Beliefs

Shoghi Effendi wrote a book called God Passes By, which was not so much a history of the Baha'i Faith as an explanation to Baha'is of the way in which they should see their history: that God has again intervened in human history as He has done in the past; that the events of Baha'i history are part of God's plan for humanity; that world events are to a large extent shaped by this plan; and that reverses in the history of the movement were always followed by even greater successes. This way of seeing history has greatly influenced the Baha'i view of all history.

Opening Words of The Promised Day Is Come,
written by Shoghi Effendi in 1941
A tempest, unprecedented in its violence, unpredictable in its course, catastrophic in its immediate effects, unimaginably glorious in its ultimate consequences, is at present sweeping the face of the earth. Its driving power is remorselessly gaining in range and momentum. Its cleansing force, however much undetected, is increasing with every passing day. Humanity, gripped in the clutches of its devastating power, is smitten by the evidences of its resistless fury. It can neither perceive its origin, nor probe its significance, nor discern its outcome. Bewildered, agonized and helpless, it watches this great and mighty wind of God invading the remotest and fairest regions of the earth, rocking its foundations, deranging its equilibrium, sundering its nations, disrupting the homes of its peoples, wasting its cities, driving into exile its kings, pulling down its bulwarks, uprooting its institutions, dimming its light, and harrowing up the souls of its inhabitants.

Shoghi Effendi also wrote a work called The Promised Day Is Come in which he sets out how Baha'is should view world history from the time that the Babi and Baha'i Faith began. It describes world events as being preparatory for the advent of the new religion up to 1844. Since the rulers of the world rejected the messages that Baha'u'llah sent them in about 1867-1873, Shoghi Effendi considered that the existing world order was disintegrating, with increasing social disorder, conflict, and despair; simultaneously integrating forces (which include the Baha'is but also many others who may not even be aware of the Baha'i Faith) are creating a new world order, based on the Baha'i teachings.

In recent times, more books have appeared with accounts of the lives of Baha'is both from the early period and more recent figures. There have also been a number of books on the early Baha'is in many countries around the world, thus creating a sacred history for each individual country.

Because of the particular features of the Baha'i Faith, the Baha'i community does not look back to an ideal community of the past that it is trying to emulate or recreate, as many religious communities do. Stories of the past are inspirational for Baha'is but there is also a clear vision that the Baha'i community is developing toward an ideal laid down by Baha'u'llah. And so the way that the Baha'i communities of the past operated, even those immediately around the central figures of the movement, is not a guide to how Baha'i communities should function now or in the future.


Study Questions:
     1.     How do the Baha'i scriptures interpret the story of Adam and Eve?
     2.     What is the message behind the stories of the prophets told in the Kitab-i-Iqan (The Book of Certitude)?
     3.     What inspirational role has the book The Dawn-Breakers played?
     4.     Why are there many stories about ‘Abdu’l-Baha in the Baha'i community?
     5.     Do Baha’is consider any Baha'i community of the past to have been an ideal community?

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