Welcome to the Month of Knowledge 171
In this issue – The Birth of the Bab
Click on the title of the articles you wish to read:
The Bab’s First Day At School
The first day that they brought him [the Báb] to me at the school, I wrote down the alphabet for him to learn, as is customary with children. After a while I went out on business. On my return, I heard, as I approached the room, someone reading the Qur’án in a sweet and plaintive voice. Filled with astonishment, I entered the room and enquired who had been reading the Qur’án. The other children answered <pointing to His Holiness [the Báb]>”He was.
“Have you read the Qur’án?” I asked. He was silent. “It is best for you to read Persian books,” said I, putting the Hákku’l-Yakín [of Muhammad Báqir Mailisi] before him, “read from this.” At whatever page I opened it, I saw that he could read it easily. “You have read Persian,” said I; “Come, read some Arabic; that will be better.” So saying, I placed before him the Sharh-i-amthila.
When I began to explain the meaning of the Bismi’lláh to the pupils in the customary manner, he asked, “Why does the word Rahmán include both believers and infidels, while the word Rahimapplies only to believers?” I replied, “Wise men have a rule to the effect that<extension of form implies> extension of meaning, and Rahmán contains one letter more that Rahim.”
He answered, “Either this rule is a mistake, or else that tradition which you refer to ‘Alí is a lie.” “What tradition?” I asked. “The tradition” replied he, “which declares that King of Holiness to have said: “The meanings of all the Sacred Books are in the Qur’án, and the meanings of the whole Qur’án are in the Súratu’l-Fátiha, and the meanings of the whole Súratu’l-Fátiha are in the Bismi’lláh, and the whole meaning of the Bismi’lláh is in the <initial letter> B, and the meaning of the B is in the point <under the B>, and the point is inexplicable.”
On hearing him reason thus subtilely I was speechless with amazement, and led him back to his home. His venerable grandmother came to the door. I said to her, “I cannot undertake the instruction of this young gentleman,” and told her in full all that had passed.
Addressing him, she said, “Will you not cease to speak after this fashion? What business have you with such matters? Go and learn your lessons.” “Very well,” he answered, and came and began to learn his lessons like the other boys. He even began with the alphabet, although I urged him not to do so. (this version of the story was attributed to Shaykh ‘Abid himself, in E.G.Browne, Jadíd, pp. 262-64)
The following is a prayer that the Báb revealed for His wife after the passing of their young son Ahmad. The Father did not lament his loss. He consecrated his death by words such as these:
O God, my God! Would that a thousand Ishmaels were given Me, this Abraham of Thine, that I might have offered them, each and all, as a loving sacrifice unto Thee.
O my Beloved, my heart’s Desire! The sacrifice of this Ahmad whom Thy servant Ali-Muhammad hath offered up on the altar of Thy love can never suffice to quench the flame of longing in His heart. Not until He immolates His own heart at Thy feet, not until His whole body falls a victim to the cruelest tyranny in Thy path, not until His breast is made a target for countless darts for Thy sake, will the tumult of His soul be stilled.
O my God, my only Desire! Grant that the sacrifice of My son, My only son, may be acceptable unto Thee. Grant that it be a prelude to the sacrifice of My own, My entire self, in the path of Thy good pleasure. Endue with Thy grace My life-blood which I yearn to shed in Thy path. Cause it to water and nourish the seed of Thy Faith. Endow it with Thy celestial potency, that this infant seed of God may soon germinate in the hearts of men, that it may thrive and prosper, that it may grow to become a mighty tree, beneath the shadow of which all the peoples and kindreds of the earth may gather. Answer Thou My prayer, O God, and fulfil My most cherished desire. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the All-Bountiful.”
