The Golden Ring
A project by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Azerbaijan inaugurated on Riḍván 2003
In April 1963, the Bahá’í Archives of the Bahá’í World Center in Haifa registered a very special contribution that was recorded on the pages of Bahá’í history as the first contribution made to the first elected Universal House of Justice. The contribution was simple, elegant, and meaningful because it was part of someone’s family heirloom who must have offered it with loving detachment. How sincere and deeply genuine the person must have been to make a historical mark as the first offering to the first Universal House of Justice. The gift was a golden ring, offered by a believer in Azerbaijan, and sent to the Bahá’í World Center during difficult periods of religious intolerance in the Soviet Unions. Just a few years before the members of the Bahá’í community had been executed, yet Azerbaijan’s Bahá’í community managed to fulfill its duties in deeds, and not words alone, and therefore become the first to make a formal contribution to the Supreme Body of the Universal House of Justice.
The Universal House of Justice will be under the protection and the unerring guidance of God. If that House of Justice shall decide unanimously, or by a majority, upon any question not mentioned in the Book, that decision and command will be guarded from mistake. -‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Indeed what honor the Azerbaijan Bahá’í community received in 1963 for the generations to come. According to a member of the House of Justice who was elected in 1963, the golden ring was received with love and affection and preserved forever in the repositories of the Faith in the Most Holy Land. When reflecting on this event that took place exactly forty years ago, and considering the difficulties, restrictions, risks involved, and economic limitations imposed on the friends during that period we gain a better appreciation on who our ancestors were, how they fulfilled their duties, and what community they left behind for us. How blessed and fortunate we are, as members of the Azerbaijan Bahá’í community, for having such devoted, and faithful spirits assisting us today from the Abha-kingdom by their sacrifices and generosities which engraved a marvelous historical account on the pages of Azerbaijan history in 1963.
Today the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Azerbaijan calls the friends for a service of higher and more exhaled measure. Since the inception of National Assembly in Azerbaijan in 1992, this community has actively exerted to establish itself and support its own activities in the areas of administration, teaching, training institute, external affairs, youth activity, maintenance of Bahá’í properties, community service, publishing trust, audio-visual, music, etc. The financial support of the Bahá’í International Community was for the first few years the primary assistance in administering the activities; however, during the past ten years the community has wholeheartedly participated towards contributions on the local and national Bahá’í funds.
The Bahá’í institutions efforts during this period to provide Bahá’í spiritual education on contributions is indeed commendable. The result is generous sacrifices leading to spiritual development, regular contributions, and prosperity of the Bahá’í community of Azerbaijan, which includes Baku, Balakhani, Sumgayit, Nakhjavan and other regions. This enabled the National Assembly to take steps toward financial self-sufficiency from the International Bahá’í Community more than three years ago. In a letter to the beloved Universal House of Justice, the National Assembly expressed ardent desire to be self-sufficient and the House of Justice, through its infinite grace and bounty, accepted the plea of the community.
With this project entitled “The Golden Ring” the National Assembly calls the friends to prepare for the next stage of development in the Local and National Bahá’í Fund. Starting the new Bahá’í-year in April 2003, the Bahá’í community of Azerbaijan will not only try to continue supporting itself but make regular contributions to the Supreme Body. No matter how small and tiny this contribution maybe at the beginning, and no matter how little our share of giving in the Path of God might look like, we are certain that it will attract the blessings of Bahá’u’lláh and confirm our services; protect our communities, raise our knowledge and vision; develop our spiritual powers; making our community a channel to defuse the fragrances of the love of God; and make Azerbaijan even more illuminated in the eyes of the world.
Let this be the crown of honor for this Bahá’í community, to once again become able to contribute to the beloved House of Justice as our ancestors did. This is our destiny. Let us show our readiness to serve the Cause in deeds! When the members of the National Assembly of Bahá’ís of Azerbaijan visit the Holy Land in April 2003 to cast their votes on behalf of the Bahá’í community in Azerbaijan for the election of the House of Justice, they will take with them a contribution on behalf of the Bahá’í Community. This contribution will be a symbolic gesture in remembrance of the Golden Ring send in 1963 marking the beginning of our regular contributions to that August Station in the years to come.
The Assembly prays that Bahá’u’lláh would look upon this community with the eyes of mercy, forgiveness, kindness and generosity accepting our contributions made with absolute unworthiness in His Path.
With much Bahá’í love,
National Spiritual Assembly of Bahá’ís of Azerbaijan
October 28, 2002
A writer and a member of the community Bahá’í in Baku Mr. Salahaddin Ayyubov has recounted in his book, The Twine Manifestations, that the couple in this story are Mr. Bala Aqa Orucov and Mrs. Kubra Orucova who contributed the golden ring. They lived in Baku and were relatives of
‘Alí-Akbar Nakhjivání and Izzet Orucova!