Archive for the ‘The Universal House of Justice’ Category

21 July ― 9 Kalimát   Leave a comment

However great is the distance between the Guardianship and the unique station of the Centre of the Covenant, the role played by Shoghi Effendi after the Master’s passing stands alone in the history of the Cause. It will continue to occupy this focal place in the life of the Faith throughout the coming centuries. In important respects Shoghi Effendi may be said to have extended by an additional, critical, thirty-six years the influence of the guiding hand of the Master in the building of the Administrative Order and the expansion and consolidation of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. One has only to make the fearful effort of imagining the fate of the infant Cause of God had it not been held firmly, during the period of its greatest vulnerability, in the grip of one who had been prepared for this purpose by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and who accepted to serve—in the fullest sense of the word—as its Guardian.

Although emphasizing to the body of his fellow believers that the Master’s twin Successors were “inseparable” and “complementary” in the functions they were individually designed to carry out, it is clear that Shoghi Effendi early accepted the implications of the fact that the Universal House of Justice could not come into existence until a lengthy process of administrative development had created the supporting structure of National and Local Spiritual Assemblies it required. He was entirely candid with the Bahá’í community about the implications of the fact that he was called on to exercise his supreme responsibility alone. In his own words:

Severed from the no less essential institution of the Universal House of Justice this same System of the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would be paralyzed in its action and would be powerless to fill in those gaps which the Author of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas has deliberately left in the body of His legislative and administrative ordinances.

Aware of this truth, Shoghi Effendi proceeded with scrupulous regard for the constraints placed on him by circumstance, a faithfulness that will be the pride of Bahá’u’lláh’s followers throughout the ages to come. The record of his thirty-six years of service to the Faith—a record which, like that of his Grandfather, is open for posterity to review and assess—contains, as he assured the Bahá’í community would be the case, no action on his part that would in any degree “infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain” of the Universal House of Justice. It is not only that Shoghi Effendi refrained from legislation; he was able to fulfil his mandate by introducing no more than provisional ordinances, leaving decisions in such matters entirely to the Universal House of Justice.

Nowhere is this self-restraint more striking than in the central issue of a successor to the Guardianship. Shoghi Effendi had no heirs of his own, and the other branches of the Holy family had violated the Covenant. The Bahá’í Writings contain no guidance in such an eventuality, but the Will and Testament of the Master is explicit as to how all matters that are unclear are to be resolved:

It is incumbent upon these members (of the Universal House of Justice) to gather in a certain place and deliberate upon all problems which have caused difference, questions that are obscure and matters that are not expressly recorded in the Book. Whatsoever they decide has the same effect as the Text itself.

In conformity with this guidance from the pen of the Centre of the Covenant, Shoghi Effendi remained silent, leaving the question of his successor or successors in the hands of the Body alone authorized to determine the matter. Five months after it came into existence, the Universal House of Justice clarified the issue in a message dated 6 October 1963 to all National Spiritual Assemblies:

After prayerful and careful study of the Holy Texts … and after prolonged consideration … the Universal House of Justice finds that there is no way to appoint or to legislate to make it possible to appoint a second Guardian to succeed Shoghi Effendi.

 

  

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Century of Light, pp: 82-84

MORNING:

Even as the visible sun that assisteth, as decreed by God, the true One, the Adored, in the development of all earthly things, such as the trees, the fruits, and colours thereof, the minerals of the earth, and all that may be witnessed in the world of creation, so do the divine Luminaries, by their loving care and educative influence, cause the trees of divine unity, the fruits of His oneness, the leaves of detachment, the blossoms of knowledge and certitude, and the myrtles of wisdom and utterance, to exist and be made manifest. Thus it is that through the rise of these Luminaries of God the world is made new, the waters of everlasting life stream forth, the billows of loving-kindness surge, the clouds of grace are gathered, and the breeze of bounty bloweth upon all created things. It is the warmth that these Luminaries of God generate, and the undying fires they kindle, which cause the light of the love of God to burn fiercely in the heart of humanity. It is through the abundant grace of these Symbols of Detachment that the Spirit of life everlasting is breathed into the bodies of the dead. Assuredly the visible sun is but a sign of the splendour of that Day-star of Truth, that Sun Which can never have a peer, a likeness, or rival. Through Him all things live, move, and have their being. Through His grace they are made manifest, and unto Him they all return. From Him all things have sprung, and unto the treasuries of His revelation they all have repaired. From Him all created things did proceed, and to the depositories of His law they did revert.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp: 33-34

EVENING:

That these divine Luminaries seem to be confined at times to specific designations and attributes, as you have observed and are now observing, is due solely to the imperfect and limited comprehension of certain minds. Otherwise, they have been at all times, and will through eternity continue to be, exalted above every praising name, and sanctified from every descriptive attribute. The quintessence of every name can hope for no access unto their court of holiness, and the highest and purest of all attributes can never approach their kingdom of glory. Immeasurably high are the Prophets of God exalted above the comprehension of men, who can never know them except by their own Selves. Far be it from His glory that His chosen Ones should be magnified by any other than their own persons. Glorified are they above the praise of men; exalted are they above human understanding!

