Archive for October 2016

31 October ― 16 ‘Ilm   Leave a comment

Wert thou to attain to but a dewdrop of the crystal waters of divine knowledge, thou wouldst readily recognize that true life is not the life of the flesh but the life of the spirit.  For the life of the flesh is common to both men and animals, whereas the life of the spirit is possessed only by the pure in heart who have quaffed from the ocean of faith and partaken of the fruit of certitude.  This life knoweth no death, and this existence is crowned by immortality.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Bahá’u’lláh’s Teachings on Spiritual Reality, p. 3

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Regard not the all-sufficing power of God as an idle fancy. It is that genuine faith which thou cherishest for the Manifestation of God in every Dispensation. It is such faith which sufficeth above all the things that exist on the earth, whereas no created thing on earth besides faith would suffice thee. If thou art not a believer, the Tree of divine Truth would condemn thee to extinction. If thou art a believer, thy faith shall be sufficient for thee above all things that exist on earth, even though thou possess nothing.”

His Holiness The Báb

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Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 123

 

MORNING:

They say: ‘Have the stars fallen?’ Say: ‘Yea, when He Who is the Self-Subsisting dwelt in the Land of Mystery.1Take heed, ye who are endued with discernment!’ All the signs appeared when We drew forth the Hand of Power from the bosom of majesty and might. Verily, the Crier hath cried out, when the promised time came, and they that have recognized the splendours of Sinai have swooned away in the wilderness of hesitation, before the awful majesty of thy Lord, the Lord of creation. The trumpet asketh: ‘Hath the Bugle been sounded?’ Say: ‘Yea, by the King of Revelation! when He mounted the throne of His Name, the All-Merciful.’ Darkness hath been chased away by the dawning light of the mercy of thy Lord, the Source of all light. The breeze of the All-Merciful hath wafted, and the souls have been quickened in the tombs of their bodies. Thus hath the decree been fulfilled by God, the Mighty, the Beneficent. They who reject the truth have said: ‘When were the heavens cleft asunder?’ Say: ‘While ye lay in the graves of waywardness and error.’

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His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 118-119

EVENING:

Among the faithless is he who rubbeth his eyes, and looketh to the right and to the left. Say: ‘Blinded art thou. No refuge hast thou to flee to.’ And among them is he who saith: ‘Have men been gathered together?’ Say: ‘Yea, by My Lord! whilst thou didst lie in the cradle of idle fancies.’ And among them is he who saith: ‘Hath the Book been sent down through the power of the true Faith?’ Say: ‘The true Faith itself is astounded.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 119

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE COVENANT OF GOD ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

“…If a small number of people gather lovingly together, with absolute purity and sanctity, with their hearts free of the world, experiencing the emotions of the Kingdom and the powerful magnetic forces of the Divine, and being at one in their happy fellowship, that gathering will exert its influence over all the earth. The nature of that band of people, the words they speak, the deeds they do, will unleash the bestowals of Heaven, and provide a foretaste of eternal bliss. The hosts of the Company on high will defend them, and the angels of the Abhá Paradise, in continuous succession, will come down to their aid.”

Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 81

30 October ― 15 ‘Ilm   Leave a comment

We have absolved you from the requirement of
performing the Prayer of the Signs. On the appearance
of fearful natural events call ye to mind the might and
majesty of your Lord, He Who heareth and seeth all,
and say “Dominion is God’s, the Lord of the seen and
the unseen, the Lord of creation”.

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His Holiness Baha’u’llah

The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶11, p. 23

 

MORNING:

Among them are those who have said: ‘Have the verses been sent down?’ Say: ‘Yea, by Him Who is the Lord of the heavens!’ ‘Hath the Hour come?’ ‘Nay, more; it hath passed, by Him Who is the Revealer of clear tokens! Verily, the Inevitable is come, and He, the True One, hath appeared with proof and testimony. The Plain is disclosed, and mankind is sore vexed and fearful. Earthquakes have broken loose, and the tribes have lamented, for fear of God, the Lord of Strength, the All-Compelling.’ Say: ‘The stunning trumpet blast hath been loudly raised, and the Day is God’s, the One, the Unconstrained.’ ‘Hath the Catastrophe come to pass?’ Say: ‘Yea, by the Lord of Lords!’ ‘Is the Resurrection come?’ ‘Nay, more; He Who is the Self-Subsisting hath appeared with the Kingdom of His signs.’

