Posted by: samandal | December 10, 2010

Ghusn-i-Akbar: A Model of Virtue

Human Rights Day; Ascension of Ghusn-i-Akbar

The ascension of Ghusn-i-Akbar, Muhammad-‘Alí Bahá’í, the second successor (de jure, but not de facto) of Bahá’u’lláh, occurred on 10 December 1937, just two days before Díyáfat-i-Masá’il, the Feast of Questions. We believe it is acceptable for the commemoration of his ascension to be celebrated on either of these days.

Memorial services for His Holiness, which were well attended, were held in Haifa. The head of the Melkite Greek Catholic community, Bishop Hajjár, who was the personal friend of Ghusn-i-Akbar for thirty-five years, delivered the most impressive sermon. His subject was “virtue.” For nearly an hour he spoke on the “excellence of virtue,” ending each paragraph with this remark: “The departed soul was invested with all these virtues.”

No party to a dispute can rightly ask for more than a fair and impartial assessment of the entire situation. Nor should any party have to settle for less. An intelligent, honest, and balanced appraisal of the life and work of Ghusn-i-Akbar has yet to be written by an unprejudiced, objective historian who understands the actors in the events as they understood themselves.

The rich spiritual legacy of Ghusn-i-Akbar lives on today through the Unitarian Bahai Association, a liberal and fully inclusive Bahá’í community independent of the Bahá’í International Community of Haifa and ‘Akká. In the authentic Bahá’í spirit of interfaith reconciliation, associates of the UBA are not required to disavow their membership in their current religious communities in order to affiliate themselves with the Unitarian Bahai Association.

Members of the UBA find community in the Unitarian Universalist Association; the UBA seeks to work within the acknowledged structures of the UUA. Should a person feel affinity with both Unitarian Universalism and the Bahá’í Faith, he may consider himself a Unitarian Bahá’í. There is no creedal test.