A Tablet of 'Abdu’l-Baha

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Editor’s Note:  Many reports on this site reflect the injustices of the Iranian government towards the beleaguered Baha’i community of that land.  In this regard, Iran Press Watch was pleased to ask Gloria Yazdani to translate a relevant Tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Baha which speaks to these issues.  This translation is provisional. In relation to this tablet, the reader may wish to acquaint himself with “Anti-Bahai Methodology” which exposes the current mindset of Iran’s clerical establishment.

In the name of God!

O ye beloved friends of ‘Abdu’l-Baha,

Your letter dated Shahrivar 1300 [September 1921], number 1233, was received.  Praised be God that its contents testified to your perseverance and steadfastness in the Cause of the Incomparable One.  Today firmness and constancy in the Cause are required.  Perseverance is essential!  The Lord hath said in the Qur’an: “As for those who say, God is our Lord, and moreover are steadfast, the angels descend upon them…” and also, “stand firm as thou art commanded.”[1]

Every tree that has strong roots benefits from winds, storms and cyclones, because its roots are firm. However, the tree which is of frail root will be shaken by even the faintest of winds let alone by the passage of time or blows, trials and whirlwinds, which will uproot the tree by the severity of their tests. Thus it hath been said:  “All men will perish and die except the believers; all the believers will perish and die except those who are tested; all who are tested will perish and die except those who are sincere, and those who are sincere will be in great danger.”[2]

Praised be God, however, that those devoted friends stand — like mighty mountains and lofty summits — in the utmost firmness and steadfastness.  Therefore, Abdul-Baha is supplicating the Sacred Threshold that you may be rendered victorious in service to the Cause of God and become the instruments for diffusing the sweet fragrances and a means for the exaltation of the Word of God.

A telegram was received from Kashan that the Ministry of Education has closed down the blessed “Vahdat-i-Bashar”[3] school.  Gracious God!  They speak of being civilised, yet set out to eradicate the very root of civilisation.  Schools must need be established; not be closed!  In all the civilised nations of the world, every party, religion and rite has its own schools, and the governments and people in those nations offer their utmost assistance; except in unsettled places such as East Africa, where they eat mainly the wild beasts they have killed, and oppose the spread of knowledge with all their power.

When schools are closed, the roots of human virtues are cut, and particularly the Vahdat-i-Bashar school, the foundation of which is harmony, love and unity among all religions.  When the learned in Europe, America, Australia and Africa were informed of the founding principles of this school, they raised cries of joy, but Iranians reduced their own edifice to ruins. As the Qur’an says, “they destroy their homes with their own hands and the hands of the believers!”[4]  Although the Baha’i school in Iran has been closed, numerous schools have been established in civilised nations, in Europe and America and even in Japan.  Surely you have read the newspaper that was printed in Japan and was sent [to you], and a photograph of the Baha’i school that was opened in Japan will be sent [to you].

These gentlemen in Iran are behind the times.  [It is like] the time when Sultan Mehmed Othmani, the ‘conqueror of Constantinople,’ was besieging Istanbul and had it under fire, one of the government Ministers went to the Patriarch, the head of the clergy for all the inhabitants, and found him engaged in writing.  The Minister asked:  “Your Holiness, what are you writing?”  The Patriarch answered:  “I am writing a book refuting Muhammad the son of Abdullah!”  The Minister said:  “You mindless, ignorant, man! The time to write a refutation was when His banner was raised in Arabia!  Now, when Muhammad, the son of ‘Abdu’llah, peace be upon Him, is bombarding Constantinople and his banner is flying in Europe, you are writing a rebuttal?  Then he rained blows on his shoulders and told him, “Get out and get lost!”

And now fanatic Iranians are trying to close down the school of the Baha’is, which is in the forefront of service to the world of humanity and a foundation in establishing the unity of mankind even as Baha’i schools are being established in America, Africa and Japan.  And what of the closure in Iran!  Witness how not long ago in Iran, the nation and the government arose with all of their might to extinguish the Divine Light.  They raised the banners of cruelty and injustice and demolished thousands of Baha’i establishments, and made thousands of blessed souls targets of arrows and spears.  They tore apart at least 20,000 souls and plundered and looted [their belongings].  They made fathers sink in grief with the agony of the loss of their sons, many sons fatherless orphans, and women and children homeless. They even cut the throats of suckling babes with the sword of oppression.  How many they put on the rack, or tortured!  They branded them on the chest, and ultimately beheaded them.

All of this brutality and injustice inflicted by those cruel inequitable people did not result in expulsion or extermination.  Rather, the divine melody was raised higher day by day, and the fire of the love of God were rekindled more strongly, until they reached the entire world; and Europe and America, the Turks and Tajiks, Asia and Africa clung to one another like unto lovers and the torrent of the oneness of humanity was unleashed.  Ultimately, Iranians are taking the axe and pick against their own roots; for Baha’is have given Iran such lustre in people’s eyes that today multitudes throughout the inhabited world praise Iran because the Sun of Truth dawned from the horizon of that country and it is the sacred homeland of His Holiness Baha’u’llah.

