Ishraqat – What is Religion For?

Gardens of the Mansion of Mazra'ih - IshraqatIn Ishraqat we also find an explicit discussion of the purpose of religion. The fact that Bahá’u’lláh has set this out in such explicit terms is another of the unique aspects of his life’s work as a prophet.

The purpose of religion … is to establish unity and concord amongst the peoples of the world; make it not the cause of dissension and strife. The religion of God and His divine law are the most potent instruments and the surest of all means for the dawning of the light of unity amongst men. The progress of the world, the development of nations, the tranquillity of peoples, and the peace of all who dwell on earth are among the principles and ordinances of God. Religion bestoweth upon man the most precious of all gifts, offereth the cup of prosperity, imparteth eternal life, and showereth imperishable benefits upon mankind.

Such a purpose and description of the role that religion should play in humanity’s collective life, of course, has implications for the conduct of individual religious believers and we see this is also addressed explicitly in Ishraqat.

O people of Bahá! 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. Be not the cause of grief, much less of discord and strife. The hope is cherished that ye may obtain true education in the shelter of the tree of His tender mercies and act in accordance with that which God desireth. Ye are all the leaves of one tree and the drops of one ocean.

 


(This article is the 164th in a series of what I hope will be 200 articles in 200 days for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh. The anniversary is being celebrated around the world on 21 and 22 October 2017, The articles are simply my personal reflections on Bahá’u’lláh’s life and work. Any errors or inadequacies in these articles are solely my responsibility.)

Image Credits:

Gardens around the Mansion of Mazra‘ih. Location: Nahariya, Israel. Date taken: 1960s. Photographer: Juan B Caban

Image link: http://media.bahai.org/detail/6580868

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