At the same time, however, we should beware of inadvertently settling upon a limited model, such as the one sometimes associated in contemporary discourse on multiculturalism. When launching the Ten Year Crusade, Shoghi Effendi urged the believers to "carry the torch of the Faith to regions so remote, so backward, so inhospitable that neither the light of Christianity or Islam has, after the revolution of centuries, as yet penetrated.
Zebra skins have been used by Africans from time immemorial. Such a demonstration will attract divine confirmations and greatly reinforce their power to succeed in spreading the Teachings.
While unwavering action is necessary, wisdom and tact and patience must, of course, be exercised. With this in mind, you may wish to call to the attention of this person the guidance of the beloved Guardian, but avoid giving undue prominence to the matter or making it an issue. It is reassuring to note that in a letter of 26 November written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer there appears the statement: As the influence of civilization spreads, the age-old ways of life of the inhabitants of these regions will inevitably perish, and they will rapidly be infected with the materialistic ideas of a decadent civilization.
Consequently, care must be exercised to ensure that the themes of the dances are in harmony with the high ethical standards of the Cause and are not portrayals that will arouse base instincts and unworthy passions. Furthermore, the House of Justice has offered the advice that the institutions of the Faith should be careful not to press the friends to arbitrarily discard those local traditions which are harmless and often colourful characteristics of particular peoples and tribes.
The important thing is for your National Spiritual Assembly to bear in mind the necessity of deepening the friends in their knowledge of the teachings, reinforcing their trust and faith in the Cause of God in this day, and adding enrichment and illumination to their spiritual lives.
It is left to each believer to decide for himself which doctors he should consult, bearing in mind the principles enunciated above. Let it be understood, too, that Africans are not alone in the struggle to change certain age-old practices.
Many millions of human beings are dependent for their livelihood on the hunting or domestication of animals and their use for food and clothing As you point out, the acceptance of a system of medicine as "scientific" can vary from country to country.
This diversity will enrich human life in a peaceful world society. In all such matters it is unwise to lay down hard and fast rules to cover all individual cases. There is, nevertheless, an important borderline between unorthodox medical practice and sheer quackery or superstition, and this we should be careful not to cross.
Even when we want to catch the thoughts of those we love most we cannot do so, how much less can other people succeed in penetrating our minds. The adoption of this divine standard enables each people to be confident in the permissibility of what it can retain from its past.
From a letter dated 13 December written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer The Guardian knows nothing about your kind of healing, nor would he care to go into the question in detail, as he has no time for such matters.
However, there are negative forces which are described as evil, and which can affect an individual adversely.
It repudiates excessive centralization on one hand, and disclaims all attempts at uniformity on the other. Among the initiatives which it might take are measures to foster child education, adult literacy and the training of women to better discharge their responsibilities as mothers and to play an enlarged role in the administrative and social life of the village; encouragement of the people of the village to join together in devotions, perhaps in the early morning, irrespective of their varieties of religious belief; support of efforts to improve the hygiene and the health of the village, including attention to the provision of pure water, the preservation of cleanliness in the village environment, and education in the harmful effects of narcotic and intoxicating substances.
However, the friends should be left free to make their own choices in such matters, so long as they do not break the law of the land by administering or taking a treatment which is contrary to the law We are to convey its comments.
Dear Friends, we are acutely conscious of the crushing difficulties that afflict life in Africa: For example, the indigenous peoples of the Arctic would be hard-pressed to subsist without recourse to animal products.How to Pursue the National Interest.
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16 December To all National Spiritual Assemblies in Africa Dear Bahá'í Friends, As the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh continues its advance on the continent of Africa, it has encountered a number of traditional practices, with the result that questions have been raised about the relationship of these practices to the Bahá'í teachings.
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