[AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
To the followers of the Divine Beloved
in the sacred land of Iran
Dear spiritual sisters and brothers, vigilant protectors of the Cause of God,
The arrival of Naw-Rúz and the coming of the soul-stirring springtime is a welcome opportunity to express our deep love and affection and our profound appreciation and admiration for you, dwellers of the abode of faith in the sacred land of Iran. We convey our greetings to each and every one of those beloved of our hearts and souls on this joyous occasion and beseech the threshold of the Almighty to bestow upon you ever-greater confirmation as you tread the path of faithfulness.
The start of the new year is an opportune time to reflect on what has taken place in the past year and to give special attention to those truths about spiritual and social reality to which world events attest. It is of course clear to you, long-standing servants of the Abhá Beauty, that the revolution in the ordered life of the world and the chaos in the affairs of humanity are evidence of the advent of a new chapter in the never-ending story of the evolution of the social life of the human race. The suffering and pain currently afflicting the world are the inevitable labour pains of the birth of the next stage in the development of humanity from childhood to maturity, which is the realization of the unity of humankind and the establishment of a world civilization. The infinite bounties bestowed upon the world by the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh make possible the attainment of that stage, so that universal peace may be firmly established, the earth become the mirror of the highest paradise, and the Most Great Justice, awaited with hope by all peoples throughout the ages and centuries, become manifest. As He states in the Kitáb-i-Íqán:
The universe is pregnant with these manifold bounties, awaiting the hour when the effects of Its unseen gifts will be made manifest in this world, when the languishing and sore athirst will attain the living Kawthar of their Well-Beloved, and the erring wanderer, lost in the wilds of remoteness and nothingness, will enter the tabernacle of life, and attain reunion with his heart’s desire. In the soil of whose heart will these holy seeds germinate? From the garden of whose soul will the blossoms of the invisible realities spring forth?
It is abundantly clear that many of the aspirations of the people of the world and their legitimate demands have become aligned with the teachings of God and that which the Supreme Pen has decreed for the betterment of the world and the building of a new civilization. They have become crystallized in such ideals as the equality of the rights of women and men, the equality of all people, the truthfulness and trustworthiness of rulers, social justice, the eradication of poverty on the one hand and of the extreme and uncontrollable wealth in the hands of a few on the other, the protection of the environment, the abolition of ethnic and religious prejudices, and the elimination of racism. Iranian society is no exception to this general phenomenon. A wide-ranging consensus has emerged in the expectations of the people of the globe. Despite countless challenges, age-old prejudices, and innumerable social problems that block the way for human progress, the efflorescence of such unity of thought at the level of ideals, hopes, and aspirations demonstrates an important advance that can serve as a strong basis for a fundamental change in the structures of human society.
O faithful helpers of the Cause of God! Since last Riḍván the followers of the Ancient Beauty throughout the world have been embarked upon a new stage of the Divine Plan, the beginning of which coincided with the opening of the sixth epoch of the Formative Age of the Faith. As you know, the activities of the Bahá’í world in the coming years are focused on one central aim, namely, the creation of the necessary conditions for the release of that great and heavenly society-building power that is latent within the reality and essence of the Cause of God. Such a lofty goal is, of course, founded upon the significant advances achieved and the heightened capacities developed in recent years by treading the path of learning and systematic action that have led to the progress and development of the individual, the community, and the institutions and the evolution of the relationships among them throughout the world. These developments have also led to the emergence of a new and deeper understanding of the high aims of the Faith for the spiritual and social advancement of the world of humanity. It comes as no surprise then that the inauguration of this new stage took place in the presence and with the active participation of a vast number of the friends and acquaintances of the community and well-wishers yearning for spiritual, moral, and social transformation, who gathered at over ten thousand conferences in numerous places across the world and responded as never before to the lofty goals of this new Plan. The Bahá’í community had never in its history experienced such a degree of collaboration with the rest of society and of commonality in goals and views in the path of service.
