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Significance of Bahá’í Consultation

No individual in the Bahá’í Faith has the authority to make decisions for others. Spiritual Assemblies have the authority to make decisions for their communities. A decision is reached through the spiritual process of Bahá’í consultation.


Baha'i Consultation

Consultation, if carried out according to the principles laid down in the Faith, is a spiritual process used to arrive at the truth of a matter and to make correct decisions regarding what actions to take. Consultation has been given a great deal of importance and significance in the Faith.

 

Bahá’u’lláh has emphatically stated:

“No welfare and no well-being can be attained except through consultation.”[1]

In the same Tablet, just before this statement, He explains:

“… no man can attain his true station except through his justice. No power can exist except through unity.”

Hence Bahá’í Consultation is as important as justice and unity, which together help to achieve the following fruits of the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh for humanity:

 

•         The true station of humanity through justice

•         True power through unity

•         Welfare and well-being through consultation

 

Bahá’u’lláh has referred to consultation as

“… the lamp of guidance which leadeth the way, and is the bestower of understanding.”[2] 

In another passage, Bahá’u’lláh has designated consultation as

“… a shining light which, in a dark world, leadeth the way and guideth.” He has continued that passage by stating that “The maturity of the gift of understanding is made manifest through consultation.”[3]

 

Hence, consultation in this age is the source of guidance and mature decision-making. In previous dispensations, the clergy or a few individuals made most decisions, since humanity was not mature enough, and the rest of the population had to obey them. As humanity collectively advanced and developed, it was realized that a group of people will make much wiser decisions than those made by an individual. Gradually many countries have adopted various forms of democratic government to formulate the laws used to run their countries.

 

So far the spiritual aspects of group decision-making have largely been overlooked. Hence the consultative process followed in the wider community has not been as effective as it could be and this is often reflected in the results achieved.

 

Bahá’í consultation provides a spiritual dimension to the process of group decision-making.


[1] Bahá'u'lláh: The Compilation of Compilations, Vol. I (Consultation), no. 167, p. 93.

[2] Bahá'u'lláh: Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 168.

[3] Bahá'u'lláh: The Compilation of Compilations, Vol. I (Consultation), no. 168, p. 93.

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