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from the Chronology

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1830 Jan c. Birth of Hájí Mírzá Muhammad Taqí Afnán (Vakílu'd-Dawlih), maternal uncle of the Báb, who supervised and largely paid for the building of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár in `Ishqábád. Ishqabad; Turkmenistan Haji Muhammad-Taqi Afnan (Vakilud-Dawlih); Afnan; Bab, Family of; Vakilud-Dawlih; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Ishqabad; Births and deaths
1889. 8 Sep Hájí Muhammad Ridáy-i-Isfahání was martyred in `Ishqábád. [BBRXXIX, 296–7; GPB202]

"In the city of 'Ishqábád the newly established Shí'ah community, envious of the rising prestige of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh who were living in their midst, instigated two ruffians to assault the seventy-year old Hájí Muhammad-Ridáy-i-Isfáhání, whom, in broad day and in the midst of the bazaar, they stabbed in no less than thirty-two places, exposing his liver, lacerating his stomach and tearing open his breast. A military court dispatched by the Czar to 'Ishqábád established, after prolonged investigation, the guilt of the Shí'ahs, sentencing two to death and banishing six others - a sentence which neither Násir'd-Dín Sháh, nor the 'ulamás of Tihrán, of Mashad and of Tabríz, who were appealed to, could mitigate, but which the representatives of the aggrieved community, through their magnanimous intercession which greatly surprised the Russian authorities, succeeded in having commuted to a lighter punishment." [GPB202-203]

  • Czar Alexander III sent a military commission from St Petersburg to conduct the trial of those accused of the murder. [AB109; GPB202]
  • Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl served as chief Bahá'í spokesman at the trial. [AB109]
  • Two were found guilty and sentenced to death, six others were ordered to be transported to Siberia. [AB109; BBR297; GPB203]
  • Bahá'u'lláh attached importance to the action as being the first time Shí'ís received judicial punishment for an attack on Bahá'ís. [BBRSM91]
  • The Bahá'í community interceded on behalf of the culprits and had the death sentences commuted to transportation to Siberia. [AB109; BBR297; GPB203]
  • For Western accounts of the episode see BBR296–300.
  • See as well The Martyrdom of Haji Muhammad-Rida by Mirza Abu’l-Fadl Gulpaygani, translated by Ahang Rabbani.
  • Ishqabad; Turkmenistan Haji Muhammad Riday-i-Isfahani; Czar Alexander III; Mirza Abul-Fadl Gulpaygani; Firsts, Other; Persecution, Turkmenistan; Persecution, Deaths; Persecution, Court cases; Court cases; Persecution; Human rights
    1890 (In the year) By 1890 about a thousand Bahá'ís had settled in `Ishqábád. [BBRSM91, SDOH99] Ishqabad; Turkmenistan Statistics
    1896 (In the year) ʻIshqábád was one of the first places (possibly the first) in which 'Abdu'l-Bahá gave instructions for the setting up of an elected Bahá'í assembly. This was done in 1313 A.H. (1895-6) and was called at first the Spiritual Board of Counsel (Mahfil-i Shawra Rawhani) and later the Spiritual Assembly (Mahfil-i Rawhani). THE BAHA'I COMMUNITY OF ASHKHABAD; ITS SOCIAL BASIS AND IMPORTANCE IN BAHA'I HISTORY by Moojan Momen pg287; Note 11] Ishqabad; Turkmenistan Local Spiritual Assembly, formation
    1902 (In the year) Shanghai was re-opened to the Bahá'í Faith by the arrival of two Bahá'ís from`Ishqábád, Áqá Mírzá Mihdí Rashtí and Áqá Mírzá `Abdu'l-Baqí Yazdí, who opened a branch of the Ummi'd company, an import-export firm. [PH25] Shanghai; Ishqabad; Turkmenistan Aqa Mirza Mihdi Rashti; Aqa Mirza Abdul-Baqi Yazdi
    1902 28 Nov Construction began on the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of `Ishqábád with the laying of its cornerstone. [BFA2:116-17]
  • BBRXXX says this was 12 December. The discrepancy may lie in the use of two different calendars.
  • The foundation stone was laid in the presence of General Subotich, governor-general of Turkistan. [BFA2:116–17; GPB300; see discussion of Krupatkin vs Subotich in The City of Love: Ishqábád and the Institution of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár by Bruce Whitmore] Also see BBR442-443 for the account of a Russian official, A D Kalmykov who says it was General Subotich.
