Excerpts from the sacred Writings of the Baha'i Faith: Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha, and Letters of Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice

August 19

He rejoices to hear that through the influence of your devout and Christian parents and family your life has been guided by the Hand of God, until you have now received and accepted the message of God in this Day and the inspired teachings of the Bahá’í revelation.

You are indeed most blessed through receiving at this time in your life, when you are entering upon the full responsibilities and duties of manhood—these sacred teachings and principles—which should be an inspiration to you to put forth your utmost efforts to draw other souls into this radiant light.

As you realize, these principles can only be rendered attractive when they are exemplified by a life lived wholly in accordance with these heavenly counsels. Then they will have their full effect… 
- Shoghi Effeni  (From a letter dated 12 April 1927, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; ‘Messages to Canada’)

August 18

Secluded on the heights of a remote and dangerously situated mountain on the frontiers of the Ottoman and Russian empires; imprisoned within the solid walls of a four-towered fortress; cut off from His family, His kindred and His disciples; living in the vicinity of a bigoted and turbulent community who, by race, tradition, language and creed, differed from the vast majority of the inhabitants of Persia; guarded by the people of a district which, as the birthplace of the Grand Vizir, [Hájí Mírzá Aqásí] had been made the recipient of the special favors of his administration, the Prisoner of Máh-Kú [the Báb] seemed in the eyes of His adversary to be doomed to languish away the flower of His youth, and witness, at no distant date, the complete annihilation of His hopes. That adversary was soon to realize, however, how gravely he had misjudged both his Prisoner and those on whom he had lavished his favors. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

August 17

Shoghi Effendi wishes me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated June 19th 1926. The sentiment it expressed, the feeling it revealed, the words used all seemed to go down into one’s heart. Here stands the Bahá’í Cause with absolute need of true and ardent servants who are ready to raise its call and invite the heedless people to the acceptance of its teachings. Few are those who have already taken their allegiance to the Master. But even smaller in number is that group of those who have also the freedom to go out and teach it to others.

There is, however, one hope. God is not heedless to the sighings of the soul. When we desire such an altruistic thing, when we pray for it ardently and truly seek some outlet for the realization of our hopes, sooner or later the occasion will present itself. We are told that the way to Paradise is thorny, but we are also assured that if we persist we shall attain it and obtain our victory. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 9 August 1926 to an individual believer; ‘Messages to Canada’)

August 16

…he [the governor of Isfahan] succeeded in insuring for Him [the Báb] a brief respite of four months in the privacy of the Imárat-i-Khurshíd, the governor’s private residence in Isfáhán. It was in those days that the host expressed the desire to consecrate all his possessions, evaluated by his contemporaries at no less than forty million francs, to the furtherance of the interests of the new Faith, declared his intention of converting Muhammad Sháh, of inducing him to rid himself of a shameful and profligate minister, [Hájí Mírzá Aqásí] and of obtaining his royal assent to the marriage of one of his sisters with the Báb. The sudden death of the Mu’tamíd, [the governor] however, foretold by the Báb Himself, accelerated the course of the approaching crisis. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

August 15

Whenever Shoghi Effendi visits the Blessed Shrines, and kneels at those Sacred Thresholds, he earnestly prays and asks God to help the friends in this great work and pave the way for their service. Had it not been for his tremendous work, Shoghi Effendi would have written to the friends individually and nerved them to action. Yet his correspondence with the Assemblies does not permit him as yet to attend to the letters of the individual friends, so he tells us who are around him to take up that part of his work and put on paper what he communicates to us orally. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated January 1926 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; ‘Messages to Canada’)

August 14

Every drop of blood shed by the valiant martyrs, every sigh heaved by the silent victims of oppression, every supplication for divine assistance offered by the faithful, has released, and will continue mysteriously to release, forces over which no antagonist of the Faith has any control, and which, as marshalled by an All-Watchful Providence, have served to noise abroad the name and fame of the Faith to the masses of humanity in all continents, millions of whom had previously been totally ignorant of the existence of the Faith or had but a superficial, and oft-times erroneous, understanding of its teachings and history. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 26 January 1982; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

August 13

A basic and vital requirement of these days is the matter of educating the boys and girls. One of the duties devolving upon the members of Spiritual Assemblies is that, with the support of the friends, they should exert all their powers to establish schools for the instruction of boys and girls in the things of the spirit, the fundamentals of teaching the Faith, reading the Sacred Writings, learning the history of the Faith, the secular branches of knowledge, the various arts and skills, and the different languages -- so that Bahá'í methods of instruction will become so widely known that children from every level of society will seek to acquire divine teachings as well as secular knowledge in Bahá'í schools, and thereby means for the promotion of the Cause of God will be provided. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 19 December 1923 written by Shoghi Effendi to the Local Spiritual Assembly of Tihran, Iran - translated from the Persian; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Baha’i Education)

August 12

If the younger Bahá'í generation, in whom Shoghi Effendi has great hopes, take the pain of studying the Cause deeply and thoroughly, read its history, find its underlying principles and become both well informed and energetic, they surely can achieve a great deal. It is upon their shoulders that the Master has laid the tremendous work of teaching. They are the ones to raise the call of the Kingdom and arouse the people from slumber. If they fail the Cause is doomed to stagnation.... 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi dated 26 April 1923 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India and Burma; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. II, Youth)

August 11

The Sacred Books are full of allusions to this new dispensation. In the book of Iqán, Bahá'u'lláh gives the key-note and explains some of the outstanding passages hoping that the frie
nds will continue to study the Sacred Books by themselves and unfold the mysteries found therein.

