[AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
24 October 2019
To the followers of Bahá’u’lláh in the sacred land of Iran
The Bahá’í world is astir and the lovers of God are in a state of joy and excitement. As we draw nearer to the commemoration of the Twin Birthdays of the Manifestations of God, the signs of the unprecedented flourishing of that blessed tree which those two Sacred Beings planted in the world become daily more evident, and the people of the world benefit more and more from its limitless fruits. Hearts are being transformed, thoughts are being illumined, children are learning the lessons of unity and equality, adults are walking the path of service, morals are being refined, deeds are becoming purified, societies are progressing, material life is advancing under the influence of spiritual principles, souls are becoming a new creation, and the call of divine civilization resounds louder at every turn.
Although by now you will have read the message we recently addressed to all those throughout the world who have a share in the celebration of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Báb, we considered this an opportune moment to also address His compatriots and to remind you of the bounty that is yours, for that Sun of Truth dawned in the city of Shiraz, promising the world new illumination, and its morn first stirred up your land, preparing the world for the appearance of Bahá’u’lláh.
The light which the Manifestations of God in every age shed upon the material and spiritual life of humanity discloses truths, whose very conception is impossible before the appearance of those Manifestations. Those Teachers illumine the essential relationships on which the progress of the world and its inhabitants depends and create the instruments for the attainment of that progress. Their appearance makes manifest the treasures hidden in the world of being, and Their teachings bring with them the precious gift of a new stage of unity. They encourage humankind once again to acquire spiritual qualities and to attain human perfections, so that through the confirmations of God and its own endeavours, it can lay the foundations of its own felicity.
The appearance of the Exalted One was an invitation to knowledge and rationality, to generosity and compassion, to truthfulness and social justice. The concepts and ideas that He brought breathed a new spirit into the tired body of the world. He fulfilled the prophecies of old and gave new form to the practices of the past. He discarded superstition and nurtured reason. He began a new stage in the progress and transformation of the world of humanity and, in the first instance, invited His own compatriots to participate in the process of renewal. The gentleness of His Being and the heavenly power of His words instantly attracted those who associated with Him, and the truth of His utterances and the appeal of His teachings led, with miraculous speed, to the awakening and consciousness of the people. In a short while, His Cause spread throughout Iran and the fire of the love of God was kindled within diverse strata of that society. A great many souls from a variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds—men and women, young and old, rich and poor, merchants and traders, thinkers and writers, clerics and even royalty, in cities and in villages—joined the company of His followers and took to heart His call to build a society founded on justice and free from tyranny and oppression. The number of sincere leaders of religion and divines who accepted His Cause and embraced His truth is astounding, and included Vaḥíd, who was among the most learned men of the country and the confidant and representative of the King commissioned to investigate the truth about the new Revelation. According to the scholars and orientalists of the time, large multitudes among the people of Iran became the Báb’s followers and devotees and evinced matchless valour in their commitment to their newfound faith.
The tumult caused by the new Faith shook the pillars of the old order, aroused consternation and envy among the wielders of position and power, and led them to nurse the idle hope that by creating terror they would negate the Báb’s Word and extinguish His light, and so they mercilessly opposed Him. Influential fanatics, one and all, raised aloft the standard of denial and urged the authorities and the populace to commit acts of cruelty on an unprecedented scale. Truly, contemporary history has seldom witnessed the like of the bloodshed and pillage that, at the hands of the rulers or at their instigation, befell the Báb and His followers. Yet, such atrocities, which were often carried out in public, in the street and in the marketplace, so as to become object lessons for others, would time and again, as a result of the steadfastness of those innocent souls, become the cause of the awakening of a new wave of pure-hearted people. In a few instances, when surrounded by the forces of the malevolent and subjected to their ceaseless cruelty, those wronged ones defended themselves valiantly, but they ultimately fell victim to deception and were brutally massacred. The antagonists then endeavoured to obliterate the traces of the new Faith and tried systematically to eradicate from the hearts and minds of Iranians the memory of the astonishing influence of the Báb’s appearance. For a time they banned any mention of Him in the land of His birth, and when that approach proved ineffective, they loosed their tongues in curse and abuse, and began fabricating stories, falsifying history, and denying the truth. The friend they called an enemy, and they depicted events in distorted fashion. The sublime gift they called “the sedition of the Báb”, and they relegated the Exalted Beloved to the lowest depths of silent darkness, thus committing a great injustice against future generations. But they were heedless of the fact that countless Iranian families were in some way related to His movement, and numberless spots in that vast country were reddened by the blood of His persecuted followers. The traces of that spiritual renaissance will forever endure in that land, and its mystic effects will become evident at last.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Cause of the Báb was the prominent role of the youth who in an astonishing way entered its vanguard, who demonstrated a profound understanding of the implications of the new era, and who taught everyone the lessons of courage and valour. The Báb Himself was twenty-five when He declared His mission. Quddús was twenty-two when he became adorned with the mantle of faith; Ṭáhirih was in her twenties when she accepted the Cause of her Lord; and Anís was a young man of tender age when he became a believer. Recall the fearless Zaynab, who in the prime of youth became a legend, a heroine in both this world and the next. The names of the Iranian heroes of this new movement are today immortalized throughout the world, and the courage of those deathless souls is an example for all. The young standard-bearers of the community of the Greatest Name in every land serve humanity in memory of those courageous souls and make sacrificial efforts for the betterment of the world and the progress of society, endeavouring to acquire spiritual characteristics and engaging in the education of children and junior youth. In Iran too, despite countless hardships, the apple of our eyes are, with pure hearts free from resentment or enmity, valiantly arising in the discharge of their spiritual obligations, acquiring knowledge and the sciences and arts, earning a livelihood, establishing families, laying the foundations of future society upon the strong pillars of faith, and placing service to humanity at the centre of their lives.