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá commissioned Hájí Mírzá Muhammad-Taqí, the Vakílu'd-Dawlih, son of Hájí Siyyid Muhammad, the uncle of the Báb for whom Bahá'u'lláh had revealed The Kitáb-i-Íqán, to be in charge of the project. He largely paid for it. [AB109]
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself delineated the general design and a Russian architect, Volkov, planned and executed the details of the construction. [AB109–10; Universal House of Justice 20 June 1991 para 8]
  • A meeting hall and some of its dependencies had been built before 1900.
  • The dependencies included two Bahá'í schools, a travellers' hostel, a medical dispensary and Hazíratu'l-Quds. [BBD122; BBR442; BBRSM:91]
  • For a Western account of this see BBR442–3.
  • See jacket of BBR for a photograph of work on the Temple.
  • See the message of the Universal House of Justice dated 1 August, 2014 for more on the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár in `Ishqábád.
  • Specifics
      Location: In the heart of the city of `Ishqábád
      Foundation Stone: Late 1902 by General Subotich, the governor-general of Turkistan who had been delegated by the Czar to represent him.
      Construction Period: Initial step had been undertaken during the lifetime of Bahá’u’lláh. Superstructure: 1902 – 1907. External Ornamentation: 1919
      Site Dedication: No record of a dedication ceremony on completion of the building can be found although the external ornamentation was completed in 1919 it is probable that the building had been in use for some years by this time.
      Architects: `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself delineated the general design. More specific design was by Ustad Ali-Akbar-i-Banna and a Russian architect, Volkov, planned and executed the details of the construction under the supervision of Hájí Mírzá Muhammad-Taqí, the son of Hájí Siyyid Muhammad, the uncle of the Báb for whom Bahá'u'lláh had revealed The Kitáb-i-Íqán. [AB109]
      Seating:
      Dimensions:
      Cost:
      Dependencies: two Bahá'í schools, a travellers' hostel, a medical dispensary and Hazíratu'l-Quds
      Expropriation:1928
      Lease period: – 1938
      Seizure; the building was turned into an art gallery
      Earthquake: 1948
      Demolition: August 1963 the Universal House of Justice announced that it had been demolished by the authorities and the site cleared.
      References: AB109, BW14p479-481, GPB300-301, CEBF236, EB266-268, MF126-128
    Ishqabad; Turkmenistan Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Quick facts; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Ishqabad; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Dependencies of; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Design; Architecture; Architects; Foundation stones and groundbreaking; General Subotich; Krupatkin; Haji Muhammad-Taqi Afnan (Vakilud-Dawlih); Afnan; Bab, Family of; Haji Siyyid Muhammad; Ustad Ali-Akbar-i-Banna; Volkov; Haziratul-Quds; Bahai schools; - Basic timeline, Expanded; Abdul-Baha, Life of
    1903 7 Mar Inspired by the news of the `Ishqábád Temple project, the Chicago House of Spirituality asked `Abdu'l-Bahá for permission to construct a Mashriqu'l-Adhkár. Two days later Mirza Asadu'lláh drafted a petition to be sent to 'Abdu'l-Bahá. His reply was received in late May and three other letters were received over the next several weeks containing statements about the Temple. [BFA2:XVI, 118; BW10:179; GPB348; DH4-5] Ishqabad; Turkmenistan; Wilmette; Chicago; United States House of Spirituality; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mashriqul-Adhkar, Wilmette; petition
    1908 (In the year) The outer structure of the House of Worship in `Ishqábád was completed and the dome was in place. [AB110, EB267]
  • The outer decoration would not be completed until 1919.
  • For a description of the Temple, its gardens and environs see BW1:79–81, GPB300–1 and PUP71.
  • Ishqabad; Turkmenistan Mashriqul-Adhkar, Ishqabad; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship)
    1914 (In the year) Mr Husayn Uskuli and two Bahá'ís friends arrived in Shanghai from 'Ishqábád. His family joined him later. [PH28-29, BW13p871-872]

    The war years 1937-1945 were difficult for him and the conditions following the victory of the Chinese Communist Party made it impossible to have contact with the local people yet he remained.

