239 Days in America, Day 100: July 19, 1912 | New York

1912: A Year Supreme with Possibilities 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ COULD HARDLY have picked a better time than 1912 to join the conversation about America. “Nineteen twelve,” said Eugene Debs, the Socialist Party’s candidate for President, “is a year supreme with possibilities.” That year marked the highpoint of a flurry of new social movements that had begun two decades earlier…

As ‘Abdu’l-Bahá crossed the country in 1912, the national debate around the Presidential election crystallized the forces of change that had been brimming for twenty years. Woodrow Wilson summed up the challenge facing the American people.

“Now this is nothing short of a new social age,” he said, “a new era of human relationships, a new stage-setting for the drama of life.”

New York City 2

Abdu’l-Bahá continued to explain in a multitude of ways so that all might understand, the object and goal of His endless work and teaching. On July 19, for example, He told the friends:

My weak constitution and excessive work are drawbacks. Otherwise it were possible that many extraordinary souls would have arisen among the friends. As along as such souls do not arise, the real object will not be accomplished. Devotion and capacity to work have been created to some extent in these friends. But the persons whom I mean have different qualities…

They [Mullá Hasan and Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Latif] were deputized by the Mujtahids to see the Blessed Beauty at Mázindarán. The moment they approached Him they were so changed and their reality was so transformed and adjusted that they did not remain indifferent for a moment. After undergoing great troubles and persecutions Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Latif was martyred at the altar of sacrifice. Similarly a blind Indian Sheik became so altered after his meeting the Beloved One that he was always found to be inebriated with joy and happiness. Such persons are required to rise for the Cause of God. Such persons are worthy of the field of service and devotion.

Friday, July 19, 2022 3

A letter was received from Mrs Parsons in Dublin, New Hampshire, begging Him to go there to meet some seekers after truth as well as for a change of surroundings and climate. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, although very tired and weak, spent the afternoon receiving friends and revealing Tablets for the believers. At the evening meeting He spoke about the martyrs of the Faith and visited the son of Varqá, the martyr, Mírzá Valíyu’lláh Khán, who was the recipient of the Master’s loving kindness. He then spoke of the martyrdom of Varqá and his son Rúhu’lláh in a most impressive and dignified manner, paying tribute to and demonstrating His great loyalty to these servants of the threshold of the Blessed Beauty. He then said, ‘It is my last night with you and I exhort you to be loving and united.’ When He finished His talk, all the friends demonstrated their great joy and happiness.

Talk at All Souls Unitarian Church, Fourth Avenue and Twentieth Street, New York, 14 July 1912 4

Still another cause of disagreement and dissension has been the formation of religious sects and denominations. Bahá’u’lláh said that God has sent religion for the purpose of establishing fellowship among humankind and not to create strife and discord, for all religion is founded upon the love of humanity. Abraham promulgated this principle, Moses summoned all to its recognition, Christ established it, and Muḥammad directed mankind to its standard. This is the reality of religion. If we abandon hearsay and investigate the reality and inner significance of the heavenly teachings, we will find the same divine foundation of love for humanity. The purport is that religion is intended to be the cause of unity, love and fellowship and not discord, enmity and estrangement. Man has forsaken the foundation of divine religion and adhered to blind imitations. Each nation has clung to its own imitations, and because these are at variance, warfare, bloodshed and destruction of the foundation of humanity have resulted. True religion is based upon love and agreement. Bahá’u’lláh has said, “If religion and faith are the causes of enmity and sedition, it is far better to be nonreligious, and the absence of religion would be preferable; for we desire religion to be the cause of amity and fellowship. If enmity and hatred exist, irreligion is preferable.” Therefore, the removal of this dissension has been specialized in Bahá’u’lláh, for religion is the divine remedy for human antagonism and discord. But when we make the remedy the cause of the disease, it would be better to do without the remedy.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

The story of Juliet’s rosary

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 19, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “1912: A Year Supreme with Possibilities.” 239 Days in America, 19 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/19/1912-a-year-supreme-with-possibilities/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 113-114.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=5#section117
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 231. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#992623475

239 Days in America, Day 59: June 08, 1912 | New York

The Holy Experiment 1

THE FIRST OF A fleet of twenty-three ships arrived at the mouth of the Delaware River on October 27, 1682. Commanding the lead ship, the Welcome, was William Penn, a pacifist Quaker with a land grant from the King of England, determined to fashion a utopia in the wilderness.

