WELCOME TO LESSON 10
Introducing The Principal Theme
This lesson will provide us with an opportunity to reflect on the principle of justice, which Bahá’u’lláh called upon the rulers of the world to uphold. It will further our understanding that we must work to spread His teachings in order for justice to be established on earth.
Last time we saw that Bahá’u’lláh was finally exiled to the prison city of ‘Akká, where His sufferings increased greatly.
- Do you remember what the conditions were like?
- What sad event occurred in the army barracks where they were imprisoned?
- Why did Bahá’u’lláh patiently accept His sufferings?
It was out of His love for humanity, was it not? He loved humanity and knew that the knowledge He brought from God would finally conquer ignorance. Not for an instant did He stop shedding the light of Divine guidance upon the world.
Today you will memorize a passage in which Bahá’u’lláh speaks to us about justice. He tells us that justice is a quality most loved by God. Without justice, we become blind to the truth and walk in the ways of error. Without justice, we become cruel. When the world is not ruled by justice, humanity lives a life of misery and immense suffering.
Bahá’u’lláh appeared at a time when the light of justice was fading from the world. Rulers kept their subjects in ignorance and used their positions to gather wealth and power for themselves. Bahá’u’lláh called on these rulers to dedicate themselves to the well-being of their people. Later I will share a very moving episode from the history of the Faith—how Bahá’u’lláh’s Tablet addressed to one of these rulers, the king of Persia, came to be delivered to him. This episode revolves around the valiant figure of Badí‘, a seventeen-year-old youth. Alas, the rulers at the time did not respond to Bahá’u’lláh’s call and more than a century later, our world continues to be filled with injustices, and the suffering of humankind increases daily. But all of these afflictions will pass away as more and more people live according to Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings and as nations learn to live with one another in peace. The light of justice will shine brighter and brighter.”
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MEMORIZATION AID FOR PRAYERS
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O Son of Spirit! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee.Bahá’u’lláh
MEANING OF SOME OF THE WORDS IN THE QUOTE
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The historical episode in this lesson revolves around the valiant figure of Badí‘, the seventeen-year-old youth who was the bearer of Bahá’u’lláh’s Tablet to the king of Persia. First, we will look at the circumstances leading up to Badí‘’s arrival in ‘Akká and then share the remainder of his soul-stirring story.
From our earlier classes you know that, even though Bahá’u’lláh was exiled and imprisoned and subjected to terrible trials and ordeals, He never stopped proclaiming His Cause and guiding humankind. Remember that His station as a Manifestation of God was revealed to Him in the Síyáh-Chál in Ṭihrán. Although He did not inform anyone of what had occurred, the birth of His Revelation, like the dawn, stirred receptive souls, who were gradually awakened to His light. Then in the Garden of Riḍván, He declared His Mission to a small number of those who had gathered to bid Him farewell, and soon they began to share His Message with others who were ready to hear it.
Finally, the time came for the universal proclamation of His Mission. Beginning in Constantinople, but especially in Adrianople and later in ‘Akká, Bahá’u’lláh addressed Tablets to the kings and rulers of the world and proclaimed His Message far and wide. In these Tablets He called upon the rulers of both the East and the West to uphold justice and work towards the establishment of the unity of humankind.
One of these Tablets was addressed to the king of Persia, Náṣiri’d-Dín Sháh, a most unjust man and a tyrannical enemy of the Cause. Delivering the Tablet to that cruel ruler was a very dangerous task. The journey was long, and much wisdom was needed to protect the Tablet from the enemies of the Faith who, if they had ever come to know of it, would have prevented it from reaching its destination. And the one who carried it had to be endowed with supreme faith and courage to face the wrath of the tyrant who received it.
There was a youth growing up in Persia by the name of Áqá Buzurg, who would later be given the title Badí‘ by Bahá’u’lláh. The father of Badí‘ was an outstanding believer. Yet, Badí‘ was unruly and took little interest in the Faith. All this changed when Nabíl, the great historian and teacher of the Faith, reached the gates of his city during his travels. While visiting Badí‘’s father, Nabíl learned of his deep sadness at witnessing his son’s behavior and decided to see if he could help by guiding Badí‘ to recognize Bahá’u’lláh. To his delight, he found the youth to possess a pure heart and a receptive soul. He set out, one evening, to explain to Badí‘ certain spiritual truths and share with him Divine verses. As he heard the holy verses, Badí‘ wept, and that night he was transformed.
Now, Badí‘’s love for Bahá’u’lláh grew so much that he soon set out alone on foot to meet Him. He went first to Baghdád, where he stayed for a while, preparing himself for the next stage of his journey. During that time, he served a group of devoted believers, delivering drinking water to their homes. His heart, of course, was being drawn to the prison-city of ‘Akká, and he resumed his travels.
After a long and difficult journey over deserts and mountains, Badí‘ finally arrived at the gates of ‘Akká. He was still dressed as a simple water carrier, so he had no trouble slipping by the guards. But, once inside the prison-fortress, he did not know how to contact his fellow believers. If he had asked some stranger where to find the Bahá’ís, he could have been betrayed and thrown out of the city. So he decided to go to a mosque in order to pray. Towards the evening, a group of Persians entered the mosque for prayer, and Badí‘ was delighted to recognize ‘Abdu’l-Bahá among them. He quickly wrote a note and slipped it to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. That same evening, arrangements were made for him to enter into the presence of Bahá’u’lláh. Badí‘ had the bounty of having two such meetings, during which, Bahá’u’lláh Himself has said, he was created anew with the Hands of power and sent out as a ball of fire.