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp: 34-35

FROM HIS HOLINESS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

Remember not your own limitations; the help of God will come to you. Forget yourself. God’s help will surely come!

When you call on the Mercy of God waiting to reinforce you, your strength will be tenfold.

Look at me: I am so feeble, yet I have had the strength given me to come amongst you: a poor servant of God, who has been enabled to give you this message! I shall not be with you long! One must never consider one’s own feebleness, it is the strength of the Holy Spirit of Love, which gives the power to teach. The thought of our own weakness could only bring despair. We must look higher than all earthly thoughts; detach ourselves from every material idea, crave for the things of the spirit; fix our eyes on the everlasting bountiful Mercy of the Almighty, who will fill our souls with the gladness of joyful service to His command ‘Love One Another’.

Paris Talks, pp: 38-39

30 June ― 7 Raḥmat   Leave a comment

The sundering of science and religion is but one example of the tendency of the human mind (which is necessarily limited in its capacity) to concentrate on one virtue, one aspect of truth, one goal, to the exclusion of others. This leads, in extreme cases, to fanaticism and the utter distortion of truth, and in all cases to some degree of imbalance and inaccuracy. A scholar who is imbued with an understanding of the broad teachings of the Faith will always remember that being a scholar does not exempt him from the primal duties and purposes for which all human beings are created. All men, not scholars alone, are exhorted to seek out and uphold the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. But they are also exhorted to be wise in their utterance, to be tolerant of the views of others, to be courteous in their behaviour and speech, not to sow the seeds of doubt in faithful hearts, to look at the good rather than at the bad, to avoid conflict and contention, to be reverent, to be faithful to the Covenant of God, to promote His Faith and safeguard its honour, and to educate their fellowmen, giving milk to babes and meat to those who are stronger.

Scholarship has a high station in the Bahá’í teachings, and Bahá’í scholars have a great responsibility. We believe that they would do well to concentrate upon the ascertainment of truth — of a fuller understanding of the subject of their scholarship, whatever its field — not upon exposing and attacking the errors of others, whether they be of non-Bahá’í or of their fellow believers. Inevitably the demonstration of truth exposes the falsity of error, but the emphasis and motive are important.

 

The Universal House of Justice

The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, pp: 390-391


IMG_1484MORNING:

Again, consider the Mosque of Aqṣá and the other places which We have made sanctuaries unto the people in every land and region. The honour and distinction they enjoy is in no wise due to their own merit, but stemmeth from their relation to Our Manifestations, Whom We have appointed as the Daysprings of Our Revelation amidst mankind, if ye be of them that understand. In this there lieth a wisdom inscrutable to all save God. Inquire, that He may graciously make plain unto you His purpose. His knowledge, verily, embraceth all things. Detach yourselves, O people, from the world and all its vanities, and heed not the call of such as have disbelieved in God and joined partners with Him. Arise above the horizon of utterance to extol and praise your Lord, the All-Merciful. This is that which God hath purposed for you; well is it with them who perceive it.

—His Holiness Baháú’lláh

Súriy-i-Haykal

The Tablet of the Temple, ¶ 91

The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 49

IMG_4252EVENING:

Say: O people! We have commanded you in Our Tablets to strive, at the time of the promised Revelation, to sanctify your souls from all names, and to purify them from all that hath been created in the heavens or on the earth, that therein may appear the splendours of the Sun of Truth which shineth forth above the horizon of the Will of your Lord, the Almighty, the Most Great. We have, moreover, commanded you to cleanse your hearts from every trace of the love or hate of the peoples of the world, lest aught should divert you from one course or impel you towards another. This, verily, is among the weightiest counsels I have vouchsafed unto you in the perspicuous Book, for whoso attacheth himself to either of these shall be prevented from attaining a proper understanding of Our Cause. To this beareth witness every just and discerning soul.

—His Holiness Baháú’lláh

Súriy-i-Haykal

The Tablet of the Temple, ¶ 92

The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pp: 49-50

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

In the teaching of Bahá’u’lláh, it is written: ‘By the Power of the Holy Spirit alone is man able to progress, for the power of man is limited and the Divine Power is boundless.’ The reading of history brings us to the conclusion that all truly great men, the benefactors of the human race, those who have moved men to love the right and hate the wrong and who have caused real progress, all these have been inspired by the force of the Holy Spirit.

