At every juncture We have restated Our theme, that all that hath been recorded in these verses may, by the leave of God, be made clear unto thee, and that thou mayest become independent of those who are plunged in the darkness of self and who tread the valley of arrogance and pride, and be of them that move within the paradise of everlasting life.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 49)
Cleanse ye your eyes, so that ye behold no man as different from yourselves. See ye no strangers; rather see all men as friends, for love and unity come hard when ye fix your gaze on otherness. And in this new and wondrous age, the Holy Writings say that we must be at one with every people; that we must see neither harshness nor injustice, neither malevolence, nor hostility, nor hate, but rather turn our eyes toward the heaven of ancient glory. For each of the creatures is a sign of God, and it was by the grace of the Lord and His power that each did step into the world; therefore they are not strangers, but in the family; not aliens, but friends, and to be treated as such. Wherefore must the loved ones of God associate in affectionate fellowship with stranger and friend alike, showing forth to all the utmost loving-kindness, disregarding the degree of their capacity, never asking whether they deserve to be loved. In every instance let the friends be considerate and infinitely kind. Let them never be defeated by the malice of the people, by their aggression and their hate, no matter how intense. If others hurl their darts against you, offer them milk and honey in return; if they poison your lives, sweeten their souls; if they injure you, teach them how to be comforted; if they inflict a wound upon you, be a balm to their sores; if they sting you, hold to their lips a refreshing cup.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 24)
Distance is annihilated and prevents not the close and intimate association of two souls that are closely attached in heart even though they may be in two different countries.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 101)
Do not associate with the wicked, because the company of the wicked changeth the light of life into the fire of remorse. If thou asketh for the bounties of the Holy Spirit, associate with the pure ones, because they have quaffed the eternal chalice from the hands of the Cupbearer of eternity.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 434)
[E]stablish ties of friendship, on the basis of shared understanding, with those previously regarded as strangers.
(Universal House of Justice, Ridván 2010)
He said all of you here are sisters. Bodily relationships may pass; even two sisters may be inimical to each other, but the spiritual relationship is eternal, and brings about mutual love and service. Be always kind to everyone and a refuge for those who are without shelter. Be daughters to those who are older than you. Be sisters to those who are of your own age. Be mothers to those who are younger than yourselves. Be nurses to the sick, treasurers for the poor, and supply heavenly food to the hungry.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 75)
I am leaving Paris for the Orient though in reality I am always with you. Place does not matter. Two people may be in the same room and yet not attain to a visitation. When I was in prison many people came to see me. They crossed seas and deserts and yet remained in the city of the blind while others in far-distant lands attained the meeting.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 187)
Let not the things they have perpetrated grieve thee. Truly they are even as dead, and not living. Leave them unto the dead, then turn thy face towards Him Who is the Life-Giver of the world. Beware lest the sayings of the heedless sadden thee. Be thou steadfast in the Cause, and teach the people with consummate wisdom. Thus enjoineth thee the Ruler of earth and heaven. He is in truth the Almighty, the Most Generous. Ere long will God exalt thy remembrance and will inscribe with the Pen of Glory that which thou didst utter for the sake of His love. He is in truth the Protector of the doers of good.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 15)
May they be diligent in their efforts to establish ties of friendship that show no regard for prevalent social barriers and ceaselessly endeavour to bind hearts together in the love of God.
(Universal House of Justice, 20 October 2008, to the Bahá’ís of the World)
Now associate with good people. You must try to associate with those who will do you good and who will be the cause of your being more awakened, and not with those who will make you negligent of God. For example, if one goes into a garden and associates with flowers, one will surely inhale the beautiful fragrance, but if one goes to a place where there are bad-scented plants, it is sure he will inhale an unpleasant odour. In short, I mean that you will try to be with those who are purified and sanctified souls. Man must always associate with those from whom he can get light, or be with those to whom he can give light. He must either receive or give instructions. Otherwise, being with people without these two intentions, he is spending his time for nothing, and, by so doing, he is neither gaining nor causing others to gain.
(The Diary of Juliet Thompson)
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)
Show forth that which ye have: if it be accepted, the object is attained; if not, interference is vain: leave him to himself, [while] advancing toward God, the Protecting, the Self-Subsistent.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, A Traveller’s Narrative, p. 83
Some of the creatures of existence can live solitary and alone. A tree, for instance, may live without the assistance and cooperation of other trees. Some animals are isolated and lead a separate existence away from their kind. But this is impossible for man. In his life and being cooperation and association are essential. Through association and meeting we find happiness and development, individual and collective.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 35)
The company of the wicked ones increaseth sorrow, and the association with the pious ones removeth rust from the heart. The one who desires to associate with God, let him associate with His friends; the one who wishes to hear the Words of God, let him hear the words of His chosen ones.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 434)
These people, however, have turned aside from all this and placed instead their affections upon that which accordeth with their own corrupt inclinations. Thus do they roam in the wilderness of arrogance and pride. I bear witness at this moment that God is wholly quit of them, and likewise are We. We beseech God to suffer Us not to associate with them either in this life or in the life to come.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 59)
They should be on their guard, however, lest too close an association should lead, imperceptibly, to compromise on the principles which we cherish and uphold. They must mix with all classes of society without associating themselves with their policies and schemes.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 277-278)
True friends are even as skilled physicians, and the Teachings of God are as healing balm, a medicine for the conscience of man. They clear the head, so that a man can breathe them in and delight in their sweet fragrance. They waken those who sleep. They bring awareness to the unheeding, and a portion to the outcast, and to the hopeless, hope.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 23)
The worst enemies of the Cause are in the Cause and mention the name of God. We need not fear the enemies on the outside for such can be easily dealt with. But the enemies who call themselves friends and who persistently violate every fundamental law of love and unity, are difficult to be dealt with in this day, for the mercy of God is still great. But ere long this merciful door will be closed and such enemies will be attacked with a madness.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of The West, Vol.6, No.6, p.45)
When any souls grow to be true believers, they will attain a spiritual relationship with one another, and show forth a tenderness which is not of this world. They will, all of them, become elated from a draught of divine love, and that union of theirs, that connection, will also abide forever. Souls, that is, who will consign their own selves to oblivion, strip from themselves the defects of humankind, and unchain themselves from human bondage, will beyond any doubt be illumined with the heavenly splendours of oneness, and will all attain unto real union in the world that dieth not.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 84-85)
When you meet those whose opinions differ from your own, do not turn away your face from them. All are seeking truth, and there are many roads leading thereto. Truth has many aspects, but it remains always and forever one. Do not allow difference of opinion, or diversity of thought to separate you from your fellow-men, or to be the cause of dispute, hatred and strife in your hearts. Rather, search diligently for the truth and make all men your friends.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 53)