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Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-86

by Universal House of Justice

compiled on behalf of Geoffry W. Marks.
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Chapter 6

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1979-1986 The Seven Year Plan


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221 Launching of the Seven Year Plan -- Naw-Ruz 1979 NAW-RUZ 1979

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

The decline of religious and moral restraints has unleashed a fury of chaos and confusion that already bears the signs of universal anarchy. Engulfed in this maelstrom, the Bahá'í world

community, pursuing with indefeasible unity and spiritual force its redemptive mission, inevitably suffers the disruption of economic, social and civil life which afflicts its fellowmen throughout the planet. It must also bear particular tribulations. The violent disturbances in Persia, coinciding with the gathering in of the bountiful harvest of the Five Year Plan, have brought new and cruel hardships to our long-suffering brethren in the Cradle of our Faith and confronted the Bahá'í world community with critical challenges to its life and work. As the Bahá'í world stood poised on the brink of victory, eagerly anticipating the next stage in the unfoldment of the Master's Divine Plan, Bahá'u'lláh's heroic compatriots, the custodians of the Holy Places of our Faith in the land of its birth, were yet again called upon to endure the passions of brutal mobs, the looting and burning of their homes, the destruction of their means of livelihood, and physical violence and threats of death to force them to recant their faith., They, like their immortal forebears, the Dawn-Breakers, are standing steadfast in face of this new persecution and the ever-present threat of organized extermination. Remembering that during the Five Year Plan the Persian friends far surpassed any other national community in their outpouring of pioneers and funds, we, in all those parts of the world where we are still free to promote the Cause of God, have the responsibility to make good their temporary inability to serve. Therefore, with uplifted hearts and radiant faith, we must arise with redoubled energy to pursue our mighty task, confident that the Lord of Hosts will continue to reward our efforts with the same bountiful grace He vouchsafed to us in the Five Year Plan.

221.3 Teaching Victories in the Five Year Plan The teaching victories in that Plan have been truly prodigious; the points of light, those localities where the Promised One is recognized, have increased from sixty-nine thousand five hundred to over ninety-six thousand; the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies has grown from seventeen thousand to 221-1. The next stage in the unfoldment of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan was the Seven Year Plan, 1979-86, introduced in this letter. Its inauguration marked the conclusion of the Five Year Plan, 1974-79.


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over twenty-five thousand; eighteen new National Spiritual Assemblies have been formed. The final report will disclose in all their manifold aspects the magnitude of the victories won.

221.4 In the world at large the Bahá'í community is now firmly established. The Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, the Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth, is bearing a precious fruit in the development of the International Teaching Center as a mighty institution of the World Center of the Faith; an institution blessed by the membership of all the Hands of the Cause; an institution whose beneficent influence is diffused to all parts of the Bahá'í community through the Continental Boards of Counselors, the members of the Auxiliary Boards and their assistants.

221.5 Advised, stimulated and supported by this vital arm of the Administrative Order, 125 National Spiritual Assemblies are rapidly acquiring experience and growing in wisdom as they administer the complex affairs of their respective communities as organic parts of one worldwide fellowship. More and more Local Spiritual Assemblies are becoming strong focal centers of local Bahá'í communities and firm pillars of the National Spiritual Assembly in each land. Even in those countries where the Bahá'í Administration cannot operate or has had to be disbanded, countries to which have now been added Afghanistan, the Congo Republic, Niger, Uganda and Vietnam, the believers, while obedient to their governments, nevertheless staunchly keep alive the flame of faith. Spiritual Development of the Bahá'í Community

221.6 Beyond the expansion of the community, vital as it is, the Five Year Plan

witnessed great progress in the spiritual development of the friends, the growing maturity and wisdom of Local and National Assemblies, and in the degree to which Bahá'í communities embody the distinguishing characteristics of Bahá'í life and attract, by their unity, their steadfastness, their radiance and good reputation, the interest and eventual wholehearted support of their fellow citizens. This is the magnet which will attract the masses to the Cause of God, and the leaven that will transform human society. Obstacles and opportunities

221.7 The conditions of the world present the followers of Bahá'u'lláh with both obstacles and opportunities. In an increasing number of countries we are witnessing the fulfillment of the warnings that the writings of our Faith contain. "Peoples, nations, adherents of divers faiths," the beloved Guardian wrote, "will jointly and successively arise to shatter its unity, to sap its force, and to degrade its holy name. They will assail not only the spirit which it inculcates, but the administration which is the channel, the instrument, the embodiment of that spirit. For as the authority with which Bahá'u'lláh has invested the future Bahá'í Commonwealth becomes more and more apparent, the fiercer


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shall be the challenge which from every quarter will be thrown at the verities it enshrines. "2 In different countries, in varying degrees, the followers of Bahá'u'lláh at this very hour are undergoing such attacks, and are facing imprisonment and even martyrdom rather than deny the Truth for whose sake the Bab and Bahá'u'lláh drained the cup of sacrifice.

221.8 In other lands, such as those in Western Europe, the faithful believers have to struggle to convey the message in the face of widespread indifference, materialistic self-satisfaction, cynicism and moral degradation. These friends, however, still have freedom to teach the Faith in their homelands, and in spite of the discouraging meagerness of outward results they continue to proclaim the Message of Bahá'u'lláh to their fellow-citizens, to raise high the reputation of the Cause in the public eye, to acquaint leaders of thought and those in authority with its true tenets, and to spare no effort to seek out those receptive souls in every town and village who will respond to the divine summons and devote their lives to its service.

221.9 In many lands, however, there is an eager receptivity for the teachings of the Faith. The challenge for the Bahá'ís is to provide these thousands of seeking souls, as swiftly as possible, with the spiritual food that they crave, to enlist them under the banner of Bahá'u'lláh, to nurture them in the way of life He has revealed, and to guide them to elect Local Spiritual Assemblies which, as they begin to function strongly, will unite the friends in firmly consolidated Bahá'í communities and become beacons of guidance and havens of refuge to mankind. Faced by such a combination of danger and opportunity, the Bahá'ís, confident in the ultimate triumph of God's purpose for mankind, raise their eyes to the goals of a new Seven Year Plan. World Center Goals In the Holy Land the strengthening of the World Center and the augmentation of its worldwide influence must continue: The Seat of the Universal House of Justice will be completed and designs 221.11a will be adopted for the remaining three buildings of the World Administrative Center of the Faith.3 22,1-2,. WOB, p. 18. 22I-3. The Seat of the Universal House of Justice was completed and occupied on 2 February 1983. In a letter dated 31 August 1987 to the Bahá'ís of the world, the Universal House of Justice outlined plans for the completion of the "world-shaking, world-embracing, world-directing administrative institutions" Shoghi Effendi envisioned on Mount Carmel (see letter dated 21 December 1939, in MA, P. 32). The buildings yet to be constructed are the International Bahá'í Library, the seat of the International Teaching Center, and the Center for the Study of the Texts. Additional projects include extending the present International Archives Building and constructing eighteen monumental terraces from the foot of Mount Carmel to its crest, nine leading to the terrace on which the Shrine of the Bab stands, and nine rising above it.


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221.11b The Institution of the International Teaching Center will be developed and its functions expanded. This will require an increase in its membership and the assumption by it and by the Continental Boards of Counselors of wider functions in the stimulation on an international scale of the propagation and consolidation of the Faith, and in the promotion of the spiritual, intellectual and community aspects of Bahá'í life.4

221.11c The House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha in 'Akka will be opened to pilgrimage.5

221.11d Work will be continued on the collation and classification of the Sacred Texts and a series of compilations gleaned and translated from the writings of the Faith will be sent out to the Bahá'í world to help in deepening the friends in their understanding of the fundamentals of the Faith, enriching their spiritual lives, and reinforcing their efforts to teach the Cause.

The ties binding the Bahá'í International Community to the United Nations will be further developed.

Continued efforts will be made to protect the Faith from opposition and to emancipate it from the fetters of persecution. International Goals

221.12 Each National Spiritual Assembly has been given goals for these first two years of the Plan, designed to continue the process of expansion, to consolidate the victories won, and to attain, where circumstances permit, any goals that may have had to remain unaccomplished at the end of the Five Year Plan. During these first two years we shall be examining, with the Continental 221-4. For information on the establishment of the International Teaching center, see message dated 5 June 1973 (no. 131); for the elucidation of its duties, see message dated 8 June 1973 (no. 132); for information about its further evolution, see message dated 19 May 1983 (no. 361). 221-5. The House in Akka that served as the residence of Abdu'l-Bahá and His family from 1896 until their move to Haifa between 1907 and 1910. The House of Abdu'llah Pasha was restored under the direction of Hand of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum and was opened to pilgrims in April 1983. For the message announcing its acquisition, see cable dated 9 January 1975 (no. 154). For an account of its significance, see message dated 4 March 1975 (no. 157). 221-6. During the Seven Year Plan the Universal House of justice sent to the Bahá'í world compilations on the following

subjects: inspiring the heart (24 October 1979); divorce (18 January 1980); the importance of prayer, meditation, and the devotional

attitude (31 March 1980); attendance at National Spiritual Assembly meetings (26 October 1980); the assistance of God (24 August 1981); prayers and passages from die holy writings (16 September 1991); excellence in all things (23 November 1981); family life (18 February 1982); the importance of deepening our knowledge and understanding of the Faith (13 January 1983); the Law of Huququ'llah 4 July 1985); peace (9 August 1985); women (i January 1986); and the epochs of the Formative Age (5 February 1986). Translations included the Long

Healing Prayer and the Fire Tablet (13 August 1980) and a prayer of 'Abdu'l-Bahá for martyred Bahá'ís and their relatives (11 January 1983). All of the compilations except those on inspiring the heart, attendance at National Spiritual Assembly meetings, and prayers and passages from the holy writings, can be found in The Completion of Compilations.


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Boards of Counselors and National Spiritual Assemblies, the conditions and possibilities in each country, and shall be considering in detail the capacities and needs of each of the rapidly differentiating national Bahá'í communities before formulating the further goals towards which each community is to work following the opening phase of the Plan.

221.13 Throughout the world the Seven Year Plan must witness the attainment Of the following objectives: -The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Samoa is to be completed and progress Will 221.13a be made in the construction of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in India.7 -Nineteen new

National Spiritual Assemblies are to be brought into 221.1 3b being: eight in Africa, those of Angola, Bophuthatswana, the Cape Verde Islands, Gabon, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia and Transkei; eight in the Americas, those of Bermuda, Dominica, French Guiana, Grenada, the Leeward Islands, Martinique, St. Lucia and St. Vincent; and three in the Pacific, those of the Cook Islands, Tuvalu and the West Caroline Islands. Those National Spiritual Assemblies which have had to be dissolved will, circumstances permitting, be reestablished. -The Message of Bahá'u'lláh must be taken to territories and islands 221.i3c which are as yet unopened to His Faith. -The teaching work, both that organized by institutions of the Faith and 221.13d that which is the fruit of individual initiative, must be actively carried forward so that there will be growing numbers of believers, leading more countries to the stage of entry by troops and ultimately to mass conversion. This teaching work must include prompt, thorough and continuing consolidation so that all victories will be safeguarded, the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies will be increased and the foundations of the Cause reinforced. -The interchange of pioneers and traveling teachers, which contributes 221.1 3f so importantly to the unity of the Bahá'í world and to a true understanding of the oneness of mankind, must continue, especially between neighboring lands. At the same time, each national Bahá'í community must aspire to a rapid achievement of self-sufficiency in carrying out its vital activities, thus acquiring the capacity to continue to function and grow even if outside help is cut off. -Especially in finance is the attainment of independence by national 221.1 3g Bahá'í communities urgent. Already the persecutions in Iran have deprived the believers in that country of the bounty of contributing to 221-7. For messages on the excavation of the site of the House of Worship in Samoa and on its dedication, see messages dated 6 December 1979 (no. 2,42) and August 1984 (no. 403), respectively. For the message on the dedication of the House of Worship in India, see letter dated 24 February 1986 (no. 452).


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the international funds of the Faith, of which they have been a major source.' Economic disruption in other countries threatens further diminution of financial resources. We therefore appeal to the friends everywhere to exercise the utmost economy in the use of funds and to make those sacrifices in their personal lives which will enable them to contribute their share, according to their means, to the local,

national, continental and international funds of the Faith.

221.13h For the prompt achievement of all the goals and the healthy growth of Bahá'í community life National Spiritual Assemblies must pay particular attention to the efficient functioning, in the true spirit of the Faith, of their national committees and other auxiliary

institutions, and, in consultation with the Continental Boards of Counselors, must conceive and implement programs that will guide and reinforce the efforts of the friends in the path of service. 221.13i - National Spiritual Assemblies must promote wise and dignified

approaches to people prominent in all areas of human endeavor,

acquainting them with the nature of the Bahá'í community and the basic tenets of the Faith, and winning their esteem and friendship. 221,13i - At the heart of all activities, the spiritual, intellectual and community life of the believers must be developed and fostered, requiring: the prosecution with increased vigor of the development of Local Spiritual Assemblies so that they may exercise their beneficial influence and guidance on the life of Bahá'í communities; the nurturing of a deeper understanding of Bahá'í family life; the Bahá'í education of children, including the holding of regular Bahá'í classes and, where necessary, the establishment of tutorial schools for the provision of elementary education; the encouragement of Bahá'í youth in study and service; and the encouragement of Bahá'í women to exercise to the full their privileges and responsibilities in the work of the community-may they befittingly bear witness to the memory of the Greatest Holy Leaf, the immortal heroine of the Bahá'í Dispensation, as we approach the fiftieth anniversary of her passing.9 A Time of Testing: A Time for Clinging to the Covenant

221.1 4As lawlessness spreads in the world, as governments rise and fall, as rival groups and feuding peoples struggle, each for its own advantage, the plight 221-8. The Bahá'ís of Iran were unable at the time to contribute to the faiths international funds because of their inability to send funds to Israel. Also, many had been dismissed from their jobs, had had their savings and pensions seized, and had lost their homes and possessions. Thus the community's financial resources were virtually exhausted. 221-9. For messages on the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf, see messages no. 275, 313, 321, 329, 334, 337, 338, 340, 341


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of the oppressed and the deprived wrings the heart of every true Bahá'í, tempting him to cry out in protest or to arise in wrath at the perpetrators of injustice. For this is a time of testing which calls to mind Bahá'u'lláh's words, "O concourse of the heedless! I swear by God! The promised day is come, the day when tormenting trials will have surged above your heads, and beneath your feet, saying: 'Taste ye what your hands have wrought!"'10 Now is the time when every follower of Bahá'u'lláh must cling fast to the

221.15 Covenant of God, resist every temptation to become embroiled in the conflicts of the world, and remember that he is the holder of a precious trust, the Message of God which, alone, can banish injustice from the world and cure the ills afflicting the body and spirit of man.

222.1 We are the bearers of the Word of God in this day and, however dark the immediate horizons, we must go forward rejoicing in the knowledge that the work we are privileged to perform is God's work and will bring to birth a world whose splendor will outshine our brightest visions and surpass our highest hopes.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

222 Elucidation of Seven Year Plan Goals Naw-Ruz 1979 To National Spiritual Assemblies

Beloved Friends,

In the message of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'ís of the world and in its letters to individual communities setting the goals of the first phase of the Seven Year Plan are a number of references which it wishes to amplify for your guidance. Not all will apply to every national Bahá'í community, but you will all undoubtedly find interest in reading even those which do not immediately apply to your specific situation. The points we have been asked to set forth are as follows. Local Spiritual Assemblies In August 1970 the House of Justice sent to all National Spiritual Assemblies a compilation of the words of Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi on the Local Spiritual Assembly. To supplement this fundamental and most important guidance we now enclose a compilation of extracts from the letters of the Universal House of Justice written between 1966 and 1975, covering the importance of Local Spiritual Assemblies, their development, the 221-10. Quoted in ADJ, p. 81.


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supporting role of the Auxiliary Board members and their assistants, and suggested goals for Local Assemblies.,

222.3 In selecting goal towns for the formation of Local Spiritual Assemblies a National Assembly should ensure that there will be a wide distribution of Local Assemblies throughout the country.

222.4 National Assemblies should consider calling upon every Local Assembly to meet at least once every Bahá'í month, and to appoint a local teaching committee wherever it is desirable to do so and has not already been done. Pioneers and Traveling Teachers

222.5 The need for the services of pioneers and traveling teachers remains very great. In the goals for the initial two-year phase of the Plan few specific assignments for the sending of pioneers and traveling teachers have been made. In recent years a steady stream has begun to flow, and the Universal House of Justice calls upon the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in the stronger national communities to arise to join this stream. Enclosed are two lists showing those countries which are particularly in need of pioneers and traveling teachers at the

present tirne.2 You should publish these as soon as possible. They are also being supplied to the Continental Pioneer Committees, and those friends who arise will be able to decide upon their area of service in consultation with their National Assembly and the appropriate committees. The international funds of the Faith are now very limited, and this adds to the need for pioneers and traveling teachers to be self-supporting. Youth Teaching

222.6 Experience has shown that youth can render valuable service in many activities of the community, and particularly in taking the message to the members of their own generation. Those in schools and universities have many opportunities to teach their fellow students and faculty members, and many can be particularly effective by attending a school or university in a pioneer goal. During vacations youth can often render outstanding services as traveling teachers. Traveling in teams has been very useful. Border Teaching

222.7 It is very important that there be collaborative teaching between national Bahá'í communities in border areas, both by travel teaching across the border and in the organization of joint teaching campaigns on both sides of it. Each National Spiritual Assembly should study this possibility and, if it finds such projects profitable, should seek the collaboration of its sister National Assemblies and request the advice and assistance of the Continental Board of Counselors. 222-1.

222.8 See CC 2:29-30 and

2:39-60. (For the announcement of the first compilation's release, see message dated ii August 1970, no. 84.) 22-2-2. The lists are too lengthy to include.


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Teaching Conferences These conferences, whether national or regional, in addition to providing good opportunities for fanning the

enthusiasm of the friends and fostering their unity, have been

effectively used by many National Assemblies as working conferences where reports are given of the status of the goals of the Plan and of the urgent needs and priorities; and, where necessary, calls are raised for pioneers, traveling teachers and funds. Summer and Winter Schools The Guardian once described the institution of the Summer School in a 222.9 letter written on his behalf, as "a vital and inseparable part of any teaching campaign."3 In April 1972 the House of justice issued a compilation on the importance of Bahá'í Summer Schools, and it commends this to every National Spiritual Assembly for study.4 In only a few countries has it been possible or timely to acquire properties to house Summer and Winter Schools; in most they are still held in rented premises, and the House of Justice stresses the importance of holding them at as low a cost as possible in a place that is easily accessible to the friends, so that large numbers of believers and inquirers can attend. It is hoped that this activity will become at least an annual feature of the Bahá'í community life in every land.

222.10 The Bahá'í Education of Children It is important to hold regular Bahá'í children's classes to give the children a thorough grounding in knowledge of the teachings and history of the Faith, to imbue them with its spirit, to establish loving ties between them and to provide them with that firm foundation in the Faith which will enable them to grow up as staunch and enlightened servants of Bahá'u'lláh. Non-Bahá'í parents will often welcome the opportunity of having their children take part in such classes, and this, in addition to the benefit it confers upon the children, may well be a means of attracting their parents to the Faith.

222.11 Tutorial Schools This is a term, originally adopted in the Bahá'í community of India, to describe the simple type of school, organized and conducted under the auspices of the Bahá'í administrative institutions, wherein one teacher is employed to conduct classes in reading and writing and elementary subjects for the Bahá'í and non-Bahá'í children in a village. In addition to the academic subjects he also conducts Bahá'í classes for the children and, in his spare time, makes a valuable contribution to the teaching and consolidation work in his own and neighboring Bahá'í communities. The school may be held in the open air, in one of the houses of the Bahá'ís, in the local Haziratu'l-Quds, or in a simple building constructed for the purpose, as conditions allow. 222-3. UD, p. no. 222-4. See CC 1:2,5-4-4. For the message announcing the compilation's release, see no. 109.


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222.12 The teacher's salary as well as the other costs of the school are provided out of fees paid by the parents, supplemented, if necessary and possible, by allocations from the local or national funds.

222.13 In the Tablet of the World

Bahá'u'lláh states that "Everyone, whether man or woman, should

hand over to a trusted person a portion of what he or she earneth through trade, agriculture or other occupation, for the training and education of children, to be spent for this purpose with the knowledge of the Trustees of the House of Justice."5 In many countries this duty is fulfilled through the taxes that the government levies for the support of the state educational system, but there are other lands where no such facilities are provided and the Local Spiritual Assemblies may well begin to fulfill this aspect of their duties by encouraging the local friends to contribute to a special education fund which can be used for the support of tutorial schools or to assist the children of indigent believers to obtain schooling. Publications

222.14 Every National Spiritual Assembly should have a well conceived plan for the provision and dissemination of a balanced supply of Bahá'í literature for the believers and for the teaching work. In translation and publication, priority should be given to the Sacred TeXtS6 and the writings of Shoghi Effendi, for without access to the life-giving waters of the Holy Word, how are the believers to deepen in their understanding of the Teachings and convey them accurately to others? Recordings

222.15 In addition to the publication of Texts and teaching materials for the friends, it would be helpful in areas where the degree of literacy is not high, to find ways to teach the friends Bahá'í songs, poems, stories and brief quotations from the Writings as well as prayers. This can be done through the use of cassette tapes or radio broadcasts.

222.16 The goal given to certain national communities to make recordings of the Holy Texts is not intended to imply the large-scale production of cassette tapes but rather the development of locally based programs for the recording on cassette tapes of passages in the indigenous languages. Such tapes can then be carried by traveling teachers to outlying areas, used in the teaching work, or left behind if there are tape-recorders locally available. Communications

222.17 Keeping the friends informed of the news of the Faith is so important that every National Assembly is urged to devote attention to the prompt and regular dissemination of its national newsletter, supplemented, where necessary and 222-5. TB, p. go. 222-6.

222.18 The

writings of Bahá'u'lláh, the Bab, and 'Abdu'l-Bahá.


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feasible, by regional and local news organs.7 Some National Assemblies have also found that cassette recordings can be useful for communicating with friends in outlying areas, and radio programs can, of course, fulfill a similar purpose. Correspondence Courses Such courses have proved their usefulness both for teaching the Faith and deepening the knowledge of the believers, and: their production has been given as a goal to some national communities. If any National Assembly assigned this goal is not certain how to proceed, it may consult with the Continental Board of Counselors or write to the Universal House of Justice which will put it in touch with those National Assemblies most likely to be able to help. Properties Many properties have already been acquired in the course of previous plans.

222.19 It is important that these

properties be properly maintained in good repair. National Spiritual Assemblies should set aside sums annually in their budgets for the maintenance of national properties so that when a repair becomes necessary the funds will be available without creating a sudden crisis for the national fund. As far as possible, local Haziratu'l-Quds and other local properties should be kept up by the local friends themselves.

222.20 It is also important to make full use of the properties of the Faith for the purposes for which they were acquired. Well maintained and regularly used properties will not only be a means of fostering Bahá'í community life, but will add to the prestige and dignity of the Faith in the eyes of the non-Bahá'í public. A number of properties called for in the Five Year Plan, such as district 222,21 and local Haziratu'l-Quds and local endowments, have not yet been acquired, usually as a result of local circumstances beyond the control of the friends. These goals should continue to be diligently pursued so that they will be attained as soon as conditions permit. If there are insuperable difficulties which make such a property unobtainable in the foreseeable future, a full report should be sent to the Universal House of Justice.

222.22 For goals requiring the acquisition of additional local Haziratu'l-Quds during the initial phase of the Seven Year Plan, no budget has been provided for assistance from the International Fund.

222.23 The Universal House of Justice is eagerly anticipating an upsurge of activity in the years ahead, and assures you all of its fervent prayers in the Holy Shrines for the rapid progress of all aspects of the new Plan.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

222-7. For the announcement of a compilation on newsletters, see message dated 24 August 1972 (no. 120).


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223 Member of the Universal House of Justice to Address Significant Meetings in North America and Europe 8 MAY 1979 To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States 223.1

IN THE WAKE OF JOYOUS WORLDWIDE CELEBRATIONS VICTORIES FIVE YEAR PLAN OUR HEARTS TURN TO OUR BELEAGUERED BRETHREN CRADLE FAITH, TO DEEPENING CRISIS INTERNATIONAL FUND AND ITS SPECIAL IMPACT ON CHALLENGES FACING BAHA'I WORLD IN OPENING TWO-YEAR PHASE SEVEN YEAR PLAN. OUR PRAYERFUL CONSIDERATION MEASURES DESIGNED MITIGATE GRAVE PROBLEM RESULTED IN DECISION ARRANGE A SERIES OF SIGNIFICANT WELL ATTENDED MEETINGS WITH FRIENDS IN SEVERAL KEY CITIES NORTH AMERICA AND EUROPE TO BE PLANNED BY RESPECTIVE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES AND ADDRESSED BY MEMBER UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE.'THIS MISSION ASSIGNED TO-MR. BORRAH KAVELIN. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE AND WE DEEM MONTHS OF JULY AND AUGUST MOST AUSPICIOUS CARRY OUT PROGRAM, PREFERABLY COVERING UNITED STATES AND CANADA IN JULY AND EUROPEAN COUNTRIES IN AUGUST AMONG CITIES IN UNITED STATES, WE SUGGEST NEW YORK METROPOLITAN AREA, HOUSTON,

WILMETTE, SAN DIEGO, LOS ANGELES, SAN FRANCISCO. WE WOULD LEAVE TO YOUR CONVENIENCE THE TIME AND LOCATION OF MEETINGS. YOU MAY ALSO CONSIDER HAVING OUR REPRESENTATIVE JOIN YOUR JUNE MEETING FOR CONSULTATION AND PROCEED FROM THERE TO INITIATE PROGRAM IN STAGES, THENCE TO CANADA. THERE IS FLEXIBILITY IN ARRANGEMENTS TO MEET CONDITIONS IN BOTH COUNTRIES. WE DEEM IT HIGHLY FITTING AND WORTHY THAT THIS PROGRAM BE LAUNCHED IN THE MUCH-LOVED COMMUNITY CALLED BY THE BELOVED MASTER APOSTLES OF BAHA'U'LLAH AND NAMED BY SHOGHI

EFFENDI PRINCIPAL BUILDERS AND DEFENDERS OF A MIGHTY ORDER. IN VIEW OF THE URGENCY IN MAKING APPROPRIATE ARRANGEMENTS ON BOTH CONTINENTS, WE WOULD APPRECIATE AN EARLY RESPONSE FROM YOU. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 223-1. A similar telex was sent to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'í's of Canada, and a general letter about the visit was sent to the National Spiritual Assemblies of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. A telex dated 18 June 1979 from Mr. Borrah Kavelin, member of the Universal House of Justice, was also sent in response to a telex from the National Spiritual Assembly of Alaska to inform them that he was prepared to meet with the Bahá'ís there on the evening of July 23. For a report of the results of the meetings, see message dated 16 September 1979 (no. 236).


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224 Living a Chaste and Holy Life 8 MAY 1979 To an individual Bahá'í

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

The Universal House of Justice has received your letter of 12 September 224.1 1978 and is impressed with the eager desire you show to train your behavior in accordance with the standards of the Faith. It has asked us to send you the following comments in answer to your questions. On page 25 of The Advent of Divine Justice the beloved Guardian is describing the requirements not only of chastity, but of "a chaste and holy life" both the adjectives are important.2 One of the signs of a decadent society, a sign which is very evident in the world today, is an almost frenetic devotion to pleasure and diversion, an insatiable thirst for amusement, a fanatical devotion to games and sport, a reluctance to treat any matter seriously, and a scornful, derisory attitude towards virtue and solid worth. Abandonment of "a frivolous conduct" does not imply that a Bahá'í must be sour-faced or perpetually solemn. Humor, happiness, joy are characteristics of a true Bahá'í life. Frivolity palls and eventually leads to boredom and emptiness, but true happiness and joy and humor that are parts of a balanced life that includes serious thought, compassion and humble servitude to God are characteristics that enrich life and add to its radiance. Shoghi Effendi's choice of words was always significant, and each one is important in understanding his guidance. In this particular passage, he does not forbid "trivial" pleasures, but he does warn against "excessive attachment" to them and indicates that they can often be "misdirected." One is reminded of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's caution that we should not let a pastime become a waste of time. Concerning the positive aspects of chastity, the Universal House of Justice 224.4 states that the Bahá'í Faith recognizes the value of the sex impulse and holds that the institution of marriage has been established as the channel of its rightful expression. Bahá'ís do not believe that the sex impulse should be suppressed but that it should be regulated and controlled. Chastity in no way implies withdrawal from human relationships. It liberates people from the tyranny of the ubiquity of sex. A person who is in control of his sexual impulses is enabled to have profound and enduring friendships with many

people, both men and women, without ever sullying that unique and priceless bond that should unite man and wife. 224-1. See P. 30 in the 1984 or 1990 U.S. Bahá'í Publishing Trust editions. 224-2. Shoghi Effendi's discussion of "a chaste and holy life" appears on pp. 29-33 in the 1984 or 1990 editions.


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224.6 A believer cannot fulfill his true mission in life as a follower of the Blessed Perfection merely by living according to a set of rigid regulations, as you will recognize. It is neither possible nor desirable for the House of Justice to lay down a set of rules covering every situation. Rather is it the task of the individual believer to determine, according to his own prayerful understanding of the Writings, precisely what his course of conduct should be in relation to situations which he encounters in his daily life. He must continually study the sacred Writings and the instructions of the beloved Guardian, striving always to attain a new and better understanding of their import to him, and orient his life towards service to Bahá'u'lláh, praying fervently for divine guidance, wisdom and strength to do what is pleasing to God.

224.7 The House of Justice hopes that these comments will be of help to you, and assures you of its prayers in the Holy Shrines that you will be guided and confirmed in your efforts to put into practice the divine teachings.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

225 Seizure of the House of the Barb 10 MAY 1979 To National Spiritual Assemblies

225 NEWS JUST RECEIVED BLESSED HOUSE SHIRAZ' AND FOUR ADJACENT HOUSES SEIZED BY ARMED MEN LAST WEEK OCCUPIED BY THEM FEW DAYS, Bahá'í CUSTODIANS THEN SENT AWAY AND DOORS LOCKED AND SEALED.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 225-I. The House of the Bab was ordained by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitab-i-Aqdas as a place of pilgrimage.

226.1 In this House the Bab held His celebrated interview with Mulla Husayn (the first to seek out the Bab and

independently recognize His station) on the evening Of 22 May 1844.


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226 Call for Prayers for the Bahá'ís of Iran 23 MAY 1979 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

Since you were last informed of the recent events in the Cradle of the Faith, news has been received of further persecutions directed against the beloved and steadfast friends. Historic sites of the Faith, Haziratu'l-Quds of local

communities, and other

226.2 Bahá'í properties in several provinces of Iran have been seized and occupied by forces of the new revolutionary government.' Among the more sacred of these properties ate the Most Holy House of the Bab in Shiraz, ordained by Bahá'u'lláh to be a place of pilgrimage for His followers and regarded by them as the most hallowed Spot in that land, the Siyah-Chal and two ancestral Houses of Bahá'u'lláh in Tehran and Takur. Ominous signs of the intensification of active repression of the Faith are becoming evident, and the defenseless and vulnerable Persian Bahá'í community faces mounting perils to its Holy Places, institutions, properties and even the lives of its members. We call on all believers in every land to offer special prayers for the protection of the Faith and the believers in Iran on the forthcoming anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Bab, on 9 July 1979, supplicating that through God's loving grace this fresh wave of persecution may not seriously harm the interests of His Cause, and that He may remove the obstacles from the path of the friends, and provide the means for the protection of the Holy Places and institutions of His Faith.

226.4 As soon as the Secretariat of your Assembly receives this letter, immediate steps should be taken to inform all the friends under your jurisdiction of the contents of the letter so that as many believers as possible in every land may participate in this day of prayer on behalf of their beleaguered brethren in Iran.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

2,2.6-1. On i February 1979 Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran from exile in France and was greeted by three million supporters. On 16 January 1979 Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi left Iran, never to return. On 31 March-i April the public, in a referendum, approved the installation of the Islamic

Republic.


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227 The Increasing Dangers Facing Iranian Bahá'ís 15 JUNE 1979 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

227.1 Further to the letter of the House of Justice to you of May 23rd, the situation in Persia continues to be a cause for deep concern and the friends and Holy Places in the country are in serious danger. We have been directed by the House of Justice to inform you of the following developments in the Cradle of our Faith. 227.2 1. An order has been issued by the authorities requiring the Umana Company to cease functioning under its Bahá'í manager and to operate henceforth under a new non-Bahá'í management., This company holds on behalf of the Bahá'í community all the properties of the Faith, including the Holy Places. This step is ominous in its implications as it forebodes total confiscation of all our properties, including Bahá'í cemeteries. A similar step has been taken in respect to the Bahá'í hospital in Tehran, known as the Mithaqiyyih Hospital. 227.3 2. As a result of the recent disturbances, local revolutionary committees in Iran have instigated, in rural areas, the looting of the homes of several hundred Bahá'í families and the deprivation of their means of livelihood. Although a partial restitution of these properties has taken place, adequate compensation for the losses sustained by the Bahá'ís has yet to be made. 227.4 3. Efforts are made to silence the religious conscience of the Bahá'ís, as they are threatened with dismissal from their jobs and loss of their retirement allowances if they refuse to recant their Faith. 227.5 4. Shirkat-i-Nawanahalan, a commercial company of sixty years' standing, in which over 15,000 Bahá'ís have shares and investments, is occupied, its assets frozen, and its staff prevented from work, and denied their salaries. This action contradicts public proclamations of the new regime as well as accepted international standards. 227.6 5. The proposed drafts of the new constitution as published in the press recognize three religious minorities, but omit mention of the Bahá'ís, in spite of the fact that they are the largest religious minority in the country. 227-f. For information on the Umana Company, see the glossary. 227-7- Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Christianity,


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6. The true aims and principles of the Faith are being maliciously Misrepresented by a group of fanatical Shi'ah fundamentalists, established over twenty years ago, and one of whose chief aims has been and is to harass the Bahá'í community in Iran. This group is presently spreading false allegations against the Bahá'ís, unjustly accusing them of being enemies of Islam, agents of Zionism and political tools of the previous regime. Such allegations have aroused the passions of uninformed mobs, and created misunderstandings with the authorities. As the Bahá'ís are not a recognized entity in Iran, they have no opportunity to deny or disprove these false accusations....

227.8 One of the Persian friends has also written to the House of Justice a eUl0gy of the spirit of his fellow-believers at this moment of deep agitation and turmoil in the Cradle of our Faith.

227.9 A copy of extracts from his letter is enclosed.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARJAT Extracts from a Report of One of the Friends from Persia The enemies of the Faith, filled with hatred and cruelty, have once again attacked the wronged and homeless believers and the Bahá'í properties. They are truly the return of their bloodthirsty predecessors. The friends have encountered such persecution and have manifested such courage and steadfastness that in every detail they have become the return of the martyrs and the heroes of the Cause of God.3The events of history have become alive once again and are reoccurring. No day passes without the shedding of tears of blood and the anguish of hearts. The news of sad events, like a weighty hammer continually descends upon the Bahá'ís. No pen is able to describe the degree of afflictions and difficulties inflicted upon these wronged believers. About 2,000 men, women, children and youth have sought refuge in the 227.10 mountains and deserts and live in tents. They have spent many cold and rainy days in the caves of the mountains. Many are injured with broken arms and legs. The small children have lost their ability to talk, having been frightened so much because of the incidents, and the milk of the nursing mothers has dried up. These believers, without having any means of livelihood, pass their days with utmost difficulty and are banished from place to place. 127-3. The "return of the martyrs and the heroes of the Cause of God" is a reference to the Iranian Babis and Bahá'ís of the Heroic Age of the Faith (1844-1921) who suffered extreme persecution at the hands of their enemies. During the late 1840s and 1850s, some twenty thousand Babis were killed.


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227.11 When the believers, hungry and grief-stricken, had gathered together in the wilderness, the enemies sent them chilaw-kabab (kabab with rice) to win their hearts. But those beloved ones did not accept the food and returned it. It is easy to say or write these words, but the bearing of these afflictions is only possible through the power of God. Those few who have denied their faith have escaped to Isfahan, crying and lamenting that they were threatened with the raping of the women of their households. They sit and cry for hours saying they did not know what else to do.

227.12 This is only a glimpse into one incident. Every day, from every corner, there is another cry of grief. The Haziratu'l-Quds of Abadih, where the heads of the early martyrs of the Faith have been buried, has been leveled to the dust. Many other Haziratu'l-Quds have been destroyed. The number of Bahá'ís in prisons for one reason or another has increased to 20. Many have been discharged from their jobs. Many have lost their retirement allowances. The Ministry of Education has officially sent a circular that those Bahá'ís who do not deny their faith should be immediately discharged.

227.13 Facing these difficulties, in the midst of the darkness of this oppression and tyranny, are the illumined faces of the National Spiritual Assembly members: the sources of hope. Truly they are angels of God; no, more exalted. Every minute of their lives deserves the reward of a martyr, and each one of them, the reward of a thousand martyrs. They are the personification of steadfastness, courage, and sacrifice, with

nothing but the service of the Cause in their hearts and souls.

Whenever I looked upon the faces of these illuminated and beloved ones in the meetings of the Assembly, my tears would uncontrollably pour from my eyes.

227.14 There are many such examples amongst the Auxiliary Board members, members of the Assemblies and the youth. Truly, the new creations of God are beyond our imaginations. Unless one witnesses such events in person, the extent of the sacrifice and steadfastness that these friends have manifested cannot be comprehended.

227.15 Whenever I witnessed what befell these believers, the words of God would find meaning in front of my eyes. I had looked up the meaning of these words in the dictionaries, but I did not know that in addition to their obvious meaning they describe, or better even, create new realities. Now that the tempest of trials and afflictions has encircled the community of the beloved ones, the believers who have remained behind and who steadfastly and firmly are bearing the burden of this storm, only can sing the

eternal epic of the second century of the Faith. Truly, all of them are the children and descendants of those who watered the tree of the Faith with their pure blood. This tree is still bearing fruit, is still growing! What a glory! What a glory!

227.16 There is so much to say and tell, but the mental anguish is so severe, the conditions are so dark and confused, and the outpouring of the difficulties so abundant that my tongue is not able to utter a word and my mind is bewildered.


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I can only cry. May my soul be sacrificed for the faithful followers of Bahá'u'lláh who have created the greatest epic in the history of the second century of this new Day. One of the guards who had gone to the house of one of the friends had told her that he could not believe the forbearance and patience of the Bahá'ís and had asked how we could ever do it! These are events to remember.

227.17 Whenever the bloodthirsty enemies or others have returned a part of the looted belongings of the Bahá'ís, they have refused to accept them, crying that they will not take back what they have given in the path of God. One of the friends ... lost absolutely everything, and refusing the help of the Assembly on the grounds that there were many more needy than he, started to work as a laborer to make a living for his family. He could not bring himself to accept any help whatever from non-Bahá'ís, or to tell of his situation to friends. A friend related that when he saw him, he was so touched that his knees could no more bear the weight of his body. And yet another story. A believer who had incurred a loss of Rls. 170,000,000 wrote on the questionnaire form of the Assembly that he did not need any help! When everything is gone with the wind, only faith remains. At present thousands of friends in Iran have lost everything, or have lost their jobs and are meeting their expenses by the sale of their belongings. And then there are those who are fleeing from one place to another and in grave danger. This is only the beginning of the journey of love, and its end is not known. For five months the National Spiritual Assembly has been meeting at least three or four times a week, for about six to eight continuous hours each time, and devotes go per cent of its time to discussion of urgent matters relating to the situation.

227.21 The staff of the Nawnahalan Company have not received their salaries for three months now and about 40 families are affected by this situation.5 Many other families who had given whatever they had to the Nawnahalan Company and were dependent on the interest received to pay for their expenses, are left without any income. All petitions and complaints have remained unanswered. Whatever was lost is lost and nothing has been recovered.

227.22 God willing, I will write a book instead of a letter and present it to YOU so that perhaps a drop of this ocean of difficulties may be recorded. The request of this servant and every one of the believers is to express our servitude and beseech the House of Justice for its prayers in the Holy Shrines. From whomever I asked whether they had any special request to be conveyed to you, I was told to beg for your prayers that God may give them the power and worthiness to accept and bear the difficulties. 227-4. Equivalent to approximately $2,414,000_00 (U.S.) in 1979. 227-5. For more information about the Nawnahalan Company, see the glossary.


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228 Advice on Use of Pioneers and Traveling Teachers 28 JUNE 1979 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

228.1 One of the objectives of the Seven Year Plan is the continued settlement of pioneers in needed areas and the movement of traveling teachers. We have been asked by the Universal House of Justice to share with you its advice on these vital tasks.

228.2 The House of Justice feels that, while ultimate decisions regarding the selection of pioneers and traveling teachers and the manner in which their services are to be utilized remain, of course, in the hands of National Spiritual Assemblies, a closer degree of communication with Boards of Counselors in these matters should be maintained. For example, the number of pioneers and traveling teachers to foreign lands which a National Spiritual Assembly can supply during the current year and every subsequent year of the Plan; the degree of dependence of a national community on outside workers and, if needed, how many and from which countries; and when necessary the evaluation of the services of certain pioneers, are among issues that every National Spiritual Assembly can usefully discuss with the Counselors in its zone. The House of Justice is sure that such consultations would most certainly be conducive to excellent results.

228.3 On a different level, a National Spiritual Assembly may need assistance from Continental Pioneer Committees in the movement of pioneers to their posts or in the coordination of visits by traveling teachers. In order to obtain the best results from the collaboration of these Committees, it is important that information and views be exchanged with them speedily and efficiently. The House of Justice feels that it is highly desirable for each National Spiritual Assembly to make arrangements for Continental Pioneer Committees to deal directly with agencies of National Spiritual Assemblies responsible for pioneers and traveling teachers. When a decision is taken in this regard, the name and address of the correspondent or correspondents should be immediately conveyed to the Continental Pioneer Committees concerned.

228.4 The Universal House of Justice assures you of its loving prayers as you exert yourselves to fulfill the goals and tasks ahead.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT


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229 The Setting of Counselors' Terms of Service 29 JUNE 1979 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

MOMENT PROPITIOUS ANNOUNCE DURATION TERMS SERVICE MEMBERS CONTINENTAL BOARDS COUNSELORS AS ANTICIPATED IN ANNOUNCEMENT ESTABLISHMENT THAT INSTITUTION AND IN CONSTITUTION UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE. DECISION NOW TAKEN THAT TERMS WILL BE OF FIVE YEARS STARTING DAY COVENANT 26 NOVEMBER 1980. SUPPLICATING ANCIENT BEAUTY DIVINE BLESSINGS DEVELOPMENT THIS ESSENTIAL INSTITUTION BAHA'I ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 230 New Member of International Teaching Center 4 JULY 1979 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE APPOINTMENT COUNSELOR ANNELIESE BOPP TO MEMBERSHIP INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTER. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 231 Conversion of Iranian National Bahá'í Headquarters into an Islamic University 17 JULY 1979 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

SITUATION FRIENDS IRAN STEADILY DETERIORATING. REUTERS' HAS SENT WORLD

231.1 PRESS NEWS RELEASE TWELVE JULY QUOTING OFFICIAL PARIS NEWS ACENCYTHATNATIONAL BAHA'I HEADQUARTERS BEING CONVERTED INTO ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 231-1. An international news service. 421


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232 Call for Pioneers 28 JULY 1979 To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

232.1 In order to expedite the dispatch of pioneers called for under the first phase of the Seven Year Plan to the territories named by the Universal House of Justice as having high priority, the House of Justice has decided to make specific assignments to selected National Spiritual Assemblies. A list of these assignments is attached.

232.2 It is the hope of the House of Justice that the arrival of these pioneers will be of valuable assistance to you in the promotion of the teaching work in the areas under your jurisdiction. However, as you are aware, the process of preparing and sending pioneers is often time-consuming, and you should not wait for the arrival of these pioneers before making your teaching plans. The success of the efforts of your Assembly is not dependent solely upon the presence and assistance of pioneers, but must in the long term be firmly rooted in the devoted efforts of the local believers themselves.

232.3 You may wish to contact directly the National Assemblies scheduled to provide pioneers for your territory in order to expedite achievement of these important goals.

232.4 You are assured of the loving prayers of the Universal House of Justice at the Holy Threshold for the success of all your efforts in the service of the Cause, and also for all those who arise to fulfill the goals.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

233 Release of Bahá'í Prisoners in Baghdad 20 AUGUST 1979 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

233.1 The following message has just been telexed by the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'í International Community office in New York: 232-1. The list is too lengthy to include.


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HIGHLY GRATIFIED NEWS JUST RECEIVED ALL Bahá'í PRISONERS BAGHDAD RELEASED AS PART GENERAL AMNESTY. WE OFFER THANKSGIVING BAHA'U'LLAH HIS BOUNTIFUL GRACE ENABLING HIS STEADFAST FRIENDS DEMONSTRATE THEIR UNWAVERING LOYALTY HIS PRECIOUS FAITH. The Universal House of Justice is sure that this news will delight the hearts 233,2 of the friends.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

234 Effects of Bahá'í

Actions on the Situation in Iran 20 AUGUST 1979 To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

Since writing to you on 15 June on behalf of the Universal House Of Justice about events and persecutions in Iran, several developments have transpired, and we have been asked to share the information set forth below with you.

234.2 The cumulative effect of the cables sent by Local Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world, as well as the issuance and quiet circulation of open letters directed to the public in Iran by the National Spiritual Assembly of that country, refuting the false allegations made against the Bahá'í' Community, seem to have produced, among others, the following results. I. The Iranian press has stopped its daily vituperation against the Bahá'ís. 234.3 2. The official government explanation for the seizure of properties belonging to the Bahá'í Community, including the Holy Places, is that these have been seized in order to protect them. 3. Individual government officials, contacted by representatives of the

234.5 National Spiritual Assembly of Iran, have expressed personal sympathy with the Bahá'ís; however, they seem incapable of effectively helping the friends in their present plight....

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT


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235 Demolition of the House of the Bab 9 SEPTEMBER 1979 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

235.1 PERSECUTION OF THE BAHA'IS, THE LARGEST RELIGIOUS MINORITY IN IRAN, HAS TAKEN A NEW TURN. EARLY YESTERDAY MORNING A CROWD OF OVER 100 PEOPLE, INCLUDING THE HEAD OF THE GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT FOR RELIGIOUS ENDOWMENTS IN SHIRAZ, AND ACCOMPANIED BY 25 REVOLUTIONARY GUARDSMEN AND 10 OTHER ARMED MEN, ATTACKED THE MOST HOLY HOUSE OF THE BAB WHICH WAS ORDAINED BY BAHA'U'LLAH, THE FOUNDER OF THE Bahá'í FAITH, TO BE A PLACE OF PILGRIMAGE FOR HIS FOLLOWERS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD AND IS REGARDED BY THEM AS THE MOST HALLOWED SPOT IN IRAN. THIS CROWD, WHICH HAD THE KEY TO THE HOUSE, SMASHED AND DISMANTLED DOORS AND WINDOWS, DESTROYED ORNAMENTAL PLASTERWORK, BREACHED THE WALLS AND RACKED TO PIECES A TREE IN THE COURTYARD. THIS MORNING THE WORK OF DEMOLITION IS BEING CONTINUED BY A GROUP OF WORKMEN AND IT IS CLEAR THAT THE PURPOSE IS TO RAZE TO THE GROUND THE HOUSE OF THE BAB AND TWO ADJACENT HOUSES WHICH ALSO BELONG TO THE BAHA'I COMMUNITY

235.2 A WAVE OF ANGUISHED INDIGNATION IS SWEEPING THE BAHA'I COMMUNITY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. WHEN ALL BAHA'I HOLY PLACES IN IRAN WERE SEIZED BY THE AUTHORITIES IN RECENT MONTHS, THE PROTESTATIONS OF THE Bahá'ís WERE MET WITH BLAND ASSURANCES, CONFIRMED IN WRITING, THAT THE TAKEOVER WAS FOR THE PROTECTION OF THESE SACRED PROPERTIES.

235.3 BAHA'IS IN EAST AND WEST ARE REGISTERING VEHEMENT PROTESTS WITH THE IRANIAN AUTHORITIES.' UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 235-1.

236.1 The Universal House of justice sent this press release to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States to be shared with the media.


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236 Results of Significant Meetings Addressed by Member of the Universal House of Justice 16 SEPTEMBER 1979 To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahai's of Alaska, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, United States

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

We have been directed by the Universal House of Justice to convey its loving appreciation for the devoted and wholehearted cooperation each of you, as a host National Assembly, extended to its official representative, Mr. Borrah Kavelin, in the series of meetings arranged in North America and in Europe extending over a ten-week period that ended on 31st August., In all, 42 meetings were held in 33 cities.

236.2 It is estimated that a total of more than twelve thousand friends were in attendance at the series of meetings, and that all national Bahá'í communities in Europe were represented in that number. It is hoped that the intended distribution by all host National Assemblies to Local Spiritual Assemblies of copies of the taped message of the Universal House of Justice's representative will reach the widest possible number of friends in all countries within the scope of the assigned mission. Already, the magnificent response by National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, and by untold numbers of friends, received by the World Center in the form of commitments and generous and sacrificial contributions, is a noble testament to the wholehearted acceptance of the challenge facing the Bahá'í world in the opening two-year phase of the Seven Year Plan, and to the redemption of the ransom imposed upon the beloved friends in the Cradle of the Faith, even as the clouds of persecution and oppression continue to darken the horizon in that troubled land, as evidenced by the tragic news of the severe damage recently inflicted on the Blessed House of the Bab in Shiraz.

236.4 The Universal House of Justice is serenely confident that each of you, in collaboration with the institution of the Continental Board of Counselors, will maintain, and indeed enhance, the high level of activity called for in successfully overcoming the crisis we face. Ardent and loving prayers at the Divine Threshold will be offered for the blessings and confirmations of Bahá'u'lláh to surround you in your devoted labors.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

236-1. For the 8 May 1979 message announcing the series of meetings to be addressed by the representative of the Universal House of Justice, see no. 2-23


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237 Assassination of the Hand of the Cause of God Enoch Olinga 17 SEPTEMBER 1979 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

237.1 WITH GRIEF-STRICKEN HEARTS ANNOUNCE TRAGIC NEWS BRUTAL MURDER DEARLY LOVED GREATLY ADMIRED HAND CAUSE GOD ENOCH OLINGA BY UNKNOWN GUNMEN COURTYARD HIS KAMPALA HOME.' HIS WIFE ELIZABETH AND THREE OF HIS CHILDREN BADP, LENNIE AND TAHIRIH HAVE ALSO FALLEN INNOCENT

VICTIMS THIS CRUEL ACT. MOTIVE ATTACK NOT YET ASCERTAINED. HIS

RADIANT SPIRIT, HIS UNWAVERING FAITH, HIS ALLEMBRACING LOVE, HIS LEONINE AUDACITY IN THE TEACHING FIELD, HIS TITLES KNIGHT BAHA'U'LLAH, FATHER VICTORIES CONFERRED BELOVED GUARDIAN, ALL COMBINE DISTINGUISH HIM AS PREEMINENT MEMBER HIS RACE IN ANNALS FAITH AFRICAN CONTINENT URGE FRIENDS EVERYWHERE HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERINGS BEFITTING TRIBUTE HIS IMPERISHABLE MEMORY. FERVENTLY PRAYING HOLY SHRINES

PROGRESS HIS NOBLE SOUL AND SOULS FOUR MEMBERS HIS PRECIOUS FAMILY' UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 238 Omission of Bahá'ís as Recognized Religious Minority from Iranian Constitution 20 SEPTEMBER 1979 To National Spiritual Assemblies

238.1 FRAMERS NEW CONSTITUTION IRAN APPROVED CLAUSE RECOGNIZING MINORITY RELIGIONS SPECIFYING JEWS CHRISTIANS ZOROASTRIANS BUT OMITTING MENTION Bahá'ís.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 237-1. For an account of the life and services of Enoch Olinga, see BW 18:618-35. 237-2.

239.1 In separate cables the Universal House of Justice directed that memorial services be held in all Houses of Worship.


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239 Refutation of Accusations against Iranian Bahá'ís 17 OCTOBER 1979 To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Universal House of Justice has asked us to send you the attached material....



With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

IRANIAN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES OUTSIDE IRAN HAVE APPARENTLY ADOPTED

239.2 A UNIFORM STAND IN THEIR REPLIES TO APPEALS BEING MADE ON BEHALF OF THE IRANIAN BAHA'IS. THEY SAY THAT Bahá'ís IN IRAN, UNLIKE BAHA'IS ELSEWHERE, HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN POLITICS, CONSPIRED WITH AND WERE FAVORED AND SUPPORTED BY THE PREVIOUS REGIME, AND WERE PROMINENT MEMBERS OF SAVAK' IN SUPPORT OF THESE STATEMENTS THESE OFFICIALS NAME AS BAHA'IS: FORMER PRIME MINISTER ABBAS AMIR HOVEIDA, A FORMER MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE MANSOUR ROUHANI, A SAVAK SENIOR OFFICER PARVIZ SABETI, AND THE PHYSICIAN TO THE SHAH DR. AYADL THE FACTS ARE THAT HOVEIDNS GRANDFATHER WAS A Bahá'í, HIS FATHER WAS

239.3 EXPELLED FROM THE BAHA'I COMMUNITY BECAUSE HE BECAME INVOLVED IN POLITICAL ACTIVITY, AND HOVEIDA HIMSELF WAS NEVER A BAHA'I ROUHANI'S FATHER WAS A BAHA'I, HIS MOTHER A DEVOUT MUSLIM, BUT ROUHANI WAS NEVER A BAHA'I SABETI'S PARENTS WERE BAHA'IS, AND THEY REGISTERED HIM IN THE COMMUNITY AS A BAHA'I CHILD. HOWEVER, WHEN HE CAME OF AGE HE DID NOT HIMSELF REGISTER AS A BAHA'I AND NEVER BECAME A MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY UNLIKE CHILDREN OF OTHER RELIGIONS, BAHA'I CHILDREN DO NOT AUTOMATICALLY INHERIT THE FAITH OF THEIR PARENTS. WHEN THEY COME OF AGE THEY MUST OF THEIR OWN VOLITION EXPRESS THEIR BELIEF IN BAHA'U'LLAH AND HIS TEACHINGS. DR. AYADI, HOWEVER, IS A BAHA'I HE HELD TWO POSITIONS: ONE AS DIRECTOR OF THE ARMY MEDICAL SERVICE; THE OTHER AS PRIVATE PHYSICIAN OF THE COURT. NEITHER OF THESE TWO POSITIONS WAS REGARDED BY THE Bahá'í COMMUNITY AS POLITICAL IN NATURE. ALTHOUGH SOME BAHA'IS WITH UNIQUE QUALIFICATIONS WERE PLACED IN POSITIONS OF TRUST BECAUSE OF THEIR ABILITY AND INTEGRITY, IT IS NOT TRUE TO SAY THAT Bahá'ís WERE FAVORED BY THE PREVIOUS REGIME. ON THE CONTRARY, THEY WERE DENIED CIVIL RIGHTS, SUCH AS PERMISSION TO REGISTER THEIR Bahá'í MARRIAGES, PRIVILEGE TO HOLD Bahá'í RELIGIOUS ENDOWMENTS IN NAME 239-1. SAVAK is a Persian acronym meaning in English "National Security and Information Organization." SAVAK functioned as the Iranian secret police during the Shah's reign.


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OF Bahá'í COMMUNITY, AND FREEDOM TO PUBLISH Bahá'í LITERATURE OR ESTABLISH BAHA'I SCHOOLS (INDEED DURING THE REIGN OF MUHAMMAD REZA SHAH'S FATHER, OVER THIRTY BAHA'I SCHOOLS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY WERE PERMANENTLY CLOSED). MANY OF RANK AND FILE OF Bahá'ís WERE DENIED JOBS AND SOMETIMES EVEN THEIR RIGHTS TO PENSIONS BECAUSE OF THEIR REFUSAL TO DENY THEIR FAITH.

239.5 AS TO THE ALLEGED ROLE OF BAHA'IS IN SAVAK, THIS IS LIKEWISE UNTRUE. FOR EXAMPLE, IN JANUARY 1979, THROUGH THE MACHINATIONS OF SAVAK, AN ORDER WAS GIVEN TO SYSTEMATICALLY LOOT AND BURN OR OTHERWISE DESTROY HUNDREDS OF HOMES OF BAHA'IS. THIS IS A FACT ATTESTED TO BY MUSLIM CLERICS BELONGING TO THE PRESENT REGIME 2 WHO, DURING THAT PERIOD OF TERROR AND VIOLENCE AGAINST THE BAHA'IS, WERE AMONG THE FIRST TO TRY TO DISSUADE THE MOBS FROM PARTICIPATING IN THE SAVAK PLAN, SINCE THE CLERGY KNEW THAT THE AIM OF THIS PLAN WAS TO GIVE EXCUSE TO SAVAK TO DISCREDIT AND SUPPRESS THEM.

239.6 SUMMARIZING THE FOREGOING-IT IS FEARED THAT THE PRESENT REGIME, AS INDICATED BY THE SIMILARITY OF THE STATEMENTS BEING GIVEN OUT BY IRANIAN DIPLOMATIC AGENCIES, IS ATTEMPTING TO JUSTIFY ACTIONS BEING TAKEN AGAINST THE BAHA'IS BY ASSERTING THAT THE BAHA'I FAITH IS NOT A RELIGION BUT A POLITICAL PARTY, AND THAT THE BAHA'I COMMUNITY SUPPORTED THE PREVIOUS REGIME AND THEREBY BECAME POWERFUL AND WEALTHY. THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER CAN BE FOUND IN THE BAHA'I PRINCIPLE AND PRACTICE OF COMPLETE ABSTENTION FROM PARTICIPATION IN PARTISAN POLITICS WHICH WAS DEMONSTRATED IN IRAN IN 1975 WHEN BAHA'IS EVEN IN THE FACE OF THREATS REFUSED TO BECOME MEMBERS OF THE RASTAKHIZ PARTY PROMOTED BY THE PREVIOUS REGIME.3 IN ONE CASE WHEN A Bahá'í ACCEPTED A CABINET POST UNDER DURESS HE WAS DEPRIVED OF MEMBERSHIP IN THE BAHA'I COMMUNITY. AS TO THE ALLEGATION THAT THE BAHA'I COMMUNITY REAPED FINANCIAL REWARD BECAUSE OF ACTIVE INVOLVEMENT WITH THE PREVIOUS REGIME THE FACT IS T14AT THE VAST MAJORITY OF IRANIAN BAHA'IS ARE OF THE POORER CLASSES LIVING IN VILLAGES. FEW ARE WEALTHY, AND AMONG THEM A NUMBER WERE BUSINESSMEN WHO PROVIDED FACILITIES FOR EMPLOYMENT OF THOUSANDS OF WORKERS. THE FEW WHO RIGHTLY OR WRONGLY ARE BEING ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION AND OTHER OFFENSES SHOULD NOT BE REGARDED AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE BAHA'I community AS A WHOLE. IT IS AN INJUSTICE TO HOLD ANY RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ILL-DOINGS OF ANY ONE OF ITS MEMBERS WHO FAILS TO REFLECT THE PRINCIPLES PROMULGATED BY THAT RELIGION.

239.7 AS THE NEW CONSTITUTION MAKES NO REFERENCE TO THE BAHA'IS, WAYS AND MEANS SHOULD BE SOUGHT TO EXTEND TO THE BAHA'I COMMUNITY PROTECTION

239-2. The Islamic Republic, which was led at that time by Ayatollah Khomeini. 239-3. In 1975 the Shah founded the Rastakhiz (Resurrection) Party, the only government authorized political party. In the face of government pressure to join, Bahá'ís refused, in adherence to the Bahá'í principle of noninvolvement in political activities.


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OF ITS INTERESTS, AND TO ENSURE FOR ITS INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS BASIC CIVIL RIGHTS THUS AVOIDING FRICTION AND FRUSTRATION IN SUCH OFT-RECURRING PERSONAL PROBLEMS RELATED TO REGISTRATION OF MARRIAGES AND BIRTHS, EMPLOYMENT, TRAVELING DOCUMENTS, ETC. UNLESS THESE DISABILITIES CURRENTLY AFFLICTING IRAN'S LARGEST RELIGIOUS

239.8 MINORITY ARE REMEDIED, FANATICAL ELEMENTS WILL BE GIVEN FREE REIN TO REPEATEDLY RESORT TO MOB VIOLENCE AGAINST THE BAHA'IS, EMBARRASSING THE GOVERNMENT AND PREVENTING HOPED-FOR PEACE AND TRANQUILLITY IN THAT COUNTRY... ONE OF THE OFT-REPEATED ACCUSATIONS AGAINST Bahá'ís IS THAT THEY ARE

239.9 ENEMIES OF ISLAM. THIS CHARGE ASSUMES NOW NEW PROPORTIONS AS MANY RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES IN NEW CONSTITUTION APPLY ONLY IF INDIVIDUALS AND COMMUNITIES CONCERNED ARE NOT REGARDED AS ANTI-ISLAMIC. HENCE OFFICIAL BRANDING Bahá'í FAITH AS ANTI-ISLAMIC MAY BE CONVENIENT DEVICE TO DENY BAHA'IS ESSENTIAL HUMAN RIGHTS. FURTHERMORE, SOMETIMES DISTINCTION IS MADE BETWEEN BAHA'I FAITH AND OTHER RELIGIONS BY STATING THAT OUR FAITH APPEARED AFTER ISLAM AND THEREFORE IS NOT CONSIDERED BY MUSLIMS AS A RELIGION ENTITLED TO RIGHTS OF OTHER RELIGIONS. SUCH THEOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES SHOULD NOT BE CAUSE DENIAL CIVIL RIGHTS. SAME SITUATION APPLIES TO MUSLIMS WHO RESIDE IN CHRISTIAN COUNTRIES, AND ENJOY FULL RELIGIOUS AND CIVIL RIGHTS.

REGARDING PROPERTIES HELD BY UMANA COMPANY.4 THESE PROPERTIES

239.10 CONSIST PRIMARILY OF BAHA'I HOLY AND HISTORICAL SITES HELD IN TRUST BY IRANIAN BAHA'IS ON BEHALF THEIR CORELIGIONISTS THROUGHOUT WORLD AS WELL AS PROPERTIES OF PURELY RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE SUCH AS TEMPLE LAND, COMMUNITY CENTERS AND CEMETERIES AND MANY OF THESE HAVE BEEN IN Bahá'í POSSESSION FOR OVER A CENTURY. REGARDING NAWNAHALAN:5 THIS COMPANY WAS FOUNDED PRIOR TO RULE

239.11 PAHLAVI DYNASTY. OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF FIFTEEN THOUSAND BAHA'IS WHO AVE SHARES AND INVESTMENTS IN COMPANY ARE NOT OF WEALTHY CLASS, AND DEPEND FOR THEIR LIVELIHOOD ON INCOME THEY WERE DERIVING FROM THEIR ASSETS IN THE COMPANY... 239-4. For information about the Umana Company, see the glossary. 239-5. For information about Nawnahalan, see the glossary.


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240 Release of a Compilation on Inspiring the Heart 24 OCTOBER1979 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

240.1 The provision and dissemination of a balanced supply of Bahá'í literature is one of the aims set forth in the Seven Year Plan. The Universal House of Justice has been considering this aspect of the Plan, and has asked us to convey its comments to you.

240.2 The House of Justice hopes that every National Spiritual Assembly will provide the believers under its jurisdiction with publications of the Words of Bahá'u'lláh, the Bab, and 'Abdu'l-Bahá. It is explicit in the Holy Text that the followers of the Most Great Name should recite the verses daily. How is this possible for the thousands of Bahá'ís who do not have access to these Holy Words in a language which they can understand? Furthermore, the way is open for the consolidation and maturing of the Bahá'í community when the hearts of its members can be exposed to the Divine Teachings in their pure form.

240.3 With these principles in mind, the House of Justice asked a committee at the World Center to prepare a compilation from previously published texts covering a broad range of subjects dealt with by the Central Figures of the Faith, including material which can be easily comprehended, inspire the heart, strengthen the spirit of faith, and enrich the spiritual understanding of the reader.

240.4 Such a compilation has now been prepared, and it is being sent to you by airmail under separate cover., It is not meant to supersede any material you may have already compiled. It is a sample of what can be done in this vital area of Bahá'í activity. You should, therefore, feel free to use or translate as much or as little of this material as you wish, to add selections from the Writings which you feel are particularly applicable to the friends in your area, and to publish and distribute your own compilations as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

240.5 It is the hope of the Universal House of Justice that the workers in the Divine Vineyard in every land will always and increasingly have recourse to the Writings revealed by the Central Figures of our Faith, will appreciate the potency of the Holy Word, and will allow its ennobling and spiritualizing influence to stimulate and direct their personal lives and guide them in devoted services to the Cause of God.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

240-1. The compilation was published under the title Inspiring the Heart by the Bahá'í Publishing Trust of the United Kingdom (n.d.).


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241 Demolition of the House of the Bab and Adjacent Bahá'í Properties 19 NOVEMBER 1979 To National Spiritual Assemblies

WITH SORROWFUL HEARTS SHARE NEWS FRESH ATTACK BAB'S HOUSE HAS RESULTED

241.1 DEMOLITION REMNANTS BLESSED HOUSE AND DESTRUCTION TWO OTHER ADJACENT BAHA'I PROPERTIES. WALLS SEPARATING COURTYARDS THESE HOUSES AND ALL WALLS BORDERING STREET ALSO DISMANTLED. DEMOLITION ADDITIONAL BAHA'I HOUSES IMMEDIATE VICINITY GRAVELY THREATENED.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 242 Excavation of Temple Site in Western Samoa 6 DECEMBER 1979 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE COMMENCEMENT EXCAVATION TEMPLE SITE SAMOA PRESENCE HIS HIGHNESS MALIETOA TANUMAFILI II' SPECIAL CEREMONY, DECEMBER FIRST. THIS HISTORIC EVENT COINCIDES COMPLETION EXCAVATION AND LETTING TENDERS FOR CONSTRUCTION MOTHER TEMPLE INDIA. CONFIDENT THESE VICTORIES WILL RAISE SPIRITS BRING JOY HEARTS FRIENDS DISTRESSED RECENT EVENTS CRADLE FAITH. OFFERING ARDENT PRAYERS THANKSGIVING HOLY THRESHOLD. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 243 Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Rahmatu'llah Muhajir 30 DECEMBER 1979 To all Hands of the Cause of God and National Spiritual Assemblies

243.1 PROFOUNDLY LAMENT UNTIMELY PASSING IN QUITO ECUADOR BELOVED HAND CAUSE RAHMATUTLAH MUHAJIR FOLLOWING HEART ATTACK COURSE HIS LATEST ------------------------------- 242-1. The first reigning monarch to become a Bahá'í. For the announcement of his acceptance of the Faith, see message dated 7 May 1973 (no. 130); for the announcement of his visit to the resting-place of Shoghi Effendi see message dated 5 October 1976 (no. 177).


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SOUTH AMERICAN TOUR UNSTINTED UNRESTRAINED OUTPOURING OF PHYSICAL SPIRITUAL ENERGIES BY ONE WHO OFFERED HIS ALL PATH SERVICE HAS NOW CEASED. POSTERITY WILL RECORD HIS DEVOTED SERVICES YOUTHFUL YEARS CRADLE FAITH HIS SUBSEQUENT UNIQUE EXPLOITS PIONEERING FIELD SOUTHEAST ASIA WHERE HE WON ACCOLADE KNIGHTHOOD BAHA'U'LLAH HIS CEASELESS EFFORTS OVER TWO DECADES SINCE HIS APPOINTMENT HAND CAUSE STIMULATING IN MANY LANDS EAST WEST PROCESS ENTRY BY TROOPS. FRIENDS ALL CONTINENTS WHO MOURN THIS TRAGIC LOSS NOW SUDDENLY DEPRIVED COLLABORATION ONE WHO ENDEARED HIMSELF TO THEM THROUGH HIS GENTLENESS HIS LUMINOUS PERSONALITY HIS EXEMPLARY UNFLAGGING ZEAL HIS CREATIVE ENTHUSIASTIC APPROACH TO FULFILLMENT ASSIGNED GOALS. URGE FRIENDS EVERYWHERE HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERINGS BEFITTING HIS HIGH STATION UNIQUE ACHIEVEMENTS. MAY HIS RADIANT SOUL ABHA KINGDOM REAP RICH HARVEST HIS DEDICATED SELF-SACRIFICING SERVICES CAUSE GOD.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 244 Release of a Compilation on Divorce 18 JANUARY 1980 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

244.1 The Universal House of Justice has noted with increasing concern that the undisciplined attitude of present-day society towards divorce is reflected in some parts of the Bahá'í World Community. Our Teachings on this subject are clear and in direct contrast to the loose and casual attitude of the "permissive society," and it is vital that the Bahá'í Community

practice these Teachings.

244.2 In order to help the believers

appreciate the need to preserve the sacred marital bond, the Research Department has, at the instruction of the House of Justice, prepared a compilation of texts on the reprehensibility of divorce in the light of our Teachings.' This compilation is now ready and is being shared with all National Spiritual Assemblies, who are left free to use the texts in any manner they deem advisable.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

243-1. For an account of the life and services of Rahmatu'llah Muhajir, see BW 18:651-69. 244-1. See CC 1:235-4-4.


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245 Passing of Inparaju Chinniah, Continental Counselor 7 FEBRUARY 1980 To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Malaysia DEEPLY GRIEVED UNTIMELY PASSING DEVOTED COWORKER INPARAJU CHINNIAH.'

245.1 HIS OUTSTANDING UNTIRING SERVICES INSTITUTIONS FAITH BOTH MALAYSIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA SHED LUSTER ANNALS CAUSE GOD ENTIRE REGION.

246.1 PRAYING HOLY THRESHOLD PROGRESS SOUL ABHA KINGDOM MAY BELOVED FRIENDS MALAYSIA INCREASE FERVOR SERVITUDE BAHA'U'LLAH FOLLOW EXAMPLE DEPARTED FRIEND COMPENSATE HIS LOSS THEIR MIDST ASSURE FAMILY FRIENDS SYMPATHY ADVISE HOLD BEFITTING MEMORIAL MEETINGS.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

246 Message to Iranian Bahá'ís throughout the World 10 FEBRUARY 1980

To the dear Iranian believers resident in other countries throughout the world, In these tumultuous days when the lovers of the Best Beloved are remote from their homeland, associated with their fellow-believers in other lands, and participating in the services of the loyal supporters throughout the world, we felt it necessary to convey our thoughts to those distinguished friends, with absolute sincerity and affection, and invite them to that which we believe can guarantee their tranquillity and happiness, as well as their eternal salvation and redemption, so that with firm steps and sure hearts they may, God willing, withstand the onslaughts which have and will afflict all the countries of the globe. Thus they may fix their gaze on the dawn of the fulfillment of the soul-vitalizing promises of God and remain certain that behind these dark clouds the Sun of the Will of God is shining resplendent from its height of glory and might. Before long these dark clouds of contention, negligence, 245-1. For an account of the life and services of Inparaju Chinniah, see BW 18:711-13. 246-1. This is an English translation, prepared by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom, of a letter originally written in Persian. In a letter dated 29 July 1980 in which it forwarded the English translation to all National Spiritual Assemblies, the Universal House of Justice wrote: "The message includes several

quotations from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi hitherto untranslated into English. The English texts of these passages, as they appear in the attached translated message, have been checked and approved at the World Center, and may be regarded by the friends as authorized texts."


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fanaticism, and rebellion shall disperse, the day of victory shall dawn above the horizon, and a new age shall illumine the world. It should not be surmised that the events which have taken place in all corners of the globe, including the sacred land of Iran, have occurred as isolated incidents without any aim and purpose. According to the words of our beloved Guardian, "The invisible hand is at work and the convulsions taking place on earth are a prelude to the proclamation of the Cause of God. "2 This is but one of the mysterious forces of this supreme Revelation which is causing the limbs of mankind to quake and those who are drunk with pride and negligence to be thunderstruck and shaken. To the truth of this testifies the sacred verse: "The world's equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order,"3 and the repeated warnings of the Pen of the Most High, such as:

246.1a The world is encircled with calamities. Even if at times some good may be evident, it is inevitable that a great calamity followeth-and yet no one on earth hath perceived its origin. The world is in travail, and its agitation waxeth day by day. Its face is turned towards waywardness and unbelief. Such shall be its plight, that to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly. Its perversity will long continue. And when the appointed hour is come, there shall suddenly appear that which shall cause the limbs of mankind to quake. Then and only then will the Divine Standard be unfurled, and the Nightingale of Paradise warble its melody.5 The Calamities Ahead

246.2 Similarly, the Pen of the Center of the Covenant has repeatedly prophesied the intolerable calamities which must beset this wayward humanity ere it heeds the life-giving Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh.

246.3 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 and become aware that religion is the impregnable stronghold and the manifest light of the world, and its laws, exhortations and teachings, the source of life on earth .6

246.4 Every discerning eye clearly sees that the early stages of this chaos have daily manifestations affecting the structure of human society; its destructive 246-2. From an unpublished letter. 246-3. GWB, P. 136. 246-4. From an unpublished Tablet. 246-5. Quoted in WOB, P. 33. 246-6. From an unpublished Tablet.


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forces are uprooting time-honored institutions which were a haven and refuge for the inhabitants of the earth in bygone days and centuries, and around which revolved all human affairs. The same destructive forces are also deranging the political, economic, scientific, literary, and moral equilibrium of the world and are destroying the fairest fruits of the present civilization. Political machinations of those in authority have placed the seal of obsolescence upon the root principles of the world's order. Greed and passion, deceit, hypocrisy, tyranny, and pride are dominating features afflicting human relations. Discoveries and inventions, which are the fruit of scientific and technological advancements, have become the means and tools of mass extermination and destruction and are in the hands of the ungodly. Even music, art, and literature, which are to represent and inspire the noblest sentiments and highest aspirations and should be a source of comfort and tranquillity for troubled souls, have strayed from the straight path and are now the mirrors of the soiled hearts of this confused, unprincipled, and disordered age.

246.5 Perversions such as these shall result in the ordeals which have been prophesied by the Blessed Beauty in the following words: ". . . the earth will be tormented by a fresh calamity every day and unprecedented commotions will break out." "The day is approaching when its [civilization's] flame will devour the cities."7 The Vision In such an afflicted time, when mankind is bewildered and the wisest Of men are perplexed as to the remedy, the people of Baha, who have confidence in His unfailing grace and divine guidance, are assured that each of these tormenting trials has a cause, a purpose, and a definite result, and all are essential instruments for the establishment of the immutable Will of God on earth. In other words, on the one hand humanity is struck by the scourge of His chastisement which will inevitably bring together the scattered and vanquished tribes of the earth; and on the other, the weak few whom He has nurtured under the protection of His loving guidance are, in this Formative Age and period of transition, continuing to build amidst these tumultuous waves an impregnable stronghold which will be the sole remaining refuge for those lost multitudes. Therefore, the dear friends of God who have such a broad and clear vision before them are not perturbed by such events, nor are they panic-stricken by such thundering sounds, nor will they face such convulsions with fear and trepidation, nor will they be deterred, even for a moment, from fulfilling their sacred responsibilities. The Responsibility of Providing an Example One of their sacred responsibilities is to exemplify in their lives those attributes which are acceptable at His Sacred Threshold. Others must inhale from 246-7. TB, p. 166; Bahá'u'lláh, quoted in PDIC 3


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them the holy fragrances of the homeland of Bahá'u'lláh, the land which is the birthplace of self-sacrificing martyrs and devoted lovers of the Omnipotent Lord. They must not forget that Bahá'ís throughout the world expect much from the Iranian believers. They should hearken to the life-giving clarion call which their Peerless Beloved has given to the friends in Iran:

246.6a The wish of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, that which attracts His good pleasure, and, indeed, His binding command, is that Bahá'ís, in A matters, even in small daily transactions and dealings with others, should act in accordance with the divine Teachings. He has commanded us not to be content with lowliness, humility and meekness, but rather to become manifestations of selflessness and utter nothingness. Of old, all have been exhorted to loyalty and fidelity, compassion and love; in this supreme Dispensation, the people of Baha are called upon to sacrifice their very lives. Notice the extent to which the friends have been required in the Sacred Epistles and Tablets, as well as in our Beloved's Testament, to be righteous, well-wishing, forbearing, sanctified, pure, detached from all else save God, severed from the trappings of this world and adorned with the mantle of a goodly character and godly attributes.'

246.6b First and foremost, one should use every possible means to purge one's heart and motives, otherwise, engaging in any form of enterprise would be futile. It is also essential to abstain from hypocrisy and blind imitation, inasmuch as their foul odor is soon detected by every man of understanding and wisdom. Moreover, the friends must observe the specific times for the remembrance of God, meditation, devotion and prayer, as it is highly unlikely, nay impossible, for any enterprise to prosper and develop when deprived of divine bestowals and confirmation. One can hardly imagine what a great influence genuine love, truthfulness and purity of motives exert on the souls of men. But these traits cannot be acquired by any believer unless he makes a daily effort to gain them. Let not the stranger, the envious and the enemy have cause to attribute the sublimity of the Faith in the past and in its early days to the appearance of outstanding and sanctified souls and the perseverance of martyrs whose absence today implies the necessary decline, weakening, scattering and annihilation of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.9 246-8. "Our Beloved's Testament" refers to Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament. 246-9. Shoghi Effendi, letter dated 19 December 1923 to the Bahá'ís of the East. The letter was published in its entirety in Persian in Tawqi'dt-i-Mubarakih ("Blessed Letters"), vol. i (Tehran: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 119721): 158-79. Parts of the letter translated into English appear in the compilations Living the Life (see CC 2: no. 1267), Excerpts from the Writings of the Guardian on the Bahá'í Life, comp. the Universal House of Justice (Toronto, Ont.: National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada, 1973), and The Gift of Teaching (London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1977), albeit in slightly variant translations.


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We beseech God to aid and assist them daily to center their attentions on 246.6c these divine admonitions and to tread the

path of faithfulness so as to secure abiding happiness. The Responsibility of Serving God Another of the sacred responsibilities of the believers is their spiritual Commitment to serve God's Sacred Threshold at all times and under all conditions so that they may dedicate the few, fleeting days of their lives-particularly in this age of transition-to the Cause of God, unmindful of the vicissitudes of fortune, trusting in Providence, and relieved of worries and anxieties. Witness what joyful tidings the Pen of the Most High has given to such blessed souls: Whatsoever occurreth in the world of being is light for His loved ones 246.7a and fire for the people of sedition and strife. Even if all the losses of the world were to be sustained by one of the friends of God, he would still profit thereby, whereas true loss would be borne by such as are wayward, ignorant and contemptuous. Although the author... of the following saying had intended it otherwise, yet We find it pertinent to the operation of God's immutable Will: "Even or odd, thou shalt win the wager." The friends of God shall win and profit under all conditions, and shall attain true wealth. In fire they remain cold, and from water they emerge dry. Their affairs are at variance with the affairs of men. Gain is their lot, whatever the deal.

246.8 To this testifieth every wise one with a discerning eye, and every fair-minded one with a hearing ear., The Responsibility of Moderation Yet another sacred duty is that of clinging to the cord of moderation in all things, lest they who are to be the essence of detachment and moderation be deluded by the trappings of this nether world or set their hearts on its adornments and waste their lives. If they are wealthy, they should make these bestowals a means of drawing nigh unto God's Threshold, rather than being so attached to them that they forget the admonitions of the Pen of the Most High. The Voice of Truth has said, "Having attained the stage of fulfillment and reached his maturity, man standeth in need of wealth, and such wealth as he acquireth through crafts or professions is commendable and praiseworthy in the estimation of men of wisdom. " 12 If wealth and prosperity become the means of service at God's Threshold, it is highly meritorious; otherwise it would be better to avoid them. Turn to the Book of the Covenant, the Hidden 246-10. Sa'di, Muslihu'd-Din of Shiraz (d. 691 A.H./1291 A.D.), famed author of the "Gulistan' and other poetical works. 246-11. See CC 1:153-54. 246-iz. TB, P. 35.


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Words, and other Tablets, lest the cord of your salvation become a rope of woe which will lead to your own destruction. How numerous are those negligent souls, particularly from among your own compatriots, who have been deprived of the blessings of faith and true understanding. Witness how, no sooner had they attained their newly amassed wealth and status, than they became so bewitched by them as to forget the virtues and true perfections of man's station. They clung to their empty and fruitless lifestyle. They had naught else but their homes, their commercial success, and their ornamental trappings of which to be proud. Behold their ultimate fate. Many a triumphal arch was reduced to a ruin, many an imperial palace was converted into a barn. Many a day of deceit turned into a night of despair. Vast treasures changed hands and, at the end of their lives, they were left only with tears of loss and regret. ". . . all that perisheth and changeth is not, and hath never been, worthy of attention, except to a recognized measure."13 Therefore the people of Baha must not fall prey to the corruption of the ruthless, but rather cling to contentment and moderation. They must make their homes havens for the believers, folds for their gatherings and centers for the promulgation of His Cause and the diffusion of His love, so that people of all strata, whether high or low, may feel at home and be able to consort in an atmosphere of love and fellowship. The Responsibility of Resettling

246.9 Another sacred responsibility of those dear Iranian friends now living abroad is to consult with the Assemblies and Bahá'í Institutions so that their settlement in needy areas may help the establishment and consolidation of the Faith. They must serve on the pioneer front wherever they reside. They must not allow themselves to be drawn to and congregate in areas where their relatives or friends reside, unaware of the pioneering needs of the Faith. Praised be God that, through the blessings of the Greatest Name, the believers have been imbued with a love and unity which transcends the ties of kinship and friendship and overcomes the barriers of language and culture. Therefore there is no need for the Iranian friends to congregate in one place. Often such a congregation creates problems. For example, should the number of Iranians exceed the number of native believers in a community, they would inadvertently bring about such difficulties as might hamper the progress of the Cause of God, and the world-conquering religion of the Abha Beauty might appear to others as a religion which is limited and peculiar to Iranians. This could but lead to a waste of time and the disenchantment of both Bahá'ís and non-Bahá'ís. Under such circumstances the dear Iranian friends would neither enjoy their stay in that place nor would they be able to serve the Faith in a befit 246-13. TB, P. 219.


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ting manner. It is our ardent hope that, wherever possible, the Iranian friends may settle in those towns or villages which are pioneering goals, so that through their stay the foundation of the Cause may be strengthened. They must encourage each other to pioneer and disperse in accordance with the teaching plans wherever they reside, and sacrifice the happiness and joy which they may otherwise obtain from companionship with each other for the sake of the vital interests of the Cause. The Responsibility of Avoiding Political involvement Another of the sacred duties incumbent upon the believers is that of avoiding participation in political discussions and intrigues which have become popular nowadays. What have the people of Baha to do with political contention and controversy? With absolute certainty they must prove to the world that Bahá'ís by virtue of their beliefs, are loyal citizens of whatever country they reside in and are far removed from the machinations of conspirators and the perpetrators of destruction and chaos. Their ideal is the happiness of all the peoples of the world and sincere and wholehearted service to them. In administrative positions they are obedient to their governments and carry out their duties with the utmost honesty and trustworthiness. They regard no faction as superior to another and prefer no individual above another. They oppose no one, for the Divine Pen has prohibited sedition and corruption and enjoined peace and harmony upon us. For more than a century Bahá'ís have proven by their deeds that they regard servitude and service to their fellowman as being more worthy than the privileges of power which can be gained from politics. In administering their own affairs, they rely on God rather than on the influence of those in power and authority. Particularly in these days when the enemies of the Faith have afflicted the Cause in the sacred land of Iran with the darts of calumny and slander on every side, the clear Iranian friends should be vigilant, both in their contact with other Iranians abroad and with people in general, and behave in such a way as to leave no doubt as to the independence and nonalignment of the Bahá'ís and their good will to all people, whether in Iran or elsewhere. They must not give a new excuse to cause trouble to those mischief-makers who have always sought to further their own unworthy ends by making the Bahá'í community a target for their malicious accusations. The Strengths of the Iranian Bahá'ís O beloved of God, and compatriots of the Abha Beauty! Your relationship to the Blessed Perfection merits befitting gratitude. Having appreciated the true value of so inestimable a bounty, your forefathers regarded the offering of their lives in the path of their kind Beloved as easy to make. They were put in chains, became captives of the sword, lost their homes and belongings, yet no sound was heard from their lacerated throats but the cry


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of "Ya Baha'u'l-Abha" and "Ya 'Aliyyu'l-A'la."14 The vibration of the sound of that same soul-burning cry gradually noised abroad the call of this world illuminating Great Announcement and the ringing notes of that call resounded in all regions of the world, and, now too, the beloved friends in Iran, who are the devoted dwellers in the courtyard of the Beloved, stand firm in the same Covenant and Testament. Behold the courage, firmness, detachment, unity, cooperation, zeal and enthusiasm with which these loyal lovers of the Beloved daily face their tests and prove and demonstrate to the world, with radiant and shining faces, their purity, their heritage, their quality, and their virtue. With the utmost meekness, truthfulness, wisdom, and courage they meet the challenges presented to them, the challenge of defying the enemies, dispelling misunderstandings which are a result of the proliferation of calumnies and false accusations. They have met their fate with

acquiescence, have bowed their heads in the valley of submission and resignation, and have borne every tribulation with radiance, for they know with absolute certainty that the fulfillment of divine prophecies will coincide with dire events and the bearing of innumerable afflictions.

