In 1891, Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith, wrote a loooooooooooooong letter to an enemy of his back in Persia (later called Iran) named Shaykh Muhammad Taqíy-i-Najafí, called “the Son of the Wolf”. Here is text from the first few pages of this work, known as “the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf“.
In the name of God, the One, the Incomparable,
the All-Powerful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
Praise be to God, the Eternal that perisheth not, the Everlasting that declineth not, the Self-Subsisting that altereth not. He it is Who is transcendent in His sovereignty, Who is manifest through His signs, and is hidden through His mysteries. He it is at Whose bidding the standard of the Most Exalted Word hath been lifted up in the world of creation, and the banner of “He doeth whatsoever He willeth” raised amidst all peoples. He it is Who hath revealed His Cause for the guidance of His creatures, and sent down His verses to demonstrate His Proof and His Testimony, and embellished the preface of the Book of Man with the ornament of utterance through His saying: “The God of Mercy hath taught the Qur’án, hath created man, and taught him articulate speech.” No God is there but Him, the One, the Peerless, the Powerful, the Mighty, the Beneficent.
The light that is shed from the heaven of bounty, and the benediction that shineth from the dawning-place of the will of God, the Lord of the Kingdom of Names, rest upon Him Who is the Supreme Mediator, the Most Exalted Pen, Him Whom God hath made the Dawning-Place of His most excellent names and the Dayspring of His most exalted attributes. Through Him the light of unity hath shone forth above the horizon of the world, and the law of oneness hath been revealed amidst the nations, who, with radiant faces, have turned towards the Supreme Horizon, and acknowledged that which the Tongue of Utterance hath spoken in the kingdom of His knowledge: “Earth and heaven, glory and dominion, are God’s, the Omnipotent, the Almighty, the Lord of grace abounding!”
Give ear, O distinguished divine, unto the voice of this Wronged One. He verily, counselleth thee for the sake of God, and exhorteth thee unto that which will cause thee to draw nigh unto Him under all conditions. He, in truth, is the All-Possessing, the Exalted. Know thou that the ear of man hath been created that it may hearken unto the Divine Voice on this Day that hath been mentioned in all the Books, Scriptures, and Tablets. Purify thou, first, thy soul with the waters of renunciation, and adorn thine head with the crown of the fear of God, and thy temple with the ornament of reliance upon Him. Arise, then, and, with thy face set towards the Most Great House, the Spot round which, as decreed by the Eternal King, all that dwell on earth must circle, recite:
“O God, my God, and my Desire, and my Adored One, and my Master, and my Mainstay, and my utmost Hope, and my supreme Aspiration! Thou seest me turning towards Thee, holding fast unto the cord of Thy bounty, clinging to the hem of Thy generosity, acknowledging the sanctity of Thy Self and the purity of Thine Essence, and testifying to Thy unity and Thy oneness. I bear witness that Thou art the One, the Single, the Incomparable, the Ever-Abiding. Thou didst not take unto Thyself a partner in Thy dominion, nor didst Thou choose a peer for Thyself upon earth. All created things have borne witness unto that which the Tongue of Thy grandeur hath testified ere their creation. Verily Thou art God; there is none other God but Thee! From everlasting Thou wast sanctified from the mention of Thy servants, and exalted above the description of Thy creatures. Thou beholdest, O Lord, the ignorant seeking the ocean of Thy knowledge, the sore athirst the living waters of Thine utterance, the abased the tabernacle of Thy glory, the poor the treasury of Thy riches, the suppliant the dawning-place of Thy wisdom, the weak the source of Thy strength, the wretched the heaven of Thy bounty, the dumb the kingdom of Thy mention.
“I testify, O my God, and my King, that Thou hast created me to remember Thee, to glorify Thee, and to aid Thy Cause. And yet, I have aided Thine enemies, who have broken Thy Covenant, who have cast away Thy Book, disbelieved in Thee, and repudiated Thy signs. Alas, alas, for my waywardness, and my shame, and my sinfulness, and my wrong-doing that have withheld me from the depths of the ocean of Thy unity and from fathoming the sea of Thy mercy. Wherefore, alas, alas! and again alas, alas! for my wretchedness and the grievousness of my transgressions! Thou didst call me into being, O my God, to exalt Thy Word, and to manifest Thy Cause. My heedlessness, however, hath deterred me and compassed me about, in such wise that I have arisen to blot out Thy signs, and to shed the blood of Thy loved ones, and of the dawning-places of Thy signs, and of the daysprings of Thy revelation, and of the repositories of Thy mysteries.
