Towards the New World Order, A Bahá’í Perspective

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If you read the Introduction to the Dawnbreakers, Nabil describes the wretchedness of the Persian state and society in the 19th century. It reads: “Persia as a feeble and backward nation divided against itself by corrupt practices and ferocious bigotries. Inefficiency and wretchedness, the fruits of moral decay, filled the land”.

It is not entirely inapposite to suggest that the state of Persia in the 19th century bears some resemblances to the state of the global society in the early 21st century. The global order has been described by Baha’u’llah as being “lamentably defective”, and from many points of view, it has deteriorated since He used those words. We find serious division, conflict, corruption, moral decay, and wretchedness in the world.

The Beloved Guardian encouraged believers to study the Dawnbreakers. He stated: “Read books such as the Íqán, Some Answered Questions, Nabil’s Narrative, and you will appreciate the truth of His Mission, as well as the true spirit He creates in whosoever follows His ways.”

The Dawnbreakers were the Babi pioneers lead by the Bab who challenged this terrible state of affairs in Persia and called for radical spiritual and social change. It called for great steadfastness and courage. So it follows that we as Baha’is have been called to embrace the same challenge for all humanity and for the whole planet and its wellbeing.

The 1990 Gulf War ended, as it started, with a ringing declaration from leaders everywhere that the world had entered what they were pleased to call a new international order. Whatever this expression or concept means to its authors, human conflict continues throughout the world, as it has always. Labour continues to be exploited in 3rd World countries under the pressure of the expanding international market economy to meet the demands of multinationals and the needs of the wealthy consumer countries…Breaches of human rights continue to occur unchecked. The possibility of constructing a new world order based on peace, harmony, cooperation, and reciprocity is simply assumed to be an elusive dream. The refusal of the generality of humankind to realistically and voluntarily embrace the concept of world peace as a necessary and practical option for implementation within the near future, the failure of the greater mass of individuals to actively seek out its realization and the stubborn adherence to old patterns of behavior means, in the view of the Universal House of Justice, that such a peace will have to be reached through a continuance of the present suffering and turmoil that is sweeping the face of the earth. In light of these comments, it will come as no surprise that the term new world order is nothing new to Bahá’ís.

“Ye dwell in one world, and have been created through the operation of one Will. Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love.”

Central to Bahá’u’lláh’s model of the “new world order” and the pivot upon which it is to be constructed, is the concept of the oneness of mankind. World Order can be found only on an unshakeable consciousness of the oneness of mankind, a spiritual truth that all the human sciences confirm. It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. It must, however, be a unity that is built upon a recognition of, and respect for, the differences that exist between the various members of the human race, whether of color, race, language, cultural and ethnic background or otherwise.