246.11 The beloved Guardian says: "If in the days to come, adversities of various kinds should encircle that land and national upheavals should further aggravate the present calamities, and intensify the repeated afflictions, " the dear friends in that country should not feel 'sorrowful and grieved" and must not be deflected "from their straight path and chosen highway."15 He then continues to address the dear friends in these words: a The liberation of this meek and innocent band of His followers from the fetters of its bondage and the talons of the people of tyranny and enmity must needs be preceded by the clamor and agitation of the masses. The realization of glory, of tranquillity, and of true security for the people of Baha will necessitate opposition, aggression and commotion on the part of the people of malevolence and iniquity. Therefore, should the buffeting waves of the sea of tribulation intensify and the storms of trials and tribulations

assail that meek congregation from all six sides,6 know of a certainty and without a moment's hesitation that the time for their deliverance has drawn nigh, that the age-old promise of their assured glory will soon be fulfilled, and that at long last the 246-14. Ya Baha'u'l-Abha (O Thou the Glory of the Most Glorious!) is a form of the Greatest Name and is used as an invocation to Bahá'u'lláh; Ya 'Aliyyu'l-A'la,"14 (O Thou the Exalted of the Most Exalted!) is an invocation addressed to the Mb. 246-15. From an unpublished letter. 246-16. "All six sides" means all sides, or every side, as the prayer of the Bab for protection (BP, p. 135) indicates: "in front of us and behind us, above our heads, on our right, on our left, below our feet and every other side to which we are exposed."


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means are provided for the persecuted people of Baha in that land to attain salvation and supreme triumph. A firm step and an unshakable resolve are essential so that the remaining stages may come to pass and the cherished ideals of the people of Baha may be realized on the loftiest Summits, and be made manifest in astounding brilliance. 'such is God's method, and no change shalt thou find in His method."17 That is why those royal falcons who soar in the

firmament of God's love have arisen with such joy, tranquillity, and dignity that their serenity has become a magnet for the attraction of the confirmations of the Concourse on High and has brought such a resounding success to them as has astonished and startled the people of Baha throughout the world. Others have been inspired by the example of those treasured brethren to renew their pledge to their All-Glorious Beloved and to serve His Sacred Threshold with high endeavor. Thus they endeavor, as far as possible, to make good the temporary disability of the believers in Iran. Inspired by the courage, constancy, sincerity, and devotion of those enamored friends in the path of their Beloved, they are increasing their services and renewing and strengthening their resolve so that they may arise in the arena of the love of God as it beseems; true lovers. That is why in these days the followers of the Greatest Name in different parts of the world have undertaken to win new victories in remembrance and on behalf of their dear friends in Iran. They have made new plans and their efforts have been confirmed with resounding success, which they attribute to the influences of the high endeavors and the constancy of the friends in the Cradle of the Faith. What then will you do, dear friends who come from that sacred land of Iran? You are the birds of that rose garden. You should sing such a song that the hearts of others will rejoice with gladness. You are the candles of that Divine Sanctuary. You should shed such a light that it will illumine the eyes of the intimates of God's mysteries. Our eager hearts in these days a-re expectant to see the rays of loyalty and integrity from amidst these dark and threatening clouds, so that your blessed names, like those of your self-sacrificing

compatriots, may be recorded in gold upon the Tablet of Honor. This is dependent upon your own high endeavor.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

246-17. From an unpublished letter.


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247 Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Hasan M. Balyuzi 12 FEBRUARY 1980 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

247. 1 HOLD SPECIAL MEMORIAL GATHERING IN MOTHER TEMPLE. WITH BROKEN HEARTS ANNOUNCE PASSING DEARLY LOVED HAND CAUSE HASAN BALYUZI.' ENTIRE Bahá'í WORLD ROBBED ONE OF ITS MOST POWERFUL DEFENDERS MOST RESOURCEFUL HISTORIANS. HIS ILLUSTRIOUS LINEAGE HIS DEVOTED LABORS DIVINE VINEYARD HIS OUTSTANDING LITERARY WORKS COMBINE IN IMMORTALIZING HIS HONORED NAME IN ANNALS BELOVED FAITH. CALL ON FRIENDS EVERYWHERE HOLD MEMOR1AL GATHERINGS. PRAYING SHRINES HIS EXEMPLARY ACHIEVEMENTS HIS STEADFASTNESS PATIENCE HUMILITY HIS OUTSTANDING SCHOLARLY PURSUITS WILL INSPIRE MANY DEVOTED WORKERS AMONG RISING GENERATIONS FOLLOW HIS GLORIOUS FOOTSTEPS. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 248 Naw-Ruz Message 1980 Naw-Ruz 1980 To the Bahá'ís of the World Dearly loved Friends,

248.1 The successful

launching of the Seven Year Plan and the advances made in the first year of its opening phase mitigate, in some degree, the disasters and calamities Which, in the past year, have assailed the struggling Faith of God. The newest wave of persecution unleashed against us in the Cradle of our Faith has been compounded by Divine decree afflicting the entire Bahá'í world community. In the full tide of their brilliant services to the Faith of God, and within the short span of twenty weeks three Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Order, the Hands of the Cause of God Enoch Olinga, Rahmatu'llah Muhajir and Hasan Balyuzi were summoned to the Abha Kingdom, leaving the rest of us bereft and shocked by the enormity of our loss and the tragic brutality of the circumstances attending the murder of beloved Enoch Olinga and members of his family. 247-1.

248.2 For an account of the life and services of Hasan Balyuzi, see BW 18:635-51.


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The Dialectic of Disaster and Triumph In Iran, the confusion which has seized the whole country opened the way for the fierce and inveterate enemies of the Faith, unrestrained by any effective authority, to indulge their fanatical hatred. The Holy House of the Bab has been demolished and proposals have been made to erase its very site. The Siyah-Chal and Bahá'u'lláh's Home in Tehran have been seized, together with all other Holy Places and properties. One member of the National Spiritual Assembly and two of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Tehran have been kidnapped and the whereabouts of two of them is still unknown, while the third is still in prison. Also, a Counselor and some friends who are associated with the

National Office or are members of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Tehran have been imprisoned. Bahá'ís have been heavily pressed to recant their faith and in one case a believer, who refused to do so, followed the glorious path of the martyrs and was executed. Beyond all this a campaign of vilification and false charges has been conducted against the friends in an effort to make them the scapegoat of unrestrained mobs.

243.3 And yet, as ever in the Cause of God, the beneficent operation of the dialectic of disaster and triumph is clearly apparent. The unwavering faith of the dearly loved, severely tested, ever-steadfast Persian Bahá'í community, guided by the heroic stand and example of its National Spiritual Assembly, supported and inspired by the Counselors and their Auxiliary Board members, has effected a spiritual revitalization of the beloved friends. They have united as one man to present a front of refulgent spirituality and assurance and appear, as one observer reports, like a dazzling community of eager, uplifted, radiant new believers. Nor is the influence of their response to the sufferings engulfing them confined to their homeland. From farthest east to farthest west, from pole to pole, wherever the Standard of Bahá'u'lláh has been implanted, the friends have felt the impulse of sacrifice and risen to assume that enormous share of the work of the Faith in the fields of teaching, pioneering and financial contribution which the Persian friends, for the time being, are no longer able to shoulder.

248.5 The wonderful love aroused in Bahá'í hearts everywhere by the sudden, untimely passing of the beloved Hands of the Cause has moved the believers to dedicate themselves anew with increased ardor and self-sacrifice to the promotion of the work to which all the Hands of the Cause of God have dedicated their lives. The worldwide response of the friends to these tragedies is the more heartening in view of the clear warnings voiced by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the beloved Guardian of the fierce and widespread opposition which the increasing growth of the Cause of God will arouse. There is no doubt of this. Shoghi Effendi called attention to "the extent and character of the forces that are destined to contest with God's holy Faith," and supported his argument with "these prophetic


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and ominous words" from 'Abdu'l-Bahá: 11 HOW GREAT, HOW VERY GREAT IS THE CAUSE! HOW VERY FIERCE THE ONSLAUGHT OF ALL THE PEOPLES AND KINDREDS OF THE EARTH! ERELONG SHALLTHE CLAMOR OF THE MULTITUDE THROUGHOUT AFRICA, THROUGHOUT

AMERICA, THE CRY OF THE EUROPEAN AND OF THE TURK, THE GROANING OF INDIA AND CHINA, BE HEARD FROM FAR AND NEAR. ONE AND ALL THEY SHALL ARISE WITH ALL THEIR POWER TO RESIST HIS CAUSE. THEN SHALL THE KNIGHTS OF THE LORD, ASSISTED BY HIS GRACE FROM ON HIGH, STRENGTHENED BY FAITH, AIDED BYTHE POWER OF UNDERSTANDING, AND REINFORCED BYTHE LEGIONS OF THE COVENANT ARISE AND MAKE MANIFEST THE TRUTH OF THE VERSE: 'BEHOLD THE CONFUSION THAT HATH BEFALLEN THE TRIBES OF THE DEFEATED!"'I

248.7 The beloved Guardian expatiated at length upon this theme and its inevitable outcome: 'stupendous as is the struggle which His words foreshadow, they also testify to the complete victory which the upholders of the Greatest Name are destined eventually to achieve."2

248.8 Now, therefore, it is our sacred duty to make the utmost use of our freedom, wherever it exists, to promote the Cause of God while we may. The surest way to do this and to win the good-pleasure of Bahá'u'lláh is to pursue, with dedication and

unrelenting vigor, the goals of whatever Plan is in force, for

Bahá'u'lláh has stated: "To assist Me is to teach My CaUSe."3 Accomplishments during the First Year of the Seven Year Plan

248.9 A good start has been made with the Seven Year Plan. At the World Center of the Faith the uninterrupted progress in raising the Seat of the House of Justice, repairing and refurbishing the House of Abdu'llah Pdshj,4 further extension of the gardens surrounding the Haram-i-Aqdas at Bahji, and the initiation of a general reorganization of the work of the World Center to accommodate its ever-growing needs and make use of the most up-to-date technological developments, have taken place.

248.10 In the international sphere the enthusiasm with which the friends everywhere greeted the launching of the Seven Year Plan and girded themselves to achieve the goals of the first two-year phase, their generous and sacrificial outpouring of funds, the confident and sustained efforts exerted to carry forward the two sacred enterprises initiated in the Indian subcontinent and at the heart of the vast Pacific Ocean, the constant activity of the Bahá'í International Community in fostering its relations with the United Nations,5 the great in 248-1. WOB, p. 17; Abdu'l-Bahá, quoted in WOB, P. 17. '248-2. WOB, pp. 17-18. 248-3. TB, p. 196. 248-4. See messages dated 9 January 1975 (no. 154), 4 March 1975 (no. 157), and 14 October 1977 (no. 198) for further information on the House of Abdu'llah Pasha. 248-5. For announcements concerning the relationship between the Bahá'í International Community and the United Nations, see messages dated 17 October 1967 (no. 49), 15 February 1970 (no. 78), 25 November 1985 (no. 442), and 17 December 1985 (no. 44-4).


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crease in the number of children's Bahá'í classes and the innumerable victories won in the teaching field, recorded by the establishment of the worldwide community of the Most Great Name in over 106,000 localities, all testify to the unassailable, and indeed ever-increasing vigor of the Cause of God.

248.11 The number of pioneers and traveling teachers who have entered the field during the first year of the Seven Year Plan, and the increase in the number of national communities which have sent them out are highly encouraging. This stream of pioneers and traveling teachers must be increased and more widely diffused, and we fervently hope that, at the very least, all those pioneers filling the assigned goals of the first phase of the Seven Year Plan will be at their posts by Ridvan 198i.6 In the field of proclamation unprecedented publicity has been accorded the

248.12 Cause of God, chiefly as a result of the persecutions in Iran. In addition significant gains have been made in the Bahá'í radio operation in South America, where short wave transmission has greatly extended the range of Radio Bahá'í in Otavalo, Ecuador, and where a new station is being established in Puno, in Peru, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Both these achievements offer immeasurable new opportunities for the teaching, proclamation and consolidation of the Cause in that area.

248.13 In 88 languages of the world the supply of Bahá'í literature has been

enriched, while three new languages have been added to bring to 660 the number of those in which Bahá'í material is available.

248.14 Formation of Six National Assemblies at Ridvan 1981 The National Spiritual Assembly of Transkei with its seat in Umtata Will be formed at Ridvan 1980. At Ridvan 198i six new National Spiritual Assemblies will be formed; two in Africa, Namibia with its seat in Windhoek, and Bophuthatswana with its seat in Mmabatho; three in the Americas, the Leeward Islands with its seat in St. John's, Antigua, the Windward Islands with its seat in Kingstown, St. Vincent, and Bermuda with its seat in Hamilton; one in Australasia, Tuvalu with its seat in Funafuti. With great joy we announce the reformation of the National Spiritual Assembly of Uganda, to take place at Ridvan 198i. In the course of the coming year, the Universal House of justice, in consultation with the International Teaching Center, will review the accomplishments of the initial phase and will then announce to all National Spiritual Assemblies the goals towards which they should strive in the next stage of the Seven Year Plan.

248.16 Approaching People of Prominence During this final year of the initial phase National Spiritual Assemblies are urged to continue their wise and dignified approaches to people prominent in 248-6. 21 April-2 May.


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all areas of human endeavor in order to acquaint them with the nature and spirit of the Faith and to win their esteem and friendship. At the same time vigorous campaigns must be continually mounted to proclaim more and more directly and to as large audiences as possible the existence and basic principles of the Faith of God. Now is the time, as all human endeavors to repair the old order only result in deeper and deeper confusion, to proclaim constantly and openly the claims of the Faith and the redemptive power of Bahá'u'lláh. An Acceleration of Momentum

248.17 The marvelous momentum generated at the beginning of the Plan and now propelling the Bahá'í world community forward to the achievement of the immediate objectives of the initial phase must be maintained and indeed accelerated, so that firm foundations in the spiritual life of the community may be laid and its forces gathered for the winning of the specific tasks with which it will be challenged in the major part of the Plan.

248.18 Our hearts go out in love and admiration to the friends in Iran and in gratitude to the believers throughout the world for their spontaneous defense of their persecuted brethren and their shouldering of the load which must, at all costs, be borne.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

249 Release of a Compilation on the Importance of Prayer, Meditation, and the Devotional Attitude 31 MARCH 1980 To all National Spiritual

Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

249.1 The Research Department has just prepared a compilation of The Importance of Prayer, Meditation, and the Devotional Attitude, and we have been asked to send you a copy.,

249.2 The Universal House of Justice leaves it to your discretion to determine the manner in which you share the contents of the compilation with the friends under your jurisdiction. With loving Bahá'í' greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

249-1. See CC 2:225-43.


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250 Contract for Construction of the Indian Temple To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India. 1 May 1980 GRATEFUL SENTIMENTS EXPRESSED PARTICIPANTS CONVENTION HELD AUSPICIOUS OCCASIONS SIGNING CONTRACT CONSTRUCTION BEAUTIFUL TEMPLE HEART SUBCONTINENT INAUGURATION CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS DESIGNED PROMOTE LIFEGIVING

MESSAGE BAHA'U'LLAH GREATER NUMBER RECEPTIVE SOULS ALL STRATA SOCIETY LENGTH BREADTH WIDTH INDIA.' ARDENTLY PRAYING DIVINE THRESHOLD

SUPPLICATING BLESSINGS ASSISTANCE OUTSTANDING SERVICES BAHA'I COMMUNITY INDIA ALREADY DISTINGUISHED BY MAGNIFICENT ACHIEVEMENTS WHICH HAVE BRIGHTENED HOPES ATTRACTED ADMIRATION ENTIRE BAHA'I WORLD.

251.1 UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 251 Comments on the Kitab-i-Aqdas 7 MAY 1980 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Germany Dear Bahá'í Friends, The Universal House of Justice has received your letter Of 14 April 1980 enclosing the copy of that part of page 15 of the issue of the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung for 14 March 1980, on which the letter from Francesco Ficicchia was published.

251.2 The House of Justice feels that the best course is to ignore this disgraceful attack on the Faith, rather than to make any rebuttal. Your Assembly should, however, be prepared to answer any inquiries that you may receive as a result of this article, whether from Bahá'ís or non-Bahá'ís. To assist you in this, we enclose extracts from a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, which touch on matters raised by Mr. Ficicchia. You are also, no doubt, aware that a Russian translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas by A. G. Tumansky was published in 1899. A translation of the complete text into English, made by two former Presbyterian missionaries in Iran, was published by The Royal Asiatic Society in 1961; it is accompanied by highly prejudiced and misleading footnotes and introduction, and the inadequacy of the translation itself is -------------------- 250-1. The centenary referred to is that of the establishment of a nucleus of the Faith in India in 1880, although Jamal Effendi was sent there by Bahá'u'lláh as early as 1872-73 and arrived in New Delhi in 1876 after touring the country.


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immediately apparent to anyone who compares passages with those that Shoghi Effendi translated. The existence of these two published translations, however, demonstrates the falsity of Ficicchia's statement that no complete translation exists. A far clearer understanding of the contents of the Most Holy Book, however, than given by either translation, is presented in the Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas which gives not only the laws of the Aqdas themselves, but also includes the elucidations given by Bahá'u'lláh Himself in the "Questions and Answers," and contains many explanatory annotations provided by the House of justice.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

27 MAY 1980 Extracts from a reply written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to questions about the Kitab-i-Aqdas

251.3 The institution of the Covenant has a direct bearing on the implementation of the laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas. This Book is the repository of the basic laws for the Dispensation to be implemented gradually in accordance with the guidance given by God through those infallible Institutions which lie at the heart of the Covenant.

Indeed, one of those Institutions, the Universal House of Justice, has been given by Bahá'u'lláh the task not only of applying the laws but of supplementing them and of making laws on all matters not explicitly covered in the Sacred Text. An English translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas was made by Dr. Earl E. Elder and Dr. William McE. Miller, two men who were Presbyterian missionaries in Persia and have long been strongly antagonistic to the Faith. A great many of the statements that they make about its history are based on the assertions of Covenant-breakers or opponents of the Faith-rather like a history of Christianity based primarily on statements by enemies of Jesus Christ. Dr. Miller, for example, places great

reliance on a document called the "Nuqtatu'l-Kaf," which is, in fact, spurious, as is fully demonstrated by the Hand of the Cause Hasan Balyuzi in his book Edward Granville Browne and the Bahá'í Faith.,251-I. The Nuqtatul-Kaf - Arabic for "The Point of Kaf" (the letter K)-is a short chronicle of events of the Babi Faith originally written by Haji Mirza Jani, a merchant from Kashan who was martyred in 1852. Mr. Balyuzi explains that it was later tampered with and was denounced as a forgery by Mirza Abu'-Fadl, the preeminent Bahá'í scholar of the East during the Faith's Heroic Age. The Nuqtatu'l-Kaf presents a distorted history of the l3dbi Faith and its doctrines.

251.4 See Edward Granville Browne, pp. 62-88.


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The reasons for the delay in the translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas are given in the introduction to the Synopsis and Codification .2 The Kit6b-i-Aqdas itself is the kernel of a vast structure of Bahá'í law that will have to come into being in the years and centuries ahead as the unity of mankind is established and develops. Thus to properly understand the contents of that Book one should also read many other Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh relating to them, as well as the interpretations of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Guardian, and realize that great areas of detail have been left by Bahá'u'lláh for the Universal House of Justice to fill in and to vary in accordance with the needs of a developing society For example: L. The law of divorce in the Aqdas seems to apply only to a husband divorcing his wife, and not vice versa. 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Guardian have made it quite clear that the principle enunciated by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitab-i-Aqdas applies equally to men and women, and the law has always been implemented in this way. Such elucidations are one of the

specific functions intended by Bahá'u'lláh for the authoritative Interpreter. 2. The Kitab-i-Aqdas appears to allow bigamy. This is explained in Note 17 on 251.4b page 59 of the Synopsis and Codification: "The text of the Kitab-i-Aqdas upholds monogamy, but as it appears also to permit bigamy, the Guardian was asked for a clarification, and in reply his secretary wrote on his behalf. 'Regarding Bahá'í marriage: in the light of the Master's Tablet

interpreting the provision in the Aqdas on the subject of the plurality of wives, it becomes evident that monogamy alone is permissible, since, as 'Abdu'l-Bahá states, bigamy is conditioned upon justice and as justice is impossible, it follows that bigamy is not permissible, and monogamy alone should be practiced."' This is an authoritative interpretation, and as an interpretation states what 251.4c is intended by the original text, it is correct to say that the Kitab-i-Aqdas prohibits plurality of wives. This method of establishing monogamy as the law of the Faith is one example of the process referred to in the introduction to the Synopsis and Codification whereby there is a progressive disclosure of the full meaning of the laws of the Faith as the Dispensation unfolds. 3.The punishments prescribed for theft, murder and arson are given only in 251.4d barest outline. It is explained in Note 42 on page 64 of the Synopsis and Codification that these punishments are intended for a future condition of 251-2. Synopsis and Codification, a book published by the Universal House of Justice in 1973 that contains those passages of the Kitab-i-Aqdas that had been translated into English by Shoghi Effendi and a codification of the contents of the Kitab-i-Aqdas and the "Questions and Answers" with explanatory notes. An annotated English translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas was published by the Universal House of Justice at Naw-Ruz 1993.


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society and will have to be supplemented and applied by the Universal House of Justice. The punishment for theft, for example, says that for the third offense a mark must be placed on the thief's forehead (nothing is said about branding), so that people will be warned of his proclivities. All details of how the mark is to be applied, how long it must be worn, on what conditions it may be removed, as well as the seriousness of various degrees of theft have been left by Bahá'u'lláh for the

Universal House of Justice to decide when the law has to be applied. Similarly, merely the fundamental principles of the punishments for murder and arson are given in the Kitab-i-Aqdas. Willful murder is to be punished either by capital punishment or life imprisonment. Such matters as degrees of offense and whether any extenuating circumstances are to be taken into account, and which of the two prescribed punishments is to be the norm are left to the Universal House of Justice to decide in light of prevailing conditions when the law is in operation. Arson, as you yourself can see from the newspapers, is becoming an increasingly frequent offense-scarcely a day passes without some building being burned or blown up, often causing agonizing death to innocent people. Bahá'u'lláh prescribes that a person who burns a house intentionally is to be burned or imprisoned for life, bur again, the application of these punishments, the method of carrying them out and the fixing of degrees of offense are left to the Universal House of Justice. Obviously there is a tremendous difference in the degree of the offense of a person who burns down an empty warehouse from that of one who sets fire to a school full of children.

251.4e From the above examples it should be clear why a translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas made without proper comprehensive footnotes referring to other Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh which elucidate His laws as well as to interpretations made by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Guardian, can give a very misleading impression-quite apart from the problem of achieving a beauty of style in the English which can approach that of the original, an aspect in which the Elder-Miller translation falls woefully short.

251.5 Although there is no explicit reference to the Guardianship in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Synopsis and Codification lists "Anticipation of the Institution of the Guardianship." On page 214 of God Passes By, when summarizing the contents of the Aqdas, Shoghi Effendi states that in it Bahá'u'lláh "anticipates by implication the institution of Guardianship," and again, on page 147 of The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh the Guardian refers to "the verses of the Kitab-i-Aqdas the implications of which clearly anticipate the institution of the Guardianship." One such implication is in the matter of HuqdqL01A (The Right of God),3 251-3. For information on Huququ'llah, see the glossary. See also the letter dated 6 August 1984 (no. 404) introducing Ijuq6qu'llah to the West.


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which is ordained in the Kitab-i-Aqdas without provision being made for who is to receive it; in His Will and Testament 'Abdu'l-Bahá fills this gap by stating "It is to be offered through the Guardian of the Cause of God . . ."4 Other implications of this institution can be seen in the terms in which 'Abdu'l-Bahá is appointed as the Successor of Bahá'u'lláh and the Interpreter of His Teachings. The faithful are enjoined to turn their faces towards the one whom "God hath purposed" and who "hath branched from this Ancient Root" and are bidden to refer whatsoever they do not understand in the Bahá'í writings to him who "hath branched from this mighty Stock."5 Yet another can be seen in the provision of the Aqdas

concerning the disposition of international endowments a passage which not only refers this matter to the Aghsan (male descendants of Bahá'u'lláh) but also provides for what should happen should the line of Aghsan end before the coming into being of the Universal House of Justice.

252.1 Thus the "Anticipation of the Institution of the Guardianship" is correctly included in the Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas. 252 Our Attitude and Actions toward the Impending Catastrophe 13 MAY 1980 To an individual Bahá'í Dear

Bahá'í Friend, Your letter of January 13 to the Universal House of Justice has been received and we are instructed to convey its response.

252.2 As a concert pianist you are uniquely endowed for service to God and mankind, for the Master states that "the musician's art is among those arts worthy of the highest praise, and it moveth the hearts of all who grieve.", Further, the pursuit of excellence in your art both fulfills Bahá'í admonitions and is worship manifested in your profession. Your concern about the future in these troubled times is understandable.

252.3 There is every reason to expect that the world will experience travail and testing as never before, but we do not know what form these upheavals will take, when exactly they will come, how severe they will be, nor how long they will last. In a letter dated 3c, September 1950 written on behalf of the beloved Guardian to an individual believer, it is stated: 251-4. WT, p. 15. 251-5. TB, p. 221; SC, p. 272 52-1. SWAB, p. 112,


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252.3a He does not feel that fear-for ourselves or for others-solves any problems, or enables us to better meet it if it ever does arise. We do not know what the future holds exactly, or how soon we may all pass through another ordeal worse than the last one.

252.4 The important aspect for the Bahá'ís is that their attitude and actions in response to the pending catastrophe be correct. We all know that the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh is the world's only salvation, and that our duty is to actively teach receptive souls, and to do our utmost to help in the consolidation of the institutions of the Faith. Only in this way can we contribute our share of servitude at His Threshold, and we should then leave the rest to Him

252.5 The House of Justice will offer prayers at the Holy Shrines that you may have abundant opportunities to uplift the souls of men through your music and through your teaching of the Cause of the Blessed Beauty.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

253 Ominous Increase in Pressures on Iranian Bahá'ís 30 JUNE 1980 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

253.1 ... PRESSURES ON BELEAGUERED FRIENDS OMINOUSLY INCREASING. IN ISSUE LE MONDE NO. 11009 TUESDAY 24 JUNE IN ARTICLE ABOUT IRAN BEGINNING FRONT PAGE ENDING SIXTH PAGE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS MADE ". . . LE VENERABLE AYATOLLAH (SADOUGHI) A INVITE FOULE DES FIDELES A 'CHASSER LES BAHA'IS QUE VOUS CONNAISSEZ DE TOUTES LES ADMINISTRATIONS ET DE LES LIVRER AU PARQUET RPVOLUTIONNAIRE.'LA PEUR STST EMPAREE DE LA COMMUNAUTE BAHA'I (ENVIRON CINQUANTE MILLE PERSONNES) ET POUR CAUSE, LES PROPOS DE UAYATOLLAH SADOUGHI ONT ETE REPRODUITS DANS LE QUOTIDIEN INGUILAB ISLAMI (ORGANE DU PRESIDENT BANI-SADR) LEUR DONNANT AINSI UNE DANGEREUSE PUBLICITF. UNE VAGUE DARRESTATIONS DE BARAIS A COMMENCE A DEFERLER DANS DEUX VILLES: A YAZD ET A CHIRAZ. 253.2 "DIMANCHE 22 JUIN, ETELAAT PUBLIE UN COMMUNIQUE DE LASSOCLATION ISLAMIQUE DES FONCTIONNAIRES DE UETAT EXIGEANT ENTRE AUTRES LE RENVOI DE TOUS LES EMPLOYES DES CONFESSIONS BAHA'IES EN LEUR INTERDISANT DESORMAIS D'EXERCER TOUTES ACTIVITES REMUNWES."' 253-1. The English translation of the quotation from Le Monde is as follows: ". . . the venerable Ayatollah [Sadoughi] invited the mass of the faithful to 'hunt out the Bahá'ís throughout the public services and deliver them to the revolutionary prosecution department.' Fear has gripped the Bahá'í community (about fifty thousand persons), and with good cause. The remarks


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SUCH PRONOUNCEMENTS AND COMMUNIQUES CAN BUT PROVOKE EASILY

253.3 EXCITABLE PASSIONS LEAD TRAGIC CONSEQUENCES FATE INDIVIDUAL Bahá'ís INFLICT UPON MEMBERS OPPRESSED COMMUNITY UNTOLD SUFFERINGS PARTICULARLY ON OCCASION HOLY DAY CURRENT MONTH SHA'BAN AND MONTH RAMADAN ENDING MID-AUGUST ... 2 UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 254 Execution of Two Members of the Tabriz Spiritual Assembly 16 JULY 1980 To the Bahá'ís of the World WITH HEARTS LADEN WITH SORROW YET FILLED WITH PRIDE AND ADMIRA-

254.1 TION ANNOUNCE MARTYRDOM IN CRADLE FAITH OF YADU'LLAH ASTANI AND FARAMARZ SAMANDARI RESPECTIVELY CHAIRMAN MEMBER LOCAL ASSEMBLY TABRIZ. THESE TWO HEROIC SOULS, TOGETHER WITH BAHAR VUJDANI OF MAHABAD, GHULAM-HUSAYN AZAMI OF SANGSAR AND MIR-ASADU'LLAH MUKHTARI OF BIRJAND, WHO DURING PAST SEVERAL MONTHS ALSO SUFFERED CRUEL MARTYRDOM, HAVE JOINED RANKS THEIR NOBLE FOREBEARS HEROIC AGE. BAHA'I WORLD WITNESSING WITH AWE AND WONDER VALIANT BELIEVERS CRADLE FAITH, WORTHY HEIRS OF DAWN-BREAKERS, ONCE AGAIN BEARING SUCCESSIVE WAVES OF REPRESSION AND HARASSMENT, ARRESTS AND KILLINGS, AND CONFISCATION OF PERSONAL PROPERTIES. MAY FOLLOWERS MOST GREAT NAME, INSPIRED BY PRODIGIOUS ACTS HEROISM

254.2 THEIR LONG-SUFFERING BRETHREN IRAN, ARISE, WITH RENEWED CONSECRATION AND VIGOR, WIN FRESH VICTORIES, REWARD SACRIFICES, COMPENSATE DISABILITIES, CHEER LONGING HEARTS STAUNCH STEADFAST BELIEVERS HOMELAND BAHA'U'LLAH. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE of the Ayatollah Sadoughi have been reproduced in the daily paper Inguilab Islami (organ of President Bani-Sadr), thus giving them dangerous publicity. A wave of arrests of Bahá'ís has broken out in two cities: Yazd and Shiraz. 'Sunday, 22 June, Etelaat publishes a communiqu6 of the Islamic Association of Civil Servants requiring, among other things, the dismissal of all employees who are of the Bahá'í religion, prohibiting them henceforth from practicing any remunerated activity." 2 53-2. The fifteenth day of the month of Sha'ban is believed to be the birthday of the Twelfth and Hidden Imam, who, according to, the teachings of Shi'ah Islam, was the last in the series of successors to the Prophet Muhammad. There are two holy days during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting-the nineteenth, which commemorates the day the Imam Husayn was wounded on the battlefield of Karbila, and the twenty-first, which commemorates his death.


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255 Vigorous Steps Taken in Defense of the Bahá'ís of Iran 24 JULY 1980 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

255.1 VIGOROUS STEPS BEING TAKEN ENERGETICALLY BY FRIENDS ALL CONTINENTS FOLLOWING NEWS MARTYRDOM TWO FRIENDS Tabriz HIGHLY GRATIFYING. ALREADY INFLUENTIAL PAPERS HAVE PUBLISHED EXCEPTIONALLY FAVORABLE ARTICLES IN SUPPORT PERSECUTED FRIENDS. JUST RECEIVED NEWS CANADIAN PARLIAMENT VOTED UNANIMOUSLY DEPLORING PERSECUTION IRANIAN Bahá'ís CALLING ON CANADIAN GOVERNMENT REFER UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION. CANADIAN GOVERNMENT HAS FORWARDED RESOLUTION DIRECTLY TO SECRETARY-GENERAL UNITED NATIONS. IN IRAN WAVE PERSECUTION CONTINUES UNABATED. NOT SATISFIED WITH CONFISCATION COMMUNITY PROPERTIES INCLUDING HOLY PLACES STEPS NOW TAKEN FREEZE FINANCIAL ASSETS SCORES BAHA'IS BANNING THEM FROM ALL BUSINESS DEALINGS. IN YAZD AND SHIRAZ MORE MEMBERS LOCAL ASSEMBLIES ARRESTED IMPRISONED. IN MANSHAD ONE OF OUTLYING VILLAGES YAZD FIVE BAHA'IS THREE MEN TWO WOMEN CRUELLY MOBBED RESULTING THEIR HOSPITALIZATION YAZD. BAHA'IS RESIDENT VILLAGE IN CONSTANT DANGER.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 256 Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Adelbert Muhlschlegel 29 JULY 1980 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

256.1 WITH SORROWFUL HEARTS ANNOUNCE PASSING BELOVED HAND CAUSE ADELBERT MUHLSCHLEGEL. GRIEVOUS LOSS SUSTAINED ENTIRE BAHA'I WORLD PARTICULARLY FELT EUROPE MAIN ARENA HIS DISTINGUISHED SERVICES CAUSE GOD. SERVING FOR MANY YEARS NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY GERMANY HE BECAME AFTER ELEVATION RANK HAND CAUSE ONE OF CHAMPION BUILDERS EMERGING EUROPEAN BAHA'I COMMUNITY CONSTANTLY TRAVELING ENCOURAGING RAISING SPIRITS FRIENDS RESIDING WHEREVER SERVICES MOST NEEDED FINALLY PIONEERING GREECE AND SURRENDERING HIS SOUL PIONEER POST. HIS CONSTANT WILLINGNESS SERVE HIS ABILITY ENDEAR HIMSELF BELIEVERS AND OTHERS ALIKE BY HIS LOVING GENTLENESS SERENE HUMILITY RADIANT CHEERFULNESS HIS NEVER ------------------------ 256-1. For an account of the life and services of Adelbert Muhlschlegel, see BW 18:611-13.


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CEASING PURSUIT KNOWLEDGE AND TOTAL DEDICATION BLESSED BEAUTY PROVIDE WONDERFUL EXAMPLE BAHA'I LIFE, ADVISE FRIENDS COMMEMORATE HIS PASSING AND REQUEST BEFITTING MEMORIAL SERVICES ALL MOTHER TEMPLES.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 257 Commencement of Construction of Indian Temple 30 JULY 1980

257.1 To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India REJOICE NEWS COMMENCEMENT CONSTRUCTION Mashriqu'l-Adhkar HEART INDIAN SUBCONTINENT. THIS ACHIEVEMENT IS IN SHARP CONTRAST SAD HAPPENINGS CRADLE FAITH AND WILL BE SOURCE DELIGHT BELIEVERS ALL LANDS. SUPPLICATING SACRED THRESHOLD THAT TEMPLE OF LIGHT WILL SOON BECOME INSTRUMENT RADIATE DIVINE GUIDANCE ILLUMINE HEARTS OF THE MULTITUDES. MAY BAHA'IS OF INDIA ARISE TO MEET RESPONSIBILITIES RENDER UTMOST ASSISTANCE RAISING THIS BEAUTIFUL EDIFICE IN THE NAME OF BAHA'U'LLAH.

258.2 UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE I 258 Translation of the Long Healing Prayer and the Fire Tablet 13 AUGUST 1980 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Universal House of Justice recently commissioned the translation into

258.1 English of two of the important works of Bahá'u'lláh, namely, the Long Healing Prayer and His Tablet entitled "Qad-Ihtaraqa'l-Mukhlisun," known to many in the West as the "Fire Tablet." These translations have now been checked and approved, and a COPY Of each is enclosed., The Universal House of Justice leaves it entirely to your discretion to determine how these two works may be shared with the friends under your jurisdiction. There is no objection to their inclusion in prayer books published by National Spiritual Assemblies.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

258-1. Both prayers are published in BF, pp. 91-99, 114-20.


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259 Arrest of National Spiritual Assembly of Iran and Two Auxiliary Board Members 24 AUGUST 1980 To selected National Spiritual Assemblies 259.1

WITH HEARTS BURNING INDIGNATION DISTRESS ANNOUNCE ALL MEMBERS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IRAN TOGETHER WITH TWO AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBERS FORCIBLY AND PEREMPTORILY TAKEN FROM MEETING IN PRIVATE HOME ON EVENING 21 AUGUST TO UNKNOWN DESTINATION. VIEWING RISING TIDE PERSECUTIONS STEADFAST HEROIC LEADERS HARASSED COMMUNITY HAD ALREADY ANTICIPATED POSSIBILITY SUCH AN UNWARRANTED ACTION AND HAD MADE ARRANGEMENTS FOR NINE ALTERNATIVE MEMBERS ASSUME RESPONSIBILITIES NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IN CASE THEY WERE UNABLE FUNCTION. NINE MEMBERS APPOINTED BODY NOW AT HELM DETERMINED DISCHARGE SACRED DUTIES FOLLOW IN FOOTSTEPS THEIR COURAGEOUS PREDECESSORS, REMINISCENT SPIRIT EVINCED UNDAUNTED HEROES FAITH DURING MEMORABLE EPISODE

BARFURCSH.' NEW NATIONAL ASSEMBLY TOGETHER WITH WIVES CLOSE RELATIVES ARRESTED FRIENDS 14AVE APPEALED AUTHORITIES FOR RELEASE LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS. THROUGH THEIR CONSTANCY AND VALOR PERSIAN FRIENDS HAVE ONCE AGAIN SET AN EXAMPLE OF SERVITUDE AT SACRED THRESHOLD WORTHY EMULATION ALL FRIENDS EVERY LAND PARTICULARLY THOSE PRIVILEGED SERVE ACTIVELY ON BAHA'I INSTITUTIONS. CALL ON FRIENDS EVERYWHERE JOIN US IN FERVENT PRAYERS THAT SELF-SACRIFICING PERSIAN BRETHREN MAY AT LAST YIELD GOLDEN FRUIT THEIR RELEASE FROM YOKE TRIBULATION OPPRESSION SO NOBLY BORNE IN PATH HIS LOVE MORE THAN ONE CENTURY... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 259-1. In 1848 Mulla Husayn set out with a company of Babis for the province of Mazindaran to rescue Quddus, a Letter of the Living who was being held in the town of Sid. Nabil reports in The Dawn-Breakers (pp. 337-38) that, after a skirmish with the citizens of Barfurush that ended with the villagers begging for peace, Mulla Husayn and his companions proceeded to the caravansary. Detecting signs of continued hostility, Mulla Husayn had the gates of the inn closed. As evening approached, he asked whether any of his companions was willing to arise and renounce his life for the sake of the Faith by ascending to the roof of the caravansary to sound the call to prayer. A youth gladly responded. No sooner had he uttered the opening words of a prayer than a bullet struck and killed him. Another youth arose, and, in the same spirit, proceeded with the prayer. He, too, was struck down by an enemy bullet. A third youth attempted to complete the unfinished prayer; but he, too, suffered the same fare as he neared the end of the prayer.


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260 Another False Accusation against the Iranian Bahá'ís 25 AUGUST 1980 To selected National Spiritual Assemblies SUBSEQUENT ARREST ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IRAN AND TWO

260.1 AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBERS OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT JUST RELEASED THROUGH MASS MEDIA IRAN ACCUSES LEADERS Bahá'í COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT IN RECENTLY ATTEMPTED COUP THIS FALSE ACCUSATION ANOTHER EVIDENCE DELIBERATE SCHEME AUTHORITIES ELIMINATE BAHA'I COMMUNITY AND ITS INSTITUTIONS IN LAND ITS ORIGIN.... ASSURE YOU PRAYERS SUCCESS

EFFORTS ALLEVIATE SUFFERINGS OPPRESSED

260.2 BRETHREN IRAN. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 261 Martyrdom of Seven Bahá'ís in Yazd 9 SEPTEMBER 1980 To National Spiritual Assemblies

ANNOUNCE WITH DEEP SORROW HEARTRENDING NEWS MARTYRDOM ON MORNING

261.1 MONDAY SEPTEMBER EIGHT IN YAZD SEVEN DEVOTED STEADFAST BELIEVERS TWO OF WHOM WERE AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBERS AND FIVE PROMINENT Bahá'ís YAZD INCLUDING ONE SEVENTY-EIGHT YEAR OLD BELIEVER. LOCAL REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS WHO PERPETRATED THIS DASTARDLY ACT CHARGED INNOCENT FRIENDS ON LOCAL RADIO WITH FALSE IMPUTATIONS SUCH AS SPYING AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES. THIS EPISODE WILL GO DOWN IN HISTORY AS ANOTHER EVIDENCE PATIENCE LONG-SUFFERING INNOCENT PERSIAN BRETHREN IN FACE OF UNABATED HATREDIVIRULENT MALICE INVETERATE ENEMIES FAITH.... NAMES MARTYRS AS FOLLOWS:

261.2 Azizu'llah DHABIHIYAN FIRAYDUN FARIDANI NURU'LLAH AKHTAR-KHAVARI JALAL MUSTAQIM MAHMUD HASANZADIH ALI MUTAHHARI 'ABDU'L-VAHHAB KAZIMI-MANSHADI.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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262 Defense of the Bahá'ís of Iran in Le Monde II SEPTEMBER 1980

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

262.1 The Universal House of Justice has asked us to convey to you the following

262.2 An official statement published in Iran in the columns of newspapers of nationwide circulation charges that those executed [the seven martyrs of Yazd], were guilty of spying and subversion and denounces the Local Spiritual Assembly of Yazd as an instrument of espionage. These accusations are nothing but downright falsehood

262.3 Recently the world press has carried several excellent articles written by fair-minded and well-known non-Bahá'í writers in support of our beloved Faith. Le Monde of Paris in its 29 August issue published a remarkable article earnestly defending the Bahá'í community in Iran. The Universal House of Justice has asked us to send you a copy of the article in French, with a translation of its text into English, for your information and use in any manner you deem advisable.

262.4 The situation of the friends in Iran is perilous. The total number of believers imprisoned in the country has exceeded sixty. The friends have no refuge save their trust in Bahá'u'lláh. We must steadfastly continue to cling to the Hem of His Garment, fervently pray for the alleviation of the sufferings of our oppressed brethren, resolutely arise to win victories in His name, and be confident that the promised deliverance of the Faith of God from the shackles of blind orthodoxy will, in the fullness of time, be fully realized with the aid of His invisible hosts and as decreed by His invincible Will.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

The Bahá'ís: An Accursed Community' 262.5The Iranian press is still silent concerning the arrest, on 21st August last, of the nine

members of the supreme governing body of the Bahá'í community, "the National Spiritual Assembly' (Le Monde of 28th August). No one knows who proceeded to arrest them, except that it was a group of armed men "claiming authority," who took refuge in pregnant silence. Nothing is known, either, of the place of their confinement. Neither President Bani-Sadr, 262-i. See the preceding cable dated 9 September 1980 (message no. 261). 262-2. Translation of an article in Le Monde, 29 August 1980, p. 6.


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nor the Attorney-General, Ayatollah Ghodoussi, could, or would,

reply to the anguished appeals of the families and co-religionists of the nine persons. Accused of "Plotting against the security of the State," they are in danger 262.6 of execution. In accordance with the procedure of the "Islamic revolutionary tribunals," the arraignment and the trial will take place in camera without the presence of an advocate; the verdict could be pronounced and executed before even the Attorney General is informed. Thousands of "counterrevolutionaries" are no doubt in the same situation.

262.7 But the situation of the Bahá'ís is, in general, far more grave inasmuch as the repression falls not only on individuals who could have been guilty of subversive activities, but on an entire group of people who lack the benefit of any legal protection. In the eyes of the Constitution, indeed, the Bahá'ís . . . do not exist. Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, although far less numerous than the followers of this humanist religion, are mentioned in the fundamental law and benefit from all the rights accorded to other citizens of Muslim faith, including that of being represented in Parliament.

262.8 Thus some three hundred thousand Bahá'ís have been reduced to the condition of pariahs., The anarchy produced by the revolution-which was in principle directed against imperial autocracy and foreign

domination-has favored the unleashing of the fanaticism, not of the population, but of ultraconservative religious organizations like the brotherhood of the Tablighat-i-Islami (an Islamic propaganda group), who already under the monarchy were conducting persecutions with the active collaboration of SAVAK. Since the installation of the Republic a score of Bahá'í Holy Places have been destroyed or confiscated by the local authorities; centers of worship in eighty towns and villages have been destroyed or burned down; some forty cemeteries have been profaned and in most cases confiscated; museums, shops, or places of business belonging to Bahá'ís have been attacked or looted in more than three hundred and eighty urban or rural

settlements, according to a report compiled two months ago by the National Spiritual Assembly of the community.

262.9 The high authorities of the Republic would find it difficult to exonerate themselves from all responsibility for these collective crimes. Not one of them, as far as is known, has explicitly condemned them. Worse, the Revolutionary Council, on which, moreover, some "liberals" are

represented, decreed last winter (see the daily Etelaat Of 20th

December) that the army must expel from its ranks all persons who do not belong to one of the four "official" religions of the State

(Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian). Following this, in addition to the officers and soldiers, civil servants, employees of nationalized industries, University professors and teachers have been dismissed from one day to the next without any indemnity or pension. Again by order of the government, Bahá'í places of worship in several cities, notably in Tehran and Mashhad, have been converted into "free Islamic Universities."


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262.10 The Bahá'í's are denounced as "heretics," as "renegades" from Islam, because the Founders of their religion, in the last century, were for the most part, Persian Muslims, because their Prophet, the Bab (1819-1850) had the misfortune to be born after Muhammad, who is considered to be the last Messenger of God. However, the millions of Bahá'ís scattered today in some eighty-eight thousand localities across the five continents are neither of Persian origin nor are they Muslim converts. Beyond this, the Bahá'í Faith recognizes and respects Islam.

262.11 However, the persecutors have "refined" their accusations by "politicizing" them. The Bahá'ís, according to them, are "agents of Israel" because the World Center of the community is situated in Haifa. But the seat was established in that city in 1868, almost a century before the foundation of the Jewish State.

262.12 The Bahá'ís, it is said again, were 'supporters of the regime and of SAVAK!" Yet they refused-in face of demands of the Shah-to join the single Rastakhiz party, in spite of the pogroms organized against them by SAVAK, notably in 1955 and in 1963 .3 In the last months of the monarchy the agents of the secret police had caused some three hundred houses belonging to Bahá'ís to be burnt. In accordance with their teachings, the Bahá'ís are required to be obedient to the established authority, whatever it may be, and refuse-under pain of being expelled from the community-to involve themselves in any activity or to accept any office of a political nature. This shows how absurd appears the accusation of "Plotting against the security of the State" formulated against the nine elected members of the supreme body of the community in Iran.

262.13 They knew that they were in danger. They could, like so many others, have chosen exile. As one of them said to us recently, they had nevertheless decided 11 to remain at the side of our fellow believers in distress." Their fidelity can cost them their lives. But who, in Iran or abroad, will have the courage or the wish to intervene in favor of a community accursed among all others? -Eric Rouleau 262-3. The Rastakhiz (Resurrection) Party, formed in 1975 by the Shah, was the only government-authorized political party. In the face of government pressure on all citizens to join the party, Bahá'ís

refused because of the Bahá'í principle of political noninvolvement. In 1955 a wave of persecution engulfed the Iranian BAD community. A Muslim cleric, Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Falsafi preached sermons at his mosque in Tehran and over the radio during the month of Ramekin (fasting). As a result of the anti-Bahá'í fervor he aroused, private homes, businesses, and Bahá'í institutions were plundered, cemeteries were desecrated and corpses disinterred, and mobs conducted an orgy of murder, rape, and pillage. The House of the Bab in Shiraz was partly demolished, and the Bahá'í National Center in Tehran was taken over by members of the police, army, and clergy. Its imposing dome was ripped to pieces. Bahá'ís were again singled out for attack in 1963 during antigovernment demonstrations.


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263 Worldwide Response to Iranian Persecutions 23 SEPTEMBER 1980 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

MEMBERS VENERABLE COMMUNITY OF BAHA'U'LLAH'S FOLLOWERS IN HIS NATIVE 263 LAND ARE FACING IN UTMOST NOBILITY HEROISM AND IN TRADITION THEIR ILLUSTRIOUS FOREBEARS ORDEALS SEVERITY OF WHICH IS REMINISCENT OF FEROCITY PERSECUTIONS HEROIC AGE OUR FAITH. INNOCENT BLOOD THEY ARE SHEDDING ALTAR SACRIFICE, INTENSE SUFFERINGS THEY ARE SERENELY BEARING IN LOVE HIS PATH ARE RELEASING SPIRITUAL ENERGIES WHICH ARE ACCELERATING MOMENTUM PROGRESS FAITH OPENING UP NEW HORIZONS AS IT IRRESISTIBLY FORGES AHEAD TOWARDS ITS ULTIMATE DESTINY. UNITED NATIONS SUBCOMMISSION ON PREVENTION DISCRIMINATION PROTECTION MINORITIES MEETING IN GENEVA FOLLOWING PRESENTATION MADE BY REPRESENTATIVE BAHA'I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY DISCUSSED APPROVED ON 10 SEPTEMBER RESOLUTION EXPRESSING PROFOUND CONCERN OVER SAFETY

Bahá'ís IRAN AND REQUESTING UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL CONVEY THIS CONCERN TO AUTHORITIES IRAN AND CALL ON THEM PROTECT FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS Bahá'í COMMUNITY. EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT MEETING IN STRASBOURG AND COMPRISING OVER 400

263.3 MEMBERS UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTED ON SEPTEMBER 19 HISTORIC RESOLUTION WHICH DENOUNCES SYSTEMATIC

CAMPAIGN PERSECUTION IRANIAN BAHA'IS AND VIOLATION THEIR ELEMENTARY HUMAN RIGHTS, CALLS UPON GOVERNMENT IRAN GRANT Bahá'í COMMUNITY LEGAL RECOGNITION AND PROTECTION, AND UPON FOREIGN MINISTERS EUROPEAN

COMMUNITIES MAKE URGENT PRESENTATIONS TO IRANIAN AUTHORITIES CEASE PERSECUTION Bahá'ís ALLOWING THEM PRACTICE THEIR RELIGION FREELY AND ENJOY FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS, AND REQUESTS MEMBER STATES IMPOSE EMBARGO ON ALL SALES OF SUBSIDIZED SURPLUS AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS TO IRAN UNTIL FULL HUMAN RIGHTS ARE RESTORED TO IRANIAN CITIZENS. THIS REMARKABLE DOCUMENT ENDS WITH STATEMENT T14AT EVIDENCE SUGGESTS ARRESTS EXECUTIONS OF BAHA'IS ARE CONTINUING AND INCREASING ACCORDING TO PREARRANGED PLAN AND ONLY SPEEDY RESPONSE BY EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT CAN STOP THESE DEVELOPMENTS. REPORTS RECEIVED FROM ALL CONTINENTS ELOQUENTLY BEAR TESTIMONY TO

263.4 SENSE OF UNITY FELT BY FRIENDS EVERYWHERE IN FACE DEPRIVATIONS THEIR PERSIAN BRETHREN, GENEROUS OFFERINGS OF TIME, EFFORT, AND RESOURCES IN MEMORY MARTYRS AND ON BEHALF OF IMPRISONED FRIENDS, AMONG WHOM ARE A COUNSELOR, AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBERS, ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY AS WELL AS MEMBERS SEVERAL LOCAL ASSEMBLIES. THESE AFFLICTIONS HAVE ENABLED FRIENDS IN MOST COUNTRIES WORLD OVER PROCLAIM FAITH TO HIGHEST OFFICIALS THEIR COUNTRY AND NOISE ABROAD ITS TEACHINGS THROUGH MASS MEDIA. COUNTLESS PLEDGES OF LOYALTY AND OF RENEWED


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DEDICATION HAVE BEEN MADE TO SHOW IN THE DAYS AHEAD GREATER SOLIDARITY AUDACITY ACHIEVE MORE STIRRING VICTORIES FOR GOD'S HOLY FAITH. ALREADY DURING PAST SEVERAL WEEKS IN ONE COUNTRY LATIN AMERICA NUMBER BELIEVERS HAS MORE THAN DOUBLED RESULT EFFORTS INSPIRED BLOOD INNOCENT MARTYRS. LET MEN OF VALOR IN OTHER COUNTRIES FOLLOW IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS.

263.5 CALL ON FRIENDS EVERYWHERE JOIN US IN PRAYERS THANKSGIVING FOR THESE VICTORIES WORTHY RESPONSES OF BAHA'I COMMUNITY TO BITTER PERSECUTIONS BEING METED OUT ITS FOLLOWERS IN NATIVE LAND BAHA'U'LLAH. URGE ALL FRIENDS CONTINUE THEIR SUPPLICATIONS TO HIM THAT UNYIELDING INTRANSIGENT ATTITUDE OF IRANIAN AUTHORITIES TOWARD Bahá'ís MAY BE TRANSMUTED INTO CONFIDENCE IN AND GOODWILL TOWARDS PEACE-LOVING, LAW-ABIDING MEMBERS PRESENTLY PROSCRIBED COMMUNITY UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 264 Property Acquisitions in the Holy Land 24 SEPTEMBER 1980

To the Bahá'ís of the World

264.1 WITH HEARTS BRIMMING WITH GRATITUDE FOR BOUNTIFUL CONFIRMATIONS BLESSED BEAUTY ANNOUNCE FOLLOWING RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS HOLY LAND:

264.2 IN Bahji JUST ACQUIRED STRIP OF LAND 13,150 SQUARE METERS IN AREA BORDERING DRIVEWAY FROM WESTERN GATE BAHA'I PROPERTY AREA ACQUIRED ADJACENT TO AND SOUTH OF PRESENT BOUNDARY OLIVE GROVE ENABLES SOUTHWEST QUADRANT GARDENS SURROUNDING MOST HOLY SHRINE BE COMPLETED. THIS ACQUISITION WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY EXCHANGE AGAINST PROPERTY ON MAIN ROAD TO NAZARETH DONATED WORLD CENTER BY DESCENDANTS LATE HUSAYN BAQIR KASHANI.

264.3 ALSO PURCHASED NEARLY 50,000 SQUARE METERS AGRICULTURAL LAND ADJACENT TO AND NORTH OF MAZRA!IH PROPERTY AS PROTECTION TO MANSION IN RAPIDLY DEVELOPING AREA.

264.4 SHIPMENT OVER 1,000 PIECES COMPRISING 120 CUBIC METERS KATRINA CEDAR WOOD FROM TURKEY JUST CLEARED FROM HAIFA PORT FOR USE RESTORATION HOUSE ABDU'LLAH PASHA IN AKKA. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 46-2 1979-1986 - THE SEVEN YEAR PLAN


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265 Passing of Leonora Stirling Armstrong, Spiritual Mother of South America 20 OCTOBER 1980

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'í's of Brazil HEARTS SADDENED PASSING DISTINGUISHED COUNSELOR LEONORA STIRLING

265.1 ARMSTRONG, HERALD OF THE KINGDOM, BELOVED HANDMAIDEN ABDU'L-BAHA, SPIRITUAL MOTHER SOUTH AMERICA. HER SIXTY YEARS VALIANT DEVOTED SERVICES CAUSE BRAZIL SHEDS LUSTER ANNALS FAITH THAT PROMISING LAND. REQUESTING MEMORIAL SERVICES Mashriqu'l-Adhkar WILMETTE PANAMA URGE ALL COMMUNITIES BRAZIL LIKEWISE HOLD SERVICES. OFFERING ARDENT

SUPPLICATIONS MOST HOLY SHRINE PROGRESS HER RADIANT SPIRIT ABHA

KINGDOM. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 26 Attendance of the Members of a Spiritual Assembly at Its Meetings 26 OCTOBER 1980 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

... The attached compilation on the importance of participation in meetings of a National Spiritual Assembly by its entire membership has been prepared to assist members of these divinely ordained bodies to understand the nature and importance of the responsibilities they must assume when they are elected by their fellow believers., The House of Justice requests that every member of your Assembly be provided with a copy of this compilation, and that it be the subject of prayerful consultation at an early meeting of your Assembly. Many of the passages included in the compilation apply equally to Local

266.2 Spiritual Assemblies.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

265-1. For an account of the life and services of Leonora Stirling Armstrong, see BW 18:733-38. 2,66-1. The compilation is too lengthy to include in this volume.


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267 Further Development of the Continental Boards of Counselors 3 NOVEMBER 1980

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

267.1 One of the greatest sources of consolation for the Universal House of Justice amid the tribulations of the past twelve years, has been the establishment and growth of the Continental Boards of Counselors, and the assistance that this institution has been rendering, in ever-increasing measure, to the sound development of the worldwide Bahá'í community. We cannot pay too high a tribute to the indefatigable labors of the devoted souls who have been called upon to shoulder this onerous responsibility, and who have followed with such fidelity the path of self-sacrificing service that has been blazed for them by the beloved Hands of the Cause of God.

267.2 In June 1979 we were moved to announce that the duration of the terms of office of Continental Counselors would be five years, to start on the Day of the Covenant of this year., As this date approaches, we have decided that the time is ripe for a further step in the development of the institution itself that will, at one and the same time, accord greater discretion and freedom of action to the Continental Boards of Counselors in the carrying out of their duties, and widen the scope of each Board to embrace an entire continent. In accordance with this decision, the zones of the Continental Boards of Counselors will, from the Day of the Covenant of the year 137 2 (26 November 1980), be as follows:

1. Africa, comprising the areas of the four present zones of that continent.

2. The Americas, comprising the present zones of North, Central and South America.

3. Asia, comprising the present zones of Western, South Central and Southeastern Asia, together with the present zone of Northeastern Asia without the Hawaiian Islands and Micronesia.

4. Australasia, comprising the present zone of Australasia plus the Hawaiian Islands and Micronesia.

5. Europe.

267.3 Those who are now appointed as Counselors to serve on these Continental Boards for the next five years are: 267-1- See message no. 229. The five-year terms were to begin on 26 November 1980. 267-2. Of the Bahá'í Era.


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Africa: Dr. Hushang Ahdieh (Trustee of the Continental Fund), Mr. 267.3. Husayn Ardikani, Mr. Friday Ekpe, Mr. Oloro Epyeru, Mr. Shidan Fat'he-Aazam, Mr. Zekrullah Kazemi, Mr. Muhammad Kebdani, Mrs. Thelma Khelghati, Mr. William Masehla, Mr. Muhammad Mustafa, Mr. Kolonario Oule, Mrs. Isobel Sabri Dr. Mihdi Samandari, Mr. Peter Vuyiya, Mrs. Bahiyyih Winckler. The Americas: Dr. Hidyatu'116h Ahmadiyyih, Dr. Farzam Arbab, Mrs.

267.3b Carmen de Burafato, Mr. Athos Costas, Mr. Angus Cowan, Mr. Lloyd Gardner (Trustee of the Continental Fund), Mr. Mas'ud Khamsi, Mrs. Lauretta King, Mr. Artemus; Lamb, Mr. Peter McLaren, Mr. Raul Pavon, Dr. Sarah Pereira, Mrs. Ruth Pringle, Mr. Fred Schechter, Mrs. Velma Sherrill, Mr. Donald Witzel. Asia: Mr. Burhini'd-Din Afshin, Mrs. Shirin Boman, Dr. Masih Farhangi, Dr. John Fozdar, Mr. Zabihu'llah Gulmuhammadi, Mr. Aydin Gilney, Mr. Dipchand Khianra, Mr. Ruhu'llah Mumtaz, Mr. S. Nagaratnam, Mr. Khudirahm Payman (Trustee of the Continental Fund), Mr. Manuchihr Salmanpur, Mr. Vicente Samaniego, Mrs. Zena Sorabjee, Dr. Chellie Sundram, Mr. Hideya

Suzuki, Mr. Yan Kee Leong. Australasia: Mr. Suhayl 'Ali'i, Mr. Ben Ayala, Mr. Owen Battrick 267.3d (Trustee of the Continental Fund), Mr. Richard Benson, Mrs. Tinai Hancock, Dr. Peter Khan, Mr. Lisiate Maka. Europe: Mr. Erik Blumenthal, Mrs. Dorothy Ferraby, Dr. Agnes Ghaznavi, Mr. Hartmut Grossmann, Mr. Louis H6nuzet (Trustee of the Continental Fund), Mrs. Ursula Muhlschlegel, Dr. Leo Niederreiter, Mrs. Betty Reed, Mr. Adib Taherzadeh. A number of friends who have rendered highly valued services as Counselors are not being reappointed for the coming term, and we wish to express here our profound gratitude for the devoted labors they have rendered and are rendering in the path of the Cause. These dearly loved believers are: Mr. Seewoosumbur-jeehoba Appa, Dr. Iraj Ayman, Mr. Rowland Estall, 267.4. Mr. Howard Harwood, Miss Violet Hoehnke, Mrs. Salisa Kermani, Mr. Paul Lucas, Miss Elena Marsella, Mr. Alfred Osborne, Miss Thelma Perks, Mr. Hadi Rahmani, Mr. 'Iman Siberian, Miss Edna True. Henceforth the Board of Counselors in each continent will have wider discretion to decide such matters as whether to divide its area into zones, and what the boundaries of such zones should be, the number and location of the Board's offices, and the manner in which the members of the Auxiliary Boards will report to and operate under the Counselors. The principles and policies


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governing the operation of the Continental Boards of Counselors, however, and their relationships with the National and Local Spiritual Assemblies and the individual believers will remain unchanged. As the Bahá'í world experiences the manifold interactions of these two vital and complementary arms of the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh, the unique benefits of this divinely ordained System become ever more apparent. The harmonious interaction and the proper discharge of the duties of these institutions representing the rulers and the learned among the people of Baha is the essential basis at this time for the protection of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh and the fulfillment of its God-given mandate.3

267.6 Events of the most profound significance are taking place in the world. The river of human history is flowing at a bewildering speed. Age-old institutions are collapsing. Traditional ways are being forgotten, and newly born ideologies which were fondly expected to take their place, are withering and decaying before the eyes of their disillusioned adherents. Amidst this decay and disruption, assailed from every side by the turmoil of the age, the Order of Bahá'u'lláh, unshakably founded on the Word of God, protected by the shield of the Covenant and assisted by the hosts of the Concourse on High, is rising in every part of the world.

267.7 Every institution of this divinely created Order is one more refuge for a distraught populace; every soul illumined by the light of the sacred Message is one more link in the oneness of mankind, one more servant ministering to the needs of an ailing world. Even should the Bahá'í communities, in the years immediately ahead, be cut off from the World Center or from one another as some already have been-the Bahá'ís will neither halt nor hesitate; they will continue to pursue their objectives, guided by their Spiritual Assemblies and led by the Counselors, the members of the Auxiliary Boards and their assistants. It is our prayer at the Sacred Threshold that the new and challenging development now taking place in the evolution of the institution of the Counselors will release great energies for the advancement of the Cause of God in every land.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

267-3. For an elucidation of the roles of the rulers and the learned, see message no. iii.


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268 Martyrdom of Rida' Firuzi in Tabriz; Uncertainty of Whereabouts of National Assembly Members LI NOVEMBER 1980 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

SORROWFUL NEWS JUST RECEIVED ANOTHER BELIEVER RIDA Firuzi MARTYRED

268.1 Tabriz 9 NOVEMBER, NEWS ITEM ISSUED PARS NEWS AGENCY AND REUTERS' AND PUBLISHED IN TEHRAN PAPERS CHARGES HIM WITH BEING PROMINENT BAHA'I AND INFIDEL AND INCLUDES USUAL LIST TOTALLY UNFOUNDED ACCUSATIONS. WHEREABOUTS NINE MEMBERS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AND FEW OTHERS STILL UNCERTAIN. STRONG FEARS HARASSED COMMUNITY ONCE AGAIN FACING AFTER BRIEF LULL FRESH WAVE OPPRESSION LEADING TO SHAM TRIALS MERCILESS ATROCITIES.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 269 Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Abu'l-Qasim Faizi 20 NOVEMBER 1980 To all National Spiritual Assemblies HEARTS FILLED WITH SORROW PASSING INDEFATIGABLE SELF-SACRIFICING DEARLY

269.1 LOVED HAND CAUSE GOD ABU'L-QASIM FAIZI ENTIRE BAHA'I WORLD MOURNS HIS LOSS. HIS EARLY OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS IN CRADLE FAITH THROUGH EDUCATION CHILDREN YOUTH STIMULATION FRIENDS PROMOTION TEACHING WORK PROMPTED BELOVED GUARDIAN DESCRIBE HIM AS LUMINOUS DISTINGUISHED ACTIVE YOUTH. HIS SUBSEQUENT PIONEERING WORK IN LANDS BORDERING IRAN WON HIM APPELLATION SPIRITUAL CONQUEROR THOSE LANDS. FOLLOWING HIS APPOINTMENT HAND CAUSE HE PLAYED INVALUABLE PART WORK HANDS HOLY LAND TRAVELED WIDELY PENNED HIS LITERARY WORKS CONTINUED HIS EXTENSIVE INSPIRING CORRESPONDENCE WITH HIGH AND LOW YOUNG AND OLD UNTIL AFTER LONG ILLNESS HIS SOUL WAS RELEASED AND WINGED ITS FLIGHT ABHA KINGDOM. CALL ON FRIENDS EVERYWHERE HOLD BEFITTING MEMORIAL GATHERINGS HIS HONOR, INCLUDING SPECIAL COMMEMORATIVE MEETINGS HIS NAME 268-1. An international news service. 269-1. For an account of the life and services of Abu'l-Qasim Faizi, see BW 18:659-65.


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IN HOUSES WORSHIP ALL CONTINENTS. MAY HIS SHINING EXAMPLE CONSECRATION CONTINUE INSPIRE HIS ADMIRERS EVERY LAND. PRAYING HOLY SHRINES HIS NOBLE RADIANT SOUL MAY BE IMMERSED IN OCEAN DIVINE MERCY CONTINUE ITS UNINTERRUPTED PROGRESS IN INFINITE WORLDS BEYOND. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 270 Immolation of Bahá'í Couple in Nuk Village 8 DECEMBER 1980 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

270.1 On 1 December 1980 the Universal House of Justice cabled certain National Spiritual Assemblies as follows: WITH FEELINGS HORROR INDIGNATION INFORM YOU MARTYRDOM MUHAMMAD HUSAYN MAS'SUMI AND HIS WIFE BRUTALLY PUT TO DEATH 23RD NOVEMBER NUK VILLAGE NEAR BIRJAND IN KHURMAN. FIFTEEN MASKED MEN ATTACKED COUPLE THEIR HOME MIDDLE NIGHT FIRST POURED KEROSENE ON HUSBAND AND SET HIM ON FIRE THEN FORCED HIM RUN FEW METERS FINALLY HEAPED WOOD UPON HIM BURNING HIM TO DEATH. HIS WIFE SUBJECT SIMILAR TREATMENT DIED TWO DAYS LATER HOSPITAL. SO FAR THIS ATROCITY NOT REPORTED IN NEWS MEDIA. 270.2 . . . The Universal House of Justice calls on the friends in every land to continue to remember the oppressed friends of Iran in their prayers, supplicating Bahá'u'lláh to grant His divine aid and assist that persecuted

community to face the trials that God has ordained for them, in accordance with His inscrutable wisdom.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

270-1. Shikkar Nisa.


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271 Message to Counselors' Convocations on Five Continents 22 DECEMBER 1980 To gatherings of Counselors in all countries HAIL CONVOCATION IN ALL CONTINENTS FIVE GATHERINGS CONTINENTAL BOARDS

271.1 COUNSELORS ON MORROW THEIR APPOINTMENT FOR NEW TERM. GRATEFUL DIVINE BLESSINGS ENABLING THESE GATHERINGS BE GRACED BY PRESENCE HANDS CAUSE GOD WHO IN ACCORDANCE ABDU'L-BAHA'S WILL TESTAMENT WERE APPOINTED BY BELOVED GUARDIAN AND DESCRIBED BY HIM AS CHIEF STEWARDS BAHA'U'LLAH'S EMBRYONIC WORLD COMMONWEALTH.' INVESTED WITH DUAL FUNCTION DISTINGUISHING MEMBERS THAT AUGUST

271.2 INSTITUTION AND FOLLOWING IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS EACH NEWLY APPOINTED BOARD COUNSELORS IS CALLED UPON AMIDST TURMOIL PRESENT HOUR ASSUME WITH RENEWED VIGOR AND DETERMINATION UNDER GUIDANCE INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTER ITS VITAL DUTIES GUARD OVER SECURITY ENSURE PROPAGATION GOD'S FAITH IN CONSULTATION NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES WITHIN CONFINES ITS CONTINENT IN STRICT CONFORMITY PRINCIPLES OUTLINED BY GUARDIAN IN HIS CABLE TO BAHA'I WORLD DATED 4 JUNE 1

957.2 AS HE CLEARLY ENVISAGED THEN AND AS IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY APPARENT NOW SECURITY CAUSE PRESERVATION SPIRITUAL HEALTH COMMUNITY VITALITY FAITH INDIVIDUALS PROPER FUNCTIONING Bahá'í INSTITUTIONS FRUITION WORLDWIDE ENTERPRISES FULFILLMENT ULTIMATE DESTINY FAITH ALL DEPENDENT UPON BEFITTING DISCHARGE WEIGHTY RESPONSIBILITIES MEMBERS TWIN ARMS ADMINISTRATION.3 IF AT ANY TIME FOR ANY REASON COMMUNICATION WITH WORLD CENTER IS

271.3 CUT OFF IN FUTURE, COUNSELORS EACH CONTINENT SHOULD COLLECTIVELY INDIVIDUALLY ASSIST NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES ENSURE CONTINUATION NORMAL ADMINISTRATION FAITH BY THESE ASSEMBLIES WITHOUT INTERRUPTION UNTIL COMMUNICATIONS CAN BE RESTORED. FURTHERMORE IF IT SHOULD PROVE UNFEASIBLE AT END OF ANY FIVE YEAR TERM OF OFFICE FOR HOUSE JUSTICE TO REVIEW AND RENEW MEMBERSHIP CONTINENTAL BOARDS COUNSELORS, THESE BOARDS SHOULD CONTINUE IN OFFICE EVEN IF ONE OR MORE THEIR MEMBERS IS UNABLE FUNCTION, FAITHFULLY DISCHARGING THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES, UNTIL PROPITIOUS 271-1. See WT pp. 12-13, and MBW, p. 127271-2. See MBW, pp. 122-23. 271-3. These "twin arms" are

described in the Constitution of the Universal House of Justice as follows: "This Administrative Order consists, on the one hand, of a series of elected councils, universal, secondary and local, in which are vested legislative, executive and judicial powers over the Bahá'í community and, on the other, of eminent and devoted believers appointed for the specific purposes of protecting and propagating the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh under the guidance of the Head of that Faith." For an explanation of the roles of the two arms, see message no. iii.


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CONDITIONS PREVAIL FOR HOUSE JUSTICE CONSIDER APPOINTMENT SUCCESSORS. FERVENTLY PRAYING HOLY SHRINES GOD'S PRECIOUS FAITH MAY BE PROTECTED FROM ONSLAUGHT ITS ENEMIES WITHIN ITS ANTAGONISTS BOTH RELIGIOUS AND SECULAR WITHOUT, THAT MEMBERS RECONSTITUTED INSTITUTION COUNSELORS MAY BE RECIPIENTS FRESH MEASURE HEAVENLY CONFIRMATIONS AND THAT FIRST MEETINGS NOW CONVENED MAY LAY FIRM FOUNDATIONS FOR EFFICIENT OPERATION THIS ESSENTIAL ORGAN STEADILY UNFOLDING ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH. REQUEST COUNSELORS SHARE COPY THIS MESSAGE WITH ALL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES THEIR CONTINENT. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 272 Relationship between Husband and Wife 28 DECEMBER 1980 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of New Zealand

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

272.1 The Universal House of Justice has received your letter of 16 October 1980 enclosing a letter from the Spiritual Assembly of ... posing questions which have arisen as a result of reading the book When We Grow Up by Bahiyyih Nakhjavani, and it has instructed us to convey the following.

272.2 The House of Justice suggests that all statements in the Holy Writings concerning specific areas of the relationship between men and women should be considered in the light of the general principle of equality between the sexes that has been authoritatively and repeatedly enunciated in the Sacred Texts. In one of His Tablets 'Abdu'l-Bahá asserts: "In this divine age the bounties of God have encompassed the world of women. Equality of men and women, except in some negligible instances, has been fully and categorically announced. Distinctions have been utterly removed.", That men and women differ from one another in certain characteristics and functions is an inescapable fact of nature; the important thing is that 'Abdu'l-Bahá regards such inequalities as remain between the sexes as being "negligible."

272.3 The relationship between husband and wife must be viewed in the context of the Bahá'í ideal of family life. Bahá'u'lláh came to bring unity to the world, and a fundamental unity is that of the family. Therefore, one must believe that the Faith is intended to strengthen the family, not weaken it, and one of the keys to the strengthening of unity is loving consultation. The atmosphere within a Bahá'í family as within the community as a whole should express 272-1. From an unpublished Tablet.


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the keynote of the Cause of God" which, the beloved Guardian has stated, "is not dictatorial authority, but humble fellowship, not arbitrary power, but the spirit of frank and loving consultation." 2 A family, however, is a very special kind of "community." The Research

272.4 Department has not come across any statements which specifically name the father as responsible for the 'security, progress and unity of the family" as is stated in Bahiyyih Nakhjavani's book, but it can be inferred from a number of the responsibilities placed upon him, that the father can be regarded as the "head" of the family.3 The members of a family all have duties and responsibilities towards one another and to the family as a whole, and these duties and responsibilities vary from member to member because of their natural relationships. The parents have the inescapable duty to educate their children-but not vice versa; the children have the duty to obey their parents the parents do not obey the children; the mother-not the father-bears the children, nurses them in babyhood, and is thus their first educator; hence daughters have a prior right to education over sons and, as the Guardian's secretary has written on his behalf, "The task of bringing up a Bahá'í child, as emphasized time and again in Bahá'í Writings, is the chief responsibility of the mother, whose unique privilege is indeed to create in her home such conditions as would be most conducive to both his material and spiritual welfare and advancement. The training which a child first receives through his mother constitutes the strongest foundation for his future development . . ."4 A corollary of this responsibility of the mother is her right to be supported by her husband-a husband has no explicit right to be supported by his wife. This principle of the husband's responsibility to provide for and protect the family can be seen applied also in the law of intestacy which provides that the family's dwelling place passes, on the father's death, not to his widow, but to his eldest son; the son at the same time has the responsibility to care for his mother. It is in this context of mutual and complementary duties, and responsibilities that one should read the Tablet in which 'Abdu'l-Bahá gives the following exhortation: O Handmaids of the All-Sufficing God!

272.5a Exert yourselves, that haply ye may be enabled to acquire such virtues 272.5b as shall honor and distinguish you amongst all women. Of a surety, there is no greater pride and glory for a woman than to be a handmaid in God's Court of Grandeur; and the qualities that shall merit her this station are an alert and wakeful heart; a firm conviction of the unity of 272-2. BA, p. 63. 272-3. For a further discussion of the concept of the husband as the head of the family, see message no. 402. 272-4. See CC 1:303-04.


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God, the Peerless; a heartfelt love for all His maidservants; spotless purity and chastity; obedience to and consideration for her husband; attention to the education and nurturing of her children; composure, calmness, dignity and self-possession; diligence in praising God, and worshiping Him both night and day; constancy and firmness in His holy Covenant; and the utmost ardor, enthusiasm, and attachment to His Cause .... 5 272.5,:This exhortation to the utmost degree of spirituality and self-abnegation should not be read as a legal definition giving the husband absolute authority over his wife, for, in a letter written to an individual believer on 22 July 1943, the beloved Guardian's secretary wrote on his behalf 272.5d..................The Guardian, in his remarks about parents' and children's, wives' and husbands' relations in America, meant that there is a tendency in that country for children to be too independent of the wishes of their parents and lacking in the respect due to them. Also wives, in some cases, have a tendency to exert an unjust degree of domination over their husbands, which, of course, is not right, any more than that the husband should unjustly dominate his wife.

272.5e In any group, however loving the consultation, there are nevertheless points on which, from time to time, agreement cannot be reached. In a Spiritual Assembly this dilemma is resolved by a majority vote. There can, however, be no majority where only two parties are involved, as in the case of a husband and wife. There are, therefore, times when a wife should defer to her husband, and times when a husband should defer to his wife, but neither should ever unjustly dominate the other. In short, the relationship between husband and wife should be as held forth in the prayer revealed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá which is often read at Bahá'í weddings: "Verily, they are married in obedience to Thy command. Cause them to become the signs of harmony and unity until the end of tiMe.116

272.6 These are all relationships within the family, but there is a much wider sphere of relationships between men and women than in the home, and this too we should consider in the context of Bahá'í society, not in that of past or present social norms. For example, although the mother is the first educator of the child, and the most important formative influence in his development, the father also has the responsibility of educating his children, and this responsibility is so weighty that Bahá'u'lláh has stated that a father who fails to exercise it forfeits his rights of fatherhood. Similarly, although the primary responsibility for supporting the family financially is placed upon the husband, this 272-5. The quotation in the original letter has been replaced by this revised translation. 272-6. BP, P. 107.


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does not by any means imply that the place of woman is confined to the home. On the contrary, Abdu'l-Bahá has stated: In the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh, women are advancing side by side 272.6a with men. There is no area or instance where they will lag behind: they have equal rights with men, and will enter, in the future, into all branches of the administration of society. Such will be their elevation that, in every area of endeavor, they will occupy the highest levels in the human world .... 7 and again: So it will come to pass that when women participate fully and equally 272.6b in the affairs of the world, when they enter confidently and capably the great arena of laws and politics, war will cease; (The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 135) In the Tablet of the World, Bahá'u'lláh Himself has envisaged that women as 272.6c well as men would be breadwinners in stating: Everyone,

whether man or woman, should hand over to a trusted person 272.6d a portion of what he or she earneth through trade, agriculture or other occupation, for the training and education of children, to be spent for this purpose with the knowledge of the Trustees of the House of justice. (Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. go) A very important element in the attainment of such equality is Bahá'u'lláh's, provision that boys and girls must follow essentially the same curriculum in schools. It is hoped that the above explanations and comments will help the Local

272.7 Spiritual Assembly of to resolve the questions set forth in its letter.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

272-7. The quotation in the original letter, which was taken from Paris Talks, p. 182, has been replaced by this revised translation.


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273 Assassination of Dr. Manuchihr Hakim, Chairman of Iranian National Spiritual Assembly 13 JANUARY 1981 To National Spiritual Assemblies

273.1 PROFOUNDLY SHOCKED TRAGIC NEWS JUST RECEIVED OF ASSASSINATION IN HIS CLINIC OF PROFESSOR MANCCHIHR HAKIM DISTINGUISHED PHYSICIAN EMINENT PROFESSOR UNIVERSITY TEHRAN AND FOR SUCCESSIVE DECADES INTERMITTENTLY MEMBER CHAIRMAN NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY IRAN. SPIRIT COURAGE DEDICATION WITH WHICH THIS MOST RECENT MARTYR DISCHARGED SACRED RESPONSIBILITIES ON SUPREME NATIONAL BAHA'I INSTITUTION CRADLE FAITH WORTHY EMULATION BAHA'I ADMINISTRATORS AND FRIENDS EVERY LAND. DEEPLY DISTURBED THIS LATEST OMINOUS SIGN GATHERING CLOUDS FRESH CALAMITIES HARD-PRESSED FRIENDS IRAN UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 274 Events Related to the Execution of Dr. Manuchihr Hakim 30 JANUARY 1981

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

274.1 We have been asked by the Universal House of Justice to share with you the following comments about events related to the martyrdom of Professor Man6chihr Hakim, and the general situation as it affects the safety of our brethren in Iran.

274.2 The National Spiritual Assembly of Iran believes that ominous signs foreshadow an intensification of the persecution of the Bahá'ís, particularly since the release of the American hostages, and it fears that they will again become the target of their traditional adversaries who are presently in power.,

274.3 In reply to complaints from the Bahá'ís concerning the recent assassination of Professor Hakim, the authorities have insisted that the murderer is unknown to them, and they categorically deny any involvement in the case. 274-1. On 4 November 1979, seven months after the Islamic Republic was established, a mob surged over the wall of the United States Embassy compound in Tehran. Diplomatic and military personnel were held hostage until their release on 18 January 1981.


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It is very significant to note, however, that a few days after the assassination, the government officially produced documentation

authorizing the confiscation of Professor Hakim's house, and

officials went to that house, took an inventory of its furnishings, and sealed it on Wednesday, 14 January. A lawyer who was protecting the interests of the Hakim family objected to this action, saying that the house belonged to and was in the name of Mrs. Germaine Hakim.

274.4 On the next day about twenty Revolutionary guards entered the house and removed everything, including the car in the garage,

leaving the premises entirely bare! Many non-Bahá'ís in Iran have expressed sympathy to the Bahá'ís for the cruel death of Professor Hakim, who was renowned for his gentleness and his services to the community. Mrs.

274.5 Hakim has sent a number of cables of protest to Iran, but these have not thus far produced any favorable results. She is in Paris and has been advised to remain there since it is highly unsafe for her to return to Iran.

274.6 The National Spiritual Assembly is apprehensive about an official bill which is presently being drafted in the office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Raja'i. This bill, if passed, will prevent the employment of Bahá'ís by any government or quasi-government institution. A circular letter has already been issued to all branches of the government, instructing them to dismiss all Bahá'ís. When the Bahá'ís do not fill out the blank marked "religion" on employment forms, they are asked again to complete the form so that there will be reason for their dismissal, namely being Bahá'ís. It should be recalled that the dismissal of Bahá'ís took place previously on a large scale in the field of education, and at that time the Minister of Education was the present Prime Minister, Mr. Raja'i. A considerable number of dismissals also occurred in the Army, despite protests made by a cadre of officers in the Ministry of Defense.

274.7 The National Assembly also reports that a number of local mullahs are continuously instigating the populace against the Bahá'ís in their respective areas....

274.8 The Universal House of Justice will continue to keep you apprised from time to time of the latest developments concerning our beleaguered brethren in the Cradle of the Faith.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT


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275 Second Phase of the Seven Year Plan MARCH 1981

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

275.1 The successes of the initial phase of the Seven Year Plan are heartening evidence of the Divine care with which the growth of the Cause of God is so lovingly invigorated and sheltered. This still infant Cause, harassed and buffeted over these two years by relentless enemies, experiencing in swift succession a number of sharply contrasting crises and victories, surrounded by the increasing turmoil of a disintegrating world, has raised its banner, reinforced its foundations, and extended the range of its administrative institutions.

275.2 The resurgence of bitter and barbaric persecution of the Faith in the land of its birth, the passing to the Abha Kingdom of five Hands of the Cause of God, the darkening of the horizons of the world as the somber shadows of universal convulsions and chaos extinguish the lights of justice and order, are among the factors which have chiefly affected the conditions and fortunes of the worldwide army of God., The Bahá'ís in Iran

275.3 The Bahá'í community in the Cradle of the Faith, having witnessed the destruction of its holiest Shrine the sequestration of its Holy Places, confiscation of its endowments and even personal properties, the martyrdom of many of its adherents, the imprisonment and holding without trial or news of the members of its National Spiritual Assembly and other leading figures of its community, the deprivation of the means of livelihood, vilification and slander of its cherished tenets, has stood staunch as the Dawn-Breakers of old3 and emerged spiritually united and steadfast, the pride and inspiration of the entire Bahá'í world. In all continents of the globe, their example and hapless plight has led the friends to proclaim the Name of Bahá'u'lláh as never before, personally, locally, and through all the media of mass communication. The Bahá'í world community, acting through its representatives at the United 275-1. The resurging persecution of the Bahá'ís of Iran, the country in which the Bahá'í Faith originated, began in 198 and came into full force following the fall of the Shah on 17 January 1979 and the declaration of the Islamic Republic on i April 1979. For an overview of the situation, see messages no. 215, 227, 234, and 262. The five Hands of the Cause of God who died were Enoch Olinga (see message no. 237), Rahmatu'llah Muhajir (see message no. 243), Hasan M. Balyuzi (see message no. 247), Adelbert Muhlschlegel (see message no. 256), and Abu'l-Qasim Faizi (see message no. 269). 175-2. The House of the Bab in Shiraz. 275-3. The Babis and Bahá'ís of the early years of the Heroic Age who lived during the ministries of the Bab and Bahá'u'lláh.


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Nations and through its National Spiritual Assemblies, has brought to the attention of governments and world leaders in many spheres the tenets and character of the Faith of God. The world's parliaments, its federal councils, its humanitarian agencies have considered the Bahá'í Cause and in many instances have extended their support and expressed their sympathy.

275.4 In the midst of this time and energy-consuming activity on behalf of our beloved Persian brethren, the community of the Most Great Name, far from lessening its pursuit of the objectives of the initial phase of the Seven Year Plan, has promoted them with increasing vigor. Added to the burning desire of the friends everywhere to show their love for their brethren in Persia by teaching the Cause with redoubled fervor, has been the further inspiration to teach derived from the loss of the beloved Hands of the Cause, an inspiration which has been fostered by the travels of those dear Hands still able to extend this loving service to the believers.

275.5 Developments within the Faith during the First Phase The broadening, during this opening phase of the Seven Year Plan, of the foundations of the Boards of Counselors and the consolidation of the thirteen zonal Boards to five continental ones have greatly reinforced this vital institution of the Faith.

275.6 It has been further developed by the setting of a specified term of office for Continental Counselors, as was envisaged in the original appointments.4 Progress on the Seat of the Universal House of Justice and on the Temples of India and Samoa has continued. Six

new National Spiritual Assemblies will be formed during this Ridvan: two in Africa, that of South West Africa/ Namibia with its seat in Windhoek and that of Bophuthatswana with its seat in Mmabatho; three in the Americas, Bermuda with its seat in Hamilton, the Leeward

Islands with its seat in St. John's, Antigua, and the Windward

Islands with its seat in Kingstown, St. Vincent; one in the Pacific, namely that of Tuvalu with its seat in Funafuti; and the National Spiritual Assembly of Uganda will be reconstituted.

