As to the design of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár: it should resemble the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of ‘Ishqábád. That is, it must be a nine-sided edifice and should be erected so as to evince the utmost spirituality, elegance, loftiness, refinement, and grace, in such wise that it becometh a place which is full of charm. Insofar as possible, effort should be exerted towards ensuring the pleasantness of the site, its freshness and beauty.
As to the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, it is of the utmost importance. The purpose is this: A spot should be designated, even if it is a small place beneath layers of earth and stone, and it should, out of prudence, be kept hidden and concealed lest it arouse the hostility of the mischief-makers. At least once a week, it should become the gathering place of the chosen friends who have discovered the secrets and become the intimates of divine mysteries. It may assume any form, for even if it be an underground pit, that pit shall become a sheltering paradise, an exalted bower, and a garden of delight. It shall become a centre wherein the spirits are gladdened and the hearts attracted to the Abhá Kingdom.
O thou true friend of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá! Thy most ardent wish was for the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár to be reared and established. For each and every thing there is a prescribed season—and praise be to God, the time to build the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár hath now come! The greatest endeavour must therefore be exerted that this mighty edifice may be erected solidly and firmly, with refinement and grace. This is a great service to the Sacred Threshold, the renown of which shall gladden, through all eternity, the hearts of the Concourse on high in the Kingdom of holiness.
Verily, with a sincere heart, I have rendered thanks unto God for His having aided the friends, despite their poverty and lowliness, to contribute to the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, the pillars of which will soon be raised in the midmost heart of America.
— 'Abdu'l-Bahá, From a Tablet translated from the Arabic
The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is the lodestone of divine confirmations. The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is the mighty foundation of the Lord, the firm pillar of the Faith of God. The establishment of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is a means for the exaltation of the Word of God. The praise and glorification emanating from it cheereth the heart of every righteous soul. The holy fragrances of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár vivify the souls of the righteous, and its vitalizing breezes confer life upon the pure in heart. The lamps of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, like unto the resplendent rays of dawn, illuminate the horizons. The melody of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár cheereth the souls of the Concourse on high, and the recitation within it of the verses of His Divine Unity bringeth joy and gladness to the inmates of the Kingdom of Glory.
In this day, the greatest matter and most consummate service to be offered at the Sacred Threshold of God is the establishment of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár…. The purpose is that the loved ones of God should, while exercising the utmost wisdom, 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.
O ye loved ones of God! The news was received that a Mashriqu’l-Adhkár hath been established, that in that land the praise and glorification of God hath reached the Kingdom of Glory and the melodies of worship and praise of that glorious Beloved have ascended to the Concourse on high. What boundless joy and delight were produced by these glad-tidings, inasmuch as the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár causeth the friends to be awakened, to remember God, and to be in a state of humble prayer. The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár 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 thereby transformed into another world, and the susceptibilities of the heart are heightened to such a degree that they encompass the entire creation. My hope is that a Mashriqu’l-Adhkár be established in every quarter and in each corner of the country, even if this be done with the utmost discretion and circumspection, and, for prudence’s sake, be confined to chosen and trusted friends among the loved ones of God, until such time as the spread of its fame may not arouse dismay and turmoil among the heedless.
O ye beloved of God! Behold how abundant shall be the freshness, tenderness, spirituality, and radiance that are attained when ye assemble in that gathering place of the spirit, occupy yourselves at dawn with the remembrance of God, and, after reciting prayers, make mention together of the Most Bountiful Lord in sweet melodies. These melodies shall reach unto the Kingdom of Glory, and these songs shall cheer and gladden the Concourse on high.
… Consider thou the manner in which Ḥájí Mírzá Muḥammad-Taqí Afnán, that sanctified spirit and confirmed soul, arose to serve this great Cause. Forsaking a life of ease and comfort in Yazd, he hastened to ‘Ishqábád to labour for the Cause of God. How self-sacrificing he was in the rearing of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár! He dedicated his life wholly to this task, until he succeeded in establishing the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in that land. How extraordinary indeed was his service, for this is the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár that hath been raised up in the world in God’s name. Its significance, therefore, is very great. And yet, in the future a hundred thousand Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs shall be reared in glory, dignity, and utmost majesty. The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of ‘Ishqábád hath the station of the mother, and the other Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs are like unto spiritual children that shall be born of it.
