Universal Compulsory Education

Summary and Conclusion

1) Is Universal Compulsory Education a New Principle?

Before Bahā’u’llāh, education up to a specific class or age had become compulsory in many countries like Germany and Japan. Even before that, many religions advocated education and learning of knowledge and sciences. Thus, this teaching is not new.

2) Did the Leaders of Baha’ism Act upon This Principle?

In accordance with this teaching, `Abdu’l-Bahā had prohibited his followers from sending their children to non-Baha’i schools. At the same time, he himself had sent Shoghi to the best non-Baha’i schools in Haifa. Furthermore, in the Baha’i creed, no single curriculum has been provided to achieve the goal of identical education for all people.

3) Is This Principle Rational and Logical?

This teaching is logical but the extreme version put forward by `Abdu’l-Bahā in which he prohibits his followers from going to non-Baha’i schools is unreasonable.

Courtesy: Twelve Principles – A Comprehensive Investigation on the Bahai Teachings

Contradictions Part 2

4- Will Education Dispel Ignorance?

Reason and common-sense: Education will dispel ignorance.

Bahā’u’llāh: If you have all the knowledge on earth but do not become a Baha’i you are ignorant.

“If today, someone grasps all of the knowledge on earth but stops at the word ‘yes’ (meaning does not become a Baha’i), the Lord will not pay attention to him (ladī l-Ḥaqq madhkūr na) and he will be considered as the most ignorant amongst the people,”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Iqtidārāt wa chand lauḥ dīgar, p. 111

“From now on nobody is to be called knowledgeable, except those who have decorated themselves with the garment of this New Affair (meaning those who have become Baha’is),”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Badī`, pp. 138–139.

 

5. The Criterion for Being a True Prophet: Good Nurturing and Education of People

`Abdu’l-Bahā: A prophet who cannot nurture people is not a prophet.

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, pp. 203–204.

The result of `Abdu’l-Bahā being nurtured by his father: My enemies are “senile like arrogant fools and not seashells full of gems. They are ecstatic from the smell of garbage like dung beetles.”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Makātīb (Egypt), vol. 1, pp. 442–443.

 

6. Are Baha’is Allowed to Attend Non-Baha’i Schools?

`Abdu’l-Bahā: You are absolutely prohibited from sending your children to non-Baha’i schools for they will be a cause of humiliation and disgrace to the faith.

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Makātīb (probably Tehran), vol. 5, p. 170.

`Abdu’l-Bahā Sends Shoghi to attend the best non-Baha’i schools in Palestine.

“It was here that Shoghi Effendi had a very significant dream which he recounted to me and which I wrote down. He said that when he was nine or ten years old, living with his nurse in this house and attending school in Haifa, he dreamed that he and another child, an Arab schoolmate, were in the room in which ‘Abdu’l-Baha used to receive His guests in the house in Akka . . . Shoghi Effendi entered the best school in Haifa, the College des Freres, conducted by the Jesuits . . . ‘Abdu’l-Baha decided to send him to Beirut where he attended another Catholic school as a boarder . . . ‘Abdu’l-Baha Who then had arrangements made for Shoghi Effendi to enter the Syrian Protestant College, which had a school as well as a university,”

Reference: Rūhīyyih Rabbani, The Priceless Pearl, pp. 16–17.

 

7. Must Foreign Languages Be Taught at Schools?

`Abdul’-Bahā: Teach foreign languages at school.

“And further, as well as in the ideals of character, instruction in such arts and sciences as are of benefit, and in foreign tongues,”

Reference: Helen Bassett Hornby, Lights of Guidance: A Bahā’ī Reference File, chap. VIII, no. 494.

Bahā’u’llāh: Reduce all languages to one and only teach that language at school!

“Languages must be reduced to one common language to be taught in all the schools of the world.,”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Tablets of Bahā’u’llāh Revealed After the Kitāb-i-Aqdas, p. 90.

 

Courtesy: Twelve Principles – A Comprehensive Investigation on the Bahai Teachings

Contradictions Part 1

Bahā’u’llāh:

“Contradiction has and will not ever have a way in the sanctified realm of the Divine Manifestations.”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Badī`, p. 126.

