13 May 2018 Message

English

[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]

21 March 2018 Message

English

[AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

Naw-Rúz 2018

To the faithful followers of Bahá’u’lláh in the sacred land of Iran

We extend to you our heartfelt greetings on the joyous occasion of Naw-Rúz and the arrival of spring.  Most assuredly, you have partaken abundantly of the spiritual bounties of the blessed days of the Fast and are now celebrating the new year with your families, friends, and neighbours.  Yours is the honour of living in a country about which the beloved Guardian stated:  “The people of Bahá, whether inside or outside Iran, venerate the birthplace of the Blessed Beauty and sacrifice their own interests and comfort, nay their very lives and substance, for the revival, glory, progress, and furtherance of the true welfare of that land.”  This is why striving for the advancement of that revered country is particularly dear to you and to Bahá’ís the world over, and why—with complete confidence in the great and glorious future of Iran—you are ever ready to render sincere and valuable services in this path, labouring shoulder-to-shoulder with your well-intentioned and eager compatriots.

Dearly loved friends!  The Bahá’í world is still astir with the blessings of the bicentenary celebrations of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh.  News of the progress of the spiritual enterprise of building dynamic and vibrant communities in collaboration with others continues to flow to the Holy Land from five continents.  Praised be God that, despite unrelenting persecutions, you too are contributing your valued share to the fulfilment of the lofty aims of the Ancient Beauty and the spiritual goals of this Most Great Cause.  Your purpose in life is to draw ever closer to God, and your thoughts are centred upon advancing the common weal.  You observe the chaos and the turbulence of the world and see in them the dawn of the unfoldment of a new Order in human society.  You give thanks to the Sacred Threshold for having been honoured with the bounty of service, and your joy is redoubled at the knowledge that this Day shall not be followed by night and this light shall never be extinguished.  During these joyful days, consort with your fellow citizens and inspire hope in the hearts of the despondent.  For our part, conscious of the impact of the spiritual forces released through your consecrated acts of sacrifice for the advancement of the Cause, we raise our hands in gratitude and offer prayers in the Holy Shrines for you and all the noble people of Iran.

[signed:  The Universal House of Justice]
 

17 October 2017

English

[AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

17 October 2017

To the Bahá’ís of Iran

By now, you will have read our message dated October 2017 addressed to the multitude of people throughout the world who are celebrating the bicentenary of the Birth of the Abhá Beauty.  Millions of souls, in more than 240 independent countries, territories, and islands, are reflecting upon the implications of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the outstanding Son of the sacred land of Iran.  Surely, every insightful and illumined Iranian will view with pride a commemoration on such an unprecedented scale held to honour a Personage from that land.  The diversity of races and ethnicities of these people is so vast as to portend the fulfilment of the unity of the human race, the ultimate goal of His Revelation.

What a wonder is this!  Fair-minded historians of course know why a distinguished Person from the Núrí family—inhabitants of Mázindarán—born in Tehran, descended from the ancient kings of Persia, One who held His native land in such special affection, was forced to leave His country.  Forty years of exile did not diminish in the slightest His connection to that land.  With tender love and benevolence for His compatriots, Bahá’u’lláh set about establishing a united, vibrant, and progressive community composed of people from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds.  Through the dispatch of Tablets, the sending of teachers, and the messages of loving kindness conveyed through those who flocked to His presence in the prison-city of ‘Akká in the Holy Land, He assisted the people of Iran who, in His words, are “adorned with the ornaments of talent and capacity” to nurture that God-given capacity.