Bahá’u’lláh had actually revealed the Tablet to the king of Persia some years before. He had waited, however, for the one who was destined to be its bearer. There were many Bahá’ís who longed to be that messenger, but to none had the honor been granted. When Badí‘ heard from Bahá’u’lláh that such a Tablet existed, he asked to be allowed to present it to the king. His offer was accepted by Bahá’u’lláh, and Badí‘ was directed to leave ‘Akká and go to Haifa, where he should wait for instructions. In Haifa, he received a letter from Bahá’u’lláh in which he was told to “go with speed to the abode of the King” and deliver the Tablet to him. He was to detach himself from all things and to “adorn his heart with the decoration of strength and composure”. Such should be his spirit of renunciation that if the king decreed his death, he would not be troubled and would praise God for having offered him the cup of martyrdom. But if the king let him go, he should also praise God and be content with His good pleasure, even though he had desired to give his life in His path.
And so Badí‘ began the arduous journey back to Persia. It took him a few months to reach its borders. One of the believers who was in Badí‘’s company for part of the journey has left the following description of that radiant youth: “He was full of joy, laughter, gratitude, and forbearance. And I only knew that he had been in the presence of Bahá’u’lláh and was now returning to his home in Khurásán. Time and again I observed that having walked a little more or less than one hundred paces, he would leave the road and, turning to face ‘Akká, would prostrate himself and could be heard to say: ‘O God, that which you have bestowed upon me through Your bounty, do not take back through Your justice; rather grant me strength to safeguard it.’
When he reached the capital, Ṭihrán, Badí‘ did not seek out his fellow believers. He spent three days and nights in a state of prayer and fasting. On the fourth day, after waiting patiently on a small hill near the royal summer camp, he was at last spotted by the king and brought before him. Badí‘ approached him calmly and addressed him respectfully: “O King! I have come to thee from Sheba with a weighty message.” Thus the Tablet of Bahá’u’lláh was delivered to the king of Persia.
What followed next is too cruel to recount. So savage were the indignities heaped upon Badí‘ at the king’s order that it would bring tears to your eyes if you were to hear them. What is important for you to know is that Badí‘ stood firm as he faced the wrath of the tyrannical king, the embodiment of injustice. He never lost his calm and composure. He gladly sacrificed his life in the path of his Beloved and was called the “Pride of Martyrs” by Bahá’u’lláh.
An Example of Baha’u’llah’s Letter
For any of the figures we heard about, use the biography page to write down the information you would like to remember
- Bahá’u’lláh began the universal proclamation of His Mission in Constantinople.
- During His exiles to Constantinople and Adrianople and later in ‘Akká, Bahá’u’lláh addressed Tablets to the kings and rulers of the world.
- Bahá’u’lláh called on the kings and rulers of the world to uphold justice.
- The title Badí‘ means “wonderful”
- Badí‘ delivered Bahá’u’lláh’s Tablet to the king of Persia in the summer of 1869.
- Badí‘ was seventeen years old when he delivered Bahá’u’lláh’s Tablet to the king of Persia.
- Badí‘ was called the “Pride of Martyrs” by Bahá’u’lláh.
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Let us look at a section of one of the stories from todays lesson:
…And so Badí‘ began the arduous journey back to Persia. It took him a few months to reach its borders. One of the believers who was in Badí‘’s company for part of the journey has left the following description of that radiant youth:
“He was full of joy, laughter, gratitude and forbearance. And I only knew that he had been in the presence of Bahá’u’lláh and was now returning to his home in Khurásán. Time and again I observed that, having walked a little more or less than one hundred paces, he would leave the road and, turning to face ‘Akká, would prostrate himself and could be heard to say: ‘O God, that which you have bestowed upon me through Your bounty, do not take back through Your justice; rather grant me strength to safeguard it.’
Thinking about the attitude that Bádi had come up with a situation where you have to face a bully like the Shah and how you would act. You can do this alone, in pairs or as a group.
CREATIVE WRITING/ DRAWING EXERCISE
1. Choose one of the letters that BÁHA’U’LLÁH wrote to a ruler. Write or draw what comes to mind.
Some letters can be seen HERE
2. Is there something in your neighborhood, town, or city that you would like to change? Write or draw it.
Read a bit more about Badi and then write or draw what comes to mind.
One possibility would be to draw a picture of Badí‘ sitting on the hilltop with Bahá’u’lláh’s Tablet in hand, waiting to be spotted by the king. Or go further, and draw of the sequence of events that took Badí‘ from Persia to Baghdád, to ‘Akká, and back to Persia. You could draw a rudimentary map of his route and a small image at each point to remind us of what occurred, for example, a teardrop for Persia, a water bucket for Baghdád, a gate for ‘Akká, and a Tablet for Persia for his return there.
BRILLIANT STAR MAGAZINE
- HEART OF JUSTICE
- LETTERS OF LIGHT
- LETTERS TO WORLD LEADERS
- QUIZ: RACE TO JUSTICE
- HEROES OF THE HEART
- ABDU’L-BAHA GREAT VOYAGE
- STAND FOR JUSTICE
- LEMONADE STAND FOR JUSTICE
- SHINING LAMP BADI
- CHAMPION OF JUSTICE
- SHINING LAMP MARTHA ROOT
- SEEING WITH YOUR OWN EYES