Montreal, May 29, 2012 - At the dawn of this day, the Bahá'í world as well as the Montreal community commemorated the ascension of the Divine Messenger for our Era, Bahá'u'lláh!

With the ascension of Bahá'u'lláh draws to a close a period which, in many ways, is unparalleled in the world's religious history. The first century of the Bahá'í Era had by now run half its course. An epoch, unsurpassed in its sublimity, its fecundity and duration by any previous Dispensation, and characterized, except for a short interval of three years, by half a century of continuous and progressive Revelation, had terminated. The Message proclaimed by The Báb had yielded its golden fruit. The most momentous, though not the most spectacular phase of the Heroic Age had ended. The Sun of Truth, the world's greatest Luminary, had risen in the Siyah-Chal of Tihran, had broken through the clouds which enveloped it in Baghdad, had suffered a momentary eclipse whilst mounting to its zenith in Adrianople and had set finally in Akka, never to reappear ere the lapse of a full millenium. God's newborn Faith, the cynosure of all past Dispensations, had been fully and unreservedly proclaimed. The prophecies announcing its advent had been remarkably fulfilled. Its fundamental laws and cardinal principles, the warp and woof of the fabric of its future World Order, had been clearly enunciated. Its organic relation to, and its attitude towards, the religious systems which preceded it had been unmistakably defined. The primary institutions, within which an embryonic World Order was destined to mature, had been unassailably established. The Covenant designed to safeguard the unity and integrity of its world-embracing system had been irrevocably bequeathed to posterity. The promise of the unification of the whole human race, of the inauguration of the Most Great Peace, of the unfoldment of a world civilization, had been incontestably given. The dire warnings, foreshadowing catastrophes destined to befall kings, ecclesiastics, governments and peoples, as a prelude to so glorious a consummation, had been repeatedly uttered. The significant summons to the Chief Magistrates of the New World, forerunner of the Mission with which the North American continent was to be later invested, had been issued. The initial contact with a nation, a descendant of whose royal house was to espouse its Cause ere the expiry of the first Bahá'í century, had been established. The original impulse which, in the course of successive decades, has conferred, and will continue to confer, in the years to come, inestimable benefits of both spiritual and institutional significance upon God's holy mountain, overlooking the Most Great Prison, had been imparted. And finally, the first banners of a spiritual conquest which, ere the termination of that century, was to embrace no less than sixty countries in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres had been triumphantly planted.

In the vastness and diversity of its Holy Writ; in the number of its martyrs; in the valor of its champions; in the example set by its followers; in the condign punishment suffered by its adversaries; in the pervasiveness of its influence; in the incomparable heroism of its Herald; in the dazzling greatness of its Author; in the mysterious operation of its irresistible spirit; the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, now standing at the threshold of the sixth decade of its existence*, had amply demonstrated its capacity to forge ahead, indivisible and incorruptible, along the course traced for it by its Founder, and to display, before the gaze of successive generations, the signs and tokens of that celestial potency with which He Himself had so richly endowed it.


*1944, God Passes By, Shoghi-Effendi

Montreal, May 22, 2021 – The celebration of the Declaration of the Báb is one of the nine Holy Days in the Bahá’í Calendar.  it was celebrated in various Montreal boroughs as well as throughout the Bahá’í World.

 I am, I am, I am, the promised One! I am the One whose name you have for a thousand years invoked, at whose mention you have risen, whose advent you have longed to witness, and the hour of whose Revelation you have prayed God to hasten. Verily I say, it is incumbent upon the peoples of both the East and the West to obey My word and to pledge allegiance to My person.

Two hours and eleven minutes after sunset, Siyyid `Alí-Muhammad known as the Báb (the Gate), made His declaration to Mullá Husayn-i-Bushrú'í in the upper chamber of His House in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran), founding the Bábí faith. Coincidentally, on that day in Tehran, `Abdu'l-Bahá, the eldest Son of Bahá'u'lláh, was born. Bahá'u'lláh, is the Prophet-Founder of the Baháʼí Faith whose advent the Báb has been heralded. `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself was later proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh to be His own successor, thus being the third "central figure" of the Baháʼí Faith.