The Prophets of God have not all graduated in the schools of learned philosophy; indeed they were often men of humble birth, to all appearance ignorant, unknown men of no importance in the eyes of the world; sometimes even lacking the knowledge of reading and writing.

That which raised these great ones above men, and by which they were able to become Teachers of the truth, was the power of the Holy Spirit. Their influence on humanity, by virtue of this mighty inspiration, was great and penetrating.

The influence of the wisest philosophers, without this Spirit Divine, has been comparatively unimportant, however extensive their learning and deep their scholarship.

The unusual intellects, for instance, of Plato, Aristotle, Pliny and Socrates, have not influenced men so greatly that they have been anxious to sacrifice their lives for their teachings; whilst some of those simple men so moved humanity that thousands of men have become willing martyrs to uphold their words; for these words were inspired by the Divine Spirit of God! The prophets of Judah and Israel, Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah and Ezekiel, were humble men, as were also the apostles of Jesus Christ.

Paris Talks, pp: 163-164

25 May ― 9‘Azamat   Leave a comment

Writing about the Universal House of Justice, Bahá’u’lláh explained that, “Inasmuch as for each day there is a new problem and for every problem an expedient solution, such affairs should be referred to the Ministers of the House of Justice that they may act according to the needs and requirements of the time. … It is incumbent upon all to be obedient unto them.” Moreover,  xxviii  ‘Abdu’l-Bahá asserts in His Will and Testament that “Unto the Most Holy Book every one must turn, and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice. That which this body, whether unanimously or by a majority doth carry, that is verily the Truth and the Purpose of God Himself.” Thus the fundamental purpose of the Universal House of Justice is to ensure the continuity of the divine guidance that flows from the Source of the Faith, to safeguard the unity of its followers, and to maintain the integrity and flexibility of its teachings. Its origin, its authority, its duties, and its sphere of action are all derived from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh. His Writings, along with those of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and of Shoghi Effendi constitute its bedrock foundation and its binding terms of reference.

 

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. xxvii

MORNING:

Thou seest, O my God, how my spirit hath been stirred up within my limbs and members, in its longing to worship Thee, and in its yearning to remember Thee and extol Thee; how it testifieth to that whereunto the Tongue of Thy Commandment hath testified in the kingdom of Thine utterance and the heaven of Thy knowledge. I love, in this state, O my Lord, to beg of Thee all that is with Thee, that I may demonstrate my poverty, and magnify Thy bounty and Thy riches, and may declare my powerlessness, and manifest Thy power and Thy might.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 318

EVENING:

Greater is God than every great one!

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 319

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

It has been mentioned that the members and parts of man affect and influence one another. For example, the eye sees; the heart is affected. The ear hears; and the spirit is influenced. The heart is at rest; the thoughts become serene, and for all the members of man’s body a pleasant condition is realized. What a connection and what an agreement is this! Since this connection, this spiritual effect and this influence, exists between the members of the body of man, who is only one of many finite beings, certainly between these universal and infinite beings there will also be a spiritual and material connection. Although by existing rules and actual science these connections cannot be discovered, nevertheless, their existence between all beings is certain and absolute.

To conclude: the beings, whether great or small, are connected with one another by the perfect wisdom of God, and affect and influence one another. If it were not so, in the universal system and the general arrangement of existence, there would be disorder and imperfection. But as beings are connected one with another with the greatest strength, they are in order in their places and perfect.

This subject is worthy of examination.

Some Answered Questions, pp: 246-247

FROM THE BELOVED GUARDIAN OF THE CAUSE  SHOGHI EFFENDI:

We can prove ourselves worthy of our Cause only if in our individual conduct and corporate life we sedulously imitate the example of our beloved Master, Whom the terrors of tyranny, the storms of incessant abuse, the oppressiveness of humiliation, never caused to deviate a hair’s breadth from the revealed Law of Bahá’u’lláh.

