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Marry, O people, that from you may appear he who will remember Me amongst My servants; this is one of My commandments unto you; obey it as an assistance to yourselves. – Baha’u’llah, Baha’i Prayers, p. 104.
Baha’u’llah encouraged marriage and parenthood. In fact, all of the prophets of God have examined the human condition and concluded that marriage and the family unit forms the ideal foundation for society. Abdu’l-Baha said:
The true marriage of Baha’is is this, that husband and wife should be united both physically and spiritually, that they may ever improve the spiritual life of each other, and may enjoy everlasting unity throughout all the worlds of God. This is Baha’i marriage. – Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 118.
In the Baha’i teachings, parents have the responsibility to provide a spiritual and material education for their children. The mother is the child’s first teacher. As Abdu’l-Baha explained:
Let the mothers consider that whatever concerneth the education of children is of the first importance . . . Whensoever a mother seeth that her child hath done well, let her praise and applaud him and cheer his heart; and if the slightest undesirable trait should manifest itself, let her counsel the child and punish him, and use means based on reason, even a slight verbal chastisement should this be necessary. It is not, however, permissible to strike a child, or vilify him, for the child’s character will be totally perverted if he be subjected to blows or verbal abuse. – Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 125.
Baha’u’llah taught that if circumstances forced his followers to choose between serving their Faith and serving their parents, they should choose to serve their parents and let that be a path which leads them closer to God.
The Baha’i writings recognize that the family constitutes a perpetual workshop where we can practice and refine the virtues of the spiritual life. We can achieve family unity when parents and children mutually devote their love and their energies to each other. Not only that, but family unity leads to the progress and development of the individuals within the family.
Abdu’l-Baha once said: “If love and agreement are manifest in a single family, that family will advance, become illumined and spiritual . . .” He also said:
All the virtues must be taught the family. The integrity of the family bond must be constantly considered, and the rights of the individual members must not be transgressed. The rights of the son, the father, the mother – none of them must be transgressed, none of them must be arbitrary. Just as the son has certain obligations to his father, the father, likewise, has certain obligations to his son. The mother, the sister and other members of the household have their certain prerogatives. All these rights and prerogatives must be conserved, yet the unity of the family must be sustained. The injury of one shall be considered the injury of all; the comfort of each, the comfort of all; the honor of one, the honor of all. – The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 168.
To Baha’is, unity begins at the level of the family. While the Baha’i writings recognize that not every family can achieve the closeness and love that unity brings, they ask everyone to make the effort to bring those conditions about in their own families. After all – advocating the unity of all humanity begins at home.
Adapted from One With All The Earth, © Kalimat Press 2003, All Rights Reserved.
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