Letter to the Youth (پیام به جوانان)

A letter to the youth by the late Dr. Ali Murad Davudi —— educator, philosopher, and Bahá’í martyr —— dated 1968

Hearts that throb with zeal; souls that give warmth to fire; eyes that, with their sparkle, create in dark mirrors a miracle like the shining of the sun in the heart of a night; hands that do not know fatigue; arms whose curves tell tales of yearning, activity, and endeavor; feet that tread the ground as effortlessly as a swift bird soars the sky; bodies that, despite their firmness, can prevail over a breeze with their ethereal agility…these are what our youth take pride in. These are what move us to sing their praises. These are what none of the splendors of existence can rival in glory and beauty.

As a tempestuous ocean they rebel; this is not a deadly or frightening rebellion, it is a rebellion that gives warning, awakens the sleepy-eyed, shatters the silence of death and creates a commotion ringing with cries of jubilation.

As fire they are ablaze; this is not a flame that consumes or destroys, it is a flame that reveals a spirit in itself, it pierces the darkness of the heart, it prevents the flowing waters of truth from freezing over.

As a breeze they move; this is not a breeze that has a trace of restlessness or rebellion, it is a movement that gives color and vividness to flowers, it saturates verdure with lushness, it crowns trees with a silver diadem of blossoms, it gives elegant contours to limbs, it aids the pure souls that are suffocated in breasts with a life-giving breath.

Should this ocean not surge, should this flame not flare up, should this breeze not waft, what indication of movement can one see? What hope can one find in this life? What sign of spirit can one discover? And where movement is not apparent, where life is absent, where soul is veiled, how are truth and faith revealed? How does faith emerge? And what does religion signify?

The Bahá’í Faith—which manifests the truth, gives the gift of faith, saves it from extinction, and grants the world of existence eternal youth—inevitably emanates more intensely within the youth.

In His youth did The Exalted One, The Báb, unveil Himself; in His youth did the Blessed Beauty manifest Himself to the world of being; in His youth did the Master wholly dedicate Himself to love; in His youth did the Guardian arise to serve.

In his youth did Quddús risk his life; in her youth did Ṭáhirih renounce the world; in his youth did Rúḥu’llah cry out from the depths of his heart; in his youth did Badí‘ drive the world into a frenzy.

The heroes of our Faith were young, stayed young, and left this world young. Even though they aged, they did not lose their youth—for neither did their hearts wither away, nor was the fire thereof extinguished. Neither did their bodies cease to march on the path of service, nor did their souls weaken—and what meaning does youth have other than this?

The Bahá’í Faith seeks to enroll youth so that with their capable hands, they may free hearts from their bondage; so that with their tireless feet—which cross deserts, scale mountains, and reach the ends of far-off seas—they may gather the lost children of Adam, may unite the hearts of estranged friends, may eliminate darkness, dread, and detestation from an arena which could reflect the light of truth.

This is why we entrust our hearts to the youth, why we attach our hopes to them, and why we seek our own aspirations in them. Would that our youth keep our aspiring hearts full of hope and desire as they are now.

Translated February 2013 with Pegah Nabili

The original Persian text of this letter can be found here, or on pages 49–50 of this PDF file (a scan of the 1968 issue of Ahang-i Badi‘, the magazine in which this letter was originally published)