Bahá’ís see the entire enterprise of civilization as a spiritual process involving the progressive awakening of humanity’s moral and creative capacities. The creation of a “corruption-free” public milieu consequently depends on the building up of moral capacity within individuals, communities and social institutions. How is it possible to build moral capacity? What are the practical strategies societies can adopt that will raise up from within their populations positive social actors who choose to lead lives of service and probity? Education is an indispensable tool. The fact that the world community is pluralist in character should not deter governments and international agencies from giving serious attention to the question of moral development. The growing collaboration among religious communities, non-governmental organizations and public institutions in addressing major social challenges provides evidence of the possibility for effective action.
(Bahá’í International Community, 2001 May 28-31, Overcoming Corruption in Public Institutions)
But as these people failed to turn wholly unto God, and to hold fast to the hem of His all-pervading mercy at the appearance of the Daystar of Truth, they passed out from under the shadow of guidance and entered the city of error. Thus did they become corrupt and corrupt the people. Thus did they err and lead the people into error. And thus were they recorded among the oppressors in the books of heaven.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 40)
Concern yourselves with the things that benefit mankind, and not with your corrupt and selfish desires.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 29)
Entreat thou the one true God to sanctify the ears, and the eyes, and the hearts of mankind, and to protect them from the desires of a corrupt inclination.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 96)
Forsake thine own desires, turn thy face unto thy Lord, and walk not in the footsteps of those who have taken their corrupt inclinations for their god, that perchance thou mayest find shelter in the heart of existence, beneath the redeeming shadow of Him Who traineth all names and attributes.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 48-49)
Glory and honour for man are not to be found in fortunes and riches, least of all in those which have been unlawfully amassed through extortion, embezzlement and corruption practised at the expense of an exploited populace.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 342-343)
How foolish and ignorant must a man be, how base his nature, and how vile the clay of which he is fashioned, if he would defile himself with the contamination of bribery, corruption and perfidy towards the state! Truly, the vermin of the earth are to be preferred to such people!
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 344)
If, however, he abuse his position through corrupt or mercenary behaviour, he will be held in detestation at the Threshold of Grandeur and incur the wrath of the Abhá Beauty—nay, he shall be forsaken by the one true God and all who adore Him.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 344)
It is indeed strange that instead of offering thanks for this bounty, which truly derives from the grace of Almighty God, by arising as one in gratitude and enthusiasm and praying that these noble purposes will daily multiply, some, on the contrary, whose reason has been corrupted by personal motives and the clarity of whose perception has been clouded by self-interest and conceit; whose energies are devoted to the service of their passions, whose sense of pride is perverted to the 12 love of leadership, have raised the standard of opposition and waxed loud in their complaints.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 11)
O Lord! Dispel the darkness of these corrupt desires, and illumine the hearts with the lamp of Thy love.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan, p. 58)
Only if you demonstrate the rectitude of conduct to which the writings of the Faith call every soul will you be able to struggle against the myriad forms of corruption, overt and subtle, eating at the vitals of society.
(Universal House of Justice, Ridván Message 2008, paragraph 8)
The Guardian said that material civilization is doomed; that all the nations have become corrupt politically and that America is the most politically disturbed nation on earth. The Americans are now living in a fool’s paradise, thinking they are safe in overcrowded cities that are full of noise, dirt, and crime. The Bahá’í Friends should leave the corrupt cities, get a bit of land, establish a Bahá’í Community and establish the Bahá’í spirit in preparation of the glorious World Order of Bahá’u’lláh. There will be great distruction, and the Friends should move out of the cities and see what will happen when they build Bahá’í communities in villages.
(Ruth Moffet Pilgrim Notes #2)
The beginnings of all great religions were pure; but priests, taking possession of the minds of the people, filled them with dogmas and superstitions, so that religion became gradually corrupt.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 125)
The child who conducts himself well, even though he be ignorant, is of benefit to others, while an ill-natured, ill-behaved child is corrupted and harmful to others, even though he be learned.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 135-136)
The spiritually learned are … the sure antidote to the poison that has corrupted human society. It is they who are the strong citadel guarding humanity, and the impregnable sanctuary for the sorely distressed, the anxious and tormented, victims of ignorance.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 33)
We enjoin the servants of God and His handmaidens to be pure and to fear God, that they may shake off the slumber of their corrupt desires, and turn toward God, the Maker of the heavens and of the earth.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 23)
When Shoghi Effendi was beginning to write The Advent of Divine Justice he was one day expatiating on this theme and suddenly stated that the United States was the most corrupt country politically in the world. I was simply stupefied by this remark as I had always taken it for granted that it was because of our system of democracy and our political prominence that God had chosen us [page 362] to build His Administrative Order! I ventured to remonstrate and said surely Persia was more corrupt politically. He said no, America was the most corrupt politically. He must have seen in my face how hard and unbelievable this new idea was for me to accept for he suddenly pointed his finger at me and said: “Swallow it, it is good for you.” I swallowed it and kept silent and as he elaborated this theme, and when he wrote his memorable passages on it, and, indeed, in the course of years, I came to see clearly how he was enunciating, clarifying from the teachings, great spiritual laws and truths in which lie healing and strength for us if we but grasp them. [Priceless Pearl p. 361-362]