In a letter written by Shoghi Effendi, 12 April 1927 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada

Bahá’í Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932, p. 132

5 May ― 8 Jamál   Leave a comment

A chaotic international society, torn by conflicting perceptions and interests, is assailed by rising terrorism, lawlessness and corruption, and eroded by economic failure, poverty and disease. In its midst the Bahá’í community is becoming increasingly visible, inspired by a divinely revealed vision, building on solid foundations, growing in strength through the processes that are now in place, and undaunted by seeming setbacks. An example of the capacity of the Bahá’í world to respond to unexpected conditions occurred a year ago, when multiple dangers required the cancellation of the International Bahá’í Convention; the election of the Universal House of Justice was duly held and the Plan went forward without a missed step. Concurrently, despite the disruption and chaos of life in Iraq, it was possible to contact the Bahá’ís in that land and reconstitute their Local Spiritual Assemblies. Now we announce with great joy the election, this Riḍván, of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Iraq, restored after more than thirty years of stifling oppression, to take its rightful place in the international Bahá’í community. What the Divine Plan requires at this stage is for us to continue confidently and dynamically in the present direction, undeterred by storms battering the world of humanity. Be sure that the Blessed Beauty will guide your steps and the Hosts of the Supreme Concourse will reinforce your every effort for the progress of His Faith.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Riḍván 161 2004

 

MORNING:

Know thou, moreover, that He it is Who hath, by His own behest, created all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. How can, then, the thing that hath been created at His bidding prevail against Him? High is God exalted above what ye imagine about Him, ye people of malice! If this Cause be of God, no man can prevail against it; and if it be not of God, the divines amongst you, and they that follow their corrupt desires and such as have rebelled against Him will surely suffice to overpower it.

 —His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pp: 220-221

EVENING:

Say: God hath made My hidden love the key to the Treasure; would that ye might perceive it! But for the key, the Treasure would to all eternity have remained concealed; would that ye might believe it! Say: This is the Source of Revelation, the Dawning-place of Splendour, Whose brightness hath illumined the horizons of the world. Would that ye might understand! This is, verily, that fixed Decree through which every irrevocable decree hath been established.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶ 15

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

By the word religion I do not mean the present dogmatic and theological superstitions which are in the hands of the people. By religion I mean the world of celestial attributes. After the moral aspect of humanity becomes readjusted, then the greatest unity will be realized; but without this moral readjustment it is impossible to establish harmony and concord, for it is a fact that war, conflict, friction and strife are but the visible results of deterioration of morality and corruption of character. But when the morality of humanity is beautified with praiseworthy virtues there will be an end to war.

Divine Philosophy, pp:176-177

8 February ― 2 Mulk   Leave a comment

Over the same period, cumulative instances of political upheaval and economic turmoil on various continents have shaken governments and peoples. Societies have been brought to the brink of revolution, and in notable cases over the edge. Leaders are finding that neither arms nor riches guarantee security. Where the aspirations of the people have gone unfulfilled, a store of indignation has accrued.

IMG_9605

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Riḍván Message 2011

MORNING:

Hasten, O people, unto the shelter of God, in order that He may protect you from the heat of the Day whereon none shall find for himself any refuge or shelter except beneath the shelter of His Name, the clement, the forgiving! Clothe yourselves, O people, with the garment of assurance, in order that He may protect you from the dart of doubts and superstitions, and that ye may be of those who are assured in those days wherein none shall ever be assured and none shall be firmly established in the Cause, except by severing himself from all that is possessed by the people and turning unto the holy and radiant Outlook….

…then hold the chalice of life in the Name of your Lord, the merciful. Verily, by God, the existent world is quickened through a drop thereof, were ye of those who know.

Say: In that Day there is no refuge for any one save the command of God, and no salvation for any soul but God. Verily, this is the truth and there is naught after truth but manifest error.

Verily, God hath made it incumbent upon every soul to deliver His Cause according to his ability. Thus hath the command been recorded by the finger of might and power upon the Tablet of majesty and greatness.

Whosoever quickens one soul in this Cause is like unto one quickening all the servants and the Lord shall bring him forth in the day of resurrection into the Riḍván of oneness, adorned with the Mantle of Himself, the protector, the mighty, the generous! Thus will ye assist your Lord, and naught else save this shall ever be mentioned in this day before God, your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers.

As to thee, O servant, hearken unto the admonition given unto thee in the Tablet; then seek the grace of thy Lord at all times. Then spread the Tablet among those who believe in God and in His verses; so that they may follow that which is contained therein, and be of those who are praiseworthy.

—His HolinessBahá’u’lláh

The Tablet of the Branch

Found in Bahá’í World Faith

EVENING:

Say: Verily a word hath gone forth in favor from the most great Tablet and God has adorned It with the mantle of Himself, and made it sovereign over all in the earth and a sign of His grandeur and omnipotence among the creatures; in order that, through it, the people shall praise their Lord, the mighty, the powerful, the wise; and that, through it, they shall glorify their creator and sanctify the self of God which standeth within all things. Verily, this is naught but a Revelation upon the part of the wise, the ancient One!