O ye who are firm in the Covenant and Testament of God! The notebook containing your plans for the establishment of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár and its dependencies—consisting of a hospital, schools, a hostel, and homes for the infirm and the poor—and furthermore, the names of those who have contributed funds for this endeavour, was received and read. Praise be to God that He hath assisted blessed souls to arise and accomplish such a momentous task and to lay the foundation of an edifice that shall endure for all eternity, whose pinnacles shall soar to the apex of heaven.
Although this Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is being built upon earth, in reality it is an institution of the Concourse on high, and therefore it can be said to reach the highest heavens. Render ye thanks unto God that ye have arisen to offer such a momentous service, inasmuch as in this age and century the establishment of Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs is of the utmost importance. These edifices will bestow firmness and constancy upon the friends. They are places of supplication and invocation to the Threshold of His grandeur and are the greatest means of diffusing the sweet savours of the Lord. In these days, laying but one brick for the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár or one of its dependencies is like unto building a lofty edifice. I am, therefore, well pleased with the beloved of the Lord for having succeeded in rendering so vital and important a service. It is my hope that this structure will be established in the utmost beauty and strength and that its dependencies will gradually be completed.
The first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in America was instituted in Chicago, and this honor and distinction is infinite in value. Out of this Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, without doubt, thousands of Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs will be born.
— 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan, p. 78
The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is a divine edifice in this nether world and a means for attaining the oneness of humanity, inasmuch as all the peoples of the world shall gather in fellowship and harmony within the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár and, chanting the anthems of Divine Unity, engage in the praise and glorification of the Lord of Hosts. Thy joy must, of a certainty, rest in diffusing the light of divine guidance.
O thou who art firm in the Covenant! The glad-tidings of the impending completion of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, the arrangement of its gardens, and, erelong, the flowing of its fountains, brought infinite joy. The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár shall truly become a place of great happiness and joy. The strength and elegance of its structure, the orderly arrangement of its pathways, the design of its flowerbeds, the gushing of its fountains, the blossoming of its trees, the freshness of its air, and the charm and beauty of its appearance combine to create a paradise of utmost delight. It shall truly be without peer or likeness.
Thou hadst written that the friends intend to contribute towards the cost of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. This news imparted infinite joy, inasmuch as the abundant effusions of the Kingdom, the heavenly outpourings of God’s grace, and His unfailing confirmations are directed towards the establishment of the bonds of unity, harmony, and fellowship in the world of humanity. Therefore, this worthy act on the part of the friends in the East to gather and send contributions to the West is praiseworthy, meritorious, and among the distinctive characteristics of this Dispensation. It was unheard of in the past for the East to lend its material support to the West, that is, for the friends in Persia to aid in the building of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in America. This is the first occasion of its kind; therefore, its effects will surely be laudable and it will bring forth admirable results.
Praise be to the Ancient Beauty for having conferred such ties of friendship and harmony upon the human race, for having established such a mighty foundation, and for having promoted such a sublime aspiration. Thanks be to the Most Great Name for having raised aloft such a tabernacle in the midmost heart of the world, through which the various nations of the earth shall become unified and associate with one another in friendship; the disparate nations of the world shall become one country and its numerous lands one homeland; all the different governments shall join together in union and harmony; the roots of injustice shall be eradicated; and the foundations of war, conflict, pillage, plunder, hatred, and hostility shall be destroyed. This cooperation and collaboration between the East and the West provideth sufficient and irrefutable proof that this blessed aim will be achieved.