Where else if not in the Kitáb-i-Íqán (Book of Certitude) can the student of the Bábí Dispensation seek to find those affirmations that unmistakably attest the power and spirit which no man, except he be a Manifestation of God, can manifest? “Could such a thing,” exclaims Baha’u’llah, “be made manifest except through the power of a Divine Revelation and the potency of God’s invincible Will? By the righteousness of God! Were any one to entertain so great a Revelation in his heart the thought of such a declaration would alone confound him! Were the hearts of all men to be crowded into his heart, he would still hesitate to venture upon so awful an enterprise.” “No eye,” He in another passage affirms, “hath beheld so great an outpouring of bounty, nor hath any ear heard of such a Revelation of loving-kindness… The Prophets ‘endowed with constancy,’ whose loftiness and glory shine as the sun, were each honored with a Book which all have seen, and the verses of which have been duly ascertained. Whereas the verses which have rained from this Cloud of divine mercy have been so abundant that none hath yet been able to estimate their number… How can they belittle this Revelation? Hath any age witnessed such momentous happenings?”

[The World Order of Baha’u’llah, Shoghi Effendi]

Many people in the Eat and the West were waiting for the return of the Messiah such as the Templars in Germany, Millerites in the USA and the followers of Islam in the Middle East.

The Great Disappointment in the Millerite movement was the reaction that followed Baptist preacher William Miller's proclamations that Jesus Christ would return to the Earth by 1844, what he called the Advent. His study of the Daniel 8 prophecy during the Second Great Awakening led him to the conclusion that Daniel's "cleansing of the sanctuary" was cleansing of the world from sin when Christ would come, and he and many others prepared, but 1844 came, and what they were expecting never happened!

The most remarkable event happened on May 24, 1844 was the inauguration of the first telegraphic line officially. That was when Morse sent the famous words "What hath God wrought" from the Baltimore & Ohio Mount Clare train Station in Baltimore to the Capitol Building along the wire. These words were taken from the Bible (Numbers 23:23) and were selected by Annie Ellsworth, the daughter of U.S. Patent Commissioner Henry Leavitt Ellsworth, who had championed Morse's invention and secured early funding for it.

Evolution of science and technology has revolutionized humanity’s life ever since! As far as human relationship is concerned, we have yet a lot to learn!

Montreal, January 18, 2021 - Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Member of Parliament for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, Quebec – despite his busy schedule, Marc Garneau, held a meeting with representatives of the local and national Bahá'í Communities on Monday.

The purpose of this meeting was to offer the Minister our very sincere congratulations on his appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Delegation expressed the appreciation of the Canadian Bahá'í Community for the Minister's efforts to ensure the well-being and safety of our communities as well as all Canadians. We also wish Minister Garneau a successful mandate in his Community and political commitments.

Marc Garneau, the Minister of Foreign Affairs since January 12, 2021 - is part of the crew of three NASA missions, in 1984, 1996 and 2000. President of the Canadian Space Agency from 2001 to 2006, he became Chancellor of Carleton University in Ottawa in 2003. Since 2008, he has been a Liberal member of the Canadian House of Commons, representing the Quebec ridings of Westmount—Ville-Marie and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount. Since November 2015, he has also been Canada's 31st Minister of Transport in Justin Trudeau's cabinet.

Minister Garneau knows well the Canadian Bahá'í Community, its principles, its objectives of Unity of humanity and Universal Peace. During his travels he has visited the Bahá'í Gardens in Haifa and the World Centre. 

This meeting, which took place by teleconference, was cordial and warm. The Delegation expressed its hope that it would be able to welcome the Minister on the occasion of the centenary of the death of 'Abdu'l-Bahá’s ascension at the Bahá'í Shrine in November, if circumstances permit.

Montreal, April 20, 2021 – Montreal Bahá’í Community as well as the Bahá’ís around the world celebrate three days of the twelve days that Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet Founder of the Faith, declared His Mission in a garden in suburb of Baghdád in Iraq on April 21, 1863.

The garden belonged to Najib Pasha, the governor of Baghdád at the time and was left at Bahá’u’lláh’s disposal to stay there before leaving the city on His route to exile to Constantinople, the capital city of Ottoman Empire.

Those twelve days are known among the Bahá’ís as “Riḍván” in Arabic which can be translated as “Paradise”.   