“O Lord, my Lord! and again, O Lord, my Lord! and yet again, O Lord, my Lord! I bear witness that by reason of mine iniquity the fruits of the tree of Thy justice have fallen, and through the fire of my rebelliousness the hearts of such of Thy creatures as enjoy near access to Thee were consumed, and the souls of the sincere among Thy servants have melted. O wretched, wretched that I am! O the cruelties, the glaring cruelties, I inflicted! Woe is me, woe is me, for my remoteness from Thee, and for my waywardness, and mine ignorance, and my baseness, and my repudiation of Thee, and my protests against Thee! How many the days during which Thou didst bid Thy servants and Thy loved ones to protect me, whilst I commanded them to harm Thee and to harm them that Thou didst trust! And how numerous the nights during which Thou didst graciously remember me, and didst show me Thy path, whilst I turned away from Thee and from Thy signs! By Thy glory! O Thou Who art the Hope of such as have acknowledged Thy unity, and the Desire of the hearts of them that are rid of all attachment to any save Thee! I find no succorer except Thee, nor king, nor refuge, nor haven besides Thyself. Alas, alas! My turning away from Thee hath burnt up the veil of mine integrity, and my denial of Thee hath rent asunder the covering cast over mine honor. O would that I were beneath the depths of the earth, so that my evil deeds would remain unknown to Thy servants! Thou seest the sinner, O my Lord, who hath turned towards the dawning-place of Thy forgiveness and Thy bounty, and the mountain of iniquity that hath sought the heaven of Thy mercy and pardon. Alas, alas! My mighty sins have prevented me from approaching the court of Thy mercy, and my monstrous deeds have caused me to stray far from the sanctuary of Thy presence. Indeed, I am he that hath failed in duty towards Thee, and hath broken Thy Covenant and Thy Testament, and committed that which hath made the dwellers of the cities of Thy justice, and the dawning-places of Thy grace in Thy realms, to lament. I testify, O my God, that I have put away Thy commandments, and clung to the dictates of my passions, and have cast away the statutes of Thy Book, and seized the book of mine own desire. O misery, misery! As mine iniquities waxed greater and greater, Thy forbearance towards me augmented, and as the fire of my rebelliousness grew fiercer, the more did Thy forgiveness and Thy grace seek to smother up its flame. By the power of Thy might! O Thou Who art the desire of the world and the Best-Beloved of the nations! Thy long-suffering hath puffed me up, and Thy patience hath emboldened me. Thou beholdest, O my God, the tears that my shame hath caused to flow, and the sighs which my heedlessness hath led me to utter. I swear by the greatness of Thy majesty! I can find for myself no habitation save beneath the shadow of the court of Thy bounty, nor any refuge except under the canopy of Thy mercy. Thou seest me in the midst of a sea of despair and of hopelessness, after Thou didst cause me to hear Thy words “Despair not.” By Thy power! My sore injustice hath severed the cord of my hope, and my rebellion hath darkened my face before the throne of Thy justice. Thou beholdest, O my God, him who is as one dead fallen at the door of Thy favor, ashamed to seek from the hand of Thy loving-kindness the living waters of Thy pardon. Thou hast given me a tongue wherewith to remember and praise Thee, and yet it uttereth that which hath caused the souls of such of Thy chosen ones as are nigh unto Thee to melt, and the hearts of the sincere amongst the dwellers of the habitations of holiness to be consumed. Thou hast given me eyes to witness Thy signs, and to behold Thy verses, and to contemplate the revelations of Thine handiwork, but I have rejected Thy will, and have committed what hath caused the faithful among Thy creatures and the detached amidst Thy servants to groan. Thou hast given me ears that I may incline them unto Thy praise and Thy celebration, and unto that which Thou didst send down from the heaven of Thy bounty and the firmament of Thy will. And yet, alas, alas, I have forsaken Thy Cause, and have commanded Thy servants to blaspheme against Thy trusted ones and Thy loved ones, and have acted, before the throne of Thy justice, in such wise that those that have recognized Thy unity and are wholly devoted to Thee among the dwellers of Thy realm mourned with a sore lamentation. I know not, O my God, which among my evildoings to mention before the billowing ocean of Thy favor, nor which of my trespasses to declare when face to face with the splendors of the suns of Thy goodly gifts and bounties.
