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Citadel of Faith

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 third printing
  • Pages:
  • 171
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Pages 139-141


Seldom, if at any time since its inception, has such a widespread publicity been accorded the infant Faith of God, now at long last emerging from an obscurity which has so long and so grievously oppressed it. Not even the dramatic execution of its Herald, nor the blood-bath which, in circumstances of fiendish cruelty followed quickly in its wake in the city of Ṭihrán, nor even the widely advertised travels of the Center of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant in the West, succeeded in focusing the attention of the world and in inviting the notice of those in high places as has this latest manifestation of God’s inscrutable will, this marvelous demonstration of His invincible power, this latest move 140 in His Own Major Plan, using both the mighty and lowly as pawns in His world-shaping game, for the fulfillment of His immediate purpose and the eventual establishment of His Kingdom on earth.
For though the newly launched World Spiritual Crusade, constituting at best only the Minor Plan in the execution of the Almighty’s design for the redemption of mankind—has, as a result of this turmoil, paralyzing temporarily the vast majority of the organized followers of Bahá’u’lláh within His birthplace, suffered a severe setback—yet the over-all Plan of God, moving mysteriously and in contrast to the orderly and well-known processes of a clearly devised Plan, has received an impetus the force of which only posterity can adequately assess.
A Faith, which, for a quarter of a century, has, in strict accordance with the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, been building its Administrative Order—the embryonic World Order of Bahá’u’lláh—through the laborious erection of its local and national administrative institutions; which set out, in the opening years of the second epoch of this Formative Age, through the launching of a series of national Plans as well as a World Crusade, to utilize the machinery of its institutions, created patiently and unobtrusively in the course of the first epoch of that Age, for the systematic propagation of its teachings in all the continents and chief islands of the globe—such a Faith finds itself, whilst in the midst of discharging its second and vital task, thrust into the limelight of an unprecedented publicity—a publicity which its followers never anticipated, which will involve them in fresh and inescapable responsibilities, and which will, no doubt, reinforce the tasks which they have undertaken, in recent years, to discharge.
To the intensification of such a publicity in which non-Bahá’í agencies and even the avowed adversaries of the Faith are playing so active a part, the members of the American Bahá’í Community, the outstanding defenders of the Faith, blessed with a freedom so cruelly denied the vast majority of their brethren, and equipped with the means and instruments needed to make that publicity effective, must fully and decisively contribute. The echoes of the mighty trumpet blast, now so providentially sounded, awakening a multitude of the ignorant and the skeptical, both high and low, to the existence and significance of the Message of Bahá’u’lláh, must under no circumstances, and at such a propitious hour, be allowed to die out. 141 Nay, their reverberations must be followed up by further calls designed to proclaim, in still more resounding tones, the aims and tenets of this glorious Cause, and to expose, whilst avoiding any attack on the ruling authorities, even more convincingly than before, the barbarous ferocity of the acts which have been perpetrated, as well as the odious fanaticism which has inspired such conduct.
Strenuous and urgent as is the task falling to the lot of a community already so over-burdened with a multiplicity of unavoidable obligations, the possibilities involved in the assumption of this supplementary responsibility are truly tremendous, the benefits that are destined to accrue from its proper discharge are immense, and the reward inestimably rich.
Let them remember, as they pursue diligently this sacred task, that such a publicity, following closely upon such dire tribulations, afflicting so large a number of their brethren, in so sacred a land, cannot but prove to be a prelude, however slow the process involved, to the emancipation of these same valiant sufferers from the galling fetters of an antiquated religious orthodoxy, which, great as has been its decline in the course of over a century, still wields considerable power and exercises a widespread influence in high circles as well as among the masses. Such an emancipation, which cannot be confined to Bahá’u’lláh’s native land, will, in varying measure, have its repercussions in Islamic countries, or may be even preceded by a similar phenomenon in neighboring territories, hastening and adding fresh impetus to the bursting of the bonds that fetter the freedom of the followers of God’s infant Faith.