“The arrival of Bahá'u'lláh in the Najibiyyih Garden, subsequently designated by His followers the Garden of Ridvan, signalizes the commencement of what has come to be recognized as the holiest and most significant of all Bahá'í festivals, the festival commemorating the Declaration of His Mission to His companions. So momentous a Declaration may well be regarded both as the logical consummation of that revolutionizing process which was initiated by Himself upon His return from Sulaymaniyyih, and as a prelude to the final proclamation of that same Mission to the world and its rulers from Adrianople.”

“"Many a night," writes Nabil, depicting the tumult that had seized the hearts of Bahá'u'lláh's companions, in the days prior to the declaration of His mission, "would Mirza Aqa Jan gather them together in his room, close the door, light numerous camphorated candles, and chant aloud to them the newly revealed odes and Tablets in his possession. Wholly oblivious of this contingent world, completely immersed in the realms of the spirit, forgetful of the necessity for food, sleep or drink, they would suddenly discover that night had become day, and that the sun was approaching its zenith."

Of the exact circumstances attending that epoch-making Declaration we, alas, are but scantily informed. The words Bahá'u'lláh actually uttered on that occasion, the manner of His Declaration, the reaction it produced, its impact on Mirza Yahya, the identity of those who were privileged to hear Him, are shrouded in an obscurity which future historians will find it difficult to penetrate. The fragmentary description left to posterity by His chronicler Nabil is one of the very few authentic records we possess of the memorable days He spent in that garden. "Every day," Nabil has related, "ere the hour of dawn, the gardeners would pick the roses which lined the four avenues of the garden, and would pile them in the center of the floor of His blessed tent. So great would be the heap that when His companions gathered to drink their morning tea in His presence, they would be unable to see each other across it. All these roses Bahá'u'lláh would, with His own hands, entrust to those whom He dismissed from His presence every morning to be delivered, on His behalf, to His Arab and Persian friends in the city." "One night," he continues, "the ninth night of the waxing moon, I happened to be one of those who watched beside His blessed tent. As the hour of midnight approached, I saw Him issue from His tent, pass by the places where some of His companions were sleeping, and begin to pace up and down the moonlit, flower-bordered avenues of the garden. So loud was the singing of the nightingales on every side that only those who were near Him could hear distinctly His voice. He continued to walk until, pausing in the midst of one of these avenues, He observed: 'Consider these nightingales. So great is their love for these roses, that sleepless from dusk till dawn, they warble their melodies and commune with burning passion with the object of their adoration. How then can those who claim to be afire with the rose-like beauty of the Beloved choose to sleep?' For three successive nights I watched and circled round His blessed tent. Every time I passed by the couch whereon He lay, I would find Him wakeful, and every day, from morn till eventide, I would see Him ceaselessly engaged in conversing with the stream of visitors who kept flowing in from Baghdad. Not once could I discover in the words He spoke any trace of dissimulation."*

Bahá'u'lláh Himself acclaiming that historic occasion as the "Most Great Festival," the "King of Festivals," the "Festival of God".

The Local and National Bahá’í Institutions are elected once a year during this period. For the first time in Canadian history, the Bahá’í Community used an electronic voting system due to current sanitary restrictions.

*Excerpts from “God Posses By” written by Shoghi-Effenfi, the late Gardien of the Bahá’í Faith (1897-1957)

Photo : Garden of Najib Pasha presently part of Baghdád university.

Montreal, December 25, 2020 – It is recorded in 1911, in London UK, the extraordinary experience of a woman whose little girl, as the result of a dream she had had, insisted that Jesus Christ was in the world, and who, at the sight of `Abdu'l-Bahá's picture exposed in the window of a magazine store, had instantly identified it as that of the Jesus Christ of her dream -- an act which impelled her mother, after reading that `Abdu'l-Bahá was in Paris, to take the next boat for Europe and hasten to attain His presence! The frequent question of how was Christ born of the Holy Spirit is explained by `Abdu'l-Bahá: 

In regard to this question, the divine and the material philosophers disagree. The former believe that Christ was born of the Holy Spirit, while the latter deem such a thing to be impossible and untenable, and hold that He must have necessarily had a human father.


In the Qur’án it is said: “And We sent Our Spirit to her, and He took before her the form of a perfect man”,[1] meaning that the Holy Spirit assumed a human form, as an image appears in a mirror, and conversed with Mary.

