The tormentors of Iran: on burdens, mercy, and victory



Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects Evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy handhold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.

Quran 2:256

Bahá’u’lláh says of Himself: “The Ancient Beauty hath consented to be bound with chains that mankind may be released from its bondage, and hath accepted to be made a prisoner within this most mighty Stronghold that the whole world may attain unto true liberty. He hath drained to its dregs the cup of sorrow, that all the peoples of the earth may attain unto abiding joy, and be filled with gladness. This is of the mercy of your Lord, the Compassionate, the Most Merciful.”

And elsewhere He says, again of Himself: “Lament not because of the wicked. Thou wert created to bear and endure, O Patience of the worlds.”

Yet, this hardship is a mercy from God! Again, Bahá’u’lláh, referring to the first passage quoted above, says: “This is of the mercy of your Lord, the Compassionate, the Most Merciful. We have accepted to be abased, O believers in the Unity of God, that ye may be exalted, and have suffered  manifold afflictions, that ye might prosper and flourish.”

His burdens are His glory: “I sorrow not for the burden of My imprisonment. Neither do I grieve over My abasement, or the tribulation I suffer at the hands of Mine enemies. By My life! They are My glory, a glory wherewith God hath adorned His own Self. Would that ye know it!”

It is His oppressors for whom we should feel sorrow, for they are in manifest error: “My sorrows are for those who have involved themselves in their corrupt passions, and claim to be associated with the Faith of God, the Gracious, the All-Praised.”

The devoted followers of Bahá’u’lláh, in fulfilling their trust in Him by carrying on His work to bring the renewed Word of God to mankind, must necessarily share, in some measure, these burdens.  In most of the world, we are merely “burdened” with the rewarding, if sometimes tiring, task of taking time in our daily activities to share His message with others, attend and present study classes (the Ruhi courses), attend and offer devotional meetings, conduct children’s classes and junior youth activities, and carry out administrative duties. In Iran, however, the burdens continue to be basic: physical punishment and denial of human rights, such as the right to education and employment.

A spiritual attitude toward life is essential to a life connected to service to God:

It behoveth the people of Bahá to die to the world and all that is therein, to be so detached from all earthly things that the inmates of Paradise may inhale from their garment the sweet smelling savor of sanctity, that all the peoples of the earth may recognize in their faces the brightness of the All-Merciful, and that through them may be spread abroad the signs and tokens of God, the Almighty, the All-Wise. They that have tarnished the fair name of the Cause of God, by following the things of the flesh — these are in palpable error!


He says to His tormentors, reflecting on His own captivity: “How long will ye persist in your injustice? Witness the habitation in which He, Who is the incarnation of justice, hath been forced to dwell. Open your eyes, and, beholding His plight, meditate diligently upon that which your hands have wrought, that haply ye may not be deprived of the light of His Divine utterance, nor remain bereft of your share of the ocean of His knowledge.”

Indeed, how long will the tormentors of Iran persist in their injustice? Yet, we know that our beloved brothers and sisters, compelled to live in such dire circumstances in the land that is the cradle of our Faith, are participants in the greatest enterprise in the history of mankind.

Bahá’u’lláh’s Dispensation fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah:

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (King James Bible, Isaiah)

It is in fulfillment of the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (King James Bible, Matthew)

Ultimate victory is assured for the Cause of God:

And call to mind when the unbelievers plotted against thee, to detain

thee prisoner, or to kill thee, or to banish thee: They plotted – but God

plotted: and of plotters is God the best!

            Qur’an 8:30

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