275.7 To those to be formed during the remainder of the Seven Year Plan, the following have been added: two in Africa, Equatorial Guinea with its seat in Malabo, Somalia with its seat in Mogadishu, and one in Asia, that of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with its seat in Port Blair. Increases in the total number of Local Spiritual Assemblies and localities have been registered during the opening phase, and Bahá'í communities in all parts of the world have demonstrated greater unity and maturity in their collective activities. 275-4. In a message dated 29 June 1979 (no. 229), the Universal House of Justice fixed the term at five years.


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The Second Phase of the Plan-1981-84 275.8The second phase of the Seven Year Plan, now opening, will last for three years and will be followed by the final phase of two years, ending at Ridvan 1986. The twenty-fifth anniversary of the passing of our beloved Guardian will occur during the second year of the second phase of the Plan and that same year will also witness the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf.5 The House of Justice plans to issue a compilation of letters to her and of statements about her by Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and the beloved Guardian, and of her own letters.6 Worldwide Goals for the Second Phase 275.9All National Spiritual Assemblies have been sent the goals assigned to their communities for the second phase, for the prosecution of which the Bahá'í world community now stands poised and ready. Among the major developments envisioned during this phase are: 275.9aOccupation by the Universal House of Justice of its permanent Seat on the slopes of Mount Carmel above the Arc;7 275.9bCompletion of the Temple in Samoa and continued progress on the work of the Temple in India;' 275.9cFurther development of the

functions of the International Teaching Center and the Boards of Counselors, with special reference to the promotion of the spiritual, intellectual, and social life of the Bahá'í community;9 275.9dThe holding, during the first nine months of 1982, of five international conferences, in Lagos, Nigeria; Montreal, Canada; Quito, Ecuador; Dublin, Ireland; and Manila, the Philippines, this last one taking place at the midpoint of an axis, referred to by the beloved Guardian, whose poles are Japan and Australia; 275.9ePreparation of architect's plans for the first dependency of the European Mashriqu'l-Adhkar namely, a Home for the Aged, and an increase in the number of national and local Haziratu'l-Quds; the latter, which will be particularly in rural areas, are to be acquired or built through the efforts of the local friends; 275-5. Shoghi Effendi died on 4 November 1957. The Greatest Holy Leaf died at 1:00 A.M. on 15 July 1932. 275-6. The book was published under the title Bahiyyih Khanum by the Bahá'í World Center in Haifa (1982). 275-7. For a discussion of the Arc, see the glossary. The Seat of the Universal House of Justice was occupied on 2 February 1983 (see

message no. 354). 275-8. The Bahá'í House of Worship in Samoa was dedicated on 1 September 1984 (see message no. 403); the Bahá'í House of Worship in India was dedicated 23-27 December 1986 (see message no. 452). 275-9. For the Universal House of Justice's messages announcing, establishing, elucidating, and expanding the duties of the International Teaching Center, see messages dated 21 June 1968 (no. 58), 5 June 1973 (no. 131), 8 June 1973 (no. 132), and 19 May 1983 (no. 361). 275-10.

275.91 The Bahá'í House of Worship at Langenhain, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


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Acquisition of six new Temple sites, five in Africa and one in Australasia; 275.9f and of five new national endowments, four in Africa and one in the Americas; Formation of two Publishing Trusts, one in the Ivory Coast and one in

275.9g Nigeria; A great increase in the production of Bahá'í literature in an increasing 275.9h number of languages, the ultimate aim being to enable every believer to have some portion of the Sacred Text available in his native tongue;

Completion of three more radio stations in South America; Great attention to the development and consolidation of Local Spiritual

275.9i Assemblies throughout the world; Development of Bahá'í community life with special attention to the Bahá'í 275.9k education of children and the spiritual enrichment of communities; The settlement Of 279 pioneers in 80 countries during the first year of the second phase. The Need for Increased Contributions to Bahá'í Funds Liberal and increased contributions to the various Funds of the Faith Will 275.10 be essential if the above-mentioned tasks are to be successfully pursued. Furthermore, the now observable emergence from obscurity of our beloved Faith will impose the necessity of new undertakings involving large calls on the Funds. The growing awareness of the friends throughout the world in the past few years that the Funds of the Faith are indeed the lifeblood of its activities is a heartening augury for the future. We are confident that this awareness will increase, that more National Spiritual Assemblies will make great strides towards financial independence, that national budgets will be met, and the Bahá'í International Fund will receive an ever-increasing outpouring of contributions enabling that Fund to keep pace with the ever-increasing international needs of the Faith.

275.11 A Spiritual Service Beloved friends, the world moves deeper into the heart of darkness as its old order is rolled up. Pursing our objectives with confidence, optimism, and an unshakable resolve, we must never forget that our service is a spiritual one. Mankind is dying for lack of true religion and this is what we have to offer to humanity. It is the love of God, manifest in the appearance of Bahá'u'lláh, which will feed the hungry souls of the world and eventually lead the peoples out of the present morass into the orderly, uplifting, and soul-inspiring task of establishing God's Kingdom on earth.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

275-11. Bahá'í radio stations were established in Peru (see message dated 29 November 198i, no. 304), Bolivia (see message dated 2 April 1984, no. 391), and Panama (see message dated 31 January 1986, no. 450). During the second phase of the Seven Year Plan a radio station was also established in the United States (see message no. 348).


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276 Return of the Hand of the Cause of God William Sears to Africa 4 MARCH 198i To all National Spiritual Assemblies

276, 1 AFRICA REJOICES RETURN HAND CAUSE WILLIAM SEARS FULFILLMENT PLEDGE MADE RECEIPT TRAGIC NEWS ASSASSINATION HAND CAUSE ENOCH OLINGA.' CONTINENT WHICH EARNED SUCH HIGH PRAISE BELOVED GUARDIAN AGAIN GRACED PRESENCE HAND. NOBLE ACTION ENRICHES RECORD HIS HISTORIC SERVICES. OFFERING ARDENT PRAYERS SACRED THRESHOLD GREAT NEW VICTORIES AFRICA. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 277 Execution of Two Bahá'ís in Shiraz 17 MARCH 1981 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

277.1 SORROWFUL NEWS JUST RECEIVED TWO BELIEVERS FROM ABADIH IMPRISONED SHIRAZ WERE EXECUTED MONDAY NIGHT 16 MARCH BY GOVERNMENT FIRING SQUAD SHIRAZ CHARGE LIST INCLUDES USUAL FALSE

IMPUTATIONS LEVELED AGAINST DEFENSELESS BELIEVERS.' NAMES THESE TWO VALIANT FRIENDS MIDHI ANVARI AND HIDAYATUTLAH DIHQANI ADDED LIST OTHER SELFLESS MARTYRS WHO WITH THEIR BLOOD HAVE TESTIFIED TRUTH GOD'S GLORIOUS REVELATION. OMINOUS SIGNS VISIBLE FURTHER AGGRAVATION PERILOUS SITUATION FACING BELEAGUERED PERSIAN COMMUNITY... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 276-1. For the announcement of Enoch Olinga's

assassination, see message dated 17 September 1979 (no. 237). 277-1. Two days later, 19 March 198i, the Universal House of Justice cabled fifty-four National Spiritual Assemblies, saying that the "verdict Shiraz court clearly indicates sentence based membership Bahá'í Faith engagement Bahá'í activities."


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278 Attendance of Bahá'ís from Rural Areas at International Conferences 30 MARCH 1981 To the National Spiritual Assemblies in Africa, Asia, Australasia, South and Central America

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Universal House of Justice wishes to stress the importance of encouraging as many believers as possible living in rural areas to attend the International Conferences, and to this end it is requesting the National Spiritual Assemblies of Nigeria, the Philippines and Ecuador to investigate the possibilities of providing inexpensive accommodation so that more will be able to attend. Cost of travel is another important item, and it is the hope of the Universal House of Justice that National Spiritual Assemblies can find ways to assist a number of indigenous believers to travel to the Conferences, as attendance could be considered as a part of the deepening program. National Assemblies should also start now to encourage believers to make plans to attend the Conference nearest them and to save money for their fares.

279.1 The

Universal House of Justice requests you to give this matter your urgent attention, and report to it the steps you are taking to implement the contents of this letter.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

279 Deployment of Pioneers and Traveling Teachers 16 APRIL 1981 To all Continental Pioneer Committees

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

As we enter the second phase of the Seven Year Plan, the Universal House of justice has given consideration to the vital role that Continental Pioneer Committees can and should increasingly play in helping to fulfill the pioneer goals that have been set, and in coordinating international traveling teaching projects. We have been asked to send you the following

comments. There is no doubt that closer collaboration of the Continental Pioneer

279.2 Committees with the Continental Boards of Counselors and with the National


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Spiritual Assemblies, both those supplying pioneers and travel teachers and those receiving them, will increase the number of pioneers effectively and expeditiously settled at their posts, and will improve the results of the labors of international traveling teachers. This collaboration should always be uppermost in the minds of each Continental Pioneer Committee, particularly its secretary, so that efforts are increasingly made to widen the scope of the relationships and to strengthen the ties which bind the Continental Pioneer Committees to the institutions which they are called upon to serve. Pioneers

279.3 In the message of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'í's of the world, intended to be read at the National Conventions, a call is raised for a total Of 279 pioneers to settle in 80 countries. A list of these countries is attached, showing the number to be settled in each.' The number of pioneers on this list is additional to those called for at the outset of the Plan. No assignment of specific quotas has been made to National Spiritual Assemblies, although it is generally expected that the National Spiritual Assemblies originally made responsible for sending pioneers to these countries will respond favorably to this new call and spontaneously feel the spiritual responsibility to fill the supplementary pioneer needs. It will be the duty of Pioneer

Committees to keep a close tally of pioneers settling in the countries named by the House of Justice, and to ensure, to the extent possible, that no goals remain unfilled. Traveling Teachers

279.4 Experience has shown that traveling teachers from abroad can be of tremendous assistance to the teaching work in the fields of proclamation, expansion, and consolidation. It is important that the best use possible be made of these friends who are sacrificing their time and resources to serve the Faith in foreign fields.

279.5 Care must also be taken that traveling teachers do not prove to be a burden on the receiving community, and a cause of problems. The two most frequently occurring problems caused by traveling teachers can, the House of Justice feels, be greatly reduced by prior advice and information provided by your Committees.

279.6 The first is the arrival in a country, in rapid succession, of foreign traveling

teachers who do not speak the language. Sometimes the net result is that the time of all the best local teachers (who may well be better teachers than the visitor) is occupied by translating for the traveler, and the community, instead of being helped and stimulated by visitors, is exhausted and becomes reluctant to accept future help. This can be avoided by proper advance planning and by explaining to both the Spiritual Assemblies and to the traveling 279-1. See message no. 275. The list referred to is too lengthy to include in this volume.


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teachers themselves, that the Assemblies should not feel obliged to provide assistance for a visitor who arrives without prior agreement, and that a teacher who arrives unannounced may well have to concentrate on doing his teaching work unaided and without burdening the local friends. The second problem occurs most frequently in countries such as those in

279.7 Africa, where there is entry by troops. In such countries it is comparatively easy to bring large numbers of new believers into the Faith, and this is such a thrilling experience that visiting teachers often tend to prefer to do this rather than help with the consolidation work. Yet it is in consolidation that traveling teachers from abroad can often be most useful to the community. The House of Justice believes that this problem can be eased by your Committees' impressing upon traveling teachers that they must adhere strictly to the guidance given to them by the teaching committees and Spiritual Assemblies on the spot, and subordinate their own wishes to the need to render their services in the fields where they are most urgently required. It should be pointed out that, especially if they are assigned to expansion work, they must remember that consolidation is an essential and inseparable element of teaching, and if they go to a remote area and enroll

believers whom no one is going to be able to visit again in the near future, they may well be doing a disservice to those people and to the Faith. To give people this glorious Message and then leave them in the lurch ' -produces disappointment and disillusionment, so that, when it does become possible to carry out properly planned teaching in that area, the teachers may well find the people resistant to the Message. The first teacher who was careless of consolidation, instead of planting and nourishing the seeds of faith has, in fact, "inoculated" the people against the Divine Message and made subsequent teaching very much harder. While the caveats given above should be carefully considered by the Continental Pioneer Committees, nothing should be done to dampen the zeal of the friends to arise in order to carry out the injunction of Bahá'u'lláh to move from place to place. Their desire to offer themselves as travel teachers should be encouraged by the Continental Pioneer Committees to the extent that this ties within their power, and when the friends have volunteered, they should be lovingly guided so that the maximum results are obtained from their visits.

279.9 International Conferences 1982 The Universal House of Justice has called International Conferences during the first nine months in 1982 in the following locations: Montreal, Canada; Quito, Ecuador; Dublin,

Ireland; Lagos, Nigeria; and Manila, Philippines. As soon as specific dates have been set, you will be notified. It is anticipated that many friends attending these Conferences will be able to undertake travel teaching assignments in connection with their travel to and from Conferences. The House of Justice has asked us to alert you to the opportunities, and to 279,10 request you to devise ways and means of encouraging such offers and of taking


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advantage of them, preferably by advance planning and routing of volunteers in consultation with the National Spiritual Assemblies of the countries they will visit. You should plan to have a representative of your Committee at the Conference nearest you to assist in the processing of pioneer offers and also in the routing of late traveling teacher offers. If it is not possible for a member of your Committee to attend, you may delegate another believer to represent you who, in such case, must be thoroughly briefed by you.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

280 Comments on Aspects of the Seven Year Plan 17 APRIL 1981 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

230.1 The message of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'ís of the world, dated March 1981, must have reached you by now, and, likewise, the specific message addressed to the Bahá'ís under your jurisdiction, outlining the goals of the second phase of the Seven Year Plan. The Universal House of Justice feels it is important that we share with you now, on its behalf, the following comments on certain aspects of the Plan. Each National Spiritual Assembly should be able to determine what portion of these comments is applicable to its work in the light of the goals it has been assigned. The Local Spiritual Assembly

280.2 As you note from statements of guidelines and goals, a great deal of emphasis has been placed on the activities of local communities. It is obvious that through the consolidation of the foundations of the Administrative Order on the local level, the national institutions of the Faith will receive support and strength in the conduct of their activities. In turn, the National Spiritual Assembly and its agencies should not only oversee the activities of the local communities, but it has the duty and privilege to coordinate the efforts and to stimulate and give direction to the spirit of enterprise and initiative of the individual friends. When a proper and balanced relationship is maintained between these two levels of Bahá'í activity, and a healthy interaction takes place between them, a foundation is laid for the community to become 'spiritually welded into a unit at once dynamic and coherent.", 280-i.

280.3 MBW, p. 140.


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The broad outlines of duties and functions of Local Spiritual Assemblies are set forth clearly in the instructions of Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi, and these instructions have already been sent to National Assemblies in the form of compilations .2 Similar statements have also been made by the Universal House of Justice, and these, too, have been shared with the friends. If any National Assembly does not have these compilations at hand, it should write to the World Center at once so that copies may be sent. Consolidation Consolidation is as vital a part of the teaching work as expansion.

280.4 It is that aspect of teaching which assists the believers to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the Teachings, and fans the flame of their devotion to Bahá'u'lláh and His Cause, so that they will, of their own volition, continue the process of their spiritual development,

promote the teaching work, and strengthen the functioning of their administrative institutions. Proper consolidation is essential to the preservation of the spiritual health of the community, to the protection of its interests, to the upholding of its good name, and ultimately to the continuation of the work of expansion itself. If a National Spiritual Assembly finds that its National Teaching Committee cannot devote sufficient attention to the work of consolidation, it should not hesitate to appoint, in addition,

special committees whose tasks would be the conduct of the various activities which are essential for consolidation. Activities falling within this category include the organization of circuits of traveling teachers skilled in consolidation work; the holding of summer and winter schools, weekend institutes and conferences; the initiation and operation of tutorial schools; the dissemination of Bahá'í literature and the encouragement of its study by the friends; and the organization of special courses and institutes for Local Spiritual Assembly members.

280.6 In the courses for Local Assembly members special attention should be paid to the significance of the Assembly and the importance of attending its meetings; the functions and duties of the Assembly's officers, especially those of the

secretary, upon the proper discharge of whose responsibilities the efficient functioning of the Assembly largely depends; the importance of making the Word of God easily accessible to the friends and of holding regular deepening classes where the Teachings can be studied and discussed; the vital necessity of prayer, and the value of holding gatherings for dawn prayers where and when feasible; the proper holding of Nineteen Day Feasts and the observance of Bahá'í Holy Days and anniversaries; the need to pay particular attention to the education of children; and the value of organizing social gatherings, such as picnics, encouraging the friends to associate together and with their non-Bahá'í friends in love and fragrance. 280-2. For the compilations referred to, see CC 2:29-38, 2:39-60.


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280.7 Consolidation activities promote the individual spiritual development of the friends, help to unite and strengthen Bahá'í community life, establish new social patterns for the friends, and stimulate the teaching work. Bahá'í Literature

280.8 The question of making the Sacred Texts available to the friends is so important that the House of justice commissioned a special committee a year or so ago to prepare three compilations from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, the Bab, and 'Abdu'l-Bahá. These compilations have already been sent to all National Spiritual Assemblies for publication in vernacular

languages.3

280.9 Recently, the House of Justice instructed that a compilation in the form of a small booklet be prepared for use by the friends, especially in areas where literature is not easily available in print. A copy of this compilation, which consists of basic prayers and passages from the Writings, will soon be sent to you. It would be highly desirable for every believer to have easy access to at least a compilation of this type in a language he can understand, and it is sincerely hoped that by the reading of the Sacred Texts and the exposure of the believer's soul to their influence, his spiritual growth will be stimulated. He will thereby not only increase his own spiritual joy and understanding, but also contribute to the consolidation of the entire community.4 The Bahá'í Family

280.10 Another aspect of Bahá'í life emphasized in the provisions of the Seven Year Plan is the development of the Bahá'í family life. If the believer is the only one of his family who has embraced the Faith, it is his duty to endeavor to lead as many other family

members as possible to the light of divine guidance. As soon as a Bahá'í family unit emerges, the members should feel responsible for making the collective life of the family a spiritual reality, animated by divine love and inspired by the ennobling principles of the Faith. To achieve this purpose, the reading of the Sacred Writings and prayers should ideally become a daily family activity. As far as the teaching work is concerned, just as individuals are called upon to adopt teaching goals, the family itself could adopt its own goals. In this way the friends could make of their families strong healthy units, bright candles for the diffusion of the light of the Kingdom, and powerful centers to attract the heavenly confirmations. Recognition of the Faith

280.11 In the goals assigned to National Spiritual Assemblies, no specific reference has been made to goals for the recognition of the Bahá'í marriage certificate 280-3. The three compilations were published in one volume under the title Inspiring the Heart: Selections from the Writings of the Bab, Bahá'u'lláh and Abdu'l-Bahá by the Bahá'í Publishing Trust of the United Kingdom (n.d.). 280-4. The compilation was published under the title Words of God by the Bahá'í World Center (1981).


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and of Bahá'í Holy Days, for the incorporation of Local Spiritual Assemblies, or for the obtaining of exemptions from state and municipal taxes on Bahá'í properties. Conditions in every country differ, and it is the duty of every National Spiritual Assembly to consider carefully the means whereby it can continually increase the degree of recognition officially accorded to Bahá'í institutions. It is important that any accomplishments in this vital area be reported to the World Center when National Spiritual Assemblies submit their semi-annual statistical reports. The process of obtaining added recognition for the Faith can be stimulated 280-12 if National Assemblies give adequate attention in their work to the ever-present need to continually foster cordial relations with government officials. Many of these officials have but a scanty and sometimes faulty knowledge of the Faith, and there is no doubt that when they become familiar with our aims and tenets and are assured of their beneficent effect on their society, they will be well-disposed to accord the Faith and its institutions at least such rights and privileges as are given to other religious organizations in the country.

280.13 Mass Media The importance of mass media to Bahá'í proclamation has risen sharply in past years, and acutely so since the crisis in Iran. Mass media, and particularly radio, have proven to be potent instruments for the deepening of the friends and the promotion of the teaching work in mass teaching areas. Thus in the second phase of the Plan, 92 National Spiritual Assemblies have been given goals calling for increased use of the mass media. Countries not included in the list are those where the use of mass media for Bahá'í purposes is not permitted, or where the friends are already so actively engaged in such projects that they did not need the inclusion of such a goal in their assignments.

280.14 It is important for National Spiritual Assemblies generally to be aware that the use of mass media is becoming international in scope and that there is a need for National Spiritual Assemblies to share materials, methods, and experiences, and even personnel, in order to achieve best results.

280.15 In order to facilitate this exchange of information about the promotion Of the Bahá'í work through radio and television, as well as about the availability of audiovisual materials, the Universal House of Justice, as it has been announced already, has established the International Bahá'í Audio-Visual Center (IBAVC) now in Toronto, Canada. This Center can be called upon by National Spiritual Assemblies for program materials and for advice on personnel training.

280.16 Every National Spiritual Assembly engaged in the teaching work in rural areas, where means of communication are scarce, is strongly advised to consider the possibility of applying for radio time on the local radio station, provided the cost is not too high. It may be possible to obtain such time in certain areas free of charge, especially when such a privilege is given to other


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groups or religions, or when the radio station is anxious to fill its time with worthwhile and helpful programs.

280.17 The House of Justice feels that in countries where the doors of publicity are open to the friends, every effort should be made to make the most of the attention being drawn to the Faith by the present situation, and exploit fully the potential for enlisting large numbers under the banner of the Cause. Newsletters

280.18 The dissemination of Bahá'í news, local, national, and international, should be pursued with added vigor. Bahá'í newsletters should be issued regularly to the friends, however great the sacrifice, for news of Bahá'í activities in other communities has always been a source of encouragement and has given the friends a sense of belonging to a vital, growing, and united worldwide Bahá'í family.

280.19 In some areas, it may be found that more than one newsletter is necessary in order to reach all the friends with news about the work of the Faith. According to reports received at the World Center, a number of National Assemblies, in addition to issuing a national news bulletin, have made provisions for their Teaching Committees to issue regional or district newsletters in languages understood by the friends. Indeed, many a Local Spiritual Assembly has its own newsletter to ensure that

information about developments of the Cause can reach every believer. Marriages, Births, Burials

280.20 Local Spiritual Assemblies, which are embryonic Local Houses of justice, should develop as rallying centers of the community. They must concern themselves not only with teaching the Faith, with the development of the Bahá'í way of life and with the proper organization of the Bahá'í activities of their communities, but also with those crucial events which profoundly affect the life of all human beings: birth, marriage, and death. When a Bahá'í couple has a child it is a matter of joy to the whole local community as well as to the couple, and each Local Spiritual Assembly should be encouraged to keep a register of such births, issuing a birth certificate to the parents. Such a practice will foster the consolidation of the community and of the Assembly itself. Even if only one of the parents is a Bahá'í the Assembly could register the birth of the child, and upon application of the Bahá'í parent, issue the certificate.

280.21 The carrying out of the Bahá'í marriage laws, as given to the friends throughout the world, is a vital obligation of every believer who wishes to marry, and it is an important duty of every Local Spiritual Assembly to ensure that these laws are known to, and obeyed by, the believers within their jurisdiction, whether or not the Bahá'í marriage ceremony is recognized by civil law. Each Assembly, therefore, must conscientiously carry out its responsibilities


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in connection with the holding of Bahá'í marriage ceremonies, the recording of Bahá'í marriages in a register kept for this purpose, and the issuing of Bahá'í marriage certificates.

280.22 The burial of the dead is an occasion of great solemnity and importance, and while the conduct * of the funeral service and the arrangements for the interment may be left to the relatives of the deceased, the Local Spiritual Assembly has the responsibility for educating the believers in the essential requirements of the Bahá'í law of burial as at present applied, and in courteously and tactfully drawing these requirements to the attention of the relatives if there is any indication that they may fail to observe them. These requirements are: that the body not be cremated; that it not be transported more than an hour's

journey from the place of death to the place of burial; that the Prayer for the Dead be recited if the deceased is a Bahá'í of fifteen years of age or more; and that the funeral be carried out in a simple and dignified manner that would be a credit to the community.

280.23 In some parts of the world, if Local Spiritual Assemblies fail to carry Out these sacred duties, some believers might gradually drift away from the Faith and even pay dues to churches or other religious

organizations to ensure that, when they require to register the birth of a child, to solemnize a marriage or to have a funeral service, there will be a religious institution ready to perform the necessary services. Conversely, when Local Assemblies have arisen to carry out these responsibilities, the believers have acquired a sense of security and solidarity, and have become confident that in such

matters they can rely upon the agencies of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh.

280.24 Education of Children The House of Justice has noted with deep gratification the increased number of Local Spiritual Assemblies which are organizing Bahá'í classes for children. In order to make these classes effective, it is important to have a graduated system of lesson plans suited to different age groups. Usually, such material is prepared by each National Spiritual Assembly in the manner suited to its conditions. However, to assist National Assemblies in benefiting from the fruits of the labors of Bahá'ís in other countries, we have been asked to inform you that the National Spiritual Assemblies of Colombia, India, Malaysia, and the United States have reported the availability of literature prepared by them for this purpose. You should feel free to correspond with these National Spiritual Assemblies.

280.25 Regarding tutorial schools, some National Assemblies engaged in this activity have reported excellent results, which have helped both in the expansion work and in the consolidation of the Faith. A report on this type of activity has recently been received at the World Center, and a digest of the report is attached for the study of those National Assemblies who have been assigned this goal.


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Pioneers

280.26 Certain National Spiritual Assemblies have been assigned the goal of raising self-supporting homefront pioneers. This activity has great potential for the spread and consolidation of the Faith, and it is the hope of the House of Justice that this type of service will be encouraged in all national communities, including those which have not been given this goal.

280.27 In addition to homefront pioneers, there is a need for 279 pioneers to settle in 80 countries and islands of the world. A list of these pioneer needs is attached, and it is hoped that the required number of dedicated souls will arise to fill the posts that are in need of pioneer support.5 It is suggested that National

Assemblies keep in close touch with the Continental Pioneer Committees, who will be in a position to keep National Assemblies informed of progress towards these goals. Continental Pioneer Committees

280.28 Continental Pioneer Committees working in close collaboration with National Spiritual Assemblies are assuming greater importance as the work of the Faith unfolds on every continent. The House of Justice is writing to all Continental Pioneer Committees, outlining their added responsibilities in relation both to the newly formed Continental Boards of Counselors and the National Spiritual Assemblies. It is the hope of the House of Justice that the services of these important Continental Committees will in the future be made available to the friends with ever-greater effectiveness.

280.29 The Universal House of Justice has asked us to assure you of its prayers for the blessings of Bahá'u'lláh to confirm your efforts as you face the next three years with optimism and confidence, and respond to the challenging opportunities ahead with determination and vigor.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

Bahá'í Tutorial Schools: An Example (Summarized from a report received

concerning the functioning of such schools in a particular country) Special Conditions

280.30 The Bahá'í tutorial schools in this country are called "Bahá'í Educational Centers" to prevent confusion with the schools supported by the State and managed by the Department of National Education. They were established in part in response to the goal assigned during the last Plan, to deepen at least one person in each Bahá'í locality to assist in consolidating the community 280-5. The list is too lengthy to include in this volume.


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and the Local Spiritual Assemblies. This need was felt particularly because in many of the villages, Bahá'í activities take place only during visits from pioneers or other

visitors from the large cities.

280.31 Definition "The Bahá'í Educational Center is a place where Bahá'í and non-Bahá'í children and adults receive, under the direction of their Local Spiritual Assemblies, first a spiritual education, then a basic literacy

education, and finally a technical education such as training in crafts. This is also a center [for] numerous other social activities for youth and women. The purpose is to obtain quasi-universal participation of the whole village." Relationship to Government The Centers "are allowed to function on the provincial level by the [Government] Department of Social Affairs, which was seeking every possible means to provide literacy education for the masses. The authorities of that Department are so happy with the development of these Educational Centers which cost them nothing that they gave permission to award certificates of participation in these courses, signed, on the one hand, by themselves and, on the other hand, by the Local Spiritual Assembly concerned, which acts as the principal. For their part, the chiefs of villages also stated that when a Local Spiritual Assembly wants an Educational Center, they will themselves erect huts in which classes may be held and encourage all the children to attend day classes and adults evening classes." The chiefs also witness the signing of the contract between the volunteer teachers (see below) and the Local Spiritual Assembly.

280.35 Teachers The teachers are Bahá'í volunteers, "often youth almost illiterate

themselves 280.33 who, after some time of unemployment in large

cities, return disheartened to their native village but they become important when they are engaged in Educational Centers." These teachers sign an official contract with the Local Assembly before the chief of the civil community, who represents the tribe, stating that they are volunteers and will not demand any salary later on. "The teacher is recompensed by the Local Spiritual Assembly, which either provides labor to raise crops for him, provides him with food through pupils' contributions, or gives him financial assistance according to each particular case." In addition, local villagers may offer to teach practical subjects in which 280.34 they are knowledgeable

(e.g., weaving of baskets or mats, canoe building, fishing, pottery, "cure by medicinal plants," etc.). (See below, "Program.") Books and Materials A committee assists the Local Assemblies in the preparation of programs and teaching materials. Books and materials are now in preparation, and are


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being adapted to the "low instructional level of the teachers. This material will permit them to deepen themselves so that they may maintain a higher level than their pupils." Basic books for the teacher's use and such materials as chalk are bought by the Local Spiritual Assembly; materials for each pupil are bought by the

parents at a wholesale price offered by the committee. Registration and Fees

280.36 Fees are set by each Local Spiritual Assembly. At the time of registration, which may take place at 3-month, 6-month or yearly intervals according to the decision of the Local Assembly, a registration card is issued to each pupil. Program

280.37 The program includes three parts: a 'spiritual part which includes the teachings and laws, history of the Faith, and Bahá'í administration, all

adapted to the level of each class;" a program which "includes basic literacy and general knowledge. This level will develop into post-literacy and permanent education in order to attain more advanced levels of evening classes, high school and even university." The third part "is the apprenticeship in crafts or other trades

useful in the development of the village. Any villager can offer to teach crafts or trades in which he is knowledgeable: for instance, weaving of baskets and mats . . . fishing, cure by medicinal plants, pottery, embroidery, etc. . . ."

280.38 The schedule of courses is determined by the Local Spiritual Assembly, which takes into account harvest and fishing seasons, Nineteen Day Feasts and Bahá'í Holy Days, national holidays, and the like.

280.39 The duration of the program is not yet determined, but the first literacy phase is expected to last approximately two years, to be followed by "Post-literacy and permanent education, and even to university." Results to date

280.40 Effects already seen in various Local Assembly areas include the following: I. The Assemblies are obliged to meet, and are thus strengthened. 2. Educational activities for children are established. 3.Youth activities, 'such as playgrounds, choirs,

lectures, homefront pioneers, team teaching and others," are organized. 4. Women's activities, 'such as embroidery, sewing,

hygiene, study of the importance of children's education, etc.," are organized. 5."A more universal participation of the whole village in the spiritual activities, such as prayers, Nineteen Day Feast,

contribution to the fund, teaching, etc." 6. "Increase and expansion in the number of believers. 7. "Great prestige in the eyes of the government for the Bahá'í education."


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Proposals for Future Developments I. Recording of prayers, Holy Writings, and songs on tapes, to be used as 280.41 deepening material; 2.Recording on a local basis by the believers, with duplication of tapes for use by other Educational Centers; 3.Radio broadcasts addressed directly to Bahá'í Educational Centers, either through the establishment of a radio station or through rental of time on existing stations; 4. Creation of an audiovisual center able to adapt material to the needs of the development of the Educational Centers; 5. A regional bulletin dealing with the needs of the "Post-literacy' students; 6. Publication of a book on the Messengers of God in the major languages of the country, intended for the Educational Center but which could then also be sold to "lay schools" for countrywide distribution; 7. Construction of durable buildings for the Educational Centers; 8. A mobile institute for the training of teachers. 281 Execution of Three Bahá'ís in Shiraz 4 MAY 198i To all National Spiritual Assemblies

WITH SADDENED HEARTS ANNOUNCE MARTYRDOM THREE MORE HEROES CRADLE

281.1 FAITH WHO SURRENDERED LIVES AS THEIR LAST OFFERING SACRED THRESHOLD. YADUTLAH VAHDAT IHSANUTLAH MIHDIZADIH, SATTAR KHUSHKHO, ALL THREE MEMBERS BAHA'I INSTITUTIONS, WERE EXECUTED IN SHIRAZ BY FIRING SQUAD ON NIGHT APRIL 29 BY ORDER ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY COURT SHIRAZ AND WITH APPROVAL HIGH COURT JUSTICE TEHRAN. VERDICT SHIRAZ COURT PUBLISHED ALL MAJOR NEWSPAPERS IRAN SPECIFICALLY MENTIONS USUAL FALSE CHARGES GIVING DISTORTED IMAGE ACTIVITIES BAHA'IS MISREPRESENTING THEM AS ZIONISTS IMPERIALIST AGENTS PROMOTERS GODLESSNESS ENEMIES ISLAM.... UNDAUNTED BY THIS FRESH OUTBREAK ANIMOSITY AGAINST THEM STAUNCH

281.2 FRIENDS CRADLE FAITH PREPARING THEMSELVES WITH JOY UNFOLDMENT THEIR GLORIOUS DESTINY, CONFIDENT PRECIOUS LIVES THEY ARE OFFERING ALTAR SACRIFICE WILL GALVANIZE BELIEVERS EVERY LAND INSPIRE THEM REDOUBLE THEIR DEVOTED EXERTIONS IN SERVITUDE BELOVED FAITH. SUMMON FRIENDS EVERY COUNTRY HOLD SPECIAL PRAYERS DURING NIGHT

281.3 AND DAY OF ASCENSION BAHA'U'LLAH MAY 29 BESEECHING DIVINE PROTECTION BELEAGUERED FRIENDS IRAN. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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82 Imminent Obliteration of the Site of the House of the Bab 26 MAY 198i To all National Spiritual Assemblies

282.1 PROFOUNDLY DISTRESSED OMINOUS NEWS IMMINENT OBLITERATION SITE BLESSED HOUSE BAB BY AUTHORITIES SHIRAZ IN IMPLEMENTATION PLANS DRAWN UP SEVERAL MONTHS AND BUILD ROAD AND PUBLIC SQUARE.' OCCUPANTS ADJACENT HOUSES MOST OF WHICH HAD BEEN ACQUIRED BY Bahá'í COMMUNITY AS PROTECTION HOLY HOUSE NOW ORDERED VACATE HOUSES PRELIMINARY COMMENCEMENT PROJECT THIS WEEK. RECALL WHEN BAB'S HOUSE WAS CONFISCATED GOVERNMENT ALLEGED STEP TAKEN AS PROTECTION HOLY PLACE, WHEN HOUSE DESTROYED GOVERNMENT STATEMENT ATTRIBUTED ACT TO UNRULY MOB, BUT THIS DEVELOPMENT NOW TOTALLY BELIES SUCH ALLEGATIONS SHOWS OFFICIAL DELIBERATE SYSTEMATIC DESIGN ERADICATION Bahá'í HOLY PLACES AFTER THEIR CONFISCATION, IN ADDITION TO HARASSMENT PRESSURE ON INDIVIDUAL BELIEVERS RECANT THEIR FAIT14 ON PAIN LOSING JOBS PENSIONS DEPRIVATION CIVIL RIGHTS IMPRISONMENT EXECUTION ASSASSINATION.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 283 Establishment of European Branch Office of Bahá'í International

Community 26 MAY 198i To the European National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

283.1 Further to the letter sent to you on behalf of the Universal House of Justice on28 December 1980 seeking your views on the proposal to establish in Europe a branch office of the Bahá'í International Community, we are now instructed to tell you that the House of Justice has decided to establish the office now, with its address in Geneva. Mr. Giovanni Ballerio has been appointed full-time representative of the Bahá'í International Community in Europe, and will be moving, with his family, to Geneva or its vicinity. When the address is known and the office is operating an announcement will be made to the Bahá'í world.,

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

282-1. For more about the destruction of the House of the Bab, see messages dated 9 September 1979 (no. 235) and 19 November 1979 (no. 241). 283-1. On August to, 198i, a letter was sent to the United Nations Offices notifying them of Mr.

284.1 Ballerio's appointment and office address.


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284 Bahá'í International Fund-Recent Victories and Immediate Challenges 8 JUNE 1981 To the Bahá'ís of the World Dear Bahá'í Friends, At the outset of the Seven Year Plan, faced with tremendous tasks to be accomplished by the Bahá'í world, and confronted by the seemingly crippling financial losses that resulted from the savage onslaught of inveterate enemies upon the valiant believers in the Cradle of the Faith, the Universal House of Justice turned with fervent hope to the believers in the rest of the world, calling upon them to arise and champion the cause of their persecuted brethren in the international arena and, through self-sacrifice and the exercise of wise stewardship of the funds of the Faith, to enable its work to go forward unhindered by the sudden inability of the believers in Iran to continue their major role in providing the lifeblood of the Cause. In both fields, these past two years have witnessed astonishing victories.

284.2 The manner in which the case of the persecuted Faith of Bahá'u'lláh has been blazoned in the media, conveying its message to millions of souls who had scarcely if at all heard of it before; and the degree to which world authorities have risen to plead its case and call for its vindication, have both been witnessed with eager and uplifted hearts by Bahá'ís in all lands. Now the Universal House of Justice has instructed us to inform you that in supporting the Bahá'í International Fund the self-sacrificing followers of the Blessed Beauty have won similar victories. The manifold acts of devotion and service that have been so distinctive a 284.3 mark of progress in the opening phase of the Seven Year Plan have not only laid a firm foundation for the development of the institutions of the Faith worldwide, but have also been manifested in an outpouring of financial substance that has made possible the setting of goals for the second phase of the Plan that will enhance the prestige of our beloved Faith and hasten the day of its complete emergence from obscurity. The financial needs of the first phase of the Plan have been fully met. The teaching work has continued with unabated zeal. The Seat of the Universal House of Justice is now nearing completion and the funds required for that tremendous task are in hand. The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the Indian subcontinent is rising and the work on that for Samoa will shortly begin.

284.4 Now the Universal House of Justice turns with loving confidence to those beloved ones of God who have responded with such zeal to fulfill the commitments that it has been guided to undertake, and has asked us to lay before you the needs of the year which has just begun.


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284.5 Although the task of raising the Seat of the Universal House of justice on God's Holy Mountain is now well-nigh behind us, the work on the two Mashriqu'l-Adhkar has acquired additional urgency. The unstable condition of the world and rapidly rising prices make it essential to complete these two enterprises at the earliest possible date. Thus, major expenditures which it had been hoped could be spread over a number of years must be met within the next twelve months. The public attention drawn to the Faith by the Iranian situation and the many valuable friendships and contacts that have been made with those in authority demand, if the ground now gained is not to be rapidly lost, expansion and intensification of the activities of the representatives of the Bahá'í International Community with the United Nations and its specialized agencies, as well as with other international bodies such as the Parliament of Europe. The Universal House of Justice has therefore taken the decision to establish an office of the Bahá'í International Community at Geneva, with a full-time representative. It has also become

necessary to allocate large sums to the provision of a wider range of Bahá'í literature in many languages and to develop the Bahá'í use of radio.

284.6 The Universal House of Justice has estimated that to meet all these urgent goals as well as carrying on the current work of the Faith during the year 1981/82, an increase Of 50% over the amount of contributions for the year just past will be required. It therefore asks every believer and every community to consider prayerfully the degree to which they can take part in this mighty effort, and to strain every sinew to ensure that the tasks placed by an omniscient and all-wise Ordainer on the shoulders of His privileged lovers will be worthily and speedily performed.

284.7 The House of Justice assures you all of its loving, fervent prayers in the Holy Shrines for your guidance and assistance.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT


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285 Execution of Seven Members of the Spiritual Assembly of Hamadan 15 JUNE 198i

285.1 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

WITH STRICKEN HEARTS SHARE NEWS SEVEN MEMBERS LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY HAMADAN MARTYRED AFTER BEING TORTURED. EXECUTIONS CARRIED OUT DAWN JUNE 14 WITH APPROVAL SUPREME JUDICIAL COUNCIL ON USUAL TRUMPED-UP CHARGES. THIS FRESH BLOW ANOTHER STEP IN PERSECUTION SCHEME TRADITIONAL ADVERSARIES UPROOT FAITH IN LAND ITS BIRTH.... NAMES OF SEVEN MARTYRS ARE AS FOLLOWS: HUSAYN MUTLAQ, MUHAMMAD- BAQIR (SUHAYL) HABIBI, MUHAMMAD (SUHRAB) HABIBI, DR. NASIR VAFAI, DR. FIROZ NA'IMI, HUSAYN KHANDIL, AND TARAZU'LLAH KHUZAYN.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 286 Execution of Three Bahá'ís in Tehran 23 JUNE 198i To all National Spiritual Assemblies

TRAGIC NEWS JUST RECEIVED THREE MORE PROMINENT PERSIAN Bahá'ís, BUZURG 'ALAVIYAN, HASHIM FARNCSH AND FARHANG MAVADDAT EXECUTED TEHRAN YESTERDAY. CHARGES

COMPLETELY MISREPRESENT BAHA'I SERVICES AS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED ACTIVITIES .... OFFERING PRAYERS HOLY SHRINES BLESSED BEAUTY MAY CONFIRM ALL EFFORTS ALLEVIATE SUFFERINGS OPPRESSED INNOCENT COMMUNITY. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 287 Execution of Four Bahá'ís in Iran 24 JUNE 198i To all National Spiritual Assemblies

WITH HEARTS BURNING WITH ANGUISH SHARE NEWS SOULS ANOTHER FOUR 287.1

DISTINGUISHED BELIEVERS NOW GATHERED ABHA KINGDOM ON BEING MARTYRED YESTERDAY BY FIRING SQUAD: DR. MASIH FARHANGI MEMBER BOARD COUNSELORS ASIA, BADI'U'LLAH FARID, YADU'LLAH PUSTCHI, VARQA TIBYANIYAN....

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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288 Announcement of Representatives to the International Conferences 20 JULY 1981 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

288.1 It is with great pleasure we announce that the following Hands of the Cause of God have been named as our representatives to the International Conferences: Amatu'l-Baha

Montreal, Canada 2-5 September 1982 Ruhiyyih Khanum Ugo Giachery Manila, Philippines7-9 May 1982 Paul Haney Quito, Ecuador 6-8 August 1982 William Sears Lagos, Nigeria ig-22 August 1982 Collis Featherstone Dublin, Ireland 25-27 June 1982

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

289 Tests of Bahá'í Community Life A Balanced Perspective 22 JULY 1981

To an individual Bahá'í

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

289.1 The Universal House of Justice has received your letter of 6 March 1981 and has instructed us to send you the following comments on the issues you have raised.

289.2 The House of Justice feels that your questions are very perceptive and that, in many instances, you have, yourself, provided the answers. As `Abdu'l-Bahá so often points out, the Manifestation of God is a Divine Educator. He attracts the hearts of men, pours out His spirit upon those who respond to Him, instructs them in the right way of life, uses them to carry forward the development of human society, and disciplines them by His law. We Bahá'ís, we who have answered His call'. bear the responsibility of carrying forward His work among mankind, and in spite of our innumerable failings His plan is irresistibly progressing. The great tragedy of mankind at this time is the failure


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of the vast majority of human beings to heed the Divine Call, and this is in large part occasioned by the failure of most of those who have believed to live up to the high standard that Bahá'u'lláh has set. This is the condition in which we must work in our service to mankind, turning a sin-covering eye to the faults of others, and striving in our own inmost selves to purify our lives in accordance with the divine Teachings. Differentiating the Roles of Spiritual Assemblies and individuals The Day of God is a Day of joy, but also a Day of Judgment.

289.3 Every Man is guided both by the Love of God and by the Fear of God. In their relationships with one another

individual believers should be loving and forgiving, overlooking one another's faults for the sake of God, but the Spiritual Assemblies are the upholders of the law of God. They are embryonic Houses of Justice. The education of a child requires both love and discipline; so also does the education of believers and the education of a community. One of the failings of Bahá'ís, however, is to confuse these two roles, individuals behaving like little Spiritual Assemblies, and Spiritual Assemblies forgetting that they must

exercise justice.

289.4 Deepening-Developing a Spiritual Attitude Great love and patience are needed towards new believers, especially those who have come from very troubled backgrounds, but ultimately they too have to learn the responsibilities they have taken upon themselves by accepting Bahá'u'lláh and must uphold the principles that Bahá'u'lláh has revealed. If they do not do so, how can the condition of mankind be improved? Some people accept the Faith, not as a response to the divine Summons to God's service, but as a way to find love and happiness and companionship and understanding for themselves. At the beginning this is only natural, for people are sorely in need of such spiritual strengths, but if such people do not soon progress to the point where they are more concerned about what they can do for God and His Cause than what it can do for them, they will surely become disillusioned and drift away. Arousing in the hearts of the friends the enthusiasm and spirit of selfless service that will carry them over this transition is one of the most fundamental aspects of deepening and consolidation. Deepening is far more a matter of developing a spiritual attitude, devotion and selflessness than it is of acquiring information, although this, of course, is also important.

289.5 In a letter to an individual Bahá'í, dated 5 April 1956, the beloved Guardian's secretary wrote on his behalf He was very sorry to hear that you have had so many tests in your

289.5a Bahá'í life. There is no doubt that many of them are due to our own nature. In other words, if we are very sensitive, or if we are in some way brought up in a different environment from the Bahá'ís amongst


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whom we live, we naturally see things differently and may feel them more acutely; and the other side of it is that the imperfections of our fellow-Bahá'ís can be a great trial to us.

289.5b We must always remember that in the cesspool of materialism, which is what modern civilization has to a certain extent become, Bahá'ís that is some of them-are still to a certain extent affected by the society from which they have sprung. In other words, they have recognized the Manifestation of God, but they have not been believers long enough, or perhaps tried hard enough, to become "a new creation."

289.5c All we can do in such cases is to do our duty; and the Guardian feels very strongly that your duty is towards Bahá'u'lláh and the Faith you love so dearly; and certainly is not to take the weaker course and sever yourself from the Bahá'í Community.

289.5d He feels that, if you close your eyes to the failings of others, and fix your love and prayers upon Bahá'u'lláh, you will have the strength to weather this storm, and will be much better for it in the end, spiritually. Although you suffer, you will gain a maturity that will enable you to be of greater help to both your fellow-Bahá'ís and your children. Spiritual Assembly Intervention-Loving and Patient

289.6 The ideal of human life is described again and again and in multitudes of ways in the Writings. These aspects of the Teachings are discussed in Teaching Institutes and Summer Schools and elaborated in many books. Then, in general, it is left to the individual believer, as a responsibility between himself and God, to follow these Teachings. It is not the business either of the believers or of the Spiritual Assemblies to pry into the lives of individual friends to ascertain the degree to which they are living up to the standards of the Cause. Only if misbehavior becomes blatant and flagrant does it become a matter for action, and then it is a matter for action by the Assembly and not by individuals. Even then the Assembly must be loving and patient, and exhort the believer to follow the Path of the Cause, but, if he persists in openly and flagrantly flouting Bahá'í law, the Assembly has no alternative to ultimately depriving him of his voting rights. The Relationship between Supporting an Assembly and Its Maturation

289.7 Applying these principles requires mature understanding and judgment, and great love for one's fellowmen. It is a weighty responsibility which rests upon the shoulders of the members of Spiritual Assemblies. Undoubtedly errors are made and will continue to be made, but the more the friends are united and wholeheartedly support their Assemblies, the sooner will these mature in their decisions and actions, outgrow their mistakes, and become strong magnets for the Faith.


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Briefly, then, one can say that the Bahá'ís, while in the process of improving their own lives, are engaged in attracting their fellowmen to the Love of God, educating them through the Teachings of God, introducing them to the vivifying discipline of the Law of God, and enlisting them as fellow-warriors in the Army of God. The difficulties that you describe are the result of the problem of properly balancing these many aspects of following the Bahá'í Cause and of training new believers from the point of acceptance of the Message to being champions of the Faith.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

290 Execution of Two Bahá'ís in Kashmir 27 JULY 1981 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

GRIEVED ANNOUNCE TWO MORE ACTIVE DEDICATED SUPPORTERS FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH IRAN KAMALI'D-DIN BAKHTAVAR AND NI'MATU'LLAH KATIBPUR-SHAHIDI MARTYRED BY FIRING SQUAD IN KASHMAR, KHURASAN PROVINCE CHARGED WITH TOTALLY FALSE ACCUSATIONS INVOLVEMENT POLITICAL ACTIVITIES. IRANIAN BAHA'IS SPECIALLY IN RURAL AREAS FACED WITH FRESH WAVE ARRESTS AND CONFISCATION PERSONAL PROPERTIES. AROUND ISFAHAN ALSO KHURASAN KASHAN IN NUMBER TOWNS VILLAGES SEVERAL HUNDRED BAHA'IS FORCED FLEE THEIR HOMES TAKING REFUGE IN NEARBY LARGER TOWNS. SUCH RUTHLESS ATTACKS REMAIN UNCHECKED. ATTEMPTS TERRORIZE BAHA'IS INTENSIFIED. MORE INNOCENT LIVES AT STAKE. . . .

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

291 Message to First National Bahá'í Women's Conference, United Kingdom 27 JULY 198i To the First Women's Conference, United KINGDOM KINDLY CONVEY PARTICIPANTS FIRST NATIONAL WOMEN'S CONFERENCE LOVING

291.1 CONGRATULATIONS SUCCESS ASSURANCE PRAYERS BOUNTIFUL CONFIRMATIONS ALL EFFORTS Bahá'í WOMEN MAKE NOBLE CONTRIBUTION PROMOTION SPIRITUAL LIFE COMMUNITY' UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

291-1. The conference, attended by 230 individuals, was held on 25 July 198i in Manchester, England, at the Manchester Institute of Science and Religion.


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292 Execution of Auxiliary Board Member and Seven Assembly Members in Tabriz; Abduction of Two Teenage Girls 30 JULY 1981

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

292.1 WITH HEAVY-LADEN HEARTS ANNOUNCE NEWS JUST RECEIVED NINE HEROIC FRIENDS EXECUTED Tabriz BY FIRING SQUAD ONE OF WHOM AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBER AND SEVEN MEMBERS LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY:

MASRUR DAKHILI HUSAYN ASADU'LLAHZADIH ALLAH-VIRDI MITHAQI MANUCHIHR KHADI'I 'ABDU'L-'ALI ASADYARI ISMA'IL ZINTAB PARVIZ FIRUZI MIHDI BAHIRI HABIBU'LLAH TAHQIQI.

292.2 TWO TEENAGE GIRL STUDENTS.... ABDUCTED FROM SCHOOL BY TEACHERS IN RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION. PARENTS UNABLE DETERMINE FATE DISAPPEARED CHILDREN. TEACHERS CLAIM GIRLS CONVERTED ISLAM REFUSE MEET BAHA'I PARENTS. LOCAL AUTHORITIES UNCOOPERATIVE.

292.3 GRIEVED AT RUTHLESSNESS RAPIDITY WITH WHICH PRECIOUS LIVES DISTINGUISHED VIRTUOUS MEMBERS COMMUNITY BEING SNUFFED OUT, THEIR HONOR VIOLATED, THEIR HOMES POSSESSIONS PLUNDERED. WE PRAY BAHA'U'LLAH BEHALF ENTIRE BAHA'I WORLD ATTAIN GREATER CAPACITY SERENELY BEAR WEIGHT ORDEALS, WITNESS EARLY DELIVERANCE HIS PERSECUTED LOVERS CRADLE FAITH FROM SHACKLES REPRESSION BIGOTRY, AS PROMISED HIS SACRED WRITINGS. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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293 A New Phase of Persecution in Iran ii AUGUST 1981 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

PERSECUTION Bahá'ís IRAN GAINING MOMENTUM ENTERING NEW PHASE: IN YAZD

293.1 A FEW DAYS AGO GOVERNMENT FROZE ALL ASSETS 117 BELIEVERS. ON 8 AUGUST ANNOUNCEMENT ON LOCAL RADIO SUMMONED HEADS 150 PROMINENT BAHA'I FAMILIES TO REPORT WITHIN ONE WEEK TO REVOLUTIONARY AUTHORITIES. IN ABSENTIA DECREES TO BE ISSUED RESPECT ANY NAMED BELIEVER WHO FAILS PRESENT HIMSELF BY 15 AUGUST AMONG NAMES ARE FEW WHO PASSED AWAY, CONFIRMING DETERMINATION AUTHORITIES PERSECUTE BAHA'IS PURELY FOR THEIR BELIEF, NOT BECAUSE OF ANY ALLEGED CRIME. ONE OF THOSE NAMED WAS ARRESTED AS HE WAS PROCEEDING FOR NECESSARY TEMPORARY JOURNEY OUTSIDE YAZD. ACTIONS TAKEN FORESHADOW PLAN AUTHORITIES FORCE BAHA'IS RECANT THEIR FAITH PURELY FOR THEIR FAITH ON PAIN CONFISCATION ALL THEIR PROPERTIES, OTHER DIRE CONSEQUENCES.... FURTHER REPORT JUST RECEIVED INDICATES IN MANSHAD VILLAGE NEAR YAZD

293.2 GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL FROM YAZD ACCOMPANIED REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS HAS PEREMPTORILY SEIZED FURNITURE CROPS LIVESTOCK LOCAL BELIEVERS. FOLLOWING DETAILS ADDITIONAL PERSECUTION OTHER PROVINCES NOW IN

293.3 HAND: IN MASJID SULAYMAN AUTHORITIES HAVE INSTRUCTED BANKS SUBMIT LIST ALL CHECKING AND DEPOSIT ACCOUNTS BAHA'IS. IN NAYSHABOR WHERE TWO BELIEVERS WERE RECENTLY MARTYRED MOB HAD DESTROYED WALL BAHA'I CEMETERY. AUTHORITIES NOW CLAIM TWO MILLION RIALS FROM LOCAL COMMUNITY TO RESTORE WALL! IN HIMMATABAD NEAR ABADIH WIVES OF BELIEVERS WHO HAD FLED FROM THEIR HOMES HAVE BEEN GIVEN NOTICE CALL THEIR HUSBANDS. WIVES THREATENED GRAVE REPERCUSSIONS IF HUSBANDS FAIL PRESENT THEMSELVES....

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

293-1. Two million rials was equivalent to about $28,400_00 in 1981.


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294 Release of a Compilation on the Assistance of God 24 AUGUST 1981 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

294.1 The Universal House of Justice commissioned the Research

Department to compile texts which convey the assurance that the assistance of God will surround and confirm the efforts of the

friends when they arise to deliver His divine message and teach His Cause. This compilation is now ready, and a copy is attached., The Universal House of Justice leaves it to your discretion to determine how best the contents of this compilation or other texts on this subject should be shared with the friends.

294.2 It is the conviction of the House of Justice that the powers of heaven and earth will, as repeatedly asserted in the attached extracts, mysteriously and

unfailingly assist all those who will arise with love, dedication, and trust in their hearts to teach the Cause, to promote the Word of God, to deliver its healing message to receptive souls, and to serve its vital interests.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

295 Release of a Compilation of Prayers and Passages from the Bahá'í Writings 16 SEPTEMBER 198i To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

295.1 You will recall that in its letters outlining goals of successive Teaching Plans for the expansion and consolidation of the Faith, the Universal House of Justice has repeatedly stressed the importance of the friends' having access to the Sacred Text. In our letter of April 17, 198i, written on behalf of the House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies, it was mentioned that steps were being taken to prepare a compilation which would consist of prayers and passages from the Holy Writings of our Faith.' 294-1. See CC 2:201-24. 295-1. See message no. 280.


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This material is now ready and is being sent to you in the form of a booklet., The contents are suitable for use by individual believers, as well as for occasions when the friends gather for meetings. Your National Assembly may have already published a compilation of this order and size for the use of the friends. if not, and if your Assembly is among those specifically assigned the goal to make basic Bahá'í literature available, and if you decide that the material included in the enclosed booklet is suitable for your purposes, the Universal House of Justice is prepared to send you, upon request, a proof copy of the English text in flat sheets ready for offset

printing, as this will facilitate the printing of the booklet in English, if such is your need.

295.3 The material in the booklet, it is hoped, will soon be ready also in French and in Spanish, as the House of Justice is asking the respective Publishing Trusts in Belgium and Argentina to undertake its translation and publication. However, if the language or languages in which you should publish your Bahá'í literature is other than the three mentioned above, you should consider the material, such as the passages included in the enclosed compilation, for translation and dissemination among the friends, thus enabling them, as envisaged in the Plan, to enrich their spiritual lives through exposure to the Sacred Word.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

296 Execution of Six Bahá'ís in Tehran and Daryun 18 SEPTEMBER 1981 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

RUTHLESS PERSECUTION DEFENSELESS COMMUNITY BAHA'IS IRAN FURTHER INTENSIFIED THROUGH RECENT EXECUTION BY FIRING SQUADS OF SIX STAUNCH MARTYRS, ONE IN TEHRAN HABIBU'LLAH AZIZI, FIVE IN DARYUN NEAR ISFAHAN, BAHA'IAN 'ATIFI, 'IZZAT 'ATIFI, ATA'U'LLAH RAWHANI, AHMAD RIDVANI, AND GUSHTASB THABIT-RASIKH. LAST FIVE WERE IMPRISONED FOLLOWING LARGE-SCALE SIMULTANEOUS ATTACKS ON Bahá'ís IN THEIR HOMES AND ARREST OF SEVERAL OF THEM IN VILLAGES NEAR ISFAHAN. FAMILIES MARTYRS WERE NOT INFORMED OF EXECUTIONS WHILE RELATIVES THOSE EXECUTED IN DARYGN ALSO NOT PERMITTED CONDUCT BAHA'I FUNERALS THEIR LOVED ONES, AND LAST THREE NAMED WERE BURIED UNCEREMONIOUSLY IN MUSLIM CEMETERY. NO ANNOUNCEMENT BY AUTHORITIES WAS MADE ABOUT EXECUTION LAST FIVE....

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

295-2. The compilation was published under the title Words of God by the Bahá'í World Center (198i).


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297 The Worsening Situation in Yazd '28 SEPTEMBER 198i To all National Spiritual Assemblies

297.1 SITUATION PERSECUTION FRIENDS YAZD ENTERING NEW PERILOUS PHASE: FURTHER INFORMATION CONVEYED TO YOU OUR CABLE 11 AUGUST ABOUT RADIO SUMMONS ISSUED PROMINENT YAZD BAHA'IS THESE FRIENDS ARE AGAIN BEING CALLED PRESENT THEMSELVES BEFORE REVOLUTIONARY COURTS. 14 OF THEM HAVE SO FAR REPORTED. WHILE FATE THESE IN BALANCE TEN OTHER BELIEVERS YAZD WHO HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY DETAINED HAVE JUST BEEN TRANSFERRED TO PRISONS DIRECTLY ASSOCIATED REVOLUTIONARY COURTS. FOUR OF THESE ARE WOMEN. ONE OF THEM IS 75 YEARS OLD, THE OTHER THREE IN THEIR LATE FIFTIES. TRANSFER NEW PRISON OMINOUS SIGN THAT LOCAL REVOLUTIONARY COURT INTENDS ISSUE ITS FINAL VERDICT FRIENDS IN CAPITAL HAVE REPEATEDLY IN PAST APPEALED WITHOUT SUCCESS FOR VINDICATION RIGHTS BAHA'IS TO CENTRAL AUTHORITIES TEHRAN. IN RECENT WEEKS HIGH-RANKING AUTHORITIES EVEN REFUSE GIVE AUDIENCE TO BAHA'IS AS SOON AS THEY LEARN SUBJECT MATTER. OFFICIALS IN LOWER RANKS SO FAR CONTACTED HAVE IN RECENT MONTHS WARNED BELIEVERS OF GRAVE PERSECUTIONS IN STORE FOR BAHA'IS. ONE GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVE HAS UNOFFICIALLY INFORMED BAHA'IS THAT DEVELOPMENTS IN YAZD MAY WELL FORM PATTERN FOR TREATMENT BAHA'IS ELSEWHERE IN COUNTRY, THAT AUTHORITIES ARE FULLY AWARE ALL MEASURES TAKEN BY BAHA'IS IN INTERNATIONAL CIRCLES, AND CONSIDER THESE AS ANTI-GOVERNMENT ACTIONS, THAT GOVERNMENT IRAN HAS NO REGARD FOR INTERNATIONAL OPINION, THAT BAHA'IS ARE ENEMIES ISLAM, AND BAHA'I TEACHINGS SUCH AS EQUALITY SEXES AND REMOVAL VEIL CONSTITUTE VIOLATION ISLAMIC PRINCIPLES, AND T14AT GOVERNMENT CAPABLE ORGANIZE MOBS TO PUBLICLY DEMAND EXPULSION, EXECUTION, EXTERMINATION BAHA'IS. THESE THREATS SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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298 Further Deterioration of the Situation in Iran 16 OCTOBER 1981 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

SITUATION FRIENDS IRAN STEADILY DETERIORATING. ALTHOUGH REVOLUTIONARY

298.1 COURT YAZD ORDERED RELEASE FOUR OF THOSE DETAINED PRESSURES IN DIFFERENT FORMS ARE MOUNTING IN YAZD AND IN OTHER PARTS COUNTRY. BAHA'I WORKERS BEING INCREASINGLY EXPELLED FROM FACTORIES, BAHA'I SHOPKEEPERS IN ONE PROVINCE ORDERED CLOSE DOWN FOLLOWING WITHDRAWAL BUSINESS LICENSES, SCHOOL AUTHORITIES SCRUTINIZING RELIGION STUDENTS PRIOR TO REGISTRATION RESULTING IN REFUSAL REGISTER BAHA'I STUDENTS IN ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS. DECREE ANNOUNCED BY MINISTRY OF EDUCATION PUBLISHED IN KAYHAN DAILY NUMBER 11397 DATED 9 MIHR 1360 (SEPTEMBER 30, 1981) LISTS CRIMES WHICH BAR PROFESSORS AND STUDENTS FROM BEING EMPLOYED OR REGISTERED AT UNIVERSITIES. AMONG CRIMES LISTED IS WHAT TEXT OF DECREE DESCRIBES AS MEMBERSHIP IN SECT WHICH IS RECOGNIZED BY MUSLIMS AS MISLED AND HERETICAL SECT. THIS IS OBVIOUS REFERENCE TO MEMBERSHIP IN BAHA'I COMMUNITY. BAHA'I CHILDREN AND YOUTH EXEMPLIFYING HIGH SPIRIT HEROISM STEADFASTNESS PREFERRING DEPRIVATION FROM SCHOOL AND UNIVERSITY EDUCATION TO RECANTATION FAITH.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 299 Voice of America Report on Campaign of Arrests against Iranian Bahá'ís 22 OCTOBER 198i To all National Spiritual Assemblies

A REPORT FROM TEHRAN SAYS IRAN'S CENTRAL REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE IS

299.1 PLANNING A NEW CAMPAIGN TO ROUND UP MEMBERS OF THE BAHA'I FAITH. THE BAHA'IS REPORTEDLY WILL BE ARRESTED ON GROUNDS THAT THEIR MARRIAGES ARE ILLEGAL AND THEIR

CHTIDREN ILLEGITIMATE SINCE IRAN DOES NOT RECOGNIZE THE BAHA'I FAITH. THE COMMITTEE SAYS SOME 96 BAHA'IS HAVE BEEN EXECUTED SO FAR AND ANOTHER 200 ARE UNDER ARREST. SOME 10,000 BAHA'I FAMILIES ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE FLED IRAN SINCE THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST THEM BEGAN. THE COMMITTEE HAS ANOTHER 20,000 BAHA'I NAMES ON ITS ARREST LIST COMPILED FROM CAPTURED BAHA'I OFFICE LISTS AND DOCUMENTS FROM THE SHAH'S OLD SECRET POLICE, SAVAK. MANY BAHA'IS HAVE CHANGED THEIR NAMES OR GONE INTO HIDING TO ESCAPE CAPTURE. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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300 Further Acts of Persecution in Iran 23 OCTOBER 1981 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

300 FOLLOWING NEWS FURTHER ACTS PERSECUTION INFLICTED BRETHREN IRAN JUST RECEIVED: - IN URUMIYYIH, ADHIRBAYJAN TWENTY-SIX BAHA'IS SUMMARILY ARRESTED, FIVE OF WHOM ARE WOMEN. - IN BIRJAND, KHURASAN HOUSES ALL LOCAL BELIEVERS RANSACKED FORCING FRIENDS DESERT THEIR HOMES AND FLEE FOR SAFETY. - IN TEHRAN HOME PROMINENT BELIEVER OCCUPIED ALL HER FURNITURE CONFISCATED. LISTING OF ITEMS ALLEGEDLY FOUND IN HOUSE FALSELY INCLUDES ARMAMENTS DRUGS. - FRIENDS IRAN LIVING IN ATMOSPHERE CONSTANT FEAR THEIR PROPERTIES AND LIVES.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 301 Grave Developments in Iran 5 NOVEMBER 198i To all National Spiritual Assemblies

301.1 FOLLOWING GRAVE DEVELOPMENTS REPORTED FROM IRAN: 1.REFERENCE OUR CABLE 26 MAY 1981 WORK ON BUILDING ROAD DESIGNED RUN THROUGH SITE BAB'S HOLY HOUSE SHIRAZ BEING ACTIVELY RESUMEW RECENT REPORT INDICATES WORK STEADILY PROGRESSING APPROACHING SACRED PRECINCTS. 2. OFFICE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BROKEN INTO PAPERS FILES REMOVED. 3.SIX MEMBERS LOCAL ASSEMBLY TEHRAN SUMMARILY ARRESTED WHILE IN SESSION. COUPLE IN WHOSE HOME MEETING WAS HELD HAVE ALSO BEEN DETAINED. 4.GOVERNMENT IRAN HAS RECENTLY INSTRUCTED ITS CONSULAR REPRESENTATIVES EVERYWHERE COMPILE LIST

BAHA'IS RESIDING AREAS THEIR RESPONSIBILITY AND HENCEFORTH REFRAIN FROM EXTENDING PASSPORTS IRANIAN BAHA'IS.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 301-1. The message Of 26 May x981 (no. 282) reported the obliteration of the House of the Bab. For more about its seizure and demolition, see messages dated lo May 1979 (no. 225), 9 September 1979 (no. 235), and 19 November 1979 (no. 241).


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302 Call for Pioneers 13 NOVEMBER 1981 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Universal House of Justice has asked us to convey to you the following with respect to the settlement of pioneers since the opening of the second phase of the Seven Year Plan.

302.2 Out of a total Of 285 pioneers (originally 279 plus 6 added later) assigned for the first year of the second phase, 137 posts have been filled. While many additional pioneers have

settled around the world, a net balance Of 148 pioneers is still needed to fill the posts originally envisioned. In consultation with the International Teaching Center the goals of the 3023 Plan in terms of pioneer needs have been reviewed, and a number of new goals have been established and added to the net outstanding goals. The consolidated list of the pioneer needs has now been prepared and is attached.' As you see it calls for 216 pioneers to arise, God willing, by the end of this first year of the second phase of the Plan. The list also shows the National Spiritual Assemblies

responsible for providing the manpower in each case and, if necessary, arranging finance for the projects.

303.1 The Universal House of Justice is praying at the Holy Shrines that the 302.4 friends everywhere may respond to this call, and that the Continental Pioneer Committees throughout the world will offer their services in a manner to facilitate the early fulfillment of these goals.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

303 Release of a Compilation on Excellence in All Things 23 NOVEMBER 1981 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

Attached is a compilation prepared by the Research Department which is aimed at presenting texts and extracts which encourage the friends to attain distinction and excellence in all their undertakings. The compilation is entitled 302-1. The list is too lengthy to include in this volume.


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Excellence in All Things! The Universal House of Justice hopes that the contents of this compilation will guide the friends everywhere in the conduct of their individual lives so that they may follow Bahá'u'lláh exhortation to distinguish themselves from others through deeds, and that their "light can be shed upon the whole earth." "Happy is the man," He assures us, "that heedeth My counsel . . ."2

303.2 The Universal House of Justice leaves it to your discretion to determine how to share the contents of this compilation with the friends and communities for whom you are responsible.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

304 Inauguration of Radio Bahá'í Peru 29 NOVEMBER 1981 To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Peru

304.1 WARMEST CONGRATULATIONS AUSPICIOUS INAUGURATION RADIO BAHA'I DEL LAGO TITICACA DAY COVENANT AND SIMULTANEOUS OPENING MUHAJIR TEACHING INSTITUTE FIRST MUSIC FESTIVAL PRAYING HOLY THRESHOLD INCREASING CONFIRMATIONS YOUR ASSEMBLY COOPERATING ASSEMBLIES ECUADOR BOLIVIA RADIO COMMISSION ALL STAFE LOVING GREETINGS THIS IMPORTANT STEP GROWTH FAITH ALTIPLANO. KINDLY ASSURE MICHAEL STOKES OUR PRAYERS HIS BEHALF

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

305 Demolition of the House of Bahá'u'lláh in Takur; Seizure of Cemetery in Tehran to DECEMBER 1981

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

305.1 DISTRESSED REPORT RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IRAN EVIDENCE FURTHER PERSECUTIONS ATROCITIES AGAINST DEFENSELESS BELIEVERS CRADLE FAITH: 1.HOUSE OF BAHA'U'LLAH IN TAKUR, PREVIOUSLY CONFISCATED, HAS NOW BEEN TOTALLY DEMOLISHED AND THIS BAHA'I HOLY PLACE INCLUDING LAND AND GARDENS OFFERED FOR SALE TO PUBLIC BY AUTHORITIES. 303-1. See CC 1:367-84. 303-2. GWB, P. 305. 304-1. Mr. Stokes assisted the National Spiritual Assembly of Peru as a project planner for the administration of the station.


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2.BAHA'I CEMETERY TEHRAN SEIZED ON SATURDAY 5 DECEMBER BY ORDER REVOLUTIONARY COURT, 5 CARETAKERS AND 8 TEMPORARY WORKERS ARRESTED, AND CEMETERY CLOSED. BAHA'IS FEARFUL DESECRATION GRAVES. TENS OF THOUSANDS BAHA'IS TEHRAN NOW WITHOUT BURIAL GROUNDS. THIS RECENT DEVELOPMENT INDECENT ACT STILL ANOTHER EXAMPLE EVIL DESIGNS ELIMINATE BAHA'I COMMUNITY THAT COUNTRY. 3.OTHER PERSECUTIONS SUCH AS SUMMARY ARRESTS, HARASSMENT, CONFISCATION PROPERTIES, CONTINUE.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 306 Arrest of Eight Members of the Iranian National Spiritual Assembly 14 DECEMBER 1981 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

HAVE JUST RECEIVED DISTRESSING REPORT EIGHT MEMBERS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

306.1 IRAN WHILE IN SESSION ARRESTED TOGETHER WITH TWO OTHER BELIEVERS IN HOME WHERE MEETING WAS HELD. TWO WOMEN AMONG TEN DETAINEES. AUTHORITY RESPONSIBLE FOR ARRESTS AND LOCATION PRISON STILL UNIDENTIFIED.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 307 Execution of Eight Members of the Iranian National Spiritual Assembly 29 DECEMBER 1981 To National Spiritual Assemblies

WITH HEAVY HEARTS INFORM FRIENDS THROUGHOUT WORLD EIGHT MEMBERS

307.1 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IRAN ARRESTED 13 DECEMBER WERE EXECUTED 27 DECEMBER. THEY ARE:

MR. KAMRAN SAMIMI MRS. ZHINUS MAHMUDI MR. MAHMOD MADJDHUB MR. JALAL 'AZIZI MR. MIHDI AMIN AMIN MR. SIRUS RAWSHANI MR. 'IZZATU'LLAH FURUHI MR. QUDRATU'LLAH RAWHANI


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307.2 FAMILIES NOT NOTIFIED OF ARRESTS, TRIAL, EXECUTIONS. BODIES BURIED UNCEREMONIOUSLY IN BARREN FIELD RESERVED BY GOVERNMENT FOR INFIDELS. INFORMATION DISCOVERED FORTUITOUSLY. GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES TOTALLY SILENT, UNCOOPERATIVE.

307.3 THIS HEINOUS ACT CAUSES US FEAR THAT MEMBERS PREVIOUS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AND TWO AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBERS WHO DISAPPEARED AUGUST 1980, AS WELL AS TWO OTHERS WHOSE WHEREABOUTS UNKNOWN OVER TWO YEARS, HAVE SUFFERED SAME FATE. NAMES THESE HEROIC DEDICATED SERVANTS BLESSED BEAUTY ARE: AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBERS

DR. YUSIF ABBASIYAN DR. HISHMATU'LLAH RAWHANI

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY MEMBERS

DR. ALIMURAD DAVUDI MR. ABDU'L-HUSAYN TASLIMI MR. HOSHANG MAHMUDI MR. IBRAHIM RAHMANI DR. HUSAYN NAJI MR. MANUCHIHR QA'IM MAQAMI MR. ATA'U'LLAH MUQARRABI MR YUSIF QADIMI MRS. BAHIYYIH NADIRI DR. KAMBIZ SADIQZADIH

MEMBER LOCAL ASSEMBLY TEHRAN

MK RUHI RAWSHANI

PROMINENT TEACHER

MR. MUHAMMAD MUVAHHID

307.4 EXEMPLARY CHARACTER THESE SELFLESS GLORIOUS SOULS SOURCE INSPIRATION TO BAHA'IS OF WORLD. WHILE NOT ABLE WIN CROWN MARTYRDOM LIKE PERSIAN BRETHREN, VALIANT DETACHED FRIENDS EVERY LAND UNDOUBTEDLY ARE ENDEAVORING EVINCE SAME SPIRIT FOLLOW SAME PATH CONSECRATION DEDICATION GOD'S HOLY FAITH. WE ARE CONFIDENT THAT SANCTIFIED BLOOD OF THESE DESCENDANTS DAWN-BRFAKERS WILL SERVE STRENGTHEN BODY CAUSE GOD THROUGHOUT GLOBE, PRODUCE UNPRECEDENTED VICTORIES TO COMPENSATE LOSSES SUSTAINED CRADLE FAITH....

308.1 UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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308 Proselytizing, Development, and the Covenant 3 JANUARY 1982

To an individual Bahá'í

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

The Universal House of Justice has received your letter and has asked us to assure you that you should feel no diffidence in raising the sort of questions that you have expressed. It seems clear from your letter that you have been greatly attracted to the Message of Bahá'u'lláh and have accepted His Faith before, as you say, becoming "fully committed," and are, therefore, now having to face and resolve problems that many believers overcome before they declare their faith. The House of justice urges you not to let it worry you. All through life Bahá'ís are faced with tests of many kinds, and problems and doubts, but it is through facing and overcoming them that we grow spiritually.

308.2 On the particular issues that you raise, the House of Justice has instructed us to send you the following comments. Teaching vs. Proselytizing It is true that Bahá'u'lláh lays on every Bahá'í the duty to teach His Faith.

308.3 At the same time, however, we are forbidden to proselytize, so it is important for all believers to understand the difference ' between teaching and proselytizing. It is a significant difference and, in some countries where teaching a religion is permitted, but proselytizing is forbidden, the distinction is made in the law of the land. Proselytizing implies bringing undue pressure to bear upon someone to change his Faith. It is also usually understood to imply the making of threats or the offering of material benefits as an inducement to conversion. In some countries mission schools or hospitals, for all the good they do, are regarded with suspicion and even aversion by the local authorities because they are considered to be material inducements to conversion and hence instruments of proselytization.

308.4 Bahá'u'lláh, in The Hidden Words, says, "O Son of Dust! The wise are they that speak not unless they obtain a hearing, even as the cup-bearer, who proffereth not his cup till he findeth a seeker, and the lover who crieth not out from the depths of his heart until he gazeth upon the beauty of his beloved .... 11, and on page 55 of The Advent of Divine Justice, a letter which is primarily directed towards exhorting the friends to fulfill their responsibilities in teaching the Faith, Shoghi Effendi writes: "Care, however, should, at all times, be exercised, lest in their eagerness to further the international interests of the Faith they frustrate their purpose, and turn away, through any act that might be misconstrued as an attempt to proselytize and bring undue


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pressure upon them, those whom they wish to win over to their Cause.", Some Bahá'ís sometimes overstep the proper bounds, but this does not alter the clear principle.

308.5 The responsibility of the Bahá'ís to teach the Faith is very great. The contraction of the world and the onward rush of events require us to seize every chance open to us to touch the hearts and minds of our fellowmen. The Message of Bahá'u'lláh is God's guidance for mankind to overcome the difficulties of this age of transition and move forward into the next stage of its evolution, and human beings have the right to hear it. Those who accept it incur the duty of passing it on to their fellowman. The slowness of the response of the world has caused and is causing great suffering; hence the historical pressure upon Bahá'ís to exert every effort to teach the Faith for the sake of their fellowmen. They should teach with enthusiasm, conviction, wisdom and courtesy, but without pressing their hearer, bearing in mind the words of Bahá'u'lláh: "Beware lest ye contend with any one, nay, strive to make him aware of the truth with kindly manner and most convincing exhortation. If your hearer respond, he will have responded to his own behoof, and if not, turn ye away from him, and set your faces towards God's sacred Court, the seat of resplendent holiness." (Gleanings CXXVIII) Considerations in the Application of Bahá'í Social Teachings

308.6 The application and development of the social aspects of the Teachings is dependent on the stage of growth of the Bahá'í community in each area, and on worldwide priorities. We are living in an age of transition, and as 'Abdu'l-Bahá explained, we must, in order to succeed in our aims, sacrifice the important for the most important. The House of Justice, for example, had to turn down the request of certain believers to establish Bahá'í schools in a Western country which already had a functioning state educational system; those Bahá'í funds which are available for educational projects must be spent on the establishment and running of schools in areas where there are large Bahá'í communities of poor people, with no adequate system of education available to them. In its answer, the House of justice pointed out that if these friends, on their own initiative, wished to establish their own school, run on Bahá'í lines, and financially self-supporting, they were entirely free to do so. This highlights an aspect of the matter which is often overlooked. The social services of Bahá'ís are not restricted to what they do as a community Every Bahá'í has a duty to work and earn his living, and in choosing a career a Bahá'í should consider not only its earning capacity but also the benefit of the work to his fellowmen. All over the world Bahá'ís are rendering outstanding services in this way. 30S-i.

306.7 ADJ, p. 66.


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When a Bahá'í community is very small, there is little that it can do to implement the social teachings of the Faith (beyond their impact on the behavior of individual believers), because such a community with the resources in funds and manpower at its disposal is but a drop in the ocean in comparison with the many large agencies, governmental and private, which are engaged in social

improvement. When the Bahá'í community grows sufficiently large, however, its activities can and must proliferate and diversify. This development is already taking place in many parts of the world. In India, for example, the New Era School in Panchgani, which has been developing remarkably for a number of years, is closely associated with a rural development project in the villages close by that is having dramatically favorable results in the life of the villagers. In the province of Madhya Pradesh, where there are hundreds of thousands of Bahá'ís, the Rabbani School in Gwalior is educating children from the villages of the area in the Teachings of the Faith, in academic subjects and in agriculture, so that when they return to their home villages, these pupils not only promote the Faith but will influence their growth and development in every way. In Ecuador, as you no doubt know, the size of the Bahá'í community, scattered over inaccessible terrain in the high Andes, made it both necessary and possible some years ago to establish a Bahá'í radio station.2 "Radio Bahá'í," as it is known, broadcasts not only about the Faith, but has programs concerning health, agriculture, literacy and so on. It has now become so well established and highly regarded that it has been able to apply for and receive a Canadian Government grant through C.I.D.A.3 to finance the development of certain social service activities. Thus it can be seen that once the Bahá'í community

attains a certain stature it is able to work in fruitful collaboration with non-Bahá'í agencies in its social activities. A further aspect of this kind of work is the collaboration between the Bahá'í

308.8 International Community and the United Nations. Having consultative status with both ECOSOC and UNICEF, and long association with the Department of Public Information, the Bahá'í International Community is able to take part in conferences and consultations on many aspects of human development, both from the point of view of the Bahá'í Teachings and with the background of its extensive experience in meeting the problems of developing countries, such as illiteracy, the status of women, tribalism, racial prejudice, and so on.

308.9 As you can see, all these developments relate directly to the teaching work inasmuch as the Bahá'í communities must reach a certain size before they can begin to implement many of them. How, for example, can a Bahá'í community demonstrate effectively the abolition of prejudices which divide the

308-2. See messages dated 15 December 1977 (no. 201), Naw-Ruz 1978 (no. 205), and 28 August 1979 (no. 2W. 308-3. Canadian International Development Agency.


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inhabitants of a country until it has a cross-section of those inhabitants within its ranks? A seed is the vital origin of a tree and of a tremendous importance for that reason, but it cannot produce fruit until it has grown into a tree and flowered and fruited. So a Bahá'í community of nine

believers is a vital step, since it can bring into being for that locality the divine institution of the Local Spiritual Assembly, but it is still only a seed, and needs to grow in size and in the diversity of its members before it can produce really convincing fruit for its fellow citizens.

308.10 One could say, however, that the Bahá'í communities could assist in social development from a very early stage in their development by supporting the activities of other groups who are, at this point, more numerous and powerful. To some extent this is true, provided that such involvement does not divert the efforts of the friends from the more fundamentally important teaching work or involve them in the disputes of non-Bahá'í rival groups. Humanity's Most Urgent Need

308.11 The teaching work is of primary importance for this reason: the most urgent need of human beings is to recognize the Manifestation of God and thereby to learn how to collaborate constructively. All over the world tremendous efforts are being made to improve the lot of mankind-or of parts of mankind, but most of these efforts are frustrated by the conflicts of aims, by corruption of the morals of those involved, by mistrust, or by fear. There is no lack of material resources in the world if they are properly used. The problem is the education of human beings in the ultimate and most important purpose of life and in how to weld the differences of opinion and outlook into a united constructive effort. Bahá'ís believe that God has revealed the purpose of life, has shown us how to attain it, has provided the 'ways in which we can work together and, beyond that, has given mankind the assurance both of continuing divine guidance and of divine assistance. As people learn and follow these teachings their efforts will produce durable results. In the absence of these teachings, a lifetime of effort only too often ends in disillusionment and the collapse of all that has been built.

308.12 It is not easy for people to learn the Bahá'í way, to overcome their inherited prejudices or to resist their personal temptations. This way takes time, is subject to checks and backsliding, but one can see, looking at the past 138 years, that there is an overall advance that is astonishing in the light of the obstacles to be overcome, and is accelerating with every passing decade. Obstacle to Progress: Getting Sucked Into Prevailing Attitudes

308.13 One of the great obstacles to progress is the tendency of Bahá'ís to be sucked into the general attitudes and disputes that surround them, to be influenced, for example, as you yourself pointed out, by the prevailing attitude to marriage so that the divorce rate becomes a problem within the Bahá'í


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community itself which should be an example to the rest of society in such matters. Involvement in politics and controversial questions is another aspect of the same phenomenon. In one of His Tablets Bahá'u'lláh warns the Bahá'ís: "Dispute not with any one concerning the things of this world and its affairs, for God hath abandoned them to such as have set their affection upon them. Out of the whole world He hath chosen for Himself the hearts of men -- hearts which the hosts of revelation and of utterance can subdue." (Gleanings C)CMII) As you realize, this cannot mean that Bahá'ís must not be controversial since, in many societies, being a Bahá'í is itself a controversial matter. The central importance of this principle of avoidance of politics and controversial matters is that Bahá'ís should not allow themselves to be drawn into the disputes of the many conflicting elements of the society around them. The aim of the Bahá'ís is to reconcile, to heal divisions, to bring about tolerance and mutual respect among men, and this aim is undermined if we allow ourselves to be swept along by the ephemeral passions of others. This does not mean that Bahá'ís cannot collaborate with any non-Bahá'í movement; it does mean that' good judgment is required to distinguish those activities and associations which are beneficial and constructive from those which are divisive. The Uniqueness of the Bahá'í Covenant The House of Justice hopes that these explanations will help you to understand some of the aspects of the Faith that have been troubling you. The crux of the matter, as you realize, is the acceptance of spiritual authority and what this implies. You express the fear that the authority conferred upon 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice could lead to a progressive reduction in the "available scope for personal interpretation," and that 11 the actual writings of the Manifestation will have less and less import," and you instance what has happened in previous Dispensations. The House of Justice suggests that, in thinking about this, you contemplate the way the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh has actually worked, and you will be able to see how very different its processes are from those of, say, the development of the law in Rabbinical Judaism or the functioning of the Papacy in Christianity. The practice in the past in these two religions, and also to a great extent in Islam, has been to assume that the Revelation given by the Founder was the final, perfect revelation of God's Will to mankind, and all subsequent elucidation and legislation has been interpretative in the sense that it aimed at applying this basic Revelation to the new problems and situations that have arisen. The Bahá'í premises are quite different. Although the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh is accepted as the Word of God and His Law as the Law of God, it is understood from the outset that Revelation is progressive, and that the Law, although the Will of God for this Age, will undoubtedly be changed by the next Manifestation of God. Secondly, only the written text of the Revelation is regarded as authoritative. There is no Oral Law as in Judaism, no Tradition


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of the Church as in Christianity, no Hadith as in Islam. Thirdly, a clear distinction is drawn between interpretation and legislation. Authoritative interpretation is the exclusive prerogative of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Guardian, while infallible legislation is the function of the Universal House of Justice.