  • He spent all his remaining years but for a few in Shanghai where he passed away on the 25th of February, 1956 and was laid to rest in the Shanghai Kiangwan cemetery. [Video Early History of the Bahá'ís of China 6min 33 sec]
  • Ishqabad; Turkmenistan; Shanghai; China Husayn Uskuli
    1917 (in the year) The news magazine, Khurshid-i khavar (Sun of the East) commenced publication. [BWNS1289] Ishqabad; Turkmenistan Khurshid-i khavar (Sun of the East); - Periodicals; First publications; Publications; BWNS
    1925 (During the year) National Spiritual Assemblies were formed in the Caucasus and in Turkistan about this time. Because these Assemblies were not chosen by the election of the members of the local spiritual assemblies or by representatives of the Bahá'í population as is the current practice, they should be considered as preliminary local and national Assemblies. [BW24p44]
  • They were disbanded in 1938 due to government pressure. [Bahaipedia]
  • Ishqabad; Turkmenistan; Baku; Caucasus National Spiritual Assembly, formation
    1928 Apr The Soviet authorities abrogated the constitution of the Spiritual Assembly of ‘Ishqábád (now Ashgabat, Turkmenistan) and the assembly was dissolved. [BW3:37, BW8p88, SETPE1p154]
  • Bahá’í schools and libraries were closed. [BBRSM173]
  • Not long after, the government ordered that all religious buildings in the Soviet Union were the property of the government and the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár was expropriated and leased back to the Bahá’ís. [BBD122; BBR473; BBRSM161; BW3:37]
  • For the history of the persecution of the Bahá’ís in the Soviet Union see BBR473 and BW3:34–43.
  • PP364–5 says it was 1929.
  • See The Bahá'í Community of Ashkhabad; Its Social Basis and Importance in Bahá'í History by Moojan Momen.
  • Ishqabad; Turkmenistan; Soviet Union; Russia Persecution, Russia; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Mashriqul-Adhkar, Ishqabad; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Moojan Momen
    1938 5 Feb Bahá'ís in the Soviet Union were persecuted by the authorities. [BBR473, BW8p87-90, 179-81, BW14p479-481, SETPE1p155]
  • Five hundred Bahá'í men were imprisoned in Turkistán. [Bw8p89]
  • Many Persian Bahá'ís living in various cities of the Soviet Union were arrested, some are sent to Siberia, others to Pavladar in northern Kazakhstan and yet others to Iran. [BW8p87, 179, 184]
  • Six hundred Bahá'í refugees-women, girls, children and a few old men, went to Iran, most to Mashhad. [BW8p89]
  • The Bahá'í Temple in Ishqábád (now Ashgabat, Turkmenistan) was confiscated and turned into an art gallery. [BDD122, BW8p89]
  • The Bahá'í schools were ordered closed. [BW8p89]
  • Spiritual Assemblies and all other administrative institutions in the Caucasus were ordered dissolved. [BW8p89]
  • Shoghi Effendi included all these territories in his Ten Year Plan, unveiled in 1953, as follows:
    • The National Spiritual Assembly of Germany and Austria was made responsible for opening Albania, Estonia, Finno—Karelia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia (Moldova), Romania and White Russia (Belarus) and for consolidating Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (S.F.S.R.), and Yugoslavia.
    • The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of lran was made responsible for opening Kirgizia (later named Kyrgyzstan), Mongolia, Tajikistan (Tadzhikistan) and Uzbekistan, and for consolidating Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and Turkmenistan.
    • The National Spiritual Assembly of the United States was responsible for opening Kazakhstan, Sakhalin, and the Ukraine. [BW20p196-197]
  • Soviet Union; Russia; Caucasus; Turkistan; Ishqabad; Turkmenistan; Kazakhstan; Iran; Mashhad Mashriqul-Adhkar, Ishqabad; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Persecution, Russia; Persecution, Arrests; Persecution, Other; Persecution; Bahai schools; Local Spiritual Assembly
    1948 (In the year) The Bahá’í Temple in ‘Ishqábád (now Ashgabat, Turkmenistan) was damaged by an earthquake. [BBD 122; BW14:480] Ishqabad; Turkmenistan Mashriqul-Adhkar, Ishqabad; Earthquakes; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship)
    1956 25 Feb Husayn Uskuli, (b. 1875) long-time pioneer to Shanghai from ‘Ishqábád, passed away in Shanghai at the age of 82 and was buried in the Kiangwan Cemetery in Shanghai. [PH29, BW13p871-873]
  • He had heard about the Faith at the age of 18 from Mírzá Haydar-'Alí. After his marriage he moved to 'Ishqábád where he was very active in the community. After his move to Shanghai his home was the centre of activity and hospitality for all those passing through. He was the only foreign-born Bahá'í to remain in China after the regime change. The xenophobic attitude of the government precluded any meaningful contact with the local citizenry.
  • He was survived by four daughters and a son.
