Bahá’í - Becoming

Be thankful to God for having enabled you to recognise His Cause. Whoever has received this blessing must, prior to his acceptance, have performed some deed which though he himself was unaware of its character, was ordained by God as a means whereby he has been guided to find and embrace the Truth. As to those who have remained deprived of such blessing, their acts alone have hindered them from recognising the truth of this Revelation.

Bahá’u’lláh, The Dawnbreakers, p. 586

Man's actions are acceptable after his having recognized (the Manifestation). He that turneth aside from the True One is indeed the most veiled amongst His creatures. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Almighty, the Most Powerful.

Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 60

Only when the lamp of search, of earnest striving, of longing desire, of passionate devotion, of fervid love, of rapture, and ecstasy, is kindled within the seeker's heart, and the breeze of His loving-kindness is wafted upon his soul, will the darkness of error be dispelled, the mists of doubts and misgivings be dissipated, and the lights of knowledge and certitude envelop his being. At that hour will the Mystic Herald, bearing the joyful tidings of the Spirit, shine forth from the City of God resplendent as the morn, and, through the trumpet-blast of knowledge, will awaken the heart, the soul, and the spirit from the slumber of heedlessness. Then will the manifold favors and outpouring grace of the holy and everlasting Spirit confer such new life upon the seeker that he will find himself endowed with a new eye, a new ear, a new heart, and a new mind. He will contemplate the manifest signs of the universe, and will penetrate the hidden mysteries of the soul. Gazing with the eye of God, he will perceive within every atom a door that leadeth him to the stations of absolute certitude. He will discover in all things the mysteries of Divine Revelation, and the evidences of an everlasting Manifestation.

Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 266

We cherish the hope that you, who have attained to this light, will exert utmost to banish the darkness of superstition and unbelief from the midst of the people. May your deeds proclaim your faith and enable you to lead the erring into the paths of eternal salvation. May your deeds proclaim your faith and enable you to lead the erring into the paths of eternal salvation.

Bahá’u’lláh, The Dawnbreakers, p. 586

When once the seeker hath ascended unto this station, he will enter the City of Love and Rapture, whereupon the winds of love will blow and the breezes of the spirit will waft. In this station the seeker is so overcome by the ecstasies of yearning and the fragrances of longing that he discerneth not his left from his right, nor doth he distinguish land from sea or desert from mountain. At every moment he burneth with the fire of longing and is consumed by the onslaught of separation in this world. He speedeth through the Paran of love and traverseth the Horeb of rapture. Now he laugheth, now he weepeth sore; now he reposeth in peace, now he trembleth in fear. Nothing can alarm him, naught can thwart his purpose, and no law can restrain him. He standeth ready to obey whatsoever His Lord should please to decree as to his beginning and his end. With every breath he layeth down his life and offereth up his soul. He bareth his breast to meet the darts of the enemy and raiseth his head to greet the sword of destiny; nay rather, he kisseth the hand of his would-be murderer and surrendereth his all. He yieldeth up spirit, soul, and body in the path of his Lord, and yet he doeth so by the leave of his Beloved and not of his own whim and desire. Thou findest him chill in the fire and dry in the sea, abiding in every land and treading every path. Whosoever toucheth him in this state will perceive the heat of his love. He walketh the heights of detachment and traverseth the vale of renunciation. His eyes are ever expectant to witness the wonders of God's mercy and eager to behold the splendours of His beauty. Blessed indeed are they that have attained unto such a station, for this is the station of the ardent lovers and the enraptured souls.

Bahá’u’lláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 28-29

Bahá’u’lláh shall be pleased with you, that you may follow His precepts and become worthy of His confirmations. The requirements are that your minds must be illumined, your souls must be rejoiced with the glad tidings of God, you must become imbued with spiritual moralities, your daily life must evidence faith and assurance, your hearts must be sanctified and pure, reflecting a high degree of love and attraction toward the Kingdom of Abhá. You must become the lamps of Bahá’u’lláh so that you may shine with eternal light and be the proofs and evidences of His truth. Then will such signs of purity and chastity be witnessed in your deeds and actions that men will behold the heavenly radiance of your lives and say, "Verily, ye are the proofs of Bahá’u’lláh. Verily, Bahá’u’lláh is the True One, for He has trained such souls as these, each one of which is a proof in himself." They will say to others, "Come and witness the conduct of these souls; come and listen to their words, behold the illumination of their hearts, see the evidences of the love of God in them, consider their praiseworthy morals, and discover the foundations of the oneness of humanity firmly implanted within them. What greater proof can there be than these people that the message of Bahá’u’lláh is truth and reality?" It is my hope that each one of you shall be a herald of God, proclaiming the evidences of His appearance, in words, deeds and thoughts. Let your actions and utterances be a witness that you are of the Kingdom of Bahá’u’lláh. These are the duties enjoined upon you by Bahá’u’lláh.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 460

