Friday, April 20, 2018

April 20. On this date in 1958, Mirza Ahmad Sohrab died. He had served as 'Abdu'l-Bahá's secretary and interpreter from 1912 to 1919, and in 1929, with Lewis Stuyvesant Chanler and his wife Julie, formed the "New History Society" in order to propagate the Bahá'í Faith.



April 20. On this date in 1958, Mirza Ahmad Sohrab died. He had served as 'Abdu'l-Bahá's secretary and interpreter from 1912 to 1919, and in 1929, with Lewis Stuyvesant Chanler and his wife Julie, formed the "New History Society" in order to propagate the Bahá'í Faith. For example, aside from accompanying 'Abdu'l-Bahá during his tour of North America in 1912, on December 23, 1918, 'Abdu'l-Bahá sent Ahmad Sohrab to the United States to deliver the Tablets of the Divine Plan, a collection of 14 letters written between September 1916 and March 1917 by 'Abdu’l-Bahá to Bahá’ís in the United States and Canada. These collective letters, along with Bahá’u’lláh’s Tablet of Carmel and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá's Will and Testament were described by Shoghi Effendi as three of the "Charters" of the Bahá’í Faith. Conflict arose when Horace Holley, member of the National Spiritual Assembly, and the New York Spiritual Assembly attempted to gain control of the "New History Society," ultimately resulting in Ahmad Sohrab and the Chanlers' being declared Covenant-breakers around 1939.


On March 31, 1941, the New York Supreme Court dismissed a court case brought by National Spiritual Assembly and Trustees of the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada against Mirza Ahmad Sohrab for the use of the word "Bahá'í." The judge granted a motion to dismiss, stating that "the plaintiffs have no right to a monopoly of the name of a religion. The defendants, who purport to be members of the same religion, have an equal right to use the name of the religion..."

On January 24, 1957, Shoghi Effendi addressed a letter to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States admonishing the Assembly that an unnamed individual "cannot consider himself spiritually a Bahá'í and be associated with the avowed enemies of the Faith such as the New History Society; and that he should discontinue supporting their work or having anything to do with them; otherwise, he will find that he has been deprived wholly of his association with the Bahá'í Cause; in other words, he will not only lose his voting rights, but be outside the Faith."
1394. New History Society--Avowed Enemies of the Faith 
"As regards ..., he should be kindly but firmly admonished by your Assembly that he cannot consider himself spiritually a Bahá'í and be associated with the avowed enemies of the Faith such as the New History Society; and that he should discontinue supporting their work or having anything to do with them; otherwise, he will find that he has been deprived wholly of his association with the Bahá'í Cause; in other words, he will not only lose his voting rights, but be outside the Faith." 
(From a letter of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, January 24, 1957)

April 20. On this date celebrating cannabis culture, it is worth reflecting on `Abdu'l-Bahá's words: "Regarding hashish, you had pointed out that some Persians have become habituated to its use. Gracious God! This is the worst of all intoxicants, and its prohibition is explicitly revealed. Its use causeth the disintegration of thought and the complete torpor of the soul. How could anyone seek this fruit of the infernal tree, and by partaking of it, be led to exemplify the qualities of a monster? How could one use this forbidden drug, and thus deprive himself of the blessings of the All-Merciful?"



April 20. On this date celebrating cannabis culture, it is worth reflecting on `Abdu'l-Bahá's words: "Regarding hashish, you had pointed out that some Persians have become habituated to its use. Gracious God! This is the worst of all intoxicants, and its prohibition is explicitly revealed. Its use causeth the disintegration of thought and the complete torpor of the soul. How could anyone seek this fruit of the infernal tree, and by partaking of it, be led to exemplify the qualities of a monster? How could one use this forbidden drug, and thus deprive himself of the blessings of the All-Merciful?"
1184. The Use of Marijuana, LSD and Other Psychedelic Products 
"In reply to your request of October 24, 1967 that we issue a statement concerning 'the use of marijuana, LSD and other psychedelic products', we have already informed the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States that Bahá'ís should not use hallucinogenic agents, including LSD, peyote and similar substances, except when prescribed for medical treatment. Neither should they become involved in experiments with such substances. 
"Although we have found no direct reference to marijuana in the Bahá'í writings, since this substance is derived from what is considered to be a milder form of cannabis, the species used to produce hashish, we can share with you a translation from the Persian of a Tablet of Abdu'l-Bahá on hashish: 
'Regarding hashish, you had pointed out that some Persians have become habituated to its use. Gracious God! This is the worst of all intoxicants, and its prohibition is explicitly revealed. Its use causeth the disintegration of thought and the complete torpor of the soul. How could anyone seek this fruit of the infernal tree, and by partaking of it, be led to exemplify the qualities of a monster? How could one use this forbidden drug, and thus deprive himself of the blessings of the All-Merciful?... 
'Alcohol consumeth the mind and causeth man to commit acts of absurdity, but ... this wicked hashish extinguisheth the mind, freezeth the spirit, petrifieth the soul, wasteth the body and leaveth man frustrated and lost.'" 
(From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Hawaiian Islands, November 11, 1967)

April 20. On this date in 1986, the Universal House of Justice received an inquiry from the Spiritual Assembly of Guadeloupe "concerning translations into French or Creole using simpler words than the original text."