Among the victories achieved in the first few months of the Nine Year Plan, especially evident in areas where the activities of the community have advanced to a high degree, is that participants in the educational programmes of the community, no matter from what background, increasingly find the training institute to be an effective instrument for the upliftment of their environment and neighbourhood and consider themselves not only involved in but also responsible for its operation and its development and expansion. They see the prosperity and the betterment of their society, both now and in the future, to be dependent on their efforts to put the teachings for this new day into practice. At the start of this new and historic endeavour, we invited the Bahá’í world to take a more expansive view of the training institute process, to enhance the quality of the educational experience it offers, and to obtain a deeper understanding of its pedagogical principles, its methodology, and its central concepts, so that the Bahá’ís may increasingly understand the possibilities latent in the systematic study of the Word of God within the framework of the programmes of the training institute and recognize its powerful influence on the transformation of society. The results of such an expansive vision of the significance and implications of the endeavours of the Bahá’í world will gradually become manifest in the spiritual and moral growth and maturation of everyone, particularly the younger generations. This, together with the emphasis placed on the study of useful sciences and arts and the acquisition of knowledge and the skills needed for service to humanity, will help nurture latent powers and capacities and lead to intellectual, practical, scientific, artistic, technological, and agricultural advancement and progress in different societies.
Alas, another feature of the past year was the injustice and cruelty that were once again visited upon the community of the Greatest Name in the birthplace of this precious Faith. However, as we wrote in our letter of 23 August 2022 to those courageous followers of the Abhá Beauty, this time the persecutions evoked a widespread and exceptional response, not only in the international community and in public opinion generally, but also specifically among the noble people of Iran. This response ultimately led to unprecedented support for the rights of the Bahá’ís. Nevertheless, the oppression and injustice continued, and in the second half of the year, too, they were subjected to the pillaging of their homes and to unjustified arrests and cruel verdicts. Some of those innocent and noble souls, like sweetly singing birds, were imprisoned in the cage of enmity and hate. But the community of the Greatest Name did not cease to adhere to the divine teachings, nor did it retaliate in kind; it remained engaged, with sincerity, trustworthiness, meekness, and determination, in fulfilling its commitment to serve its cherished homeland. To poison, it responded with sweetest honey.
Some of the authorities resorted to a new ruse and devised a new scheme. They redoubled their pressure on the youth in particular, hoping that they might, through misrepresentation and deception, humiliate them, make them despondent, demoralize them, and deceive their pure hearts. At specifically calculated times, while fully admitting to the trampling of the legitimate human rights of the Bahá’ís, which has continued through the vicissitudes of long years and in spite of transient and varying currents in the government and has affected every aspect of the life—whether individual, collective, educational, professional, or cultural—of every Iranian Bahá’í, from the smallest child to the oldest and most infirm, they shamelessly try to spread the idea that the community is itself to blame for its own persecution. They impute the responsibility to some of the active and devoted believers and claim that the chief reason for all these injustices is the dynamism of its community life. They have gone even further than this astonishing claim and have attempted to promote the utter falsehood that the cause of the persecutions is the adherence of the community to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and its allegiance to the Centre of the Cause. The foolish are ignorant, however, of the fact that the Bahá’í youth are mindful and wise, think deeply and see clearly, and have never paid heed to patent lies that precisely target the unity and harmony of the community and, ultimately, the Covenant of the Faith. The youth will transform these efforts of the enemies into an opportunity for strengthening the bonds of the community and deepening in the divine teachings, and will reflect deeply upon why some among the authorities are so intent upon weakening the community of the followers of Bahá’u’lláh.