The Bahá’ís must be distinguished from others of humanity. But this distinction must not depend upon wealth -- that they should become more affluent than other people. I do not desire for you financial distinction. It is not an ordinary distinction I desire; not scientific, commercial, industrial distinction. For you I desire spiritual distinction -- that is, you must become eminent and distinguished in morals. In the love of God you must become distinguished from all else. You must become distinguished for loving humanity, for unity and accord, for love and justice. In brief, you must become distinguished in all the virtues of the human world -- for faithfulness and sincerity, for justice and fidelity, for firmness and steadfastness, for philanthropic deeds and service to the human world, for love toward every human being, for unity and accord with all people, for removing prejudices and promoting international peace. Finally, you must become distinguished for heavenly illumination and for acquiring the bestowals of God. I desire this distinction for you. This must be the point of distinction among you.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 189

There are four classes of people.  The first is those who have accepted the teachings and occupy themselves spreading the Glad Tidings.  The second is those who are good believers, but make no effort to guide others.  The third is those who have heard the Message of the Kingdom but have not accepted it.  The fourth is those who have not yet heard of this Revelation.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “A Heavenly Vista” The Pilgrimage of Louis G. Gregory

Today it behoveth one and all to forgo the mention of all else, and to disregard all things. Let their speaking, let their inner state be summed up thus: "Keep all my words of prayer and praise confined to one refrain; make all my life but servitude to Thee." That is, let them concentrate all their thoughts, all their words, on teaching the Cause of God and spreading the Faith of God, and inspiring all to characterize themselves with the characteristics of God; on loving mankind; on being pure and holy in all things, and spotless in their public and private life; on being upright and detached, and fervent, and afire. All is to be yielded up, save only the remembrance of God; all is to be dispraised, except His praise. Today, to this melody of the Company on high, the world will leap and dance: "Glory be to my Lord, the All-Glorious!" But know ye this: save for this song of God, no song will stir the world, and save for this nightingale-cry of truth from the Garden of God, no melody will lure away the heart. 'Whence cometh this Singer Who speaketh the Beloved's name?

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 54:2

You must become the shining candles of moral precepts and spiritual ideals and be the means of the illumination of others. Clothe your bodies with the robes of virtues. Characterize yourselves with the characteristics of the people of divine morality. Shun all manner of vices as you shun a poisonous snake or a leper. Let the corps of professors and the students be impressed with the purity and holiness of your lives so that they may take you as paragons of worthiness, examples of nobility of nature, observers of the moral laws, holding in subordination the lower element by the higher spirit, the conquerors of self and the masters of wholesome, vital forces in all the avenues of life. Strive always to be at the head of your classes through hard study and true merit. Be always in a prayerful state and appreciate the value of everything. Entertain high ideals and stimulate your intellectual and constructive forces.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, vol. 9, no. 9, 20th August 1918

You must manifest complete love and affection toward all mankind. Do not exalt yourselves above others, but consider all as your equals, recognizing them as the servants of one God. Know that God is compassionate toward all; therefore, love all from the depths of your hearts, prefer all religionists before yourselves, be filled with love for every race, and be kind toward the people of all nationalities. Never speak disparagingly of others, but praise without distinction. Pollute not your tongues by speaking evil of another. Recognize your enemies as friends, and consider those who wish you evil as the wishers of good. You must not see evil as evil and then compromise with your opinion, for to treat in a smooth, kindly way one whom you consider evil or an enemy is hypocrisy, and this is not worthy or allowable. You must consider your enemies as your friends, look upon your evil-wishers as your well-wishers and treat them accordingly. Act in such a way that your heart may be free from hatred. Let not your heart be offended with anyone. If some one commits an error and wrong toward you, you must instantly forgive him. Do not complain of others. Refrain from reprimanding them, and if you wish to give admonition or advice, let it be offered in such a way that it will not burden the bearer. Turn all your thoughts toward bringing joy to hearts. Beware! Beware! lest ye offend any heart. Assist the world of humanity as much as possible. Be the source of consolation to every sad one, assist every weak one, be helpful to every indigent one, care for every sick one, be the cause of glorification to every lowly one, and shelter those who are overshadowed by fear. In brief, let each one of you be as a lamp shining forth with the light of the virtues of the world of humanity. Be trustworthy, sincere, affectionate and replete with chastity. Be illumined, be spiritual, be divine, be glorious, be quickened of God, be a Bahá’í.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 452