The people, failing to comprehend the meaning of the symbols and the truth of the Sacred Verses, thought them to be myths and unrealizable dreams. It is the duty of the friends who have been endowed by Bahá'u'lláh with the power of discernment to study these Sacred Books, ponder upon their passages and teach the disheartened people of the earth the treasures of knowledge they enclose. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 11 March 1923 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, The Importance of Deepening Our Knowledge and Understanding of the Faith)

August 10

…Bahá’ís must draw on a deep understanding of the process by which humanity’s spiritual life evolves. Bahá’u’lláh’s writings provide insights that can help to elevate discussion of religious issues above sectarian and transient considerations. The responsibility to avail oneself of this spiritual resource is inseparable from the gift of faith itself. “Religious fanaticism and hatred”, Bahá’u’lláh warns, “are a world-devouring fire, whose violence none can quench. The Hand of Divine power can, alone, deliver mankind from this desolating affliction.…” Far from feeling unsupported in their efforts to respond, Bahá’ís will come increasingly to appreciate that the Cause they serve represents the arrowhead of an awakening taking place among people everywhere, regardless of religious background and indeed among many with no religious leaning. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (Naw-Ruz 2005; forward to “One Common Faith”, a document commissioned by and prepared under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice)

August 9

From the point of view of wealth and influence, “the world” of 1900 was Europe and, by grudging concession, the United States. Throughout the planet, Western imperialism was pursuing among the populations of other lands what it regarded as its “civilizing mission”. In the words of one historian, the century’s opening decade appeared to be essentially a continuation of the “long nineteenth century”, an era whose boundless self-satisfaction was perhaps best epitomized by the celebration in 1897 of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee, a parade that rolled for hours through the streets of London, with an imperial panoply and display of military power far surpassing anything attempted in past civilizations. 
(From ‘Century of Light’, a document prepared under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice and published in 2001)

August 8

When it is proposed to put a matter to the vote, a member of the Assembly may feel that there are additional facts or views which must be sought before he can make up his mind and intelligently vote on the proposition. He should express this feeling to the Assembly, and it is for the Assembly to decide whether or not further consultation is needed before voting. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 6 March 1970; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

August 7

Whichever obligatory prayer is chosen to be used should be followed in full. If one cannot perform the postures necessary in connection with the long obligatory prayer, he may choose another if ill, or just the very short one. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 12 July 1955 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; included in a compilation: ‘Exemption from Obligatory Prayer’, prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice)

August 6

Shoghi Effendi in "The Promised Day is Come", p. 65, states:
Queen Victoria, it is said, upon reading the Tablet revealed for her remarked: "If this is of God, it will endure; if not, it can do no harm."...

In response to a question addressed to Shoghi Effendi about Queen Victoria's reported statement, his secretary, in a letter dated 21 February 1942 written on his behalf, indicated that:

But as we have no written statement to this effect, we cannot be sure about it. We do not know where the original of this statement is. Bahá'u'lláh praised her acts, but she did not turn to Him. 
(Memorandum from the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice dated 20 November 1989)

August 5

As regards the questions about the proper use of the Long Obligatory Prayer: All the writings of the Faith may be read and should be read for the instruction and inspiration of the friends. This includes the specific prayers. If a believer is physically incapable of performing the genuflexions accompanying one of the prayers, and yet he longs to say it as an obligatory prayer, then he may do so. By physically incapable is meant a real physical incapacity which a physician would attest as genuine. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 17 February 1955 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a Local Spiritual Assembly; included in a compilation: ‘Exemption from Obligatory Prayer’, prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice)

August 4

Bahá'ís should obviously be encouraged to preserve their inherited cultural identities, as long as the activities involved do not contravene the principles of the Faith. The perpetuation of such cultural characteristics is an expression of unity in diversity. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 26 May 1982, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. III, Cultural Diversity in the Age of Maturity)

August 3

As regards the questions of tribal practice, the Guardian wishes you to be extremely forbearing and patient in weaning the Bahá'ís away from their old customs. This can only be done by taking each case individually as it comes up, using the greatest wisdom and kindness, and not trying rigorously to impose all Bahá'í laws in every detail at this time. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 8 August 1957, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a National Spiritual Assembly; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. III, Cultural Diversity in the Age of Maturity)

August 2

As the Baha'i Administrative Order rapidly expands throughout the world it behoves everyone associated with it to familiarize himself with its principles, to understand its import and to put its precepts into practice. Only as individual members of Local Spiritual Assemblies deepen themselves in the fundamental verities of the Faith and in the proper application of the principles governing the operation of the Assembly will this institution grow and develop toward its full potential. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 11 August 1970; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

August 1

In the words of the beloved Guardian: "... when they are called upon to arrive at a certain decision, they should, after dispassionate, anxious, and cordial consultation, turn to God in prayer, and with earnestness and conviction and courage record their vote and abide by the voice of the majority, which we are told by our Master to be the voice of truth, never to be challenged, and always to be wholeheartedly enforced."

As soon as a decision is reached it becomes the decision of the whole Assembly, not merely of those members who happened to be among the majority. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 6 March 1970; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)