1. Is the Principle of Compulsory Universal Education New?

`Abdu’l-Bahā: All mankind should attain knowledge and acquire education. This is a characteristically new teaching of Bahā’u’llāh in this dispensation.

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 455.

We have already discussed in the previous articles with references that this is not a new principle. Readers may refer to below link for detailed information.

https://12principlesofthebahaifaith.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/is-this-principle-of-universal-compulsory-education-new/

 

2. Is Education the Same for All or Dependent on Capacity?

`Abdu’l-Bahā: All humankind must receive the same education with the same guidelines and the same methods.

“It is necessary that the guidelines and laws of education be the same [everywhere] so that all humankind are given the same education. This means education and nurturing must be the same in all schools. All elements and methods must be the same,”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Khaṭābāt (Tehran), vol. 2, p. 148.

`Abdu’l-Bahā: Everyone cannot be a scientist. Only educate people according to their capacity and needs!

“Among other teachings and principles Bahā’u’llāh counsels the education of all members of society. No individual should be denied or deprived of intellectual training, although each should receive according to capacity. None must be left in the grades of ignorance, for ignorance is a defect in the human world. All mankind must be given a knowledge of science and philosophy—that is, as much as may be deemed necessary. All cannot be scientists and philosophers, but each should be educated according to his needs and deserts,”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.108.

 

3- Loving Laws That Promote Ignorance or Claiming That All People Must Be Educated?

Bahā’u’llāh: There must be universal compulsory education.

The Bāb in the Bayān: Destroy all non-Bābī books,teach nothing but the Bayān, and do not own more than nineteen books.

Bahā’u’llāh: A single letter from the Bayān is more dear to me than everything that is in the skies and the earth.

Reference with saying:

“Teaching a book other than the book of Bayān is not allowed unless it has in it what is related to theology (kalām). [Teaching] those [sciences] which have been invented such as logic (manṭiq), principles [of Jurisprudence] (uṣūl), and other [sciences], is not permitted for those who have faith,”

Ref: The Bāb, Farsi Bayān, unit 4, chap. 10.

“You have been prohibited in the Bayān from having more than nineteen books. If you do so, you will be fined 19 mithqāls of gold,”

Ref: The Bāb, Arabic Bayān, unit 11, chap. 7.

“I [swear by] He who in His hand is my soul and my essence, a single letter from the Bayān is dearer to me than everything that is in the heavens and the earth,”

Ref: Asad-Allāh Fāḍil Māzandarānī, Asrār al-āthār khuṣūṣī, vol. 5, p. 333.

Courtesy: Twelve Principles – A Comprehensive Investigation on the Bahai Teachings

Did the Founders of Baha’ism Implement this Principle? – Part 3

Baha’is Must be Educated Only in Baha’i Schools

`Abdu’l-Bahā gives strict orders to his followers to not send their children to non-Baha’i schools:

“It is absolutely prohibited for the children of the friends to go to the schools of others (meaning non-Baha’is).”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Makātīb (probably Tehran), vol. 5, p. 170.

Is this the meaning of the Oneness of Humanity and not having prejudice?

Why is this distinction made between Baha’is and non-Baha’is?

What is more interesting is the fact that `Abdu’l-Bahā, as usual, did not
mind not practicing what he preached. Although he strictly ordered
Baha’is to not enroll their children in non-Baha’i schools, he enrolled
Shoghi in non-Baha’i schools himself:

It was here that Shoghi Effendi had a very significant dream which he recounted to me and which I wrote down. He said that when he was nine or ten years old, living with his nurse in this house and attending school in Haifa, he dreamed that he and another child, an Arab schoolmate, were in the room in which ‘Abdu’l-Bahā used to receive His guests in the house in Akka . . .

Reference: Rūhīyyih Rabbani, The Priceless Pearl (London: Bahā’ī Publishing Trust, 1969), p. 16.

