Baha'i Quotes on Speech
Updated: Apr 13
A compilation from the Baha'i Faith writings on Speech.
A selection of quotes, prayers and tablets from the writings of Baha'u'llah, the Bab, 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice.
Not everything that a man knoweth can be disclosed, nor can everything that he can disclose be regarded as timely, nor can every timely utterance be considered as suited to the capacity of those who hear it.' Such is the consummate wisdom to be observed in thy pursuits. Be not oblivious thereof, if thou wishest to be a man of action under all conditions. First diagnose the disease and identify the malady, then prescribe the remedy, for such is the perfect method of the skilful physician. - ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 268
It is clear and evident to thee that all the Prophets are the Temples of the Cause of God, Who have appeared clothed in divers attire. If thou wilt observe with discriminating eyes, thou wilt behold Them all abiding in the same tabernacle, soaring in the same heaven, seated upon the same throne, uttering the same speech, and proclaiming the same Faith. Such is the unity of those Essences of Being, those Luminaries of infinite and immeasurable splendor! Wherefore, should one of these Manifestations of Holiness proclaim saying: "I am the return of all the Prophets," He, verily, speaketh the truth. In like manner, in every subsequent Revelation, the return of the former Revelation is a fact, the truth of which is firmly established....
-- Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 52
The sixth Ishráq is union and concord amongst the children of men. From the beginning of time the light of unity hath shed its divine radiance upon the world, and the greatest means for the promotion of that unity is for the peoples of the world to understand one another's writing and speech. In former Epistles We have enjoined upon the Trustees of the House of Justice either to choose one language from among those now existing or to adopt a new one, and in like manner to select a common script, both of which should be taught in all the schools of the world. Thus will the earth be regarded as one country and one home. The most glorious fruit of the tree of knowledge is this exalted word: Of one tree are all ye the fruit, and of one bough the leaves. Let not man glory in this that he loveth his country, let him rather glory in this that he loveth his kind. Concerning this We have previously revealed that which is the means of the reconstruction of the world and the unity of nations. Blessed are they that attain thereunto. Blessed are they that act accordingly.
-- Tablets of Baha'u'llah, pp. 127-128
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. -- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp. 10-11
Say: If it be Our pleasure We shall render the Cause victorious through the power of a single word from Our presence. He is in truth the Omnipotent, the All-Compelling. Should it be God's intention, there would appear out of the forests of celestial might the lion of indomitable strength whose roaring is like unto the peals of thunder reverberating in the mountains. However, since Our loving providence surpasseth all things, We have ordained that complete victory should be achieved through speech and utterance, that Our servants throughout the earth may thereby become the recipients of divine good. This is but a token of God's bounty vouchsafed unto them. Verily thy Lord is the All-Sufficing, the Most Exalted.
-- Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 197-198
The sanctified souls should ponder and meditate in their hearts regarding the methods of teaching. From the texts of the wondrous, heavenly Scriptures they should memorize phrases and passages bearing on various instances, so that in the course of their speech they may recite divine verses whenever the occasion demandeth it, inasmuch as these holy verses are the most potent elixir, the greatest and mightiest talisman. So potent is their influence that the hearer will have no cause for vacillation. I swear by My life! This Revelation is endowed with such a power that it will act as the lodestone for all nations and kindreds of the earth. Should one pause to meditate attentively he would recognize that no place is there, nor can there be, for anyone to flee to.
-- Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 200
O thou seeker of the kingdom of God! If thou wishest thy speech and utterance to take effect in the hardened hearts, be thou severed from all attachment to this world and turn unto the Kingdom of God. Enkindle the fire of the love of God in the heart with such intensity that thou mayest become a flame of fire and a luminous lamp of guidance. At that time thy speech will take effect within the hearts, through the confirmation of the Holy Spirit. -- Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 194
O thou who art attracted by the Speech of Abdu’l-Baha!
Verily I speak unto thee through the tongue of my spirit, from the spiritual direction, and explain for thee the mysteries of the kingdom and the meanings of the sacred, heavenly books. Direct thyself unto the Lord of the Supreme World and loosen thy tongue, so that He shall confirm thee ... and breathe into thy mouth the Holy Spirit and move thy tongue with the best meanings and mysteries. Trust in God and rely on His great bounty, because His bounty is overflowing like the seas, brilliant like unto the lights, flowing like currents of water and raining like the clouds. It is incumbent upon thee to be humble, lowly and submissive at the appearance of the lights of the gifts of thy Lord, in every instant. Serve the friends of God under all circumstances and conditions. This is the station of the spiritual ones; this is the honor of the Baha’is; this is the glory of the sincere ones ...
-- Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha, pp. 173
O honoured lady! In accordance with the divine teachings in this glorious dispensation we should not belittle anyone and call him ignorant, saying: `You know not, but I know'. Rather, we should look upon others with respect, and when attempting to explain and demonstrate, we should speak as if we are investigating the truth, saying: `Here these things are before us. Let us investigate to determine where and in what form the truth can be found.' The teacher should not consider himself as learned and others ignorant. Such a thought breedeth pride, and pride is not conducive to influence. The teacher should not see in himself any superiority; he should speak with the utmost kindliness, lowliness and humility, for such speech exerteth influence and educateth the souls.
-- Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 30
O thou who art attracted unto the Beauty of ABHA! Verily I call thee, from this Spot, with a speech whereby the spirit is breathed into hearts and bodies, and address thee with a calling whereby His clear wine overflows in the fountain of a heart which is consumed by the love of God. Verily, I love thee with my heart, my spirit and my mind, and associate with thee in spirit (and converse with thee) by my innate tongue. I love for thee to arise for that to which I have arisen in servitude to the Sublime and Holy Threshold, turning unto God, hoping for martyrdom, so that thou mayest attain to the gift, the lights of which glisten in the eternal horizon. -- Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha, pp. 173-174
Speech is a powerful phenomenon. Its freedom is both to be extolled and feared. It calls for an acute exercise of judgement, since both the limitation of speech and the excess of it can lead to dire consequences. Thus there exist in the system of Bahá’u’lláh checks and balances necessary to the beneficial uses of this freedom in the onward development of society. A careful examination of the principles of Bahá’í consultation and the formal and informal arrangements for employing them offer new insights into the dynamics of freedom of expression. As it is beyond the scope of this letter to expatiate upon these principles, let it suffice to recall briefly certain of the requisites of consultation, particularly for those who serve on Spiritual Assemblies. Love and harmony, purity of motive, humility and lowliness amongst the friends, patience and long-suffering in difficulties -- these inform the attitude with which they proceed "with the utmost devotion, courtesy, dignity, care and moderation to express their views", each using "perfect liberty" both in so doing and in "unveiling the proof of his demonstration". "If another contradicts him, he must not become excited because if there be no investigation or verification of questions and matters, the agreeable view will not be discovered neither understood." "The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions." If unanimity is not subsequently achieved, decisions are arrived at by majority vote. Once a decision has been reached, all members of the consultative body, having had the opportunity fully to state their views, agree wholeheartedly to support the outcome. What if the minority view is right? "If they agree upon a subject," ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has explained, "even though it be wrong, it is better than to disagree and be in the right, for this difference will produce the demolition of the divine foundation. Though one of the parties may be in the right and they disagree, that will be the cause of a thousand wrongs, but if they agree and both parties are in the wrong, as it is in unity, the truth will be revealed and the wrong made right." Implicit in this approach to the social utility of thought is the profundity of the change in the standard of public discussion intended by Bahá’u’lláh for a mature society.
- The Universal House of Justice, 1988 Dec 29, Individual Rights and Freedoms, p. 7