The material philosophers believe that there must be pairing, and assert that a living body cannot come into being from a lifeless one or materialize without the union of male and female. They believe that, beyond man, this is impossible in animals, and that, beyond animals, it is impossible even in plants. For this pairing of male and female exists in all the animals and plants. They even argue that the Qur’án itself affirms this pairing of all things: “Glory be to Him Who hath created all the pairs, of such things as earth produceth, and out of men themselves, and of things beyond their ken”;[2] that is, man, animals, and plants are all found in pairs. “And of everything have We created two kinds”;[3] that is, We have created all things in pairs. 

Briefly, they say that a man without a human father cannot be imagined. The divine philosophers, however, reply: “Such a thing is not impossible, although it has not been observed, and there is a difference between that which is impossible and that which has merely not been observed. For example, in the days before the telegraph, the instantaneous communication of East and West had not been observed but was not impossible; likewise, the photograph and the phonograph had not been observed but were not impossible.” 

The material philosophers insist upon their belief, and the divine philosophers reply: “Is this terrestrial globe eternal or was it originated?” The material philosophers answer that, according to well-established scientific findings, it is proven to be originated; that in the beginning it was a molten sphere and gradually became temperate; that a crust was formed around it; and that upon this crust plants came into being, then animals, and finally man.

The divine philosophers say: “It follows clearly from your statement that the human species upon the terrestrial globe was originated and is not eternal. Then surely the first man had neither father nor mother, for the existence of the human species has an origin in time. Now, which is more problematic: that man should come into being, albeit gradually, with neither father nor mother, or that he should come into being without a father? As you admit that the first man came into being with neither father nor mother, whether it be gradually or in a short period of time, there can remain no doubt that a man without a human father is also possible and logically admissible. One cannot therefore simply reject this as impossible, and to do so would betray a lack of fairness. For example, if you say that this lamp was once lit with neither wick nor oil, and then say that it is impossible for it to be lit without the wick, this betrays a lack of fairness.” Christ had a mother, but the first man, according to the material philosophers, had neither father nor mother.

References : Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By

 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions

  1. Qur’án 19:17; cf. Luke 1:26–8
  2. Qur’án 36:36
  3. Cf. Qur’án 13:3


Montreal, April 10, 2021 – Once again, Raymond Flournoy Memorial Lecture series brought over one hundred friends from at least two continents of Europe and America together! The subject of this year lecture series via teleconference is “Joseph and the Covenant” dedicated to the memory of Douglas Martin who left this ephemeral world on September 2020.

For last seven years, Dr Todd Lawson, Emeritus Professor of Islamic Though at the University of Toronto has intended, through these lecture series,  to bring to our attention, that the Bahá’í and the Muslim communities in particular as well as all other Faiths are Revelations from the same Source, they are inter-related with the same purpose which is to establish unity and concord among peoples of the earth! This is one of the fundamental teachings of the Bahá’í Faith.                                                                                                                                                           

The present lecture series highlight the subject of Joseph and the Covenant to demonstrate the Plan of God for Humanity through His successive revelations in this world. Joseph, beloved son of Rachel and Jacob was a Messenger of God in his own right. Jacob, also known as “Israel”, had 12 sons but he loved Joseph more than any of the others and gave him apparently a multi-coloured cloak. His brothers were jealous of him and sold him into slavery. He was taken to Egypt and eventually became steward to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's officials. 

The story of Joseph has been subject of thousands of scholarly written essays in Jewish, Christianity, Islam and the Bahá’í Faith and it is a befitting coincidence that this particular lecture series is being dedicated to Douglas Martin who was a lover of the Covenant. Throughout his life, Douglas was both a lover and scholar of the Covenant! His writings on the Covenant are unmatched in their eloquence and lucidity in Todd Lawson’s words. Indeed this year’s lecture series reflect befittingly his profound engagement with the Bahá’í Covenant and its implications for the society and civilisation.

The lecture series on “Joseph and the Covenant” started on March 27 and will continue until May 8, 2021, every Saturday at 3 p.m. via teleconference. Several scholars and participants in the series have already paid glorious and touching tributes to Douglas Martin. The reminiscences will continue through the remaining sessions. His soul, undoubtedly, will accompany the scholars and friends who participate in these presentations!

