This Bahá’í teaching of human fellowship and kindness implies that we must be always ready to extend every assistance and help we can to those who are in distress and suffering. Bahá’í charity is of the very essence of the Teachings, and should therefore be developed in every Bahá’í community. Charitable institutions, such as orphanages, free schools and hospitals for the poor, constitute an indispensable part of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. It is the responsibility of every local Bahá’í community to ensure the welfare of its poor and needy members, through whatever means possible.
— On behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Letter dated 26 June 1936 to an individual believer
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
Whosoever arises for the service of this building shall be assisted with a great power from His Supreme Kingdom and upon him spiritual and heavenly blessings shall descend, which shall fill his heart with wonderful consolation and enlighten his eyes by beholding the glorious and eternal God!
The contribution that thou hast made to the Temple is beloved. The Temple is the most great foundation of the world of humanity and it hath many branches. Although the Temple is the place of worship, with it is connected a hospital, pharmacy, pilgrims’ house, school for the orphans, and a university for the study of high sciences. Every Temple is connected with these five things. I hope that now in America they will build a Temple and gradually add to it the hospital, school, university, pharmacy and pilgrims’ house with the utmost efficiency and thoroughness. Thou shouldst make known to the believers these details, so that they may realize how important the Temple is. The Temple is not only a place for worship; nay, it is perfect in every way.
— 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 416
The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár must have nine sides, doors, fountains, paths, gateways, columns and gardens, with ground floor, galleries and domes, and in design and construction must be beautiful. The mystery of the edifice is great, and cannot be unveiled yet, but its erection is the most important undertaking of this day. The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár has important accessories, which are accounted of the basic foundations. These are: school for orphan children, hospital and dispensary for the poor, home for the incapable, college for the higher scientific education, and hospice. In every city a great Mashriqu’l-Adhkár must be founded after this order. In the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár services will be held every morning. There will be no organ in the Temple. In buildings near by, festivals, services, conventions, public meetings and spiritual gatherings will be held, but in the Temple the chanting and singing will be unaccompanied. Open ye the gates of the Temple to all mankind.
When these institutions, college, hospital, hospice and establishment for the incurables, university for the study of higher sciences, giving post-graduate courses, and other philanthropic buildings are built, the doors will be opened to all the nations and religions. There will be absolutely no line of demarcation drawn. Its charities will be dispense irrespective of color or race. Its gates will be flung wide open to mankind; prejudice towards none, love for all. The central building will be devoted to the purpose of prayer and worship. Thus … religion will become harmonized with science, and science will be the handmaid of religion, both showering their material and spiritual gifts on all humanity.
— 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era, p. 187-188
Complementary in its [the Hazíratu’l-Quds] functions to those of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár—an edifice exclusively reserved for Bahá’í worship—this institution, whether local or national, will, as its component parts, such as the Secretariat, the Treasury, the Archives, the Library, the Publishing Office, the Assembly Hall, the Council Chamber, the Pilgrims’ Hostel, are brought together and made jointly to operate in one spot, be increasingly regarded as the focus of all Bahá’í administrative activity, and symbolize, in a befitting manner, the ideal of service animating the Bahá’í community in its relation alike to the Faith and to mankind in general.
From the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, ordained as a house of worship by Bahá’u’lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the representatives of Bahá’í communities, both local and national, together with the members of their respective committees, will, as they gather daily within its walls at the hour of dawn, derive the necessary inspiration that will enable them to discharge, in the course of their day-to-day exertions in the Hazíratu’l-Quds—the scene of their administrative activities—their duties and responsibilities as befits the chosen stewards of His Faith.
— Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 339-340
It should be borne in mind that the central Edifice of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, round which in the fulness of time shall cluster such institutions of social service as shall afford relief to the suffering, sustenance to the poor, shelter to the wayfarer, solace to the bereaved, and education to the ignorant, should be regarded apart from these Dependencies, as a House solely designed and entirely dedicated to the worship of God in accordance with the few yet definitely prescribed principles established by Bahá’u’lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. It should not be inferred, however, from this general statement that the interior of the central Edifice itself will be converted into a conglomeration of religious services conducted along lines associated with the traditional procedure obtaining in churches, mosques, synagogues, and other temples of worship. Its various avenues of approach, all converging towards the central Hall beneath its dome, will not serve as admittance to those sectarian adherents of rigid formulae and man-made creeds, each bent, according to his way, to observe his rites, recite his prayers, perform his ablutions, and display the particular symbols of his faith, within separately defined sections of Bahá’u’lláh’s Universal House of Worship. Far from the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár offering such a spectacle of incoherent and confused sectarian observances and rites, a condition wholly incompatible with the provisions of the Aqdas and irreconcilable with the spirit it inculcates, the central House of Bahá’í worship, enshrined within the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, will gather within its chastened walls, in a serenely spiritual atmosphere, only those who, discarding forever the trappings of elaborate and ostentatious ceremony, are willing worshipers of the one true God, as manifested in this age in the Person of Bahá’u’lláh. To them will the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár symbolize the fundamental verity underlying the Bahá’í Faith, that religious truth is not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation is not final but progressive. Theirs will be the conviction that an all-loving and ever-watchful Father Who, in the past, and at various stages in the evolution of mankind, has sent forth His Prophets as the Bearers of His Message and the Manifestations of His Light to mankind, cannot at this critical period of their civilization withhold from His children the Guidance which they sorely need amid the darkness which has beset them, and which neither the light of science nor that of human intellect and wisdom can succeed in dissipating. And thus having recognized in Bahá’u’lláh the source whence this celestial light proceeds, they will irresistibly feel attracted to seek the shelter of His House, and congregate therein, unhampered by ceremonials and unfettered by creed, to render homage to the one true God, the Essence and Orb of eternal Truth, and to exalt and magnify the name of His Messengers and Prophets Who, from time immemorial even unto our day, have, under divers circumstances and in varying measure, mirrored forth to a dark and wayward world the light of heavenly Guidance.
