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Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era

  • Author:
  • J. E. Esslemont

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 edition
  • Pages:
  • 286
Go to printed page GO
Pages 186-188


Bahá’u’lláh left instructions that temples of worship should be built by His followers in every country and city. To these temples He gave the name of “Mashriqu’l-Adhkár,” which means “Dawning Place of God’s Praise.” The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is to be a nine-sided building surmounted by a dome, and as beautiful as possible in design and workmanship. It is to stand in a large garden adorned with fountains, trees and flowers, surrounded by a number of accessory buildings devoted to educational, charitable and social purposes, so that the worship of God in the temple may always be closely associated with reverent delight in the beauties of nature and of art, and with practical work for the amelioration of social conditions. 2 187
In Persia, up till the present, Bahá’ís have been debarred from building temples for public worship, and so the first great Mashriqu’l-Adhkár was built in Ishqábád, 3 Russia. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá dedicated the site of the second Bahá’í House of Worship, to stand on the shore of Lake Michigan a few miles north of Chicago, during His visit to America in 1912. 4
In tablets referring to this “Mother Temple” of the West, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá writes as follows:—
Praise be to God, that, at this moment, from every country in the world, according to their various means, contributions are continually being sent toward the fund of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in America. … From the day of Adam until now, such a thing has never been witnessed by man, that from the furthermost country of Asia contributions were forwarded to America. This is through the power of the Covenant of God. Verily this is a cause of astonishment for the people of perception. It is hoped that the believers of God may show magnanimity and raise a great sum for the building. … I want everyone left free to act as he wills. If anyone wishes to put money into other things, let him do so. Do not interfere with him in any way, but be assured that the most important thing at this time is the building of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár.

… The mystery of the edifice is great, and cannot be unveiled yet, but its erection is the most important undertaking of this day. The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár has important accessories, which are accounted of the basic foundations. These are: school for orphan children, hospital and dispensary for the poor, home for the incapable, college for the higher scientific education, and hospice. In every city a great Mashriqu’l-Adhkár must be founded after this order. 188 In the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár services will be held every morning. There will be no organ in the Temple. In buildings nearby, festivals, services, conventions, public meetings and spiritual gatherings will be held, but in the Temple the chanting and singing will be unaccompanied. Open ye the gates of the Temple to all mankind.
When these institutions, college, hospital, hospice and establishment for the incurables, university for the study of higher sciences, giving post-graduate courses, and other philanthropic buildings are built, the doors will be opened to all the nations and religions. There will be absolutely no line of demarcation drawn. Its charities will be dispense irrespective of color or race. Its gates will be flung wide open to mankind; prejudice towards none, love for all. The central building will be devoted to the purpose of prayer and worship. Thus … religion will become harmonized with science, and science will be the handmaid of religion, both showering their material and spiritual gifts on all humanity.
1. (Pronounced Azkar).   [ Back To Reference]
2. [In connection with the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár it is interesting to recall Tennyson’s lines:—

I dreamed
That stone by stone I reared a sacred fane,
A temple, neither Pagod, Mosque nor Church,
But loftier, simpler, always open-doored
To every breath from heaven, and Truth and Peace
And Love and Justice came and dwelt therein.”

Akbar’s Dream, 1892]   [ Back To Reference]

3. This first House of Worship was seriously damaged in an earthquake in 1948 and had to be demolished some years later.   [ Back To Reference]
4. This Temple was completed in 1953. Since then other Bahá’í Temples have been constructed in Kampala, Uganda; Sydney, Australia; Frankfurt, Germany; Panama City, Panama; and two more are being built in India and Samoa. At the present time, 1979, sites for 123 others have been purchased. (See Epilogue)   [ Back To Reference]