To fulfil the lofty aims of the Nine Year Plan that relate to rendering material and spiritual service to society, it is fitting that the Bahá’ís throughout the world reflect on their historic as well as recent endeavours in assisting the process of development and transformation and examine their experience so that they can selflessly offer to everyone what they have learned and draw inspiration from it for participation in related discourses. Bahá’ís consider selfless and constant service to the world of humanity to be their duty and are determined to spare no sacrifice in this path. This intention is evident everywhere, but in the blessed land of Iran, given the long and illustrious history of the Faith there, this reality shines perhaps more brightly than anywhere else. It is for this reason that your experience, dear friends, is the focus of the attention of the believers throughout the world and a source of pride for them.
Consider what trailblazing actions and what dazzling initiatives the followers of Bahá’u’lláh undertook for the sake of the development and progress of Iran and in the discharge of the commitment to the good of humanity that He nurtured in them. See what a range of educational, medical, industrial, and agricultural establishments and what material, spiritual, intellectual, and cultural advancements were brought about as a result of the profound faith that generation after generation of those followers placed in the truth that success and prosperity, spiritual salvation and the good pleasure of God are made possible through service, love, and goodwill towards one’s fellow beings. A few examples suffice to attest this truth. In some of the remotest corners of the country, more than a hundred years ago, the Bahá’ís of Iran established modern schools that they might impart knowledge to girls and boys and eradicate ignorance. By teaching literacy to adults, whether men or women, they swiftly eliminated illiteracy in their communities. Courageously and persistently, from the earliest days of the Cause, they have striven to promote the freedom of women and the equality of women and men and have endeavoured to ensure that this important principle—which is an inseparable aspect of Bahá’u’lláh’s fundamental principle of the oneness of humanity—is not only implemented in their personal and family lives, but is also institutionalized in their social and administrative affairs as well as in their educational programmes. They established hospitals and dispensaries, so that with the aid of modern medical science and new inventions they might contribute to the health and well-being of their fellow citizens and heal physical ailments too. They have exerted great effort to contribute to the development and prosperity of cities and villages, to further industry and agriculture, and to exalt and celebrate the arts and crafts of Iran. They have endeavoured to remove ethnic and religious prejudices and have taught their children the lesson of the oneness of humanity from their earliest years. They have raised the banner of truthfulness, honesty, and moral conduct in such manner that, throughout the history of this blessed Cause, even its sworn enemies have confessed to their honesty and truthfulness and been astonished and dumbfounded to see that they refuse to deny the truth for the sake of worldly benefit, material advantage, or the preservation of their lives and possessions. A hundred years ago they instituted the culture of freedom of choice and the election of representatives in every town and village in which they lived, and they have learned and practised consultation as a principle essential for the creation of harmony and unity together with variety and diversity. And above all, they have placed great value on education and have made every effort to ensure that, by means of educational programmes that train human character, the divine principles and teachings are translated into reality.
Despite all these accomplishments in the path of service, the Bahá’ís of Iran have never made any claim to perfection. They know that a road steep and rocky, with countless obstacles along the way, stretches out before them, and they therefore actively continue to strive for the betterment of their country. However, what today makes their experience more valuable than ever before and worthy of special reflection is the reality that those heroes have accomplished these feats in spite of constant persecution and ceaseless threats. How numerous the hardships they endured in this arena, and yet out of loyalty to their spiritual and moral commitment and out of love for God, love for Iran and its people, and love for all the peoples of the world, they sacrificed not only their time and their possessions but their very lives, and remained fast and firm as the majestic mountain.
In these days when your noble compatriots, more than at any other time, share not only your ideals but your sufferings, are subjected to countless afflictions, and endure numerous and astonishing wounds—the pain of which lacerates every awakened soul and breaks every pure heart—it beseems you heroes to cast, like bright candles, the light of hope and to impart, even as burning flames, the warmth of affection. Nurse the sick and be a balm to the wounded. Console the suffering and aid and befriend the deprived. Freely share your precious experience with your fellow citizens and revive in all the hearts confidence and faith in the brilliant future of Iran and of the whole world. This is your mission, you who are nigh unto God. This is the attribute of His ardent lovers. This is worthy of servitude to His Threshold.
