Last Tablet of `Abdu'l-Bahá for the Bahá'ís in America:
First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #83
Center for Bahá'í Studies: Acuto, Italy
July 3–6, 2008
(see list of papers from #83)
Firmness in the Covenant is the heart of the last Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to America. Through this tablet 'Abdu'l-Bahá protects His faithful followers from the defection caused by egocentric drives and selfish aspiration of certain violators and leads the friends into the firmness in the Covenant which is the major pathway to spiritual health and oneness of the Bahá'í community. Unity of the faith in this dispensation is inevitable and 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His writings, including this very Tablet, has made the believers assured of this great bounty. His focus of concern is individuals who cast themselves away from the covenant and are entrapped by severe mental tests which may not be easily recognized.
This paper tries to analyze the guidelines provided by 'Abdu'l-Bahá to save His followers from these mental tests. Similes and metaphors used by the Master to reveal the evil intentions of violators, to clarify the reason to shun their company as well as to depict the conditions faced by the future Guardian of the Faith, are also discussed here together with 'Abdu'l-Bahá's provisions about the violators' future activities inside and outside America. The paper, by referring to this and other similar Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, tries to provide proof against the vein claims of the violators as well as to deal with doubts and questions which may be raised by the fact that many of violators were among the people well esteemed by the Center of the Covenant.
The paper begins with the concept and forms of the Covenant, the importance of the Covenant in this and previous dispensations, the historical background of the tablet and the atmosphere in which it was revealed, and continues with the concept of covenant-breaking, a brief history of some of the covenant-breakers and their activities, particularly in America. The major points and guidelines of the tablet and the points shared among most tablets by 'Abdu'l-Bahá with the same theme are analyzed and the tablet ends with how American friends, despite the severe tests, remained firm in the Covenant and 'Abdu'l-Bahá's supplication to God were answered for them.
Considering that 'Abdu'l-Bahá's tablets seldom address to the Bahá'ís in general but the contents of most of them can and should be applied by all, and the fact that the activities of the covenant-breakers after 'Abdu'l-Bahá's passing were not confined to America, generalize the subject of the Tablet to Bahá'ís around the world.
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