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A Compilation on Scholarship

  • Author:
  • Various

  • Source:
  • Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, Bahá’í World Centre, February 1995
  • Pages:
  • 28
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Pages 19-20

From a Letter Written on Behalf of the Universal House of Justice

55: “In response to your letter of … in which you seek guidance on the…”

In response to your letter of … in which you seek guidance on the question of chosen professions vis-á-vis the statement of Bahá’u’lláh concerning sciences which begin in words and end in mere words and the pursuit of study in pure mathematics and the classics, the Universal House of Justice has instructed us to share with you an excerpt from a letter to an individual believer written in 1947 on behalf of the beloved Guardian: Philosophy, as you will study it and later teach it, is certainly not one of the sciences that begins and ends in words. Fruitless excursions into metaphysical hair-splittings is meant, not a sound branch of learning like philosophy.
In these words the Guardian has enunciated the general principle. Turning to the specific instance of the science of pure mathematics, the reference in the Eleventh Glad Tidings (Bahá’í World Faith, p. 195) regarding such sciences as are profitable, which lead and conduce to the elevation of mankind, 1 must be placed in the context of the meaning of sciences as employed by the Manifestation. Bahá’u’lláh’s comment about sciences which begin and end in mere words does not apply to the systematic study of natural phenomena in order to discover the laws of order in the physical universe, an order which mathematics seeks to explore. Pure mathematics frequently has application in practical matters, such as, for example, group theory or the study of fundamental particles.
As for classical studies, we are to share with you the following excerpt from a letter dated 30 November 1932 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual who had asked a question about the skills of story writing and whether such occupation would be classed as those sciences that begin and end in words”. 20
What Bahá’u’lláh meant primarily with “sciences that begin and end in words” are those theological treatises and commentaries that encumber the human mind rather than help it to attain the truth. The students would devote their life to their study but still attain no where.
Bahá’u’lláh surely never meant to include story-writing under such a category; and shorthand and typewriting are both most useful talents, very necessary in our present social and economic life.
What you could do, and should do, is to use your stories to become a source of inspiration and guidance for those who read them. With such a means at your disposal you can spread the spirit and teachings of the Cause; you can show the evils that exist in society, as well as the way they can be remedied. If you possess a real talent in writing you should consider it as given by God and exert your efforts to use it for the betterment of society.
The House of Justice hopes that you will be able to satisfy your friends on these matters and encourage them to prepare for their Bahá’í service and be able to contribute to the welfare of humanity.
(24 May 1988 to an individual believer) [55]
1. Cf. “Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas”, p. 26.   [ Back To Reference]