Why Educating Girls is the Key to Fixing the World

The following article is from BahaiBlog.net.

Yassin Saar, the creator and director of Starfish International, the girl’s education program in the Gambia, explains what African girls and women need most: choices.

Using her mother as a case study, African educator Yassin Saar persuasively and forcefully explains why the Baha’i teachings call for prioritizing the education of girls. Yassin’s mother, the first girl to go to school from her poor rural village in Africa, raised four children, giving all of them a way to have a significant impact on the world. With that model in mind, Yassin discusses the Baha’i model of compulsory education for all children—and the primacy of girl’s education within that framework. “What African women need are choices,” she says—and she challenges every person in the audience to provide for the education of one African girl to give her those choices.

This talk was organized by BahaiTeachings.org, and you can ‘Subscribe’ to their YouTube channel to receive notifications about their latest videos.

For more Baha’i-inspired talks, visit Baha’i Blog’s Soundcloud page. You can also listen to talks on Baha’i Blog’s YouTube channel.

The Life of the Spirit: Prayer

The following article is from bahai.org. Photo copyright © Bahá’í International Community

Just as our bodies require nourishment to develop properly, we need regular prayer for our spiritual sustenance and health. Prayer is food for the soul; it deepens the love of God in our hearts and draws us closer to Him.“There is nothing sweeter in the world of existence than prayer…The most blessed condition is the condition of prayer and supplication.1 To live in a state of prayer entails not only uttering sacred verses in moments of devotion; it suggests, too, that throughout the day we should turn our hearts towards God.

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The Life of the Spirit: Character and Conduct

The following article is from bahai.org.

Central to the spiritual life is the development of spiritual qualities that assist each of us in our eternal journey towards God. In this world, the cultivation of such qualities is inseparable from an ongoing refinement of our conduct in which our actions increasingly come to reflect the nobility and integrity with which every human being is endowed. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá states:

We must strive unceasingly and without rest to accomplish the development of the spiritual nature in man, and endeavor with tireless energy to advance humanity toward the nobility of its true and intended station.

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The Gate: Dawn of the Baha’i Faith trailer and movie info

There has been a lot of excitement about the release of the film The Gate: Dawn of the Baha’i Faith, so we’ve collected some links about the film to share with your friends. In the Detroit area, the film will be televised on June 24, 2018 at 2pm on WXYZ-TV (Channel 7). The Baha’i Center of Washtenaw County will also be hosting a movie night featuring the film, so keep in touch for more details!

About the Film (from thegatefilm.com)

In the midst of religious intolerance and extremism, one religion—the Bahá’í Faith—offers a path toward world peace by advocating the oneness of humanity’s major religions. Now, this groundbreaking documentary tells the amazing, little-known story of the origins of the Bahá’í Faith.

The Gate: Dawn of the Bahá’í Faith recounts the founding of this new world religion in Persia by a Prophet known as The Báb. In the mid-1800s, Jews, Christians and Muslims alike were awaiting the imminent arrival of a Divine Messenger. Beginning in 1844, the Báb’s message, which included then-controversial ideas like the oneness of major religions and the empowerment of women, spread like wildfire across the region amidst this religious climate.

However, His groundbreaking new message presented a threat to religious and political leaders of the time, resulting in relentless persecution of the Báb and His followers. The Báb’s message ultimately triumphed with a growing number of faithful; today, the Bahá’í religion is practiced throughout the world by over five million people.

Combining dramatic reenactments with interviews of renowned historians, religious scholars and Bahá’í Faith experts, The Gate: Dawn of the Bahá’í Faith celebrates the brief, exciting life of a prophet and the indelible impact His message continues to have on the world today.

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The Local Spiritual Assembly

The following article is from a series on the Bahá’í Administrative Order at bahai.org. Photo above: Collonade of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice © 2018 Bahá’í International Community

At the local level, the affairs of the Bahá’í community are administered by the Local Spiritual Assembly. Each Local Assembly consists of nine members who are chosen in annual elections. As with all other elected Bahá’í institutions, the Assembly functions as a body and makes decisions through consultation.

The responsibilities of the Local Spiritual Assembly include promoting the spiritual education of children and young people, strengthening the spiritual and social fabric of Bahá’í community life, assessing and utilizing the community’s resources, and ensuring that the energies and talents of community members contribute towards progress. It is also responsible for organizing the Nineteen Day Feast, which is the cornerstone of Bahá’í community life. During the Nineteen Day Feast the friends living in a particular locality gather to pray and consult together, give suggestions to the Local Spiritual Assembly, and receive information from it.

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How to Eat During the Baha’i Fast

The following article is from susangammage.com.



The Bahá’í month of fasting is an excellent opportunity to assess our behavior and habits and to adjust to a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Through fasting, we learn how to control our manners and our eating habits. It is also a good chance for the stomach to have a break and allow the body to eliminate accumulated toxins.

