Invitations - Responding To Questions

It is obligatory to answer each letter, question or request received.

The substance of this chapter [báb] is this. It hath been ordained that in this Dispensation, should one write a letter to another the recipient should give reply. And God doth not love prolonged delays in answering. One must reply in one's own hand, or by means of a scribe.

Likewise, should someone ask a question, the one thus questioned must respond in a precise manner.

Perchance on the Day of God's Manifestation none will remain ignorant of that sublime Daystar; and when He revealeth the divine word: "Am I not thy Lord?", all shall respond with "Yea!".

In truth, the injunction to reply hath been ordained for none other purpose except this, yet its obligations extend to the very last atom of existence, and likewise as regards correspondence.

There can be no doubt that on the Day of His Manifestation His books shall descend upon everyone; that none should remain ignorant on account of the veils that envelop him, nor fail to answer Him, inasmuch as the reality of one's being issueth forth from one's response: in the world of the hearts, through the affirmation of His Unity; in the world of the spirits, through the affirmation of His Prophethood; in the world of the souls, through the affirmation of His Successorship; in the physical world through the affirmation of His Gatehood.

In each Dispensation, those that respond are distinguished from those that remain silent. In the preceding Dispensation, all have responded, inasmuch as it is inconceivable today that any within Islam should fail to speak the twin confessions, of the station of Successorship (walí)[1], and of the Qur'anic laws. It is impossible to conceive of someone not uttering these words, and yet in the ensuing Manifestation the sincere among them shall be distinguished from the insincere by their response.

He is a servant endowed with insight who answereth God in every degree and in all circumstances, be it through his writings, or through his utterance, or through his deeds, which is the most potent way. In accordance with this duty, all are enjoined to answer one another, to the extent that if a child be found crying, it is obligatory to answer his cries in the usual manner.

It is the same for one whose very state conveyeth request, though it be without words, and it is incumbent upon them that understand to respond accordingly. Likewise, should one be found whose situation betokeneth asking, it is needful to answer. The same applieth to all kindred situations, which the man of vision promptly perceiveth.

In all circumstances it is obligatory to answer. And this to the end that none may, under any circumstance, become a source of torment. Perchance on the Day of Judgement, when the most perceptive of hearts, except those whom God pleaseth to exempt, fail to recognise their Goal, their Best Beloved, no torment might come unwittingly upon Him; for thereby would the very principle of their religion be rendered vain, and they would remain shut out in darkness by reason of questions which are but the consequences of those principles. Thus it is that in each Manifestation they that remain in darkness do so on account of these consequences.

But God aideth through His mercy whomsoever He willeth, and He encompasseth all things.

Bayán-i-Farsí Vahíd VI, Báb XIX of Siyyid 'Alí-Muhammad-i-Shirází

Translated from the French Rendering of A.L.M. Nicolas by Ismael Velasco With Reference to the Persian Text Báb XIX