Archive for the ‘theology’ Tag

14 May — 17 Jamál   Leave a comment

MORNING:IMG_1561

I beg Thee to forgive me, O my Lord, for every mention but the mention of Thee, and for every praise but the praise of Thee, and for every delight but delight in Thy nearness, and for every pleasure but the pleasure of communion with Thee, and for every joy but the joy of Thy love and of Thy good-pleasure, and for all things pertaining unto me which bear no relationship unto Thee, O Thou Who art the Lord of lords, He Who provideth the means and unlocketh the doors.

—His Holiness The Báb

Selections from the Writings of the Báb, pp. 182-183

EVENING:

Say, by reason of your remembering Him Whom God shall make manifest and by extolling His name, God will cause your hearts to be dilated with joy, and do ye not wish your hearts to be in such a blissful state? Indeed the hearts of them that truly believe in Him Whom God shall make manifest are vaster than the expanse of heaven and earth and whatever is between them. God hath left no hindrance in their hearts, were it but the size of a mustard seed. He will cheer their hearts, their spirits, their souls and their bodies and their days of prosperity or adversity, through the exaltation of the name of Him Who is the supreme Testimony of God and the promotion of the Word of Him Who is the Dayspring of the glory of their Creator.

Verily, these are souls who take delight in the remembrance of God, Who dilates their hearts through the effulgence of the light of knowledge and wisdom. They seek naught but God and are oft engaged in giving praise unto Him. They desire naught except whatever He desireth and stand ready to do His bidding. Their hearts are mirrors reflecting whatsoever He Whom God shall make manifest willeth. Thus God will cheer the hearts of those who truly believe in Him and in His signs and who are well assured of the life to come. Say, the life to come is none other than the days associated with the coming of Him Whom God will make manifest.

—His Holiness The Báb

Selections from the Writings of the Báb, pp. 145-146

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FROM HIS HOLINESS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

‘Does the soul progress more through sorrow or through the joy in this world?’

‘Abdu’l-Bahá. — ‘The mind and spirit of man advance when he is tried by suffering. The more the ground is ploughed the better the seed will grow, the better the harvest will be. Just as the plough furrows the earth deeply, purifying it of weeds and thistles, so suffering and tribulation free man from the petty affairs of this worldly life until he arrives at a state of complete detachment. His attitude in this world will be that of divine happiness. ‘

‘He who through suffering has attained development, should he fear happiness?’

‘Abdu’l-Bahá. — ‘Through suffering he will attain to an eternal happiness which nothing can take from him. The apostles of Christ suffered: they attained eternal happiness.’

‘Then it is impossible to attain happiness without suffering?’

‘Abdu’l-Bahá. — ‘To attain eternal happiness one must suffer. He who has reached the state of self-sacrifice has true joy. Temporal joy will vanish.’

Paris Talks, pp: 178-179

FROM THE HOLY QUR’ÁN ENTITLED HÚD [SALES VERSION 1734]:

11:9 Verily, if We cause man to taste mercy from Us, and afterwards take
it away from him; he will surely become desperate, and ungrateful.
11:10 And if we cause him to taste favour, after an affliction hath
befallen him, he will surely say, the evils which I suffered are passed
from me; and he will become joyful and insolent:
11:11 Except those who persevere with patience, and do that which is
right; they shall receive pardon, and a great reward.

IMG_5875FROM THE HOLY BIBLE [KING JAMES VERSION 1604-1611], THE BOOK OF HABAKKUK:

3:17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

FROM SACRED TEXTS OF SIKHISM, SHRI GURU GRANTH SAHIB: SECTION 07 ― RAAG GAUREE―PART 001

The Fear of God is overpowering, and so very heavy, while the intellect is lightweight, as is the speech one speaks. So place the Fear of God upon your head, and bear that weight; by the Grace of the Merciful Lord,…

…Without the Fear of God, no one crosses over the world-ocean. This Fear of God adorns the Love of the Lord.  The fire of fear within the body is burnt away by the Fear of God.  Through this Fear of God, we are adorned with the Word of the Shabad.

