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The gift of God to this enlightened age is the knowledge of the oneness of mankind and of the fundamental oneness of religion. War shall cease between nations, and by the will of God the Most Great Peace shall come; the world will be seen as a new world, and all men will live as brothers. – Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, pp. 20.
The Baha’i Faith asks humanity to end its incessant wars. But that core Baha’i teaching is no mere hope – the Baha’i teachings go far beyond any other religion in their emphasis on world peace. Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith, actually revealed an entire global plan for achieving world peace, contained, modeled and exemplified by the Baha’i teachings.
In this series of articles on achieving world peace, we’ll take a brief look at the unique elements of the Baha’i peace plan; explore how each of those elements can become a reality; and see how each element relates to the entirety of the grand vision of lasting human peace Baha’u’llah brought to the world.
Baha’u’llah founded the Baha’i Faith in the middle of the 19th Century in Persia and the Middle East. Because of his progressive teachings – world unity, an end to racial and religious prejudice, the equality of men and women, the agreement of science and religion and the essential oneness of all the great Faiths – Baha’u’llah suffered forty years of torture, exile and imprisonment. During that period the conflict-ridden, warring governments of the Middle East, and for that matter the entire globe, were engaged in ceaseless military hostilities.
Baha’u’llah implored, cautioned and warned the world’s leaders that their wars must cease:
We see your kings and rulers lavishing their treasures more freely on means for the destruction of the human race than on that which would conduce to the happiness of mankind…. These strifes and this bloodshed and discord must cease, and all men be as one kindred and one family…. Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind…. Baha’u’llah, The Proclamation of Baha’u’llah, pp. ix.
And Baha’u’llah made clear in the Baha’i writings that the Baha’i call for peace was no mere wish; no simple fond hope; no generalized desire on the part of God’s latest messenger. Instead, after thousands upon thousands of years of war and destruction and death, Baha’u’llah announced his call to humanity as a clear, precise and forthright command:
O YE peoples of the world! Know assuredly that My commandments are the lamps of My loving providence among My servants, and the keys of My mercy for My creatures. Thus hath it been sent down from the heaven of the Will of your Lord, the Lord of Revelation… From My laws the
sweet smelling savour of My garment can be smelled, and by their aid the standards of victory will be planted upon the highest peaks. The Tongue of My power hath, from the heaven of My omnipotent glory, addressed to My creation these words: ‘Observe My commandments, for the love of My beauty’ …
Think not that We have revealed unto you a mere code of laws. Nay, rather, We have unsealed the choice Wine with the fingers of might and power. To this beareth witness that which the Pen of Revelation hath revealed. Meditate upon this, O men of insight!…
Whenever My laws appear like the sun in the heaven of Mine utterance, they must be faithfully obeyed by all, though My decree be such as to cause the heaven of every religion to be cleft asunder. He doth what He pleaseth. He chooseth; and none may question His choice. Whatsoever He, the Well-Beloved, ordaineth, the same is, verily, beloved. To this He Who is the Lord of all creation beareth Me witness…
This is the Day in which God’s most excellent favours have been poured out upon men, the Day in which His most mighty grace hath been infused into all created things. It is incumbent upon all the peoples of the world to reconcile their differences, and, with perfect unity and peace, abide beneath the shadow of the Tree of His care and loving-kindness. It behoveth them to cleave to whatsoever will, in this Day, be conducive to the exaltation of their stations, and to the promotion of their best interests…
Beseech ye the one true God to grant that all men may be graciously assisted to fulfil that which is acceptable in Our sight. Soon will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead. – The Proclamation of Baha’u’llah, p. 121.
Baha’u’llah, like the founders of all the great religions of the past, brings a new law to humanity – the law of peace.