Throughout the world the Seven Year Plan must witness the attainment of the following objectives:
- The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of Samoa is to be completed and progress will be made in the construction of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in India.
- Nineteen new National Spiritual Assemblies are to be brought into being: eight in Africa, those of Angola, Bophuthatswana, the Cape Verde Islands, Gabon, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia and Transkei; eight in the Americas, those of Bermuda, Dominica, French Guiana, Grenada, the Leeward Islands, Martinique, St. Lucia and St. Vincent; and three in the Pacific, those of the Cook Islands, Tuvalu and the West Caroline Islands. Those National Spiritual Assemblies which have had to be dissolved will, circumstances permitting, be reestablished.
- The Message of Bahá’u’lláh must be taken to territories and islands which are as yet unopened to His Faith.
- The teaching work, both that organized by institutions of the Faith and that which is the fruit of individual initiative, must be actively carried forward so that there will be growing numbers of believers, leading more countries to the stage of entry by troops and ultimately to mass conversion.
- This teaching work must include prompt, thorough and continuing consolidation so that all victories will be safeguarded, the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies will be increased and the foundations of the Cause reinforced.
- The interchange of pioneers and traveling teachers, which contributes so importantly to the unity of the Bahá’í world and to a true understanding of the oneness of mankind, must continue, especially between neighboring lands. At the same time, each national Bahá’í community must aspire to a rapid achievement of self-sufficiency in carrying out its vital activities, thus acquiring the capacity to continue to function and grow even if outside help is cut off.
- Especially in finance is the attainment of independence by national Bahá’í communities urgent. Already the persecutions in Iran have deprived the believers in that country of the bounty of contributing to the international funds of the Faith, of which they have been a major source. Economic disruption in other countries threatens further diminution of financial resources. We therefore appeal to the friends everywhere to exercise the utmost economy in the use of funds and to make those sacrifices in their personal lives which will enable them to contribute their share, according to their means, to the local, national, continental and international funds of the Faith.
- For the prompt achievement of all the goals and the healthy growth of Bahá’í community life National Spiritual Assemblies must pay particular attention to the efficient functioning, in the true spirit of the Faith, of their national committees and other auxiliary institutions, and, in consultation with the Continental Boards of Counselors, must conceive and implement programs that will guide and reinforce the efforts of the friends in the path of service.
- National Spiritual Assemblies must promote wise and dignified approaches to people prominent in all areas of human endeavor, acquainting them with the nature of the Bahá’í community and the basic tenets of the Faith, and winning their esteem and friendship.
- At the heart of all activities, the spiritual, intellectual and community life of the believers must be developed and fostered, requiring: the prosecution with increased vigor of the development of Local Spiritual Assemblies so that they may exercise their beneficial influence and guidance on the life of Bahá’í communities; the nurturing of a deeper understanding of Bahá’í family life; the Bahá’í education of children, including the holding of regular Bahá’í classes and, where necessary, the establishment of tutorial schools for the provision of elementary education; the encouragement of Bahá’í youth in study and service; and the encouragement of Bahá’í women to exercise to the full their privileges and responsibilities in the work of the community—may they befittingly bear witness to the memory of the Greatest Holy Leaf, the immortal heroine of the Bahá’í Dispensation, as we approach the fiftieth anniversary of her passing. 1
The successful launching of the Seven Year Plan and the advances made in the first year of its opening phase mitigate, in some degree, the disasters and calamities which, in the past year, have assailed the struggling Faith of God. The newest wave of persecution unleashed against us in the Cradle of our Faith has been compounded by Divine decree afflicting the entire Bahá’í world community. In the full tide of their brilliant services to the Faith of God, and within the short span of twenty weeks three Chief Stewards of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Order, the Hands of the Cause of God Enoch Olinga, Raḥmatu’lláh Muhájir and Ḥasan Balyúzí were summoned to the Abhá Kingdom, leaving the rest of us bereft and shocked by the enormity of our loss and the tragic brutality of the circumstances attending the murder of beloved Enoch Olinga and members of his family. 2
March 1981 Message to the Bahá’ís of the World
The successes of the initial phase of the Seven Year Plan are heartening evidence of the Divine care with which the growth of the Cause of God is so lovingly invigorated and sheltered. This still infant Cause, harassed and buffeted over these two years by relentless enemies, experiencing in swift succession a number of sharply contrasting crises and victories, surrounded by the increasing turmoil of a disintegrating world, has raised its banner, reinforced its foundations, and extended the range of its administrative institutions. 3
The rising sun of Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation is having its visible effect upon the world and upon the Bahá’í community itself. Opportunities, long dreamed of for teaching, attended by showering confirmations, now challenge in ever-increasing numbers, every individual believer, every Local and National Spiritual Assembly. The potent seeds sown by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá are beginning to germinate within the divinely ordained Order expounded and firmly laid by the beloved Guardian. Humanity is beaten almost to its knees, bewildered and shepherdless, hungry for the bread of life. This is our day of service; we have that heavenly food to offer. The peoples are disillusioned with deficient political theories, social systems and orders; they crave, knowingly or unknowingly, the love of God and reunion with Him. Our response to this growing challenge must be a mighty upsurge of effective teaching, imparting the divine fire which Bahá’u’lláh has kindled in our hearts until a conflagration arising from millions of souls on fire with His love shall at last testify that the Day for which the Chief Luminaries of our Faith so ardently prayed has at last dawned. 4
The observable acceleration, during the past decade, of the two processes described by our beloved Guardian, the disintegration of the old order and the progress and consolidation of the new World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, may well come to be regarded by future historians as one of the most remarkable features of this period. The recent increase in this very acceleration is even more remarkable. Both within and without the Cause of God, powerful forces are operating to bring to a climax the twin tendencies of this portentous century. Among the many evidences which reveal this process may be cited, on the one hand, the continual increase of lawlessness, terrorism, economic confusion, immorality and the growing danger from the proliferation of weapons of destruction, and on the other, the worldwide, divinely propelled expansion, consolidation and rapid emergence into the limelight of world affairs of the Cause itself, a process crowned by the wonderful efflorescence of Mount Carmel, the mountain of God, whose Divine springtime is now so magnificently burgeoning.