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6 March ― 6 ‘Alá’   Leave a comment

6 March ― 6 ‘Alá’

The Holy Period of the Fast

Day 6

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MORNING:

As for obligatory prayer, it hath been sent down by the Pen of the Most High in such wise that it setteth ablaze the hearts and captivateth the souls and minds of men.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting,

FROM THE WRITINGS OF BAHÁ’U’LLÁH,  #VII

IMG_0232EVENING:

Concerning obligatory prayer, it hath been revealed in such wise that whosoever reciteth it, even one time, with a detached heart, will find himself wholly severed from the world.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting,

FROM THE WRITINGS OF BAHÁ’U’LLÁH,  #VIII

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

The Obligatory Prayers are binding inasmuch as they are conducive to humility and submissiveness, to setting one’s face towards God and expressing devotion to Him. Through such prayer man holdeth communion with God, seeketh to draw near unto Him, converseth with the true Beloved of his heart, and attaineth spiritual stations…

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…O thou spiritual friend! Thou hast asked about the wisdom of obligatory prayer. Know thou that such prayer is mandatory and binding. Man under no pretext whatsoever is excused from observing the prayer unless he is incapable of performing it or some great obstacle interveneth. The wisdom of obligatory prayer is this: That it causeth a connection between the servant and the True One, because at that time man with all his heart and soul turneth his face towards the Almighty, seeking His association and desiring His love and companionship. For a lover, there is no greater pleasure than to converse with his beloved, and for a seeker, there is no greater bounty than intimacy with the object of his desire. It is the greatest longing of every soul who is attracted to the Kingdom of God to find time to turn with entire devotion to his Beloved, so as to seek His bounty and blessing and immerse himself in the ocean of communion, entreaty and supplication. Moreover, obligatory prayer and fasting produce awareness and awakening in man, and are conducive to his protection and preservation from tests.

Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting,

FROM THE WRITINGS OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ,  #’s 6-7

4 March ― 3 ‘Alá’   Leave a comment

4 March ― 4 ‘Alá’

The Holy Period of the Fast

Day 4

 

MORNING:

O SON OF SPIRIT!

Burst thy cage asunder, and even as the phoenix of love soar into the firmament of holiness. Renounce thyself and, filled with the spirit of mercy, abide in the realm of celestial sanctity.

―His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Persian Hidden Words #38

EVENING

O OFFSPRING OF DUST!

Be not content with the ease of a passing day, and deprive not thyself of everlasting rest. Barter not the garden of eternal delight for the dust-heap of a mortal world. Up from thy prison ascend unto the glorious meads above, and from thy mortal cage wing thy flight unto the paradise of the Placeless.

O MY SERVANT!

Free thyself from the fetters of this world, and loose thy soul from the prison of self. Seize thy chance, for it will come to thee no more.

―His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Persian Hidden Words #’s 39-40

1 March ― THE FEAST OF ‘Alá’   Leave a comment

1 March ― THE FEAST OF ‘Alá’

The Holy Period of the Fast

Day 1

 

MORNING:

This is, O my God, the first of the days on which Thou hast bidden Thy loved ones to observe the Fast. I ask of Thee by Thy Self and by him who hath fasted out of love for Thee and for Thy good-pleasure – and not out of self and desire, nor out of fear of Thy wrath – and by Thy most excellent names and august attributes, to purify Thy servants from the love of aught except Thee and to draw them nigh unto the Dawning-Place of the lights of Thy countenance and the Seat of the throne of Thy oneness. Illumine their hearts, O my God, with the light of Thy knowledge and brighten their faces with the rays of the Daystar that shineth from the horizon of Thy Will. Potent art Thou to do what pleaseth Thee. No God is there but Thee, the All-Glorious, Whose help is implored by all men.

Assist them, O my God, to render Thee victorious and to exalt Thy Word. Suffer them, then, to become as hands of Thy Cause amongst Thy servants, and make them to be revealers of Thy religion and Thy signs amongst mankind, in such wise that the whole world may be filled with Thy remembrance and praise and with Thy proofs and evidences. Thou art, verily, the All-Bounteous, the Most Exalted, the Powerful, the Mighty, and the Merciful.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting,

PRAYERS BY BAHÁ’U’LLÁH FOR THE FAST,  #1

EVENING:

In the Name of Him Who hath been promised in the Books of God, the All-Knowing, the All-Informed! The days of fasting have arrived wherein those servants who circle round Thy throne and have attained Thy presence have fasted. Say: O God of names and creator of heaven and earth! I beg of Thee by Thy Name, the All-Glorious, to accept the fast of those who have fasted for love of Thee and for the sake of Thy good-pleasure and have carried out what Thou hast bidden them in Thy Books and Tablets. I beseech Thee by them to assist me in the promotion of Thy Cause and to make me steadfast in Thy love, that my footsteps may not slip on account of the clamour of Thy creatures. Verily, Thou art powerful over whatsoever Thou willest. No God is there but Thee, the Quickener, the All-Powerful, the Most Bountiful, the Ancient of Days.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting,

PRAYERS BY BAHÁ’U’LLÁH FOR THE FAST,  #1

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

Obligatory prayer and fasting are among the most great ordinances of this holy Dispensation…