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp: 132-133

IMG_3191EVENING:

‘Seest thou men laid low?’ ‘Yea, by my Lord, the Exalted, the Most High!’ ‘Have the tree-stumps been uprooted?’ ‘Yea, more; the mountains have been scattered in dust; by Him the Lord of attributes!’ They say: ‘Where is Paradise, and where is Hell?’ Say: ‘The one is reunion with Me; the other thine own self, O thou who dost associate a partner with God and doubtest.’ They say: ‘We see not the Balance.’ Say: ‘Surely, by my Lord, the God of Mercy! None can see it except such as are endued with insight.’

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 131

FROM LETTERS WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE:

“It is understandable that Bahá’ís who witness the miserable conditions under which so many human beings have to live, or who hear of a sudden disaster that has struck a certain area of the world, are moved to do something practical to ameliorate those conditions and to help their suffering fellow-mortals.

 

“There are many ways in which help can be rendered. Every Bahá’í has the duty to acquire a trade or profession through which he will earn that wherewith he can support himself and his family; in the choice of such work he can seek those activities which are of benefit to his fellow-men and not merely those which promote his personal interests, still less those whose effects are actually harmful.

 

“There are also the situations in which an individual Bahá’í or a Spiritual Assembly is confronted with an urgent need which neither justice nor compassion could allow to go unheeded and unhelped. How many are the stories told of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in such situations, when He would even take off a garment He was wearing and give it to a shivering man in rags.

 

“But in our concern for such immediate obvious calls upon our succour we must not allow ourselves to forget the continuing, appalling burden of suffering under which millions of human beings are always groaning — a burden which they have bourne for century upon century and which it is the Mission of Bahá’u’lláh to lift at last. the principal cause of this suffering, which one can witness wherever one turns, is the corruption of human morals and the prevalence of prejudice, suspicion, hatred, untrustworthiness, selfishness and tyranny among men. It is not merely material well- being that people need. What they desperately need is to know how to live their lives — they need to know who they are’, to what purpose they exist, and how they should act towards one another; and, once they know the answers to these questions they need to be helped to gradually apply these answers to every-day behavior. It is to the solution of this basic problem of mankind that the greater part of all our energy and resources should be directed…”

From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Italy, November 19, 1974

Lights of Guidance, p. 122

29 October ― 14 ‘Ilm   Leave a comment

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A veritable exodus from the large cities where a considerable number of believers have, over a period of years, congregated, both on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, as well as in the heart of the country, and where, owing to the tempo and the distractions of city life, the progress of the Faith has been retarded, must signalize the inauguration of this most intensive and challenging phase of the Crusade on the home front. Most certainly and emphatically must the lead be given by the two focal centers of Bahá’í activity which rank among the oldest of and occupy the most honored position among, the cities throughout the American Union, the one as the mother city of the North American continent, the other named by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the City of the Covenant. Indeed, so grave are the exigencies of the present hour, and so critical the political position of the country, that were a bare fifteen adult Bahá’ís to be left in each of these cities, over which unsuspected dangers are hanging, it would still be regarded as adequate for the maintenance of their local spiritual assemblies.

Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, p. 127

MORNING:

By the righteousness of God! Idle fancies have debarred men from the Horizon of Certitude, and vain imaginings withheld them from the Choice Sealed Wine. In truth I say, and for the sake of God I declare: This Servant, this Wronged One, is abashed to claim for Himself any existence whatever, how much more those exalted grades of being! Every man of discernment, while walking upon the earth, feeleth indeed abashed, inasmuch as he is fully aware that the thing which is the source of his prosperity, his wealth, his might, his exaltation, his advancement and power is, as ordained by God, the very earth which is trodden beneath the feet of all men. There can be no doubt that whoever is cognizant of this truth, is cleansed and sanctified from all pride, arrogance, and vainglory. Whatever hath been said hath come from God. Unto this, He, verily, hath borne, and beareth now, witness, and He, in truth, is the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 43

EVENING:

IMG_8955We have enabled thee to hear the melodies of the Nightingale of Paradise, and unveiled to thine eyes the signs which God, by His all-compelling behest, hath sent down in the Most Great Prison, that thine eye might be cheered, and thy soul be well-assured. He, verily, is the All-Bounteous, the Generous. Arise thou through the power of His testimony to serve the Cause of God, thy Lord, the God of Mercy. If thy faith be fearful, seize thou My Tablet, and preserve it in the bosom of trust. And when thou enterest into the place of resurrection, and God asketh thee by what proof thou hast believed in this Revelation, draw forth the Tablet and say: “By this Book, the holy, the mighty, the incomparable.” Thereupon all will lift up their hands towards thee, and will seize the Tablet, and will press it to their eyes, and will inhale therefrom the fragrance  of the utterance of God, the Lord of the worlds. Were God to torment thee for having believed in His signs in this Revelation, for what reason could He then torment such as have disbelieved in Muhammad, the Apostle of God, and before Him in Jesus, the Son of Mary, and before Him in the One Who conversed with God (Moses), and before Him in the One Who is the Friend of God (Abraham), and as far back as the One Who was the First Manifestation, Who was created by the will of thy Lord, the Potent, the All-Encompassing. Thus have We sent down Our verses unto one before thee, and recalled them unto thee, in this day, that thou mayest understand, and be of them who are well assured. O thou who assumest the voice of knowledge! This Cause is too evident to be obscured, and too conspicuous to be concealed. It shineth as the sun in its meridian glory. None can deny it unless he be a hater and a doubter.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp: 103-104