Penn had suffered imprisonment for his beliefs back in England, and set about building a “tolerance settlement” in the New World where freedom of worship would be absolute. His first act of business was to sign a “Great Treaty” with Tammany, the Chief of the Delaware tribe, a peace pact he never violated.

Thus began Penn’s “Holy Experiment” known as Pennsylvania. The King himself chose the name in honor of Penn’s recently departed father. Penn called the colony’s capital Philadelphia, a name that combined the Greek words for “love” and “brother.”

Penn’s City of Brotherly Love continued to attract those dedicated to the experiment well into the next century. Russell Conwell — a Civil War veteran, lawyer, author of ten books, and ordained American Baptist minister — arrived in Philadelphia in 1882.

Conwell held classes at his church to tutor adults in university subjects, in tune with Penn’s and Franklin’s commitment to improving their fellow men. By 1884 his effort had become Temple University. By 1912 the Baptist Temple — Conwell’s church — was surrounded by three hospitals and his congregation was one of the largest in America. It was here that Pastor Conwell welcomed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to speak, on June 9, 1912.

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York 2

The body politic today is greatly in need of a physician. It is similar to a human body afflicted with severe ailments. A doctor diagnoses the case and prescribes treatment. He does not prescribe, however, until he has made the diagnosis. The disease which afflicts the body politic is lack of love and absence of altruism. In the hearts of men no real love is found, and the condition is such that, unless their susceptibilities are quickened by some power so that unity, love and accord may develop within them, there can be no healing, no agreement among mankind. Love and unity are the needs of the body politic today. Without these there can be no progress or prosperity attained. Therefore, the friends of God must adhere to the power which will create this love and unity in the hearts of the sons of men. Science cannot cure the illness of the body politic. Science cannot create amity and fellowship in human hearts. Neither can patriotism nor racial allegiance effect a remedy. It must be accomplished solely through the divine bounties and spiritual bestowals which have descended from God in this day for that purpose. This is an exigency of the times, and the divine remedy has been provided. The spiritual teachings of the religion of God can alone create this love, unity and accord in human hearts.

New York, Philadelphia, New York 3

Abdu’l-Bahá arrived in Philadelphia at 6:00 P.M. that same day and went to the Hotel Rittenhouse. Mahmúd wrote, “He was in a very exhausted … state. Notwithstanding this, He made two speeches before the friends … On account of extreme exhaustion, He did not attend some of the meetings and tendered His apology.”

Saturday, June 8, 1912 4

There were two large public meetings held in two churches. In the morning, at the Unitarian Church, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke on the reality of divine existence and the meaning of the words of Christ that ‘the Father is in the Son’. He gave the glad tidings of the Manifestation of the Greatest Name and explained some of the new teachings, concluding with a prayer chanted in Persian. The audience was so transformed that everyone wanted to be near Him, if only for a moment. But it was impossible for all.

The second meeting was held in the evening at the Baptist Temple. As the distinguished pastor had previously announced the visit of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the address He was to deliver, and had also invited dignitaries and statesmen from Washington DC and vicinity, this meeting was of great significance. The Master delivered a detailed address on the methods of natural philosophy and of divine religion and then explained the teachings of the Supreme Pen. His explanations made a great impression, attracting all to His presence, such that everyone expressed humility and sincerity. They appeared to be very happy and honored to be in His presence. The Master’s heart was elated with the meetings in Philadelphia and often made mention of them.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Mahmud: June 8 – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá chanted a prayer at the end of His talk

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 7-8, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “The Holy Experiment.” 239 Days in America, 8 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/08/the-holy-experiment/.
  2. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 170. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/12#110529474.
  3. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 88.
  4. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=4#section76

239 Days in America, Day 35: May 15, 1912 | Lake Mohonk

The Parliament of Rats 1

Once upon a time, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá narrated, the rats and mice held an important conference, the subject of which was to make peace with the cat. The cat, [William] Langland wrote, “came whenever he liked and leapt on them easily and seized them at his will, and played with them perilously and batted them about.”

