine miles south-west of Acre. The formation is of limestone withan admixture of flint. The highest point is 1,742 feet above the sea, and the slope is covered with a luxuriant vegetation. Oaks, pines, olives, and laurels abound.

Carmel is renowned in Jewish history, and occurs frequently in the imagery of the Prophets (Isa. xxxiii. 9, xxxv. 2; Jer. xlvi. 18, 1. 19; Amos i. 2, ix. 3; Micah vii. 14; Nahum i. 4; Song of Solomon vii. 5). It fell to the lot of the tribe of Asher (Josh. xix. 26), "the king of Jokneam of Carmel" being one of the Canaanitish chiefs who was defeated by Joshua (Josh. xii. 22). It is also famous as the place where the prophet Elijah brought Israel back to its allegiance to Yhwh, and where he slew the priests of Baal (I Kings xviii. 40). Here within the numerous grottoes he lived concealed during the reign of Ahab; and here, too, at his word were consumed the two "captains" with their "fifties" (II Kings i. 9-12). Here also Elisha received the visit of the Shunammite woman, whose son he restored to life (II Kings iv. 25).

It is reasonable to suppose that from very early times Carmel was considered a sacred spot. This is evidenced by the facts that an altar to Yhwh existed there before the introduction of the worship of Baal into the kingdom (I Kings xviii. 30); that Elijah chose it for the place of the assembly of the people; and that Elisha visited it from Jericho before going to Samaria (II Kings ii. 25) and even made it his abiding-place (II Kings iv. 23). In later times Pythagoras, according to his biographer Iamblicus, was attracted to it by its sacred reputation; and Vespasian went thither to consult the oracle of God, "without image or temple" (Tacitus, "Hist." ii. 7).

The exact site of the contest between Yhwh and Baal, where fire, descending from heaven, proved the God of Israel to be the true God (I Kings xviii. 17-40), has not been identified. Traditions, preserved in the monastery founded on Mt. Carmel in 1156 by Berthold, count of Limoges, and among the Druses of the neighboring villages, indicate, as the scene, the eastern end of the ridge, at a spot called El-Maharrakah ("the burning").

Source:

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=169&letter=C
 
"Were it not for Akka..."

On my pilgrimage way back in 1975 I visited the Carmelite headquarters at Mount Carmel.. as I recall, in front of the Monastery was an area that memorialized the troops of Napoleon Bonaparte that were left stranded after the French failed to capture the fortress of Akka.

This was not to be the only abandonment by Napoleon of his troops as he later abandoned more on his return from Russia around 1812.

But I wanted to find out what the year was that Napoleon abandoned his troops after his attempt to capture Akka.

Julia Grundy an early Baha'i pilgrim from her notes Ten Days in the Light of Akka (1907) gives an answer:

"To the right we saw the hill Tel el Fukhar upon which Napoleon I planted his batteries and laid siege to ‘Akká in 1799. Unable to overcome it, he abandoned the siege, saying, “My fortune has been arrested by a grain of sand; were it not for ‘Akká I would have conquered the world.”

Source:

http://bahai-library.com/books/tendays/index.html

A Turkish account reads:

"After the last unsuccessful assault, Bonaparte ordered withdrawal on 21 May 1799. Undefeatable French army of the revolution was now defeated. Bonaparte, to conceal his failure, issued a declaration that he had defeated the Turkish army marching toward Egypt and Syria expedition was so finalized, nobody believed him. French soldiers left their heavy weapons and could hardly turn back to Hayfa desperately."

Source:

http://www.ozturkler.com/data_english/0004/0004_30_2.htm

Notice the spelling of "Hayfa" for Haifa.

- Art
 
Good biography of Bahiyyih Khanum:

Bahíyyih Khánum Pronunciation: baw-hee-aw kaw-noom (also Bahá'íyyih Khánum)

The Greatest Holy Leaf, daughter of Bahá'u'lláh , sister of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Designated by Shoghi Effendi as 'the outstanding heroine of the Bahá'í Dispensation', she was born in 1846 in Tihrán. She accompanied Bahá'u'lláh on every stage of His exiles. When a young girl she decided to devote herself to the service of the Faith of her Father; therefore she never married. Following the passing of Bahá'u'lláh , she stood by her brother, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and assisted Him greatly at the time when the activities of the Covenant-breakers were at their height.