28 October ― 13 ‘Ilm   Leave a comment

Briefly; the Blessed Perfection bore all these ordeals and calamities in order that our hearts might become enkindled and radiant, our spirits be glorified, our faults become virtues, our ignorance transformed into knowledge; in order that we might attain the real fruits of humanity and acquire heavenly graces; although pilgrims upon earth we should travel the road of the heavenly kingdom; although needy and poor we might receive the treasures of life eternal. For this has He borne these difficulties and sorrows.

Trust all to God. The lights of God are resplendent. The blessed epistles are spreading. The blessed teachings are promulgated throughout the east and west. Soon you will see that the heavenly words have established the oneness of the world of humanity. The banner of the Most Great Peace has been unfurled and the “great community” is appearing.

 

          HIS HOLINESS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ

Bahá’í World Faith, p. 224

MORNING:

IMG_3188The light that is shed from the heaven of bounty, and the benediction that shineth from the dawning-place of the will of God, the Lord of the Kingdom of Names, rest upon Him Who is the Supreme Mediator, the Most Exalted Pen, Him Whom God hath made the Dawning-Place of His most excellent names and the Dayspring of His most exalted attributes. Through Him the light of unity hath shone forth above the horizon of the world, and the law of oneness hath been revealed amidst the nations, who, with radiant faces, have turned towards the Supreme Horizon, and acknowledged that which the Tongue of Utterance hath spoken in the kingdom of His knowledge: “Earth and heaven, glory and dominion, are God’s, the Omnipotent, the Almighty, the Lord of grace abounding!”

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp: 1-2

EVENING:

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These words have streamed from the pen of this Wronged One in one of His Tablets: “The purpose of the one true God, exalted be His glory, hath been to bring forth the Mystic Gems out of the mine of man — they Who are the Dawning-Places of His Cause and the Repositories of the pearls of His knowledge; for, God Himself, glorified be He, is the Unseen, the One concealed and hidden from the eyes of men. Consider what the Merciful hath revealed in the Qur’án: No vision taketh in Him, but He taketh in all vision, and He is the Subtile, the All-Informed!”

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 13

27 October ― 12 ‘Ilm   Leave a comment

When the friends realize that the hosts of the Kingdom are waiting to rush forth and assist them, that others from their own ranks have arisen and have been successful, that everyone can find some effective method of teaching according to his own particular capacities and talents, they will then no doubt arise with greater confidence to take the first step, and this, we know, will be aided and guided from on high, for the very act of striving to respond to God’s call will bring in its wake countless divine blessings.

The Universal House of Justice

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The Individual and Teaching – Raising the Divine Call, p. vii

MORNING:

Open the doors of your hearts. He Who is the Spirit verily standeth before them. Wherefore banish ye Him Who hath purposed to draw you nigh unto a Resplendent Spot? Say: We, in truth, have opened unto you the gates of the Kingdom. Will ye bar the doors of your houses in My face? This indeed is naught but a grievous error. He, verily, hath again come down from heaven, even as He came down from it the first time. Beware lest ye dispute that which He proclaimeth, even as the people before you disputed His utterances. Thus instructeth you the True One, could ye but perceive it.

IMG_1054The river Jordan is joined to the Most Great Ocean, and the Son, in the holy vale, crieth out: ‘Here am I, here am I O Lord, my God!’, whilst Sinai circleth round the House, and the Burning Bush calleth aloud: ‘He Who is the Desired One is come in His transcendent majesty.’ Say, Lo! The Father is come, and that which ye were promised in the Kingdom is fulfilled! This is the Word which the Son concealed, when to those around Him He said: ‘Ye cannot bear it now.’ And when the appointed time was fulfilled and the Hour had struck, the Word shone forth above the horizon of the Will of God. Beware, O followers of the Son, that ye cast it not behind your backs. Take ye fast hold of it. Better is this for you than all that ye possess. Verily He is nigh unto them that do good. The Hour which We had concealed from the knowledge of the peoples of the earth and of the favoured angels hath come to pass. Say, verily, He hath testified of Me, and I do testify of Him. Indeed, He hath purposed no one other than Me. Unto this beareth witness every fair-minded and understanding soul.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 11

EVENING:

This Wronged One hath invariably treated the wise with affection. By the wise is meant men whose knowledge is not confined to mere words and whose lives have been fruitful and have produced enduring results. It is incumbent upon everyone to honour these blessed souls. Happy are they that observe God’s precepts; happy are they that have recognized the Truth; happy are they that judge with fairness in all matters and hold fast to the Cord of My inviolable Justice.