Such were the achievements of your spiritual forebears that today people all over the world are able to benefit from the radiant light of the divine teachings.  The first among these is a strong emphasis on goodly character and rectitude of conduct.  Bahá’u’lláh describes spirituality and morality as the sure foundation for a progressive society and the solid basis for the protection and soundness of the social order and for the advancement of the common good.  The Bahá’í teachings clarify, for example, that trustworthiness and truthfulness enhance the ability for collective undertakings, advance industry and the economy, and ensure the progress of other constructive endeavours.  No nation can achieve prosperity and salvation without the refinement of character.  If morality were to dominate, success in all aspects would be guaranteed because thoughts would become illumined; individual and collective relations strengthened; moral courage enhanced; arts, sciences, and rationality promoted; commerce advanced; and spiritual and material welfare and mutual respect and freedom for all would become the pivot of policies for the management of affairs.  Thus would a nation be transformed into another creation.  How numerous are the groups, the world over, who claim to be in the forefront of working for social progress, yet, because of their lack of adherence to trustworthiness and truthfulness, are in fact striking an axe to the root of their societies.  Their actions are the embodiment of what has been stated in the Qur’án:  “They demolish their homes with their own hands.”

As we have discussed in our recent messages, the essence of the other teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is the unity of humankind, the plan and the path for its realization, a new conception of religion commensurate with the stage of humanity’s coming maturity, and the founding of necessary provisions for the prosperity of the world on the basis of unity, justice, and peace.  The Bahá’í Writings explain this important point that the fruits of religion must be the promotion of oneness and solidarity, and that if instead it should become the cause of conflict and contention, its absence is certainly preferable.  Your conversations with your friends, colleagues, and neighbours during these blessed days will undoubtedly be a reminder of the fact that today the highest ideals of all the peoples of Iran are but a reflection of the same ideals that have been a motivating force in your life and that of your spiritual forebears.  History testifies that the main difficulties confronting the Iranian nation at the time of the appearance of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh—difficulties that still persist—included ethnic conflict, religious contention, social decline, and the challenge of reconciling modernity and tradition.  Countless people in the world see in the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh a remedy for these and other contemporary ills of humanity.  It is the joy and the hope generated by efforts to translate His teachings into action that are attracting millions to observe these celebrations.  Imagine if Iranians, even setting religious considerations aside and purely for the sake of their nation, would decide to act in accordance with the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, how much hardship would be prevented, how much progress would be achieved, and how much comfort and general prosperity would be attained.  And the glory of Iran—a promise according to repeated statements in the Bahá’í Writings—would surely be realized.

Recall, beloved friends, the dream of the father of Bahá’u’lláh when his Son was a child of tender years.  Let us then raise our hands in gratitude to the Threshold of Almighty God that we are able to witness with our physical eyes clear indications that no earthly power can thwart the Divine Will.  You are constantly remembered in our prayers in the Holy Shrines.
[signed:  The Universal House of Justice]

8 May 2017 Message

English

[AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

8 May 2017

To the Bahá’ís of Iran

Dearly loved Friends,

As the ninth year of the imprisonment of the former members of the Yarán draws to an end, they continue to be deprived of their basic human rights.  Vast numbers of people in Iran and throughout the world look forward to the conclusion of this prolonged and illegal confinement.  Although some of those who were imprisoned for serving the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education have been released after completing years of unjust sentences, others remain in prison.  And still others continue to be jailed for various contrived reasons.  Promoters of education and learning, who view the establishment and continuous functioning of the Institute as one of the most brilliant examples of constructive resilience, demand an end to the deprivation from access to education suffered by the Bahá’í youth of Iran.

In reality all of you, whether veteran Bahá’ís or new believers, are subject in some way to injustice and cruelty, to oppression and tyranny, at the hands of the ignorant and the prejudiced.  The policy of economic strangulation directed against you is executed under various pretexts.  The humiliation of Bahá’í schoolchildren and expulsion of university students continues unabated.  The malicious attacks upon Bahá’í homes, followed by the confiscation of property, the arrests of individuals, the demands for heavy bail, and the issuing of baseless verdicts in the courts, are unceasing.  At the same time extensive negative propaganda, spread through officially controlled media and defamatory films designed to inflame the public mind against a portion of the citizens of the country, is constantly increasing.  This prejudice and inequity towards law-abiding citizens is routinely perpetrated by some of the officials who claim to be proponents of Islamic justice.

