receive bequests by virtue of a certificate issued in May, 1929, under the seal of the Department of State in Washington and bearing the signature of the Secretary of State, Henry L. Stimson, was followed by the adoption of similar legal measures resulting in the successive incorporation of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India and Burma, in January, 1933, in Lahore, in the state of Punjab, according to the provisions of the Societies Registration Act of 1860; of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Egypt and the Sudan, in December, 1934, as certified by the Mixed Court in Cairo; of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia and New Zealand, in January, 1938, as witnessed by the Deputy Registrar at the General Registry Office for the state of South Australia; and more recently of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles, in August, 1939, as an unlimited non-profit company, under the Companies Act, 1929, and certified by the Assistant Registrar of Companies in the City of London.
Parallel with the legal incorporation of these National Assemblies a far larger number of Bahá'í local Assemblies were similarly incorporated, following the example set by the Chicago Bahá'í Assembly in February, 1932, in countries as far apart as the United States of America, India, Mexico, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Burma, Costa Rica, Balúchistán and the Hawaiian Islands. The Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'ís of Esslingen in Germany, of Mexico City in Mexico, of San José in Costa Rica, of Sydney and Adelaide in Australia, of Auckland in New Zealand, of Delhi, Bombay, Karachi, Poona, Calcutta, Secunderabad, Bangalore, Vellore, Ahmedabad, Serampore, Andheri and Baroda in India, of Tuetta in Balúchistán, of Rangoon, Mandalay and Daidanow-Kalazoo in Burma, of Montreal and Vancouver in Canada, of Honolulu in the Hawaiian Islands, and of Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Kenosha, Teaneck, Racine, Detroit, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Winnetka, Phoenix, Columbus, Lima, Portland, Jersey City, Wilmette, Peoria, Seattle, Binghamton, Helena, Richmond Highlands, Miami, Pasadena, Oakland, Indianapolis, St. Paul, Berkeley, Urbana, Springfield and Flint in the United States of America-- all these succeeded, gradually and after submitting the text of almost identical Bahá'í local constitutions to the civil authorities in their respective states or provinces, in constituting themselves into societies and corporations recognized by law, and protected by the civil statutes operating in their respective countries.
Just as the formulation of Bahá'í constitutions had provided the foundation for the incorporation of Bahá'í Spiritual Assemblies, so did the recognition accorded by local and national authorities to the elected representatives of Bahá'í communities pave the way for the establishment of national and local Bahá'í endowments--a historic undertaking which, as had been the case with previous achievements of far-reaching importance, the American Bahá'í Community was the first to initiate. In most cases these endowments, owing to their religious character, have been exempted from both government and municipal taxes, as a result of representations made by the incorporated Bahá'í bodies to the civil authorities, though the value of the properties thus exempted has, in more than one country, amounted to a considerable sum.
In the United States of America the national endowments of the Faith, already representing one and three-quarter million dollars of assets, and established through a series of Indentures of Trust, created in 1928, 1929, 1935, 1938, 1939, 1941 and 1942 by the National Spiritual Assembly in that country, acting as Trustees of the American Bahá'í Community, now include the land and structure of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, and the caretaker's cottage in Wilmette, Ill.; the adjoining Hazíratu'l-Quds (Bahá'í National Headquarters) and its supplementary administrative office; the Inn, the Fellowship House, the Bahá'í Hall, the Arts and Crafts Studio, a farm, a number of cottages, several parcels of land, including the holding on Monsalvat, blessed by the footsteps of `Abdu'l-Bahá, in Green Acre, in the state of Maine; Bosch House, the Bahá'í Hall, a fruit orchard, the Redwood Grove, a dormitory and Ranch Buildings in Geyserville, Calif.; Wilhelm House, Evergreen Cabin, a pine grove and seven lots with buildings at West Englewood, N.J., the scene of the memorable Unity Feast given by `Abdu'l-Bahá, in June, 1912, to the Bahá'ís of the New York Metropolitan district; Wilson House, blessed by His presence, and land in Malden, Mass.; Mathews House and Ranch Buildings in Pine Valley, Colo.; land in Muskegon, Mich., and a cemetery lot in Portsmouth, N.H.
Of even greater importance, and in their aggregate far surpassing in value the national endowments of the American Bahá'í community, though their title-deeds are, owing to the inability of the Persian Bahá'í community to incorporate its national and local assemblies, held in trust by individuals, are the assets which the Faith now possesses in the land of its origin. To the House of the Báb in Shíráz and the ancestral Home of Bahá'u'lláh in Tákúr, Mazindarán, already in the
possession of the community in the days of `Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry, have, since His ascension, been added extensive properties, in the outskirts of the capital, situated on the slopes of Mt. Alburz, overlooking the native city of Bahá'u'lláh, including a farm, a garden and vineyard, comprising an area of over three million and a half square meters, preserved as the future site of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár in Persia. Other acquisitions that have greatly extended the range of Bahá'í endowments in that country include the House in which Bahá'u'lláh was born in Tihrán; several buildings adjoining the House of the Báb in Shíráz, including the house owned by His maternal uncle; the Hazíratu'l-Quds in Tihrán; the shop occupied by the Báb during the years He was a merchant in Búshihr; a quarter of the village of Chihríq, where He was confined; the house of Hájí Mírzá Jání, where He tarried on His way to Tabríz; the public bath used by Him in Shíráz and some adjacent houses; half of the house owned by Vahíd in Nayríz and part of the house owned by Hujjat in Zanján; the three gardens rented by Bahá'u'lláh in the hamlet of Badasht; the burial-place of Quddús in Barfurúsh; the house of Kalántar in Tihrán, the scene of Táhirih's confinement; the public bath visited by the Báb when in Urúmíyyih, Ádhirbayján; the house owned by Mírzá Husayn-`Alíy-i-Núr, where the Báb's remains had been concealed; the Bábíyyih and the house owned by Mullá Husayn in Mashhad; the residence of the Sultanu'sh-Shuhada (King of Martyrs) and of the Mahbúbu'sh-Shuhadá (Beloved of Martyrs) in Isfahán, as well as a considerable number of sites and houses, including burial-places, associated with the heroes and martyrs of the Faith. These holdings which, with very few exceptions, have been recently acquired in Persia, are now being preserved and yearly augmented, and, whenever necessary, carefully restored, through the assiduous efforts of a specially appointed national committee, acting under the constant and general supervision of the elected representatives of the Persian believers.
