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Martyrs

Bahá’u’lláh Himself testifies: ‘They that have forsaken their country in the path of God and subsequently ascended unto His presence, such souls shall be blessed by the Concourse on High and their names recorded by the Pen of Glory among such as have laid down their lives as martyrs in the path of God, the Help in Peril, the Self Subsistent.
(Universal House of Justice, Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1968-1973, p. 102)


Even while being dismembered, Solomon Kahn was praying and supplicating God. This story will be found in a history compiled by an enemy of this cause, for all has been recorded by the Shah’s historians. At the end, the historian says of Solomon Kahn, “This man was possessed by an evil spirit.” This account shows how readily the believers of God give their lives, how self-sacrificing they are, eternally firm and steadfast. These illumined souls are the result of the light of Bahá’o‘llah, who attracted them to the kingdom of God with such reflective power that like fixed stars these martyrs will ever shine from the horizon of El-Bahá.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 48)


Every day has certain needs. In those early days the Cause needed Martyrs, and people who would stand all sorts of torture and persecution in expressing their faith and spreading the message sent by God. Those days are, however, gone. The Cause at present does not need martyrs who would die for the faith, but servants who desire to teach and establish the Cause throughout the world. To live to teach in the present day is like being martyred in those early days. It is the spirit that moves us that counts, not the act through which that spirit expresses itself; and that spirit is to serve the Cause of God with our heart and soul.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 5)


Every drop of blood shed by the valiant martyrs, every sigh heaved by the silent victims of oppression, every supplication for divine assistance offered by the faithful, has released, and will continue mysteriously to release, forces over which no antagonist of the Faith has any control, and which, as marshalled by an All-Watchful Providence, have served to noise abroad the name and fame of the Faith to the masses of humanity in all continents, millions of whom had previously been totally ignorant of the existence of the Faith or had but a superficial, and oft- times erroneous, understanding of its teachings and history.
(Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 167)


God hath ordained for the one who chants it, the reward of a hundred martyrs and a service in both worlds. These favors have We bestowed upon thee as a bounty on Our part and a mercy from Our presence, that thou mayest be of those who are grateful.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablet of Ahmad, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 211)


He urges you to make up your minds to do great, great deeds for the Faith; the condition of the world is steadily growing worse, and your generation must provide the saints, heroes, martyrs and administrators of future years. With dedication and will power you can rise to great heights.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 629)


Holy places are undoubtedly centres of the outpouring of Divine grace, because on entering the illumined sites associated with martyrs and holy souls, and by observing reverence, both physical and spiritual, one’s heart is moved with great tenderness.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 61)


However, such faithful friends as have laid down their lives as martyrs will be stirred by the waves of the ocean of ecstasy. They will be filled with joy and radiance through the revelation of heavenly glad-tidings, will receive divine confirmations of loving-kindness and will be sustained by the wondrous blessings of the peerless Lord in such wise that they will be moved to say: ‘Praise be unto God that during our lifetime in this mortal world we became the target of darts in the path of God and were exposed to the dire peril of arrows and spears. Every day a shaft of cruelty was hurled at us, and every moment we drank our fill from the draught of affliction, till eventually we hastened forth to the field of martyrdom for the sake of His love, and offered up our hearts and souls in the path of the All-Merciful‘. Indeed at that moment such souls will rejoice with exceeding gladness and will be so carried away by the joyful tidings of God that they will wing their flight to the heaven of eternal glory with the utmost ecstasy, exultation and spiritual blissfulness. It is Our ardent hope now that We too may partake of a drop from this celestial cup and may receive a portion from this life-giving draught.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Fire and Light, p. 21)


It behoveth you to ponder on all those well-beloved ones who hastened to the holy field of sacrifice, those precious souls who offered up their lives. Bear ye in mind what streams of sacred blood were poured away, how many a righteous heart was commingled with its gore, how many a breast was the target of tyranny’s spear, how many a chaste body was ripped to shreds. How then could it be right for us even to think of saving ourselves! To curry favour with stranger or kin, and make a show of compromise! Should we not, rather, take the pathway of the righteous, and follow in the footsteps of those great ones gone before?
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 220)