This trend continued until Shoghi finished high school and college:

Shoghi Effendi entered the best school in Haifa, the College des Freres, conducted by the Jesuits. He told me he had been very unhappy there. Indeed, I gathered from him that he never was really happy in either school or university. In spite of his innately joyous nature, his sensitivity and his background – so different from that of others in every way – could not but set him apart and give rise to many a heart-ache; indeed, he was one of those people whose open and innocent hearts, keen minds and affectionate nature seem to combine to bring upon them more shocks and suffering in life than is the lot of most men. Because of his unhappiness in this school ‘Abdu’l-Baha decided to send him to Beirut where he attended another Catholic school as a boarder, and where he was equally unhappy. Learning of this in Haifa the family sent a trusted Baha’i woman to rent a home for Shoghi Effendi in Beirut and take care of and wait on him. It was not long before she wrote to his father that he was very unhappy at school, would refuse to go to it sometimes for days, and was getting thin and run down. His father showed this letter to ‘Abdu’l-Baha Who then had arrangements made for Shoghi Effendi to enter the Syrian Protestant College, which had a school as well as a university, later known as the American College in Beirut, and which the Guardian entered when he finished what was then equivalent to the high school.

Reference: Rūhīyyih Rabbani, The Priceless Pearl, p. 17.

 

Did the Founders of Baha’ism Implement this Principle? – Part 2

3- Education and Nurturing Will Not Dispel Ignorance

In the Baha’i creed the criterion for ignorance and non-ignorance is not education. The criterion is accepting Baha’ism or rejecting it. We will repeat here what we have quoted many times:

“If today, someone grasps all of the knowledge on earth but stops at the word ‘yes’ (meaning does not become a Baha’i), the Lord will not pay attention to him (ladī l-Ḥaqq madhkūr na) and he will be considered as the most ignorant amongst the people.”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Iqtidārāt wa chand lauḥ dīgar, p. 111.

“From now on nobody is to be called knowledgeable, except those who have decorated themselves with the garment of this New Affair (meaning those who have become Baha’is).”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Badī`, pp. 138–139.

“The general criterion is what we mentioned and any soul who has success in it, meaning recognizes and realizes the Sunrise of Manifestation (meaning himself), will be mentioned in the Divine Book as someone who possesses reason or else he will be (mentioned as) ignorant even if he himself thinks that his reason equals that of the whole world.”

Reference: `Abd a l-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Mā’idiy-i āsimānī (Tehran: Mu’assisiyi Millī Maṭbū`āt Amrī, 129 Badī`), vol. 7, p. 160. In the scanned image of this book available at reference.bahai.org this page has been incorrectly replaced with the same page from vol. 8 of the book. The typed file in Microsoft Word format does not have this error.

 

4- The Manners of Bahā’u’llāh and `Abdu’l-Bahā as Two Examples of Baha’i Education and Nurturing

Bahā’u’llāh’s manners are a clear example of the intended result of Baha’i education and nurturing.

He called those who opposed him donkeys

“Oh you donkeys! Whatever God says is the truth and will not become void by the words of the polytheists,”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Badī`, p. 174.

He called his brother polytheist, calf, scarab (dung beetle), tyrant, and Satan.

“When Mīrzā Yaḥyā Azal started opposing the works, deeds, and words of his esteemed brother (Bahā’u’llāh) in Edirne . . . he dropped down from his [high] stature and the rank of union and agreement [that he had with Bahā’u’llāh] and was gradually—in the tablets, works, and revelations [from Bahā’u’llāh]—referred to with codes, references, and names such as the polytheist, the calf, the scarab (dung beetle), the tyrant, the Satan, the devil, the foul swamp, the buzzing of a fly, and similar names,”

Reference: Asad-Allāh Fāḍil Māzandarānī, Asrār al-āthār khuṣūṣī, vol. 5, p. 345–346.

He even went as far as calling non-Baha’is bastards and animals.

“Whoever denies this apparent exalted luminous grace (meaning Baha’ism), it is worthy that he asks his state from his mother and he will soon be returned to the bottom of hell,”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Mā’idiy-i āsimānī, vol. 4, pp. 355 and `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Ganj-i shāygān, p. 78.

“Whoever has the enmity of this servant (meaning Bahā’u’llāh) in his heart, certainly Satan has entered their mother’s bed,”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Ganj-i shāygān, p. 79.

