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Men and Women Equal is Doctrine of Persian Sage

Men and Women Equal is Doctrine of Persian Sage
Philadelphia PA (newspaper)
June 10, 1912

Universal Peace Will Come When All Have Same Privileges and Education, Says ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas

ABDU’L-BAHA ABBAS, the Persian sage at the head of the Bahá’í cult, who is in this country teaching universal peace, universal love and amity, last night gave his views on the equalization of woman with man before a large audience in the Baptist Temple.

The head of the Bahá’í movement of the east believes that the final stages of perfection will never be realized until men and women are held on an equal plane and enjoy identical rights and privileges. Earlier in the day he addressed a large audience in the Girard Avenue Unitarian Church, where he gave similar views.

The teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the movement for universal equality in Persia, show us,” he said, “that men and women must be held equal. Are they not all the progeny of Adam? The male and female are not only in the human race, they also exist in the vegetable kingdom and the same in the animal, but they do not make any difference. In the vegetable kingdom there is no difference between male and female types. We should have complete equality the same as in the vegetable and animal kingdoms.

All are under the protection of God. The great tack of progress on the part of womankind is in the want of education. If women were educated as well as men, no doubt they would be the peers of men. The happiness of the world will not be complete and will not advance until womankind and mankind are held equal. Then happiness will be established.”

Woman Equal of Man

In the Unitarian church he gave additional views regarding women. In part, he said:

Bahá’u’lláh promulgated the oneness of mankind; he taught that men and women were both humankind. There is no distinction whatever between them. The only difference which exists now is due to education. If womankind be educated equally with man, there is no doubt that no distinction will remain, for the world of humanity has two wings — one is the female and the other the male. A bird cannot fly with one wing, and if one wing be defective, the strong wing, the perfect wing, will not be capable of flying.

God has created all humanity. He has endowed all with perfections and intelligence. He has given all two eyes and two ears; no distinction has he made, and, therefore, why should womankind be inferior to man? The justice of God will not accept this.

The justice of God has created them equal. In the estimation of God, there is no gender. He whose heart is purest in the estimation of God is acceptable.

How often have certain women been the very pride of men, for example: There was Mary, the mother of Jesus, she was the pride and glory of men; Mary Magdalene was the pride of men. Ayesah, the daughter of Pharo, was the pride and the glory of men. Sarah, the wife of Abraham, was the pride of men, and so on, they are innumerable.

In this day there are certain women among the Bahá’ís who far surpass men. They are wise, perfected well informed and men’s glory They are far more courageous than any man. In meetings when they speak the men have to listen to them. Furthermore the education of women is much more important than the education of man, for these daughters ere long shall be mothers, and children are reared by mothers.

The first teachers of children are mothers. Therefore they must be in a state of utmost perfection in order to be able to educate the sons. Bahá’u’lláh promulgated the oneness of education. That is, the unification of the world of humanity; that is, there should be one course of study followed by men and women.

Equality Will Bring Peace

Equality between men and women is conducive to the abolition of warfare, because women will never be willing to have warfare. Young men are very dear to their mothers. They will never allow them to go to the battlefield and spill their blood. No mother would ever be willing, no matter, in the name of what supersittion they may ask her, to separate from her son, such is patriotism.”

At both services the words of the sage were translated by an interpreter. He spoke in a low, pleasing voice, but caused a ripple of laughter to pass through the audience by frequently stroking his flowing beard and changing the position of his turban.

In the Baptist Temple he spoke of the two great pathways of life, the animal and spiritual. Then he outlined the doctrines of his father, Bahá’u’lláh, which briefly consist of an abhorrence of shams and imitations, the unity of mankind, the amity of religion, proper relations between religion and science. Add to this the abolition of racial prejudice, the equality of rights of human beings, universal education, universal language and the breaking of the superficial barriers between men and women.

Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas will remain at the Rittenhouse until Tuesday, when he begins has journey through our country.