According to the teaching of the Prophets, disease and all other forms of calamity are due to disobedience to the Divine Commands. Even disasters due to floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes are attributed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá indirectly to this cause. The suffering that follows error is not vindictive, however, but educative and remedial. It is God’s Voice proclaiming to man that he has strayed from the right path. If the suffering is
terrible, it is only because the danger of wrongdoing is more terrible, for “the wages of sin is death."
Just as calamity is due to disobedience, so deliverance
from calamity can be obtained only be obedience. There is no chance or uncertainty about the matter. Turning from God inevitably brings disaster, and turning to God as inevitably brings blessing.
(Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 95)
All sin comes from the demands of nature, and these demands, which arise from the physical qualities, are not sins with respect to the animals, while for man they are sin. The animal is the source of imperfections, such as anger, sensuality, jealousy, avarice, cruelty, pride: all these defects are found in animals but do not constitute sins. But in man they are sins.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 119)
But if … any one betray the least of trusts or neglect and be remiss in the performance of duties which are intrusted to him, or by oppression takes one penny of extortion from the subjects, or seeks after his own personal, selfish aims and ends in the attainment of his own interests, he shall undoubtedly remain deprived of the outpourings of His Highness the Almighty! Beware! Beware! lest ye fall short in that which ye are commanded in this Tablet!
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 403-404)
But the principal cause of these difficulties lies in the laws of the present civilization; for they lead to a small number of individuals accumulating incomparable fortunes, beyond their needs, while the greater number remain destitute, stripped and in the greatest misery. This is contrary to justice, to humanity, to equity; it is the height of iniquity, the opposite to what causes divine satisfaction.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 273)
But when we find ourselves falling short we must add to this response the high resolve to “gain victory over (our) own selves” as speedily as possible, as a mercy to ourselves and to our fellow men, so that others may be attracted to the Faith without hindrance.
(Quickeners of Mankind, p. 120)
Certainly for an intelligent man death is better than sin …
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 265)
Certainly it is hard to think of a sin that does not require some kind of a lie to go with it.
(Marzieh Gail, Arches of the Years, p. 94)
How great, therefore, how staggering the responsibility that must weigh upon the present generation of the American believers, at this early stage in their spiritual and administrative evolution, to weed out, by every means in their power, those faults, habits, and tendencies which they have inherited from their own nation, and to cultivate, patiently and prayerfully, those distinctive qualities and characteristics that are so indispensable to their effective participation in the great redemptive work of their Faith. Incapable as yet, in view of the restricted size of their community and the limited influence it now wields, of producing any marked effect on the great mass of their countrymen, let them focus their attention, for the present, on their own selves, their own individual needs, their own personal deficiencies and weaknesses, ever mindful that every intensification of effort on their part will better equip them for the time when they will be called upon to eradicate in their turn such evil tendencies from the lives and the hearts of the entire body of their fellow-citizens. Nor must they overlook the fact that the World Order, whose basis they, as the advance-guard of the future Bahá’í generations of their countrymen, are now laboring to establish, can never be reared unless and until the generality of the people to which they belong has been already purged from the divers ills, whether social or political, that now so severely afflict it.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 20-21)
If the soul falls into sin, the body is in torment!