On March 27 a befitting tribute was paid to Raymond Flournoy and a short documentary of his life and his firesides were shown. Personal reflections of Douglas and Elizabeth Martin were shared by scholars, artists, teachers and friends.

The second session on April 3, 2021 was entirely devoted to the subject of the Covenant in the Qur’án. Dr. Todd Lawson masterly and eloquently elucidated the subject for the audience.

On April 10, Dr Stephen Lambden made a fascinating presentation on some introductory trajectories in the Bible and  Bábi-Bahá’í Scripture.

For next four weeks until May 8, eminent scholars such as Dr. Armin Eschraghi, Dr. Moojan Momen, Dr. Franklin Lewis and Dr. Todd Lawson will speak about Joseph and the Covenant  as elucidated in Shaykhi School, in the Writings of the Báb, in the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and Abdu’l-Bahá as well as the Persian Mystical traditions. (see photo)

You are warmly invited to attend any of the future lectures by registering first at the link below: 

Montreal, November 25, 2020- In Montreal's neighbourhoods as well as around the world, hundreds of thousands of friends have organized virtual meetings to commemorate these two major events on the Bahá'í calendar.

On the day of 'Abdu'l-Bahá ascension, on November 29, 1921, ten thousand people, Jews, Christians and Muslims, of all faiths and denominations, gathered on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land to mourn the passing of a being celebrated as the essence of "virtue and wisdom, knowledge and generosity." He was a living example of self-sacrifice," a Jewish leader said that day, describing ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the son and chosen successor of Bahá’u’lláh. A Christian orator referred to him as the one who had led humanity to the "path of Truth," as a "pillar of peace," added a prominent Muslim leader, and as the embodiment of "glory and greatness." At his funeral, a Western observer reported, "a huge crowd had gathered, grieving His ascension but also rejoicing also for His life."

Throughout the East and the West, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had acquired the reputation of an ambassador of peace, a champion of justice, and the principal interpreter of a new Faith. During his travels in North America and Europe, he had proclaimed by word and example, with strength and persuasion, the essential principles of his father's religion. Addressing the great and the humble and all who crossed his path, he affirmed that "love is the greatest law," that it is the foundation of "true civilization," and that "what humanity urgently needs is cooperation and reciprocity" among all its peoples.

Here is how an American observer describes him: He found a large and enthusiastic audience towards him, eager to greet him personally and to listen to his spiritual message of love from his mouth... Beyond words, something indescribable emerged from his personality that went straight to the heart of all who acceded in his presence. A dome-shaped face, a patriarch's beard, eyes that seemed to see beyond time and the senses, a soft but clear and penetrating voice, a clear humility, a love never defaulted, but above all, a sense of authority mixed with a feeling of gentleness that conferred upon all his being the rare majesty of spiritual elevation , all this made him someone apart, while making him close to the most humble soul; all this, and much more indefinable I-don't-know-what, has left in its many... friends, indelible and unspeakably precious memories.

And yet, as attractive as his personality was and his deep understanding of the human condition, they cannot be enough to do justice to the unique rank of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá in religious history. In Bahá’u’lláh 's own words, He was the "Trust of God," "a shelter for all humanity," "the supreme blessing," and "the ancient and immutable Mystery" of God. The Bahá'í Writings further affirm that "in the person of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, the incompatible characteristics of a human nature and supra-human knowledge and perfection have been melted down and are in complete harmony."

The problem of succession has been crucial in all religions. The fact that it could not be resolved inevitably created rancour and division. The ambiguity surrounding the true successors of Jesus and Muhammad, for example, has led to divergent interpretations of the Holy Scriptures and a profound antagonism both within Christianity and Islam. For his part, Bahá’u’lláh  was able to preserve his Faith from the schisms and built impregnable foundations for it through the provisions of His Will, the "Book of My Covenant." " When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed," he writes, "and the Book of my revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root. The object of this sacred verse is none other than the Supreme Branch [‘Abdu’l-Bahá]. »

By appointing ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to succeed him, Bahá’u’lláh gave Him the means to spread his message of hope and universal peace to the four corners of the planet, in order to achieve the essential unity of all peoples. "May the glory of God rest upon Thee, and upon whosoever serveth Thee and circleth around Thee.," Bahá’u’lláh  writes, referring to His son, "Woe, great woe, betide him that opposeth and injureth Thee. Well is it with him that sweareth fealty to Thee!"

