But man hath perversely continued to serve his lustful appetites … With this, and with the perpetrating of vile and ignoble acts, his attention was engrossed, and he abandoned the temperance and moderation of a natural way of life. The result was the engendering of diseases both violent and diverse.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 152-153)
He should be … attaching the heart to … self-restraint.
(Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 50)
If haste is harmful, inertness and indolence are a thousand times worse. A middle course is best, as it is written: “It is incumbent upon you to do good between the two evils,” this referring to the mean between the two extremes.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 108-109)
In all circumstances they should conduct themselves with moderation.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Lights of Guidance, p. 294)
Overstep not the bounds of moderation.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 235)
Such a chaste and holy life, with its implications of modesty, purity, temperance, decency and clean-mindedness, involves no less than the exercise of moderation in all that pertains to dress, language, amusements, and all artistic and literary avocations. It demands daily vigilance in the control of one’s carnal desires and corrupt inclinations.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 364)
The Universal House of Justice does not feel that the time has come for it to provide detailed legislation on subjects such as abortion, homosexuality and other moral issues. The principles pertaining to these issues are available in the book “Lights of Guidance” and elsewhere. In studying these principles, it should be noted that in most areas of human behaviour there are acts which are clearly contrary to the law of God and others which are clearly approved or permissible; between these there is often a grey area where it is not immediately apparent what should be done. It has been a human tendency to wish to eliminate these grey areas so that every aspect of life is clearly prescribed. A result of this tendency has been the tremendous accretion of interpretation and subsidiary legislation which has smothered the spirit of certain of the older religions. In the Bahá’í Faith moderation, which is so strongly upheld by Bahá’u’lláh, is applied here also. Provision is made for supplementary legislation by the Universal House of Justice—legislation which it can itself abrogate and amend as conditions change. There is also a clear pattern already established in the Sacred Scriptures, in the interpretations made by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi, and in the decisions so far made by the Universal House of Justice, whereby an area of the application of the laws is intentionally left to the conscience of each individual believer. This is the age in which mankind must attain maturity, and one aspect of this is the assumption by individuals of the responsibility for deciding, with the assistance of consultation, their own course of action in areas which are left open by the law of God. It should also be noted that it is neither possible nor desirable for the Universal House of Justice to set forth a set of rules covering every situation. Rather is it the task of the individual believer to determine, according to his own prayerful understanding of the Writings, precisely what his course of conduct should be in relation to situations which he encounters in his daily life. If he is to fulfil his true mission in life as a follower of the Blessed Perfection, he will pattern his life according to the Teachings. The believer cannot attain this objective merely by living according to a set of rigid regulations. When his life is oriented towards service to Bahá’u’lláh, and when every conscious act is performed within this frame of reference, he will not fail to achieve the true purpose of his life. Therefore, every believer must continually study the Sacred Writings and the instructions of the beloved Guardian, striving always to attain a new and better understanding of their import to him and to his society. He should pray fervently for divine guidance, wisdom and strength to do what is pleasing to God, and to serve Him at all times and to the best of his ability. The House of Justice feels it would not be wise for it to make a public statement on the moral issues you mention which are now being discussed widely. In such aspects of morality, the guidance that Bahá’í institutions offer to mankind does not comprise a series of specific answers to these moral issues, but rather the illumination of an entirely new way of life through the renewal of spiritual values. Bahá’ís who are striving to teach the Faith can take advantage of the growing public disquiet about the accelerating moral breakdown throughout the world to bring to the attention of thoughtful people the fact that such problems are symptoms of a profound malaise which can be healed only through acceptance of the divine message. As Bahá’u’lláh states, “the people are wandering in the paths of delusion", engaging in practices which will lead inevitably to unhappiness and disorder. Inspired by the example of loving compassion set by the Master, let the believers disclose to the wayward multitudes a new mode of living which brings true liberty and abiding happiness...
(On behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual, 5 June 1988)
The civilization, so often vaunted by the learned exponents of arts and sciences, will, if allowed to overleap the bounds of moderation, bring great evil upon men. Thus warneth you He Who is the All-Knowing. If carried to excess, civilization will prove as prolific a source of evil as it had been of goodness when kept within the restraints of moderation.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 342)
The word of God which the Supreme Pen hath recorded on the ninth leaf of the Most Exalted Paradise is this: In all matters moderation is desirable.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 68).
Therefore the people of Bahá must not fall prey to the corruption of the ruthless, but rather cling to contentment and moderation.
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 437)
Thou hast written that they have pledged themselves to observe maximum austerity in their lives with a view to forwarding the remainder of their income to His exalted presence. This matter was mentioned at His holy court. He said: Let them act with moderation and not impose hardship upon themselves. We would like them both to enjoy a life that is well-pleasing.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Huqúqu’lláh, p. 20)
We believe in balance in all things; we believe in moderation in all things—we must not be too emotional, nor cut and dried and lacking in feeling, we must not be so liberal as to cease to preserve the character and unity of our Bahá’í system, nor fanatical and dogmatic.
(Shoghi Effendi, quoted in The Universal House of Justice, 1997 Aug 13, Science and Religion, p. 2)
Whatsoever passeth beyond the limits of moderation will cease to exert a beneficial influence.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 216)
Yet another sacred duty is that of clinging to the cord of moderation in all things, lest they who are to be the essence of detachment and moderation be deluded by the trappings of this nether world or set their hearts on its adornments and waste their lives.
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 437)
You who live in a land where freedom is so highly prized, have not, then to dispense with its fruits. But you are challenged and do have the obligation to uphold and vindicate the distinction between the license that limits your possibilities for genuine progress and the moderation that ensures the enjoyment of true liberty.
(Universal House of Justice, from a letter to the followers of Bahá’u’lláh in the United States of America, 29 December 1988)