February 16, 2011

We should become more like “earth” and not like “fire”

In the Qur'án there is a little story, but a great lesson to the whole of mankind, if mankind is ever ready to take lessons from the Words of the Prophets of God. It's written that when God appointed Adam as His viceroy on this planet, He called all the angels and said, "Prostrate to this one, because He is My Messenger on earth. I have taught Him everything. He knows things which all the angels together do not know." All of the angels prostrated, except one, whose name is mentioned in the Qur'án as Eblis, and in Western literature as Lucifer. And God asked him, "Why don't you obey My command? Why don't you prostrate?" He said, "How can I prostrate? I am made of fire and this Adam is made of earth. I am a higher and more sublime element than earth." Although this one was the head of all the angels and their teacher, because of this pride, he failed in one little test of God. And ever since that time, all of humanity has been divided into two different sections separate from each other. Those who have the characteristics, the nature of earth, and those who have the sense of fire.

`Abdu'l-Bahá has explained many things in His writings, in His tablets, in His addresses, and even in His oral conversations with people, the explanation of the difference between two elements is the most excellent ever written by any pen on the pages of paper in the whole history of mankind. He says the earth is faithful, the earth is generous and the earth is very patient. These three characters of the earth are given by the pen of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Fire is greedy. Now He explains one by one. He says that the earth is faithful because you open the earth and entrust with the most valuable treasures, and cover it, and come back after half a century, it will give you back exactly as you have given it. It will not devour it. It will not spoil it. It will give you as you have given it. It is generous, `Abdu'l-Bahá says, because you give the earth one grain and it will give you back a harvest. You plant a stem, and the earth will give you back a fruitful tree. And it is patient, because you break the breast of the earth from all sides, and it gives you more fruit, more seeds. But as to the fire, He says its devours. Its tongues are stretched on all sides, and wants more and more. Give to the fire all the oil of the world, still it says "I want more." If you don't control it, it will destroy a village within some minutes, a town within hours, and perhaps the whole world. Therefore, this is the foremost duty of every Bahá'í youth to start life with a certain discipline which will give everyone of us a nature, an attitude, that we will be like the earth, not like the fire. Fire never achieves anything. But being like earth, then we will achieve many things in life.

To do this we must walk in the path of `Abdu'l-Bahá … (Hand of the Cause Abu'l-Qásim Faizí, from a talk given at the Foundation Hall of the Bahá'í House of Worship in Chicago on the evening of August 25, 1974; ‘Conqueror of Hearts: Excerpts from Letters, Talks, and Writings of Hand of the Cause of God Abu'l-Qásim Faizí, by Abu'l-Qasim Faizi, Edited by Shirley Macias’ 2002)