Perhaps her greatest hour of service was after the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá when Shoghi Effendi, overwhelmed by the responsibilities thrust upon him, decided to leave the affairs of the Cause in the hands of Bahíyyih Khánum while he retired to recuperate and contemplate the tasks ahead.
Of her character Shoghi Effendi has written: 'A purity of life reflected itself in even the minutest details of her daily occupations and activities; a tenderness of heart that obliterated every distinction of creed, class and colour; a resignation and serenity that evoked to the mind the calm and heroic fortitude of the Báb; a natural fondness of flowers and children that was so characteristic of Bahá'u'lláh ; an unaffected simplicity of manners; an extreme sociability which made her accessible to all; a generosity , a love, at once disinterested and undiscriminating, that reflected so clearly the attributes of 'Abdu'l-Bahá 's character; a sweetness of temper; a cheerfulness that no amount of sorrow could becloud; a quiet and unassuming disposition that served to enhance a thousandfold the prestige of her exulted rank; a forgiving nature that instantly disarmed the most unyielding enemy — these rank among the outstanding attributes of a saintly life which history will acknowledge as having been endowed with a celestial potency that few heroes of the past possessed.'


The Greatest Holy Leaf passed away on 15 July 1932 and is buried under a Shrine in the Monument Gardens on Mount Carmel.

http://bahai-library.com/books/bahiyyih.khanum/156a.jpg
 
Re: Good biography of Bahiyyih Khanum:

Here is my favorite quote of hers. :)

"We ought to show something greater than forgiveness in meeting the cruelties and strictures in our lives. To be hurt and forgive is saintly, but far beyond this is the power to comprehend and not be hurt. This power we may have...acceptance without complaint and it should be associated with our name. We ought never be known to complain or lament. It is not that we would make the best of things, but that we may find in everything, even in calamity, the gems of enduring wisdom. We ought to be as incapable of impatience as one would be of revolt. This not being so much long suffering as a quiet awareness of the forces that operate in the hours of dark or years of waiting and inactivity. Always we ought to move with the larger rhythm, the wider sweep, towards our ultimate goal, in the complete acquiescence, that perfect chord which underlies the spirit of the Faith itself."
Bahiyyih Khanum
 
were it not for ‘Akká I would have conquered the world.”

If he conquered the world there would have been one government and one country? :)
 
Principles of Baha'u'llah for a world parliament:

Postmaster said:
If he conquered the world there would have been one government and one country? :)

That's where dictators have a problem...believing that through conquest they can subject others to their will and control.... Napoleon controlled news media and didn't let on that he had lost thousands and thousands of soldiers in the snows of Russia and to plague. He claimed victories and had medals minted with him as a great conquerer and so on...

While Baha'u'llah was a prisoner in a Turkish Penal Colony of Akka He posed the concept of a world parliament in 1868-1870 to the world powers of His day it was to be a representative democratic parliament where those involved could focus on reducing armaments and lowering taxes for war machines. The total reverse of a Napoleon or a Hitler.

"In His tablets to the Kings Bahá'u'lláh called upon them to assemble and take measures for the maintenance of political peace, the reduction of armaments and the removal of the burdens and insecurity of the poor. But His words make it perfectly clear that their failure to respond to the needs of the time would result in wars and revolutions leading to the overthrow of the old order...."

- from Baha'u'llah and the New Era
 
So you saying there’s a significant symbolic coincidence between Akka, Bahá'u'lláh and Napoleon. Could well be. I'm a true believer in passiveness being a stronger force then aggressiveness..
 
Where Napoleon was humbled, Baha'u'llah triumphed

Hmmmm... I suppose you could say that Akka was where Napoleon with his aggressive forces into the Middle East was humbled, while Baha'u'llah even though a prisoner of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire was eventually able to triumph.

Some people associated Akka with this verse from scripture:

"Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and in the valley of Achor, a door of hope—and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt."