[signed: The Universal House of Justice]
[AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
To the faithful and patient followers of
Bahá’u’lláh in the sacred land of Iran
As we write these lines to those devoted followers of the Divine Beloved on the occasion of this auspicious day, the Festival of Naw-Rúz, to convey to you our love and affection, the followers of Bahá’u’lláh throughout the world are directing their energies towards reflecting deeply on the requirements of the new stage of their endeavours. Together, and with like-minded individuals, and with large numbers of those who desire the betterment of the world and the well-being of its peoples, they are engaged in conversation and the exchange of insights, and are consulting about the manner of their participation in the process of spiritual transformation and the promotion of the welfare of their societies in accordance with the teachings of Him Who is the Lifegiver of the world. Reports indicate the unprecedented response of the loved ones of God and their friends and co-workers who, rank upon rank, are participating in conferences convened in numerous parts of the world and in different settings, particularly at the local level. This response is an indication both of the growing capacity of the Bahá’í community and of the ever-growing spiritual receptivity of the peoples of the world. These friends are eager to attain a dynamic spiritual life and achieve a profound transformation of social relations that is founded on the principle of the oneness of humanity.
A complete century has now elapsed since the start of the Formative Age, which began with the Ascension of the peerless Person of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The extent of the growth of the Bahá’í community in the first century of this Age, the diffusion of the light of the Faith to the furthest corners of the world, the entry of individuals from every people and nation into its fold, the expansion of the circle of its endeavours, and the rise in the degree of vision and insight on the part of its followers with regard to their mission—all these, truly, astound the human mind. One marvels at how, after the departure of their kind Master, His followers throughout the world—that handful of feeble ones devoted to their peerless Beloved, those lovers who were burning in the fire of separation from Him, mournful and anxious in His absence—succeeded through unshakeable determination and matchless sacrifice to carry out the admonitions of their far-sighted Master contained in His Tablets of the Divine Plan, and were enabled to establish the Cause of God upon so strong a foundation. Assuredly, confirmations made the drops to become seas, and endowed the atoms with the splendour of the sun.
In this luminous, epic drama, the share of the lovers of the Abhá Beauty and valiant knights of the Lord in the sacred Cradle of the Cause of God is great indeed. It is clear in the mirror of history, and reciting its countless evidences is obviously impossible within these few lines. A river of ink is required and a mountain of paper needed. The contribution of those dear friends to the protection and progress of the Cause of God at every juncture, to the very limits of their means and despite every obstacle and restriction, is worthy of admiration and of endless praise. Future generations will undoubtedly recount it in detail. At this moment in history, reflection upon the outcome of a whole century of effort and labour brings to mind the weighty and celebrated statement of the beloved Guardian, who, after enumerating the achievements of the Bahá’ís of the world, referred to the sacrifices of the oppressed and courageous believers in Iran and described with these perspicuous words a spiritual truth that is a mystery from the invisible Realm: “These have come about solely from the powerful effect of the bitter cruelty tasted as if it were purest honey all these long years by those who are overwhelmed in tribulation at the hands of the malevolent in that sorely afflicted land.”