“A rat of renown, most eloquent of speech,” Langland continues, “presented an excellent remedy to them all. ‘I have seen men in the city of London wearing bright necklaces around their necks, and some craftily worked collars. They go about unleashed both in warren and wasteland wherever they like, and elsewhere at other times, as I hear tell. Were there a bell on their necklace, by Jesus, it seems to me that men might know where they were and run away.’ ”

“ ‘And so,’ ” said the rat, “ ‘reason tells me to buy a bell of brass or bright silver and fasten it on a collar for our common good and hang it on the cat’s neck; then we can hear whether he rides, rests, or roams about to play. If he wishes to amuse himself, then we can appear in his presence, and if he is angry, we can be wary and shun his way.’ ”

This seemed like an excellent plan, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explained, until the question arose as to who should undertake the dangerous job of belling the cat. None of the rats liked the idea and the mice thought they were altogether too weak. So the conference broke up in confusion.

“Everyone laughed,” [Howard Colby] Ives tells, “‘Abdu’l-Bahá with them. After a short pause he added that that is much like these Peace Conferences. Many words, but no one is likely to approach the question of who will bell the Czar of Russia, the Emperor of Germany, the President of France and the Emperor of Japan.”

“Faces were now more grave,” Ives wrote.

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts 2

On May 15 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ walked around the beautiful grounds with a group of young people following Him. “‘It is very easy,’” He told them, “‘to come here, camp near this beautiful lake, on these charming hills, far away from everybody and deliver speeches on Universal Peace. These ideas should be spread and put in action over there, (Europe) not here in the world’s most peaceful corner.’” 3

Talk at Church of the Ascension, Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, New York, 14 April 1912

Today the world of humanity is in need of international unity and conciliation. To establish these great fundamental principles a propelling power is needed. It is self-evident that the unity of the human world and the Most Great Peace cannot be accomplished through material means. They cannot be established through political power, for the political interests of nations are various and the policies of peoples are divergent and conflicting. They cannot be founded through racial or patriotic power, for these are human powers, selfish and weak. The very nature of racial differences and patriotic prejudices prevents the realization of this unity and agreement. Therefore, it is evidenced that the promotion of the oneness of the kingdom of humanity, which is the essence of the teachings of all the Manifestations of God, is impossible except through the divine power and breaths of the Holy Spirit. Other powers are too weak and are incapable of accomplishing this.

For man two wings are necessary. One wing is physical power and material civilization; the other is spiritual power and divine civilization. With one wing only, flight is impossible. Two wings are essential. Therefore, no matter how much material civilization advances, it cannot attain to perfection except through the uplift of spiritual civilization.

All the Prophets have come to promote divine bestowals, to found the spiritual civilization and teach the principles of morality. Therefore, we must strive with all our powers so that spiritual influences may gain the victory. For material forces have attacked mankind. The world of humanity is submerged in a sea of materialism. The rays of the Sun of Reality are seen but dimly and darkly through opaque glasses. The penetrative power of the divine bounty is not fully manifest. 4

Wednesday, May 15, 1912 5

The Master remained at Lake Mohonk. Many came into His presence and to each He taught the Cause of God, answering their questions in the way best suited to the understanding of the listener. Concerning the peace conference, He related a story:

Once I wrote to the Persian friends that if the workers of peace conferences do not apply in their own lives what they advocate, they are like those wine sellers who convene and make emphatic speeches regarding the harmfulness of wine and proposing its prohibition. But when they go out of the meeting, they begin again to sell wine and to do what they were doing in the past. Therefore it is necessary for the power of execution and effect to spiritually penetrate the body of the world.

The Master gave two addresses at this conference. At the request of the president, He wrote in detail explanations of the divine questions, which were to be published in a book recording the proceedings of the conference. A copy of the other address which He gave on the first evening was written by us.

At Lake Mohonk Conference — The Oneness of the Reality of Humankind 6

When we consider history, we find that civilization is progressing, but in this century its progress cannot be compared with that of past centuries. This is the century of light and of bounty. In the past, the unity of patriotism, the unity of nations and religions was established; but in this century, the oneness of the world of humanity is established; hence this century is greater than the past.

Sixty years ago Asia was in great turmoil of wars; England, Russia, Turkey and France went to war. There were wars in Persia, wars among the religions and wars between nations, especially in Persia on account of the existence of the different nationalities, such as Turks, Persians, Arabs and Kurds, and the various religions, namely, Mohammedan, Jewish, Christian and Zoroastrian. Among these different religions the greatest enmity and rancor were extant.