April 20. On this date in 1986, the Universal House of Justice received an inquiry from the Spiritual Assembly of Guadeloupe "concerning translations into French or Creole using simpler words than the original text."
370. Translation of Bahá'í Literature into Everyday Language-- Simplifications and Paraphrasing Not to be Published as Scripture
"The Universal House of Justice, in response to your letter of 20 April concerning translations into French or Creole using simpler words than the original text, has requested us to send the following three quotations. These make it clear that a quotation in English may be rendered into simple English in order to facilitate its translation into another language or dialect. However, it is not permissible to publish simplifications and paraphrased extracts of Bahá'í Writings as Bahá'í Scripture.
'We have noticed a tendency in a number of countries to attempt to translate Bahá'í literature into the current, easy, everyday language of the country. This, however, should not be an overriding consideration. Many of the Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh and Abdu'l-Bahá are in exalted and highly poetic language in the original Persian and Arabic and you will see, for example, that when translating Bahá'u'lláh's Writings into English the beloved Guardian did not use present-day colloquial English but evolved a highly poetic and beautiful style, using numbers of archaic expressions reminiscent of the translations of the Bible.' (From a letter dated 7 October 1973 written by the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly)
'Obviously teaching literature and books about the Faith can be written in simple English. However, we feel that when the Sacred Writings are published the standard English translation should be used, but there would be no objection to printing alongside it the translation into simple English which should be described as a paraphrase of the Holy Word. Thus, for the people of ... who have difficulty in comprehending standard English, the simple English version would be in the nature of an explanation of the Writings which they could understand. In the case of teaching literature in which quotations from the Writings appear, these could either be paraphrased or a simple English version could be used with the standard version printed as a footnote. This method would also provide a means whereby the people of ... could improve their knowledge and understanding of the English language.' (From a letter dated 20 September 1973 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly)
'It is, of course, permissible to translate Bahá'í Writings into other languages and dialects of languages. It is also possible to simplify or paraphrase the Bahá'í Writings in order to facilitate their translation into languages and dialects having small vocabularies. However, it is not permissible to publish simplifications and paraphrases of Bahá'í Writings as Bahá'í Scripture.'"
(From a letter dated 13 March 1969 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly)
(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the Spiritual Assembly of Guadeloupe, May 13, 1986)
To summarize rules of Bahá'í translations...
Arabic works cannot be translated into Persian.
Persian works cannot be translated into Arabic.
Persian and Arabic works can be translated "into Oriental languages such as Turkish and Urdu."
Persian and Arabic works can be translated into English.
Persian and Arabic works cannot be translated into European languages.
English works can be translated into European languages.
For further reading, please see "Persian, Arabic, and Provisional Translations", "Translation and provisional translations", "Unveiling the Hidden Words, by Diana Malouf: Commentary on "Translating the Hidden Words,' review by Franklin Lewis", a letter dated June 27, 1933 from Shoghi Effendi to Adelbert Mühlschlegel about Bahá'í orthography, a letter dated June 30, 1999 from the Universal House of Justice outlining its procedures for approving provisional as opposed to authorized translations, a letter dated May 13, 1986 from the Universal House of Justice to the Spiritual Assembly of Guadeloupe, and a letter dated February 15, 1957 from Shoghi Effendi to French Bahá'ís.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

April 19. On this date in 1954, Shoghi Effendi appointed the first Auxiliary Board members to serve as deputies of the Hands of the Cause of God for propagation and protection, representing the Hands to Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australasia, and Europe. With the passing of the Hands, the Auxiliary Boards serve under the direction of the Continental Board of Counsellors, which appoints members to the Auxiliary Boards. Auxiliary Board Members for Protection are charged with watching over the security of the Bahá’í Faith, and Auxiliary Board Members for Propagation are responsible for working with the grassroots on the global Plans established by the Universal House of Justice.



April 19. On this date in 1954, Shoghi Effendi appointed the first Auxiliary Board members to serve as deputies of the Hands of the Cause of God for propagation and protection, representing the Hands to Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australasia, and Europe. With the passing of the Hands, the Auxiliary Boards serve under the direction of the Continental Board of Counsellors, which appoints members to the Auxiliary Boards. Auxiliary Board Members for Protection are charged with watching over the security of the Bahá’í Faith, and Auxiliary Board Members for Propagation are responsible for working with the grassroots on the global Plans established by the Universal House of Justice.

