As to the souls who are born into this world radiant entities and who through excessive difficulty are deprived of great benefits and thus leave the world—they are worthy of all sympathy, for in reality this is worthy of regret. It is for this purpose (that is, it is with regard to this wisdom) that the great Manifestations (of God) unveil themselves in this world, bear every difficulty and ordeal—to make these ready souls dawnings of light and confer upon them eternal life. This is the real atonement that His holiness Christ made-He sacrificed Himself for the life of the world.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 542)
As to the subject of babes and infants and weak ones who are afflicted by the hands of oppressors: this contains great wisdom and this subject is of paramount importance. In brief, for those souls there is a recompense in another world and many details are connected with this matter. For those souls that suffering is the greatest mercy of God. Verily that mercy of the Lord is far better and preferable to all the comfort of this world and the growth and development of this place of mortality. If it be the will of God, when thou shalt be present this will be explained in detail by word of mouth.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 372)
At first sight it may seem very unjust that the innocent should suffer for the guilty, but ‘Abdu’l-Bahá assures us that the injustice is only apparent and that, in the long run, perfect justice prevails. He writes: — As to the subject of babes and children and weak ones who are afflicted by the hands of the oppressors ... for those souls there is a recompense in another world ... that suffering is the greatest mercy of God. Verily that mercy of the Lord is far better than all the comfort of this world and the growth and development appertaining to this place of mortality.
(Dr. JE Esselmont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 96)
By thy life, O my beloved! If thou didst know what God had ordained for thee, thou wouldst fly with delight and happiness, gladness and joy would increase every hour.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 363)
Certain acts may be grounds for civil suits filed by the abused or their families for award of monetary damages.
(National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Guidelines for Spiritual Assemblies on Domestic Violence, p. 27.)
He bestoweth His gifts on whom He will, and from whom He will He withholdeth them. He is the Great Giver, the Most Generous, the Benevolent.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings, CXXVIII)
He urges you to put these dark thoughts from your mind, and remember that if God, the Creator of all men, can bear to see them suffer so, it is not for us to question His wisdom. He can compensate the innocent, in His own way, for the afflictions they bear.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 237.)
If any man be told that which hath been ordained for such a soul in the worlds of God, the Lord of the throne on high and of earth below, his whole being will instantly blaze out in his great longing to attain that most exalted, that sanctified and resplendent station.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 156)
In addition, we know from the Bahá’í writings 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‘. 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.
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 662)
Let not the happenings of the world sadden you. I swear by God! The sea of joy yearneth to attain your presence, for every good thing hath been created for you, and will, according to the needs of the times, be revealed unto you.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Advent of Divine Justice, p. 69)
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 their sustaining grace. To each and every one of them you will no doubt attain.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Advent of Divine Justice, p. 69)
Often physical sickness draws man nearer to his Maker, suffers his heart to be made empty from all worldly desires until it becomes tender and sympathetic towards all sufferers and compassionate to all creatures.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. 8, p. 231)
On this plane of existence, there are many injustices that the human mind cannot fathom. Among these are the hear-rending trials of the innocent … With regard to the spiritual significance of the suffering of children “who are afflicted by the hands of oppressors", ‘Abdu’l-Bahá not only states that for those souls “suffering is the greatest mercy of God", He also explains that to be a recipient of God’s mercy is “far better and preferable to all the comfort of this world", and He promises that “for those souls there is a recompense in another world”.
(Universal House of Justice, Letter on the Oppression of Children, 1985)
Rejoice thou with great joy that We have remembered thee both now and in the past. Indeed the sweet savours of this remembrance shall endure and shall not change throughout the eternity of the Names of God, the Lord of mankind. We have graciously accepted thy devotions, thy praise, thy teaching work and the services thou hast rendered for the sake of this mighty Announcement. We have also hearkened unto that which thy tongue hath uttered at the meetings and gatherings. Verily thy Lord heareth and observeth all things. We have attired thee with the vesture of My good-pleasure in My heavenly Kingdom … At this moment We call to remembrance Our loved ones and bring them the joyous tidings of God’s unfailing grace and of the things that have been provided for them in My lucid Book. Ye have tolerated the censure of the enemies for the sake of My love and have steadfastly endured in My Path the grievous cruelties which the ungodly have inflicted upon you. Unto this I Myself bear witness, and I am the All-Knowing. How vast the number of places that have been ennobled with your blood for the sake of God. How numerous the cities wherein the voice of your lamentation hath been raised and the wailing of your anguish uplifted. How many the prisons into which ye have been cast by the hosts of tyranny. Know ye of a certainty that He will render you victorious, will exalt you among the peoples of the world and will demonstrate your high rank before the gaze of all nations. Surely He will not suffer the reward of His favoured ones to be lost.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 245)
So great are the things ordained for the steadfast that were they, so much as the eye of a needle, to be disclosed, all who are in heaven and on earth would be dumbfounded, except such as God, the Lord of all worlds, hath willed to exempt … I swear by God! That which hath been destined for him who aideth My Cause excelleth the treasures of the earth.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Advent of Divine Justice, p. 71)
The friends must not feel too crushed by the sufferings that are so piteously afflicting humanity. They must realize that the hotter the fire the more malleable the metal becomes, and take hope that out of the agony of the present the future will be born - the glorious future of peace and unity amongst the sons of men. Evidently only intense misery will prove sufficiently strong to purge the hearts of men.
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, 26 March, 1942)
With them [the Prophets of God and His chosen ones] that soul will freely converse, and will recount unto them that which it hath been made to endure in the path of God, the Lord of all worlds.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 156).
Would that ye had the power to perceive the things your Lord, the All-Merciful, doth see—things that attest the excellence of your rank, that bear witness to the greatness of your worth, that proclaim the sublimity of your station! God grant that your desires and unmortified passions may not hinder you from that which hath been ordained for you.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 316-317)