Say: O people, praise ye God, for its Manifestation, for verily it is the most great favor upon you and the most perfect blessing upon you; and through Him every moldering bone is quickened. Whosoever turns to Him hath surely turned unto God, and whosoever turneth away from Him hath turned away from My beauty, denied My proof and is of those who transgress. Verily, He is the remembrance of God amongst you and His trust within you, and His manifestation unto you and His appearance among the servants who are nigh. Thus have I been commanded to convey to you the message of God, your Creator; and I have delivered to you that of which I was commanded. Whereupon, thereunto testifieth God, then His angels, then His messengers, and then His holy servants.

Inhale the fragrances of the Riḍván from His roses and be not of those who are deprived. Appreciate the bounty of God upon you and be not veiled therefrom – and, verily, We have sent Him forth in the temple of man. Thus praise ye the Lord, the Originator of whatsoever He willeth through His wise and inviolable Command!

Verily, those who withhold themselves from the shelter of the Branch are indeed lost in the wilderness of perplexity; and are consumed by the heat of self-desire, and are of those who perish.

His HolinessBahá’u’lláh

The Tablet of the Branch

Found in Bahá’í World Faith

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

O my loving friends! After the passing away of this wronged one, it is incumbent upon the Aghsán (Branches), the Afnán (Twigs) of the Sacred Lote-Tree, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause of God and the loved ones of the Abhá Beauty to turn unto Shoghi Effendi ― the youthful branch branched from the two hallowed and sacred Lote-Trees and the fruit grown from the union of the two offshoots of the Tree of Holiness, ― as he is the sign of God, the chosen branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, he unto whom all the Aghsán, the Afnán, the Hands of the Cause of God and His loved ones must turn. He is the Interpreter of the Word of God and after him will succeed the first-born of his lineal descendants.

The sacred and youthful branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, as well as the Universal House of Justice to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abhá Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of the Exalted One (may my life be offered up for them both). Whatsoever they decide is of God. Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed God; whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled against God; whoso opposeth him hath opposed God; whoso contendeth with them hath contended with God; whoso disputeth with him hath disputed with God; whoso denieth him hath denied God; whoso disbelieveth in him hath disbelieved in God; whoso deviateth, separateth himself and turneth aside from him hath in truth deviated, separated himself and turned aside from God. May the wrath, the fierce indignation, the vengeance of God rest upon him! The mighty stronghold shall remain impregnable and safe through obedience to him who is the Guardian of the Cause of God. It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice, upon all the Aghsán, the Afnán, the Hands of the Cause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the Guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and be lowly before him. He that opposeth him hath opposed the True One, will make a breach in the Cause of God, will subvert His Word and will become a manifestation of the Center of Sedition.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá : The Will and Testament

FROM THE BELOVED GUARDIAN

SHOGHI EFFENDI:

Moreover, the country of which it forms a part is passing through a crisis which, in its spiritual, moral, social and political aspects, is of extreme seriousness — a seriousness which to a superficial observer is liable to be dangerously underestimated.

The steady and alarming deterioration in the standard of morality [in North American life] as exemplified by the appalling increase of crime, by political corruption in ever widening and ever higher circles, by the loosening of the sacred ties of marriage, by the inordinate craving for pleasure and diversion, and by the marked and progressive slackening of parental control, is no doubt the most arresting and distressing aspect of the decline that has set in, and can be clearly perceived, in the fortunes of the entire nation.

Parallel with this, and pervading all departments of life — an evil which the nation, and indeed all those within the capitalist system, though to a lesser degree, share with that state and its satellites regarded as the sworn enemies of that system — is the crass materialism, which lays excessive and ever-increasing emphasis on material well-being, forgetful of those things of the spirit on which alone a sure and stable foundation can be laid for human society. It is this same cancerous materialism, born originally in Europe, carried to excess in the North American continent, contaminating the Asiatic peoples and nations, spreading its ominous tentacles to the borders of Africa, and now invading its very heart, which Bahá’u’lláh in unequivocal and emphatic language denounced in His Writings, comparing it to a devouring flame and regarding it as the chief factor in precipitating the dire ordeals and world-shaking crises that must necessarily involve the burning of cities and the spread of terror and consternation in the hearts of men. Indeed a foretaste of the devastation which this consuming fire will wreak upon the world, and with which it will lay waste the cities of the nations participating in this tragic world-engulfing contest, has been afforded by the last World War, marking the second stage in the global havoc which humanity, forgetful of its God and heedless of the clear warnings uttered by His appointed Messenger for this day, must, alas, inevitably experience. It is this same all-pervasive, pernicious materialism against which the voice of the Center of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant was raised, with pathetic persistence, from platform and pulpit, in His addresses to the heedless multitudes, which, on the morrow of His fateful visit to both Europe and America, found themselves suddenly swept into the vortex of a tempest which in its range and severity was unsurpassed in the world’s history.