Briefly, after the setting of that resplendent Daystar, His prophecies were eventually fulfilled and the dawn of a new Sun became visible. Bahá’u’lláh appeared and renewed the law of God. He gathered together that scattered and oppressed company and prepared for them—and for all of humanity—the means of everlasting glory. He taught them principles to elevate the government and uplift the people, He categorically forbade conflict and contention, and He raised a new creation throughout the world, drawn from every population and speaking in every tongue, that they might serve humanity with sincerity and love, strengthen the unity of the world, lay the foundations of fellowship, and through collaboration with others in their own society, propagate divine civilization.
Beloved friends: At this moment in time, when the followers of the Greatest Name throughout the world are welcoming friends, acquaintances, neighbours, co-workers, and like-minded souls to the celebration of the Twin Birthdays and are inviting them to consider the meaning of the marvellous anniversary of the Herald and Summoner of this illumined cycle, you must know of a truth that for the people of Iran, the significance and auspiciousness of this occasion is two hundredfold. Assure everyone that the time for the fulfilment of the unfailing promises of those Twin Lights shall come, the turmoil in the world will be eased, permanent peace and harmony among the peoples of the earth will appear, and the unity of humankind will be manifested.
[signed: The Universal House of Justice]
[AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
To the followers of Bahá’u’lláh in Iran
Springtime is here once again and the cycle of nature has taken another turn. It is a new and wondrous season, whose essential qualities are the bright light of the sun and vernal showers and breezes, which enable the capacity latent in the earth to be released, the flowers to bloom, the birds to warble, the desert to become verdant, and a fresh spirit to be breathed into the contingent world. This physical spring is reminiscent of the Mystic Spring that arrived once more with the rising of the Sun of Truth above the horizon of the sacred land of Iran, shedding illumination upon east and west. The showers of mercy rained down, the heavenly breezes wafted, the hyacinths of inner meaning sprang forth, and the world of humanity was given life anew and freshness beyond measure. Although this spiritual Springtide is still in the early stages of its effulgence, yet the initial signs of the influence, transformative power, and unifying force of the divine civilization that has been renewed in this wondrous cycle can already be glimpsed throughout the world, especially in those places where the spiritual enterprise has advanced in degrees of progress.
The year ahead of us is most auspicious and blessed, for it coincides with the Bicentenary of the Birth of that distinguished Son of Iran, the Primal Point, the Most Exalted Countenance, the Herald and Harbinger of this spiritual Springtime. This occasion is a time of celebration for everyone throughout the world, but Iranians, who are honoured by being compatriots of the Twin Manifestations in this luminous age, have a special share in these festivities. We greet each and every one of you and the other noble citizens of Iran, wish you joy on the occasion of Naw-Rúz, and offer heartfelt prayers in the Holy Shrines for your increasing success in the path of service to your country and countrymen and for the opening of the gate of justice and equity in that land.
[signed: The Universal House of Justice]
[AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
24 October 2018
To the Bahá’ís of Iran
The order of the world has been disrupted, and severe and numerous convulsions have shaken its foundation. Conditions worsen daily, confusion and fear have gripped mankind, and the pain and difficulties experienced by the generality of peoples have greatly increased. The destructive forces of materialism dominate both the East and the West and have brought about a quagmire of injustice and prejudice that has sullied and rendered powerless the wings of society, whilst the human spirit, which is created to ascend towards the divine realm, has been enslaved in the talons of greed and wilfulness and become deprived of the bounty of the light of true religion. The problems of the world—which are clearly evident in the arenas of politics, economics, social conditions, and the environment—confront humanity’s future with inescapable dangers and yet its leaders remain unaware of their fundamental causes, are unable to remedy them, and are fearful of their consequences. The situation of the world calls to mind the following statement of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: “Chaos and confusion are daily increasing in the world. They will attain such intensity as to render the frame of mankind unable to bear them. Then will men be awakened”. The believers in Iran, who since the dawning of the Morn of Guidance in that land, have been robed in the vesture of Faith, are conscious of the admonitions and explicit warnings of the Ancient Beauty, have acquired the vision inspired by His Teachings, and are well aware of both the profound reasons for these crises and His guidance about them.