In short, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá represents the Centre of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant, the intermediary charged with ensuring the unity of the Bahá’í Community and preserving the integrity of its teachings.


List of sources : Hasan Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá – George Rolland Publishing, 1971

The Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh, A compilation – Bahá’í Publishing Trust, London, 1963

The Universal House of Justice, The Most Holy Book – Bahá’í World Centre, Haifa, 1992


Montreal, March 21, 2021 – Several neighbourhoods celebrated the Bahá’í New year 178 B.E via video conference with joy and happiness. In one community, the refreshments were served via a special courier to the friends who were gathered on line! Stories, songs and video clips of Naw-Rúz celebrations in Iran and other countries of the world were shared.

Celebrations were followed by an all Montreal Community 19 Days Feast. The first day of the month of Bahá (Glory) in accordance with the Bahá’í Calendar. Close to one hundred adults and children participated in the Feast. The program was dedicated to the children and many of them participated in Devotional and musical presentations.

Naw-Rúz (also known as No Rouz, Nowruz, or Noruz), translates to "New Day" in English is the Bahá'í and Persian New Year, which occurs on the date of the vernal equinox. The holiday is fixed as March 21 for Bahá'ís in all countries outside the Middle East, regardless of exactly when the equinox occurs. However, those who celebrate this day culturally, rather than religiously, celebrate on the exact day of the equinox. Naw-Rúz dates back approximately 3,000 years and is rooted in Zoroastrian Faith. Zoroastrian is an ancient Persian religion that predates Christianity and Islam. Millions of people around the world celebrate this holiday.

The Baha’i celebration of Naw-Ruz is one of the nine Bahá'í Holy Days on which work is suspended, and it was established by Bahá’u’lláh, the prophet-founder of the Bahá'í Faith, to mark the feast day following the 19-day month of fasting. (The Bahá'í calendar is made up of nineteen months, and each month consists of nineteen days). The Bahá'í fast is essentially a reflective time of year, where those who are able, abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset.

To Bahá'ís the new year also symbolizes the renewal of time in each religious dispensation.`Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’u’lláh’s son and appointed successor, explained the significance of Naw-Rúz in terms of the equinox and spring-time and the new life it brings. In ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s words:

"… This sacred day when the sun illumines equally the whole earth is called the equinox and the equinox is the symbol of the divine messenger. The sun of truth rises on the horizon of divine mercy and sends forth its rays on all. This day is consecrated to this commemoration. It is the beginning of the spring. When the sun appears at the equinox it causes a movement in all living things. The mineral world is set in motion, plants begin to sprout, the desert is changed into a prairie, trees bud and every living thing responds, including the bodies of animals and men."

The rising of the sun at the equinox is the symbol of life and the human reality is revivified; our thoughts are transformed and our intelligence is quickened. The sun of truth bestows eternal life, just as the solar sun is the cause of terrestrial life.

The day of the appearance of God’s messenger on earth is ever a sacred day, a day when man commemorates his lord.

"It is New Year … now is the beginning of a cycle of Reality, a New Cycle, a New Age, a New Century, a New Time and a New Year. … I wish this blessing to appear and become manifest in the faces and characteristics of the believers, so that they, too, may become a new people, and … may make the world a new world, to the end that … the sword be turned into the olive branch; the flash of hatred become the flame of the love of God … all races as one race; and all national anthems harmonized into one melody. – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

As with most Bahá'í Holy Days, there are no particular fixed rituals or practices associated with the holiday. With adherents from so many parts of the world, the Bahá'í Faith makes careful attention not to impose one cultural tradition upon other traditions but rather to encourage an organic international Bahá'í culture that emerges based on the Holy Texts and not on personal or cultural traditions. So, on an international level, the celebration is generally observed with a meeting consisting of prayers, feasting and joyful celebration open to all. What that actually looks like from one place to another largely depends on the way in which a Bahá'í family or community chooses to celebrate the Holy Day.

