Abdu’l-Baha on Faith and Works

What follows is my provisional translation (in other words, not official or authorized; see here for more) of passages from a Tablet of ʻAbduʼl-Bahá, the original text of which is published Makátíb-i-Ḥaḍrat-i-ʻAbdu’l-Bahá, vol. 2, pp. 305307.

He is God

O servant of the Abhá Beauty! Thou hadst asked about this blessed verse: “Ere long the assayers of mankind shall, in the holy presence of the Adored, accept naught but purest virtue and deeds of stainless holiness.”* There is much meaning to this verse, and I have no time to expound it fully. I will speak to it only briefly with this explanation: Naught else but piety and pure deeds will be accepted at the threshold of God. A fruitless tree shall not meet with the approval of the divine Gardener. Faith is like unto a tree, and righteousness and deeds of stainless purity are even as its fruits. In this day, the greatest demonstrations of God-fearing piety are firmness in the Covenant and the performance of pure deeds—in other words, the conduct, behavior, and speech which characterize true Baháʼís and accord with the divine counsels and admonitions.

There is no deed in the world of being that will remain without fruit, but actions which are coupled with divine recognition are especially commendable and complete, for the doer will have both attained to the knowledge of God and also performed goodly deeds. This notwithstanding, goodly deeds that are rendered unto others, even if the doer hath not recognized God, are certainly not without fruit. In other words, two people who are both unaware of God and deprived of divine recognition—one just, the other cruel; one truthful, the other dishonest; one trustworthy, the other treacherous; one the promoter of the well-being of humanity, the other the cause of its toil and bloodshed, and both oblivious to God—are not equal in the sight of God; nay, immeasurable is the difference between them!


* From Baháʼuʼlláh, The Hidden Words, Persian, no. 69.

A typescript of the original Persian text of these passages appears below.


ای بنده جمال ابهی سؤال از آيه مباركه نموده بودی كه می‌فرمايد «عنقريب صرّافان وجود در پيشگاه حضور معبود جز تقوای خالص نپذيرند و غير عمل پاك قبول ننمايند» معنی اين آيه مباركه مفصّل فرصت نه مختصر بيان می‌شود و آن اينست كه ما عدای تقوی و عمل پاك در درگاه احديّت مقبول نه شجر بی‌ثمر در نزد باغبان احديّت پسنديده نيست ايمان مانند شجر و تقوی و عمل پاك بمثابه ثمر است اليوم اعظم تقوای الهی ثبوت بر عهد و پيمان است و عمل پاك يعنی رفتار و كردار و گفتار بهائيان حقيقی كه مطابق وصايا و نصايح الهی است.

هيچ عملی در عالم وجود بی‌ثمر نماند امّا عمل با عرفان مقبول و تامّ و كامل و آن اينست كه انسان بمعرفت اللّه فائز و باعمال خيريّه موفّق و حائز گردد با وجود اين البتّه اعمال خيريّه از برای نفوس سائره ولو از عرفان بی‌بهره البتّه بی ثمر نيست يعنی دو نفس بی‌خبر از حقّ محروم از عرفان يكی عادل و ديگری ظالم يكی صادق و ديگری كاذب يكی خائن و ديگری امين يكی سبب آسايش عالم انسانی و ديگری سبب زحمت و خون خواری و هر دو غافل از حقّ اين دو شخص در نزد حقّ متساوی نيستند بلكه فرقی بی منتها در ميان.