308.15 If you study the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and of the Guardian, you will see how tremendously they differ from the interpretations of the Rabbis and the Church. They are not a progressive fossilization of the Revelation, they are for the most part expositions which throw a clear light upon passages which may have been considered obscure, they point up the intimate interrelationship between various teachings, they expound the implications of scriptural allusions, and they educate the Bahá'ís in the tremendous significances of the Words of Bahá'u'lláh. Rather than in any way supplanting the Words of the Manifestation, they lead us back to them time and again. Authoritative vs. Individual interpretation

308.16 There is also an important distinction made in the Faith between authoritative interpretation, as described above, and the interpretation which every believer is fully entitled to voice. Believers are free, indeed are encouraged, to study the Writings for themselves and to express their understanding of them. Such personal interpretations can be most illuminating, but all Bahá'ís, including the one expressing the view, however learned he may be, should realize that it is only a personal view and can never be upheld as a standard for others to accept, nor should disputes ever be permitted to arise over differences in such opinions. Interpretation and Legislation

308.17 The legislation enacted by the Universal House of Justice is different from interpretation. Authoritative interpretation, as uttered by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Guardian, is a divinely guided statement of what the Word of God means. The divinely inspired legislation of the Universal House of Justice does not attempt to say what the revealed Word means-it states what must be done in cases where the revealed Text or its authoritative interpretation is not explicit. It is, therefore, on quite a different level from the Sacred Text, and the Universal House of justice is empowered to abrogate or amend its own legislation whenever it judges the conditions make this desirable. Moreover, the attitude to legislation is different in the Bahá'í Faith. The human tendency in past Dispensations has been to want every question answered and to arrive at a binding decision affecting every small detail of belief or practice. The tendency in the Bahá'í

Dispensation, from the time of Bahá'u'lláh Himself, has been to clarify the governing principles, to make binding pronouncements on details which are considered essential, but to leave a wide area to the conscience of the individual. The same tendency appears also in administrative matters.

308.18 The Guardian used to state that the working of National Spiritual


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Assemblies should be uniform in essentials but that diversity in secondary matters was not only permissible but desirable. For this reason a number of points are not expressed in the, National Bahá'í Constitution (the Declaration of Trust and By-Laws of National Assemblies); these are left to each National Spiritual Assembly to decide for itSelf.4 The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh The Covenant is the "axis of the oneness of the world of humanity' because it preserves the unity and integrity of the Faith itself and protects it from being disrupted by individuals who are convinced that only their understanding of the Teachings is the right one-a fate that has

overcome all past Revelations. The Covenant is, moreover, embedded in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh Himself. Thus, as you clearly see, to accept Bahá'u'lláh is to accept His Covenant; to reject His Covenant is to reject Him. The House of Justice asks us to assure you of its loving prayers at the Sacred

308.19 Threshold for your guidance in your efforts to arrive at a greater understanding of this wonderful Revelation.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

309 Iranian Supreme Court's Denial of Execution of Iranian National Spiritual Assembly Members 5 JANUARY 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies PRESIDENT SUPREME COURT AYATOLLAH

ARDEBILI IS REPORTED BY NEWS SERVICES

309.1 TO 14AVE DENIED EXECUTION EIGHT MEMBERS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IRAN.... WE CONVINCED EXECUTIONS WERE PIANNED TO BE KEPT SECRET BUT WERE DISCOVERED FORTUITOUSLY. BAHA'I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY REQUESTING SECRETARY GENERAL UNITED NATIONS INVESTIGATE.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 308-4, The Declaration of Trust and By-Laws of the National Spiritual Assembly are published in each volume of The Bahá'í World, beginning with volume 3.


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310 Appeal by Bahá'í International Community to Iranian Leaders 7 JANUARY 1982

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

310.1 Bahá'í INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY CABLING FOLLOWING TEXT TO AYATOLLAH KHOMEINI, PRIME MINISTER MIR HUSAYN MUSAVI, AND PRESIDENT SUPREME COURT AYATOLLAH MUSAVI ARDEBILI: 310.2 "NEWS RECENT SECRET EXECUTION EIGHT MEMBERS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BAHA'Is IRAN, AND SEVEN OTHERS, SIX OF WHOM WERE MEMBERS LOCAL ASSEMBLY TEHRAN, HAS SHOCKED BAHA'IS ENTIRE WORLD. TOTAL NUMBER BAHA'IS WHOSE MARTYRDOMS OFFICIALLY ACKNOWLEDGED HAS NOW REACHED NINETY-SEVEN. FOURTEEN OTHERS, KNOWN TO HAVE DISAPPEARED, FEARED TO HAVE SUFFERED SAME FATE. HUNDREDS IMPRISONED THROUGHOUT COUNTRY ON CHARGES WITHOUT SUBSTANTIATING EVIDENCE WE CATEGORICALLY DENY TRUTH THESE ACCUSATIONS.

310.3 AS BAHA'IS IRAN ARE RIGIDLY DENIED OPPORTUNITY PUBLICLY PRESENT THEIR CASE, DEFEND THEIR RIGHTS, PROVE THEIR INNOCENCE, AND ALL DOORS APPEAL THEIR CASE CLOSED BEFORE THEM, WE THEREFORE APPEAL TO YOU ON THEIR BEHALF IN NAME OF BAHA'I COMMUNITIES IN 164 INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD:

1. TO ISSUE IMMEDIATE INSTRUCTIONS STOP SUMMARY ARRESTS EXECUTIONS,

2. TO REQUIRE THOSE RESPONSIBLE PRODUCE PUBLISH DOCUMENTS WHICH HAVE FORMED BASIS CONVICTION BAHA'IS AS SO-CALLED SPIES, 3. TO EXTEND TO BAHA'IS AS LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS, AND AS A COMMUNITY, INALIENABLE RIGHT TO PUBLICLY DEFEND THEMSELVES DISPROVE MALICIOUS ACCUSATIONS FALSE CHARGES.

310.4 WE LAY BEFORE YOU FATE THESE LOYAL CITIZENS ABOUT WHOSE INNOCENCE, TRUE LOVE FOR IRAN AND REVERENCE FOR SPIRIT ISLAM YOU SHOULD HAVE NO DOUBT WE PRAY THE ALMIGHTY MAY GUIDE YOU THIS ELEVENTH HOUR TO DISCHARGE SACRED INESCAPABLE RESPONSIBILITIES BEFORE GOD AND MAN. BAHA'I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY"

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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311 Secret Execution of Six Members of Tehran Assembly and Hostess 7 JANUARY 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies INFORMATION JUST RECEIVED SIX MEMBERS LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY TEHRAN

311.1 TOGETHER WITH WOMAN BELIEVER IN WHOSE HOME ARRESTS WERE MADE ON SECOND NOVEMBER WERE SECRETLY EXECUTED ON FOURTH JANUARY. INFORMATION OBTAINED FORTUITOUSLY BY RELATIVES FRIENDS MARTYRS. NAMES THESE VALIANT SOULS ARE:

MR. KURUSH TALA'I MR. KHUSRAW MUHANDISI MR. ISKANDAR 'AZIZI MR. FATHU'LLAH FIRDAWSI MR. ATA'U'LLAH YAVARI MRS. SHIVA MAHMUDI ASADU'LLAHZADIH HOSTESS: MRS. SHIDRUKH AMIR-KIYA BAQA . . .

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

312 Using A Cry from the Heart to Explain the Tragic Events in Iran 21 JANUARY 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

312.1 The Hand of the Cause William Sears, deeply moved by the savage onslaught on the dearly loved and heroic Bahá'í community in Iran, has written a dramatic account of the current persecution., Mr. Sears's story acquires deep poignancy from the account of his travels in Iran when he came to know and love the Persian Bahá'ís, both individually and collectively, among whom are a number of the martyrs. In a white heat of indignation, he came to the World Center to write the first draft of his book, using the detailed information available here to present-as he is so well able-the successive tragedies which, even in these days of universal terrorism, are beginning to shock the world. 312-1. The book, A Cry from the Heart, was published by George Ronald (1982).


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312.3 The House of Justice believes that Mr. Sears's book will not only be warmly welcomed by the friends, but can also be a potent instrument for interesting large numbers of people in the tragic events now taking place in Persia, winning their sympathy for the harassed Bahá'ís and leading them to inquire further about a Faith which can inspire such fortitude in ordinary people. He does not miss the opportunities offered, in refuting the trumped-up charges made against the Bahá'ís, for presenting basic Bahá'í teachings and conveying a persuasive sense of why Bahá'u'lláh is worth dying for. Furthermore, widespread knowledge among the public of the persecutions in Iran can be an added deterrent to their continuation, reinforcing the many efforts being made by governments and other agencies as a result of the constant appeals of the Bahá'í International Community and National Spiritual Assemblies.

312.4 The House of Justice requests you to give the greatest possible support to distribution of this book, calling it to the attention of the friends and urging them to use it as a topical introduction for their contacts, to try to persuade their local newspapers and radio stations to review it and their local bookshops to display it. We have asked that it be published at as low a price as possible so that it can be used by all the friends. It is now at press and you will shortly hear from the publisher.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

313 Plans for Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Ascension of Bahiyyih Khanum 24 JANUARY 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

313.1 The fiftieth anniversary of the ascension of Bahiyyih Khanum, eldest daughter of Bahá'u'lláh and designated by Him the Greatest Holy Leaf, will occur on July 15th of this year. We summon the entire Bahá'í world to a befitting commemoration of the life of the greatest woman in the Bahá'í Dispensation.

313.2 National Spiritual Assemblies are requested to arrange national commemorative services, and to ensure that all local communities hold befitting meetings.

313.3 These services should be held on the date of the anniversary or on the weekend immediately following it, and in those countries where Mashriqu'l-Adhkar are in existence, they should be held in the

Temple.


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In order to provide for your arrangement of the services, we have requested our Research Department to compile a bibliography of references to the Greatest Holy Leaf in Bahá'í literature in English, and this is enclosed for your use., In addition the book announced in our message of March 1981 is now at press, and will be available by the time of the commemoration.2

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Some References to the Greatest Holy Leaf Found in Published Works Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Tablets Revealed in Honor of the Greatest Holy

313.4 Leaf (New York: National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada, 1933). Shoghi Effendi:

313.5 The Advent of Divine justice (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1990), P. 37 Bahá'í Administration (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1974), pp. 25, 57, 70, 93, 187-196. The Dawn-Breakers (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1974), dedication. God Passes By (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1974), pp. 108, 347, 350, 392. Guidance for Today and Tomorrow (London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1973), pp. 58-71. Messages to America: Selected Letters and Cablegrams Addressed to the Bahá'ís of North America 1932-1946 (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Committee, 1947), pp. 1, 31, 37 Messages to the Bahá'í World (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1971), P. 74. The World Order Bahá'u'lláh, (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1991), pp. 67-68, 81-82, 93-94, 98. 313-1. In a letter dated 25 February 1982 the Universal House of Justice sent to all National Spiritual Assemblies a revised bibliography of references in Bahá'í literature to the Greatest Holy Leaf. The revised bibliography published here contains references to Persian and Arabic texts in addition to the original list of references in English. The latest editions are cited for the reader's convenience. 313-2. The book, Bahiyyih Khanum: The Greatest Holy Leaf was published by the Bahá'í World Center in Haifa (1982). For an account of the commemoration at the Bahá'í World Center of the fiftieth

anniversary of Bahiyyih Khanum's passing, see BW 18:53-54.


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313.6 Others: Balyuzi, H.M., Abdu'l-Bahá, the Centre of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh (London: George Ronald, 1971), pp. 12, 54-55, 74, 332, 401, 416, 454-455, 463-464, 482.

Balyuzi, H.M., Edward Granville Browne and the Bahá'í Faith (London: George Ronald, 1970), pp. 119-220

Blomfield, Lady Sarah, The Chosen Highway (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1967), pp. 37-69, 73.

Gail, Marzieh, Khanum: the Greatest Holy Leaf as Remembered by Marzieh Gail (London: George Ronald, 1982)

Maxwell, May, An Early Pilgrimage (London: George Ronald, 1969), pp. 18-19.

Muhajir, Iran Furutan, comp., The Mystery of God (London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1979), pp. 278-304.

Rabbani, Ruhiyyih, The Priceless Pearl (London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1969), pp. 6-7, 10-11, 13-151 21-22, 39, 44, 46-51, 57-58, 63, 90, 102-03, 112, 115, 129-30, 139-40, 144-48, M-52, 168, 199, 218, 236, 259, 261-62, 266-67, 273, 279-80, 430, 438. Universal House of Justice, Bahá'í Holy Places at the World Centre (Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1968), pp. 62-70.

313.7 The Bahá'í World, an International Record Vol. 2, 1926-1928, P. 83, 132 Vol. 3, 1928-1930, p. 64 Vol- 5, 1932-1934, pp. 22-23, 114-15, 169-88 vol. 8, 1938-1940, P. 5, 8, 206, 255-56, 262, 266 Vol- 9, 1940-1944, p. 329 Vol. 10, 1944-1946, P. 536 Vol. 11, 1946-1950, p. 474, 492 vol. 16, 1973-1976, P. 54, 66, 73

313.8 Bahá'í News, published by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States no. 18, June 1927, P. 5 no. 36, December 1929, P. I no. 52, May 1931, pp. 1-2 no. 62, May 1932, P. 2 no. 65, August 1932, pp. 1-2 no. 66, September 1932, p. I no. 7-21 March 1933, P. 3 no. 121, December 1938, P. 3 no. 124, April 1939, P. I no. 128, August 1939, P. 4


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no. 133, February 1940, P. I no. 135, April 1940, insert Star of the West (Chicago: Bahá'í News Service)

313.9 Vol. 10, no. 17, pp. 312-14 Vol. 12, no. 10, pp. 163-67; no. ii, pp. 186-88; no. 13, pp.

314.1 M-14; no. 151 P_ 245; no. 19, pp. 302-03 vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 68-69, 82-83, 88; no. 8, pp. 207-10, 291-20; no. ii, p. 34 Vol. 17, no. 8, pp. 256-60 Vol. 18, no. 9, pp. 278-82 Vol. 20, no. i, p. 18; no. 4, P. 104 vol. 23, no. 5, p. 134; no- 7, pp. 202-04; no. 12, pp. 374-77 Vol. 24, no. i, pp. 18-20; no. 3, pp. 90-93 Vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 118-22 (Many of these references are accounts of early pilgrimages, and give only a brief mention of the Greatest Holy Leaf) 314 Golden Opportunity Offered by Reign of Relentless Terror; Actions Taken to Defend the Bahá'ís of Iran 26 January 1982 The Bahá'ís of the World Dearly loved Friends, With indignation and anguish the Bahá'ís of the world, over the past three years, have received continuously tragic news of the sufferings and martyrdoms of their brethren in Iran, where a reign of relentless terror is now encompassing that long-abused and downtrodden community. The inhuman cruelties heaped on the followers of the Most Great Name-worthy descendants of their forebears, the Dawn-Breakers-in that land where the heroes and martyrs of the Faith have shed such luster on their generations, are increasing daily. We have seen how the House of the Bab in Shiraz and Bahá'u'lláh's ancestral home in Takur have been demolished,' A Bahá'í endowments, including our Holy Places, have been seized, and the main financial assets of the community sequestered. We have seen with what callousness Bahá'í

314-1. For more about the destruction of the House of the Bab, see messages dated 9 September 1979 (no. 235), 19 November 1979 (no. 241), and 26 May 1981 (no. 282). For the message about the destruction of the House of Bahá'u'lláh in Takur, see telex dated 10 December 1981 (no. 305).


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children have been refused admission to schools, Bahá'í employees dismissed from government positions, I and the essential human rights of the sorely tried Bahá'ís violated, their means of livelihood undermined or destroyed, their homes plundered, their properties confiscated, their very lives snuffed out. An Acceleration of Persecution

314.2 Contemplating the history of the persecution of the Bahá'ís of Iran, we note an alarming acceleration in the degree of blatancy with which the traditional enemies of the Faith pursue their single purpose of extirpating the Faith in the land of its birth. In the past, with the exception of a few specific instances, the persecution of the members of the Bahá'í community by those traditionally inimical to the Faith, was random and sporadic, resulting from the incitement of easily aroused mobs to attack the lives and properties of the Bahá'ís.

314.3 Now the enemies of God's precious Cause who, as they themselves attest, have in the past twenty-five years organized themselves to counteract the influence of the Faith, to vilify and misrepresent its purpose and teachings, to inflame religious passions leading to the harassment and intimidation of the believers, to sow seeds of doubt among the friends and sympathizers, have infiltrated the ranks of officialdom, where, from this more advantageous position, they continue to instigate the persecution of the Bahá'ís. The incidence of violation of the rights of the Bahá'ís is thus becoming more frequent as is well evidenced by reports published in the press of Iran in recent months. Examples abound. For instance, formerly when Bahá'ís were arrested they were given an opportunity to defend themselves in some form of judicial proceedings held for the sake of appearances. On one occasion part of the proceedings which resulted in the execution of seven believers in Yazd, as late as September 1980, was televised. But recently the court proceedings, if any, have been held in camera,2 and reports have even been received of the torture of Bahá'ís before their execution. No longer are the relatives of imprisoned Bahá'ís permitted to visit them, as they were until

recently; no longer are the condemned permitted to solace their

families with letters of farewell or the making of wills before their execution; and, more tragically, disturbed by the large number of Bahá'ís and sympathetic people of other religions who attended the funeral services of the slain Bahá'ís, the authorities have now seized the Bahá'í cemetery in Tehran and do not permit burial there. Indeed, the families of those most recently martyred were not even notified of the secret execution of their loved ones, whose bodies, unceremoniously deposited in graves for "infidels," were only fortuitously discovered.

314.4 Although the oppressors maintain that they are killing the Bahá'ís because they are guilty of serving as political agents and spies, it has been ascertained 314-2. In private, secretly.


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that in almost every instance of execution, the accused Bahá'í was offered recantation as a means of release.

314.5 Oppression-The Cause of Stability and Firmness The inveterate enemies of the Faith imagine that their persecutions Will disrupt the foundations of the Faith and tarnish its glory. Alas! Alas for their ignorance and folly! These acts of oppression, far from weakening the resolve of the friends, have always served to inflame their zeal and galvanize their beings.

314.7 In the words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, ". . . they thought that violence and interference would cause extinction and silence and lead to suppression and oblivion, whereas interference in matters of conscience causes stability and firmness and attracts the attention of men's sight and souls, which fact has received experimental proof many times and often."3 Every drop of blood shed by the valiant

martyrs, every sigh heaved by the 314.6 silent victims of oppression, every supplication for divine assistance offered by the faithful, has released, and will continue mysteriously to release, forces over which no antagonist of the Faith has any control, and which, as marshaled by an All-Watchful Providence, have served to noise abroad the name and fame of the Faith to the masses of humanity in all continents, millions of whom had previously been totally ignorant of the existence of the Faith or had but a superficial, and oft-times erroneous, understanding of its teachings and history. Worldwide Publicity The current persecution has resulted in bringing the name and character of our beloved Faith to the attention of the world as never before in its history. As a direct result of the protests sent by the worldwide community of the Most Great Name to the rulers in Iran, of the representations made to the media when those protests were ignored, of direct approach by Bahá'í institutions at national and international levels to governments, communities of nations, international agencies and the United Nations itself, the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh has not only been given sympathetic attention in the world's councils, but also its merits and violated rights have been discussed and resolutions of protest sent to the Iranian authorities by sovereign governments, singly and in unison. The world's leading newspapers, followed by the local press, have presented sympathetic accounts of the Faith to millions of readers, while television and radio stations are increasingly making the persecutions in Iran the subject of their programs. Commercial

publishing houses are beginning to commission books about the Faith. But in spite of this great wave of publicity now bringing the name of the

314.8 Faith to the attention of large masses of mankind, and in spite of the many 314-3. TN, p. 6.


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representations made to the authorities in Iran, the persecution of the Bahá'ís there continues. The world stands helpless before the imperviousness of that country to outside opinion or criticism. In face of this tragic impasse we can only redouble our efforts to teach the Cause, taking advantage of the increasing interest in the character and principles of our beloved Faith created by the sufferings of the Persian community. A Blessing in Disguise

314.9 Indeed, this new wave of persecution sweeping the Cradle of the Faith may well be seen as a blessing in disguise, a "providence" whose "calamity' is, as always, borne heroically by the beloved Persian community. It may be regarded as the latest move in God's Major Plan, another trumpet blast to awaken the heedless from their slumber and a golden opportunity offered to the Bahá'ís to demonstrate once again their unity and fellowship before the eyes of a declining and skeptical world, to proclaim with full force the Message of Bahá'u'lláh to high and low alike, to establish the reverence of our Faith for Islam and its Prophet, to assert the principles of noninterference in political activities and obedience to government which stand at the very core of our Faith, and to provide comfort and solace to the breasts of the serene sufferers and steadfast heroes in the forefront of a persecuted community. Our motto in these days of world-encircling gloom should be the Words of God addressed to the Blessed Beauty Himself. "When the swords flash, go forward! When the shafts fly, press onward!"4

314.10 Future

historians will have to assess the impact of this crisis on the onward march of a triumphant Faith.

314.12 A detailed list of the steps that have already been taken by the Bahá'ís of the world during the past three years is attached for the study of the friends.

314.11 Our fervent prayers are offered most ardently at the Holy Shrines for the blessings of Bahá'u'lláh to surround His lovers and loved ones in every land, and to assist and confirm them as they face with certitude and confidence the challenges of the future.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

314-4. Bahá'u'lláh, in BP, pp. 219-20.


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Summary of Actions Taken by the Bahá'í International Community, National and Local Bahá'í Institutions Governments, Non-Bahá'í Organizations and Prominent People in Connection with the Persecution of the Bahá'ís of Iran The Bahá'í International Community Issued official statements to the press; kept the Secretary-General and

appropriate offices of the United Nations apprised of developments as they occurred; cabled the Ayatollah Khomeini, the President and Prime Minister of Iran, and the President of the Iranian Supreme Court, urging their intervention and refuting accusations made against the Faith; prepared materials and made statements in connection with the adoption of resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, the European Parliament, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; made statements at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on the Question of Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; contacted the Iranian representative to the United Nations in New York in order to repudiate falsehoods made about the Faith and provide him with the true facts; and prepared the "White Paper" and "Update" and arranged for their translation in three languages, the "Chronological Summary of Individual Acts of Persecution in Iran," and other documents for submission to high-ranking officials, government and United Nations offices, and worldwide distribution to National Spiritual Assemblies. Bahá'í Institutions National Assemblies throughout the world cabled the Ayatollah Khomeini on four occasions, the Prime Minister and Head of the Iranian Supreme Court three times each, and the Secretary of the Revolutionary Council of Iran once. 118 National Spiritual Assemblies cabled the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as did thousands of Local Assemblies, Bahá'í groups and isolated centers. It was estimated that some 10-15,000 cables reached him, protesting the execution of seven Bahá'ís in Hamadan. Over 10,000 Local Spiritual Assemblies cabled the Ayatollah Khomeini, urging his intervention regarding the expropriation of Bahá'í properties in Iran. Most National Assemblies contacted by letter or delegation, or sent cables to their respective Iranian Embassy or Consulate, on five


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occasions and kept their government officials continually informed of developments. -Selected National Assemblies cabled the Ayatollah Khomeini, the President and the Prime Minister of Iran, and the Secretary of the Revolutionary Council on several occasions. They also cabled or contacted their respective Iranian Embassy or Consulate at least eleven times; approached humanitarian, business or professional organizations; and were in constant touch with government offices and the media. -A large number of National Assemblies pursued a well organized campaign of approaching the mass media, providing them with accurate information about the Faith and refuting false accusations made by enemies of the Cause. As a result, an unprecedented volume of publicity occurred in leading newspapers and periodicals throughout the world, as well as in newspapers having modest circulations. Well-known journalists wrote articles, some of which were distributed through international news agencies. Inter-views were held with families of the martyrs, individual Bahá'ís wrote letters to editors of newspapers, and many radio and television programs were aired, including "Iran's Secret Pogrom" on W5 TV in Canada, and "Day One" and "John Craven's Newsround" on BBC1 TV. -Many National Assemblies contacted immigration authorities and appropriate government offices in efforts to assist the displaced Iranian Bahá'ís in extending their visas and obtaining work permits and travel

documents. They established special committees to work specifically to assist the Iranian friends, and they set up Persian Relief Funds on a national scale to aid deserving cases. The National Assemblies of Australia and Canada worked out with their respective immigration offices procedures whereby the process of immigration by Iranian Bahá'ís would be facilitated. 314.14 - Bahá'í communities the world over have assisted Iranian students abroad, who have been faced with the termination of their education because they are unable to receive funds from their families in Iran whose assets in Nawnahalan Company were frozen,5 or did not receive funds because the Iranian government prevented the transfer of money from Iran to Bahá'í students abroad. In some areas, Iranian embassies have refused to extend the visas of Bahá'í students. Certain universities and colleges have allowed the Bahá'í students to continue their studies, and in some instances their tuition fees have even been waived. 314-5. For further information on the Nawnahalan Company, see the glossary.


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Resolutions Adopted on Behalf of the Bahá'ís in Iran Canadian Parliament (2)

314.15 House of Representatives, Australia Senate, Australia German Federal Parliament A meeting held in a committee room of the House of Commons, United Kingdom United Nations General Assembly, Third

Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Religious Intolerance United Nations Subcommission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, Commission on Human Rights (2) European Parliament (2-) Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (z) House of Representatives of the State of Alaska, U.S.A. House of Representatives, State of Illinois, U.S.A. International Association for Religious Freedom Statements and Letters from Governments, World Leaders and Others name just a few

314.16 Prime Minister's Office of the United Kingdom President Mitterrand of France Offices of the King and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium President and Minister of Cultural Affairs of Luxembourg All three parliamentary parties in Luxembourg Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher of Germany Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India 148 Out Of 150 Members of Parliament in the Netherlands Swiss Parliamentarians Western Samoan Government Minister of Foreign Affairs, Australia Governor of the Hawaiian Islands, U.S.A.

314.17 Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Some Non-Bahá'í Individuals and Organizations that Issued Statements, Letters, Cables, or Press Releases Human Rights Commission of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Switzerland Amnesty International Trinidad and Tobago Bureau on Human Rights Former Chief Justice, India Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism Pacific Conference of Churches 13 Heads of Colleges in Oxford, U.K.


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- The Master, Balliol College, Oxford, England -Iran Committee for Democratic Action and Human Rights (based in the United States) - Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (based in France) - A large number of Senators and Congressmen of the United States 315 Call for a Day of Prayer for the Bahá'í's of Iran; Inviting Sympathetic Organizations and Individuals 29 JANUARY 1982 To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

315.1 At this time when our thoughts are so often directed toward our beleaguered brethren in the Cradle of the Faith, where no relenting of the persecutions is in sight, the Universal House of Justice is moved to call on National Spiritual Assemblies to schedule a day ' of prayer in order to extol the memory of the glorious martyrs, and to invoke the power of God to emancipate the Iranian believers from the fetters of oppression and hardship. Each National Assembly should select a suitable day and request all Bahá'í communities under its jurisdiction to hold appropriate gatherings on that specific day.

315.2 There is no doubt that the persecutions in Iran have attracted the interest of the public in a number of countries to the Cause of God and many have even expressed deep and genuine sympathy for the plight of the Persian friends. In such countries, if the National Assembly considers it desirable, it will be entirely permissible to invite to the prayer meetings, in the spirit and manner befitting the occasion, members of sympathetic organizations or selected individual non-Bahá'ís. These meetings could confirm and deepen the love and respect that many already cherish in their hearts for the Cause of God.

315.3 The following suggestions may be helpful to you:

315.3a If invitations are to be extended to non-Bahá'í friends, consideration should be given to those in authority both on national and local levels, leaders of thought, prominent people of all walks of life, and those sympathetic to the Faith. A general invitation to the public could also be issued in some localities, if appropriate and advisable.

315.3b Where Bahá'í centers are unavailable or inadequate for such meetings, public or community halls could be hired. If all efforts fail to obtain such secular facilities, it would also be permissible, as a last resort, to


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hold the gatherings in public halls owned by, or places of worship of, other religious communities, if such places are spontaneously offered or easily available, and provided it is absolutely clear that the meetings are to be conducted by, and under the auspices of, the Bahá'ís.

315.6 In each country where a Mashriqu'l-Adhkar is located the national meeting should be held by the National Assembly concerned in the Mother Temple. It is important that the gatherings be carefully planned well in advance and 315.5 the meetings be held with utmost dignity. In countries where it would not be propitious to invite non-Bahá'ís to the proposed prayer meetings, such gatherings should as usual be confined to Bahá'ís.

316.1 The House of Justice is confident that the power of prayer emanating from 315.7 these meetings will attract divine

blessings, will cause the souls of those who have joined the hosts on high to rejoice, and will assist the endeavors of the believers everywhere in expediting the triumph of the Cause of God.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

316 Release of a Compilation on Family Life 18 FEBRUARY 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

Many of the National Spiritual Assemblies have been given a specific goal, during the second phase of the Seven Year Plan, to organize programs for the development of family life and to nurture in the friends a deeper understanding of the nature of an institution which is at the very base of Bahá'í society. In order to help the friends everywhere to strengthen and enrich their family ties, and enable the family unit to reflect the glory of the Words of God, the Universal House of Justice asked its Research Department to prepare a compilation of suitable texts on this subject.

316.3 The compilation is now ready and a copy is attached.'

316.2 The Universal House of Justice leaves it to your discretion to determine how best the contents of this compilation may be shared with the friends under your jurisdiction.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

316-1. See CC 1:385-416.


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317 Mounting Cruelties and the Heightened Steadfastness of the

Iranian Bahá'ís 9 MARCH 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

317.1 ACCOUNTS HEROISM BELIEVERS CRADLE FAITH FILL OUR HEARTS WITH FEELINGS OF AWE, GRATITUDE, ADMIRATION. MOUNTING CRUELTIES OPPRESSORS MATCHED BY HEIGHTENED ENDURANCE STEADFASTNESS STAUNCH SUPPORTERS GREATEST NAME.

317.2 SINCE LAST REPORT ON 11 JANUARY 1982 CROWN MARTYRDOM HAS ADORNED TWO MORE LOVING SOULS, HUSAYN VAHDAT-I-HAQQ OF TEHRAN AND Ibrahim KHAYRKHAH OF BABULSAR.' THE FORMER, A HIGHLY QUALIFIED ELECTRONICS ENGINEER, WAS EXECUTED ON 28 FEBRUARY, EVE OBSERVANCE DECLARATION BAB ACCORDING LUNAR CALENDAR, AND MR. KHAYRKHAH, ACTIVE BELIEVER CASPIAN AREA, TWO DAYS EARLIER. BOTH

EXECUTED BURIED UNCEREMONIOUSLY WITHOUT RELATIVES FRIENDS BEING

INFORMED.

317.3 CONFISCATION OF HOMES INNOCENT BAHA'IS WITHOUT

PROVOCATION IS CONTINUING. LOOTING AND AUCTIONING OF FURNISHINGS OF BAHA'I HOME IN ARDIKAN NEAR YAZD WAS PRELUDE TO SERIES SIMILAR RAIDS ON HOMES OTHER BAHA'IS THAT TOWN. IN SHIRAZ 17 MORE HOMES EITHER CONFISCATED OR IN PROCESS CONFISCATION. 35 ADDITIONAL BANK ACCOUNTS OF BAHA'IS IN SHIRAZ NOW FROZEN. SCORES OF BAHA'IS HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS OR BEEN DEPRIVED THEIR BUSINESS AND TRADE LICENSES. ON ONE OCCASION A HIGH-RANKING AUTHORITY DECREED, IN REPLY TO QUESTION FROM INSURANCE COMPANY, THAT A BAHA'I WIDOW HAD NO RIGHT COLLECT HALF HER HUSBAND'S PENSION DUE HER NOR RETAIN CUSTODY HER CHILDREN. HISTORIC BAHA'I SITES PROGRESSIVELY BEING DEMOLISHED INCLUDING HOUSE BABIYYIH IN MASHHAD.:

317.4 IN FACE SUCH OPPRESSIVE MEASURES, THOUSANDS BAHA'IS IRAN UNMINDFUL OF POSSIBLE DIRE CONSEQUENCES, HAVE COURAGEOUSLY APPEALED BY LETTER OR CABLE TO VARIOUS HIGH OFFICIALS AT NATIONAL AND LOCAL LEVELS COMPLAINING ABOUT BARBARIC ACTS GROSS INJUSTICE, HAVE REVEALED THEIR NAMES AND ADDRESSES, AND HAVE EXPRESSED HOPE THAT FEAR GOD WILL ULTIMATELY AWAKEN BLOODTHIRSTY AND HATE-FILLED INDIVIDUALS TO DISGRACEFUL ABUSE THEIR POWERS AND INDUCE THEM CEASE BEHAVIOR ABHORRENT ALL CIVILIZED PEOPLE.

317.5 BAHA'IS IRAN ARE GRATEFUL THEIR BRETHREN THROUGHOUT WORLD BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOT ONLY SUCCESSFULLY RAISED THEIR VOICES IN NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL FORUMS BUT ALSO HAVE PLEDGED REDOUBLE THEIR EFFORTS SERVE 317-1. In a letter dated it January 1982 the Universal House of Justice sent to all National Spiritual Assemblies the text of a 5 January 1982 cable and two 7 January 1982 cables (see messages no. 309, 310, and 311). 317-2. For information on the Babiyyih, see the glossary.


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PLAN BAHA'U'LLAH IN NAME COWORKERS CRADLE FAITH, IN ORDER TO COUNTERACT EVIL MACHINATIONS ENEMIES CAUSE DESIGNED ERADICATE FAITH IN LAND ITS BIRTH. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 318 Relocation of Manila Conference 11 MARCH 1982 To National Spiritual Assemblies

318.1 ON RECOMMENDATION NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY PHILIPPINES FOLLOWING ITS CONSULTATIONS AUTHORITIES VIEW PRESENT DISTURBED CONDITIONS HAVE DECIDED TRANSFER MANILA CONFERENCE ELSEWHERE. NEW DATE VENUE WILL BE ANNOUNCED SHORTLY TO BAHA'I WORLD.

319.1 UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 319 Transfer of International Conference to Canberra, Australia 29 MARCH 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends, As you learned from an earlier communication, it has been necessary to transfer the International Conference planned for Manila, Philippines to another location., The Universal House of Justice requested the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia to act as host since it is located at the southern pole of the spiritual axis referred to by the beloved Guardian as extending from "the Antipodes to the northern islands of the Pacific Ocean."2 It is ,pleased to announce that the National Assembly has made arrangements to hold the Conference in Canberra from the 2nd through the 5th of September 1982. The Hand of the Cause Dr. Ugo Giachery will attend as representative of the House of Justice. Kindly circulate this information to the friends as quickly as possible.

319.2 It is hoped that all those who had been planning to attend the Manila Conference will find it possible to support the one now scheduled for Canberra.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

319-1. See message dated ii March 1982 (F10. 318). 319-2. LFG, p. 138.


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320 Representation of the Universal House of Justice at Lagos Conference by Hand of the Cause of God John Robarts 29 MARCH 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

320.1 The Universal House of Justice has asked us to inform you that it has become clear that in the present circumstances the representation of the World Center at the Lagos Conference by anyone currently residing in South Africa may give rise to unfavorable publicity for the Faith.

320.2 It has been decided, therefore, by the Universal House of Justice to invite the Hand of the Cause of God John Robarts to represent it at the Lagos Conference.

320.3 Four special conferences are being called for the benefit of the friends in Southern Africa, as these friends, because of the prevailing situation, are for the most part unable to attend the Lagos Conference. At these Conferences the Hand of the Cause William Sears will represent the Universal House of Justice.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

321 Ridvan Message 1982 RIDVAN 1982

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

321.1 Triumphs of inestimable portent for the unfoldment of the Cause of God, many of them resulting directly from the steadfast heroism of the beloved Persians in face of the savage persecutions meted out to them, have characterized the year just ending. The effect of these developments is to offer such golden opportunities for teaching and further proclamation as can only lead, if vigorously and enthusiastically seized, to large-scale conversion and an increasing prestige. Notable Achievements

321.2 Heartwarming

progress in the construction of the Indian and Western Samoan Mashriqu'l-Adhkar the opening of the second Bahá'í radio station


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of Latin America in Peru, the establishment of the European office of the Bahá'í International Community in Geneva, steady advances in the second phase of the Seven Year Plan, encouraging expansion of the systematized Bahá'í education of children, sacrifice and generous outpouring of funds from a growing number of friends, all testify to the abundant confirmations with which Bahá'u'lláh rewards the dedicated efforts of His loved ones throughout the world. The worldwide attention accorded the Faith in the media, which has opened wide the doors of mass proclamation of the divine Message, and the sympathetic discussion of it in the highest councils of mankind with the resulting actions taken by sovereign governments and international authorities,' are unprecedented in Bahá'í history. A Year Rich in Bahá'í Occasions All this, dear friends, augurs well for the coming year which is rich in

321.3 Bahá'í occasions. The fiftieth anniversary of the passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf will be commemorated at the five International Conferences and by the publication of a book, compiled at the World Center, comprising texts about her and some hundred of her own letters;3 the move to the permanent Seat of the Universal House of Justice will take place; in November the twenty-fifth anniversary of the passing of our beloved Guardian will coincide with the midway point of the Seven Year Plan4 and the year will terminate with the fifth International Convention when members of National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world will come to Haifa to elect the Universal House of JUStiCe.5 Tribute to the Hands of the Cause of God and the Continental Boards of Counselors The distinguished and invaluable activities of the beloved Hands of the

321.4 Cause are a source of pride and joy to the entire Bahá'í world. The assumption of wider responsibilities by each Continental Board of Counselors is proving an unqualified success and we express our warm thanks and admiration to the International Teaching Center and all the Counselors for the great contribution they are making, in increasing measure, to the stability and development of the embryonic World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. 3-21-1. For the message sent on the occasion of the inauguration of Radio Bahá'í Peru, see the telex dated 29 November 1981 (no. 304). 321-2. See letter dated 26 January 1982 (no. 314) and its addendum for a description of actions taken to defend the Iranian Bahá'ís. 321-3. The Greatest Holy Leaf passed away at 1:00 A.M. on 15 July 1932. The book referred to, Bahiyyih Khanum, was published by the Bahá'í World Center (1982). 321-4. Shoghi Effendi passed away on 4 November 1957; the midpoint of the Seven Year Plan was November 1982. 321-5. Ridvan 1983.


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Youth

321.5 As to Bahá'í youth, legatees of the heroic early believers and now standing on their shoulders, we call upon them to redouble their efforts, in this day of widespread interest in the Cause of God, to enthuse their contemporaries with the divine Message and thus prepare themselves for the day when they will be veteran believers able to assume whatever tasks may be laid upon them. We offer them this passage from the Pen of Bahá'u'lláh:

321.5a 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. Blessed are the steadfast and well is it with those who are firm.6 Our Response: A Mighty Upsurge in Effective Teaching

321.6 The rising sun of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation is having its visible effect upon the world and upon the Bahá'í' community itself. Opportunities, long dreamed of for teaching, attended by showering confirmations, now challenge in ever-increasing numbers, every individual believer, every Local and National Spiritual Assembly. The potent seeds sown by 'Abdu'l-Bahá are beginning to germinate within the divinely ordained Order expounded and firmly laid by the beloved Guardian. Humanity is beaten almost to its knees, bewildered and shepherdless, hungry for the bread of life. This is our day of service; we have that heavenly food to offer. The peoples are disillusioned with deficient political theories, social systems and orders; they crave, knowingly or unknowingly, the love of God and reunion with Him.

322.1 Our response to this growing challenge must be a mighty upsurge of effective

teaching, imparting the divine fire which Bahá'u'lláh has kindled in our hearts until a conflagration arising from millions of souls on fire with His love shall at last testify that the Day for which the Chief Luminaries of our Faith so ardently prayed has at last dawned.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

321-6. From an unpublished Tablet.


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322 Further Developments of the Situation in Iran 3 MAY 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

We have been instructed by the Universal House of Justice to announce the sorrowful news that since our last report of ii March 198'2, two more steadfast and devoted supporters of the Greatest Name in Iran, Mr. Ihsanu'llah Khayyami of Urumiyyih and Mr. 'Azizu'llah Gulshani of Mashhad, have joined the ranks of the martyrs of His Cause., After a few months of imprisonment and intense but unsuccessful pressure to recant his Faith, Mr. Khayyami, a staunch believer of humble means, was executed on 12 April 1982. Mr. Gulshani, a prominent Bahá'í of Khurasan province who was imprisoned for many months, was executed on 29 April. The following developments are also shared with you. - The friends in the village of Saysan, in one of the outlying districts Of

322.2 Tabriz, are under extreme pressure by a mullah of the neighboring town of Bustanabad, and have been given a month to decide whether they will convert to Islam or face grave consequences.

322.3 The members of the Bahá'í community in this village, which consists of several generations of Bahá'ís, have remained steadfast and approached the religious authorities in Qum who have recommended to the Imam-Jum'ih of Tabriz that he intervene and try to relieve the Bahá'ís from such harassment. - All the Bahá'ís of Hisar in Khurasan have been forced to leave their homes and had to flee to Mashhad. - Although a few believers have been released from prison during the 322.4 recent period of amnesty, many have been arrested and imprisoned, including nine active Bahá'ís in Qazvin and its surrounding areas, seven in Shiraz, five in Tehran, and seven in Zanjan.

322.5 The Universal House of Justice urges the friends throughout the world to continue their prayers for the Bahá'ís in Iran and to intensify their services in the path of the Blessed Beauty to compensate for the plight of our oppressed brethren in the Cradle of the Faith....

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

322-1. For the last report, see the cable dated 9 March 1982 (no. 317), which was transmitted in a letter dated ii March 1982..


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323 Six Martyrdoms, More Arrests Resulting from Fresh Outburst of Persecutions 10 MAY 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

323J AFTER BRIEF LULL AND RELEASE FEW Bahá'í PRISONERS, FRESH OUTBURST PERSECUTIONS AGAINST MEMBERS DEFENSELESS COMMUNITY IN CRADLE FAITH CLEARLY EVIDENT

323.2 HEARTS GRIEVED ANNOUNCE THAT SINCE EARLY APRIL SIX STAUNCH BELIEVERS HAVE OFFERED THEIR LIVES ALTAR SACRIFICE. ALL MERCILESSLY EXECUTED SOLELY DUE THEIR ADHERENCE BELOVED FAITH, BUT OUTWARDLY ON BASIS TRUMPED-UP ACCUSATIONS.

323.3 THEIR NAMES ARE:

1. MR. ASKAR MUHAMMADI OF RAHIMKHAN VILLAGE IN BOKAN, KURDISTAN, WHO WAS ASSASSINATED AT HIS HOME IN EARLY APRIL BY REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS AFTER INTRODUCING HIMSELF AS BAHA'I WHILE THEY WERE SEARCHING HOUSES THAT AREA FOR WEAPONS.

2. MR. IHSANUTLAH KHAYYAM! OF URUMIYYIH, WHO WAS EXECUTED BY FIRING SQUAD ON 12 APRIL AFTER INTENSE BUT UNSUCCESSFUL PRESSURE TO RECANT HIS FAITH.

3. MR. Azizu'llah Gulshani OF MASHHAD, Khurasan, WHO was HANGED ON 29 APRIL. COURT VERDICT CLEARLY BASED HIS AFFILIATION FAITH AND BAHA'I ACTIVITIES. NEWSPAPER KAYHAN REPORTS VERDICT COURT REFERS TO HIM AS A HERETIC, WHICH IS PUNISHABLE BY DEATH. THIS IMPORTANT DOCUMENT PROVES BAHA'IS ARE BEING KILLED BECAUSE OF THEIR RELIGION

3. MR. BADI'U'LLAH HAQQ-PAYKAR OF KARAJ NEAR TEHRAN, AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF THE LOCAL ASSEMBLY, WHO WAS EXECUTED BY FIRING SQUAD ON 8 MAY.

5. AND 6. MR. MAHMOD FARGHAR AND HIS WIFE ISHRAQIYYIH, HIGHLY QUALIFIED AND EDUCATED ACTIVE BELIEVERS, AND MEMBERS OF THE LOCAL ASSEMBLY, WHO WERE ALSO EXECUTED IN KARAJ ON 8 MAY.

323.4 FURTHER, MANY PROMINENT BAHA'IS, INCLUDING 23 MEMBERS LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES IN VARIOUS PARTS COUNTRY ARRESTED IN RECENT WEEKS.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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324 Execution of Two Members of the Spiritual Assembly of Uru'miyyih ii MAY 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

FURTHER RECENT MESSAGWON RECRUDESCENCE PERSECUTIONS IRAN, NEWS JUST

324.1 RECEIVED TWO OTHER STAUNCH BELIEVERS MARTYRED BY FIRING SQUAD IN IRAN. THEY ARE: MR. AGAHUTLAH TIZFAHM AND MISS JALALIYYIH MUSHTA'IL-USKU'I BOTH MEMBERS LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY URUMIYYIH....

325.1 UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 325 Appointment of New Counselor in Asia 13 MAY 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Universal House of Justice announces with pleasure the appointment of Dr. Sabir -Afaqi to the Continental Board of Counselors in Asia to replace Dr. Masih Farhangi, who was martyred last year. With loving Bahá'í

greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

326 Passing of Amoz Gibson, Member of the Universal House of Justice 15 MAY 1982

To National Spiritual Assemblies

WITH SORROWFUL HEARTS LAMENT LOSS OUR DEARLY LOVED BROTHER AMOZ

326.1 GIBSON WHO PASSED AWAY AFTER PROLONGED HEROIC STRUGGLE FATAL ILLNESS! EXEMPLARY SELF-SACRIFICING PROMOTER FAITH ACHIEVED BRILLIANT UNBLEMISHED RECORD CONSTANT SERVICE FOUNDED ON ROCK-LIKE STAUNCHNESS AND 324-1. 10 May 1982. 326-1. For an account of Amoz Gibson's life and services, see BW 18:665-69.


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DEEP INSATIABLE LOVE FOR TEACHING WORK PARTICULARLY AMONG INDIAN AND BLACK MINORITIES WESTERN HEMISPHERE AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AFRICA. HIS NOTABLE WORK ADMINISTRATIVE FIELDS NORTH AMERICA CROWNED FINAL NINETEEN YEARS INCALCULABLE CONTRIBUTION DEVELOPMENT WORLD CENTER WORLD-EMBRACING FAITH. PRAYING SHRINES BOUNTIFUL REWARD HIS NOBLE SOUL THROUGHOUT PROGRESS ABHA KINGDOM. EXPRESS LOVING SYMPATHY VALIANT BELOVED WIDOW PARTNER HIS SERVICES AND BEREAVED CHILDREN ADVISE HOLD BEFITTING MEMORIAL GATHERINGS EVERYWHERE BAHA'I WORLD AND COMMEMORATIVE SERVICES ALL Mashriqu'l-Adhkar UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 327 Call for Ballots to Elect One Member of the Universal House of justice 18 MAY 1982 To National Spiritual Assemblies

327.1 CALL UPON MEMBERS YOUR ASSEMBLY CAST THEIR BALLOTS FOR ELECTION ONE MEMBER UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE REPLACE AMOZ GIBSON. EXHORT ALL ELECTORS PONDER SACRED RESPONSIBILITY NOW RESTING THEIR SHOULDERS UPHOLD SCRUPULOUSLY PRAYERFULLY SANCTIFIED SPIRIT BAHA'I ELECTIONS. EACH MEMBER SHOULD RECORD VOTE FOR ONE MALE ADULT BELIEVER ON PIECE PLAIN PAPER ENCLOSE IT IN A SEALED UNMARKED ENVELOPE AND SEAL THAT IN ANOTHER ENVELOPE ON WHICH ELECTOR SHOULD WRITE OWN NAME AND NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY NAME AND IMMEDIATELY SEND TO NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OFFICE. AS SOON AS ALL NINE BALLOTS RECEIVED NATIONAL OFFICE SHOULD AIRMAIL THEM IN ONE PACKAGE WITH LIST BALLOTS ENCLOSED TO UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE NOTIFYING WORLD CENTER OF DESPATCH AT ONCE BY CABLE. IF NOT ALL NINE RECEIVED AT NATIONAL OFFICE BY TWENTY-SECOND JUNE BALLOTS RECEIVED MUST BE SENT THAT DAY. LATE ARRIVALS SHOULD BE FORWARDED AS SOON AS RECEIVED CABLING WORLD CENTER IN EACH CASE

NUMBER BALLOTS DESPATCHED. RESULT WILL BE ANNOUNCED FIFTEENTH JULY. SUPPLICATING BAHA'U'LLAH GUIDE PROTECT YOU IN EXERCISE THIS DIVINELY CONFERRED RESPONSIBILITY. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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328 Execution of Two Members of the Khaniabad Spiritual Assembly 26 MAY 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

WITH UTMOST SADNESS ANNOUNCE EXECUTION ON 16 MAY TWO MORE VALIANT

328.1 SOULS CRADLE FAITH SA!DU'LLAH BABAZADIH AND NASRU'LLAH AMINI, MEMBERS SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY KHANIABAD VILLAGE NEAR TEHRAN. DEATH SENTENCE HANDED DOWN OVER TWO MONTHS AGO, HOWEVER EXECUTION POSTPONED WHILE INTENSE PRESSURE BROUGHT TO BEAR UPON TWO CONDEMNED BAHA'IS RECANT FAITH OBTAIN FREEDOM. THESE TWO STEADFAST FRIENDS WHO PREFERRED MARTYRDOM TO DENIAL FAITH WERE BURIED UNCEREMONIOUSLY WITHOUT FAMILY FRIENDS BEING INFORMED. AFTER SEVEN DAYS RELATIVES FORTUITOUSLY DISCOVERED EXECUTION THEIR LOVED ONES. ALTHOUGH FEW BAHA'I PRISONERS RELEASED, ARRESTS CONTINUE THROUGHOUT COUNTRY... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 329 Message to the International Conference in Dublin, Ireland-2june 1982 2 JUNE 1982 To the Friends gathered at the International Conference in Dublin Dearly loved Friends, "The world is in travail, and its agitation waxeth day by day. . . .

329.1 Such shall be its plight, that to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly.", The shattering blows dealt to the old, divisive system of the planet and the constantly accelerating decline in civilized life since that dire warning was uttered by Bahá'u'lláh a hundred years ago, have brought mankind to its present appalling condition. Consideration of how the Bahá'ís of Europe, confronted by this situation, can meet their responsibilities, spiritually and actively, is the main purpose of this Conference.

329.2 The holding of this Conference in Dublin calls to mind the historic and heroic services of Ireland in spreading the divine religion throughout pagan Europe. Europe's response was to develop, through many vicissitudes, the most widespread and effective civilization known. That civilization, together with

329-1. GWB, p. n8.


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all other systems in the world, is now being rolled up, and Europe's plight in proportion to her former preeminence, is desperate indeed. By the same token her opportunity is correspondingly great. The challenges to her resilience, to her deep-seated spiritual vitality, nourished over the centuries by the Teachings of Christ-now, alas, neglected and even contemned-can and must call forth a more magnificent response than was ever made by the divided and contending peoples of olden times. Yours is the task to arouse that response. The power of Bahá'u'lláh is with you and this Day, as attested by the Bab, is "immensely exalted . . . above the days of the Apostles of old." 2

329.3 In this great Day Europe is blessed as never before in its history, for the Manifestation of God, the Lord of Hosts, spent five years of His exiles within its borders, sending forth from His "remote prison" the first of those challenging, world-shaking addresses to the kings and rulers, six of whom were European potentates.3 There is no authenticated record of a Manifestation of God ever before setting foot in Europe.

329.4 You are engaged on a Seven Year Plan and have made devoted and sacrificial efforts to attain its objectives. But its ultimate purpose, as that of all other plans, namely the attracting of the masses of mankind to the all-embracing shelter of the Cause of God, still evades us. Particularly in Europe. We have not, as yet, found the secret of setting aglow the hearts of great numbers of Europeans with the divine fire. This must now be your constant preoccupation, the

subject of your deliberations at this Conference, the purpose of your lives, to which you will attain "only if you arise to trample beneath your feet every earthly desire."4 We call upon every Bahá'í in Europe to ponder this vital matter in his inmost soul, to consider what each may do to attract greater power to his efforts, to radiate more brilliantly and irresistibly the joyous, regenerating power of the Cause, so that the Bahá'í community in every country of Europe may stand out as a beacon light repelling the dark shadows of godlessness and moral degradation now threatening to obliterate the last remnants of a dying order. We call upon the Continental Board of Counselors to consult following this Conference with every National Spiritual Assembly in Europe, and together, launch such a campaign of spiritualization of the Bahá'í community, allied with intensified personal teaching, as has never been witnessed in your continent. The goals of the Seven Year Plan can all be accomplished as the result of such a program and the European Bahá'í com 329-2. Quoted in DB, P. 93. 329-3. Bahá'u'lláh was banished to Adrianople (now Edirne, Turkey), which He called the "remote prison" (see BP, P. 211, and Balyuzi, Bahá'u'lláh: The King of Glory, P. 217). The European potentates whom Bahá'u'lláh addressed were Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, Napoleon III of France, Czar Alexander II of Russia, Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany, Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria, and Pope Pius IX. The addresses are published in Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh. For an account of the revelation of these Tablets, see letter dated Ridvan 1965 (no. 24). 329-4. The Bab, quoted in DB, P. 93.


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community may achieve through it the spiritual force and character to demonstrate to a stricken and declining civilization the peace and joy and order of the long-awaited, Christ-promised Kingdom of God on earth. May the loving spirit and saintly life of the Greatest Holy Leaf, the fiftieth anniversary of whose ascension is commemorated in this Conference, imbue your thoughts and aspirations and resolves with that dedicated, self-sacrificing, utter devotion to Bahá'u'lláh and His Cause which she so greatly exemplified.5

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

330 Comments on the Station of 'Abdu'l-Bahá* and the Language Used by the Central Figures 3 JUNE 1982 To individual believers

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Universal House of Justice has asked us to acknowledge your

letter Of

330.1 April 28 and to make the following comments concerning your three questions. I. It was the express wish of Bahá'u'lláh that after Him the friends should 330.2 11 turn to `Abdu'l-Bahá. Bahá'u'lláh also said in His Book of Laws that anything that was not clear in His Writings should be "referred" to His Most Mighty Branch springing from the Ancient Root. (See The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pages 134-35.) In one of the Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá published in Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Bahá (page 214) He quotes the passages mentioned above and interprets them to mean that "whatever He [`Abdu'l-Bahá] saith is the very truth." `Abdu'l-Bahá further says, referring to those who do not accept Him as the Interpreter of the Word of God, "Whoso deviates from my interpretation is a victim of his own fancy' (The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, page 138). Moreover, in the Star of the West, Volume 12, page 227, 'Abdu'l-Bahá interprets the verses from the "Tablet of the Branch" to mean "whatsoever His [Abdu'l-Bahá's] pen records, that is correct." 2.

330.3 There is nothing in the Writings that would lead us to the conclusion that what Shoghi Effendi says about himself concerning statements on 329-5. The Greatest Holy Leaf (Bahiyyih Khanum), the daughter of Bahá'u'lláh and sister of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, was born in Iran in 1846 and died in Haifa at 1:00 A.M. on 15 juicy 1932.


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subjects not directly related to the Faith also applies to 'Abdu'l-Bahá.' Instead we have assertions which indicate that 'Abdu'l-Bahá's position in the Faith is one for which we find "no parallel" in past Dispensations.2 For example, Bahá'u'lláh, in addition to His reference to the Center of His Covenant as the "Mystery of God," states that Abdu'l-Bahá should be regarded as God's "exalted Handiwork" and "a Word which God hath adorned with the ornament of His Own Self, and made it sovereign over the earth and all that there is therein."3 And from Shoghi Effendi we have the incontrovertible statement that the Guardian of the Faith while "overshadowed" by the "Protection of Bahá'u'lláh and of the Bab, "remains essentially human," whereas in respect of 'Abdu'l-Bahá Shoghi Effendi categorically states that "in the person of Abdu'l-Bahá the incompatible characteristics of a human nature and superhuman knowledge and perfection have been blended and are completely harmonized."4 330.4 3. With reference to your question about the "ether," the various definitions of this word as given in the Oxford English Dictionary all refer to a physical reality, for instance, 11 an element," "a substance," "a medium," all of which imply a physical and objective reality and, as you say, this was the concept posited by nineteenth century scientists to explain the propagation of light waves. It would have been understood in this sense by the audiences whom 'Abdu'l-Bahá was addressing. However, in Chapter XVI of Some Answered Questions, Abdu'l-Bahá devotes a whole chapter to explaining the difference between things which are perceptible to the senses" which He calls "objective or sensible," and 11 realities of the "intellect" which have "no outward form and no place, and are "not perceptible to the senses." He gives examples of both "kinds" of "human knowledge." The first kind is obvious and does not need elaboration. To illustrate the second kind the examples He gives are: love, grief, happiness, the power of the intellect, the human spirit and "ethereal matter." (In the original Persian the word "ethereal" is the same as "etheric.") He states clearly that "Even ethereal matter, the forces of which are said in physics to be heat, light, electricity and

330-1. The following extract from a letter dated 17 October 1944 on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer is a clarification of the Guardian's infallibility: "The infallibility of the Guardian is confined to matters which are related strictly to the Cause and interpretation of the teachings; he is not an infallible authority on other subjects, such as economics, science, etc. When he feels that a certain thing is essential for the protection of the Cause, even if it is something that affects a person personally, he must be obeyed, but when he gives advice, such as that he gave you in a previous letter about your future, it is not binding; you are free to follow it or not as you please." 330-2. WOB, p. 143. 330-3. Quoted in WOB, pp. 134, 135. 330-4. WOB, pp. 151, 134.


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magnetism, is an intellectual reality, and is not sensible." In other words, the 11 ether" is a concept arrived at intellectually to explain certain phenomena. In due course, when scientists failed to confirm the physical existence of the "ether" by delicate experiments, they constructed other intellectual concepts to explain the same phenomena.

330.5 In considering the whole field of divinely

conferred "infallibility' one Must be careful to avoid the literal understanding and petty-mindedness that has so often characterized discussions of this matter in the Christian world. The Manifestation of God (and, to a lesser degree, 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi) has to convey tremendous concepts covering the whole field of human life and activity to people whose present knowledge and degree of understanding are far below His. He must use the limited medium of human language against the limited and often erroneous background of His audience's traditional knowledge and current understanding to raise them to a wholly new level of awareness and behavior. It is a human tendency, against which the Manifestation warns us, to measure His statements against the inaccurate standard of the acquired knowledge of mankind. We tend to take them and place them within one or other of the existing categories of human philosophy or science while, in reality, they transcend these and will, if properly understood, open new and vast horizons to our understanding. Some sayings of the Manifestation are clear and

obvious.

330.6 Among these are laws of behavior. Others are elucidations which lead men from their present level of understanding to a new one. Others are pregnant allusions, the significance of which only becomes apparent as the knowledge and understanding of the reader grow. And all are integral parts of one great Revelation

intended to raise mankind to a new level of its evolution. It may well be that we shall find some statement is couched in terms familiar to the audience to which it was first addressed, but is strange now to us. For example, in answer to a question about Bahá'u'lláh's reference to the "fourth heaven in the Kitab-i-Iqan,5 the Guardian's secretary wrote on his behalf: As to the ascent of Christ to the fourth heaven, as revealed in the 330.7a glorious "Book of Iqan," he [the Guardian] stated that the "fourth heaven" is a term used and a belief held by the early astronomers. The followers of the Shi'ih sect likewise held this belief. As the Kitab-i-Iqan was revealed for the guidance of that sect, this term was used in conformity with the concepts of its followers. (Translated from the Arabic)6 330-5. KI, p. 89330-6. From an unpublished letter.


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330.7b In studying such statements, however, we must have the humility to appreciate the limitations of our own knowledge and outlook, and strive always to understand the purpose of Bahá'u'lláh in making them, trying to look upon Him with His own eyes, as it were.

330.8 It is hoped that the above explanations will prove useful to you in your study of the subjects in which you have expressed interest.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

331 Martyrdom of Four Bahá'ís in Qazvin and Surrounding Areas 12 JULY 1982 To National Spiritual Assemblies

331.1 WITH GREAT SORROW INDIGNATION ANNOUNCE FURTHER MARTYRDOMS FOUR MORE VALIANT DEVOTED SERVANTS BAHA'U'LLAH,

ALL PROMINENT BAHA'IS IN Qazvin AND SURROUNDING AREAS.1

MUHAMMAD MANSURI JADIDU'LLAH ASHRAF MUHAMMAD 'ABBASI MANUCHIHR FARZANIH-MU'AYYAD

331.2 PRESSURES AGAINST Bahá'ís IRAN MOUNTING, THEIR SCOPE WIDENING,

ENGULFING BAHA'IS ALL WALKS OF LIFE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 332 Election of Glenford Mitchell to the Universal House of Justice 15 JULY 1982 To National Spiritual Assemblies

332.1 WARMLY WELCOME NEWLY ELECTED MEMBER HOUSE JUSTICE GLENFORD MITCHELL. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 331-1. The executions took place on Friday, 9 July 1982.


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333 Guidelines Concerning the Registration of Children and Youth 19 JULY 1982 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Universal House of Justice has received your letter Of 3 June 1982 mentioning some of the misunderstandings which still exist concerning the registration of Bahá'í children and youth, and it has instructed us to send you the following clarifications. The beloved Guardian's secretary wrote on his behalf to your National Spiritual Assembly on 17 June 1954: Although the children of Bahá'í parents are considered to be Bahá'ís, 333.2a there is no objection at the present time, for purposes of keeping a correct census, and also ascertaining whether the young people are, sincerely, believers, and willing to do their share in service to the Faith, to asking them to make a declaration of their intention, at the age of fifteen or so. Originally the Guardian understands this was adopted in America to enable young Bahá'í men to make certain arrangements in connection with their application for noncombatant status, upon their attaining the age of military service. There is really nothing about it in the Teachings or in the Administration. Your Assembly is free to do as it pleases in this matter. He has also written that in deciding who is to be regarded as a believer,

333.2b Assemblies must refrain as far as possible from drawing rigidly the fine of demarcation.

333.3 At the present time, with so many more young people entering the Faith, and with such a great increase in mobility from country to country, the House of Justice feels that it is necessary to establish certain guidelines which will apply to all National Spiritual Assemblies in this delicate issue, while matters of procedure are left to each National Assembly to decide according to the conditions in its own area of jurisdiction. In the current phase of the Seven Year Plan, for example, the House of Justice has called on Assemblies to keep registers of the birth of Bahá'í children, and great stress is being laid on the Bahá'í education of children and on the activities of Bahá'í youth.

333.4 In letters replying to questions on the registration of children and youth the Universal House of Justice has attempted to avoid laying down rulings that are universally applicable. However, for the assistance of National Spiritual Assemblies it is now providing the following summary of guidelines and


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elucidations that have been given. We are to emphasize that no hard and fast lines should be drawn, and procedural matters must never be allowed to eclipse the spiritual reality of belief, which is an intensely personal relationship between the soul and its Creator. Bahá'í Children

333.5 Unlike the children of some other religions, Bahá'í children do not automatically inherit the Faith of their parents. However, the parents are responsible for the upbringing and spiritual welfare of their children, and Spiritual Assemblies have the duty to assist parents, if necessary, in fulfilling these obligations, so that the children will be reared in the light of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh and from their earliest years will learn to love God and His Manifestations and to walk in the way of God's Law. It is natural, therefore, to regard the children of Bahá'ís as Bahá'ís unless there is a reason to conclude the contrary. It is quite wrong to think of Bahá'í children as existing in some sort of spiritual limbo until the age of fifteen at which point they can "become" Bahá'ís. In the light of this one can conclude the following:

333.6 Children born to a Bahá'í couple are regarded as Bahá'ís from the beginning of their lives, and their births should be registered by the Spiritual Assembly.

333.7 The birth of a child to a couple, one of whom is a Bahá'í, should also be registered unless the non-Bahá'í parent objects.

333.8 A Spiritual Assembly may accept the declaration of faith of a child of non-Bahá'í parents, and register him as a Bahá'í child, provided the parents give their consent.

333.9 In the cases of children whose parents become Bahá'ís, much depends upon the ages and reactions of the children concerned. They will require great love and understanding, and each case must be judged on its own merits. This applies to an added degree, of course, if only one of the parents has accepted the Faith, in which case the attitude of the other parent is an important factor; the aim of the Bahá'ís should be to foster family unity. The important thing is that the children, whether registered as Bahá'ís or not, should be made to feel welcome at Bahá'í children's classes and other community gatherings.

333.10 It is within a Spiritual Assembly's discretion to request Bahá'í children to undertake work of which they are capable in service to the Faith, such as service on suitable committees. Bahá'í Youth

333.11 Fifteen is the age at which a child attains spiritual maturity, and thus it is at the age of fifteen that a Bahá'í child assumes the responsibility for obeying such laws as those of fasting and prayer, and for affirming of his own volition his faith in Bahá'u'lláh.

333.12 At the present time the Universal House of justice prefers to leave it to each National Spiritual Assembly to decide what method is to be followed in ascertaining the attitude of Bahá'í children when they reach fifteen, provided that


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it is clear that a Bahá'í child is not becoming a Bahá'í at that age, but is simply affirming his faith on his own behalf One Spiritual Assembly, for example, sends a very kind letter to each Bahá'í child in its community on the occasion of his fifteenth birthday (unless, of course, it has reason to doubt that the child in question is a Bahá'í), explaining the meaning of attaining the age of maturity, and extending the good wishes of the Assembly for his future services to the Cause. This does not require an active response from every child but does provide each with an opportunity to make his position clear if desired. In whatever procedure it adopts a National Spiritual Assembly must wisely steer a course between seeming to doubt the faith of a child who has been brought up as a devout Bahá'í on the one hand, and seeming to compel a child to be a member of the Bahá'í community against his will, on the other.

333.13 If the Assembly ascertains from a youth that he does not, in fact, accept the Faith, even if he has been brought up in a Bahá'í family, it should not register him as a Bahá'í youth, and such a youth, since he is now mature and responsible for his own actions, would be in the same situation as any other non-Bahá'í youth who is in close contact with the Bahá'í community. He should be treated with warmth and friendship. It may happen that a Bahá'í

child, on reaching the age of fifteen is not entirely sure in his own mind. This can well happen if one of the parents is not a Bahá'í or if the parents have accepted the Faith not long before. In such a case the Assembly should not assume automatically that he is not a Bahá'í. If the youth wishes to attend Feasts and is content to continue to be regarded as a Bahá'í as he was when a child, this should be permitted, but in the process of deepening his understanding of the Faith his parents and the Assembly should

explain to him that it is his responsibility to soon make his position clear.

333.15 Declarations of faith from non-Bahá'í youth between the ages Of 15 and 21, whose parents are not Bahá'ís, may be accepted without the consent of their parents unless this is contrary to the civil law. However, the importance of respect for one's

parents must not be forgotten, and such youth may need to be counseled to give heed to their parents' wishes as far as the degree of their activity on behalf of the Faith is concerned, and even, if the parents are very antagonistic, to be completely inactive for a time.

333.16 Administrative Maturity It is stated in the Constitution of a National Spiritual Assembly that upon attaining the age of 21 years a Bahá'í is eligible to vote and to hold elective office., Some National Spiritual Assemblies in the past, and indeed a few at 333-1. See Declaration of Trust and By-Laws of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States, P. 14. For a model Declaration of Trust and By-Laws upon which the constitution of every National Spiritual Assembly is based, see Bahá'í World Volumes 14, 15, 16, 17, or 6, under "The Institution of the National Spiritual Assembly," within the part titled "The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh."


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the present time, have required a specific action on the part of a Bahá'í youth to claim his voting rights on attaining the age Of 21. The House of Justice does not wish to make a general ruling on this point, since in some circumstances this may be a necessary protection to the Faith. It does, however, discourage National Assemblies from making such a requirement unless they deem it essential.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

334 Commemoration at the World Center of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf and Inauguration of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice 26 JULY 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

334.1 We have been asked by the Universal House of justice to share with you news of the observances at the World Center which marked the Fiftieth Anniversary of the passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf.

334.2 Before gathering around her monument for prayers, at the hour coincident with that of her passing, the friends at the World Center visited the Holy Shrines at midnight for recitation of the Tablets of Visitation. This observance was followed by an all-day seminar, on Saturday, July 17, held in the main Hall on the ground floor of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice.'

334.3 It was a source of deep satisfaction to the Universal House of justice that the first gathering of the friends in this beautiful setting should have been such a meeting, dedicated to the memory of the Greatest Holy Le4 whose resting-place is embosomed in the heart of that consecrated spot enfolded by the "far-flung arc" on which now already stand two of those structures constituting the World Administrative Center of the Faith .2 334-1. The monument to the Greatest Holy Leaf (Bahiyyih Khanum) is located in the Monument Gardens near the Shrine of the Bab. For a full account of the commemoration held at midnight on 14 July 1982, see BW 18:53-54; for the Tablets of Visitation said at the Shrines of the Bab and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, see BR pp. 230-35; for excerpts from the address given by the member of the Universal House of Justice Mr. 'Ali Nakhjavani at the all-day seminar, see BW 18:59-66. For the address on the life and services of the Greatest Holy Leaf given by Dr. Bahiyyih Nakhjavani at the Montreal Conference in September 1982, see BW 18:68-73. 334-2.

334.4 For a discussion of the Arc, see the glossary.


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This highly befitting inauguration of the use of the building, held in the presence of the three Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land,3 is a prelude to the fast-approaching day when the Universal House of Justice and its several Departments will occupy this majestic structure.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

335 Execution of 'Abbas-Ali Sadiqipur Shiraz 2 AUGUST 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

SADDENED REPORT YET ANOTHER STALWART SUPPORTER GREATEST NAME IRAN 335.1 'ABBAS-ALI SADIQIPUR EXECUTED 15 JULY SHIRAZ. CHARGES PUBLISHED LEADING NEWSPAPER IRAN WERE BASED HIS CONNECTION FAITH, INCLUDING BEING ACTIVE BAHA'I.

336.1 SUCH CHARGES SIMILAR THOSE RESULTING EXECUTION OTHER PROMINENT BAHA'IS CONFIRM EVIL INTENTIONS AGAINST FRIENDS CRADLE FAITH.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 336 Elucidation of the Principle of Confidentiality 2 AUGUST 1982 To a National Spiritual Assembly

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Universal House of Justice has received your letter Of 17 June 1982 and has instructed us to send you the following reply.

336.2 The House of Justice is very sorry to learn that the problems which you instance have become a threat to the unity of your Assembly, and it hopes and prays that this difficulty will quickly be overcome.

336.3 It feels that there are a number of distinct but related principles which are involved in the situations you describe, and that the issues will become clearer if they are considered separately. Every institution in the Faith has certain matters which. it considers should be kept confidential, and any member who is privy to such confidential information is obliged to preserve the confidentiality within the institution where 334-3. Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, 'Ali-Akbar Furutan, and Paul Haney.


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he learned it. Such matters, however, are but a small portion of the business of any Bahá'í institution. Most subjects dealt with are of common interest and can be discussed openly with anyone. Where no confidentiality is involved the institutions must strive to avoid the stifling atmosphere of secrecy; on the other hand, every believer must know that he can confide a personal problem to an institution of the Faith, with the assurance that knowledge of the matter will remain confidential.

336.4 Members of Assemblies, whether they are assistants or not, are obviously in a position to receive confidential information as individuals from several sources. It is an important principle of the Faith that one must not promise what one is not going to fulfill. Therefore, if a Bahá'í accepts confidential information either by virtue of his profession (e.g., as a doctor, a lawyer, etc.), or by permitting another person to confide in him, he is in duty bound to preserve that confidentiality.

336.5 In the relationship between assistants and the National Spiritual Assembly no problems should arise, because the functions are entirely separate. An assistant is appointed by an Auxiliary Board member to help him in a specified area of the territory and he functions as an assistant only in relation to that area. Assistants, like Auxiliary Board members, function individually, not as a consultative body. Assistants who are members of a National Assembly or a national committee do not function as assistants in relation to that body, and they have the same duty to observe the confidentiality of its consultations, and of matters considered by the Assembly to be confidential, as does any other member. An assistant can, of course, be a member of a Local Spiritual Assembly, but his task here as an assistant is to help the Spiritual Assembly to function harmoniously and efficiently in the discharge of its duties and this will hardly succeed if he gives the Assembly the feeling that he is reporting privately everything it does to the Auxiliary Board member. He should, on the contrary, do all he can to foster an atmosphere of warm and loving collaboration between the Local Assembly and the Board member.

336.6 In answer to your fourth question the House of justice instructs us to say that an element of judgment is required in deciding what are and what are not "administrative" matters. Immoral actions of believers, for example, generally become subjects for administrative action only when they are blatant or flagrant, and reflect on the good name of the Faith. If a believer turns to an assistant or Auxiliary Board member for advice on a personal matter it is for the assistant or Auxiliary Board member to decide whether he should advise the believer to turn to his Spiritual Assembly, whether he should himself give advice and, in either case, whether he should report the matter to the Counselors, or to the Local Assembly, which, of course, would depend upon the degree of confidentiality he had undertaken to observe. Likewise, it is for the Counselor to decide whether it is a matter of which the National Assembly


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should be informed. All this is, of course, within the general context that, apart from matters which ought to remain confidential, the more freely information is shared between the institutions of the Faith the better.

336.7 National Assembly members themselves must exercise such

discretion, and it should be clear to the believers that they are not justified in assuming that because a matter is known to individual members of the Assembly it is therefore before the Assembly itself. If a believer wishes to bring a matter to the

Assembly's attention he should do so explicitly and officially. If a member of the Assembly knows of a personal problem, and if he has not undertaken to keep it confidential, he may bring it to the Assembly's attention if he feels it would be in the interests of the Faith for him to do so, but he is not obliged to.

336.8 The House of Justice does not wish to elaborate these comments beyond the above, and believes that your Assembly will be able to answer the questions that you pose in the light of these principles. The House of Justice will pray in the Holy Shrines for speedy strengthening of the unity of your

Assembly and for the growth of closer collaboration between your body and the Board of Counselors.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

337 Message to the International

Conference in Quito, Ecuador-6-8 August 1982, 6 August 1982 To the Followers of Bahá'u'lláh gathered at the International Conference in Quito, Ecuador Beloved Friends, We hail with joyous hearts and eager anticipation the soldiers of Bahá'u'lláh's army of light gathered together in Quito, the capital city of the Republic of Ecuador, to do honor and homage to the blessed memory of Bahiyyih Khanum, the Greatest Holy Leaf, the most outstanding heroine of the Bahá'í Dispensation, the fiftieth anniversary of whose ascension was so recently commemorated throughout the world.' Conscious of the beloved Master's plea to promulgate the oneness Of 337.2 mankind to a spiritually impoverished humanity, inspired by the memory of the Hand of the Cause Dr. Rahmatu'llah Muhajir whose mortal remains are 337-1. The Greatest Holy Leaf, the daughter of Bahá'u'lláh, was born in Iran in 1846 and died in Haifa at 1:00 A.M. on 15 July 1932.


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interred in the soil of Quito, and deriving spiritual stimulus from the Mother Temple for Latin America,2 the friends are reminded of the galvanizing words of our beloved Guardian addressed to "the eager, the warm-hearted, the spiritually minded and staunch members of these Latin American Bahá'í communities": "Let them ponder the honor which the Author of the Revelation Himself has chosen to confer upon their countries, the obligations which that honor automatically brings in its wake, the opportunities it offers, the power it releases for the removal of all obstacles, however formidable, which may be encountered in their path, and the promise of guidance it implies . . ."3

337.3 Praiseworthy indeed are the achievements thus far made by the communities of South and Central America and the islands of the Caribbean in the first half of the Seven Year Plan. Full advantage should be taken of the current high tide of proclamation engendered by the crisis in Iran to attract to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh earnest and seeking souls from every stratum of society, thereby enriching the spiritual and material diversity of our communities. Great effort should be made to utilize more fully the valuable possibilities of radio and television as a means of reaching the vast multitudes whose hearts and minds offer fertile soil for the planting of the seeds of the Faith. All elements of the Bahá'í community, particularly the women and youth, should arise as one soul to shoulder the responsibilities laid upon them. All outstanding goals of the Seven Year Plan should be pursued with enthusiasm and assurance of their accomplishment.

337.4 All National Spiritual Assemblies during the remaining fast-fleeting years of this radiant century, in collaboration with the Institutions of the Faith standing ready and eager to assist them, must greatly reinforce the foundations of maturing National and Local Spiritual Assemblies to enable them to cope successfully with the multifarious and challenging problems that will confront them.

337.5 At a moment in Bahá'í history when the persecuted, beleaguered friends in the Cradle of the Faith heroically continue to face the trials ordained for them in the Major Plan of God, meeting martyrdom, as need be, with joyous acceptance, it behooves the friends throughout the Bahá'í world to endeavor by their own greatly increased acts of self-abnegation to make fruitful the spiritual energies released by the sacrifices of their stricken brethren.

337.6 May you all immerse yourselves in the spirit of the saintly life of the Greatest Holy Leaf, whose self-sacrificing devotion to her beloved Father's Cause is a worthy example for every believer to emulate.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

337-2. Dr.

Muhajir died in Quito in October 1979. The Mother Temple of Latin America is outside of Panama City, Panama. 337-3- CF, p. 19.


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338 Message to the International Conference in Lagos, Nigeria-19-22 August 1982 19 AUGUST 1982 To the Friends gathered at the Bahá'í International Conference at Lagos Dearly loved Friends, With hearts overflowing with love for the people of Africa, so richly endowed with the gifts of the spirit, so abundantly and repeatedly blessed since the dawn of this Revelation, and so gloriously promising in the unfoldment of their hidden potentialities, we welcome the friends gathered at this Conference held in one of the most important capitals of their

emergent continent. As we review the annals of our Faith we see that since the days of the

338.2 Blessed Beauty and up to the early 1950s, the activities of the friends in Africa had produced the formation of one National Spiritual Assembly with its seat in Cairo, Egypt, the opening Of 12 countries to the light of the Faith, and some 50 localities established throughout its vast lands. It was at such a time that the beloved Guardian ushered in the first African Teaching Plan, to be followed during the remaining years of his ministry and in subsequent years after his passing, by a series of challenging and bravely executed plans designed to implant the banner of the Faith throughout the length and breadth of that continent and its neighboring islands. Today, after the lapse of a little over three decades, we stand in awe as we view with admiration one of the most valiant contingents of the Army of Light, guided by its own Board of Counselors, led and administered by 37 National Spiritual Assemblies and 4990 Local Spiritual Assemblies, privileged to serve an eager and radiant community of believers drawn from 1152 African tribes residing in 29,000 localities. How wonderful that it has been possible to convene this Conference on

338.3 African soil with such a large number of African friends in attendance, in loving memory of the most distinguished heroine of the Bahá'í Dispensation, the eldest daughter of the King of Glory, who lived a long life of sacrificial service to the Cause of her Beloved Father. Her meekness, her unassuming nature, the purity of her soul, the sensitivity of her heart, the calmness of her demeanor, her patience and long-suffering in trials, and above all, her unshakable faith, her tenderness and love, and the spirit of self-renunciation which she evinced

throughout her blessed life, are outstanding characteristics that we can well emulate, particularly in Africa, where these heavenly

qualities play such an important part in attracting the souls and winning the hearts to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh.

338.4 We rejoice in the knowledge that some communities have already initiated in her name teaching and consolidation campaigns of far-reaching magnitude;


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that many Bahá'í women, inspired by her example, are accepting an ever greater share of responsibility in running the affairs of the community; and that numerous newsletters are reflecting eulogies of the station she occupied, the sufferings she endured, and the heroism she demonstrated in her love for the glorious Cause of her Lord.

338.5 The fortunes of the Seven Year Plan in Africa are in the balance. As we draw near to the midway point in the unfoldment of the processes it has set in motion, we call upon its valiant promoters on the African mainland and its surrounding islands, to take stock of their position, to reappraise their progress, and to concentrate their resources on whatever portions of the goals are as yet unachieved. Chief among its objectives are a widespread recruitment of many more supporters of the Most Great Name, the deepening of the individual believers, for the fulfillment of all goals ultimately depends upon them, and a notable increase in the number of newly formed as well as firmly rooted Local Spiritual Assemblies, to serve as bases for the manifold activities of the community, including the Bahá'í education of children, a greater participation of women and youth in Bahá'í activities, and the formulation of ways and means to enrich the spiritual lives of the "noble" and "pure hearted" believers of a "FAST-AWAKENING CONTINENT."'

338.6 May the participants in this

Conference carry to the mass of their devoted fellow believers, whose personal circumstances have made it impossible for them to attend, the spirit of joy and optimism which we hope will be generated at this gathering and the flames of enthusiasm which we pray will be enkindled in their hearts.

338.7 May the memory of the Greatest Holy Leaf, who through her life of heroic self-sacrifice has left to us "a legacy that time can never dim," inspire the friends in every country of the continent to rededicate themselves to the Cause of God, not to allow any opportunity for mentioning the Faith to slip by unutilized, and not to permit one day of their lives to pass without a noble effort to draw nearer to the good pleasure of the Blessed Beauty.2

338.8 Our fervent prayers surround you as you proceed with your deliberations.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

338-1. Shoghi Effendi, letter dated ii May 1954 to the Uganda Teaching Committee; Shoghi Effendi, letter dated 5 January 1953 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States; UD, P. 290; MBW, P. 93. 338-2. BA, P. 187. For more information on the Greatest Holy Leaf, see the entry on Bahiyyih Khanum in the glossary.


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559 339 Execution of 'Ali Na'imiyan in Urumiyyih 30 AUGUST 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

WITH SORROWFUL HEARTS ANNOUNCE EXECUTION ON 11 AUGUST IN URUMIYYIH

339.1 ACTIVE BAHA'I ALI NA'IMIYAN AFTER BEING IMPRISONED ONE YEAR. PRESSURES INTENSIFYING AGAINST BELIEVERS IRAN....

339.2 UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 340 Message to the International Conference in Montreal, Canada-3-5 September 1982. 2 SEPTEMBER 1982 To the Friends gathered at the Bahá'í International Conference in Montreal Dearly loved Friends, Seventy years ago `Abdu'l-l3ahd visited Montreal,' hallowing it forever.

340.1 The visit of the beloved Master to America, the laying by Him of the cornerstone of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the West and the revelation by Him five years later of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, which invest its chief executors and their allies with spiritual primacy, constitute successive stages in the gradual disclosure of a mission whose seeds can be found in the Bab's address to the people of the West, urging them to aid God's Holy Cause., This mission was given specific direction through Bahá'u'lláh's summons to the rulers of America, calling on them to heal the injuries of the oppressed and, with the 11 rod of the commandments" of their Lord, to bring their corrective influence to bear upon the injustices perpetrated by the tyrannical and the ungodly. Abdu'l-Bahá revealed in clearer details than those given by either the Bab or Bahá'u'lláh the nature and scope of that glorious mission. In His eternal 340-1. 30 August-8 September 1912. 340-2. Abdu'l-Bahá visited North America from it April through 5 December 1912. On 1 May 1912 He laid the cornerstone of the House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois. He revealed the Tablets of the Divine Plan between 26 March 1916 and 8 March 1917 after returning to the Holy Land. Shoghi Effendi writes that the mandate 'Abdu'l-Bahá gave to the Bahá'ís of North America in the Tablets of the Divine Plan "may be said to have in a sense originated with the mandate issued by the Bab in his 'Qayyumu'l-Asma,' [Commentary on the Surih of Joseph] one of His earliest and greatest works, ... directed specifically to the 'peoples of the West' to 'issue forth' from their 'cities' and aid His Cause" (MA, p. go).


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Tablets unveiling America's spiritual destiny the Master wrote, "The continent of America is, in the eyes of the one true God, the land wherein the splendors of His light shall be revealed, where the mysteries of His Faith shall be unveiled, where the righteous will abide and the free assemble. Therefore, every section thereof is blessed . . ." and, referring to Canada, He asserted that its future "is very great, and the events connected with it infinitely glorious." Even more specifically, He expressed the "hope that in the future Montreal may become so stirred, that the melody of the Kingdom may travel to all parts of the world from that Dominion and the breaths of the Holy Spirit may spread from that center to the East and the West of America."3

340.2 After the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and under the guidance of the Guardian the Bahá'ís of the world witnessed with awe and admiration the North American community arising as one man to champion the Administrative Order taking shape on their own soil, to embark upon the first collective teaching plan in the annals of the Faith, to lead the entire Bahá'í world in intercontinental teaching campaigns, to demonstrate with devotion their exemplary firmness in the Covenant, to extend their support and protection and relief to the oppressed followers of Bahá'u'lláh throughout the East and particularly in His native land, and to send forth valiant pioneers and traveling teachers to every continent of the globe. These marvelous and noble exertions, calling for the expenditure of resources almost beyond their means, paved the way for the achievement of glorious victories which synchronized with a series of world convulsions, signs of universal commotion and travail, and with repeated crises within the Faith.4 And in this day, while the blood of the martyrs of Persia is once again watering the roots of the Cause of God and when the international outlook is impenetrably and ominously dark, the Bahá'ís of North America are in the van of the embattled legions of the Cause.

340.3 Less than a score of years remain until the end of this century which the Master called "the century of light," and He clearly foresaw that ere its

340-3. KA 188; TDP 9.3, 13.2, 13-4. For a fuller account of Bahá'u'lláh's summons to the kings and rulers of the world, see messages dated Ridvan 1965 (no. 24), Ridvan 1967 (no. 42), and

October 1967 (no. 46). 340-4. Foremost among the victories won by the North American Bahá'ís during the first and second Seven Year Plans (1937-44 and 1946-53) was the establishment of the Administrative Order in Central and South America and Europe. The North American Bahá'ís have also played a major role in establishing the Administrative Order in Africa, Asia, and Australasia. The series of world convulsions with which the Plans synchronized included World War II, the outbreak of which threatened the security of the World Center itself. The German Bahá'ís faced grave danger throughout the Nazi period; their activities as a community were banned, and some of their members were killed. Instances of crises within the Faith were those instigated by the relatives of Shoghi Effendi who rebelled against his authority as Guardian of the Cause of God and were ultimately expelled from the Faith as Covenant-breakers. Also troublesome during the 1930s and 1940s were the activities of a former secretary to 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Ahmad Sohrab, who also violated the provisions of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant and was expelled from the Faith by Shoghi Effendi.


