Islam is in the headlines almost each and every day. Even with good press coverage, it’s still bad press for many Muslims.

When terrorism occurs, and a whole religion gets the blame, that bad press fans the flames of Islamophobia. It’s a bad situation—one that can easily get worse unless we help make it better by doing something in response.

Baha’u’llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, apparently foresaw this crisis, and revealed a special prayer for Islam.

Most of the attention in the press today has been on radical Islamism—an extreme, violent interpretation of Islam as a political ideology, where the means justify the ends. Whether it’s the Islamic State, the Taliban, Boko Haram, or other radical groups, it tarnishes the name of Islam and the public image of millions upon millions of peaceful and law-abiding Muslims. This has created a crisis of identity and self-definition within the contemporary Islamic world. Obviously, non-Muslims have a stake in the public debates as to what constitutes “true Islam” as well.

Baha’is are not Muslims. But the Baha’i Faith does have its origins in Islam, in much the same way that Christianity has its origins in Judaism. Therefore Baha’is are also concerned about the fortunes of Islam, and of all the world’s great Faiths. This concern, historically, goes back to Baha’u’llah himself, who revealed the following prayer for Islam:

He is God – Exalted be He, the Lord of Majesty and Power!

I plead my grief and sorrow unto God, the Lord of all humankind. The affairs of men have been shaken, the nations have become perturbed and Islam has been weakened thereby. The enemies have afflicted it from all sides and it remains encompassed by them. Thus it behooveth the people of God to invoke Him in the morning and the night-season, to beseech Him to graciously aid the Muslims, one and all, to do that which is pleasing and seemly, to exalt them by His Command and through the power of His Sovereign Might, to make them aware of that which will exalt their stations, to change their abasement into might, their poverty into wealth, their destruction into advancement, their distress into peace of mind and their fear into security and tranquility.

Verily, He is the All-Merciful. There is none other God but Him, the Compassionate, All-Bountiful. – Baha’u’llah. Provisional translation. The original Arabic of this prayer was published by the Baha’i International Community in a short compilation of Baha’i Writings on the station of the Prophet Muhammad, available online. The prayer is found on pp. 8–9. (Reference courtesy of Todd Lawson.)

Let’s take a close look at this remarkable prayer. First of all, it is highly unusual for the followers of one religion to pray for the welfare of the followers of another religion—especially considering the fact that Baha’is have been persecuted in certain Muslim countries.

This prayer begins with an outcry of “grief and sorrow” that the “affairs of men” have taken a turn for the worse, and have been sorely “shaken,” affecting and afflicting all “nations” which, as a consequence, have become “perturbed” and “Islam has been weakened thereby.” Baha’u’llah enjoins the Baha’is, the world over, to pray to God to “graciously aid the Muslims, one and all.”

So how can God “aid the Muslims, one and all”? One way is to fulfill our God-given human role as instruments of such assistance. So how can we be of assistance to our fellow citizens, who are good, law-abiding Muslims, as well as our friends, neighbors and coworkers? According to Baha’u’llah we should encourage and empower our Muslim friends and neighbors “to do that which is pleasing and seemly.”

The vast majority of Muslims will do this completely on their own, anyway. But it doesn’t hurt to show our recognition and appreciation for such a life well-lived, according to the dictates of decency and compassion, reflecting the core spiritual and humanitarian values Islam teaches.

The next part of Baha’u’llah’s prayer naturally follows, whereby God will then “exalt” such pious, faithful and outstanding Muslims by instilling and heightening awareness, in each and every Muslim, as well as in each and every one of us, of all those daily religious practices, pious deeds, and acts of goodwill “which will exalt their stations” and which will redound to the  good reputation of “true Islam.”

Whatever can and will “exalt their stations” will, in turn, “change their abasement into might, their poverty into wealth, their destruction into advancement, their distress into peace of mind and their fear into security and tranquility.”

This is the promise. This is the outcome. This is the answer to Baha’u’llah’s prayer for Islam, if we simply follow the instructions within the prayer itself.

Every Baha’i prayer is a call to action. Therefore Baha’u’llah’s prayer for Islam is a call to action by way of reaching out to our Muslim friends and neighbors, by showing our support, and by exemplifying our compassion.

The watchword of the Baha’i Faith is unity. This includes unity among religions, races and nations, without exception. That’s what makes the Baha’i teachings on unity so exceptional, and so vitally important in this day and age. So try saying Baha’u’llah’s prayer for Islam aloud, in the privacy of your home, and then meditate. By so meditating, try to contemplate, ponder, wonder, imagine, envision, and make a wish for someone else—and then, through your actions, try your very best to make it all come true.

Let’s be true-blue friends to those Muslims who are our friends at home and at work. If we make them feel more at home today, we will feel more at home tomorrow. Know that we will be the first to benefit if each one of us reaches out in true friendship to our Muslim friends and neighbors.