The specious character of the oppressors’ claims is now clear and evident to all.  Some of the events of the past year have left no doubt in the minds of the people of Iran and beyond, that the rigid fanaticism and worldly considerations of some among the religious leaders are the real motive for all the opposition and oppression against the Bahá’ís.  The representatives of the country on the international stage are no longer able to deny that these acts of discrimination are in response to matters of belief and conscience.  Officials, lacking any convincing explanation for their irrational conduct and unconcerned at the damage done by their narrow policies to the name and credibility of the country, find themselves unable even to give a plausible answer to why they are so apprehensive about the existence of a dynamic Bahá’í community in that land.

The wide-ranging activities of large numbers of people in thousands of localities throughout the world over the next few months will be a demonstration of joy and devotion in recognition of the two hundredth anniversary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh.  It will also be a reflection of hope and confidence in the process of building vibrant communities in His Name.  Your compatriots, upon hearing this news, will come to learn that although the Bahá’ís in the land of the birth of this Faith are subjected to such intense prejudice, the Bahá’í vision and principles are greatly admired and appreciated throughout the rest of the world.  One example of this appreciation is the recent message from the President of one of the most populous countries of the world who, at the start of the bicentenary year, has publicly invited the citizens of his country to reflect on the life of Bahá’u’lláh and on His unifying teachings.  The esteem of the peoples of the world for the goals and teachings of this world-embracing spiritual movement that arose from Iran is, no doubt, a source of pride for all pure-hearted Iranians.

Beloved friends:  those intoxicated by the ephemeral power of this world and unaware of the spiritual potency of the dawntide supplications of the oppressed and of the heartbreaking sighs of the wronged have vainly imagined that they will ultimately succeed in crushing the community of the Most Great Name in that land.  Yet, observe how in the past few decades, and particularly in the last ten years, the awakening of the people of Iran to the reality of the Bahá’í community in their midst and the situation that confronts it, their sympathy for the injustices you have experienced, and their solidarity with you in building a diverse and united society have created precious opportunities for collaboration.  With faith, then, in the divinely ordained decrees and confidence in the compelling power of the Will of God, and with inspiration from the Bahá’í Writings, sustain your efforts in the promotion of fellowship and brotherhood which are the true foundations for the progress and glory of Iran and be assured of the continuous outpouring of divine confirmations and the coming of the blessed day of freedom and tranquillity.

[signed:  The Universal House of Justice]

20 March 2017 Message

English

[AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

Naw-Rúz 2017

To the Followers of Bahá’u’lláh in the Cradle of the Faith

On the occasion of the advent of Naw-Rúz and the arrival of soul-stirring springtime, we convey our warm greetings to you, followers of the Abhá Beauty and loved ones of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.  We hope that the revitalization of nature, along with the joyful news you receive of the progress of the Cause, will cheer and refresh your hearts and spirits.  Naw-Rúz 2017 marks the beginning of the year of the two-hundredth anniversary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh in the sacred city of Ṭihrán, a year during which Bahá’ís throughout the world, together with other champions of peace and brotherhood, will honour the greatness of His Mission to establish the unity of humankind.  A great multitude in cities and villages, and many artists, writers, poets, leaders, educators and other prominent thinkers in every corner of the world, each according to his or her own initiative and inspiration, will mark that turning point in history.  They will pay homage to the marvellous gift of His Revelation—which includes a new conception of religion, as well as a clear vision of the oneness of humanity and the guidance necessary for its realization.  How befitting it is that many of the fair-minded and receptive citizens of Iran now take pride in the fact that this Personage is a Son of that sanctified soil and as a result of this blessed association, Iran is considered a sacred land and Naw-Rúz is celebrated every year throughout the world.  Our thoughts and ardent prayers are constantly with you.  Praise be to God that, through the confirmations of the Concourse on High, you have demonstrated to the people of Iran and of the world that, despite ongoing persecution by unjust and prejudiced elements, you continue, with wisdom, courage and meekness, to endeavour in the path of love for humanity, spreading the sweet savours of unity, and you hold no bitterness or resentment towards any individual, rank or authority.

[signed:  The Universal House of Justice]

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