IMG_3076The people of Persia have turned away from Him Who is the Protector and the Helper. They are clinging to and have enmeshed themselves in the vain imaginings of the foolish. So firmly do they adhere to superstitions that naught can sever them therefrom save the potent arm of God — exalted is His glory. Beseech thou the Almighty that He may remove with the fingers of divine power the veils which have shut out the divers peoples and kindreds, that they may attain the things that are conducive to security, progress and advancement and may hasten forth towards the incomparable Friend.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 62-63

FROM: The Baha’i International Community

A letter to Emperor Napoleon III warned that, because of his insincerity and the misuse of his power: “…thy kingdom shall be thrown into confusion, and thine empire shall pass from thine hands, as a punishment for that which thou hast wrought…. Hath thy pomp made thee proud? By My life! It shall  not endure…” Of the disastrous Franco-Prussian War and the resulting overthrow of Napoleon III, which occurred less than a year after this statement, Alistair Horne, a modern scholar of nineteenth century French political history has written:

History knows of perhaps no more startling instance of what the Greeks
called peripateia, the terrible fall from prideful heights. Certainly no
nation in modern times, so replete with apparent grandeur and opulent in
material achievement, has ever been subjected to a worse humiliation in
so short a time.

Only a few months before the unexpected series of events in Europe that led to the invasion of the Papal States and the annexation of Rome by the forces of the new Kingdom of Italy, a statement addressing Pope Pius IX had urged the Pontiff “Abandon thy kingdom unto the kings, and emerge from thy habitation, with thy face set towards the Kingdom… Be as thy Lord hath been…. Verily, the day of ingathering is come, and all things have been separated from each other. He hath stored away that which He chose in the vessels of justice, and cast into the fire that which befitteth it….”

Wilhelm I, King of Prussia, whose armies had won such a sweeping victory in the Franco-Prussian War, had been warned by Bahá’u’lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas to heed the example of the fall of Napoleon III and of other rulers who had been victorious in war, and not to allow pride to keep him back from recognizing this Revelation. That Bahá’u’lláh foresaw the failure of the German Emperor to respond to this warning is shown by the ominous passage which appears later in that same Book:

O banks of the Rhine! We have seen you covered with gore, inasmuch as
the swords of retribution were drawn against you; and you shall have
another turn. And We hear the lamentations of Berlin, though she be
today in conspicuous glory.

A strikingly different note characterizes two of the major pronouncements, that addressed to Queen Victoria83 and another to the “Rulers of America and the Presidents of the Republics therein.” The former praises the pioneering achievement represented by the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire, and commends the principle of representative government. The latter, which opens with the announcement of the Day of God, concludes with a summons, a virtual mandate, that has no parallel in any of the other messages: “Bind ye the broken with the hands of justice, and crush the oppressor who flourisheth with the rod of the commandments of your Lord, the Ordainer, the All-Wise.”

1992 May 29, Statement on Baha’u’llah, p. 21

26 October ― 11 ‘Ilm   Leave a comment

“Service to humanity is service to God. Let the love and light of the kingdom radiate through you until all who look upon you shall be illumined by its reflection. Be as stars brilliant and sparkling in the loftiness of their heavenly station. Do you appreciate the day in which you live?

“This is the century of the Blessed Perfection!

“This is the cycle of the light of His beauty!

“This is the consummate day of all the prophets!”

His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp: 5-6

MORNING:

“The Day is approaching when God will render the hosts of Truth victorious, and He will purge the whole earth in such wise that within the compass of His knowledge not a single soul shall remain unless he truly believeth in God, worshippeth none other God but Him, boweth down by day and by night in His adoration, and is reckoned among such as are well assured.

 

“Say, God indeed is the Sovereign Truth, Who is manifestly Supreme over His servants; He is the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.”

