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Posted on Wed, Nov 25, 2009 : 8:24 a.m.

Baha’is of Washtenaw County commemorate Day of the Covenant

By Stephanie Fenton


Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Baha'i faith, appointed his son, Abdu'l-Baha, to carry out his covenant. Abdu'l-Baha is seen as the Center of the Covenant, because he provided a perfect example of how to live as a Baha'i and preached the faith throughout his life.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Baha’is will honor the unity of their faith tonight as they observe the Day of the Covenant. Unlike many other major faiths, Baha’is have only one sect - because one of their holiest figures, Baha’u’llah, created a covenant with his followers. In Washtenaw County, Baha’is will honor this covenant by gathering at the Baha’i Center of Washtenaw County at 7 p.m. for prayers, devotional music and refreshments. This program is open to the public.

As one of only two Baha’i holy days during which work is not suspended, the Day of the Covenant is observed as such primarily because one of its honorees, Baha’u’llah’s son, Abdu’l-Baha, requested it to be so. Although Abdu’l-Baha was born on May 23, 1844, he wished for Baha’is to honor his birthday on the Day of the Covenant, because May 23 should be dedicated solely to the day that the Bab declared his mission. Abdu’l-Baha continued on to say that Baha’is should continue to work on the Day of the Covenant.

“One of the unique features of the Baha’i faith is the covenant that its founder, Baha’u’llah, made with his followers in order to prevent division of the faith into sects,” said David Frankel, an Ann Arbor Baha’i. “Baha’u’llah appointed his eldest son, Abdu’l-Baha, as the Center of His Covenant, to lead the Baha’is after his passing.”

According to Baha’i tradition, the Covenant of Baha’u’llah could not have reached its full potential without the help of Abdu’l-Baha. Throughout his life, Abdu’l-Baha provided a perfect example of how to live as a Baha’i and is, therefore, seen as the Center of Baha’u’llah’s Covenant. “While the Day of the Covenant is, in a sense, a celebration of Abdu’l-Baha’s life, it is in a larger sense a celebration of the establishment of the Covenant of Baha’u’llah,” said Frankel. “His promise is that in exchange for His followers’ obedience, He would ensure their unity and progress.”

Friday marks the second Baha’i holy day during which work is not suspended - the ascension of Abdu’l-Baha. When Abdu’l-Baha died on Nov. 28, 1921, Bahai’s, Jews, Christians, Muslims and Druzes attended his funeral and mourned together. Historically, it is written that approximately 10,000 people attended Abdu’l-Baha’s funeral.

The Baha’i Center of Washtenaw County is located at 5550 Morgan Road in Ypsilanti Township.

Stephanie Fenton covers Faith for Stephanie can be contacted at