But however inspiring the conception of Bahá’í worship, as witnessed in the central Edifice of this exalted Temple, it cannot be regarded as the sole, nor even the essential, factor in the part which the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, as designed by Bahá’u’lláh, is destined to play in the organic life of the Bahá’í community. Divorced from the social, humanitarian, educational and scientific pursuits centering around the Dependencies of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, Bahá’í worship, however exalted in its conception, however passionate in fervor, can never hope to achieve beyond the meagre and often transitory results produced by the contemplations of the ascetic or the communion of the passive worshiper. It cannot afford lasting satisfaction and benefit to the worshiper himself, much less to humanity in general, unless and until translated and transfused into that dynamic and disinterested service to the cause of humanity which it is the supreme privilege of the Dependencies of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár to facilitate and promote. Nor will the exertions, no matter how disinterested and strenuous, of those who within the precincts of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár will be engaged in administering the affairs of the future Bahá’í Commonwealth, fructify and prosper unless they are brought into close and daily communion with those spiritual agencies centering in and radiating from the central Shrine of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. Nothing short of direct and constant interaction between the spiritual forces emanating from this House of Worship centering in the heart of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, and the energies consciously displayed by those who administer its affairs in their service to humanity can possibly provide the necessary agency capable of removing the ills that have so long and so grievously afflicted humanity. For it is assuredly upon the consciousness of the efficacy of the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, reinforced on one hand by spiritual communion with His Spirit, and on the other by the intelligent application and the faithful execution of the principles and laws He revealed, that the salvation of a world in travail must ultimately depend. And of all the institutions that stand associated with His Holy Name, surely none save the institution of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár can most adequately provide the essentials of Bahá’í worship and service, both so vital to the regeneration of the world. Therein lies the secret of the loftiness, of the potency, of the unique position of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár as one of the outstanding institutions conceived by Bahá’u’lláh.
— Shoghi Effendi, Letter dated 25 October 1929 in Bahá’í Administration, p. 184-187
The inauguration of the first dependency of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, the first link to be forged destined to bind the Community of the Most Great Name to the general public, expectant to witness the first evidences of direct Bahá’í service to humanity as a complement to Bahá’í worship, is yet another task which must be conscientiously tackled and fulfilled in the course of the second phase of this Ten-Year Plan. The consummation of this project must synchronize with the termination of the landscaping of the area surrounding the Temple—a double achievement that will mark yet another stage in the materialization of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s often expressed and cherished hopes for this holiest House of Worship in the Bahá’í world.
— Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, p. 128
Concerning the copy of a Tablet from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá which you had enclosed in your letter of October 20th and in which the Master defines the order in which Temple accessory buildings are to be constructed: This Tablet, Shoghi Effendi feels, should not be interpreted too rigidly as giving strictly the exact order in which these accessories are to be built. Nor should it be regarded as providing an exhaustive list of the buildings which will in future be erected around the central edifice of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. The International House of Justice will have to lay down definitely the number and order of these future Temple accessories, and to define their relationships to each other, and to the Temple itself. If available, the Guardian would appreciate your sending him the original text of that Tablet.
As to the question of the relationship of an administrative building to the Temple; this also will have to be defined in future, but whatever the actual form which such relationship may assume, and whatever its details, it should be based on the general principle that these two sets of Bahá’í institutions embody two vital and distinct, yet inseparable aspects of Bahá’í life: worship and service. The central edifice of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, which is exclusively devoted to purposes of worship, represents the spiritual element, and therefore fulfils a primary function in every Bahá’í Community, whereas all other Temple accessories, whether of a strictly administrative, cultural or humanitarian character, are secondary, and come next in importance to the House of Worship itself.
— On behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Letter dated 28 January 1939
With regard to your first query concerning the institution of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, as you know, it is envisioned that a House of Worship and its dependencies will eventually be established in every locality. The upraising of the Temple, the central edifice and spiritual heart of the community, is to be followed by the erection and functioning of the various dependencies dedicated to the social and economic upliftment of the community. However, long before a Bahá’í community reaches the stage of building its own Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, this process begins in an embryonic way. Even the first local centre that a Bahá’í community acquires can begin to serve not only as the spiritual and administrative centre and gathering place of the community, but also as the site for other aspects of community life. Clearly, then, social and economic development projects need not await the building of a Mashriqu’l-Adhkár and are, themselves, worthy pursuits, provided that the community has the capacity to initiate and sustain such activity. Some of the entities created in this process may even later become dependencies of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár once it is built. What is important to remember is that, as is the case with the institution of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, central to the development process are the spiritual illumination of hearts and the enlightenment of minds.
— The Universal House of Justice, On behalf of, Letter dated 15 February 1994
The Bahá’í House of Worship is dedicated to the praise of God. The House of Worship forms the central edifice of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár (the Dawning-place of the Praise of God), a complex which, as it unfolds in the future, will comprise in addition to the House of Worship a number of dependencies dedicated to social, humanitarian, educational, and scientific pursuits. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá describes the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár as “one of the most vital institutions in the world”, and Shoghi Effendi indicates that it exemplifies in tangible form the integration of “Bahá’í worship and service”. Anticipating the future development of this institution, Shoghi Effendi envisages that the House of Worship and its dependencies “shall afford relief to the suffering, sustenance to the poor, shelter to the wayfarer, solace to the bereaved, and education to the ignorant”. In the future, Bahá’í Houses of Worship will be constructed in every town and village
— The Universal House of Justice, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas: Note 53, p. 190-191