If the nations, peoples and religions around the globe could unite, what would it mean? Would world unity naturally bring us a peaceful world?
In his Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Baha’u’llah wrote:
… it is Our purpose, through the loving providence of God … to abolish, through the force of Our utterance, all disputes, war, and bloodshed, from the face of the earth. – p. 33.
This lofty goal, never before achieved throughout human history, is the primary purpose of the Baha’i Faith.
The pen of Baha’u’llah raised the call for upright acts of reconciliation and non-violence as a major milestone for society. Referring to his mission, Baha’u’llah summed up the principle teaching of this age:
The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established. This unity can never be achieved so long as the counsels which the Pen of the Most High hath revealed are suffered to pass unheeded. – Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 286.
This is the day whereon all peoples should shed the light of unity and concord. – Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 76.
As for the methods to achieve world union, Baha’u’llah advised two measures to achieve this noble end. First is the need to improve character:
And yet, is not the object of every Revelation to effect a transformation in the whole character of mankind, a transformation that shall manifest itself both outwardly and inwardly, that shall affect both its inner life and external conditions? For if the character of mankind be not changed, the futility of God’s universal Manifestations would be apparent. – The Book of Certitude, p. 240.
This general instruction from Baha’u’llah, universal in appeal, asks human beings to stop waging war on each other:
O peoples of the earth! We have decreed that war shall be waged in the path of God with the armies of wisdom and utterance, and of a goodly character and praiseworthy deeds. … Revile ye not one another. We, verily, have come to unite and weld together all that dwell on earth.
O people! Spread not disorder in the land, and shed not the blood of any one … – Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp. 23-24.
Baha’u’llah advocated friendliness, fellowship, upright conduct, with goodly deeds and praiseworthy character to combat the negative trends of dissension, strife, violence, hatred, sedition, contention and fanaticism. A peaceful, unified world, after all, must be created by peaceful, caring people.
Individual growth or renewal, however, can only blossom within a stable international system. Baha’u’llah boldly advocated a plan for global peace to the heads of state of the world during his time. He proposed steps for universal stability and called for a “new world order” based on the formation of an international, democratically-elected parliamentary body: “an all-inclusive assembly:”
It is incumbent upon the Sovereigns of the world—may God assist them—unitedly to hold fast unto this Peace, which is the chief instrument for the protection of all mankind. It is Our hope that they will arise to achieve what will be conducive to the well-being of man. It is their duty to convene an all-inclusive assembly, which either they themselves or their ministers will attend, and to enforce whatever measures are required to establish unity and concord amongst men. They must put away the weapons of war, and turn to the instruments of universal reconstruction. – Ibid., pp. 30-31.
With practical ideas, Baha’u’llah counselled for sweeping world reform. He forcefully proposed the healing of a splintered world with a new pattern, built on the principles of equity and justice:
No light can compare with the light of justice. The establishment of order in the world and tranquility of nations depend upon it. – Ibid., p. 29.
Baha’u’llah proposed these revolutionary reforms and diplomatic proposals in letters to the kings and rulers of his times such as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, the Shah of Persia, the Queen of England, the Czar of Russia, the Emperors of France and Germany, the Pope, and the leaders of the West. Baha’u’llah promised those heads of state and religion that following his counsels would be “the cause of the well-being, the unity, the harmony, and the reconstruction of the world and of the tranquillity of the nations.” – Ibid., p. 44.
As a visionary guide, Baha’u’llah invited the heads of state to hold fast to peace through collective security and binding agreement, with the aims of disarmament and the entire abolition of warfare. Should one nation break the international treaty or take up arms against another, he advised, all should unitedly rise against them. He also warned against excessive expenditure in national spending, so as not to lay “excessive burdens on your peoples,” who he caringly singled out as the true “treasures” of those leaders. To facilitate improved understanding, he recommended the use of an auxiliary universal language:
… in which all the peoples of the world would converse. Were men to take fast hold on that which hath been mentioned, the whole earth would come to be regarded as one country, and the people would be relieved and freed from the necessity of acquiring and teaching different languages. – Ibid., p. 138.
In the end, most of the political and religious leaders of Baha’u’llah’s day saw him as a threat to their established power. They arrested, exiled, imprisoned and tortured him for forty years. For more than a century after the passing of Baha’u’llah, the hope for peace and the reconstruction of society met many setbacks. The planet’s peace was rocked by two World Wars. Instability and upheaval continued into the 21st century. The statesmen of the world vacillated in their peacemaking role. They failed because selfish national interests continued to override global essentials. While the work of the United Nations is impressive, major hurdles to a lasting worldwide peace remain.
Today, Baha’is around the world advocate shared action by world leaders, stateswomen and men, to replace contention with universal cooperation. The peoples of the world must embrace and throw aside religious, gender, racial and national prejudices; eliminate the extremes of wealth and poverty; disarm their nations and cease making war.
The deepening world crises of today push our leaders to pursue a united effort, making positive action imperative. Thankfully, Baha’u’llah promised that the flames of hate would finally be quenched, that agitation will be changed into peace and quiet calm.
Baha’u’llah drew the circle of unity. He came for light, with power, for joy, with peace. Those who follow the Baha’i teachings welcome all humanity in this quest for justice and an end to war.