Baha’i Writings


2.     Human / Mental


2.5           Work & Service  (Achievement & Progress)

2.5.1                   Work & Service – Hishest form of Worship

Work done in the spirit of service is the highest form of worship.


            (Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 83)



2.5.2                   Work & Service – Rich and poor

Work is to be provided for all and there will be no needy ones to be seen in the streets.


            (Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 83)



2.5.3                   Work & Service – The highest righteousness

The highest righteousness of all is for blessed souls to take hold of the hands of the helpless and deliver them out of their ignorance and abasement and poverty, and with pure motives, and only for the sake of God, to arise and energetically devote themselves to the service of the masses, forgetting their own worldly advantage and working only to serve the general good.


            (Abdu'l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 103)



2.5.4                   Work & Service – The obligation to work

Every individual, no matter how handicapped and limited he may be, is under the obligation of engaging in some work or profession, for work, especially when performed in the spirit of service, is according to Bahá'u'lláh a form of worship. It has not only a utilitarian purpose, but has a value in itself, because it draws us nearer to God, and enables us to better grasp His purpose for us in this world. It is obvious, therefore, that the inheritance of wealth cannot make anyone immune from daily work.   


            (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 192)

2.5.5                   Work & Service - Taxation

Each person in the community whose need is equal to his individual producing capacity shall be exempt from taxation.  But if his income is greater than his needs, he must pay a tax until an adjustment is effected.  That is to say, a man's capacity for production and his needs will be equalized and reconciled through taxation. If his production exceeds, he will pay a tax; if his necessities exceed his production, he shall receive an amount sufficient to equalize or adjust.  Therefore, taxation will be proportionate to capacity and production, and there will be no poor in the community.

`Abdu'l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*  Pages 217


2.5.6                   Work & Service – Giving to the poor and the right of God

Baha'u'llah, likewise, commanded the rich to give freely to the poor.  In the Kitab-i-Aqdas it is further written by Him that those who have a certain amount of income must give one-fifth of it to God, the Creator of heaven and earth.

`Abdu'l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*  Pages 217



2.5.7                   Work & Service – Material and spiritual development

The mission of the prophets, the revelation of the holy books, the manifestation of the heavenly teachers and the purpose of divine philosophy all center in the training of the human realities so that they may become clear and pure as mirrors and reflect the light and love of the Sun of Reality. Therefore I hope that whether you be in the east or the west you will strive with heart and soul in order that day by day the world of humanity may become glorified, more spiritual, more sanctified; and that the splendor of the Sun of Reality may be revealed fully in human hearts as in a mirror. This is worthy of the world of mankind. This is the true evolution and progress of humanity. This is the supreme bestowal. Otherwise, by simple development along material lines man is not perfected. At most, the physical aspect of man, his natural or material conditions may become stabilized and improved but he will remain deprived of the spiritual or divine bestowal. He is then like a body without a spirit, a lamp without the light, an eye without the power of vision, an ear that hears no sound, a mind incapable of perceiving, an intellect minus the power of reason.


            (Compilations, Baha'i World Faith, p. 262)



2.5.8                   Work & Service – The two powers of man

Man has two powers, and his development two aspects. One power is connected with the material world and by it he is capable of material advancement. The other power is spiritual and through its development his inner, potential nature is awakened. These powers are like two wings. Both must be developed, for flight is impossible with one wing. Praise be to God! material advancement has been evident in the world but there is need of spiritual advancement in like proportion. We must strive unceasingly and without rest to accomplish the development of the spiritual nature in man, and endeavor with tireless energy to advance humanity toward the nobility of its true and intended station. For the body of man is accidental; it is of no importance. The time of its disintegration will inevitably come. But the spirit of man is essential and therefore eternal. It is a divine bounty. It is the effulgence of the Sun of Reality and therefore of greater importance than the physical body.


            (Compilations, Baha'i World Faith, p. 262)



2.5.9                   Work & Service – Service to mankind

The medieval ages of darkness have passed away and this century of radiance has dawned, -- this century wherein science is penetrating the mysteries of the universe, the oneness of the world of humanity is being established and service to mankind is the paramount motive of all existence. Shall we remain steeped in our fanaticisms and cling to our prejudices? Is it fitting that we should still be bound and restricted by ancient fables and superstitions of the past; be handicapped by superannuated beliefs and the ignorances of the dark ages, waging religions wars, fighting and shedding blood, shunning and anathematizing each other? Is this becoming? Is it not better for us to be loving and considerate toward each other? Is it not preferable to enjoy fellowship and unity; join in anthems of praise to the most high God and extol all His prophets in the spirit of acceptance and true vision: Then indeed this world will become a paradise and the promised Day of God will dawn. . . .


The age has dawned when human fellowship will become a reality.


The century has come when all religions will be unified.


The dispensation is at hand when all nations shall enjoy the blessings of International Peace.


The cycle has arrived when racial prejudice will be abandoned by tribes and peoples of the world.


            (Abdu’l-Baha, Address on Christians, Muslims and Jews)



2.5.10                   Work & Service – Arts, sciences and crafts as worship

In the Bahá'í Cause arts, sciences and all crafts are (counted as) worship. The man who makes a piece of notepaper to the best of his ability, conscientiously, concentrating all his forces on perfecting it, is giving praise to God. Briefly, all effort and exertion put forth by man from the fullness of his heart is worship, if it is prompted by the highest motives and the will to do service to humanity. This is worship: to serve mankind and to minister to the needs of the people. Service is prayer. A physician ministering to the sick, gently, tenderly, free from prejudice and believing in the solidarity of the human race, he is giving praise'.


'What is the purpose of our lives?'


'Abdu'l-Bahá. -- 'To acquire virtues. We come from the earth; why were we transferred from the mineral to the vegetable kingdom -- from the plant to the animal kingdom? So that we may attain perfection in each of these kingdoms, that we may possess the best qualities of the mineral, that we may acquire the power of growing as in the plant, that we may be adorned with the instincts of the animal and possess the faculties of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste, until from the animal kingdom we step into the world of humanity and are gifted with reason, the power of invention, and the forces of the spirit.'


            (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 176)



2.5.11                   Work & Service – Intellectual and spiritual

All humankind share in common the intellectual and spiritual faculties of a created endowment. All are equally subject to the various exigencies of human life, and are similarly employed in acquiring the means of earthly livelihood. In every respect from the viewpoint of creation all stand upon the same footing -- all have the same requirements, -- all are seeking the happiness and comfort of earthly conditions; that is to say, the things they share in common are numerous and manifest. This very sharing or partnership in matters intellectual and spiritual is a valid basis for the unification of mankind.


            (Compilations, Baha'i Scriptures, p. 346)