Monday, March 12, 2012

The Ahd Thoughts Strike Back

There is quite the wind out there today. I mean, like it-woke-me-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night strong. "It's blowing open the door to the office"-strong. 70 - 100 km / hour strong.

I love it.

I had a beautiful walk across campus this morning and was amazed how many people said hi. Virtually everyone was smiling, enjoying the extreme wind. It's really very pleasant for walking, as long as you don't get hit by flying debris.

"Consider, how the wind, faithful to that which God hath ordained, bloweth upon all the regions of the earth, be they inhabited or desolate." Well, it is sure blowing today.

But I'm not going to write about the wind today. I want to keep going on with the Kitab-i-Ahd.

In paragraph 5, He addresses "the loved ones and the trustees of God". He reminds us again of the importance of Kings and Rulers, and how we should pray for them, for they have been invested with the "rulership of the earth". Human hearts, however, are still God's domain.

It's interesting that this comes right after the reminder that religion should be the cause of love, for it seems to me that He is making clear the distinction between religion and government.

Then He goes in the next paragraph to say that "conflict and contention are categorically forbidden". There ain't no way around it. That statement is "preserved from annulment". Fighting is just right out, except in that rare instance described in the Lawh-i-Maqsud: "Should any king take up arms against another, all should unitedly arise and prevent him."

Beyond not fighting, or engaging in conflict and contention, we need to "aid those daysprings of authority and sources of command who are adorned with the ornament of equity and justice." He doesn't just tell us what not to do, He tells us what we need to do. It is "incumbent". That means we have to.

But what if they are not showing equity and justice?

That's where I think it gets interesting.

What if a ruler is unjust? And what if we are not allowed to revolt against them? What happens then?

Well, I think history shows us that if a ruler is not supported by the people, they will fall. If we actively stop supporting them, such as Gandhi did in India, what can they do? They can try to use military might to force support, but that doesn't work for long. And while there may be terrible suffering during that time, it was shown that this tactic of active non-support can work wonders.

I look at the States, for example. There is terrible injustice right now in the workplace there. Many millions are not able to survive with their current wages. They are going further and further in debt, while those in charge keep increasing their own wages. you only need to look at the various reports in both the press and the social media to see the tremendous disparity right now. Imagine what would happen if all those people who cannot make ends meet (after getting rid of their cell phones, cable tv, and all that other junk) stopped working for a week. Imagine the havoc and panic that would ensue when all those working at menial, but vital, jobs suddenly and coordinatedly stopped for a week. Those in power would begin to realize the dangerous position they are actually in. They don't really rule over the lower classes; they are supported by the lower classes. Imagine if this were to occur just before the National Conventions of both the Democratic and Republican parties. Wouldn't that send a strong message? A week of prayer to show that these people have nothing to lose? If their jobs aren't sustaining them right now, what do they have to lose?

This whole notion of having to support a just and equitable government is a very powerful idea, especially when we see it in the reverse.

Then Baha'u'llah ends this Testament with an interesting phrase: "A mighty force, a consummate power lieth concealed in the world of being." This reminds me of Gleanings, in which He says that within human soul "lieth concealed that which the world is now utterly incapable of apprehending." (It also reminds me of another quote which I can't find right now in which He says that is another force hidden within the world and that we should pray it not be discovered, for it can cause great destruction.) Here He seems to be alluding to 'Abdu'l-Baha and the Administrative Order, for He is addressing the Branches, who would, for the most part, violate this Covenant, and use the differences between 'Abdu'l-Baha and Baha'u'llah as an excuse for doing so. Through them He is telling us to ignore any insignificant differences and focus on His unifying influence. Oh, and if you're wondering what some of those differences might be, I think (unofficial here, my own thought) that the Guardian wearing Western clothing, or not going to the Mosque, may be good examples. These were surely a test to some of those around him.

Anyways, it's time for me to go, and I'm pretty much at the end of this part. Now I can't wait to get on to the Will part of this document.

Or go back out into that windstorm.


  1. Here's the quote you were looking for, Mead:

    There is in existence a stupendous force, as yet, happily undiscovered by man. Let us supplicate God, the Beloved, that this force be not discovered by science until spiritual civilization shall dominate the human mind. In the hands of men of lower nature, this power would be able to destroy the whole earth. (‘Abdu'l-Bahá, Japan Will Turn Ablaze, p. 51)

  2. Thanks Susan! That's it, exactly.