Many of us wonder what is best to eat during the Fast and how to stay healthy and get the maximum benefit from the fasting process. A quick review of the physiological changes that occur during fasting will help us determine what should be consumed before dawn and after sunset.

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Two Wings of a Bird

The following article is from bahai.org.



Despite the widespread acceptance of gender equality in principle—and the advancement of political and civil rights for women in many countries—full equality has not yet been achieved. In this statement issued in 1997, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States emphasizes the full and equal participation of women in all spheres of life.

The emancipation of women, the achievement of full equality between the sexes is essential to human progress and the transformation of society. Inequality retards not only the advancement of women but the progress of civilization itself. The persistent denial of equality to one-half of the world’s population is an affront to human dignity. It promotes destructive attitudes and habits in men and women that pass from the family to the work place, to political life, and ultimately to international relations. On no grounds, moral, biological, or traditional can inequality be justified. The moral and psychological climate necessary to enable our nation to establish social justice and to contribute to global peace will be created only when women attain full partnership with men in all fields of endeavor.

The systematic oppression of women is a conspicuous and tragic fact of history. Restricted to narrow spheres of activity in the life of society, denied educational opportunities and basic human rights, subjected to violence, and frequently treated as less than human, women have been prevented from realizing their true potential. Age-old patterns of subordination, reflected in popular culture, literature and art, law, and even religious scriptures, continue to pervade every aspect of life. Despite the advancement of political and civil rights for women in America and the widespread acceptance of equality in principle, full equality has not been achieved.

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Truthfulness, Trustworthiness and Justice

The following article is from bahai.org.



Truthfulness and trustworthiness involve much more than not telling lies; they embody the overarching capacity to discern, value, and uphold truth itself. Without these spiritual qualities, neither individual nor social progress is possible. Justice is vital to the establishment of unity and harmony at all levels of society, as it provides the standard by which individual conduct and collective effort are judged. A requirement for living a life of service to humanity, then, is constant effort to develop truthfulness, trustworthiness, and justice, ensuring that they are ever-present in thought and action.

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The Significance of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

The following article is from bahai.org. Photo above: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá walking outside 7 Haparsim Street in Haifa, c. 1919, © 2017 Bahá’í International Community



“SELDOM HAVE I SEEN one whose appearance impressed me more,” said Professor Edward G. Browne of Cambridge University after meeting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. “About the greatness of this man and his power no one who had seen him could entertain a doubt.”

Yet, however magnetic ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s personality or however penetrating His insights, such tributes cannot adequately capture such a unique character in religious history. The Bahá’í Writings affirm that “in the person of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the incompatible characteristics of a human nature and superhuman knowledge and perfection have been blended and are completely harmonized.”

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Living in a Rapidly Changing Society: Transition to Maturity

This month we are featuring an essay from Bahai.org.



 

As humanity explores elements of the framework for a new process of moral education, some of the first questions that must be asked are: What is the nature of the great transformation that is taking place in human society? What are the basic concepts that can help us to understand the significance of the times in which we live? What are some of the great forces that are operating within society in this crucial stage of human evolution?

This lecture was given by Dr. Farzam Arbab at a national symposium on “A New Framework for Moral Education” in Tirana, Albania, in November 1993. This was an open forum for a public debate on what needs to be done with moral education in a society that is in the process of rapid shift from an established socio-political system to a new system not yet fully defined and articulated.


A very striking feature of our times is the accelerating rate at which change occurs. The magnitude and speed of the changes that humankind has undergone in the past century and a half have been unparalleled in our history. In every area of human endeavour a great deal of new knowledge is being generated, and old practices are being rejected one after another. At this point in history, no one can possibly deny that society, in all its aspects – social, economic, political, religious and cultural – is going through a process of fundamental transformation.

In this past century and a half, every country and region of the world has seen old structures swept away through radical reform or revolution. The ideals motivating these deliberate, sometimes violent, attempts to change society have often been extremely noble and laudable.

Yet, it is now an historical fact that these attempts have, by and large, failed to generate this sense of purpose, the values and the standards of behaviour that are essential for the creation of a new society. As a result, for decades humanity has been living in a state of crisis that seems to deepen almost daily. In the midst of all this crisis, of course, we often hear the voices of traditionalists, of those who romanticize the past and urge us to go back to our old ways. The fact is, however, that return to the standards of the past is not possible, for the forces released during this period have set in motion a process of transformation that is clearly irreversible. The unavoidable conclusion we reach when we examine modern history is that old moral codes and belief systems have proven entirely inadequate when faced with the challenges of an age of transformation. So, as we explore elements of the framework for a new process of moral education, some of the first questions we must ask ourselves are: What is the nature of the great transformation that is taking place in human society? What are the basic concepts that can help us to understand the significance of the times in which we live? What are some of the great forces that are operating within society in this crucial stage of human evolution?

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