Baha'i Community of the British Isles 1844–1963
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The British Bahá’í community has been in existence since 1899 and its elected national leadership council, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United Kingdom, was first elected in 1923. Although a number of monographs, articles and biographies have appeared over the years, no overall survey of the community’s history has yet been published. The Bahá’í Community of the British Isles, 1844–1963 is an attempt to fill some of the gap.
The book begins with the earliest news about the new religion which reached the British government through diplomatic and consular channels and the British public through newspaper articles as early as 1845. During the late 19th century, there was a rising tide of awareness of the Bábí and Bahá’í religions in Britain.
Although one or two Bahá’ís were in Britain from 1885 onwards, a British Bahá’í community did not form until two residents of London joined in 1888–9 the first party of western Bahá’ís to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of Bahá’u’lláh, in the Holy Land. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá made two visits to Britain and received widespread newspaper coverage. Prompted by British Bahá’ís, the British government made efforts to save ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during World War I and recognized the value of his work in the Holy Land, knighting him after the war.
`Abdu’l-Bahá chose Britain for the further education of his grandson, Shoghi Effendi, who was his successor. Britain was among the first three countries to form in 1923 a National Spiritual Assembly. In 1957 Shoghi Effendi passed away in London and is buried there. The British Bahá’í community was chosen to host the first Bahá’í World Congress, held in London in 1963, commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the announcement by Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, of His mission. During this Congress, some of the earliest meetings of the Universal House of Justice took place in London, which are the only occasions on which the Universal House of Justice has met outside the Holy Land.
In the years between the early accounts of the Bahá’í religion and the events of 1963 there developed a small but vibrant community across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. This book tells the fascinating, and little known, story of the lives of many of these early followers, how they came to hear of the religion, their efforts to spread it to others, the struggles they faced, the goals they strove to achieve, their efforts in Africa and around the world to share their religion with others, their steadfastness and their victories. Their successes were greatly praised by Shoghi Effendi.
About the AuthorsThe Bahá’í Community of the British Isles, 1844–1963 was conceived by the late Adam Thorne, who spent over two decades collecting material on the history of the Bahá’í community of the British Isles.
Moojan Momen is the author of numerous books and articles about the Bahá’í Faith and related subjects, most recently two volumes on the history of the Bahá’í communities of Iran.
Janet Fleming Rose is the author of A Seed in Your Heart: The Life of Louise Mathew Gregory.
Earl Redman is the author of a number of books on the Bahá’í Faith, most recently Agnes Baldwin Alexander: Hand of the Cause of God, with co-author Duane Troxel.
Print on demand
Publication year: 2023
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm (9.25 x 6 in)