“I beseech Thee, this very moment, by the mysteries of Thy Book, and by the things hid in Thy knowledge, and by the pearls that lie concealed within the shells of the ocean of Thy mercy, to reckon me among such as Thou didst mention in Thy Book and describe in Thy Tablets. Hast Thou decreed for me, O my God, any joy after this tribulation, or any relief to succeed this affliction, or any ease to follow this trouble? Alas, alas! Thou hast ordained that every pulpit be set apart for Thy mention, and for the glorification of Thy Word, and the revelation of Thy Cause, but I have ascended it to proclaim the violation of Thy Covenant, and have spoken unto Thy servants such words as have caused the dwellers of the Tabernacles of Thy majesty and the denizens of the Cities of Thy wisdom to lament. How often hast Thou sent down the food of Thine utterance out of the heaven of Thy bounty, and I denied it; and how numerous the occasions on which Thou hast summoned me to the soft flowing waters of Thy mercy, and I have chosen to turn away therefrom, by reason of my having followed my own wish and desire! By Thy glory! I know not for which sin to beg Thy forgiveness and implore Thy pardon, nor from which of mine iniquities to turn aside unto the Court of Thy bounteousness and the Sanctuary of Thy favor. Such are my sins and trespasses that no man can number them, nor pen describe them. I implore Thee, O Thou that turnest darkness into light, and revealest Thy mysteries on the Sinai of Thy Revelation, to aid me, at all times, to put my trust in Thee, and to commit mine affairs unto Thy care. Make me, then, O my God, content with that which the finger of Thy decree hath traced, and the pen of Thy ordinance hath written. Potent art Thou to do what pleaseth Thee, and in Thy grasp are the reins of all that are in heaven and on earth. No God is there but Thee, the All-knowing, the All-Wise.”
O Shaykh! Know thou that neither the calumnies which men may utter, nor their denials, nor any cavils they may raise, can harm him that hath clung to the cord of the grace, and seized the hem of the mercy, of the Lord of creation. By God! He, the Glory of God (Bahá), hath spoken not from mere impulse. He that hath given Him a voice is He that hath given a voice unto all things, that they may praise and glorify Him. There is none other God but Him, the One, the Incomparable, the Lord of strength, the Unconditioned.
They whose sight is keen, whose ears are retentive, whose hearts are enlightened, and whose breasts are dilated, recognize both truth and falsehood, and distinguish the one from the other. Recite thou this prayer that hath flowed from the tongue of this Wronged One, and ponder thereon with a heart rid of all attachment, and with ears that are pure and sanctified, be attentive to its meaning, that haply thou mayest inhale the breath of detachment and have pity upon thyself and upon others:
“My God, the Object of my adoration, the Goal of my desire, the All-Bountiful, the Most Compassionate! All life is of Thee, and all power lieth within the grasp of Thine omnipotence. Whosoever Thou exaltest is raised above the angels, and attaineth the station: `Verily, We uplifted him to a place on high!’; and whosoever Thou dost abase is made lower than dust, nay, less than nothing. O Divine Providence! Though wicked, sinful, and intemperate, we still seek from Thee a `seat of truth,’ and long to behold the countenance of the Omnipotent King. It is Thine to command, and all sovereignty belongeth to Thee, and the realm of might boweth before Thy behest. Everything Thou doest is pure justice, nay, the very essence of grace. One gleam from the splendors of Thy Name, the All-Merciful, sufficeth to banish and blot out every trace of sinfulness from the world, and a single breath from the breezes of the Day of Thy Revelation is enough to adorn all mankind with a fresh attire. Vouchsafe Thy strength, O Almighty One, unto Thy weak creatures, and quicken them who are as dead, that haply they may find Thee, and may be led unto the ocean of Thy guidance, and may remain steadfast in Thy Cause. Should the fragrance of Thy praise be shed abroad by any of the divers tongues of the world, out of the East or out of the West, it would, verily, be prized and greatly cherished. If such tongues, however, be deprived of that fragrance, they assuredly would be unworthy of any mention, in word or yet in thought. We beg of Thee, O Providence, to show Thy way unto all men, and to guide them aright. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the Most Powerful, the All-Knowing, the All-Seeing.”