One of the most pressing challenges afflicting multitudes of people across the globe is the disturbed economic situation. The lack of a necessary framework to ensure equity and justice in the distribution of wealth has led to an increase in unemployment and poverty to the extent that even providing life’s basic essentials has become extremely difficult for many strata of society. The consequences of the vast divide between the rich and the poor, whether within or among the nations, are indescribable. Amidst all this, you—the long-standing and faithful followers of the Blessed Beauty—not only suffer the impact and hardship of the present condition of the world, as all others suffer, but have been subject over many years to unrelenting persecution and numerous cruelties. These persecutions and cruelties have been and are still being carried out in a systematic and planned way to weaken the Bahá’í community in Iran and to deplete its economic strength.
In our message dated 11 June 2009 addressed to the Bahá’ís in Iran, about a year after the arrest and imprisonment of the members of the former Yárán, we reminded the friends that taking care of individuals and families who, despite their noble efforts, nevertheless stand in need of financial assistance, is among the sacred and indispensable duties of the people of Bahá, and we requested them to assist and collaborate with one another on this path. The actions that in the ensuing years the Bahá’í community of Iran has undertaken in response to this call are truly astonishing. Despite the absence of Bahá’í institutions and notwithstanding the countless injustices and limited resources, individuals and the community were able to arise with tenacity, sacrifice, abiding love, and matchless creativity to respond to critical needs and to assist one another. Through adherence to the command of consultation, which paves the way for humanity and resolves countless problems, and through reflection upon its diverse applications, you—the followers of the Threshold of the Almighty—have striven to strengthen the culture of mutual support and have arisen, to the extent possible, to address the challenges of obtaining employment, taking care of the elderly, and attending to the poor, and for the youth are facilitating apprenticeship, providing jobs, assisting those who wish to marry, and, of course, continuing with efforts to offer them higher education. What has caused even greater joy and won our still greater admiration for you is that, even under these trying conditions, you have not limited yourselves to the affairs of your own community but in numerous instances and through various means, you have, with great endeavour, unsullied hearts, and pure intent, also striven to the extent possible to assist your neighbours and other fellow citizens who are in need. By your actions, you have become the embodiments of the exhortation of Bahá’u’lláh in the Tablet of Wisdom where He admonishes His followers not to let their endeavours be spent in promoting their personal interests. It is undoubtedly difficult, and at times beyond the limits of endurance, to bear the trials and tribulations heaped upon you. Yet, among the shining achievements of the Bahá’í community in Iran in these years are the deepening solidarity of the followers of Bahá’u’lláh, their accompanying one another, the emergence of new dimensions of social collaboration, and the efflorescence of personal initiative. We are confident that future generations will look back with wonder and admiration upon your efforts and experiences during these times.
Beloved friends: The sacred mission that the Abhá Beauty has laid upon the shoulders of the members of your sorely tried community is certainly not limited to solidarity within your community or to economic assistance and collaboration. At this time, when despair and fear have gripped humanity from every direction and led to hopelessness, especially among the young generations, praised be God that you are the embodiments of encouragement and assurance for the peoples of the world and are like unto radiant lamps in the circles of your compatriots and acquaintances; you are as signs of love and amity and in every assemblage, as symbols of forbearance and goodly intent. Inspired by the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, you participate in the constructive discourses of society and assist your fellow citizens to develop a vision that transcends the current difficulties, so that they can dedicate themselves to developing the capacities and talents necessary for the material and spiritual advancement of their communities and go forward with confidence and hope in building a vibrant and progressive society.
Of course, the discharge of such a mission is not possible save through the power of the love of God and a firm belief in the fulfilment of Divine Purpose regarding the brilliant future of Iran and its people. A feeble candle is extinguished by a mere breeze, while the flame of love and faith that is ablaze in the hearts of His loved ones grows in intensity, light, and heat through the storms of persecution. Praised be God that you have been confirmed in service to His Sacred Threshold and are following in the footsteps of your heroic forbears. Consider, however, that many of those souls in the early years of the Cause did not live to see with their outer eyes the effects and results of their own sacrifices, while today, you witness with your very eyes the collective transformation taking place in your country and the removal of historic misunderstandings and suspicion about the Cause of God among many of your compatriots.
