The Promised Day Is Come
Recognition of Kingship
Let none, however, mistake or unwittingly misrepresent the purpose
of Bahá'u'lláh. Severe as has been His condemnation pronounced
against those sovereigns who persecuted Him, and however strict the
censure expressed collectively against those who failed signally in their
clear duty to investigate the truth of His Faith and to restrain the hand of
the wrongdoer, His teachings embody no principle that can, in any way,
be construed as a repudiation, or even a disparagement, however veiled,
of the institution of kingship. The catastrophic fall, and the extinction of
the dynasties and empires of those monarchs whose disastrous end He
particularly prophesied, and the declining fortunes of the sovereigns of
His Own generation, whom He generally reproved--both constituting a
passing phase of the evolution of the Faith--should, in no wise, be
confounded with the future position of that institution. Indeed if we
delve into the writings of the Author of the Bahá'í Faith, we cannot fail
to discover unnumbered passages in which, in terms that none can
misrepresent, the principle of kingship is eulogized, the rank and
conduct of just and fair-minded kings is extolled, the rise of monarchs,
ruling with justice and even professing His Faith, is envisaged, and the
solemn duty to arise and ensure the triumph of Bahá'í sovereigns is
inculcated. To conclude from the above quoted words, addressed by
Bahá'u'lláh to the monarchs of the earth, to infer from the recital of the
woeful disasters that have overtaken so many of them, that His followers
either advocate or anticipate the definite extinction of the institution of
kingship, would indeed be tantamount to a distortion of His teaching.
I can do no better than quote some of Bahá'u'lláh's Own testimonies,
leaving the reader to shape his own judgment as to the falsity of such a
deduction. In His "Epistle to the Son of the Wolf" He indicates the true
source of kingship: "Regard for the rank of sovereigns is divinely ordained,
as is clearly attested by the words of the Prophets of God and His
chosen ones. He Who is the Spirit [Jesus]--may peace be upon Him--
was asked: `O Spirit of God! Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or
not?' And He made reply: `Yea, render to Caesar the things that are
Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.' He forbade it not. These
two sayings are, in the estimation of men of insight, one and the same, for
if that which belonged to Caesar had not come from God He would have
forbidden it. And likewise in the sacred verse: `Obey God and obey the
Apostle, and those among you invested with authority.' By `those invested
with authority' is meant primarily and more specially the
Imáms--the blessings of God rest upon them. They verily are the
manifestations of the power of God and the sources of His authority, and the
repositories of His knowledge, and the daysprings of His commandments.
Secondarily these words refer unto the kings and rulers--those through
the brightness of whose justice the horizons of the world are resplendent
And again: "In the Epistle to the Romans Saint Paul hath written:
`Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power
but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore,
resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.' And further: `For he is
the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth
evil.' He saith that the appearance of the kings, and their majesty and
power, are of God."
And again: "A just king enjoyeth nearer access unto God than anyone.
Unto this testifieth He Who speaketh in His Most Great Prison."
Likewise in the Bishárát (Glad-Tidings) Bahá'u'lláh asserts that "the
majesty of kingship is one of the signs of God." "We do not wish," He
adds, "that the countries of the world should be deprived thereof."
In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas He sets forth His purpose, and eulogizes the king
who will profess His Faith: "By the Righteousness of God! It is not Our
wish to lay hands on your kingdoms. Our mission is to seize and possess
the hearts of men. Upon them the eyes of Bahá are fastened. To this
testifieth the Kingdom of Names, could ye but comprehend it. Whoso
followeth his Lord, will renounce the world and all that is therein; how
much greater, then, must be the detachment of Him Who holdeth so
august a station!" "How great the blessedness that awaiteth the king who
will arise to aid My Cause in My Kingdom, who will detach himself from
all else but Me! Such a king is numbered with the Companions of the
Crimson Ark--the Ark which God hath prepared for the people of Bahá.
All must glorify his name, must reverence his station, and aid him to
unlock the cities with the keys of My Name, the Omnipotent Protector of
all that inhabit the visible and invisible kingdoms. Such a king is the very
eye of mankind, the luminous ornament on the brow of creation, the
fountainhead of blessings unto the whole world. Offer up, O people of
Bahá, your substance, nay your very lives, for his assistance."
In the Lawh-i-Sultán Bahá'u'lláh further reveals the significance of
kingship: "A just king is the shadow of God on earth. All should seek
shelter under the shadow of his justice, and rest in the shade of his favor.
This is not a matter which is either specific or limited in its scope, that it
might be restricted to one or another person, inasmuch as the shadow
telleth of the One Who casteth it. God, glorified be His remembrance,
hath called Himself the Lord of the worlds, for He hath nurtured and still
nurtureth everyone. Glorified be, then, His grace that hath preceded all
created things, and His mercy that hath surpassed the worlds."
In one of His Tablets Bahá'u'lláh has also written: "The one true God,
exalted be His glory, hath bestowed the government of the earth upon the
kings. To none is given the right to act in any manner that would run
counter to the considered views of them who are in authority. That which
He hath reserved for Himself are the cities of men's hearts; and of these the
loved ones of Him Who is the Sovereign Truth are, in this Day, as the
In the following passage He expresses this wish: "We cherish the hope
that one of the kings of the earth will, for the sake of God, arise for the
triumph of this wronged, this oppressed people. Such a king will be
eternally extolled and glorified. God hath prescribed unto this people the
duty of aiding whosoever will aid them, of serving his best interests, and
of demonstrating to him their abiding loyalty."
In the Lawh-i-Ra'ís He actually and categorically prophesies the rise
of such a king: "Erelong will God raise up from among the kings one who
will aid His loved ones. He, verily, encompasseth all things. He will
instill in the hearts the love of His loved ones. This, indeed, is irrevocably
decreed by One Who is the Almighty, the Beneficent." In the Ridvánu'l-`Adl,
wherein the virtue of justice is exalted, He makes a parallel
prediction: "Erelong will God make manifest on earth kings who will
recline on the couches of justice, and will rule amongst men even as they
rule their own selves. They, indeed, are among the choicest of My
creatures in the entire creation."
In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas He visualizes in these words the elevation to the
throne of His native city, "the Mother of the World" and "the Dayspring
of Light," of a king who will be adorned with the twin ornaments of
justice and of devotion to His Faith: "Let nothing grieve thee, O Land of
Tá, for God hath chosen thee to be the source of the joy of all mankind. He
shall, if it be His will, bless thy throne with one who will rule with justice,
who will gather together the flock of God which the wolves have scattered.
Such a ruler will, with joy and gladness, turn his face towards and extend
his favors unto, the people of Bahá. He indeed is accounted in the sight of
God as a jewel among men. Upon him rest forever the glory of God, and
the glory of all that dwell in the kingdom of His Revelation."