After a hundred years of endeavour—and of sacrifice, trial, and learning—all that the Bahá’ís of the world have attained, and which, in the past twenty-five years in particular, took a new form and acquired new systems and organization, has prepared them for the fulfilment of an exalted spiritual and moral mission. Its principal purpose is to release that mighty and heavenly power that brings about the betterment of the world, a power latent in the reality and essence of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh, so that it may, day by day, become increasingly manifest and conduce to the building of society. The release of this power, briefly stated, implies a profound inner and outer transformation. Its purpose is the appearance of a heavenly character, the emergence of conduct and manner befitting the station of a human being, and the manifestation of unity and harmony in the various strata of society. This creative power promotes and brings about the spiritual, moral, and intellectual progress of peoples, so that they may concentrate on both material and spiritual education and may advance in knowledge and understanding; that the younger generation may become equipped, as rational and loyal citizens, with the requirements of service to humanity; that contending individuals, tribes, and peoples may become united; that thoughts and perspectives may harmonize around the axis of unity and oneness, in order that this foundational principle and other divine teachings may be manifested in practical ways in collective life; that through the strengthening of cooperation and goodwill, collaboration and solidarity, the pillars of society may be fortified and social cohesion may increase; that individuals may become as members of one family; that progressive and noble societies may emerge; that the culture of society may be affected by these developments, and both reflect and reinforce them; and that the three protagonists in this collective enterprise—the individual, the community, and the institutions—each in its own reality as well as in relation to one another, may make considerable advances. The signs of the appearance of this power are present in even the most basic activities inspired by the Bahá’í teachings. But in those places, whether villages in rural areas or neighbourhoods in cities, where the spiritual enterprise has advanced to higher levels and where large numbers of souls have joined their voices to the call of the Faith for the construction of a society based on divine principles, the release of this power has become an obvious reality and its effects plain to see. The process of learning pursued by the Bahá’í world along this path and the coherence of the areas of endeavour of the community of the Greatest Name have been described in detail in our message of 30 December 2021, and you will have seen that this new stage in the labours of the followers of Bahá’u’lláh throughout the world will, for a quarter of a century, be directed towards learning more about the release of this power and its manifestation in diverse places in the world.
In the closing years of the first century of the Formative Age, one of the most significant advances of the Bahá’í community in countless parts of the world has been that the dynamism of the youth and their activities has not been limited to their acquisition of perfections, their efforts to prepare themselves, and the service they render to society. There has been a considerable expansion of their loving enthusiasm to be sources of encouragement and motivation, collaborators and companions, guides and supporters of other members of the community, to the degree that, in most countries of the world, younger generations now walk alongside others in the front ranks of the community and shoulder greater responsibilities than before. Witnessing this groundswell of love and the appearance of this enhanced capacity prompted us to make possible their participation in Bahá’í elections at a younger age. At a time when, more than ever before, materialism is inducing souls, whether in societies of the East or the West, to be occupied with the pursuit of beguiling and ephemeral aims and desires, the dazzling lustre shed by the Bahá’í youth in recent years is a reflection of this statement of the Blessed Beauty: “Blessed is he who in the prime of his youth and the heyday of his life will arise to serve the Cause of the Lord of the beginning and of the end, and adorn his heart with His love. The manifestation of such a grace is greater than the creation of the heavens and of the earth.”
In this context, when we view the Bahá’í youth in the hallowed land of Iran, we are filled with awe. Their spirit of steadfastness and their commitment to their spiritual mission in the path of service to their sacred homeland and its people, in spite of the countless injustices and numberless wrongs they suffer, have made them models and examples to all the youth of the Bahá’í world, for they have sallied forth in the arena of love and fidelity to the Abhá Beauty, endeavouring to attain heavenly qualities and acquire knowledge and insight, while at the same time striving to fulfil their spiritual responsibilities. The intrepid youth in the Cradle of the Faith must know that they are the pride of the Bahá’í world and should commit to heart and memory the lofty aim that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has envisaged for them: “‘Abdu’l-Bahá eagerly anticipates that each one of you may become even as a fearless lion moving in the pastures of human perfection and a musk-laden breeze wafting over the meads of virtue.”