O ye friends of the East and the West! Among the foundations of the religion of God, the inner significances of the Word of God, and the duties of the friends of God, the greatest is cooperation and mutual aid, for the realm of humanity—nay, all the innumerable beings found in the world of existence—depend upon it. Should cooperation and mutual aid cease to exist among created things, the world of being would disintegrate utterly.…
The foundation of life and existence is cooperation and mutual aid, whereas the cause of annihilation and deterioration is the cessation of aid and assistance. The higher the realm of existence, the stronger and more vital this weighty matter of cooperation and assistance doth become. In the realm of humanity, therefore, cooperation and mutual aid are in a greater degree of completeness and perfection than that which prevaileth in the other realms of existence—so much so, that the life of humanity dependeth entirely upon this principle. Among the friends of God, in particular, this strong foundation must be fortified in such wise that each soul may help the other in all matters, whether pertaining to spiritual realities and inner truths or to the material and physical aspects of life. Such is especially the case with regard to the founding of public institutions that benefit all people, and, in particular, the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, which constituteth the greatest of divine foundations.
Truly, pure and radiant hearts are the dawning-places of the mention of God from which the melodies of supplication and prayer continually reach the Concourse on high. I beg of God to make each of your hearts a divine temple in which the lamp of the Most Great Guidance may be lit. Should the hearts receive a bounty such as this, they would assuredly exert the utmost endeavour and become fully determined to build the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, so that the outward frame may reveal the inward reality and the outer form give tidings of the inner meaning.
Thy letter and the two plans for the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár were received. Both plans were reviewed, and cheered the hearts. The loved ones and handmaids of God engaged, each and every one, in speaking thy praise. Thou shouldst, however, consult with the members of the Spiritual Assembly concerning the form and design of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, in order that ye may reach a decision together. All matters must be made a means of unity and concord, so that fellowship and harmony among the beloved of God might increase as day followeth day.
Now, this matter of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár must itself be implemented in such a manner as to foster unity and concord among the friends. That is to say, ye should first consult together, and thereafter devise a plan. If ye follow these steps, divine confirmations shall continuously be vouchsafed unto you. The friends in ‘Ishqábád made the raising up of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár the means of creating perfect fellowship. With the utmost love and sincerity, they elected a committee, and that committee attended to establishing, organizing, arranging, and designing the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. Divine confirmations were vouchsafed day after day, and—praised be God!—it was constructed in great soundness and majesty.
Whensoever a company of people shall gather in a meeting place, shall engage in glorifying God, and shall speak with one another of the mysteries of God, beyond any doubt the breathings of the Holy Spirit will blow gently over them, and each shall receive a share thereof.
— 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, no. 56.1
Jináb-i-Karbilá’í Muḥammad-Hádí, the custodian of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, is my master. In other words, I am his servant, for he is a servant of the Blessed Beauty. He sweepeth the grounds of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. This is not servitude, but sovereignty. The service he rendereth is no mere ordinary thing; nay, it is a bounty from God, pure and true.
In the future, God willing, there will be erected throughout all the regions … temples of outstanding beauty and dignity, in which grace and elegance combine with a fineness of proportion that is delightful to behold.
We hear that thou hast in mind to embellish thy house from time to time with a meeting of Bahá’ís, where some among them will engage in glorifying the All-Glorious Lord … Know that shouldst thou bring this about, that house of earth will become a house of heaven, and that fabric of stone a congress of the spirit.
— 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, no. 57.1
O thou who art firm in the Covenant! Thy letter was received and its purport was made plain and evident. Thou hadst written of the high endeavour, the exertion and the determination evinced by the loved ones of God, of their irrepressible enthusiasm for the construction of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, and of the engagement of their blessed persons in carrying its building stones. In truth, this news brought such joy to the hearts as is impossible to describe or recount, for it conjured the image of that noble assemblage bearing stones in the utmost humility and meekness and yet considering themselves exalted above the kings of the world.
Of those who arise in the service of this edifice there shall be no soul but shall be imbued by God with a power emanating from His mighty Kingdom, and upon him shall rain such spiritual, heavenly blessings as shall fill his heart with a wondrous light and illumine his eyes to behold the glory of the Ancient of Days.
— 'Abdu'l-Bahá, From a Tablet translated from the Arabic
The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is the dawning-place of lights and the gathering place of the righteous. Whenever a company of noble souls assemble in a heavenly gathering there and offer supplications, intone divine verses, and chant prayers with wondrous melodies, the inmates of the Concourse on high hearken and call out, crying, “Happy are we; let all the world rejoice!” for, praise be unto God, souls from among the angels of the Kingdom of Glory have arisen in the nether world to commune with their Lord and intone the verses of Divine Unity in a gathering of holiness. What bounty is there greater than this?