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termination an advanced stage would have been reached in the striving towards the political, racial, and religious unity of the peoples of the world, unfolding new horizons in scientific accomplishments, universal undertakings and world solidarity.5 The calls of the Master and the Guardian plainly summon the Bahá'ís of the Americas to prodigies of proclamation, of teaching and of service. The American melting pot of peoples needs the unifying power of the new Faith of God to achieve its fusion. The representative character of the Bahá'í community should therefore be reinforced through the attraction, conversion and support of an ever-growing number of new believers from the diverse elements constituting the population of that vast mainland and particularly from among Indians and Eskimos about whose future the Master wrote in such glowing terms.6 In the glorious

freedom which enables you to proclaim, to teach and confirm, to educate and deepen yourselves and others in the verities of the Faith, you have precious opportunities of service denied to many of your fellow believers elsewhere. If your blessed communities are to lead the world spiritually, as the Master envisaged,7 then the Faith must strike deeper roots in your hearts, the spirit of its teachings must be exemplified in ever greater measure in your lives, and God's Holy Cause must be taught and proclaimed with ever greater intensity. In His immortal Tablets addressed to the Bahá'ís of North America 'Abdu'l-Bahá assures each one of you that "whosoever arises in this day to diffuse the divine fragrances, the cohorts of the Kingdom of God shall confirm him . . ."' You are met in this Conference to review the progress of the Seven Year

340.4 Plan, to be confirmed, galvanized and sent into action. It is not enough for the North American believers to stand at the forefront of the Bahá'í world; the scope of their exertions must be steadily widened. In the words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, "The range of your future achievements still remains undisclosed. I fervently hope that in the near future the whole earth may be stirred and shaken by the results of your achievements."

"Exert yourselves; your mission is unspeakably glorious. Should

success crown your enterprise, America will assuredly evolve into a centre from which waves of spiritual power will emanate . . ."9 The valiant countries of North America should in the second half of the Seven Year Plan ensure that an ever-swelling number of pioneers and traveling teachers will arise and travel to and settle in countries which need their support, however inhospitable the local conditions may be, ceaselessly endeavoring to contribute to the expansion of the teaching work and the strengthening of the foundations of the communities they are called upon 340-5. SWAB, p. 32. 340-6. See TDP 6.8. 340-7. See WOB, pp. 75-76. 340-8. TDP 7.7. 340-9. TDP 7.4, M".


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to assist. They should, moreover, continue their defence of the downtrodden, open their doors to their Bahá'í brethren who are seeking refuge in their lands, provide technological expertise to communities which need it, and supply an uninterrupted flow of resources to support the ever-increasing international projects of the Faith.

340.5 In their respective homefronts the Bahá'ís of North America should intensify the drive to attract the masses to God's Holy Cause, to provide the means for their integration into the work of the Faith, and should become standard-bearers of an embryonic Bahá'í society which is destined to gradually emerge under the influence of the integrating and civilizing forces emanating from the Source of God's Revelation. Such noble objectives cannot be fully achieved unless and until local communities become those collective centers of unity ordained in our Writings, and every individual earnestly strives to support the structure and ensure the stability of the Administrative Edifice of the Faith.

340.6 How fitting that this Conference, and the one held for Bahá'í children on a scale unprecedented in North America, should commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of Bahiyyih

Khanum, the Greatest Holy Leaf, whose love for the North American believers and whose admiration for their heroism were so deep and so sustained and whose natural fondness for children was so characteristic of Bahá'u'lláh.- May each of you emulate her unswerving devotion and loyalty to the Covenant of God and her

perseverance in the path of His love. We shall mark the first day of your Conference, together with the one being held concurrently in Canberra, with prayers at the Holy Shrines that all may "be assisted in . . . service and, like unto brilliant stars, shine in these

regions with the light of ... guidance.""

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

340-10. For the address given by Dr. Bahiyyih Nakhjavani at the Montreal Conference on the life and services of the Greatest Holy Leaf, see BW 18:68-73. 340-H. TDP 9.13.


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341 Message to the International Conference in Canberra, Australia 2-5 September 1982 2 SEPTEMBER 1982 To the Friends gathered in the Asian-Australasian Bahá'í Conference in Canberra Dearly loved Friends, These are momentous times.

341.1 The institutions of the old world order are crumbling and in disarray. Materialism, greed, corruption and conflict are infecting the social order with a grave malaise from which it is helpless to extricate itself. With every passing day it becomes more and more evident that no time must be lost in applying the remedy prescribed by Bahá'u'lláh, and it is to this task that Bahá'ís everywhere must bend their energies and commit their resources.

341.2 New conditions now present themselves, making it easier to accomplish our purpose. Galvanized by the fires of fierce opposition and nurtured by the blood of the martyrs, the forces of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh are, at long last, emerging from obscurity. Never before in history has the Faith been the subject of such

universal attention and comment. Eminent statesmen, parliamentarians, journalists, writers, educators, commentators, clergymen and other leaders of thought have raised their voices and set their pens to expressions of horror and revulsion at the persecutions of our brethren in Iran on the one hand, and to paeans of praise and admiration of the noble principles which motivate the followers of the Most Great Name on the other. The five international conferences of the Seven Year Plan were called to 341.3 commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf, to discuss anew the present condition of the Faith in a turbulent world society, to examine the great opportunities for its future growth and development, and to focus attention on the unfulfilled goals of the Plan. We are certain that the contemplation of the gathered friends on the sterling qualities which distinguished the heroic life of the Greatest Holy Leaf will help them to persevere in their noble endeavors.

341.4 This particular Conference is unique in many ways. The geographical area of concern spans over half the globe, including within its purview all the vast continent of Asia as well as the water hemisphere which comprises all of Australasia. Within the continent of Asia is the "cradle of the principal religions of mankind . . . above whose horizons, in modern times, the suns of two 341-1. For information on the Greatest Holy Leaf, see the entry on Bahiyyih Khanum in the glossary.


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independent Revelations . . . have Successively arisen . . . on whose Western extremity the Qiblih of the Bahá'í world has been definitely established . . ."Z The first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the Bahá'í world was erected on this continent under the direction of Abdu'l-Bahá, and now another is arising on the Indian subcontinent in the midst of the world's largest Bahá'í community. In Australasia the Mother Temple of the Antipodes, dedicated to the Glory of God just two decades ago, looks out across the vast Pacific Ocean in whose midmost heart" still another Mashriqu'l-Adhkar is being built on the mountain slope above Apia in the country of the first reigning monarch to embrace the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.3

341.5 The population of Asia and Australasia is well over half the world population. The area includes Asiatic U.S.S.R. and mainland China, accounting for more than one thousand million souls who are, for the most part, untouched by the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. Obviously present conditions in these areas call for the exercise of the utmost wisdom and circumspection. Yet this vast segment of humanity cannot be ignored.

341.6 Canberra, where you are now meeting, is at the southern pole of the spiritual axis referred to in the beloved Guardian's last message to the Bahá'ís of Australia as "extending from the Antipodes to the northern islands of the Pacific Ocean."4 Referring to the National Spiritual Assemblies at the northern and southern poles of that axis, Shoghi Effendi went on to say:

341.6a A responsibility, at once weighty and inescapable, must rest on the communities which occupy so privileged a position in so vast and turbulent an area of the globe. However great the distance that separates them; however much they differ in race, language, custom, and religion; however active the political forces which tend to keep them apart and foster racial and political antagonisms, the close and continued association of these communities in their common, their peculiar and paramount task of raising up and of consolidating the embryonic World Order of Bahá'u'lláh in those regions of the globe, is a matter of vital and urgent importance, which should receive on the part of the elected representatives of their communities, a most earnest and prayerful consideration.5 341-2. MBW, p. 168. 341-3. Construction of the first Bahá'í House of Worship in 'Ishqabad, Russia, began in 1902 and was completed circa 1921. The House of Worship in India is near New Delhi; it was dedicated 23-27 December 1986. The House of Worship in Australasia, outside of Sydney in Ingleside, was dedicated on 16 September 1961. The extract from the writings of Bahá'u'lláh about the "midmost heart" of the ocean is quoted by Shoghi Effendi in WCB, p. i08. The House of Worship in Apia is in Western Samoa, whose head of state, His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili 11, embraced the Bahá'í Faith in 1968. 341-4. LFG, P. 138. 341-5.

341.8 LFG, pp. 138-39.


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These guidelines, penned a quarter of a century ago, are as valid today as 341.7 when they were written, and can be taken to heart by all Bahá'í communities on either side of the axis. We are approaching the midway point of the Seven Year Plan. As we review our accomplishments with respect to the goals of that Plan, it is essential that we fortify ourselves for the tasks ahead, and that we rededicate ourselves to that Cause for which our beloved martyrs rendered their last full measure of devotion. We can do no less! We shall be with you in spirit during your important deliberations. Our 341.9 prayers ascend at the Holy Threshold for the success of your Conference and the International Conference being held concurrently in Montreal.

342.2 We shall ardently supplicate that the blessings and confirmations of Bahá'u'lláh will descend upon you and surround you wherever you go in service to His Faith.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

342 Comments on the First Danish Bahá'í Women's Conference 20 SEPTEMBER 1982 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Denmark

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Universal House of Justice was very pleased to receive your report Of 342.1 the first Danish Women's Seminar, submitted with your letter Of 31 August 1982, and also a photograph of those attending. judging by the reactions of the participants, this seems to have been a very valuable experience for which there was a definite need. From the earliest days of the Faith women have played a prominent role, and especially in the West where in the beginning their influence predominated. It is the hope of the House of Justice that the Bahá'í women of Denmark will exert a growing influence on the community, increasing its spirituality forging stronger ties of unity, consolidating its administrative institutions and increasing the rate of its expansion throughout Danish society. The House of Justice assures your Assembly of its prayers at the Sacred

342.3 Threshold for the confirmation of your noble endeavors and for the blessings of Bahá'u'lláh to reinforce the efforts of every member of the Danish Bahá'í community.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT




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343 Guidelines for Behavior of Children at Feast 14 OCTOBER 1982 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

343.1 The Universal House of Justice has received your letter Of 14 September 1982 concerning the role of Local Spiritual Assemblies in guiding parents and children in standards of behavior for children at community gatherings, such as Nineteen Day Feasts and Bahá'í Holy Day observances.

343.2 Further to the letter we wrote on its behalf on 28 June 1977, the House of Justice has instructed us to say that children should be trained to understand the spiritual significance of the gatherings of the followers of the Blessed Beauty, and to appreciate the honor and bounty of being able to take part in them, whatever their outward form may be. It is realized that some Bahá'í observances are lengthy and it is difficult for very small children to remain quiet for so long. In such cases one or other of the parents may have to miss part of the meeting in order to care for the child. The Spiritual Assembly can also perhaps help the parents by providing for a children's observance, suited to their capacities, in a separate room during part of the community's observance. Attendance at the whole of the adult celebration thus becomes a sign of growing maturity and a distinction to be earned by good behavior.

343.3 In any case, the House of Justice points out that parents are responsible for their children and should make them behave when they attend Bahá'í meetings. If children persist in creating a disturbance they should be taken out of the meeting. This is not merely necessary to ensure the properly dignified conduct of Bahá'í meetings but is an aspect of the training of children in courtesy, consideration for others, reverence, and obedience to their parents.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

344 Intensification of Oppression of Iranian Bahá'ís 18 NOVEMBER 1982

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

344.1 CRUEL SYSTEMATIC OPPRESSION LONG-SUFFERING IRANIAN FRIENDS HAS REACHED NEW LEVEL

INTENSITY. DWINDLING SOURCES THEIR LIVELIHOOD FURTHER SEVERELY

CURTAILED. DISMISSAL FROM JOBS, CANCELLATION TRADE LICENSES, CONFISCATION PRIVATE PROPERTIES UNABATED. HOMELESS THOUSANDS THROWN |bUHJ_MSGS_1965-1986


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ON MERCY RELATIVES FRIENDS. DOORS SCHOOLS CLOSED TO INCREASING NUMBER CHILDREN. FRESH BLOOD WANTONLY SPILLED AFTER LULL EXECUTIONS. WITH HEAVY HEARTS ANNOUNCE HABIBU'LLAH AWJI, ENTHUSIASTIC ACTIVE

344.2 BELIEVER, RANGED SHIRAZ 16 NOVEMBER. RECENT EVIDENCE CONFIRMS MARTYRDOM SOME TIME AGO OF TWO STEADFAST UPHOLDERS CAUSE: YADUTLAH SIPIHRARFA EXECUTED BY FIRING SQUAD TEHRAN, MANUCHIHR VAFAI MURDERED IN HIS HOME TEHRAN BY UNKNOWN ASSAILANT WHO ATTACHED NOTE TO BODY GIVING AS REASON FOR DASTARDLY DEED INNOCENT VICTIM'S BAHA'I BELIEF... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

345 Execution of Dr. Diya'u'llah Ahrari in Shiraz 23 NOVEMBER 1982

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

HEARTS SORELY GRIEVED EXECUTION DOCTOR Diya'u'llah Ahrari BY FIRING

345.1 SQUAD SHIRAZ 21 NOVEMBER. TRAGEDY OCCURRING SO QUICKLY UPON HEELS RECENTLY ANNOUNCED HANGING HABIBU'LLAH AWJI AROUSES DEEP CONCERN FATE THREE OTHER

FAITHFUL SOULS TOGETHER WITH WHOM THESE TWO WERE CONDEMNED TO DEATH BY RELIGIOUS COURT SHIRAZ LAST SEPTEMBER. JUDGE AT TRIAL OFFERED ALL FIVE 30 MINUTES TO RECANT AND BE FREE OR FACE DEATH SENTENCE. THEY INSTANTLY REAFFIRMED THEIR FAITH. FRESH MARTYRDOMS HIGHLIGHT INTENSITY PERSECUTIONS SHIRAZ WHERE WITHIN MONTHS 40 FRIENDS WERE ROUNDED UP AND IMPRISONED ADDING TO STILL OTHERS PREVIOUSLY ARRESTED.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 346 Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Paul Haney 5 DECEMBER 1982 To National Spiritual Assemblies

346.1 WITH STRICKEN HEARTS ANNOUNCE SUDDEN IRREPARABLE LOSS THROUGH AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT 3 DECEMBER HIGHLY DISTINGUISHED GREATLY PRIZED HAND CAUSE GOD STAUNCH DEFENDER COVENANT PAUL HANEY' THIS DISTINGUISHED SERVANT BAHA'U'LLAH WAS BLESSED CHILDHOOD

346.2 THROUGH ATTAINMENT PRESENCE 'Abdu'l-Bahá. HIS NATURAL GENTLENESS, GENUINE HUMILITY, UNAFFECTED UNBOUNDED LOVE, HIS UPRIGHTNESS, INTEGRITY 346-1. For an account of the life and services of Paul Haney, see BW 19:613-18.


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HIS SINGLE-MINDED DEVOTION CAUSE SINCE YOUTHFUL YEARS, HIS UNFAILING RELIABILITY, METICULOUS ATTENTION DETAIL, CHARACTERIZED HIS HISTORIC SERVICES BOTH NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEVELS. SPANNING MORE THAN HALF CENTURY HIS TIRELESS LABORS INCLUDED LONGTIME MEMBERSHIP AMERICAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY. SINCE 1954 HE CONSECRATED HIS ENERGIES AS MEMBER UNIQUE COMPANY CHIEF STEWARDS FAITH AND LATER AS MEMBER BODY HANDS CAUSE RESIDING HOLY LAND AT ONE OF MOST CRITICAL PERIODS Bahá'í HISTORY. LAST DECADE HIS EARTHLY LIFE WAS FULLY DEDICATED DEVELOPMENT NEWLY FORMED INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTER. GENERATIONS YET UNBORN WILL GLORY IN HIS IMPERISHABLE ACHIEVEMENTS AND BE INSPIRED BY HIS UNIQUE FORTITUDE,

346.3 ARDENTLY SUPPLICATING HOLY THRESHOLD PROGRESS HIS NOBLE SOUL ABHA KINGDOM. ADVISE HOLD THROUGHOUT Bahá'í WORLD INCLUDING ALL Mashriqu'l-Adhkar MEMORIAL GATHERINGS BEFITTING HIS HIGH RANK AND HIS MERITORIOUS SERVICES. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 347 Imprisonment of More Than Eighty Bahá'ís in Shiraz 6 DECEMBER 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

347.1 DISTRESSED FURTHER ARRESTS SHIRAZ INCREASING NUMBER IMPRISONED FRIENDS TO MORE THAN 80 LAST WEEK...., UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 348 Establishment of First Bahá'í Radio Station in North America 13 DECEMBER 1982 To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of United States

348.1 HEARTY CONGRATULATIONS ACHIEVEMENT LONG AWAITED STEP ESTABLISHMENT FIRST BARM RADIO STATION NORTH AMERICA ENABLING YOU PIONEER MODEL PROGRAM CONSOLIDATION UPLIFTMENT BAHA'I COMMUNITY SOUTH CAROLINA.1 PRAYING YOUR WISE MOBILIZATION BOUNTEOUS RESOURCES FOR MEDIA DEVELOPMENT IN UNITED STATES BEHALF BELOVED FAITH PROVIDING FURTHER IMPETUS TEACHING SOUTHERN STATES. LOVING GREETINGS, UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 348-1.

349.1 The radio station, the call-letters of which are WLGI, is located at the Louis Gregory Bahá'í Institute in Hemingway, South Carolina.


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349 Torture of Bahá'ís Imprisoned in Shiraz 28 DECEMBER 1982

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Universal House of Justice has received distressing news that the friends who are imprisoned in Shiraz are being tortured.

350.1 It is not known how many Bahá'ís are being subjected to this cruelty or what form of punishment is involved. Reliable reports indicate, however, that the reason for the torture is to force them to recant their faith and induce them to give the names of active members of the Bahá'í community...

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

350 Call for Another Day of Prayer 29 DECEMBER 1982 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

As you know, the persecution of our friends in Iran continues unabated, and our oppressed brethren are bearing this ordeal with resignation and valor. The Universal House of Justice feels that the time has come to once again call for a day of prayer, and it asks that you inform the members of your community to offer special prayers on the Feast of Jamal (Beauty) on Thursday, 28 April 1983.

350.2 The House of Justice is confident that the friends will also want to pray for the believers in Iran during the Fast, particularly at dawn, and it would be useful for National Spiritual Assemblies to remind the friends of the privilege of joining universally in prayers during this period about which Bahá'u'lláh has written, "Thou hast endowed every hour of these days with a special virtue, inscrutable to all except Thee, . . .", i In addition, your Assembly should set aside time during your National

350.3 Convention for such prayers, as will be done at the International Convention.

350.4 It is hoped that these manifold supplications, reverberating from every corner of the globe, will attract in ever greater measure the blessings of the 350-1. PM, P. 143.


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Almighty upon His lovers in the Cradle of His Faith, and will reinvigorate our determination to accelerate the tempo of our activities, in order to compensate for and indeed more than offset the setbacks being suffered by our beleaguered co-workers in Iran.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

351 Execution of Hidayat Siyavushi in Shiraz 3 JANUARY 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

351.1 GREATLY DISMAYED LAMENTABLE NEWS EXECUTION HIDAYAT s1yAVUSHf HANGED SHIRAZ JANUARY 1, THIRD OF FIVE BAHA'IS SENTENCED TO DEATH 23 SEPTEMBER 1982 UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 352 Prayer of 'Abdu'l-Bahá' for Martyred Friends and Relatives ii JANUARY 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

352.1 We have been directed by the Universal House of Justice to send you the enclosed copy of a prayer revealed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in which mention is made of persecutions, the martyred friends and their relatives., This is for general use, and it is felt that it would be specially suitable for inclusion in the program of prayers being arranged by National Spiritual Assemblies all over the world for the Feast of Jamal (Beauty) on Thursday, -28 April 1983, as was requested in our letter of 29 December 1982.'

352.2 A copy of the text in the original Arabic is also enclosed so that it may be shared with those friends who may be able to use it.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, DEPARTMENT'OF THE SECRETARIAT 352-1. The prayer is published in English in l3p, pp. 265-67. 352-2. See Message [10. 250.


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353 Release of a Compilation on the Importance of Deepening 13 JANUARY 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

At the request of the Universal House of Justice, and with the aim Of fulfilling the goal assigned to all National Assemblies to pursue a program of spiritual enrichment designed to inspire and enlighten the friends regarding the Bahá'í way of life, the Research Department has prepared a compilation from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi on the importance of deepening our knowledge and understanding of the Faith., It is hoped that the loving exhortations and guidelines given in these passages will kindle in the hearts of the believers a spark of longing to delve more deeply into the rich mine of the Writings of the Faith. Such efforts will undoubtedly be abundantly rewarded as the friends attain increased spirituality and understanding, aim at acquiring greater perfection, draw nearer to attracting the good pleasure of their Lord, and seek to become more effective promoters of the Cause of God.

353.3 A copy of this compilation is attached and the Universal House of Justice leaves it to your discretion to determine how best its contents may be shared with the friends under your jurisdiction. With loving Bahá'í' greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

354 Occupation of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice z FEBRUARY 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

TO THE FOLLOWERS OF BAHA'U'LLAH IN EVERY LAND WE BOW OUR HEADS IN INFINITE GRATITUDE TO THE BLESSED BEAUTY FOR HIS

354.1 ALL-EMBRACING CONFIRMATIONS ENABLING HOUSE JUSTICE OCCUPY ITS NEWLY CONSTRUCTED PERMANENT SEAT. THIS AUSPICIOUS EVENT SIGNALIZES ANOTHER 353-1. See CC 1:187-234.


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PHASE IN PROCESS FULFILLMENT SAILING GOD'S ARK ON MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD AS ANTICIPATED IN TABLET CARMEL, WONDROUS CHARTER WORLD SPIRITUAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE CENTERS FAITH BAHA,U'LLAH.'

354.2 THIS HIGH POINT HISTORY STRUGGLING FAITH NOW EMERGING FROM OBSCURITY, THIS CRUCIAL HOUR SUFFUSED WITH UNTOLD POTENCIES GENERATED BY SOUL-STIRRING SACRIFICES BELOVED BRETHREN IRAN, MARKED BY VISIT MEMBERS HOUSE JUSTICE TWIN HOLY SHRINES AND FIRST GATHERING COUNCIL CHAMBER TOGETHER WITH HANDS CAUSE AMATUT-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM ALI-AKBAR FURUTAN AND COUNSELOR MEMBERS INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTER TO OFFER PRAYERS HUMBLE THANKSGIVING. LET ALL REJOICE. LET PRAISES ANCIENT BEAUTY RESOUND. MAY UNRELENTING EFFORTS FRIENDS EVERYWHERE HASTEN ADVENT THAT DAY WHEN WONDROUS

POTENTIALITIES ENSHRINED IN TABLET CARMEL WILL BE FULLY REVEALED AND WHEN FROM GOD'S HOLY MOUNTAIN, AS ENVISAGED BELOVED GUARDIAN, WILL STREAM FORTH RIVERS OF LAWS AND ORDINANCES WITH ALL-CONQUERING POWER AND MAJESTY. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

356 Execution of Two Bahá'ís in Shiraz 14 MARCH 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

355.1 DISTRESSED ANNOUNCE EXECUTION BY HANGING ON 12 MARCH TWO INNOCENT FRIENDS SHIRAZ YADUTLAH MAHMUDNIZHAD AND RAHMATUTLAH VAFAI THIS HEINOUS CRIME PERPETRATED ON MORROW PASSAGE RESOLUTION UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION EXPRESSING CONCERN VIOLATION FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS AND REQUESTING SECRETARY GENERAL CONTINUE EFFORTS SAFEGUARD RIGHTS BAHA'IS IRAN

355.2 SUPPLICATING DIVINE THRESHOLD DELIVERANCE BRETHREN IRAN BRAVELY FACING INTENSE CRUELTIES.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 354-1. See GWB, pp. 14-17; TB, pp. 1-5.


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356 Execution of Mrs. Tuba' Za'irpur in Shiraz 15 MARCH 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

FURTHER OUR TELEX 14 MARCH JUST LEARNED DISTRESSING NEWS MRS. TOBA

356.1 ZA'IRPCR WAS EXECUTED BY HANGING TOGETHER TWO FRIENDS MENTIONED OUR PREVIOUS MESSAGE. BODIES OF THREE WERE BURIED IN BAHA'I CEMETERY BY PRISON GUARDS WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE, PRESENCE RELATIVES. EXECUTIONS WERE NOT ANNOUNCED EVEN TO FAMILIES.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 357 Message to Youth Conferences in Costa Rica and Honduras 17 MARCH 1983 The Bahá'í Youth Conferences in Costa Rica and Honduras WARMLY

WELCOME OCCASION SIMULTANEOUS CONFERENCES COSTA RICA AND HONDURAS TO GREET VIBRANT Bahá'í YOUTH CENTRAL AMERICA. YOUR ENTHUSIASTIC EXERTIONS IN SERVICE CAUSE BAHA'U'LLAH AS SHOWN BY SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE YOUR NUMBERS BRING GLADNESS TO OUR HEARTS AND INSPIRE EXHILARATING THOUGHT THAT BRIGHT PROSPECTS SUCCESS LIE IMMEDIATELY BEFORE YOU. YOU MEET AT HIGHLY CRITICAL MOMENT HISTORY WHEN TURMOIL ASSOCIATED WITH THIS ERA OF TRANSITION INTENSIFIES. WITHIN CAUSE ITSELF CAN BE SEEN ON ONE HAND UNPRECEDENTED CAMPAIGN PERSECUTION LONG-SUFFERING IRANIAN BRETHREN AND ON OTHER HAND RESOUNDING Bahá'u'lláh SEVEN YEAR PLAN INDUCED BY THEIR SACRIFICES AND SYMBOLIZED BY OCCUPANCY PERMANENT SEAT UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE. MANKIND RAPIDLY APPROACHES RECKONING WITH BAHA'U'LLAH'S INJUNCTION THAT IT BE UNITED. FROM FAR AND NEAR ANGUISHED MULTITUDES CRY FOR PEACE BUT BEING LARGELY IGNORANT HIS LIFE-REDEEMING MESSAGE THEY FEEL NO HOPE. SITUATION THUS PRESENTS BAHA'I YOUTH WITH GREAT OPPORTUNITIES INESCAPABLE CHALLENGE TO RESCUE THEIR PEERS FROM SLOUGH DESPONDENCY POINTING THEM TOWARDS HOPERESTORING BANNER MOST GREAT NAME. HOW FITTING THEN THAT YOU SHOULD CONSIDER AT THESE CONFERENCES BEST MEANS EQUIP YOURSELVES SPIRITUALLY TO FULFILL TEACHING MISSION PARTICULARLY SUITED TO YOUR CAPACITIES FOR SERVICE, YOUR ABOUNDING ZEAL AND ENERGY. ARDENTLY SUPPLICATING AT HOLY THRESHOLD ON YOUR BEHALF THAT IN ADDITION TO PRAYING, ABSORBING HOLY PRINCIPLES AND TEACHING FAITH, YOU WILL


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BE SO IMBUED BY BELOVED MASTERS EXAMPLE SERVICE TO HUMANITY AS TO BE ABLE THROUGH YOUR INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE DEEDS TO DEMONSTRATE CIVILIZING POWER OUR SACRED CAUSE AND CONVEY VISION ITS SPIRITUAL AND SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTIVE BENEFITS TO YOUR COMPATRIOTS OF ALL AGES. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

358 Ridvan Message 1983 Ridvan 140 [1983 A.D.]

To the Bahá'ís of the World Dearly loved friends,

358.1 The observable acceleration, during the past decade, of the two processes described by our beloved Guardian, the disintegration of the old order and the progress and consolidation of the new World Order of BAAV116h, may well come to be regarded by future historians as one of the most remarkable features of this period. The recent increase in this very acceleration is even more remarkable. Both within and without the Cause of God, powerful forces are operating to bring to a climax the twin tendencies of this portentous century. Among the many evidences which reveal this process may be cited, on the one hand, the continual increase of lawlessness, terrorism, economic confusion, immorality and the growing danger from the proliferation of weapons of destruction, and on the other, the worldwide, divinely propelled expansion, consolidation and rapid emergence into the limelight of world affairs of the Cause itself, a process crowned by the wonderful efflorescence of Mount Carmel, the mountain of God, whose Divine springtime is now so magnificently burgeoning. The Dialectic of Triumph and Disaster

358.2 During the past five years, the historical dialectic of triumph and disaster has operated simultaneously within the Cause of God. The Army of Light has sustained the loss of six Hands of the Cause and waves of bitter persecution which have again engulfed the long-suffering community in Iran, and have resulted in the razing of the House of the Bab, the demolition of Bahá'u'lláh's ancestral home in Takur, and the martyrdom of scores of valiant souls.' Yet these disasters have called forth fresh energies in the hearts of the friends, have fed the deep roots of the Cause and given rise to a great harvest of signal victories. Chief among these are the successful conclusion of 358-1.

358.5 The deceased Hands of the Cause of God include Hasan A Balyuzi (see cable dated 12 February 1980, no. 247), AWI-Qasim Faizi (see cable dated 20 November 1980, no. 269), Paul Haney (see cable dated 5 December 1982, no. 346), Rahmatu'llah Muhajir (see cable dated


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the Five Year Plan;:, the launching of the Seven Year Plan,3 now in the final year of its second phase and unprecedented proclamation of the Faith to Heads of States, parliaments and parliamentarians, government ministers and officials, leaders of thought and people prominent in the professions, resulting in a change of attitude on the part of the mass media, which now increasingly approach us for information about the Cause. To these movements must be added the worldwide observances commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf, the completion of the restoration of the upper floor of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha, and its opening, at this very time, to its first visitors; the occupation by the Universal House of Justice of its permanent Seat, in further fulfillment of the great prophecy in the Tablet of Carmel; steady progress on the construction of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the Pacific Islands in Samoa and the Mother Temple of the Indian Subcontinent in New Delhi.4 Among the outstanding features of the teaching and consolidation work 358.4 are the continuing effective results of the participation of more than sixteen thousand believers from all parts of the world in the five International Conferences; intensive teaching campaigns carried out with the active support of all levels of the community and drawing upon the enthusiasm and capacity of Bahá'í youth; the establishment of a second radio station in South 'America; the re-formation of the National Spiritual Assemblies of Uganda and Nepal, and the establishment of nine new National Spiritual Assemblies, two of which will be elected during the month of May this year, bringing the total of these secondary Houses of justice to 135' Above and beyond all these is the unity in action achieved by the Bahá'í world community in its efforts to enlist public support for the dearly loved, greatly admired, cruelly beleaguered Iranian believers, a unity further manifested in an outpouring of funds to replace their former liberal contributions, and an upsurge of personal dedication rarely seen on so universal a scale and holding the highest promise for the future. 30 December 1979, no. -243), Adelbert Mah1schlegel (see cable dated 29 July 1980, no. 2.56), and Enoch Olinga (see cable dated 17 September 1979, no. 237). For messages on the destruction of the House of the Bab, see letters dated 9 September 1979, 19 November 1979, and 26 May 1981 (nos. 235, 241, and 282). For the message on the demolition of the House of Bahá'u'lláh in Takur, see telex dated 10 December 1981 (no. 205). 358-2. The Five Year Plan began in 1974 and ended in 1979. 358-3. The Seven Year Plan began in 1979 and ended in 1986. 358-4. For messages about the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of Bahiyyih Khanum, the Greatest Holy Leaf, see letters dated March 1981 (no. 275), 24 January 1982 (no. 313), Ridvan 1982 (no. 321), and 26 July 1982 (no. 334). For the message announcing the acquisition of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha, see cable dated 9 January 1975 (no. 154); for an account of the significance of the House of Abdu'llah Pasha, see letter dated 4 March 1975 (no. 157). For the Tablet of Carmel, see GWB, pp. 14-17, or TB, pp. 1-5. See also Shoghi Effendi's description of the Tablet of Carmel in GPB, P. 194.


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Social and Economic Development

358.6 The growing maturity of a worldwide religious community which all these processes indicate is further evidenced in the reaching out, by a number of national communities, to the social and economic life of their countries, exemplified by the founding of tutorial schools, the inception of radio stations, the pursuit of rural development programs and the operation of medical and agricultural schemes. To these early beginnings must be added the undoubted skills acquired, as a result of the Iranian

crisis, in dealing with international organizations, national governments and the mass media-the very elements of society with which it must increasingly collaborate toward the realization of peace on earth. A Wider Horizon Beckons

358.7 A wider horizon is opening before us, illumined by a growing and universal manifestation of the inherent potentialities of the Cause for ordering human

affairs. In this light can be discerned not only our immediate tasks but, more dimly, new pursuits and undertakings upon which we must shortly become engaged. At present we must complete the

objectives of the Seven Year Plan, paying great attention to those inner spiritual developments which will be manifested in greater unity among the friends and in National and Local Spiritual Assemblies functioning "harmoniously, vigorously and efficiently' as the Guardian desired.5

358.8 We have no doubt that the Bahá'í world community will accomplish all these tasks and go forward to new achievements. The powers released by Bahá'u'lláh match the needs of the times. We may therefore be utterly confident that the new throb of energy now vibrating throughout the Cause will empower it to meet the oncoming challenges of assisting, as maturity and resources

allow, the development of the social and economic life of peoples, of collaborating with the forces leading towards the establishment of order in the world, of influencing the exploitation and constructive uses of modern technology, and in all these ways enhancing the prestige and progress of the Faith and uplifting the conditions of the generality of mankind. A Time for Rejoicing

358.9 It is a time for rejoicing. The Sun of Bahá'u'lláh is mounting the heavens, bringing into ever clearer light the contrast between the gloom, the despair, the frustrations and bewilderment of the world, and the radiance, confidence, joy and certitude of His lovers. Lift up your hearts. The Day of God is here.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

358-5. BA, P. 41.


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359 Election of the Universal House of Justice Ridvan 1983 I MAY 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

NEWLY ELECTED MEMBERS UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 'ALI Nakhjavani HUSHMAND FATHEAZAM LAN SEMPLE DAVID RUHE GLENFORD MITCHELL DAVID HOFMAN BORRAH KAVELIN CHARLES WOLCOTT HUGH CHANCE. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 360 Execution of Two Bahá'ís in Isfahan 12 MAY 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies WITH SADDENED HEARTS ANNOUNCE

EXECUTION ON 1 MAY TWO MORE ACTIVE

360.1 SUPPORTERS GREATEST NAME CRADLE FAITH, MR. SUHAYL SAFAII AND MR. JALAL HAKIMAN, IMPRISONED SINCE OCTOBER 1982 IN ISFAHAN. THEIR FAMILIES, FRIENDS LEARNED AFTER MORE THAN A WEEK OF THEIR EXECUTION IN TEHRAN....

361.1 UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 361 Further Evolution of the International Teaching Center 19 MAY 1983 To the Followers of Bahá'u'lláh throughout the World Dearly loved Friends, For ten years the International Teaching Center has rendered invaluable services at the World Center of the Faith, and it is with great joy that we now announce a number of major steps in the evolution of this vital institution of the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh. Since the tragic death of Mr. Paul Haney there have been only two Hands 361.2 of the Cause residing in the Holy Land. We have therefore decided to call upon Dr. 'Ali Muhammad Varqa and Mr. Collis Featherstone to participate in the discharge of the special duties of the Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land when the occasion requires, as for example, in dealing with


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matters of Covenant-breaking. They will be able to perform these functions either by correspondence or by periodic sojourns at the World Center. Appointment of New Counselor Members

361.3 We have decided to raise the number of resident members of the International Teaching Center to nine. For reasons of health Mrs. Florence Mayberry is leaving the World Center, bringing to an end her highly valued services on this institution. Four new Counselor members have therefore been appointed: Dr. Magdalene Carney, Mr. Mas'ud Khamsi, Dr. Peter Khan and Mrs. Isobel Sabri, whom we now call upon to transfer their residences to the Holy Land, where they will join the Hands of the Cause Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum and 'Ali-Akbar Furutan and Counselors Anneliese Bopp, Hooper Dunbar and 'Aziz Yazdi. Institution of a Five-Year Term

361.4 We have further decided, as foreshadowed in previous announcements, to institute a five-year term for the Counselor members of the International Teaching Center. Each term will start on 23 May immediately following the International Bahá'í Convention, and the current term will end on 23 May 1988. Should circumstances prevent the Universal House of Justice from making new appointments at the end of any five-year term, the Counselors will remain in office until such time as new appointments can be made. An Increase of Responsibility

361.5 With the rapid

growth of the Faith, its emergence from obscurity, and the diversification of the activities that the believers in many lands must undertake in such fields as education, rural development, radio and public relations-matters which must increasingly occupy the attention of the Universal House of Justice-we have decided that the time is ripe to devolve increased responsibility upon the International Teaching Center in the fields of protection and propagation of the Faith. The duties of the International Teaching Center, including those announced previously and those now being assigned to it, are as follows: - To assume full responsibility for coordinating, stimulating and directing the Continental Boards of Counselors, acting also as liaison between them and the Universal House of Justice. - To be fully informed of the situation of the Cause in all parts of the world and, from this knowledge, to make reports and recommendations to the Universal House of Justice and give advice to the Continental Boards of Counselors. - To watch over

the security and ensure the protection of the Faith of God.


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-To be alert to possibilities for the extension of the teaching work and the development of economic and social life both within and without the Bahá'í community, and to draw the attention of the Universal House of Justice and the Continental Boards of Counselors to such possibilities, making

recommendations for action. -To determine and anticipate needs for literature, pioneers and traveling teachers and to work out teaching plans, both regional and global, for the approval of the Universal House of Justice. - To direct the work of the Continental Pioneer Committees. - To administer the expenditure of the International Deputization Fund. -To administer an annual budget that will be provided from the Bahá'í International Fund, allocating therefrom to the Continental Boards of Counselors monies for special teaching projects and literature subvention, and, when necessary, contributions to the Continental Funds. The transfer of functions and responsibilities in implementation of the 361.6 above decisions will be made gradually as the new members are able to settle in the Holy Land. National Spiritual Assemblies and Continental Pioneer Committees will be notified, as necessary, of any changes in procedure that Will be required; in the meantime they should continue to operate as before.

361.7 New Offices In the near future the International Teaching Center will be moving into its new offices near the House of the Master, in the building which served for several decades as the Western Pilgrim House, later as the seat of the International Bahá'í Council and, for the past twenty years as that of the Universal House of Justice., Now, most befittingly, it will serve as the office of the International Teaching Center until the permanent building for that mighty institution can be raised on Mount Carmel in close proximity to the Universal House of justice. It is our ardent prayer that the decisions now taken will be blessed by Bahá'u'lláh and will enable the World Center of the Faith to coordinate and direct with ever greater effectiveness the self-sacrificing and assiduous labors of the friends of God in every part of the world during the challenging years which lie before us.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

361-1. The Western Pilgrim House is located in Haifa at to Haparsim Street, across the street from the House of Abdu'l-Bahá (7 Haparsim Street).


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362 Statement by the President of the United States about the Bahá'í's of Iran 24 MAY 1983 To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States

362.1 OUTSTANDING STATEMENT PRESIDENT REAGAN BEHALF BAHA'Is IRAN FILLS HEARTS BELIEVERS WORLD OVER WITH JOY AND GRATITUDE. THIS ACHIEVEMENT INDICATIVE SPIRITUAL POWER RELEASED BY PURE BLOOD MARTYRS AND SUSTAINED EFFORTS AMERICAN BAHA'IS THROUGH THEIR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES, FURTHER STEP IMPLEMENTATION ROLE

AMERICAN NATION DESTINED PLAY PROTECTION OPPRESSED PEOPLES. CONFIDENT BAHA'I COMMUNITY UNITED STATES WILL SEIZE UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY PROCLAIM FAITH WIDELY AND WISELY ENTIRE NATION UNDER GUIDANCE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY. EXTEND HEARTFELT CONGRATULATIONS ASSURE LOVING PRAYERS FURTHER VICTORIES. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 363 Execution of Six Bahá'ís in Shiraz 18 JUNE 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

363.1 WITH GREAT SORROW IMPART NEWS EXECUTION BY HANGING LATE HOURS 16 JUNE IN SHIRAZ ANOTHER SIX VALIANT SERVANTS CAUSE:

DR. BAHRAM AFNAN, PROMINENT PHYSICIAN, 48 YEARS OLD MR. BAHRAM YALDA'I, STUDENT, 23 YEARS OLD MR. JAMSHID SIAVUSHI, MERCHANT, 39 YEARS OLD MR. 'INAYATUTLAH ISRAQI, RETIRED OFFICER OIL COMPANY, 60 YEARS OLD MR KURUSH HOQBIN, ELECTRICAL TECHNICIAN, 27 YEARS OLD MR. ABDU'L HUSAYN AZADI, EMPLOYEE HEALTH MINISTRY, 60 YEARS OLD

363.2 GRAVELY CONCERNED LIVES OTHER PRISONERS THREATENED BE SUBJECTED SIMILAR FATE IF REFUSE RECANT FAITH AND EMBRACE ISLAM. THIS RUTHLESS TREATMENT BY FANATICS NOW TAKING REINS JUSTICE THEIR HANDS IN DEFIANCE WORLD PUBLIC OPINION, DEMANDS SPECIAL CONSIDERATION BY GOVERNMENTS AND PEOPLE OF PROMINENCE TO EXERT UTMOST EFFORTS PREVENT CONTINUATION SUCH ACTS WHICH VIOLATE PRINCIPLES JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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364 Execution by Hanging of Ten Bahá'í Women in Shiraz 19 JUNE 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies FOLLOWING OUTRAGEOUS EXECUTION SIX BAHA'IS IN SHIRAZ ON 16 JUNE, FURTHER

364.1 HIDEOUS CRIME HAS BEEN PERPETRATED BY AUTHORITIES THAT CITY BY HANGING TEN INNOCENT WOMEN NIGHT OF 18 JUNE. THEY ARE:

MRS. NUSRAT YALDA'I, 54 YEARS OLD, MOTHER OF BAHRAM, HANGED 16 JUNE MRS. 'IZZAT JANAMI ISHRAQI 50 YEARS OLD, WIFE OF 'INAYATU'LLAH, HANGED 16 JUNE MISS RUYA ISHRAQI, IN EARLY 20S, DAUGHTER OF ABOVE MRS. TAHIRIH SIYAVUSHI, 32 YEARS OLD, WIFE OF JAMSHID, HANGED 16 JUNE MISS MUNA MAHMUDNIZHAD, 18 YEARS OLD, DAUGHTER OF YADU'LLAH, EXECUTED 12 MARCH MISS ZARRIN MUQIMI-ABYANIH, UNDER 25 YEARS OLD MISS SHAHIN (SHIRIN) DALVAND, EARLY 20S MISS AKHTAR THABIT 19 YEARS OLD MISS SIMIN SABIRI, IN EARLY 20S MISS MAHSHID NIRUMAND, 18 YEARS OLD

THE EXECUTION OF THESE GUILTLESS WOMEN IN THE NAME OF RELIGION MUST

364.2 SHOCK CONSCIENCE HUMANITY THEY WERE ARRESTED FOR ACTIVITIES IN Bahá'í COMMUNITY INCLUDING EDUCATION OF YOUTH.

FOLLOWING LONG INTERROGATION IN PRISON THEY WERE WARNED THEY WOULD BE SUBJECTED TO FOUR SESSIONS PRESSURING THEM

RECANT THEIR FAITH ACCEPT ISLAM AND IF BY FOURTH TIME THEY HAD NOT SIGNED PREPARED STATEMENT RECANTING FAITH THEY WOULD BE KILLED. ALL PREFERRED DIE RATHER THAN DENY THEIR FAITH.

FEW HOURS PRIOR EXECUTION WOMEN MET WITH FAMILIES, NONE OF WHOM

364.4 KNEW IMPENDING EXECUTION. NEWS THIS DASTARDLY CRIME NOT PUBLICLY ANNOUNCED OR FORMALLY GIVEN TO FAMILIES. AUTHORITIES REFUSED ALLOW FAMILIES RECEIVE BODIES FOR BURIAL OR EVEN TO SEE THEM.

IT SHOULD BE RECALLED THAT BETWEEN OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER 1982 OVER 80 BAHA'IS WERE ARRESTED IN SHIRAZ. AUTHORITIES LATER REVEALED THAT 22 PERSONS AMONG THE 80 WERE CONDEMNED TO DEATH IF WOULD NOT RECANT NAMES OF THESE 22 HOWEVER WERE NEVER REVEALED, INTENSIFYING PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS AMONG BAHA'I

PRISONERS.

IN DEFIANCE APPEALS WORLD LEADERS AND WORLD PUBLIC OPINION, 21 OF THESE BAHA'IS HAVE THUS FAR BEEN EXECUTED, CASTING SHADOW ON FATE REMAINING BELIEVERS LANGUISHING IN PRISON....

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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365 Message to Youth Summons to Vindicate Martyred Youth 23 JUNE 1983 To Bahá'í Youth Throughout the World:

365.1 RECENT MARTYRDOMS COURAGEOUS STEADFAST YOUTH IN SHIRAZ, SCENE INAUGURATION MISSION MARTYR-PROPHET, REMINISCENT ACTS VALOR YOUTHFUL IMMORTALS HEROIC AGE. CONFIDENT BAHA'I YOUTH THIS GENERATION WILL NOT ALLOW THIS FRESH BLOOD SHED ON VERY SOIL WHERE FIRST WAVE PERSECUTION FAITH TOOK PLACE REMAIN UNVINDICATED OR THIS SUBLIME SACRIFICE UNAVAILING. AT THIS HOUR OF AFFLICTION AND GRIEF, AND AS WE APPROACH ANNIVERSARY MARTYRDOM BLESSED BAB CALL ON BAHA'I YOUTH TO REDEDICATE THEMSELVES TO URGENT NEEDS CAUSE BAHA'U'LLAH. LET THEM RECALL BLESSINGS HE PROMISED THOSE WHO IN PRIME OF YOUTH WILL ARISE TO ADORN THEIR HEARTS WITH HIS LOVE AND REMAIN STEADFAST AND FIRM. LET THEM CALL TO MIND EXPECTATIONS MASTER FOR EACH TO BE A FEARLESS LION, A MUSK-LADEN BREEZE WAFTING OVER MEADS VIRTUE. LET THEM MEDITATE OVER UNIQUE QUALITIES YOUTH SO GRAPHICALLY MENTIONED IN WRITINGS GUARDIAN WHO PRAISED THEIR ENTERPRISING AND ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT, THEIR VIGOR, THEIR ALERTNESS, OPTIMISM AND EAGERNESS, AND THEIR DIVINELY APPOINTED, HOLY AND ENTHRALLING TASKS. WE FERVENTLY PRAY AT SACRED THRESHOLD THAT ARMY OF SPIRITUALLY AWAKENED AND DETERMINED YOUTH MAY IMMEDIATELY ARISE RESPONSE NEEDS PRESENT HOUR DEVOTE IN EVER GREATER MEASURE THEIR VALUED ENERGIES TO PROMOTE, BOTH ON HOMEFRONTS AND IN FOREIGN FIELDS, CAUSE THEIR ALL-WATCHFUL AND EXPECTANT LORD. MAY THEY MANIFEST SAME SPIRIT SO RECENTLY EVINCED THEIR MARTYR BRETHREN CRADLE FAITH, SCALE SUCH HEIGHTS OF ENDEAVOR AS TO BECOME PRIDE THEIR PEERS CONSOLATION HEARTS PERSIAN BELIEVERS, AND DEMONSTRATE T14AT THE FLAME HIS OMNIPOTENT HAND HAS KINDLED BURNS EVER BRIGHT AND THAT ITS

LIFFAMPARTING WARMTH AND RADIANCE SHALL SOON ENVELOP PERMEATE WHOLE EARTH.

366.1 UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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366 Appointment of Continental Counselors 1 27 JUNE 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Universal House of Justice announces with pleasure the appointment of the following Continental Counselors: In Africa: Mr. Gila Michael Bahta Mr. Kassimi Fofana In the Americas: Mr. Shapoor Monadjem In Australasia: Mrs. Joy Stevenson

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

367 Execution of Suhayl Hushmand in Shiraz 30 JUNE 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

SWIFT ON HEELS EXECUTION YOUNG BAHA'IS SHIRAZ ANNOUNCE DISTRESSING

367.1 NEWS YET ANOTHER YOUNG SERVANT BAHA'U'LLAH THAT CITY, 24 YEAR OLD SUHAYL HOSHMAND, HANGED 28 JUNE, BRINGING TO 142 TOTAL NUMBER BAHA'IS KILLED SINCE BEGINNING ISLAMIC REVOLUTION, NOT INCLUDING 14 WHO DISAPPEARED. FATE OTHER PRISONERS SHIRAZ IN BALANCE. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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368 Attacks against Bahá'í Villagers in Mazindaran; Kidnapping of Two Bahá'í's in Tehran 4 JULY 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

368J ATROCITIES MOUNTING AGAINST BRETHREN CRADLE FAITH, NOW DIRECTED TOWARDS DEFENSELESS VILLAGERS NEAR SARI IN MAZINDARAN. IN VILLAGE OF NAL OVER 130 BAHA'IS INCLUDING WOMEN AND CHILDREN WERE HELD CAPTIVE FOR THREE DAYS IN WALLED-IN OPEN FIELD WITHOUT FOOD AND WATER. WHEN PRESSURES TO RECANT FAITH ACCEPT ISLAM FAILED THEY WERE ALLOWED TO RETURN TO THEIR HOMES. HOWEVER SAME NIGHT, JULY I ST THEY WERE

ATTACKED BY VILLAGERS AND FORCED HIDE IN NEARBY FOREST

FURTHER DISTRESSING NEWS TWO PROMINENT BAHA'IS TEHRAN, JAHANGIR HIDAYATI AND AHMAD BASHIRI, KIDNAPPED. APPEALS TO AUTHORITIES SO FAR UNHEEDED, ANY KNOWLEDGE THEIR ABDUCTION OR WHEREABOUTS DENIED.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 369 Message to the European Youth Conference in Innsbruck 4 JULY 1983 To the European Youth Conference in Innsbruck

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

369.1 With high hopes we greet the representatives of the Bahá'í youth of Europe gathered in conference in Innsbruck. This generation of Bahá'í youth enjoys a unique distinction. You will live your lives in a period when the forces of history are moving to a climax, when mankind will see the establishment of the Lesser Peace, and during which the Cause of God will play an increasingly prominent role in the reconstruction of human society. It is you who will be called upon in the years to come to stand at the helm of the Cause in face of conditions and developments which can, as yet, scarcely be imagined.

369.2 European Bahá'í' youth in particular face tremendous and challenging tasks in the immediate future. Can one doubt that the manner in which the governments of the European nations have rallied to the defense of the persecuted Bahá'ís in Iran will draw down blessings from on high upon this continent?

368-1. Jahangir Hidiyati was killed in Tehran on 15 May 1984. Ahmad Bashiri was killed in Tehran on 1 November 1984.


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And who among the people of Europe are more likely to be kindled by the challenge and hope of the Message of Bahá'u'lláh than the youth? Now is an opportunity to awaken the interest, set afire the hearts and enlist the active

support of young people of every nation, class and creed in that continent. The key to success in this endeavor is, firstly, to deepen your understanding of the Teachings of the Cause so that you will be able to apply them to the problems of individuals and society, and explain them to your peers in ways that they will understand and welcome; secondly, to strive to model your behavior in every way after the high standards of honesty, trustworthiness, courage, loyalty, forbearance, purity and spirituality set forth in the

Teachings; and, above all, to live in continual awareness of the presence and all-conquering power of Bahá'u'lláh, which will enable you to overcome every temptation and surmount every obstacle.

369.3 A vibrant band of Bahá'í youth on the European continent, committed to the promotion of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh and the upholding of His laws and principles, determined to work in harmony and unity with their fellow believers of all ages and classes, can revolutionize the progress of the Cause. With a rapid increase in the size of the Bahá'í communities in Europe, the believers of that continent, the cradle of Western civilization, will be the better able to serve as a fountainhead of pioneers, traveling teachers and financial assistance to the Bahá'í communities of the Third World.

369.4 When deciding what course of training to follow, youth can consider acquiring those skills and professions that will be of benefit in education, rural development, agriculture, economics, technology, health, radio and in many other areas of endeavor that are so urgently needed in the developing countries of the world. You can also devote time in the midst of your studies, or other activities, to travel teaching or service projects in the Third World.

369.5 A particular challenge to the Bahá'í youth of Europe is the vast

eastern half of the continent that is as yet scarcely touched by the light of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. It is not easy to settle in those lands, but with ingenuity, determination and reliance upon the confirmations of Bahá'u'lláh it is certainly possible both to settle and to persevere in service in goals which demand a spirit of self-sacrifice, detachment and purity of heart worthy of those who would emulate the shining example set by the martyrs in Iran, so many of whom are youth, who have given their lives rather than breathe one word that would be a betrayal of the trust of God placed upon them.

369.6 With love and utmost longing we call upon you to immerse yourselves in the divine Teachings, champion the Cause of God and His law, and arise for the quickening of mankind.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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370 Continuing Harassments and Arrests in Iran 26 JULY 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

370.1 PRESSURES MOUNTING AGAINST BAHA'Is IRAN, PARTICULARLY IN TEHRAN WHERE MEMBERS OF BAHA'I INSTITUTIONS ARE BEING HUNTED, THEIR HOMES RAIDED. IF NOT FOUND, THEIR FAMILIES ARE BEING HARASSED.

370.2 TWENTY-TWO BELIEVERS INCLUDING 11 WOMEN WERE ARRESTED BETWEEN 11 AND 20 JULY... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 371 Formation of Nine New National Spiritual Assemblies at Ridvan 31 JULY 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

371.1 0VERJOYED ANNOUNCE FORMATION AT RIDVAN 1984 FOLLOWING NINE NEW NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES: THREE IN AFRICA: CAPE VERDE ISLANDS, EQUATORIAL GUINEA AND GABON THREE IN AMERICAS: FRENCH GUIANA ' GRENADA AND MARTINIQUE T-NVO IN ASIA: ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS, AND YEMEN (SANA) ONE IN EUROPE: CANARY ISLANDS

371.2 LAST TWO NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES NAMED ABOVE ARE SUPPLEMENTARY ACHIEVEMENTS SEVEN YEAR PLAN. PRAYING SHRINES BOUNTIFUL BLESSINGS MAY SURROUND SUPPORT FRIENDS EVERYWHERE IN THEIR ENDEAVORS PROMOTE GOD'S HOLY FAITH. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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372 Intensification of Waves of Arrests in Iran z AUGUST 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

PERSECUTIONS IRANIAN FRIENDS REMAIN UNABATED. WAVES ARRESTS PROMINENT

372.1 BAHA'IS RECENTLY INTENSIFIED.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 373 Arrest of More Bahá'ís in Iran 16 AUGUST 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

ARRESTS IRANIAN BRETHREN CONTINUING.... 24 INCLUDING 10 WOMEN IMPRISONED BETWEEN 3 AND 5 AUGUST. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 374 Member of the Passing of Sylvia Ioas, International Bahá'í Council 25 AUGUST 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

SADDENED PASSING DEVOTED MAIDSERVANT BAHA'U'LLAH SYLVIA IOAS.' HER LONG

374.1 YEARS SERVICE DIVINE THRESHOLD CONSTANT SUPPORT CLOSE COLLABORATION HER DISTINGUISHED HUSBAND CROWNED BY HER APPOINTMENT BY BELOVED GUARDIAN AS MEMBER INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I COUNCIL AND HER SUBSEQUENT ELECTION SAME HISTORIC INSTITUTION AND AS ITS VICE-PRESIDENT. HER GRACIOUS MANNER, CHEERFUL DISPOSITION, HOSPITABLE SPIRIT REMAIN AS INDELIBLE IMPRESSIONS HER FRUITFUL LIFE. FERVENTLY PRAYING HOLY SHRINES HER RADIANT SOUL MAY BE RICHLY REWARDED ABHA KINGDOM. URGE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES HOLD BEFITTING MEMORIAL SERVICES. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 374-1. For an account of the life and services of Sylvia Ioas, see BW 19:6u.


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375 Requisites for Spiritual Growth I SEPTEMBER 1983 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Norway

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

375.1 On several occasions there has been correspondence between your Assembly and the Universal House of Justice on meditation and kindred subjects. The House of Justice is aware that such matters have been a cause of differences of opinion among the Norwegian Bahá'ís. It has now come to the attention of the House of justice that there was a session of group meditation of a particular

kind at your summer school under the aegis of the National Teaching Committee. We have, therefore, been instructed to send you the following comments which, it is hoped, will help to resolve this long-standing problem. Spiritualization of the Bahá'í Community

375.2 In its message to the Dublin Conference the Universal House of justice called upon the Continental Board of Counselors and the National Spiritual Assemblies of Europe to launch together 'such a campaign of spiritualization of the Bahá'í community, allied with intensified personal teaching, as has never been witnessed in your continent.", It realizes that the session at your Summer School

referred to above may well have been intended as an aspect of this campaign, and it feels that it would be helpful to explain more fully what it intended by 'spiritualization of the Bahá'í community."

375.3 Europe has suffered so appallingly in past centuries from persecutions and conflicts inspired-by religious differences and fanaticism that there has been a revulsion against religion. Many Europeans have become skeptical, scornful of religious practices, and reluctant either to discuss religious subjects or to give credence to the power of faith. This turning away from religion has been powerfully reinforced by the growth of materialism, and has produced a combination of physical well-being and spiritual aridity that is having catastrophic results, socially and psychologically, on the population.

375.4 This intellectual and emotional atmosphere creates problems for the Bahá'í community in two ways. Its effect upon a large proportion of the non-Bahá'í population makes it difficult for Bahá'ís to convey the Message to others. Its effect upon the Bahá'ís is more subtle, but no less harmful; if not consciously combated it can lead the believers to neglect those spiritual exercises which are the very fountainhead of their spiritual strength and the nourishment of their souls. 375-1.

375.5 See letter dated 2 June 1982 (no. 329).


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Essential Requisites for Spiritual Growth Bahá'u'lláh has stated quite clearly in His Writings the essential requisites for our spiritual growth, and these are stressed again and again by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His talks and Tablets. One can summarize them briefly in this way:

1. The recital each day of one of the Obligatory Prayers with pure-hearted devotion.

2. The regular reading of the Sacred Scriptures, specifically at least each morning and evening, with reverence, attention and thought.

3. Prayerful meditation on the Teachings, so that we may understand them more deeply, fulfill them more faithfully, and convey them more accurately to others.

4. Striving every day to bring our behavior more into accordance with the high standards that are set forth in the Teachings.

5. Teaching the Cause of God.

6.

375.6 Selfless service in the work of the Cause and in the carrying on of our trade or profession.

These points, expressed in other words, have already been conveyed to the friends in Europe by the Counselors, but the House of Justice wishes to stress them, because they represent the path towards the attainment of true spirituality that has been laid down by the

Manifestation of God for this age. Prayer and Meditation-Personal Exercises It is striking how private and personal the most fundamental spiritual exercises of prayer and meditation are in the Faith. Bahá'ís do, of course, have meetings for devotions, as in the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar or at Nineteen Day Feasts, but the daily obligatory prayers are ordained to be said in the privacy of one's chamber, and meditation on the Teachings is, likewise, a private individual activity, not a form of group therapy. In His talks 'Abdu'l-Bahá describes prayer as "conversation with God," and concerning meditation He says that "while you meditate you are

speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers: the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed.", There are, of course, other things that one can do to increase one's Spirituality. For example, Bahá'u'lláh has specified no procedures to be followed in meditation, and individual believers are free to do as they wish in this area, provided that they remain in harmony with the Teachings, but such activities are purely personal and should under no circumstances be confused with those actions which Bahá'u'lláh

Himself considered to be of fundamental importance for our spiritual growth. Some believers may find that it is beneficial to 375-2- SBS, p. 250; PT, p. 174.


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them to follow a particular method of meditation, and they may certainly do so, but such methods should not be taught at Bahá'í Summer Schools or be carried out during a session of the School

because, while they may appeal to some people, they may repel others. They have nothing to do with the Faith and should be kept quite

separate so that inquirers will not be confused.

375.9 It would seem that there are in Norway many believers who draw particular benefit from meditation. The House of Justice suggests that for their private meditations they may wish to use the repetition of the Greatest Name, Allah-u-Abha, ninety-five times a day which, although not yet applied in the West, is among the Laws, Ordinances and Exhortations of the Kitab-i-Aqdas. (See P. 46 of the Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.)

375.10 The House of Justice is confident that if the believers throughout Europe will conscientiously strive to increase their spirituality in the six ways outlined above, and become aware in their inmost beings that in all their services they are but vehicles for the confirming power of God, they will attract the hearts of their fellow citizens and penetrate the miasma of

materialism that veils the sight of so many of their countrymen. Effort, activity, unity and constant reliance on the power of Bahá'u'lláh will assuredly overcome all obstacles.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

376 Preparations for International Youth Year 7 SEPTEMBER 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

376.1 As you are probably aware, 1985

has been designated by the United Nations as International Youth Year, and the Bahá'í International Community is taking preliminary steps to set up a program for the involvement of the worldwide Bahá'í community in this event, in close cooperation with the United Nations and its agencies, such as UNICEF., The purpose of this letter is to request your National Assembly to determine how the Bahá'í youth in your country can, to the extent practicable, participate in general youth activities which are being proposed by the United Nations for International Youth Year, as well as in 376-1. United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1946 to provide relief for children in devastated areas. It also seeks to feed destitute children and to prevent childhood diseases. In 1953 it was made a permanent LTN organization. The Bahá'í International Community has consultative status with UNICEF.


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specific Bahá'í projects of service to the local community or to the country as a whole. Your National Spiritual Assembly should be alert as to whether your government is making any plans to observe International Youth Year, and if so, you should consider the steps you could take in setting up or participating in projects associated with this event. Such ' activities should be planned, of course, in consultation with the Bahá'í' International Community, which is coordinating and monitoring such efforts. Participation of this kind by the Bahá'í youth would not only add to the prestige of the Faith and demonstrate its humanitarian character, but would also act as a rallying point for the youth, strengthening them in their role in the Faith and training them to organize themselves for future services to this blessed Cause. The Universal House of Justice will be anxious to learn of your plans to 376.3 participate in this

important event.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

377 Banning of Bahá'í Administration in Iran 13 SEPTEMBER 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

SORELY TRIED COMMUNITY GREATEST NAME IRAN HAS IN RECENT DAYS SUSTAINED

377.1 YET ANOTHER CRUEL BLOW OPENING NEW CHAPTER ITS TURBULENT HISTORY. ON 29 AUGUST IN UNPRECEDENTED MOVE REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT THROUGH STATEMENT ISSUED ATTORNEY-GENERAL ANNOUNCED BAN Bahá'í ADMINISTRATION, RECITING USUAL FALSE ACCUSATIONS STATING EXISTENCE ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALLY CONSIDERED TO BE AGAINST LAWS CONSTITUTION COUNTRY. HOWEVER STATEMENT SAID BAHA'IS MAY PRACTICE BELIEFS AS PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS PROVIDED THEY DO NOT TEACH OR INVITE OTHERS TO JOIN FAITH, THEY DO NOT FORM ASSEMBLIES OR HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH ADMINISTRATION. SERVING IN Bahá'í ADMINISTRATION NOW SPECIFIED AS CRIMINAL ACT THIS LATEST ONSLAUGHT DEFENSELESS COMMUNITY CLEARLY DEMONSTRATES IMPLACABILITY FANATICAL ELEMENTS IN THEIR DRIVE SUPPRESS LIGHT GOD'S INFANT FAITH IN LAND ITS FIRST GLEAMING. IN CONFORMITY PRINCIPLE LOYALTY OBEDIENCE GOVERNMENT NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY IRAN IMMEDIATELY TOOK ACTION DISSOLVE BAHA'I ADMINISTRATION THROUGHOUT COUNTRY THUS UPHOLDING INTEGRITY COMMUNITY DESPITE HEAVY YOKE CRUELTIES BORNE BY ITS MEMBERS FOR SEVERAL GENERATIONS. CONFIDENT THAT STEADFAST TRIED AND DEVOTED FRIENDS THAT LONG AGITATED LAND WILL FACE NEW SITUATION WITH RADIANT FORTITUDE. AT SAME


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TIME BAHA'IS EI.SEWHERE ENJOYING FREEDOM PRACTICE FAITH ACUTELY CHALLENGED TO VINDICATE BY THEIR RECONSECRATION TO IMMEDIATE SACRED TASKS UNABATED SUFFERING THEIR GRIEVOUSLY WRONGED IRANIAN BRETHREN. INDEED ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES URGED TAKE STEPS STRENGTHEN FOUNDATION Bahá'í INSTITUTIONS THEIR COUNTRIES AS TRIBUTE SACRIFICES COURAGEOUSLY ACCEPTED MEMBERS COMMUNITY BAHA'U'LLAH'S NATIVE LAND. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 378 Open Letter to Iranian Authorities from the National Spiritual

Assembly of Iran 19 OCTOBER 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

378.1 You have already been informed of the disbanding of the National Spiritual Assembly and other Bahá'í institutions in Iran as a result of the new policy of the Iranian Government. The National Spiritual Assembly, before disbanding itself, decided to issue an open letter to the authorities and the public of their country explaining the action of their Government and pointing out the unjust attitudes and accusations of the Government against the Bahá'í administration in that land., Over two thousand of these letters were dispatched to important officials and other prominent people in Iran.

378.2 A copy of this letter has been received by the Universal House of Justice, and we have been instructed to enclose a translation for your information and possible use. Publication of the letter is permissible in whatever manner your

National Spiritual Assembly deems fit.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

378-1. This is not the first open letter written in defense of the Bahá'í community and circulated by the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran. In a letter dated 20 August 1979 (no. 234) the Universal House of Justice referred to "the

issuance and quiet circulation of open letters directed to the public in Iran by the National Spiritual Assembly of that country, refuting the false allegations made against the Bahá'í community."


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An Open Letter from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Iran about the Banning of the Bahá'í Administration (12 SHAHRIVAR 1362) [3 SEPTEMBER 19831 Recently the esteemed Public Prosecutor of the Islamic Revolution of the 378.3 country, in an inter-view that was published in the newspapers, declared that the continued functioning of the Bahá'í religious and spiritual administration is banned and that membership in it is considered to be a crime. This declaration has been made after certain unjustified accusations have been leveled against the Bahá'í community of Iran and after a number of its members ostensibly for imaginary and fabricated crimes but in reality merely for the sake of their beliefs-have been either executed, or arrested and imprisoned. The majority of those who have been imprisoned have not yet been brought to trial. The Bahá'í community finds the conduct of the authorities and the judges 378.4 bewildering and lamentable-as indeed would any fair-minded observer who is unblinded by malice.

378.5 The authorities are the refuge of the people; the judges in pursuit of their work of examining and ascertaining the truth and facts in legal cases devote years of their lives to studying the law and, when uncertain of a legal point spend hours poring over copious tomes in order to cross a "t" and dot an "i." Yet these very people consider themselves to be justified in brazenly bringing false accusations against a band of innocent people, without fear of the Day of judgment, without even believing the calumnies they utter against their victims, and having exerted not the slightest effort to investigate to any degree the validity of the charges they are

making. "Methinks they are not believers in the Day of judgment." (Hafiz) The honorable Prosecutor has again introduced the baseless and fictitious story that Bahá'ís engage in espionage, but without producing so much as one document in support of the accusation,

without presenting proof in any form, and without any explanation as to what is the mission in this country of this extraordinary number of 'spies": what sort of information do they obtain and from what sources? Whither do they relay it, and for what purpose? What kind of 'spy" is an eighty-five-year-old man from Yazd who has never set foot outside his village? Why do these alleged spies not hide themselves, conceal their religious beliefs and exert every effort to penetrate, by every stratagem, the Government's information centers and offices? Why has no Bahá'í 'spy" been arrested anywhere else in the world? How could students, housewives, innocent young girls, and old men and women, like those blameless Bahá'ís who have recently been delivered to the gallows in Iran, or who have become targets for the darts of prejudice and enmity, be 'spies"? How could the Bahá'í


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farmers of the villages of Afus, Chigan, Qal'ih Malik (near Isfahan), and those of the village of Nuk in Birjand, be 'spies"? What Secret Intelligence documents have been found in their possession? What espionage equipment has come to hand? What 'spying' activities were engaged in by the primary school children who have been expelled from their schools?

378.6 And how strange! The Public Prosecutor perhaps does not know, or does not care to know, that spying is an element of politics, while noninterference in politics is an established principle of the Bahá'í Faith. On the contrary, Bahá'ís love their country and never permit themselves to be traitors. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the successor of the Founder of the Bahá'í Cause, says: "Any abasement is bearable except betraying one's own country, and any sin is forgivable other than dishonoring the government and inflicting harm upon the nation."2

378.7 All the other accusations made against the Bahá'ís by the honorable Public Prosecutor of the Revolution are similarly groundless. He brands the Bahá'í community with accusations of subversion and corruption. For example, on the basis of a manifestly forged interview, the falsity of which has been dealt with in a detailed statement, he accuses the Bahá'í community of hoarding, an act which its members would consider highly reprehensible. The Prosecutor alleges that the Bahá'í administration sanctioned the insensible act of hoarding, yet he subtly overlooks the fact that with the proceeds that might be realized from the sale of unusable automobile spare parts whose total value is some 70 million tumans-the value of the stock of any medium-size store for spare parts-it would be impossible to overthrow a powerful government whose daily expenditures amount to hundreds of millions of tumans. If the Public Prosecutor chooses to label the Bahá'í administration as a network of espionage, let him at least consider it intelligent enough not to plan the overthrow of such a strong regime by hoarding a few spare parts! Yes, such allegations of corruption and subversion are similar to those hurled against us at the time of the Episcopalian case in Isfahan when this oppressed community was accused of collaboration with foreign agents as a result of which seven innocent Bahá'ís of Yazd were executed.3 Following this the falsity of the 378-2. From an unpublished Tablet. 378-3. The executions took place on 8 September 1980. The Ayatollah Khomeini, in his lectures on "Islamic Government" (1973), had for his own purposes falsely linked the Christian missions in Iran with the Bahá'ís as corrupters; of Muslim youth. In August 1980 pressure against the Christian community in general began to mount. The '27 August 1980 issue (No. 11079) (5 Shahrivar 1359 A.H.) of the Tehran-based newspaper Kayhan carried a story released through the Pars agency about the discovery in an Episcopalian church in Iran of a document purporting to be a receipt for U.S. $500,000,000 signed by a clergyman who was said to be spying for the C.I.A. The sum was, the report said, to be split among various agencies including "the head of the Bahá'ís and antirevolutionary groups" and was described as a preliminary step in anticipated terrorist activities including bombing the residence of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Soon after the hanging of seven Bahá'ís, and it may be concluded because groups other than Bahá'ís were affected, the Public Prosecutor announced that the document was a forgery.


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charges was made known and the Public Prosecutor announced the episode to be the outcome of a forgery. Bahá'ís are accused of collecting contributions and transferring sums Of 378.8 money to foreign countries. How strange! If Muslims, in accordance with their sacred and respected spiritual beliefs, send millions of tumans to Karbila, Najaf and Jerusalem, or to other Muslim Holy Places outside Iran to be spent on the maintenance and upkeep of the Islamic Sacred Shrines, it is considered very praiseworthy; but if a Bahá'í-even during the time in which the transfer of foreign currency was allowed-sends a negligible amount for his international community to be used for the repair and maintenance of the Holy Places of his Faith, it is considered that he has committed an unforgivable sin and it is counted as proof that he has done so in order to strengthen other countries. Accusations of this nature are many but all are easy to investigate.

378.9 If just and impartial people and God-fearing

judges will only do so, the falsity of these spurious accusations will be revealed in case after case. The Bahá'í community emphatically requests that such accusations be investigated openly in the presence of juries composed of judges and international observers so that, once and for all, the accusations may be discredited and their repetition prevented. The basic principles and beliefs of the Bahá'ís have been repeatedly proclaimed and set forth in writing during the past five years. Apparently these communications, either by deliberate design or by mischance, have not received any attention, otherwise accusations such as those described above would not have been repeated by one of the highest and most responsible authorities. This in itself is a proof that the numerous communications referred to were not accorded the attention of the leaders; therefore, we mention them again. The Bahá'í Faith confesses the unity of God and the justice of the divine

378.11 Essence. It recognizes that Almighty God is an exalted, unknowable and concealed entity, sanctified from ascent and descent, from egress and regress, and from assuming a physical body. The Bahá'í Faith, which professes the existence of the invisible God, the One, the Single, the Eternal, the Peerless, bows before the loftiness of His Threshold, believes in all divine Manifestations, considers A the Prophets from Adam to the Seal of the ProphetS4 as true divine Messengers Who are the Manifestations of Truth in the world of creation, accepts Their Books as having come from God, believes in the continuation of the divine outpourings, emphatically believes in reward and punishment and, uniquely among existing revealed religions outside Islam, accepts the Prophet Muhammad as a true Prophet and the Qur'an as the Word of God. 378-4. Muhammad.


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378.12 The Bahá'í Faith embodies independent principles and laws. It has its own Holy Book. It prescribes pilgrimage and worship. A Bahá'í performs obligatory prayers and observes a fast. He gives, according to his beliefs, tithes and contributions. He is required to be of upright conduct, to manifest a praiseworthy character, to love all mankind, to be of service to the world of humanity and to sacrifice his own interests for the good and well-being of his fellow kind. He is forbidden to commit unbecoming deeds. 'Abdu'l-Bahá says: "A Bahá'í is known by the attributes manifested by him, not by his name; he is recognized by his character, not by his person."5

378.13 Shoghi Rabbanf,6 the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, says: a person who is not adorned with the ornaments of virtue, sanctity, and morality, is not a true Bahá'í, even though he may call himself one and be known as such."7 378.14...........................He also says: the friends have been required to be righteous, well-wishing, forbearing, sanctified, pure, detached from all else save God, severed from the trappings of this world and adorned with the mantle of a goodly character and godly attributes."'

378.15 The teachings and laws of the Bahá'í religion testify to this truth. Fortunately, the books and writings which have been plundered in abundance from the homes of Bahá'ís and are available to the authorities, bear witness to the truth of these assertions. Bahá'ís, in keeping with their spiritual beliefs, stay clear of politics; they do not support or reject any party, group or nation; they do not champion or attack any ideology or any specific political philosophy; they shrink from and abhor political agitations. The Guardian of the Bahá'í Cause says, "The people of Baha, under the jurisdiction of whatsoever state or government they may be residing, should conduct themselves with honesty and sincerity, trustworthiness and rectitude. . . . They are neither thirsty for prominence, nor acquisitive of power; they are neither adepts at dissimulation and hypocrisy, nor are they seekers after wealth and influence; they neither crave for the pomp and circumstance of high office, nor do they lust after the glory of titles and ranks. They are averse to affectation and ostentation, and shrink from the use of coercive force; they have closed their eyes to all but God, and set their hearts on the firm and incontrovertible promises of their Lord ... Oblivious to themselves, they have occupied their energies in working towards the good of society ... While vigilantly refusing to accept political posts, they should wholeheartedly welcome the chance to assume

378-5. From an unpublished Tablet. 378-6. Shoghi Effendi; Rabbani is his surname. "Effendi" is a Turkish honorific comparable to the English "Mr." or 'sir." 378-7. From an unpublished letter. 378-8. From a letter dated 19 December 1923 to the Bahá'ís of the East (translated from the Persian).


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administrative positions; for the primary purpose of the people of Baha is to advance the interests and promote the welfare of the nation . . .

378.16 Such is the method of the Bahá'ís; such is the conduct of all spiritually illuminated souls; and aught else is manifest error."9 Also, Bahá'ís, in accordance with their exalted teachings, are duty bound to be obedient to their government. Elucidating this subject, Shoghi Rabbani says: "The people of Baha' are required to obey their respective governments, and to demonstrate their truthfulness and good will towards the authorities.... Bahá'í's, in every land and without any exception, should ... be obedient and bow to the clear instructions and the declared decrees issued by the authorities.

378.17 They must faithfully carry out such directives."10 Bahá'í administration has no aim except the good of all nations and it does not take any steps that are against the public good. Contrary to the conception the word "administration" may create in the mind because of the similarity in name, it does not resemble the current organizations of political parties; it does not interfere in political affairs; and it is the safeguard against the involvement of Bahá'ís in subversive political activities.

378.18 Its high ideals are "to improve the characters of men; to extend the scope of knowledge; to abolish ignorance and prejudice; to strengthen the foundations of true religion in all hearts; to encourage self-reliance and discourage false imitation; ... to uphold truthfulness, audacity, frankness, and courage; to promote craftsmanship and agriculture; ... to educate, on a compulsory basis, children of both sexes; to insist on integrity in business transactions; to lay stress on the observance of honesty and piety; . . . to acquire mastery and Skill in the modern sciences and arts; to promote the interests of the public; . . . to obey outwardly and inwardly and with true loyalty the regulations enacted by state and government; . . . to honor, to extol and to follow the example of those who have distinguished

themselves in science and learning." And again, ". . . to help the needy from every creed or sect, and to collaborate with the people of the country in all welfare services.", In brief, whatever the clergy in other religions undertake individually and by virtue of their appointment to their positions, the Bahá'í administration performs collectively and through an elective process.

378.19 The statements made by the esteemed Public Prosecutor of the Revolution do not seem to have legal basis, because in order to circumscribe individuals and deprive them of the rights which have not been denied them by the Constitution, it is necessary to enact special legislation, provided that legislation is not contradictory to the Constitution. It was hoped that the recent years 378-9. The quotation in the original letter has been replaced by this revised translation. 378-10. From an unpublished letter. 378-fi. From unpublished Tablets.


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would have witnessed, on the one hand, the administration of divine justice principle promoted by the true religion of Islam and prescribed by all monotheistic religions-and, on the other, and coupled with an impartial investigation of the truths of the Bahá'í Faith, the abolition or at least mitigation of discriminations, restrictions and pressures suffered by Bahá'ís over the past 135 years. Alas, on the contrary, because of long-standing misunderstandings and prejudices, the difficulties increased immensely and the portals of calamity were thrown wide open in the faces of the long-suffering and sorely oppressed Bahá'í's of Iran who were, to an even greater degree, deprived of their birthrights through the systematic machinations of Government officials who are supposed to be the refuge of the public, and of some impostors in the garb of divines, who engaged in official or unofficial spreading of mischievous and harmful accusations and calumnies, and issued, in the name of religious and judicial authorities, unlawful decrees and verdicts.

378.20 Many are the pure and innocent lives that have been snuffed out; many the distinguished heads that have adorned the hangman's noose; and many the precious breasts that became the

targets of firing squads. Vast amounts of money and great quantities of personal property have been plundered or confiscated. Many technical experts and learned people have been tortured and condemned to long-term imprisonment and are still languishing in dark dungeons, deprived of the opportunity of placing their expertise at the service of the Government and the nation. Numerous are the self-sacrificing employees of the Government who spent their lives in faithful service but who were dismissed from work and afflicted with poverty and need because of hatred and prejudice. Even the owners of private firms and institutions were prevented from engaging Bahá'ís. Many privately owned Bahá'í establishments have been confiscated. Many tradesmen have been denied the right to continue working by cancellation of their business licenses. Bahá'í youth have been denied access to education in many schools and in all universities and institutions of higher education. Bahá'í university students abroad are deprived of receiving money for their education, and others who wish to pursue their studies outside Iran have been denied exit permits. Bahá'ís, including the very sick whose only hope for cure was to receive medical treatment in specialized medical centers in foreign lands, have been prevented from leaving the country. Bahá'í cemeteries have been confiscated and bodies rudely disinterred. Numerous have been the days when a body has remained unburied while the bereaved family pleaded to have a permit issued and a burial place assigned so that the body might be decently buried. As of today, thousands of Bahá'ís have been divested of their homes and forced to live as exiles.

378.21 Many have been driven from their villages and dwelling places and are living as wanderers and stranded refugees in other parts of Iran with no other haven and refuge but the Court of the All-Merciful God and the loving-kindness of their friends and relatives.


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It is a pity that the mass media, newspapers and magazines, either do not want or are not allowed to publish any news about the Bahá'í community of Iran or to elaborate upon what is happening. If they were free to do so and were unbiased in reporting the daily news, volumes would have been compiled describing the inhumane cruelty to and oppression of the innocent. For example, if they were allowed to do so, they would have written that in Shiraz, seven courageous men and ten valiant women-seven of whom were girls in the prime of their lives -audaciously rejected the suggestion of the religious judge that they recant their Faith or, at least, dissemble their belief, and preferred death to the concealment of their Faith. The women, after hours of waiting with dried lips, shrouded themselves in their chadurs, 12 kissed the noose of their gallows, and with intense love offered up their souls for the One Who proffereth life. The observers of this cruel scene might well ask forgiveness for the murderers at Karbila, since they,

despite their countless atrocities, did not put women to the sword nor harass the sick and infirm. Alas, tongues are prevented from making utterance and pens are broken and the hidden cause of these brutalities is not made manifest to teach the world a lesson. The Public Prosecutor alleges that they were spies.

378.22 Gracious God! Where in history can one point to a spy who readily surrendered his life in order to prove the truth of his belief ? Unfortunately it is beyond the scope of this letter to recount the atrocities inflicted upon the guiltless Bahá'ís of Iran or to answer, one by one, the accusations leveled against them.

378.23 But let us ask all just and fair-minded people only one question: if, according to the much publicized statements of the Public Prosecutor, Bahá'ís are not arrested and executed because of their belief, and are not even

imprisoned on that account, how is it that, when a group of them are arrested and each is charged with the same "crime" of 'spying," if one of them recants his belief, he is immediately freed, a photograph of him and a description of his defection are victoriously featured in the newspapers, and respect and glory are heaped upon him? What kind of spying, subversion, illegal accumulation of goods, aggression or conspiracy or other "crime" can it be that is capable of being blotted out upon the recantation of one's beliefs? Is this not a clear proof of the absurdity of the accusations? In spite of all this, the Bahá'í community of Iran, whose principles have been described earlier in this statement, announces the suspension of the Bahá'í organizations throughout Iran in order to establish its good intentions and in conformity with its basic tenets concerning complete obedience to the instructions of the Government. Henceforth, until the time when, God willing, the misunderstandings are eliminated and the realities are at last made 378-12. The cloth with which Muslim women in the Middle East cover themselves when they go out in public and which Bahá'í women in Iran are now forced to wear.


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manifest to the authorities, the National Assembly and all Local Spiritual Assemblies and their Committees are disbanded, and no one may any longer be designated a member of the Bahá'í Administration.

378.2 4The Bahá'í community of Iran hopes that this step will be considered a sign of its complete obedience to the Government in power. It further hopes that the authorities-including the esteemed Public Prosecutor of the Islamic Revolution who says that there is no opposition to and no enmity towards individual Bahá'ís, who has acknowledged the existence of a large Bahá'í community and has, in his interview, guaranteed its members the right to live and be free in their acts of worship-will reciprocate by proving their good intentions and the truth of their assurances by issuing orders that pledge, henceforth: I. To bring to an end the persecutions, arrests, torture and imprisonment of Bahá'ís for imaginary crimes and on baseless pretexts, because God knows-and so do the authorities-that the only "crime" of which these innocent ones are guilty is that of their beliefs, and not the unsubstantiated accusations brought against them; 2. To guarantee the safety of their lives, their personal property and belongings, and their honor; 3. To accord them freedom to choose their residence and occupation and the right of association based on the provisions of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic; 4. To restore all the rights which have been taken away from them in accordance with the groundless assertions of the Public Prosecutor of the country; 5. To restore to Bahá'í employees the rights denied them by returning them to their jobs and by paying them their due wages; 6. To release from prison all innocent prisoners; 7. To lift the restrictions imposed on the properties of those Bahá'í's who, in their own country, have been deprived of their belongings; 8. To permit Bahá'í students who wish to continue their studies abroad to benefit from the same facilities that are provided to others; 9. To permit those Bahá'í youth who have been prevented from continuing their studies in the country to resume their education; 10. To permit those Bahá'í students stranded abroad who have been deprived of foreign exchange facilities to receive their allowances as other Iranian students do; ii. 1b restore Bahá'í cemeteries and to permit Bahá'ís to bury their dead in accordance with Bahá'í burial ceremonies; 12. To guarantee the freedom of Bahá'ís to perform their religious rites; to conduct funerals and burials including the recitation of the Prayer for the Dead; to solemnize Bahá'í marriages and divorces, and to carry out


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all acts of worship and laws and ordinances affecting personal

status; because although Bahá'ís are entirely obedient and subordinate to the Government in the administration of the affairs which are in the jurisdiction of Bahá'í organizations, in matters of conscience and belief, and in accordance with their spiritual principles, they prefer martyrdom to recantation or the abandoning of the divine ordinances prescribed by their Faith; 13. To desist henceforth from arresting and imprisoning anyone because of his previous membership in Bahá'í organizations. Finally, although the order issued by the Public Prosecutor of the Islamic 378.25

Revolution was unjust and unfair, we have accepted it. We beseech God to remove the dross of prejudice from the hearts of the authorities so that, aided and enlightened by His confirmations, they will be inspired to recognize the true nature of the affairs of the Bahá'í community and come to the unalterable conviction that the infliction of atrocities and cruelties upon a pious: band of wronged ones, and the shedding of their pure blood, will stain the good name and injure the prestige of any nation or government, for what will, in truth, endure are the records of good deeds, and of acts of justice and fairness, and the names of the doers of good. These will history preserve in its bosom for posterity.

379.1 Respectfully, (SIGNED) THE NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE Bahá'ís OF IRAN 379 Social and Economic Development New Field of Bahá'í Service 20 OCTOBER 1983

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The soul-stirring events in Bahá'u'lláh's native land and the concomitant advance into the theater of world affairs of the agencies of His Administrative Order have combined to bring into focus new possibilities in the evolution of the Bahá'í world community. Our Ridvan message this year captured these implications in its reference to the opening before us of a wider horizon in whose light can dimly be discerned new pursuits and undertakings upon which we must soon embark. These portend our greater involvement in the development of the social and economic life of peoples.