 

…In the realm of worship, fasting and obligatory prayer constitute the two mightiest pillars of God’s holy Law. Neglecting them is in no wise permitted, and falling short in their performance is of a certainty not acceptable. In the Tablet of Visitation He saith: “I beseech God, by Thee and by them whose faces have been illumined with the splendours of the light of Thy countenance, and who, for love of Thee, have observed all whereunto they were bidden.” He declareth that observance of the commands of God deriveth from love for the beauty of the Best-Beloved. The seeker, when immersed in the ocean of the love of God, will be moved by intense longing and will arise to carry out the laws of God. Thus, it is impossible that a heart which containeth the fragrance of God’s love should yet fail to worship Him, except under conditions when such an action would agitate the enemies and stir up dissension and mischief. Otherwise, a lover of the Abhá Beauty will assuredly and continually demonstrate perseverance in the worship of the Lord.

Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting,

FROM THE WRITINGS OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ,  #1-2

28 February ― 4 Ayyám-i-Há   Leave a comment

28 February ― 4 Ayyám-i-Há

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

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These are the divine appearances, the heavenly bounties, the sublime emotions, the love and knowledge of God; universal wisdom, intellectual perception, scientific discoveries, justice, equity, truthfulness, benevolence, natural courage and innate fortitude; the respect for rights and the keeping of agreements and covenants; rectitude in all circumstances; serving the truth under all conditions; the sacrifice of one’s life for the good of all people; kindness and esteem for all nations; obedience to the teachings of God; service in the Divine Kingdom; the guidance of the people, and the education of the nations and races. This is the prosperity of the human world! This is the exaltation of man in the world! This is eternal life and heavenly honor!

Some Answered Questions, pp: 78-80

MORNING:

In the first line of the Tablet it is recorded and written, and within the sanctuary of the tabernacle of God is hidden:

37. O MY SERVANT!
Abandon not for that which perisheth an everlasting dominion, and cast not away celestial sovereignty for a worldly desire. This is the river of everlasting life that hath flowed from the well-spring of the pen of the merciful; well is it with them that drink.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Persian Hidden Words, #’s 36-37

IMG_1611EVENING:

The substance wherewith God hath created Me is not the clay out of which others have been formed. He hath conferred upon Me that which the worldly-wise can never comprehend, nor the faithful discover … I am one of the sustaining pillars of the Primal Word of God. Whosoever hath recognized Me, hath known all that is true and right, and hath attained all that is good and seemly; and whosoever hath failed to recognize Me, hath turned away from all that is true and right and hath succumbed to everything evil and unseemly.

His Holiness The Báb

Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 11

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

But real prosperity for the animal consists in passing from the animal world to the human world, like the microscopic beings that, through the water and air, enter into man and are assimilated, and replace that which has been consumed in his body. This is the great honor and prosperity for the animal world; no greater honor can be conceived for it.

 Therefore, it is evident and clear that this wealth, this comfort and this material abundance form the complete prosperity of minerals, vegetables and animals. No riches, wealth, comfort or ease of the material world is equal to the wealth of a bird; all the areas of these plains and mountains are its dwelling, and all the seeds and harvests are its food and wealth, and all the lands, villages, meadows, pastures, forests and wildernesses are its possessions. Now, which is the richer, this bird, or the most wealthy man? for no matter how many seeds it may take or bestow, its wealth does not decrease.

 Then it is clear that the honor and exaltation of man must be something more than material riches. Material comforts are only a branch, but the root of the exaltation of man is the good attributes and virtues which are the adornments of his reality. These are the divine appearances, the heavenly bounties, the sublime emotions, the love and knowledge of God; universal wisdom, intellectual perception, scientific discoveries, justice, equity, truthfulness, benevolence, natural courage and innate fortitude; the respect for rights and the keeping of agreements and covenants; rectitude in all circumstances; serving the truth under all conditions; the sacrifice of one’s life for the good of all people; kindness and esteem for all nations; obedience to the teachings of God; service in the Divine Kingdom; the guidance of the people, and the education of the nations and races. This is the prosperity of the human world! This is the exaltation of man in the world! This is eternal life and heavenly honor!

 These virtues do not appear from the reality of man except through the power of God and the divine teachings, for they need supernatural power for their manifestation. It may be that in the world of nature a trace of these perfections may appear, but they are unstable and ephemeral; they are like the rays of the sun upon the wall.

 As the cmpassionate God has placed such a wonderful crown upon the head of man, man should strive that its brilliant jewels may become visible in the world.