At such a time as this, His Holiness, Baha’u’llah appeared. He proclaimed the oneness of the world of humanity and the greatest peace. He wrote to all the kings and addressed epistles to all the religionists of Persia, and all the souls who accepted his platform and emulated and followed his teachings — whether Christians, Mohammedans, Jews or Zoroastrians — were united and attained the greatest amity and unity. Through those teachings, the Kurd, the Arab, the Persian and the Turk freed themselves from the prejudice of race and were people agreed to an extent which is indescribable, indeed, in such a manner, that were you to enter their meeting you could not distinguish between the Persian, the Christian, the Arab or the Turk, and you would not observe any differences of religious opinion. Among those people the utmost of love and oneness of peace now obtain, for the great teachings of Baha’o’llah make for the oneness of the world and for humanity, universal peace and arbitration. The following are a few of the principles of Baha’u’llah.

First, that all must investigate reality. It is incumbent on all nations to investigate truth. For Baha’u’llah declares that the foundations of the divine religion are one and that one is reality and reality is not multiple but indivisible. But the imitations which have come in, being different in character, have caused divisions and separations. If we forsake the imitations and revert to the original foundations of the divine religion, we shall find that the foundations are that reality which is one and not multiple.

The second principle of Baha’u’llah is the oneness of human kind. All humanity belongs to one family, inhabiting the same globe; all are beneath the providence of God, God has created all and has nurtured all and provideth for all and preserveth all. This is the policy of God. God is kind to all and why should we be unkind? Is there any policy wiser and better than God’s policy? No matter how keen the human mind may be, it cannot surpass the policy of God. The policy of God is perfect and we must follow it and not our own self-interest.

The third teaching of Baha’u’llah is that religion and science are twins. If a religious question be not in accordance with science, it is imagination. All religious matter must correspond with science, every question which meets the criterion of science shall be acceptable, and those questions which do not come to the standard of science are not to be given credence.

The fourth teaching of Baha’u’llah is that religion should be the one bond which shall unite society, which shall cement together the various peoples, which shall cause a unity among all the creeds. If religion should be productive of strife and division, if it should cause bloodshed and war and rapine, irreligion is preferable to religion. Religion was meant to be a bond of love among mankind.

The fifth principle is that racial bias, religious prejudice, patriotic prejudice, political prejudice, are the destroyers of the very foundations of the body politic. All humanity is one in kind, the surface of the earth one home, and the foundations of the divine religions one. All the wars which have taken place since the inception of human history have emanated either from religious prejudice, racial prejudice, patriotic bias or political greed and interest. As long as these prejudices last, so long will the foundations of humanity tremble. When such prejudices pass away the world will at last find peace.

The sixth principle of Baha’u’llah is equality between mankind and womankind. Woman and man are both human and both the manifestations of God’s grace. God has created man and has endowed him with knowledge and intelligence. The difference which now exists between man and woman is only a difference of education, and when woman shall receive the same education no doubt her equality with man shall become a reality. The world of humanity is composed of two organizations — the male and the female. If one organ be defective, that defect will affect the other. Until perfect strength shall obtain in both, and woman shall attain equality with man, the happiness of humanity will not be insured.

The seventh principle concerns the readjustment of the economic questions in the social body. The rich now enjoy the greatest luxury, whereas the poor are in abject misery. Certain laws must be made whereby the rich cannot become over-rich and the poor shall not starve, both rich and poor enjoying the comforts according to their respective deserts.

The eighth principle of Baha’u’llah is that philosophy sufficeth not and is not conducive to the absolute happiness of mankind. Great philosophers have been capable of educating themselves, or a few who followed them, but generally education, ethical education, they could not endow. Therefore, the world of humanity is evermore in need of the breath of the Holy Spirit. The greatest peace will not be realized without the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit of God which insures the safety of humanity, for human thoughts differ, human susceptibilities differ. You cannot make the susceptibilities of all humanity one except through the common channel of the Holy Spirit. 7

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Mahmud: May 15 — Speaking at Lake Mohonk