For example, “Today, according to the decree of the Point of Bayān (meaning the Bāb), those individuals who turn away from this Novel Affair (meaning Baha’ism) are deprived of the garb of being called and described [as humans?] and are assembled and mentioned as animals in the presence of God,”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Badī`, p. 213.

We should point out that this degree of manners and politeness emanates from the same Bahā’u’llāh that says:

“Politeness is one of mankind’s traits that distinguishes him from other [creatures]. He who has no success in [being polite] then his demise certainly has—and will have—priority over his existence.”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Badī`, p. 203–204.

`Abdu’l-Bahā followed his father’s example and used the same rude trend of name-calling towards his opponents:

“They are senile like arrogant fools and not seashells full of gems. They are ecstatic from the smell of garbage like dung beetles and not from the scent of a flower of gardens. They are lowly earthworms buried beneath the great earth not high flying birds. They are bats of darkness not the searchlights of clear horizons. They always make excuses and like ravens, have nested in the landfills of fall (autumn) . . . so you Oh true friend and spiritual helper . . . attack these unjust foxes and like a high soaring eagle drive away these hateful ravens from this field.”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Makātīb (Egypt), vol. 1, pp. 442–443.

The words of `Abdu’l-Bahā best describe this situation:

“We should be fair. How can we expect a person that has failed in nurturing his children, spouse, and family to succeed in nurturing the people of the world? Is there any doubt or uncertainty about this issue? By God, no!”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Makātīb (Egypt), vol. 2, p. 182.

How can someone be a promoter of universal compulsory education when he fails to educate himself and his children?!

According to `Abdu’l-Bahā, the validity of a prophet’s claim can be verified by observing his ability in educating and nurturing human kind:

“Prophets are public teachers. If we want to see that prophets are teachers we must independently seek the truth. If [prophets] nurture the souls and take them from the depths of ignorance to the peaks of knowledge, then they are surely true prophets.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, pp. 203–204.

Courtesy: Twelve Principles – A Comprehensive Investigation on the Bahai Teachings

Did the Founders of Baha’ism Implement this Principle? – Part 1

1- Baha’is and Compulsory Education

`Abdu’l-Bahā had insisted that all people everywhere should be educated using the exact same manner and system:

“It is necessary that the guidelines and laws of education be the same [everywhere] so that all humankind are given the same education. This means education and nurturing must be the same in all schools. All elements and methods must be the same.”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Khaṭābāt (Tehran), vol. 2, p. 148.

This method has not been implemented in Baha’i communities to any extent. Baha’is receive the same tutoring and education that all non-Baha’is receive. There exists no compulsion nor equality in the methods and degrees of education a Baha’i receives. Since this teaching is completely impractical using the aforementioned format, `Abdu’l-Bahā changed his mind and announced that there is no need for equal methods and degrees of education for all, rather education must be according to capacity:

“Among other teachings and principles Bahā’u’llāh counsels the education of all members of society. No individual should be denied or deprived of intellectual training, although each should receive according to capacity. None must be left in the grades of ignorance, for ignorance is a defect in the human world. All mankind must be given a knowledge of science and philosophy—that is, as much as may be deemed necessary. All cannot be scientists and philosophers, but each should be educated according to his needs and deserts.”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.108.

There is nothing exciting or outstanding about this order. All systems of education have been and still are based on the capacity of the student. How `Abdu’l-Bahā hadn’t come by this order in the first place—with all his superhuman knowledge—is a question that the Baha’is must answer.

 

2- The Bābī Meaning of Education

The predecessor of Bahā’u’llāh, had he succeeded in spreading his creed, would have limited education to a few mere topics uttered in his own books.

For he had

A. given orders to destroy all non-Bābī books.

“Chapter six of the sixth unit which is about destroying all books but those that have been written or will be written about this order (meaning the Bab’s creed),”

Reference: The Bāb, Farsi Bayān, unit 6, chap. 6.

B. Prohibited teaching anything but the Bayān.

“Teaching a book other than the book of Bayān is not allowed unless it has in it what is related to theology (kalām). [Teaching] those [sciences] which have been invented such as logic (manṭiq), principles [of Jurisprudence] (uṣūl), and other [sciences], is not permitted for those who have faith,”

Reference: The Bāb, Farsi Bayān, unit 4, chap. 10.

