October 9, 2018

Brief History of Mashriqu’l-Adhkar in America - by Corinne True

“O people of the world! Build ye houses of worship throughout the lands in the name of Him Who is the Lord of all religions. Make them as perfect as is possible in the world of being, and adorn them with that which befitteth them, not with images and effigies. Then, with radiance and joy, celebrate therein the praise of your Lord, the Most Compassionate. Verily, by His remembrance the eye is cheered and the heart is filled with light.” (Baha'u'llah, ‘The Kitab-i-Aqdas’)

Having heard enthusiastic reports of the building of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkar in Ishkabad, Russia, the members of the spiritual committee of the Chicago Assembly were inspired to supplicate to the Center of the Covenant, ‘Abdu'l-Baha, to grant permission for the second Mashriqu’l-Adhkar to be built in America.

On Jane 7, 1903, a Tablet was revealed in Acca by ‘Abdu’l-Baha saying "Now the day has arrived in which the edifice of God, the divine sanctuary, the spiritual temple, shall be erected in America."

The following words from the pen of ‘Abdu’l-Baha clearly indicate the erection of a material building: "The Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, though outwardly a material foundation, is possessed of spiritual effect and causes the union of hearts and the gathering of souls... Praise be to God! The erection of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar has a great effect in all grades (or states). It was tested in the east and so evidently and plainly was it proved good (that) even when in a village a house was called the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, it possessed a different effect. How much more its building and organization."

Furthermore, He says, “The Mashriqu’l-Adhkar is the most important matter and the greatest divine institute. Consider how the first institute of His holiness Moses, after His exodus from Egypt was the 'Tent of Martyrdom' which He raised and which was the travelling temple. It was a tent which they pitched in the desert wherever they abode, and worshipped in it. Likewise, after His holiness Christ - may the spirit of the world be a sacrifice to Him - the first institute by the disciples was a Temple. They planned a church in every country. Consider the Gospel (i.e. read it) and the importance of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar will become evident. I hope that all the beloved of God, collectively, on the continent of America, men and women, will strive night and day until the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar is erected in the utmost solidity and beauty."