Farewell Address of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
LAST WORDS TO AMERICA
Close of the Bahá’í Series in the Herald for Present — Loving Message
The American Friends.
This is my last interview with you and now I am on this ship to sail away. This is my last exhortation which I am going to give unto you. My last exhortation to you is this:
I have repeatedly spoken to you, and I have invited you to the Unity of the world of humanity. I have told you all mankind are servants of the same God; that God is the Creator of all; He is affectionate to all; that before God all are as servants of one God, and God is compassionate towards them all. Therefore, we must set aside all fanaticism and religious prejudices. We must forget all national prejudices. We must forget all native prejudices.
This earth is one sphere, one nativity, one home, and all mankind are the descendants of one Father. All are created by God, and God is compassionate unto all. Therefore, if one offends another, he offends God. God wishes that all the hearts be rejoiced; that all mankind be in the utmost happiness; that every individual member of human society shall live in the utmost felicity and joy. But that which prevents mankind from being happy together is racial prejudice, sectional and sectarian prejudice, the struggle for existence, and unkindness towards one another.
As to you who are present here: Your eyes have been illumined; your ears have been made hearing; your hearts are knowing. You must be free from every kind of prejudice and fanaticism: you must see no difference among the religions. You must look to God. For God is the real Shepherd, and all men are His sheep. This Shepherd is One, and He is affectionate towards all the sheep. While the Ideal Shepherd is kind unto all, is it allowable that these sheep should quarrel among themselves? Hence all these sheep must arise in great gratitude and thankfulness, for God, the Shepherd, is very kind unto them; and the best way to thank God is that all mankind shall love one another and show great kindness and affection towards each other.
In a word: Beware lest ye offend any heart! Beware lest ye speak against any one in his absence! Beware lest ye estrange yourselves from the servants of God as your own kith and kin! Let your whole effort be directed towards rejoicing every offended one, towards feeding every one who is hungry, clothing every one who is without clothing, glorifying every one who is humbled. Be a helper to every helpless one and be kind unto all. This is to gain the good will of God. This is conducive to the illumination of the world of humanity. As I seek from God eternal glory in your behalf, I therefore am giving you this exhortation.
You all see what is happening in the Balkans! How human blood is being shed! How little children are being torn into pieces. How men’s properties are pillaged! How cities and towns are sacked! It is a world-enkindling fire that is astir in the Balkans! God has created them as men to love one another; but they bleed each other! God has created them in order that they may co-operate with each other; but they pillage each other’s property and shed each other’s blood. God has created them to be the cause of felicity and peace to one another; but they are causing trials and hardships unto each other.
As to you: Your efforts must be made lofty. Exert yourselves with your heart and soul, so that perchance through your efforts the light of Universal Peace may shine, and this darkness of estrangement and enmity may be dispelled from amongst men; so that all men may become as one family and be kind unto one another; that the East may assist the West; that the West may aid the East — for all are inhabitants of the one planet, and all are peoples of the one nativity, and all are the flocks of the one Shepherd.
Consider how the prophets who have been sent, and the great souls who have appeared from amongst men, and the sages who have arisen in the world, — have given exhortations unto men. They have all taught love and affection to humanity. They have all guided human souls towards union and harmony. These great prophets and saints and seers and philosophers have all sacrificed their lives in order to establish these teachings amongst men. Consider how heedless the world is, — for notwithstanding all the pains taken by these prophets of God in their time, the people are still fighting one another! Notwithstanding all the heavenly commandments to love one another, they are shedding each other’s blood! How heedless are these people! How ignorant are these people! They have such a compassionate God who is so kind towards all men, and yet they act against His good pleasure! And yet they live in opposition to His behests! God is kind towards all men, and yet they show the utmost enmity each towards the other! God gives life unto them all, yet they destroy each other’s lives! God blesses and builds their houses; they raze and sack each other’s homes! Consider how heedless are such people! Consider how ignorant are such people!
As to you: Your duty is of another kind, for you are informed concerning the mysteries of God. Your eyes are illumined! Your ears are made hearing! You must therefore look towards each other, and then towards all mankind, with the utmost love and kindness; for you have no excuse to bring before God if you do not live this way, for you are informed of that which constitutes the good pleasure of God. You have heard His commandments. You have harkened unto His words of advice. You must, therefore, be kind to all men; you must even be kind to your enemies as your friends. You must even consider your evil-wishers as your well-wishers. You must consider as agreeable those who are not agreeable towards you; — so that, perchance, this darkness of conflict may disappear from amongst men and the light of Divine may shine forth; so that the Orient may be illumined; that the Occident may be filled with fragrance; nay, the East and the West may embrace each other in love and deal with one another in the utmost affection! Until man reaches this high station, the world of humanity shall not find rest and the eternal felicity shall not be attained by men! But if man lives up to these Divine commandments, this world of earth shall be transformed into the world of heaven, and this material sphere shall be converted into a paradise of glory. It is my hope that you shall be rendered successful therein, so that you may cast light upon the world of humanity like unto lamps, and quicken and stir the body of existence like unto a spirit. This is eternal glory! This is everlasting felicity! This is immortal life! This is heavenly loftiness! This is being created in the image and likeness of God, and unto this I call you, and I pray to God to strengthen and bless you!