O Lord, O Thou Who dost bless all those who stand firm in the Covenant by enabling them, out of their love for the Light of the World, to expend what they have as an offering to the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, the dayspring of Thy wide-spread rays and the proclaimer of Thine evidences, help Thou, both in this world and the world to come, these righteous these upright and pious ones to draw ever nearer to Thy sacred Threshold, and make bright their faces with Thy dazzling splendours. Verily art Thou the Generous, the Ever-Bestowing.
— 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections From the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 96
Hasten now to ‘Ishqábád, in the utmost detachment and aflame with the fire of attraction, and convey to the friends of God ardent greetings from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Kiss thou each one’s face and express this servant’s deep and sincere affection to all. Do thou on behalf of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá move the earth, carry the mortar, and haul the stones for the building of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár so that the rapture of this service may bring joy and gladness to the Centre of Servitude. That Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is the first visible and manifest establishment of the Lord. Therefore, it is this servant’s hope that each and every virtuous and righteous soul will sacrifice his all, evince great happiness and exultation, and rejoice in carrying the earth and mortar so that this Divine Edifice may be raised, the Cause of God may spread, and in every corner of the world the friends may arise with the utmost resolve to accomplish this great task. Were ‘Abdu’l-Bahá not imprisoned and were there not obstacles in his path, he himself would assuredly hasten to ‘Ishqábád and carry the earth for the building of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár with the utmost joy and gladness. It behoveth the friends now to arise with this intention in mind and serve in my place so that in a short time this Edifice may be revealed to all eyes, the loved ones of God may engage in making mention of the Abhá Beauty, the melodies of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár may rise at dawntide to the Concourse on high, and the songs of the nightingales of God may bring joy and ecstasy to the denizens of the All-Glorious Realm. Thus will the hearts rejoice, the souls delight in joyful tidings, and the minds be illumined. This is the highest hope of the sincere ones; this is the dearest wish of them that are nigh unto God.
— 'Abdu'l-Bahá, In a letter from the Universal House of Justice dated 1 August 2014
One of the wondrous events that has of late come to pass is this, that the edifice of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is being raised in the very heart of the American continent, and numerous souls from the surrounding regions are contributing for the erection of this holy Temple. Among these is a highly esteemed lady of the city of Manchester, who hath been moved to offer her share.
Having no portion of goods and earthly riches, she sheared off with her own hands the fine, long and precious tresses that adorned her head so gracefully, and offered them for sale, that the price thereof might promote the cause of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár.
Consider ye, that though in the eyes of women nothing is more precious than rich and flowing locks, yet notwithstanding this, that highly-honoured lady hath evinced so rare and beautiful a spirit of self-sacrifice.
And though this was uncalled for, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would not have consented to such a deed, yet as it doth reveal so high and noble a spirit of devotion, He was deeply touched thereby. Precious though the hair be in the sight of western women, nay, more precious than life itself, yet she offered it up as a sacrifice for the cause of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár!
It is related that once in the days of the Apostle of God He signified His desire that an army should advance in a certain direction, and leave was granted unto the faithful to raise contributions for the holy war. Among many was one man who gave a thousand camels, each laden with corn, another who gave half his substance, and still another who offered all that he had. But a woman stricken in years, whose sole possession was a handful of dates, came to the Apostle and laid at His feet her humble contribution. Thereupon the Prophet of God—may my life be offered up as a sacrifice unto Him—bade that this handful of dates be placed over and above all the contributions that had been gathered, thus asserting the merit and superiority thereof over all the rest. This was done because that elderly woman had no other earthly possessions but these.
And in like manner this esteemed lady had nothing else to contribute but her precious locks, and these she gloriously sacrificed in the cause of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár.
Ponder and reflect how mighty and potent hath the Cause of God become! A woman of the west hath given her hair for the glory of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár.