Some Answered Questions, pp: 78-80

9 February ― 3 Mulk   Leave a comment

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Within communities of every size and strength, we are glad to see the processes of the Five Year Plan kindling the spirit of service and stimulating purposeful action.  Examples appear every day of how the act of reaching out to touch individual hearts, acquainting souls with the Word of God, and inviting them to contribute to the betterment of society can, in time, tend to the advancement of a people.  This collective movement becomes discernible when the Plan’s elements are combined into a well-coordinated cluster-wide effort, the dynamics of which are becoming increasingly familiar.  Such a cluster becomes the setting for experienced believers as much as those newly introduced to the Faith, whatever their age or background, to work side by side, accompanying one another in their service, enabling everyone to participate in the unfoldment of the Plan.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Message the Bahá’í World 8 February 2013

MORNING:

Say: My army is My reliance on God; My people, the force of My confidence in Him. My love is My standard, and My companion the remembrance of God, the Sovereign Lord of all, the Most Powerful, the All-Glorious, the Unconditioned.

Arise, O wayfarer in the path of the Love of God, and aid thou His Cause. Say: Barter not away this Youth, O people, for the vanities of this world or the delights of heaven. By the righteousness of the one true God! One hair of Him excelleth all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. Beware, O men, lest ye be tempted to part with Him in exchange for the gold and silver ye possess. Let His love be a storehouse of treasure for your souls, on the Day when naught else but Him shall profit you, the Day when every pillar shall tremble, when the very skins of men shall creep, when all eyes shall stare up with terror. Say: O people! Fear ye God, and turn not away disdainfully from His Revelation. Fall prostrate on your faces before God, and celebrate His praise in the daytime and in the night season.

 

Let thy soul glow with the flame of this undying Fire that burneth in the midmost heart of the world, in such wise that the waters of the universe shall be powerless to cool down its ardor. Make, then, mention of thy Lord, that haply the heedless among Our servants may be admonished through thy words, and the hearts of the righteous be gladdened.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 37

IMG_5473EVENING:

O My servant, who hast sought the good-pleasure of God and clung to His love on the Day when all except a few who were endued with insight have broken away from Him! May God, through His grace, recompense thee with a generous, an incorruptible and everlasting reward, inasmuch as thou hast sought Him on the Day when eyes were blinded. Know thou that if We reveal to thee but a sprinkling of the showers which, through God’s decree, and at the hands of the envious and the malicious, have rained upon Us, thou wouldst weep with a great weeping, and wouldst bewail day and night Our plight. Oh, would that a discerning and fair-minded soul could be found who would recognize the wonders of this Revelation — wonders that proclaim the sovereignty of God and the greatness of its power. Would that such a man might arise and, wholly for the sake of God, admonish, privately and openly, the people, that haply they may bestir themselves and aid this wronged One Whom the workers of iniquity have so sorely afflicted.

Methinks that I hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit calling from behind Me saying: Vary Thou Thy theme, and alter Thy tone, lest the heart of him who hath fixed his gaze upon Thy face be saddened. Say: I have through the grace of God and His might besought the help of no one in the past, neither will I seek the help of any one in the future. He it is Who aided Me, through the power of truth, during the days of My banishment in Iraq. He it is Who overshadowed Me with His protection at a time when the kindreds of the earth were contending with Me. He it is Who enabled Me to depart out of the city, clothed with such majesty as none, except the denier and the malicious, can fail to admit.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 36-37

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

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As forgiveness is one of the attributes of the Merciful One, so also justice is one of the attributes of the Lord. The tent of existence is upheld upon the pillar of justice and not upon forgiveness. The continuance of mankind depends upon justice and not upon forgiveness. So if, at present, the law of pardon were practiced in all countries, in a short time the world would be disordered, and the foundations of human life would crumble. For example, if the governments of Europe had not withstood the notorious Attila, he would not have left a single living man.

Some people are like bloodthirsty wolves: if they see no punishment forthcoming, they will kill men merely for pleasure and diversion. One of the tyrants of Persia killed his tutor merely for the sake of making merry, for mere fun and sport. The famous Mutavakkil, the Abbasid, having summoned his ministers, councillors and functionaries to his presence, let loose a box full of scorpions in the assembly and forbade anyone to move. When the scorpions stung those present, he burst forth into boisterous laughter.

