As the Movement grows in prestige, fame and influence, as the ambitions, malice and ill-will of strangers and enemies correspondingly wax greater, it becomes increasingly important for every individual and Spiritual Assembly to be on their guard lest they fall innocent victims of the evil designs of the malevolent, the self-seeking and greedy.
(Shoghi Effendi, Bahá’í Administration, p. 102)
Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 93)
Be ye the helpers of every victim of oppression, the patrons of the disadvantaged.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 3)
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.
(Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 167)
For the victims of oppression to intercede in favor of their enemies is, in the estimation of rulers, a princely deed.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 77)
For thirty long years, from the hour of Bahá’u’lláh’s ascension until His own immaculate spirit passed into the light of the all-highest realm, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá rested neither night nor day. Single and alone, a prisoner, a victim of tyranny, He rose up to reform the world—to refine and train and educate the human race. He watered the tree of the Faith, He sheltered it from the whirlwind and the lightning bolt, He protected God’s holy Cause, He guarded the divine law, He defeated its adversaries, He frustrated the hopes of those who wished it ill. All His life long, that quintessence of eternal glory, that subtle and mysterious Being, was subjected to trials and ordeals. He was the target of every calumny, of every false accusation, from enemies both without and within. To be a victim of oppression was His lot in this world’s life, and all He knew of it was toil and pain. In the dark of the night, He would sigh out His grief, and as He chanted His prayers at the hour of dawn, that wondrous voice of His would rise up to the inmates of Heaven.
(Bahiyyih Khanum, p. 152-153)
From the hand of the Greatest Holy Leaf, and out of the abundance of her heart, these hapless victims of a contemptible tyranny, received day after day unforgettable evidences of a love they had learned to envy and admire. Her words of cheer and comfort, the food, the money, the clothing she freely dispensed, the remedies which, by a process of her own, she herself prepared and diligently applied—all these had their share in comforting the disconsolate, in restoring sight to the blind, in sheltering the orphan, in healing the sick, and in succouring the homeless and the wanderer.
(Bahiyyih Khanum, p. 40)
If it fail, however, in its allegiance to its Creator, it will become a victim to self and passion, and will, in the end, sink in their depths.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 158)
If one of these two becomes the cause of divorce, that one will unquestionably fall into great difficulties, will become the victim of formidable calamities and experience deep remorse.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)
In counselling the friends, and conveying condolences to the victims of this latest outrage, your Assembly should urge them to cleave now as never before to the firm cord of God’s holy ordinances and teachings, never to deviate by so much as a hair’s breadth from the Straight Path; and to bide the advent of that day when it shall please Him to accomplish His foreordained decree. He, verily, is the Protector of the wronged ones, and He, verily, is the Succourer of all those who stand fast and firm.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 182-183)
It is incumbent upon the friends to confront these difficulties with constancy and firmness, thankfulness and patience, unity and solidarity; to endure with fortitude these consecutive disasters; to traverse successfully these last remaining stages in their destined course; and to become neither restive nor disheartened on account of the hardships and exertions, the injustice and oppression that they are constrained to undergo. Let them at all times keep in mind the following clear and solemn warning recorded by the pen of the Centre of the Covenant and, with a tranquil heart, a radiant spirit, a steadfast purpose and a high resolve, watchfully anticipate the unfoldment and fulfilment of the Master’s utterance: “Beware the weeping of the wronged and orphaned children and the sighing of the victims of oppression, lest their tears should turn to floods and their breaths should turn to fire.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 182)
Life is based on laws: physical, man-made, and spiritual. As you have broken the laws of the society in which you live, you will have to stand up like a man and take your punishment. The spirit in which you do this is the most important thing, and constitutes a great opportunity for you. He (the Guardian) advises you to turn your face towards the future, to realise that when you are set free you have loving and helpful friends to go to, an upright job awaiting you, and you can also become active in serving our glorious Faith. So really everything lies before you. But at present, until your sentence is up, you must live within yourself in a way not to spoil the new future awaiting you. You must not become bitter—for after all you are only reaping what you planted. Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, through no crime of their own, spent the better part of their lives in exile and imprisoned, but they never became embittered although they were the victims of injustice. You, on the other hand, are the victim of injustice which you have inflicted on yourself—therefore you certainly have no right to be bitter towards the world. He urges you to grasp firmly the teachings of our Faith, the love of your family and many Bahá’í friends, to put the past behind entirely, realising that it can do you no more harm; on the contrary, through changing you and making you spiritually aware, this very past can be a means of enriching your life in the future! He will certainly ardently pray for your happiness, your victory over yourself, and that you may become an exemplary and active Bahá’í.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Bahá’í Community, p. 450)
No one would contend that you are alone in the ordeals you are enduring. The victims of injustice today number in countless millions. Each year, the agendas of the human rights organizations are overwhelmed by appeals from spokespersons for oppressed minorities of every type—religious, ethnic, social and national. In the words of Bahá’u’lláh, “Justice is in this day bewailing its plight, and Equity groaneth beneath the yoke of oppression.” What has more alarmed perceptive observers of such situations than even the physical and material anguish caused is the spiritual damage done to the victims. Deliberate oppression aims at dehumanizing those whom it subjugates and at de-legitimizing them as members of society, entitled to neither rights nor consideration. Where such conditions persist over any length of time, many of those affected lose confidence in their own perception of themselves. Inexorably, they become drained of that spirit of initiative that is integral to human nature and are reduced to the level of objects to be dealt with as their rulers decide. Indeed, some who are exposed to sustained oppression can become so conditioned to a culture of brutalization that they, in their turn, are ready to commit violence against others, should the opportunity offer itself.
