Web - Windows - iPhone
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 ofhis family.
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
Báb has been demolished and proposals have been made to erase its very site. The
Siyah-Chal and Bahá'u'lláh's Home in Tihran 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 Tihran have been kidnapped and the
whereabouts of two of them is still unknown, while the third is still in prison.
Also, a Counsellor and some friends who are associated with the National Office
or are members of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Tihran 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 ofunrestrained mobs.
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 Counsellors 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, radiantnew 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 ableto shoulder.
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 ardour and self-sacrifice to the
promotion of the work to which all the Hands of the Cause of God have dedicatedtheir lives.
The world-wide 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 propheticand ominous words" from 'Abdu'l-Bahá:
"HOW GREAT, HOW VERY GREAT IS THE CAUSE! HOW VERY FIERCE THE ONSLAUGHT OF ALL
THE PEOPLES AND KINDREDS OF THE EARTH! ERE LONG SHALL THE CLAMOUR 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 BY THE POWER OF UNDERSTANDING, AND REINFORCED BY THE LEGIONS OF
THE COVENANT, ARISE AND MAKE MANIFEST THE TRUTH OF THE VERSE: 'BEHOLD THE
CONFUSION THAT HATH BEFALLEN THE TRIBES OF THE DEFEATED!'"
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 GreatestName are destined eventually to achieve."
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 vigour, the goals of whatever Plan is in force,
for Bahá'u'lláh has stated: "To assist Me is to teach My Cause."
A good start has been made with the Seven Year Plan. At the World Centre
of the Faith the uninterrupted progress in raising the Seat of the House of
Justice, repairing and refurbishing the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha, 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 Centre to
accommodate its ever-growing needs and make use of the most up-to-datetechnological developments, have taken place.
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, the
great increase in the number of children's Bahá'í classes and the innumerable
victories won in the teaching field, recorded by the establishment of the
world-wide community of the Most Great Name in over 106,000 localities, all
testify to the unassailable, and indeed ever-increasing vigour of the Cause ofGod.
The number of pioneers and travelling 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 travelling 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 attheir posts by Ridvan 1981.
In the field of proclamation unprecedented publicity has been accorded the
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 inthat area.
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 numberof those in which Bahá'í material is available.
The National Spiritual Assembly of Transkei with its seat in Umtata will
be formed at Ridvan 1980. At Ridvan 1981 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
re-formation of the National Spiritual Assembly of Uganda, to take place atRidvan 1981.
In the course of the coming year, the Universal House of Justice, in
consultation with the International Teaching Centre, 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 nextstage of the Seven Year Plan.
During this final year of the initial phase National Spiritual Assemblies
are urged to continue their wise and dignified approaches to people prominent in
all areas of human endeavour 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 endeavours 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 ofBahá'u'lláh.
The marvellous 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.
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 defence of
their persecuted brethren and their shouldering of the load which must, at allcosts, be borne.