Among the Auxiliary Board members appointed was Joel Marangella, who the Orthodox Bahá'í Faith recognizes as the third Guardian, after Shoghi Effendi and Mason Remey.

In 1951, Shoghi Effendi, as Guardian, appointed members to the International Bahá’í Council, naming Mason Remey as the Council's President and describing it as an embryonic international House of Justice.

When Shoghi Effendi passed away in 1957 without having appointed a successor Guardian, as confirmed by a "Unanimous Proclamation of the 27 Hands of the Cause of God", the Hands of the Cause of God elected from among their own nine individuals who would serve as Custodians to help lead the transition of the International Bahá’í Council, into the Universal House of Justice.
In 1961 the International Bahá’í Council was changed to an elected body, with members of all National Spiritual Assemblies voting.

In 1963, the first Universal House of Justice was elected, and its members are elected every five years by members of each Bahá'í National Spiritual Assembly in the world. In practice, the Bahá’í electoral system most closely resembles council democracy as it still exists in Cuba, wherein individuals elect Local Spiritual Assemblies, who then elect National Spiritual Assemblies, who then elect the Universal House of Justice. With no politicking or partisanship allowed, there is little turnover in leadership and Universal House of Justice members almost invariably serve until retirement or death. New members are currently generally elected from the appointed institutions of the Bahá’í administration, particularly the International Teaching Centre. In fact, all of the current members of the Universal House of Justice previously served as members of the International Teaching Centre. In council democracies, these career bureaucrats were known as the nomenklatura.

With the eventual passing of the individual Hands of the Cause of God appointed by Shoghi Effendi and without a Guardian to appoint additional Hands, the Universal House of Justice saw the need for developing an institution for the purpose of performing the Hands' function of protection and propagation of the Faith.

In 1968 the Continental Board of Counselors was formed. The Counselors appoint Auxiliaries collectively referred to as Auxiliary Boards in smaller regional areas, who in turn appoint their own Assistants to work in localities.
Auxiliary Board Members for Protection are charged with watching over the security of the Bahá’í Faith, and Auxiliary Board Members for Propagation are responsible for working with the grassroots on the global Plans established by the Universal House of Justice. Originally, members of the Auxiliary Boards were appointed by and served under the Hands of the Cause of God who directed their efforts worldwide. The first members of the Auxiliary Boards were appointed in 1954, and they were divided into five distinct geographical regions

In 1973 the administrative branch called the Institution of the Counselors was formed. Also in 1973, the International Teaching Centre was first formed by the Universal House of Justice, and originally consisted of the 17 Hands of the Cause still living at that time, plus three Counsellor members. The number of Counsellor members was raised to four in 1979, to seven in 1983, and finally to the current nine in 1988. The Counsellor members of the International Teaching Centre are appointed by the Universal House of Justice to five-year terms that begin shortly after the International Convention and election of the Universal House of Justice.

April 19. On this date in 1941, Shoghi Effendi wrote, "'Abdu'l-Bahá stated that Socrates visited the Jewish doctors and imbibed the wisdom of the Hebrew Prophets. At present in the library here we have no books substantiating this statement. However as we know that the Master asserted its truth, no doubt historical evidence will be forthcoming in the future to support it."




April 19. On this date in 1941, Shoghi Effendi wrote, "'Abdu'l-Bahá stated that Socrates visited the Jewish doctors and imbibed the wisdom of the Hebrew Prophets. At present in the library here we have no books substantiating this statement. However as we know that the Master asserted its truth, no doubt historical evidence will be forthcoming in the future to support it."
'Abdu'l-Bahá stated that Socrates visited the Jewish doctors and imbibed the wisdom of the Hebrew Prophets. At present in the library here we have no books substantiating this statement. However as we know that the Master asserted its truth, no doubt historical evidence will be forthcoming in the future to support it.
(19 April 1941 to an individual believer)

April 19. On this date in 2001, the Universal House of Justice addressed a letter regarding "the timing for the occurrence of the Lesser Peace, in light of your impression that the Bahá'í Writings anticipate its coming before the conclusion of the twentieth century; i.e., the end of December 2000."



April 19. On this date in 2001, the Universal House of Justice addressed a letter regarding "the timing for the occurrence of the Lesser Peace, in light of your impression that the Bahá'í Writings anticipate its coming before the conclusion of the twentieth century; i.e., the end of December 2000."

April 19. On this date in 1941, Shoghi Effendi wrote, "The Bahá’ís must remain non-partisan in all political affairs. In the distant future, however, when the majority of a country have become Bahá’ís then it will lead to the establishment of a Bahá’í State."



April 19. On this date in 1941, Shoghi Effendi wrote, "The Bahá’ís must remain non-partisan in all political affairs. In the distant future, however, when the majority of a country have become Bahá’ís then it will lead to the establishment of a Bahá’í State."