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Dynamic Coherence between the Spiritual and Practical Requirements of Life

379.2 From the beginning of His stupendous mission, Bahá'u'lláh urged upon the attention of nations the necessity of ordering human affairs in such a way as to bring into being a world unified in all the essential aspects of its life. In unnumbered verses and tablets He repeatedly and variously declared the "progress of the world" and the "development of nations" as being among the ordinances of God for this day., The oneness of mankind, which is at once the operating principle and ultimate goal of His Revelation, implies the achievement of a dynamic coherence between the spiritual and practical requirements of life on earth. The indispensability of this coherence is unmistakably illustrated in His ordination of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar the spiritual center of every Bahá'í community round which must flourish dependencies dedicated to the social, humanitarian, educational and scientific advancement of mankind. Thus, we can readily appreciate that although it has hitherto been impracticable for Bahá'í institutions generally to emphasize development activities, the concept of social and

economic development is enshrined in the sacred Teachings of our Faith. The beloved Master, through His illuminating words and deeds, set the example for the application of this concept to the reconstruction of society. Witness, for instance, what social and economic progress the Iranian believers attained under His loving guidance and, subsequently, with the unfailing encouragement of the Guardian of the Cause. self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and the Preservation of Human Honor

379.3 Now, after all the years of constant teaching activity, the Community of the Greatest Name has grown to the stage at which the processes of this development must be incorporated into its regular pursuits; particularly is action compelled by the expansion of the Faith in Third World countries where the vast majority of its adherents reside. The steps to be taken must necessarily begin in the Bahá'í Community itself, with the friends endeavoring, through their application of spiritual principles, their rectitude of conduct and the practice of the art of consultation, to 'Uplift themselves and thus become Self-sufficient and self-reliant. Moreover, these exertions will conduce to the preservation of human honor so desired by Bahá'u'lláh. In the process and as a consequence, the friends will undoubtedly extend the benefits of their efforts to society as a whole, until all mankind achieves the progress intended by the Lord of the Age. An Office of Social and Economic Development at the World Center

379.4 It is indeed propitious that systematic attention be given to this vital sphere of Bahá'í endeavor. We are happy, therefore, to announce the establishment 379-1. TB, pp. 129-30


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at the World Center of the Office of Social and Economic Development, which is to assist the Universal House of Justice to promote and coordinate the activities of the friends throughout the world in this new field. The International Teaching Center and, through it, the Continental Boards 379.5 of Counselors are poised for the special responsibilities which devolve upon them to be alert to possibilities for extending the development of social and economic life both within and outside the Bahá'í Community, and to advise and encourage the Assemblies and friends in their strivings. Working from the Grass Roots We call now upon National Spiritual Assemblies to consider the implications of this emerging trend for their respective communities, and to take well-conceived measures to involve the thought and actions of Local Spiritual Assemblies and individuals in the devising and implementing of plans within the constraints of existing circumstances and available resources. Progress in the development field will largely depend on natural stirrings at the grass roots, and it should receive its driving force from those sources rather than from an imposition of plans and programs from the top. The major task of National Assemblies, therefore, is to increase the local communities' awareness of needs and possibilities, and to guide and coordinate the efforts resulting from such awareness.

Already in many areas the friends are witnessing the confirmations of their initiatives in such pursuits as the founding of tutorial and other schools, the promotion of literacy, the launching of rural development programs, the inception of educational radio stations, and the operation of agricultural and medical projects. As they enlarge the scope of their endeavors other modes of development will undoubtedly emerge.

379.7 This challenge evokes the resourcefulness,

flexibility and cohesiveness Of the many communities composing the Bahá'í world. Different communities will, of course, perceive different approaches and different solutions to similar needs. Some can offer assistance abroad, while, at the outset, others must of necessity receive assistance; but all, irrespective of circumstances or resources, are endowed with the capacity to respond in some

measure; all can share; all can participate in the joint enterprise of applying more systematically the principles of the Faith to upraising the quality of human life. The key to success is unity in spirit and in action.

379.8 Development Activities-A Reinforcement of the Teaching Work We go forward confident that the wholehearted involvement of the friends in these activities will ensure a deeper consolidation of the community at all levels. Our engagement in the technical aspects of development should, however, not be allowed to supplant the essentials of teaching, which remains the primary duty of every follower of Bahá'u'lláh. Rather should our increased activities in the development field be viewed as a reinforcement of the teaching


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work, as a greater manifestation of faith in action. For, if expansion of the teaching work does not continue, there can be no hope of success for this enlarged dimension of the consolidation process. Call to Action

379.9 Ultimately, the call to action is addressed to the individual friends, whether they be adult or youth, veteran or newly enrolled. Let them step forth to take their places in the arena of service where their talents and skills, their specialized training, their material resources, their offers of time and energy and, above all, their dedication to Bahá'í principles, can be put to work in improving the lot of man.

379.10 May all derive enduring inspiration from the following statement written in 1933 by the hand of our beloved Guardian:

379.10a The problems which confront the believers at the present time, whether social, spiritual, economic or administrative will be gradually solved as the number and the resources of the friends multiply and their capacity for service and for the application of Bahá'í principles develops. They should be patient, confident and active in utilizing every possible opportunity that presents itself within the limits now necessarily imposed upon them. May the Almighty aid them to fulfill their highest hopes

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

380 Passing of Continental Counselor Raul Pavon 23 OCTOBER 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

380.1 DEEPLY DEPLORE LOSS ZEALOUS SERVANT CAUSE BAHA'U'LLAH RAOL PAV6N DISTINGUISHED PROMOTER FAITH AND INDEFATIGABLE WORKER IN TEACHING INDIGENOUS PEOPLES LATIN AMERICA., HIS OUTSTANDING SERVICES AS MEMBER BOARD COUNSELORS AMERICAS AND UNIQUE ENDEAVORS ESTABLISHMENT FIRST Bahá'í RADIO STATION WARMLY REMEMBERED. PRAYING HOLY SHRINES PROGRESS HIS RADIANT SOUL WORLDS GOD AND SOLACE LOVING COMFORT HIS BEREAVED FAMILY. FEEL CONFIDANT HIS DEARLY CHERISHED PARENTS REJOICE ABHA KINGDOM RANGE HIS DEDICATED SERVICES. URGE ALL COMMUNITIES AMERICAS HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERINGS BEFITTING HIS HIGHLY VALUED CONTRIBUTIONS BELOVED FAITH. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 379-2. Letter dated ii March 1933 to an individual. 380-1.

381.1 For an account of the life and services of Raul Pavon, see BW 19:616.


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381 Continued Pressure against the Bahá'ís of Iran 7 NOVEMBER 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

Recent events in Iran following the banning of the Bahá'í administration indicate, unfortunately, the continuation of intense pressures against the defenseless Bahá'í community in that country. Many of these pressures are being exerted by the authorities in the hope that the Bahá'ís will recant their faith and trade their love of Bahá'u'lláh for the comfort and security which the authorities offer to them in exchange.

381.2 With great sadness the Universal House of Justice announces that many friends in prison are being tortured when they refuse to submit to the will of the authorities to deny their love for Bahá'u'lláh. In addition, while it is true that no Bahá'ís have been executed since the statement calling for the disbanding of the administration of the Faith was made by the Attorney-General on 29 August, it has been reported that on 19 September a Bahá'í farmer in the town of Khuy, Mr. Akbar Haqiqi, died as a result of a beating by a mob instigated by the clergy. Moreover, at least 140 Bahá'ís have been arrested in all parts of the country following the Attorney General's statement, 50 of whom were detained on 30 October in the Caspian Sea area.

381.3 Although a number of the friends have been released, the total

number of Bahá'ís still imprisoned in Iran, according to our records, stands at over 450.

Three believers who were advanced in age have died in prison and thus have joined the ranks of those who have laid down their lives in service to the Cause. They are:

Mr. Husayn Nayyari-Isfahani, 64 years old-imprisoned in Isfahan and died just as he was going into court for his trial on 29 November 1982.

Mr. Ahmad-'Ali Thabit-Sarvistini, 67 years old-died in prison in Shiraz on 30 June 1983.

Mr.

381.4 Muhammad Ishraqi, 81 years old, an Auxiliary Board member-died in prison in Tehran on 31 August 1983.

Word has also recently been received that in the city of Dizful, a Bahá'í woman, Mrs.

381.5 Iran Rahimpur (Khurma'i), was executed on 12 May 1982 after giving birth to her child. The baby was taken away by the Muslims and his fate is unknown.

One of the most obvious examples of persecution and proof of the evil intention of the Iranian authorities to uproot the Faith in that land is the destruction and desecration of Bahá'í cemeteries. Recently there was an official


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advertisement in the newspapers in Iran indicating that the tombstones in the Bahá'í cemetery in Tehran were being put up for sale. Since all markers on the graves are apparently being eliminated, it is possible that no trace of the Bahá'í cemetery will remain in future....

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

382 Appointment of Continental Counselors 6 DECEMBER 1983 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

382-

The Universal House of Justice announces with pleasure the appointment of the following Continental Counselors:

In Africa: Mr. Mabuku Wingi

In the Americas: Mrs. Isabel R de Calderon



With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

383 Response of Individuals to Persecution of Iranian Bahá'ís 7 DECEMBER 1983 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

383.1 In recent months the Universal House of Justice has received comments from individual American believers expressing their distress over the continuing persecution of their beloved co-workers in Iran, and proposing such ways of registering their protest as public demonstrations and the wearing of armbands and ribbons. Consideration of these comments has prompted the instruction of the House of justice that we write you thus. The Need for a Proper Perspective

383.2 It is indeed difficult, given the heartbreaking disabilities imposed upon the Iranian Bahá'í Community and the seeming impotence of the American Com


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directly to effect a positive change, for the friends to be at case.' But that the situation in Iran, grave as it is, should lead to feelings of depression and alienation on the part of the American believers, as has been reported, or that it should be allowed to hamper their success in teaching on the home front, suggests the need for a proper perspective. You will sense in the comments and appeals of the beloved Guardian addressed to the American Community during 1955-56 a striking resemblance between the reactions and attitudes of the friends towards the crisis then and now. A rereading of his letter Of 20 August 1955 describing the situation then and the opportunities it created for the proclamation of the Faith, and his cables Of 5 January, 2 February and 22 June 1956 (Citadel of Faith, pages 133-42) urging action is most instructive. The American Community has displayed in the past a tendency towards periodic immobility, a condition the Guardian commented upon from time to time and that was the main concern of his last letter to the America dated 21 September 1957 (Citadel of Faith, pages 151-58). While the House of justice does not now have the impression that the American believers as a whole are depressed, it feels it might be helpful to all concerned to make the following comments on the basis of that assumption, as conveyed in the correspondence received.

383.3 The American Bahá'í Community has for many years been in the forefront of defending the weak and oppressed. Its distinction in this respect won the repeated praise of the beloved Guardian, as, for example, The Advent of Divine justice, his celebrated letter Of 25 December 1938, affirms. Against an enumeration of afflictions that at that time threatened to force the majority of the existing Bahá'í communities into the shadows of retreat, he described the Bahá'í Community in North America as the "one chief remaining citadel, the mighty arm which still raises aloft the standard of an unconquerable Faith.", The many instances during the subsequent years in which that Community came to the aid of other defenseless communities are a testimony to the effectiveness of the American responses in times of need and trouble. But the situation in the world and in the Bahá'í community has changed. Consequently, the accustomed reactions to American interventions have also changed. While this change does not nullify the preeminent role destined for America in the eventual efflorescence of Bahá'u'lláh's system in the world, it does require the American believers to obtain a deeper understanding of their situation in relation to the changed circumstances. 383-1. Relations between the United States and Iran at the time were antagonistic. On 4 November 198c, Iranians stormed the American Embassy and held United States diplomatic and military personnel hostage until 18 January 1981. The United States government responded by freezing millions of dollars of Iranian assets held by United States banks and companies. The enmity between the two governments made it all the more difficult for the American Bahá'í community to initiate effective measures to ease the suffering of the Bahá'ís of Iran. 383-2. ADJ, p. 6.


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A Combination of Pragmatism and Spirituality

383.4 The friends

response to the Iranian situation should neither be solely pragmatic nor solely spiritual, but a combination of both; moreover, it must not only meet the test of the immediate crisis, it must also match the challenge of the historic moment. In both these respects a fair appraisal of the results thus far should steel their resolve, not induce depression. Even though when viewed from the truculent reactions of the powers in Iran, the petitions and protests of the American Community in particular, the Bahá'í communities in general, appear to have been ineffective in stemming the persecutions of our brethren, there is strong reason to believe that had the Bahá'ís around the world not taken these actions, the plight of the Iranian friends would be far more tragic. And while there is a vast array of direct action that could be, or could have been, contemplated, not every proposed action is fitting or timely. Actions perceived to be appropriate within the framework of American society can be counterproductive when viewed in the broader framework of a world community. The Bahá'í world, in its complex diversity, has been guided to act according to the assessment. by the House of Justice of the immediate circumstances and the resource at hand, and in consideration of the opinions and judgments of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran, which until its recent disbanding, functioned with heroic verve in defending the rights of those under its charge. Since the Bahá'í Community must operate as a cohesive entity, it is not conducive to its success for any single unit of that world-embracing organism to go off at a tangent in its reactions to the situation, as well-intentioned as that unit might be. A Review of Significant Achievements

383.5 The House of Justice suggests that the American friends look at the great contrast between the relatively low profile the Faith kept before the crisis and the obvious prominence it has achieved since then; that they consider the remarkable impression that the national Bahá'í communities throughout the world have made upon their national governments and international organizations; that they contemplate the extraordinary breakthroughs for the Faith in the media of the world compared to the media's reticence toward the Cause a few years ago; and, finally, that they think of the implications of all these new advantages for the teaching work and determine dispassionately whether, in fact, the opportunities for the progress of the Faith are greater or lesser than before. Opposition-Creating Opportunities for Progress

383.6 There is no gainsaying the insight set forth in the Teachings that opposition to the Faith creates opportunities for its progress. By their radiant submission to this insight, the Iranian Bahá'ís have surely demonstrated their conviction as to its potency. Motivated by their understanding of it, a number of


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Bahá'í communities in different parts of the world have engaged in activities that are producing concrete results in the expansion and consolidation of the Faith. For the American believers to give true expression to the anguish they feel over the persecution of their brethren, they too must capture the value of this insight and act upon it. The vision, the admonitions, the encouragement which The Advent of Divine Justice conveyed so many years ago, and which the Guardian elaborated in so many of his subsequent messages, are as appropriate, perhaps even more so, to the current situation as when they were first given. The responses he attempted long ago to evoke are no less desirable and necessary now; a deeper spiritual awareness, a deeper spiritual maturity are called for if the American community must pursue successfully its destined course. It should not be forgotten that the beloved Master promised, as the Guardian

recalled in his early letters to America, to send intellectual,

rather than physical, tests to the friends there in order to purify and better prepare them for their divinely appointed destiny. Nor should the prerequisites of success the Guardian outlined for the American Bahá'í Community be overlooked. It is in the framework of these prerequisites that the success or failure of the American Community must ultimately be measured, not from the standpoint of any frustration in effecting a desired change in the Iranian situation, which, despite its admitted distress for the community, has done more to proclaim the Cause abroad than any other experience in this

century. Toward A Response Worthy of the Valorous Victims In a society whose people are as Protestant and demonstrative as the Americans, such public displays and symbolic gestures as street demonstrations and the wearing of armbands and ribbons may have a certain appeal to public attention and may even prove to be effective in the proper context and under the proper circumstances. But the evocative power of such activities is difficult to sustain over a long period. Particularly is this so in your country where the public demonstrations of a myriad groups constantly compete for attention. The House of Justice feels that while these ephemeral activities might relieve the immediate anxieties of some of the friends, they would have no measurable effect on the course of events in Iran. Our human resources are so limited, they must be devoted to the most effective means of responding to the situation. Of infinitely more value are actions that reflect the spiritual profundity underlying these persecutions and that match the dignity, radiance and optimism for the Faith of the valorous victims, who, as their published

testimonies show, are quite clear about the reasons for their suffering and dying. Moreover, in the long view, it would not serve the best interests of the Faith for its members, at the very time of their emergence from obscurity, to impress themselves upon the

consciousness of the public as a community identified with such

symbols as armbands and ribbons.


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383.8

An important point to bear in mind is that our activities in defense of the Iranian believers must be supported by those toward the accomplishment of our stated goals. Preoccupation with the Iranian crisis, at the expense of neglecting the Seven Year Plan, would divert the Bahá'í world community from achieving the very success necessary to the strengthening of the Faith and the confounding of its enemies. Such a neglect would be unworthy of the sufferings of the Iranian friends. Indeed, the ideal being constantly pursued is to defend them vigorously, while, at the same time,

exploiting the opportunities created by their sacrifices to promote the Cause of God. The unprecedented publicity, the unremitting appeals to governments and international bodies, the increased contacts with leaders of thought and, above all, the redoubling of teaching activities and the deeper consolidation of the Bahá'í Community, as called for by the House of Justice, are ultimately the best means of defending and securing the relief of the beleaguered Iranian Community; besides, by these means will the world community of Bahá'ís be better prepared to meet the inevitable opposition yet to come elsewhere.

383.9 It is the fervent prayer of the House of justice that the American friends will be sustained by the same unconquerable spirit that fortifies the resolute faith of their

brothers and sisters in Iran, that they will be refreshed from the same fountain of hope inspired by Bahá'u'lláh's incontrovertible assurance to the loved ones of God in that land, whom He exhorts "to patience, to acquiescence, and to tranquillity," and addresses in these consoling words: Whatever hath befallen you, hath been for the sake of God. This is the truth, and in this there is no doubt. You should, therefore, leave all your affairs in His Hands, place your trust in Him, and rely upon Him. He will assuredly not forsake you. In this, likewise, there is no doubt. No father will surrender his sons to devouring beasts; no shepherd will leave his flock to ravening wolves. He will most certainly do his utmost to protect his own. If, however, for a few days, in compliance with God's all-encompassing wisdom, outward affairs should run their course contrary to one's cherished desire, this is of no consequence and should not matter.

384.1 Our intent is that all the friends should fix their gaze on the Supreme Horizon, and cling to that which hath been revealed in the Tablets .... 3

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

383-3. Excerpts from "Fire and Light," in BW 18:10.


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384 Service in Voluntary Nonsectarian Organizations 13 DECEMBER 1983 To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'ís of Alaska, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Hawaiian Islands, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Universal House of Justice has been consulting upon aspects of youth service in pioneering throughout the Bahá'í world, and has requested that we convey its views on service in other lands undertaken by Bahá'í youth with voluntary nonsectarian organizations. In the past, the policy adopted by some National Assemblies was to discourage young Bahá'ís from enrolling to serve in activities sponsored by non-Bahá'í voluntary organizations, as the Assemblies were under the impression that these young people would not be able to engage in direct teaching, nor participate, for the most part, in Bahá'í activities while serving abroad in such programs.

384.3 Perhaps in some instances the Bahá'ís involved were not sure how to function as members of the Bahá'í community in order to give each aspect of their lives its proper due. In the light of experience, however, it is now clear that we should have no misgivings in encouraging young Bahá'ís to enroll in such voluntary service organization programs as the United Nations Volunteers, United States Peace Corps, Canadian University Services Overseas (CUSO) and similar Canadian agencies, the British Volunteer Program (BVP) of the United Kingdom, and other voluntary service organizations. Other countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, and the Scandinavian lands are understood to have

similar service organizations which are compatible with Bahá'í

development goals as now tentatively envisaged. Some of the advantages of such service to the Faith are worth mentioning.

384.4 Volunteers will receive thorough orientation and sometimes will be taught basic skills which will enable them to help the Bahá'í community in projects undertaken in developing countries. Wherever they serve, these volunteers should be able to participate in Bahá'í activities and contribute to the consolidation of the Bahá'í community. The freedom to teach is to a large extent dependent upon the local interpretation of the group leader, but even if volunteers do not engage in direct teaching, being known as Bahá'ís and showing the Bahá'í spirit and attitude towards work and service should

attract favorable attention and may, in many instances, be instrumental in attracting individuals


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to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. And finally, the period of overseas service often produces a taste for such service, and volunteers may well offer to directly promote the pioneer work either in the same country or in another developing country.

384.5 It is well known that a considerable number of Bahá'ís have already gone abroad to serve with these agencies and that others have espoused the Faith while serving in foreign lands with voluntary service organizations. . . .

384.6 National Spiritual Assemblies which hold orientation courses for pioneers may benefit from including the subject of rural development in their program, and, as in the past, from inviting people who have served in voluntary

service organizations to participate in the planning of orientation programs and in having them share their experiences as volunteer workers in developing countries.

384.7 The House of Justice expresses the hope that the information contained in this letter will dispel the misunderstandings that have in the past surrounded the question of participation of Bahá'í youth in projects sponsored by non-Bahá'í voluntary organizations.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

385 Acute Needs of the International Funds -2 JANUARY 1984 To the Followers of Bahá'u'lláh in every Land Dearly loved Friends,

385.1 The gathering of the representatives of the Bahá'í world at the International Convention last Ridvan was held in an atmosphere charged with awareness of the sacrifices being made by our fellow believers in Iran and with eager anticipation of the new prospects opening before the Cause as a result of changing conditions in the world, the widespread publicity that the Faith has received in all continents, and the growing maturity of its administrative institutions.

385.2 During the succeeding eight months we have been developing the agencies and formulating the plans to enable the Faith to seize the unprecedented opportunities now before it, but we are confronted with a shortage of funds which, if not remedied, could frustrate these plans.

385.3 For the last two years there has been a decline in the amount of contributions to the international funds of the Faith, and we note that many national funds also are facing the danger of deficits.


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Four Areas Requiring Immediate Action Beyond carrying on the general work of the Cause there are four areas where immediate action is required.

385.5 The first is the completion of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in India and Samoa.'

385.4 Any delay in this work can but make it more expensive and also seriously injure the reputation of the Faith in these two vital areas. The second is the development of the World Center, the focal point of the entire Administrative Order of the Faith where, in the words of Shoghi

Effendi: "the dust of its Founders reposes, where the processes

disclosing its purposes, energizing its life and shaping its destiny all originate."2 The third is in the prosecution of programs of social and economic development. Bahá'í communities in many lands have attained a size and complexity that both require and make possible the implementation of a range of activities for their social and economic development which will not only be of immense value for the consolidation of these communities and the development of their Bahá'í life, but will also benefit the wider communities within which they are embedded and will demonstrate the beneficial effects of the Bahá'í Message to the critical gaze of the world. Funds for the initiation and carrying out of these projects will be dispensed very gradually and with great care in order not to undermine the natural growth and sense of responsibility of these communities, but the field is so vast, the opportunities so far-reaching, that the need will stretch the resources of the Cause to the uttermost. The fourth area is in the development and coordination of worldwide 385.7

efforts to present to a far more extensive audience than ever before the divine remedy for the problems besetting society and its individual members, to establish the universality of the Faith and the implications of its teachings in the eyes of statesmen, and to ensure that the leaders of thought become thoroughly aware of the Bahá'í Revelation and the profundity of its message.

385.8 The work on the Temples is already well advanced and must not be stopped; the development of the agencies of the World Center, located in one of the principal trouble-spots of the world, cannot be indefinitely held back; the time for the expansion of social and economic development as an aspect of the work of the Cause has arrived and it cannot be neglected without grave consequences to the life of Bahá'í communities; the unprecedented opportunity for proclamation of the Faith has been given to us as a direct result of the persecutions inflicted on the believers in the Cradle of the Faith. If we are to be worthy of the sacrifices of these valiant friends, and if we are not to betray the trust that Bahá'u'lláh has placed upon us for the redemption of 385-1. The House of Worship in New Delhi, India, was dedicated 23-27 December 1986; the House of Worship in Apia, Western Samoa, was dedicated on i September 1984. 385-2. GPB, P. 355.


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mankind in this hour of its acute need, we must not fail to seize the opportunities now before us.

385.9 This fourfold challenge faces us at the very time when the world is in the midst of an economic crisis and is overshadowed with threats of war and other disasters. These conditions, far from daunting the followers of Bahá'u'lláh, can only drive home to us the urgency for our response. Call for Renewed

Consecration

385.10 We therefore call upon every true-hearted Bahá'í to consecrate his life anew to the service of God and the betterment of the lot of mankind, so that manpower will not be lacking in the fields of pioneering, teaching and administrative service. Most urgently, may every believer give sacrificially of his substance, each in accordance with his means, to the funds of the Cause, local, national, continental and international, so that the material resources-the lifeblood of all activities-will be adequate to the tremendous work that we have to perform in the months and years immediately ahead. It requires a concentration of effort, a unity of purpose and a degree of self-sacrifice to match the heroic exertions of the victors of past plans in the progress of the Cause. With

loving Bahá'í greetings, UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 386 Message to Youth- International Youth Year 3 JANUARY 1984 To the Bahá'í Youth of the World

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

386.1 The designation of 1985 by the United Nations as International Youth Year opens new vistas for the activities in which the young members of our community are engaged. The hope of the United Nations in thus focusing on youth is to encourage their conscious participation in the affairs of the world through their involvement in international development and such other undertakings and relationships as may aid the realization of their aspirations for a world without war.

386.2 These expectations reinforce the immediate, vast opportunities begging our attention. To visualize, however imperfectly, the challenges that engage us now, we have only to reflect, in the light of our sacred Writings, upon the confluence of favorable circumstances brought about by the accelerated unfolding of the Divine Plan over nearly five decades, by the untold potencies of the spiritual drama being played out in Iran, and by the creative energy


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stimulated by awareness of the approaching end of the twentieth

century., Undoubtedly, it is within your power to contribute significantly to shaping the societies of the coming century; youth can move the world.

386.3 How apt, indeed how exciting, that so portentous an occasion should be presented to you, the young, eager

followers of the Blessed Beauty, to enlarge the scope of your endeavors in precisely that arena of action in which you strive so conscientiously to distinguish yourselves! For in the theme proposed by the United Nations-"Participation, Development, Peace"-can be perceived an affirmation that the goals pursued by you, as Bahá'ís, are at heart the very objects of the frenetic searchings of your despairing contemporaries. You are already engaged in the thrust of the Seven Year Plan, which provides the framework for any further course of action you may now be moved by this new opportunity to adopt. International Youth Year will fall within the Plan's next phase; thus the activities you will undertake, and for which you will wish to prepare even now, cannot but enhance your contributions to the vitality of that Plan, while at the same time aiding the proceedings for the Youth Year. Let there be no delay, then, in the vigor of your response. Providing a Living Example of Virtue A highlight of this period of the Seven Year Plan has been the phenomenal proclamation accorded the Faith in the wake of the unabating persecutions in Iran; a new interest in its Teachings has been aroused on a wide scale. Simultaneously, more and more people from all strata of society frantically seek their true identity, which is to say, although they would not so plainly admit it, the spiritual meaning of their lives; prominent among these seekers are the young. Not only does this knowledge, open fruitful avenues for Bahá'í 386-1. The unfolding of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan, the purpose of which is to spread the Bahá'í Faith throughout the world, began in 1937. This was under Shoghi Effendi's direction with the launching of the first Seven Year Plan 0937-44) pursued by the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada. The unfoldment continued with the second Seven Year Plan (1946-53) in North America and plans of varying durations in other countries, which were followed by the Ten Year World Crusade (1953-63). The Universal House of Justice, following the pattern Shoghi Effendi initiated, launched the Nine Year Plan (1964-73), the Five Year Plan (1974-79), the Seven Year Plan (1979-86), the Six Year Plan (1986-92.), and the Three Year Plan (1993-96). The execution of these plans resulted in an enormous

increase in the size of the Bahá'í community, in the number of its institutions, and in its ability to reflect the distinctive

characteristics of Bahá'í life. The persecution of the Iranian

Bahá'ís and the destruction of Bahá'í holy places have released

spiritual potencies that have further accelerated the unfolding of the Divine Plan. Moreover, the Universal House of Justice, in its Ridvan 1987 letter, identified the persecution of the Iranian Bahá'ís as "the mainspring" of the worldwide attention being focused on the Bahá'í Faith. The approaching end of the twentieth century is significant, for 'Abdu'l-Bahá predicted that the unity of nations will be achieved in the twentieth century. For a discussion of the imminence of the Lesser Peace, see letter dated 29 July 1974 (no. i4q). For Shoghi Effendi's explanation of the synchronization of the Lesser Peace, the development of Bahá'í institutions, and the completion of the buildings on the Arc at the Bahá'í World Center, see message dated 5 June 1975 on the significance of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice (no. 164).


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initiative, it also indicates to young Bahá'ís a particular responsibility so to teach the Cause and live the life as to give vivid expression to those virtues that would fulfill the spiritual yearning of their peers.

386.6 For the sake of preserving such virtues much innocent blood has been shed in the past, and much, even today, is being sacrificed in Iran by young and old alike. Consider, for example, the instances in Shiraz last summer of the six young women, their ages ranging from 18 to 25 years, whose lives were snuffed out by the hangman's noose. All faced attempted inducements to recant their faith; all refused to deny their Beloved. Look also at the accounts of the astounding fortitude shown over and over again by children and youth who were subjected to the interrogations and abuses of teachers and mullahs and were expelled from school for upholding their beliefs. It, moreover, bears noting that under the restrictions so cruelly imposed on their community, the youth, rendered signal services, placing their energies at the disposal of Bahá'í institutions throughout the country. No splendor of speech could give more fitting testimony to their spiritual commitment and fidelity than these pure acts of selflessness and devotion. In virtually no other place on earth is so great a price for faith required of the Bahá'ís. Nor could there be found more willing, more radiant bearers of the cup of sacrifice than the valiant Bahá'í youth of Iran. Might it, then, not be reasonably

expected that you, the youth and young adults living at such an extraordinary time, witnessing such stirring examples of the valor of your Iranian fellows, and exercising such freedom of movement, would sally forth, "Unrestrained as the wind, into the field of Bahá'í action?, Reinvigorating Individual Efforts

386.7 May you all persevere in your individual efforts to teach the Faith, but with added zest, to study the Writings, but with greater earnestness. May you pursue your education and training for future service to mankind, offering as much of your free time as possible to activities on behalf of the Cause. May those of you already bent on your life's work and who may have already founded families, strive toward becoming the living embodiments of Bahá'í ideals, both in the spiritual nurturing of your families and in your active involvement in the efforts on the home front or abroad in the pioneering field. May all respond to the current demands upon the Faith by displaying a fresh measure of dedication to the tasks at hand.

386.8 Further to these aspirations is the need for a mighty mobilization of teaching activities reflecting regularity in the patterns of service rendered by young Bahá'ís. The native urge of youth to move from place to place, combined with their abounding zeal, indicates that you can become more deliberately and numerously involved in these activities as travelling teachers. One pattern of 386-2. GWB, p. 339.


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this mobilization could be short-term projects, carried out at home or in other lands, dedicated to both teaching the Faith and improving the living conditions of people. Another could be that, while still young and unburdened by family responsibilities, you give attention to the idea of volunteering a set period, say, one or two years, to some Bahá'í service, on the home front or abroad, in the teaching or development field. It would accrue to the strength and stability of the community if such patterns could be followed by succeeding generations of youth. Regardless of the modes of service, however, youth must be understood to be fully engaged, at all times, in all climes and under all conditions. In your varied pursuits you may rest assured of the loving support and guidance of the Bahá'í institutions operating at every level.

386.9 Our ardent prayers, our unshakable confidence in your ability to succeed, our imperishable love surround you in all you endeavor to do in the path of service to the Blessed Perfection.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

387 Death of Three More Iranian

Bahá'ís and Arrest Of 250 More 17 JANUARY 1984 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

PRESSURES AGAINST BELEAGUERED BRETHREN CRADLE FAITH UNCEASING. THREE

387.1 MORE STALWART SUPPORTERS GREATEST NAME JOINED RANKS MARTYRS, AS FOLLOWS:

- MR. 'ABDU'LMAJID MUTAHHAR IMPRISONED ISFAHAN 4 SEPTEMBER 1983 DIED SHORTLY AFTER CONFINEMENT - - MR. RAHMATU'LLAH HAKIMAN MYSTERIOUSLY PASSED AWAY IN PRISON IN KIRMAN EARLY JANUARY 1984 FEW DAYS AFTER BEING IMPRISONED - - ON 19 NOVEMBER IN VILLAGE OF MUHAMMADIYYIH NEAR ISFAHAN, MR. BAHA'IAN DIHQANI, WELL KNOWN AND RESPECTED BAHA'I, DIED AS RESULT OF MOB ATTACK. SINCE BURIAL NOT ALLOWED HIS VILLAGE, BAHA'IS CARRIED BODY TO NAJAFABAD AND BURIED HIM THERE. - FULL DETAILS CIRCUMSTANCES ALL THREE DEATHS UNKNOWN. SINCE LAST REPORT 7 NOVEMBER OVER 250 BAHA'IS INCLUDING INFANTS AND

387.2 CHILDREN HAVE BEEN ARRESTED IN ALL PARTS COUNTRY. NEARLY 70 OF THESE WERE DETAINED BETWEEN 31 DECEMBER 1983 AND 3 JANUARY 1984. OTHER DESPICABLE ACTS AGAINST BAHA'IS INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

387.3 REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS PERMITTED ENTER Bahá'í HOMES WITHOUT WARRANTS, CONFISCATE VALUABLE PERSONAL POSSESSIONS. COMPLAINTS TO AUTHORITIES UNAVAILING.


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SOME IMPRISONED BAHA'Is WHO WERE EXPELLED FROM THEIR JOBS HAVE BEEN

PROMISED RELEASE IF THEY REPAY ALL SALARIES PAID TO THEM FROM BEGINNING THEIR EMPLOYMENT, SOMETIMES UP TO 30 YEARS.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 388 Passing of Ethel Revell, Member of the International Bahá'í, Council 9 FEBRUARY 1984 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

388.1 DEEPLY GRIEVED ANNOUNCE PASSING ETHEL REVELL SAINTLY STEADFAST SELFSACRIFICING PROMOTER CAUSE GOD BLESSED BY ASSOCIATION ABDU'L-BAHA COURSE HIS VISIT AMERICA AND RECEIPT TABLETS FROM HIM. HER TIRELESS LABORS STERLING QUALITIES EARNED ADMIRATION SHOGHI EFFENDI WHO APPOINTED HER INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I COUNCIL AS ITS WESTERN ASSISTANT SECRETARY. THIS CROWN HER SERVICES CONTINUED MEMBERSHIP ELECTED COUNCIL SUBSEQUENT SERVICES MANY CAPACITIES WORLD CENTER INCLUDING SECRETARY HANDS HOLY LAND. URGE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES HOLD BEFITTING MEMORIAL GATHERINGS HER HONOR IN ALL Mashriqu'l-Adhkar OTHER CENTERS. PRAYING HOLY SHRINES PROGRESS HER RADIANT SOUL ABHA KINGDOM. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 389 Message to National Bahá'í Women's Conference, Kenya 26 MARCH 1984 To the National Bahá'í Women's conference, Nairobi, Kenya

OCCASION NATIONAL WOMEN'S CONFERENCE WE GREET PARTICIPANTS

EXPRESSING HOPE DELIBERATIONS WILL GIVE DIRECTION AND STIMULATION TO EFFORTS Bahá'í WOMEN THROUGHOUT COUNTRY TO EXEMPLIFY BAHA'I WAY OF LIFE, TO STEP FORWARD AS SUSTAINING AND DRIVING FORCE COMMUNITY AND TO PROVIDE LEADERSHIP THEIR PEERS. PRAYING HOLY SHRINES BOUNTIFUL BLESSING, FULFILLMENT HIGHEST ASPIRATIONS. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 388-1. For an account of the life and services of Ethel Revell, see BW ig:626-33.


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390 Persecution of Bahá'ís in Morocco 29 MARCH 1984 To National Spiritual Assemblies FOR YOUR INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE FOLLOWING DEVELOPMENTS HAVE

390.1 OCCURRED RE MOROCCAN SITUATION: 1. COURT OF APPEAL CASABLANCA POSTPONED HEARING UNTIL 12 APRIL.

2.INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, A NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION BASED IN PARIS WHICH HAD SENT ITS REPRESENTATIVE TO MOROCCO FOR FIRST HAND COVERAGE DEVELOPMENTS AFFECTING Bahá'í CASES, HAS JUST ISSUED PRESS RELEASE IN PARIS OPENLY REPORTING SENTENCES, DECLARING THESE INCOMPATIBLE WITH STANDARD TOLERANCE PRACTICED IN MOROCCO AS WELL AS INCORPORATED ITS CONSTITUTION, AND WARNING THAT IF JUSTICE IS NOT DONE, FEDERATION IS PREPARED CALL ON OTHER INTERNATIONAL AGENCIES TAKE ACTION BEHALF BAHA'IS.

3.IF YOU ARE APPROACHED BY MEDIA YOU SHOULD STATE THAT ACTION TAKEN BY FEDERATION ARISES FROM FINDINGS ITS OWN REPRESENTATIVE; HOWEVER BAHA'IS THEMSELVES HAVE SO FAR REFRAINED FROM PUBLICITY AS THEY HOPE HEARINGS COURTS OF APPEAL WILL REDRESS WRONGS AND UPHOLD JUSTICE. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 391 Inaugural Broadcast of Radio Bahá'í Bolivia z APRIL 1984 To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Bolivia HAPPY NEWS INITIAL BROADCAST RADIO Bahá'í CARACOLLO MARKED BY FAVORABLE LOCAL RECOGNITION SIGNIFICANCE EVENT ENTIRE REGION. ASSURE PRAYERS AMPLE REWARDS YOUR LONG EFFORTS. ARDUOUS DAYS DEVELOPMENT FULL POTENTIALS POWERFUL INSTRUMENT TEACHING DEEPENING UPLIFTMENT PEOPLES ALTIPLANO NOW BEFORE YOU. MAY GUIDANCE BLESSED BEAUTY BE YOURS WIN LAURELS IN SERVICE BELOVED FAITH. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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392 Insidious Turn of Persecution of Iranian Bahá'í's 10 APRIL 1984 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

392.1 PERSECUTION FRIENDS CRADLE FAITH PERSISTS, TAKING EVEN MORE INSIDIOUS TURN. IN MARCH AT LEAST THREE PRISONERS DIED UNDER MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES, TWO IN TEHRAN AND ONE IN BAFT, KIRMAN, BODY OF MUHSIN RADAA, 55 YEARS OLD, SHOWED EVIDENCE OF RANGING. OTHER TWO, Ghulam-HUSAYN HASANZADIH-SHAKIRI, 80, AND NUSRATU'LLAH DIAY'I, 61, WERE BURIED WITHOUT FRIENDS RELATIVES BEING INFORMED.

392.2 ARRESTS CONTINUE WITH LEAST AMOUNT PUBLICITY SINCE LAST REPORT 17 JANUARY ALTHOUGH SOME BAHRI PRISONERS RELEASED, 111 HAVE BEEN ARRESTED, MOST OF WHOM WERE MEMBERS OF SPIRITUAL

ASSEMBLIES BEFORE THEIR DISSOLUTION LAST YEAR. NUMBER BARRIS KNOWN TO BE IN PRISONS IN IRAN TOTALS 704.

392.3 ACCURATE INFORMATION IN HAND DESCRIBES TORTURES PERPETRATED AGAINST SOME VERY PROMINENT BAHRIS. FOR EXAMPLE ONE BAHR! SEVERELY TORTURED UNDER EXTREME CIRCUMSTANCES FORCED CONFESS TO FALSE CHARGES. OTHERS SIMILARLY

TORTURED RESISTED PRESSURES EXERTED ON THEM TO MAKE FALSE PUBLIC CONFESSIONS FOR BENEFIT RADIO TELEVISION UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 393 Execution of Three by Firing Squad 13 APRIL 1984

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

393 FURTHER OUR MESSAGE 10/11 APRIL JUST RECEIVED DISTRESSING NEWS EXECUTION BY FIRING SQUAD IN EVIN PRISON TEHRAN FOLLOWING BELIEVERS:

393.2 MR. KAMRAN LUTFI 32 YEAR OLD UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR, IMPRISONED 5 MAY 1983

393.3 MR. RAHIM RAHMIYAN, 52 YEAR OLD BUSINESSMAN, IMPRISONED 5 MAY 1983

393.4 MR. YADU'LLAH SABIRIYAN, 60 YEAR OLD PRINTING PRESS MANAGER, IMPRISONED 9 FEBRUARY 1982

393.5 SINCE EXECUTIONS NOT ANNOUNCED AND BODIES UNCEREMONIOUSLY BURIED WITHOUT FAMILIES RELATIVES BEING INFORMED, EXACT DATE EXECUTIONS UNKNOWN. FEARFUL OTHER BAHA'I PRISONERS RECEIVED SAME FATE.

393.6 NOW ESTABLISHED FACT THAT GHULAM-HUSAYN HASANZADIH-SHAKIRI WAS ALSO EXECUTED BY FIRING SQUAD INSTEAD OF DYING MYSTERIOUSLY IN PRISON AS REPORTED UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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394 Ridvan Message 1984 RIDVAN 1984

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

The emergence from obscurity, which has been so marked a feature of the

394.1 Cause of God during the first five years of the Seven Year Plan, has been attended by changes, both external and internal, affecting the Bahá'í world community. Externally, there are signs of a crystallization of a public image of the Cause-largely uninformed, however friendly-while internally growing maturity and confidence are indicated by increased administrative ability, a desire for Bahá'í communities to render service to the larger body of mankind and a deepening understanding of the relevance of the divine Message to modern problems. Both these aspects of change must be taken into consideration as we enter the third and final phase of the Seven Year Plan.

394.2 The Bahá'ís of Iran The year just closing has been overshadowed by the continued persecution of the friends in Iran. They have been forced to disband their administrative structure, they have been harassed, dispossessed, dismissed from employment, made homeless and their children are refused education. Some six hundred men, women and children are now in prison, some denied any contact with their

friends and relatives, some subjected to torture and all under

pressure to recant their faith. Their heroic and exemplary steadfastness has been the mainspring in bringing the Cause out of obscurity, and it is the consolation of their hearts that their suffering results in unprecedented advances in teaching and proclaiming the divine Message to a world so desperately in need of its healing power. For this they embrace the final service of martyrdom. Our obligation is crystal clear. We cannot fail them now. Sacrificial action in teaching and promoting the Cause of God must follow every new instance of publicity arising from their

persecution. Let this be our message to them of love and spiritual union.

394.3 Developments in the International Sphere In the international sphere, the beloved Hands of the Cause, ever growing in our love and admiration, have, whenever their health has permitted, continued to uplift and encourage the friends and to promote the unity and onward march of the army of life. The International Teaching Center, operating from its world seat, has provided loving and wise leadership and direction to the Boards of Counselors., Its sphere of service has been immensely 394-1. For messages concerning the establishment and duties of the International Teaching Center, see messages dated 5 June 1973 (no. 130, 8 June 1973 (no. 132), and 19 May 1983 (no. 361).


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extended by the assignment of new responsibilities and by raising the number of its Counselor members to seven. The dedicated services of the Counselors in all the continents, ably supported by the Auxiliary Board members, have been invaluable in fostering the spiritual health and integrity of the worldwide community. To develop further this vital organ of the Administrative Order, it has been decided to establish a term of five years service for those appointed to the Auxiliary Boards, commencing November 26, 1986. The work of the Bahá'í International Community in relationship with the United Nations has brought increasing appreciation of our social attitudes and principles, and in some instances-notably the sessions on human rights-the Bahá'í participation has been spectacular, again resulting from the heroism of the Persian friends. The Geneva office has been consolidated and additional staff engaged to deal with its expanding activities. In spite of severe problems the construction of the Indian and Samoan Houses of Worship has progressed satisfactorily, and the latter will be dedicated and opened to public worship between August 30th and September 3rd 1984, when the Universal House of Justice will be represented by the Hand of the Cause Arnat0-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum. Immediately following the International Convention last Ridvan, two new National Spiritual Assemblies were formed-in St. Lucia and Dominica. Two new radio stations will make their inaugural broadcasts this year, namely Radio Bahá'í of Bolivia, at Caracollo, and WLGI, the Bahá'í radio station at the Louis Gregory Institute, in the United States.2 Bahá'í membership in eleven countries, all in the Third World and nine of them island communities, have reached or surpassed one per cent of the total population.

394.4 During the final months of the second phase of the Seven Year Plan a generous response has been made by believers and institutions alike to an appeal which set out the increasing needs of the International Fund. We are confident that sustained and regular contributions during the final phase of the Plan will enable its aims and objectives to be fully accomplished. Entrance of the Cause onto the World Scene

394.5 The entrance of the Cause onto the world scene is apparent from a number of public

statements in which we have been characterized as "model citizens, 11 gentle," "law-abiding," "not guilty of any political offense or crime"- all excellent but utterly inadequate insofar as the reality of the Faith and its aims and purposes are concerned. Nevertheless people are willing to hear about the Faith, and the opportunity must be seized. Persistently greater and greater efforts must be made to acquaint the leaders of the world, in all departments of life, with 394-2. The Louis Gregory Bahá'í Institute is a permanent Bahá'í teaching institute near Hemingway, South Carolina, that operates under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States.


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the true nature of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation as the sole hope for the pacification and unification of the world. Simultaneous with such a program must be unabated, vigorous pursuit of the teaching work, so that we may be seen to be a growing community, while universal

observance by the friends of the Bahá'í laws of personal living will assert the fullness of, and arouse a desire to share in, the Bahá'í way of life. By all these means the public image of the Faith will become, gradually but constantly, nearer to its true character.

394.6 Social and Economic Development The upsurge of zeal throughout the Baha world for exploration of the new dimension of social and economic development is both heartwarming and uplifting to all our hopes. This energy within the community, carefully and wisely directed, will undoubtedly bring about a new era of consolidation and expansion, which in turn will attract further widespread attention, so that both aspects of change in the Bahá'í world community will be interactive and mutually propelling. Consolidation of the Community A prime element in the careful and wise direction needed is the achievement of victory in the Seven Year Plan, paying great attention to the development and strengthening of Local Assemblies. Great efforts must be made to encourage them to discharge their primary duties of meeting regularly, holding the Nineteen Day Feasts and observing Holy Days, organizing children's classes, encouraging the practice of family prayers, undertaking extension teaching projects, administering the Bahá'í Fund and constantly encouraging and leading their communities in all Bahá'í activities. The equality of men and women is not, at the present time, universally applied. In those areas where traditional inequality still hampers its progress we must take the lead in practicing this Bahá'í principle. Bahá'í women and girls must be encouraged to take part in the social, spiritual and administrative activities of their communities. Bahá'í youth, now rendering exemplary and devoted service in the forefront of the army of life, must be encouraged, even while equipping themselves for future service, to devise and execute their own

teaching plans among their contemporaries.

394.8 New National Spiritual Assemblies Now, as we enter the final, two-year phase of the Seven Year Plan, We rejoice in the addition of nine new National Spiritual Assemblies; three in Africa, three in the Americas, two in Asia, one in Europe, bringing the total number to 143. Five more are to be established in Ridvan 1985. They are Ciskei, Mali and Mozambique in Africa and the Cook Islands and the West Caroline

Islands in Australasia. Thus the Plan will end with a minimum Of 148 National Spiritual Assemblies. By that time plans must be approved for the completion


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of the Arc around the Monument Gardens on Mount Carmel, including the siting and designs of the three remaining buildings to be constructed around that Arc. An Increasing Relationship to the Non-Bahá'í World

394.9 There can be no doubt that the progress of the Cause from this time onward will be characterized by an ever increasing relationship to the agencies, activities, institutions and leading individuals of the non-Bahá'í world. We shall acquire greater stature at the United Nations, become better known in the deliberations of governments, a familiar figure to the media, a subject of interest to academics, and inevitably the envy of failing establishments. Our preparation for and response to this situation must be a continual deepening of our faith, an unwavering adherence to its principles of abstention from partisan politics and freedom from prejudices, and above all an increasing understanding of its fundamental verities and relevance to the modern world. Goals for the Final Phase of the Plan

394.10 Accompanying this Ridvan message are a call for 298 pioneers to settle in 79 national communities, and specific messages addressed to each of the present 143 national communities. They are the fruit of intensive study and consultation by the Universal House of Justice and the International Teaching Center, and set out the goals to be won and the objectives to be pursued by each national community so that Ridvan 1986 may witness the completion in glorious victory of this highly significant Plan. It will have run its course through a period of unprecedented world confusion, bearing witness to the vitality, the irresistible advance and socially creative power of the Cause of God, standing out in sharp contrast to the accelerating decline in the fortunes of the generality of mankind.

394.11 Beloved Friends, the bounties and protection with which the Blessed Beauty is nurturing and sheltering the infant organism of His new world order through this violent period of transition and trial, give ample assurance of victories to come if we but follow the path of His guidance. He rewards our humble efforts with effusions of grace which bring not only advancement to the Cause but assurance and happiness to our hearts, so that we may indeed look upon our neighbors with bright and shining faces, confident that from our services now will eventuate that blissful future which our descendants will inherit, glorifying Bahá'u'lláh, the Prince of Peace, the Redeemer of Mankind.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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395 Use of Torture to Extract False Confessions from Iranian Bahá'ís 10 MAY 1984 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

On Thursday, 10 May 1984, the Universal House of Justice instructed the

395.1 Bahá'í International Community in New York to issue the following press release and to keep the appropriate United Nations agencies informed of the continuing persecution of the Bahá'ís in Iran. THE PERSECUTION OF THE BAHA'IS OF IRAN HAS TAKEN AN EXTREMELY SEVERE

395.2 AND CRITICAL TURN. OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS ABDUCTIONS, EXECUTIONS, THE IMPRISONMENT

395.3 OF HUNDREDS, DISMISSAL FROM JOBS, EXPULSION OF BAHA'I CHILDREN FROM SCHOOLS, DESTRUCTION OF HOMES HAVE BEEN THE COMMON LOT OF THIS OPPRESSED COMMUNITY. NOW, HOWEVER, THE AUTHORITIES IN IRAN SEEM TO HAVE DECIDED TO SUBJECT PROMINENT BAHA'IS TO BARBARIC METHODS OF TORTURE TO EXTRACT FROM THEM CONFESSIONS TO THE FALSE CHARGES LEVELED AGAINST THEM. TORTURE HAS BEEN USED ON BAHA'I PRISONERS BEFORE, BUT HITHERTO

395.4 THE PURPOSE HAS BEEN TO FORCE THEM TO RECANT THEIR FAITH OR REVEAL INFORMATION ABOUT THEIR FELLOW BELIEVERS. ALL BUT A FEW OF THE BAHA'IS REMAINED FIRM AND PREFERRED IMPRISONMENT AND DEATH TO RECANTATION OF THEIR FAITH.

RECENTLY AN ADDED OBJECTIVE SEEMS TO INSPIRE THE GOVERNMENT'S TORTURE-MONGERS. ALTHOUGH IN ALL THESE YEARS, SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE REVOLUTION, THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN IN POSSESSION, THROUGH CONFISCATION, OF ALL THE RECORDS AND FILES OF THE ENTIRE BAHA'I ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM IN IRAN, IT HAS FAILED TO PRODUCE A SINGLE SHRED OF EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT ITS REITERATED ACCUSATION THAT THE BAHA'I COMMUNITY IN IRAN IS A NETWORK OF FOREIGN SPIES AND AGENTS. IT WOULD SEEM THAT NOW IT HAS DETERMINED TO MANUFACTURE BY MEANS OF FALSE CONFESSIONS EXTRACTED UNDER TORTURE, EVIDENCE TO ENABLE IT TO PUBLICLY JUSTIFY ITS INHUMAN PERSECUTION OF THE BAHA'I COMMUNITY OF IRAN. WE KNOW OF THREE BAHA'IS WHOSE WILLS HAVE BEEN BROKEN UNDER THIS BARBARIC TORTURE AND WHO HAVE SUBMITTED TO THE DEMANDS OF THE AUTHORITIES, MAKING STATEMENTS ADMITTING TO A SERIES OF CRIMES. DOUBTLESS THE AUTHORITIES HOPE TO PUBLISH SIMILAR "CONFESSIONS" IN THE DAYS TO COME, MADE BY OTHER HAPLESS VICTIMS OF THIS FLAGITIOUS TREATMENT


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395.6 WE KNOW THE NAMES OF MANY BAHA'IS WHO ARE NOW BEING TORTURED, AND ALTHOUGH, FOR OBVIOUS REASONS, THESE CANNOT BE PUBLICIZED, THEY HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO SOME INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND GOVERNMENTS.

395.7 In addition to the above press release, supplementary information was telexed to the Bahá'í International Community and selected National Spiritual Assemblies:

395.7a FOLLOWING IS SOME DESCRIPTION TORTURES TO ENABLE YOU ANSWER QUESTIONS GIVE FURTHER BACKGROUND AS NECESSARY. THIS INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM RELIABLE SOURCES INCLUDING EYEWITNESSES.

395.7b REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS, USUALLY LATE AT NIGHT, WILL SUDDENLY CONVERGE UPON HOME Bahá'í

FAMILY. AFTER ENGAGING IN VARIETY VERBALLY AND PHYSICALLY ABUSIVE ACTIONS INVOLVING THREATS AND RANSACKING HOUSEHOLD IN GUISE OF CONDUCTING SEARCH, THEY SEIZE ALL BAHA'I BOOKS AND PAPERS AND FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHS AND TAKE AS PRISONER WHOMEVER THEY ARE INTERESTED IN APPREHENDING.

395.7c INTERROGATIONS OFTEN TAKE PLACE WHILE VICTIM SITS FACING WALL OR IS BLINDFOLDED SO THAT HE OR SHE MAY NOT IDENTIFY INTERROGATORS. USUALLY SUCH VICTIMS ARE CURSED, REVILED, BEATEN AND SUBJECTED TO EXTREME PSYCHOLOGICAL PRESSURES DURING COURSE THESE INTERROGATIONS.

395.7d THERE ARE INSTANCES OF PRISONERS BEING PLACED IN TOTAL SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IN ISOLATED CELL

1.70 METERS BY 2 METERS AND HELD THERE FOR WEEKS OR EVEN MONTHS WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO SPEAK TO ANYONE WHATEVER, NOT EVEN PRISON GUARD.

395.7e IN OTHER INSTANCES BAHA'I PRISONER, MAN OR WOMAN, WILL BE TIED FIRMLY TO SPECIALLY DESIGNED TABLE AND WHIPPED MERCILESSLY ON ALL PARTS BODY, BUT PARTICULARLY ON SOLES FEET. PERIODICALLY PRISONER WILL BE CHECKED AS TO WHETHER HIS WILL HAS BEEN BROKEN AND HE IS WILLING EMBRACE PURPOSES PRISON AUTHORITIES. AS LONG AS HE RESISTS, THIS PHYSICAL ASSAULT IS REPEATED MORNING AND EVENING, RESULTING IN SWELLING PRISONER'S LEGS ON WHICH HE IS COMPELLED TO WALK. PRISONER EXPERIENCES GREAT THIRST IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES AND IS FORCED IN THIS CONDITION TO WALK UNAIDED TO SLAKE THIRST WITH GLASS WATER ALLURINGLY DISPLAYED SOME DISTANCE FROM HIM. INTERNAL BODILY INJURY ALSO RESULTS FROM SEVERE BEATINGS-INVARIABLY PRISONER PASSES BLOOD IN URINE. TO KEEP PRISONER ALIVE SOMETIMES DOCTOR WILL BE SUMMONED TO APPLY SUPERFICIAL TREATMENT

395.7f IN CASES WHEN BOTH WIFE AND HUSBAND ARE PRISONERS, ONE WILL BE SHOWN DAMAGED BODY OF THE OTHER DURING COURSE OF INTERROGATION. CRIES AND MOANS OF TORTURED PRISONERS REVERBERATE THROUGH PRISON AND ARE HEARD BY INMATES WHOSE TURN WILL SOON COME.

395.8 UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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Kindly share this information with the believers in your community, and use it as a basis for answering inquiries which you may receive from news media or government officials.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

396 Summary of the Situation in Iran 21 MAY 1984 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

FURTHER TO OUR MESSAGE OF 10 MAY REGARDING TORTURE BEING INFLICTED

396.1 BAHA'IS IRAN WE SEND FOLLOWING SUMMARY OVERALL SITUATION THAT COUNTRY FROM MOST RECENT INFORMATION PROVIDED BY RELIABLE SOURCES.

1.SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE ISLAMIC REVOLUTION MORE THAN 300 RESIDENCES

396.2 OF BAHA'IS HAVE BEEN PLUNDERED OR SET ON FIRE.

2.SOME 170 BAHA'IS, MOST OF THEM PROMINENT MEMBERS OF THE Bahá'í COMMUNITY, HAVE BEEN KILLED BY A VARIETY OF METHODS, BUT PRINCIPALLY THROUGH EXECUTION BY FIRING SQUADS AND BY HANGING.

3.IN URBAN AREAS PROPERTIES BELONGING TO SEVERAL HUNDRED FAMILIES 14AVE

396.4 BEEN SEIZED, WHILE IN RURAL AREAS MANY ORCHARDS HAVE BEEN DESTROYED AND FARMS AND ARABLE LANDS CONFISCATED. PETITIONS TO THE AUTHORITIES FOR REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES HAVE BEEN IGNORED.

4.THE MINISTRY OF WORKS AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS FORMALLY INSTRUCTED INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL INSTITUTIONS NOT TO PAY THEIR BAHA'I STAFE

5.MORE THAN 10,000 BAHA'IS EMPLOYED IN GOVERNMENT OFFICES OR IN THE

396.6 PRIVATE SECTOR HAVE BEEN SUMMARILY DISCHARGED, THEIR RIGHTS TO PENSIONS AND OTHER EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS REVOKED. DEMANDS WERE MADE OF A NUMBER OF THEM TO REFUND THE SALARIES THEY HAD RECEIVED FOR THE DURATION OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT

6.BAHA'i STUDENTS HAVE BEEN DISMISSED FROM ALL UNIVERSITIES AND OTHER

396.7 INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING.

7.IN MOST CITIES AND PROVINCES, Bahá'í CHILDREN HAVE BEEN DENIED ENTRY

396.8 TO SCHOOLS AND THEREFORE HAVE NO ACCESS TO BASIC EDUCATION.

8.SOME 700 BAHA'IS, INCLUDING MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN, ARE BEING HELD

396.9 IN VARIOUS PRISONS THROUGHOUT IRAN.

9.FOR MORE THAN NINE MONTHS VISITS To 40 Bahá'í PRISONERS HAVE BEEN

396.10 STRICTLY PROHIBITED BY THE AUTHORITIES. THEIR FATE IS THEREFORE UNKNOWN.

10. IN EVIN AND GAWHAR-DASHT PRISONS A NUMBER OF BAHA'I PRISONERS ARE

396.11 UNDERGOING RELENTLESS TORTURE IN AN EFFORT ON THE PART OF THE AUTHORITIES TO FORCE THEM TO ADMIT TO FALSE CHARGES OF ENGAGING IN ESPIONAGE AND ACTING AGAINST THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN. FOR A PERIOD


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OF MONTHS THEY HAVE BEEN SUBJECTED TO FLOGGINGS OF ALL PARTS OF THE BODY, PARTICULARLY THE LEGS AND FEET. SOMETIMES UP TO 400 STROKES BY WIRE CABLES HAVE BEEN ADMINISTERED TO ONE PRISONER, THEN HE OR SHE HAS BEEN MADE TO WALK. FINDING THIS IMPOSSIBLE, THE UNFORTUNATE PRISONER I-LAS BEEN FORCED TO CRAWL ON HANDS AND KNEES BACK TO A DARK CELL. IN MASHHAD AND YAZD Bahá'í PRISONERS ARE REGULARLY WHIPPED ON THE HEAD AND FACE WITH THICK PLASTIC TUBES, SIMILAR PROCEDURES ARE USED TO A LESSER DEGREE IN OTHER PRISONS. A NUMBER OF THESE VICTIMS OF TORTURE HAVE LOST THEIR SIGHT AND HEARING, OTHERS THEIR MENTAL COMPETENCE. THE BODIES OF FOUR PRISONERS SUBJECTED TO SUCH TREATMENT WERE SEEN BEFORE BEING, BURIED IN UNKNOWN GRAVES. IT IS THERF_ FORE FEARED THAT OTHER PRISONERS WHOSE BODIES HAVE BEEN SIMILARLY BURIED WITHOUT THEIR FAMILIES BEING NOTIFIED SUFFERED THE SAME FATE.

396.12

11. BAHA'IS ARE UNSAFE IN THEIR OWN HOMES, WHICH ARE ENTERED AT WILL, DAY OR NIGHT, BY REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS, WHO HARASS THE INHABITANTS BY INSULTING, THREATENING AND BEATING THEM. WHEN THE REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS INVADE A HOME WITH THE INTENTION OF ARRESTING A PARTICULAR BAHA'I, IF THAT PERSON HAPPENS TO BE ABSENT, THEIR PRACTICE IS TO SEIZE AS HOSTAGES OTHER MEMBERS OF THE HOUSEHOLD, EVEN CHILDREN, AND TO RANSACK THE PLACE, CONFISCATING WHATEVER THEY PLEASE.

396.43

12. WHENEVER THE HEAD OR SOME OTHER IMPORTANT MEMBER OF THE FAMILY HAS BEEN KILLED, AND OFTEN WHEN SUCH A PERSON HAS BEEN IMPRISONED, THOSE REMAINING BEHIND HAVE BEEN FORCED FROM THEIR HOMES AND NOT PERMITTED TO TAKE ANY BELONGINGS, EVEN IN THE DEAD OF WINTER. THE VICTIMS OF SUCH TREATMENT HAVE NO RECOURSE TO JUSTICE SINCE THEIR PETITIONS TO THE AUTHORITIES ARE IGNORED. BAHA'I FAMILIES IN ISFAHAN, MASHHAD, TEHRAN, URUMMIYYIH AND YAZD IN PARTICULAR ARE AFFECTED BY THESE CONDITIONS....

396.14 FOLLOWING INFORMATION JUST RECEIVED: EXECUTION FOUR MORE COURAGEOUS BRETHREN IRAN

TABRIZ, 5 MAY- MR. JALAL PAYRAVI IMPRISONED 22 OCTOBER 1981

MR. MAQSUD ALIZADIH, IMPRISONED 27 JANUARY 1982

TEHRAN, 15 MAY-MR. ALI-MUHAMMAD ZAMANI, 45 YEARS OLD, MR. JAHANGIR HIDAYATI, 61 YEAR OLD CONSTRUCTION ENGINEER, MEMBER NOW DISSOLVED NATIONAL ASSEMBLY KIDNAPPED JUNE 1983

396.15 BOTH TORTURED DURING IMPRISONMENT

396.16 IN ADDITION, MR_ ASADUTLAB KAMIL-MUQADDAM DIED IN PRISON 2 MAY, CIRCUMSTANCES UNKNOWN.

396.17 FRIENDS IRAN FEEL SITUATION DANGEROUS GREAT NUMBER OTHER BAHA'I PRIS ONERS.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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397 The Development of the Soul and the Reconstruction of Society IZ JUNE 1984

To an individual Bahá'í

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

Your letter of 18 October 1983 was received by the Universal House of Justice and it was very glad to note that many of the problems seemed to have been resolved. It regrets the delay in replying to you, but, as you will understand, the pressure of work has been very heavy and, as the additional clarification that you requested did not seem to be a matter of urgency, a reply has been postponed until now. On the points you raised we have now been instructed to convey the following comments.

397.2 The Purpose of Religion-The Development of the Soul As you quite correctly appreciate, the fundamental purpose of all religion is the spiritual development of the souls of human beings. This is expressed in the Short Obligatory Prayer, and also there is the following very clear statement written on behalf of the beloved Guardian to an individual believer on 8 December 1935: How to attain spirituality is, indeed, a question to which every young 397.2a man and woman must sooner or later try to find a satisfactory answer. It is precisely because no such satisfactory reply has been given or found, that modern youth finds itself bewildered, and is being consequently carried away by the materialistic forces that are so powerfully undermining the foundation of man's moral and spiritual life. Indeed, the chief reason for the evils now rampant in society is a lack 397.2b of spirituality. The materialistic civilization of our age has so much absorbed the energy and interest of mankind, that people in general no longer feel the necessity of raising themselves above the forces and conditions of their daily material existence. There is not sufficient demand for things that we should call spiritual to differentiate them from the needs and requirements of our physical existence. The universal crisis affecting mankind is, therefore, essentially spiritual in its causes. The spirit of the age, taken on the whole, is irreligious. Man's outlook upon life is too crude and materialistic to enable him to elevate himself into the higher realms of the spirit. It is this condition, so sadly morbid, into which society has that 397.2c fallen, religion seeks to improve and transform. For the core of religious faith is that mystic feeling that unites man with God. This state of spiritual communion can be brought about and maintained by means of


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meditation and prayer. And this is the reason why Bahá'u'lláh has so much stressed the importance of worship. It is not sufficient for a believer to merely accept and observe the teachings. He should, in addition, cultivate the sense of spirituality which he can acquire chiefly by the means of prayer. The Bahá'í Faith, like all other Divine religions, is thus fundamentally mystic in character. Its chief goal is the development of the individual and society, through the acquisition of spiritual virtues and powers. It is the soul of man that has first to be fed. And this spiritual nourishment prayer can best provide. Laws and institutions, as viewed by Bahá'u'lláh, can become really effective only when our inner spiritual life has been perfected and transformed. Otherwise religion will degenerate into a mere organization, and become a dead thing.

397.2d The believers, particularly the young ones, should therefore realize fully the necessity of praying. For prayer is absolutely indispensable to their inner spiritual development, and this, [as] already stated, is the very foundation and purpose of the religion of God. (Published in U.S. Bahá'í News, No. i02, August 1936, P. 3) The Central Purpose of Bahá'u'lláh's Dispensation

397.3 In addition to this fundamental purpose underlying all Revelation, there is a particular central purpose for each Dispensation. The one for this Dispensation is the establishment of the oneness of the world of humanity, and it is a Bahá'í teaching that the spiritual development of the soul requires not merely prayer and meditation, but also active service to one's fellowmen in accordance with the laws and principles of the Revelation of God. The reconstruction of human society and the spiritual advancement of individual souls go hand in hand. Attaining Unity in Spirit and Action

397.4 People are in many different conditions, come from many different backgrounds, and face many different problems in attaining unity in spirit and practice. Our guiding light is the Message of Bahá'u'lláh. The Administrative Order is the strong framework within which we work and the channel for the outflowing of the spirit into the world.

397.5 All Bahá'ís are fallible human beings, each one has his own insights, enthusiasms and degree of wisdom and understanding. Differences of viewpoint could cause the community to fragment into a thousand pieces, if it were not cemented together by the strong bond of the Covenant, and if the friends were not willing to subordinate their own ideas to the considered decisions that issue from the divinely ordained process of consultation and, at the same time, exercise the utmost forbearance towards their fellow believers, their individual characteristics and their shortcomings. One of the most potent statements of the Guardian, which illuminates many issues, is:


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Let us also bear in mind that the keynote of the Cause of God is 397.5a not dictatorial authority, but humble fellowship, not arbitrary power, but the spirit of frank and loving consultation. Nothing short of the spirit of a true Bahá'í can hope to reconcile the principles of mercy and justice, of freedom and submission, of the sanctity of the right of the individual and

ofse4F-surrender: of vigilance, discretion and prudence on the one hand and fellowship, candor, and courage on the other., Since we are all imperfect and have to learn the perfect standard which

397.6 Bahá'u'lláh has unveiled, there are often things in the Teachings themselves which individual believers find difficult, and which they have to strive to learn and understand. All the believers are growing and this is a gradual process. Each one, as you say, must develop wisdom, and with this must realize the fundamental importance of the unity of the community and the bond of love and affection among the believers, for the sake of which he will sacrifice many things. . . .

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

398 Message to Bahá'í Women's Conference in Cotonou, Benin 28 JUNE 1984 To the Bahá'í Women's Conference in Cotonou, Benin AS FINAL YEAR UNITED NATIONS DECADE WOMEN APPROACHES BEFITTING YOU

398.1 GATHER THIS HISTORIC CONFERENCE REVIEW ACHIEVEMENTS PLAN ENLARGE SCOPE ACTIVITIES FULFILL NOBLE ROLE WOMANKIND ENVISAGED BAHA'U'LLH.'

PRAYING HOLY SHRINES DIVINE CONFIRMATIONS NOBLE ASPIRATIONS FRUITFUL DELIBERATIONS. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 397-1. BA, pp. 63-64. Italics added. 398-1. The conference was held 6-9 July 1984.


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399 Execution of Nusratu'llah Vahdat in Mashhad 3 JULY 1984 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

399.1 FURTHER DISTRESSING NEWS RECEIVED FROM IRAN OF EXECUTION BY HANGING OF NUSRATUTLAH VAHDAT IN MASHHAD JUNE 17. AN ADDITIONAL 51 BELIEVERS NOW HELD IN PRISONS IRAN, MAKING TOTAL OF 751, SOME OF WHOM ARE SUBJECTED TO CRUEL TORTURE. A NUMBER OF FRIENDS ARE NOW IN PARTICULAR DANGER....

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

400 Execution of Ihsanu'llah Kathiri in Tehran 5 JULY 1984

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

400.1 FURTHER OUR TELEX DATED JULY 3 WE HAVE JUST RECEIVED DISTRESSING NEWS OF EXECUTION IN TEHRAN ON 27 JUNE OF IHSANU'LLAH KATHIRI, 40 YEARS OLD, AFTER 11 MONTHS IMPRISONMENT HIS BODY UNCEREMONIOUSLY BURIED BY AUTHORITIES WITHOUT INFORMING FAMILY... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 401 Results of Bahá'í Women's Conference in Cotonou, Benin 20 JULY 1984 To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Benin

401.1 HEARTS UPLIFTED NEWS FIRST INTERREGIONAL WOMEN'S CONFERENCE. OFFERING PRAYERS THANKSGIVING FOR BOUNTIFUL CONFIRMATIONS. CONFIDENT SPIRIT GENERATED WILL BENEFIT BAHA'I WOMEN BENIN, INDEED ENTIRE REGION. PRAYING ADDED BLESSINGS BRILLIANT VICTORIES.

402.1 UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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Relationship between Husband and Wife Further Comments 25 JULY 1984

To an individual Bahá'í

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

The Universal House of Justice received your letter which raised questions concerning the status of men and women especially within the family setting. We are requested by the House of Justice to convey to you the following points.

402.2 The Universal House of Justice invites you once again to carefully read the letter written on its behalf and addressed to the National Spiritual Assembly of New Zealand, dated 28 December 1980., This letter is published in the compilation Bahá'í Marriage and Family Life, pp. 57-61. Authoritative interpretation of the Writings was the exclusive domain Of 402.3 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi. When the House of Justice stated that the "father can be regarded as the 'head' of the family," it was giving expression to its own inference as you indicate. This inference, as the letter to New Zealand points out, is based on the clear and primary responsibility of the husband to provide for the financial support of the wife and family, and on the provisions of the law of intestacy, which assigns special functions and rights to the eldest son.

402.4 The description of the husband as "head" of the family does not confer superiority upon the husband nor does it give him special rights to undermine the rights of the other members of his family. `Abdu'l-Bahá says: The integrity of the

family bond must be constantly considered, and 402.4a the rights of the individual members must not be transgressed.

402.5 The rights of the son, the father, the mother-none of them must be transgressed, none of them must be arbitrary. . . .' The relationship between family members represents a complex of mutual and complementary duties and responsibilities that are implemented within the framework of the Bahá'í ideal of family life and are conducive to its unity. The concept of a Bahá'í family is based on the principle that the man is charged with the responsibility of supporting the entire family

financially, and the woman is the chief and primary educator of the children. This does not mean that these functions are inflexibly fixed and cannot be changed and 402-1. See message no. 272. 402-2. PUP, p. 168.


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adjusted to suit particular family situations. Furthermore, while primary responsibility is assigned, it is anticipated that fathers would play a significant role in the education of the children and women would be breadwinners. (See pages 59-60 of Bahá'í Marriage and Family Life) 3

402.6 The principle of the equality between women and men, like the other teachings of the Faith, can be effectively and universally established among the friends when it is pursued in conjunction with all the other aspects of Bahá'í life. Change is an evolutionary process requiring patience with one's self and others, loving education and the passage of time as the believers deepen their knowledge of the principles of the Faith, gradually discard longheld traditional attitudes and progressively conform their lives to the unifying teachings of the Cause.

402.7 There are a number of Tablets on marriage. You are referred, for example, to Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Bahá, pp. 117-2-2, and Bahá'í Prayers (United States, 1982 Edition), pp. 104-08.

402.8 In relation to the particular "Marriage Tablet" to which you refer, we provide, for your information, an extract from a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly on 4 April 1976, which deals with the use of this "Tablet":

402.8a The so-called "Marriage Tablet" . . . is not a Tablet at all but is an unauthenticated record by Ahmad Sohrab of a talk by 'Abdu'l-Bahá. The friends may use it, but it should be made clear that this is not Scripture . . .

402.9 The Promulgation of Universal Peace (1982 Edition) provides much useful source material on the subject of the equality of men and women. For talks of `Abdu'l-Bahá citing historical examples, see particularly: - Talk to the Federation of Women's

Clubs, pp. 74-77 - Talk to a woman's suffrage meeting, pp. 133-37 - Talk at Franklin Square House, pp. 280-84

402.10 We trust that the foregoing information will resolve your concerns and help to reinforce your sense of certitude.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

402-3. See message dated 28 December 1980 (no. 272).


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403 Dedication of the Mother Temple of the Pacific Islands, Apia, Western Samoa AUGUST 1984

To the Friends gathered in Apia, Western Samoa on the occasion of the Dedication of the Mother Temple of the Pacific Islands,

Dearly loved Friends,

In these historic days we are witnessing a major triumph in the development of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. Not only is the raising up of this House of Worship a further significant fulfillment of the Blessed Beauty's promise,2 it also presages a brilliant future in the Pacific for His Faith, whose quickening light is casting its rays on the peoples of this vast ocean. In his message to the Bahá'í world in April 1957 the beloved Guardian, referring to the Pacific, wrote, " . . . Bahá'í exploits bid fair to outshine the feats achieved in any other ocean, and indeed in every continent of the globe. . ."3 In reviewing the religious history of the Pacific During the Bahá'í Dispensation we recall that it was only a short time prior to the Declaration of the Bab that the Teachings of Christ spread throughout these islands;4 that the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh were first proclaimed there when the Hand of the Cause Agnes Alexander arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in December 1901;5 that at the beginning of the World Crusade in 1953 only a handful of islands had had any contact with the Faith; and that at Ridvan 1959 when the first regional National Spiritual Assembly of the South Pacific was established in Suva there were in its area but twelve Local Spiritual Assemblies in nine island groups.

403.2 Witness now what has happened in the quarter century since 1959. -The first reigning monarch in the world to embrace the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh is the Head of State of Western Samoa whose official residence is near the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar,6

___ 403-1. The Mother Temple of the Pacific Islands was dedicated on 1 September 1984. 403-2. The promise referred to is the following statement from Bahá'u'lláh: 'should they attempt to conceal its [His Revelation's] light on the continent, it will assuredly rear its head in the midmost heart of the ocean, and, raising its voice, proclaim: J am the life-giver of the world!"' (WOB, P. 79) 403-3. MBW, p. 111. 403-4. The Bab declared His Mission On 23 May 1844. According to information obtained from the public library of Wilmette, Illinois, the first Christian mission in Samoa was established in 1830 by the London Missionary Society on the island of Savai'i. 403-5. For information on Miss Alexander's life, see footnote 98-4. 403-6. The Head of State of Western Samoa referred to is Malietoa Tanumafili II For announcements of his acceptance of the Bahá'í Faith, his visit to the resting-place of Shoghi Effendi, and his participation in the dedication of the Samoan House of Worship, see messages dated 7 May 1973, and 5 October 1976 (nos. 130 and 177).


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403.2b There are now a total of thirteen National Spiritual Assemblies in the homelands of the Polynesians, the Melanesians and the Micronesians. The Caroline Islands Fiji The Hawaiian Islands Kiribati The Mariana Islands The Marshall Islands New Caledonia and the

Loyalty Islands Papua New Guinea Samoa The Solomon Islands Tonga Tuvalu Vanuatu 403.2c

Two additional National Spiritual Assemblies are to be formed at Ridvan 1985: those of The Cook Islands and the Western Caroline Islands'

403.2d Nearly five hundred Local Spiritual Assemblies are established.

403.2e Bahá'ís reside in nearly 2,000 localities.

403.2f There are more than 31,000 believers in the Pacific. 403.2gBahá'ís constitute more than one percent of the total population in eight national communities in the Pacific. 403.2hThe seventh Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the world stands in all its glory on the mountainside at Tiapapata.7 This spot has now become the spiritual heart of the Bahá'í communities in the Pacific basin.

403.3 The new Temple of light is the outward expression of the

illumination of hearts and minds by the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, that process initiated in these islands at the turn of the century and now reaching a mighty crescendo. The effulgent light of His Teachings has aroused stirrings in the friends, impelling them to apply these heavenly principles in their personal lives and in the daily activities of their communities. just as the spiritual illumination of the Bahá'ís is symbolized in the Temple, so the development of local community life in all its aspects, whether administrative or social, which flow from the fountainhead of faith in God's Revelation, will reach a fuller expression in the form of various dependencies around this edifice-dependencies which the Guardian described as "institutions of social service as shall afford relief 403-7.

403.4 The six other Mashriqu'l-Adhkar that have been constructed are found in Wilmette, near Chicago, U.S.A.; Kampala, Uganda; Ingleside, near Sydney, Australia; Langenhain, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Panama City, Panama; and New Delhi, India.


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to the suffering, sustenance to the poor, shelter to the wayfarer, solace to the bereaved, and education to the ignorant."8 The dedication of this noble edifice will undoubtedly mark the beginning of a new phase in the growth of the Faith in this hemisphere. The portents of success are many and varied. The friendliness and spiritual perceptiveness of the people of the Pacific, the freedom enjoyed by the friends in traveling and sharing their faith with others, the absence hitherto of organized and concerted opposition to the Faith, the relatively low level of infection by the forces of materialism so rapidly invading every part of the world, and the genuine simplicity of the mode of life of the peoples of these islands-all combine to make of the Pacific a region rich with promise for the further dramatic spread of the Faith and for the efflorescence of its community life.

403.5 Let the joyous spirit generated at this conference, reinforced by your common endeavors and crowned by your participation in the dedicatory ceremony, be the generating impulse for a mighty surge of teaching activity which will yield a vast increase in the number of followers of Bahá'u'lláh throughout the far-flung islands of the Pacific. As the Seven Year Plan hastens towards its conclusion, you have a priceless opportunity to take advantage of the favorable conditions in your region to win victories in the Plan which will astonish the world and will fulfill the great promises enshrined in our Writings.

404.1 Our prayers ascend at the Holy Threshold for the success of your selfless endeavors in the path of His Cause.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

404 Introduction of the Law of Huququ'llah to the West 6 AUGUST 1984 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

We are requested by the Universal House of Justice to thank you for Your letter Of 10 July 1984 recounting the electrifying events which took place at the closing session of your last National Convention. The House of Justice was deeply moved to learn of the enthusiastic response that the delegates and others present made to the inspiring talk given by the Hand of the Cause of God Zikrullah Khadem, and by their desire, expressed on the scroll which 403-8. BA, P. 184.


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you have forwarded to the World Center, for the Law of Huququ'llah to be applied to all believers in the United States.,

404.2 In response to this petition the Universal House of Justice has decided that, although it is not yet timely to apply this mighty law in the West, it will send to the believers in the United States and other Western countries a translation into English of a compilation of texts so that they will be able to familiarize themselves with this subject. This translation is now being prepared and when it is complete an appropriate announcement will be made which will constitute the first step in the process of applying this law of God to the Western Bahá'í communities.2

404.3 Kindly share this letter with the friends in your area of jurisdiction.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

405 Understanding the Laws of the Faith DATE: 12 AUGUST 1984

To: An individual Bahá'í From: The Universal House of Justice

405.1 .... We are very glad to see that the Assembly is taking steps to educate the friends in the laws of the Faith and to emphasize the importance of obedience to them.... 405.2 1. It would seem to be important to make clear to the friends that the "laws" of the Faith must be regarded in various lights. There are laws, ordinances, exhortations and principles, all of which are sometimes loosely referred to as "laws." All are very important for the life of the community and the spiritual life of the individual, but they are applied differently. Some affect the society and the social relationships, and the Spiritual Assemblies are responsible for their enforcement. If a believer breaks such a law, he is subject to the imposition of sanctions. Others, 404-i. At the Ridvan 1984 National Convention the Hand of the Cause of God Zikrullah Khadem spoke of the spiritual bounties that accrue when one obeys the law of Huququ'llah (Right of God). Delegates to the convention were moved to recommend that the National Spiritual Assembly ask the Universal House of Justice to make the law of Huqdq016h binding upon the Bahá'ís of the United States. The delegates, together with hundreds of visitors attending the convention, expressed the ardor of their

request by signing their names to a scroll. For information on Huququ'llah, see the glossary. 404-2. The compilation was sent to selected National Spiritual Assemblies with the 4 July 1985 letter (no. 430). For a copy of the compilation, see CC 1:4.89-527.


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although of very great importance, are not sanctionable, because their observance is a matter of conscience between the individual and God; among these fall the laws of prayer and fasting and the law of Huququ'llah. Then there are those high ethical standards to which Bahá'u'lláh calls His followers, such as trustworthiness, abstention from backbiting, and so on; generally speaking, obedience to these is a matter for individual conscience, and the Assemblies should not pry into people's lives to see whether or not they are following them; nevertheless, if a believer's conduct falls so far below the standard set by Bahá'u'lláh that it becomes a flagrant disgrace and brings the name of the Faith into disrepute, the Assembly would have to intervene, to encourage the believer to correct his ways, to warn him of the consequences of continued misconduct, and possibly, if he does not respond, to deprive him of his administrative rights. In other words, the friends should realize the importance Of following all the teachings and not assume that merely because an offense is not punishable it is therefore less grave. Assemblies, on the other hand, should distinguish clearly between those laws which it is their duty to enforce, those which should be left strictly to the conscience of the individual, and those in which it may have to intervene if the misbehavior is blatant and injurious to the good name of the Faith.... 406 Execution of Manuchihr Ruhi' 22 AUGUST 1984 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

MANOCHIHR ROW, WFLL-RESPECTED 52 YEAR OLD PHARMACIST, EXECUTED BY

406.1 FIRING SQUAD ON 16 AUGUST, IN BUJNORD, KHURASAN PROVINCE, IRAN, AFTER SPENDING ELEVEN MONTHS IN PRISON. ALL HIS PROPERTIES CONFISCATED. LIVES TWENTY-FIVF OTHER BAHA'IS IMPRISONED IN DIFFERENT PARTS COUNTRY AT STAKE AS DEATH

SENTENCES ALREADY PRONOUNCED AGAINST THEM.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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407 Roles of Parents within the Bahá'í Family 23 AUGUST 1984

To an individual Bahá'í

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

407.1

The Universal House of Justice has received your letter Of 29 July 1984 and has instructed us to send you the following reply.

407.2 The seeker to whom you refer seems to have misconstrued the Bahá'í teachings about the responsibility of the parents for the education of their children. The father certainly has a very important role to play. In the Kitab-i-Aqdas itself, Bahá'u'lláh revealed:

407.2a Unto every father hath been enjoined the instruction of his son and daughter in the art of reading and writing and in all that hath been laid down in the Holy Tablet. . . . He that bringeth up his son or the son of another, it is as though he hath brought up a son of Mine; upon him rest My Glory, My loving-kindness, My Mercy, that have compassed the world.,

407.3 The great importance attached to the mother's role derives from the fact that she is the first educator of the child. Her attitude, her prayers, even what she eats and her physical condition have a great influence on the child when it is still in the womb. When the child is born, it is she who has been endowed by God with the milk which is the first food designed for it, and it is intended that, if possible, she should be with the baby to train and nurture it in its earliest days and

months. This does not mean that the father does not also love, pray for, and care for his baby, but as he has the primary responsibility of providing for the family, his time to be with his child is usually limited, while the mother is usually closely associated with the baby during this intensely formative time when it is growing and developing faster than it ever will again during the whole of its life. As the child grows older and more independent, the relative nature of its relationship with its mother and father modifies and the father can play a greater role.