Faithful and long-standing friends of the Abhá Beauty: At a time when the world is in turmoil and its order shaken, when its peoples are in a state of fear and anxiety and exposed to dangers and difficulties, when the heart of every conscientious person burns with anguish, and when the global Bahá’í community, in response to the condition of the world and its peoples, has once again committed itself to discharge its spiritual and social mission and to propagate a culture of peace and unity, of tolerance and amity, throughout the world, we are certain that the friends of God in Iran, too, will gird up the loins of endeavour and, more than ever before, strive to walk the path of service and, in collaboration with other people of goodwill, determine to help society in their homeland; to open wide the circle of unity and extend the compass of oneness; to seek to put into practice the teachings of God for the betterment of the world and find suitable spaces in which to share with their well-intentioned compatriots the experience they have gained and continue to gain in this path; to participate in the constructive and diverse discourses of society; and inspired by the teachings and reliant on the community’s experience, to make evident the practicability of the different dimensions of the principles of peace and justice in this radiant age. Through their conduct, let them become embodiments of the divine admonitions, and through their actions, let them become servants of the world of humanity. Let them pay special attention to the culture of their own community so that the divine precepts may become ever more manifest in their individual and collective lives, and their capacities may increasingly blossom. What evokes our admiration is that, despite numerous limitations, those friends are well aware of their spiritual obligations, and they endeavour, to the extent possible, to benefit from what their spiritual brothers and sisters throughout the world have learned and the experience they have acquired.
We adorn the ending of this message with words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the flame of Whose perfect example was at every moment during this past year aglow in the hearts, thoughts, and deeds of the people of Bahá. A brief address which that luminous Being delivered to the believers in the final hours of His abundantly fruitful travels to America ended with the following words. Consider with what eloquence the Centre of the Covenant describes the perpetual aims of Bahá’ís and sums up, even as distilled nectar, their abiding duties:
Turn all your thoughts toward bringing joy to hearts. Beware! Beware! lest ye offend any heart. Assist the world of humanity as much as possible. Be the source of consolation to every sad one, assist every weak one, be helpful to every indigent one, care for every sick one, be the cause of glorification to every lowly one, and shelter those who are overshadowed by fear.
In brief, let each one of you be as a lamp shining forth with the light of the virtues of the world of humanity. Be trustworthy, sincere, affectionate and replete with chastity. Be illumined, be spiritual, be divine, be glorious, be quickened of God, be a Bahá’í.
Beloved friends: We greet you and all the pure-hearted people of Iran at the start of the new year, and offer prayers in the Holy Shrines that struggles and conflicts may cease, the light of peace and reconciliation shine forth, and the tabernacle of unity be pitched in the midmost heart of the world.
[signed: The Universal House of Justice]
[AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
To the friends of God in the sacred land of Iran
At the threshold of the new year and the Festival of Naw-Rúz, we remember you in this luminous and sacred Spot and recall how from the beginning of the appearance of the Sun of Truth, you have, with love and certitude, and with inexhaustible constancy and steadfastness, shone like brilliant stars in the firmament of Iran, and how, in the face of oppression and injustice, you have acted with such sincerity and patience as to become a source of pride and glory for the company of the faithful and an example to all the peoples of the world. Even in the midst of the current health crisis—with the many challenges to livelihoods it has created and the social problems it has caused, entangling the world and its peoples in numerous trials and afflictions—and despite the fact that the persecution and discrimination directed towards your community did not relent in the course of this past year or give you a moment’s respite, you continued with your service, never ceased your endeavours for the good of humanity, and remained a flame of hope and a source of love and friendship for all. How fortunate you are to have added another golden page to the illustrious history of your community and to have won the good pleasure of God.