Although celebrated in a different fashion, Naw-Ruz is also celebrated by Iranians and Zoroastrians as the new year. The origins of Naw-Ruz are unknown but it is thought to have begun as a pastoral spring festival. As time turned, Naw-Ruz gradually became a secular holiday in Persia and, as such, continued to be observed even after the spread of Islam in Iran. Muslim kings in Iran, like their Zoroastrian predecessors, celebrated Naw-Ruz with great magnificence.

Though not a Bahá'í tradition, some Bahá'ís from Persian background honour the traditions associated with their cultural heritage by infusing their celebrations with elements of a traditional Persian celebration of Naw-Ruz. These traditions might include families gathering in new or freshly cleaned cloths or the decoration of tables with fruit, cakes, coloured eggs and other treats, as well as symbolic objects such as a holy book and a mirror. Among the best known customs of Iranian Naw-Ruz is the “haft-sin” – which in English translates to the `seven S’s’. These are seven objects whose Persian names begin with the letter ‘S’ such as hyacinths, apples, lilies, silver coins, garlic, vinegar and rue, which are chosen and decoratively arranged on a table.

Persian traditions or not, Naw-Ruz always comes with generous hospitality and a delicious feast to enjoy!


Montreal, November 4, 2020 - In honour of three servants of humanity, friends from the Bahá’í communities of Montreal, Laval and Ottawa gathered for a teleconference commemoration meeting. Tribute, prayers and songs accompanied the souls of these three friends who left us in a short interval.

Douglas Martin (1927 – 2020)

On September 28, 2020, Douglas Martin passed away at the Hazelton Place Retirement Residence at the age of 93. He was a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada and its general secretary from 1965 to 1985. From 1993 to 2005, he was an elected member of the international governing council of Bahá’í community, the Universal House of Justice.

Born in Chatham, Ontario on February 24, 1927, Mr. Martin was raised in a Presbyterian family. He began his life along a conventional path: studies in business administration and a successful career in public relations.

A few months after enrolling in the Bahá’í community, he met his future wife, Elizabeth. They married in 1956 and moved to a series of localities in southern Ontario as part of the growing expansion of Bahá’í communities throughout Canada.

Mr. Martin’s intellectual interests turned to history during those years. It was  an interest that, in subsequent years because of his ability to discern the forces of world history affecting the course of development of the Bahá’í community, was of immense value in his enormous contribution, both in writing and speaking, to the intellectual and cultural life of the rapidly evolving Bahá’í Cause. 

Mr. Martin championed the role of Indigenous members of the Bahá’í community and was keen to do all he could to learn French and support the emergence of a vibrant community of young Quebecois Bahá’ís. Following the Iranian revolution in 1979, he was at the forefront of an effort to resettle thousands of Bahá’ís fleeing religious persecution.

During those years Mr. Martin was a founding member of the Association for Bahá’í Studies, serving on its international executive committee from 1974-85. He co-authored, with Dr. William S. Hatcher, "The Bahá’í Faith: The Emerging Global Religion".

In 1985, he was invited by the Universal House of Justice to serve as the Director-General of the Bahá’í International Community's Office of Public Information at the Bahá’í World Centre in Haifa, Israel. In 1993 he was elected to the nine-member Universal House of Justice, the supreme authority and governing body for a rapidly expanding Bahá’í world community, serving until his retirement from that body in 2005 when he returned to Canada.

The Universal House of Justice in their tribute to Douglas Martin wrote: 

 “The special gifts he possessed for presenting the Faith with clarity and vision shone through as much in his scholarly writings as in his public presentations, including in vigorous defence of the Bahá’í community in Iran. Much of this work was undertaken while he simultaneously discharged weighty responsibilities in the administration of the Faith. … His scintillating intellect and uncommon grasp of the grand forces of history, combined with his formidable powers of expression, were much in evidence during the years he spent as director-general of the Bahá’í International Community’s Office of Public Information, a prelude to the twelve years he served as a member of the Universal House of Justice. Resolute, ingenious, and blessed with piercing insight, he will be immensely missed.” 

Farzam Arbab, 1941–2020

Dr. Farzam Arbab (October 27, 1941 - September 25, 2020) was a member of the Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing body of the Bahá’í Faith. He was elected in 1993 and served until 2013.