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 65)
It is certainly the case that sins are a potent cause of physical ailments. If humankind were free from the defilements of sin and waywardness, and lived according to a natural, inborn equilibrium, without following wherever their passions led, it is undeniable that diseases would no longer take the ascendant, nor diversify with such intensity.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 152)
It is, then, clear and evident that the repartition of excessive fortunes among a small number of individuals, while the masses are in need, is an iniquity and an injustice.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 275)
Justice is a noble quality and injustice an iniquity.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 81)
Man’s ignorance, his cruelty, his ungodliness, his selfishness, his insincerity and all his sins and shortcomings are tools of torture inflicting painful wounds upon the souls of the Chosen Ones of God, who have no alternative but to bear them in silence with resignation and submissiveness, as in the case of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. One act of unfaithfulness—even a glance betraying the insincerity of the individual or an unworthy thought emanating from his mind—is painful torture to them. But they seldom reveal the shortcomings of men or dwell on their own pain and suffering.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, p. 227)
O Heedless Ones! Think not the secrets of hearts are hidden, nay, know ye of a certainty that in clear characters they are engraved and are openly manifest in the holy Presence.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words, Persian 59)
O my Lord, only favor and mercy to every sinner who has fallen into the pit of degradation and wretchedness, is befitting to divinity, and only by the imperfections of servitude will the perfections of divinity become manifest. O Lord, verily, the brilliant rays of the Sun of Reality are the removers of the utter darkness, and the pure Water cleanses the foulness and the sorrow of the world. O my Lord, verily, the sins are bubbling foam and Thy mercy is a full ocean. Trespasses are bitter trees and Thy pardon is a fire whose flame is intense.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 407)
O my Lord, verily, Thy exhortations are celebrated and have been spread broadcast in the East and the West of the earth. Thou hast called all to love and harmony and to forsake discord in all regions, so that the East of the earth may embrace the West; the people of the desert may embrace the people of the city; their scattered members become reunited and the lost ones gathered together; that the darkness of the earth may pass away and its Lights shine forth. But the eyes and the inner sight have become blind, the ears deaf, the hearts hardened, and the susceptibilities become like rocks and stones. The minds and intellects are being confused. Souls have forgotten the explicit teachings of the Book wherein Thou hast warned them of punishment. Thus they have merited severe punishment and deserved the sentence of torment.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 408)
Pleasant is the realm of being, wert thou to attain thereto; glorious is the domain of eternity, shouldst thou pass beyond the world of mortality; sweet is the holy ecstasy if thou drinkest of the mystic chalice from the hands of the celestial Youth. Shouldst thou attain this station, thou wouldst be freed from destruction and death, from toil and sin.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Persian Hidden Words 70)
Say: Set ye aside My love, and commit what grieveth Mine heart? What is it that hindereth you from comprehending what hath been revealed unto you by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise?
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 307)
Say: It behoveth every one that holdeth fast to the hem of Our Robe to be untainted by anything from which the Concourse on high may be averse. Thus hath it been decreed by thy Lord, the All-Glorious, in this His perspicuous Tablet.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 307)
Should anyone be afflicted by a sin, it behoveth him to repent thereof and return unto his Lord. He, verily, granteth forgiveness unto whomsoever He willeth, and none may question that which it pleaseth Him to ordain. He is, in truth, the Ever-Forgiving.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 37)
Since, however, the animal contenteth itself with simple foods and striveth not to indulge its importunate urges to any great degree, and committeth no sins, its ailments relative to man’s are few. We see clearly, therefore, how powerful are sin and contumacy as pathogenic factors. And once engendered these diseases become compounded, multiply, and are transmitted to others. Such are the spiritual, inner causes of sickness.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 153)
Steadfastness glowed in his eyes as he maintained a mysterious and unbroken silence. Neither the howling of the multitude nor the sight of the blood that streamed all over his body could induce him to interrupt that silence. Impassive and serene he remained until all the nine candles were placed in position and lighted.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 618)
The Bahá’í Teaching is that all the sins are on one side of the scales, and lying on the other, and that lying outweighs them all.
(Marzieh Gail, Arches of the Years, p. 94)
The differences among mankind are of two sorts: one is a difference of station, and this difference is not blameworthy. The other is a difference of faith and assurance; the loss of these is blameworthy, for then the soul is overwhelmed by his desires and passions, which deprive him of these blessings and prevent him from feeling the power of attraction of the love of God. Though that man is praiseworthy and acceptable in his station, yet as he is deprived of the perfections of that degree, he will become a source of imperfections, for which he is held responsible.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 128)
The good deeds of the righteous are the sins of the Near Ones. This is established.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 125)
The source of error is to disbelieve in the One true God, rely upon aught else but Him, and flee from His Decree.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 156)
Thou seest the sinner, O my Lord, who hath turned towards the dawning-place of Thy forgiveness and Thy bounty, and the mountain of iniquity that hath sought the heaven of Thy mercy and pardon.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 5)
Though the world is encompassed with misery and distress, yet no man hath paused to reflect what the cause or source of that may be.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 217)
Verily I say, whatsoever ye have concealed within your hearts is to Us open and manifest as the day; but that it is hidden is of Our grace and favor, and not of your deserving.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Persian Hidden Words 60)
Well is it with the righteous that mock not the sinful, but rather conceal their misdeeds, so that their own shortcomings may remain veiled to men’s eyes.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 315)