This article on the Baha’i World News Service site is about the newest development with the long-suffering Baha’i community in Iran: reports have emerged that “…seven imprisoned Baha’is have been accused of espionage and other crimes and that their case will be referred to the Revolutionary Court…” These individuals, and other Baha’is who have been harassed, arrested, and jailed, have done nothing to merit such accusations. They are being persecuted for their religious beliefs, as simple as that. It might be hard to believe, especially if you have lived your entire life in a society that protects the freedom of religion, speech, and a myriad other human rights. But this is a very real, and very dangerous, problem for the Baha’is in Iran. Baha’is do not involve themselves in politics, as Ms. Ala’i, the Baha’i International Community representative to the United Nations in Geneva, points out:
“If the Baha’is are accused of spying for Israel, then why do they not hide their identity? Why were hundreds previously executed for refusing to recant their faith and embrace Islam? Why have thousands been deprived of their jobs, pensions, businesses and educational opportunities? Why have holy places, shrines and cemeteries been confiscated and demolished? All of this demonstrates a concerted attempt to destroy a religious community,” Ms. Ala’i said.
These recent developments have filled me with sadness, but I know that one of the things I can do is offer a prayer for these wonderful souls who are going through such suffering. Regardless of whether you are a Baha’i or not, it would be greatly appreciated if you would consider saying a prayer for them.
Faded now is all that erstwhile flourished in the Paradise of Thy transcendent oneness, O my God! Where are the rain-giving clouds of Thy mercy? Shorn are the branches of the Tree of Thy unity of the vesture of Thy majesty and wisdom; where is the spring-time of Thy gifts and bounties? Motionless lies the Ark of Thy Cause on the sea of Thy creation; where are the winds of Thy grace and favors? Encompassed on every side is Thy Lamp by the tempests of discord blowing from every land; where is the globe of Thy graciousness and protection?
Thou seest, O my God, how the eyes of these poor creatures are bent upon the horizon of Thy riches, how the hearts of these helpless ones are set in the direction of Thy might. I beseech Thee, O Thou Who art the sole Desire of them that have recognized Thee, and the Object of the adoration of the entire creation, not to suffer them, now that Thou hast attracted them by Thy most exalted Word, to be far removed from the Tabernacle which Thou hast reared up by Thy name, the All-Glorious.
They are sore pressed with cares, O my Lord, and are encompassed about by the wicked. Send down, therefore, from the heaven of Thy behest Thine invisible hosts, that, holding aloft the ensigns of Thy victory, they may help them in Thy land, and may shield them against Thine adversaries.
I entreat Thee, O my God, by Thy name through which the clouds have rained down their rain, and the streams have flowed, and the fire of Thy love hath been kindled throughout Thy dominion, to assist Thy servant who hath turned towards Thee, and hath spoken forth Thy praise, and determined to help Thee. Fortify, then, his heart, O my God, in Thy love and in Thy Faith. Better is this for him than all that hath been created on Thine earth, for the world and whatsoever is therein must perish, and what pertaineth unto Thee must endure as long as Thy most excellent names endure. By Thy Glory! Were the world to last as long as Thine own kingdom will last, to set their affections upon it would still be unseemly for such as have quaffed, from the hands of Thy mercy, the wine of Thy presence; how much more when they recognize its fleetingness and are persuaded of its transience. The chances that overtake it, and the changes to which all things pertaining unto it are continually subjected, attest its impermanence.
Whosoever hath recognized Thee will turn to none save Thee, and will seek from Thee naught else except Thyself. Thou art the sole Desire of the heart of him whose thoughts are fixed on Thee, and the highest Aspiration of whosoever is wholly devoted unto Thee.
No God is there beside Thee, the Almighty, the Help in Peril, the All-Glorious, the Most Powerful.