His Holiness The Báb

Selections from the Writings of the Báb, pp. 153-154

 

EVENING:

“This Day a door is open wider than both heaven and earth. The eye of the mercy of Him Who is the Desire of the worlds is turned towards all men. An act, however infinitesimal, is, when viewed in the mirror of the knowledge of God, mightier than a mountain. Every drop proffered in His path is as the sea in that mirror. For this is the Day which the one true God, glorified be He, hath announced in all His Books unto His Prophets and His Messengers.”

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

quoted by Shoghi Effendi

The Advent of Divine Justice, pp. 65-66

The Universal House of Justice states in its 28 December 2010 message,

“As an increasing number of believers participate in the teaching and administrative work, undertaken with a humble attitude of learning, they should come to view every task, every interaction, as an occasion to join hands in the pursuit of progress and to accompany one another in their efforts to serve the Cause. In this way will the impulse to over instruct be quieted. In this way will the tendency to reduce a complex process of transformation into simplistic steps, susceptible to instruction by manual, be averted. Discrete actions are placed in context, and even the smallest of steps is endowed with meaning. The operation of spiritual forces in the arena of service becomes increasingly apparent, and bonds of friendship, so vital to a healthy pattern of growth, are continuously reinforced.”

25 October – 10 ‘Ilm   Leave a comment

MORNING:

This evanescent Soul, however, hath, since His arrival in ‘Iráq, forbidden all to engage in dissension and strife. The witness of this Servant is His very deeds, for all are well aware and will testify that, although a greater number of this people resided in ‘Iraq than in any other land, no one overstepped his limits or transgressed against his neighbour. Fixing their gaze upon God, and reposing their trust in Him, all have now been abiding in peace for well-nigh fifteen years, and, in whatever hath befallen them, they have shown forth patience and resigned themselves to God.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 107

EVENING:

We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations; yet they deem Us a stirrer up of strife and sedition worthy of bondage and banishment…. That all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease, and differences of race be annulled — what harm is there in this?… Yet so it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace’ shall come…. Yet do We see your kings and rulers lavishing their treasures more freely on means for the destruction of the human race than on that which would conduce to the happiness of mankind…. These strifes and this bloodshed and discord must cease, and all men be as one kindred and one family…. Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind….

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Proclamation of Bahá’u’lláh, p. viii

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE COVENANT   ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

Whosoever and whatsoever meeting becometh a hindrance to the diffusion of the Light of Faith, let the loved ones give them counsel and say: “Of all the gifts of God the greatest is the gift of Teaching. It draweth unto us the Grace of God and is our first obligation. Of such a gift how can we deprive ourselves? Nay, our lives, our goods, our comforts, our rest, we offer them all as a sacrifice for the Abhá Beauty and teach the Cause of God.” Caution and prudence, however, must be observed even as recorded in the Book. The veil must in no wise be suddenly rent asunder. The Glory of Glories rest upon you

The Will and Testament, p. 24

FROM LETTERS WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF THE GUARDIAN, SHOGHI EFFENDI:

50. “. . . Do not feel discouraged if your labors do not always yield an abundant fruitage. For a quick and rapidly-won success is not always the best and most lasting. The harder you strive to attain your goal, the greater will be the confirmations of Bahá’u’lláh, and the more certain you can feel to attain success. Be cheerful, therefore, and exert yourself with full faith and confidence. For Bahá’u’lláh has promised His Divine assistance to everyone who arises with a pure and detached heart to spread His holy Word, even though he may be bereft of every human knowledge and capacity, and notwithstanding the forces of darkness and of opposition which may be arrayed against him. The goal is clear, the path safe and certain, and the assurances of Bahá’u’lláh as to the eventual success of our efforts quite emphatic. Let us keep firm, and wholeheartedly carry on the great work which He has entrusted into our hands.”

From a letter dated 3 February 1937 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer

51. “. . . The Bahá’í teacher must be all confidence. Therein lies his strength and the secret of his success. Though single-handed, and no matter how great the apathy of the people around you may be, you should have faith that the hosts of the Kingdom are on your side, and that through their help you are bound to overcome the forces of darkness that are facing the Cause of God. Persevere, be happy and confident, therefore.”

From a letter dated 30 June 1937 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer

52. “. . . refrain, under any circumstances, from involving yourselves, much less the Cause, in lengthy discussions of a controversial character, as these besides being fruitless actually cause incalculable harm to the Faith. Bahá’u’lláh has repeatedly urged us not to engage in religious controversies, as the adepts of former religions have done. The Bahá’í teacher should be concerned above all else with presenting the Message, in explaining and clarifying all its aspects rather than in attacking other religions. He should avoid all situations that, he feels, would lead to strife, to hairsplitting and interminable discussions.”

From a letter dated 29 November 1937 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer

The Individual and Teaching – Raising the Divine Call, pp: 23-24