Hosea 2:14, 15

Sort of a spiritual restoration of "Israel" if you will..

Shoghi Effendi in "God Passes By" wrote:

Akká, itself, flanked by the “glory of Lebanon,” and lying in full view of the “splendor of Carmel,” at the foot of the hills which enclose the home of Jesus Christ Himself, had been described by David as “the Strong City,” designated by Hosea as “a door of hope,” and alluded to by Ezekiel as “the gate that looketh towards the East,” whereunto “the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the East,” His voice “like a noise of many waters.” To it the Arabian Prophet had referred as “a city in Syria to which God hath shown His special mercy,” situated “betwixt two mountains … in the middle of a meadow,” “by the shore of the sea … suspended beneath the Throne,” “white, whose whiteness is pleasing unto God.” “Blessed the man,” He, moreover, as confirmed by Bahá’u’lláh, had declared, “that hath visited Akká, and blessed he that hath visited the visitor of Akká.” Furthermore, “He that raiseth therein the call to prayer, his voice will be lifted up unto Paradise.” And again: “The poor of Akká are the kings of Paradise and the princes thereof. A month in Akká is better than a thousand years elsewhere.” Moreover, in a remarkable tradition, which is contained in Shaykh Ibnu’l-‘Arabí’s work, entitled “Futúhát-i-Makkíyyih,” and which is recognized as an authentic utterance of Muhammad, and is quoted by Mírzá Abu’l-Fadl in his “Fará’íd,” this significant prediction has been made: “All of them (the companions of the Qá’im) shall be slain except One Who shall reach the plain of Akká, the Banquet-Hall of God.”
 
Hmmmm... I suppose you could say that Akka was where Napoleon with his aggressive forces into the Middle East was humbled, while Baha'u'llah even though a prisoner of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire was eventually able to triumph.

Exactly!

Bar Kokhba was the only guy to successfully fight off the Romans in Jerusalem which at that time was the only place it happened within whole of the Roman empire, Jews always been proud of there heritage and gave alot of resistance. He was accepted by many Jews to be the promised messiah, in the end the Romans became more determined to gain back what they lost and eventually did pointlessly at the cost of more lives. At the same time there were Jews that accepted Jesus and his message. In the end the passive guys legacy lived on more then anyone could imagine, even accepted by the very people that crucified him.
 
OK.. We can accept Jesus Christ and His message for the time and I think there was a kind of passive resistance to it...for survival, like going the extra mile to carry a burden or turning the other cheek or loving your enemy... this also was along the same lines of Baha'u'llah Who abrogated Jihad or Holy Wars and refused to authorize any organized military defence of the Faith. Baha'is are also non-partisan and avoid partisan politics. Our stance in the military is non-combatant. But we also are supposed to obey the laws of the land and not rebel against authority...

Our long range view is that the nations will eventually see the wisdom of a world parliament and international court of arbitration.

- Art
 
Brief biography of the Bab (Siyyid Ali Muhammad)

The Báb (1819-1850)

Báb, the Gate. The title assumed by Siyyid 'Ali-Muhammad, the Forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh, and Prophet-Founder of the Bahá'í Faith.

Born in Shiráz on 20 October 1819, Siyyid 'Ali-Muhammad was raised by His uncle Hájí Mirzá Siyyid 'Ali, a merchant. As a child, He showed uncommon wisdom, although He received little formal schooling. He became a merchant and earned a high reputation for fairness. In 1842 He married Khadíjih-Bagum and they had one son, Ahmad, who died in infancy. On May 23, 1844, He announced Himself to be the Báb, or "Gate of God" to the Shaykhí disciple Mullá Hussayn-i-Bushrú'í, the first of eighteen individuals who sought and discovered the Báb.

The Báb proclaimed Himself to be the Promised One of Islam, the Qá'ím, and said that the Mission of His Dispensation was to alert the people to the imminent appearance of the Messenger of God awaited by all the peoples of the world.