Dr. Arbab was born into a Bahá’í family Tehran, Iran and later moved to America. He completed a BA at Amherst College, Massachusetts in 1964, a doctorate in physics at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1968. He served as president of Fundacion para la Aplicacion de las Ciencias (FUNDAEC), a nongovernmental development agency in Colombia, from 1974 to 1988, and continues to serve on its board of directors. He received an honorary doctorate in science from Amherst College in 1989.

From 1970 until 1980 he served as the Chairman for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Colombia. In 1980 he was appointed to the Continental Board of Counsellors for the Protection and Propagation of the Faith in the Americas, on which he served for eight years. In 1988, he was named to the Bahá’í International Teaching Centre, which has its seat in Haifa, Israel, and was a member of that body until 1993, when he was first elected to the Universal House of Justice. He passed away on 25 September 2020 in San Diego, United States. He was 78 years old.

The Universal House of Justice in their tribute to Farzam Arbab wrote:  

“He recognized that the verities contained in the Bahá’í writings concerning spiritual and social transformation and the entry into the Faith of the masses of humanity demanded persistent effort to learn how to bring them about; the investment of his whole being in this great enterprise was complete and constant. Throughout his time as a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Colombia, as a Continental Counsellor, as a member of the International Teaching Centre, and finally as a member of the Universal House of Justice for two decades, his unshakeable belief in the capacity of all of God’s children, especially of young people, was the hallmark of his service to the Cause. Always insightful, always discerning, always attuned to spiritual reality, this man of exceptional vision lived a life shaped by the harmony between scientific truth and true religion.” 

Violette Haake, 1928–2020 

Violette Haake, a former member of the International Teaching Centre, passed away on 24 September 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. She was 92 years old.

Violette was born into a Bahá’í family in Iran, later moving to America and Australia where she served as a pioneer and Auxiliary Board member. She was appointed as a Continental Counselor for Australasia in 1988 and then to the International Teaching Center. She was appointed to the International Teaching Center in 1998.

The Universal House of Justice in their tribute to Violette Haake wrote: 

“Whether when pioneering, or during her time as an Auxiliary Board member, or as a Continental Counsellor in Australasia, and most especially in the ten years she served as a member of the International Teaching Centre, her intrepid spirit and radiant enthusiasm for teaching were ever in evidence as she rallied the friends, particularly the youth; poured out encouragement; and fanned the flame of love for Bahá’u’lláh in the hearts. Violette possessed a character that blended extraordinary resilience, steadfastness, and inner strength with unfailing kindness, a nurturing instinct, and true joy. To the last, hers was a life devoted to the service of the Lord.”

Montreal, February 25, 2021 - From sunset on February 25th to sunset on March 1st, Montreal Bahá’ís join Bahá’ís around the world in celebrating the festival of Ayyám-i-Há by spending time with friends and family, helping those in need through acts of charity, and spreading joy by giving gifts. “Ayyám-i-Há” is an Arabic phrase which can be translated as “Days of Há”, Há is the Arabic letter corresponding to the English H – commemorates the transcendence of God over his attributes, since its name "Há" has been used as a symbol of the essence of God in the Baháʼí Holy Writings. Under the Arabic numerology system, the letter Há has the numerical value of five, which is equal to the maximum number of days in Ayyam-i-Há.

Also known as intercalary days, Ayyám-i-Há falls outside the 19 Bahá’í months of 19 days and aligns the Bahá’í calendar with the 365-day Gregorian solar calendar. It also serves as a period of spiritual preparation for the annual Bahá’í Fast (March 1-19), when Bahá’ís abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset, and Naw Rúz (March 20), the Bahá’í New Year, celebrated on the first day of spring.

Around the world, the festival of Ayyám-i-Há is celebrated in many ways. In Montreal and out of the present pandemic, you can expect to see gift exchanges, with friends, and between family members, large meals, service projects and children's parties. Several schools in Canada invite parents of Bahá’í children to make a presentation in front of their classmates.

Across the country, in various neighbourhoods, groups of friends who participate in the community building process promoted by the Bahá’ís discover a period of rejoicing at the Ayyám-i-Há Festival during which they can strengthen their bonds of love and friendship with their neighbours.

Of this period Baha’u’llah writes:

It behoveth the people of Bahá, throughout these days, to provide good cheer for themselves, their kindred and, beyond them, the poor and needy, and with joy and exultation to hail and glorify their Lord, to sing His praise and magnify His Name.



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