Baha'i Faith

The Institution of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar

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Overview
A Compilation Prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice
The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, “the Dawning-place of the Praise of God”, is described by the Universal House of Justice, in its letter dated 18 December 2014 to the Bahá’ís in Iran, as “a unique concept in the annals of religion” that “symbolizes the teachings of the new Day of God”. The House of Justice further states that the House of Worship is a “collective centre of society to promote cordial affection” and that it

stands as a universal place of worship open to all the inhabitants of a locality irrespective of their religious affiliation, background, ethnicity, or gender and a haven for the deepest contemplation on spiritual reality and foundational questions of life, including individual and collective responsibility for the betterment of society. Men and women, children and youth, are held in its embrace as equals.​
The extraordinary significance of this matchless institution for the unity and well-being of humanity is underscored throughout the writings of the Faith. Bahá’u’lláh, for instance, proclaims, “Blessed are they that occupy themselves in the House of Worship with the remembrance of Him Who is the Lord of the righteous!” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá affirms that while the House of Worship is “built upon earth, in reality it is an institution of the Concourse on high” and its “pinnacles shall soar to the apex of heaven”. In another Tablet He refers to it as “the dawning-place of lights and the gathering place of the righteous”, in which “noble souls … offer supplications, intone divine verses, and chant prayers with wondrous melodies” such that “the inmates of the Concourse on high hearken and call out, crying, ‘Happy are we; let all the world rejoice!’” It is, the Master declares, “the first visible and manifest establishment of the Lord”, being so momentous a structure that even the act of “laying but one brick for [it] or one of its dependencies is like unto building a lofty edifice”. As Shoghi Effendi states, the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is a “symbol and harbinger of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh”. It is, in the words of the House of Justice, a beacon of light “against the gloom of hatred and inequity”. Eight continental Temples now illumine the world, while local and national ones are beginning to emerge, each one summoning “all comers to worship the One Who is their Creator, their sovereign Lord, the Giver of Light to the world” and galvanizing “an entire people to reach for a more profound sense of unified purpose”. Each reminds us of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s assurance that “a hundred thousand Mash̲riqu’l-Aͯdh̲kárs shall be reared in glory, dignity, and utmost majesty”.

To assist in further understanding the nature of this divine institution and its profound implications for the spiritual regeneration of humanity, the attached compilation of extracts from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as well as from the letters written by, or on behalf of, Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice is provided. Some of the concepts that may be gleaned from various passages in the compilation are discussed below.

The Influence of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár

In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Bahá’u’lláh calls on the peoples of the world to build

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.​
‘Abdu’l-Bahá elaborates on the importance of this institution, referring to the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár as “the lodestone of divine confirmations” and “the mighty foundation of the Lord, the firm pillar of the Faith of God”. In the same Tablet, He states that the establishment of the House of Worship “is a means for the exaltation of the Word of God” and that the “praise and glorification emanating from it cheereth the heart of every righteous soul”. He thus exhorts the friends to “be occupied therein with prayer and the worship of God, the recitation of the verses and words of God, and the chanting of heavenly odes in glorification of the All-Merciful”.

Elsewhere, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá describes the House of Worship as “a centre wherein the spirits are gladdened and the hearts attracted to the Abhá Kingdom” and avers that it has “a powerful influence on every phase of life”, awakening the friends and promoting the oneness of humankind. By gathering together in this edifice to make mention of the Lord, “bonds of unity” are forged while affection grows and flourishes “in the human heart”. Indeed, through the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, which “causeth hearts to be illumined, souls to become spiritual, and the fragrances of the Kingdom of Glory to be inhaled”, the world of humanity is “transformed into another world, and the susceptibilities of the heart are heightened to such a degree that they encompass the entire creation”. According to Shoghi Effendi, the impact of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is “incalculable and mysterious”, directly bolstering the faith of the individual, while also serving, in the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as “the greatest means of diffusing the sweet savours of the Lord”. “As a potent symbol and an integral element of the divine civilization towards which Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation ushers all peoples,” the House of Justice observes in a letter written on its behalf, “the House of Worship becomes the focal point of the community from which it emerges.” “The people shall hasten to worship in that heavenly Temple,” the Master declares, “the fragrance of God will be diffused, the Divine Teachings will take root in the hearts like unto the establishment of the spirit in the souls of men, and the people will stand firm in the Cause of your Lord, the All-Merciful.”