Baha’i: A father, a son and the Day of the Covenant

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26: It may be “Black Friday” for hoards of after-Thanksgiving shoppers, but for Baha’is, today holds a unique significance: for Baha’is, today is a celebration for the Day of the Covenant. Just as Christians honor the sacred relationship of the Trinity, Baha’is take today to appreciate the relationship between Baha’u’llah, his covenant and his son. (Get information at the official website for Baha’is in the U.S.)

In the Baha’i tradition, the Bab declared his mission on the very same day a baby named Abdu’l-Baha was born to Baha’u’llah. According to the Bab, he was the predecessor of a divine teacher and Promised One—and Baha’is believe that Promised One was Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i faith. (Wikipedia has details.) When Abdu’l-Baha matured, he instructed Baha’is not to celebrate his birthday on its actual date (May 23) since the Bab’s declaration was a more important focus for the day. (Planet Baha’i has more.) When Baha’is asked which day they could use to honor Abdu’l-Baha, he established the Day of the Covenant—today—and asked that Baha’is also spend today rejoicing in the Baha’u’llah’s promise of their unity.

Examining the complex relationship between Baha’u’llah, his covenant and his son provides an ideal way to understand today’s observance. While Abdu’l-Baha was solely his father’s servant from birth (by name and by choice), Baha’u’llah also appointed his son his successor and the “center,” or keeper, of his covenant. Abdu’l-Baha provided a perfect example of living in accordance with Baha’u’llah’s teachings, and so it makes sense that each element of this unique three-way relationship be honored today.

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