The gift of a necklace, a Baha’i prayer for protection

A story by Parivash Rohani from 1979

My necklace

It is customary in Iran that when a child is born there is a naming ceremony and the oldest member of the family gives a gift of some kind to the baby.

When I was born my grandmother gave my mother a part of a Baha’i prayer for protection, carved into a pendant as a gift for me. She instructed my mother to give me the pendant at my age of maturity, so that when I was 15 years of age, my mother gave me the pendant to wear.

I always kept it around my neck. It gave me courage to tackle the many ups and downs of life. Not that the pendant had any special power, but I had faith that the prayer did. I always felt safe having it close to me.

At age 18, during the revolution in 1979 in Iran, my house was burned down because we were not Muslim. We belong to a minority religion called the Baha’i Faith. It is the youngest of the world religions. We lost everything we had but my necklace was safe around my neck. It became my sole possession and continued to be my only source of comfort and link between my past and present.

We had to move forward to another town for safety. Soon after I had to leave my country and my homeland and move to India. Now it remains my only material reminder of my life spent in Iran and a link to my past.

My grandmother’s prayer pendant reads:
“Keep safe Thy servants and Thy handmaidens, O my
Lord, from darts of idle fancy and vain imaginings,
And give them from the hands of Thy grace, a draught of
soft-flowing waters of Thy knowledge. Thou, truly art the
Almighty, the most Exalted, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most