Citadel of Faith, pp: 124-125

FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE:

Only a single decade remains of the first century of the Formative Age, the first hundred years to be spent beneath the benevolent shade of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The Five Year Plan now ending is succeeded by another, the features of which have already been made the object of intense study across the Bahá’í world. Indeed, we could not be more gratified by the response to our message to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors and to the Ridvan message of twelve months ago. Not satisfied with a fragmentary grasp of their contents, the friends are returning to these messages again and again, singly and in groups, at formal meetings and spontaneous gatherings. Their understanding is enriched through active and informed participation in the programmes of growth being nurtured in their clusters. Consequently, the Bahá’í community worldwide has consciously absorbed in a few months what it needs to propel it into a confident start to the coming decade.

Over the same period, cumulative instances of political upheaval and economic turmoil on various continents have shaken governments and peoples. Societies have been brought to the brink of revolution, and in notable cases over the edge. Leaders are finding that neither arms nor riches guarantee security. Where the aspirations of the people have gone unfulfilled, a store of indignation has accrued. We recall how pointedly Bahá’u’lláh admonished the rulers of the earth: “Your people are your treasures. Beware lest your rule violate the commandments of God, and ye deliver your wards to the hands of the robber.” A word of caution: No matter how captivating the spectacle of the people’s fervour for change, it must be remembered that there are interests which manipulate the course of events. And, so long as the remedy prescribed by the Divine Physician is not administered, the tribulations of this age will persist and deepen. An attentive observer of the times will readily recognize the accelerated disintegration, fitful but relentless, of a world order lamentably defective.

Yet, discernible too is its counterpart, the constructive process that the Guardian associated with “the nascent Faith of Bahá’u’lláh” and described as “the harbinger of the New World Order that Faith must erelong establish.” Its indirect effects can be seen in the outpouring of feeling, especially from the young, that springs from a longing to contribute to societal development. It is a bounty accorded to the followers of the Ancient Beauty that this longing, which wells up inexorably from the human spirit in every land, is able to find such eloquent expression in the work the Bahá’í community is carrying out to build capacity for effective action amongst the diverse populations of the planet. Can any privilege compare with this?

Ridvan Messages : Ridvan 168 2011

2 February ― 15 Sulṭán   Leave a comment

MORNING:

The voice of the Divine Herald, proceeding out of the throne of God, declareth: O ye My loved ones! Suffer not the hem of My sacred vesture to be smirched and mired with the things of this world, and follow not the promptings of your evil and corrupt desires. The Day Star of Divine Revelation, that shineth in the plenitude of its glory in the heaven of this Prison, beareth Me witness. They whose hearts are turned towards Him Who is the Object of the adoration of the entire creation must needs, in this Day, pass beyond and be sanctified from all created things, visible and invisible. If they arise to teach My Cause, they must let the breath of Him Who is the Unconstrained, stir them and must spread it abroad on the earth with high resolve, with minds that are wholly centered in Him, and with hearts that are completely detached from and independent of all things, and with souls that are sanctified from the world and its vanities. It behoveth them to choose as the best provision for their journey reliance upon God, and to clothe themselves with the love of their Lord, the Most Exalted, the All-Glorious. If they do so, their words shall influence their hearers.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 200-201

EVENING:

The vitality of men’s belief in God is dying out in every land; nothing short of His wholesome medicine can ever restore it. The corrosion of ungodliness is eating into the vitals of human society; what else but the Elixir of His potent Revelation can cleanse and revive it? Is it within human power, O Hakim, to effect in the constituent elements of any of the minute and indivisible particles of matter so complete a transformation as to transmute it into purest gold? Perplexing and difficult as this may appear, the still greater task of converting satanic strength into heavenly power is one that We have been empowered to accomplish. The Force capable of such a transformation transcendeth the potency of the Elixir itself. The Word of God, alone, can claim the distinction of being endowed with the capacity required for so great and far-reaching a change.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 199

IMG_9023FROM THE CENTRE OF THE COVENANT ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ quoted by SHOGHI EFFENDI:

This vital force is dying out, this mighty agency has been scorned, this radiant light obscured, this impregnable stronghold abandoned, this beauteous robe discarded. God Himself has indeed been dethroned from the hearts of men, and an idolatrous world passionately and clamorously hails and worships the false gods which its own idle fancies have fatuously created, and its misguided hands so impiously exalted. The chief idols in the desecrated temple of mankind are none other than the triple gods of Nationalism, Racialism and Communism, at whose altars governments and peoples, whether democratic or totalitarian, at peace or at war, of the East or of the West, Christian or Islamic, are, in various forms and in different degrees, now worshiping. Their high priests are the politicians and the worldly-wise, the so-called sages of the age; their sacrifice, the flesh and blood of the slaughtered multitudes; their incantations outworn shibboleths and insidious and irreverent formulas; their incense, the smoke of anguish that ascends from the lacerated hearts of the bereaved, the maimed, and the homeless.