As the Báb gained followers, His doctrines inflamed the Shí'ih clergy, who determined to stamp out the new faith. Muhammad Sháh's Grand Vazier, Hájí Mírzá Aqásí, imprisoned the Báb in the fortress of Máh-Kú, then, when sympathy for Him spread there, moved Him to Chihríq. In 1848 the Báb was subjected to a trial before a Muslim divines of Tabríz and punishment by bastinado. While the Báb was imprisoned, a group of Bábís met at the Conference of Badasht. It was here that Táhirih boldly exemplified the break with Islám by appearing unveiled in public and that Bahá'u'lláh demonstrated His leadership.

The Báb's followers were subjected to swift and savage persecution at the hands of the dominant Muslim clergy, along with the forces of the Persian government throughout the country, notably in Mázindarán at the fort of Shaykh Tabarsí, Zanján, Nayríz and Tihrán. On July 9, 1850 the Báb was brought before a firing squad in the barracks square of Tabríz, along with a young follower. Some 20,000 of His followers perished in a series of massacres throughout Persia. His remains were hidden by His followers and in 1899 transferred to Palestine where in 1909 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself interred them in the sepulchre on Mount Carmel known as the Shrine of the Bab.

Today, the majestic building with the golden dome, overlooking the Bay of Haifa, Israel, and set amidst beautiful gardens, is the Shrine where the Báb's earthly remains are entombed. Bahá'ís revere the Báb as the Forerunner or Herald of Bahá'u'lláh, but also as a Manifestation of God in His own right, considering His Writings to be Holy Scripture. The beginning of the Bahá'í Era is dated from the day of His declaration. The Declaration of the Báb, His birth and the day of His Martyrdom are observed as Bahá'í Holy Days on which work is suspended.
___________________________
 
1944 Archival material on the Hands of the Cause:

Here are three brief archival presentations by the Hands of the Cause Leroy Ioas, Dorothy Baker and Bill Sears made in 1944:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhjPpDUqp00&mode=related&search=

I've only heard Bill Sears in person and so now I know what Leroy Ioas and Dorothy Baker sounded like...Fantastic! And to see a young looking Bill Sears is also an experience.

- Art
 
Birth of Baha'u'llah November 12th observed:

Baha'is around the world observe November 12th as a Baha'i Holy Day the Birthday of Baha'u'llah Prophety-Founder of the Baha'i Faith. Work and school are suspended on this day.. What follows is a brief outline of the early years of the life of Baha'u'llah from the BBC:

Bahá'u'lláh's early life

Bahá'u'lláh, which means the glory of God in Arabic, was born Mirza Husayn Ali in 1817 into one of Persia's most noble and privileged families.

Education

In his early life he had a relatively limited education (which was normal for the class from which he came). He learned horsemanship (he was known as a fine horseman), swordsmanship, poetry and calligraphy (he was also renowned as an excellent poet and calligrapher).

His Islamic education was strictly non-technical, but despite this, his knowledge of Islam (and of other religions) was far beyond what could have been expected of someone from the wealthy governing class.

This is important because Bahá'u'lláh used his limited education to reinforce his claim to divine revelation. He argued that since he had not spent years studying the Qur'an and Arabic, how else could he be able to write as he did in Arabic? And there is no evidence to suggest that he devised his writings through his own intellectual thoughts.

Contact with the Báb

In 1844, just 3 months after the Báb's declaration, Mulla Husayn carried a scroll of the Báb's to Bahá'u'lláh.

On reading it, Bahá'u'lláh recognised the claims of the Báb and at the age of 27 became his follower.

From then on, although they never met, Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb were in constant correspondence and when the Báb knew that he would soon die, he sent his pens, seals and papers to Bahá'u'lláh.

It was at Bahá'u'lláh's explicit instructions that the remains of the Báb were removed from Tabriz to Tihran and hidden in a place of safety.

Imprisonment

Two years after the Báb's death, Bahá'u'lláh was imprisoned in Tihran, accused of taking part in the attempted assassination of the Shah of Persia.

He was put in stocks and for three days given neither food nor water.

Other Bábis were imprisoned with him and as they sat in chains, Bahá'u'lláh taught them to chant prayers which were heard by the Shah.

