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"Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths."

- Baha'u'llah: Gleanings, LXX, Page: 136

Family Unity

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Baháí teachings promote the concept of family unity as a basis for world unity and peace. The following are two selections from these writings.

I

If love and agreement are manifest in a single family, that family will advance, become illumined and spiritual. The Bahá'í approach to family unity combines elements of traditional wisdom with progressive principles and practical tools. Adherence to these teachings offers a bulwark against the forces of disintegration and a framework for the creation of strong, healthy, unified families.

The foundation and precondition for a Bahá'í family is the loving relationship of husband and wife. Marriage, a divine creation, is intended to unite a couple "both physically and spiritually, that they may ever improve the spiritual life of each other." A man and woman, having freely chosen one another and having obtained the consent of their parents, marry, according to Bahá'í law, in the presence of witnesses designated by the elected governing council of the community, the Local Spiritual Assembly. With the words "We will all, verily, abide by the will of God," recited by both bride and groom, the two commit themselves to God and, thereby, to one another.

One purpose of marriage is the creation of a new generation who will love God and serve humanity. The task of the family is, therefore, to establish a loving, respectful and harmonious relationship among parents and children. Harmony and cooperation in the family, as in the world, are maintained in the balance of rights and responsibilities. All family members "have duties and responsibilities towards one another and to the family as a whole," which "vary from member to member because of their natural relationships."

Children, for instance, have the duty to obey their parents. They also have the corresponding right to be cared for, educated and protected. Mothers, as bearers and first educators of children, are primarily, but not exclusively, responsible for their spiritual education and the creation of a loving nurturing home. Fathers bear primary, but again not exclusive, responsibility for the financial well-being of the family and for the formal education of the children.

The personal moral standards promoted by the Bahá'í teachings condemn many of the agents that contribute to the break-up of families. Alcohol is forbidden to Bahá'ís, as are mind-altering drugs. No form of violence or abuse within the family is ever to be tolerated.

According to the Bahá'í sacred writing "The integrity of the family bond must be constantly considered and the rights of the individual members must not be transgressed."

Although strongly discouraged by Bahá'u'lláh, divorce is permitted on the grounds of antipathy between husband and wife. It may be granted only after a year of waiting during which a couple lives separately and makes every attempt to reconcile their differences. Protected against hasty decisions and rash emotions, many couples are able to rebuild their marriages during this year of reflection. If, however, reconciliation proves impossible, the couple may divorce.

II

Today the human world is in need of a great power by which these glorious principles and purposes may be executed. The cause of peace is a very great cause; it is the cause of God, and all the forces of the world are opposed to it.

Governments for instance, consider militarism as the step to human progress, that division among men and nations is the cause of patriotism and honor, that if one nation attack and conquer another, gaining wealth, territory and glory thereby, this warfare and conquest, this bloodshed and cruelty are the cause of that victorious nation’s advancement and prosperity. This is an utter mistake.

Compare the nations of the world to the members of a family. A family is a nation in miniature. Simply enlarge the circle of the household and you have the nation. Enlarge the circle of nations and you have all humanity. The conditions surrounding the family surround the nation.

The happenings in the family are the happenings in the life of the nation. Would it add to the progress and advancement of a family if dissensions should arise among its members, fighting, pillaging each other, jealous and revengeful of injury, seeking selfish advantage? Nay, this would be the cause of the effacement of progress and advancement.

So it is in the great family of nations, for nations are but an aggregate of families. Therefore as strife and dissension destroy a family and prevent its progress, so nations are destroyed and advancement hindered.

All the heavenly books, divine prophets, sages and philosophers agree that warfare is destructive to human development, and peace constructive. They agree that war and strife strike at the foundations of humanity. Therefore a power is needed to prevent war and to proclaim and establish the oneness of humanity.

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