23 May
Posted in: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Spiritual Qualities
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‘Abdu’l-Bahá and kindness

One might think kindness to be merely one virtue among many in our spiritual toolbox.  A search in the Master’s talks and writings on this quality, however, does away with this assumption:

The language of kindness is the lodestone of hearts and the food of the soul; it stands in the relation of ideas to words, and is as an horizon for the shining of the Sun of Wisdom and Knowledge.[1]  

Over and over again during His travels in the West ‘Abdu’l-Bahá referred to kindness as an instrument which allows us to orientate ourselves in the social and spiritual landscape, to give and receive true life, and as a critical lever in the building of a peaceful and united world.  During one interview in London, for example, He remarked that

the way to broaden the outlook of the very narrow-hearted and prejudiced, and to make them listen to a wider teaching, was by showing towards them the greatest kindness and love. The example of our lives was of more value than words.[2]

At the same time, the Master invited His audience (then but also now) to train one’s gaze on ever higher heights:  In a discourse exemplifying logic and justice, He explained how in being kind towards each other we mirror God’s Qualities, bring about perfection on this human plane and therefore draw closer to Him:

… why should men be unjust and unkind to each other, showing forth that which is contrary to God? As He loves us, why should we entertain animosity and hate? If God did not love all, He would not have created, trained and provided for all. Loving-kindness is the divine policy.[3]

Even though we find a defective branch or leaf upon this tree of humanity or an imperfect blossom, it, nevertheless, belongs to this tree and not to another. Therefore, it is our duty to protect and cultivate this tree until it reaches perfection. If we examine its fruit and find it imperfect, we must strive to make it perfect. There are souls in the human world who are ignorant; we must make them knowing. Some growing upon the tree are weak and ailing; we must assist them toward health and recovery. If they are as infants in development, we must minister to them until they attain maturity. We should never detest and shun them as objectionable and unworthy. We must treat them with honor, respect and kindness; for God has created them and not Satan. They are not manifestations of the wrath of God but evidences of His divine favor. God, the Creator, has endowed them with physical, mental and spiritual qualities that they may seek to know and do His will; therefore, they are not objects of His wrath and condemnation. In brief, all humanity must be looked upon with love, kindness and respect; for what we behold in them are none other than the signs and traces of God Himself. All are evidences of God …[4]


[1] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, A Traveller’s Narrative, p.43.

[2] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p.71.  See also ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p.22; ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp.8-9 and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p.84 & p.122.

[3] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.120.  See also ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, pp.122-123; ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.148, p.235.

[4] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp.230-231.

Photograph: Adib March 2013 nineteendays.wordpress.com

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