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “The Parliament of Rats.” 239 Days in America, May 15, 2012. https://239days.com/2012/05/15/the-conference-of-the-mice/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 67-68.
  3. Zia Bagdadi, “Abdu’l-Bahá’ in America,” Star of the West, 19, no. 6 (Sept. 1928), 181.
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 11-12. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#616248837
  5. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=3#section52.
  6. Talks of ’Abdu’l-Baha. “Talks of ’Abdu’l-Baha: At Lake Mohonk Conference—The Oneness of the Reality of Humankind,” April 25, 2012. https://centerofcovenanttalks.blogspot.com/2012/04/abdul-bahas-address-at-lake-mohonk.html.
  7. “Report of the Eight Annual Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration, May 15-17, 1912.” Mohonk Lake, NY: Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration, 1912, 42-44. https://books.google.com/books?id=g2kNAAAAYAAJ&lpg=PA42&ots=EkL03bcERq&pg=PA42&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false.

239 Days in America, Day 21: May 01, 1912 | Chicago

Breaking Ground at Grosse Point 1

Early this morning, May 1, 1912, they had begun to assemble on this piece of land in the village of Wilmette. The Master had arrived at 1 p.m. First he took a private moment to console Mrs. Corinne True, whose son, Davis, had passed away the night before. Mrs. True had invested more than five years of her life in finding a site for the temple, and in raising the funds necessary to buy the land. Today, in spite of her recent loss, she was here to see things through. Then ‘Abdu’l-Bahá walked under the large tent where three hundred people sat on chairs in concentric circles, between nine equally spaced aisles. He strode to the center and began to talk about this unique religious institution.

“Thousands,” he said, “will be built in the East and in the West.” 2 But they were more than just places to pray. They would become the central edifices in a complex of institutions devoted to social, humanitarian, educational, and scientific pursuits. Together, they would offer a new model of faith dedicated to the service of humankind. They would become “one of the most vital institutions in the world.” 3

Chicago

On Wednesday, May 1, the day ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was to lay the foundation stone for the first Bahá’í House of Worship in the Western Hemisphere, weather forecasters in the Chicago Daily News predicted unsettled conditions “and probably occasional showers to-night.” A marquee tent had been set up on the Temple site, with three hundred chairs arranged in nine sections separated by aisles leading to a central open area. A special entryway had been prepared for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s carriage in the middle of the eastern side of the tract. He arrived, instead, by taxi and entered on the northern side. Pacing back and forth before the filled chairs and two hundred additional person who were standing, He spoke of the importance of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. 4

Talk at Public Meeting Concluding Convention of Bahá’í Temple Unity, Drill Hall, Masonic Temple, Chicago, Illinois, 30 April 1912

[T]he original purpose of temples and houses of worship is simply that of unity—places of meeting where various peoples, different races and souls of every capacity may come together in order that love and agreement should be manifest between them. That is why Bahá’u’lláh has commanded that a place of worship be built for all the religionists of the world; that all religions, races and sects may come together within its universal shelter; that the proclamation of the oneness of mankind shall go forth from its open courts of holiness—the announcement that humanity is the servant of God and that all are submerged in the ocean of His mercy. It is the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. The world of existence may be likened to this temple and place of worship. For just as the external world is a place where the people of all races and colors, varying faiths, denominations and conditions come together—just as they are submerged in the same sea of divine favors—so, likewise, all may meet under the dome of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár and adore the one God in the same spirit of truth; for the ages of darkness have passed away, and the century of light has come. Ignorant prejudices are being dispelled, and the light of unity is shining. The differences existing between nations and peoples will soon be annulled, and the fundamentals of the divine religions, which are no other than the oneness and solidarity of the human race, are being established. For thousands of years the human race has been at war. It is enough. Now let mankind, for a time at least, consort in amity and peace. Enmity and hatred have ruled. Let the world, for a period, exercise love. For thousands of years the nations have denied each other, considering each other as infidel and inferior. It is sufficient. We must now realize that we are the servants of one God, that we turn to one beneficent Father, live under one divine law, seek one reality and have one desire. Thus may we live in the utmost friendship and love, and in return the favors and bounties of God shall surround us; the world of humanity will be reformed; mankind, enjoy a new life; eternal light will illumine, and heavenly moralities become manifest. 5

Talk at Dedication of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár Grounds, Wilmette, Illinois

The power which has gathered you here today notwithstanding the cold and windy weather is, indeed, mighty and wonderful. It is the power of God, the divine favor of Bahá’u’lláh which has drawn you together. We praise God that through His constraining love human souls are assembled and associated in this way.