Therefore, O loved ones of God, in these days of tests and trials, commit to the tablet of the heart this statement of the beloved Master: “Whosoever entereth the Kingdom of God is under the protection of Bahá’u’lláh. The changes and chances of the material world, whether good or bad, are like the waves of the sea, which pass away and are no more. They are not worthy of attention.… The denizens of the Kingdom derive their joy from the bounties of God and set their hopes on His infinite grace. They exult in the outpourings of divine bounty and are gladdened by the favours of the Lord of Hosts. In the fire of tribulations they remain fresh and verdant, and in the tempest of trials and afflictions tranquil and at peace, for they rest their backs against a mighty mountain and take refuge in a ship wrought of steel.”
On every occasion when we present ourselves at the Sacred Threshold, we pray for those distinguished champions of the arenas of fidelity and steadfastness and ardently beseech God that His confirmations and assistance may be extended to every one of you, so that you may succeed in every aspect of your lives and in the fulfilment of your spiritual goals.
[signed: The Universal House of Justice]
[AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
13 May 2018
To the long-suffering followers of Bahá’u’lláh in the sacred land of Iran
The magnificent gathering in the Holy Land of delegates from 166 countries, for the purpose of participating in the Twelfth International Bahá’í Convention and electing the members of the Universal House of Justice, was concluded with the celebration of the Twelfth Day of the Festival of Riḍván in the precincts of Bahá’u’lláh’s exalted Shrine. More than fifteen hundred delegates participated in the election. Among the distinct features of this Convention, which not only added to its beauty and charm but also generated an ineffable degree of joy and enthusiasm among all participants, were the presence of a record number of National Spiritual Assemblies and delegates and the participation of some National Assemblies for the first time, including one of the oldest Assemblies in the Bahá’í world. At the opening session of the Convention, in language brimming with affection and love, the Chairperson acknowledged the absence of the representatives of the sorely tested friends in the Cradle of the Faith and, having expressed the gratitude of Bahá’ís throughout the globe for your sacrifices, which for many years have been a source of inspiration for the followers of the Blessed Beauty throughout the planet, recalled the vital contributions you have made to the advancement of the Cause of God. During another session, in the name of the patient believers in Iran, representatives of the nations of the Pacific region, joined by all those present, chanted in stirring tones these blessed words of Bahá’u’lláh: “Should they attempt to conceal His light on the continent, He will assuredly rear His head in the midmost heart of the ocean and, raising His voice, proclaim: ‘I am the lifegiver of the world!’” They thus reinforced the bonds of affection and solidarity between the friends assembled at the Convention and the believers in Iran. The spiritual and jubilant atmosphere, the richness of experiences, and the palpable unity of thought that characterized the consultations were signs of the growing capacity of Bahá’í communities throughout the world to contribute to the establishment of the civilization envisioned by Bahá’u’lláh. The beauty and grandeur of the concept of unity in diversity illumined the eyes and captured the hearts. The opening verses of a poem by Varqá, the martyr, chanted during the commemoration of the Ninth Day of Riḍván held in the Ḥaram-i-Aqdas, were expressive of the feeling shared by all participants:
How wondrous the banquet of reunion in this snow-white Spot! Would that all were here!
What joy, what ecstasy in this banquet, our lot! Would that all were here!
The reason that the Bahá’ís of Iran were deprived from participating in this spiritual Convention is well known to the people of the world. The dissemination of bigotry, calumny, and mistrust by certain authorities as a means of advancing their own malicious designs has entangled the people of Iran, you among them, in countless problems. Even though six of the seven former members of the Yárán, after enduring ten years of cruel imprisonment, have, with heads held high, returned to their families and to the constructive environment of the Bahá’í community, and have rejoined their loyal fellow citizens who have set their hopes on the future glory of Iran, yet the continued tyrannical incarceration of other wronged believers is a clear indication of an ongoing animosity that is both one-sided and unfounded. These friends, purely because of their spiritual beliefs, languish behind the bars of enmity and hatred. Of course, all Bahá’ís in Iran, young and old, schoolchildren and students, athletes and artists, manufacturers and farmers, shopkeepers and labourers, have always been and are still affected by various forms of oppression and injustice. However, praised be God that you are adorned with the mantle of faith and firmness in the Covenant; possess a broad vision, according to which service to one’s country and fellow beings is the source of true happiness and eternal progress; and are well aware that the spiritual transformation of the world and the spiritual growth of humanity require time and self-sacrifice. Render thanks then to God that, as clearly demonstrated in the documentary film, A Widening Embrace, the fruit of the seed of your faithfulness is now apparent in every region of the world.
[signed: The Universal House of Justice]