(The Universal House of Justice, 2003 Nov 26, To the Followers of Bahá’u’lláh in the Cradle of the Faith, p. 3)
Our Pen is moved to commemorate thee, and to extol the victims of tyranny, those men and women that sleep beneath thy dust.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 108)
The spiritually learned are lamps of guidance among the nations, and stars of good fortune shining from the horizons of humankind. They are fountains of life for such as lie in the death of ignorance and unawareness, and clear springs of perfections for those who thirst and wander in the wasteland of their defects and errors. They are the dawning places of the emblems of Divine Unity and initiates in the mysteries of the glorious Qur‘án. They are skilled physicians for the ailing body of the world, they are the sure antidote to the poison that has corrupted human society. It is they who are the strong citadel guarding humanity, and the impregnable sanctuary for the sorely distressed, the anxious and tormented, victims of ignorance.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 33
The twentieth century has, alas, been overwhelmed by the suffering of countless victims of oppression. What made the Bahá’í situation unique was the attitude adopted by those who endured the suffering. The Iranian believers refused to accept the all too familiar role of victims. Like the Founders of the Faith before them, they took moral charge of the great issue between them and their adversaries. It was they, not revolutionary courts or revolutionary guards, who quickly set the terms of the encounter, and this extraordinary achievement affected not only the hearts but the minds of those who observed the situation from outside the Bahá’í Faith. The persecuted community neither attacked its oppressors, nor sought political advantage from the crisis. Nor did its Bahá’í defenders in other lands call for the dismantling of the Iranian constitution, much less for revenge. All demanded only justice—the recognition of the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, endorsed by the community of nations, ratified by the Iranian government, and many of them embodied even in clauses of the Islamic constitution.
(Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, p. 119)
Theirs is a God-sent opportunity to demonstrate, at this grave hour through which the overwhelming majority of their brethren are passing, the incorruptible character of their faith, the indomitable spirit which animates them, the sublimity of the principles which motive their action, providing thereby an abiding and sorely needed consolation to the victims of the brutal, the wide spread and repeated persecutions engulfing so many of their co-religionists in the cradle of their Faith.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v I, p. 240)
They that have turned away from His Face are the helpless victims of their corrupt inclinations. They are indeed of them that have gone astray.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 75)
Thousands of souls have given their lives in the arena of sacrifice and have fallen as victims under the swords of oppression and cruelty. Thousands of esteemed families have been uprooted and destroyed. Thousands of children have been made fatherless. Thousands of fathers have been bereft of their sons. Thousands of mothers have wept and lamented for their boys who have been beheaded. All this oppression and cruelty, rapacity and blood-thirstiness did not hinder or prevent the spread of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. They spread more and more every day, and their power and might became more evident.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 292)
To such a hopeless victim of confused ideas, I feel I can best reply by a genuine expression of compassion and pity, mingled with my hopes for her deliverance from so profound a delusion.
(Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 8)
We applaud the Working Group for this accomplishment. It shines as an example to other United Nations human rights organs of the possibilities for allowing the victims of discrimination—in this case, indigenous peoples—to have a voice in world efforts to improve their situation.
(Bahá’í International Community, 1988 Aug 01, Rights of Indigenous Populations)
We join with all who are the victims of aggression, all who yearn for an end to conflict and contention, all whose devotion to principles of peace and world order promotes the ennobling purposes for which humanity was called into being by an all-loving Creator.
(The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Oct, The Promise of World Peace, p. 5)
What is it then, the world is beginning to ask, that has preserved you from spiritual corrosion of this nature? Where have you found the resources to free your hearts from resentment and to act with magnanimity toward those who have taken part in your mistreatment? How is it that, after a century and more of unremitting persecution—and the calculated attempt at genocide of these past 25 years—you still retain both a confident mastery of your moral purpose and an abiding love for the land in which you have suffered so greatly? The incomparable words of Bahá’u’lláh supply the answer:
Every fire is seen to be extinguishable except for the fire of the Love of God that is manifest and ablaze in the hearts. Every mighty tree will be uprooted by tempestuous winds except for the trees of the Divine orchard, and every lamp is quenched except for the lamp of the Cause of God, which shineth in the heart of the world. Winds will add to its brightness, and it will never be extinguished.
This is the answer that history will give to those who enquire of your secret. Your lives are the fruit of that Divine orchard, the handiwork of the Creative Word to which you have surrendered your hearts. “0 well-beloved ones! The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch.”
”...love is light, no matter in what abode it dwelleth; and hate is darkness, no matter where it may make its nest.” “Were man to appreciate the greatness of his station and the loftiness of his destiny he would manifest naught save goodly character, pure deeds, and a seemly and praiseworthy conduct.” “In this day, all must cling to whatever is the cause of the betterment of the world and the promotion of knowledge amongst its peoples.” “...the tongue is for mentioning what is good, defile it not with unseemly talk.” “Women and men have been and will always be equal in the sight of God.” “One speck of chastity is greater than a hundred thousand years of worship and a sea of knowledge.” “We have enjoined upon all to engage in crafts and trades and have accounted it as an act of worship.” “Trustworthiness is the greatest of doors leading to the tranquility and security of the people of the world.” “Knowledge is the cause of exaltation and advancement. It enableth man to pass beyond the world of dust to the realms above and leadeth him out of darkness into light. It is the redeemer and the bestower of life. It conferreth the living waters of immortality and imparteth heavenly food.”
(The Universal House of Justice, 2003 Nov 26, To the Followers of Bahá’u’lláh in the Cradle of the Faith, p. 3)
When a believer is a victim, she is entitled to the loving aid and support of the members of her community, and she is free to initiate action against the perpetrator under the law of the land should she wish to do so.
(The Universal House of Justice, 1992, Violence and Sexual Abuse of Women and Children)