It is said there are three kinds of martyrdom:
One is to stand bravely and meet death unflinchingly in the path of God without wavering or under torture denying for an instant their faith.
The second is little by little to detach one’s heart entirely from the world, laying aside deliberately and voluntarily all vanities and worldly seductions, letting every act and word become a speaking monument and a fitting praise for the Holy Name of Bahá’u’lláh. The third is to do the most difficult things with such self-sacrifice that all behold it as your pleasure. To seek and to accept poverty with the same smile as you accept fortune. To make the sad, the sorrowful your associates instead of frequenting the society of the careless and gay. To yield to the decrees of God and to rejoice in the most violent calamities even when the suffering is beyond endurance. He who can fulfill these last conditions becomes a martyr indeed.
(George Townsend, The Bahá’í World, Vol. XII, S. 865 ff)


Observe how rarely human souls sacrifice their pleasure or comfort for others; how improbable that a man would offer his eye or suffer himself to be dismembered for the benefit of another.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 358)


Ponder and reflect. Is it thy wish to die upon thy bed, or to shed thy life-blood on the dust, a martyr in My path, and so become the manifestation of My command and the revealer of My light in the highest paradise? Judge thou aright, O servant!
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Arabic Hidden Words 46)


Seek a martyr’s death in My path, content with My pleasure and thankful for that which I ordain, that thou mayest repose with Me beneath the canopy of majesty behind the tabernacle of glory.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Arabic Hidden Words 45)


Since the beginning of the Cause, there have been at least ten thousand men who went with gladness to suffer martyrdom, and people who saw them suffering this martyrdom thought it was through their own power, and did not know that a breeze had shaken them. In the days of other Prophets there were people who suffered martyrdom in the Cause of God, but in this day there are more, and these have been more sincere. The histories of this time will record their witness to the things which have happened in this day—to those who have suffered martyrdom. How many mothers have been happy to see their children suffer martyrdom! How many wives have rejoiced when their husbands suffered martyrdom; how many sisters have wept with joy when their brothers died in the Cause of God! Now, it is not possible for one to have joy under these circumstances unless he is shaken by a breeze from the garden of God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 499-500)


The Martyrs—most of them died because of their love for the Báb, for Bahá’u’lláh, and through Them for God. The veil between the inner and outer world was very thin, and to tear it, and be free to be near the Beloved, was very sweet. But it takes love, not reason to understand these things. We must also remember the Martyrs were called upon to deny their faith or die, as men of principle they preferred to die.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Bahá’í Community, p. 406)


The Purest Branch, the martyred son, the companion, and amanuensis of Bahá’u’lláh, that pious and holy youth, who in the darkest days of Bahá’u’lláh’s incarceration in the barracks of ‘Akká entreated, on his death-bed, his Father to accept him as a ransom for those of His loved ones who yearned for, but were unable to attain, His presence.
(Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America, p. 31)


The martyr’s field is the place of detachment from self, that the anthems of eternity may be upraised.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 76)


There are two kinds of Bahá’ís, one might say: those whose religion is Bahá’í and those who live for the Faith. Needless to say, if one can belong to the latter category, if one can be in the vanguard of heroes, martyrs and saints, it is more praiseworthy in the sight of God.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 21)


This atmosphere can be greatly enriched by a consciousness on everyone’s part that we are constantly surrounded by the confirmations of the Holy Spirit and that if we supplicate to the martyrs and heroic teachers of the past, they will come to our assistance. This is a movement of spiritual forces, forces which are real and which will open doors.
(International Teaching Centre, 1989 Jul 05, Encouraging the Formation of Teaching Groups)


Verily, those among the friends who were martyred in the path of God—verily this is a favor from God which He bestoweth upon whomsoever He chooses; verily God is the most bountiful!—they attained what the holy ones in the Supreme Kingdom yearned for, and quaffed the wine of grace from the bountiful hand of thy Lord the Merciful.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 333)