  • Ishqabad; Turkmenistan; Shanghai; China Husayn Uskuli; In Memoriam; Births and deaths
    1963 25 Aug The Universal House of Justice announceed the demolition of the House of Worship in ‘Ishqábád (now Ashgabat, Turkmenistan) by the Soviet authorities owing to earthquake damage. [BBD122; BW14:479–81]
  • For a picture of the damaged Temple see BW14:481.
  • Ishqabad; Turkmenistan; Soviet Union; Russia Mashriqul-Adhkar, Ishqabad; Earthquakes; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship)
    1989 Ridván The Local Spiritual Assembly of ‘Ishqábád (now Ashgabat, Turkmenistan) was re-formed after a lapse of 61 years, the first local assembly to be formed in the Soviet Union. [AWH73; VV111] Ishqabad; Turkmenistan; Soviet Union; Russia Local Spiritual Assembly
    1992 Ridván The National Spiritual Assembly of Baltic States: Central Asia (comprising of the Republics of Kazakhstan, Kirgizia, Tadzhikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) was formed with its seat in Ashkhabad. [BINS270:4-5; BW92–93:119; BW94–95:29; CBN Jan92 p2, VV121] Kazakhstan; Kirgizia; Tadzhikistan; Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan; Ishqabad National Spiritual Assembly, formation
    1994. Ridván With the formation of National Spiritual Assemblies in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, the National Spiritual Assembly of Central Asia was re-named the National Spiritual Assembly of Turkmenistan with its seat in Ashgabat. [BW22p26] Ishqabad; Turkmenistan National Spiritual Assembly, formation
    2003 26 Nov The passing of Hand of the Cause of God Ali Akbar Furútan in Haifa at the age of 98. [BWNS261, BW'03-‘04pg227]
  • Born in Sabzivar, Iran, on 29 April 1905.
  • Moved with his family to Ashgabat in what was then Russian Turkestan (now part of Turkmenistan), and, through his years of school and university, he took an active part in the work of the Bahá'í communities of Ashgabat, Baku, Moscow, and other parts of Russia.
  • In 1930 he was expelled from the Soviet Union during the Stalinist persecution of religion and from that time on played an ever more significant role in the work and administration of the Iranian Bahá'í community. [BW03-04p227-230]
  • Shoghi Effendi had appointed him among the first contingent on the 24th of December, 1951. [MoCxxiii]
  • For a tribute from the Universal House of Justice see message of 27 November, 2003.
  • Haifa; Sabzivar; Iran; Ishqabad; Turkmenistan; Baku; Moscow Hands of the Cause; Hands of the Cause, Births and deaths; Births and deaths; Ali Akbar Furutan; In Memoriam; Hands of the Cause, First Contingent; BWNS

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    from the Main Catalogue

    1. Ashgabat Collection, by Olga Mehti (2019). On the life and works of Alexander Tumansky and his involvement with Bahá'í history. [about]
    2. Ashkhabad (Ashgabat), Bahá'í Community of, by Vahid Rafati, in Encyclopaedia Iranica, Volume 3 (1989). Brief excerpt, with link to full article offsite. [about]
    3. Babi and Bahá'í Religions 1844-1944: Some Contemporary Western Accounts, by Moojan Momen (1981). A lengthy collection of first-hand reports and mentions of the Bábí and Bahá'í religions in contemporaneous accounts and newspapers. [about]
    4. Bahá'í Community of Ashkhabad, The: Its Social Basis and Importance in Bahá'í History, by Moojan Momen, in Cultural Change and Continuity in Central Asia, ed. Shirin Akiner (1991). Origin and history of the Bahá'ís in Ishqabad (Ashgabat) in Turkistan, analysis of the social composition of this community, and its importance of in terms of the rest of the Bahá'í world. [about]
    5. Bahá'í News Publications Seek to Elevate Thought, Inspire Action, by Bahá'í World News Service, in Bahá'í World (2018). Brief overview of the histories of various Bahá'í journals: Star of the West, Khurshid-i khavar, Sonne der Wahrheit, Wirklichkeit, The Dawn, Herald of the South, The Bahá'í World, World Order, and Bahá’í World News Service. [about]
    6. Bahá'u'lláh's Bishárát (Glad-Tidings): A Proclamation to Scholars and Statesmen, by Christopher Buck and Youli A. Ioannesyan, in Bahá'í Studies Review, 16 (2010). Historical and textual study of the one of the major writings of Bahá'u'lláh, and new theories as to its provenance and purpose; it may have been revealed for E. G. Browne. [about]