The Festival of Riḍván this year coincides with the end of the Five Year Plan and the conclusion of the twenty-five-year period during which the Bahá’í world was called upon to make a significant advance in the scope of its activities and human resources. In response to the call to that spiritual enterprise, the followers of Bahá’u’lláh arose in an unprecedented and determined manner such that, notwithstanding natural and inevitable ebbs and flows, their endeavours ultimately resulted in countless advances, effected a profound transformation, brought forth new capacities, and propelled the Bahá’í community to a new stage. To describe the nature of the victories and achievements of the community of the Greatest Name throughout the world in this historic period is beyond the scope of the present discussion, and we will attend to it at another time soon. The focus of our thoughts at this time, however, is the devoted undertakings of the community of the valiant followers of the Ancient Beauty in His sacred homeland who, during the course of this same period and inspired by the framework for action of the Bahá’í world, likewise brought about a significant transformation in their community and who, notwithstanding countless limitations and unfavourable conditions, once again fulfilled the requirements of fidelity. Despite myriad difficulties and problems, each one of which could reduce a mountain to a heap of dust, they raised aloft the banner of firmness and constancy and charged forth in the arena of servitude and built new capacities for service to the world of humanity. The spirit of learning born of action, reflection, and consultation became the axis of endeavours. Systematically and earnestly the younger generation was made the focus of special attention by the community. Children learned virtues and spirituality, and junior youth developed spiritual and moral attributes and eagerness for service. The youth, through the acquisition of a deep appreciation of their spiritual mission and a broad vision of the implications of the divine teachings for this new age, rushed to the fields of service and attained their rightful place in the vanguard of a vibrant and purposeful community. The unity and solidarity of all the members of the community was, through the pulsating force of the Covenant and Testament, increased, and cooperation and mutual support reached a high level. Through profound reflection on the Writings, attention to the guidance, and adherence to the foundational principle of consultation, perspectives became harmonized, the different endeavours of the community became coherent, and the various labours of the believers in the path of service yielded abundant fruit. The outward-looking culture of the community was strengthened to a considerable degree and led to a level of participation, greater than ever before, by the believers in the constructive discourses of their society. The valuable lessons acquired by those much-loved friends in the course of an entire century of determined endeavour in the path of building a dynamic community were with great sincerity shared selflessly with others. The experience gained as a result of efforts to apply Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings in this radiant age for the achievement of the equality of women and men, social justice, the eradication of extremes of wealth and poverty, unity among different ethnicities, the empowerment of younger generations, and the refinement of character was offered to interested individuals without making any claims to perfection or superiority. And the friends, to the extent possible, became involved in consulting and collaborating with their fellow citizens in order to address various social ills. In sum, this significant transformation is worthy of profound admiration and represents a firm and secure foundation for future efforts.
Praised be God that the certain confirmations of the Concourse on high were vouchsafed and developments that at one time could scarcely be imagined came to pass. The widespread and extensive support for the rights of the Bahá’ís of Iran provided by governments and international organizations on behalf of the peoples of the world—which in recent decades has been constantly expressed and which has now reached such a height that the officials of two governments have independently called for the recognition of the Faith in Iran—in the course of the same period, gradually and in different ways, also became apparent on the part of the noble people of that land and was increasingly evident day by day. The veils were removed from the eyes, and through the efforts of scholars and others, and by the aid of new modes of communication, correct and accurate information became more widely available than at any other time. And in the minds and thoughts of many enlightened and unprejudiced souls, the truth of this precious Cause replaced the baseless calumnies of the prejudiced. The community’s rectitude of conduct, long established, gained new recognition, your honesty and truthfulness astounded the world, and your complete innocence, pure intent, and lofty ideals were confirmed and proven in the eyes of countless souls. Such is the testimony of the Supreme Pen: “Absolute meekness yieldeth many a result and beareth many a fruit.” Appreciate, then, this bounty, and look to the future with the eyes of hope.