The theories and policies, so unsound, so pernicious, which deify the state and exalt the nation above mankind, which seek to subordinate the sister races of the world to one single race, which discriminate between the black and the white, and which tolerate the dominance of one privileged class over all others — these are the dark, the false, and crooked doctrines for which any man or people who believes in them, or acts upon them, must, sooner or later, incur the wrath and chastisement of God.

“Movements,” is the warning sounded by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “newly born and worldwide in their range, will exert their utmost effort for the advancement of their designs. The Movement of the Left will acquire great importance. Its influence will spread.”

Contrasting with, and irreconcilably opposed to, these war-engendering, world-convulsing doctrines are the healing, the saving, the pregnant truths proclaimed by Bahá’u’lláh, the Divine Organizer and Savior of the whole human race — truths which should be regarded as the animating force and the hallmark of His Revelation: “The world is but one country, and mankind its citizens.” “Let not a man glory in that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind.” And again: “Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.” “Bend your minds and wills to the education of the peoples and kindreds of the earth, that haply … all mankind may become the upholders of one order, and the inhabitants of one city…. Ye dwell in one world, and have been created through the operation of one Will.” “Beware lest the desires of the flesh and of a corrupt inclination provoke divisions among you. Be ye as the fingers of one hand, the members of one body.” And yet again: “All the saplings of the world have appeared from one Tree, and all the drops from one Ocean, and all beings owe their existence to one Being.” And furthermore: “That one indeed is a man who today dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race.”

The Promised Day is Come, pp: 113-114

 

FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE:

IMG_1456

…A word of caution seems to be in order.  It is certainly not incorrect to speak of “training” children’s class teachers or, for that matter, animators of junior youth groups.  Institutes, however, ought to take care, lest they begin to perceive their work as training in techniques, losing sight of the conception of capacity building at the heart of the institute process that entails a profound understanding of Baha’u’llah’s Revelation….¶15

… In all such matters, those serving as teachers and animators alike are called upon to exercise discretion.  Education is a vast field, and educational theories abound.  Surely many have considerable merit, but it should be remembered that none is free of assumptions about the nature of the human being and society.  An educational process should, for example, create in a child awareness of his or her potentialities, but the glorification of self has to be scrupulously avoided.  So often in the name of building confidence the ego is bolstered.  Similarly, play has its place in the education of the young.  Children and junior youth, however, have proven time and again their capacity to engage in discussions on abstract subjects, undertaken at a level appropriate to their age, and derive great joy from the serious pursuit of understanding.  An educational process that dilutes content in a mesmerizing sea of entertainment does them no service.  We trust that, in studying the institute courses, teachers and animators will find themselves increasingly equipped to make judicious decisions in selecting any materials or activities necessary, whether from traditional educational sources or from the wealth of items, such as songs, stories, and games, that are sure to be developed for the young in the Baha’i community in the years to come.

     Propelled by forces generated both within and outside the Baha’i community, the peoples of the earth can be seen to be moving from divergent directions, closer and closer to one another, towards what will be a world civilization so stupendous in character that it would be futile for us to attempt to imagine it today.  As this centripetal movement of populations accelerates across the globe, some elements in every culture, not in accord with the teachings of the Faith, will gradually fall away, while others will be reinforced.  By the same token, new elements of culture will evolve over time as people hailing from every human group, inspired by the Revelation of Baha’u’llah, give expression to patterns of thought and action engendered by His teachings, in part through artistic and literary works.  It is with such considerations in mind that we welcome the decision of the Ruhi Institute, in formulating its courses, to leave for the friends to address locally issues related to artistic activity.  What we ask at this stage, then, when energies are to be invested in the extension of children’s classes and junior youth groups, is that the multiplication of supplementary items for this purpose be allowed to occur naturally, as an outgrowth of the process of community building gathering momentum in villages and neighbourhoods.  We long to see, for instance, the emergence of captivating songs from every part of the world, in every language, that will impress upon the consciousness of the young the profound concepts enshrined in the Baha’i teachings.  Yet such an efflorescence of creative thought will fail to materialize, should the friends fall, however inadvertently, into patterns prevalent in the world that give licence to those with financial resources to impose their cultural perspective on others, inundating them with materials and products aggressively promoted.  Further, every effort should be made to protect spiritual education from the perils of commercialization.  The Ruhi Institute itself has explicitly discouraged the proliferation of products and items that treat its identity as a brand to be marketed.  We hope that the friends will respect its diligence in this matter. ¶’s 17-18

