Notes: Riḍván 1991

The overwhelming danger which, as a result of the turmoil in the Middle East, enveloped the Holy Land during the latter part of the year receded without halting or even seriously hampering the operation of the Bahá’í administration. The situation was a poignant reminder of the contrast between the unobtrusive, steadily developing, distinctly integrative System of Bahá’u’lláh and the turbulent character of the Age of Transition, “whose tribulations,” Shoghi Effendi avers, “are the precursors of that Era of blissful felicity which is to incarnate God’s ultimate purpose for all mankind.” It was another of the “ominous signs simultaneously proclaiming the agonies of a disintegrating civilization and the birth pangs of that World Order—that Ark of human salvation—that must needs arise upon its ruins.”

The forces which united the remedial reactions of so many nations to the sudden crisis in this region demonstrated beyond any doubt the necessity of the principle of collective security prescribed by Bahá’u’lláh more than a century ago as a means of resolving conflict. While the international arrangement envisioned by Him for the full application of this principle is far from having been adopted by the rulers of mankind, a long step towards the behavior outlined for the nations by the Lord of the Age has thus been taken. How illuminating are Bahá’u’lláh’s words foreshadowing the future reorientation of the nations: “Be united, O concourse of the sovereigns of the world,” He wrote, “for thereby will the tempest of discord be stilled amongst you, and your peoples find rest. Should any one among you take up arms against another, rise ye all against him, for this is naught but manifest justice.”

Indeed, from whatever direction we gaze, the power of Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation is visibly at work in the world. In the call for a new world order, which has issued like a refrain from the statements of political leaders and influential thinkers, even when they themselves were incapable of defining their own meaning, can be discerned the slow awakening of humanity to the principal purpose of His Revelation. That such a call should have come so insistently from the head of that republic which is destined, in ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá’s words, to be “the first nation to establish the foundation of international agreement” and to “lead all nations spiritually,” is an indication of the efficacy and the acceleration of two simultaneous processes, one operating outside and one inside the Cause, which Shoghi Effendi tells us are destined to culminate “in a single glorious consummation.” 1

  1. Universal House of Justice. “Riḍván 1991 – To the Bahá’ís of the World.” Bahá’í Reference Library. Accessed May 6, 2021.