During the past five years, the historical dialectic of triumph and disaster has operated simultaneously within the Cause of God. The Army of Light has sustained the loss of six Hands of the Cause and waves of bitter persecution which have again engulfed the long-suffering community in Iran, and have resulted in the razing of the House of the Báb, the demolition of Bahá’u’lláh’s ancestral home in Tákur, and the martyrdom of scores of valiant souls. Yet these disasters have called forth fresh energies in the hearts of the friends, have fed the deep roots of the Cause and given rise to a great harvest of signal victories. Chief among these are the successful conclusion of the Five Year Plan; the launching of the Seven Year Plan, now in the final year of its second phase and unprecedented proclamation of the Faith to Heads of States, parliaments and parliamentarians, government ministers and officials, leaders of thought and people prominent in the professions, resulting in a change of attitude on the part of the mass media, which now increasingly approach us for information about the Cause. 5
The emergence from obscurity, which has been so marked a feature of the Cause of God during the first five years of the Seven Year Plan, has been attended by changes, both external and internal, affecting the Bahá’í world community. Externally, there are signs of a crystallization of a public image of the Cause—largely uninformed, however friendly—while internally growing maturity and confidence are indicated by increased administrative ability, a desire for Bahá’í communities to render service to the larger body of mankind and a deepening understanding of the relevance of the divine Message to modern problems. Both these aspects of change must be taken into consideration as we enter the third and final phase of the Seven Year Plan. 6
As we enter the final year of the Seven Year Plan, confidence of victory and a growing sense of the opening of a new stage in the onward march of the Faith must arouse in every Bahá’í heart feelings of gratitude and eager expectation. Victory in the Plan is now within sight, and at its completion the summation of its achievements may well astonish us all. But the great, the historic feature of this period is the emergence of the Faith from obscurity, promoted by the steadfast heroism of the renowned, the indefatigable, dearly loved Bahá’í community of Bahá’u’lláh’s and the Báb’s native land.
This dramatic change in the status of the Faith of God, occurring at so chaotic a moment in the world’s history when statesmen and leaders and governors of human institutions are witnessing, with increasing despair, the bankruptcy and utter ineffectiveness of their best efforts to stay the tide of disruption, forces upon us, the Bahá’ís, the obligation to consider anew and ponder deeply the beloved Guardian’s statement that “The principle of the Oneness of Mankind—the pivot round which all the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh revolve— … implies an organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced.”
Intimations in the non-Bahá’í world of a rapidly growing realization that mankind is indeed entering a new stage in its evolution present us with unprecedented opportunities to show that the Bahá’í world community is not only “the nucleus but the very pattern” of that world society which it is the purpose of Bahá’u’lláh to establish and towards which a harassed humanity, albeit largely unconsciously, is striving.
The time has come for the Bahá’í community to become more involved in the life of the society around it, without in the least supporting any of the world’s moribund and divisive concepts, or slackening its direct teaching efforts, but rather, by association, exerting its influence towards unity, demonstrating its ability to settle differences by consultation rather than by confrontation, violence or schism, and declaring its faith in the divine purpose of human existence. 7
The Promise of World Peace
To the Peoples of the World
The Great Peace towards which people of goodwill throughout the centuries have inclined their hearts, of which seers and poets for countless generations have expressed their vision, and for which from age to age the sacred scriptures of mankind have constantly held the promise, is now at long last within the reach of the nations. For the first time in history it is possible for everyone to view the entire planet, with all its myriad diversified peoples, in one perspective. World peace is not only possible but inevitable. It is the next stage in the evolution of this planet—in the words of one great thinker, “the planetization of mankind.” 8
- Universal House of Justice. “Naw-Rúz 1979 – To the Bahá’ís of the World.” Bahá’í Reference Library. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/19790321_002/1#655690600 [return]
- Universal House of Justice. “Naw-Rúz 1980 – To the Bahá’ís of the World.” Bahá’í Reference Library. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/19800321_001/1#132435158. [return]
- Universal House of Justice. “March 1981 – To the Bahá’ís of the World.” Bahá’í Reference Library. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/19810301_001/1#307851007. [return]
- Universal House of Justice. “Riḍván 1982 – To the Bahá’ís of the World.” Bahá’í Reference Library. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/19820421_001/1#358290904. [return]
- Universal House of Justice. “Riḍván 1983 – To the Bahá’ís of the World.” Bahá’í Reference Library. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/19830421_001/1#233979713. [return]
- Universal House of Justice. “Riḍván 1984 – To the Bahá’ís of the World.” Bahá’í Reference Library. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/19840421_001/1#602190705. [return]
- Universal House of Justice. “Riḍván 1985 – To the Bahá’ís of the World.” Bahá’í Reference Library. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/19850421_001/1#798497908. [return]
- Universal House of Justice. “The Promise of World Peace.” Bahá’í Reference Library, October 1985. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/19851001_001/1#883867984. [return]