Saturday, June 6, 2009

Refining Utterance (6-16)

How we should regard backbiting, slander, calumny, and gossip.

6 ) "That seeker should regard backbiting as grievous error and keep himself aloof from its dominion, inasmuch as backbiting quencheth the light of the heart, and extinguisheth the life of the soul."

Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 193)

7) "Ye have been forbidden to commit murder or adultery, or to engage in backbiting or calumny; shun ye, then, what hath been prohibited in the holy Books and Tablets."

Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 26)

8) "Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner. Shouldst thou transgress this command, accursed wouldst thou be, and to this I bear witness."

Arabic Hidden Words, No. 27)

9) "O People of Baha! Ye are the dawning-places of the love of God and the daysprings of His loving-kindness. Defile not your tongues with the cursing and reviling of any soul, and guard your eyes against that which is not seemly. Set forth that which ye possess. If it be favourably received, your end is attained; if not, to protest is vain. Leave that soul to himself and turn unto the Lord, the Protector, the Self-Subsisting."

Tablets of Baha'u'llah, pp. 27 & 129)

10) "Purge your hearts from love of the world, and your tongues from calumny, and your limbs from whatsoever may withhold you from drawing nigh unto God, the Mighty, the All-Praised. Say: By the world is meant that which turneth you aside from Him Who is the Dawning-Place of Revelation, and inclineth you unto that which is unprofitable unto you. Verily, the thing that deterreth you, in this day, from God is worldliness in its essence."

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 54)

11 ) "According to the direct and sacred command of God we are forbidden to utter slander, are commanded to show forth peace and amity, are exhorted to rectitude of conduct, straightforwardness, and harmony with all the kindreds and peoples of the world."

Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 8)

12) "... Thou hast written regarding thy aims. How blessed are these aims, especially the prevention of backbiting! I hope that you may become confirmed therein, because the worst human quality and
the most great sin is backbiting more especially when it emanates from the tongues of the believers of God. If some means were devised so that the doors of backbiting could be shut eternally and each one of the believers of God unsealed his tongue in the praise of the other, then the teachings of His Holiness Baha'o'llah would be spread, the hearts illuminated, the spirits glorified and the human world would attain to everlasting felicity. I hope that the believers of God will shun completely backbiting, each one praising the other cordially and believe that backbiting is the cause of Divine wrath, to such an extent that if a person backbites to the extent of one word, he may become dishonored among all the people, because the most hateful characteristic of man is fault-finding. One must expose the praiseworthy qualities of the souls and not their evil attributes. The friends must overlook their shortcomings and faults and speak only of their virtues and not their defects. This is the attribute of the children of the Kingdom. This is the conduct and manner of the real Baha'is. I hope that all the believers will attain to this lofty station."

(Abdu’l-Baha, "Star of the West," Vol. IV, No. 11, 192)

13) "Waste not your precious time in fault-finding and backbiting. Polish the surface of the mirrors of your hearts from the dross of human frailties. If you live according to the standard of other communities, then what difference does there exist between you and them?"

(Abdu’l-Baha, "Star of the West," Vol. V, No. 1, 5)

14) "Remember above all the teaching of Baha'u'llah concerning gossip and unseemly talk about others. Stories repeated about others are seldom good. A silent tongue is safest. Even good may be harmful if spoken at the wrong time or to the wrong person."

(Attributed to Abdu’l-Baha,
Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 125)

15) "As regards backbiting, i.e. discussing the faults of others in their absence, the teachings are very emphatic... The condemnation of backbiting could hardly be couched in stronger language... it is obviously one of the foremost obligations for Baha'is to set their faces against this practice."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National SpiritualAssembly of the British Isles, February 11, 1925)

16) 'You are quite correct in your understanding of the importance of avoiding backbiting; such conduct strikes at the very unity of the Baha'i community. In a letter written to an individual believer on behalf of the Guardian it is stated: “If we are better, if we show love, patience, and understanding of the weakness of others, if we seek to never criticize but rather encourage, others will do likewise, and we can really help the Cause through our example and spiritual strength.”'

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, August 13, 1980)

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