We beseech God to aid thee to be just and fair-minded, and to acquaint thee with the things that were hidden from the eyes of men. He, in truth, is the Mighty, the Unconstrained. We ask thee to reflect upon that which hath been revealed, and to be fair and just in thy speech, that perchance the splendors of the daystar of truthfulness and sincerity may shine forth, and may deliver thee from the darkness of ignorance, and illumine the world with the light of knowledge. This Wronged One hath frequented no school, neither hath He attended the controversies of the learned. By My life! Not of Mine own volition have I revealed Myself, but God, of His own choosing, hath manifested Me. In the Tablet, addressed to His Majesty the Sháh–may God, blessed and glorified be He, assist him–these words have streamed from the tongue of this Wronged One:
“O King! I was but a man like others, asleep upon My couch, when lo, the breezes of the All-Glorious were wafted over Me, and taught Me the knowledge of all that hath been. This thing is not from Me, but from One Who is Almighty and All-Knowing. And He bade Me lift up My voice between earth and heaven, and for this there befell Me what hath caused the tears of every man of understanding to flow. The learning current amongst men I studied not; their schools I entered not. Ask of the city wherein I dwelt, that thou mayest be well assured that I am not of them who speak falsely. This is but a leaf which the winds of the will of thy Lord, the Almighty, the All-Praised, have stirred. Can it be still when the tempestuous winds are blowing? Nay, by Him Who is the Lord of all Names and Attributes! They move it as they list. The evanescent is as nothing before Him Who is the Ever-Abiding. His all-compelling summons hath reached Me, and caused Me to speak His praise amidst all people. I was indeed as one dead when His behest was uttered. The hand of the will of thy Lord, the Compassionate, the Merciful, transformed Me.”
Now is the moment in which to cleanse thyself with the waters of detachment that have flowed out from the Supreme Pen, and to ponder, wholly for the sake of God, those things which, time and again, have been sent down or manifested, and then to strive, as much as lieth in thee, to quench, through the power of wisdom and the force of thy utterance, the fire of enmity and hatred which smouldereth in the hearts of the peoples of the world. The Divine Messengers have been sent down, and their Books were revealed, for the purpose of promoting the knowledge of God, and of furthering unity and fellowship amongst men. But now behold, how they have made the Law of God a cause and pretext for perversity and hatred. How pitiful, how regrettable, that most men are cleaving fast to, and have busied themselves with, the things they possess, and are unaware of, and shut out as by a veil from, the things God possesseth!
So in TWELVE PAGES Baha’u’llah wrote to his enemy that he should recite two prayers and included a LOT of other rhetoric besides that would be a chore to read through regarding any subject. And the book is actually 181 pages long! But not only was this sent to his enemy, it would later be translated into English by Shoghi Effendi and published in book form for Baha’is in general to purchase and read. WHY? What would be the fuking point of doing that?!
Contrast that to how I write things.
From 1995 to 2004, I was a member of a religion known as the Baha’i Faith. This religion teaches that God is called by various names but is still the same all over the world, that all religions teach the same basic message, and that humanity is actually one race and is destined to unite under the banner of the Baha’i Faith in a new age of peace and unity.
I was eager to see and to achieve the highest goodness in my life and in the world, so this was a Godsend to me! I embraced the faith after attending firesides about it in Bedford, Texas and became an active teacher of it, even attempting to convert others to it. I had been a Christian, specifically a Southern Baptist, in my teens, but had become disgusted with Christianity and left that faith in my early 20s because I saw the errors, contradictions, and failures of it. The Baha’i Faith explained that away by claiming that while Jesus was indeed a Messenger (or Manifestation) of God, His faith had become corrupted over time and thus most Christians were not truly following him, but the doctrines of men. In joining the Baha’i community, I thought I was seeing what the early Christians in the Roman Empire were like, except that unlike them the Baha’is would not split into competing sects and engage in wars against each other. If only everyone in the world became Baha’i, I was told, we would be at peace and prosperity forever.
