To Set the World in Order: Building and Preserving Strong Marriages


Creating Families that Illuminate the World

Enter into wedlock, O people, that ye may bring forth one who will make mention of Me amid My servants. This is My bidding unto you; hold fast to it as an assistance to yourselves.

(Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, par. 63) [13]

And when He desired to manifest grace and beneficence to men, and to set the world in order, He revealed observances and created laws; among them He established the law of marriage, made it as a fortress for well-being and salvation, and enjoined it upon us in that which was sent down out of the heaven of sanctity in His Most Holy Book. He saith, great is His glory: “Enter into wedlock, O people, that ye may bring forth one who will make mention of Me amid My servants. This is My bidding unto you; hold fast to it as an assistance to yourselves.”

(Bahá’u’lláh, in Bahá’í Prayers: A Selection of Prayers Revealed by Bahá’u’lláh, the Báb, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 2002), p. 116) [14]

God testifieth that there is none other God but Him, Who is potent to do whatsoever He willeth. He ruleth over His dominion as He pleaseth. This is a Day wherein the All-Merciful hath enjoined matrimony upon the people that through it may appear those who will lift up their voices and make mention of God, the Lord of the seen and of the unseen, the Lord of the Mighty Throne….

Glory be upon thee and upon the handmaiden with whom We have favoured thee. Render ye thanks unto God, and say: “Magnified art Thou, O Lord of the World! All praise be unto Thee, O Thou Who art the glory of such as have recognized Thee!”

(Bahá’u’lláh, from a Tablet—translated from the Arabic) [15]

O ye my two beloved children! The news of your union, as soon as it reached me, imparted infinite joy and gratitude. Praise be to God, those two faithful birds have sought shelter in one nest. I beseech God that He may enable them to raise an honoured family, for the importance of marriage lieth in the bringing up of a richly blessed family, so that with entire gladness they may, even as candles, illuminate the world. For the enlightenment of the world dependeth upon the existence of man. If man did not exist in this world, it would have been like a tree without fruit. My hope is that you both may become even as one tree, and may, through the outpourings of the cloud of loving-kindness, acquire freshness and charm, and may blossom and yield fruit, so that your line may eternally endure.

(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, par. 88.1) [16]

O ye two birds of the celestial gardens! Render thanks unto God that ye were graciously enabled to enter into matrimony with one another and wish to establish a blessed family. I too supplicate the realm of the All-Glorious that those two intimate doves may be made to warble sweet melodies in the heaven of His bounty, so that upon the twigs of the Tree of Life they may sing, in the most wondrous tones, hymns of praise and glory to the Lord of Hosts, in order that all who hearken thereunto may be moved and filled with joy and ecstasy, may be stirred by the breezes of God’s loving-kindness, may seek eternal life, and may long for spiritual rebirth. Upon you both be the glory of the Most Glorious.

(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from a Tablet—translated from the Persian) [17]

It is my fervent hope that, through the bestowals of the Blessed Beauty, this marriage may bring about joy and radiance, and may gladden and cheer the friends—and that through it, a Bahá’í family may shine forth in the realm of existence, the descendants of which will become manifestations of divine grace and bounty in the ages and centuries to come.

(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from a Tablet—translated from the Persian) [18]

I beseech God to graciously make of thy home a centre for the diffusion of the light of divine guidance, for the dissemination of the Words of God and for enkindling at all times the fire of love in the hearts of His faithful servants and maidservants. Know thou of a certainty that every house wherein the anthem of praise is raised to the Realm of Glory in celebration of the Name of God is indeed a heavenly home, and one of the gardens of delight in the Paradise of God.

(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from a Tablet—translated from the Arabic) [19]

I convey my greetings and felicitations on the occasion of thy marriage. May it be blessed and joyous, and may it lead to the continuation of thy lineage forevermore. Every marriage founded upon the utmost steadfastness in the love of God will assuredly become a source of great blessings. Therefore, I beseech God that this marriage may be conducive to happiness and this union may lead to the appearance of divine bestowals. Upon thee be greetings and praise.

(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from a Tablet—translated from the Persian) [20]

After marriage thou shouldst, God willing, together with thy revered husband diffuse the sweet savours of God so that the confirmations of the Lord of Hosts may continually descend upon you. Through whatever region ye may pass, shed ye the divine bestowals like unto the vernal showers, and render the lands green and verdant thereby. Upon thee be the glory of the Most Glorious.