Dear friends, in our message to the Bahá’ís of the world on the Day of the Covenant we conveyed the glad tidings of the launching of a Nine Year Plan which will begin after the conclusion of the One Year Plan, and we referred to the importance of the year ahead. As you are aware, this year is distinguished by the commemoration of the centenary of the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Orb of the Covenant, the perfect Exemplar of the people of Bahá. The spiritual inheritance bequeathed by that peerless and distinguished Being, Whose words transformed the hearts and Whose ways magnetized the souls, belongs, of course, to all humanity, yet it holds a special significance and implications for the people of Iran. Although ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in childhood departed for exile in the company of His distinguished Father, He was never forgetful of His sacred and much-loved homeland. Throughout His life, even in the course of His travels to the Western world, He was ever occupied with the thought and mention of His compatriots, that perchance, with the aid of the teachings of God for this new Day and through the promotion of those qualities that are worthy of this age, the essential relationships of society in that land might be transformed, justice and fairness be manifested, the power of the intellect shine forth, learning and education become the principal axis of all affairs and, through the fundamental transformation of morals, every kind of progress and advance be made possible and lead ultimately to the exaltation of Iran. Therefore, through exposition of the divine teachings and encouragement to apply the insights they contain in order to remedy the problems and deficiencies of society, He addressed the people of that country generally, and the Bahá’ís specifically, counselling, advising, and urging them to sacrifice themselves in service to that sacred land, and repeatedly and emphatically assuring everyone of the bright future of Iran.
In one of His blessed Tablets, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá states, “The future of Iran is of the utmost greatness, majesty, and glory, for it is the native land of the Blessed Beauty. All the nations of the earth will turn to and regard Iran with high esteem. Know of a certainty that it will make such progress as to dazzle the eyes of the mighty and the learned throughout the world.” And in another instance He writes, “‘This house of sorrows will become a rose-garden one day; grieve not!’ Exert the utmost effort and sincerity in service to Iran and its people, and sorrow no more.”
We greet every one of you on this blessed day and from the depths of our hearts ardently beseech, at the Threshold of Him Who is the Desire of the world, your health and well-being, your freedom and prosperity, and the descent of limitless confirmations upon you and all your compatriots.
[signed: The Universal House of Justice]
[AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
To the sorely tested and steadfast friends of the Divine Beloved in the sacred land of Iran
Every awakened heart is saddened and filled with great pain and anguish at beholding the condition of the world and the ills that afflict its inhabitants. We feel it necessary, at this time and on the occasion of this blessed day, to share, besides the message we have today addressed to all the Bahá’ís of the world, the following words with you who are intimates of the Threshold of the All-Merciful.
In the course of the year now ending, in addition to bearing the numerous difficulties that the peoples of the world and your fellow citizens experienced, you, the wayfarers in the path of faith, whose principal purpose in life is to promote unity and concord and to ameliorate suffering in human society, were once again subject to discrimination, new machinations, and severe tests. “…From time immemorial even unto eternity”, writes Bahá’u’lláh in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, “the Almighty hath tried, and will continue to try, His servants, so that light may be distinguished from darkness, truth from falsehood, right from wrong, guidance from error, happiness from misery, and roses from thorns.” Praised be God that you, roses of the garden of the Ancient Beauty, His compatriots that have been reared by the hands of His bounty, in this year demonstrated yet again your true identity and character. And your adherence to the principles of truthfulness and honesty—foundations of all human virtues—aroused once more the admiration of all.
O friends of the Abhá Beauty! Although the horizon of the world appears dark, and uncertainty and chaos alarm and agitate its people, yet the arrival of the season of spring and of the inexhaustible bounties of God every new year is a reminder of the truth that the cold winds of winter, however severe, are ultimately stilled through the warmth of the vernal sun. The gloom of night is followed by the brightness of day, and autumn dust is washed away by the showers of spring. Therefore, through reliance on the boundless spiritual powers latent within you, strive to become the embodiment of reassurance and hope to family and friends, the essence of confidence to every heart, a healing balm to all who suffer, and a secure torch for the flame of the love of the true Friend. We express our sympathy and fellow feeling for all the people of the world and the noble people of Iran and assure you, our loved ones, of our sincere and heartfelt prayers in the Holy Shrines for removal of the difficulties. With these words of supplication from the pen of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, we beseech the Almighty for the health and well-being, tranquillity and freedom, of every soul: “Open Thou the portals of hope, and from the bounties of heaven bestow upon them a share. Turn this gloomy night into day, and cause the day of Naw-Rúz to become blessed.”
[signed: The Universal House of Justice]