Prominent People
Category: Bahá’í
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Prominent People was prepared by the Research Department. Extracts from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi.

Prominent People


Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi

© Bahá’í International Community

I. the Importance of Guiding “distinguished Souls to the Cause”

From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

— 1 —

I hope that thou wilt … endeavour to teach some high-ranking and influential persons, for the hearts of the people have become attracted to the Cause of God and their minds bewildered and enthralled by its awesome grandeur. Those who occupy high positions, too, have become profoundly receptive to its message. The loved ones of God should therefore make a determined effort and guide these distinguished souls to the Cause.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from a Tablet to an individual believer — translated from the Persian

— 2 —

You should always seek to guide prominent people inasmuch as once such a person is regenerated he is likely to bring about the quickening of a thousand souls. Thus the spirit of truth would flow forth unimpeded into the veins and arteries of a multitude.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from a Tablet to an individual believer — translated from the Persian

— 3 —

Wherefore thou shouldst seek to impart the Message to influential person and become a cause of guidance to the learned and distinguished, that perchance there may be raised up in Írán wise, sagacious souls who shall be solicitous for both the good of the state and the welfare of the populace, who shall labour diligently night and day to the end that their great nation may retrieve its former glory and restore for all the world to see the splendour of the Kiyaniyan kings, and that its illustrious people may shine out amongst mankind with an extraordinary brilliance and attain to lasting happiness and contentment.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from a Tablet to a group of believers — translated from the Persian

— 4 —

You should give serious concern to the matter of teaching, and think of ways of imparting the Message to prominent people, for once such person have given their allegiance to the Faith they will cause the people to be led, troop after troop, to the wellspring of unfailing guidance.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from a Tablet to an individual believer — translated from the Persian

From Letters Written by or on Behalf of Shoghi Effendi

— 5 —

It is incumbent upon the Bahá’ís to seize the opportunities of the present hour and, with wisdom, firm resolve and cheerfulness, impress the verities of their Faith upon the attention of every reasonable-minded person in whom they find a willingness to listen, explaining to them its noble principles, its universal teachings, its basic tenets, and the fundamental laws of the new era inaugurated by Bahá’u’lláh. In like manner, they must clearly and convincingly demonstrate to their fellow-citizens, whether high or low, the necessity of accepting and recognizing the resplendent teachings of the Universal Manifestation of God; must show to the leaders of their country that the unity, the strength and spiritual vitality of the Bahá’í community are palpable and concrete realities; must eliminate and nullify the effects of prejudices, superstitions, misunderstandings and all fanciful and erroneous conceptions on the hearts of the pure and righteous people; and must attract to the community of the Greatest Name, through whatever channels and by whatever means, persons of capacity, experience and devotion who, joining the ranks of the believers, severing themselves from every extraneous attachment, identifying themselves whole-heartedly with the organized community of the Bahá’ís in the area, will labour heart and soul to consolidate the foundations of Bahá’í belief and proclaim the tidings of the Promised Day.

With regard to the Bahá’í literacy classes, their continuation at the present time is a service beyond measure both profitable and desirable. Similarly, the establishment of contact and maintenance of friendly relations with government officials and other nationally distinguished figures is a matter that should be regarded by the friends as a binding obligation.

2 November 1928 written by Shoghi Effendi to the Írán Central Spiritual Assembly — translated from the Persian

— 6 —

Shoghi Effendi was delighted to hear of your conversation with Sir…. How much he hopes to have such scholars obtain a true understanding of the spirit and teaching of the Cause and arise to dissipate that veil of misconceptions that is prejudicing the mind of the scholars in the western world. The Cause is in great need for such competent and spiritually minded men who after a thorough study of the Movement would share with the world the fruit of their labours.

11 March 19297 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer

— 7 —

he feels that the great point is to confirm people of true capacity and ability — from whatever social stratum they may be — because the Cause needs now, and will ever-increasingly need, souls of great ability who can bring it before the public at large, administer its ever-growing affairs, and contribute to its advancement in every field.

30 October 1941 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer

— 8 —

The more people of capacity who accept the Faith, the higher will become the standard of the entire group.

17 June 1942 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer

— 9 —

The Cause of God has room for all. It would, indeed, not be the Cause of God if it did not take in and welcome everyone — poor and rich, educated and ignorant, the unknown, and the prominent — God surely wants them all, as He created them all.

10 December 1942 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer

— 10 —

He was very pleased to learn … that your reception was such a success, and that you now feel that people in high places are beginning to waken from their sleep and see the Light of Bahá’u’lláh. The time must come when they do; it just seems a question of how soon.

A lot, also, depends on our having inside the Faith enough people of real capacity to form a nucleus that will attract to it similar souls….

22 November 1949 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer

— 11 —

He hopes that your contract with Chief … will prove fruitful, and that his heart may open to the Message you have carried him. It would be a great asset to the Faith if a prominent Chief of some tribe should accept it and arise to serve it.

31 May 1952 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer

From Letters Written by the Universal House of Justice

— 12 —

one of the most important duties of each National Spiritual Assembly is to acquaint leaders of thought and prominent men and women in its country with the fundamental aims, the history and the present status and achievements of the Cause. Such an activity must be carried out with the utmost wisdom, discretion and dignity.

The Universal House of Justice, 2 July 1967 to all National Spiritual Assemblies,
Wellspring of Guidance, p. 117

— 13 —

The paramount goal of the teaching work at the present time is to carry the message of Bahá’u’lláh to every stratum of human society and every walk of life. An eager response to the teachings will often be found in the most unexpected quarters, and any such response should be quickly followed up, for success in a fertile area awakens a response in those who were at first uninterested.

The same presentation of the teachings will not appeal to everybody; the method of expression and the approach must be varied in accordance with the outlook and interests of the hearer. An approach which is designed to appeal to everybody will usually result in attracting the middle section, leaving both extremes untouched. No effort must be spared to ensure that the healing Word of God reaches the rich and the poor, the learned and the illiterate, the old and the young, the devout and the atheist, and the dweller in the remote hills and islands, the inhabitant of the teeming cities, the suburban businessman, the labourer in the slums, the nomadic tribesman, the farmer, the university student; all must be brought consciously with the teaching plans of the Bahá’í Community.

The Universal House of Justice, 31 October 1967 to all National Spiritual Assemblies,
Wellspring of Guidance, p. 124

— 14 —

There have been notable advances in the process of gaining wider recognition for the Cause of God and in fostering cordial relations with civil authorities, a matter of vital importance in these days when there is a growth of opposition to the Faith from those who, misconstruing its true nature and aims, take alarm at its progress.

The Universal House of Justice, Riḍván 1978 to the International Bahá’í Convention

— 15 —

Yet these disasters have called forth fresh energies in the hearts of the friends, have fed the deep roots of the Cause and given rise to a great harvest of signal victories. Chief among these are the successful conclusion of the Five Year Plan; the launching of the Seven Year Plan, now in the final year of its second phase; and unprecedented proclamation of the Faith to Heads of States, parliaments and parliamentarians, government ministers and officials, leaders of thought and people prominent in the professions, resulting in a change of attitude on the part of the mass media, which now increasingly approach us for information about the Cause….

The growing maturity of a world-wide religious community which all these processes indicate is further evidenced in the reaching out, by a number of national communities, to the social and economic life of their countries, exemplified by the founding of tutorial schools, the inception of radio stations, the pursuit of rural development programmes and the operation of medical and agricultural schemes. To these early beginnings must be added the undoubted skills acquired, as a result of the Iranian crisis, in dealing with international organizations, national governments and the mass media — the very elements of society with which it must increasingly collaborate toward the realization of peace on earth.

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