407.4 It may be helpful to stress to your seeker that the Bahá'í principle of the equality of men and women is clearly stated in the teachings, and the fact that there is diversity of function between them in certain areas does not negate this principle.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

407-1- KA T48


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408 Message to Youth Conference, London, Ontario 23 AUGUST 1984 To the Bahá'í Youth Conference in London, Ontario WE HAIL WITH JOY AND HOPE THE ENNOBLING PURPOSES OF YOUR CONFERENCE

408.1 IN LONDON, ONTARIO. YOU ARE GATHERED AT A MOMENT WHICH RESOUNDS WITH THE SIGNIFICANCES AND CHALLENGES POSED BY THE WORLD-SHAKING EVENTS ENVELOPING THE COMMUNITY OF THE GREATEST NAME IN BAHA'U'LLAH'S NATIVE LAND. THE OUTPOURING GRACE PROVIDENTIALLY VOUCHSAFED THE ONWARD MARCH OF OUR HOLY CAUSE AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THESE EVENTS IS CLEARLY EVIDENT. OUR HEARTS LEAP AT THE INNUMERABLE IMMEDIATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE

408.2 FURTHER UNFOLDMENT OF THE ORDER OF BAHA'U'LLAH TO WHICH UNDOUBTEDLY, YOU CAN AND WILL APPLY YOUR ABUNDANT TALENTS, YOUR ZEST FOR ACTION AND, ABOVE ALL, THE ENTHUSIASM OF YOUR DEVOTION. SURELY, YOU WILL SEE THAT THE HEROIC DEEDS OF SACRIFICE ON THE PART OF YOUR IRANIAN

BRETHREN ARE MATCHED WITH CORRESPONDING EFFORTS ON YOUR PART IN THE VAST FIELDS OF TEACHING AND SERVICE LYING OPEN BEFORE YOU. THE EXHORTATIONS ESPECIALLY ADDRESSED TO YOUTH BY OUR BELOVED 408.3

MASTER AND THE GALVANIZING INFLUENCE OF THE GUARDIAN'S GUIDANCE WILL ECHO EVEN MORE LOUDLY IN YOUR HEARTS NOW. INDEED, WE WILL PRAY

ARDENTLY AT THE HOLY SHRINES THAT YOU MAY REALIZE IN YOUR LIVES THE IDEALS THEY SO PERSISTENTLY UPHELD, THAT YOU MAY THUS "ACQUIRE BOTH INNER AND OUTER PERFECTIONS" AS YOU INCREASE YOUR STUDY OF THE HEAVENLY WRITINGS, STRIVE TOWARDS EXCELLENCE IN THE SCIENCES AND ARTS AND BECOME KNOWN FOR YOUR INDEPENDENCE OF SPIRIT, YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND YOUR SELFCONTROL.' MAY YOU, AS ABDU'L-BAHA WISHED, BE."FIRST AMONG THE PURE, THE FREE AND THE VASE .,2 UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

408-1. See CC 1:247. 408-2. SWAB, p. i50.


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409 Safeguarding the Letters of Shoghi Effendi 26 AUGUST 1984 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

409.1 In December 1967 the Universal House of Justice wrote to all National Spiritual Assemblies requesting them to send to the World Center originals or photocopies of letters from the beloved Guardian, or written on his behalf, and addressed to Bahá'í institutions or individual believers. The response to this request and to one issued in May 1975 was encouraging, but it is now clear that the originals and photocopies held at the World Center represent only a portion of the letters the Guardian is known to have written.,

409.2 The House of Justice is eager to pursue, as swiftly as possible, the task of tracing such vitally important documents, and has therefore given the Archives Office the urgent duty of collecting information which will enable it to work towards the completion of the collection held at the World Center.

409.3 In order to avoid giving institutions and believers a great deal of unnecessary labor, the Archives Office will be directing letters with specific guidelines to certain National Assemblies and individuals who are known to have received large numbers of letters from the Guardian, sending a list of the letters of which originals or satisfactory photocopies are already held at the World Center. The recipient will then be able to check whether he has any which have not been supplied to the World Center.

409.4 National Assemblies which have in their national archives only a small number of letters written by the Guardian, or on his behalf, could assist greatly by sending to the Archives Office at the World Center immediately a list of such letters, specifying in each case the name of the addressee and the date.

409.5 Although the majority of National Spiritual Assemblies have come into being since the passing of Shoghi Effendi, they may well have within their jurisdiction Local Spiritual Assemblies and individual believers who corresponded with the Guardian, or the children and grandchildren of such believers, who may have the

letters in their possession. Therefore, all National Spiritual

Assemblies are asked to publish a statement in their newsletters, requesting all Local Spiritual Assemblies and individuals who have in their possession original letters from the Guardian, or written on his behalf, to notify the World Center of that fact either directly or through their National Assembly. They should be asked to state the number of letters that they have and, if these are only a few, to list the date and the exact name of the addressee of each one. 409-1.

409.6 See letter dated 14 May 1975 (no. 161).


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In this announcement the National Assembly should stress the point made in earlier appeals: that any such letter is the property of the person to whom the beloved Guardian wrote, and that that person is perfectly entitled to keep the original or to pass it down in his family. He does not have to give it up to any Bahá'í Archives. In such a case, however, the Archives needs to have a good photocopy, and arrangements will be made for this to be done. Alternatively, if the individual wishes to give the original document into the safekeeping of the Archives, but would like to have a photocopy, this can be sent to him. It should also be mentioned that whenever the contents of a letter are seen to be confidential that confidentiality is respected. Since many believers may have already sent such letters to their National

409.7 Archives, National Assemblies are requested to send to the World Center a list of the names of those persons and other institutions, such as committees, for whom they hold originals or photocopies. This list will be checked here and the Archives Office will write in due course to inquire further as appears necessary.

409.5 In closing, the House of justice asks us to stress that it is not asking for any of the Guardian's letters to be sent now.

410.1 It merely wishes to collect

information so that the Archives Office can systematically work to trace those letters which are lacking from the World Center collection.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

410 Call for Pioneers 2 OCTOBER 1984 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í' Friends, The Universal House of Justice has asked us to convey the following with respect to settlement of pioneers since the opening of the third phase of the Seven Year Plan. Of a total number Of 298 pioneers called for in the last phase of the Plan, 410.2 23 posts have so far been filled.

Although many additional pioneers have also settled around the world, 275 pioneers are still needed to fill the posts originally assigned.

410.3 Furthermore, since the announcement last Ridvan of these pioneering goals, the Universal House of Justice has received reports of the need for additional pioneers to reinforce the Bahá'í work in many countries.


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410.4 In consultation with the International Teaching Center, outstanding goals have been reviewed, pioneer needs have been considered, and a supplementary pioneer call has been prepared and is attached., These additional assignments, which call for 88 pioneers to be sent by 18 National Spiritual Assemblies to 29 national communities, raise the total number of pioneer goals for this last phase of the Plan to

Those pioneers now preparing to leave for their posts should, of course, proceed with their plans.

410.5 As you are aware, less than two years remain in the current Plan. The countries assigned to supply pioneers are urged to send the quota of pioneers to the

territories named as quickly as circumstances permit. It is the hope of the Universal House of Justice that these goals may be filled for the most part by the end of the first year of the last phase, thereby helping to usher in the triumphant conclusion of the Seven Year Plan.

410.6 We have also been asked to emphasize that the pioneer goals, as announced at Ridvan and in this supplementary call, represent the minimum needs of some younger national communities. Settlement of pioneers above and beyond the goals assigned would be highly

meritorious.

410.7 The Continental Pioneer Committees stand ready to do all in their power to collaborate with you in the fulfillment of these important goals, and you should feel free to call upon them for any assistance you may find necessary.

410.8 You may be assured that the Universal House of Justice will supplicate the Almighty that you may succeed in discharging your sacred responsibilities.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

411 Martyrdom of Iranian National Spiritual Assembly Member Shapur Markazi; Death of Aminu'llah Qurbanpur in Prison 11 OCTOBER 1984

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

411.1 WITH HEAVY HEARTS ANNOUNCE MARTYRDOM SHAPUR MARKAZI OUTSTANDING SERVANT FAITH IN IRAN MEMBER PREVIOUS NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY AND AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBER. HE SUFFERED CRUEL TORTURE PAST FEW MONTHS. PURPOSE THESE TORTURES WAS FORCE HIM TO ADMIT FALSE CHARGES IMPLICATING Bahá'í INSTITUTIONS AS NETWORK ESPIONAGE AND HIMSELF AS SPY. HIS GROWING RESISTANCE INCREASED INTENSITY TORTURES WHICH MAY HAVE CAUSED HIS DEATH 23 SEPTEMBER. HE WAS BURIED 25 SEPTEMBER WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE RELATIVES FRIENDS. 410-i. The list is too lengthy to be included in this volume.


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REGRET ANNOUNCE ALSO PASSING AWAY IN PRISON OF Aminu'llah QURBANPOR 411.2 60 YEAR OLD MASON ON 25 AUGUST 1984. CAUSE DEATH UNKNOWN. HOWEVER BLOOD-STAINED CLOTHES RETURNED TO FAMILY TOGETHER WITH HIS RECENTLY WASHED SHOES MAKE CIRCUMSTANCES HIS DEATH SUSPICIOUS. HIS BODY WAS ALSO BURIED BY AUTHORITIES WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE RELATIVES.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 412 The Universal House of Justice's Power of Elucidation 25 OCTOBER 1984

To an individual Bahá'í

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

The Universal House of Justice has received your letter dated 4 September 412.1 1984 in which you seek further clarification about the qualitative difference between the Guardian's prerogative of interpretation and the power of elucidation of the Universal House of Justice, and raise questions about other aspects of the Teachings. We are directed to convey the following comments.

412.2 As you are aware, the Universal House of Justice has written three major messages which explain, among other things, the duties and functions shared by the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice, and those functions that are unique to each specific Institution.

412.3 These messages are published in Wellspring of Guidance, pp. 44-56, and pp. 81-91, and in Messages of the Universal House of Justice 68-73, pp. 37-44.' In relation to their specific functions, Shoghi Effendi explained that "it is made indubitably clear and evident that the Guardian of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the Word and that the Universal House of Justice has been invested with the function of legislating in matters not expressly revealed in the teachings."2 The use of the term "elucidation" by the Universal House of justice and the process by which it is implemented are based on passages in the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Bahá and statements in the writings of the Guardian. For example, in the Will and Testament, 'Abdu'l-Bahá states: It is incumbent upon these members (of the Universal House Of Justice) to ... deliberate upon all problems which have caused difference, questions that are obscure and matters that are not expressly recorded in the Book . . . and bear upon daily transactions, . . . (p. 20) 412-1. The three messages are included in this volume; see 9 March 1965 (no. 23), 27 May 1966 (no, 35), and 7 December 1969 (no. 75). 412-2. WOB, pp. 149-50.


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412.3b Further, in response to a question raised by the American National Spiritual Assembly about the Universal Court of Arbitration, the Guardian in a letter dated 9 April 1923, defined such explanation as being in the domain of the Universal House of Justice and anticipated its function of elucidation: 412.3c ... regarding the nature and scope of the Universal Court of Arbitration, this and other similar matters will have to be explained and elucidated by the Universal House of Justice, to which, according to the Master's

explicit Instructions, all important fundamental questions must be referred.... (Bahá'í Administration, P. 47)

412.4 In a letter dated 9 March 1965, the Universal House of Justice stresses the "profound difference" that exists between the "interpretations of the Guardian and the elucidations of the House of Justice in exercise of its function to 'deliberate upon all problems which have caused difference, questions that are obscure, and matters that are not expressly recorded in the Book."' (Wellspring of Guidance, p. 52) Among these is the outlining of such steps as are necessary to establish the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh on this earth. The elucidations of the Universal House of Justice stem from its legislative function, while the interpretations of the Guardian

represent the true intent inherent in the Sacred Texts. The major distinction between the two functions is that legislation with its resultant outcome of elucidation is susceptible of amendment by the House of Justice itself, whereas the Guardian's interpretation is a statement of truth which cannot be varied.

412.5 Shoghi Effendi has given categorical assurances that neither the Guardian nor the Universal House of Justice 11 can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other."3 Therefore, the friends can be sure that the Universal House of Justice will not engage in interpreting the Holy Writings. . . .

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

412-3- WOB, pp. 149-50.


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413 Execution of Member of Disbanded Iranian National Spiritual Assembly and of Bahá'ís from Karaj and Mashhad 8 NOVEMBER 1984 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

WITH SORROWFUL HEARTS WE ANNOUNCE EXECUTION OF THREE MORE BAHA'IS

413.1 IN IRAN, MR. AHMAD BASHIRI, MEMBER NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DISBANDED 29 AUGUST 1983, MR. YGNIS NAWROZNRANZAD, MEMBER LOCAL ASSEMBLY KARAJ. THESE TWO EXECUTED BY HANGING AND THE THIRD, MR. FIRUZ PURDIL, AN

413.2 ENGINEER FROM MASHHAD DETAILS OF WHOSE EXECUTION NOT YET KNOWN. IT IS CERTAIN THAT MR. BASHIRI IN HIS FIFTEEN MONTHS' IMPRISONMENT SUFFERED CRUEL INHUMAN TORTURES DESIGNED TO OBTAIN FALSE DECLARATION FROM HIM IMPLICATING DISBANDED Bahá'í ADMINISTRATION IN IRAN AS ESPIONAGE NETWORK HIS ENDURANCE, STEADFASTNESS, LIKE THAT OF HIS HEROIC FELLOW BELIEVERS, THWARTED INFAMOUS DESIGNS. MR. BASHIRI AND MR. NAWRUZI-IRANZAD ALONG WITH MR. SHAPOR MARKAZI PREVIOUSLY REPORTED WERE INCLUDED IN LIST BAHA'IS ALREADY CONDEMNED TO DEATH. THIS CAUSES GRAVE CONCERN FATE REMAINING VALIANT SOULS LANGUISHING IN PRISON.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 414 Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Shu'a'u'llah 'Ala'i 18 NOVEMBER 1984

414.1 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

GRIEVED ANNOUNCE PASSING HAND CAUSE SHU'A'U'LLAH ALA'I 16 NOVEMBER THUS ENDING MORE THAN 70 YEARS UNINTERRUPTED

DEDICATED SERVICES THRESHOLD BAHA'U'LLAH.' HE WAS TOWER STRENGTH CRADLE FAITH WHERE HE SERVED EMINENTLY, DEVOTEDLY IN ITS EMERGING ADMINISTRATIVE INSTITUTIONS SINCE THEIR INCEPTION. HIS MEMBERSHIP MANY DECADES NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, FREQUENTLY AS CHAIRMAN, BEARS WITNESS TRUST BAHA'IS IRAN PLACED HIS NOBLE PERSON. HIS EXEMPLARY COURAGE REPRESENTING INTERESTS FAITH HIGH

___ 44-1. For an account of the life and services of Shu'a'llah 'Ala'i, see BW 19:593.


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PLACES, HIS INTEGRITY PERFORMING OFFICIAL DUTIES ENHANCED PRESTIGE BELOVED FAITH HE SO DILIGENTLY SINCERELY CHAMPIONED ENTIRE LIFE. HIS MANIFOLD ACHIEVEMENTS CROWNED HONOR APPOINTMENT HAND CAUSE 29 FEBRUARY 1952. THIS ENABLED HIM EXTEND SERVICES FAITH INTERNATIONAL ARENA. SUPPLICATING SACRED

THRESHOLD PROGRESS RADIANT SOUL ABHA KINGDOM. ADVISE HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERINGS BAHA'I WORLD INCLUDING ALL Mashriqu'l-Adhkar UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 415 Invitation to Participate in the Formulation of the Next Plan 25 NOVEMBER 1984 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

415.1 At the Fifth International Convention held at Ridvan 1983, the delegates consulted on the challenging needs and opportunities of the Faith during the remaining years of this century. Since then, some National Spiritual Assemblies have continued this consultation within the framework of their

respective communities. As the Seven Year Plan draws to a close, the Universal House of Justice, with the aid of the International Teaching Center, is beginning to consider the next stage in the development of the Bahá'í world community, and the results of your consultation on the subject carried over from the Convention will be valuable to the formulation of the objectives of the next Plan. The House of Justice therefore invites your participation in the process of formulating a new Plan, and we are asked to request each of your Assemblies to send it your comments on the following points in view of the prevailing situation in the area under your jurisdiction. 415.2

1. Current Status and Specific Needs of the Bahá'í Community. What distinctive strengths and weaknesses do you see in your community? Are there any unusual features of the condition of the Faith in your community which must be taken into account in the formulation of the next Plan?

415.3

2. Condition of the Nation. Do the social, political and economic trends indicate any unusual opportunities or difficulties for the development of the Bahá'í

community in the immediate years ahead?

415.4 The House of Justice would appreciate concise but adequate comments, which it would like to receive at your earliest convenience, but no later than


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31 March 1985. Kindly send a copy of your comments to the Continental Board of Counselors. The House of justice anticipates with gratitude your cooperation in this 415.5 matter.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

416 Execution of Six Bahá'ís in Tehran 17 DECEMBER 1984

To National Spiritual Assemblies

REGRETFULLY ANNOUNCE SAD NEWS EXECUTION OF SIX BAHA'I FRIENDS IN

416.1 TEHRAN: DR. RUHU'LLAH TA'LIM FROM KIRMANSHAH, MR. FIRUZ ATHARI, MR. 'INAYATU'LLAH HAQIQI, MR. JAMSHID PUR-USTADKAR, MR. JAMAL KASHANI, MR. GHULAM HUSAYN FARHAND. THE LAST FIVE PREVIOUSLY NOTIFIED TO YOU AS AMONG THOSE CONDEMNED TO DEATH. FATE OF REMAINING 19 IN BALANCE. ALL EXECUTIONS TOOK PLACE ON ONE DAY, 9 DECEMBER. DETAILS ARE UNKNOWN AS NEITHER RELATIVES FRIENDS WERE INFORMED. FACT OF EXECUTIONS DISCOVERED 8 DAYS LATER.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

417 Execution of Dr. Farhad Asdaqi after Four Months of Torture; Death of Two Bahá'ís in Tabriz after More Than Two Years' Imprisonment 18 DECEMBER 1984

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

FURTHER OUR TELEX 17 DECEMBER WE SORROWFULLY ANNOUNCE NEWS EXECU-

417.1 TION BY HANGING OF DR. FARHAD Asdaqi ON 19 NOVEMBER AFTER FOUR MONTHS IMPRISONMENT AND TORTURE. MR. DIYAU'LLAH MANNI-USKU'I AND MR. 'ALI-RIDA NIYAKAN DIED IN TABRIZ PRISON 13TH AND 11TH NOVEMBER RESPECTIVELY AFTER TWO AND A HALF YEARS IMPRISONMENT. CAUSE DEATHS NOT ESTABLISHED. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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418 Adoption of Another Oppressive Measure by the Iranian Government 3 JANUARY 1985 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

418.1 DISTRESSED INFORM YOU THAT RECENTLY IRANIAN GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCED ANOTHER OPPRESSIVE MEASURE AGAINST BAHA'I

PRISONERS. IN ORDER TO BE RELEASED PRISONER MUST SIGN FOLLOWING

UNDERTAKING: "I THE UNDERSIGNED [DETAILS OF PERSONAL STATUS INCLUDING RELIGION] UNDERTAKE NOT TO HAVE IN MY POSSESSION ANY BOOK, PAMPHLET, DOCUMENT, SYMBOL OR PICTURE OF THIS MISGUIDED, ZIONIST, ESPIONAGE GROUP OF Bahá'ís. IF ANY OF THE ABOVEMENTIONED ARTICLES BELONGING TO THIS HATED UNDERGROUND MOVEMENT IS FOUND ON MY PERSON OR IN MY HOME, THIS WILL BE TANTAMOUNT TO MY BEING OF THOSE'WHO WAR AGAINST GOD'AND THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL WOULD BE FREE TO DECIDE AGAINST ME IN THE MANNER HE DEEMS FIT." THE TERMINOLOGY "WHO WAR AGAINST GOD" IS A TERM USED BY PRESENT REGIME TO SIGNIFY A CRIME DESERVING SENTENCE OF DEATH. BAHA'I PRISONERS HAVE REFUSED SIGN SUCH AN INFAMOUS DOCUMENT FALSELY IMPUGNING THEIR FAITH. MOREOVER -SIGNING SUCH A DOCUMENT WOULD LEAVE BAHUS OPEN TO HAVING SUCH ITEMS PLANTED ON THEIR PERSON OR IN THEIR HOMES. WAVE OF RECENT ARRESTS OF BARUS SUGGESTS THAT AUTHORITIES PLAN EXERT PRESSURE ALL BAHA'IS To SIGN SUCH AN IMPOSSIBLE UNDERTAKING. OBVIOUSLY FAITHFUL FRIENDS WILL REFUSE SUCCUMB SUCH CONTEMPTIBLE PLAN.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 419 Renewed Call for Support of International Funds 3 JANUARY 1985 To the Followers of Bahá'u'lláh in every Land Dearly loved Friends,

419.1 Twelve months have passed since we addressed to the devoted followers of the Blessed Beauty throughout the world a message in which we outlined the major challenges which face the Cause of God and the thrilling opportunities which are presenting themselves for us to use in His Service.'

419.2 There was an immediate and heartwarming

response in offers of service, in plans of action put promptly into effect, and in contributions to the Fund. 419-1. See message no. 385.


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The activities of the friends are still increasing, and evidences of rich harvests are appearing. In India alone, over 150,000 new believers have joined the Bahá'í community; in Samoa the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar has been dedicated amidst unprecedented recognition of the Cause; in Canada, at the conference held in London, Ontario, an upsurge of activity among the Bahá'í youth has started a movement which has caught the imagination of the friends far and wide., In relation to the Fund, however, the rate of contributions during the second six months of the year has slowed seriously, and we feel it is timely to draw to your attention that our letter of z January 1984 was not an appeal for a one-time herculean effort, but was intended to inform the whole world community of the present great challenges and opportunities which are not only immediate but require also a long-range, sustained increase in the efforts and self-sacrifices of the friends, both in service and in contributing from their financial resources to the advancement of the Faith. The challenges which we enumerated then are by no means met, nor the 419.4 opportunities wholly seized. The Indian Mashriqu'l-Adhkar a building of great size and beauty, is still unfinished; plans for the further development of the World Center, for the design and erection of the three remaining buildings on the Arc must be laid in full confidence that the funds for their completion will be made available;3 projects for social and economic development, for the establishment of Bahá'í schools and radio

stations, for agricultural advancement, and a wide range of other urgently needed activities are multiplying; worldwide attention to the Faith has increased during the past year with even greater rapidity than before, demanding new measures to coordinate public information services and contacts with governments and leaders of thought; and last, but near to the hearts of all, is the need of funds to assist in the relief of those hard-pressed believers who have been forced to leave Iran, often penniless and in great distress, seeking to build a new life in other parts of the world. Last April we were deeply touched by receiving a petition from the delegates gathered at the National Convention of the Bahá'ís of the United States, requesting that the Law of Huququ'llah be made binding on all the believers in that country.4 Although it is not yet the time to take this far-reaching step, 419-2. For the dedication of the House of Worship in Western Samoa, see message dated August 1984 (no. 403). For the message to the youth conference in London, Ontario, see telex dated 23 August 1984 (no. 408). 419-3. The Indian Temple was dedicated On 23-27 December 1986. The three buildings yet to be constructed on the Arc on Mount Carmel are the International Bahá'í Library and the seats for the International Teaching Center and the Center for the Study of the Texts. 419-4. For information on the law of Huququ'llah, see the glossary. For information on the introduction of Huququ'llah to the West, see message dated 6 August 1984 (no. 404). In its Ridvan message of 1991, the Universal House of Justice noted the "exceptional confluence" of a number of imminent achievements (the publication of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the progress of the


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we were moved to decide that, as a preliminary measure, the texts relating to the Law of Huququ'llah will be translated into English for general information against the time when this law will be applied more

widely.5

419.6 However, important as is the Law of Huququ'llah, the devoted followers of Bahá'u'lláh have, even without it, every opportunity to contribute regularly and sacrificially to the work of the Cause. It is to a greater realization of the privilege and

responsibility of supporting the multiple activities of our beloved Faith that we call you A at this critical time in world history, and remind you that to support the Bahá'í funds is an integral part of the Bahá'í way of life. The need is not only now, but throughout the years to come, until our exertions, reinforced by confirmations from on high, will have overcome the great perils now facing mankind and have made this world another world a world whose splendor and grace will surpass our highest hopes and greatest dreams.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

420 International Year of Peace 23 JANUARY 1985 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

420.1 1986 has been named the International Year of Peace by the United Nations. Considering the dangers surrounding mankind and the remedial prospects of the Lesser Peace to which Bahá'u'lláh has summoned the nations, we embrace this God-sent

opportunity to proclaim ever more widely and convincingly the vitalizing principles upon which, as our Teachings emphatically

assert, a lasting peace must be founded., The nature and variety of the proclamation activities which the Bahá'í community will undertake, during 1986 and beyond, will be outlined in detail later. We wish now to indicate some of the ideas we are contemplating, so that you may sense what to expect and how to prepare for your own participation. building projects on Mount Carmel, the conclusion of the Six Year Plan, and the inception of the Holy Year 1992) and announced that, as of Ridvan 1992, the law of Huququ'llah would become universally applicable to "all who profess their belief in the Supreme Manifestation of God." 419-5. The compilation was sent to selected National Spiritual Assemblies with the 4 July 1985 message (no. 430). For a copy of the compilation, see CC 1:489-527. 420-i.

420.3 For a discussion of the Lesser Peace, see the glossary.


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In addition to projects to be initiated at the World Center, these ideas 420.2 include: -Calling upon local and national Bahá'í communities to sponsor a wide 421.2. range of activities which will engage the attention of people from all walks of life to various topics relevant to peace, such as: the role of women, the elimination of racism, the eradication of prejudice, the promotion of education, the extension of social and economic development, the adoption of a world auxiliary language, the establishment of world government; - Mounting a publicity campaign which will make use of such themes as 421.2b "world peace through world religion," "world peace through world education," "world peace through world language," "world peace through world law"-a campaign which could lead to discussion of these subjects in small or large gatherings, at local or national levels, and perhaps in collaboration with organizations promoting such ideas; -Urging the publishing

within and without the Bahá'í community of a 421.2c wide assortment of literature, posters and other graphic materials on peace; -Requesting Bahá'í' magazines -children, youth, adult-whether 421.2d intended for internal or external circulation, to carry special features on peace; -Inviting Bahá'í radio stations to devote particular attention to this 421.2e theme; -Asking the Associations for Bahá'í Studies to conduct programs on 421.2f peace; -Encouraging Bahá'í artists and musicians to contribute, and consider 421.2g inviting their non-Bahá'í colleagues to contribute, to the effectiveness of such activities by giving expression through the various arts to important themes relating to world peace. In effect, we envision a proclamation campaign which will not only involve large public events and the use of the mass media, but will also engage people at the grassroots and at all other levels of society in a broad range of profoundly effective activities through which they will interact with the Bahá'í community in a sustained, worldwide effort to attend to the fundamental issues of peace, aided by the unique insights provided by the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh.

420.4 As you contemplate what possibilities these and similar ideas Suggest for your own plans, we advise you to take preparatory steps to hold within your jurisdiction, during 1986, local and national peace conferences to which public officials and other prominent persons should be invited. In those places where


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national conferences may not be possible, local conferences should certainly be held.

420.5 In some regions, neighboring National Assemblies may find it convenient to pool their resources and hold regional conferences instead of national ones. These need not be very large, but should be effective enough to make a good impression on the public as well as on the national Bahá'í communities involved. It is left to the initiative of the National Assemblies, in consultation with Continental Counselors, to hold such conferences.

420.6 Simultaneously as you make initial arrangements for the conferences, you will also want to find out what plans are being made by the governments and organizations in your respective countries, so that you will know beforehand how to coordinate your own programs with the programs of others in ways most conducive to the proclamation of the Faith and the mutual benefit of all concerned.

420.7 We would welcome any thoughts and suggestions you may have on the activities to be undertaken by you during the International Year of Peace.

420.8 Your planning efforts for 1986 must not, of course, interrupt the work of the Seven Year Plan. Indeed, the activities associated with the economic and social

development of the Bahá'í community, the observance during 1985 Of International Youth Year, and the anticipated activities for the peace campaign to begin a year hence are mutually reinforcing and go far to enhance the teaching opportunities necessary to the successful completion of the Plan. We have every confidence that your continuing exertions to meet the new challenges resulting from the emergence of the Faith from obscurity will be richly rewarded by the Blessed

Beauty; and we shall renew our supplications at the Holy reshold that your brightest expectations may be surpassed by resounding triumph.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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421 Execution of Ruhu'llah Hasuri in Yazd; Confirmation of Death in prison of Rustam Varjavandi

29 JANUARY 1985 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

JUST RECEIVED NEWS EXECUTION YAZD, RUHU'LLAH HASURI, 35 YEARS OLD. HE

421.1 WAS SHOT IN PRISON. NEWS DEATH IN PRISON TEHRAN RUSTAM VARJAVANDI 15 SEPTEMBER CONFIRMED. THIS BRINGS TO 178 NUMBER THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES FOR FAITH. SINCE 3 SEPTEMBER 16 Bahá'ís HAVE BEEN KILLED OR HAVE DIED IN PRISON, 101 IMPRISONED AND 79 RELEASED, SOME OF WHOM HAD NOT PREVIOUSLY BEEN REPORTED IMPRISONED. TOTAL NUMBER NOW IN PRISON, AS FAR AS CAN BE ASCERTAINED, IS 707. GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES WHO WERE DISMISSED OR THEIR PENSIONS STOPPED BECAUSE OF THEIR FAITH ARE NOW BEING SUMMONED BY ATTORNEY-GENERAL AND COMPELLED PAY BACK ALL THE SALARIES RECEIVED FOR MANY YEARS, EVEN DECADES, FAILING WHICH THEY WILL BE IMPRISONED. CAUSE MANY RECENT IMPRISONMENTS IS INABILITY TO PAY BACK SALARIES BAHA'IS HAD RECEIVED WHILE LAWFULLY EMPLOYED BY GOVERNMENT... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 422 Elucidation of the Lesser Peace and the Supreme Tribunal 31 JANUARY 1985 To an individual Bahá'í Dear Bahá'í Friend, The Universal House of Justice has received your letter Of 13 December 422.1 1984 inquiring about the Lesser Peace and the Supreme Tribunal referred to in the writings of the Faith. We are asked to convey the following comments.

422.2 Bahá'u'lláh's principal mission in appearing at this time in human history is the realization of the oneness of mankind and the establishment of peace among the nations; therefore, all the forces which are focused on accomplishing these ends are influenced by His Revelation. We know, however, that peace will come in stages. First, there will come the Lesser Peace, when the unity of nations will be achieved, then gradually the Most Great Peace-the spiritual as well as social and political unity of mankind, when the Bahá'í World Commonwealth, operating in strict accordance with the laws and


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ordinances of the Most Holy Book of the Bahá'í Revelation,' will have been established through the efforts of the Bahá'ís.

422.3 As to the Lesser Peace, Shoghi Effendi has explained that this will initially be a political unity arrived at by decision of the governments of various nations; it will not be established by direct action of the Bahá'í community. This does not mean, however, that the Bahá'ís are standing aside and waiting for the Lesser Peace to come before they do something about the peace of mankind. Indeed, by promoting the principles of the Faith, which are indispensable to the maintenance of peace, and by fashioning the instruments of the Bahá'í Administrative Order, which we are told by the beloved Guardian is the pattern for future society, the Bahá'ís are constantly engaged in laying the groundwork for a permanent peace, the Most Great Peace being their ultimate goal.

422.4 The Lesser Peace itself will pass through stages; at the initial stage the governments will act entirely on their own without the conscious involvement of the Faith; later on, in God's good time, the Faith will have a direct influence on it in ways indicated by Shoghi Effendi in his "The Goal of a New World Order.", In connection with the steps that will lead to this latter stage, the Universal House of Justice will certainly determine what has to be done, in accordance with the guidance in the Writings, such as the passage you quoted from Tablets Bahá'u'lláh, page 89. In the meantime, the

Bahá'ís will undoubtedly continue to do all in their power to promote the establishment of peace.

422.5 The Universal House of Justice is greatly pleased with the initiative you have taken with others to start an organization through which youth can contribute their considerable energies and creative abilities towards fostering world peace. It fully appreciates the wisdom of your approach in not

affiliating your organization directly with the Faith and finds your leaflet describing the aims of Youth for World Peace most impressive. Since 1986 has been designated the International Year of Peace by the United Nations, your efforts are timely and will blend with the activities to be undertaken by the Bahá'í community during that year and beyond.

422.6 In your worthy endeavors to pursue your goal to create a peace movement of youth around the world which would draw non-Bahá'í youth within the influence of Bahá'í concepts, you should seek the advice of your National Spiritual Assembly, which is in a position to give you necessary advice.

422.7 Regarding your question about the Supreme Tribunal, enclosed arc a few extracts from statements by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi on this subject; also included is a statement on the Lesser Peace. 422-1.

422.8 The Kitab-i-Aqdas, Bahá'u'lláh's Book of Laws. 422-2. See WOB, pp. 29-48.


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We are asked by the House of Justice to assure you of its ardent prayers in the Holy Shrines that your noble efforts may contribute significantly to the upraising of the banner of peace in the world.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

From the Writings of Abdu'l-Bahá' So long as these prejudices survive, there will be continuous and fearsome wars.

422.9 To remedy this condition there must be universal peace.

422.10 To bring this about, a Supreme Tribunal must be established, representative of all governments and peoples; questions both national and international must be referred thereto, and all must carry out the decrees of this Tribunal.

422.11 Should any government or people disobey, let the whole world arise against that government or people. (Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Bahá, [Rev. ed.] [Haifa: Bahá'í World Center, 1982], p. 249) For example, the question of universal peace, about which Bahá'u'lláh says that the Supreme Tribunal must be established: although the League of Nations has been brought into existence, yet it is incapable of establishing universal peace.3 But the Supreme Tribunal which Bahá'u'lláh has described will fulfill this sacred task with the utmost might and power. And His plan is this: that the national assemblies of each country and nation-that is to say parliaments-should elect two or three persons who are the choicest of that nation, and are well informed concerning international laws and the relations between governments and aware of the essential needs of the world of humanity in this day. The number of these representatives should be in proportion to the number of inhabitants of that country. The election of these souls who are chosen by the national assembly, that is, the parliament, must be confirmed by the upper house, the congress and the cabinet and also by the president or monarch so these persons may be the elected ones of all the nation and the government. The Supreme Tribunal will be composed of these 422-3. The League of Nations was an organization for international cooperation established at the initiative of the Allied powers in 1919 at the end of World War I. It was based on a covenant calling for joint action by League members against an aggressor, arbitration of international disputes, reduction of armaments, and open diplomacy. The League was weakened by the United States' failure to join as a result of the Congress's rejection of membership and by the dissatisfaction of Japan, Italy, and Germany with the terms of the Versailles Treaty following World War I. Moreover, the League had no power to enforce its covenant apart from the ability of member states to take united and determined action against a belligerent state. Thus its failure to prevent Japanese expansion in Manchuria and China, Italy's conquest of Ethiopia, or Hitter's repudiation of the Versailles Treaty thoroughly discredited the League and rendered it powerless to avert World War 11.


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people and all mankind will thus have a share therein, for every one of these delegates is fully representative of his nation. When the Supreme Tribunal gives a ruling on any international question, either unanimously or by majority rule, there will no longer be any pretext for the plaintiff or ground of objection for the defendant. In case any of the governments or nations, in the execution of the irrefutable decision of the Supreme Tribunal, be negligent or dilatory, the rest of the nations will rise up against it, because all the governments and nations of the world are the supporters of this Supreme Tribunal. Consider what a firm foundation this is! But by a limited and restricted League the purpose will not be realized as it ought and should. This is the truth about the situation, which has been stated.... (Tablet to the Executive Committee of the Central Organization for a Durable Peace, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Bahá, pp. 306-7)

422.1 2A">

422.1 2A
Supreme Tribunal shall be established by the peoples and Governments of every nation, composed of members elected from each country and Government. The members of this Great Council shall assemble in unity. All disputes of an international character shall be submitted to this Court, its work being to arrange by arbitration everything which otherwise would be a cause of war. The mission of this Tribunal would be to prevent war. (Paris Talks: Addresses Given by Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris in 1911-_1912, 11th ed. [London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 19791, P. 155) From letters written on behalf of the Guardian to individual believers The Supreme Tribunal

422.13 The Universal Court of Arbitration and the International Tribunal are the same. When the Bahá'í State will be established they will be merged in the Universal House of Justice. (17 June 1933)

422.1 4As regards the International Executive referred to by the Guardian in his "Goal of a New World Order," it should be noted that this statement refers by no means to the Bahá'í Commonwealth of the future, but simply to that world

government which will herald the advent and lead to the final establishment of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh.

422.15 The formation of this International Executive, which corresponds to the executive head or board in present-day national governments, is but a step leading to the Bahá'í world government of the future, and hence should not be identified with either the institution of the Guardianship or that of the International House of Justice. (17 March 1934) (refers to pp. 40-41 of The World Order of Baha'u'1Uh)


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i and z The Supreme Tribunal is an aspect of a World Super-state; the exact nature of its relationship to that State we cannot at present foresee. (19 November 1945) The above statement was in reply to the following questions:

422.16 L.

422.17 Is the Supreme Tribunal the world court or world tribunal referred to in "The Unfoldment of World Civilization," P. 43, and "Goal of a New World Order, " P. 202 [See The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 203 and 41] Is it part of the world Super-State just as our Supreme Court is part of the federal government at Washington? 2.Will the Supreme Tribunal (a world court) exist apart from the world government? The Lesser Peace With reference to the question you have asked concerning the time and means through which the Lesser and Most Great Peace, referred to by Bahá'u'lláh, will be established, following the coming World War:4Ybur view that the Lesser Peace will come about through the political efforts of the states and nations of the world, and independently of any direct Bahá'í plan or effort, and the Most Great Peace be established through the instrumentality of the believers, and by the direct operation of the laws and principles revealed by Bahá'u'lláh and the functioning of the Universal House of Justice as the supreme organ of the Bahá'í superstate-your view on this subject is quite correct and in full accord with the pronouncements of the Guardian as embodied in "The Unfoldment of World Civilization." 5 (14 March 1939) 422-4. World War II. 422-5. See WOB, pp. 16i-206.


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423 Passing of Lloyd Gardner, Continental Counselor 7 MARCH 1985 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

423. 1 DEEPLY GRIEVED UNTIMELY PASSING ESTEEMED LLOYD GARDNER STALWART DEFENDER INTERESTS FAITH AMERICAS.' HIS DISTINGUISHED LONGTIME SERVICE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CANADA AND MEMBERSHIP BOARD COUNSELORS AMERICAS SINCE INCEPTION

MARKED BY INDEFATIGABLE LABORS ALL ASPECTS TEACHING WORK AND COMMUNITY LIFE, NOTABLY YOUTH ACTIVITIES. HIS STERLING CHARACTER, HIGH INTEGRITY, WARM-HEARTED NATURE, TOTAL DEDICATION FAITH WORTHY EMULATION. FERVENTLY PRAYING HOLY SHRINES PROGRESS HIS LUMINOUS SPIRIT ABHA KINGDOM AND SOLACE HIS SORROWING FAMILY. ADVISING ALL COMMUNITIES AMERICAS OFFER PRAYERS IN HIS NAME. REQUESTING NATIONAL ASSEMBLY UNITED STATES HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERING TEMPLE WILMETTE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

424 Execution of Ruhu'llah Bahramshahi in Yazd and Nusratu'llah Subhani in Tehran 14 MARCH 1985

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

RECENTLY SAD NEWS OF FURTHER EXECUTIONS OF TWO Bahá'ís IN IRAN RECEIVED. MR. RUHU'LLAH BAHRAMSHAHI, AGE 50, EXECUTED YAZD 25 FEBRUARY, MR. NUSARATU'LLAH SUBHANI IN TEHRAN 5 MARCH.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 423-1. For an account of the life and services of Lloyd Gardner, see BW 19:663-65.


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425 Human Suffering and the Reconstruction of Society 14 MARCH 1985

To an individual Bahá'í

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

Your letter of 16 January 1985 in which you share the anguish of your heart 4251 and express deep concern for the fate of the suffering masses of mankind has been received by the Universal House of Justice. We are instructed to convey this reply to you.

425.2 The world is clearly beset by ills and is groaning under the burden Of appalling suffering. The trials of the innocent are indeed heartrending and constitute a mystery that the mind of man cannot fathom. Even the Prophets of God Themselves have borne Their share of grievous afflictions in every age. Yet in spite of the evidence of all this suffering, God's Manifestations, Whose lives and wisdom show Them to have been far above human beings in understanding, unitedly bear testimony to the justice, love and mercy of God.

425.3 To understand the condition of the world it is necessary to step back, so to speak, to gain a clearer view of the panorama of God's great redemptive Major Plan, which is shaping the destiny of mankind according to the operation of the divine Will., It should not be surmised that the calamitous events transpiring in all corners of the globe are random and lack purpose, though individually they may be difficult to comprehend.

425.4 According to the words of our beloved Guardian: "The invisible hand is at work and the convulsions taking place on earth are a prelude to the proclamation of the Cause of God."2 We can confidently anticipate therefore, the arrival of the "new life-giving spring" once the destructive icy blasts of winter's tempests have run their course.3 As Bahá'ís, we know that the 'sovereign remedy' for each and every one of these ills ties in turning and submitting to the 'skilled, 11 the "all-powerful" and "inspired Physician." Bahá'u'lláh has assured us in His writings that God has not forsaken us. He is the All-Seeing and All-Knowing, the "prayer-hearing, prayer-answering God" to those who turn to Him in supplication, and He intervenes actively in human history by sending His Manifestations, Sources of knowledge and spiritual truth to "liberate the children of men from 425-1. God's Major Plan is the plan for humanity that He Himself directs, that is tumultuous in its progress, that works through humanity as a whole and welds humankind into a unified body through the fires of suffering and tribulation. Its first goal is the Lesser Peace, the political unification of the world (see glossary). Its ultimate object is the Kingdom of God on earth. 425-2. From an unpublished letter. 425-3- SAQ P. 74.


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the darkness of ignorance" and to "ensure the peace and tranquillity of mankind."4 In this Age, God has determined to establish His everlasting Kingdom among men, and so, to this end, He sent us the spirit and message of the New Day through two successive Manifestations, Who alas, were rejected by the generality of people. 425.5 ' When we contemplate the fate of mankind, it is important to reflect on the very complex arena in which man plays out the drama of his existence. There are a number of elements involved. For example, man, is a spiritual being located within the material creation; hence he is subjected to opposing

forces, and has to live in accordance with values which refer to two worlds, the material world with all its imperfections and the spiritual world with its perfections. Tension derives from the fact that "In man there are two natures; his spiritual or higher nature and his material or lower nature. In one he approaches God, in the other he lives for the world alone."5 Man's actions then have both a material and spiritual consequence. While the material effect of his actions is usually clearly perceptible, their spiritual effect can only be determined by reference to spiritual principles revealed by the Manifestation of God. Suffering and trials, sent by God to test and perfect His creatures, are another integral part of life. They contain the potential for man's progress or retrogression, depending on the individual's response. As 'Abdu'l-Bahá explains:

425.5a The souls who bear the tests of God become the manifestations of great bounties; for the divine trials cause some souls to become entirely lifeless, while they cause the holy souls to ascend to the highest degree of love and solidity ... 6

425.5b In addition to the factors associated with man's station and nature, the Writings

indicate that man's soul "is independent of all infirmities of body or mind," and not only continues to exist "after departing from this mortal world," but progresses "through the bounty and grace of the Lord."7 Therefore, an evaluation of man's material existence and achievements cannot ignore the potential spiritual development stimulated by the individual's desire to manifest the attributes of God and his response to the exigencies of his life, nor can it exclude the possibility of the operations of God's mercy in terms of compensation for earthly suffering, in the next life.

425.6 God in His bounty has endowed every created thing, however humble, "with the capacity to exercise a particular influence, and been made to possess a distinct virtue."' And, reminiscent of the parable of the talents (Matthew

___ 425-4. GWB, p. 255; BP, p. 163; GWB, pp. 79-80. 425-5. PT, p. 60. 425-6. TABA 2:324. 425-7- GWB, p. 154; SAQ P. 240. 425-8. GWB, p, 189.


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25:14-30), Bahá'u'lláh in the Gleanings (page 149), draws our attention to the need to make efforts to develop and demonstrate in action our God-given potential: All that which ye potentially possess can, however, be manifested only 425.6a as a result of your own volition. Your own acts testify to this truth Is it not an evidence of the justice of God that each of us, whether materially comfortable or struggling for physical survival, is assessed in terms of the efforts we have made to seize whatever opportunities existed in our lives, to develop and use our allotted talent, be it large or small? "Each shall receive his share from thy Lord," is Bahá'u'lláh's assurance.9 Thus, if we bestir ourselves, we will all have access to the rewards of this life and the next. In the same passage from the Gleanings, Bahá'u'lláh also raises the Possibility that possessing free Will, human beings may well commit evil and "wittingly" break "His law." By the exercise of his free will, man either affirms his spiritual purpose in life or chooses to perpetuate evil by living below his highest station. The question is asked: "Is such a behavior to be attributed to God, or to their proper selves?" And concludes: Every good thing is of God, and every evil thing is from yourselves. . .

425.7a The amelioration of the conditions of the world requires the reconstruction of human society and efforts to improve the material well-being of humanity. The Bahá'í approach to this task is evolutionary and multifaceted, involving not only the spiritual transformation of individuals but the establishment of an administrative system based on the application of justice, a system which is at once the "nucleus" and the "pattern' of the future World Order, together with the implementation of programs of social and economic development that derive their impetus from the grass roots of the community." Such an integrated approach will inevitably create a new world, a world where human dignity is restored and the burden of inequity is lifted from the shoulders of humanity. Then will the generations look back with heartfelt appreciation, for the sacrifices made by Bahá'ís and non-Bahá'ís alike, during this most turbulent period in human history.

425.9 With regard to your concern that certain remote geographical regions have historically been deprived of Divine Revelation, the following extracts indicate that there are many other Prophets Who have appeared in the world, but Whose names are not mentioned in the Scriptures with which we are familiar, for example: 425-9. GWB, P. 170. 425-10. GWB, p. i4q. 425-u. WOB, p. 144.


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425.9a And to every people have we sent an apostle (Qur'an, XVI, 38) 425.9bGod hath raised up Prophets and revealed Books as numerous as the creatures of the world, and will continue to do so to everlasting. (Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 125)

425.9c Know thou that the absence of any reference to them [Prophets before Adam] is no proof that they did not actually exist. That no records concerning them are now available, should be attributed to their extreme remoteness, as well as to the vast

changes which the earth hath undergone since their time. (Gleanings, p. 172)

425.9d While Asia has clearly been blessed as the birthplace of many Manifestations of God, we have found nothing in the Writings to suggest exactly where in the world these Messengers of God in the remote past, may have arisen. In a letter written on behalf of the Guardian, we have the promise that ". . . there always have been Manifestations of God, but we do not have any record of Their names."12

425.10 We are instructed to assure you that the Universal House of Justice will offer prayers at the Holy Shrines that your faith may be deepened and your perplexities resolved, and we share with you these solacing words of Bahá'u'lláh:

425.10a O My servants! Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes. You are destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits, to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of the sustaining grace.

426.1 To each and every one of them you will, no doubt, attain. (Gleanings, P. 329)

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

425-12. LG, P. 503.


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426 Responsibilities of Youth at the Age of Maturity ii APRIL 1985

To an individual Bahá'í

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

The Universal House of Justice received your very thoughtful letter and instructs us to convey the following answer to you.

426.2 While some opportunities for service in the Administrative Order are clearly reserved for those who are over twenty-one years of age, the importance of attaining spiritual maturity at the age of fifteen is that it marks that point in life at which the believer takes firmly into his own hands the responsibility for his spiritual destiny. At age fifteen, the individual has the privilege of affirming, in his own name, his faith in Bahá'u'lláh. For while the children of Bahá'í parents are considered to be Bahá'ís, they do not automatically inherit the Faith of their parents. Therefore, when they come of age, they must, of their own volition, express their belief.

426.3 Having reached the age of fifteen, Bahá'í youth are personally responsible for certain spiritual activities such as observing the obligation of daily prayer, keeping the Fast, and they are invited to participate in Bahá'í youth activities. The significance of the age of maturity, however, goes far beyond the fulfillment of responsibilities. The following extract from a Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Bahá links the attainment of maturity with the deepening of one's understanding and comprehension of the realities of life, and the enhancement of one's very capacity for understanding: Know thou that before maturity man liveth from day to day and 426.3a comprehendeth only such matters as are superficial and outwardly obvious. However, when he cometh of age he understandeth the realities of things and the inner truths. indeed, in his comprehension, his feelings, his deductions and his discoveries, every day of his life after maturity is equal to a year before it. The signing of a card is simply the means by which the individual indicates his desire to be registered as a Bahá'í youth, as a member of the Bahá'í community, and it enables the National Spiritual Assembly to keep an accurate record of the membership of the community... The Universal House of Justice assures you that it will offer prayers at the

426.5 Holy Shrines that you will strive to become an active and enlightened servant of the Cause of God.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT


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427 Ridvan Message 1985 RIDVAN 1985

TO the Bahá'ís of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

427.1 As we enter the final year of the Seven Year Plan, confidence of victory and a growing sense of the opening of a new stage in the onward march of the Faith must arouse in every Bahá'í heart feelings of gratitude and eager expectation. Victory in the Plan is now within sight, and at its completion the summation of its achievements may well astonish us all. But the great, the historic feature of this period is the emergence of the Faith from obscurity, promoted by the steadfast heroism of the renowned, the indefatigable, dearly loved Bahá'í community of Bahá'u'lláh's and the Bab's native land.,

427.2 This dramatic change in the status of the Faith of God, occurring at so chaotic a moment in the world's history when statesmen and leaders and governors of human institutions are witnessing, with increasing

despair, the bankruptcy and utter ineffectiveness of their best

efforts to stay the tide of disruption, forces upon us, the Bahá'ís, the obligation to consider anew and ponder deeply the beloved Guardian's statement that "The principle of the Oneness of Mankind -- the pivot round which all the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh revolves . . . implies an organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has riot yet experienced."',

427.3 Intimations in the non-Bahá'í world of a rapidly growing realization that mankind is indeed entering a new stage in its evolution present us with unprecedented opportunities to show that the Bahá'í world community is not only "the nucleus but the very pattern" of that world society which it is the purpose of Bahá'u'lláh to establish and towards which a harassed humanity, albeit largely unconsciously, is striving.3 More Involvement in the Life of Society

427.4 The time has come for the Bahá'í community to become more involved in the life of the society around it, without in the least supporting any of the world's moribund and divisive concepts, or slackening its direct teaching efforts, but rather, by association, exerting its influence towards unity, demonstrating its ability to settle differences by consultation rather than by confrontation, violence or schism, and declaring its faith in the divine purpose of human existence. 427-1. Iran. 427-2. WOB, pp. 42-43427-3. WOB, p. x4-4.


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Bahá'í Youth are taking advantage of the United Nations' designation Of 427.5 1985 as the Year of Youth to launch their own campaign of active cooperation with other youth groups, sharing with them Bahá'í ideals and a vision of what they intend to make of the world. The Bahá'í community will be strongly represented at the culminating event of the United Nations' Decade of Women in this same year. 1986 has been named the Year of Peace, and the Faith will be far from silent or obscure on that issue. Even now the House of Justice is making plans for the presentation of the Bahá'í concepts on peace to the governments and leaders of the world and, through the Bahá'í world community, to its national and local authorities and to all sections of the variegated world society.4 But it is in the local Bahá'í communities that the most widespread presentation of the Faith can take place. It is here that the real pattern of Bahá'í life can be seen. It is here that the power of Bahá'u'lláh to organize human affairs on a basis of spiritual unity can be most apparent. Every Local Spiritual Assembly which unitedly strives to grow in maturity and efficiency and encourages its community to fulfill its destiny as a foundation stone of Bahá'u'lláh's World Order can add to a growing ground swell of interest in and eventual recognition of the Cause of God as the sole hope for mankind.

427.6 Such considerations as these are now occupying the earnest attend on Of the Universal House of Justice. Their specific implementation will form a large part of the next Plan which will follow immediately on the completion of the present one and will be of six years' duration. By winning the Seven Year Plan, by consolidating our local communities, and above all by strengthening and deepening our understanding of the purpose of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation we shall be preparing ourselves to play our part in bringing about that transformation of human life on this planet which must take place ere it becomes fit to receive the bounties and blessings of God's own Kingdom.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

427-4. See message dated 4 MY 1985 (no. 429) announcing the completion of the peace statement and the October 1985 statement of the Universal House of Justice addressed to the peoples of the world (no. 438).


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428 Message to Youth-Scaling the Heights of Excellence 8 MAY 1985 To the Bahá'í Youth of the World

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

428.1 We extend our loving greetings and best wishes to all who will meet in youth conferences yet to be held during International Youth Year. So eager and resourceful have been the responses of the Bahá'í youth in many countries to the challenges of this special year that we are moved to expressions of delight and high hope.

428.2 We applaud those youth who, in respect of this

period, have already engaged in some activity within their national and local communities or in collaboration with their peers in other countries, and call upon them to persevere in their unyielding efforts to acquire spiritual qualities and useful qualifications. For if they do so, the influence of their high-minded motivations will exert itself upon world developments conducive to a productive, progressive and peaceful future.

428.3 May the youth activities begun this year be a fitting prelude to and an ongoing, significant feature throughout the International Year of Peace, 1986.

428.4 The present requirements of a Faith whose responsibilities rapidly increase in relation to its rise from obscurity impose an inescapable duty on the youth to ensure that their lives reflect to a marked degree the transforming power of the new Revelation they have embraced.

428.7 Otherwise, by what example are the claims of Bahá'u'lláh to be judged? How is His healing Message to be acknowledged by a skeptical humanity if it produces no noticeable effect upon the young, who are seen to be among the most energetic, the most pliable and promising elements in any society?

428.5 The dark horizon faced by a world which has failed to recognize the Promised One, the Source of its salvation, acutely affects the outlook of the younger generations; their distressing lack of hope and their indulgence in desperate but futile and even dangerous solutions make a direct claim on the

remedial attention of Bahá'í youth, who, through their knowledge of that Source and the bright vision with which they have thus been endowed, cannot hesitate to impart to their despairing fellow youth the restorative joy, the constructive hope, the radiant assurances of Bahá'u'lláh's stupendous Revelation.

428.6 The words, the deeds, the attitudes, the lack of prejudice, the nobility of character, the high sense of service to others-in a word, those qualities and

actions which distinguish a Bahá'í must unfailingly characterize their inner life and outer behavior, and their interactions with friend or foe.


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Rejecting the low sights of mediocrity, let them scale the ascending heights of excellence in all they aspire to do. May they resolve to elevate the very atmosphere in which they move, whether it be in the school rooms or halls of higher learning, in their work, their recreation, their Bahá'í activity or social service. indeed, let them welcome with confidence the challenges awaiting them.

428.8 Imbued with this excellence and a corresponding humility, with tenacity and a loving servitude, today's youth must move towards the front ranks of the professions, trades, arts and crafts which are necessary to the further progress of humankind-this to ensure that the spirit of the Cause will cast its illumination on all these important areas of human endeavor. Moreover, while aiming at mastering the unifying concepts and swiftly advancing technologies of this era of communications, they can, indeed they must also guarantee the transmittal to the future of those skills which will preserve the marvelous, indispensable achievements of the past. The transformation which is to occur in the functioning of society will certainly depend to a great extent on the effectiveness of the preparations the youth make for the world they will inherit. We commend these thoughts to your private contemplation and to the consultations you conduct about your future.

428.10 And we offer the assurance of our prayerful remembrances of you, our trust and confidence.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

429 Announcement of Completion of a Statement on Peace Addressed to the Peoples of the World 4 JULY 1985

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE COMPLETION STATEMENT ON PEACE ADDRESSED TO PEOPLES

429.1 WORLD.' ARRANGEMENTS BEING MADE PRESENTATION WORLD LEADERS BEGINNING 24 OCTOBER. STATEMENT BEING SENT NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES SHORTLY. OUR HEARTS FILLED GRATITUDE BAHA'U'LLAH FOR UNPRECEDENTED OPPORTUNITY ENABLING HIS SERVANTS OFFER HIS HEALING MESSAGE AT THIS CRITICAL TIME FORTUNES MANKIND. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 429-1. See the statement dated October 1985 (message no. 438).


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430 Release of a Compilation on the Law of Huququ'llah 4 JULY 1985 To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

430.1 At the request of the Universal House of Justice, the Research Department has prepared a compilation of texts on the

subject of Huqdq0ldh. A copy of this compilation is attached for your information.' You may share its contents with the friends under your jurisdiction as you see fit.

430.2 As you are aware, the law of Huququ'llah is not applicable universally. Study of these extracts by the friends in communities where this law is not yet binding will help them to prepare themselves for the day when the House of Justice will decide to apply the law progressively to all communities in the Bahá'í World.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

431 Message to International Youth Conference, Columbus, Ohio 11 JULY 1985 To the International Youth Conference in Columbus, Ohio 431.1

OUR HEARTS UPLIFTED HIGH SPIRIT, LOFTY PURPOSES, MUI-TIFARIOUS FEATURES, REMARKABLE IMPACT INTERNATIONAL YOUTH CONFERENCE COLUMBUS, OHIO, PARTICULARLY DISTINGUISHED BY IMPRESSIVE EXAMPLES SELFLESS SERVICE ITS PARTICIPANTS. THEIR UPRIGHT BEHAVIOR, NOBLE DEEDS, CREATIVE VIGOR HEIGHTENED PRESTIGE OUR GLORIOUS CAUSE INSPIRED JOY HEARTS BELEAGUERED BRETHREN CRADLE FAITH. OFFERING PRAYERS THANKSGIVING, BESEECHING BLESSED BEAUTY GUIDE, PROTECT,

CONFIRM YOUTH IN THEIR EARNEST ENDEAVORS MOVE WORLD TOWARDS UNITY PEACE. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 430-i. See CC 1:489-527.


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432 Inauguration of Public Information Office at the World Center H JULY 1985 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

GREATLY PLEASED ANNOUNCE INAUGURATION PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE

432.1 WORLD CENTERWITH BRANCH OFFICE SOON TO BE ESTABLISHED NEW YORK. THIS NEW AGENCY Bahá'í INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO EXTEND SCOPE COORDINATE WORLDWIDE ACTIVITIES DESIGNED INCREASE PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE AIMS ACHIEVEMENTS CAUSE BAHA'U'LLAH.' PROFOUNDLY GRATEFUL BLESSED BEAUTY FURTHER DEVELOPMENT INSTRUMENTS HIS UNIQUE ORDER. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 433 Election of Delegates to National Conventions 2,1 JULY 1985 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

As you are aware, some national communities elect their delegates to the

433.1 National Convention on the basis of areas which have Local Spiritual Assemblies, while in other, larger, national communities delegates are elected on the basis of electoral units in which all adult believers have the vote.

433.2 Electoral Units In view of the growth of the Faith and the developing life of the Bahá'í communities, the Universal House of Justice has decided that, notwithstanding that in some countries the number of believers and of Local Spiritual Assemblies is still small, the time has come for delegates to National Conventions everywhere to be elected on the basis of electoral units, but with the option of introducing certain differences from the procedures followed to date. These differences are explained below and are designed to make the system 432-1. The Bahá'í International Community is the name under which the Bahá'í world community conducts its relations on the international level with the United Nations, governmental agencies, the media, and international nongovernmental organizations. For this purpose offices of representation have been established in New York, Geneva, and elsewhere. For messages regarding the role of the Bahá'í International Community in relation to the United Nations, see

messages dated 17 October 1967 (no. 49), 18 February 1970 (no. 78), 28 December 1980 (no. 272), and 26 May 198i (no. 283).


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adaptable to the variations in the make-up of the many Bahá'í communities and in the geography of the lands in which they are situated.

433.3 The House of Justice has decided that the number of delegates to each National Convention will remain unchanged for the present. However, if a National Assembly finds that under the new system a change would be advisable, it should feel free to write to the World Center stating the reasons for its view.

433.4 When establishing the electoral unit basis for the election of delegates, a National Spiritual Assembly should divide the territory under its jurisdiction into electoral units, based on the number of adult Bahá'ís in each area, in such a way that each unit will be responsible for electing preferably one delegate only. Unit Conventions

433.5 In addition to the voting, the opportunity for consultation with the delegates is important. Hitherto this has been achieved by calling a convention in each unit to which all the

believers in that electoral unit are invited. The voting for delegates has then taken place at the unit conventions with provision for voting by mail for those who do not attend. In some areas these meetings have been very fruitful and have helped to foster collaboration among the believers in the unit. However, in other areas, no doubt for a number of reasons, attendance at unit conventions has been very low, as has been the voting by mail, and this has meant that the delegates have been elected by a relatively small proportion of the electorate. National Assemblies are free to call unit conventions if they find they are successful, but if they find problems of attendance they may follow the alternative method described below. Alternatives to Unit Conventions

433.6 Where holding unit conventions has proved ineffective, or does not seem to be a viable procedure, a National Assembly may divide each electoral unit into subunits of a convenient size. A meeting could then be held in each subunit to which all the adult believers residing therein would be invited. This should result in the participation of a large number of the believers. It is important to remember, however, that the delegate to be elected represents the entire unit and therefore, although the voting may be carried out in subunits, each voter has all the adult believers resident in the entire unit to choose from in voting for the delegate.

433.7 In some countries, it may even be too difficult to expect the believers throughout a subunit to gather together at a certain time, and so it would not be practical to hold subunit meetings. In such places a central point in each subunit could be chosen for the establishment of a polling station to which the friends would come to leave their ballots on the voting day as and when they can do so.


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one considers that there are now national Bahá'í communities varying in size from India to a single small island, some established in highly industrialized thickly populated countries, some in widely scattered archipelagoes, others covering equatorial jungles and still others embracing icebound arctic wastes, one can appreciate that a great deal of discretion must be accorded to each National Spiritual Assembly to establish the most effective means for the election of the delegates to its National Convention within the general principles outlined above. Details To Be Worked Out by National Spiritual Assemblies Each National Spiritual Assembly should study and master the broad Outlines of this system. All matters of detail should be decided by the National Assembly which should ensure that the friends are fully informed and thoroughly understand what they are expected to do. The help and advice of the Counselors and their Auxiliary Board members and assistants could be sought in working out these details and in educating the friends. It may also be desirable for the National Assembly to appoint a special national committee to organize the elections and to oversee them through unit or subunit committees or representatives. Such matters of detail could include the following: - The number of delegates to be allocated to each unit. Although one for 433.9. each unit is preferable, this may not be practicable in certain instances, such as in a unit which contains one or more very large local communities. In such cases it may be necessary to make the unit large enough to be the electoral base for two or possibly three delegates. - The number and size of subunits. These could be as many as there are

433.9b Local Spiritual Assemblies in a unit, the boundaries being so delineated as to include the surrounding isolated believers and Bahá'í groups. It may even be necessary in some remote areas to have subunits in which there are no Local Spiritual Assemblies. -The body to be responsible for organizing a unit convention or subunit 433.9c meeting or for establishing and supervising a polling station. This could be a centrally located, firmly established Local Spiritual Assembly or a committee. -The day or days on which the elections should take place. Elections 433.9d could be carried out in different subunits on different days, extended over a reasonable period of time, if this is felt to be desirable. -The manner in which ballots are to be cast, collected, counted, and consolidated with other ballots from the same unit. -Procedures to be followed in consultation, if the procedure chosen allows 433.9f for consultation. -A method for monitoring the balloting to ensure that proper Bahá'í Procedures are followed, that the ballots are safeguarded, and that a Bahá'í voter cannot cast more than one ballot.


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433.9h - The procedure for holding a second ballot should there be a tie vote for the

delegate. 433.9i - The means for announcing to the friends in all units the names of their elected delegates.

433.10 It is the hope of the Universal House of Justice that the implementation of these

instructions this year and thereafter will promote Bahá'í solidarity, broaden the basis of representation at the National Conventions and that thereby the work of the Faith in each country will be characterized by greater efficiency and enhanced harmony.

433.11 As this further step in the onward march of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh is taken, you are assured of the prayers of the House of Justice at the Holy Shrines that you will be granted vision and wisdom to carry out your task and be enabled to extend the range of your dedicated

services to His Cause.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

434 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bahá'í Peace Activities 5 AUGUST 1985

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

434.1 In its letter Of 23 January 1985 concerning the International Year of Peace, the Universal House of Justice urged Bahá'í communities to reach out to the non-Bahá'í public by finding ways of discussing the important issues of peace with others. One way to make such discussions relevant and effective is for the friends to know and acknowledge and pay just tribute to persons whose lives were dedicated to peaceful means of bettering social conditions.

434.2 One such person was the black American Martin Luther King, Jr., whose promotion of nonviolent means of achieving racial equality in the United States cost him his life., The positive effects of his heroic efforts brought encouragement to downtrodden peoples

throughout the world and earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Four years later he was assassinated. His

434-1. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a Baptist minister who led the civil rights movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his assassination on 4 April 1968 at the age of thirty-nine. In 1963 he led a march on Washington, D.C., to achieve civil rights by nonviolent means, and there delivered his celebrated "I Have a Dream' speech. Toward the end of his life he broadened the scope of his efforts to oppose the war in Vietnam and to include poor people of all races.


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aspirations for a society in which the races can live in harmony are perhaps best expressed in the famous speech he delivered at a gathering Of Some 250,000 people in the capital of the United States in 1963. A copy is enclosed .2 The House of Justice has asked us to call your attention to Dr.

434.3 King for these reasons. His widow, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, a non-Bahá'í, has written to the House of justice that a national public holiday has been officially designated in the United States in honor of Dr. King. She intends to make an appeal that on 20 January 1986, the first observance of this holiday, "nations and liberation movements all over the world cease all

violent actions, seek amnesty and reconciliation both within and outside of their national boundaries, and encourage all of their citizens to recommit themselves to work for international peace, universal justice and the elimination of hunger and poverty in the world." The House of Justice feels that Mrs. King has a noble intention to which the friends can lend their moral and spiritual support. Since the date on which action is desired falls within the International Year of Peace, Spiritual Assemblies may consider holding peace conferences on 20 January, or close to that date, and naturally include in the presentations at these conferences

references to the life and work of Dr. King. An alternative might be to devote the Bahá'í programs on World Religion Day, 19 January, to peace and on these occasions pay tribute to Dr. King. The thought of the House of Justice in suggesting such action is not to promote the holiday for Dr. King, and it does not expect Bahá'í

communities everywhere to commemorate his life annually; rather, it wishes to indicate to the friends a legitimate occasion, as illustrated by Mrs. King's plan, when the Bahá'í peace activities can be associated with the worthy activities of others.

434.5 We are to assure you of the continuing prayers of the House of Justice in the Holy Shrines that your energetic efforts to further the cause of peace throughout the earth may be richly confirmed by the Blessed Beauty.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

434-1. The text of the speech, titled I Have a Dream," though not included here, is well known and widely published elsewhere.


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435 Development of Local and National Bahá'í Funds 7 AUGUST 1985 To National Spiritual Assemblies Dear Bahá'í Friends

435.1 This letter and the annexed memorandum of comments are addressed primarily to those National Spiritual Assemblies whose communities include large numbers of materially poor people but inasmuch as the principles expressed, as distinct from some of the procedures suggested, are of universal application, they are being sent to all National Assemblies.

435.2 There is a profound aspect to the relationship between a believer and the Fund, which holds true irrespective of his or her economic condition. When a human soul accepts Bahá'u'lláh as the Manifestation of God for this age and enters into the divine Covenant, that soul should progressively bring his or her whole life into harmony with the divine purpose-he becomes a co-worker in the Cause of God and receives the bounty of being permitted to devote his material possessions, no matter how meager, to the work of the Faith.

435.3 Giving to the Fund, therefore, is a spiritual privilege not open to those who have not accepted Bahá'u'lláh, of which no believer should deny himself. It is both a responsibility and a source of bounty. This is an aspect of the Cause which, we feel, is an essential part of the basic

teaching and deepening of new believers. The importance of contributing resides in the degree of sacrifice of the giver, the spirit of devotion with which the contribution is made and the unity of the friends in this service; these attract the confirmations of God and enhance the dignity and self-respect of the individuals and the community.

435.4 To reemphasize the spiritual significance of contributing to the Faith by all members of the Bahá'í community, we quote the following extract from a letter of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Central and East Africa dated 8 August 1957:

435.4a All, no matter how modest their resources, must participate. Upon the degree of self-sacrifice

involved in these individual contributions will directly depend the efficacy and the spiritual influence which these nascent administrative institutions, called into being through the power of Bahá'u'lláh, and by virtue of the Design conceived by the Center of His Covenant, will exert.

435.6 A sustained and strenuous effort must

henceforth be made by the rank and file of the avowed upholders of the Faith


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We assure you of our prayers at the Sacred Threshold for your guidance 435.5 and confirmation as you labor to develop this aspect of Bahá'í life in your communities.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Development of the Local and National Funds of the Faith Some Comments and Suggestions While the friends have the sacred obligation and privilege to contribute to the Fund, each Local and National Assembly also has the inescapable duty of educating itself and the believers in the spiritual principles related to Bahá'í contributions, to devise simple methods to facilitate the flow and receipt of contributions, and to formulate effective procedures to ensure the wise expenditure of the funds of the Faith. The following comments and suggestions have been compiled at the request of the Universal House of Justice and are being shared with National Spiritual Assemblies to assist them in these important tasks.

435.7 A primary requisite for all who have responsibility for the care of the funds of the Faith is trustworthiness. This, as Bahá'u'lláh has stressed, is one of the most basic and vital of all human virtues, and its exercise has a direct and profound influence on the willingness of the believers to contribute to the Fund.

435.8 Conditions vary from country to country and, therefore, in educating the believers and developing the Fund, each National Spiritual Assembly needs to tailor its actions to the conditions of its area of jurisdiction.

435.9 In many parts of the world gifts of produce and handicrafts may be a large potential source of regular donations and could well be encouraged, proper arrangements being made for their collection and sale and the disposition of the proceeds. Pledges can be useful as a means of encouraging contributions, and of bringing the financial needs of the Cause to the attention of the friends. This method can be particularly helpful in a situation where a Spiritual Assembly has a major task to perform, such as the building of a Haziratu'l-Quds or the establishment of a tutorial school, and needs to have some idea in advance of whether the funds for the project will be available. However, it would be entirely contrary to Bahá'í principles to bring any pressure to bear when calling for pledges or when endeavoring to collect them. Once a pledge has been 435-1. A simple school, usually in a rural area where no formal education is available, that often consists of one teacher and a group of students who learn Bahá'í moral and ethical teachings and basic reading,

writing, and computation skills.


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given it is permissible to remind the donor, privately, of his expressed intention to contribute and to inquire courteously if it would be possible for him to honor his pledge, but Assemblies must be aware that such pledges are not an obligation in any legal sense; their redemption is entirely a matter of conscience. Lists of those making pledges must not be publicized.

435.1 1The

beloved Guardian has explained that the general and national interests of the Cause take precedence over local ones; thus contributions to local funds are secondary to those to national funds. However, the stability of the National Assembly rests on the Firmness of the Local Spiritual Assemblies, and in the matter of educating the friends in the importance of the Fund, it is often most practical and efficacious to concentrate at first on the development of the local funds and the efficient operation of the Local Spiritual Assemblies. Then, once the friends understand the principle and learn from experience at a local level, they will the more easily understand the importance of the national fund and the work of the National Spiritual Assembly.

435.1 2Regarding the local funds, it is suggested that until such time as the friends have developed the habit of contributing regularly and freely, any Local Spiritual Assembly which has a large community might appoint a small commit tee to assist the local treasurer in the discharge of his responsibilities. Such committees could be appointed after consultation with the

Auxiliary Board member or assistant for the area. Great care must be taken in the appointment of the members of the committees; they must be both trustworthy and conscientious and must be imbued with awareness of the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of contributions to the funds. It is envisaged that these Treasury Committees would serve a number of functions: 435.12a- To render general assistance to the treasurer, as needed; for example, members of the committee could assist with issuing receipts or keeping

accounts. 435.1 2b- To arrange for inspirational talks and discussions at Nineteen Day Feasts or at specially called meetings for the education of the friends in the spiritual and practical importance of contributing to the funds. 435.12c- To receive donations of money on behalf of the local treasurer and transmit these to him. 435.12d- To receive gifts of produce and handicrafts. The committee would be responsible for arranging for their sale and for handing over the proceeds to the local treasurer. 435.12e- To receive from the friends written pledges of their hope or intention of making a contribution to the local or national funds, whether in cash or in kind, and to assist in collecting them.

435.1 3As to the national fund, in those areas where there are problems as a result of lack of banking facilities, unreliable mail systems and general difficulties of


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communication, it would be desirable for the National Spiritual Assembly to appoint a national committee to assist the national treasurer in a manner similar to that outlined above for Local Spiritual Assemblies. Further, it may even be necessary to subsidize, from the national fund, one or more trusted individuals, depending on the size of the national community, who would travel to rural areas to meet with the local Treasury Committees, assist them in the execution of their functions, explain the needs of the national fund, collect the donations to the national fund from the local areas and transmit them to the national treasurer.

435.14 In considering the above suggestions and their applicability to its national community, each National Assembly should also bear in mind the following points: - It may find it valuable to study the methods being used already in those 435.14a rural areas where notable success has been achieved in bringing about participation in sacrifice and giving. - Voluntary service for the Faith could also be stressed.

436.1 It has an effect 435.14b on the Fund by reducing the cost of carrying out the work of the Faith, and should be undertaken with joy by the friends. - It can be useful and helpful for both National and Local Spiritual Assemblies to make plans for financial self-sufficiency, set goals for levels of contributions, and share the news of progress towards such goals. - Assemblies should take the members of their communities into their 435.14d confidence and regularly inform them of the uses to which the Fund is put and the projects for which money is needed. 436 Release of a Compilation on Peace 9 AUGUST 1985 To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Universal House of Justice has asked us to send you the enclosed COPY of a compilation on Peace prepared from the Bahá'í writings and the letters of the House of Justice by the Research Department.1 2 As indicated in our letter Of 2 July 1985, it is intended that the compilation be used to aid study by the friends of the Bahá'í concepts on peace and to facilitate their understanding of the House of justice's statement on peace 436-1. See CC 2:151-200. 436-2. The letter contained "additional information and advice" to facilitate preparing for activities in observance of the International Year of Peace.


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recently mailed to you. The House of Justice requests you to disseminate the compilation to the friends along with any advice you may have for its use. It should become a regular reference at summer schools and at other gatherings in which Bahá'í adults and youth study the Teachings. Moreover, the compilation should become a ready resource for those preparing summaries and commentaries on the statement addressed by the House of Justice to the peoples of the world.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

437 Execution of Two More Bahá'í's; Bahá'í Students Pressured 19 SEPTEMBER 1985 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

437.1 AFTER FEW MONTHS' CESSATION OF EXECUTIONS OF BAHA'IS IN IRAN, GRIEVED ANNOUNCE TWO FURTHER EXECUTIONS. VALIANT SOULS ARE MR. 'ABBAS AYDIL-KHANI AND MR. RAHMATU'LLAH VUJDANI.. FORMER WAS EXECUTED ON 1 AUGUST IN PRISON WITHOUT ANY NOTIFICATION HIS FAMILY. HIS GRAVE WAS ACCIDENTALLY DISCOVERED NEAR TEHRAN. HE HAD BEEN IMPRISONED ON 26 APRIL 1982 IN ZANJAN WHERE HE REMAINED UNTIL APRIL 1985 WHEN HE WAS TAKEN TO TEHRAN. HE WAS 45 YEARS OLD AND WAS AN AIR-CONDITIONING TECHNICIAN. MANNER HIS EXECUTION STILL UNKNOWN. HIS WIFE IS ALSO IN PRISON IN ZANJAN.

437.2 MR. RAHMATUTLAH VUJDANI WAS ARRESTED IN JULY 1984 IN BANDAR-ABBAS, WHERE HE WAS EXECUTED BY FIRING SQUAD ON 28 AUGUST 1985. HE WAS 57 YEARS OLD. HIS BODY WAS DELIVERED, AND HIS FUNERAL TOOK PLACE IN PRESENCE HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS. HE WAS A TEACHER BY PROFESSION,

437.3 FROM THE END JANUARY TO SEPTEMBER 1985, 63 BAHA'IS WERE ARRESTED AND 39 RELEASED. TOTAL NUMBER PRISONERS NOW 741. THIS FIGURE INCLUDES 39 PRISONERS RELEASED DURING PERIOD. BAHA'I STUDENTS OF ALL LEVELS HAVE TO COMPLETE ADMISSION FORMS WHICH INCLUDE SPACE FOR ONLY FOUR OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED RELIGIONS. BAHA'I STUDENTS WHO STATE THEY ARE BARUS ARE DENIED SCHOOLING OR IF ADMITTED FACE TREMENDOUS PRESSURE AND HARASSMENT OTHER FORMS PERSECUTION INNOCENT BAHA`IS PERSIST UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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438 The Promise of World Peace' OCTOBER 1985 To the Peoples of the World The Great Peace towards which people of goodwill throughout the centuries have inclined their hearts, of which seers and poets for countless generations have expressed their

vision, and for which from age to age the sacred scriptures of mankind have constantly held the promise, is now at long last within the reach of the nations. For the first time in history it is possible for everyone to view the entire planet, with all its myriad diversified peoples, in one perspective. World peace is not only possible but inevitable. It is the next stage in the evolution of this planet-in the words of one great thinker, "the planetization of mankind."', Whether peace is to be reached only after unimaginable horrors Precipitated by humanity's stubborn clinging to old patterns of behavior, or is to be embraced now by an act of consultative will, is the choice before all who inhabit the earth. At this critical juncture when the intractable problems confronting nations have been fused into one common concern for the whole world, failure to stem the tide of conflict and disorder would be unconscionably irresponsible.

438.3 Among the favorable signs are the steadily growing strength Of the Steps towards world order taken initially near the beginning of this century in the creation of the League of Nations, succeeded by the more broadly based United Nations Organization;3 the achievement since the Second World War of independence by the majority of all the nations on earth, indicating the 438-1. This statement on peace was published in the United

States under the title The Promise of World Peace (Wilmette, Ill.: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1985). It has been published in many editions around the world. 438-2. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Future of Man, Ch. 7 (New York: Harper and Row, x964). 438-3. The League of Nations was an organization for international cooperation established at the initiative of the Allied powers at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 following the end of World War I. It was based on a covenant calling for joint action by League members against an aggressor, arbitration of international disputes, reduction of armaments, and open diplomacy. The lack of political will of member states to intervene in acts of aggression by one state against another discredited the League and rendered it powerless to prevent World War II. 'Abdu'l-Bahá recognized that the League of Nations was "incapable of establishing universal peace." However, He perceived "the dawn of universal peace" in the fourteen points put forth by United States President Woodrow Wilson in 1918 that included the establishment of a League of Nations (SWAB, pp. 306, 311). The United Nations was formally inaugurated on 24 October 1945, near the end of World War 11, at the initiative of the Allied powers following the United Nations Conference on International Organization that convened in San Francisco on 25 April 1945.


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completion of the process of nation building, and the involvement of these fledgling nations with older ones in. matters of mutual concern; the consequent vast increase in cooperation among hitherto isolated and antagonistic peoples and groups in international undertakings in the scientific, educational, legal, economic and cultural fields; the rise in recent decades of an unprecedented number of international humanitarian organizations; the spread of women's and youth movements calling for an end to war; and the spontaneous spawning of widening networks of ordinary people seeking understanding through personal communication.

438.4 The scientific and technological advances occurring in this unusually blessed century portend a great surge forward in the social evolution of the planet, and indicate the means by which the practical problems of humanity may be solved. They provide, indeed, the very means for the administration of the complex life of a united world. Yet barriers persist. Doubts, misconceptions, prejudices, suspicions and narrow self-interest beset nations and peoples in their relations one to another.

438.5 It is out of a deep sense of spiritual and moral duty that we are impelled at this opportune moment to invite your attention to the penetrating insights first communicated to the rulers of mankind more than a century ago by Bahá'u'lláh, Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, of which we are the Trustees. 438.6 "The winds of despair," Bahá'u'lláh wrote, "are, alas, blowing from every -direction, and the strife that divides and afflicts the human race is daily increasing. The signs of impending convulsions and chaos can now be discerned, inasmuch as the prevailing order appears to be lamentably defective."4 This prophetic judgment has been amply confirmed by the common experience of humanity. Flaws in the prevailing order are conspicuous in the inability of sovereign states organized as United Nations to exorcise the specter of war, the threatened collapse of the international economic order, the spread of anarchy and terrorism, and the intense suffering which these and other afflictions are causing to increasing millions. Indeed, so much have aggression and conflict come to characterize our social, economic and religious systems, that many have succumbed to the view that such behavior is intrinsic to human nature and therefore ineradicable.

438.7 With the entrenchment of this view, a paralyzing contradiction has developed in human affairs. On the one hand, people of all nations proclaim not only their readiness but their longing for peace and harmony, for an end to the harrowing apprehensions tormenting their daily lives. On the other, uncritical assent is given to the proposition that human beings are incorrigibly selfish and aggressive and thus incapable of erecting a social system at once progressive and peaceful, dynamic and harmonious, a system giving free play to individual creativity and initiative but based on cooperation and reciprocity. 438-4. GWB, p. 216.


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As the need for peace becomes more urgent, this fundamental contradiction, which hinders its realization, demands a reassessment of the assumptions upon which the commonly held view of mankind's historical predicament is based. Dispassionately examined, the evidence reveals that such conduct, far from expressing man's true self, represents a distortion of the human spirit. Satisfaction on this point will enable all people to set in motion constructive social forces which, because they are consistent with human nature, Will encourage harmony and cooperation instead of war and conflict.

438.9 To choose such a course is not to deny humanity's past but to understand it. The Bahá'í Faith regards the current world confusion and calamitous condition in human affairs as a natural phase in an organic process leading ultimately and irresistibly to the unification of the human race in a single social order whose boundaries are those of the planet. The human race, as a distinct, organic unit, has passed through evolutionary stages analogous to the stages of infancy and childhood in the lives of its individual members, and is now in the culminating period of its turbulent adolescence approaching its long-awaited coming of age.

438.10 A candid acknowledgement that prejudice, war and exploitation have been the expression of immature stages in a vast historical process and that the human race is today experiencing the unavoidable tumult which marks its collective coming of age is not a reason for despair but a prerequisite to undertaking the stupendous enterprise of building a peaceful world. That such an enterprise is possible, that the necessary constructive forces do exist, that unifying social structures can be erected, is the theme we urge you to examine.

438.11 Whatever suffering and turmoil the years immediately ahead may hold, however dark the immediate circumstances, the Bahá'í community believes that humanity can confront this supreme trial with confidence in its ultimate outcome.

438.12 Far from signalizing the end of civilization, the convulsive changes towards which humanity is being ever more rapidly impelled will serve to release the "potentialities inherent in the station of man" and reveal "the full measure of his destiny on earth, the innate excellence of his reality."5 I The endowments which distinguish the human race from all other forms of life are summed up in what is known as the human spirit; the mind is its essential quality. These endowments have enabled humanity to build civilizations and to prosper materially. But such accomplishments alone have never satisfied the human spirit, whose mysterious nature inclines it towards transcendence, a reaching towards an invisible realm, towards the ultimate reality, that unknowable essence of essences called God. The religions brought to 438-5. GWB, p. 340.


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mankind by a succession of spiritual luminaries have been the primary link between humanity and that ultimate reality, and have galvanized and refined mankind's capacity to achieve spiritual success together with social progress.

438.13 No serious attempt to set human affairs aright, to achieve world peace, can ignore religion. Mat's perception and practice of it are largely the stuff of history. An eminent historian described religion as a "faculty of human nature.116 That the perversion of this faculty has contributed to much of the confusion in society and the conflicts in and between individuals can hardly be denied. But neither can any fair-minded observer discount the preponderating influence exerted by religion on the vital expressions of civilization. Furthermore, its indispensability to social order has repeatedly been demonstrated by its direct effect on laws and morality.

438.14 Writing of religion as a social force, Bahá'u'lláh said: "Religion is the greatest of all means for the establishment of order in the world and for the peaceful contentment of all that dwell therein." Referring to the eclipse or corruption of religion, he wrote: 'should the lamp of religion be obscured, chaos and confusion will ensue, and the lights of fairness, of justice, of tranquillity and peace cease to shine."7 In an enumeration of such consequences the Bahá'í writings point out that the "perversion of human nature, the degradation of human

conduct, the corruption and dissolution of human institutions, reveal themselves, under such circumstances, in their worst and most revolting aspects.

438.15 Human character is debased, confidence is shaken, the nerves of discipline are relaxed, the voice of human conscience is stilled, the sense of decency and shame is obscured, conceptions of duty, of solidarity, of reciprocity and loyalty are distorted, and the very feeling of peacefulness, of joy and of hope is gradually extinguished."' if, therefore, humanity has come to a point of paralyzing conflict it must look to itself, to its own negligence, to the siren voices to which it has listened, for the source of the misunderstandings and confusion perpetrated in the name of religion. Those who have held blindly and selfishly to their particular orthodoxies, who have imposed on their votaries erroneous and conflicting interpretations of the pronouncements of the Prophets of God, bear heavy responsibility for this confusion-a confusion compounded by the artificial barriers erected between faith and reason, science and religion. For from a fair-minded examination of the actual utterances of the Founders of the great religions, and of the social milieus in which they were obliged to carry out their missions, there is nothing to support the contentions and prejudices deranging the religious communities of mankind and therefore all human affairs. 438-6. A. Toynbee, in John Cogley, Religion in a Secular Age (New York: Praeger, 1968), p. ix. 438-7. Quoted in WOB, pp. 186, 186-87. 438-8.

438.16 WOB, p. 187.


+685 The teaching that we should treat others as we ourselves would

wish to be treated, an ethic variously repeated in all the great religions, lends force to this latter observation in two particular respects: it sums up the moral attitude, the peace-inducing aspect, extending through these religions irrespective of their place or time of origin; it also signifies an aspect of unity which is their essential virtue, a virtue mankind in its disjointed view of history has failed to appreciate.

438.17 Had humanity seen the Educators of its collective childhood in their true character, as agents of one civilizing process, it would no doubt have reaped incalculably greater benefits from the cumulative effects of their successive missions. This, alas, it failed to do.

438.18 The

resurgence of fanatical religious fervor occurring in many lands cannot be regarded as more than a dying convulsion. The very nature of the violent and disruptive phenomena associated with it testifies to the spiritual bankruptcy it represents. Indeed, one of the strangest and saddest features of the current outbreak of religious fanaticism is the extent to which, in each case, it is undermining not only the spiritual values which are conducive to the unity of mankind but also those unique moral victories won by the particular religion it purports to serve.

