In this 27 minute weekly BBC Persian Programme, the usually sharp Enayat Fani, Grills Mr Farhad Sabetan , The Bahai International spokesman with some commonly asked questions like, the relationship between the Bahai Faith and the state of Israel; the financing of Bahai houses of worship, Bahai view of Arab Israeli conflict and other questions related to the current persecution and baseless accusations by the Islamic Republic against Bahais in Iran.
I am delighted , that at last The BBC decided to give proper attention to this issue, the questions could perhaps have been better formulated taking into account the aims, purposes and mission of this Persian born new faith and its teachings; spiritual solutions that are not meant to provide temporary BAND AID solutions for the ills of the world, but rather offer a lasting spiritual prescription for the root causes, responsible for all conflict in the world, including futile political bickering, corruption, racial and ethnic prejudice, etc. With such knowledge, the questions could have been more revealing and the answers, of much more benefit to the information starved general audience within Iran.
Mr Fani at one point seems to ridicule and criticise The Bahai Faith as unrealistice as some dream for not being modern enough; for not wanting to entangle itself in the fruitless conflict and party political partisanship that seem never to address the issues anyway.
Farhad Sabetan in response tries to drive the point that Bahais will not by belief and conviction involve themselves within a system that is at its core defective and corrupt; that Bahais will not and can not join any partisan political effort that is in essence the cause of enmity and disunity; That this defective system will eventually unravel; suggesting that Bahais can better serve society as resourceful mediators, giving examples of cooperation, universal participation and constructive political activity that Bahais engage in, as in socioeconomic projects throughout the globe , efforts in the advancement of women, education , health etc; all within the work of Bahai International community.
At another point, Mr Fani quotes a well known Bahai statement “بهائی یعنی جامع جمیع کمالات انسانی”, suggesting that by this statement Bahais imply that they arrogantly claim to have all the answers; Mr Sabetan’s response corrects and clarifies that this simply means that no person id perfect, that in this statement is meant that a Bahai must aspire to the highest standards of human perfection, virtue and spiritual qualities; that the Bahai vision of the future world society is a goal and a slow maturing process emerging from infancy; that this vision of a prosperous and peaceful world society depends wholly upon spiritual education , an individual effort in the betterment of the self, a vision for all humanity to achieve.
This mode of thinking might be hard to comprehend for the average secular thinker, especially one who has tuned out from anything to do with “religion” and in Iran the “islam” of the regime, but the words of Baha’u’llah from the nineteenth century concerning the coming of a global society and the preparation of humanity for it are well worth pondering for the secular thinker as well as the religious.
“Soon,” Bahá’u’lláh’s own words in (1890) proclaim it, “will the present day Order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead. Verily, thy Lord speaketh the truth and is the Knower of things unseen.” “By Myself,” He solemnly asserts, “the day is approaching when We will have rolled up the world and all that is therein, and spread out a new Order in its stead. He, verily, is powerful over all things.” “The world’s equilibrium,” He explains, “hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this Most Great, this new World Order. Mankind’s ordered life hath been revolutionized through the agency of this unique, this wondrous System, the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed.” “The signs of impending convulsions and chaos,” He warns the peoples of the world, “can now be discerned, inasmuch as the prevailing Order appeareth to be lamentably defective.”
In the context of the goal of world unity, the twentieth century must be viewed as a critical part of a , a period in which the ground is being laid for a coming Golden Age for the entire planet. The tumultuous dynamics of this transition are being played out through a twofold process, “each tending, in its own way and with an accelerated momentum,” Shoghi Effendi writes, “to bring to a climax the forces that are transforming the face of the planet. The first is essentially an integrating process, while the second is fundamentally disruptive.”
I think an example of the “integrating process” is the new consciousness, for example the abounding new spirit of our youth in Iran, their courage and tenacity; search for knowledge and meaning and the second, “fundamentally disruptive”;
you guessed it, the entrenched forces of destruction and hate .
The programme is divided into three parts: