The root of the Arabic word for honour (sharaf), when referring to a person, means, “to be raised up”. With this definition in mind, we understand that the honour of man is to attain a lofty station. The Báb says in the Persian Bayan (provisional translation) that “… the honour of the servant consists in affirming the singleness of his Lord, in recognizing Him, in confessing to His justice, in obedience to Him, and in obtaining His good-pleasure.”

Furthermore He says in the same Book, “There is no honour for anyone in the next life unless he has attained to the presence of his Lord and spread abroad his messages and detached himself from all but him, so far as he was able. This is an honour whereon all pride themselves.”

One reflection is that we have been honoured with the Revelation of Bahaullah and it is an honour to have recognized Him. However, this is not enough, we have to act and behave in such way as is befitting such a great honour.

It is interesting that Dr. Samuel Johnson defined (in his A Dictionary of the English Language from 1755) honour as “nobility of soul”. He associated honour, when considering its definition on social contexts, with reputation and finally he related the concept of honour to chastity. These concepts are easily found in the Writings, all related to honour as explained by the Báb. It seems traits that are befitting great honour are nobility, trustworthiness, good deeds aligned with the Teachings and chaste mind.

When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was in prison, he was happy and showed great nobility. He said; “Anybody can be happy in the state of comfort, ease, health, success, pleasure and joy; but if one will be happy and contented in the time of trouble, hardship and prevailing disease, it is the proof of nobility.”

Below follows a brief compilation that touch upon these concepts, perhaps they can be of assistance during personal reflections during the month of honour or perhaps as readings for the upcoming Nineteen Day Feast.

 

Selection of passages from the Writings of Bahaullah

The very life of all deeds is My good pleasure, and all things depend upon Mine acceptance. Read ye the Tablets that ye may know what hath been purposed in the Books of God, the All-Glorious, the Ever-Bounteous. He who attaineth to My love hath title to a throne of gold, to sit thereon in honour over all the world; he who is deprived thereof, though he sit upon the dust, that dust would seek refuge with God, the Lord of all Religions. (The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 31)

It behoveth him who expoundeth the Word of God to deliver it with the utmost good-will, kindness, and compassion. As to him that embraceth the truth and is honoured with recognizing Him, his name shall be recorded in the Crimson Book among the inmates of the all-highest Paradise. (Tabernacle of Unity)

This is the day for eyes to see and for ears to hear, for hearts to perceive and for tongues to speak forth. Blessed are they that have attained thereunto; blessed are they that have sought after and recognized it! This is the day whereon every man may accede unto everlasting honour, for whatsoever hath streamed forth from the Pen of Glory in regard to any soul is adorned with the ornament of immortality. Again, blessed are they that have attained thereunto! (Tabernacle of Unity)

The first Taraz and the first effulgence which hath dawned from the horizon of the Mother Book is that man should know his own self and recognize that which leadeth unto loftiness or lowliness, glory or abasement, wealth or poverty. Having attained the stage of fulfilment and reached his maturity, man standeth in need of wealth, and such wealth as he acquireth through crafts or professions is commendable and praiseworthy in the estimation of men of wisdom, and especially in the eyes of servants who dedicate themselves to the education of the world and to the edification of its peoples. They are, in truth, cup-bearers of the life-giving water of knowledge and guides unto the ideal way. They direct the peoples of the world to the straight path and acquaint them with that which is conducive to human upliftment and exaltation. The straight path is the one which guideth man to the dayspring of perception and to the dawning-place of true understanding and leadeth him to that which will redound to glory, honour and greatness. (Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 34)

Every word is endowed with a spirit, therefore the speaker or expounder should carefully deliver his words at the appropriate time and place, for the impression which each word maketh is clearly evident and perceptible. The Great Being saith: One word may be likened unto fire, another unto light, and the influence which both exert is manifest in the world. Therefore an enlightened man of wisdom should primarily speak with words as mild as milk, that the children of men may be nurtured and edified thereby and may attain the ultimate goal of human existence which is the station of true understanding and nobility. (Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas p. 173)

Should any one come unto thee with the whole treasures of the earth, turn not thy sight toward them, but be as thy Lord hath been; thus also the tongue of Revelation hath uttered that which God hath made the decoration of the Book of Renovation. Look at the pearl! Verily its luster is in itself but if thou coverest it with silk it assuredly veileth the beauty and qualities thereof. Such is man, his nobility is in his virtues, not in that which covereth him, and not in that wherewith the children delight. Know, then, that thy ornament is the love of God and thy devotion to naught else save Him, and not to the allurements of the world which thou hast in thy possession: leave them to those who desire them and come to God, who causeth the rivers to flow. (Compilations, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 101)

One day of days We repaired unto Our Green Island. Upon Our arrival, We beheld its streams flowing, and its trees luxuriant, and the sunlight playing in their midst. Turning Our face to the right, We beheld what the pen is powerless to describe; nor can it set forth that which the eye of the Lord of Mankind witnessed in that most sanctified, that most sublime, that blest, and most exalted Spot. Turning, then, to the left We gazed on one of the Beauties of the Most Sublime Paradise, standing on a pillar of light, and calling aloud saying: ‘O inmates of earth and heaven! Behold ye My beauty, and My radiance, and My revelation, and My effulgence. By God, the True One! I am Trustworthiness and the revelation thereof, and the beauty thereof. I will recompense whosoever will cleave unto Me, and recognize My rank and station, and hold fast unto My hem. I am the most great ornament of the people of Bahá, and the vesture of glory unto all who are in the kingdom of creation. I am the supreme instrument for the prosperity of the world, and the horizon of assurance unto all beings.’ Thus have We sent down for thee that which will draw men nigh unto the Lord of creation. (Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 122)

Let your eye be chaste, your hand faithful, your tongue truthful, and your heart enlightened.” “Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue.” “Let truthfulness and courtesy be your adorning, suffer not yourselves to be deprived of the robe of forbearance and justice, that the sweet savors of holiness may be wafted from your hearts upon all created things. Say: Beware, O people of Baha, lest ye walk in the ways of them whose words differ from their deeds. Strive that ye may be enabled to manifest to the peoples of the earth the signs of God, and to mirror forth His commandments. Let your acts be a guide unto all mankind, for the professions of most men, be they high or low, differ from their conduct. It is through your deeds that ye can distinguish yourselves from others. Through them the brightness of your light can be shed upon the whole earth. Happy is the man that heedeth My counsel, and keepeth the precepts prescribed by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.” (Quoted in Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 25)

We ask God, exalted be His glory, to confirm each one of the friends in that land in the acquisition of such praiseworthy characteristics as shall conduce to the spread of justice and equity among the peoples of the world. The first, the fundamental purpose underlying creation hath ever been, and will continue to be, none other than the appearance of trustworthiness and godliness, of sincerity and goodwill amongst mankind, for these qualities are the cause of peace, security and tranquillity. Blessed are those who possess such virtues. (Bahaullah Compilation on Trustworthiness)

O SON OF DUST! Verily I say unto thee: Of all men the most negligent is he that disputeth idly and seeketh to advance himself over his brother. Say, O brethren! Let deeds, not words, be your adorning. (Hidden Words)

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