Observe how great a bounty the Lord of Omnipotence has bestowed on Iran and Iranians. But alas should pearls and jewels fall in the hands of children; they will not become the ornaments of crowns and diadems as they should be. They will be ground small by stones or scattered. In the words of Rumi: “A child tradeth a jewel for a mere piece of bread.”

Nevertheless, O friends of God, do not dwell on the injustices and the brutality of the ignorant.  Oppose oppression with justice; confront injustice with fairness; and respond to bloodthirstiness with kindness.  Be well-wishers of the progress of Iran and Iranians, and exert every effort towards the advancement of the masses.  If they close Baha’i schools, establish schools without a name or distinguishing mark, and open them to the generality of the people.  For as long as you breathe, make sacrifices; and as long as you have strength, promote education, the professions, agriculture and commerce.  Recite ye this blessed verse:  “No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the Lord of the Worlds”![5]  And this second verse:  “Or is it that thou askest them for some recompense? But the recompense of thy Lord is best: He is the Best of those who give sustenance.”[6]

When you serve God and become instruments of guidance, do not seek any reward or recompense: your reward and recompense is with God.  In any case, do not be saddened, and do not let your hearts be darkened by the cruelty of the oppressors and the people of inequity. Such is the condition of the heedless and the way of those bereft of understanding, yet [the verse] “And that Our host, they verily would be the victors”[7] is certain and irrevocable.

“Fain would they extinguish God’s light with their mouths, but God will not allow but that His light should be perfected, even though the Unbelievers may detest (it).”[8]

Upon you rest the Glory of Glories,

‘Abdu’l-Baha ‘Abbas 24 Safar 1340 (October 27, 1921)

Let Jinab-i-Mirza Ali-Akbar Milani write this tablet in beautiful handwriting and distribute it in all regions.  ‘Ayn, ‘Ayn

[1] Qur’an 41:30 and 11:112.

[2] An Islamic tradition; see: Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha’u’llah v 1, p. 129

[3] Name of the school, literally meaning “unity of mankind”.

[4] Qur’an 49:2.

[5] Qu’ran 26:109 (Yusuf Ali)

[6] Qu’ran: 23-72 (Yusuf Ali)

[7] Qur’an 37:173 (Pickthall)

[8] Qur’an 9:32 (Yusuf Ali)

Download: Persian Original (4 JPG files, ZIP compressed)

[Original in Muntakhabat az Makatib Hadrat ‘Abdu’l-Baha, vol. 6, pp. 147-50 (Tablet no. 203).]

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6 Responses

  1. Jonathan Menon

    March 18, 2009 11:53 pm

    Friends,

    Do you have a reference that I can use for this letter? I would appreciate it if you could let me know. If it is a provisional translation, could you please let me know who translated it? You should have my email address.

    Many thanks,

    Jonathan

    Reply
  2. Ahang

    March 19, 2009 1:49 am

    Dear Jonathan, As stated in “Editor’s Note” this translation is provisional. Dr. Iskandar Hai has brought to our attention that portions of this Tablet are available in Abdu’l-Hamid Ishraq-Khavari, Muhazerat, v. 1, pages 526-528. Hope this helps.

    Reply
  3. afshin

    March 19, 2009 4:53 am

    Thanks a lot for sharing this translation. If I may make a cimment: You have translated: “However, the tree which is of frail root will be shaken by even the faintest of winds let alone by the passage of time or blows,” I wanted to attract your attention to the fact that in the original, the word which has been translated here as “time,” is عصارwhich means whirlwind and tornado, which as you see fits the context much better than “time” which is out of place. Thanks again for the nice job.

    Reply
  4. sb

    March 19, 2009 1:22 pm

    What an instructive, medicinal tablet! My thanks and appreciation to the translator and this website. As times become more and more difficult for the Baha’is of Iran, I keep these words as a prescription from the Master:

    “Nevertheless, O friends of God, do not dwell on the injustices and the brutality of the ignorant. Oppose oppression with justice; confront injustice with fairness; and respond to bloodthirstiness with kindness. Be well-wishers of the progress of Iran and Iranians, and exert every effort towards the advancement of the masses.”

    Reply
  5. Jamshed K. Fozdar

    March 20, 2009 6:33 am

    “They who God destroys, first He makes mad”. These heedless ones have now been made mindless, and continue to ignore the Truth, which “We have sent them”, and instead ,”indeed practice Falsehood”.(Sura.XXIII,90). Hence, for what they have done and are doing , Allah, has , “Amongst them placed enmity and hatred till the Day of Judgement “.(Sura V.67).And now their time for disappearance is known and fixed, “neither too soon, nor too late”.(XXIII.43). It will be as in the days of Lot , overnight.And,” there shall be no refuge”. Allah is patient and Just.

    Reply

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