At the outset, it has to be mentioned that, for the sake of simplicity, we are studying these Bahá’i Writings on economics briefly without going too deeply into their importance and implications. Volumes can be written on each of these Writings, and each could be the subject of extensive research. As time goes by, we will realize their importance and how they can and will bring us towards a totally different economic system. Future economists will write books on how these Sacred Writings changed our spiritual, social and economic lives. So please bear in mind that the simplicity of the language and my feeble attempts to share my understanding of them does not do them justice. Many Writings could be mentioned here, but I chose these on purpose because they cover many areas related to economics.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
“Science cannot create amity and fellowship in human hearts.” -Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 171
“The development and progress of a nation is according to the measure and degree of that nation’s scientific attainments. Through this means its greatness is continually increased, and day by day the welfare and prosperity of its people are assured.” -Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 49
“A scientific man is a true index and representative of humanity, for through processes of inductive reasoning and research he is informed of all that appertains to humanity, its status, conditions and happenings. He studies the human body politic, understands social problems and weaves the web and texture of civilization. In fact, science may be likened to a mirror wherein the infinite forms and images of existing things are revealed and reflected. It is the very foundation of all individual and national development. Without this basis of investigation, development is impossible.”-Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.50
One of the fundamental principles of the Baha’i Faith is the harmony between science and religion. Science is a very important tool for creating unity. How can mankind achieve unity in the world without communication devices such as internet and the telephone? They have an important role but they are also not the masters of the situation. They are tools that, used properly, will contribute to the achievement of world unity. But we also need religion. Science cannot prove the existence of religion as yet but it doesn’t mean that it is contrary to religion. As science and technology develop, they can prove the benefits of religion rather than overlooking its worth.
THE POOR AND NEEDY
“Know ye that the poor are the trust of God in your midst. Watch that ye betray not His trust, that ye deal not unjustly with them and that ye walk not in the ways of the treacherous. Ye will most certainly be called upon to answer for His trust on the day when the Balance of Justice shall be set, the day when unto every one shall be rendered his due, when the doings of all men, be they rich or poor, shall be weighed.” -Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 251
“O SON OF MAN!
Bestow My wealth upon My poor, that in heaven thou mayest draw from stores of unfading splendor and treasures of imperishable glory. But by My life! To offer up thy soul is a more glorious thing couldst thou but see with Mine eye.” – Bahá’u’lláh The Arabic Hidden Words, #57
“O CHILDREN OF DUST!
Tell the rich of the midnight sighing of the poor, lest heedlessness lead them into the path of destruction, and deprive them of the Tree of Wealth. To give and to be generous are attributes of Mine; well is it with him that adorneth himself with My virtues.” – Bahá’u’lláh, The Persian Hidden Words, #49
“O people of wealth and riches! If you see a poor man suffering from any calamity, do not run away from him but sit with him and ask him about the things heaped upon him from the seas of determination and predestination.” -Abdu’l-Bahá, The Baha’i World, Vol. IV, p. 453
As we become more spiritually aware, we realize that we have a very important responsibility and duty to look after the poor and needy, to make sure that they are cared for and live happily. This is a God-given duty. They have been entrusted to us and by caring for them we take a step towards the unity of mankind and a society in which there are no poor.