2 January ― 3 Sharaf   Leave a comment

MORNING:

IMG_9821In this Day the secrets of the earth are laid bare before the eyes of men. The pages of swiftly-appearing newspapers are indeed the mirror of the world. They reflect the deeds and the pursuits of divers peoples and kindreds. They both reflect them and make them known. They are a mirror endowed with hearing, sight and speech. This is an amazing and potent phenomenon. However, it behoveth the writers thereof to be purged from the promptings of evil passions and desires and to be attired with the raiment of justice and equity. They should enquire into situations as much as possible and ascertain the facts, then set them down in writing.

— His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 39-40

EVENING:

It is reported in the press that this Servant hath fled from the land of Ta (Tihran) and gone to Iraq. Gracious God! Not even for a single moment hath this Wronged One ever concealed Himself. Rather hath He at all times remained steadfast and conspicuous before the eyes of all men. Never have We retreated, nor shall We ever seek flight. In truth it is the foolish people who flee from Our presence. We left Our home country accompanied by two mounted escorts, representing the two honoured governments of Persia and Russia until We arrived in Iraq in the plenitude of glory and power. Praise be to God! The Cause whereof this Wronged One is the Bearer standeth as high as heaven and shineth resplendent as the sun. Concealment hath no access unto this station, nor is there any occasion for fear or silence.

— His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p, 40

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

IMG_0281Day by day the majesty of Christ grew in splendor and effulgence. Therefore, my purpose is to warn and strengthen you against accusations, criticisms, revilings and derision in newspaper articles or other publications. Be not disturbed by them. They are the very confirmation of the Cause, the very source of upbuilding to the Movement. May God confirm the day when a score of ministers of the churches may arise and with bared heads cry at the top of their voices that the Bahá’ís are misguided. I would like to see that day, for that is the time when the Cause of God will spread. Bahá’u’lláh has pronounced such as these the couriers of the Cause. They will proclaim from pulpits that the Bahá’ís are fools, that they are a wicked and unrighteous people, but be ye steadfast and unwavering in the Cause of God. They will spread the message of Bahá’u’lláh.

The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp: 429-430

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

IMG_9337“… the very essence of the reason a person has accepted Bahá’u’lláh is that he has decided this way alone is the solution to the absolutely hopeless problems facing humanity. A Bahá’í must be wholly a Bahá’í, concentrate in the work of  the Cause, and put aside from his mind the distracting influence that scream at him from every newspaper these days. Naturally, this does not mean he must be insular, it means he must concentrate more consciously on doing the work of the Cause!”

From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, November 23, 1951: United States Supplement to Bahá’í News, No.82, p.5, December 1964

Lights of Guidance, pp: 69-70

 

WRITTEN BY COMMISSION OF THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE:

IMG_9499The crisis roused the Bahá’í world to extraordinary feats of achievement. National Spiritual Assemblies who had little or no experience in developing a working relationship with officials of their countries’ governments were called on to solicit government support for resolutions at various levels of the international human rights system, and did so with outstanding success. Year after year, for twenty uninterrupted years, the case of the Iranian Bahá’ís proceeded through the international human rights system, gathering support in successive resolutions, ensuring attention to Bahá’í grievances in the missions of rapporteurs appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Commission and consolidating these gains through decisions of the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. Every attempt by the Iranian regime to escape international condemnation of its treatment of its Bahá’í citizens failed to shake the support the Bahá’í issue attracted from a persistent majority of sympathetic nations represented on the Commission. The achievement was all the more remarkable in the context of the Commission’s constantly changing membership and a demanding agenda that included human rights abuses in other countries that affected millions of victims.

At the same time as direct pressure was being exerted on the Iranian government, the case was attracting unprecedented publicity around the world in newspapers, magazines and the broadcast media. Newspapers such as The New York Times, Le Monde and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, enjoying international readership, gave wide coverage to the persecution, and television networks in Australia, Canada, the United States and a number of European countries produced in-depth, magazine — format presentations. The abuses were denounced in often strong editorial comment. Apart from the support thus lent to the efforts to secure effective intervention at the Human Rights Commission, such publicity had the effect of introducing, usually for the first time and to an audience of tens of millions of people, accurate and appreciative information about Bahá’í teachings and belief. Both the publicity and the campaign being carried on through the United Nations’ system provided influential officials around the world with a sustained opportunity to judge for themselves both the teachings of the Cause and the character of the Bahá’í community.

Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, pp: 119-120