Briefly, if to the knowledge of God is joined the love of God, and attraction, ecstasy and goodwill, a righteous action is then perfect and complete. Otherwise, though a good action is praiseworthy, yet if it is not sustained by the knowledge of God, the love of God, and a sincere intention, it is imperfect.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 302)
Clothe thyself with the essence of righteousness, and let thine heart be afraid of none except God.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 323)
He will distinguish the righteous by endless bounty, making them shine on the horizon of eternal honor, like the stars of heaven. He will assist them by endowing them with behavior and actions which are the light of the world of humanity, the cause of guidance, and the means of everlasting life in the Divine Kingdom.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 59)
I beg of Him, through His unfailing aid, to cause this return of thine to exert a powerful effect. Such a thing can only come about if thou dost divest thyself of all attachment to this world, and dost put on the vesture of holiness; if thou dost limit all thy thoughts and all thy words to the remembrance of God and His praise; to spreading His sweet savours abroad, and performing righteous acts; and if thou dost devote thyself to awakening the heedless and restoring sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the mute, and through the power of the spirit, giving life to the dead.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 172-173)
It behoveth the loved ones of the Lord to be the signs and tokens of His universal mercy and the embodiments of His own excelling grace. Like the sun, let them cast their rays upon garden and rubbish heap alike, and even as clouds in spring, let them shed down their rain upon flower and thorn. Let them seek but love and faithfulness, let them not follow the ways of unkindness, let their talk be confined to the secrets of friendship and of peace. Such are the attributes of the righteous, such is the distinguishing mark of those who serve His Threshold.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 257)
It is said in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas “...whoso is deprived thereof, hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed.” What is the meaning of this verse?
Answer.—This blessed verse means that the foundation of success and salvation is the knowledge of God, and that the results of the knowledge of God are the good actions which are the fruits of faith. If man has not this knowledge, he will be separated from God, and when this separation exists, good actions have not complete effect. This verse does not mean that the souls separated from God are equal, whether they perform good or bad actions. It signifies only that the foundation is to know God, and the good actions result from this knowledge. Nevertheless, it is certain that between the good, the sinners and the wicked who are veiled from God there is a difference. For the veiled one who has good principles and character deserves the pardon of God, while he who is a sinner, and has bad qualities and character, is deprived of the bounties and blessings of God. Herein lies the difference. Therefore, the blessed verse means that good actions alone, without the knowledge of God, cannot be the cause of eternal salvation, everlasting success, and prosperity, and entrance into the Kingdom of God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 238)
Now it may be that a man performs an action which in appearance is righteous, but which is dictated by covetousness. For example, a butcher rears a sheep and protects it; but this righteous action of the butcher is dictated by desire to derive profit, and the result of this care is the slaughter of the poor sheep. How many righteous actions are dictated by covetousness! But the goodwill is sanctified from such impurities.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 302)
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)
The good deeds of the righteous are the sins of the Near Ones. This is established.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 126)
The purpose underlying the revelation of every heavenly Book, nay, of every divinely-revealed verse, is to endue all men with righteousness and understanding, so that peace and tranquillity may be firmly established amongst them.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 205)
To do battle, as stated in the sacred verse, doth not, in this greatest of all dispensations, mean to go forth with sword and spear, with lance and piercing arrow—but rather weaponed with pure intent, with righteous motives, with counsels helpful and effective, with godly attributes, with deeds pleasing to the Almighty, with the qualities of heaven. It signifieth education for all mankind, guidance for all men, the spreading far and wide of the sweet savours of the spirit, the promulgation of God’s proofs, the setting forth of arguments conclusive and divine, the doing of charitable deeds.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 260)
Uprightness. And this is one of the greatest divine attainments.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 384)
When the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar is accomplished, when the lights are emanating therefrom, the righteous ones are presenting themselves therein, the prayers are performed with supplication towards the mysterious Kingdom, the voice of glorification is raised to the Lord, the Supreme, then the believers shall rejoice, the hearts shall be dilated and overflow with the love of the All-living and Self-existent God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 415)