Hour of the Dawn: The Life of the Báb, by Mary Perkins is finally back in print. Her clear, straightforward and easily readable book about the life of the Báb traces His childhood, youth, marriage and Declaration. In this book you will read stories of the Letters of the Living; the Conference of Badasht; the siege of Shaykh Tabarsi, Nayriz and Zanjan; the trial of the Bab, and finally the story of His martyrdom. Her book makes this gripping and extraordinary story accessible to people of all ages. Once you’ve read it, you’ll be much better prepared to read the Bab’s own Writings and The Dawn-Breakers.
This month we’re featuring a Canadian musician new to me – Jim Styan, composer, musician, visual fabric artist, poet, lyricist, father of seven, lover of humankind, and a humble Bahá’í servant of His Cause!
Jim’s website features 28 albums, representing 455 spirited and melodic songs going back to 1979. His music is a mix of rock, R&B and jazz, driven by his own original lyrical poetry and inspiration quotations from the Bahá’í Writings, on themes such as:
His Bahá’í-Inspired Love Songs are creative, high-spirited rock songs which sound like a musical symphonic orchestra accompanied by lyrics and poetry, expressing the joy and wonder of discovering, learning about and sharing the news of the coming of Bahá’u’lláh.
The more time I spent on his site, the more excited and angry I become in equal measures! Excited by the depth and breadth of the love, patience, research, time and effort he’s put into all these songs! They touch my soul very deeply! And angry because I can’t find anyone who’s singing these incredible songs; or promoting them in the Bahá’í community. Does anyone know how we can get these songs sung and recorded?
His hope is that his library of Bahá’í-inspired songs will be springs of joyous bounties for your devotionals, children’s classes, study circles, academic studies, Feasts, Holy Days and other celebrations, activities, special events and dates at your homes and centres.
The video we’re featuring this month is his Birth of the Bab song – an instrumental with lyrics and guitar chords so you can sing and play along; or learn it to play at your own event!
His site also features incredibly beautiful Bahá’í Writings (Photo Prayers) like these:
You’ll want to see the whole collection here
Dr. Abdu’l-Missagh Ghadirian is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University Health Centre. He’s particularly interested in building bridges between science and religion, particularly as they relate to the meaning of suffering, the mind-soul-body relationship and the interface between spirituality, medicine, science and psychology.
He has spoken in academic conferences and lectured in several universities in North, Central and South America as well as in Europe, Asia, and Australasia. He has done extensive research and published over 130 peer-reviewed articles in scientific and other academic journals and media.
He is the author of several books, including:
Fabric Art by Margo Styan
Margo (Brisebois) Styan was raised on a farm in Southern Saskatchewan. She is a self taught fabric artist. After leaving home Margo worked her way across Canada. She enjoyed exploring and experiencing different lifestyles throughout this diverse country. She married Jim Styan in 1982 and they fostered and then adopted six wonderful children in the Yukon. In 1993 a “miracle” baby was born. Even though all this activity took up a great deal of her time, Styan was able to fit in some time for her fabric art work in the family dining room. In 1998 the family moved to the Okanagan where Margo was finally able to develop her own style of quilted fabric art work wall hangings using many hand dyed fabrics. She now considers that as fulfilling one of her life’s dreams as well as her profession. The Styan’s moved to Bright Angel Park as caretakers just south of Duncan where they are enjoying the climate and especially the warm hospitable people of the Island. Jim is truly her helpmate in this endeavor having dyed many of the fabrics used in her art work. Enjoy!
To watch a slideshow of Margo’s stunning and magnificently beautiful Baha’i inspired scenic and abstract quilted applique fabric art which husband Jim (above) has dyed for her
To see her various collections:
Margo has also co-written and illustrated 3 books for children including photos of her fabricart in each book.
Daily Reflections and Stories for Children:
Each book contains a short passage from the Bahá’í Writings, a simple story and a beautiful painting for each of 19 days all relating to a virtue promote in children a love for reading daily from the scriptures while enabling them to learn about the lives of Bahá’u’lláh (book 3) and ‘Abdu’l-Baha (books 1 and 2). All 3 books are sure to enhance your children’s bedtime devotions!