438.19 However vital a force religion has been in the history of mankind, and however

dramatic the current resurgence of militant religious fanaticism, religion and religious institutions have, for many decades, been viewed by increasing numbers of people as irrelevant to the major concerns of the modern world. In its place they have turned either to the hedonistic pursuit of material satisfactions or to the following of man-made ideologies designed to rescue society from the evident evils under which it groans.

438.20 All too many of these ideologies, alas, instead of embracing the concept of the oneness of mankind and promoting the increase of concord among different peoples, have tended to deify the state, to subordinate the rest of mankind to one nation, race or class, to attempt to suppress all discussion and interchange of ideas, or to callously abandon starving millions to the operations of a market system that all too clearly is aggravating the plight of the majority of mankind, while enabling small sections to live in a condition of affluence scarcely dreamed of by our forebears. How tragic is the record of the substitute faiths that the worldly-wise Of our age have created. In the massive disillusionment of entire populations who have been taught to worship at their altars can be read history's irreversible verdict on their value. The fruits these doctrines have produced, after

decades of an increasingly unrestrained exercise of power by those who owe their ascendancy in human affairs to them, are the social and economic ills that blight every region of our world in the closing years of the twentieth century. Underlying all these outward afflictions is the spiritual damage reflected in the apathy


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that has gripped the mass of the peoples of all nations and by the extinction of hope in the hearts of deprived and anguished millions.

438.21 The time has come when those who preach the dogmas of materialism, whether of the east or the west, whether of capitalism or socialism, must give

account of the moral stewardship they have presumed to exercise. Where is the "new world" promised by these ideologies? Where is the international peace to whose ideals they proclaim their devotion? Where are the breakthroughs into new realms of cultural achievement produced by the aggrandizement of this race, of that nation or of a particular class? Why is the vast majority of the world's peoples sinking ever deeper into hunger and wretchedness when wealth on a scale undreamed of by the Pharaohs, the Caesars, or even the imperialist powers of the nineteenth century is at the disposal of the present arbiters of human affairs?

438.22 Most particularly, it is in the glorification of material pursuits, at once the progenitor and common feature of all such ideologies, that we find the roots which nourish the falsehood that human beings are incorrigibly selfish and aggressive. It is here that the ground must be cleared for the building of a new world fit for our descendants.

438.23 That materialistic ideals have, in the light of experience, failed to satisfy the needs of mankind calls for an honest acknowledgement that a fresh effort must now be made to find the solutions to the agonizing problems of the planet. The intolerable conditions pervading society bespeak a common failure of all, a circumstance which tends to incite rather than relieve the entrenchment on every side. Clearly, a common remedial effort is urgently required. It is primarily a matter of attitude. Will humanity continue in its waywardness, holding to outworn concepts and unworkable assumptions? Or will its leaders, regardless of ideology, step forth and, with a resolute will, consult together in a united search for appropriate solutions? 438,24 Those who care for the future of the human race may well ponder this advice. "If long-cherished ideals and time-honored institutions, if certain social assumptions and religious formulae have ceased to promote the welfare of the generality of mankind, if they no longer minister to the needs of a continually evolving

humanity, let them be swept away and relegated to the limbo of obsolescent and forgotten doctrines. Why should these, in a world subject to the immutable law of change and decay, be exempt from the deterioration that must needs overtake every human institution? For legal standards, political and economic theories are solely designed to safeguard the interests of humanity as a whole, and not humanity to be crucified for the preservation of the integrity of any particular law or doctrine."9 438-9. WOB, P, 42.


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Banning nuclear weapons, prohibiting the use of poison gases, or outlawing germ warfare will not remove the root causes of war. However important such practical measures obviously are as elements of the peace process, they are in themselves too superficial to exert enduring influence. Peoples are ingenious enough to invent yet other forms of warfare, and to use food, raw materials, finance, industrial power, ideology, and terrorism to subvert one another in an endless quest for supremacy and dominion. Nor can the present massive dislocation in the affairs of humanity be resolved through the settlement of specific conflicts or disagreements among nations. A genuine universal framework must be adopted. Certainly, there is no lack of recognition by national leaders of the worldwide character of the problem, which is self-evident in the mounting issues that confront them daily. And there are the accumulating studies and solutions proposed by many concerned and enlightened groups as well as by agencies of the United Nations, to remove any possibility of ignorance as to the challenging requirements to be met. There is, however, a paralysis of will; and it is this that must be carefully examined and resolutely dealt with. This paralysis is rooted, as we have stated, in a deep-seated conviction of the inevitable quarrelsomeness of mankind, which has led to the reluctance to entertain the possibility of subordinating national self-interest to the requirements of world order, and in an unwillingness to face courageously the far-reaching implications of establishing a united world authority. It is also traceable to the incapacity of largely ignorant and subjugated masses to articulate their desire for a new order in which they can live in peace, harmony and prosperity with all humanity.

438.27 The tentative steps towards world order, especially since World War 11, give hopeful signs. The increasing tendency of groups of nations to formalize relationships which enable them to cooperate in matters of mutual interest suggests that eventually all nations could overcome this paralysis. The

Association of South East Asian Nations, the Caribbean Community and Common Market, the Central American Common Market, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, the European Communities, the League of Arab States, the Organization of African Unity, the Organization of American States, the South Pacific Forum-all the joint endeavors represented by such organizations prepare the path to world order.

438.28 The increasing attention being focused on some of the most deep-rooted problems of the planet is yet another hopeful sign. Despite the obvious shortcomings of the United Nations, the more than two score declarations and conventions adopted by that organization, even where governments have not been enthusiastic in their commitment, have given ordinary people a sense of


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a new lease on life. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and the similar measures concerned with eliminating all forms of discrimination based on race, sex or religious belief-, upholding the rights of the child; protecting all persons against being subjected to torture; eradicating hunger and malnutrition; using scientific and technological progress in the interest of peace and the benefit of mankind-all such measures, if courageously enforced and expanded, will advance the day when the specter of war will have lost its power to dominate international relations. There is no need to stress the significance of the issues addressed by these declarations and conventions. However, a few such issues, because of their immediate relevance to establishing world peace, deserve additional comment.

438.29 Racism, one of the most baneful and persistent evils, is a major barrier to peace. Its practice perpetrates too outrageous a violation of the dignity of human beings to be countenanced under any pretext. Racism retards the unfoldment of the boundless potentialities of its victims, corrupts its perpetrators, and blights human progress. Recognition of the oneness of mankind, implemented by appropriate legal measures, must be universally upheld if this problem is to be overcome. 438.3O The inordinate disparity between rich and poor, a source of acute suffering, keeps the world in a state of instability, virtually on the brink of war. Few societies have dealt effectively with this situation. The solution calls for the combined application of spiritual, moral and practical approaches. A fresh look at the problem is required, entailing

consultation with experts from a wide spectrum of disciplines, devoid of economic and ideological polemics, and involving the people

directly affected in the decisions that must urgently be made. It is an issue that is bound up not only with the necessity for eliminating extremes of wealth and poverty but also with those spiritual verities the understanding of which can produce a new universal attitude. Fostering such an attitude is itself a major part of the solution.

438.31 Unbridled nationalism, as distinguished from a sane and legitimate patriotism, must give way to a wider loyalty to the love of humanity as a whole. Bahá'u'lláh's statement is- "The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens."10 The concept of world citizenship is a direct result of the contraction of the world into a single neighborhood through scientific advances and of the indisputable interdependence of nations. Love of all the world's peoples does not exclude love of one's country. The advantage of the part in a world society is best served by promoting the advantage of the whole. Current international activities in various fields which nurture mutual affection and a sense of solidarity among peoples need greatly to be increased. 438-10. GWB, p. 2-50


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Religious strife, throughout history, has been the cause of innumerable wars 438-32 and conflicts, a major blight to progress, and is increasingly abhorrent to the people of all faiths and no faith. Followers of all religions must be willing to face the basic questions which this strife raises, and to arrive at clear answers. How are the differences between them to be resolved, both in theory and in practice? The challenge facing the religious leaders of mankind is to contemplate, with hearts filled with the spirit of compassion and a desire for truth, the plight of humanity, and to ask themselves whether they cannot, in humility before their Almighty Creator, submerge their theological differences in a great spirit of mutual forbearance that will enable them to work together for the advancement of human understanding and peace.

438.33 The emancipation of women, the achievement of full equality between the sexes, is one of the most important, though less acknowledged prerequisites of peace. The denial of such equality perpetrates an injustice against one half of the world's population and promotes in men harmful attitudes and habits that are carried from the family to the workplace, to political life, and ultimately to international relations. There are no grounds, moral, practical, or biological, upon which such denial can be justified. Only as women are welcomed into full partnership in all fields of human endeavor will the moral and psychological climate be created in which international peace can emerge.

438.34 The cause of universal education, which has already enlisted in its service an army of dedicated people from every faith and nation, deserves the utmost support that the governments of the world can lend it. For ignorance is indisputably the principal reason for the decline and fall of peoples and the perpetuation of prejudice. No nation can achieve success unless education is accorded all its citizens. Lack of resources limits the ability of many

nations to fulfill this necessity, imposing a certain ordering of priorities. The decisionmaking agencies involved would do well to consider giving first priority to the education of women and girls, since it is through educated mothers that the benefits of knowledge can be most effectively and rapidly diffused throughout society. In keeping with the requirements of the times, consideration should also be given to teaching the concept of world citizenship as part of the standard education of every child. A fundamental lack of communication between peoples seriously undermines efforts towards world peace. Adopting an international auxiliary language would go far to resolve this problem and necessitates the most urgent attention.

438.36 Two points bear emphasizing in all these issues. One is that the abolition of war is not simply a matter of signing treaties and protocols; it is a complex task requiring a new level of commitment to resolving issues not customarily associated with the pursuit of peace. Based on political agreements alone, the idea of collective security is a chimera. The other point is that the


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primary challenge in dealing with issues of peace is to raise the context to the level of principle, as distinct from pure pragmatism. For, in essence, peace stems from an inner state supported by a spiritual or moral attitude, and it is chiefly in evoking this attitude that the possibility of enduring solutions can be found.

438.37 There are spiritual principles, or what some call human values, by which solutions can be found for every social problem. Any well-intentioned group can in a general sense devise practical solutions to its problems, but good intentions and practical knowledge are usually not enough. The

essential merit of spiritual principle is that it not only presents a perspective which harmonizes with that which is immanent in human nature, it also induces an attitude, a dynamic, a will, an aspiration, which facilitate the discovery and implementation of practical measures. Leaders of governments and all in authority would be well served in their efforts to solve problems if they would first seek to identify the principles involved and then be guided by them. III

438.38 The primary question to be resolved is how the present world, with its entrenched pattern of conflict, can change to a world in which harmony and cooperation will prevail.

438.39 World order can be founded only on an unshakable consciousness of the oneness of mankind, a spiritual truth which all the human sciences confirm. Anthropology, physiology, psychology, recognize only one human species, albeit infinitely varied in the secondary aspects of life. Recognition of this truth requires abandonment of prejudice-prejudice of every kind-race, class, color, creed, nation, sex, degree of material civilization, everything which enables people to consider themselves superior to others.

438.40 Acceptance of the oneness of mankind is the first fundamental prerequisite for reorganization and administration of the world as one country, the home of humankind. Universal acceptance of this spiritual principle is essential to any successful attempt to establish world peace. It should therefore be universally proclaimed, taught in schools, and constantly asserted in every nation as preparation for the organic change in the structure of society which it implies.

438.41 In the Bahá'í view, recognition of the oneness of mankind "calls for no less than the reconstruction and the demilitarization of the whole civilized world-a world organically unified in all the essential aspects of its life, its political machinery, its spiritual aspiration, its trade and finance, its script and language, and yet infinite in the diversity of the national characteristics of its federated units."" 438-11. WOB, p. 43.


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Elaborating the implications of this pivotal principle, Shoghi

Effendi, the

438.42 Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, commented in 1931 that: "Far from aiming at the subversion of the existing foundations of society, it seeks to broaden its basis, to remold its institutions in a manner consonant with the needs of an ever-changing world. It can conflict with no legitimate allegiances, nor can it undermine essential loyalties. Its purpose is neither to stifle the flame of a sane and intelligent patriotism in men's hearts, nor to abolish the system of national autonomy so essential if the evils of excessive centralization are to be avoided. It does not ignore, nor does it attempt to suppress, the diversity of ethnical origins, of climate, of history, of language and tradition, of thought and habit, that differentiate the peoples and nations of the world. It calls for a wider loyalty, for a larger aspiration than any that has animated the human race. It insists upon the subordination of national impulses and interests to the imperative claims of a unified world. It repudiates excessive centralization on one hand, and disclaims all attempts at uniformity on the other. Its watchword is unity in diversity.", The achievement of such ends requires several stages in the adjustment Of 438.43 national political attitudes, which now verge on anarchy in the absence of clearly defined laws or universally accepted and enforceable principles regulating the

relationships between nations. The League of Nations, the United Nations, and the many organizations and agreements produced by them have unquestionably been helpful in attenuating some of the negative effects of international conflicts, but they have shown themselves incapable of preventing war. Indeed, there have been scores of wars since the end of the Second World War; many are yet raging. The predominant aspects of this problem had already emerged in the nineteenth century when Bahá'u'lláh first advanced his proposals for the establishment of world peace. The principle of collective security was propounded by him in statements addressed to the rulers of the world. Shoghi Effendi commented on his meaning: "What else could these weighty words signify," he wrote, "if they did not point to the inevitable curtailment of unfettered national sovereignty as an indispensable preliminary to the formation of the future Commonwealth of all the nations of the world? Some form of a world superstate must needs be evolved, in whose favor all the nations of the world will have willingly ceded every claim to make war, certain rights to impose taxation and all rights to maintain armaments,

except for purposes of maintaining internal order within their

respective dominions. Such a state will have to include within its orbit an international executive adequate to enforce supreme and unchallengeable authority on every recalcitrant member of the commonwealth; a world parliament whose members shall be elected by the

438-12. WOB, pp. 41-42.


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people in their respective countries and whose election shall be confirmed by their respective governments; and a supreme tribunal whose judgment will have a binding effect even in such cases where the parties concerned did not voluntarily agree to submit their case to its consideration. 438.45 ". . . A world community in which all economic barriers will have been permanently demolished and the interdependence of Capital and Labor definitely recognized; in which the clamor of religious fanaticism and strife will have been forever stilled; in which the flame of racial animosity will have been

finally extinguished; in which a single code of international law-the product of the considered judgment of the world's federated representatives -shall have as its sanction the instant and coercive intervention of the combined forces of the federated units; and finally a world community in which the fury of a capricious and militant nationalism will have been transmuted into an abiding

consciousness of world citizenship-such indeed, appears, in its broadest outline, the Order anticipated by Bahá'u'lláh, an Order that shall come to be regarded as the fairest fruit of a slowly maturing age."3

438.46 The implementation of these far-reaching measures was indicated by Bahá'u'lláh: "The time must come when the imperative necessity for the holding of a vast, an all-embracing assemblage of men will be universally realized. The rulers and kings of the earth must needs attend it, and, participating in its deliberations, must consider such ways and means as will lay the foundations of the world's Great Peace amongst men."14

438.47 The courage, the resolution, the pure motive, the selfless love of one people for another-all the spiritual and moral qualities required for effecting this momentous step towards peace are focused on the will to act. And it is towards arousing the necessary volition that earnest consideration must be given to the reality of man, namely, his

thought. To understand the relevance of this potent reality is also to appreciate the social necessity of actualizing its unique value through candid, dispassionate and cordial consultation, and of acting upon the results of this process. Bahá'u'lláh insistently drew

attention to the virtues and indispensability of consultation for ordering human affairs. He said: "Consultation bestows greater awareness and transmutes conjecture into certitude. It is a shining light which, in a dark world, leads the way and guides. For everything there is and will continue to be a station of perfection and maturity. The maturity of the gift of understanding is made manifest through consultation." 15 The very attempt to achieve peace through the consultative action he proposed can release such a salutary spirit among the peoples of the earth that no power could resist the final, triumphal outcome. 438-13- WOB, P. 41. 438-14. GWB, p. 249. 438-15. See CC 1:93.


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Concerning the proceedings for this world gathering, Abdu'l-Bahá, the son 438,48 of Bahá'u'lláh and authorized interpreter of his teachings, offered these insights: "They must make the Cause of Peace the object of general consultation, and seek by every means in their power to establish a Union of the nations of the world. They must conclude a binding treaty and establish a covenant, the provisions of which shall be sound, inviolable and definite. They must proclaim it to all the world and obtain for it the sanction of all the human race. This supreme and noble undertaking-the real

source of the peace and well-being of all the world-should be regarded as sacred by all that dwell on earth. All the forces of humanity must be mobilized to ensure the stability and permanence of this Most Great Covenant. In this all-embracing Pact the limits and frontiers of each and every nation should be clearly fixed, the principles underlying the relations of governments towards one

another definitely laid down, and all international agreements and obligations ascertained. In like manner, the size of the armaments of every government should be strictly limited, for if the preparations for war and the military forces of any nation should be allowed to increase, they will arouse the suspicion of others. The fundamental principle underlying this solemn Pact should be so fixed that if any government later violate any one of its provisions, all the governments on earth should arise to reduce it to utter

submission, nay the human race as a whole should resolve, with every power at its disposal, to destroy that government. Should this

greatest of all remedies be applied to the sick body of the world, it will assuredly recover from its ills and will remain eternally safe and secure. 11,6 The holding of this mighty convocation is long overdue.

438.49 With all the ardor of our hearts, we appeal to the leaders of all nations to 438.50 seize this opportune moment and take irreversible steps to convoke this world meeting. All the forces of history impel the human race towards this act which will mark for all time the dawn of its long-awaited maturity.

438.52 Will not the United Nations, with the full support of its membership, rise 438.51 to the high purposes of such a crowning event? Let men and women, youth and children everywhere recognize the eternal merit of this

imperative action for all peoples and lift up their voices in willing assent.

438.53 Indeed, let it be this generation that inaugurates this

glorious stage in the evolution of social life on the planet. IV The source of the optimism we feel is a vision transcending the cessation of war and the creation of agencies of international cooperation. Permanent peace among nations is an essential stage, but not, Bahá'u'lláh asserts, the

438-16. SDC, pp. 64-65, and WOB, pp. 37-38.


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ultimate goal of the social development of humanity. Beyond the initial armistice forced upon the world by the fear of nuclear holocaust, beyond the political peace reluctantly entered into by suspicious rival nations, beyond pragmatic arrangements for security and coexistence, beyond even the many experiments in cooperation which these steps will make possible lies the crowning goal: the unification of all the peoples of the world in one universal family.

438.54 Disunity is a danger that the nations and peoples of the earth can no longer endure; the consequences are too terrible to contemplate, too obvious to require any demonstration. "The well-being of mankind," Bahá'u'lláh wrote more than a century ago, "its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established. "17 In observing that "mankind is groaning, is dying to be led to unity, and to terminate its agelong martyrdom," Shoghi Effendi further commented that: "Unification of the whole of mankind is the hallmark of the stage which human society is now approaching. Unity of family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have been successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving. Nation-building has come to an end. The anarchy inherent in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax. A world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize the oneness and wholeness of human relationships, and establish once for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life.",'

438.55 All contemporary forces of change validate this view. The proofs can be discerned in the many examples already cited of the favorable signs towards world peace in current international movements and developments. The army of men and women, drawn from virtually every culture, race and nation on earth, who serve the multifarious agencies of the United Nations, represent a planetary "civil service" whose impressive accomplishments are indicative of the degree of cooperation that can be attained even under discouraging conditions. An urge towards unity, like a spiritual springtime, struggles to express itself through countless international congresses that bring together people from a vast array of disciplines. It motivates appeals for international projects involving children and youth. Indeed, it is the real source of the remarkable movement towards ecumenism by which members of historically antagonistic religions and sects seem irresistibly drawn towards one another. Together with the opposing tendency to warfare and self-aggrandizement against which it ceaselessly struggles, the drive towards world unity is one of the dominant, pervasive features of life on the planet during the closing years of the twentieth century. 438-17. GWB, p. 286. 438-18.

438.56 WOB, pp. 201, 202.


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The experience of the Bahá'í community may be seen as an example Of this enlarging unity. It is a community of some three to four million people drawn from many nations, cultures, classes and creeds, engaged in a wide range of activities serving the spiritual, social and economic needs of the peoples of many lands. It is a single social organism, representative of the diversity of the human family, conducting its affairs through a system of commonly accepted consultative principles, and cherishing equally all the great outpourings of divine guidance in human history. Its existence is yet another convincing proof of the practicality of its Founder's vision of a united world, another evidence that humanity can live as one global society, equal to whatever challenges its coming of age may entail. If the Bahá'í experience can contribute in whatever measure to reinforcing hope in the unity of the human race, we are happy to offer it as a model for study.

438.57 In contemplating the supreme importance of the task now challenging the entire world, we bow our heads in humility before the awesome majesty of the divine Creator, who out of His infinite love has created all humanity from the same stock; exalted the gemlike reality of man; honored it with intellect and wisdom, nobility and immortality; and conferred upon man the "unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Him," a capacity that "must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation."19 We hold firmly the conviction that all human beings have been created "to 438.58 carry forward an ever-advancing civilization'; that "to act like the beasts of the field is unworthy of man that the virtues that befit human dignity are trustworthiness, forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-kindness towards all peoples. We reaffirm the belief that the "potentialities inherent in the station of man, the full measure of his destiny on earth, the innate excellence of his reality, must all be manifested in this promised Day of God."2 These are the motivations for our unshakable faith that unity and peace are the attainable goal towards which humanity is striving.

438.59 At this writing, the expectant voices of Bahá'ís can be heard despite the persecution they still endure in the land in which their Faith was born. By their example of steadfast hope, they bear witness to the belief that the imminent realization of this age-old dream of peace is now, by virtue of the transforming effects of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation, invested with the force of divine authority. Thus we convey to you not only a vision in words: we summon the power of deeds of faith and sacrifice; we convey the anxious plea of our coreligionists everywhere for peace and unity. We join with all who are the 438-19. GWB, p. 65. 438-20. GWB, p. 215. 438-21. GWB, p. 340.


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victims of aggression, all who yearn for an end to conflict and contention, all whose devotion to principles of peace and world order promotes the ennobling purposes for which humanity was called into being by an all-loving Creator.

438.60 In the earnestness of our desire to impart to you the fervor of our hope and the depth of our confidence, we cite the emphatic promise of Bahá'u'lláh: "These fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the 'Most Great Peace' shall come."?'

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

439 Appointment of Continental Boards of Counselors 24 OCTOBER 1985

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

439.1 It gives us great happiness to announce the membership of the Continental Boards of Counselors as from the Day of the Covenant, 26 November 1985. The number of Counselors has been increased from 63 to 72 and adjustments have been made in their geographical distribution in consonance with the

development of the Faith around the world.

439.2 The membership of the Continental Boards of Counselors as now appointed is:

439.2a AFRICA (:18 Counselors): Mr. Hushang Ahdieh (Trustee of the Continental Fund), Mr. Husayn Ardikani, Mrs. Beatrice 0. Asare, Mr. Gila Michael Bahta, Mr. Friday Ekpe, Mr. Oloro Epyeru, Mr. Shidan Fat'he-Aazam, Mr. Kassimi Fofana, Mr. Zekrullah Kazemi, Mr. Muhammad Kebdani, Mrs. Thelma Khelghati, Mr. Roddy Dharma Lutchmaya, Mr. Daniel Ramoroesi, Dr. Mihdi Samandari, Mrs. Edith Senoga, Mr. Peter Vuyiya, Mrs. Lucretia Mancho Warren, Mr. Mabuku Wingi.

439.2b THE Americas (17 Counselors): Dr. Hidiyatu'llah Ahmadiyyih, Mr. Eloy Anello, Dr. Farzam. Arbab (Trustee of the Continental Fund), Dr. Wilma Brady, Mrs. Isabel P. de Calder6n, Mr. Rolf von Czekus, Mr. Robert Harris, Mrs. Lauretta King, Dr. Peter McLaren, Mr. Shapoor Monadjem, Mrs. Ruth Pringle, Mr. Donald O. Rogers, Mr. Fred Schechter, Dr. Arturo Serrano, Mr. Alan Smith, Dr. David R. Smith, Mr. Rodrigo Tomas.

439.2c ASIA (19 Counselors): Dr. Sabir -Afaqi, Mr. Burhani'd-Din Afshin, Dr. Iraj Ayman, Mr. Bijan Fareed, Dr. John Fozdar, Mr. Zabihu'llah 438-22. BNE, P. 40.


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Gulmuhammadi, Mr. Bharat Koirala, Mr. Ruhu'llah Mumtazi, Mr. S. Nagaratnam, Dr. Perin Olyai, Mrs. Rose Ong, Mr. Khudarahm Payman (Trustee of the Continental Fund), Mr. Masih Rawhani, Mr. Vicente Samaniego, Dr. Ilhan Sezgin, U Soe Tin, Mrs. 4na Sorabjee, Dr. Chellie J. Sundram, Mr. Michitoshi Zenimoto. Australia (9 Counselors): Mr. Suhayl 'Ala'i, Mr. Ben Ayala, Justice Richard Benson, Dr. Kamran Eshraghian, Mrs. Tinai Hancock, Mr. Lisiate Maka, Mrs. Gayle Morrison, Dr. Sirus Naraqi, Mrs. Joy Stevenson (Trustee of the Continental Fund). EUROPE (9 Counselors): Dr. Agnes Ghaznavi, Mr. Hartmut Grossmann, Mr. Louis Hanuzet (Trustee of the Continental Fund), Mrs. Ursula Muhlschlegel, Dr. Leo Niederreiter, Mrs. Polin Rafat, Mr. Adib

Taherzadeh, Mr. Adam Thorne, Mr. Sohrab Youssefian.

439.3 The following nineteen devoted believers who are now being relieved Of the onerous duties of membership on the Boards of Counselors, will, as distinguished servants of the Cause, continue through their outstanding capacities and experience to be sources of stimulation and encouragement to the friends. Mr. A. Owen Battrick, Mr. Erik Blumenthal, Mrs. Shirin Boman, Mrs.

439.4 Carmen de Burafato, Mr. Athos Costas, Mr. Angus Cowan, Mrs. Dorothy Ferraby, Mr. Aydin Guney, Dr. Dipchand Khianra, Mr. Artemus Lamb, Mr. Kolonario Oule, Dr. Sarah Pereira, Mrs. Betty R. Reed, Dr. Manuchihr Salmanpur, Mrs. Velma Sherrill, Mr. Hideya Suzuki, Mrs. Bahiyyih Winckler, Mr. Donald Witzel, Mr. Yan Kee Leong. We express to each and every one of these dear friends our heartfelt gratitude and assure them of our prayers in the Holy Shrines for the confirmation of their highly meritorious and self-sacrificing services to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. At this time when the Bahá'í world is facing the challenge of the International Year of Peace, on the point of completing the Seven Year Plan and standing on the threshold of a new Six Year Plan, we have felt it important to call upon the Counselors from all the continents to gather at the World Center for a conference to deliberate on the tasks and opportunities of the years immediately ahead. This conference will take place from 27 December 1985 through 2 January 1986 and is yet one more sign of the rapid advance and consolidation of the institutions of the Cause of God. We are profoundly grateful to the Blessed Perfection for His bountiful confirmations which are enabling His strenuously laboring servants in every part of the world to witness the growing influence of His glorious Cause, and to take part in the vitalizing unfoldment of His Administrative Order.


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439.8 It is our fervent prayer at the Sacred Threshold that the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in every land will arise with increased determination and self-abnegation to mirror forth the standards upheld by His potent Faith.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

440 Reinterment of Bahá'u'lláh's Faithful Half-Brother 17 NOVEMBER 1985

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Beloved Friends,

440.1 It is with a feeling of joy and gratitude that we inform the Bahá'í world of the befitting reinterment of the remains of Mirza Muhammad-Quli, the faithful half-brother and companion in exile of Bahá'u'lláh, and of eleven members of his family, in a new Bahá'í cemetery on a hillside looking across Lake Kinnerer and the hills of Galilee towards the Qiblih of the Faith., This historic event, coinciding fortuitously with the first formal presentation of The Promise of World Peace to a Head of State, is of especial significance in the annals of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh.2

440.2 On 12 November 1952 the beloved Guardian jubilantly cabled the Bahá'í world his announcement of the acquisition of vitally needed property surrounding the Most Holy Shrine and the Mansion of Bahji in exchange for land donated by the grandchildren of Mirza Muhammad-Quli.

440.3 The land referred to in this cable had been in the possession of Mirza Muhammad-Quli on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, at a place called Nuqayb. He and his family lived there and farmed the land for many years and on his passing, at the instruction of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, his remains were buried there, as were subsequently those of members of his family.

440.4 In 1937 Kibbutz Ein Gev was established just to the north of the farm, and the two groups of settlers lived as amicable neighbors until the war of 1948 forced the family to leave the land which, lying on the troubled frontier of the new State of Israel, was expropriated by the Government. The grandchildren of Mirza Muhammad-Quli gave their rights in the land to the Faith which received in exchange the much needed land in Bahji. Thus the little cemetery passed out of Bahá'í hands. It remained untouched until 1972 when 440-i. The Qiblih for Bahá'ís is the Most Holy Tomb of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahji, outside of Akka. 440-2. Dr. Rudolph Kirchlaeger, the President of Austria, was the first head of state to receive The Promise of World Peace (see message no. 438).


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the decision was made to approach the authorities with a view to embellishing the site and maintaining it as a place of historic significance for the Faith. However, plans had already been made for the extension of the plantings of the kibbutz and the eventual development of the land in a way that would not permit the permanent reestablishment of the cemetery in that place. Negotiations were then entered into, as a result of which another plot of land in the immediate neighborhood, but slightly farther from the shore of the Lake on the slope of Tel Susita, was officially designated a Bahá'í cemetery and given over to the Bahá'í Community. The work of fencing it and planting suitable shrubs and trees was then put in hand and preparations were made to reinter the precious remains of this family.

440.5 On the morning of Friday 18 October 1985, as the final stage in this process, the

remains of Mirza Muhammad-Quli himself were ceremoniously conveyed from the old cemetery to the new and were reinterred there in the presence of the Hands of the Cause Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum and 'Ali-Akbar Furutan, members of the Universal House of Justice and of the International Teaching Center, and a large gathering of World Center friends as well as representatives of the Israeli authorities and of Kibbutz Ein Gev. Mrs. Husniyyih Bahá'í, the granddaughter of Mirza Muhammad-Quli, who is now pioneering in St. Lucia in the West Indies, accompanied by members of her family, had been especially invited to attend the ceremony in honor of her illustrious forebear, to whom 'Abdu'l-Bahá paid eloquent tribute in Memorials of the Faithful. 3

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

441 Execution of 'Azizu'llah Ashjari by Firing Squad 24 NOVEMBER 1985 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

WITH DEEP SORROW ANNOUNCE EXECUTION BY FIRING SQUAD ON 19 NOVEMBER 441.1 1985 OF AZIZU'LLAH AHSHJARI, A Bahá'í PRISONER IN TABRIZ. HE WAS FIFTY YEARS OLD AND HAD BEEN IMPRISONED FOR OVER FOUR YEARS. UNLIKE MANY OTHER EXECUTED BAHA'IS HIS BODY WAS GIVEN TO THE FAMILY, AND BURIAL TOOK PLACE 22 NOVEMBER. NO OTHER DETAILS AVAILABLE. LATEST INFORMATION RECEIVED INDICATES 767 BAHA'IS ARE STILL IN PRISON.... UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 440-3- MF, pp. 70-71


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442 Presentation of Peace Statement to the Secretary-General of the United Nations 25 NOVEMBER 1985 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

442.1 ON EVE DAY COVENANT WE ANNOUNCE WITH PROFOUND GRATITUDE SUCCESSFUL PRESENTATION TO SECRETARY-GENERAL UNITED NATIONS STATEMENT PEACE ADDRESSED TO PEOPLES WORLD.' PRESENCE AMATU'L-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM AS HEAD DELEGATION BAHA'I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY INVESTED THIS EVENT WITH SIGNIFICANCE THAT WILL WARM HEARTS EVOKE ADMIRATION INSPIRE APPRECIATION FUTURE GENERATIONS. PRESENTATION 22 NOVEMBER TO SECRETARYGENERAL IN CONJUNCTION ONGOING PRESENTATIONS STATEMENT TO HEADS STATE THROUGHOUT WORLD PRESAGES NEW STAGE IN RELATIONSHIP BAHA'I COMMUNITY TO UNITED NATIONS. IT IMMEDIATELY LENDS ADDED IMPETUS TO ACTIVITIES INTERNATIONAL YEAR PEACE BEING UNDERTAKEN WITH EXEMPLARY VIGOR EFFICIENCY BY NATIONAL LOCAL Bahá'í COMMUNITIES.

442.2 WE TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY INFORM FRIENDS THAT OF MORE THAN FIFTY HEADS STATE WHO HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED PEACE STATEMENT TWO THUS FAR HAVE DIRECTLY ADDRESSED TO US THEIR POSITIVE THOUGHTFUL RESPONSES, NAMELY, PRESIDENTS COLOMBIA MARSHALL ISLANDS. REPORTS REACHING WORLD CENTER INDICATE INCREASINGLY SYMPATHETIC INTEREST BEING AROUSED BY STATEMENT AMONG PEOPLE ALL LEVELS SOCIETY. WARMLY APPRECIATE ADMIRE CREATIVE ENERGY WHICH FRIENDS EVERYWHERE ARE APPLYING TO STUDY AND DISSEMINATION THE PROMISE OF WORLD PEACE.

442.3 REMARKABLE RANGE ACTIVITIES THAT HAVE OCCURRED JUST ONE MONTH SINCE RELEASE STATEMENT IMBUES.US WITH FEELINGS SATISFACTION JOY. GRATEFULLY RECOGNIZE

BLESSINGS BEING SHOWERED COMMUNITY GREATEST NAME AS DERIVING FROM WORLD-AWAKENING SACRIFICES CHARACTERIZING LIVES OUR BELOVED HEROIC BROTHERS SISTERS WHOSE SPIRITUAL RESOURCES INDOMITABLE COURAGE HAVE WITHSTOOD NO LESS THAN SEVEN YEARS UNRELENTING ASSAULTS UNPRECEDENTED UPHEAVALS PERVADING BAHA'U'LLAH'S NATIVE LAND. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 442-1. The presentation of The Promise of World Peace took place on 25 November, the eve of the Day of the Covenant.


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443 Presentation of Peace Statement to the President of the United States 12 DECEMBER 1985 To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States

PROFOUNDLY GRATEFUL PRESENTATION PEACE STATEMENT PRESIDENT UNITED

443.1 STATES RONALD W REAGAN. THAT THE PRESENTATION OCCURRED AS PART PUBLIC EVENT MARKING HUMAN RIGHTS DAY' AND THAT CHIEF EXECUTIVE GREAT REPUBLIC WEST OPENLY CHAMPIONED RIGHTS UNEQUIVOCALLY PROCLAIMED

INNOCENCE OUR SORELY WRONGED BRETHREN IN IRAN HAVE INVESTED THIS ACHIEVEMENT WITH SIGNIFICANCE THAT CAN BE APPRECIATED ONLY WITHIN CONTEXT GLORIOUS PROMISES YOUR COUNTRY'S DESTINY RECORDED OUR SACRED SCRIPTURES. ON THIS PORTENTOUS OCCASION WE RECALL WITH HOPE AND JOY PROPHETIC WORDS BELOVED MASTER ADDRESSED YOUR ILLUSTRIOUS COMMUNITY: "THE PRESTIGE OF THE FAITH OF GOD," HE ASSERTED, -HAS IMMENSELY

INCREASED. ITS GREATNESS IS NOW MANIFEST THE DAY IS APPROACHING WHEN IT WILL HAVE CAST A TREMENDOUS TUMULT IN MEN'S HEARTS. REJOICE,

THEREFORE, O DENIZENS OF AMERICA, REJOICE WITH EXCEEDING GLADNESS!" UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 444 Adoption of Resolution in Support of Iranian Bahá'í's by the United Nations General Assembly-Affirmation of Emergence from Obscurity 17 DECEMBER 1985 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

WITH JOYFUL GRATEFUL HEARTS WE ACCLAIM UNPRECEDENTED RECOGNITION

444.1 Bahá'í COMMUNITY THROUGH ADOPTION BY UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF RESOLUTION MAKING SPECIFIC REFERENCE PERSECUTED FRIENDS IRAN. FOR FIRST TIME NAME PRECIOUS FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH MENTIONED HIGHEST MOST WIDELY REPRESENTATIVE INTERNATIONAL FORUM YET ESTABLISHED THUS FULFILLING LONG-CHERISHED WISH BELOVED GUARDIAN. SIGNIFICANCE THIS MOMENTOUS DEVELOPMENT ALSO UNDERSCORED BY FACT THAT ONLY IN THREE INSTANCES BEFORE HAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY ITSELF ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS 443-1. Human Rights Day, 10 December, was established by the United Nations to commemorate the General Assembly's adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. 443-2. Quoted in W013, P. 79.


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CENSURING PARTICULAR COUNTRIES FOR BAD HUMAN RIGHTS RECORDS. PROCESS WHICH RESULTED SUCH A REMARKABLE OUTCOME BEGAN TWO YEARS AGO WITH DECISION UNITED NATIONS COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS TO SEND REPRESENTATIVE IRAN INVESTIGATE VIOLATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS INCLUDING THOSE DIRECTLY AFFECTING BAHA'I COMMUNITY. THE COMMISSION DETERRED IN ITS INTENTION BY IRANIAN AUTHORITIES REFERRED ISSUE TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY WHERE MATTER WAS DISCUSSED FIRST IN THIRD COMMITTEE WHEN INTERESTS FAITH WERE VIGOROUSLY UPHELD BY REPRESENTATIVES VARIOUS COUNTRIES AND RESOLUTION WAS PROPOSED AND THEN IN PLENARY SESSION WHICH RATIFIED RESOLUTION ON 13 DECEMBER. NOTABLE CONSEQUENCE IS RETENTION ISSUE AGENDA GENERAL ASSEMBLY THUS PERMITTING INTENSIFICATION EFFORTS RELIEVE SITUATION SUFFERING BELIEVERS IRAN IN ANTICIPATION DAY COMPLETE EMANCIPATION FAITH GOD THAT LAND. WARMLY COMMEND ACKNOWLEDGE UNTIRING EFFORTS UNITED NATIONS REPRESENTATIVES BAHA'I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY RESOLUTELY SUPPORTED BY NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES ALL CONTINENTS.

444.2 OCCURRING IN CONJUNCTION WITH PRESENTATION PEACE STATEMENT BY AMATU'L-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM TO SECRETARY-GENERAL UNITED NATIONS ONLY FEW WEEKS BEFORE,' WITH ONGOING DELIVERY SAME STATEMENT TO HEADS STATE THROUGHOUT WORLD AND WITH UNEQUIVOCAL PUBLIC DEFENSE IRANIAN BAHA'IS BY PRESIDENT UNITED STATES AT HUMAN RIGHTS DAY CEREMONY, THIS INESTIMABLE ACHIEVEMENT DEFINITELY AFFIRMS EMERGENCE FAITH OBSCURITY HERALDS NEW PHASE IRREPRESSIBLE UNFOLDMENT DIVINELY APPOINTED WORLD ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

445 Message to Conference of Counselors in the Holy Land 27 DECEMBER 1985 To the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counselors Beloved Friends,

445.1 With all the warmth of our hearts we welcome you to this historic Conference, to discuss the challenges and opportunities so swiftly devolving upon the struggling Faith of God.,

445.2 The main features of this spiritually potent occasion are evident. Your entry upon your new term of office' as the Seven Year Plan approaches its

44-4-r. See message dated 25 November x985 (no. 4-42). 445-1. The Conference was held at the Bahá'í World Center in Haifa, Israel, 27 December 1985 through 2 January 1986. 445-2. In its message dated 24 October 1985 the Universal House of Justice announced the appointment of members of the Continental Boards of Counselors to a new five-year term of service commencing on the Day of the Covenant, 26 November 1985. See message of 29 June 1979 (no. 229) regarding the setting of terms for five-year periods.


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conclusion, with the measures to be taken to ensure its success heavy on your shoulders; consideration of the main features of the new Six Year Plan which will terminate on the eve of the Centenary of the Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh the golden opportunities offered by the Year of Peace, which must be seized and fully exploited; the dramatic emergence of the Faith from obscurity into the limelight of the world's highest councils, with the attendant enhancement of its status; a tremendous upsurge of zealous activity in the Bahá'í world community as it takes to its heart the recently issued Statement on Peace;4 the deep and universal commitment already made by that community to a vast variety of social and economic development

programs; the widespread and growing awareness among the leaders of mankind that a new stage in human history has opened and that the guidance of the past will not carry it through the emergencies of the present; these, together with the invitation extended to the peoples of the world to examine the Bahá'í community as a working model for the reorganization of the world,5 are some of the pressures forcing themselves upon the attention of those responsible for the direction, propagation and protection of the Cause of God. Who can doubt that we are now entering a period of unprecedented and 445.3 unimaginable developments in the onward march of the Faith? Some intimation of what these may be can already be deduced and preparations made to deal with them. We know that the present victories will lead to active opposition, for which the Bahá'í world community must be prepared. We know the prime needs of the Cause at the moment: a vast expansion of its numbers and financial resources; a greater consolidation of its community life and the authority of its institutions; an observable increase in those characteristics of loving unity, stability of family life, freedom from prejudice and rectitude of conduct which must distinguish the Bahá'ís from the spiritually lost and wayward multitudes around them. Surely the time cannot be long delayed when we must deal universally with that entry by troops foretold by the Master as a prelude to mass conversion.6 How are we to prepare ourselves for that examination of the Bahá'í experience which will undoubtedly be made by shrewd and doubting questioners? These are some of the subjects before you. The role of the Counselors is 445.4 all-pervading and vital in the life of the Cause. You must be wise and steadfast, encouraging and brotherly in all your associations with the believers and in your consultation with National Spiritual Assemblies; through your Board members and their assistants you must strengthen and uplift the Local Spiritual Assemblies and rouse the spirits and enlarge the vision of the believers 445-3. 28 May 1992. 445-4. See message no. 438. 445-5. The invitation was extended in the message dated October 1985 (no. 438). 445-6. TABA 3:681.


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everywhere. Your prayers in the Sacred Shrines during these few days will strengthen and guide you; be assured of our own prayers for a bountiful outpouring of grace and inspiration as you embark upon the deliberations which will enable you to discharge your sacred and historic duties.

445.5 We wish you a happy, exciting and fruitful conference.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

446 Release of a Compilation on Women iJANuARY1986 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

446.1 The Universal House of Justice requested the Research Department to prepare a compilation on the subject of women, taking into consideration the Bahá'í concepts of the equality of the sexes, the role of education in the development of women, family life, fostering the development of women, etc. The compilation has now been completed and a copy is attached.,

446.2 It is left to your discretion to determine how best the contents of this compilation can be shared with the believers in your community.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

447 Report from Conference in the Holy Land; the Inception of the Fourth Epoch of the Formative Age r-P z JANUARY 1986 The Bahá'ís of the World Dearly loved Friends,

447.1 The eager expectation with which we welcomed to the World Center, on 27 December, sixty 4 Our Counselors from the five continents to discuss, with the International Teaching Center, the challenges and opportunities facing the Bahá'í world community, has, at the conclusion of their historic conference, been transmuted into feelings of deepest joy, gratitude and love. 446-1. See CC 2:355-406.


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Graced by the presence of the Hands of the Cause Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih

447.2 Khanum, Ugo Giachery, Ali-Akbar Furutan, 'Ali-Muhammad Varqa and Collis Featherstone, the Conference was organized and managed with admirable foresight and efficiency by the International Teaching Center, whose individual members watched over and served untiringly the needs of the participants and the progress of the Conference itself.

447.3 Convened in the concourse of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice as the Counselors of the Bahá'í world entered upon their new five-year term of office, within months of the termination of the Seven Year Plan and the opening of the new Six Year Plan, its aura heightened by the spiritual potencies of the Holy Shrines and the euphoric sense of victory and blessing now pervading the entire Bahá'í world, the Conference attained such heights of consultative exaltation, spirituality and power as only those serving the Blessed Beauty can enjoy.

447.4 The organic growth of the Cause of God, indicated by recent significant developments in its life, becomes markedly apparent in the light of the main objectives and expectations of the Six Year Plan: a vast expansion of the numerical and financial resources of the Cause; enlargement of its status in the world; a worldwide increase in the production, distribution and use of Bahá'í literature; a firmer and worldwide demonstration of the Bahá'í way of life requiring special consideration of the Bahá'í education of children and youth, the strengthening of Bahá'í family life and attention to universal participation and the spiritual enrichment of individual life; further acceleration in the process of the maturation of local and national Bahá'í communities and a dynamic consolidation of the unity of the two arms of the Administrative Order; an extension of the involvement of the Bahá'í world community in the needs of the world around it; and the pursuit of social and economic development in well-established Bahá'í communities. These are some of the features of the Six Year Plan which will open on 21 April 1986 and terminate on 20 April 1992. Ridvan 1992 will mark the inception of a Holy Year, during which the

447.5 Centenary of the Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh will be observed by commemorations around the world and the inauguration of His Covenant will be celebrated, in the City of the Covenant, by the holding of the second Bahá'í World Congress.

447.6 The beloved Counselors, strengthened and enriched by their experience in the Holy Land, will, as early as possible, consult with all National Spiritual Assemblies on measures to conclude triumphantly the current Plan, and on preparations to launch the Six Year Plan. In anticipation of those consultations

447-1. The first Bahá'í World Congress was held in London during the 1963 Ridvan Festival from 28 April through z May. See the first statement from the Universal House of Justice, issued on that occasion and dated 30 April 1963 (message no. i).


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National Spiritual Assemblies will receive the full announcement of the aims and characteristics of that Plan, so that together with the Counselors they may formulate the national plans which will, for each community, establish its pursuit of the overall objectives.,

447.7 This new process, whereby the national goals of the next Plan are to be largely formulated by National Spiritual Assemblies and Boards of Counselors, signalizes the inauguration of a new stage in the unfoldment of the Administrative Order. Our beloved Guardian anticipated a succession of epochs during the Formative Age of the Faith; have no hesitation in recognizing that this new development in the maturation of Bahá'í institutions marks the inception of the fourth epoch of that Age.3

447.8 Shoghi Effendi perceived in the organic life of the Cause a dialectic of victory and crisis. The unprecedented triumphs, generated by the adamantine steadfastness of the Iranian friends, will inevitably provoke opposition to test and increase our strength. Let every Bahá'í in the world be assured that whatever may befall this growing Faith of God is but incontrovertible evidence of the loving care with which the King of Glory and His martyred Herald, through the incomparable Center of His Covenant and our beloved Guardian, are preparing His humble followers for ultimate and magnificent triumph. Our loving prayers are with you all.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

447-2. See message no. 453. 447-3. The Formative Age began in 1921 with the passing ofAbdu'l-Bahá and with Shoghi Effendi's assumption of the office of Guardian. The first epoch of the Formative Age spanned the years 1921-46 and included the first Seven Year Plan (1937-44) pursued by the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada. The second epoch, 1946-63, embraced the second Seven Year Plan embarked upon by the Bahá'ís of North America, plans of shorter durations pursued by other national communities, and the Ten Year World Crusade, which for the first time involved the entire Bahá'í world in one common program of expansion and consolidation. The third epoch, 1963-86, encompassed the Nine, Five, and Seven Year Plans inaugurated by the Universal House of Justice. The fourth epoch began in 1986. The epochs of the Formative Age are different from those of the Divine Plan, the first epoch of which began in 1937 and ended in 1963. We continue to be in the second epoch of the Divine Plan.

448.1 For a fuller explanation of the epochs of the Formative Age, see message no. 451.


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448 Women-Their Role in Society and the Establishment of Peace; Membership on the Universal House of Justice 5 JANUARY 1986

To an individual Bahá'í

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

The Universal House of Justice has directed us to transmit the following in reply to your letter dated 19 December 1985. Concerning your request for material relating to the role of women in Society and in the establishment of peace, a compilation of extracts from the Writings and Utterances of `Abdu'l-Bahá, and from letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi and the House of Justice, is enclosed.' These extracts concern the equality of women, their role, and, either

directly or indirectly, their importance to the attainment of peace.

448.3 Additionally, from one of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's previously untranslated Tablets, the following extract is taken: The handmaidens of God and the bondsmaids in His divine Court 448.3a should reveal such attributes and attitudes amongst the women of the world as would cause them to stand out and achieve renown in the circles of women. That is, they should associate with them with supreme chastity and steadfast decency, with unshakable faith, articulate speech, an eloquent tongue, irrefutable testimony and high resolve. Beseech God that thou mayest attain unto all these bounties. 'Abdu'l-Bahá also stated: The woman is indeed of the greater importance to the race. She has 448.3b the greater burden and the greater work. Look at the vegetable and the animal worlds. The palm which carries the fruit is the tree most prized by the date grower. The Arab knows that for a long journey the mare has the longest wind. For her greater strength and fierceness, the lioness is more feared by the hunter than the lion. * * * The woman has greater moral courage than the man; she has 448.3c also special gifts which enable her to govern in moments of danger and crisis (Abdu'l-Bahá in London, pp. 102-03) 448-1. Many of the extracts that were enclosed are included in the compilation on the subject of women sent on i January 1986 (see message no. 446). See CC 2:355-406.


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448.3d Consider, for instance, a mother who has tenderly reared a son for twenty years to the age of maturity. Surely she will not consent to having that son torn asunder and killed in the field of battle. Therefore, as woman advances toward the degree of man in power and privilege, with the right of vote and control in human government, most assuredly war Will cease; for woman is naturally the most devoted and staunch advocate of international peace. (Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 375) A further extract about women and peace is taken from a letter written on behalf of the Guardian on 24 March 1945:

448.4 What 'Abdu'l-Bahá meant about the women arising for peace is that this is a matter which vitally affects women, and when they form a conscious and overwhelming mass of public opinion against war there can be no war. The Bahá'í women are already organized through being members of the Faith and the Administrative Order. No further organization is needed. But they should, through teaching and through the active moral support they give to every movement directed towards peace, seek to exert a strong influence on other women's minds in regard to this essential matter.

448.5 With reference to the membership of the House of Justice being possible only for men, a compilation on this subject is also enclosed .2 The following extracts are contained in this compilation, but have been selected for separate mention. The first is from Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Bahá' section 38:

448.5a The House of Justice, however, according to the explicit text of the Law of God, is confined to men; this for a wisdom of the Lord God's which will

erelong be made manifest as clearly as the sun at high noon.

448.6 And from a letter dated 14 April 1975 written on behalf of the House of justice to an individual believer, are taken these extracts:

448.6a The Universal House of Justice has asked us to assure you that it appreciates the deep concern you express in your recent letter about the membership of the Universal House of Justice being confined to men, and it understands your feeling of frustration at not being able to find an answer that would help you to accept that this is not an injustice being imposed on womankind. The House of Justice agrees with you that our Sacred Writings are replete with passages affirming the equality of both sexes; that from the spiritual point of view, there is no

48-2. The extracts are too lengthy to include in this volume.


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difference between women and men. In fact, many statements made by 'Abdu'l-Bah.6 extol women. He has said that "in some respects woman is superior to man." . . .3 The Universal House of Justice points out that when we accept the

448.6b Manifestation of God for our time, we must accept what He says though at the moment we may not comprehend the meaning of some of His statements. Some things, such as Bahá'u'lláh's Teachings regarding life after death, we have to accept on faith. May you be guided and sustained in promoting the Word of God at the 448.7

meetings you are planning and in the opportunities that occur in your daily life.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

449 Message to National Youth Conference, Adelaide, Australia 13 JANUARY 1986 To the Bahá'í Youth of Australia ENTRANCE FAITH FOURTH EPOCH FORMATIVE AGE HERALDS ADVENT NEW CHALLENGES

OPPORTUNITIES FRIENDS EVERYWHERE EXEMPLIFY DIVINE QUALITIES FIRMLY ESTABLISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY AS MODEL WORTHY EMULATION PEOPLES WORLD INEVITABLY MOVING TOWARD TRANSFORMATION HUMAN SOCIETY AND LAYING FOUNDATIONS WORLD PEACE. CONFIDENT ENERGETIC SPIRIT MEMBERS YOUR GENERATION VILL INSPIRE FELLOW BELIEVERS ALL AGES DISCHARGE THEIR SHARE DUTIES OBLIGATIONS DURING YEAR PEACE AS ALL LABOR UNITEDLY FOR VICTORY SEVEN YEAR PLAN AND CONTEMPLATE NEW LEVELS ACHIEVEMENT COURSE SIX YEAR PLAN. OFFERING OUR PRAYERS SUPPLICATIONS YOUR BEHALF. MAY PROMISED BLESSINGS CONFIRMATIONS Bahá'u'lláh SUSTAIN YOU DURING YOUR DELIBERATIONS AND CROWN YOUR EFFORTS WITH OUTSTANDING VICTORIES. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 448-3. PT, p. 161.


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450 Inaugural Broadcast of Radio Bahá'í Panama 31 JANUARY 1986 To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Panama 450JDEEPLY GRATIFIED FIRST TRANSMISSION RADIO BAHA'I PANAMA CULMINATION LONG PERIOD TRAINING DEVOTED LABORS Bahá'í COMMUNITY GUAYMIES MANY INDIVIDUALS. SUGGEST NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SEEK EXTENSION GRADUATED PROGRAMMING PERIOD AT LEAST 6 MONTHS ENABLE NON PROFESSIONAL STAFF ORGANIZE PROCURE MATERIALS GAIN NEEDED TECHNICAL PROFICIENCIES DEVELOP CULTURAL

CENTER. CONGRATULATIONS GREAT ACHIEVEMENT. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 451 Epochs of the Formative Age 5 FEBRUARY 1986

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

451.1 In the letter dated 2 January 1986 written by the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'í's of the world, reference was made to the inception of the fourth epoch of the Formative Age., In response to questions subsequently put to the House of Justice about the periods related to the earlier epochs of that Age, the Research Department was requested to prepare a statement on the subject.

451.3 This has now been presented, and a copy is enclosed.

451.2 Kindly share this material of topical interest with the friends, as you deem fit, so that it may be studied in their deepening classes, summer schools, conferences and similar gatherings.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

451-1. See message no. 4-47.


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The Epochs of the Formative Age Prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice Introduction: In disclosing the panoramic vision of the unfoldment of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh, Shoghi Effendi refers to three major evolutionary stages through which the Faith must pass-the Apostolic or Heroic Age (1844-1921) associated with the Central

Figures of the Faith ;2 the Formative or Transitional Age (192.j-),3 the "hallmarle'4 of which is the rise and establishment of the

Administrative Order, based on the execution of the provisions of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament;5 and, the Golden Age which will represent the "consummation of this glorious Dispensation."6 Close examination of the details of Bahá'í history reveals that the individual Ages are comprised of a number of periods-inseparable parts of one integrated whole.7 In relation to the Heroic Age of our Faith, the Guardian, in a letter dated 451.4 5 June 1947 to the American Bahá'ís, specified that this Age consisted of three epochs and described the distinguishing features of each: . . . the Apostolic and Heroic Age of our Faith, fell into three distinct

451.4a epochs, of nine, of thirty-nine and of twenty-nine years' duration, associated respectively with the Babi Dispensation and the ministries of Bahá'u'lláh and of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.

451.5 This primitive Age of the Bahá'í Era, unapproached in spiritual fecundity by any period associated with the mission of the Founder of any previous Dispensation, was impregnated, from its inception to its termination, with the creative energies generated through the advent of two independent Manifestations and the establishment of a Covenant unique in the spiritual annals of mankind.' The Formative Age, in which we now live and serve,9 was ushered in with the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.10 Its major thrust is the shaping, development and consolidation of the local, national and international institutions of the Faith.11 It is clear from the enumeration of the tasks associated with the Formative Age that their achievement will require increasingly mature levels of functioning of the Bahá'í community: 451-2. CF, pp. 4-5 Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Bahá'ís. 451-3. WOB, p. 98. Letter dated 8 February 1934. 451-4. WOB, p. 156. Letter dated 8 February 1934. 451-5. CF, P. 5. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Bahá'ís. 451-6.WOB, P. 156. Letter dated 8 February 1934. 451-7. GPB, p. xv. 451-9. CF, pp. 4-5. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Bahá'í, 451-9. WOB, p. 98. Letter dated 8 February 1934. 451-10. GPB, p. xiv. 451-H. GPB, P. 324.


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451.5a During this Formative Age of the Faith, and in the course of present and succeeding epochs, the last and crowning stage in the erection of the framework of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh the election of the Universal House of Justice-will have been completed, the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Mother Book of His Revelation, will have been codified and its laws promulgated, the Lesser Peace will have been established, the unity of mankind will have been achieved and its maturity attained, the Plan conceived by 'Abdu'l-Bahá will have been executed, the emancipation of the Faith from the fetters of religious orthodoxy will have been effected, and its independent religious status will have been universally recognized .... 12

451.6 The epochs of the Formative Age mark progressive stages in the evolution of the organic Bahá'í community and signal the maturation of its institutions, thus enabling the Faith to operate at new levels and to initiate new functions. The timing of each epoch is designated by the Head of the Faith, and given the organic nature of evolutionary development, the transition from one epoch to another may not be abrupt, but may well occur over a period of time. This is the case, for example, in relation to both the inception of the Formative Age and the end of its first epoch. In relation to the former, the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá is the transitional event most often identified with the close of the Heroic Age and the beginning of the Formative Age.13 However, the Guardian also asserts that the Apostolic Age of the Faith concluded "more particularly with the passing [in 19321 of His well-beloved and illustrious sister, the Most Exalted Leaf-the last survivor of a glorious and heroic age."14 With regard to the termination of the first epoch of the Formative Age, Shoghi Effendi has placed this between the years 944r5 and 1946._16

451.7 Before describing the individual epochs of the Formative Age, it is important to comment on the use of the term "epoch" in the writings of the Guardian. In a letter dated 18 January 1953, written on his behalf to a National Spiritual Assembly, it is explained that the term is used to apply both to the stages in the Formative Age of the Faith, and to the phases in the unfoldment of Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan.17 We are currently in the fourth-epoch of the 451-12. CF, p. 6. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American

Bahá'ís. 451-13. GPB, p. xiv. 451-14. WOB, p. 98. Letter dated 8 February 1934. 451-15. CF, P. 5. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Bahá'ís. 451-16. MBW, p. 89. Cablegram dated 23 August 1955- See also letter dated 18 January 1953 written on behalf of the

Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States (reference cited in 451-17 below). 451-17. BN, no. 265 (March 1953): 4.

451.9 Letter dated 18 January 1953 written on behalf of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States.


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Formative Age 18 and the second epoch of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan.19 (The first epoch of the Divine Plan began in 1937, with the inception of the First Seven Year Plan of the North American Bahá'í community, and concluded with the successful completion of the Ten Year Crusade in 1963.1-0 The second epoch of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan commenced in 1964 with the

inauguration of the Nine Year Plan of the Universal House of justice.) The primary focus of this statement is on the epochs of the Formative Age 451.8 of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh. The First Epoch of the Formative Age: 1921-1944/46 The first epoch of this Age witnessed the "birth and the primary stages in the erection of the framework of the Administrative Order of the Faith." The epoch was characterized by concentration on the formation of local and national institutions in all five continents '22 thereby initiating the erection of the machinery necessary for future systematic teaching activities.

451.10 This epoch was further marked by the launching, at the instigation of the Guardian, of the First Seven Year Plan (1937-1944) by the American Bahá'í community. This Plan, drawing its inspiration from the Tablets of the Divine Plan, represented the first systematic teaching campaign of the Bahá'í community and inaugurated the initial stage of the execution of "Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan in the Western Hemisphere.23 The Second Epoch of the Formative Age: 1946-1963 This epoch extended the developments of the first epoch by calling for the consummation of a laboriously constructed Administrative Order,"4 and was to witness the formulation of a succession of teaching plans designed to facilitate the development of the Faith beyond the

confines of the Western Hemisphere and the continent of Europe.15 This epoch was distinguished, in the first instance, by the simultaneous and often spontaneous prosecution of Bahá'í national plans in both the East and the West.26 For example, in a letter written at Naw-Ruz 105 119491 to the Bahá'ís in the East, the beloved Guardian listed the specific plans undertaken by the United States, British, Indian, Persian, Australian and New Zealand, and Iraqi National Spiritual Assemblies, and indicated that this concerted action signalized the transition into the 451-M See message no. 447. 451-19. See message no. 14. 45I-20. 13N, no. 265 (March 1953): 4. Letter dated 18 January 1953 written on behalf of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States. 451-21. CF, P. 5. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Bahá'ís. 451-22. MBW, p. 19. Cablegram dated 24 December 1951. 451-23. CF, p. 5. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Bahá'ís. 451--24. CF, p. 6. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Bahá'ís. 451-25. CF, p. 6. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Bahá'ís. 451-26. MBW, P. 13. Cablegram dated 25 April 1951.


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second epoch of the Formative Age.'7The internal consolidation and the administrative experience gained by the National Assemblies was utilized and mobilized by the Guardian with the launching of the Ten Year World Crusade2l-a crusade involving the simultaneous prosecution of twelve national plans. The plans derived their direction from 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan, and the goals were assigned by Shoghi Effendi from the World Center of the Faith.29 A second distinguishing feature of this epoch was the "RISE"30 and 11 STEADY CONSOLIDATION"31 of the World Center of the Faith.

451.11 The second epoch thus clearly demonstrated the further maturation of the institutions of the Administrative Order. It witnessed the appointment of the Hands of the Cause,32 the introduction of Auxiliary Boards,33 and the establishment of the International Bahá'í Council.34The culminating event of the epoch was the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963. It further demonstrated the more effective and coordinated use of the administrative machinery to prosecute the goals of the first global spiritual crusade, and the emergence in ever sharper relief of the World Center of the Faith. The Third Epoch of the Formative Age: 1963-1986

451.12 In addressing the British National Spiritual Assembly in 1951, the Guardian foreshadowed "worldwide enterprises destined to be embarked upon, in future epochs of that same [Formative] Age, by the Universal House OfJUStiCe."35 In announcing the Nine Year Plan, "the second of those world-encircling enterprises destined in the course of time to carry the Word of God to every human SoUl,"36 the Universal House of Justice embarked upon the process anticipated by the Guardian and proclaimed the commencement of the third epoch of the Formative Age, an epoch which called the Bahá'ís to a yet more mature level of administrative functioning, consistent with the expected vast increase in the size and diversity of the community, its emergence as a model to mankind, and the extension of the influence of the Faith in the world at large. The House of Justice, in a letter dated October 1963, stated: 451-27. Tawq1'dt-i-Mubdrakih, 102-10P B.E. (Tehran: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, I25 B.H.), Pp. 99-188. Letter dated Naw-Ruz i05 B.E. to the Bahá'ís in the East. 451-28. CF, P. 140. Letter dated 20 August 1955 to the American Bahá'ís. 451-29- MBW, pp. 151-53. Letter dated 4 May 1953. 451-30. MBW, P. 13. Cablegram dated 25 April 1951. 451-31. MBW, p. 13. Cablegram dated 25 April 1951. 451-32. MBW, pp. A-20. Cablegram dated 2,4 December 1951. 451-33. MBW, p. 4-4. Cablegram dated 8 October 1952. And, pp. 127-28. Letter dated October 1957. 451-34. MBW, pp. 7-8. Cablegram dated 9 January 1951. 451-35. UD, p. 261. Guardian's postscript to a letter dated 25 February 1951, written on his behalf to the National Spiritual

Assembly of the British Isles. 451-36. See message no. 6.


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Beloved friends, the Cause of God, guarded and nurtured since its inception by God's Messengers, by the Center of His Covenant and by His Sign on earth, now enters a new epoch, the third of the Formative Age.37 It must now grow rapidly in size, increase its spiritual cohesion and executive ability, develop its institutions and extend its influence into all strata of society. We, its members, must, by constant study of the life-giving Word, and by dedicated service, deepen in spiritual understanding and show to the world a mature, responsible, fundamentally assured and happy way of life, far removed from the passions, prejudices and distractions of present day society.31 The period of the third epoch encompassed three world plans, involving all

451.12b National Spiritual Assemblies, under the direction of the Universal House of Justice, namely, the Nine Year Plan (1964-1973), the Five Year Plan (1974-1979), and the Seven Year Plan (1979-1986). This third epoch witnessed the emergence of the Faith from obscurity39 and the initiation of activities designed to foster the social and economic development of communitieS.40 The institution of the Continental Boards of Counselors was brought into existenCe4l leading to the establishment of the International Teaching Center.42 Assistants to the Auxiliary Boards were also introduced.43 At the World Center of the Faith, the historic construction and occupation of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice was a crowning event.

451.13 The Fourth Epoch of the Formative Age: 1986In a letter dated z January 1986 written by the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'ís of the World, the Supreme Body announced the inception of the fourth epoch of the Formative Age. It highlighted the significant developments that had taken place in the "organic growth of the Cause of God"45 during the course of the recently completed third epoch, by assessing the readiness of the Bahá'í community to begin to address the objectives of the new Six Year Plan scheduled to begin on 21 April 1986, and, outlined the general aims and characteristics of this new Plan. Whereas national plans had

451-37. The Center of the Covenant is one of Abdu'l-Bahá's titles; the Sign of God is one of the titles Abdu'l-Bahá used in His Will and Testament to refer to Shoghi Effendi the Guardian of the Cause of God. 451-38. See message no. 6. 451-39. See message no. 361. 451-40. See message no. 379. 451-41. See message no. 58. 451-42. See message no. 132. 451-43. See messages no. 132 and 137. 451-44. See message no. 354. 451-45. See message no. 447.


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previously derived largely from the World Center, in this new epoch the specific goals for each national community will be formulated, within the framework of the overall objectives of the Plan, by means of consultation between the particular National

Spiritual Assembly and the Continental Board of Counselors. As the Universal House of Justice states:

451.13a This new process . . . signalizes the inauguration of a new stage in the unfoldment of the Administrative Order. Our beloved Guardian anticipated a succession of epochs during the Formative Age of the Faith; we have no hesitation in recognizing that this new development in the maturation of Bahá'í institutions marks the inception of the fourth epoch of that Age.46 Future Epochs

451.14 The tasks that remain to be accomplished during the course of the Formative Age are many and challenging. Additional epochs can be anticipated, each marking

significant stages in the evolution of the Administrative Order and culminating in the Golden Age of the Faith.47 The Golden Age, itself, will involve 'successive epochS"41 leading ultimately to the establishment of the Most Great Peace, to the World Bahá'í Commonwealth and to the "birth and efflorescence of a world civilization. "49 452 Plans for the Dedication of the Mother Temple of the Indian Subcontinent, New Delhi 24 FEBRUARY 1986 To all National Spiritual Assemblies 452.1

JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE DEDICATION MOTHER TEMPLE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT WILL BE HELD NEW DELHI 23-27 DECEMBER 1986. AMATU'L-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM WILL REPRESENT UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE THIS HISTORIC OCCASION AND DEDICATE TEMPLE. TEMPLE DEDICATION COMMITTEE FORMED UNDER AEGIS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY INDIA WILL CONVEY NECESSARY INFORMATION. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 451-46. See message no. 447. 451-47. CF, p. 6. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Bahá'ís. 451-48. MBW, P. 155. Letter dated 4 May 1953. 451-49. CF, p. 6. Letter dated 5 June 1947 to the American Bahá'ís.


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453 The Six Year Plan-Major Objectives and Setting National Goals 25 FEBRUARY 1986

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Six Year Plan On 2 January 1986, on the closing day of the Counselors' Conference, the

453.1 Universal House of Justice announced certain features of the Six Year Plan and the methods by which they national goals were to be worked out in consultation between the Counselors and National Spiritual Assemblies., Before Ridvan you will receive a message from the Universal House of Justice to the entire Bahá'í world and also one addressed specifically to the Bahá'ís within the jurisdiction of each National Spiritual Assembly.2 In the meantime the House of Justice wishes you to begin your consultations on the goals of the Six Year Plan for your country. The preliminary steps in goal-setting have already been taken, namely the assessment of each country's strengths and weaknesses which the National Spiritual Assemblies recently made at the request of the Universal House of Justice, and which will undoubtedly be of great assistance to each one of you as you enter the next stage of the process.3 The House of Justice has instructed us to send you the following additional guidelines together with the enclosed statement of the major objectives of the plan at the national level, which includes some suggestions for specific goals to provide a basis for your consultations. You should not, however, confine yourselves to those suggestions.

453.4 A special characteristic of the Six Year Plan is that the conceiving of the detailed national goals is itself to be one of the tasks of the Plan, but this fact should not hold up in any way the activities of your communities. With this letter you are being acquainted with the major objectives of the plan, and every believer, every Local Spiritual Assembly, and all the national committees can pursue immediately, with increasing vigor, many

projects towards their attainment, both projects already in process and others which will be newly conceived, so that when the specific national goals for each community are announced they will be received by a united company of devoted followers of Bahá'u'lláh already in the full flood of activity. 453-1. See message no. 447. 453-2. See message no. 456. 453-3. See message no. 415, "Invitation to Participate in the Formulation of the Next Plan" (25 November 1984).


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453.5 It is the hope of the Universal House of Justice that each National Assembly will be able to meet before Ridvan with a representative of the Continental Board of Counselors so that from this initial consultation a basis will be laid for consultation on the goals at the National Conventions.

453.6 Other consultations will no doubt continue following the Ridvan Festival. Their duration will depend on the condition of each national community its size and the complexity of its circumstances. As soon as specific goals have been formulated and agreed, they should be immediately sent to the World Center. They will then be considered by the Universal House of justice and the International Teaching Center, and, as soon as possible, the National Assembly will be informed of the approval or modification of its proposal. Each submission will be considered on its arrival; the earlier they arrive the better, and in no case

should a submission reach the World Center later than I November 1986.

453.7 Among the elements of the plan which are not covered by the list of major objectives are the goals for international assistance including pioneering, resident teaching projects, traveling teaching, assistance for development projects, and for the acquisition of properties and vehicles. Notes relating to these

elements have been provided to the Continental Boards of Counselors, who will share them with National Assemblies during the process of consultation. Since they are international in nature, these goals will have to be consolidated and approved at the World Center before being generally announced.

453.8 Though the institutions of the Faith are responsible for planning the goals and activities of the Cause, for stimulating and encouraging the believers to arise, and for supporting and unifying them in their services, it is, in the final analysis, through the spiritual decisions and actions of the individual believers that the Faith moves forward on its course to ultimate victory. It is the ardent hope of the Universal House of Justice that every faithful follower of Bahá'u'lláh will search his or her heart and turn with full attention and loving self-sacrifice to the consideration of the goals of the Six Year Plan, and determine how to play a part in their achievement.

453.9 The prayers of the Universal House of Justice and the International Teaching Center at the Sacred Threshold will surround the institutions of the Faith in every continent and nation as you assume your weighty task of conceiving the goals which will guide the national communities of the Faith through the next six years.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT


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The Six Year Plan 143-149 . 1986-1992 The Major Objectives The major objectives of the Six Year Plan include: carrying the healing

453.10 Message of Bahá'u'lláh to the generality of mankind; greater involvement of the Faith in the life of human society; a worldwide increase in the translation, production, distribution and use of Bahá'í literature; further acceleration in the process of the maturation of national and local Bahá'í communities; greater attention to universal participation and the spiritual enrichment of individual believers; a wider extension of Bahá'í education to children and youth and the strengthening of Bahá'í family life; and the pursuit of projects of social and economic development in well-established Bahá'í communities. Set out below are suggestions for possible ways of achieving the above 453.11 objectives to act as a basis for consultation and a stimulus for thinking. National Assemblies should not confine themselves to these points if they feel that there are other matters which deserve attention. 1.

453.12 Carrying the healing Message of Bahá'u'lláh to the generality of mankind

- Increase the number of believers from all strata of society, identifying as goals of the plan those specific sectors, minority groups, tribal peoples, etc. which are at present underrepresented in the Bahá'í community and which will, therefore, be given special attention during the plan. - Increase the number of localities where Bahá'ís reside, opening, in the process, virgin states, provinces, islands or other major civil subdivisions of the country. - Seize teaching opportunities by planning projects in areas where receptivity is found, aiming at large-scale enrollment and entry by troops where possible. - Be alert to opportunities for international collaboration with other Bahá'í communities in the promotion of the Faith through: border teaching projects; the sending of traveling teachers; and the teaching of special groups such as those temporarily abroad for study or work, particularly those from countries which are difficult of access, such as China or countries in Eastern Europe. - Raise up homefront pioneers and traveling or resident teachers to assist in the fulfillment of teaching goals and plans.


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Utilize mass media systems for greater proclamation. Make use of drama and singing in the teaching and deepening work and in Bahá'í gatherings, where advisable. 453.13 2. Greater involvement of the Faith in the life of human society Develop the proper understanding and practice of consultation among members of the Bahá'í community and in the work of Bahá'í institutions, and foster the spirit of consultation in the conduct of human affairs and the resolution of conflicts at all levels of society. Foster association with organizations, prominent persons and those in authority concerning the promotion of peace, world order and allied objectives, with a view to offering the Bahá'í teachings and insights regarding current problems and thought. Train suitable Bahá'ís to undertake public relations activities. Foster appreciation of the Faith in scholarly and academic circles by developing Bahá'í scholars hip, by endeavoring to have the Faith included in the curricula and textbooks of schools and universities, and by other means. Encourage Bahá'í youth to move towards the front ranks of those professions, trades, arts and crafts necessary to human progress. Promote the establishment of Bahá'í clubs in universities and other similar educational institutions. Foster the practice of the equality of the sexes both in the life of the Bahá'í community and in society as a whole and, for this purpose, hold

special conferences and training programs for women and for men. 453.14 3. A worldwide increase in the translation, production, distribution and use of Bahá'í literature Foster the use of Bahá'í literature, especially in local languages, supplemented as need be by tape recordings and visual aids. Improve the distribution of Bahá'í literature by taking specific steps, such as the establishment of regional depots where necessary, and the education of Local

Spiritual Assemblies in the responsibilities to acquaint the friends with Bahá'í literature and ensure its easy availability. Produce greater supplies of Bahá'í literature in accordance with well-thought-out plans of translation, production and distribution. Produce, where required for translations into vernacular languages, simplified versions of the Sacred Scriptures, the writings of the Guardian and the statements of the Universal House of Justice. Establish Bahá'í lending libraries.


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4.

453.15 Further acceleration in the process of the maturation of local and national Bahá'í communities Adopt specific programs to assist and encourage the development of isolated centers into groups, and groups into communities with Local Spiritual Assemblies, resulting in a steady increase of such Assemblies. Adopt specific goals and programs to consolidate and strengthen Local Spiritual Assemblies, so that they will: - Hold regular meetings with harmonious and productive consultation, 435.15a - Properly organize and conduct the work of their secretariat and treasury, - Appoint and coordinate the work of local committees for special aspects of their work, such as teaching, child education, youth activities, literature distribution, etc., - Win the respect and confidence of their local communities so that the believers will turn to them for the resolution of problems and advice in their services to the Cause, - Where appropriate, acquire and develop the use of local centers, - Obtain incorporation or equivalent recognition as a legal entity, - Exercise their responsibilities in relation to marriages, births, transfers of membership, marriages and deaths. - Maintain registers of declarations, births, transfers of membership, marriages and deaths. Adopt specific goals and programs to consolidate communities with Local Spiritual Assemblies so that the believers will be encouraged to: - Attend regularly Nineteen Day Feasts and the observances of Bahá'í

453.15b Holy Days, and enhance the spiritual quality of such gatherings, - Pursue local teaching and deepening activities, - Foster the realization of the equality of then and women, - Develop local activities for children and youth, - Support the fund, - Carry out extension teaching projects. Develop the functioning of National Spiritual Assemblies, adopting specific plans and programs to: - Improve their standard of united, productive, loving consultation, - Develop efficiently functioning national secretariats, - Enhance the standard of the functioning of national treasuries and promote the goal of financial independence of the national Bahá'í community,


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A -point strong national committees to carry out, under the general supervision of the National Spiritual Assembly, the many specialized aspects of the work of the Cause, including the detailed planning and prompt execution of the work necessary to achieve all the goals of the Six Year Plan. - Acquire, where needed and feasible, national and local properties, such as Haziratu'l-Quds, teaching institutes, summer schools, Bahá'í cemeteries, etc. and ensure their proper care and maintenance. - Obtain, where legally possible, official recognition for Bahá'í marriage and holy days and exemption from the payment of taxes on Bahá'í institutions and their activities. Ensure the rapid and regular dissemination of news to all believers. Hold regular, well-planned and well-run summer and winter schools and conferences at costs and in localities which will permit the largest attendance. Encourage collaboration between or amongst Local Spiritual Assemblies in mutually agreed projects. Develop and administer correspondence courses for teaching and deepening. 453.16 5. Greater attention to universal participation and the spiritual enrichment of individual believers * Promote universal participation in the life of the Faith and an increased sense of their Bahá'í

identity among children, youth and adults. - Encourage, where feasible, the practice of dawn prayer. * Encourage individual believers to adopt teaching goals for themselves. - Carry out activities designed to deepen the believers in both a spiritual and intellectual understanding of the Cause. a Encourage believers to make greater use of Bahá'í' literature. - Encourage the believers to enhance their command of language to assist them to understand the Bahá'í writings ever more clearly. a Develop and foster Bahá'í scholarship and lend support to the Associations for Bahá'í Studies. - Foster obedience to the Bahá'í laws of personal behavior such as abstention from the drinking of alcoholic beverages and from the taking of habit-forming drugs, and inspire the believers to follow the Bahá'í way of life.453.17 6. A wider extension of Bahá'í education to children and youth, and the strengthening of Bahá'í family life Encourage the holding of regular classes for the Bahá'í education of children.


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Develop systematic lesson plans and other materials for the Bahá'í education of children. - Train believers to teach Bahá'í children's classes. - Establish a program for the guidance of parents, especially mothers, in the care and training of Bahá'í children. - Sponsor institutes on Bahá'í marriage and family life. - Encourage community activities involving Bahá'í families. 7.

453.18 The pursuit of projects of social and economic development in well-established Bahá'í communities - Encourage Local Spiritual Assemblies and the rank and file of the believers to consider ways in which they can advance the social and economic development of their communities. - Establish tutorial schoolS4 and preschools where needed and feasible. - Encourage and sponsor adult literacy programs where needed, especially for women. - Foster collaboration with other agencies involved in social and economic development in areas where the Bahá'í communities can contribute to the work. 454 Passing of Angus Cowan, Continental Counselor 12 MARCH 1986 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada HEARTS GRIEF-STRICKEN PASSING OUTSTANDING PROMOTER CAUSE ANGUS COWAN.'

454.1 HIS SERVICES AS PREEMINENT BAHA'I TEACHER OF INDIAN PEOPLES, HIS UNCEASING LABORS THROUGHOUT LONG YEARS DEVOTION RANGED FROM LOCAL AND NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES TO AUXILIARY BOARD AND BOARD COUNSELORS. HIS COMPASSION, COURTESY, HUMILITY MAGNANIMITY UNFORGETTABLE. BAHA'I COMMUNITY CANADA ROBBED OF A DEDICATED NOBLE WORKER WHO BORE HIS SUFFERINGS TO THE VERY END WITH EXEMPLARY FORTITUDE. CONVEY LOVING CONDOLENCES HIS BELOVED WIFE AND FAMILY AND ASSURANCES ARDENT PRAYERS HIS RADIANT SOUES PROGRESS THROUGHOUT WORLDS GOD. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 453-4. A BAD tutorial school is a simple school, usually in a rural area where no formal education is available. It often consists of one teacher and a group of students who learn Bahá'í moral and ethical teachings and basic reading, writing, and computation skills. 454-1. For an account of the life and services of Angus Cowan, see BW 19:703-06.


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455 Women-Reasons for Exemption from Acts of Worship 17 MARCH 1986

To an individual Bahá'í

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

455.1 The Universal House of Justice has received your letter Of 4 March 1986 seeking clarification of a statement concerning certain obligations of women found in the Kitab-i-Aqdas. We are directed to convey the following.

455.2 There is nothing in the teachings of the Faith to state that women in their courses are exempt from fasting and from offering the obligatory prayers because they are unclean.

455.3 The concept of uncleanness as understood and practiced in the religious communities of the past has been abolished by Bahá'u'lláh. As you are aware, He says that through His revelation "all created things were immersed in the sea of purification" (God Passes By, page 154).

This should, of course, be understood in the context of His clear instructions about the necessity for all to exemplify immaculate cleanliness, especially when engaged in acts of worship.

455.4 We are to confirm that you are quite right in pointing out that the term used in this regard in the Synopsis and Codification of the Laws and Ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas [P. 36, (4) (c)] is "exemption," not prohibition.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

456 Ridvan Message 1986 RIDVAN 1986

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

456.1 The Divine Springtime is fast advancing and all the atoms of the earth are responding to the vibrating influence of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation. The evidences of this new life are clearly apparent in the progress of the Cause of God. As we contemplate, however momentarily, the unfolding pattern of its growth, we can but recognize, with wonder and gratitude, the irresistible power of that Almighty Hand which guides its destinies. Review of Notable Achievements during the Seven Year Plan

456.2 This progress has accelerated notably during the Seven Year Plan, witnessed by the achievement of many important enterprises throughout the Bahá'í world and vital developments at the heart of the Cause itself. The restoration


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and opening to pilgrimage of the southern wing of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha; the completion and occupation of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice; the approval of detailed plans for the remaining edifices around the Arc; the expansion of the membership and responsibilities of the International Teaching Center and the Continental Boards of Counselors; the establishment of the offices of Social and Economic Development, and of Public Information; the dedication of the Mother Temple of the Pacific, and dramatic progress with the building of the Temple in India; the expansion of the teaching work throughout the world, resulting in the formation of twenty-three new National Spiritual Assemblies, nearly 8,000 new Local Spiritual Assemblies, the opening of more than 16,000 new localities and representation within the Bahá'í community Of 300 new tribes; the issuing Of 2J96 new publications, 898 of which are editions of the Holy Text and the enrichment of Bahá'í literature by productions in 114 new languages; the initiation Of 737 new social and economic development projects; the addition of three radio stations, with three more soon to be inaugurated -- these stand out as conspicuous achievements in a Plan which will be remembered as having set the seal on the third epoch of the Formative Age., Emergence from Obscurity The opening of that Plan coincided with the recrudescence of savage persecution of the Bahá'í community in Iran, a deliberate effort to eliminate the Cause of God from the land of its birth. The heroic steadfastness of the Persian friends has been the mainspring of tremendous international attention focused on the Cause, eventually bringing it to the agenda of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and, together with worldwide publicity in all the media, accomplishing its emergence from the obscurity which characterized and sheltered the first period of its life.

456.4 This dramatic process impelled the Universal House of Justice to address a Statement on Peace to the Peoples of the World and arrange for its delivery to Heads of State and the generality of the rulers.2 Maturation of the institutions of the Cause Paralleling these outstanding events has been a remarkable unfoldment Of organic growth in the maturity of the institutions of the Cause. The development of capacity and responsibility on their part and the devolution upon them of continually greater autonomy have been fostered by the encouragement of ever closer cooperation between the twin arms of the Administrative Order.3 This process now takes a large stride forward as the National

456-1. The third epoch included the years 1963-86. 456-2.

42.9 See messages no. and 438. 456-3. The twin arms of the Administrative Order are sometimes designated the "rulers" and the "learned." In this context the

"rulers" comprise the members of the Universal House of


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Spiritual Assemblies and Counselors consult together to formulate, for the first time, the national goals of an international teaching plan.4 Together they must carry them out; together they must implement the world objectives of the Six Year Plan as they apply in each country. This significant development is a befitting opening to the fourth epoch of the Formative Age and initiates a process which will undoubtedly characterize that epoch as national communities grow in strength and influence and are able to diffuse within their own countries the spirit of love and social unity which is the hallmark of the Cause of God. World Center Goals

456.5 The goals to be achieved at the World Center include publication of a copiously annotated English translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas and related texts, education of the Bahá'í world in the law of the Huququ'llah, pursuit of plans for the erection of the remaining buildings on the Arc, and the broadening of the basis of the international relations of the Faith.5

456.6 The major world objectives of the Plan have already been sent to National Spiritual Assemblies and Continental Boards of Counselors for their mutual consultation and implementation.

456.7 Dear friends, as the world passes through its darkest hour before the dawn, the Cause of God, shining ever more brightly, presses forward to that glorious eak of day when the Divine Standard will be unfurled and the Nightingale of Paradise warble its melody.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Justice, National Spiritual Assemblies, and Local Spiritual Assemblies; the "learned" comprise the Hands of the Cause of God, the International Counselors, the Continental Boards of Counselors, and the Auxiliary Board members and their assistants. Both terms also have a wider usage. For example, the term "learned" also embraces Bahá'ís who have attained a prominent position in the teaching work in addition to those who are members of the institutions so designated. For an explanation of the roles of and distinctions between these institutions, see message no. iii. 456-4. See messages no. 447 and 453. 456-5. The laws and ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas are applied gradually as the Bahá'í community matures. For an explanation of this principle, see message no. 27 on the translation and publication of the Kitab-i-Aqdas. For a fuller discussion, see the introduction to A Synopsis and

Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.- The Most Holy Book of Bahá'u'lláh. Over the years the Universal House of Justice has taken steps to prepare the Bahá'í community for further application of such laws and ordinances by publishing the Synopsis and Codification (see message no. i25) and by releasing a compilation on the Law of Huququ'llah (see messages no. 404 and 430). The publication of annotated translations in English and Persian of the Kitab-i-Aqdas represent further such steps. The buildings to be erected on the Arc are the seats of the International Teaching Center and the Center for the Study of the Texts, and the extension of the International Archives Building, which Shoghi Effendi completed in 1957. Terraces leading to the Shrine of the Bab are being constructed from the foot to the crest of Mount Carmel. The International Bahá'í Library remains to be built at a later date.




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