Allegiance to the Faith cannot be partial and half-heated. Either we should accept the Cause without any qualification whatever, or cease calling ourselves Bahá’ís. The non-believers should be made to realize that it is not sufficient for them to accept some aspect of the teachings and reject those not sufficient for them to accept some aspects of the teachings and reject those which cannot suit their mentality in order to become fully-recognized and active followers of the Faith. In this way all sorts of misunderstanding will vanish and the organic unity of the Cause will be preserved.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 69

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.

Shoghi Effendi, Advent of Divine Justice, p. 20

It is often difficult for us to do things because they are so very different from what we are used to, not because the thing itself is particularly difficult. With you, and indeed most Bahá’ís, who are now, as adults, accepting this glorious Faith, no doubt some of the ordinances, like fasting and daily prayer, are hard to understand and obey at first. But we must always think that these things are given to all men for a thousand years to come. For Bahá’í children who see these things practiced in the home, they will be as natural and necessary a thing as going to church on Sunday was to the more pious generation of Christians.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights Of Guidance, p. 343

The believers, as we all know, should endeavour to set such an example in their personal lives and conduct that others will feel impelled to embrace a Faith which reforms human character.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 113

The people of Bahá, under the jurisdiction of whatsoever state or government they may be residing, should conduct themselves with honesty and sincerity, trustworthiness and rectitude. They should concern themselves with men's hearts, and hold themselves aloof from the fluctuations and limitations of the contingent world. They are neither thirsty for prominence, nor acquisitive of power; they are neither adepts at dissimulation and hypocrisy, nor are they seekers after wealth and influence; they neither crave for the pomp and circumstance of high office, nor do they lust after the glory of titles and ranks. They are averse to affectation and ostentation, and shrink from the use of coercive force; they have closed their eyes to all but God, and set their hearts on the firm and incontrovertible promises of their Lord; they have severed the bonds of earthly expectations and attachments, and connected their lives to the One Peerless Beloved. Oblivious to themselves, they have occupied their energies in working towards the good of society; and, steadfastly adhering to the sound and wholesome principles of God's Faith, they have turned their backs on the morbid imaginings, the incoherent theories, and pernicious ideas of the victims of caprice and folly. While vigilantly refusing to accept political posts, they should whole-heartedly welcome the chance to assume administrative positions; for the primary purpose of the people of Bahá is to advance the interests and promote the welfare of the nation, not to further the devious ends and designs of the profligate and shameless. Such is the method of the Bahá’ís; such is the conduct of all spiritually illumined souls; and aught else is manifest error.

Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 349

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

What every believer, new or old, should realize is that the Cause has the spiritual power to re-create us if we make the effort to let that power influence us, and the greatest help in this respect is prayer. We must supplicate Bahá’u’lláh to assist us to overcome the failings in our own characters, and also exert our own will power in mastering ourselves. However, unfortunately, not everyone achieves easily and rapidly the victory over self.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 113

When a person becomes a Bahá’í, he gives up the past only in the sense that he is a part of this new and living Faith of God, and must seek to pattern himself, in act and thought, along the lines laid down by Bahá’u’lláh.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 68

It is not easy for people to learn the Bahá’í way, to overcome their inherited prejudices or to resist their personal temptations. This way takes time, is subject to checks and backsliding, but one can see, looking at the past 138 years, that there is an overall advance that is astonishing in the light of the obstacles to be overcome, and is accelerating with every passing decade.

