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“The time must come when the imperative necessity for the holding of a vast, an all-embracing assemblage of men will be universally realized. The rulers and kings of the earth must needs attend it, and, participating in its deliberations, must consider such ways and means as will lay the foundations of the world’s Great Peace amongst men.” Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah (circa 1881).
“Strange and astonishing things exist in the earth but they are hidden from the minds and the understanding of men. These things are capable of changing the whole atmosphere of the earth and their contamination would prove lethal.” Baha’u’llah, The Tablets of Paradise (circa 1891).
Between 1867 and 1873, after being exiled and imprisoned for the proclamation of his Faith, Baha’u’llah wrote a series of unprecedented, powerful letters and tablets to the kings and rulers of the world. In uncompromising and momentous terms, Baha’u’llah announced his mission to the world’s political and religious leaders, respectfully asked them to approach his message in a spirit of open-mindedness, summoned them to respond to his call and admonished them — to be just, to care for the poor in their midst, to reconcile their disputes and to disarm and demilitarize their increasingly warlike nations:
Compose your differences and reduce your armaments, that the burden of your expenditures may be lightened, and that your minds and hearts may be tranquillized. Heal the dissensions that divide you, and ye will no longer be in need of any armaments except what the protection of your cities and territories demandeth. (Baha’u’llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 188)
Baha’u’llah’s letters and tablets were addressed to specific rulers like the French Emperor Napoleon the Third, Queen Victoria of England, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Pope Pius the Ninth, Czar Alexander II, King William of Prussia, and the Shah of Persia; and in general to all the world’s leaders. These unique and powerful messages laid the foundation for the teachings of the Baha’i Faith concerning war and peace. Abdu’l-Baha elaborated on that foundation in the early 20th Century, recommending a specific Baha’i blueprint for attaining world peace:
True civilization will unfurl its banner in the midmost heart of the world whenever a certain number of its distinguished and high-minded sovereigns – the shining exemplars of devotion and determination – shall, for the good and happiness of all mankind, arise, with firm resolve and clear vision, to establish the Cause of Universal Peace. They must make the Cause of Peace the object of general consultation, and seek by every means in their power to establish a Union of the nations of the world. They must conclude a binding treaty and establish a covenant, the provisions of which shall be sound, inviolable and definite. They must proclaim it to all the world and obtain for it the sanction of all the human race. This supreme and noble undertaking – the real source of the peace and well-being of all the world – should be regarded as sacred by all that dwell on earth. All the forces of humanity must be mobilized to ensure the stability and permanence of this Most Great Covenant. In this all-embracing Pact the limits and frontiers of each and every nation should be clearly fixed, the principles underlying the relations of governments towards one another definitely laid down, and all international agreements and obligations ascertained. In like manner, the size of the armaments of every government should be strictly limited, for if the preparations for war and the military forces of any nation should be allowed to increase, they will arouse the suspicion of others.
Observe that if such a happy situation be forthcoming, no government would need continually to pile up the weapons of war, nor feel itself obliged to produce ever new military weapons with which to conquer the human race. A small force for the purposes of internal security, the correction of criminal and disorderly elements and the prevention of local disturbances, would be required – no more. In this way the entire population would, first of all, be relieved of the crushing burden of expenditure currently imposed for military purposes, and secondly, great numbers of people would cease to devote their time to the continual devising of new weapons of destruction – those testimonials of greed and bloodthirstiness, so inconsistent with the gift of life – and would instead bend their efforts to the production of whatever will foster human existence and peace and well-being, and would become the cause of universal development and prosperity. Then every nation on earth will reign in honour, and every people will be cradled in tranquility and content. (Abdu’l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 64)
This soul-stirring vision of world unity, this revolutionary realization of the poet Tennyson’s conception of the Parliament of Man, compels the Baha’is in every country to work for world peace and disarmament. But the Baha’i goal of world unity isn’t just some gauzy ideal – it’s a living, breathing reality the Baha’is in every country and their supporters around the world labor to realize every day. And they need your help.
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