Thousands of Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs, dawning points of praise and mention of God for all religionists will be built in the East and in the West, but this, being the first one erected in the Occident, has great importance. In the future there will be many here and elsewhere—in Asia, Europe, even in Africa, New Zealand and Australia—but this edifice in Chicago is of especial significance. It has the same importance as the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in ‘Ishqábád, Caucasus, Russia, the first one built there. In Persia there are many; some are houses which have been utilized for the purpose, others are homes entirely devoted to the divine Cause, and in some places temporary structures have been erected. In all the cities of Persia there are Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs, but the great dawning point was founded in ‘Ishqábád. It possesses superlative importance because it was the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár built. All the Bahá’í friends agreed and contributed their utmost assistance and effort. The Afnán devoted his wealth, gave all he had to it. From such a mighty and combined effort a beautiful edifice arose. Notwithstanding their contributions to that building, they have assisted the fund here in Chicago as well. The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in ‘Ishqábád is almost completed. It is centrally located, nine avenues leading into it, nine gardens, nine fountains; all the arrangement and construction is according to the principle and proportion of the number nine. It is like a beautiful bouquet. Imagine a very lofty, imposing edifice surrounded completely by gardens of variegated flowers, with nine avenues leading through them, nine fountains and pools of water. Such is its matchless, beautiful design. Now they are building a hospital, a school for orphans, a home for cripples, a hospice and a large dispensary. God willing, when it is fully completed, it will be a paradise.

I hope the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in Chicago will be like this. Endeavor to have the grounds circular in shape. If possible, adjust and exchange the plots in order to make the dimensions and boundaries circular. The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár cannot be triangular in shape. It must be in the form of a circle. 6

Wednesday, May 1, 1912

In the morning ‘Abdu’l-Bahá looked at some buildings from His balcony and enjoyed the lovely view of the park. He spoke to us, until visitors arrived, about the early days of the Most Great Prison and the sufferings of the Blessed Beauty. He sent several telegrams today to the assemblies of the East, sharing with them the glad tidings of the assistance of Bahá’u’lláh.

He spoke with the friends for a time and bestowed upon them His love. About an hour later He went to the proposed site of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár located outside the city, where property had been purchased for the construction of this great building. By the time He arrived the friends had already assembled and had pitched a large tent for the meeting.

’ Abdu’l-Bahá first drove around the site, inspecting its boundaries, and then entered the tent. The friends stood all about Him, their eyes intently fixed on His luminous face. It was in these circumstances that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave His talk on the power of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh to unite the people of the East and the West beneath the shadow of the Word of God. He also spoke about the Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs of ‘Ishqábád and America. He then went to the spot where He was to lay the cornerstone with His own hands. Miss Holmes presented Him with a golden trowel especially prepared for the occasion. He took it in His hand and dug the earth for the foundation stone. Then the delegates from the American assemblies, followed by representatives of the Eastern friends, each took the trowel and continued digging the foundation. Among them were Mihtar Ardishír Bahrám Surúsh representing the Bahá’ís of Pársí background, Siyyid Asadu’lláh representing the Bahá’ís of Muslim origin, Zia Bagdadi representing the Arabian friends and Ghodsieh (Qudsíyyih) Khánum Ashraf representing the Bahá’í women of the East. When the digging was completed, the Master set the stone in place with His own hand.78 He then showered His love and affection on the friends and left the site. Most of the friends remained and had lunch inside the tent.

There was a reception at the Plaza Hotel later that afternoon at which the Master spoke on divine civilization and spiritual qualities.79 Both before and after the meeting friends and inquirers requested interviews and asked Him questions on several subjects. 7

  1. Sockett, Robert. “Breaking Ground at Grosse Point.” 239 Days in America, May 1, 2012. https://239days.com/2012/05/01/dont-call-it-a-church/.
  2. Effendi, Shoghi. God Passes By. 1944. Reprint, Wilmette, IL: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1970, 351.https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/shoghi-effendi/god-passes-by/1#337700484.
  3. Baháʾuʾlláh. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy Book. Haifa: Baháʾi World Centre, 1992, 190-191. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/bahaullah/kitab-i-aqdas/13#371279610.
  4. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 51.
  5. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 65-66. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/4#281413700.
  6. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 71-72. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/4#181680280.
  7. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=3#section38.