Nor should mention be omitted of the varied and multiplying national assets which, ever since the inception of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, have been steadily acquired in other countries such as India, Burma, the British Isles, Germany, Iraq, Egypt, Australia, Transjordan and Syria. Among these may be specially mentioned the Hazíratu'l-Quds of the Bahá'ís of Iraq, the Hazíratu'l-Quds of the Bahá'ís of Egypt, the Hazíratu'l-Quds of the Bahá'ís of India, the Hazíratu'l-Quds of the Bahá'ís of Australia, the Bahá'í Home in Esslingen, the Publishing Trust of the Bahá'ís of the
British Isles, the Bahá'í Pilgrim House in Baghdád, and the Bahá'í Cemeteries established in the capitals of Persia, Egypt and Turkistán. Whether in the form of land, schools, administrative headquarters, secretariats, libraries, cemeteries, hostels or publishing companies, these widely scattered assets, partly registered in the name of incorporated National Assemblies, and partly held in trust by individual recognized believers, have contributed their share to the uninterrupted expansion of national Bahá'í endowments in recent years as well as to the consolidation of their foundations. Of vital importance, though less notable in significance, have been, moreover, the local endowments which have supplemented the national assets of the Faith and which, in consequence of the incorporation of Bahá'í local Assemblies, have been legally established and safeguarded in various countries in both the East and the West. Particularly in Persia these holdings, whether in the form of land, administrative buildings, schools or other institutions, have greatly enriched and widened the scope of the local endowments of the world-wide Bahá'í community.
Simultaneous with the establishment and incorporation of local and national Bahá'í Assemblies, with the formation of their respective committees, the formulation of national and local Bahá'í constitutions and the founding of Bahá'í endowments, undertakings of great institutional significance were initiated by these newly founded Assemblies, among which the institution of the Hazíratu'l-Quds--the seat of the Bahá'í National Assembly and pivot of all Bahá'í administrative activity in future--must rank as one of the most important. Originating first in Persia, now universally known by its official and distinctive title signifying "the Sacred Fold," marking a notable advance in the evolution of a process whose beginnings may be traced to the clandestine gatherings held at times underground and in the dead of night, by the persecuted followers of the Faith in that country, this institution, still in the early stages of its development, has already lent its share to the consolidation of the internal functions of the organic Bahá'í community, and provided a further visible evidence of its steady growth and rising power. Complementary in its functions to those of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár--an edifice exclusively reserved for Bahá'í worship--this institution, whether local or national, will, as its component parts, such as the Secretariat, the Treasury, the Archives, the Library, the Publishing Office, the Assembly Hall, the Council Chamber, the Pilgrims' Hostel, are brought together and made jointly to operate in one spot, be increasingly regarded as the focus of all Bahá'í administrative activity, and symbolize, in a befitting manner,
the ideal of service animating the Bahá'í community in its relation alike to the Faith and to mankind in general.
From the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, ordained as a house of worship by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the representatives of Bahá'í communities, both local and national, together with the members of their respective committees, will, as they gather daily within its walls at the hour of dawn, derive the necessary inspiration that will enable them to discharge, in the course of their day-to-day exertions in the Hazíratu'l-Quds--the scene of their administrative activities--their duties and responsibilities as befits the chosen stewards of His Faith.
Already on the shores of Lake Michigan, in the outskirts of the first Bahá'í center established in the American continent and under the shadow of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of the West; in the capital city of Persia, the cradle of the Faith; in the vicinity of the Most Great House in Baghdád; in the city of Ishqábád, adjoining the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of the Bahá'í world; in the capital of Egypt, the foremost center of both the Arab and Islámic worlds; in Delhi, the capital city of India and even in Sydney in far-off Australia, initial steps have been taken which must eventually culminate in the establishment, in all their splendor and power, of the national administrative seats of the Bahá'í communities established in these countries.
Locally, moreover, in the above-mentioned countries, as well as in several others, the preliminary measures for the establishment of this institution, in the form of a house, either owned or rented by the local Bahá'í community, have been taken, foremost among them being the numerous administrative buildings which, in various provinces of Persia, the believers have, despite the disabilities from which they suffer, succeeded in either purchasing or constructing.
Equally important as a factor in the evolution of the Administrative Order has been the remarkable progress achieved, particularly in the United States of America, by the institution of the summer schools designed to foster the spirit of fellowship in a distinctly Bahá'í atmosphere, to afford the necessary training for Bahá'í teachers, and to provide facilities for the study of the history and teachings of the Faith, and for a better understanding of its relation to other religions and to human society in general.
Established in three regional centers, for the three major divisions of the North American continent, in Geyserville, in the Californian hills (1927), at Green Acre, situated on the banks of the Piscataqua in the state of Maine (1929), and at Louhelen Ranch near Davison, Michigan (1931), and recently supplemented by the International
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