C. Prohibited owning more than nineteen books.

“You have been prohibited in the Bayān from having more than nineteen books. If you do so, you will be fined 19 mithqāls of gold,”

Reference: The Bāb, Arabic Bayān, unit 11, chap. 7.

D. The leader of a creed that goes about claiming that a single letter from these laws is more dear to him than everything that is in the skies and the earth, cannot exactly boast about being a promoter of education.

“I [swear by] He who in His hand is my soul and my essence, a single letter from the Bayān is dearer to me than everything that is in the heavens and the earth,”

Reference: Asad-Allāh Fāḍil Māzandarānī, Asrār al-āthār khuṣūṣī, vol. 5, p. 333.

 

 

Is This Principle of Universal Compulsory Education New?

`Abdu’l-Bahā claims:

“Bahā’u’llāh declares that all mankind should attain knowledge and acquire an education. This is a necessary principle of religious belief and observance, characteristically new in this dispensation.”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 455.

Hundreds of years before Bahā’u’llāh was born, the necessity of education and it being compulsory, had been brought up by philosophers like Plato (427–348 BC) and Aristotle (384–322 BC). The first official movements in support of compulsory education were during the reforms of the sixteenth century Christian monk, Martin Luther.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and after the industrial revolution, European countries had come to the conclusion that education was fundamental to development and advancement. The modern schooling system was introduced in Germany during the eighteenth century and was soon adopted in other European countries. In the nineteenth century, non-European countries like Japan and the United States adopted a policy of compulsory primary school education.

Apart from philosophical recommendations and national constitutions, divine religions have been a source of promoting education and the acquirement of knowledge ever since antiquity. Education and seeking knowledge were greatly emphasized in the scripture of many religions. Can we believe that Bahā’u’llāh had not seen these scriptures while he was in Persia?

Courtesy:- Twelve Principles – A Comprehensive Investigation on the Bahai Teachings

 

Universal Compulsory Education

“The eighth principle of his highness Bahā’u’llāh is that education of all [people] is essential. It is necessary that the guidelines and laws of education be the same [everywhere] so that all humankind are given identical education. This means education and nurturing must be the same in all schools. All elements and methods must be the same so that the oneness of humanity is established in the hearts from an early age.”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Khaṭābāt (Tehran), vol. 2, p. 148.

The definition of Universal Compulsory Education means all the people of the world must forcefully be identically educated using the exact same methods and curriculum.

Bahā’u’llāh says:

Knowledge is as wings to man’s life, and a ladder for his ascent. Its acquisition is incumbent upon everyone.

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 26.

`Abdu’l-Bahā follows his father’s footsteps and declares that education is compulsory for all:

“Educating and nurturing is compulsory by the Blessed Beauty’s definite decree. Whoever neglects [this order] will be deprived of [God’s] great bounties.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 214.

“In this new era, [it has been mentioned] in God’s book that educating and nurturing is a compulsory matter, not optional. This means that it is absolutely mandatory for fathers and mothers to endeavor to educate and nurture girls and boys to the utmost extent.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, pp. 214–215.

If a family lacks the means to educate their offspring, the expenses must be provided from public funds:

“Every child must be educated as much as needed. If the parents can pay for its expenses, that is great. If not, the community must prepare the necessary means for the child’s education.”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Makātīb (Egypt), vol. 3, p. 109.

`Abdu’l-Bahā further stresses that these orders must not be forsaken:

“Regarding [these orders] no weakness must be shown and they must not be neglected. If the child is killed it is definitely better than it being left ignorant. For the innocent child will be infested with all kinds of imperfections and will be questioned by the Lord and interrogated and will be dispraised and rejected by the people.”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Makātīb (Egypt), vol. 1, p. 334.

“If the parents neglect this most greatest matter, which has been revealed by the pen of the Ancient Lord (Mālik Qidam) in the Book of Aqdas, they will be deprived of the right of fatherhood and will be regarded guilty by God.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 214.