A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Fault Finding

‘Abdu’l-Bahá does not permit adverse criticism of individuals by name in discussion among the friends, even if the one criticizing believes that he is doing so to protect the interests of the Cause. If the situation is of such gravity as to endanger the interests of the Faith, the complaint, as your National Spiritual Assembly has indicated, should be submitted to the Local Spiritual Assembly, or as you state to a representative of the institution of the Counsellors, for consideration and action. In such cases, of course, the name of the person or persons involved will have to be mentioned.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 90)


All religions teach that we should love one another; that we should seek out our own shortcomings before we presume to condemn the faults of others, that we must not consider ourselves superior to our neighbours! We must be careful not to exalt ourselves lest we be humiliated.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 147)


Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner. Shouldst thou transgress this command, accursed wouldst thou be, and to this I bear witness.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Arabic Hidden Words, 27)


Each of us is responsible for one life only, and that is our own. Each of us is immeasurably far from being “perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect: and the task of perfecting our own life and character is one that requires all our attention, our will-power and energy... On no subject are the Bahá’í teachings more emphatic that on the necessity to abstain from fault-finding, while being ever eager to discover and root out our own faults and overcome our own failings.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 90)


He feels that you should do your utmost to call the attention of the friends to these large things and real triumphs, and away from their personal differences and petty pre-occupations. Now is certainly not the time for any man to think of himself, or busy himself with the weaknesses of his brother; but, rather each and every Bahá’í must concentrate in the tasks ahead and be reborn in the service of Bahá’u’lláh.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 92)


Heedless souls are always seeking faults in others. What can the hypocrite know of others’ faults when he is blind to his own? … As long as a man does not find his own faults, he can never become perfect. Nothing is more fruitful for man than the knowledge of his own shortcomings. The Blessed Perfection says, “I wonder at the man who does not find his own imperfections.”
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 244)


How couldst thou forget thine own faults and busy thyself with the faults of others? Whoso doeth this is accursed of Me.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Arabic Hidden Words 26)


If a man has ten good qualities and one bad one, to look at the ten and forget the one; and if a man has ten bad qualities and one good one, to look at the one and forget the ten.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, , Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 83)


If the fire of self overcome you, remember your own faults and not the faults of My creatures, inasmuch as every one of you knoweth his own self better than he knoweth others.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Persian Hidden Words 66)


If we allow our attention and energy to be taken up in efforts to keep others right and remedy their faults, we are wasting precious time. We are like ploughmen each of whom has his team to manage and his plough to direct, and in order to keep his furrow straight he must keep his eye on his goal and concentrate on his own task. If he looks to this side and that to see how Tom and Harry are getting on and to criticize their ploughing, then his own furrow will assuredly become crooked.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 92)


In ‘Star of the West‘, Volume 8, No. 10, on page 138, there is a record of a reply given by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in a private interview in Paris in 1913. He was asked ‘How shall I overcome seeing the faults of others—recognizing the wrong in others?‘, and He replied: ‘I will tell you. Whenever you recognize the fault of another, think of yourself! What are my imperfections?—and try to remove them. Do this whenever you are tried through the words or deeds of others. Thus you will grow, become more perfect. You will overcome self, you will not even have time to think of the faults of others.’
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 89)


It is my hope that you may consider this matter, that you may search out your own imperfections and not think of the imperfections of anybody else. Strive with all your power to be free from imperfections.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 244)


It is obvious that if we listen to those who complain to us about the faults of others we are guilty of complicity in their backbiting. We should therefore, as tactfully as possible, but yet firmly, do our utmost to prevent others from making accusations or complaints against others in our presence.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 93)


On no subject are the Bahá’í teachings more emphatic that on the necessity to abstain from fault-finding, while being ever eager to discover and root out our own
faults and overcome our own failings.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 91)


One must see in every human being only that which is worthy of praise. When this is done, one can be a friend to the whole human race. If, however, we look at people from the standpoint of their faults, then being a friend to them is a formidable task.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 92


The great tragedy of mankind at this time is the failure 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.
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 498)


The most hateful characteristic of man is fault-finding.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. IV, No.11, p. 192)


What the believers need is not only … to really study the teachings, but also to have more peace-makers circulating among them. Unfortunately, not only average people, but average Bahá’ís, are very immature; gossip, trouble-making, criticism, seem easier than the putting into practice of love, constructive words and cooperation. It is one of the functions of the older and the more mature Bahá’ís, to help the weaker ones to iron out their difficulties and learn to really function and live like true believers!
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 89)


Whenever you recognize the fault of another, think of yourself! What are my imperfections?—and try to remove them. Do this whenever you are tried through the words or deeds of others. Thus you will grow, become more perfect. You will overcome self, you will not even have time to think of the faults of others...
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West‘, Volume 8, No. 10, p 138)


You also ask what one should do to ‘handle depression and anger with someone’ one feels ‘very positively about‘. The Universal House of Justice suggests that you call to mind the admonitions found in our writings on the need to overlook the shortcomings of others, to forgive and conceal their misdeeds, not to expose their bad qualities, but to search for and affirm their praiseworthy ones, and endeavour to be always forbearing, patient, and merciful.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 90)


… magnify not the faults of others that thine own faults may not appear great …
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Persian Hidden Words 44)