What a wonderful vision! But human nature will NEVER allow for it! The reason is that the leadership of the Baha’i Faith, from its founder, Baha’u’llah, to the Universal House of Justice today, claims to be infallible because it is guided by God. Yet we know that Baha’u’llah, his son Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha’s grandson Shoghi Effendi (the Guardian of the Faith), and the members of the Universal House of Justice were/are all HUMAN BEINGS. What evidence do we have that ANY of them are infallible? NONE! And if you cannot question the will of a leadership, what do you in fact have? Tyranny! And what does tyranny always lead to, according to history? Corruption and injustice! And that, in turn results in the system breaking down over time. Indeed, the very idea that any human being, human run institution, or human product is infallible is sheer nonsense. It is the most dangerous idea in the world!
Short and directly to the point! To me, that is the ONLY writing style that should be done and accepted anywhere.
You can find this sort of writing here too:
I wanted to write to my sibling white UUs, to share how my attitude towards policing has dramatically changed over the last fifteen years.
As I watch the news unfold this week, I feel heartbroken and angry. I also feel something else—trauma. As I watched the videos of police cars in New York City and Columbus, Ohio, drive into crowds of people, I felt in my body the fear and trauma of what it was like to be on the streets in Charlottesville, Virginia, when the police stood and allowed armed white supremacist, white nationalist, antisemitic, neo-confederates to attack peaceful, faithful counter-protesters who had come to witness against their hatred.
I also notice how my left arm is hurting. The one that Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s deputies tried to break, the one that had scars on it for years from the zip tie handcuffs they used on me when I was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2010.
These stories I share of witnessing and experiencing police violence are minor compared to the lived experience of many Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color in the United States. Even the violence I experienced in the Maricopa County jail was minor compared to that of the young Latino man arrested with me who was beaten unconscious by sheriff’s deputies. My experience is minor compared to the violence Black Americans have experienced for generations at the hands of police, at the hands of white people, at the hands of slave holders.
My experiences are minor in comparison, and I only experienced them because I chose solidarity with communities of color. That choice taught me a lot about whiteness, about policing, and about the United States.
Listening to and organizing with Black and brown communities in Phoenix, I learned how my neighbors lived under a virtual police state. Their neighborhoods were constantly surveilled by police, and in Southern Arizona, by Border Patrol as well. Police, sometimes in riot gear, would move through neighborhoods and apartment buildings knocking on doors, stopping pedestrians and people in cars and on bikes, asking for documentation. Listening to Black organizers in Cleveland, Ohio, as part of the Issue 1 campaign in 2018, the story was similar. Police surveillance is constant in many communities of color in the United States.
As white people—especially those with class privilege—we are taught that police protect and serve the community. They are seen as “helpers.” We teach our children if they are lost, in danger, or need help, to look for a police officer. And largely, through most of my life, this narrative has matched my experience. However, the killings of Tamir Rice and Aiyana Stanley Jones are devastating examples of why Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color (BIPOC) cannot teach their children this.
Uprisings are occurring across the country because police have never been “helpers” for most Black people in the United States, nor for most Indigenous people and people of color. As with so many experiences of inequity in this country, white supremacy shields white people from harm while teaching us to disbelieve the lived experience of our Black, brown, and Indigenous neighbors.
The system of policing in the United States evolved directly from slave patrols: groups of armed white men authorized to protect white wealth and white safety, and to control and destroy Black lives. It’s not coincidental, then, that police have frequently been involved in lynchings and the violent enforcement of segregation, including the segregation that persists today. It’s not coincidental that Ahmaud Arbery was murdered by a former police officer, or that we are seeing footage of police literally crushing crowds of Black protesters under squad cars and horses.
The recent news stories of Amy Cooper, a white woman who called the police on a Black man in Central Park when he asked her to follow the rules and keep her dog on a leash; and of Tom Austin, a white man, calling the police on Black tenants in his own building, illustrate exactly what policing in America is: a system rooted in anti-Blackness that assumes and reinforces expectations of white innocence and Black guilt.
That was from the President of the Unitarian Universalist Association. You may read the rest of that if you want. She too, writes with clarity and keeps things consistently simple and brief.
Baha’u’llah wrote like a megalomaniac who mistakenly thought that padding his words would make them look credible. Uh, NO, he only looked ridiculous. If I’d been the Son of the Wolf, I would have run that entire epistle through a shredder after reading only a couple of its pages. Why did I ever believe in Baha’u’llah as a Messenger of God? Even his Kitab-i-Aqdas wasn’t this bad!