(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from a Tablet—translated from the Persian) [21]

The hearts were cheered by your marriage on a blessed and happy day in this glorious age. In the estimation of true believers, there is no doubt whatsoever that this marriage is auspicious and blessed, inasmuch as ye have both sought shelter beneath the Tree of Life, have entered the Ark of Salvation, and have, through the confirmations of the Lord of tokens and signs, been attracted by the sweet savours of the garden of heaven. How blessed is this marriage! How noble is this fellowship and union! Be ye as a pair of doves that nest on the loftiest branches of the Tree of Life within the Paradise of the All-Merciful and warble, in the night season and at the break of dawn, the most wondrous songs in praise of their Lord, the Unconstrained. Verily, I beseech God to ordain for you every good, to quicken you with a pure and goodly life, to assist you to undertake righteous deeds, and to bestow blessings upon your loved ones and your kindred.

(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from a Tablet—translated from the Arabic) [22]

It is highly important for man to raise a family. So long as he is young, because of youthful self-complacency, he does not realize its significance, but this will be a source of regret when he grows old…. In this glorious Cause the life of a married couple should resemble the life of the angels in heaven—a life full of joy and spiritual delight, a life of unity and concord, a friendship both mental and physical. The home should be orderly and well-organized. Their ideas and thoughts should be like the rays of the sun of truth and the radiance of the brilliant stars in the heavens. Even as two birds they should warble melodies upon the branches of the tree of fellowship and harmony. They should always be elated with joy and gladness and be a source of happiness to the hearts of others. They should set an example to their fellow-men, manifest a true and sincere love towards each other and educate their children in such a manner as to blazon the fame and glory of their family.

(From the Utterances of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—translated from the Persian) [23]

A truly Bahá’í home is a true fortress upon which the Cause can rely while planning its campaigns. If … and … love each other and would like to marry, Shoghi Effendi does not wish them to think that by doing so they are depriving themselves of the privilege of service; in fact such a union will enhance their ability to serve. There is nothing more beautiful than to have young Bahá’ís marry and found truly Bahá’í homes, the type Bahá’u’lláh wishes them to be. Please give them both the Guardian’s loving greetings.

(From a letter dated 6 November 1932 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer) [24]

He hastens to wish you both every happiness in your forthcoming marriage, and he hopes that it will not only be a blessing to you both, but to the Faith as well.

A marriage between two souls, alive to the Message of God in this day, dedicated to the service of His Cause, working for the good of humanity, can be a potent force in the lives of others and an example and inspiration to other Bahá’ís, as well as to non-believers.

Regarding your question of whether Bahá’ís should consider it their duty to have children: As Bahá’u’lláh has stated that the fundamental purpose of marriage is to bring other souls into this world, to serve God and love Him, the Guardian does not believe that you should be unwilling to undertake this responsibility and privilege, even if it should, temporarily at least, interfere with the tempo of your Bahá’í activities.

(From a letter dated 4 August 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to two believers) [25]

You may be assured that in the Bahá’í Teachings, family unity goes far beyond the married couple themselves, and is of critical importance. In the Bahá’í Faith marriage is regarded as both a spiritual and a social institution which affects not only the couple and their children, but also the parents, grandparents, grandchildren and other collateral relations. Indeed, it affects (or, in a healthy society, should affect) all other community associations that surround it.

(From a letter dated 10 July 1996 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer) [26]

If the wider society perceives the Bahá’ís as people who are becoming spiritually transformed and who are distinguished by their admirable conduct, and their stable marriage and family life in which children are being brought up with good character and a spiritual orientation, seekers will be attracted magnetically to the Faith and the teaching work will be invigorated.

(From a letter dated 7 July 1999 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly) [27]

Independent of the level of their education, parents are in a critical position to shape the spiritual development of their children. They should not ever underestimate their capacity to mold their children’s moral character. For they exercise indispensable influence through the home environment they consciously create by their love of God, their striving to adhere to His laws, their spirit of service to His Cause, their lack of fanaticism, and their freedom from the corrosive effects of backbiting.

(The Universal House of Justice, Riḍván 2000 message to the Bahá’ís of the World) [28]

… the friends, in the many aspects of their individual and collective lives, will need to become ever more shining examples of the change they champion. In the context of the framework for action guiding their efforts for the progress of the Cause, the believers can attend to, among other matters, enhancing the foundations of family life, that vital institution which is the basic unit of society…. In all of this, the friends should be able to determine wisely which aspects of their culture are in conformity with the Teachings and should be advanced and which ones are not, and should be set aside. Important, too, is their ability to contribute to the material and social progress of their communities while being careful to steer away from the pitfalls of partisan politics and all its polemics. As the lofty ideals of the Faith become more and more manifest in individuals, families, and communities, the believers will foster a gathering of momentum that moves the people of the region closer to that true prosperity which Bahá’u’lláh has purposed.

(From a letter dated 9 July 2015 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly) [29]

This generation of youth will form families that secure the foundations of flourishing communities. Through their growing love for Bahá’u’lláh and their personal commitment to the standard to which He summons them will their children imbibe the love of God, “commingled with their mother’s milk”, and always seek the shelter of His divine law.

(The Universal House of Justice, from a message dated 29 December 2015 to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors) [30]

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