Some Answered Questions, p. 270

FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE;  MESSAGE TO THE BAHÁ’Í WORLD 8 FEBRUARY 2013:

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From the panorama of the Baha’i world engaged in earnest activity, one phenomenon strikes us especially:  the decisive contribution made by youth on every continent.  In this phenomenon we see the vindication of the hopes the beloved Guardian invested in them “for the future progress and expansion of the Cause” and of the confidence with which he laid upon their shoulders “all the responsibility for the upkeep of the spirit of selfless service among their fellow-believers”.  We are struck, too, by the number of youth who, after only a brief association with the Baha’i community, commit themselves to meaningful acts of service and quickly discover their affinity with the Faith’s community-building endeavour.  Indeed, in contemplating both the Baha’i youth and their like-minded peers, we cannot but rejoice at their eagerness to take on a measure of responsibility to aid the spiritual and social development of those around them, especially ones younger than themselves.  In an age consumed by self-interest, in which even spiritual affiliation is weighed in the scales of reward and personal satisfaction, it is heartening to encounter individuals from their mid-teens to their twenties- -those upon whom the sights of an aggressive materialism are decidedly trained–who are galvanized by the vision of Baha’u’llah and are ready to put the needs of others before their own.  That such high-minded youth, by dint of their own exertions as well as the momentum they lend to the whole community, should be contributing so effectively to efforts everywhere under way bodes well for the anticipated acceleration of these efforts.

 

1 February ― 14 Sultán   Leave a comment

 

From His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

A2

If there were neither gas nor electricity, the nights of the world would be darkness! So, it is necessary to have an instrument, a motive for love’s manifestation, an object, a mode of expression.

We must find a way of spreading love among the sons of humanity.

Love is unlimited, boundless, infinite! Material things are limited, circumscribed, finite. You cannot adequately express infinite love by limited means.

The perfect love needs an unselfish instrument, absolutely freed from fetters of every kind. The love of family is limited; the tie of blood relationship is not the strongest bond. Frequently members of the same family disagree, and even hate each other.

Patriotic love is finite; the love of one’s country causing hatred of all others, is not perfect love! Compatriots also are not free from quarrels amongst themselves.

The love of race is limited; there is some union here, but that is insufficient. Love must be free from boundaries!

To love our own race may mean hatred of all others, and even people of the same race often dislike each other.

Political love also is much bound up with hatred of one party for another; this love is very limited and uncertain.

The love of community of interest in service is likewise fluctuating; frequently competitions arise, which lead to jealousy, and at length hatred replaces love.

A few years ago, Turkey and Italy had a friendly political understanding; now they are at war!

All these ties of love are imperfect. It is clear that limited material ties are insufficient to adequately express the universal love.

The great unselfish love for humanity is bounded by none of these imperfect, semi-selfish bonds; this is the one perfect love, possible to all mankind, and can only be achieved by the power of the Divine Spirit. No worldly power can accomplish the universal love.

Let all be united in this Divine power of love! Let all strive to grow in the light of the Sun of Truth, and reflecting this luminous love on all men, may their hearts become so united that they may dwell evermore in the radiance of the limitless love.

Paris Talks, pp: 35-37

MORNING:

Return, then, and cleave wholly unto God, and cleanse thine heart from the world and all its vanities, and suffer not the love of any stranger to enter and dwell therein. Not until thou dost purify thine heart from every trace of such love can the brightness of the light of God shed its radiance upon it, for to none hath God given more than one heart. This, verily, hath been decreed and written down in His ancient Book. And as the human heart, as fashioned by God, is one and undivided, it behoveth thee to take heed that its affections be, also, one and undivided. Cleave thou, therefore, with the whole affection of thine heart, unto His love, and withdraw it from the love of any one besides Him, that He may aid thee to immerse thyself in the ocean of His unity, and enable thee to become a true upholder of His oneness. God is My witness. My sole purpose in revealing to thee these words is to sanctify thee from the transitory things of the earth, and aid thee to enter the realm of everlasting glory, that thou mayest, by the leave of God, be of them that abide and rule therein….

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Proclamation of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 52

EVENING:

This indeed becometh thee. Beware lest thou appropriate unto thyself the things of the world and the riches thereof. Leave them unto such as desire them, and cleave unto that which hath been enjoined upon thee by Him Who is the Lord of creation. Should any one offer thee all the treasures of the earth, refuse to even glance upon them. Be as thy Lord hath been. Thus hath the Tongue of Revelation spoken that which God hath made the ornament of the book of creation… Should the inebriation of the wine of My verses seize thee, and thou determinest to present thyself before the throne of thy Lord, the Creator of earth and heaven, make My love thy vesture and thy shield remembrance of Me, and thy provision reliance upon God, the Revealer of all power… 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 fire that which befitteth it. Thus hath it been decreed by your Lord, the Mighty, the Loving, in this promised Day. He, verily, ordaineth what He pleaseth. There is none other God save He, the Almighty, the All-Compelling.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Proclamation of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 85-86