By Mohammed Ali and Badi Ullah Bahai
This circular letter, written eight years after the passing of Baha’-u’llah by the eldest and youngest sons of his second wife, was sent to Ibrahim G. Kheiralla to be read by the Baha’is of the United States.
Dr. Kheiralla had become a Bahá’í during the ministry of Baha’u’l- lah and was the recipient of several tablets addressed to him. He was the first Bahá’í missionary to the United States and became the founder of the American Bahá’í community. After Baha’u’llah’s passing, he initially supported ‘Abdu’l-Baha, but later became convinced of the Unitarian interpretation of the Bahá’í Faith as taught by the younger sons of Baha’u’llah.
This message by Messrs. Bahai was translated into English and printed by Dr. Kheiralla in a book he compiled and published in 1901, entitled Facts for Behaists. Section headings have been added, and some paragraphs have been combined or divided.
A message to the believers from the younger Branches, the Mightiest Branch [i.e. Ghusn-i-Akbar], Mohammed Ali Effendi, and the Most Luminous Branch [i.e. Ghusn-i-Anwar], Badi Ullah Effendi.
To The Believers
By the Sacred Name of our God, who has no equal. O children of the Kingdom! The Sun of Divinity has shone upon you when It ap peared upon the horizon of the world, clothed in the garment of the Greatest Name [i.e. Baha’u’llah], and the Supreme Pen revealed that our God, El ABHA, accepted the sufferings, calamities, imprisonment, exile, and persecutions for the salvation of the creatures, for all people, and for developing them to the highest position; and that He sacrificed himself for the peace of the world, passed His days in guiding the people of the world, revealed in His holy books that which will exultingly expand the hearts of the people of knowledge and understanding and will guide His creatures to the horizons of virtue and mercy.
Baha’u’llah’s Greatest Teaching
Hark to what He pronounces in the Tablet of Wisdom!where His tongue gives utterance to most perfect precepts and complete wisdom: “The glory is not in loving yourselves, but rather in loving the children of your kind [i.e. humankind]; the virtue is not to the one who loves his native land, but rather to him who loves the world.” This utterance satisfies those of understanding and brings those who are seekers to a higher attitude and a universal reward. There is no doubt that if any man would attain this chief glory and will acquire this transcendent virtue he will realize that all creatures are brothers, will find that the countries are as one native land, will see the lights of the Kingdom shining forth toward humanity, will receive the protection of the Beneficent and Everlasting Father surrounding all His children and the Kingdom of that Eternal God pervading all directions. Also see the greatness and wisdom of the following text: “Make your mornings better than your evenings and your tomorrows better than your yesterdays.” I bear witness that He perfected the wisdom, completed the grace, and revealed to His favorites that which will cause them to reach to the highest degrees and attain the most honorable attitudes. [Baha’u’llah continues:] “Blessed be he who will be enlightened by the lamp of His revelation and will ascend to the heavens of His knowledge, and will stand forth to mention His perfection, which irradiates and shines upon His creatures.”
The Duty of Every Bahá’í to Teach the Faith
O brothers, pure in heart and with lights shining from the horizon of love and faithfulness, what are the duties of the children of this Father, who suffered the direst calamities for the salvation of nations and yielded to imprisonment for the liberation of the world? Is it our duty to be silent or inactive after His Supreme Pen cried every morning and every evening, calling His creatures to the Everlasting Paradise? Is it meet that we sit down and rest after we discover that the Lord has suffered innumerable calamities, exile and imprisonment by the hands of His creatures? By your lives, I say unto you, NO!
O brothers, we must endeavor in everyway to spread the fragrances of His Word and raise the standard of His knowledge and wisdom everywhere, and thus attract the pure in heart toward the Highest Kingdom and enlighten the world by the radiance of unity and truthfulness. 1 ask from the benevolence of this Living One, “The Ancient of Days,” to sustain you all in the service of His Great Cause, and to guide the children to the Father, the Loving and the Merciful.
Turn to the Scriptures of Baha’u’llah
Think of those who, after the ascension of the Redeemer [i.e. Jesus], arose for the spreading of the lights of unity! How they opened every country and attracted the hearts of their people. If their uprising was caused by the appearance of the Holy Spirit, seen in the “likeness of a dove,” now that Spirit is transfigured in the form of the highest utterance to the people of Baha, and shines from the horizons of the books of our God, El ABHA, which swells the hearts, gives rest to the eyes, and gladdens the innermost soul. There can be no doubt that the Most High deposited in every word of the texts in the books a Spirit which sustains and confirms all people of discernment, strengthening them in every good and perfect word.