— 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections From the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 97-99
Thousands of Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, which mean the Dawning-Points of Praise for all religionists, will be built in the world. In the Orient and in the Occident of the world will they be built. But this Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, being the first one in the Occident, has great importance. In after years there will be many Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs, even in this City of Chicago there shall be numerous ones established. In Asia there shall be many. In Europe there shall be many. Even in Africa there will be many. Even in Australia and New Zealand; but this is of great importance. In Ishkabad, Caucasus, Russia, the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár has the same great importance, being the first one built there. In Persia there are many Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs. Some have been houses which have been rented for that purpose. Others have given their homes entirely for that purpose, and in some places temporary and small places have been built therefor. In all the cities of Persia there are Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs; but the great Mashriqu’l-Adhkár was founded in Ishkabad. Because it is the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, hence it possesses the superlative degree of importance. All the friends of Ishkabad agreed and put forward the greatest effort. His holiness the Afnan devoted all his wealth to it. Everything he had he gave for it. Hence such a tremendous edifice was built. A colossal effort was put forward. Notwithstanding their contributions to that Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, they have, as you know, contributed to you here in this city. Now that one is almost complete, that is to say, with all its gardens. That Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is centrally located. It has nine avenues, nine gardens, nine fountains, so it is nine on nine, all nines. It is like a beautiful bouquet. Just imagine an edifice of that beauty in the center, very lofty, surrounded centrally by gardens, variegated flowers, with nine avenues interlacing nine gardens, nine ponds and nine fountains, and see how delightful it must be ! That is the way it should be. It is matchless, most beautiful! Such is the design. And now they are at work building a Hospital and a School for Orphans and a Home for the Cripples and a large Dispensary and a Hospice. They are now planning, thinking of these things. When that, God willing, shall be completed, it will be a Paradise! There will be no greater geometry than this, and I hope that in Chicago it shall be like this. It will be even so. Therefore endeavor to have the ground circular in shape. If possible even exchange certain parts in order to have a circular piece; not to have a triangle. The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár could not be triangular in shape. It must be circular.
— 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Talk dated 1 May 1912 in The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 71-72
The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is one of the most vital institutions in the world, and it hath many subsidiary branches. Although it is a House of Worship, it is also connected with a hospital, a drug dispensary, a traveller’s hospice, a school for orphans, and a university for advanced studies. Every Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is connected with these five things. My hope is that the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár will now be established in America, and that gradually the hospital, the school, the university, the dispensary and the hospice, all functioning according to the most efficient and orderly procedures, will follow. Make these matters known to the beloved of the Lord, so that they will understand how very great is the importance of this ‘Dawning-Point of the Remembrance of God.’ The Temple is not only a place for worship; rather, in every respect is it complete and whole.
— 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections From the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 99-100
As to the obligatory prayer (to be said three times a day): Each one must say his prayer alone by himself, and this is not conditional on a private place; that is, both at home and in the worshipping-place, which is a gathering-place, it is allowable for one to say his prayer; but each person must say his prayer by himself (i. e., not in company with others who might recite the same words and continue the same postures together at the same time).
— 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas, p. 464
I rejoice to hear that thou takest pain with thine art, for in this wonderful age, art is worship. The more thou strivest to perfect it, the closer wilt thou come to God. What bestowal could be greater than this, that one’s art should be even as the act of worshipping the Lord? That is to say, when thy fingers grasp the paintbrush, it is as if thou wert at prayer in the Temple.
— 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Compilation on Arts and Architecture
Although to outward seeming the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár is a material structure, yet it hath a spiritual effect. It forgeth bonds of unity from heart to heart; it is a collective centre for men’s souls. Every city in which, during the days of the Manifestation, a temple was raised up, hath created security and constancy and peace, for such buildings were given over to the perpetual glorification of God, and only in the remembrance of God can the heart find rest. Gracious God! The edifice of the House of Worship hath a powerful influence on every phase of life. Experience hath, in the east, clearly shown this to be a fact. Even if, in some small village, a house was designated as the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, it produced a marked effect; how much greater would be the impact of one especially raised up.
— 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections From the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 95-96