The reasons for Bahá'u'lláh's arrest were not straightforward and included:

his stature and influence as the leading member of the Bábi community
the jealousy of the Grand Vizier
the hatred of the Shah's mother, who levelled unjust accusations at Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh's own actions also contributed to his arrest:

he ignored advice to keep himself hidden
he went of his own volition to army headquarters to be arrested

Source:

BBC - Religion & Ethics - History: Early life
 
If he conquered the world there would have been one government and one country? :)

Napoleon was known for grandiose statements, which had little to do with truth.

France was landlocked by the loss of the Mediterranean Toulon Fleet at the Battle of the Nile (Aboukir Bay) where Nelson destroyed or captured all but one of the French line of battleships (the Guilleaume Tell). Once the fleet that linked Napoleon with France was gone, his cause was lost whatever happened outside Akka.

Oddly enough it was a British naval officer (Commodore Sir Sydney Smith) who commanded the resistors in Akka, Turks and British marines and sailors. No matter how successful France might be on land, she was constantly balked by not having command of the seas.

Regards,
Scott
 
A story about Abdul-Baha:

"One story about him remains my favorite because it illustrates both literally and symbolically just what sort of person he was. It occurred when he was probably about 6, at a time when his family, who had descended from nobility, still had wealth. (A few years later, it would be seized by the government and they would all become exiles.)

On the day in question, Abdu'l-Baha was sent out with an adult companion to inspect the work of the shepherds tending his father's sheep. When the inspection was finished and he turned to leave, the man who had accompanied him said, "It is your father's custom to leave a gift for each shepherd."

Abdu'l-Baha grew quiet for a while. He hadn't known or expected this -- and what would he give them?

Then an idea came to him that made him very happy. He would give them the sheep!

When his father heard about this he was, rather than (being) angry or displeased, absolutely delighted with this early evidence of truly spontaneous generosity. He humorously remarked that everyone had better take good care of "Abdu'l-Baha, because someday, he would give himself away.

And that is exactly what history shows that he did, over and over, all while bringing joy everywhere he went."

From an article "Thank you, 'Abdu'l-Baha" by Phillis Edgerly Ring

Source:

Portsmouth Herald Community News: Thank you, 'Abdu'l-Baha
 
Leonid shower of 1866 referred to by Baha'u'llah:

There is a Leonid shower of meteors predicted to occur this weekend in Europe and North America and it roughly is around the time of the birthday of Baha'u'llah which was November 12th.

I'm interested in the association of the stars falling and the history of our Faith...From the Baha'i Writings:

"They say: ‘Have the stars fallen?’ Say: ‘Yea, when He Who is the Self-Subsisting dwelt in the Land of Mystery."

- from Tablets of Baha'u'llah Revealed After the Kitab-i-Aqdas, Pages 101-134: 118 (Ishraqat)

Source:

Bahá'í Reference Library - Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed After the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Pages 101-134

The Land of Mystery was Adrianople so it occurred when Baha'u'llah dwelt there and we learn that from late in 1863 to summer of 1868, Baha'u'llah was resident in Edirne Adrianople.

The Leonids of 1866

The interest of the astronomical world began focusing on the predicted return of the Leonids as the decade of the 1860's began. Most important was Hubert A. Newton's examination of meteor showers reported during the past 2000 years. During 1863, he identified previous Leonid returns from the years 585, 902, 1582 and 1698. During 1864, Newton further identified ancient Leonid displays as occurring during 931, 934, 1002, 1202, 1366 and 1602. He capped this study with the determination that the Leonid period was 33.25 years and predicted the next return would actually occur on November 13-14, 1866.

The expected meteor storm occurred in 1866 as predicted, with observers reporting hourly rates ranging from 2000 to 5000 per hour. The 1867 display had the misfortune of occurring with the moon above the horizon, but observers still reported rates as high as 1000 per hour, meaning the shower may have actually been stronger than in the previous year. Another strong appearance of the Leonids in 1868 reached an intensity of 1000 per hour in dark skies.

Source:

C&MS: Leonid History

Since the 1867 shower was obscured by the moon my guess is that the Leonid shower referred to by Baha'u'llah occurred in November 1866 ... also it was an extremely "heavy" shower at 2000-5000 meteors counted per hour.
 
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