Ponder well upon this [verse], which is shining from the horizon of His Most Holy Book: “If you differ concerning any matter, carry it to God, so long as the Sun of Revelation is shining from the horizon of this Heaven; but after this Sun has set, then bring the differences unto His utterances, which suffices the worlds.”
In the above quotation He has substituted His great texts in the place of His Supreme Self and has commanded everyone to go to them when in difficulty, after the setting of the Sun of Truth from the horizon of humanity and its shining in the horizon of the Heavenly Kingdom. His Word is the balance for our fullness and fineness. Weigh well everything in this great balance, which has descended from your God, the All-Wise.
Respect for Bahá’í Leaders
In the exalted position and attitude, respect the one who has been the means of guiding you to this highest Kingdom [i.e. Ibrahim Kheiralla]— who has brought you to the knowledge of your God, El ABHA.
Let it be known to you also that the position and attitude of the Branches of the Tree of Life [i.e. the sons of Baha’u’llah] are those of absolute servitude (to God and His people). They are the finger-posts pointing the way toward the Sun of Truth. God has created them and raised them up to continually spread the knowledge of the Word and to elevate His commands among His creatures; has commanded everyone to honor them and respect them and to appreciate their position, to look upon them as an example in the shadow of the Word of God in disseminating the fragrances of His utterances and raising the standards [i.e. banner] of His revelations. That is to say—provided they (the Branches) are faithfully rising to serve the cause of God and endeavoring to spread the lights of the Word of God, then it is meet that the people of understanding and wisdom and the believers shall take them as examples and follow in their footsteps. The texts of the Book and the tablets of our Merciful God bear witness to what I say.
Baha’u’llah Is the Messiah
O you who are turning toward God, “The Ancient of Days,” be assured that your Lord the All-Knowing has named His Most Glorious Temple [i.e. Baha’u’llah] as the Branch in many different tablets, e.g. the “Branch of Command,” the “Branch of Holiness” and the “Branch of Eternity.” These are grandly beautiful titles, confined to His great and glorious Temple—His Temple which was promised in the holy scriptures— and He built it with the Hand of Might after He reached the prison at Acre, which was called in the prophecies “The Land of Judgment” and “The White City.” This was a symbol of the appearance of “The Ancient of Days,” and all things mentioned in the holy scriptures were and are attributed only to His absolute perfection and Glorious Temple. Likewise He called Himself “The Servant,” a fulfillment of what was said in the books of the prophets of all times.
The Cause of Schism Among Bahá’ís
O sons of the Kingdom, let it be known to you that after that great calamity, the departure of the beloved El ABHA [i.e. the death of Baha’u’llah], had befallen us, we were continually dealing with everyone in kindness and in peace and with purity of thought and intention.
In the spirit of obedience to the command of the Supreme Pen [to turn to Abbas Effendi] we used to harmoniously accompany them [i.e. his followers] in every question which is in accordance with the revelations in the Holy Book, until we discovered the odor of departure from the safety found in the shadow of the Word, and we realized that there was disobedience to or departure from the sacred texts—evident endeavor to attain personal desires and especial purposes; the promulgation of ideas and tenets which our God, “The Ancient of Days,” prohibited, and the spreading of teachings contradictory to those found in the tablets of our Great God. Then we were quick to give voice to the utterances of God in the ears of the people; we published the books of the Mighty and the Giver of All Things [i.e. Baha’u’llah]; we taught the people what we found in the tablets and what we learned from the writings traced by the Pen of the Father.
If God wishes, we will send to you that which will give you a clear understanding of the whole question [of the schism]. For this reason we are now writing in brevity: Hoping that the Holy Spirit will confirm you in all conditions and that the angels of victory will help you in the dawn and in the evening, and that the Lord, Most High is He, will endow you with the divine power to spread the lights of the Kingdom now established on the earth.
Closing Salutation and Prayer
Greetings and El Baha (the Splendor [of God]) be upon you, O children who are following the Father, who is transfigured in the horizon of His Splendor [i.e. Baha’u’llah]. O my Lord, thou seest those who have been attracted by the fragrances of Thy Word and who have labored in heralding Thee amongst Thy creatures. Thou knowest that they confessed the greatness of Thy name, El ABHA, and the Oneness of Thyself, the Most High. I ask Thee to enroll them in Thy services and in Thy work with such steadfastness that expands the heart of the Son [i.e. Jesus], who is standing on the right hand of Thy Majesty, and which makes the innermost of the pure in heart to tremble with joy in the Kingdom of Thy Might; that the world may be flooded with the light that is shining from the horizon of Thy Greatest Name, and the souls and hearts of all shall be drawn to the horizon of Thy name, the Mighty and the Beloved.
(Signed by:) Mohammed Ali