The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 516

The Bahá’í community is an association of individuals who have voluntarily come together, on recognizing Bahá’u’lláh's claim to be the Manifestation of God for this age, to establish certain patterns of personal and social behavior and to build the institutions that are to promote these patterns.

The Universal House of Justice, 1992 Dec 10, Issues Related to Study Compilation

There are numerous individuals who share the ideals of the Faith and draw inspiration from its Teachings, while disagreeing with certain of its features, but those who actually enter the Bahá’í community have accepted, by their own free will, to follow the Teachings in their entirety, understanding that, if doubts and disagreements arise in the process of translating the Teachings into practice, the final arbiter is, by the explicit authority of the Revealed Text, the Universal House of Justice.

The Universal House of Justice, 1992 Dec 10, Issues Related to Study Compilation

Visiting pioneers or teachers may find, in some places, newly-enrolled believers not so enthusiastic about their religion as expected, or not adjusting to standards of Bahá’í life, or they may find them thinking of material benefits they may hope to derive from their new membership. We should always remember that the process of nursing the believer into full spiritual maturity is slow, and needs loving education and patience.

Universal House of Justice, Quickeners of Mankind, p. 116

We should always remember that the process of nursing the believer into full spiritual maturity is slow, and needs loving education and patience.

The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 41

When a person becomes a Bahá’í, actually what takes place is that the seed of the spirit starts to grow in the human soul. This seed must be watered by the outpourings of the Holy Spirit. These gifts of the spirit are received through prayer, meditation, study of the Holy Utterances and service to the Cause of God.

Letters of The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Jun 05, Homosexuality

When an individual becomes a Bahá’í, he or she accepts the claim of Bahá’u’lláh to be the Manifestation of God bringing a divinely-inspired message from God for the benefit of mankind. Implicit in the acceptance of this claim is the commitment of the believer to embark on the lifelong process of endeavouring to implement the teachings on personal conduct .

From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, Letters of The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Jun 05, Homosexuality

In this day those who have fully recognized the station of Bahá’u’lláh, and are endowed with the gift of true understanding, have embraced His Faith not because they discovered that it would bring happiness to them, solve their personal problems, remove their afflictions and enrich their spiritual lives, but rather because they recognized that Bahá’u’lláh is the Manifestation of God for this age and were drawn to Him as iron is attracted to a magnet. Their eyes have been dazzled by the glory of His Revelation and their hearts seized by the potency of His Word. They know that the Cause He has revealed is exalted above all creation and that man has come into being primarily to serve it. This, and only this, should be the motive for following the Faith of God.

Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh v 2, p. 37

The Blessed Beauty often remarked: 'There are four qualities which I love to see manifested in people: first, enthusiasm and courage: second, a face wreathed in smile and a radiant countenance; third, that they see all things with their own eyes and not through the eyes of others; fourth, the ability to carry a task, once begun, through to its end.

Ali-Akbar Furutan, Stories of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 51

When a seeker recognizes the Source of the revealed Word he enters the City of Certitude, Bahá’u’lláh affirms, and He describes that city as none other than the Word of God revealed in every age and dispensation.

Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh v 1, p. 190

When an individual reaches a point where he recognizes Bahá’u’lláh as a Manifestation of God, his heart becomes the recipient of the light of God's Faith for this day. If the believer immerses himself from the start in the ocean of Bahá’u’lláh's Revelation, reads His writings daily not merely in order to add to his own knowledge but to receive the food of the spirit, seeks the companionship of the righteous, and arises to serve Him with sincerity and detachment, then he may steadily grow in faith and become a radiant and enthusiastic soul. He may obtain a deeper understanding of the writings and reach a point where both his mind and his heart work together in harmony. Such a believer will eventually find no conflict between the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and his own thinking. He will discover many a wisdom hidden in the utterances of Bahá’u’lláh and will recognize the limitations and shortcomings of his own finite mind. But if a believer, after having recognized Bahá’u’lláh, fails to follow this path, he may soon find himself in conflict with many aspects of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. His intellect may not be able to understand the wisdom behind many of His Teachings, he may indeed reject some of His precepts and eventually lose faith altogether. Some people struggle for years to overcome this problem, for they long to be confirmed in their faith. Often such an individual may be helped to acquire a true understanding of the Faith by those who truly believe in Bahá’u’lláh and are detached from this world.

Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh v 2, p. 217