Let’s make an effort, one and all, to combat Islamophobia. Together, let’s make this world a better place, partly by doing our part to respond to the crisis that the contemporary Muslim world is experiencing today. This is not paternalism. This is brotherly love. This is humanity. This is the love of God acting through each and every one of us. This is personal and social salvation. This is unity, which is the closest thing to paradise we can experience here on Earth.

The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BahaiTeachings.org or any institution of the Baha’i Faith.

9 Comments

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  • Christopher Buck
    Jul 08, 2017
    This note accompanies the translation: "Provisional translation of a prayer revealed by Bahá’u’lláh. The original Arabic of this prayer was published by the Baha’i International Community in a short
    compilation of Bahá’í Writings on the station of the Prophet Muhammad. This compilation is available for download at the following site: http://reference.bahai.org/download/mra-ar-pdf.zip. The prayer is found on pp. 8–9." Since the Baha’i International Community included this prayer in a collection of passages on Muhammad (and Islam), it appears that the official position of the Baha'i Faith regarding this prayer is that it is indeed a prayer for Islam. An authorized translation ...will hopefully be released in due course.
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  • Elena
    Jul 08, 2017
    Wonderful article, thank you for writing this. It is reassuring and wonderful that the Bahá'í Faith honors and reveres Islam, despite the considerable persecutions and suffering some Muslims have heaped upon our community in Iran and elsewhere. Prophet Muhammad is venerated by Bahá'ís as one of the Prophets of God, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Zoroaster and Krishna. I am proud to be part of a Faith which embraces unity and peace. Let's also not forget the Bahá'í prayer for America: http://www.bahaiprayers.org/america.htm
  • Jul 08, 2017
    This isn't necessarily a prayer about a separate religion. The word Muslim appears frequently in Baha'u'llah's writings, but is often translated into English along the lines of "those who submit unto God" or "the Faithful" or something of that nature. By and large, Baha'u'llah addresses Muslims as co-religionists, just as he does Christians, Jews, or Zoroastrians. After all, he taught that there is one universal religion, eternal in the past eternal in the future.
    • Hamzah Jameel
      Jul 08, 2017
      I am a native-Arabic speaker and I can tell you that this prayer is different in nature. Baha'u'llah is asking the "people of God" to "beseech Him to graciously aid the Muslims." In the original Arabic, it says "thalika al hizb" ("that party"). Thus, Baha'u'llah is asking "that party" to pray to God to aid the Muslims. Baha'u'llah here creates two factions, the OUTWARDLY seeming "religions". The question is which party is he talking about? Whoever translated this must have had some background information which indicated that the party being referred to are the "people of God". Regardless, yes, there ...is only ONE religion of God, although outwardly it seems like many.
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  • James Baulsch
    Jul 07, 2017
    This is a fine article but the Faith clearly indicates the many respects in which Islam today falls far short of its divine mission. Shoghi Effendi delineates this sad state of affairs in The Promised Day is Come: “The people of the Qur’án,” Bahá’u’lláh testifies, “have risen against Us, and tormented Us with such a torment that the Holy Spirit lamented, and the thunder roared out, and the clouds wept over Us." "A day shall be witnessed by My people, ,” their own traditions condemn them, “whereon there will have remained of Islám naught but a name, and of the ...Qur’án naught but a mere appearance." (pp.99) This aspect must be examined re this prayer also in regard to severe persecution of Bahais .
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    • James Baulsch
      Jul 08, 2017
      I agree Melanie. Baha'u'llah exhorted us to emulate His example: "O people! Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship." This is an important point of Dr. Bucks' essay and why Bahais have responded to severe ongoing persecution since the Faith's inception with love and forbearance. The state of Islam and Muslims which has caused these ongoing persecutions cannot be ignored however as it is one of the "many different facets" of truth. Muslims suffer far more from other Muslims (e.g. in Syria) than they do from Islamophobia which we must try to counter. ...We need to understand why there is such animosity between them and to the Faith as much as we need to exemplify love to all.
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    • Melanie Black
      Jul 08, 2017
      Hi James, while true, I just came across this quote in the latest issue of "American Baha'i": "Shoghi Effendi's advice, conveyed in a letter written on his behalf, to conceive of the teachings as one whole with many different facets. "Truth may, in covering different subjects, appear contradictory." the same letter indicated, "and yet it is all one if you carry the thought through to the end." -from a letter by the Universal House of Justice to an individual Baha'i, dated April 27, 2017. You will find this letter on page 3 in July/August 2017 issue. The letter is ...good guidance to all American Baha'is. Baha'u'llah was persecuted terribly for many many years but had incredible love and mercy in His heart for all people.
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  • Zachary Latif
    Jul 07, 2017
    powerful - shared it