    7. City of Love, The: Ishqábád and the Institution of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, by Bruce Whitmore, in Bahá'í News, 52:7 (1975). History of the building of the temple in Turkmenistan, north of the Iranian province of Khurasan. [about]
    8. Empire for the Faithful, A Colony for the Dispossessed, An, by Robert D. Crews, in Cahiers d'Asie centrale, 17/18 (2009). History of the establishment of Tsarist power in Turkestan and the goal of earning support from their Muslim territories. Includes discussion of the Bahá'í Faith in Ashkabad and Russian/Bahá'í mutual political interests in Persia and Turkey. (Offsite.) [about]
    9. For the Betterment of the World, to the Glory of God: The Emergence of Bahá'í Houses of Worship, by Ann Boyles, in Bahá'í World (2019). Overiew of the concept and history of the Bahá'í House of Worship. [about]
    10. Illustrated description of a design in the Persian-Indian style of architecture for the first Mashrak-el-Azkar (Bahá'í temple) to be erected in America, by Charles Mason Remey (1920). Expanded version of a portion of Remey's earlier Mashrak-el-Azkar [Mashriqu'l-Adhkár]: Descriptive of the Bahai temple, with photographs of Temple models. [about]
    11. Ishqabad, City of Love: A Study into the Story of Those Who Became the Foremost in the Bahá'í Faith, by Fuad Izadinia (2014). Biographies of many dozen Bahá'ís of historical interest; construction of the House of Worship in Turkmenistan; Bahá'í schools for boys and for girls; stories of exiled Bahá'ís. [about]
    12. Les Bahaïs du Caucase: b.a.-ba d'une communauté méconnue, by Azer Jafarov and Bayram Balci, in Religion et politique dans le Caucase post-soviétique (2007). Chapter on "the Bahá'ís of the Caucasus, the basics [lit. the ABCs] of an unknown community." [about]
    13. Martyrdom of Hájí Muhammad-Ridá: 19 Historical Accounts, by Ahang Rabbani, in Witnesses to Babi and Bahá'í History, vol. 5 (2007). Accounts of the 1889 martyrdom of Haji Muhammad Rida Isfahani in Ashgabat (Ashkhabad) in Russian Turkestan. [about]
    14. Martyrdom of Haji Muhammad-Rida, The, by Mirza Abu'l-Fadl Gulpaygani (1890). Gulpaygani's firsthand account of the events leading up to and following the murder of Muhammad-Rida and the trial of his killers. [about]
    15. Mashrak-el-Azkar: Descriptive of the Bahá'í temple, by Charles Mason Remey (1917). Preliminary designs for the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár to be built in America, showing nine varying treatments in different styles of architecture; includes discussions of the Ashkhabad temple and Bahá'í history, and a 1908 letter to Star of West. [about]
    16. Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986: Third Epoch of the Formative Age, by Universal House of Justice (1996). [about]
    17. Notes on the Babi and Bahá'í Religions in Russia and its territories, by Graham Hassall, in Journal of Bahá'í Studies, 5:3 (1993). Overview of the history of Bábí and Bahá'í communities in Russia and Russian territories. [about]
    18. Photo of the Moscow Bahá'í Community, 1925 (1925). Picture of Bahá'ís gathered to welcome Siyyid Mihdíy-i-Gulpáygání to Moscow, with identifications. Includes A. A. Furutan. [about]
    19. Rise of the Bahá'í Community of 'Ishqábád, The, by Anthony Lee, in Bahá'í Studies, 5: "The Bahá'í Faith in Russia: Two Early Instances" (1979). Materials about the early history of Ishqabad, site of the first Bahá'í Temple, based in part on interviews with former residents. [about]
    20. Secret of Divine Civilization Translation, Capital Punishment, and Other Questions, by Universal House of Justice (1991). On the capitalization of pronouns, reference to "we Muslims," works of Abdu'l-Bahá revealed during the time of Bahá'u'lláh, the first person to recognize Bahá'u'lláh, and designer of the temple in Ishqabad. Includes a compilation on capital punishment. [about]
    21. Seizure of the Ishqabad Temple: Horace Holley Interview with State Department Officials (1939). Brief report of an interview with the secretary of the US National Spiritual Assembly on whether and why the Soviet government had appropriated the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in Ashkhabad. [about]
    22. История Ашхабадского храма бахаи, by Ольга Мехти (2012). Небольшое историческое эссе о строительстве ашхабадского храма бахаи — личные мемуары и исследования автора, с историческими фотографиями Ашхабада XIX-начала XX века. [about]
     
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